This album has left me more or less speechless. Fantastic songs all throughout, and easily one of the best albums of the year.

Some samples:

Twenty Seven Strangers:

The Meaning of the Ritual:

But my love is selfish/And remembers everything/Like the first time it was moved enough to sing/How it dangled on that stage just like a puppet on a string.

Fucking brilliant.


Music Video Round Up

It’s that time of the year again… As in the end. Time for us to look back at all our many successes (read: failures) and forge out some kind of identifying mechanism for the year that was 2010. And for most of us, the best way of doing that is to recall those pieces of art that informed and entertained us all year-long. Yes, that’s really just an overwrought  way of saying that despite the fact that I hardly ever update this thing anymore, expect to see some 2010 Top 10 lists coming within the next month. Television, Music, Movies, you name it, I’ll figure it out somehow…

2010 has been a pretty slow year for music. (Hell it’s been a pretty slow year for everything.) Or maybe it’s just been a slow year as it pertains to me listening to music. Anyway, today I decided to spend a good portion of the day researching all the top albums that came out this year in the hopes of devising my own favourites. And while my actual list is still quite a ways off, I figured I’d give you a little taste of what (might) to expect. Here are some of the better music video’s I came across today… (And yes, most of these are “copyright protected” so you’re gonna have to click on the link to actually watch them… because you know, putting them online for free is one thing, but let’s not make overly convenient for anyone.)

Kanye West: Power

I don’t even know how to describe this video. I always knew Kanye’s ego was proportionately as big as those over-sized sunglasses he loves to wear, but this is just ludicrous. It’s like the roof of the Sistine Chapel as directed by Michael Bay. The worst part of it all is that despite how tacky it is, I still like it.

I Am Kloot: Proof

This might very well be the simplest music video I have ever seen, but very much like Bright Eyes “First Day of My Life” it is unnerving in its effectiveness. Very interesting video.

The Besnard Lakes: Albatross

Great atmospheric song and video. Definitely something that would grow on you the more you watch and listen to it. And is there really any combination of things that is better than Cinema and Music? (Something that wouldn’t be lewd to print, that is.)

Foals: Spanish Sahara

This is probably the best music video I have seen in a long, long time. It’s simply beautiful. Despite its length, it’s easily something I could see myself watching over and over again.

That’s it for now. Maybe some more at a later date, but who knows… I’ve got a shit load of music to listen to between now and the end of the year. (Not to mention movies to watch.) Pray for me.

Top 101 Films Part 20

5. Garden State (2004)

This movie changed my life. I swear. (And that’ll be the last time I damn near verbatim the dialogue from this film in this write-up, I swear.) After watching this movie (four times in theatres!) I discovered a lot about myself. For one thing, I started to actually follow popular music. I bought the soundtrack to this film, which opened up doors for me to buy more and more CD’s until eventually, all of my paychecks were going to CD’s and DVD’s. I also found myself relating to a main character in a film more so than perhaps any other movie I had ever seen. Most importantly, it made me realize that the only thing I want to do with my life is to one day make a film that affects just one person the way this movie effected me. (Oh… and it also fortified my opinion that Natalie Portman was, is, and always will be, the hottest woman on the planet.) In short, for about a year’s time, this movie became the story of my life and I loved every moment of it. It’s been far too long since Zach Braff followed this movie up with anything, and I await that follow-up film now, just as impatiently as I awaited it six years ago.


4. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966)

The best western of all time is also the best directed film of all time. Despite its lengthy run time, not a single moment of this film is wasted and every beat is so damn kinetic that it threatens to spark and set the celluloid film it’s printed to on fire. Films don’t get much more classic than this one… in fact, they don’t at all. Period. I can still recall showing the final stand-off in this film to my history class in High-School. And despite it being nothing more than fifteen minutes of Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, and Lee Van Cleef staring at each other, not a single person in my class moved. They were all glued to their seats. Also? Best original film score ever.


