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Archive for January 6th, 2020

Continuing my favorite 150 records of 2019 today with #50-26 (for #150 to 51, see here). Tomorrow will be the remaining, my top 25.

Happy Listening!

26. Orchestra of Constant Distress – Cognitive Dissonance
UK’s Riot Season has become one of the greatest labels on the planet, and with Cognitive Dissonance, Orchestra of Constant Distress has released one of their standout efforts. It’s grinding menace, pitched as something like modern classical within a Rock template. It makes sense, I can’t think of a better idea for the modern age than the endless drone that provides much of the backbone to this LP, where the track names (‘Shame’, ‘Guilt’, ‘Hopelessness’) provide a context. Best might be ‘Discomfort’ that approaches that for the listener, snapping you from the monotony and doldrums with a tantalizing lead riff. Even if for only 6 minutes, you thank ‘em. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

My Top 25 Films of 2019

That time of reckoning has arrived and after some final tweeking and crammed on-line viewings of a few films I never got around to, I am prepared to deliver a Top 25 (actually 26 with the #25 tie between two films) and a spirited runners-up list of very good films that simply couldn’t fit on the Top 25. Some films by my rules are ineligible until 2020 when they will get their USA theatrical openings, otherwise how could I include them for 2019 without having an opportunity to see them? I am referring to films like the Russian “Beanpole” the French “Les Miserables,” “End of the Century” and the German “Heimat is a Space of Time.” But there are plenty more. 2019 was an amazing year across the board and though it would be just as serviceable to list my favorites alphabetically I always opt for the “drama” of a numerical list, which also denotes a slight preference for the films by their order:

1. Never Look Away (Germany, Florian Von Donnarsmarck)
2. 1917 (USA, Sam Mendes)
3. A Hidden Life (USA, Terrence Malick)
4. Little Women (USA, Greta Gerwig)
5. Waves (USA, Edward Shults)
6. Uncut Gems (USA, Joshua and Ben Saftie)
7. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (France, Celine Schiamma)
8. An Elephant Sitting Still (China, Hu Bo)
9. Transit (Germany, Christian Petzold)
10. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (USA, Quentin Tarantino)
11. Ad Astra (USA, James Gray)
12. The Irishman (USA, Martin Scorsese)
13. The Lighthouse (USA, Robert Eggers)
14. Synonyms (France/Isreal, Nadav Lapid)
15. The Wild Pear Tree (Turkey, Nuri Bilge Ceylan
16. Parasite (South Korea, Bong Joon-ho)
17. Jo Jo Rabbit (USA, Taika Waititi)
18. The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao (Brazil, Karim Ainouz)
19. The Two Popes (UK/USA, Fernando Meirelles)
20. Woman at War (Iceland, Benedikt Erlingsson)
21. A Marriage Story (USA, Noah Baumbach)
22. Queen and Slim (USA, Melina Matsoukas)
23. Luce (USA, Julius Onah)
24. Cats (UK/USA, Tom Hooper)
25. Midsommar (USA, Sweden, Ari Aster)
and
Ash is the Purest White (Hong Kong) -TIE-

Runners-Up (in no order): A Sword of Trust (USA); Scheme Birds (Scotland); Giant Little Ones (Canada); The Last Black Man in San Francisco (USA); Knives Out (USA); The Mustang (USA); Ford vs. Ferrari (USA); Honey Boy (USA); Give Me Liberty (USA); Pain and Glory (Spain); The Peanut Butter Falcon (USA); A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (USA); Wild Rose (USA); Dark Waters (USA); Monos (Columbia); Birds of Passage (Columbia/Denmark); Sorry Angel (France); Atlantics (Senegal/France); Honeyland (North Macedonia); Colewell (USA); Sauvage/Wild (France); Dolemite is My Name (Craig Brewer); Meeting Gorbachev (Russia/USA); The Place of No Words (UK); 17 Blocks (USA); Gay Chorus Deep South (USA); Changing the Game (USA); House of Hummingbird (South Korea); One Child Nation (China); The Apollo (USA); Rocket Man (UK); Blinded by the Light (UK); Harriet (USA); The Biggest Little Farm (USA); Apollo 11 (USA)

I will try and put together my director, acting and craftsmanship favorites soon as well. Over the next week I will compile my Top 25 of the Decade list (2010-2019) with runners-up.

(more…)

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