Top 10 Albums and Songs of 2017

Lorde’s Melodrama was one of my favorites.

This post has been a long time coming, and I’ve finally quit dragging my feet. I’d like to do the SoundSpecs at some point, but we’ll see. I will add that there’s an album on my list that surprised me in the best way. I’m sure you can guess which one. Also, on a movie note: I’m planning on posting the 2017 CinSpecs on the week of the Oscars.

Top 10 Albums:
10. Utopia – Björk
9. Infinite Worlds – Vagabon
8. american dream – LCD Soundsystem
7. Melodrama – Lorde
6. A Deeper Understanding – The War on Drugs
5. Glasshouse – Jessie Ware
4. DAMN. COLLECTORS EDITION. – Kendrick Lamar
3. Harry Styles – Harry Styles
2. Gone Now – Bleachers
1. Antisocialites – Alvvays

Top 10 Songs:
Bonus: (my favorite cover of the year)
"Burn Your Life Down" – Bleachers

10. “Feel It Still” – Portugal. The Man

9. “Bitter End” – Gordi

8. “Up All Night” – The War on Drugs

7. “DNA.” – Kendrick Lamar

6. “Your Type” – Alvvays

5. “Cleaning House (live version) – Vagabon

4. “Cut to the Feeling” – Carly Rae Jepsen

3. “Sign of the Times” – Harry Styles

2. “Miami Still” – Tegan and Sara*

*This is a 2007 demo that was just released last year.

1. “Don’t Take the Money” – Bleachers

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90th Oscar Nominations Announced

Phantom Thread gets a surprise boost.

The Oscar nominations were announced yesterday, with a few shocks and snubs as usual. I saw The Shape of Water and Phantom Thread on Sunday, and the unexpected Oscar love for the latter is wonderful. Christopher Plummer’s historic nomination still astounds me, but I haven’t even seen the film yet. And that Logan screenplay nomination is awesome. I suppose I did okay with my predictions on the whole, though I’m kicking myself in some categories. Overall, I love the nominees this year. Check out how I did on my predictions below.

BEST PICTURE:
Call Me by Your Name
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

How I did: 7/9 (predicted 8, missed Phantom Thread and Darkest Hour)

BEST DIRECTOR:
Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Jordan Peele, Get Out

How I did: 3/5 (missed Anderson and Peele)

BEST ACTOR:
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

How I did: 4/5 (missed Washington)

BEST ACTRESS:
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Meryl Streep, The Post

How I did: 5/5

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

How I did: 4/5 (missed Plummer)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

How I did: 4/5 (missed Spencer)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
Call Me by Your Name
The Disaster Artist
Logan
Molly’s Game
Mudbound

How I did: 4/5 (missed Logan)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
The Big Sick
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

How I did: 4/5 (missed The Big Sick)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:
Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water

How I did: 4/5 (missed Dunkirk)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Mudbound
The Shape of Water

How I did: 5/5

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:
Beauty and the Beast
Darkest Hour
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Victoria & Abdul

How I did: 3/5 (missed Darkest Hour and Victoria & Abdul)

BEST FILM EDITING:
Baby Driver
Dunkirk
I, Tonya
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

How I did: 5/5

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
Dunkirk
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

How I did: 3/5 (missed Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri)

BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
"Mighty River" from Mudbound
"Mystery of Love" from Call Me by Your Name
"Remember Me" from Coco
"Stand Up for Something" from Marshall
"This Is Me" from The Greatest Showman

How I did: 4/5 (missed Mudbound)

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING:
Darkest Hour
Victoria & Abdul
Wonder

How I did: 1/3 (missed Victoria & Abdul and Wonder)

BEST SOUND MIXING:
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

How I did: 5/5

BEST SOUND EDITING:
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

How I did: 5/5

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:
Blade Runner 2049
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2
Kong: Skull Island
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes

How I did: 3/5 (missed Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 and Kong: Skull Island)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:
The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Coco
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

How I did: 3/5 (missed The Boss Baby and Ferdinand)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
A Fantastic Woman (Chile)
The Insult (Lebanon)
Loveless (Russia)
On Body and Soul (Hungary)
The Square (Sweden)

How I did: 3/5 (missed The Insult and On Body and Soul)

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM:
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Faces Places
Icarus
Last Men in Aleppo
Strong Island

How I did: 3/5 (missed Abacus: Small Enough to Jail and Strong Island)

How I did overall: 82/107, or 77% Source: http://ift.tt/1pDYbUl

Final Oscar Predictions

The Shape of Water is poised to lead the nominations.

While I didn’t post much last year, it’s been a fun award season, and I’m glad to participate in Shane’s Oscar contest again. This year I’ve actually seen most of the major films already, except for I, Tonya, which I’ll be seeing later this week. I’m sure we’re in for a surprise tomorrow when the nominations are announced, so I’ve gone out on a limb or two in a few categories. (I was THIS close to adding Darkest Hour in Best Picture.) Here’s my last stab at predicting the nominees. Good luck, everyone.

