Sunday, July 17, 2016


The Good
The Americans for Best Drama!!!!!!!!

Mr. Robot for Best Drama!!!!!!!!

Keri Russell for Best Drama Actress!!!!!!!
Matthew Rhys for Best Drama Actor!!!!!!!!
Rami Malek for Best Actor!!!!
Tommy Kail for Best Direction for a Variety Special!!!! (Grease Live got a total of 10 emmy noms - the most for any live musical ever)

Idris Elba for Best Mini Actor
Hiddles for Best Mini Actor
Margo Martindale for Best Guest Drama Actress
The Americans for Best Writing (for the season finale)
Lemonade is up for 4 Emmys (incl. Best Variety Special)

Settle for Me is up for Original Music (and the title is up for best theme song)

3 choreography nods for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Carrie Preston & Michael J Fox for Guest Actors
Costume and Production design nods for Outlander
Constance Zimmer for supporting drama actress!!!

UnReal for best writing
Jesse Plemons, Bokeem Woodbine, Jean Smart, and Kirsten Dunst for Fargo

Sarah Paulson and Kathy Bates for AHS: Hotel

Sarah Paulson for OJ Simpson [Per MZS; "I’d also like Paulson to take supporting actress in the same category for playing Hypodermic Sally in American Horror Story: Hotel; the contrast between that punk-rock wackadoo performance and her subtler, more realistically shaded work in The People v. O.J. Simpson makes you appreciate both performances more."]
Olivia Colman for the Night Manager (and Hiddles and Hugh Laurie. I've only seen the first ep. so far, but Olivia Colman is the best.)
Kate McKinnon for SNL
RuPaul got his first emmy nod!
Keegan-Micahel Key for Key & Peele!
Tatiana Maslany for Orphan Black
Bradley Whitford for Transparent (haven't seen it, but I love him)
The Veep nods
Audra McDonald for Lady Day
The Night Manager is up for Title Design
“A New Season aka Suck It Cancellation Bear” is up for best song from Galavant

What Happened, Miss Simone? is up!
Honest Trailers are nominated. For Outstanding Short Form Variety Series.

The Bad
No UnReal for Best Drama

No Penny Dreadful for Best Drama

Nothing for Daredevil (not even Jon Bernthal!)

I'm glad UnReal got a type of short form nomination, but I wish it had been for the Faith Diaries.
No Alan Cumming for the Good Wife

No Stephen Colbert
No Peter Capaldi for Doctor Who (it's never been eligible until this season when an American cable company came aboard as a co-producer. It hasn't been submitted for best drama, but Capaldi was finally on the ballot!)
I haven't seen it, but S2 of the Leftovers really seems like it should have been up for best Drama. I heard great things about Christopher Eccleston and Carrie Coon in particular.
Ditto Show Me a Hero for limited.
No Christian Slater for Mr. Robot
No Jordan Peele for Key & Peele
No other love for Outlander (even GRRM is offended by that!)
No love for Happy Valley (to be fair, I'm not *positive* it was eligible)
No Shiri Appleby for Best drama actress
No Patrick Wilson for Fargo
No Ben Whishaw for London Spy.
No Denis O'Hare for AHS: Hotel
No Annet Mahendry, Dylan Baker, Frank Langella, Holly Taylor, or Alison Wright for The Americans
No Christine Baranski for the Good Wife
No Aldis Hodge for Underground (haven't seen it, but I like him)
No Pete Gardner for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
No Rachael Taylor for Jessica Jones
No What'll It Be for Best Song

