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Best 11 Films of 2011

Posted by Charles Reece, January 8, 2012 11:25pm | Post a Comment
Last year wasn't too good for movies, but it was great for scores. I can't remember a year where I listened and re-listened to so much music from films: Cliff Martinez electronic-based Drive, Contagion and The Lincoln Lawyer; Alexandre Desplat's The Tree of Life and The Ides of March; Alberto Iglesias' The Skin I Live In and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy;  and, probably my favorite of the year, The Chemical Brothers' Hanna (much better than Daft Punk's overrated TRON: Legacy). I'll be surprised if any but Desplat gets nominated for an Oscar, though. Another likely Oscar candidate is Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor's The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, which I really liked, but haven't yet had a chance to listen to it independently of the film. And Jeremy Schmidt's analog sound designs for Beyond the Black Rainbow are amazing (somewhere in the territory of Wendy Carlos' The Shining), but I'm not quite sure what's diegetic and extra-diegetic until an album is released.

As for my list of best films: most of these I enjoyed some parts of, while not exactly the whole. I'd say the overall best of the bunch are Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Meek's Cutoff and Super, but my favorite sequences of the year came from Hanna, Drive and Beyond the Black Rainbow.

13 assassins poster kevin graham poster
13 Assassins - Takashi Miike

I never seem to tire of action films questioning when it's appropriate or moral to use violence. As I previously discussed, 13 Assassins does a good job of critiquing the aestheticization of violence while aestheticizing the violence. 

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my top ten movies of 2011...

Posted by Brad Schelden, January 7, 2012 01:45pm | Post a Comment
I finally got my best movies of 2011 list finished. I thought I was really behind this year since it was already January 7th. But it seems that I also posted my top movies of 2010 on January 7th. So it must be meant to be. I am still a bit behind and have not seen everything that I wanted to see yet. I really want to see We Need To Talk About Kevin, Warrior, A Separation and Young Adult. Those might have ended up in my list but I really can't be sure. I also really liked The Muppets and Tree of Life which almost ended up in my list. I did cheat and do a top 12 last year. But I thought I should keep to only ten this year. These 10 movies are the movies that I fell in love with this year. I saw them all in the theater which I still think is the best place to see movies. These are the movies that I can't stop thinking about. The movies that I can't wait to see again...

the artist








The Artist
Michel Hazanavicius





drive


Drive
Nicolas Winding Refn




the skin i live in

Ten reasons why last year didn't suck: another Best Music of 2011 list

Posted by Kelly S. Osato, January 1, 2012 12:00pm | Post a Comment
2011, what can I say? A great year for music if not for anything else. So without further ado, I'm pleased to present my very own "Best of 2011" list, because listing is fun (unless, of course, you're on a ship in danger of capsizing). Let's sail on shall we, beginning with the top of the best, old Mr. Natural himself:

little wings black grass best of 2011 album record review indie surf folk rock klye field rad rcords
Little Wings

Black Grass
Rad

This apple made a monumental leap from the tree in that it was many years in the making. It seemed that Kyle Field, the man behind the Little Wings mystique, had gone on hiatus only to return on his own terms with this juicy bramble of soft melodies, surf-salted served with a side of Lil Wayne-influenced folk-rock jammage. Field spins wooly yarns that sound like a conversation gone unspoken in the moment regaining shape in memory, voiced to oneself longingly. It's introspective almost to a fault, but the overall sound and vibe offers enough volume and warming to light even the darkest reaches of your keep and stay the ghosts of Black Grass' pasts at bay. Without a doubt the best new record and best instore performance of the year.

Little Wings - "Black Grass"


sandwitches san francisco band grace cooper heidi roxy girl group americana best record 2011 rock folk swing shuffle album local music
The Sandwitches
Mrs. Jones Cookies
Empty Cellar

Best of 2011 Hip-Hop Part 3: Billy Jam's Picks

Posted by Billyjam, December 30, 2011 09:00pm | Post a Comment
         
      Talib Kweli was among the hip-hop artists to embrace the Occupy movement
  in 2011 - even shooting his video for "Distractions" @ Zuccotti Park

This is the third and final of the Best of 2011 Hip-Hop Amoeblog posts. The first Best of 2011 Hip-Hop installment featured a hundred of the hip-hop album releases that were popular sellers at the three Amoeba Music stores over the past year while the second Best Of 2011 Hip-Hop featured favorites of the year chosen by current and former Amoeba hip-hop department employees  Meanwhile this Best of 2011 Hip-Hop post is this Amoeblogger's personal favorite 30 albums of the year. But before I get to these (all below) first let me briefly mention a random list of a few of the interesting hip-hop news stories or events/happenings that generated attention over the past year.

In 2011 hip-hop lost some great artists and most of them were young; tragically taken from this earth long before they should have been. These included 44 year old, Golden Era hip-hop star Heavy D who died of a heart attack while climbing the stairs to his Los Angeles apartment back in early November. Even more recently, just three weeks ago, Special One of The Conscious Daughters (aka TCD) died suddenly the result of a blood clot. The Bay Area hip-hop community was really shaken by this news but glad to learn that the rapper's longtime partner in rhyme, fellow TCD member CMG (Cash Makin Girl) would continue the TCD legacy and about a week ago announced that she would be (sometime in early 2012) be releasing a posthumous TCD album. A famous Bay Area rapper who didn't die but was rumored to have in the latter half of 2011 was Too $hort. This was around the time that $hort had a run in with fellow Bay rapper Messy Marv who foolishly started a beef (at first on the internet and then in rhyme) with the "godfather of Bay rap."

My Favorite 2011 Discoveries in the Free Downloads Section on Amoeba.com

Posted by Amoebite, December 30, 2011 05:23pm | Post a Comment
I love being in a song's clutches, whether it's a new single by an established band or the first track from a new artist I've never heard. I know a song has grabbed me when I hit repeat immediately after its final notes wafted through my ears. I especially love it when this happens with artists with whom I wasn't familiar before. It makes me want to dig into the rest of their music, learn a bit about their history, find out where they've been all this time and why haven't I heard of them until now?

This happened with quite a few tracks I first discovered this year in the Free Downloads section of Amoeba.com. Since it's the season of "Best Of" lists and looking back at 2011, I wanted to share some of my favorite discoveries (in alphabetical order):

2 Hearts and Chemicals
2 Hearts and Chemicals - "Coming Home"

2 Hearts and Chemicals is a bi-coastal band featuring childhood friends Eli Lhymn (who is based in LA) and Stephen Biebel (who is based in NYC). Through the magic of the Internet they exchanged tracks created in their individual studios to produce the Coming Home EP. The title track is an ‘80s synth meets ‘90s shoegaze pop soundscape featuring female background vocals by Iameve.

XD Records released Coming Home on November 11, 2011. Download "Coming Home" by 2 Hearts and Chemicals.




Aeroc
Aeroc
- "For Sake"

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