3. Inception (2010)

There are three movies that I have seen more than twice in theatres, and all three of them are in the top five, here at the end of my list. I saw “Inception” four times in theatres, and I loved it more and more each time I saw it. Despite how damn good each and every film Christopher Nolan has made has been, “Inception” will be remembered as the film that pushed him into the higher echelon of the all time greats, like Spielberg, Hitchcock, Ford, Kurosawa, and Allen. Yes, I strongly believe that Nolan deserves to already be mentioned in the same breath as those men, and his career is still just getting started. There’s so much to love about this movie, and since most of you have already probably seen it, I won’t waste my time talking about all that here. I will only say that thinking about the final two minutes of this film gives me goosebumps every time. “Inception” is about as close to cinematic perfection as one can possibly get.


2. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

With “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”, Jason Segel created what has to be the most unbelievable thing ever. He created the funniest movie of all time. Very, very few comedies retain that same level of enjoyment the more times you watch it, but “Sarah Marshall” somehow manages to get funnier and funnier with each viewing. It’s a testament to the strength of this film, that even despite my own personal emotional baggage that comes packaged with it, each time I see it, I never for one second think it’s any less funny than I did that first time. In general, I think that everybody’s top five favourite films of all time have more to do with the personal experiences of watching those films than it does necessarily the quality of what’s being seen on-screen. It’s very rare that a movie can be so good that it overcomes outside personal influences, but “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is just that good.


1. The Evil Dead (1981)

By this point, I think that this should come as no surprise to anyone. “The Evil Dead” is my favourite film of all time. It has been ever since I first saw it eleven or so years ago now. At the time, it was the scariest movie I had ever seen (though that has since changed) but more than that, it was just awesome fun. It showed me that a bunch of friends with very little money and a whole hell of a lot of heart can get together and make a movie. And not only that, but they can have a hell of a lot of fun (and a hell of a lot of suffering) while they do it too. After watching this film, I’ve always seen Sam Raimi as a genius, and Bruce Campbell as a God, because with “The Evil Dead” they showed the world just how good a movie can be, if made with the proper amount of enthusiasm. “The Evil Dead” is a movie for people who love the art of film, and for that reason if no other, I can’t think of any other movie that deserves my number one spot more.


Well, what can I say? If you actually read each and every one of these twenty posts all I have to say is Thank You. I’ve struggled with writing this thing because I can’t really think of a more narcissistic way to spend my time, and I hate making myself feel self-important, but I do appreciate those of you who actually spent your precious time following along this list with me. As a parting gift I’ll leave you with this little drinking game: Go back and start reading from Post 1 again, and every time you read the word “Awesome”, take a shot of your favourite alcohol. (Which I am clearly not providing for you, sorry.) I promise that you’ll be very, very, very drunk long before you reach this, my last thought: Movies Are Awesome.

Top 101 Films Part 19

10. The Usual Suspects (1995)

If you took every single thing out of this movie, leaving only Kevin Spacey’s performance as Verbal Kint behind, this movie would still be in my top 100. Spacey’s role in this movie is now deservedly one of cinematic lore and he brings a sense of kinetic energy to this movie that is damn near palpable. So, like I said, even if “The Usual Suspects” had solely consisted of Kevin Spacey sitting in an interrogation room, telling a story, it’d still be fantastic. Thankfully, Bryan Singer worked his magic all over this film and pulled out career defining performances from Gabriel Byrne, Benicio Del Toro, and even Stephen Baldwin! “The Usual Suspects” is hands down, the most perfect thriller ever made.


9. The Shining (1980)

“The Shining” is the most epic horror film ever made. From the opening aerial shot punctuated with the absolutely haunting score, you know from moment one that watching “The Shining” is like nothing else you will ever experience. Stanley Kubrick was notorious for taking everything his cast and crew had to give him and then pushing them even further. But he did so in order to put all of that talent up on the screen for the world to see, and “The Shining” is a perfect example of why he was one of the greatest (if not the greatest) filmmakers of all time. Even with out Jack Nicholson, this movie still would have been awesome, though thankfully for us we don’t need to exist in a world where that happened. Nicholson brings a sense of realism and horror to the character of Jack that was missing from even the Stephen King source material (and this is coming from a person who absolutely adores most of King’s work) and by doing so, enabled “The Shining” to scratch and claw its way into movie history.


