Top 10 Films of 2016 So Far

ScarJo shines in Hail, Caesar!.

I haven’t seen many films (like The Neon Demon, The Lobster, Sing Street, A Bigger Splash, The Nice Guys, Miles Ahead, Born to Be Blue, Finding Dory, Sunset Song, The Fits, Swiss Army Man, Everybody Wants Some!!, Money Monster, Love & Friendship, Maggie’s Plan, Triple 9, or Green Room) from the year’s first half, but I’ll catch up with a lot of them soon on DVD/streaming. Here are my current favorites, though.

10. L’Attesa (dir. Piero Messina)
9. Knight of Cups (dir. Terrence Malick)
8. The Jungle Book (dir. Jon Favreau)
7. Deadpool (dir. Tim Miller)
6. Zootopia (dir. Byron Howard and Rich Moore)
5. 10 Cloverfield Lane (dir. Dan Trachtenberg)
4. Midnight Special (dir. Jeff Nichols)
3. Hail, Caesar! (dir. Joel and Ethan Coen)
2. Demolition (dir. Jean-Marc Vallée)
1. The Witch (dir. Robert Eggers)

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Top 10 Albums of 2016 So Far

Did Radiohead’s latest make the cut?

Here are my favorites from the first half of the year.

10. Nothing But Thieves – Nothing But Thieves
9. Lemonade – Beyoncé
8. Blackstar – David Bowie
7. untitled unmastered. – Kendrick Lamar
6. Oh No – Jessy Lanza
5. A Moon Shaped Pool – Radiohead
4. The Colour in Anything – James Blake
3. ANTI – Rihanna

2. Coloring Book – Chance the Rapper

1. Love You to Death – Tegan and Sara

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Top 10 Songs of 2016 So Far

Where does chart favorite Rihanna land?

Here are my favorite tracks from the first half of 2016.

10. “Cheap Thrills” – Sia

9. “Waves” – Kanye West

8. “Your Best American Girl” – Mitski

7. “It Means I Love You” – Jessy Lanza

6. “untitled 02 | 06.23.2014.” – Kendrick Lamar

5. “What’s It Gonna Be?” – Shura

4. “Hang on to the Night” – Tegan and Sara

3. “Burn the Witch” – Radiohead

2. “Lover, Please Stay” – Nothing But Thieves

1. “Kiss It Better” – Rihanna

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Films I Saw in June

The Day of the Jackal

I watched a mere 3 films last month, but I’ll be catching up with a lot of early 2016 releases soon as they’re released on DVD/streaming.
3. Knight of Cups
B-

2. Zootopia
B+

1. The Day of the Jackal
A

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Blind Spot: The Day of the Jackal (1973)

The Day of the Jackal is a masterful procedural.

Directed by Fred Zinnemann
Produced by John Woolf
Written by Kenneth Ross (screenplay); Frederick Forsyth (book)
Starring Edward Fox, Terence Alexander and Michael Lonsdale

Plot Summary: A nameless assassin (the Jackal) is hired to kill French president Charles de Gaulle.

Significance: Generally considered one of the best political thrillers ever made, the film received multiple BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations, including Best Picture at both, respectively. It also received an Oscar nomination for Best Film Editing. In 1997, a loose remake called The Jackal was made starring Bruce Willis and Richard Gere.

Thoughts: This engrossing procedural is a first-rate political thriller, akin to classics like Army of Shadows and Three Days of the Condor. Like some incarnations of the genre, the film takes its time, but at nearly two and a half hours, it’s a riveting watch. It’s a well-crafted nail-biter that features a solid ensemble and (deservedly) Oscar-nominated work by editor Ralph Kemplen, who doesn’t let the film feel too bulky or convoluted. On the whole, the film is more about the sum of its parts, though director Fred Zinnemann and stars Edward Fox and Michael Lonsdale deserve praise for making it seem so easy. If you like ’70s thrillers, this somewhat undervalued classic is a must-see.

Rating: A

This is the sixth film in my 2016 Blind Spot Series, as first started by Ryan McNeil.

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Blind Spot: The Day of the Jackal (1973)

The Day of the Jackal is a masterful procedural.

Directed by Fred Zinnemann
Produced by John Woolf
Written by Kenneth Ross (screenplay); Frederick Forsyth (book)
Starring Edward Fox, Terence Alexander and Michael Lonsdale

Plot Summary: A nameless assassin (the Jackal) is hired to kill French president Charles de Gaulle.

Significance: Generally considered one of the best political thrillers ever made, the film received multiple BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations, including Best Picture at both, respectively. It also received an Oscar nomination for Best Film Editing. In 1997, a loose remake called The Jackal was made starring Bruce Willis and Richard Gere.

