In My Own Time
I recently watched Red Road, directed by Andrea Arnold. I had somehow convinced myself prior to watching the film that it was going to be pretty bleak, but I didn't find that at all. The characters are well-rounded and sympathetic, and the story is appropriately paced. I felt quite uplifted by the film, and I liked the fact that Arnold didn't seem to judge her characters. It's her directorial debut, and I'll certainly be seeking out her other work.
Recently I read two books by Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger and Between the Assassinations. Best I've read in ages. The writing cut right through me - he paints a vivid picture of India, one that was very different from my impression of the country. He reveals the dirt under his characters' fingernails and incisively conveys the ugly side of life.
I enjoyed the adaptation of The Ricky Gervais Show recently. It doesn't matter to me whether Karl Pilkington is real or just a self-parody. I have no problem suspending my belief when I listen to him, because a big part of me really hopes that a person like that exists.
I love Jeff Buckley, so anything in that mould normally does it for me. I heard To Build a Home by Patrick Watson and the Cinematic Orchestra recently, and thought it was one of the most beautiful songs I'd ever heard. Another amazing band I've listened to is The Low Anthem - what a voice the guy has! I can also heartily recommend the new album from Wild Beasts - sparse instrumentation that allows you to appreciate the singer's voice. Lion's Share is an amazing track - I love the restraint that they showed in not allowing it to erupt into something bigger.