Saturday, 31 December 2016

Most Anticipated Books of 2017

It's nearly the start of January 2017 and, after my last post looked back on my last year, this one is looking forward to the next. In 2016 I made the resolution to read more books but didn't do a great job. This year I hope to get better at reading and, by giving up on books as soon as I stop enjoying them, will hopefully stop falling into reading slumps. So, to inspire me to get stuff finished I've created a follow-up to my incredibly popular 'Most Anticipated Books of 2016' post with a few of my Most Anticipated Books of 2017. This is only a short number of the huge list I had at one point. It looks as if I'm not going to curb my spending this year. Ah well.


Updated Most Anticipated Fiction of 2016

So it's that time of year when people start to look back and look forward to the year ahead. 2016 has been an odd year. It's been a great year for my family as my older sister got married and my twin bought a house. However, I've felt the sting of job rejection more times than I really want to think about. Still, 2017 has to be my year. Plus, my life is hardly as bad as it could be. After all, with the political climate being so unstable it's going to be an interesting year that could go either way. But, instead of worrying about what's to come, I'm going to look back at what I've achieved. Which, in terms of reading, isn't that much. My only resolution last year was to read more but my grand total of reads was pathetic. I'm going to partially blame work and my sister's wedding for taking my time away from me. So, when I went back to look over my 'Most Anticipated Fiction of 2016' at the start of this month I realised I'd failed miserably. So, I've been frantically buying as many as possible in the hope I can read them in the coming weeks. So, I've updated the list. The titles in red are ones I haven't bought, orange are the ones I've bought but haven't read, and the limited number of greens are the titles I've read. It's hardly a mixed bunch.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

TBT - Singin' in the Rain (1952)

This has been a week of great losses. With actress Liz Smith leaving us on Christmas Eve, George Michael's death on Christmas Day, and Richard Adams dying on 27th December it was already bleak. Then we had the absolutely devastating news that Carrie Fisher had passed away on December 27th after being in hospital for 4 days. Finally. only 1 day after her daughter, the legendary actress Debbie Reynolds died of a suspected stroke yesterday. It's heartbreaking news and I can't imagine how their family are coping with everything. Both women were iconic and important in their own time and the world is a sadder and darker place without them. Just as Carrie Fisher made a huge impression in her breakout role as Princess Leia, Debbie Reynolds has been most notably linked with one of her earliest onscreen moments. Back in the 1950s, Reynolds took the part of Kathy Selden opposite huge star Gene Kelly despite having no experience as a dancer. It's a testament to her skill and determination that Reynolds more than held her own against the more experienced cast members. Singin' in the Rain sums up everything you need to know about Debbie Reynolds. She didn't let her inexperience stop her, she didn't shy away when her co-star, Kelly, reacted badly to her casting, and her natural charisma ensured that she stole every scene she was in. I couldn't think of any better way to remember the great actress than watching her in this breakthrough performance.


Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Tuesday's Reviews - Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

I obviously have a lot of love for Star Wars fan. I mean I am one myself and so are a load of my friends and colleagues. They're a great bunch of people who share an often insane amount of love for a really great set of films. However, they are an infuriating bunch of people. Or, at least, a select group of them are. When The Force Awakens opened last December people were rejoicing that JJ Abrams had undone the damage of the prequels by making a decent Star Wars film but there was still criticism that the film was too much like A New Hope. I can see what they mean but their argument is absurd when you consider how pissed off they were about the prequels: three films that went wildly beyond the scope and lore. So we've learnt that Star Wars fans don't want anything new nor do they want anything old. Well, is it any wonder George Lucas couldn't do a damn thing right when you're all so fucking undecided? It meant that there was even greater risk for the newest film Rogue One because it was bridging the gap between old and new. It was telling the, as yet, untold but all too familiar story of how the rebellion got their hands on the plans for the Death Star. With news of its release came the usual questioning of "is it necessary?" and people claiming enough was enough. I can't help but feel that Star Wars fans needs to take some tips from the Harry Potter fandom. Those guys are always after more: even when it's absolutely balls.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

