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Posts Tagged ‘Top 10s’

Feb 3, 2009

Top 10 Albums of 2008

Top 10 Albums of 2008

I wouldn’t say it has been an overwhelming year for music, but there have certainly been some highlights. Pretty mainstream, I know – but I’m not quite as on the ball as I’d like to be with new bands. Here is my top 10 with a few new discoveries on the list and a few albums from old faves. What do you think?

10. Fleet Foxes Just making it in under the wire, I have a feeling this album is going to continue to grow on me. At my live intro to them at Sasquatch last May I thought they were fine but didn’t fall in love. I’m glad to say their recording has some fever I didn’t catch at the vast open stage of the Gorge.

9. Duffy – Rockferry I like Adele and can get down with some Amy Winehouse, but when it comes to the British female vocalists, Duffy is just my speed and this album is a classic.

8. The Verve – Forth I continue to be impressed by this great band and it seems to me that this is their best album yet.

7. The Mars Volta – The Bedlam In Goliath Teh Volta is back and as strong as ever. The crashing cymbals and blaring guitar are still present but Cedric and co. take this album in a bit of a different direction from previous studio recordings. I was surprised by the new sound and very, very happy.

6. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III I’ve lost track of hip hop a bit in the last few years but I was immediately blown away when I heard what Lil Wayne was doing on this album and his abundant mix tapes. This guy is taking rap music in a whole new direction and, love it or hate it, it is simply incredible to witness.

5. The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely Performers of the year honors go to The Raconteurs whose show at the Greek last fall was a barn burner (maybe only equaled by MIA). Every track on this album rocks.

4. Santogold Twisting and turning, Santogold rips it in every direction with her dancehall/hip-hop/reggae/jazz/rock/fill-in-the-blank inspired beats and awesome vocal stylings.

3. Kings of Leon – Only By The Night This album would make my top 10 if it just had Sex On Fire on it 11 times – but instead we’re lucky enough to get 10 other great tracks. A bit more radio friendly than past albums, perhaps, but I think it adds up to one solid rock album.

2. TV On The Radio – Dear Science I don’t know what to say about these guys but whatever they are doing I just hope they keep doing it. I love their out there sounds and this album’s infusion of a bit more melody only makes it stronger.

1. The Killers – Day & Age I already know I am gonna get a boatload of shit for this pick. It seems this album really polarizes people. I can’t get enough of it and I keep finding tracks I like more than the last. Waaah, you don’t like the lyrics to Human. I don’t care. The song’s synthesis of current rock and 80s electronica equals one of the coolest sounds I’ve heard in a long time. You don’t think they rock? Listen to the power chords in the chorus of Losing Touch. Because of this album, The Killers have just jumped to the very top of my list of bands I need to see live soon!

Posted by enderzero at 1:39am on Feb. 3, 2009    
Jan 15, 2009

Top 10 Films of 2008

Top 10 of 2008

I did the Top 10 a bit different this year and went ahead and ranked them in order from 10 to 1. Since I have written about most of these in more detail over the last year, I’m just going to say a few words about why the film made the list. I’d love to hear why anyone agrees or disagrees with the choices.

10. Milk – Truly stellar performances by Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, and Emile Hirsch set this film as one of Gus Van Sant’s very best. The pacing was great and production design made the film a joy to watch.

9. The Bank Job – I loved the classic style of filmmaking on display from director Roger Donaldson. The story was intense and the resolution really worked for me.

8. The Fall – Tarsem’s imagery is just incredible and the story is odd but fun. I wanted to spend a week immersed in the fantasy world he created.

7. Frost/Nixon – Peter Morgan’s script is certainly one of the best of the year and an all around great cast lead by Sheen and Langella make this a definite top film.

6. Sugar – Hopefully this fantastic story of a Dominican baseball player’s immigrant struggle will get a theatrical release sometime soon. It is a very worthy follow-up to Half Nelson from Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, one of the best filmmaking teams working today.

5. The Wrestler – Mickey Rourke’s stellar performance and brilliant filmmaking by Darren Aronofsky should allow this film to find a place in just about everyone’s top 10.

4. Reprise – Joachim Trier’s touching Norwegian film about two friends has the perfect mixture of comedy and drama and above all else, narrative innovation.

3. Rachel Getting Married – Anne Hathaway’s performance is definitely her best and probably the year’s best. Jenny Lumet’s script is also great. But what really impressed me above all else was the flawless direction by Jonathan Demme.