No Joshua Jackson or Fred Armisen for Best Guest Actor in a Comedy for Unbreakable Kimmy
No Miranda Otto for Homeland (I haven't seen it, but I heard she was awesome)
No Aya Cash (a perennial favorite for me, as I grew up with her, and I heard she was brilliant in S2 of You're the Worst)
It was a long shot, but no Aaron Tveit for Grease Live!
No Timothy Olyphant for Guest Actor on a Comedy for the Grinder
No Emmy Rossum or Jeremy Allen White for Shameless
No Cristin Miloti for Fargo
No Tom Hollander for Night Manager
Nothing for The Knick [to quote indiewire; "Neither can compete with the more accessible narrative fireworks of “Game of Thrones” or “House of Cards,” but to expect them to do so is to misunderstand them. Where the contenders for Outstanding Drama Series seem written in prose, “Hannibal” and “The Knick” are pure poetry."]
No Tina Fey for Unbreakable Kimmy (I thought she was the worst part of S1 and the best part of S2).
I knew it wouldn't happen, but I would have liked some acknowledgement for Person of Interest at some point. It was really well done.
I need to catch up on a lot of things.

The Ugly
No Hannibal for Best Drama

No Mads Mikkelsen for Best Actor

No Richard Armitage for Best Guest Actor
No Siouxsie Sioux for song
No Crazy Ex-Girlfriend for Best Comedy
No Rachel Bloom for Best Comedy Actress

No Donna Lynn Champlin for Best Supporting Comedy Actress
No Samantha Bee (although thankfully she got a writing nod)
No David Tennant for Jessica Jones

No Krysten Ritter for Jessica Jones

No Eva Green for Penny Dreadful

Other Tidbits (mostly a h/t here, and here.) 
There are actors of color in every leading actor category. 18% of nominees are PoS, up from the last two years. (And that is leaving off Fresh Off the Boat, OitNB, Jane the Virgin, Being Mary Jane, etc. that were all skunked in acting.) Rami Malek is the first non-white dramatic lead nominee since 2001. The last person of color to win an Emmy for Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series was in 1979. There are three nominations in the category this year -- the most ever!: Andre Braugher for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Tituss Burgess for Unbreakable Kimmy, and Keegan-Michael Key for Key & Peele. Half the nominees for Outstanding Actor in a Limited Series or Movie are actors of color. This is the first time two nonwhite comedies have been nominated concurrently since 1970 (Black-ish and Master of None).
Both Seth MacFarlane and Tatiana Maslany scored nominations for playing seven different roles on their TV shows.
Camera operator Hector Ramirez has held the title for most Emmy nominations for an individual for several years; last year, he hit 74, which was a new record. This year, HBO documentary dynamo Sheila Nevins has also hit 74 noms, and the two are now tied. (Nevins already has the most wins, with 31 Emmys, of any individual ever.)
Every nominee in Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Limited Series or Movie category is from FX.

This dream ballot suggestion made me snicker:
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Gary Cole, “Veep”
Kevin Dunn, “Veep”
Hugh Laurie, “Veep”
Sam Richardson, “Veep”
Reid Scott, “Veep”
Timothy Simons, “Veep”
Matt Walsh, “Veep”
In Case of a Tie: Tony Hale, “Veep”

Best tweet:

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Garbage (Part 1 - the albums)

Garbage's sixth album comes out in less than a month! Since I've been listening to their new single, I thought I'd revisit the rest of their oeuvre. So here goes - ranking the collective output of my favorite band (rating the songs, not the videos, but including video links where applicable):

This is a really difficult album for me to rank, as I love most of the songs fairly equally, and tend to listen to the whole album straight through. Really everything from Vow through Queer below could be rearranged and I'd still be okay with it. I think this is due in part to the album's cohesion in tone and production. As Heaven Is Wide/A Stroke of Luck/Dog New Tricks/My Lover's Box; even Not My Idea/Fix Me Now are all of a (post-grunge) piece. As this huge chunk of review from Addicted to Noise puts it; "[the album] is akin to a Jackson Pollock painting, thick layers upon layers of sound that have been stripped down, torn apart, pasted together and then stripped again, until the result is a dizzying soundscape that reveals fresh nuances upon repeated listening... [the mix of ambience, rhythms, and noise] gels and rises above the din thanks to catchy hooks and killer song construction."

