Wars and Windmills

22 January 2009

2008 Favorites: Films

In both blockbuster and art house venues this has been a great year for film.

Despite what the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards think, I still hold that The Dark Knight is the best movie I saw this year.

You see most movies exist singularly, in a specific sphere and they stick to it. You don't go see, say Transformers for the amazing story, or superb acting; you go to gorge your eyes with special effects and action. Similarly, you don't go see No Country For Old Men or There Will Be Blood for the round house kicks or giant robots, but for the cinematography, the plot twists, character development, and the acting. This is why Nolan's snub for Best Director as well as the snub for Best Picture is so grossly unfortunate, because when you sit down to enjoy The Dark Knight you are able to get the story, cinematography, and acting of art house favorites like No Country for Old Men, as well as the 'biff bam boom' FX and action expected from multi-million dollar blockbusters. This has been done before (Star Wars comes to mind), but it is a rare occurrence, and while I had no delusions that the Caped Crusader's would win for Best Picture, I thought for sure it would have at least been nominated (just as Star Wars was), because FOR SURE it deserves it.

The more I think about it the more flames appear on the side of my face.

I have stepped down off my soap box; I could rant for hours over the brilliance of that film, but I won't.

I have been busy this year and haven't seen as many films as I usually do which I don't think will ever be possible again to see as many as I used to with by new goal of growing the hell up but I still manage to sneak in more than a fair amount. Here are the other films excited me this year in ranked order:

Man on Wire
(Easily the second best film of the year)

Iron Man (all comic book, nay action movies, take heed)

Slumdog Millionaire

The Incredible Hulk
Curious Case of Benjamin Button (though I preferred it when it was about a guy sitting on a bench and running a lot)
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
The Fall

Many movies are released later over here so I haven't had the chance to see many of the major contenders in the Oscar race, but many are coming out this month so this list may grow soon. I will be seeing Frost/Nixon this week as well as The Wrestler, and Gran Torino.

I am very much wanting to see Synecdoche, New York, and Hunger.

19 January 2009

2008 Favorites: Albums

To avoid the convolution of previous years I have decided to break up my 2008 list into segments.

Obviously this bit covers my favorite albums from the last year. I chose this first because it is the most difficult for me; there are not many albums that can keep my finger off the skip button for at least one song, making it then impossible for me to say that it is a favorite album. I have recently realized that this is perhaps too stringent, too annoying. Still, change is hard, and I am lazy; so rut stuck remain.

These are the albums I heard this year that I enjoyed every song:

Nine Inch Nails -- The Slip
sample: 1,000,000

I am not as vocal about my admiration for NIN as I am about my love for, say, all things acoustic, so this choice may surprise some. This of course by no means diminishes the fact that Trent Reznor is a man with few equals in the realm of music.

Mogwai -- The Hawk Is Howling
Danphe and the Brain

Constant. They have a predictable soft-loud-soft-loud pattern, but methinks it will never get old.

Bon Iver -- For Emma, Forever Ago
sample: Flume

ahh, like a cool breeze when you are not cold...and you have some sweat going.

Horse Feathers -- House With No Home
sample: Curs in Weeds

Though not as good as their last album, this one still had me hooked from note one.

Meursault --Pissing On Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues

Salt Pt.1
A Small Stretch of Land
A Few Kind Words

If it weren't for Mr. Iver, this would be my favorite offering from 2008.

Short list, I know. My next post should be heftier.

Also, I added a new gadget some time ago that will assist in listening to these without having to open up a new window, just hit the play button next to the song and it will start playing the song from this page, and will go right to the next link.