With restrictions still in place, my cinema trips have regrettably reduced as I remain reliant on streaming services. Thankfully, there are more than a few gems on the interweb.
Of the limited pool, I whittled the list down to 10 of my personal favourites, excluding the much underrated Encounter, highly misunderstood The Matrix: Resurrections, and unfairly maligned Mortal Kombat reboot. Here are the rest:
10. The Night House (dir. David Bruckner)
You were right. There is nothing. Nothing is after you. You’re safe now. Those were the last words that Owen (Evan Jonigkeit) left behind in his cryptic suicide note to his wife Beth (Rebecca Hall). All of that means nothing to her, at first. But when she finds an inverse floor plan of their home, she becomes certain that the answers lie where she stands.
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Lists are fun, but the gatekeeping in the metal community can be wild. Here’s hoping no one gets mad at my awful music taste. This is my final music year-end list, before I conclude my 2021 reflections with my limited cinematic experiences in due time. x
10. Alien Weaponry – Tangaroa
Tū was no fluke. Tangaroa follows through on Alien Weaponry‘s continued promise of heavy thrash metal that fans of veterans like Sepultura and Testament would relish, and relentlessly spirited energy that infects the dullest of crowds.
Alternating between English and their native tongue, the young band keeps their brand of metal fresh with the welcome influences of their Māori heritage. When the grooves do begin to blend, one standout track Unforgiving dares break out of the formula, slowing down for emotions stripped bare.
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2021 has been done for a while now. It’s about due time to round up some of the best in music and film, all in the name of fun. While there are definitely more than a dozen great rock albums last year, I have whittled them down to my 10 favourites.
10. Daughtry – Dearly Beloved
His days of reality TV far behind him, Chris Daughtry continues to prove the judges so hopelessly wrong for leaving him in fourth place. His eponymous band Daughtry is now onto their sixth album Dearly Beloved, which marks an outstanding return to his roots in rock.
Perhaps it is the creative liberity that he has earned, breaking free of a major label and latching onto his own. Whatever happened was for the best; this feels like a breakout album in many ways, possessing a much needed intensity that seemed missing in his former releases.
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After another unintended break due to life beyond the Internet, here lies the final list that may allude to the year we would love to forget. Enjoy disagreeing with my personal favourites!
10. Wolf – Feeding the Machine
Six years after their last album Devil Seed, Swedish metallers Wolf returns with a brand new line-up to full throttle with Feeding the Machine. Frontman Niklas Stålvind is the last original bandmate standing, anchoring the group with his signature vocal that fortunately hits all the right notes.
The infectious energy doesn’t quite match that of their best work in Ravenous and Evil Star, with which they might have peaked too early. For the most part though, the song remains the same as the solos speed on while the riffs charge forth.
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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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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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