Sure, cities are constantly debuting new skyscrapers with amazing observation decks—but it's not only modern buildings that provide stellar views. These structures, all built before the 20th century, offer bird's-eye views that have stood the test of time, and offer a little bit of history to go with them. Sure, cities are constantly debuting new skyscrapers with amazing observation decks—but it's not only modern buildings that provide stellar views. These structures, all built before the 20th century, offer bird's-eye views that have stood the test of time, and offer a little bit of history to go with them.Mole Antonelliana
At nearly 550 feet tall, Turin's Mole Antonelliana has earned plenty of bragging rights. It claims to be the tallest museum in the world, along with the tallest building in Italy, and it was once the tallest brick building in the world. One advantage it has over other historic platforms: You don't have to climb any stairs to take advantage of its height. Instead, take an all-glass elevator to the top, where you can see all the way to the Alps. Then, explore the rest of the building, which is now home to Turin's Museo Nazionale del Cinema and contains a vast collection of artifacts related to the history of film.
The Imitation Game
Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) kept lots of secrets during his time at the United Kingdom's Bletchley Park, where he and other MI6 agents and mathematicians worked to break German codes during World War II. If he were alive today, he might be shocked to find out that now the whole complex is open to the public. The site may look more like a Victorian weekend retreat than an army base—but that was exactly the point. Today, the area has been restored with exhibits dedicated to the secret codebreaking operations that went on at the site. There, you can find examples of the "unbreakable" German Enigma machines, as well as a fully operational reproduction of the machine Turing help build to break the Enigma codes. Hut 8, where Turing worked, features a re-creation of his own office, and the park also hosts an exhibition dedicated to The Imitation Game, with props and costumes from the movie.
Image: The Weinstein Company
Yikes! I've been behind in posting my Bustle articles. In the past month, I...
...investigated whether or not Agent Sousa could end up marrying Agent Carter (because she deserves the best).
...argued that Nasim Pedrad deserves better than Mulaney.
...flexed my 12 Monkeys fan muscles, explaining the movie's inspiration (La Jetée!), comparing the movie to the TV show, and looking into how the show changed Brad Pitt's character in a major, major way.
...tried to find a new career for April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation without defaulting to Moon Ambassador.
...remembered the good, the bad, and the Gosling-filled films of George Clooney's directing career.
...basically wrote a love letter to Lee Pace, who played Mindy's ex on an episode of The Mindy Project.
...recapped the fifth season of Justified, the one with all the Crowes, so that fans can be fresh for the final season.
...looked behind the curtain at the HFPA, the shadowy organization behind the Golden Globes.
...appreciated Jon Hamm's cameo on Parks and Rec, and guaranteed his character's return.
...told true history buffs to stay away from Sons of Liberty and its lack of historical accuracy.
Image: Gavin Bond/Syfy
...There are wisps of other plot threads—about how they relate to their families, feel about aging, and traverse through their careers—but most of the movie passes without too much incident. And, ultimately, it’s a genial way to pass a couple of hours. In the film, Brydon complains that people find his stage persona “affable”—a hard reputation to live up to in person—but “affable” is the best way to describe the film. It doesn’t require too much thought; audiences just have to sit back and let the jokes wash over them. There’s a teeny bit of literary history, a slight bit of drama, a smattering of food porn, but mostly jokes...
I love contributing to year-end lists! I wrote a few blurbs for PopMatters' list of best films of the year.
No. 29: Only Lovers Left Alive
Vampires are overused. Scrubbed up and prettified to the point they can
be nonthreatening romantic partners for teenagers, today’s cinematic
vampires are, well, pretty toothless. With Only Lovers Left Alive,
director Jim Jarmusch has managed to salvage the vampire mystique. His
vamps are sexy, mysterious, brooding, and dangerous in equal measures.
Adam (Tom Hiddleston, proving he deserves the admiration of a thousand
Tumblrs) and Eve (Tilda Swinton, in one of her many standout
performances this year) don’t do much throughout the course of the
film—the two reunited lovers mostly bum around Adam’s Detroit home—but
throughout their conversations, Jarmusch manages to slip in
elbow-to-the-ribs jokes about history, ruminations about marriage, and
most importantly, a meditation into the creation of art itself. And Hiddleston and Swinton make it look so, so cool.