SUNDAY RUNDOWN - THAT'S WHAT SHE READ

It's Christmas Day and I'm full of food and festive cheer. It's been a quiet day as we're not really celebrating Christmas until 27th December when the whole family is back together. So, at the moment I've barely opened any presents. It, therefore, remains to be seen just how well I've done book wise this year. My family tend to avoid buying novels for each other but I do quite often get something book related. Still, it's been a lovely day and I'm looking forward to another day of rest before I'm back at work on Tuesday morning. I want to try and be productive but I'll probably just spend all day in bed, eating and watching TV. But isn't that what Christmas is really all about?

Thursday, 22 December 2016

TBT - Arthur Christmas (2011)

On Tuesday I finally saw Rogue One and I have been obsessed ever since. It's just put me in such a Star Wars state of mind that I'm getting all impatient for the release of Episode 8 next Christmas. So instead of writing this review I've spent the evening watching random videos and reading random articles all about people still trying to guess who Rey's parents are. I don't really want to waste too much time on conspiracy theories but, I will say, I think it would be better for the narrative structure of the whole 9 films if she were a Skywalker rather than a Kenobi. I know time wise she could just as easily be Obi Wan's granddaughter but it would just feel wrong if she was from the bloodline. After all, Star Wars have always been the story of Anakin Skywalker and his children. So it makes sense for the next 3 to be about his grandchildren. Rey is being set up as the main hero of the piece so it would be a weird change to have her come from an unconnected family line. Yes Obi Wan had a huge part to play in Anakin's story but it was never his story. He merely played a supporting part. Still, if it is revealed that Luke is her father then it would lack a great deal of shock. Nothing compared to the revelation that Darth Vader was Luke's dad. So, despite what Daisy Ridley and the rest of the internet is saying, nobody is going to know for sure until December 2017 or beyond. Which is why I'm going to get back to the job at hand and review a Christmas film.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Tuesday's Reviews - Christmas with the Coopers (2015)

I think I've proved enough times that. in my opinion, Christmas films are serious business. I know you can only really watch them for 1 month of the year (with a few major exceptions) but when they're good then they're just incredible. Add a bunch of Christmas spirit to the normal Hollywood sentimentality and you have a blend of heartwarming entertainment for all the family. Of course, with every passing year, new Christmas releases have become something to be feared instead of celebrated. This year sees the arrival of Office Christmas Party which looks dreadful. Despite that I still kind of want to see it because my love of Kate McKinnon knows no bounds. But you can't help but get the feeling that Christmas films are just becoming super fucking lazy. However, there's something about them that means great actors are willing to sign up for them. Which is the only reason I can really give for wanting to watch Christmas with the Coopers when I came across it on Netflix.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

SUNDAY RUNDOWN - THAT'S WHAT SHE READ

So it's officially 7 days until Christmas Day. I hope you're all ready. I think the only thing I've got left to do is get my friend a small final gift, wait for my secret Santa present to arrive, and finalise my sister's present. So I'm in pretty good shape I think. So, 7 days til Christmas. Which means it's 8 days until the January sales really start. Which means it's 9 days until I'm officially broke. I'm planning on keeping calm this year but that's exactly what I said about Black Friday and that resulted in me increasing my already too big Pop Vinyl collection. I have too many clothes, shoes, books, and bags but I guarantee that Boxing Day will consist of my tracking down more of these at bargain prices. What is it about a sale?

