My Summer List For Trashy Music, Fun Movies and Good Reads

 

The sun is out, vacation time is upon us and it’s time to think about what to do during your leisure time. Here’s my list to help you out:

Films

I haven’t seen the first three, but they look great.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets(Valérian et la Cité des mille planètes)– Some think that Star Wars is the best sci-fi movie ever, I think it’s Fifth Element, Luc Besson’s 1997 cult classic. Well, Besson is back with this movie adaptation of the French comic series. The actors are terrible, but who cares – the visuals look breath-taking.

Baby Driver – the music, the music. What better film than 2 hours of car chases set to pulsating music

Dunkirk – Nolan is the Kubrick of our day. Technically brilliant, so one has to watch all his films. The only director who can make intelligent blockbusters

Fast and the Furious 8 – the first of the Fast and the Furious franchise that I’ve seen. Completely daft – a Lamborghini chasing a nuclear submarine in the arctic – but so much fun. It’s really a superhero movie – the Rock seems to be bullet-proof and Jason Statham has a great scene where he fights an assassin in an aeroplane while holding a baby in a car seat!

バトル・ロワイアル (Battle Royale) – this Japanese from 2000 was the true original Hunger Games. It’s about a bunch of schools kids that get sent to annual game to fight to the death. Gory, very gory.

All About Eve – this 1950 classic has some of the best one-liners ever. It’s about an ageing actress whose life gets turned upside down by devious fan

TV

Big Little Lies – I loved this. Aside from ogling the Malibu houses, the cast was great (Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, that actress from Divergent). It’s a tight 7 episodes that brings school parenting intrigues together with domestic abuse. Don’t worry, the music will lift your spirits.

Billions (season 2) – I gave up on House of Cards midway through Season 3, and Billions has taken its place. It’s a popcorn show, full of twists and turns and cartoon characters.

Master of None (season 2) – Aziz Ansari’s comedy-drama who follows his love and work life. The new Seinfeld in my view.

Ali Wong – Baby Cobra – I stumbled across this on Netflix. It’s from 2015, but Ali Wong is sooo fun. It was filmed while she was pregnant

Boring Elon Musk – I’ve got a bit tired of TED talks in recent years with all its “world-changing” 15 minute talks. But I thought I dip my toes back in and came across this Elon Musk talk. He stumbles his way through this interview, but his vision is amazing. Very inspiring.

Music

Despacito (Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee feat Bieber) – the first number one Spanish song in America since “Macarena”. This is so summery and catchy. What makes this even more fun is that Justin Bieber was caught saying Dorito (as in the chips) after he forgot the lyrics!

Power (Little Mix feat. Stormzy) – Who’d thought a mainstream pop group would collaborate with edgy grime artist/rapper. It would almost be like saying a prim and proper artist like Dido would collaborate with slim shady rapper like Eminem…

大空で抱きしめて, (Embrace me under the big skyby Utada Hikaru) – I recently came across this Japanese singer. I don’t know what she’s saying, but love the sound!

New Americana (Halsey) – great beats, and satirical rhyming lyrics : “We are the new Americana,  high on legal marijuana…”

Come Love Come (Rhiannon Giddens) – stunning voice with an old-school blues, folk, country style. She draws on American history in her lyrics. Powerful.

Books

三体 (The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin) – This Chinese author is perhaps the best sci-fi writer in the world. He came out with the final book in a trilogy, Death’s End, this year (in English). I heard good things about it, so I thought I’d start with the first book (Three-Body Problem). Incredibly inventive that connects the Chinese cultural revolution days to the present and mixes it with questioning whether the laws of physics are what we think they are.

The Fall Guy (James Lasdun) – a intelligent but easy-to-read thriller about a relationship triangle: banker Charlie, cousin Matthew and Charlie’s wife Chloe. Slowly unfolds and catches you at the end

Tools of Titans (Tim Ferris) – Famous for his “4-Hour Work Week” book, Ferris now interviews world-class people to learn their secrets in his podcast. This book puts together the best interviews. You can dip into each interview and you will learn something from each one.

The Inevitable (Kevin Kelly) – Kelly is one of the best predictors of future tech trends. In this books he talks about 12 from filtering to remixing.

Mating in Captivity (Esther Perel) – this actually came out in 2007, but it is perhaps one of the most original relationship books out there. It looks at the contrast between secure love and the pursuit of passion.

Tokyo Compression (Michael Wolf) – a coffee-table photo book of guess what? Japanese commuters faces pressed on the windows Tokyo subway trains!

Bilal

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