Thursday, 24 December 2015

Bill's 2015 Top Ten Lists - The Number One's

Our Lovely Tree
It's been a lovely, relaxing Christmas Eve so far. Last night we got some snow and there is a bit still on the ground. Jo and I watched old movies last night, finishing off with Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in Robin and His Seven Hoods. Jo also made a yummy strawberry lemon/ lime cheesecake, which I hope we'll break in tonight. This morning we went out early, got some fresh ciabatta, fresh bread and OJ. I made a batch of chocolate chip and butterscotch chip cookies while watching a Dr. Who marathon and Jo is about to make more chicken liver paté and then will wrap my prezzies... :0). We even had a couple of parcels delivered, including a personal delivery from our local Home & Garden Gate store, the owner, the lovely Jodie, delivering a prezzie from sis-in-law Susan. And to top it off, it's a lovely bright, sunny day today, so pretty well darn perfect.

Moving on now, it's time to finish off my Top Tens for 2015. Today, it's the Number Ones. Enjoy.


1. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (Classic) - The Mill on the Floss was originally published in 1860 and it's the 2nd book by George Eliot that I've read, after Daniel Deronda. I liked both equally and gained a new appreciation about what a great writer George Eliot was. This was my review of the book -

"Such an excellent classic. I had read George Eliot's Daniel Deronda last year and loved her writing style. She writes with intelligence and emotion. The Mill on the Floss tells the story of Maggie Tulliver and her family, father and mother and brother Tom. Her father owns the mill of the title. It has been in his family for generations. Due to various dealings, a lost court case and debts, he loses the mill and ends up working for the lawyer, Wakem, against whom he had the court case.

Maggie is a beautiful, head strong girl, a difficult way to be in the time of this story. She loves Wakem's son, Phillip, a disabled young man, but due to her father's strong feelings against that family, they must meet in secret. There are many tragedies in this story, the family's bankruptcy, the father's illness as a result of losing the court case, his death, Maggie's tragic loves, etc. The story is told in seven sub-stories, as Maggie and Tom grow up.

Tom is her brother, she loves him dearly and craves his returned love. It is his intransigence, that keeps her and Phillip apart and leads to other tragedies. I liked many of the characters, especially Maggie's cousin, Lucy, who loves and cares for Maggie dearly. The story moves easily through Maggie's life and as you get used to the language of the day, and this isn't a hard prospect as Eliot writes so well, you will get into the flow of the story. The ending left me feeling very sad and bereft, especially that it took this final event to bring brother and sister back together. Excellent story..."


1. Zedd w/ Foxes - Clarity - Zedd is a Russian/ German DJ/ producer and has delivered some of my favourite songs this past year, including I Want You to Know with Selena Gomez and Beautiful Now with Jon Bellion. This a beautiful song and well-deserving of being my Number 1. The featured vocalist, Foxes, is Louisa Rose Allen from Southampton. I've got a few of her songs on my usb and will feature her later on my Facebook page.


1. Penny Dreadful (Season 2) - This Number 1 was a close race with Orphan Black. But I think that Penny Dreadful, starring Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Rory Kinnear and so many other excellent actors, really came into its own during this second season. In the first season, Timothy Dalton, with the help of Eva Green, searches for his lost daughter, Mina, who is with a group of vampires. Season 2 deals with a coven of witches, led by the truly scary Helen McCrory, as Evelyn Poole. The regular cast returns; Reeve Carney as Dorian Gray, Timothy Dalton as Sir Malcolm Murray, Eva Green as Vanessa Ives, Josh Hartnett as Ethan Chandler, Rory Kinnear as The Creature and Harry Treadaway as Victor Frankenstein. Season 2 has so many truly scary moments and is a fantastic Gothic horror story. The missus and I were often held breathless with anticipation as the group battle the witches coven. So many other plot developments; the creation of another creature, by Victor Frankenstein, as a bride for The Creature and, as well, The Creatures capture by the owner of the Wax Museum, for his House of Horrors. Just writing this, I'm already looking forward to the upcoming Season 3, which advertises the addition of Doctor Jekyll, amongst other new characters.


1. Interstellar - Interstellar came out in 2014 and was directed by Christopher Nolan. I saw it first on a flight back home this Fall and was astounded by it. When I got home, I told the missus we had to watch again so she would get an opportunity to see it. Needless to say, she thought it was pretty darn good too. Christopher Nolan is pretty well a genius. Movies like Memento, The Prestige and Inception are all so imaginative. Interstellar, with an excellent cast of Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine make this an even better movie. The basic premise it that the Earth is dying and Matthew and a crew of scientists are the last hope of mankind. Great special effects, but also very interesting story line. I loved it.


1. Tatiana Maslany - Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany is my choice for Number 1 for 2015. Her role(s) as the clones in Orphan Black continues to be a tour de force. Her ability to juggle the characteristics of each character, in each and every episode of the show, is testament to her acting abilities. Each character is an individual and totally believable. While this scene was in the previous season, if you click on the link, you will see the dance sequence where all the clones are together. It's truly amazing. I look forward to the upcoming season of Orphan Black to follow the ongoing character development and to see what will happen next. Tatiana was also in Woman in Gold this past year. Unfortunately, I haven't seen yet, but the missus says she was excellent in that as well.


1. Matthew McConaughey - I especially liked Matthew McConaughey's role in Interstellar, this past year. It was excellent and displayed his talents so very well. I had lost track of him for many years, but his recent roles in Dallas Buyer's Club, The Lincoln Lawyer and The Wolf of Wall Street, plus his starring role in the first season of True Detectives, has rekindled my interest in his work. He's got a busy schedule the next while so I'll be sure to check out The Free State of Jones, Sing, and Gold.

So there you have it. My Top Ten Lists for 2015 are now completed. I hope you've enjoyed. Have a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year. Next I'll be getting back to my Reminiscences of a Military Brat, my review of the last year's worth of reading and also take a look at my 2016 Reading challenges, 'Til then.

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