My favourite songs of 2007

  1. The National . “Fake Empire”
  2. Arcade Fire . “Intervention”
  3. The Besnard Lakes . “Devastation”
  4. Rogue Wave . “Harmonium”
  5. Grinderman . “No Pussy Blues”
  6. Vampire Weekend . “Walcott”
  7. Matt Pond PA . “Reading”
  8. Matt Pond PA . “Last Light”
  9. Okkervil River . “Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe”
  10. LCD Soundsystem . “All My Friends”
  11. Kissaway Trail . “61”
  12. Rebekah Higgs . “Parables”
  13. Kings Of Leon . “The Runner”
  14. Raising The Fawn . “Cliffdivers”
  15. Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip . “Thou Shalt Always Kill”
  16. The Office . “Oh My!”
  17. Radiohead . “House Of Cards”
  18. Datarock . “I Used To Dance With My Daddy”
  19. Band of Horses . “Lamb on the Lam (In The City)”
  20. LCD Soundsystem . “North American Scum”

Before you ask, I meant to put those two Matt Pond PA songs back-to-back. In fact, I couldn’t even rank one above the other; it’s essentially a tie. LCD Soundsystem is the only other double-entry, but had I gone a few songs further I think “Own Your Own Home” by Rogue Wave or the Arcade Fire‘s “Keep The Car Running” would’ve made an appearance.

I highly recommend making these into a playlist and plugging it in at whatever festivities you attend this evening. If the party were attended by 300 of me, I’m sure it’d be a big hit.

By the way, it could be a while before I can comment on my favourite films of 2007 since I still haven’t seen 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Atonement, Away From Her, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Charlie Wilson’s War, I’m Not There, Inland Empire, Iraq In Fragments, Juno, Lars And The Real Girl, Letters From Iwo Jima, Ratatouille, Terror’s Advocate, The Diving Bell And The Butterfly, The Lookout, The Savages or We Own The Night.

[tags]best songs of 2007[/tags]

We're taking breaks only to eat, pee and buy fresh batteries for the remote

We are movie-watching machines. We finished off the batch of four movies I rented on Friday and picked up four more.

We watched the very troubling and very authentic-feeling This Is England (imdb | rotten tomatoes) yesterday. It was the story of a 12-year-old boy who falls in with skinheads in Thatcher-era England; the premise sounds far-fetched, but it portrayed in a very real and creepy way how easily it could happen. It was amazing how well they re-created the scummy, gray, economically downtrodden England of the time, and the characters all felt so real…probably partly because I’m unaccustomed to seeing actors make themselves so ugly (i.e., looking like they really came from that era, not a Hollywood-softened version of it) for authenticity’s sake. Highly recommended.

Black Book (imdb | rotten tomatoes) would have been an excellent movie, but it went on 30 minutes too long. An almost non-stop battle between the Nazis and the Dutch resistance, and done in Paul Verhoeven’s typical raw style, it lost momentum in the final act as it twisted and turned through too many endings. It’s still worth watching though.

The Kingdom (imdb | rotten tomatoes) got a bad rap from a lot of critics, but I liked it. It’s not a multi-layered intrigue-fest like Syriana; it’s an action movie. True, Jennifer Garner and Chris Cooper were wasted playing caricatures and the story got rather hard to believe at times, but it was gripping and interesting and even funny in parts. Again, well worth picking up.

Tonight we’re taking a break from potential best-of-2007 films and watching Hostel 2, as per Nellie’s wishes.

[tags]this is england, black book, the kingdom[/tags]

Who did this poll, Band of Horses?

This news release presents a conundrum:

Toronto, ON – A new Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of CanWest News Service and Global Television finds that while two thirds (66%) of Canadians indicate that they believe in angels and half (48%) of the nation says they believe in spirits and ghosts. One in 10 (10%) Canadians believe that there is a spirit or ghost actually living in their house or residence. To put it in perspective, that’s 2.5 million Canadians who believe that when something goes bump in the night it’s more than the mice from Ratatouille.

So either a major pollster is wrong (not much of a shock) or my nation contains a great number of gullible ninnies…not exactly news either, but the magnitude is troubling. I just can’t decide which is more believable…and less palatable.

[via the Globe and Mail]

[tags]ipsos reid, poll, angels, ghosts[/tags]

"I can't become king if someone else already sits on the throne."

In a belated attempt to see more of the best movies of 2007 (as ranked by critics anyway) we rented four movies yesterday in preparation for a lazy cinematic weekend. We watched two last night, and they were both great.

Eastern Promises (imdb | rotten tomatoes) won the top prize at this year’s TIFF, and was mentioned as a worthy follow-up to A History Of Violence. The hype was right; while it started off a teensy bit slow for my tastes, it quickly tightened up into an angry fist of a movie. Viggo Mortensen was just amazing, as usual, and while Naomi Watts seemed rather underused, I’d prefer that to artificially inflating her part to meet her star power. A little too violent for me to recommend to some people, but an excellent film overall.

Once (imdb | rotten tomatoes) is the kind of film that restores your faith in…well, a lot of things. The “musical” genre. Filmmaking as a whole. Even friendship and love. It was made for $100,000 yet packed more emotional punch than any movie made for 100 times as much. More than half the film was music, but it was so unlike a typical musical simply because the music was part of the movie, not just a random melodic interlude. The relationship between the two leads fills and crushes your heart at the same time. If you’re the kind of person who only sees the latest Jerry Bruckheimer / Michael Bay fireworks show, you should avoid this; you won’t recognize it for the brilliant piece of art that it is.