Only Happy When It Rains - Even though I'm on a particular Supervixen kick at the moment, this has to be one of the most defining songs of my life (which makes sense, as the signature song for my favorite band). It's dark, but also sarcastic and affirming. I love one reviewer's description of it as "pop-noir," although I've always thought of it as a defining song of the alternative genre. It is also one of their best videos (from acclaimed director Samuel Bayer (Smells Like Teen Spirit, No Rain, Green Day's American Idiot videos). He also did Vow, Stupid Girl, AND the upcoming video for Empty (!)):

Supervixen - I honestly believe this is the best first song on any album ever. Those pauses are amazing (they even get a shout out in Jennifer Egan's truly amazing (and pulitzer-prize winning!) A Visit From the Goon Squad). I love every bit of this song.

Vow - Really where it all started. Dark, defiant, fuzzed-out perfection.

As Heaven is Wide - Beautifully sinister. Shirley growls and spits the ominous lyrics over that intense, propulsive beat.

Fix Me Now - Great guitar riff, and I love how Shirley switches between whisper-singing the verses and belting out the chorus and bridge.

Stupid Girl - Amazing intro, fabulous use of the drum sample, great riff, and Shirley's growl. Also one of the band's best videos (I love the obvious Fincher se7en inspiration):

Dog New Tricks - I love the industrial energy on this one.

My Lover's Box - I love the contrast between the slinky verses and the more commanding chorus (much like Fix Me Now above). I also love the ending.

A Stroke of Luck - This is one of the band's best down-tempo songs, due to its haunting tone and fantastic chorus. I also love Shirley's vocal range on this one.

Not My Idea - I go back and forth on this one. On the one hand, it is a simple melody and construction. On the other, it's a total earworm that is really fun to sing (shout) along to, so....

Queer - I really like the slinky, menacing tone of this one, and I only rank it this low because it's nearly impossible to memorize the verse progressions. I've seen Shirley blow them live.

Milk - Really, the only song on the album I'm not super fond of, although I'm clearly in the minority on this one.

Version 2.0
I love this album front to back. Picking favorites is (again) somewhat ridiculous. (There's a reason it was up for album of the year and best rock album at the Grammys.) One of my favorite reviews comes from the Village Voice; "For those of us with no knack for real-life sadomasochism, how better to combine pleasure and pain than to let 12 impregnable theoretical hits march over us in their digital boots?"

I Think I'm Paranoid - Favorite Song. Favorite video:

Sleep Together - On an overtly sexual record, this one is the stand out. You've got those amazing drum parts, contrasted with the synth effects, all propelled along by Shirley's manipulative, cheeky lyrics.

Temptation Waits - I love the driving beat of this one and the obsessive lyrics.

You Look So Fine - Other than Milk (above), I love all of Garbage's album-closing songs. This one is astoundingly beautiful. (I dislike that the video cuts off the rest of the outro, although I understand why):

Push It - I like how the verses are dreamy and just a little foreboding, and then it just ratchets up the intensity through to the chorus. I also love how weird the video is:

Dumb - Another great unrelenting rocker. I love those weird scratchy effects, and all the distortion on the guitars.

When I Grow Up - I love that one of their catchiest, poppiest songs is still so uniquely them; there's that minor key intro, it's firmly on the rock side of the pop/rock divide, and Shirley being both damaged and defiant in the same breath. I also find it hilarious that the video gives Shirley back-up dancers:

The Trick Is To Keep Breathing - The band describe the song as "moody and spare" which is the perfect description, and I love the bass.

Hammering In My Head - the epitome of the futuristic robot vibes in the album. (Fun fact! I sang the lyrics to the chorus wrong for nearly a decade. It's "like an animal." I no longer remember what I thought it was, but it is probably my most notable mondegreen.)

Wicked Ways - So much to love in this one; the pulsing refrain on "And I tried," the western guitar riff, the pounding chorus, the ominous/bitter bridge, followed by that ringing, twinkling guitar bit.

Special - I know! The massive hit this far down the list! I love the song; the kiss-off attitude, the outro (complete with Pretenders nod!) - it's just competing with many excellent songs.

Medication - My least favorite on the record, and yet I still think it's great. I love how the chorus kicks in. (Fun fact - Medication and The Trick is to Keep Breathing both feature a cymbalom, which is a type of dulcimer.)

