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Music Log 2016


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Okay let’s try this again. And I’m not bothering with months or anything. Just a straight list. Out of 10 score for all discs.

1. The Hurting, Tears For Fears-9.0
2. Secret Diary, College-9.5
3. The Cars, The Cars-9.0
4. Elvis Costello: The First Ten Years, Elvis Costello-9.5
5. Four, Bloc Party-5.5
6. El Pintor, Interpol-8.5
7. Vitalogy, Pearl Jam-8.0
8.  Emotional Rescue , The Rolling Stones-7.0
9. Neck of the Woods, Silversun Pickups-8.0
10. Tunnel of Love, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band-9.0
11. Next Day, David Bowie-8.5
12. Boxer, The National-9.5
13. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, Neutral Milk Hotel-10.0
14. The Voyager, Jenny Lewis-9.0

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15. Sandinista!, The Clash-10.0
16. Beggar’s Banquet, The Rolling Stones-9.0
17. Aladdin Sane, David Bowie-9.0
18. Young Americans, David Bowie-7.5
19. “Heroes”, David Bowie-9.5
20. Lodger, David Bowie-9.0
21. Kintsugi, Death Cab For Cutie-7.5
22. Centipede Hz, Animal Collective-4.0
23. Underneath the Rainbow, Black Lips-7.5
24. Low, David Bowie-9.0
25. Tusk, Fleetwood Mac-10.0
26. Especially For You, The Smithereens-9.5
27. Tell Me I’m Pretty, Cage The Elephant-7.5
28. Lungs, Florence + The Machine-8.0
29. Pablo Honey, Radiohead –7.0

Featured post

Horrorfest 2015 Presents: Dead Silence (2007, James Wan)


 

Poor Jamie (Ryan Kwanten). He escaped his home town yet he is forced to return because of grisly events. Upon coming back he finds out that the homecoming is also ugly: hardly anyone is left. His father, Edward (Bob Gunton) is wheelchair bound and just as evil as he remembers. Also the ghost of Mary Shaw lingers over the town, existing as a mystery that Jamie must unravel. He needs to recall one thing: “Beware the stare of Mary Shaw / She had no children only dolls / And if you see her in your dreams / Be sure to never ever scream.”

James Wan’s Dead Silence suffers a bit from plot holes and some weak acting. Yet it’s still a relatively creepy and even scary movie that thrives on people’s  (myself included) fear of puppets. Mary Shaw (played expertly by Judith Ann Roberts) though is terrifying herself: after all, she had herself made into a puppet after her death. I also dig Wan’s 1970s horror ascetic and Donnie Wahlberg chews scenery as a detective who is the center of normal in this crazy movie. I also loved the ending despite many critics not liking it or the film at all. That’s too bad since Wan has a unique style is and is a gifted horror filmmaker. Oh well.

Horrorfest 2015 Presents: Twixt (2011, Francis Ford Coppola)


Despite no longer being at the top of his game Francis Ford Coppola still manages to make films worth seeing. Twixt  despite its weak aspects is still watchable and not too bad, either. The cast helps, with Bruce Dern as a local sheriff, Val Kilmer as an alcoholic writer and Elle Fanning as a mysterious girl wandering around town.

Kilmer plays Hall Baltimore, a writer in town who with the help of the local sheriff uncovers material for a new book. He also derives inspiration from his weird dreams featuring the undead and Edgar Allen Poe. In a way Coppola is using this film to comment on authorship and trying to create new works, something that is difficult. Even so this doesn’t excuse the film’s uneven pacing and sketchy characters.

Although I was engaged at times the film doesn’t quite work and I’m reminded that sadly Coppola isn’t who he used to be as a director. Baltimore seems to be too much of an apt representation of Coppola, which is a shame because we all remember the man who give us masterworks in the 1970s. Perhaps it’s best for the legends to hang it up before they run the risk of fading away.

Horrorfest 2015 Presents: A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014, Ana Lily Amirpour)


There is an Iranian city named Bad City. It is not a great place to live and trouble abounds everywhere. In this wild west setting also lies a skateboarding vampire. If this appeals to you, well then this is your movie. A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is ah magnificent and beautiful combination of different genres, all centered around horror and the western. Shot in glorious black and white, no less. This does have the feel of other dramatic films, and director Ana Lily Amirpour builds upon those influences to craft something unique.

The Girl (Sheila Vand) is a woman with no name. There are few insights into who she is or why she lives in a desolate place, yet we get a terrifying image of her nature early on. Arash (Arash Marandi) is the young man who falls under her spell, resulting a tender and dangerous romance-dangerous for him because of her predator nature. The scene with the two of them in her apartment is lyrical in a romantic sense: two lonely souls, bound together, which is how so many people connect in this world.

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As much as I love this film the last act does kind of borrow/steal from another modern classic, Let The Right One In. However I prefer this film (it’s long title also amused me as much as it was intriguing). I rather enjoy that it’s an Iranian that gives us an exceptional feminist driven horror film given the nation’s culture. I also note this due to online friends encouraging myself and others to watch more films directed by women. This movie is a fine move in that direction.

Horrorfest 2015 Presents: Critteriffic


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Sure this was supposed to be part of my viewing from last year. Doesn’t matter because I do what I want anyways. Critters 3 and 4 came as a double bill part of a four pack that I found at my local library. Neither are particularly good, yet I actually dug one a little bit. I like to finish franchises anyways, for better or for worse. The series isn’t Oscar worthy but it is fun to watch. For some reason the 80s and 90s had a lot of franchise horror, although that seemed to be the norm for Hollywood, period.

