2016 ‘Best Of’ Review

 

Becky Bacsik

becky-2

 

Best Songs

1. “The Axis” – Thee Oh Sees
2. “Robot Stop” – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
3.“Give Violence A Chance” – G.L.O.S.S.
4. “Angel Cum Clean” – Elvis Depressedly
5. “First And Last Men” – ORB
Favorite Local Song: “Western Playland” – Holy Wave andEven Steven” – Tele Novella

 

 

Best Movies

1. High Rise
2. Jackie
3. Before The Flood
4. I Am Not A Serial Killer
5. American Honey

Best TV Show: Black Mirror, Stranger Things, West World. 2016 was such a good year for Sci-fi.

Best Documentary: Before The Flood – Starring Leonardo DiCaprio in collaboration with National Geographic, this documentary proves just how real and problematic global warming is. Not only does it show the disturbing effects global warming has had on various parts of the world, but it also discusses the root of the problem, and provides suggestions on what we can do to help slow the process. Depressing, but insightful.

Honorable Mention: Who Took Johnny? – If you’ve ever wondered how missing children began appearing on the back of milk cartons, here’s your answer. Who Took Johnny? discusses the 1980’s disappearance of 12 year old Johnny Gosch. The documentary features various twists and turns, revealing an underground child sex ring linked to powerful political figures, a trail of other child kidnappings and disappearances, and a mother’s relentless search for her missing son. If you’re a fan of documentaries like Making A Murderer, then you’ll want to check this out.

Notable Local Artist: Xavier Schiapani. Bold, simplistic, and often witty paintings that I can’t get enough of.

 

 

Trish Connelly

trish-connelly

Best Songs

1. “Nest” – Half Waif
2. “Touching and Moving” – Foster Body
3. “The Plain Moon” – The Besnard Lakes
4. “Cool Kids” Shana Falana
5. “Romantic” – Mannequin Pussy
Favorite Local Song: “In a Day” – Pale Dīan

 

Best Movies

1. Moonlight
2. The Witch
3. The Lobster – Check out our review here. 
4. Blue Jay – Always a fan of the Duplass brothers, Blue Jay tugged on the heartstrings with a simple yet effective storyline. A reunion of past sweethearts, Jim (Mark Duplass) and Amanda (Sarah Paulson) recollect the years that have gone by, touching upon fleeting yet significant memories specific to their relationship, along the way aiding each other to unburden their issues and unturned rocks they’d rather not deal with. Full of compassion and even more full of life’s treasures that go entirely unnoticed except for those that mutually share them, Blue Jay is a conscious reminder not to surrender to human connections.
5. The Invitation – this one toyed with my emotions and tension in the best possible way. Around the midway point of the film I thought I had it figured out where the rest of the story was going to go and then it snapped me back with a “holy shit” moment. The psychological layers and pacing make for an excellent film for those of you looking for a smart thriller (bonus: this one’s also on the Netflix.

Best TV Show: Stranger Things

Best Documentary: My Beautiful Broken Brain

Notable Local Artist: Briar Bonifacio

 

 

Jay Armstrong

jay-armstrong

Best Songs

1. “Just Wanna Hide” – Frustration
2. “Like Sideways Going Down” – Cut Worms – This one is perfectly layered in a George Harrison understated fashion. Where most songs feel weak because of their hushed tone, “Like Sideways Coming Down” is a revelation because of it.
3. “His Master’s Voice” – Counter Intuits Monosyllabilly from Counter Intuits and Frustration’s Empire of Shame are probably my two favorite albums of the year (G.L.O.S.S. obviously putting out the strongest 45), Start to finish both are perfect.
4. “Black Jack” – Dude York
5. “Desconexion” – Generacion Suicida
Favorite Local Song: “Heavy Loiter” – Spray Paint

Best Movies

1. La La Land – Written without flaw, visually brilliant, Gosling/Stone come off as natural as Sinatra and Hepburn, La La Land is number one with a bullet to be remembered eternally alongside the likes of Funny Face, Grease, and Dirty Dancing.

2. The Witch – You could dig into this on repeat for a week and still be captivated by something new each time. On the surface The Witch seems subdued, slightly understated, yet each shot is done with such intense detail you can practically hear Kubrick applauding from the grave. Anya Taylor-Joy owns the Robert Eggers lens with such seductive skill it pushes the work of Refn/Fanning in Neon Demon (arguably worth making into the top five as well) to the dark dusty “oh yeah, that one was great as well” corners of our minds.

3. The Lobster – A Hilarious social ideological take on how it feels to exist in modern culture without the atypical sheep mindset the herd seemingly subscribe to. Yorgos Lanthimos proves the perfection he crafted in Dogtooth was merely another step on his path of proving himself as one of the most important directors ever to shape film. Read our review here.

4. Captain Fantastic  – Captain Fantastic is a word of mouth powerhouse. The best written film of 2016, of that even The Lobster doesn’t come close in regard.

5. Knight of Cups – Check out our review of the film here.

Best Show:  Stranger Things – Nostalgia, monsters, youth-against-all-odds— flawlessly rad.

Best Documentary:  13th – not only carrying the cinematic weight of Blackfish and The Fear of 13, it has as well the relevance to the issues of our very moment in time with informative substance typically lacking within the glossier, for entertainment purposes, side of the documentary realm.

jon-chamberlain-lay
Lay by Jon Chamberlain

Notable local artist:  (Photography) Jon Chamberlain – Chamberlain’s role in documenting all which remains important in these last waning death-rattle moments of Austin’s creative soul at the hands of overpopulated gentrification within the community is as necessary now as it will be important later. Outside of capturing bands, Chamberlain’s more creative shoots are existentially crafted bearing a weight one cannot casually glance over giving them a Gregory Crewdson doing modern impressions of Nan Goldin soul to the finished prints.

 

Anthony Flores

anthony-flores

Best Songs
1. Black Marble – Woods
2. Solange – Cranes in the Sky
3. Jessy Lanza – New Ogi
4. Deep Cuts – Take Me Back
5.  S U R V I V E – A.H.B.
Favorite Local Song: Holy Wave – Western Playland; Holy Wave is my ultimate favorite local Texas band. “Western Playland” is off their most recent release which you can listen to here. If you want a lo-fi, psychedelic, western trip without leaving your bed, check them out. Also be on the lookout for shows in a city near you!

Best Movies

  1. Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them
  2. The Witch
  3. The Lobster
  4. Arrival
  5. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children;

Best TV Show: Black Mirror – Black Mirror is the ideal show of the near future. It has basically shown me what the world may possibly turn to (well at least in my opinion).

Best Documentary: Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures- All of the photographs and archived footage compiled in this documentary just make it an all around in-depth view into Robert Mapplethorpe’s life. Being one of my favorite photographers, this was truly a great film.

Notable Local Artist: Cy Twombly – Cy Twombly has a great gallery in Houston, TX. If you are ever around and love minimalist art, definitely check it out! It’s part of the Menil Collection and home to over 20 works of art by the incredible artist.

 

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