Read, Watch, Listen (October)

It has been a short while since I last wrote one of these posts and so I now have plenty of things to talk about. As Autumn draws in, sitting by the TV or on a sofa, curled up with a good book sounds good. If not, maybe hooking up with a good podcast is your kind of thing.

Today I am happy to discuss a book, a TV show and a podcast that are all really satisfying. I hope that you will consider checking one of them out or recommending your own newly found gems in the comments below.

Reading – The Former Boy Wonder by Robert Graham

This book is really interesting as it is about a slightly washed out music journalist who has daddy issues. It starts off with his parents split and the infrequent visits of his light entertainment father and then jumps around in time a bit.

The author’s way with words is great and some of the nostalgia is very relatable. The main character, Peter, goes to Uni in Manchester and falls madly in love with Sanchia, who fades in and out of the story in an enigmatic way. A lot of the book is during his middle age, when Lucy is Peter’s wife. She was his university housemate and played second fiddle to Sanchia during those college years.

When an old friend invites him to a party at the house where he first met Sanchia, he isn’t sure whether to tell Lucy. Delving back into the friendship group of his early twenties presents emotional conversations and lovely recollections. The story is really reminiscent and warm.

I would say check this book out if you can as rarely has a modern story got such heart as well as stacks of throwback details. For me, the memories felt relatable and cosy, taking me back to my own Uni days in the 1990s.

Watching – Bloods Season 2, Part 2

I may have mentioned this before but I love this comedy which is available on Sky Or NOW TV. Starring Jane Horrocks (as Wendy) of Absolutely Fabulous fame, it is a laugh along show about paramedics and some of the funny circumstances they find themselves in. Lucy Punch (Motherland) is also onboard as a quirky boss who is secretly infatuated with one of the ambulance crew.

My friends and I agree that the comedy has got wittier and the writing sharper in this second series. Samson Kayo is Wendy’s crew mate and their relationship is funny and fractured at times. All of the characters have great comic timing and brilliant onscreen chemistry.

Listening – Dragoncast Podcast

I used to watch ThroneCast which was a discussion show that came on every week after each fresh episode of Game of Thrones. Jamie East used to give detailed explanations of some of the Westeros history and rivalries.

Now I have discovered his brilliant podcast and it is the perfect companion to each episode of House of the Dragon. With special guests and forensic unpicking of the key events, this podcast is very entertaining and helpful. Check out Dragoncast if you get the chance (available on Spotify, Apple etc).

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest recommendations. Please consider following my blog for similar articles about books, TV, podcasts and the environment. You can also read my summer choice in Read, Watch, Listen 4.

Where The Crawdads Sing – Movie Review

As a movie geek, I love any excuse to pop along to my local Showcase cinema and take in a good film. Having bought the book, ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ a while ago I still have it on my TBR but have read wonderful things about it. Nevertheless, the movie came out and I just couldn’t wait, especially after seeing such a great trailer and knowing that Reese Witherspoon produced it.

The Lowdown

A girl is left by her family as they run away (one-by-one) from her abusive father. Living in the marshlands of North Carolina, Kya is treated as an outcast when she attends school, hoping for a good school meal. ‘The Marsh Girl’ – they called her.

Set in the 1960s, the story follows a mysterious death, where a guy is found at the bottom of a fire tower. Was he pushed or did he jump? One thing they know is that he used to spend a lot of time with Kya.

A court case starts the movie off and we then go into extensive flashbacks of her upbringing and romantic past. Daisy Edgar-Jones (Normal People) is endearing as the Marsh girl and held my attention well throughout this two hours and five minutes picture.

My Thoughts

The rotten tomatoes critics’ score is low but the audience score is 96% and I agree with the viewers. This is a stunning film with talented actors and a believable timeline. Whether or not it is true to the book, I will have to tell you later, when I finally get round to reading it. In this case the critics were being too pompous.

I was totally engrossed in this narrative and felt that it was carefully written and well paced. The fact that ‘Hello Sunshine’ produced it gave it added credibility and Reese Witherspoon is well known for making great films out of best selling books. She did a brilliant job this time, for sure.

I was very happy with this beautiful movie and would totally recommend going to see it. Thank you for reading my film review. If you enjoyed it please consider following my little blog. Also drop a comment if you have read the book or seen the movie. I’d love to know what you thought. For another great movie, check out my recent write up of the Elvis Movie.

Reviewing the Elvis Movie

After seeing the trailer for the new ‘Elvis’ movie, I was really intrigued, despite knowing next to nothing about the unfortunate crooner. From that trailer alone, I could tell that the actor who played the man himself was a close match and that Tom Hanks’ character, Colonel Parker, was very interesting, especially as it was implied that he manipulated Elvis. Then, seeing Baz Luhrmann’s name appear as writer/director, I had every reason to believe this would be a film well worth seeing.

In a nutshell

Baz Luhrmann is legendary in my eyes because of his epic Romeo and Juliet movie and Moulin Rouge feature. I had been wondering what he’d been up to lately and was relieved to see that he had put together a biopic about Elvis’s career. During the pandemic I remember Tom Hanks catching Covid in Australia whilst filming an Elvis film and finally we now get to relish the finished product.

Although I hadn’t heard of Colonel Tom Parker before, Tom Hanks played this character fully, even wearing a fat suit and changing his face to match. The Colonel was the person who discovered and managed Elvis right to the end, even after the singer had tried to relinquish his controlling powers.

This script focuses on how their working relationship began happily and then became fairly sour. I won’t give away any spoilers but let’s say it was a very manipulative situation and I really felt sorry for Elvis and began to revere Hanks’ character.

Thoughts On The Movie

The thing that really stood out for me was the incredible, fast-paced editing by Luhrmann. As an avid moviegoer, I am fairly analytical and usually notice the way a film is edited. In this case, you would struggle to not acknowledge the incredible editing skills of this cinematic genius.

In one scene he cut back and forth between scenes in the past and present while the camera seemed to be bouncing along to the rhythm. It was almost as if the camera was dancing at one point when Elvis was perfecting his hip thrusts and gyration.

Overall

Not being an Elvis fan, I learned so much about this very talented performer. Austin Butler played the legend very well. His singing, movement and acting were all outstanding as was Tom Hanks. The 2 hours and 39 minutes absolutely flew by and I was totally immersed in this story. You MUST find time to go and see this epic blockbuster. It took my breath away.