Following on from my Psycle post on keeping upbeat at this time of year, my January therapy also comes in the form of at-home indulgence. While it's obviously good to get out and about, I give myself full permission to partake in a healthy dose of comforting, unchallenging activities too. This month, we've dedicated a large amount of time to snuggling under fluffy duvets/ rugs/ cats/ dogs and devouring film after film (and a particularly good trip to the theatre): I see it as a January perk. Here are a few highlights of what we've been watching recently (though I'll keep it brief to avoid any spoilers).
This follows the life of washed-up Hollywood star Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) – who found fame in superhero franchise Birdman 20 years before – and a cast of egotistical, insecure and unpredictable method actors backstage at his debut play on Broadway. It's intense, unsettling and fascinating. I've never seen a film like it before – and already want to see it again.
Who: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough, Emma Stone
A lovable little bear from darkest Peru is picked up on the platform at Paddington and given a home by Lord Grantham (not actually) and his family. Meanwhile a sinister Nicole Kidman is trying to hunt Paddington down for other reasons. Look out for the genius 'dogs must be carried' bit.
Who: Ben Whishaw, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Bonneville
MILLION DOLLAR ARM
My family are huge cricket fans and Jon Hamm fans, so when we saw the trailer for this it looked right up our street. It turns out it's not much to do with cricket, apart from the fact a lot of it takes place in India, (arguably) the cricketing capital of the world. Jon Hamm's character JB Bernstein goes here to scout a 'million dollar arm' to take back to The States and attempt to transform them into a major league baseball player. Funny, feel-good and revolves around sport is good news in my book. And it's based on a true story.
Who: Jon Hamm, Lake Bell
SUNNY AFTERNOON, Harold Pinter Theatre
From screen to stage. We've gone to the theatre as a family at Christmas time for as long as I can remember. So much so, the first four years were to see the Sooty Show (Sooty's Wild West, Sooty's Picnic, Sooty in Space and Sooty Under the Sea if I remember rightly). This year: Sunny Afternoon. Detailing the story of The Kinks – and produced by their cult front man Ray Davies himself – this is fun and loud, with the famous 'You Really Got Me' riff reoccurring throughout the show to whet your appetite. It wasn't all plain sailing for them (two of the band members famously got into a fight on stage when the pressure started to get too much) but it's epic entertainment. It never fails to amaze me how talented West End actors are: singing, dancing, playing various instruments and different characters all in the same play. And obviously the soundtrack is killer.
We've also worked our way through:
Dallas Buyers Club
Grand Budapest Hotel
Hunger Games 1, 2 & 3
The Newsroom box sets – but we're still only on Season 2 so no spoilers please...