Maisy ❤ September 2015

reading time: ca. 3 min

Hello there, little minions!
(yes I am referring to these cuddly cute yellow little nippers from the movie Despicable Me)

Wow there's only like 3 months left in 2015. I can't believe how fast time goes by nowadays. Is it just me or has everything become more...fleeting? 

I hope i don't regret how i've spent this year. But i think i've made good use of my time, mainly by travelling a lot (London, Harz Mountains, Rügen Island, Prague, Austria, and my highlight: the upcoming South Africa tour!) and also picking up reading, writing and crafting again.

One of the books i finally managed to read through is the wonderful Wildwood.

Read: Wildwood (Colin Meloy / Carson Ellis)

Wildwood tells the story of a girl, Prue, and a boy, Curtis, who set out to find Prue's baby brother who has been abducted by crows and taken into the Impassable Wilderness of Wildwood, a dense, tangled forest on the edge of Portland.  No one's ever gone in - or at least returned out of it.

This revival of fairytale motives in a kind of Brothers Grimm fashion is both familiar and refreshing as it feels sort of known and "comfortable" at times, but then breaks with the tradition and mixes it up in a very nice way.

»The afternoon had faded nearly completely, the sun dipping down low behind the hills of the Wilderness, and Prue stood transfixed, slack-jawed, on the edge of the bluff. A train engine trundled by below her and rolled across the Railroad Bridge, passing low over the brick and metal buildings of the Industrial Wastes. A breeze had picked up, and Prue shivered beneath her peacoat. She was staring at the little break in the tree line where the crows had disappeared.
It started to rain.«

This is only the prelude to a trilogy, i believe, and after reading through the first book, i wanted to dive right into the next one. (luckily my boyfriend is a sweetheart and already got me the sequel :)

I think what i love most about this book, and probably also its sequels, is a) the acting animals in the story, especially hare and fox, Septimus the rat and so on, and b) the beautiful language it's composed in. Colin Meloy is a true master of words and plot. The story hooked me immediately, perhaps because i am generally a fan of stories that meld together reality and fantasy, but also because all of the characters are created with a lot of affection and passion for detail. The illustrations by Carson Ellis were also charming and contributed to my love for the book overall, as they were on point and enhanced the "rustic", nostalgic feeling the novel evoked in me.

It's definitely not a children's novel. It's a novel for adults who still have the heart of a child, and the imagination of a child.

»We are the inheritors of a wonderful world, a beautiful world, full of life and mystery, goodness and pain. But likewise are we the children of an indifferent universe. We break our own hearts imposing our moral order on what is, by nature, a wide web of chaos.« 

Watched: Whiplash (Damien Chazelle, 2014)

source: imdb

Last month i didn't watch that many films, and most of them were only mediocre (Minions, Pitch Perfect,...), so i decided to give Whiplash a try, which had been recommended to me by several friends. I have to say, i have not really watched any "instrument movies" so far, only dance, musical or singing films, except for Immortal Beloved (Ludwig van Beethoven) and the hilarious Amadeus (Amadeus Mozart). But this one really impressed me.

The Plot: 
A young and talented drummer (Miles Teller) attending a prestigious music academy finds himself under the wing of the most respected professor at the school, the intense and frightening teacher Mr. Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), who does not hold back on abuse towards his students. The two form an odd relationship as the student wants to achieve greatness, and the professor pushes him to his limits and beyond.

The Acting:
This is what gripped me most in this movie. The acting, and the passion behind it. Teller - besides being the most awesome drummer i've seen so far - becomes a machine of fury and magnitude in this movie. His fire and passion for music and acting becomes so visible, there are moments where he channels the emotional aura of performances similar to Tom Hulce and F. Murray Abraham in Amadeus. I am excited to see where Teller goes from here! 
As a supporting role, Fletcher doesn't end up a caricature, but is portrayed as a a deeply acute individual, full of passion and acrimony. Similar to Teller, he goes beyond his limits and displays a range of empathy, hatred, and cryptic allowances that will keep you at the edge of your seat. As I watched Simmons flesh out a performance that can only be described as powerful and intense, I was honestly afraid of him myself because every time he entered the screen i felt the suspense whether or not he would explode any second. His performance reminds me of Christoph Waltz as Landa in Inglourious Basterds (another magnificent movie!), a role that found much heat on the awards circuit. 

