My Top 20 Albums of 2019

Yep, I survived into 2020.  Yep, I still listen to ear-splitting heavy metal.  Long time no see; let’s get on with the show.  I’m kicking around the idea of doing a decade top 20 after this, but if I don’t get to it, see you all next January.  😉

20. Russian Circles – Blood Year


Sample track: Kohokia

Nothing new here; Russian Circles are doing what they’ve been doing for years. You can expect a long slow grind through a classic post-metal soundscape that occasionally latches onto a memorable melody but more often than not just sets a mood. Nothing I’ll remember a year from now, but it earned a dozen spins and that’s enough for an honorable mention.

19. Krallice – Wolf

progressive death/black metal

Sample track: Time Rendered Omni

Krallice have nailed more 10+ minute masterpieces than anyone else I can think of, but this 15 minute 5-track EP was surprisingly hard to process. There’s no coherent flow to speak of. It meanders along through a bunch of brief loops tethered together with barely coherent noodling. I enjoyed the chaos of it all quite a bit, and I’m curious what it could entail for the next full-length album. It’s just a bit too short to rise to the top of my charts.

18. Blut Aus Nord – Hallucinogen

post-black metal

Sample track: Nebeleste

Blut Aus Nord have a huge spectrum of sounds, and one of the great things about a new release is you can never be sure of what you’re getting until you’ve heard it out. Hallucinogen is neither as boldly experimental as the 777 trilogy nor as pleasantly atmospheric as Saturnian Poetry, and the band seems to have reserved their more experimental tendencies for a later entry in my list. Hallucinogen is very much an even-keel easy listening experience, and I think its greatest mark of distinction in their discography is an appeal to rock and roll. A lot of these songs have some pretty groovy licks and bump along moments that I never saw coming. The post-rock influence is heavy here too. Eh, it didn’t have very much time to grow on me yet, and the tunes aren’t as immediately catchy as they appear to try to be, but I’m sold. It’s a solid effort.

17. Boris – LφVE & EVΦL


Sample track: EVΦL

This album was a weird experience for a Boris fan. They went close to two decades releasing multiple substantial works every year and then just kind of fell off the map after Dear in 2017. Two years isn’t a terribly long wait for most bands, but it felt like an eternity given their precedent. Boris isn’t a band you’re supposed to go into with expectations. They can release a rock album and ambient drone side by side like it’s normal. You just know if the release of the moment doesn’t do much for you there’ll be something new to chew on in a few months. But the time built hype and expectations anyway. I was expecting something broad-ranging like Noise or Smile. They delivered Dear 2.0. The post-rock ballad EVΦL is an outstanding tune, and at 16 minutes it takes up a substantial chunk of the album, but it’s not enough to compel me to shamelessly hype this into my top 10. Not this go around. I listened to the album a hell of a lot and enjoyed its aesthetic as a background piece. They’re definitely still doing great things. I just couldn’t get into it enough for the probably excessively high ranking I’ve given them so many times in the past.

On that note, they just released a new album a week ago, vinyl only and limited to 800 copies. The lone sample on youtube is an extremely promising pop tune and I’m kind of irritated that they aren’t putting this up on Bandcamp for easy purchase, but I’m going to hunt down a copy sooner or later. They might earn a top spot in 2019 for me yet, just not in time for a year-end list.

16. Dead to a Dying World – Elegy

post-black metal

Sample track: Empty Hands, Hollow Hymn

Outside of the band’s kind of awkward name, this is a solid effort. They tackle the marriage of black metal and post-rock about as directly as it gets, and by 2019 I can’t say it brings anything new to the table. Still, the melancholy strings persistent throughout give it a lush and longing feel that strikes a mood relatively few bands are indulging in these days, and I’m a sucker for this sort of thing. Maybe it makes me want to dust off some old Panopticon or Waldgeflüster more than it directly captivates me, but I enjoyed it.

