Arguably his best single since Battlescars, Guy Sebastian offers this sexy and cool song just made for R’n’B lovers. Featuring the clipped rapping of Battlescars alum, Lupe Fiasco, this track slides smoothly both lyrically and musically, and doesn’t over-stay its welcome.
Director: Jean-Marc Vallee
Starring: Reece Witherspoon, Laura Dern
What could seriously have been an extremely boring film turns out to be a confronting and ultimately redemptive portrait of an average woman trying to make amends for the mistakes she has made. After a downward spiral prompted by the death of her mother, Cheryl Strayed decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, a walk that is notoriously difficult for first-time hikers. Reece Witherspoon gives an emotional performance as Strayed, while Laura Dern shines as Strayed’s eccentric mother. Dallas Buyer’s Club director Jean-Marc Vallee makes many good decisions in regards to the storytelling, but fails slightly in regards to the variety of imagery he could have provided. Nonetheless, an emotional biopic that will strike a chord with anyone who has struggled in life one way or another.
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Starring: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone
Where to begin with this highly original comedy? Michael Keaton gives a brilliant and varied performance as Riggan Thomson, a washed-up movie star directing, writing and starring in a play, with the hopes of shedding the one-role image that haunts him – Birdman. Yes, he played a superhero in a movie franchise and its left him bitter. Edward Norton shines as a method actor with a penchant for truth. Emma Stone is also exceptional in her most emotion-charged role yet. Pigeon-holing (ha!) this unique and quirky film is impossible, it’s so fresh and different. If you like your comedy with a side of weird, I’d definitely check out this gem.
Director: Morten Tyldum
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Mark Strong
A fine way to start out my film season, The Imitation Game goes beyond a simple historical retelling, becoming an inspirational biopic of the genius Alan Turing, often noted as the man who led the team that ended World War II early, and saved approximately 14 million lives. The film plays out multiple threads of Turing’s life, all of them relevant and equally absorbing. Cumberbatch is typically brilliant as the closeted homosexual mathematician, and Knightley shines as Joan Clarke, a determined young woman with a knack for numbers herself. Tense, moving and ultimately triumphant, The Imitation Game is well worth a look in.
Arguably their best album since 2002’s A Rush Of Blood To The Head, Coldplay’s Ghost Stories shines with beauty and sadness. Chris Martin delivers his best vocals on record in this tribute to love, heartbreak and infidelity. His gentle vocals are just as mesmerising as his strong, soaring heights, and leaves the listener truly moved. Although not lyrically ground-breaking, the words suit the simplistic music to a T. Overlooking the over-produced Sky Full Of Stars, Ghost Stories is a stand-out amongst those of the alt-pop persuasion.
Download: Another’s Arms
My first foray into Lego gaming was a delight, to say the least. A fun and engaging adventure awaits the player as Harry and his friends navigate the terrific but sometimes scary world of wizardry. Gameplay is easy (except for certain parts where you have to perform spells on a specific angle), the graphics bright and colourful, and Hogwarts realised in Lego will give you a genuine thrill. Recommended for kids 12+ (some sections are tricky and rely on the player’s knowledge of the movies), Lego Harry Potter 1-4 is a delight.
What a brilliant foray into pop music from these sisters. Catchy but never cliche, Haim have announced themselves with strong beats, clever lyrics and gorgeous harmonies. Album opener Falling immediately gains your attention, and it is pretty smooth sailing from then, even though two of three tracks fail to engage the listener as the others do. Lead single The Wire greets you with alt-pop aplomb, and is the perfect introduction to this three-piece. Don’t Save Me, If I Could Change Your Mind and title track Days Are Gone also deserve attention. A worthy pop debut.