We wrap up our Best of 2015 list today with the world of film and music. So many choices, so little viewing/listening time.
While We’re Young
Cornelia and Josh get their lives turned upside down when a young couple enters their lives.
On the surface, it’s a comedy about the difference between youth and age. Looked at properly, it’s a deep examination of the road not travelled and what it takes to be an artist. A great film works on many levels; While We’re Young is a great film. -Alan’s pick
The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst
The innovative HBO documentary miniseries unearthed damning information about three murders long connected to Robert Durst, the American real estate heir.
Interviewed by the show for over 20 hours, Durst was arrested one day before the finale. This gripping show, now on DVD, gave me the goose bumps. Binge watched it in a day.-Joyce’s pick
This true story follows six brothers who grow up locked in a Manhattan housing project.
With little access to the real world but lots of access to film, they pass time acting out revered movies (Reservoir Dogs) using elaborate props they create. It was fascinating, puzzling, and kind of strange–I loved it! -Joyce’s pick
This review is for the DVD — I would *not* recommend the audiobook.
The fascinating life of film critic Roger Ebert is affectionately presented in this compelling film, an adaptation of Ebert’s autobiography. An excellent journalistic writer, Ebert, endured a painful year-long journey with cancer. -Kate’s pick
What We Do In the Shadows
A mock documentary about vampires and all the horrors involved in being one.
This film is packed with sight gags and comedic situations that will keep you laughing for almost all 85 minutes. Have you ever considered what would happen to your teeth if you lived 700 years? How you would get dressed without a mirror? -Kate’s pick
Antarctica: A year on ice
This fascinating documentary captures a snapshot of life in one of the most remote places on the planet, home to an international community of scientists and workers.
I was intrigued and spellbound as residents shared their frustrations and the attraction that led them to the rugged beauty that characterizes Antarctica. Highly recommended. -Margo’s pick
A low-level con artist in L.A. falls into the “big time” in the freelance video news business.
Simply put, this movie gives me the creeps (for me, this is a desirable feature in a film). In retrospect, the plot is a bit over the top, but Gyllenhaal’s performance kept my belief thoroughly suspended for the full 1 hour and 58 minutes. -Zac’s pick
The Flash: Season One
A CSI lab worker gets struck by lightning and obtains super powers. This incarnation of the Flash is molded after Geoff Johns’ New 52 DC Comic series.
This series falls somewhere between awesome and awesomely bad. Wentworth Miller, of Prison Break fame, also brings a lot to the series playing the hilariously evil villain Captain Cold. There’re even Arrow Season 3 crossover episodes to boot! -Zac’s pick
Mad Max: Fury Road
This film delivers a long-awaited update to the Mad Max franchise.
I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic anything, but this film will appeal to anyone that enjoys a good action movie (and a lot of people that don’t go for either genre). The movie’s evil Immortan Joe and the War Boys are glorious. -Zac’s pick
Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit by Courtney Barnett
Raw, acerbic, personal, yet intellectual garage/folk rock from a young Australian.
Barnett’s smarts and energy come through on her fun, wry, and accessible debut LP, a sample lyric: “Give me all your money and I’ll make some origami, honey / I think you’re a joke, but I don’t find you very funny.” -Alan’s pick
Choose your Weapon by Hiatus Kaiyote
From start to finish this album is a joyride of blended styles: RnB, Soul, Drum and Bass, Hip-Hop, Funk, Jazz, and much more. It’s really impossible to sum up.
A great album to throw on while you’re working in the kitchen or entertaining guests, it’s just a feel-good listen that provides a little of everything. -Lisa’s pick
Ratchet by Shamir
A dancy, fun, sassy, intelligent electronic album with a sense of humor.
For pop listeners interested in expanding their horizons into electronic music, this might be a nice crossover album. -Lisa’s pick
Cheers to the Fall by Andra Day
Day may incorporate some vintage vibes, but she possesses the vision and creativity to avoid being pigeon-holed as a throwback artist.
Day possesses a beautiful, powerful voice that fills up the room with neo-soul melodies. Her style has hints of doo-wop, soul, and Motown, with a timeless sound similar to Nikki Jean, Amy Winehouse, and Adele. -Lisa’s pick
This is The Sonics by The Sonics
The godfathers of garage rock show that 50 years later they are still the kings of garage rock.
Strong singing and playing, fast tempos, rocking songs. As good as it gets. -Ron’s pick
Before the World was Big by Girlpool
Simple, quiet, sometimes out-of-tune, charming.
This post-punk-in-spirit band surprised me with their childlike simplicity and sparse music. Excellent listen. -Ron’s pick
So Delicious by Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band
Blues, swamp rock, music that mountain men wish they were tough enough to listen to.
Hard-edged yet filled with fun, leaves me expecting a jug solo at any moment. -Ron’s pick
All Hands by Doomtree
Doomtree is a Minneapolis indie hip-hop super group.
Nerdy lyrical references and the high-tempo sound drew me in to this album. Those aspects made it worth listening to, but it was Doomtree’s effective use of multiple MCs that pushed me to give it repeat listening.