15. Misþyrming – Algleymi

black metal

Sample track: Með svipur á lofti

This should probably be a lot higher than I’m actually placing it. I loved Söngvar elds og óreiðu and would have ranked it really high in 2015 if I’d discovered it in time. I came in to Algleymi expecting the same instant appeal and had to work for it a bit more. Their sound isn’t a novelty to me anymore. I have to actually pay attention to the songs to grasp their originality. When I do focus, they consistently deliver. They push such a big bold sound and still keep it catchy. But black metal is a meaty genre that baits passive listening, and I never gave this the full undistracted 46 minutes it deserves. I anticipate continuing to spin this a fair bit into 2020 and reaping the reward.

14. Nuvolascura – Nuvolascura


Sample track: Death as a Crown

Maybe I just haven’t been looking, but it feels like ages since I’ve heard a really compelling screamo album. That label definitely feels closest to home here, at any rate. I don’t know that I’d pigeon them down to one genre. The album has a lot of math rock appeal, loaded with guitar and drum noodling that feels a cut above what your typical carve open my chest and lay it all out emo assault can offer. There’s a technical appeal here that sacrifices nothing on the execution end so central to the genre.

13. Yellow Eyes – Rare Field Ceiling

black metal

Sample track: Warmth Trance Reversal

I love what these guys do, I loved seeing them live last year, and I think Rare Field Ceiling captures all of that without hedging much from their established comfort zone. They chill out in a sphere that’s rooted enough in classic bm to satisfy purist inclinations while still harnessing the inspiration of a genre that’s been defined of late by progression. Vibrant and memorable driving melodies have become their selling point now more than ever, I think. It’s an easy listen with great replay value despite its density.

12. Yerûšelem – The Sublime

industrial metal

Sample track: Triiiunity

It’s not particularly clear to me why this album was not released as a Blut Aus Nord title, because it’s literally just Blut Aus Nord and sounds unmistakably like them despite being their deepest indulgence into the industrial side of their sound. It’s 36 minutes of heavy, demented grooves that will grip your attention whether you really want them to or not. Blut Aus Nord have been playing with this sound off and on for a while now, and I think this is the farthest they’ve pushed it. Not an easy listen, but an intriguing one.

11. Tool – Fear Inoculum

progressive rock

Sample track: Fear Inoculum

For a few weeks after this launched, I thought it might win my album of the year. The title track is goddamn beautiful and sets a stage that appears to promise 80 minutes of broody, subtle, trance-like bliss. Subtle is probably the biggest key word going into this. Tool are masters of it, and through Fear Inoculum and Pneuma every note is delivered with a precision of dynamics that summons tremendous intensity into its slow, calmly-delivered shell. Somewhere in Invincible I start to lose touch. There aren’t as many sustained bass tones to carry it. Maynard’s lyrics are more prominent and direct. I start to remember that I’m listening to a band. The aptly named Descending is a great mid-point track with a transitional feel about it, shipping a darker vibe than the opening tunes and capitalizing on minimalism to bring about a petty groovy solo in the end that lets Tool indulge their rock sensibilities without breaking stride from the ambient vibes. Unfortunately it leads into Culling Voices, which feels pretty dull and uninspired to me, amplifying the disconnect I began to feel on Invincible. Mesmerizing celestial frequencies give way to noticeable structure and noticeable effort, culminating with the tryhard experimental Chocolate Chip Trip which, for all its oddball uniqueness in a vacuum, jarringly displaces the album from the easy-engagement feel-good vibes of its first 22 minutes. The closing track 7empest regains a lot of ground for me, but I ultimately walk away with the sense of a band trying too hard to still identify with some semblance of a rock sound that their talents left behind somewhere in the midst of Ænima.

This album really shouldn’t be 80 minutes long, and I’m saying that as a guy whose favorite song is 70-something. It’s unfortunate, because the first 22 are absolutely incredible and the remainder is peppered with outstanding moments. The collective is really hard to place on a list for me. I haven’t even made it to the end half of the times I’ve queued it up, but it contains some of my favorite songs of the year.

