Archive for the ‘Best of 2009?’ Category

Best Movies of 2009

January 4, 2010

(With some updates when I catch a few I missed.) The best horror movies follow in the post below.

Documentaries

TysonFood, Inc.Anvil: The Story of AnvilThe Cove

5. Big River Man

4. Tyson

3. Food, Inc.

2. Anvil: The Story of Anvil

1. The Cove

Ponyo

13. tie Ponyo / Mary & Max – In a year with great animation these were my favorite.

District 9Star Trek

12. District 9 – Utterly original sci-fi movie that ultimately boils down to an action fantasy.

11. Star Trek – The message in this is actually more profound than the previous film: Hard work and the pursuit of excellence will save the world.

Dean Spanley

10. Dean Spanley – Lord Dunsany makes his cinematic debut, and Peter O Toole exits the stage with effulgence. I couldn’t be more charmed.

HungerThe EscapistBronson

9. British Prison Films (tie)Hunger / The Escapist / BronsonHunger is the intense and minimalist one. The Escapist is the best prison escape movie in a decade. Bronson is the Kubrick-esque, riveting character study.

Moon

8. Moon – Almost perfect sci-fi with tour-de-force performances [sic] by Sam Rockwell. And Kevin Spacey makes  a great robot.

The Road

7. The Road – A faithful recreation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel. Viggo is lights-out in this role,  and the director John Hillcoat mostly nails it.

Everlasting Moments

6. Everlasting Moments – A powerful Swedish film of liberating oneself through technology.

The Damned United

5. The Damned United – The best sports movie since Hoop Dreams. And I don’t really care for sports movies.

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4. Private Eye – This turn-of-the-century detective story puts Sherlock Holmes to shame.

Departures3.5 Departures – I thought this was an absorbing look into Japanese culture and then it sideswipes you with an emotional suplex.

Gomorrah

3. Gomorrah – A re-invention of the gangster film that will give youngsters second thoughts about becoming Tony Montana.

Avatar

2. Avatar – James Cameron’s films have nearly all held up for repeated viewings after years have passed, and this will be no different. Its message to the upcoming generation will be measurable.

Inglourious Basterds

1. Inglourious Basterds – An epic revenge-fantasy that fulfilled Tarantino’s lofty ambitions. He knows how to get great performances from actors while creating a manual on how to generate cinematic tension.

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Best Horror Movies of 2009

January 3, 2010

I must include the 2010 releases since I saw them this year, but consider them recommended.

The ChildrenDrag Me to HellPontypoolBad BiologyThirst

10. The Children

9. Drag Me To Hell

8. Pontypool

7. Bad Biology

6. 4Bia (Phobia) – Sorry Trick r’ Treat, but this anthology has more original and unique stories.

5. Thirst – Move over New Moon. Wook-Park is your master.

Doghouse

4. The Revenant – This film seems to be still without distribution and could make beaucoup box-office $$ if marketed right.

3. Doghouse – Studios missed out again on this British zombie-comedy that almost eclipses Shaun of the Dead.

2. Rec 2 – My analogy is that this is what Aliens was to Alien. Now you’ve been improperly hyped.

Zombieland

1. Zombieland – If a character doesn’t “double-tap” in future horror movies, they will now be flawed. This won’t keep you awake at night, but it is a very re-watchable comic thrill ride with Harrelson in Natural Born Killers mode.

*Best Albums of 2009*

December 25, 2009

It has been another great year for music and the artform of albums. Drum n’ bass artists continue to release fabulous longplayers. Industrial is back. Metal is staying very relevant. Dubstep grows stronger. And there is plenty of other genres to pick from here, so without further ado (in reverse order):

22.  The Horrors – Primary Colours

When Aphex Twin director Chris Cunningham shows up to help you channel your inner Joy Division, magic can happen. And it often does on this album. “Scarlet Fields” (below) is titanic.

 

https://feedbackloop.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/the-horrors-06-scarlet-fields.mp3

“Scarlet Fields”

21.  Ed Rush & Optical – Traveling the Galaxy

Sci-fi drum n’ bass fans rejoice! Your sound has landed. The soundtrack to Hugo award winners that will send you into orbit!

“Snaggletooth”

20. Rufige Kru – Memoirs of an Afterlife

Rufige Kru (aka Goldie and Heist) are back to deliver a deep journey into soulful drum n’ bass. Goldie has his solo record out this year and is returning to his legendary roots. But Heist really brings the best out of both.