Sunday, February 28, 2016

2016 Oscars - Results

Okay easy blog first: What should win/What will win (As always, happy if a should win makes an upset tomorrow.)

Best Motion Picture:
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant - Will Win

I mean. Carol should be nominated. But I do really love Spotlight - it's great, and I'm glad it won the indie.

Best Actor:
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant - Should Win/Will Win/Did Win
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Huh - I'm not thrilled with this category at all. So I'll go with Leo, although he was better in both Catch Me if You Can and Wolf of Wall Street.

Best Actress:
Brie Larson, Room - Will win/Did Win
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn - Should win
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara should absolutely be in the opposite categories (as should Alicia Vikander). So I'm not voting for them (although Rooney Mara does absolutely amazing work.) So it comes down to Brie Larson and Saoirse Ronan for me. They're both excellent, and Saorsie *just* nudges it out for me, as she carries the whole film so well.

Best Supporting Actress:
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight - Should Win
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl - Will Win/Did Win
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

CATEGORY FRAUD AHOY. I'd be okay if Alicia Vikander were up for Ex Machina. Sheesh. I've heard Kate Winslet is excellent in Jobs, but I'm going to go with Rachel McAdams, who was great in Spotlight (the whole cast was - I'm sorry it didn't get more recognition in acting in Oscars - I'm thrilled it got the Altman at the Indies.)

Best Supporting Actor:
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies - Should Win/Did Win - YAAAAY!!!
Sylvester Stallone, Creed - Will Win

Christian Bale was also easily the best part of the Big Short. I thought Ruffalo was the weakest link in Spotlight - his big monologue was too showy.

Best Director:
Adam McKay, The Big Short
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road - Should Win
Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant - Will Win/Did Win. Ugh.
Lenny Abrahamson, Room
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

Best Original Screenplay:
Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina
Inside Out
Spotlight - Should Win/ Will Win/Did Win
Straight Outta Compton

Best Adapted Screenplay:
The Big Short - Did Win. Ugh. Kill it.
Carol - Should Win
The Martian
Room - Will Win

It may actually be The Big Short, but I hated the writing so much that I can't deal with that. So I'm going with Room as will win. 

Best Animated Film:
Anomalisa - Probably Should Win (I haven't seen it yet!)
Boy and the World
Inside Out - Will Win/Did Win
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

Best Documentary Feature:
Amy - Will Win/Did Win
Cartel Land
What Happened, Miss Simone?
The Look of Silence - Should Win
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Best Foreign Language Film:
Embrace of the Serpent
Son of Saul - Should Win/Will Win/Did Win
A War

Although I do still really want to see Mustang. 

Best Costume Design:
Carol - Should Win
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road - Will Win/Did Win
The Revenant

I think Sandy Powell will split her own votes, so yay Mad Max!

Best Sound Editing:
Mad Max: Fury Road - Should Win/ Will Win/Did Win
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Sound Mixing:
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road - Should Win/ Will Win/Did Win
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Cinematography:
The Hateful Eight
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant - Should Win/ Will Win/Did Win

I love the Cinematography in all of these. But the cinematography was easily the best part of the Revenant, and I so love Emmanuel Lubezki's work and pretty wilderness shots. I'm not sure I want him to win three in a row (Roger Deakins already!!), but there it is. That's what the Revenant has to recommend itself. Long pretty shots of birch trees. 

Best Film Editing:
The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road - Should Win/ Will Win/Did Win YAAAAAAAAAS
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Production Design:
Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road - Should Win/ Will Win/Did Win
The Martian
The Revenant

Best Original Score:
Bridge of Spies
Carol - Should Win
The Hateful Eight - Will Win/Did Win
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

That said, I do love the Hateful Eight score. I loved that movie - and I'm sorry it's not up for more. 

Best Original Song:
“Earned It,” 50 Shades Of Grey - Should Win
“Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction
“Simple Song #3,” Youth
“Til It Happens to You,” The Hunting Ground - Will Win
“Writing’s on the Wall,” Spectre - Did Win. KILL IT WITH FIRE.