10. Kentaro Sato & Budapest Symphony Orchestra – Symphonic Tale: The Rune of Beginning

orchestral score

Sample track: Prologue

I tend to think of Konami as the quintessential example of corporate greed and ineptness crushing talent in the gaming industry. Suikoden brought together a brilliant team of developers and drove them off a cliff, establishing a vast cult following that virtually guaranteed small market profit and then canning it in favor of the trillionth Castlevania spin-off. Suikoden hasn’t seen a franchise title since 2006 and has zero prospects for a new sequel despite the demand. I don’t know how Kentaro Sato even managed to nab the rights to produce this album. But from the outset, Symphonic Tale had zero prospects of gaining the attention to turn a profit. It’s purely a labor of love from Sato and the fans who contributed to funding it, and what a fantastic job he did. Hearing the original Suikoden II soundtrack brought to life with the full orchestral grandeur of a professionally produced modern score has to be my favorite musical highlight of 2019. It’s kind of amazing how Sato not only indulged my nostalgia hard on the finest tunes but also brought forgettable ones into vibrant life. I’m so happy this exists, and I think Sato really poured his heart into it. Fantastic stuff.

9. Cosmin TRG – Hope This Finds You Well

ambient noise

Sample track: Paradigm Shift ASAP

“Ambient noise” isn’t really something that should be capable of competing in a top 10, but I really fell in love with this album and it’s become a bedtime staple for me to just let go and drift away to. It’s loaded with vaporwave aesthetic points. Down-tuned, drawn out celestial synth and machine-like oscillation drift through an urban landscape that’s so fogged over with minimalism that you aren’t even fading out to it. You’re just opening your mind for a barely conscious second and drifting back into the void of sleep.

8. Deathspell Omega – The Furnaces of Palingenesia

progressive black metal

Sample track: The Fires of Frustration

Deathspell’s been regarded as cutting edge for as long as they’ve existed, but this most recent run with Synarchy of Molten Bones and Furnaces of Palingenesia is doing it best for me. The production keeps getting better, and I feel like they’ve reached a peek where they can ship the relentless onslaught of their song-crafting without any of the not necessarily unintended but still distracting bombast of the delivery. The drumming has settled into a complementary role where it used to overpower everything. The thickness of the distortion has leveled out. I think they’ve really mastered how to mix an album that can deliver on their raw mastery, and Fires of Frustration is the consequence.

7. Drudkh – A Few Lines in Archaic Ukrainian

black metal

Sample track: Autumn in Sepia

Feels kind of odd, kind of nostalgic to be putting Drudkh in a year end list. It’s not that I thought they took a dive or anything, I just started to lose interest somewhere around A Handful of Stars, now a decade old. It felt like black metal was continuing to forge forward and they were lingering behind in the dust of the movement they’d helped to initiate. They weren’t bringing anything new to the table. And I don’t know, maybe they still aren’t, but when I gave this album the obligatory once over, something just stuck with me. I didn’t just nod my head and go “Yep Drudkh still sound like Drudkh.” It felt… maybe fresh isn’t the word, but more intimately gripping than I’d grown accustomed to. Maybe it was better song writing or maybe it was just me, but something in the melancholy melodies delivered through that classic bm grind got to me in a way they hadn’t since Blood in Our Wells back in 2006. I don’t have much to say about this album content-wise, I just really liked it, and I hope you do too.

6. Mono – Nowhere Now Here


Sample track: Meet Us Where the Night Ends

A good 15 years removed from the height of the post-rock scene, Mono are still producing the exact same sound they helped pioneer it with. Far from sounding stale for it, they just keep on proving why this genre was such a big deal in the first place. Mono have put out a lot of albums that I haven’t honestly paid much attention to since One More Step and You Die first blew me away back in 2003. I was busy sampling the younger bands who copied them, seeking out the next big thing, and eventually the trends of music drifted elsewhere. I can’t say whether Nowhere Now Here is the best thing they’ve released in ages, but damn is it good. They always knew how to rock out. Its the improvements to the slow rolls leading you there that sell this hard for me. The album has this really sweet and calming vibe about it. I walk away feeling like I’ve listened to something soft, pretty, subdued. I’m lulled by its mellow dreamscape into forgetting the ubiquitous post-rock explosions that will always define this band, and they catch me off guard every time. It’s a gift that’s kept on giving all year long, and I think I’m really appreciating Mono more today than I ever have.

