Favourite Rock Albums of 2020

I’m late to the party, but here’s the first of 2 volumes of my favourite albums in 2020. 10 rock records, 10 arbitrary rankings, you know the drill.

10. Philip Sayce – Spirit Rising

The guitar solos are on fire in Philip Sayce’s Spirit Rising and no fan should be surprised. The virtuoso’s technical axe skills remain impeccable as before, while his passion and attitude shine brighter than ever in every note.

Granted his 2012 stunner Steamroller is tough to beat, his latest album comes pretty close to taking the top spot in his discography. His music speaks for itself, proving his place as one of the best blues-rock guitarists today.

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Favourite Movies of 2020

This has been a tough year for movies, where streaming services threatened cinemas more than before and major film productions came to a halt. May 2021 bring about better luck for us and the film industry both.

Before we return to the theatres next year, here’s looking back at the strange year we had, as defined by the films I personally loved. These exclude ones that almost made it, namely: Black Box, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, and Eurovision Song Contest for the gift of Ja Ja Ding Dong alone.

10. The Invisible Man (dir. Leigh Whannell)

Abandoning the bandages get-up for a high-tech suit affixed with micro-lenses, the new incarnation of Invisible Man has certainly gotten a visual upgrade. More than green screen magic is the story that brings out more grounded invisible monsters within toxic relationships.

Escaping the pitfall of taking on remakes, Leigh Whannell has his own story to tell. Who knew that his movie would be the last cinematic experience that I would have had for the next 6 months, but I couldn’t have chosen a better film to mark a temporary break from my favourite place on this planet. (review)

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Movie Review: The Call (2020)

The Call / 콜 (dir. Lee Chung-hyun, 2020) – Two women from different times connect through a phone call that changes their lives.

4/5

Sci-fi was never the genre that one would typically associate with South Korean cinema. But things are starting to change. In the recent decade, more filmmakers have begun experimenting with conjectures about the future and grand ideas on the manipulation of time – with great success. The Call is this year’s stunner that saw its quiet debut on Netflix.

The movie takes place in 2019, where Seo-yeon (Park Shin-hye) has just returned to her childhood home. She receives a strange call on the landline from a woman named Young-sook (Jeon Jong-seo), only to realise that the latter is living in the same house – 20 years before her.

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Movie Review: The Devil All The Time (2020)

The Devil All the Time (dir. Antonio Campos, 2020) – A young man devotes to protecting his loved ones in a rural town shaped by war and violence.

4/5

On the battlefield, Willard Russell (Bill Skarsgård) stares at the half-dead sergeant, mutilated and crucified by Japanese soldiers. He pulls out his gun and puts an end to the man’s misery. The traumatic memory will cast a shadow on him for the rest of his life.

He is granted a reprieve when he meets diner waitress Charlotte (Haley Bennett) and falls in love. They move to the rural town of Knockemstiff and start a family. But when Charlotte is stricken by cancer, the feeling of being powerless comes back to haunt the veteran. His fervent prayers go unanswered, his sacrifices unseen.

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Movie Review: His House (2020)

His House (dir. Remi Weekes, 2020) – A refugee couple escapes from war-torn South Sudan and begins a new life in an English town, where they struggle to adjust to their new home.

4/5

War refugees Bol (Sope Dirisu) and Rial (Wunmi Mosaku) have arrived on British soil. When they are granted probation asylum for 3 months, they make clear of their gratitude in tears. They embrace their new home, despite it being distant from the city and infested with pests.

They settle in, only to start hearing whispers and seeing shadows in the hallways. Baggage is not all they brought back with them from the war zone. An apeth, also known as a night witch in Dinka folklore, has come to claim its debt.

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Book Reviews: November 2020 Reads

It’s almost time for me to start writing my big year-end lists of favourites! That means it may get quieter over here in December as I bury myself deep in my pop culture reflections.

Now, does anyone know where I get an extra 25th hour a day for all these writing, art and music projects that I’ve left hanging…

Set My Heart to Five (Simon Stephenson, 2020)
5/5

I asked Dr Glundenstein if he thought humans and bots could ever understand each other the way Rick Deckard and Roy Batty had come to understand one another.

‘Ha!’ he said. ‘Ha!’ I replied. With hindsight, I really do not know what we were Ha-ing about. Humans and bots failing to understand each other is not funny. It is the great tragedy of our times. At least, it is for us bots.

Jared the Android has become depressed, though he doesn’t quite understand why. He decides to embark on a quest to figure out what his new emotions mean, where the world of cinema becomes his teacher.

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Movies / Music / Odds & Ends