[tags]eastern promises, once[/tags]

She rolled her Rs…her beautiful Rs.

I just got off the elevator with a mother and her little girl. The girl saw the elevator button marked “R” (which opened or closed the rear doors — we were in the larger freight elevator) and started playing the word game: “Ar is for…rabbit!” The mother, although appearing incredibly tired, encouraged her to keep going.

Little girl: “Ar is for…ice cream.”

Mother: “No, honey, I is for ice cream.”

Dan [inside voice, thankfully]: “Actually, ‘Ar’ could be for ‘Arse cream’, which technically is correct and, let’s be honest, much funnier.”

Good thing I’m an introvert and don’t talk to people, otherwise I might’ve thought that was funny enough to share and found myself being beaten with a diaper bag.

[tags]elevator, ice cream[/tags]

Like a thief in the night. Actually, it was exactly like that.

Well, some joker got hold of my credit card number last night and used it to buy a bunch of stuff online. Mainly kids things, probably all highly fence-able. Luckily it was my “online” card, the one I use if I’m buying from a smaller online store that I don’t trust the way I trust, say, Future Shop. I’d noticed a fraudulent (or possibly mistaken) transaction on my card yesterday from the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C.; clearly that wasn’t me, so I called my card issuer. The agent took my info and sent out the paperwork they need from me, but apparently didn’t put a flag on my card or anything ’cause this morning the guy racked up a ton of purchases. Another call to my issuer and the card was canceled.

That’s the first time I’ve ever had fraud on my own card, to the best of my recollection. However, the secondary card worked exactly as it was meant to, so I guess it was the best possible outcome of a bad situation.

I get the sense that I’m unusual for having gone this long (buying as much stuff online as I do) without experiencing fraud. Is that true? Anyone care to share?

[tags]credit card fraud[/tags]

Happy anniversary to me

At this very moment four years ago I was probably doing some boxing day shopping with my father and brother, and was seven hours away from making an honest woman out of Nellie.

.:.

I’ve watched a ton of movies in the last few days, so here’s the synopsis: The Good Shepherd was actually pretty boring, and Angelina Jolie is really starting to scare me; Friends With Money was a chick flick, but the four lead actresses were so good it was almost worth it; Haven was one of the worst films I’ve ever seen and I have no idea how it got on my list in the first place; Shame was a rather shoddily-done documentary about an incredibly interesting topic so it balanced out; Spider-Man 3 was kind of entertaining but was the worst of the series by far, and 300 looks frigging amazing on Blu-Ray.

Whew.

[tags]anniversary, the good shepherd, friends with money, haven, shame, spider-man 3, 300, blu-ray[/tags]

Because it's that time

December means best-of lists. I’m starting with what I considered to be the best albums of 2007. In past years I’ve pussied out and not ranked them; not so this year. While 2007 lacked a clear and classic winner like The Woods or Funeral, the top three are all quite good.

  1. Kings Of Leon . Because Of The Times
  2. Arcade Fire . Neon Bible
  3. The Besnard Lakes . The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse
  4. Radiohead . In Rainbows
  5. Spoon . Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
  6. Raising The Fawn . Sleight Of Hand
  7. Explosions In The Sky . All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone
  8. Band Of Horses . Cease To Begin
  9. Okkervil River . The Stage Names
  10. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club . Baby 81

Neko Case‘s Live From Austin, Texas was among the best I bought all year, but I don’t feel right including a live/compilation album on that list. Other good ones included Ongiara by Great Lake Swimmers, The Kissaway Trail‘s eponymous debut and Let’s Stay Friends by Les Savy Fav. My two biggest disappointments were Challengers by The New Pornographers and Icky Thump by The White Stripes; both were good, but not of the killer quality I’m accustomed to hearing with those two bands.

Over the next few days I’ll be doing my best films (so far) and best songs list.

[tags]best albums of 2007, best music of 2007[/tags]

My brain and eyes might just explode

Yowzah, that was quite a morning. I guess not going home this year freed us up to purchase some bigger-ticket items for each other (which we normally wouldn’t want to try to get on a plane), so I am now the proud owner of a Blu-ray DVD player and Nellie now has a wine fridge. We certainly got lots of other cool stuff as well, but suffice it to say the DVD player’s been a little distracting; I’ve already hooked it up and watched Superbad.

I also got 300, the Spider-Man Trilogy and the seemingly-made-for-high-def BBC series Planet Earth on Blu-ray, as well as The Bourne Ultimatum in standard DVD format (it’s only on HD-DVD for now). Nellie got Freaks And Geeks: Season 1, Young Guns, Young Guns 2 and Never Been Kissed.

I got a few books too: My Boring-Ass Life by Kevin Smith, The Book Of Dave by Will Self and The Cult Of The Amateur by Andrew Keen. Nellie got A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore.

Right now Nellie’s making Christmas dinner (everything except the turkey, of course) while A Christmas Story plays in the background. I don’t know if she’ll be able to top last night’s kick-ass meal (lemon pepper shrimp, scallops, cheese, chocolate & a bottle of white wine I bought her last year) but I’m willing to let her try.

Happy Christmas, everyone.

[tags]christmas, blu-ray, wine fridge[/tags]