I found a list of my top favourite 50 albums I’d made back in 2008, and I thought it would be fun to revisit and update. More than half of my picks remained the same, so my musical tastes haven’t undergone a dramatic change in the last ten years. Organising the albums in the exact order of preference is too much headache, so after the top two it’s a loose list.
I don’t have much use for Valentine’s Day, but it’s as good an excuse as any for more listmaking… so here are my personal favourite celluloid love stories and couples.
Daniel Craig and Eva Green – Casino Royale
Casino Royale is my favourite Bond film and while it’s great from the beginning, it really takes off when Eva Green’s exotic, mysterious Vesper Lynd enters the stage and trades barbs with Bond in the train scene which could have come from a classic 40s screwball movie. But their relationship wasn’t all witty banter and sexual undercurrents; Craig’s raw, unformed Bond was still open to love and his tragic romance with Vesper was genuinely emotional, though I do have to admit that the last 20 minutes of the film don’t quite work.
I had a week off work some time ago, so I decided to rewatch all three extended editions of The Lord of the Rings trilogy back-to-back. Much like the movies themselves, it was an epic undertaking that started at around 9am and, with various breaks, came to the conclusion at almost midnight. I’m happy to say that they are still marvellous films and crème de la crème of the fantasy genre. I thought it would be fun to do a personal Top 10 moments from the trilogy and talk about the scenes or moments that, for various reasons, stayed with me the most. I also realised, when doing the list, what a huge part Howard Shore’s incredible score played in making many of them memorable.
1. Behemoth (The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov)
This list is not really in an order of preference, but Behemoth is probably my favourite fictional cat, and not just because I’ve read this book about 50 times over, in both Russian and English. He’s an enormous black cat who accompanies Satan on his visit to Soviet Moscow in the 1930s, and provides some of the novel’s best humourous passages. He walks on two legs, has a fondness for sarcasm, pistols and vodka, but is polite enough to offer to pay for the tram ride. What’s not to love?