Mini-reviews: Reading and Watching :)

 
 
 
There's not been much on TV lately has there? Or on the regular channels anyway. Between Christmas and Spring there's always a bit of a slump - which is irritating since it's the time of year we're most in need of something to take our minds off the dreary weather. So, I've invested in a Netflix subscription, finally, and it's doing it's job so far. Thought I'd do some mini-reviews on what I've been watching, and also reading.

 

What I'm Watching:



Moana

 
 
I was gutted that I didn't see Moana at the cinema, but I've finally filled in the gap in my modern Disney knowledge. It was really good! Still hasn't knocked Tangled off my top spot for the new Disney renaissance (has this Disney era got a name yet?) but I think it might have narrowly beaten Frozen. Moana is an adventure story about discovering who you are, etc. etc, and was closer in tone to Mulan and Pocahontas - which are my favourites, actually  - than the more traditional Disney Princess films. It also reminded me a bit of Dreamworks' Sinbad (anyone remember that one?) The animation was gorgeous, from the setting and the water to the look of the characters. They're getting so good at hair now, Moana's must have been even more of an animator's nightmare than Brave, considering how often it gets wet.


 
 
It didn't matter in the slightest that there was no love interest, and I loved the friendship that grew between Maui and Moana. The music was great too, although all the songs did sound very similar. My only gripe would be - and this is going to sound so cheesy - that Moana didn't really go on enough of a 'journey' other than the physical. She was a strong character from the very beginning, who knew essentially what she wanted and what she needed to do, and other than a couple of brief moments of doubt she stayed that way. When you compare it to how much Mulan grows throughout her film, or even Elsa and Anna from Frozen, Moana seemed so sorted. I liked that she was the superhero of her movie, and she was cool. But I think they could have afforded her a bit more vulnerability. (She was an Aragorn, rather than a Frodo - if you see what I mean) Saying that, if Moana had come out when I was a kid, I'm pretty sure she would have been my favourite princess. All that feisty, singing about how she loves the water stuff would have been right up my seven year old street.


Jane the Virgin

 
 

I'm not that far into Jane the Virgin yet, but I'm really enjoying it. I've found all the characters refreshingly likeable and I particularly like the relationships between Jane and her family. The two men in Jane's life are also interesting and different, if a little too good to be true (I'm team Michael all the way, although looks-wise, it's got to be Raphael.)




I love the tongue-in-cheek tele-novela format, and the randomness of the plot-lines. I love that Jane wears great clothes, but is bit curvier than your usual leading lady, so I can gage better how they'd look on me. (Not a good enough reason to like a show, I know, but it helps.) I also love how sunny it is where they live, although it makes me ache to be on holiday. Try this if you're looking for a fun girly show, with real heart and lots of drama.


Jericho

 
 
Just started on this mini-series and enjoying it so far, although the premise is a bit bizarre. Basically, it's a Western, but set in Victorian Yorkshire. Has you scratching your head that, doesn't it? Jenny from Call the Midwife plays a widow with two children (although she does not look young enough to have a daughter that age) who is left with her husband's debts and is forced to find work in the new town of Jericho, which has sprung up around a new bridge being built, and is mainly populated by the navvies working on it.



I suppose they must have done their research but the whole look seems so far from the Victorian England usually depicted that it's hard to get your head around. And one thing is certain, Yorkshire does not get that much sun.  There's a great cast though, and although I feel it might take me a few episodes to get properly into it, it's got lots of potential. Shame they never commissioned a second series.


Roots

 
 
 
I've been catching up on this on BBC iplayer - well, actually, I've only watched the first episode so far. But it was so good. Based on the book by Alex Haley and also on the previous series (a huge hit in the 70's)  Roots follows an African-American family through the generations, starting with Kunta Kinte, who is taken from his village in Africa and sold as a slave. Each episode focuses on a different character but so far I've only seen Kunta's story - it was heart-breaking and a difficult watch at times, but the acting was great (particularly from Forest Whitaker as Fiddler) and it was powerful, gripping TV. Great production values too.




I read the first part of the book when I was younger, and I knew the story vaguely before that, as my friend at school watched the old series when we were about thirteen and explained the plot to me in great detail. It stuck in my head (as it had obviously stuck in hers) and I'm glad I'm finally going to find out what came next. Something about Chicken George? Excited for the next one anyway. I can't understand why it was shown on BBC 4 rather than one of the main channels - surely it should have been one of the big TV events of the year, especially since there's nothing else decent on terrestrial telly at the moment?



What I'm Reading:  

 
 
 
I've not been reading much of late, been in a bit of a slump. But I have been slogging through Colin Dexter's Last Bus To Woodstock  which is the first book in the 'Inspector Morse' series. I've been enjoying Endeavour so I thought I'd give it a go, but it's not really my thing. Written back in the eighties, the way Dexter writes about young women is a bit un-pc (apparently we all run in a "namby-pamby way" and are prone to falling instantly in love with aging police inspectors) but it's not vindictive and I do really like the relationship between Morse and Lewis. I laughed out loud at their exchanges a few times. I also bought a very beautiful illustrated copy of Game of Thrones in the sale at Waterstones - reduced to a fiver because one page was a teeny bit ripped. Absolute bargain. I love how it's so heavy it just sort of falls open, and you can sit with it on your knee without having to hold it. The pictures are by a few different illustrators and they're a bit hit and miss for me, but some of them are lovely. I like the black and white ones best, particularly these (below) of Arya with Ned, and Sansa with the Hound.
 
 

 

Have you read or watched any of these? What have you been loving lately?
 
 
 
 

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