I'll do one of these posts each month to summarize the things I'm watching and reading.
Movie - Side Effects. In short: great. In slightly longer form: really great.
Steven Soderbergh's a great director, and both Jude Law and Rooney Mara put in awesome performances. What seems to be a story going in one direction changes, and changes again. The twists and turns are really interesting and compelling and it's all beautifully shot and intelligently written, even if it does get a bit over the top near the end. The trailers do a great job of keeping the bigger surprises under wraps, which isn't really a testament to the filmmakers as they don't cut the trailers, but yeah. It's great, it didn't get a ton of press, but you should absolutely see this.
TV - House of Cards. This is eligible for Emmys, right? Because it should win most of them.
I don't watch a ton of television - I used to keep up with a lot of shows but I'm seasons behind on Mad Men, Community, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey... I know they're all good. I've watched a number of episodes of all of them, and really enjoy them. But I always drop off and end up falling behind, because I've got other stuff to do! The only way I watch a show is if it's so compelling that when I'm ready to go to bed, I think "damn, I've gotta watch this." and my inner voice is like "Brian, it's already 1am and you need to be in the office for 9am tomorrow" and I think "Who cares? This show is worth insomnia."
House of Cards is worth insomnia. Kevin Spacey is impossibly good and Robin Wright is as good or better. The writing is glorious. There's a confrontation scene in Episode 6 that is as good or better than anything I saw in all of 2012. If you remember the scene in Django Unchained where Leonardo DiCaprio cuts his hand mid-take and keeps going because it's just that intense? It's that calibre of dramatic entertainment. Watch it. For the love of God, watch it.
Book - The War Of Art. Motivational. Inspirational. The reason I've written as many blog posts in the past few weeks as in the past couple years. It will push and challenge you to be better than you let yourself get away with. Relatively quick read, and the last third gets into some spiritual material that doesn't quite hold up as strongly as the rest, but the first two words should be required reading for anyone who isn't doing the work they wish they were doing deep down.
And that's been my month. See you in March.