BEST PICTURE:
Call Me by Your Name
Dunkirk
The Florida Project
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST DIRECTOR:
Sean Baker, The Florida Project
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk

BEST ACTOR:
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

BEST ACTRESS:
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Meryl Streep, The Post

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Michael Shannon, The Shape of Water

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
Call Me by Your Name
The Disaster Artist
The Lost City of Z
Molly’s Game
Mudbound

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:
Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
The Post
The Shape of Water

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Mudbound
The Shape of Water

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:
Beauty and the Beast
The Greatest Showman
Murder on the Orient Express
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water

BEST FILM EDITING:
Baby Driver
Dunkirk
I, Tonya
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water

BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
"Evermore" from Beauty and the Beast
"Mystery of Love" from Call Me by Your Name
"Remember Me" from Coco
"Stand Up for Something" from Marshall
"This Is Me" from The Greatest Showman

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING:
Darkest Hour
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2
I, Tonya

BEST SOUND MIXING:
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

BEST SOUND EDITING:
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
Okja
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:
The Breadwinner
Coco
The Girl without Hands
The LEGO Batman Movie
Loving Vincent

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
A Fantastic Woman (Chile)
In the Fade (Germany)
Loveless (Russia)
The Square (Sweden)
The Wound (South Africa)

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM:
City of Ghosts
Faces Places
Icarus
Jane
Last Men in Aleppo Source: http://ift.tt/1pDYbUl

2014 CinSpec Awards

Here’s the latest ballot update, with a batch of new nominees and some new winners. As a reminder, these are based on first theatrical release. The Immigrant, We Are the Best!, Le Week-End, Only Lovers Left Alive, Ida, Mood Indigo, Snowpiercer, The Zero Theorem, and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya have moved to 2013 for consideration.

I still need to see films like Timbuktu, National Gallery, The Tribe, Saint Laurent, Eden, Horse Money, Tokyo Tribe, Li’l Quinquin, Yves Saint Laurent, Black Coal, Thin Ice, Hide Your Smiling Faces, Top Five, Kill the Messenger, The Better Angels, A Master Builder, The Toy Soldiers, Camp X-Ray, The Gambler, Tusk, and Men, Women & Children.

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Top 10 Older Films I Saw in 2017

The Dead Zone (1983)

Happy New Year! Hopefully, this will be the start of more blogging. I’m sure I’ll post more than 10 times this year, and I’ll try to stop by your blogs. Last year I rewatched a lot of movies. More than usual. I could barely make this list actually, since I didn’t watch many first-timers that weren’t from 2016 or 2017. But I did manage to watch 180 films last year at least.

Note: I’m not counting 2016 leftovers I watched early in the year.

10. Reign of Fire (2002)
9. The Dead Zone (1983)
8. K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)
7. Slap Shot (1977)
6. Crimson Tide (1995)
5. Eve’s Bayou (1997)
4. Ulee’s Gold (1997)
3. El Dorado (1967)
2. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)
1. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)

Top 10 Rewatches:

The Apartment (1960)
Blade Runner (1982)
Die Hard (1988)
Drive (2011)
The Exorcist (1973)
Jaws (1975)
Juno (2007)

Rio Bravo (1959)
Star Wars (1977)
There Will Be Blood (2007)

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December Oscar Predictions

Nolan’s Dunkirk is poised to get several nominations.

Before the year ends, here’s my tenth post and first dive into Oscar predictions. I’ll post my final ones before the nominations next month. If they turn out close to what I have below, I’ve actually seen a lot of these films. The main ones I still need to check out are Call Me by Your Name, The Shape of Water, Phantom Thread, The Post, and I, Tonya. Good luck figuring out this year, everyone.

BEST PICTURE:
Call Me by Your Name
Dunkirk
The Florida Project
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST DIRECTOR:
Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Steven Spielberg, The Post

BEST ACTOR:
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

BEST ACTRESS:
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Meryl Streep, The Post

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalfe, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
The Beguiled
Call Me by Your Name
The Disaster Artist
Molly’s Game
Mudbound

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
The Big Sick
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Post
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:
Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
The Post
The Shape of Water

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Wonder Wheel
Wonderstruck

BEST COSTUME DESIGN:
Beauty and the Beast
Murder on the Orient Express
Phantom Thread
The Shape of Water
Victoria & Abdul

BEST FILM EDITING:
Dunkirk
Get Out
I, Tonya
The Post
The Shape of Water

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water

BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
"Evermore" from Beauty and the Beast
"Mystery of Love" from Call Me by Your Name
"Remember Me" from Coco
"Stand Up for Something" from Marshall
"This Is Me" from The Greatest Showman

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING:
Darkest Hour
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2
I, Tonya

BEST SOUND MIXING:
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Post
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

BEST SOUND EDITING:
Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:
Blade Runner 2049
Okja
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:
The Breadwinner
Coco
Ferdinand
The Girl without Hands
Loving Vincent

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
A Fantastic Woman (Chile)
Foxtrot (Israel)
Loveless (Russia)
The Square (Sweden)
The Wound (South Africa) Source: http://ift.tt/1pDYbUl

2015 CinSpec Awards

Hi guys. I can’t believe I haven’t even posted ten times this year. It’s the Friday before Christmas, and I’m posting this on a whim. I actually think I’m going to be more active next year, which is as soon as the Monday after next. I’ll have more CinSpec updates soonish, as well as Oscar predictions and maybe some lists and brief "reviews." Anyways, I want to post more often, so I’ll try to do that. See you soon.