8. Annie Hall (1977)

I really don’t think there’s a single person out there who loves Woody Allen more than me. There might be lots of people who love him just as much as me, but no one who loves him more. I could have populated this list with 40% of these films being works by Woody Allen (yes, for those of you keeping some sort of track, that means that Allen has made over 40 films in his career, which is a feat that is absolutely mind-boggling and worth celebrating) because I adore pretty much all of his works. But like I did with Hitchcock, I’ve chosen one of Allen’s films to more or less represent the whole of his career here on my list, and as easy of a choice as “Annie Hall” might be, it truly is his masterpiece. “Annie Hall” is a metaphysical and self-reflexive comedy and if you don’t have a clue what that means, it’s more than likely that Woody Allen is not for you… which is a shame because Allen really is one of the few “artists” that exists in the world of film today. I can heap no greater praise on him than to say that no other filmmaker has influenced me as an artist more than Woody Allen, and I can only hope to one day create something with a fraction of the potential that “Annie Hall” has in spades. And for those of you wondering, yes, I’m done blowing Woody Allen now.


7. Fight Club (1999)

The single greatest movie ever made about our present day society is David Fincher’s “Fight Club”. This film is over ten years old now and it still rings as true today as it did nearly half of my life ago. “Fight Club”  put David Fincher on the map as one of the most important living filmmakers and while he’s never quite yet reached this same level again (though I have no doubt he soon will) even if he never did, it wouldn’t really matter. “Fight Club” is one of the most talked about, written about, and dissected films ever made and the reason for that is simple, watching it is like getting punched in the face repeatedly. The film relentlessly pounds on us with its social commentary and its characters that so frighteningly remind us of versions of ourselves that could so easily be that by the end of it all, you feel like someone has beaten the shit out of you, and once done so, held up a mirror so that you can look at your bloodied and broken face. What’s so terrifying about the experience is not how terrible your bruised and battered face looks, but the huge smile you see plastered across your face in the reflection. And the realization that comes with it. You liked this.


6. Solaris (2002)

“Solaris” is a strange, strange movie, even by my tastes. To be completely honest with you, I can’t even tell you why I love this movie as much as I do, only that every time I see it, I enjoy it more than the last, with each time, my emotional reaction to the film becomes more and more visceral. Perhaps it’s because at its heart, “Solaris” contains one of the most touching and tragic love stories I have ever seen, and coupling that with the breathtaking Sci-fi backdrop that Soderbergh creates for the film, you have something that has absolutely zero boundaries. While you’re watching “Solaris” you imagine that the narrative could take you anywhere, and by the end of the film you realize that it ended up taking you the one place you least expected. Inside of yourself.


Top 101 Films Part 18

14. Before Sunrise (1995)

I know, I know. You’re looking at this poster and you’re either thinking A) This makes perfect sense (if you know me) or B) What the hell is this guy thinking (if you don’t.) The truth is, despite how absolutely shitacular this poster makes “Before Sunrise” look, it really is one of the greatest romantic comedies ever made, as well as one of the best films ever made. Period. No film I have ever seen has been more real than this one. Both Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy completely disappear into their characters and become two strangers who meet and fall in love in the span of a day and night. It’s the dream story of every hopeless romantic in the world, because not only do two complete strangers fall madly in love, they do it in the backdrop of one of the most beautiful cities in all of the world, Vienna. I could go on and on about this film, not only about how great it is, but how it’s influenced my own life. It’s a movie that actually changed me. And that’s why it’s one of the best.


