Christmas visit is almost over…

It has been a very hectic last few weeks with almost all members of the family visited (California niece and nephew hopefully before we go) and reconnecting with lots of Toronto and Thornbury friends. Today we are off to the Art Gallery of Ontario to see the Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, Van Gogh and more, and then dinner with longtime friends. Between feasts we have managed to squeeze in a few trips to the actual movie theatre and I have caught up with a few Netflix and streaming shows as follows:

 

On the Big Screen

Rogue One, the latest instalment of the Star Wars franchise. A stand alone film with none of the characters from any of the other films, this one is quite unique.  No spoilers from me, but for a great analysis of why this film is strangely relevant and resonates with our current times, I recommend the Salon article below:

http://www.salon.com/2016/12/24/rogue-one-exactly-the-star-wars-movie-we-need-as-the-age-of-trump-dawns/?source=newsletter

Manchester By the Sea is worth seeing for the performances of its two main stars Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams.  Affleck’s performance is very internalized as he suppresses the guilt and shame his character feels following a tragedy that uproots his life.  Williams gives a searing performance as a mother who experiences the worst kind of tragedy.  The young actor Lucas Hedges who plays the nephew who loses his father is also very effective in his role of a resilient soul who weathers his loss with incredible buoyancy.  For a great article on the best performances of the year by male actors, the following article is terrific:

http://www.salon.com/2016/12/24/best-men-12-best-male-film-performances-in-2016/?source=newsletter

La La Land is an incredibly romantic loveletter to LA, movie musicals, jazz, the life of an artist, etc.  The sheer musicality of this film may be a surprise to some, but you have to suspend your disbelief at characters breaking into spontaneous (yet somehow perfectly choreographed and scored) song and dance numbers, since this happens from the first moment of this breathtaking film.  Just relax and enjoy.  Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are perfect in their roles as a jazz pianist and struggling actress.

For a summary of 2016’s best movies, here’s an article from Esquire that should help you make your viewing choices:

http://www.esquire.com/entertainment/movies/a47757/best-movies-to-watch-2016/?src=nl&mag=esq&list=nl_enl_news&date=122616

Streaming

I struggled to watch American Honey (a sad road film about millennials). Riley Keogh is incredibly watchable (granddaughter of Elvis Presley and star of The Girlfriend Experience), but I found the rest of this film gruellingly difficult to watch.

The Accountant starring Ben Affleck as an autistic mob accountant was incredibly fast paced and a great antidote to American Honey.

 

Netflix

Lovesick and Offspring are two delightful comedic offerings (one British and one Australian) that are newish on Netflix.

Nobel is a great Norwegian Noir series that follows a Norwegian Army platoon from duty in Afghanistan back to Norway and intrigue involving charities, oil deals, and government corruption at the highest levels.

 

Everything else on TV

It’s been sparse choices, but I did manage to watch two very entertaining Christmas specials, both on NBC:

Michael Buble and Tony Bennett’s 90th Birthday Celebration (hosted by Alec Baldwin as Tony Bennett).

For a great article about some of the TV shows you could watch or catch up with, I direct you to John Doyle’s excellent article in the Globe:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/television/john-doyle-12-television-series-that-mattered-in2016/article33424147/

 

Closing Words

Enjoy the last days of this closing week of 2016.  Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we must step on the scales!!  Give lots of hugs, drive very carefully, and remember to give thanks for all the precious people and memories in our lives.  A very peaceful and healthy New Year’s wish to all our family and friends.  Hugs always, L.

 

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