Wednesday, 1 March 2017

February In Review - Films and Book Events

Another busy month, although sadly I didn't get to the theatre at all - very rare for me! (Making up for that this month though; heading to the Old Vic very shortly and also have tickets for Rent and Masters of Show Choir later in March.)


20th Century Women

Fairly quiet but an interesting story, and Greta Gerwig gives the best performance I've seen from her. It raises lots of intriguing questions about the best way to bring up a boy. Having said that, I didn't really love it and can't quite place my finger on why


Absolutely magnificent with Denzel Washington and Viola Davis giving two of the best performances I've seen in years. A staggeringly good film which has lots of great characters and a gripping script and is wonderfully directed.

The Founder

Entertaining, although made me never want to eat at McDonalds again in solidarity with the original owners. Michael Keaton is superb as the oily and frankly vile Ray Kroc, and it's an interesting story. 

Hidden Figures

Oh, wow! A breathtaking film, brilliantly written and directed and with so many outstanding performances - the central trio being three of my favourites of the year so far. I can't believe how exciting it was despite me knowing what happened to the astronauts involved; finding out the story behind the people who put them into space was utterly spellbinding. Have seen it twice; easily the film of the year so far for me.

The Lego Batman Movie

Good fun, and it's really nice to see a Batman movie which isn't staggeringly dark - very much the opposite! Having said that, it's not particularly memorable or anything.

Changed opinion after second viewing: I watched this again last night and I think I was being unfair first time around; I found it really enjoyable rewatching and loved all the callbacks to/spoofs of previous Batman movies. Some fun songs too and the message is a sweet one.


Superb performances here from Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga as the central couple! This is a surprisingly quiet movie, with the pair showing stoicism and courage in the face of discrimination - and that quietness adds to the film's power, especially in the climactic 15 minutes or so. Extremely moving.

Film of the month? Fences was truly amazing and I think it definitely had the two best performances of anything I saw, but Hidden Figures was an outstanding movie with three superb characters, all brilliantly portrayed, a wonderful story and incredible script. Has to be Hidden Figures!

Book events

I went to three brilliant launches, Lisa Williamson's for All About Mia at Waterstones Piccadilly, Katherine Woodfine's for The Mystery of the Painted Dragon at Waterstones High Street Kensington, and Abi Elphinstone's for The Night Spinner at Waterstones Tottenham Court Road. All three were hugely enjoyable; Abi's holds a special place in my heart because she's one of the first authors I became friends with and it's amazing to see her continued success, she gave one of the best speeches I've ever heard, AND I had the most amazing profile picture with her, Debbie - one of my very best friends - and two other authors I hugely admire, Katherine Webber and Katherine Rundell.

I also went to two really good panel events, with a hilarious conversation at High Street Kensington with Anna James doing a superb job of keeping Mel Salisbury, Katie Webber, Cat Doyle and Sara Barnard vaguely on topic. (Admittedly, the topic was more Harry Potter than anyone's books, but it occasionally crossed over - and what could anyone expect with THAT panel on Harry Potter night?) Katie was also brilliant at Dark Societies, being interviewed along with Caraval author Stephanie Garber by the brilliant Leila. (There's an awesome post about that panel on Bookish At Heart, by the way!) 

The Stripes blogger event was definitely one of the best publisher events I've been to for ages! We got to hear from Red Eye author Sharon Gosling about new horror story Fir (the bits I wasn't covering my eyes and ears for to avoid being too scared were great...) 

We also got to see the fabulous video about the upcoming anthology A Change Is Gonna Come, featuring so many amazing BAME authors. I am hugely excited for this, and hearing from Patrice Lawrence who was at the event in person and talked about her short story, which sounds superb, has only made me even more desperate to read it. 

In one of the most original activities I've taken part in at a blogger event, we actually plotted a YA novel along with And Then We Ran author Katy Cannon - a hilarious idea involving Bruce Springsteen's secret twin brother and his quest to become a lion tamer. (Spoiler: "They realise the circus was inside them all along.") This was completely fabulous, Katy is so awesome!

And Following Ophelia author Sophia Bennett appeared in costume - complete with a red wig - as her MC to talk about her historical novel set in the world of the Pre-Raphaelites. I can't wait to read this one, and it was great fun to then get into costume ourselves for photos in the break - check me and my friend and drinkYA co-host Julianne out below! We then got to visit Leighton House, which partly inspired Following Ophelia, and take a guided tour which again was a hugely original touch to the event. A really brilliant afternoon. (For more about the event, check out the fabulous Stripes Storify on it!)

Also, not quite a book event but it DID involve two book bloggers - me and my amazing friend Debbie visited The Library Pot, Richmond's amazingly awesome board game cafe! To read about our fabulous night there, check out this post

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