Friday, January 28, 2011

Record Scores - Crushing Defeat Edition

Willie Wright - Telling The Truth Lp + 7" (Numero Group)
Toots & The Maytals - Knock Out Lp (Mango)
Puro Instinct - Stilyagi 7" (Mexican Summer)
King Short Shirt - Ghetto Vibes Lp (Charlie's)
Louie Shelton - Touch Me Lp (Warner Brothers Seven Arts)
Miriam Makeba - The World Of Miriam Makeba Lp (RCA)
Electroscope - Journey To The Center Of Electroscope Lp (Bod)
John Tropea - To Touch You Again Lp (Marlin)
Barry Miles' Silverlight - Magic Theater Lp (London)
Dom Um Romao - Spirit Of the Times Lp (Muse)
Dom Um Romao - Hotmosphere Lp (Pablo)
Michael Urbaniak - Fusion III Lp (Columbia)
Charles Bronson / Quill - Split 7" (Nat)
Charles Bronson - S/T 7" (Privileged Cracker)
Charles Bronson / Unanswered - Split 7" (Track Star)
Joe Farrell - Night Dancing Lp (Warner Brothers)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Record Scores - All's Fair Edition

Art Ensemble Of Chicago - Nice Guys Lp (ECM)
Hugh Masekela - The Lasting Impression Of Hugh Masekela Lp (MGM)
Mickey Tucker - The Crawl Lp (Muse)
Urban Dance Squad - Mental Floss For The Globe Lp (Arista)
Eldee Young & Red Holt - Feature Spot Lp (Cadet)
Evel Knievel - S/T Lp (Amherst)
Bernard Herrmann - Taxi Driver OST Lp (Arista)
The Sandals - The Endless Summer OST Lp (World-Pacific)
The Cannonball Adderley Quintet - Accent On Africa Lp (Capitol)
Hanoi Janes - Young & Dumb 7" (Hozac)
Dam-Funk - On Your Way To Her Pad 7" (Stones Throw)
3rd Bass - Portrait Of An Artist As A Hood 12" (Def Jam)
Althea & Donna - Uptown Top Ranking Lp (Virgin)
Thomas Clausen 3 - Rain Lp (Matrix)
Victor Feldman - The Venezuala Joropo Lp (Pacific Jazz)
Harvey Mason - Earth Mover Lp (Arista)
Daughters Of The Sun - Ghost With Chains Lp (Not Not Fun)
The Deeep - Mudd 12" (100% Silk)
Ital - Ital's Theme 12" (100% Silk)
Coasting - Same Old Same Old 7" (M'Lady's)
Hogra - Blood Bag 7"(Trust Krusher)
The Soft Moon - Breathe The Fire 7" (Captured Tracks)
The Soft Moon - S/T Lp (Captured Tracks)
Death - Spiritual, Mental, Physical Lp (Drag City)
Arthur Verocai - Timeless 2xLp (Mochilla)
Madlib - Medicine Show #11: Low Budget High-Fi Music 3xLp (Stones Throw)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ocular Optometrical: The Best Films Of 2010

This year was pretty rough for films. Practically nothing of note was released before the late spring and then every hyped blockbuster disappointed terribly. There are theories that we're still suffering from the aftershocks of the 2007-2008 writers' strike, with a lack of quality scripts in the queue, but that would suggest that more than a handful of the good films in a year come through the Hollywood system. In fact, as the waves of 3D Burger King tie-ins floated out of the theaters like the tissue-thin fluff that they were, a pretty solid line-up of indie dramas and foreign imports began to show. 2011 was slow to start, but ended up accumulating a respectable roster of worthwhile movies.