2. The Wackness – Yes it is aimed squarely at me with its 90s coming-of-age theme and amazing hip hop soundtrack, but it works better than I ever would have thought a film like this could work. Jonathan Levine has set the personal story bar for our generation of filmmakers and Olivia Thirlby will forever be the girl that got away. It is a true shame that more people didn’t see this film in the theaters – but as a consolation prize, it has been near the top of the pirated movie charts for months.

1. Let The Right One In – Very rarely does a film come along that crosses genre lines so well – horror, drama, emotional angst, love. Give it to Swedish director Tomas Alfredson and writer John Ajvide Lindqvist for leaving us all stunned.

There you have it. There are some notable films that didn’t make my list. Flicks that didn’t quite make the cut: Slumdog Millionaire, The Dark Knight, The Visitor, Man On Wire, Benjamin Button, In Brouges, Iron Man, American Teen. I have yet to see Waltz With Bashir or The Reader. But all in all, with a bit of Scandinavian help, I feel like it was a rather solid year. More solid than last year? Here my 2007 Top 10. What do you think? 2007 or 2008?

Posted by enderzero at 10:59am on Jan. 15, 2009    
Feb 26, 2008

Top 10 Films of 2007

Top 3 films of 2007

I know there is an unwritten rule about not talking about last year’s films after the Oscars… but my site wasn’t done – so screw it. Here then are my top 3+7 films of 2007. Top 3 and next 7 in alphabetical order:

Top 3:

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – Julian Schnabel, for all of his bizarre idiosyncracies as a person, has crafted a beautiful and innovative film unlike any other I’ve seen. It is, in my mind, the perfect marriage of art and cinema.

I’m Not There Pretty much everything Todd Haynes does pushes boundaries and it is no stretch to call this the most innovative biopic ever. Six actors play different aspects of Dylan’s personality that interweave but never interact. Cate Blanchett’s segments alone are enough to swoon over, but as a whole it coalesces into an incredibly dense and interesting piece of work. If you weren’t into it the first time (or if you were), see it again and I promise you’ll get a lot more out of it.

There Will Be Blood I don’t know what I can say that hasn’t already been covered by this Best Pic nom’d, Best Actor and Best Cinematography Oscar winning masterpiece by the brilliant Paul Thomas Anderson. Congrats.

Next 7:

A Mighty Heart Starting with a controversial pick, many derided director Michael Winterbottom for casting Angelina Jolie in a role overwhelmed by her star power. It didn’t bother me at all. I thought her performance was great and this film did plenty to keep Winterbottom amongst my very favorite directors.

Knocked Up Very rarely does a comedy come along that nails it as well as Judd Apatow’s fresh and hilarious movie does. With scenes and quotes that have already embedded themselves in our culture, this will be one of those movies I can watch over and over again for years to come.

Lars and the Real Girl This would be on the list even if I didn’t work for the company that made it. Gossling’s performance along with a fantastic (nom’d) screenplay and pitch perfect soundtrack make this one of the most touching films in a long time.

Margot at the Wedding Many people hated this film (even though very few even saw it), but I loved Baumbach’s biting dialog and stunningly realistic writing. Nicole Kidman, Jack Black, and Jennifer Jason Leigh each turn in some of the very best performances of their careers. I can’t be the only person who liked this way more than The Squid and the Whale.

No Country for Old Men Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh will certainly go down as one of the best screen villains ever. Sure the film leaves you feeling bleak and empty – but that is exactly what the Coens set out to do – and they succeeded wildly.

Rocket Science Smarter and funnier than Superbad, this very indie high school comedy is an incredibly well written and directed story about a kid with a stutter who joins the debate team to get a girl. Anna Kendrick does an amazing job as the love interest with more up her sleeve than the protagonist, played by Reece Thompson, knows he is in store for. This is Jeffrey Blitz’s first dramatic turn after directing the Oscar nom’d documentary Spellbound. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

Sunshine Danny Boyle’s sci-fi flick does a really impressive job of switching genres as the story unfolds. I was captivated by the filmmaking and amazed by the visuals. This must be seen on a big screen to really be appreciated – and my prediction is that it will be the kind of movie that will pop up in theaters every decade or so for the big cult following it will likely amass.

Now go out and see em all and let me know what you think.

Posted by enderzero at 5:13pm on Feb. 26, 2008