You can't credit Whiplash without citing the words and control by writer/director Damien Chazelle. An amazing and outstanding sophomore effort, vigorous, self-assured, and innovative. The beautifully choreographed cinematography and the shots of the musical instruments mark out Chazelle as a brilliant filmmaker who knows exactly what type of films he wants to make.

I think the one thing that i like most about this film is its "authenticity". Usually with music or dance or basically any "talent" movies (Pitch Perfect is no exception unfortunately), you know that the protagonist will also be the one that surprises and smashes everyone with their "oh so amazing skills" and save everyone in the end, for example with a breathtaking performance or something like that. 
Whiplash doesn't do that. Yes, Andrew (Teller) is a skilled musician, and yes he manages to get into the prestigious school band, but he is no more special than the other members, and he has to work hard, bloody hard, to improve his musical talent. His road is rocky, and he is faced with numerous challenges. Over the course of the movie, he constantly has to fight for his seat in the band, he has to earn his privilege, and even in the end, when he finally (SPOILER ALERT) steps up to Fletcher and "earns his privilege", he doesn't save the band in any way, but rather pits himself against Fletcher, who wants to humiliate Andrew publicly by cueing him up to play the wrong music, but then Andrew turns the tables and leads the band into an incredible rendition of the song he was prepared to play.

Ever had a dream of being a great football player? A great dancer? A great singer? A great musician? Our protagonist has a dream of being a great drummer, a drummer that will be remembered forever. Maybe you are still fighting for your dream. Maybe you have given up on greatness. Greatness doesn't come easily, you need to practice at it. Andrew practices until his hands bleed. 
I've never seen this side of music, only in the ballet business or martial arts, and this authenticity is what makes this movie so outstanding.

You should see this one for Simmons' performance. Or see it for the up and coming Teller. Enjoy the terrific music, especially Duke Ellington's "Caravan". See it for the talking points about teachers, society and personal greatness. See it for any or all these reasons - just don't tell director Damien Chazelle "good job" ;)

The Message:
If your road is rocky, don't stumble and give up, but pick up the rocks and use them to build up your strength.

Maisy rates: 7.5/10 

Listened toThe Scatman (Scatman John)

Last weekend was my birthday party, so most of the songs listed here were part of the playlist:

Hurra die Welt geht unter by K.I.Z. ft Henning May
Freedom by Pharrell Williams (after handing in my term papers, lol)
What Do You Mean? by Justin Bieber (don't like Bieber and his baby boy face but this song is actually quite good!)
Cheerleader by OMI
Lonely Forest by Hatikwa
Waldschrein by Equilibrium
Like The Way I Do by Melissa Etheridge
Cookie Thumper by Die Antwoord
Baby's On Fire by Die Antwoord
Fatty Boom Boom by Die Antwoord
Netzwerk (Falls Like Rain) by Klangkarussell
999 (Call the Police) by Scooter
Yoga by Janelle Monae ft Jidenna
Wicked Wonderland by Martin Tungevaag
Was wollen wir trinken sieben Tage lang by Die Bots
Walk by Kwabs
Waiting For Love by Avicii
The Nights by Avicii
How Deep Is Your Love by Calvin Harris & Disciples
Dangerous by David Guetta
Bad by David Guetta & Showtek ft Vassy
Hey Mama by David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj & Afrojack
Bad Girls by M.I.A.
Day 'n' Nite by Kid Cudi vs. Crookers
Goodbye Girl by Feder & Lyse
Bills by LunchMoney Lewis
All That She Wants by Ace of Base
The Bongo Song by Safri Duo
It's My Life by Dr. Alban
Shut up and Dance by Walk the Moon
Samba de Janeiro by Bellini
Rhythm Is A Dancer by Snap
Macarena by Los del Rio
Let's Twist Again by Chubby Checker
I Was Made For Loving You by KISS
Freestyler by MC Bomfunk


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