“Lost Rufige”

19. Architects – Hollow Crown

Sick heavy metal bashing with some radio-friendly vocals amidst alot of screaming. This kind of pain feels so good.

“Dethroned”

18. Blockhead – The Music Scene

Fans of DJ Shadow and DJ Food: your void is filled. Blockhead does production for various Def Jux artists, but here he crafts a downtempo sonic palette of mashed-up soul, funk, and hip-hop. The samples alone will crack you up. Kinda like a seance held in Motown.

“Pity Party”

17. Jon Hopkins – Insides

When he’s not contributing on a Coldplay album, Jon Hopkins makes his own intensely beautiful compositions with state-of-the-art beats and instrumentation. Ambient textures float on Ulrich Schnauss-esque uplifting melodies.

“Vessel”

16. Animal Collective –Merriweather Post Pavilion / Fall Be Kind ep

The addition of their e.p. makes this a simple choice. As long as I spent trying to get “My Girls”, “Guys Eyes”, and “What Would I Want Sky” out of my head they deserve a spot.

“Guys Eyes”

15. Converge – Axe to Fall

Super-speed metal that is like a Beethoven migraine. These guys must be robots to play good music this fast. Really angry ones at that.

“Dark Horse”

14. Little Dragon – Machine Dreams

You’ll hear Prince, Tricky, and electro-disco influences superbly melted together with very unique vocals by the lead chanteuse who adds some strange embellishing qualities to her weird lyrics.

“A New”

13. Micachu – Jewellery

There may not be a more charming debut this year. This kitchen appliance funk is so weirdly captivating you won’t be able to get the songs or rhythms out of your head.

“Vulture”

12. Alix Perez – 1984

Drum n’ bass doesn’t get more atmospheric than this. Slick, soulful grooves set in your future Blade Runner-esque bedroom.

“1984”

11. Clark – Totems Flare

Mr. Aphex Twin Jr. keeps firing away on all cylinders. The songs on this album run the gamut from catchy electro-punk to transforming IDM.

“Suns of Temper”

10. Fever Ray – Fever Ray and Remixes

 The singer from Knife uses her special croon over some downtempo and dark 80’s jams. And it was good enough to spawn almost a hundred remixes of which ten are pretty damn good.

“I’m not Done”

9. Passion Pit – Manners

The high falsetto of the lead singer takes some getting used to, but “Moths Wings” and “Little Secrets” are essential songs of the year. Take it in chunks and you’ll be singing it for months.

“Moth’s Wings”

8. Riceboy Sleeps – Riceboy Sleeps

Simply stated, this is my favorite ambient album of the year. Gorgeousssss.

“boy 1904”

7. Falty DL – Love is a Liability / Bravery ep

Falty DL is another artist that really grew on me as the year progressed, and it certainly helps when you release an additional, blindingly good ep. This dub-step, trip-step, IDM-jungle is hypnotic. While all tracks keep his signature off-kilter beats, he can mix early Warp style trickery with the likes of Burial.

“The Shape Has Come”

6. Kylesa – Static Tensions

Two singers (male and female), two drummers, and two guitarists wield some epic art-metal.  Emotional, raw, and surgically swift.

“Scapegoat”

5. Original Sin – Grow Your Wings

Get jacked-up to this jump-up and junglist barrage of of drum n’ bass stylings. Variety is important in an album, and here you have everything from deep soul to ghetto warfare drum n bass. I’m not sure there’s a boring second on this.

“Your Love”

4. Miike Snow – Miike Snow

Not only is this electro-pop done brilliantly, this is just a great vocal-pop album in a year where the King of Pop transmigrated. A greatest hits collection of life affirmation that will have you humming the songs while high-fiving people down the street.

“Black & Blue”

3. Consequence – Live for Never

The best and sexiest dub/dubstep album of the year. Minimalism that evolves in this fashion can by thrilling. Dn’B hot-producers ASC, dBridge, and Instra:mental all lend their atmospheric grace to the proceedings.

