Thursday, September 3, 2015

2015 | Summer Favourites


With the start of the new semester and the busyness that ensues, I nearly skipped posting this. I ultimately decided I would appreciate the effort in the future, and thus I've compiled everything I've loved the most in the months of July and August and the tail end of June. I've also diversified my list to include some items that I don't usually include, so this is more of a list of things I enjoyed this summer rather than the best of the best.

Film

Via Pixar
Inside Out
While I enjoy Pixar films, it's been a while since I've fallen in love with one, so I went to the theatre not expecting much more than a cute kids' movie with some funny lines. Instead I was completely captivated. Despite being marketed towards kids I felt the film was better suited to teenagers/adults as it was emotionally deep - much more so than you would expect - and it hit me right in the feels. The filmmakers perfectly struck the balance of the emotional spectrum that moving away from everything familiar into an unknown place  gives while still keeping the movie fun and kid-friendly. The choice of actors for the voices was spot-on, the animation was incredible, and I am not ashamed to admit it was my favourite movie of the summer.


Via f9movies
Mad Max: Fury Road
On a completely different track from Inside Out, Mad Max was my second favourite pick of the summer. The whole time I was watching it I didn't know how I felt about it; the film moves so quickly with so much action that I didn't have time to evaluate my thoughts until it was over. Mad Max features very little dialogue, instead employing body language and action sequences to drive the plotline. Charlize Theron stars as Imperator Furiosa, a war leader who attempts to save five women from the land's tyrannical leader. Tom Hardy as Max comes along for the journey, trying to find peace of mind after losing his family and being held captive by the dictator. The action sequences are phenomenally shot, the colour editing is intense and beautiful, and the score is perfect for the film. I wouldn't recommend Mad Max to everyone, but for those who are into seeing something a little out of the ordinary it's a must.

TV Show

Via AMC
Halt and Catch Fire, Season 2
I included this show in last year's July favourites, adding that it had a rough beginning but evolved into something worth watching. The second season had no such problems; from the first episode it was an intense, emotional ride of a season. Switching the main focus from the men to the women added a new dimension not often seen in television - the role of women in the workplace in the early 80s - and as well as gaining a view into the emerging world of online gaming. As with most AMC productions, it airs a little on the overdramatic side at times but makes for the perfect summer obsession.

Reads



Trigger Warning: Short Fictions & Disturbances by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman's third collection of short fiction feels like a "Best Of" album - it's stuffed with wonderfully crafted poems and short stories, some featuring Gaiman's most beloved characters, like Shadow from American Gods and Eleven from Doctor Who. Some are sci-fi, some are horror, some are fairy tales, and every one of them artfully mixes elements of reality and myth. I am not usually a fan of short stories but I loved Trigger Warning, and it has become my favourite of Neil Gaiman's works.



A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn is one of the most incredible books I've ever had the pleasure of reading. Written in 1943 but opening in 1912, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn follows an Irish-American girl named Francie and her family through the first two decades of her life. Nothing shocking, unexpected, or otherwise exciting happens, but it's an honest, unflinching look at the poverty of the time and the methods - joyful and tragic - that the characters use to live with it.


Via Into the Fold Magazine
Into the Fold
I don't remember how I discovered this online magazine but suffice it to say it's quickly become one of my favourite sites. Started as a blog in 2009 and converted to a website/mag earlier in 2015, Into the Fold posts articles covering every topic imaginable - life, travel, style, opinions, humour, relatable advice, etc - written by women for women. A few of my recent favourite articles include how to listen to Florence + the Machine's newest album, the collision of race and the modern idea of beauty from a firsthand perspective, and the continuation of finding yourself in adulthood.

William Widmer for The New York Times
Articles
On a heavier, less happy note, I found a few articles demonstrating the desperate need for prison reform in the United States to be interesting - here and here.

Album/Artist


Via Tampa Bay Times
Midnight by Grace Potter
Midnight marks Grace Potter's sixth studio album but that doesn't make her musical formula a familiar one by any means. Her first solo album since her humble beginnings over ten years ago, Midnight is the perfect summer album, with a blend of experimental choices to go with the pop rock base. Traces of other bands and genres are mixed in - everything from 90s pop to mid 2000s rock to Pharrell-esque funk to contemporary country. It's a fun album with only a few serious moments and is the perfect accompaniment to late summer nights.
Favourite tracks: Empty Heart, The Miner, Delirious


Via The CE Network

I've fallen in love with electropop this summer and MØ is the top artist I've enjoyed. No Mythologies To Follow, her 2014 debut album, has been constantly in my playlists and I don't see my love curbing anytime soon. MØ describes No Mythologies To Follow as a journey through being young and searching, and her somewhat minimalist approach to the tracks brings out the lyrics more clearly. 
Favourite tracks: Fire Rides, Never Wanna Know, Red in the Grey


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