No. 22: Whiplash
In Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, music student and jazz drummer Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller) tells his girlfriend that he strives to be one of the greatest performers of all time. In reality, it’s actor Teller and his co-star—J.K. Simmons, playing Terence Fletcher, Neiman’s teacher and bandleader—who really seem to be making a play at greatness. The film is about their conflict, and how Neiman believes he deserves greater acclaim as a drummer, with Fletcher arguing Neiman needs to pay more dues. Their back-and-forth brings the movie to a fever pitch—whiplash, indeed—with Teller and Simmons portraying the extremes of anger, frustration, and ambition without being afraid to show the egoism and callousness that go with them. It all builds to a climax that’s nothing short of virtuosic, both musically and cinematically.
No. 5: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson has a reputation for being constricting. His shots are so composed and his aesthetic so specific that his stories barely have room to breathe. The Grand Budapest Hotel refutes this generalization. Anderson pulls back and widens the scope of his film, spanning multiple time periods (with different casts of actors for each), countries (imagined ones, at least), and even aspect ratios (with frame sizes changing to denote the different timelines). Along with the broadened scope comes a certain looseness not normally associated with a director as controlling as Anderson; the actors, for example, each speak with their own accents, whether or not it makes sense in the context of the film. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t pack the same emotional punch as Anderson’s other films; it subtly moves from sequences of light farce to moments of real grief, sadness, loneliness, and anxiety about an approaching war. It adds up to a masterpiece on par with Johannes Van Hoytl the Younger’s Boy with Apple.
No. 4: Birdman, or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance
If there were a theme to 2014’s best movies, it would be about the struggle of creation. From the generation of music, as seen in Whiplash and Only Lovers Left Alive, to the art of Mr. Turner, the year was full of characters fighting to get something out into the world. Birdman is no exception. Not only is Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) trying to mount a play (a stage adaptation of Raymond Carver’s short story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”), he’s also trying to complete an act of self-invention. Along the way, director Alejandro González Iñárritu completes his own metamorphosis, from a director known for cross-cutting to one crazy enough to make a movie that looks like it was all one take. The subtitle of the movie is “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance”, but it should instead be “The Unabashed Joy of Ambition”.Click through to read the full list at PopMatters
Recently on Bustle, I...
...lamented that Ben Folds, the best judge, wouldn't be returning to The Sing-Off, the charted the rise and fall of Sing-Off super-group The Exchange.
...investigated when True Detective would return for its second season.
...speculated about renewal chances for State of Affairs.
...explained why the Madison Square Garden performance of the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour was the best one to televise.
Photo credit: Prashant Gupta/FX
...created a holiday gift-guide for die-hard Sherlock fans in case your mind palace was empty of ideas.
...rejoiced that Pixar came up with a new Toy Story short for the holidays.
...took at look at the times Melissa McCarthy and husband Ben Falcone teamed up on comedy projects.
...previewed the product that landed the biggest deal on Shark Tank then peeked behind the curtain at the home life of one of the sharks.
...looked into the literary inspirations behind The Librarians.
...attempted to find the real-life inspirations from Wally Lamb's Wishin' and Hopin', his Christmas special.
...looked at the past careers of two other Christmas special stars, Alicia Witt of Christmas at Cartwrights, and John Reardon of The Christmas Secret.
...figured out how Nashville fans can bide their time until it returns from winter hiatus.
Image: screenshot from kaieldesigns/Etsy
Le Grand Palais des Glaces
The gorgeous, Beax-Arts Grand Palais was built for the 1900 World's Fair, but it's still turning heads more than a century later. Starting in December, the floor of the glass exhibition hall is frozen to form the world's biggest indoor ice rink, checking in at more than 29,000 square feet. Come when it gets dark to see the projections and animations that light up the massive rink. Then stay until late—starting at 9 p.m. and lasting until 2 a.m., DJs provide the music while visitors dance under stars visible through the glass ceiling. Open through March 8
Recently on Bustle, I...
...felt perplexed that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 was split into two movies, so I figured out the page of the book where the first movie ends, determined what's left for Mockingjay - Part 2, and argued that dividing the last book into two movies wasn't the best idea. Spoilers abound for those posts, obviously.
...helped sleepy (hungover?) parade-watchers figure out what time and what channel the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was on. I didn't know CBS had its own rogue broadcast.
...argued that the best times to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas are on Halloween, in Christmas, and on Thanksgiving, or halfway between Halloween and Christmas.
...gave advice to the makers of Catfish regarding what they should change in the show's fourth season.
...reassured Batman fans that Gotham's Ian Hargrove is not from the comics.
...found out that Seasons of Love's Cleo Anthony is rumored to be appearing in -- where else? -- a Marvel project.
...wondered how the Magic Cook featured on Shark Tank gets its magic heat.
Photo: Murray Close/Lionsgate