Thursday, 15 December 2016

TBT - Home Alone (1990)

I slept terribly last night. I was at work for 7 this morning so was awake before half 5. However, no matter how hard I tried, I found myself still wide awake at 1 am. So today I've been like a fucking zombie trying not to let exhaustion get to me. It also meant that, despite my plan to come home and write this post as soon as possible, I spent my time napping. So, in a moment of complete honesty, I'm not going to put my normal review hat on for this post. Of course, it doesn't really matter I suppose. Any Christmas film that I could discuss for TBT are ones that everyone knows. So, instead, I want to discuss several points that have been bugging me about Home Alone over the years. I, like everyone else around my age, loved this film growing up and I'll still watch it every year. I mean it is a remarkably funny festive film that, despite the absurdity of the premise, a terrible script and more than a few cringey stops in schmaltz town, is an essential Christmas watch. Let's be hoenst, we love this film because of nostalgia. It reminds us of being children who all wanted to be the situation that Kevin found himself. But, we're not kids anymore. With every year that passes, I find myself worrying more and more about what I'm watching. So I want to address some points.


Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Top 10 Wen-sday: Top 10 Fictional Characters I'd Invite to Christmas Dinner

It's so close to Christmas it's unreal. In 10 days it'll be Christmas Eve. I think I've just about got my presents all sorted but who really knows. I'm not a fan of last minute shopping but I tend to need little stocking fillers as I go through the month. Still, I'm mostly there. As it's a time of celebration I'm adding a few additional posts this month. Each year I've released a Christmas top 10: My Essential Christmas films and My Least Favourite Christmas films. So I'm planning on keeping them as festive as possible but I'm likely to run out of ideas by next week. We'll see how it goes. For now, I decided to delve into the world of fantasy dinner party and decide who I'd invite to my ultimate Christmas celebration.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Tuesday's Review - Doctor Strange (2016)

I used to be one of those Marvel fangirls who would go and see a new release as soon as it was out. Now I tend to take my sweet time because there doesn't seem to be any need to rush. I'm guarateend to love the film regardless but it's becoming more like doing a Where's Wally instead of watching a film. There can be no denying that Marvels films have become more than a little predictable of late. An underwritten big bad threatens the world and the good guy/guys have to save the day, probably involving something huge crashing to the ground. Don't get me wrong, it's a system that has worked for them and gives the audience everything they want from a superhero film. However, with the arrival of Phase 3 this year it was definitely the time to see something different. That started subtly with Civil War where we saw the good guys facing off against each other for a huge showdown. It wasn't everything we hoped it would be but you can see that it's starting to break the mould. The problem is that the formula is safe and adaptable enough for different themes, heroes, and genres. Marvel don't want to risk losing fans when they know what works.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

SUNDAY RUNDOWN - THAT'S WHAT SHE READ

It's been a stressful week and I'm so glad it's over. It started off terribly when my house was broken into on Monday. Thankfully there was no major damage but they took some of my mother's jewellery, including her engagement ring. So I've spent the week feeling really angry and sad about it. I just don't understand how someone can do that to another person. It's absolutely disgusting to break into their home and root around all of their stuff. What kind of person thinks that's acceptable? I don't care how difficult or hard someone's life is. It's just horrendous. Still, there's not much we can do about it now. It's just bullshit. So a new week will hopefully mean a better one. It's getting nearer to Christmas and, fingers crossed, I'm basically done with my presents. Although, I feel like I'm spending a shitload at the moment. It was my Christmas party this week and, despite being fairly restrained on the drinks front, I did end up caving and buying a fairly big round of drinks near the end of the night. One shot of tequila and suddenly I'm super generous. Just waiting until January and my year of sensible living awaits.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

TBT - William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (1996)

There are a couple of reasons why a lot of the girls I know around my age are obsessed with Leonardo DiCaprio. Those two reasons are: Titanic and Romeo and Juliet. These films really pushed DiCaprio into spotlight as the romantic hero and the pin-up of the late 90s. We all remember his curtained blonde hair, beautiful blue eyes, and youthful grin from our youth and still sigh at his perfection. Even now, 20 years later, DiCaprio is perfect but, I'm happy to say, his hair has improved somewhat. When I was at university I was part of a group of literature students who fondly remembered Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of the tale of two star-crossed lovers as being their first memorable experience with Shakespeare. It took the words of the Bard and made them cool and sexy. And it cemented DiCaprio as our ideal man. Now that I'm a partially matured adult, I find I appreciate about Shakespeare in a more traditional manner but in my younger days the idea of Shakespeare with guns was too good to ignore. Now that the film has celebrated the 20th anniversary of its release, it felt like the perfect time to revisit this classic.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Top 10 Wen-sday: Top 10 Things I Thought After Watching Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life