Note: These updates are based on original theatrical release, so previously nominated films like The Wonders, Phoenix, Maps to the Stars, Clouds of Sils Maria, The Water Diviner, Black Sea, and When Marnie Was There are moving to 2014 for consideration.

I still need to see films like Mustang, Arabian Nights, Taxi, Boy and the World, The Forbidden Room, By the Sea, In Jackson Heights, Good Kill, Welcome to Me, Jimmy’s Hall, Buzzard, Our Brand is Crisis, Freeheld, The Summer of Sangaile, Manglehorn, Experimenter, and Pawn Sacrifice.

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There Will Be Blood… and CinSpecs

Oscar winner for a reason.

Hey guys! I’ve been meaning to stop by for a while and mention a few things, so here it goes. After a drought of almost a decade, I rewatched There Will Be Blood on a whim recently, and it blew me away. Paul Thomas Anderson’s masterpiece, really, and I never thought I’d say that. I’ll admit my reaction to Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance was far more enthusiastic as well. He’s amazing. I suspect my previous stance of great-but-not-GREAT was somewhat influenced by his dominance that awards season, but his success was totally deserved. In short, Anderson and Day-Lewis are geniuses, and I now consider the film an all-time favorite. So, the 2007 CinSpecs are due for an update. Several, actually.
That brings me to a little announcement. Not only will I be updating the CinSpecs, but I’ve decided to tighten up the rules for my awards, since eligibility has always been a predicament. I’m now going to place films according to their original theatrical release dates, EXCLUDING festival premieres. (IMDb still makes this a little annoying, but it’ll be easier on the whole.) For instance, films like Mud and The Place Beyond the Pines will stay in 2013, as they only played in festivals in 2012. However, The Hurt Locker and Two Lovers will move from 2009 to 2008, since they actually premiered theatrically outside of the US a year earlier. Some of my ballots will really be shaken up – new nominees AND winners. I’ll start posting updated ballots soon.
In the meantime, I’ve updated 2016’s ballot. I finally saw Certain Women, so that’s on there. I’ve also seen The Unknown Girl, Personal Shopper, and It’s Only the End of the World, which are all eligible for that ballot. None made the cut, though. In addition, I’ve moved The Lobster and April and the Extraordinary World to 2015 and Beauty and the Beast to 2014.
I’ve posted the five new lineups that changed on my 2016 ballot below, or you can always just look at my ballot again. I’ll answer your comments over there soon as well. Thanks! 🙂

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2016 CinSpec Awards

La La Land won 6 Oscars, but how’d it fare here?

If you’re reading this, I’m sorry I’ve put the blog on the back burner for the past several months. I still enjoy movies; I just watch less of them, which is why it took me so long to put together my ballot. As always, there are some painful snubs, oversights, and perhaps some head-scratchers on here. I was torn in some categories, but I’m quite happy with the results overall. Last year wasn’t one of the greatest for film, though I found a lot to love.

Obviously, I haven’t seen everything. I still need to watch films like Cameraperson, I Am Not Your Negro, Your Name, Certain Women, Gold, Miss Sloane, Sunset Song, Our Kind of Traitor, A Man Called Ove, Train to Busan, Pete’s Dragon, Last Days of the Desert, Warcraft, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, Patriot’s Day, The Girl on the Train, Wiener-Dog, Ma Ma, Kate Plays Christine, The Diary of a Chambermaid, Miss Hokusai, American Pastoral, and Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children. With that, check out my picks below. Note: You can click on the images to enlarge them.

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Blind Spot: The Great Silence (1968)

The Great Silence is a first-rate spaghetti western.

Directed by Sergio Corbucci
Produced by Attilio Riccio

Written by Vittoriano Petrilli, Mario Amendola, Bruno Corbucci and Sergio Corbucci

Starring Klaus Kinski, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Vonetta McGee

Plot Summary: A silent gunfighter (Trintignant) faces a group of ruthless bounty hunters in Snow Hill, Utah.

Significance: Widely considered one of the best spaghetti westerns of all time, the film has become a cult classic. The film wasn’t available in the U.S. until its 2004 DVD release, and it screened in American theaters for the first time in a limited 35 mm release in 2012.

Thoughts: Though not quite in the same league as the epic Once Upon a Time in the West, this spaghetti western is a fine example of the bygone genre. It’s a small-scale, brutal little film with solid lead performances, brilliant cinematography, and an unforgettable score, contributed by Ennio Morricone, no less. Granted, it feels a bit dated, but that doesn’t detract from the film’s impact too much. The ending is notoriously bleak, with a “happy” ending even being commissioned by the studio for North African and Asian audiences. Overall, it’s a real gem, and definitely worth a look for cinephiles or fans of westerns.

Rating: A

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

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