The Movies I Saw, Released (In The U.S.) In 2010 (Total Count: 112):
30 For 30: Straight Outta L.A. / 127 Hours / Alice In Wonderland / All Good Things / The American / Animal Kingdom / A-Team / Black Swan / Burning Bright / Carlos The Jackal / Catfish / Cemetery Junction / Centurion / Clash Of The Titans / Cop Out / Countdown To Zero / The Crazies / Cyrus / Date Night / Daybreakers / Defendor / Despicable Me / Devil / Dinner For Schmucks / Dogtooth / Easy A / Elephant Direct / Enter The Void / Exit Through The Gift Shop / The Experiment / Farewell / The Fighter / Fish Tank / Four Lions / The Freebie / Frozen / Get Him To The Greek / Girl With The Dragon Tattoo / Girl Who Played With Fire / Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest / Green Zone / Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Pt.1 / Hot Tub Time Machine / How To Train Your Dragon / I Love You Phillip Morris / I'm Still Here / Inception / Iron Man 2 / I Saw The Devil / Jackass 3D / Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work / Jonah Hex / The Joneses / Kick-Ass / The Kids Are All Right / The Killer Inside Me / The Last Exorcism / Leaves Of Grass / Lemmy / Let Me In / The Losers / The Lovely Bones / Love Ranch / MacGruber / Machete / Megamind / Mic Macs / Monsters / Mother / Never Let Me Go / The Next Three Days / The Other Guys / Paranormal Activity 2 / Peacock / Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief / Piranha 3D / Predators / A Prophet / Rabbit Hole / Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale / REC 2 / Red Riding: In The Year Of Our Lord 1974 / Repo Men / Resident Evil: Afterlife / Restrepo / Saw 3D / Salt / Scott Pilgrim Vs The World / The Secret Of Kells / A Serbian Film / Shank / Shelter / Sherlock Holmes / She's Out Of My League / Shutter Island / Skeleton / Social Network / Somewhere / Soul Boy / Splice / Stone / Survival Of The Dead / The Town / Toy Story 3 / The Tree / True Grit / Unstoppable / Waking Sleeping Beauty / The White Ribbon / The Winning Season / Winter's Bone / The Wolfman / Youth In Revolt

Films I Wanted To See For Consideration But Didn't:
Life During Wartime
Blue Valentine
The King's Speech
Another Year
Tiny Furniture
Surviving Life (Theory and Practice)

These, the worst films of 2010, are based a little on dashed expectations, but mostly on how angry they made me. I saw more amateurish films this year, but these are films that insulted me, ruined my week, & pissed all over my love of movies.
The Worst Films Of 2010:
5. The Experiment (a terrible film based on the Stanford prison experiment as understood by the sympathetically-dimwitted jock)
4. Saw 3D (I'm pretty sure that the producers of this series have completely lost the thread of their obtusely complicated mythology & the only people still onboard are those of us pigheadedly searching for resolution)
3. Alice In Wonderland (Mindnumbingly busy take on an already silly & nonsensical story, but also manages to be duller than Revolutionary Road)
2. The Lovely Bones (Peter Jackson's wrongheaded attempt at a cathartic heart-tugging story about coming to terms with loss that ends up blaming the victim instead)
1. Green Zone (Some geniuses in Hollywood figured out that we were lied into war in Iraq and they can't wait to tell the unwashed masses all about it, 6 years later. They think we're all idiots too, so they've couched it in a Rambo story where America's beefcake Matt Damon singlehandedly takes on Saddam's forces & Bush's stooges too.)

I saw a lot of films this year. During those cold, desperate months at the beginning, I was willing to pretty much watch anything that could boast stuff wiggling about on the screen. As the year progressed, I got a little more discerning, but I was always willing to give most films a chance to surprise me. So in a decidedly threadbare year, I saw 112 films. Judging my top 25 films, I only really feel secure about my top 2 or 3, the others simply jockied against each other, at the mercy of my fickle moods. Did I like the surprisingly involving backstory of our narcissistic cyber-infantalism in Social Network more than the lighthearted camp of The A-Team? Was the beautiful cinematography of Monsters enough to place it above the incredulous Splice? So while these are ranked, take it all with a grain of salt. Just know that I found something worth taking away from the top 25 and, if you had disregarded them out of hand, maybe give them a second look.

The Best Movies Of 2010:

25. Splice
24. Toy Story 3
23. 127 Hours
22. Four Lions
21. Social Network

20. The Fighter
19. Easy A
18. Cyrus
17. A Prophet
16. Repo Men

15. The Crazies
14. I Saw The Devil
13. Dogtooth
12. REC 2
11. Restrepo

10. Machete
09. True Grit
08. Never Let Me Go
07. Mic Macs
06. How To Train Your Dragon

05. Winter's Bone
04. Mother
03. Enter The Void
02. Animal Kingdom
01. Exit Through The Gift Shop (I was a fan of Banksy before this film, and so i was eagerly awaiting it when it was just being solicited as a straightforward documentary about the man of mystery. As with most Banksy endeavors, it manages to deceptively be so much more. It's 3 great films adeptly folded into one. It's an involving introduction to the world of street art; it's a compelling biography of an eccentric man; and it's a rich and spirited, open dialogue about the nature of capital-A Art. To tie it all together, there is the wonderfully wry question of the substantiality of the whole affair. I ranked this film #1 early in the year, and reconfirmed its place with several more viewings. The highest recommendation.)