Thursday, August 17, 2017

Better Late Than Never: Top 20 of 2015

Why do this now? A couple reasons. The first is that I've had way too many friends and family members tell me lately that they relied on this blog as a way to keep up with movies. The second is that I tried to to refer back to my own list of favorite films of past years and realized, well, my own archive was incomplete.

So, on this rainy August morning in 2017, we're catching up in the simplest way possible: making good on end of the year wrap-up lists that were never posted, but with some of the excess fat trimmed and replaces. I never finished the full 2015 list last year, so here's one with titles only and with the films reconsidered to include what's survived in the months since. These are the films that wound up making the biggest impressions, including some that likely wouldn't have made it the first time around. End thoughts: 2015 really wasn't the best film year, which is perhaps part of why my enthusiasm for a wrap-up waned when it came time to assemble this in early 2016. What has remained, though, is largely a mix of art house and off-kilter genre films. Many of these are flawed films, but all, at least, are flawed in ways that have proven to make for engaging conversation and worthy revisits.

1. Mad Max: Fury Road: An instant classic, a stellar example of what's possible with the genre.

 2. The Duke of Burgundy: A psychological study of obsession disguised as a dreamily atmospheric throwback to 70s European erotic art house.

3. 45 Years: A haunting, beautifully realized glimpse at a marriage.

4. Ex Machina: A sci fi meditation on what it means to be human, uneasy and beautiful.

5. Youth: At times too contrived and pretentious, at times too saccharine, at times too try-hard. And yet, so gorgeous to look at it somehow proves brilliantly affective.

6. Inside Out: Does this need any more explanation?

7. It Follows: Do we really need a horror film to be logical to be successful? This film suggests no.

8. Spotlight: Again, you know. While there's nothing interesting about how this is shot, it gets the job done with almost documentary-like precision.

9. Tangerine: Wild, broken, filmmaking that's thoroughly alive.

10. Carol: A Todd Haynes dollhouse.

11. World of Tomorrow

12.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens

 13. Clouds of Sils Maria

14. Girlhood


16. The Revenant

17. Mistress America: A walking, talking portrait of an unlikable, charismatic character.

18. What We Do In the Shadows: One of the best comedies in recent memory, certainly the best mockumentary.

19. Creed

20. Goodnight Mommy: Dread, dread, and creepy kids.

Honorable Mentions: The Martian, Diary of a Teenage Girl, Queen of Earth

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Pop Candy Arcade: The 125 Songs of 2016 Mixtape

Between the two formats I believe you'll catch everything (if you're looking for it). Happy New Year.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Pop Candy Arcade Playlist: The 125 Songs of 2016, 101-125

We've reached the end of this list, and while the contents have managed to stay mostly stable for most of the posting this week, there has still been a fair amount of shuffling and indecision on my end. This whole thing is an exercise in a kind of pointless obsession, building up something that will mostly be for my own records that I can go back to time and again and listen to and track my own tastes and the shifts in sounds and larger music trends. Much has changed between my first list (in 2009) and now. Bands and artists have all but disappeared, songs were included that I would never think to put in now, and it's obvious that each year since then I've devoted a little more time to actually tracking down new music, collecting it throughout the year, and trying things beyond initial first impressions.

All that's to say, I'm still making these for myself, but I hope that the readers who browse through them enjoy doing so and that you find a song or two that you might not have heard but wind up liking.  The playlist itself is still to come, but here's the final section of this bloated list...

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Pop Candy Arcade Playlist: The 125 Songs of 2016, 76-100

Let's try getting one of these out during daylight hours, shall we? This is the penultimate chapter of the annual year-end list, and I'm hoping not to have anymore moments of sudden correction between today and tomorrow.  In the meantime, I continue to seat the newcomers next to the veterans, the bubblegum next to electronic discord and distorted guitars, the questionable next to the obvious.

Beginning with...
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