“Fog”

2. Laeather Strip – Aengelmaker

Goth-industrial-EBM fans your wait is finally over for a magnificent double disc of a concept album. Early industrial fans of Nitzer Ebb and Front 242 should love this. These aren’t the pretty-boy Trent Reznor vocals. You have to swallow the Marilyn Manson meets Saw grovel to enter this dark carnival. This also features some excellent covers that sound fine in EBM skin, especially Depeche Mode’s “Black Celebration”. If danse macabre is your thing (Halloween is everyday) then step inside…

“I Can’t Sit Still”

1. Dan Deacon – Bromst

Great albums are often like roller-coaster rides. They will captivate you for a few listens, but then their complexity starts to turn you off. Later the songs slowly start creeping back into your consciousness and you start hearing dimensions you hadn’t picked up on. Cacophony, folk singing, Steve Reich bliss-outs, and hyper-speed player pianos triggered by midi are some of the eccentrities you’ll find. This is a wholly original and demanding work that I will often return to.

“Woof Woof”

Honorable Mentions – Au Revoir Simone, Bat For Lashes, Baroness, Sub Focus, Bear in Heaven, Beirut, Vitalic, Grizzly Bear

Best Metal Albums of 2009

December 25, 2009

(My thoughts, listening samples, overall rankings, and album covers of these are on the upcoming Best Albums of 2009.)

1. Kylesa – Static Tensions

2. Converge – Axe to Fall

3. Architects – Hollow Crown

Honorable Mention:  Baroness – Blue Record

Best Drum n’ Bass Albums of 2009

December 24, 2009

(My thoughts, listening samples, overall rankings, and album covers of these are on the upcoming Best Albums of 2009.)

1. Original Sin – Grow Your Wings

2. Alix Perez – 1984

3. Rufige Kru – Memoirs of an Afterlife

4. Ed Rush & Optical – Travel the Galaxy

Honorable Mention:  Sub Focus – Sub Focus

Best Song of the Year Pt. 5: Passion Pit – Little Secrets

December 10, 2009

Ummm, it’s no secret Passion Pit killed it in ’09. Definitely one of the best albums of the year. Add sweet video. Let cool. Enjoy.

Best Song of the Year pt. 5: Grizzly Bear-While you Wait for the Others

September 13, 2009

Ponyo vs. Antichrist

September 8, 2009

ponyoantichrist-poster

Will love or hate, good or evil come out the winner? Is it wrong to compare these films? They make the most diametrically opposite movies ever pitted against each other. Ponyo fans: for the love of humanity, don’t watch Antichrist!! Antichrist viewers: Take two tablets of Ponyo to relieve and uplift your troubled mind. Enjoy the bite-size reviews!

Ponyo

I saw this in a theater with many young children who were worked up to such a fever pitch at one point in the movie that one girl erupted, “Wow. That is really cool!!” I laughed, but agreed with her 100%. As young as some of these kids were, they were still smart enough to know they weren’t being conned; this movie was different. Miyazaki’s latest, though imperfect, filled me with such love (and magic!) that I stopped being a critic and floated on benevolence. If you’re having a bad day, this could work wonders for you too(!). (9/10)

Antichrist

Graphically shocking beyond all belief? Check. Deranged and disturbing? Check. Future cult film? Check. Misogynistic? Perhaps. This is a mirror Eden created by Satan, thus the woman is inherently evil. Nature and human nature are included in that paradigm. The film seems to reference and/or trump scenes from films In the Realm of the Senses and Bergman’s Cries and Whispers. The cinematography is stunning and music grandiose. I seem to be swayed by the symbolism and very realistic XXX material and, believe me, that in itself is very disturbing.  (6.66/10) — jk: 8/10

And the winner is: Ponyo !!

Best Song of the Year pt. 4; The Dirty Projectors – Stillness is the Move

July 29, 2009

I haven’t been able to get into their album, but this song has grown on me exponentially, so I’ll keep trying.

Tim Exile – Family Galaxy (Best Song of the Year pt. 3)

March 11, 2009

This is one wild track that starts off downtempo, goes into 4/4 house, slides into breaks, and finally unwraps into full-blown drum n’ bass. It’s an apt title, as this is the song I imagine the family chanting as they navigate the cosmos.

The Big Pink – Velvet (Best Song of ’09 pt. 2)

February 27, 2009

Don’t know much about this group other then they’re signed to 4AD and an album is looming. Their first single was pretty good too. This fresh brand of rock electronique could propel them to the big-time.

Best Song of ’09? (Animal Collective – ‘My Girls’)

January 24, 2009

I submit. It is my duty as a blogger to post this video for any soul that may have missed it. Compute.