Critters 3 is not a good movie. It’s easy the worst of the series and is mostly notable for featuring a young Leonardo DiCaprio in one of the main roles. As the son of a douche bag who wants to drive off his tenants so he can build a shopping mall or something. After having the Critters take over a farmhouse and a small town an apartment building is a huge step down. Imagine if this had been a big budget film where the Crites invade a whole city. Too bad that never happened.

Still this film does have its moments and the cast isn’t bad for a poor showing. They make this crappy movie watchable and I did like some of the kills. Also for some reason (SPOILER) The film ends on a cliffhanger. I like that Terrence Mann and Don Keth Opper appear in all of the series. That’s welcomed consistency.

Now oddly enough Critters 4 was a step up and works okay as an ending to the series. Well at least it was supposed to be, since nothing ever seems to end in Hollywood. Opper and Mann return along with new additions Brad Dourif and Angela Bassett as members of a crew that finds Charlie in space. I overlooked the obvious Alien/Aliens ripoff moments and sat back and enjoyed the fact that for the first time ever the Crites were actually in space. And that this movie has a few surprises, including one I did not see coming.

Even though like the rest of the series the low budget feel is quite apparent, I still enjoyed the fourth movie. The first two entries in the series are the best, however I still recommend even seeing the last two, just to see how things shake out. Also I am a fan of even bad sci-fi, especially since we don’t get too much of the actual stuff these days. Comic book movies don’t count.

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Horrorfest 2015/It’s Hammer Time Presents: The Woman In Black (2012, James Watkins)


These days Daniel Radcliffe seems to like being in horror movies. That’s good because he is fantastic in both of the ones he’s done-particularly in The Woman In Black, from Hammer Studios. The famous horror studio returned in time to give Britain a very good, creepy and well crafted horror film. It’s great to see that they haven’t lost a step and thus film is a nice throwback to their glory days. Having famous character actor Ciarán Hinds as the other star is a quality choice, as he brings gravitas to the proceedings.

Radcliffe is a young lawyer who journeys to a small town on business concerning a large estate. The house sits outside the village and is imposing, empty, and possibly haunted, of course. This calls to mind other previous and famous horror films, although James Watkins, the director, does a fine job of not depending on horror cliches or homages.

Also I like that this film doesn’t need jump scares or gore to be effective. Old school ghost films are something I have a soft spot for, and Watkins has a keen eye for unsettling moments. I also like that I was unable to guess the ending, which is always a plus. Whether or not the sequel is worth seeing, I’m not sure. I might check it out regardless. I do look forward to more Hammer films in the future, as I’m a big fan.

Horrorfest 2015 Presents: Almost Human (2013, Joe Begos)


These days low budget is no excuse for weak or bad horror films. Why George A. Romero made a career out of low budget horror films. So Almost Human is disappointing, a film that could have been good or at least passable and yet falls short. I’m not sure if they were going for found footage or realistic style filmmaking, either. It doesn’t really matter. Every year I watch at least one or two horror films that I don’t care for and they trick me with promising storylines.

Seth is this douche bag who loses his friend Mark to a big flash of blue light. Years later Mark-wait no, a being inhabiting Mark-returns to slaughter people because why not, I guess? Things spiral from there. The gore at least makes events less boring, and the film rips off fascinating and better horror films in the process. Also I hated the ending. Stupid movie is stupid.

Horrorfest 2015 Presents: Creep (2014, Patrick Kack-Brice)


This is one horror film where jump scares are used to hide the real freaky parts. Creep hides it’s terrors, luring the viewer into a sense of calm and then unleashing moments that are quite scary. There is one scene that I cannot reveal more about that made the film live up to its title in a big way. This is a film that despite the usual limitations of found footage style filmmaking is still a really good, maybe even near great, horror film. I like ones that dig under your skin and linger on after the end credits. Those types are usually more scary than ones that are either too obvious or are trying too hard.

Patrick Kack-Brice also benefits from his main star, Mark Duplass, who is great in other material and shines here. Without Duplass continuing to lead on the audience and make you wonder the level of crazy hidden beneath those warm grins of his, the film would never have worked. He gives a performance that is chilling, effective and unnerving. I was surprised by how good Creep was, and I recommend this film as an example of how to create something that makes a normal walk in the woods so damn nervous and unsettling.

 

Horrorfest 2015 Presents: The Final Terror (1983, Andrew Davis)


 

Andrew Davis’ cult classic slasher thriller The Final Terror is everything I wanted in a slasher film from the 80s. It’s a harrowing, eerie and suspenseful film that once things go south becomes relentless. I like that there is literally no soundtrack at times, and the film’s cast is quite famous for a low budget 80s horror movie. Davis went on to big budget films such as Under Siege and The Fugitive, two other famous thrillers. The wilderness setting is perfect for such a movie, although granted the I it doors was featured in many slasher movies released during that era.

The cast doesn’t hurt either: you have a young Daryl Hannah, Rachel Ward, Adrian Zmed and Joe Pantoliano. Although there are some typical slasher cliches I liked that this film has its own surprises and is better directed than many films of the early 80s. Davis showcased a natural talent early on and went on to fulfill that promise. If only more 80s slasher had been as great as this one.

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