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Sunday Brunch: Pleasant Surprises

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Brunch isn't really a big deal over here but I love the idea of it - and enjoy going to brunch whilst on holiday. Whenever I'm throwing together ideas for a new story, one of my favourite things to do is go Google Maps-ing for all the nice restaurants in the area. As I have dairy intolerance, I often have to watch what I eat at restaurants so it's not always a fun experience. However, the rise of all those Food Network shows and Pinterest and all the great reviews on Yelp and Chowhound allow me to live vicariously through all you gastronauts. 

So, I thought I'd try and start a new feature (although I'm not good at keeping up features so we'll see) where we go for brunch on a Sunday, anywhere in the world, and have a chat. This week we'll be:

One of the best feelings is being pleasantly surprised. I plan a lot in terms of what I'm going to watch and read (but oddly enough not with music. I'll listen to things on a whim) so I'm not often very surprised by the output*. Chances are, if I've addded it to the list, I vaguely know the story and what to expect. However, these past few days I've been pleasantly surprised by a book, a few films, and a concert. 

I'm going to write a proper review for this in the week but it was SO not what I expected. There's a bit of a mystery to it, which was compelling but the main thing that had me hooked was the friendship element. This story had real heart and warmth to it. I was just looking for something light to read alongside Americanah but Chasing Forever Down got under my skin and I'm so glad to see the little #1 in the title suggesting a second one is around or on the way. 

What Maisie Knew 
I've known about this film for a while because I remember the candids of Alexander SkarsgÃ¥rd on set being discussed over at Lainey Gossip. So, I put it on yesterday and was completely blown away. In short, Maisie's parents get a divorce and she ends up going back and forth between them, although their respective partners seem to do more of the parenting. Meanwhile, Maisie is just trying to be a kid, getting on with school, trying to draw castles. It's very quiet. Maisie isn't bratty or precocious, she's just a thoughtful, quiet child. Onata Aprile plays Maisie brilliantly - she manages to disappear into the background in the way a quiet child can sometimes but still makes sure you're thinking about her. Very clever. The way Maisie is taken under the wings of her step-parents (who are barely adults themselves) in the face of her parents' selfishness and bitterness is a little bit overwhelming. I watched the whole thing with a lump in my throat. Just a really beautiful film. 

I'd never heard of this film until it cropped up in the suggestions on Neflix. Again, in short the story follows a year in the life and loves of The Borgen family who are still dealing with Mama and Papa Borgen's spearation. Now that I think about it, the tone reminds me a little bit of Crazy, Stupid, Love but quieter and even sweeter. There are so many different types of love shown through this family of four. It helps that the dad and the kids are writers so they aren't afraid of using their words. The characters were all really well rounded and most importantly the actors were all on their game, especially the youngsters. I know people kind of lumped Lily Collins in the 'young starlets who aren't Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone' category but I really think she is talented. This is the second indie I've seen her in where she's acted very well (the other being The English Teacher, also with Julianne Moore). Overall, I was just surprised by how sweet and real this film was. 

On Thursday I had the great pleasure of seeing Star Trek Live in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall. I love the film and the score (obviously or else I wouldn't have bought the tickets) however I was taken aback by a few things. Firstly, the number of people who also love the score and seeing them in the flesh as opposed to online. The level of excitement and enthusiasm was amazing and infectious. Secondly, I always forget the power of the orchestra. I couldn't stop the goosebumps from forming and the joining in with the raucous applause and cheering as the surviving members of the Kelvin flew to safety and the orchestra crescendoed into that title sequence! Thirdly, I assumed the concert was being put on independent of the franchise - like when I saw Fantasia Live last year. WRONG. Simon Pegg a.k.a Scotty was there to introduce the show, which was a lovely surprise. He also introduced MICHAEL GIACCHINO! I can't imagine what it would've felt like to be him on the receiving end of all those much deserved rock star worthy cheers. In a way, I guess it's like when Mozart was the Harry Styles of his day. Then Michael Giacchino introduced...J.J ABRAMS!!!!! I thought people were going to seriously pass out. It was a small taste of what it must be like to go to one of those comic conventions. Finally, to put the icing on the cake, Michael Giacchino gave us a taster of his upcoming score for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which was great. 

So, have you had any pleasantly surprising experiences recently? 

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