WHY WOULD YOU NOMINATE THE SPECTRE SONG?! (I also really like Manta Ray - and I'm absolutely appalled that the Oscars didn't invite Anohni to perform. I actually thought the Weeknd would have more of a shot here, but prevailing opinion is Lady Gaga has this in the bag.)

Best Visual Effects:
Ex Machina - Did Win. Whoa. Good for them.
Mad Max: Fury Road - Should Win
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Will Win

Hmmm - I'm very torn on this. My gut reaction is Mad Max, but part of the appeal of the film was just how much of it was done with practical effects. The VES awards all went Star Wars - so I'm going to say that Star Wars takes this one. 

Best Makeup & Hairstyling:
Mad Max - Should Win/ Will Win/Did Win
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out a Window and Disappeared
The Revenant

Best Documentary Short:
Body Team 12 - Will Win & from what I hear Should Win
Chau Behind the Lines
Claude Lanzman
A Girl in the River - Did Win
Last Day of Freedom

Best Live Action Short Film:
Ave Maria - Will Win
Day One
Everything Will Be Okay - Should Win
Stutterer - Did Win. I'm okay with this! It was the only one I actually enjoyed. 

Hum. The only one I liked was Stutterer, and that was too precious. The prevailing crowd wisdom seems to be Ave Maria, which I thought was not particularly well done, although it was an interesting setting. I thought the German film was probably best, although the subject matter was so harrowing to watch. Then again, the Academy skews Jewish, so I think Ave Maria might edge it out. 

Best Animated Short Film:
Bear Story - Did Win. UGH. UGH UGH UGH. 
Sanjay’s Super Team
We Can’t Live Without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow - Should Win/ Will Win. 

I refuse to believe the Pixar one will pull it out over this. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

2015 Best Films

1. Carol

2. Spotlight

3. Diary of a Teenage Girl

4. Mad Max

5. What We Do in the Shadows

6. World of Tomorrow

7. The Look of Silence

8. Brooklyn

9. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

10. The Hateful Eight

11. The Royal Road

12. The Duchess of Malfi

13. Room

14. Son of Saul
(yeah, nope.)

15. The Martian

16. Tangerine

17. Amy

18. Results

19. Kingsman

20. Crimson Peak


21. The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Honorable mentions: Jimmy's Hall, Charlie's Country, The Dark Horse, Far from the Madding Crowd

(13/25 female led, unfortunately only one female-directed (need to see Mustang and Girlhood!))

New to Me and Excellent: Rififi, the Devil's Backbone

Saw Last Year: Kumiko the Treasure Hunter

My notable omissions for the year: Anomalisa, Phoenix, Mustang, Girlhood, Clouds of Sils Maria, the Duke of Burgundy, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, Straight Outta Compton, Heaven Knows What, Boy and the World, When Marnie Was There, Black Coal Thin Ice, the Assassin, Tom at the Farm, Dope, White God, Beasts of No Nation, Eden, Maps to the Stars, Going Clear, Tanna, The Postman's White Nights, the Keeping Room, About Elly, Amour Fou, Ballet 422, Beloved Sisters, Black Mass, Respire, Buzzard, Kurt Cobain Montage of Heck, Dreamcatcher, Democrats, Far from Men, Faults, Fidelio Alice's Odyssey, Finders Keepers, Gabriel, Goodnight Mommy, H., In Jackson Heights, Janis Little Girl Blue, Jauja, Lamb (the Ethiopian one), Legend, Macbeth, the Man from Reno, Medeas, Meru, Mississippi Grind, Slow West, Spring, Stations of the Cross, Stray Dog, Suffragette, T-Rex, the Daughter, the End of the Tour, the Last Five Years, the New Girlfriend, the Overnight, the Stanford Prison Experiment, Beats of the Antonov, the Voices, the Wolfpack, this Changes Everything, Tokyo Tribe, Victoria, and Western.  A few other film fest films, too, but I think those may be coming out in 2016.

I need to watch more films.