Thoughts: This engrossing procedural is a first-rate political thriller, akin to classics like Army of Shadows and Three Days of the Condor. Like some incarnations of the genre, the film takes its time, but at nearly two and a half hours, it’s a riveting watch. It’s a well-crafted nail-biter that features a solid ensemble and (deservedly) Oscar-nominated work by editor Ralph Kemplen, who doesn’t let the film feel too bulky or convoluted. On the whole, the film is more about the sum of its parts, though director Fred Zinnemann and stars Edward Fox and Michael Lonsdale deserve praise for making it seem so easy. If you like ’70s thrillers, this somewhat undervalued classic is a must-see.

Rating: A

This is the sixth film in my 2016 Blind Spot Series, as first started by Ryan McNeil.

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June Oscar Predictions

Scorsese’s Silence is poised to make some noise.

Most of my predictions haven’t changed, but I did make a few edits here and there. Check out my picks below.

BEST PICTURE:
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
The Birth of a Nation
Fences
La La Land
The Light Between Oceans
Loving
Manchester by the Sea
Passengers
Silence
Changes: None
BEST DIRECTOR:
Ang Lee, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Jeff Nichols, Loving
Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation
Martin Scorsese, Silence
Denzel Washington, Fences

Changes: None
BEST ACTOR:
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Joel Edgerton, Loving
Andrew Garfield, Silence
Michael Keaton, The Founder
Denzel Washington, Fences

Changes: None
BEST ACTRESS:
Viola Davis, Fences
Isabelle Huppert, Things to Come
Ruth Negga, Loving
Emma Stone, La La Land
Alicia Vikander, The Light Between Oceans

Changes: None
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Jovan Adepo, Fences
Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply
Steve Martin, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Ben Mendelsohn, Una
Liam Neeson, Silence

Changes: Replaced Hammer and Isaac with Beatty and Mendelsohn
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Aja Naomi King, The Birth of a Nation
Kristen Stewart, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Rachel Weisz, The Light Between Oceans
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Changes: None
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Fences
The Light Between Oceans
Nocturnal Animals
Silence

Changes: None
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
The Birth of a Nation
La La Land
The Lobster
Loving
Manchester by the Sea

Changes: Replaced American Honey with The Lobster
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Passengers
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Silence

Changes: Replaced Alice Through the Looking Glass with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
The Birth of a Nation
The Lost City of Z
Passengers
Silence

Changes: None
BEST COSTUME DESIGN:
Alice Through the Looking Glass
Hail, Caesar!
La La Land
Love & Friendship
Silence

Changes: Replaced The Zookeeper’s Wife (moved to 2017) with La La Land
BEST FILM EDITING:
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
The Birth of a Nation
La La Land
Passengers
Silence

Changes: None
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
The BFG
The Birth of a Nation
Finding Dory
The Light Between Oceans
Silence

Changes: Replaced Rogue One: A Star Wars Story with Finding Dory
BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
La La Land
Moana
Sing Street
Sing Street
Trolls

Changes: Replaced David Brent: Life on the Road and Finding Dory with Moana and Sing Street
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING:
Silence
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad

Changes: Replaced Alice Through the Looking Glass with Star Trek Beyond
BEST SOUND MIXING:
Jason Bourne
La La Land
Passengers
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Silence

Changes: None
BEST SOUND EDITING:
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Deepwater Horizon
Finding Dory
Jason Bourne
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Changes: None
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:
The BFG
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
The Jungle Book
Passengers
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Changes: None
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:
Finding Dory
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
The Red Turtle
Zootopia

Changes: None

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2009 SoundSpec Awards

Tegan and Sara lead with a record 9 noms.

This year feels a little underwhelming, but I found room to spread the love for some of my favorites. Check out my picks below.

Note: You can click on the images to enlarge them.

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2012 SoundSpec Awards

Jessie Ware co-leads with 5 noms.

Here’s my last ballot update with some changes and new categories (Best Urban Contemporary Album and Song). I’m working on 2009 right now, so I’ll hopefully have that posted next week.

Note: You can click on the images to enlarge them.

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Films I Saw in May

Act of Violence

I’ve been listening to a lot of music lately for SoundSpec Awards posts, so I only watched a few films last month. Here’s a quick ranking of what little I did see.

8. Leap Year
D
7. Special Correspondents
D+
6. High-Rise
C-
5. Colonia
C+
4. Get Along
B
3. The Con – The Movie
B
2. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
B
1. Act of Violence
B

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