I have a lot to say about the movies, because I see a ton of movies (it's like the main thing my boyfriend and I can agree on to do together) and I saw most of the Oscar-nominated features but only recently, in the past week, finally got to see The Revenant. So I was holding off on my "best of the year" recap and/or discussions of the Oscars, until it's probably too late to matter -- it's deep into 2016 and Deadpool was great and I just saw 10 Cloverfield Lane and I'm dying to discuss but don't want to spoil so ... here's my Oscar recap post and new movie post all in one.
There were 8 films nominated for Best Picture this year -- Brooklyn, The Big Short, Room, Spotlight, The Revenant, The Martian, Bridge of Spies, and Mad Max: Fury Road. I haven't seen Brooklyn (no appeal to me), Room (looks very difficult to watch, but I will try to catch it on TV) or Bridge of Spies (there is some appeal, I plan to catch on TV). Of the others, I liked them all, actually, but if I were to rank them in order, my least favorite was Spotlight, which not only won Best Picture but also was positively reviewed by just about every single person who saw it. It was really tough to even find a negative review, although a few mentioned that it played out a bit like a glorified TV movie, which it sort of felt like to me. Not that I didn't enjoy it, my review would have been positive too, but I wasn't quite riveted by the story (which I kind of knew all about) or at least not about the reporters uncovering the story, rather than the priests and the victims, which seems the more compelling story to me, and alas, I actually fell asleep in the theater before the ending. Which yeah, maybe that keeps it from being such a positive review. In my defense, it was a drinking theater with comfortable chairs and it was after midnight but yeah, something tells me I wouldn't have fallen asleep under those conditions in Mad Max.
My favorite movie of 2015 wasn't in the Best Picture race, though (which sets it apart from 2014, where my favorite three films -- Whiplash, Boyhood, and Citizenfour -- were all in the Best Picture or Best Documentary race). I had hopes that The Revenant would take the mantle and when I finally watched it last week in Los Angeles's amazing ArcLight Cinemas experience, I was pretty convinced 20 minutes in this would be the greatest movie I ever watched. That opening sequence, shot in just a few long continuous shots, was brilliantly executed and immediately riveting and those perfectly placed arrows zipping through the necks of the fur-trappers under attack by misplaced Indians, on a big screen with the sound to match... wow, just wow. That's the brilliance of the moviegoing experience in a nutshell. And right up to the point that - spoiler alert, but I can't imagine you haven't heard of this - Leo is attacked by the bear, it's just a perfect, momentous action flick. Sadly, it doesn't quite sustain that momentum through a bloated middle and some unnecessary dream sequences that took me out of the film and I kind of couldn't wait until the climactic battle I knew had to be coming, some 2 1/2 hours in. It's a great film, don't get me wrong, but with a few more edits (something Inarratu isn't known for) I think this could have been brilliant. Alas, it's not my favorite Best Picture nominee, nor my favorite film of the year. Read on for that list and a spoiler-free review of 10 Cloverfield Lane.
I've seen a lot of new bands over the past six months or so, and here's a post to discuss.
This band was playing at a showcase I was at in the fall. Their song "Waitress" - which they played at the show -- is so abrasive that I kind of hated when it came on my iTunes mix but now I love it, I can't get enough of the shouting, and I think everyone should listen at least a dozen times before forming an opinion, at least as long as the first impression is negative. Long story short, they are from Philly and here's a little blurb from their Bandcamp page: Hop Along is Frances Quinlan, Mark Quinlan, Tyler Long, and Joe Reinhart who all went to rural suburban high schools (except for Joe, who went to a suburban suburban high school). Eventually they moved to Philly and started playing music together.
Get Disowned is their first full-length release. It was made piece by piece, over the course of two years, at Headroom Studios in North Philadelphia. Buy it here.
"I just wish you and your friends would leave"
This blog belongs to Bill Elenbark.
Lover of songs. Writer of wrongs.