I haven’t been watching many films lately, with the cinemas all shut down and my favourite DVD rentals dying off even earlier, but now I’m finally streaming! This teen dance drama, celebrating its 20th anniversary this May, wasn’t an obvious choice for the first movie to watch on Netflix, but it proved to be an excellent Friday night pick.
I really enjoyed the film adaptation of this best-selling memoir with Reese Witherspoon in the lead role from five years back. Now I finally found the time for the original book, the entertaining, emotional and at times harrowing account of a young woman who hiked 1,100 miles alone along the Pacific Crest Trail in the USA.
This short science fiction novel takes a simple concept – what if your dreams could affect and alter reality – and spins it into a riveting and imaginative blend of psychological thriller and philosophical musings.
I’ve been rewatching some of my old favourites lately, including this underappreciated 1999 thriller written and directed by Anthony Minghella. Though, judging by the amount of online articles that seem to be popping up to celebrate the film’s 20th anniversary, maybe it’s not so underappreciated after all.
This offering from the screen legend Michael Caine is not a straightforward autobiography, but rather a mix of memoir, practical advice for the aspiring actors and general life lessons, drawn from Caine’s 60-something years in the acting business. It’s an entertaining and breezy read, with Caine emerging as an unpretentious, charming and likeable person.
“Good title that, by the way. Lord Edgware Dies. Look well on a bookstall.” This Poirot novel may not be one of my absolute favourites, but you can tell that Christie had a lot of fun with it, including some self-referential winking. Though I’m not sure if Lord Edgware Dies is necessarily superior to the book’s alternative title, Thirteen at Dinner.
An eclectic and often engrossing collection of essays from David Byrne, best known as the principal songwriter and lead singer of the iconic American band Talking Heads. In this book, Byrne offers his perspective on the subject he’s been involved with for his entire life, music, blending social and technological history, autobiography, business strategies, technical knowledge and personal philosophy.
I finally got around to watching this dark and gripping 2004 German drama about the last days of Hitler and the Third Reich. Realistic, hard-hitting, impeccably crafted, meticulously researched and detailed, Downfall is easily one of the best historical war films I’ve seen.
I’ll always have a special soft spot for this book since it was the first Agatha Christie novel I’ve ever read back in my early teens. While I probably wouldn’t recommend it to someone else as a first taste of Christie, it’s a fun adventure romp that holds up surprisingly well on a re-read and is one of Christie’s better thrillers. Also, the current coronavirus situation and its restrictions have a way of colouring things I watch and read; reading about someone embarking on an adventure in a far-off country (on a cruise ship, no less!) left me with a wistful pang that otherwise wouldn’t be there.
Sumptuous vintage-flavoured loveliness; no sophomore slump from the queen of experimental pop.