In my Sunday Rundown a couple of weeks ago I promised to write about the Netflix Gilmore Girls reboot that week. That was mainly because I'd got my dates mixed up and thought this Top 10 Wen-sday was happening then. Still, in lieu of an actual review, which I figured would be both difficult, gushy, hyperbolic, and really fucking long, I'm setting down my strongest feelings regarding the new four episodes. I don't know when I first got into Gilmore Girls but it was probably when I was 16. I instantly loved it and have rewatched every epsiode more times than I'd care to remember. So when it was announced that Netflix was bringing it back I was ecstatic. Of course, when I binge watched the new episodes as soon as possible I had a few questions. The most important being: WHY WAS THERE NO KIEFER SUTHERLAND CAMEO? I mean how hard would that have been? He's on Netflix himself. They could have put it in his contract. What else is he doing? We need a Luke Danes/Kiefer Sutherland spin-off where they go fishing and discuss being shit at baseball. Desperately.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Tuesday's Reviews - Romeo and Juliet (2013)

I know this isn't really a recent film but, with the 20th anniversary of the 1996 Romeo and Juliet last month, I decided, in order to compare and contrast, that it was time to watch the most recent film adaptation of one of Shakespeare's most annoying plays. I know people generally love it because it's about true love and shit but I just find it boring and really stupid. I mean people build these two teenagers up because they are so desperately in love with each other but they're actually just idiots. Firstly, they know each other for about 2 seconds before they tie the knot and secondly they both die for really unnecessary reasons. It's supposed to be the greatest love story ever told but isn't it actually just the greatest story about horny teenagers ever told? I mean Romeo was madly in love with another girl literally seconds before he first saw Juliet. I don't think we can trust anything he says about his feelings. Call me cynical if you wish but the idea that "true love" is so unconquerable that you must bow to its every whim is just a hyperbolic idea. Why does all love have to be so fucking insane that it leads to untold anguish and death? Surely the greatest love story ever told is one where two people fall in love over a prolonged period and become so comfortable and happy that they spend their lives together? Isn't that what we should be striving for as a society? Not a crazy ride full of sword fights, feuding, and the death of two young people? Anyway, this turned into a massive rant so it's best I just get onto the review.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

SUNDAY RUNDOWN - THAT'S WHAT SHE READ

This week has flown by and I have very little to show for it. Work is crazy busy because it's nearly Christmas and we don't have enough staff to cope. So we've all been working like crazy people and it's fucking exhausting. As such I've not really done anything this week but binge watch all of Parks and Recreation again from start to finish. Amy Poehler is just sensational and Adam Scott is a dreamboat. I've got loads of books I want to finish before January but I doubt I'll get much reading done in the next month. Christmas is just too stressful to get stuff done.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

TBT - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001)

I'm so far behind my schedule today that I've left myself with no fucking time to do anything. I've left this to the last minute as I tried to get everything else done. I'm also tired so I can't promise this will be the best thing I've ever written but I'm determined to get it done. After all, I sat through one of my least favourite Harry Potter films in order to have a subject this week. I'd have to say that my least favourite in terms of both book and film is Goblet of Fire but, thanks to their childish nature, I've never revisited the first two stories for years. I saw the first film at the cinema with my family for my mother's birthday. I was 13 years old and completely obsessed with the books. I remember leaving the cinema feeling disappointed with some differences but, ultimately, I loved it. I mean it was faithful to the book and that was all that mattered to me. Let's be honest though, that's all that mattered to anyone.


 
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