13. The Exorcist (1973)

Long known as “the scariest movie ever”, there’s no other film more deserving of that title. “The Exorcist” is simply terrifying. You can watch it with the lights off, you can watch it with the lights on, alone or with a group, happy or sad, no matter what the situation you find yourself in while watching this movie, you’ll find yourself slowly more and more pulled into the narrative and before you know it, you’ll be shaking in your boots (or warm and comfy slippers, oh yes you will). No one is safe from this movie, and the visceral reaction it draws from 99% of the people who watch it is all the reason I need to put it this high up the list.


12. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

If ever there was a movie that could be classified as a “symphony”, “2001: A Space Odyssey” is it. Stanley Kubrick’s film is more of something you experience than actually watch. You sit there and let the images and sound wash over you, transporting you into a completely different world than the one you currently inhabit. “2001” will never really win anyone over with its story or its characters (though HAL is pretty bad ass) but there is absolutely nothing else like it ever made. You don’t watch this film because it’s entertaining (though it is), you watch it because it’s the closest thing to a work of true art that has ever been committed to celluloid.


11. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

If there was ever a horror movie that I’d want to live in (with the guarantee that I’d survive of course) it’d be George A. Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead”. Killing zombies and setting up shop in a mall? How awesome would that be? Really? (I’ll answer that for you, more awesome than the word awesome allows room for.) Top off this interesting premise with some precise and spot on social commentary and truly excellent zombie attacks and you’ve got a classic horror films that trumps even its innovative original film.



Top 101 Films Part 17

19. The Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987)

I’m somewhat of a superstitious person. I don’ want to be, and whenever I find myself being so I tend to belittle myself, but all the same, I am. The number 19 has held some kind of morbid control over my life ever since I first read Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” books. I look for it in all kinds of places, so you can imagine my surprise (or… lack of surprise) to find “The Evil Dead II” resting firmly in place 19 on my top 101 films list. I swear to you, I didn’t plan it this way. Just made the list up, and fit the movies in where they felt right. So in some bizarre way, despite there being 18 other movies out there that I think are better than this one, “The Evil Dead II” couldn’t hold a more prestigious standing. Now that I’m done telling you all how bat shit crazy I am sometimes, I’ll get to the reason why this film is important. Bruce Fucking Campbell. I realize that I am nowhere near any different from the other dozens (“There are dozens of us! Dozens!!”) of fanboys that talk about how great Bruce Campbell is, and that’s okay with me… because he really is that good. And you either get that or you don’t. Most people don’t. Doesn’t mean they’re right though. Of course, Bruce Campbell isn’t the lone reason why this film is awesome. Sam Raimi also played a pretty big role in making this movie the bee’s knees. (Yes, all us BC fans are losers and use references like “the bees knees”, deal with it.) Sam took what he learned on the first film, and instead of just upping the stakes as most sequels tend to do, he decided to change the entire God damn genre. He played up to his leading man’s strengths and injected just the right amount of intentional cheese ball into the film, making it the treat to watch that it is. He also found a way to literally have the blood pouring down the film screen. I could go on and on about this movie, but I’m thinking I better save something worth saying, after all, we’ve still got one more film in the trilogy to be ranked…


And yes… that was an eyeball that just flew into that chick’s mouth. Top that “Saw”.

18. Breathless (1960)

If there was ever any city in the world that I would just drop everything and move to immediately, it’d be Paris, and no other film captures the dichotomy of the classic and modern aspects of this fantastic city more so than Jean-Luc Godard’s “Breathless”. With this film, Godard captured his city in a way no one else ever had up till that point, and instead of a slow and meandering story like in “Cleo From 5 to 7” he crafted an excellent little thriller/detective story to boot. Along the way he also decided that he’d completely revolutionize the way editing a film was done. Not everybody understood what he was going for with this film, but those who do love it to death.


17. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Roman Polanski knew that he’d have to make a huge splash with his first American feature film if he planned on being able to stick around and keep making films there, but I imagine that the film he ended up creating went even beyond his wildest expectations. “Rosemary’s Baby” is the very definition of textbook psychological horror. Ever since it was made over forty years ago now, it is the standard that all other psychological horror films are measured against. “Rosemary’s Baby” is not terrifying because of what it shows, but because of what it does not. It is a classic film in every sense, from the design, to the cinematography, to the acting, and so on and so forth, and even though it’ll never scare the living hell out of you, it’ll burrow into your mind and set up shop. It’ll stay there. Forever. And when you least expect it, something in real life will remind you of this film, and I guarantee you, then you’ll be scared.


In Bruges (2008)

“In Bruges” is one of the funniest, thrilling, dramatic, and beautiful films you will ever see. I really don’t want to say anything more about this film. It’s a hidden gem that most people have never even heard of, but it’s well worth searching out. If only for the scene where a dwarf gets high on Ex. Yes, there’s a scene like that in this movie. It is easily one of the most politically incorrect films ever made. And do you know what that means? It’s awesome.


15. Blue Velvet (1986)

“Blue Velvet” is David Lynch’s masterpiece. That moniker alone should make you excited enough to go see this movie. It’s bizarre, twisted, sexy, hilarious, and deviant. It takes the picturesque ideal of “Americana”, shines it through the glass darkly, and in doing so finds the truth behind the American Dream. And it’s not a pretty picture, but my God is it ever interesting. If you think just the poster to this film is weird, you haven’t seen anything yet.



Top 101 Films Part 16

24. Ghostbusters (1984)

“Ghostbusters” has probably been one of my favourite movies of all time for longer than any other film. I’ve loved this movie since I was four years old and it’s entirety is more or less completely visible in my mind’s eye. It pretty much represents the pinnacle of what was going on in the comedy world at the time it was made with both Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, making “Ghostbusters” one of the most entertaining films ever made.


23. Leon (1994)

“Leon” is quite possibly the most intriguing “action” film ever. I say that because really, it’s quite light on the action, (though the scenes that are there are jaw-dropping in their execution) and heavy on its character development. By the time “Leon” finishes you really care for the characters that inhabit its world, and hope more strongly than usual, that good will triumph over evil. And yes, it doesn’t hurt that Natalie Portman is in this film, eleven years old or not.


22. American Psycho (2000)

Most people are always going to remember and love Christian Bale for his performance as Bruce Wayne in Nolan’s Batman films. I, on the other hand, am always going to remember him as Patrick Bateman in “American Psycho.” It’s equally one of the most disturbing and funny (yes, funny!) films ever made. The entire film can be viewed as a horror film, or as a dark comedy, or as both, and no matter what way you choose to look at it, it works 100% of the time. (Personally, I like looking at it as a very dark comedy.) There are so many fantastic scenes in this film that it’d be impossible to talk about all of them here, so just go out and watch it already.


21. Punch Drunk Love (2002)

“Punch Drunk Love” is probably the craziest romantic comedy you will ever see. At its heart, it’s probably an anti-romantic comedy, but it’s much more effective in making you care for its characters than most Rom-Com’s are. Not only is it beautifully shot, but it has a heartbreaking performance from Adam Sandler that is easily his best of all time. It’s really too bad that no other filmmakers have ever let Sandler go to as dark a place as Paul Thomas Anderson lets him go here, but then again, most filmmakers aren’t Paul Thomas Anderson. If you’ve ever hated yourself and hoped to be found redeemable through love, “Punch Drunk Love” is for you.


20. Funny People (2009)

From one Adam Sandler film to the next, “Funny People” is probably the greatest movie about comedy ever made. That’s not to say that it’s the funniest (though it is pretty funny) only that, no other film has really looked at the toll it takes on a person whose job it is to make other people laugh. Comedy is often a tool for self-defense more than it is anything else, and this film drives that point home. All of the people in this movie aren’t only funny, they’re lost and in need of help. It’s a fantastic story, told by Judd Apatow, the best comedy filmmaker we have working today.