5. Mechina – Telesterion

symphonic death metal

Sample track: The Allodynia Lance

Flash back to 2013, Mechina’s Empyrean launched into my #6 slot with a compelling and original sound that merged all the grandeur of an epic, power metal-rooted high fantasy sound with technical death metal in a sci-fi landscape long primed for this approach. It was the long-awaited heir to a vision Fear Factory’s Obsolete had barely scratched the surface on. The production was dubious at best, sometimes downright hard to listen to, with the drums tastelessly blaring over everything. I was just delighted by what they were doing and the raw songcrafting skill they were demonstrating in the process. But with 2014’s Xenon not really distinguishing itself further for me on limited spins, they dropped off my radar until I went to recommend an Empyrean track last month and found the mix just too unbearable to share. I bought their newest release on impulse hoping for progression, and wow, talk about exceeding my expectations. Not only have they left their studio shortcomings far behind, but this album is absolutely loaded with top notch orchestral accompaniments way above the level they were delivering at five years ago. This album has gone heavily unnoticed while establishing itself for me as the scifi equivalent of Equilibrium’s Sagas. In a weaker year with a few more months to spin, it could have easily nabbed a 1st place for me. Check it out.

4. Lingua Ignota – Caligula

dark operatic minimalist something

Sample track: Butcher of the World

Pretty hard to slap a label on Kristin Hayter’s sound. It’s a morbid, classical-infused dirge of minimalist noise that shows more than a hint of appreciation for the darker recesses of metal. Kristin airs the chip on her shoulder with a dramatic passion, gunning down a very human target with apocalyptic declarations of merciless vengeance. The lyrics are relentlessly brutal. The compositions masterfully exploit silence to build tension. Kristin’s professionally-trained vocals hard sell the image of a broken, hateful spirit in a way most singers don’t have the talent to pull off even if they possessed the vision. It’s an innovative, original work of art that can pretty well speak for itself. I doubt this will be an easy listen for anyone not accustomed to bouts of heavy distortion and screaming, but if you appreciate music as an artform, you really owe it a spin.

3. Obsequiae – The Palms of Sorrowed Kings

atmospheric folk metal

Sample track: Morrígan

This was definitely my most hyped album of the year. I’d heard Tanner had something in the works and kept poking my nose around all year to pre-order it. They’re my 11th most-played band of all time by the numbers, and I didn’t even know they existed until Aria of Vernal Tombs blew me away in 2015. That album and Suspended in the Brume of Eos have had hundreds of plays to grow on me and still don’t feel old, so it was probably wishful thinking to expect The Palms of Sorrowed Kings to rise to their pedestal in the roughly one month I’ve had to indulge in it. Third place for now and destined to grow. I’ve taken to describing this sound as the spirit of Summoning infused into a vastly refined spin on Opeth’s Orchid. If that means nothing to you, maybe think of it as one of those nature-inspired spiritual Celtic folk recordings occasionally misplaced into a “new age/easy listening” bin, except granted all the breadth and life that modern metal tones can offer. Tanner Anderson landed on one of the most beautiful sounds to ever grace my ears and has ridden it to perfection for three albums. Can’t wait to finally see them live this August. Perhaps I’m robbing the album inevitably destined to outlast anything else released this year on my playlists, but there were two other 2019 releases that just gripped me more in the moment.

2. Liturgy – H.A.Q.Q.

post-black metal

Sample track: HAJJ

Another year, another opportunity to rob the obvious best option for the #1 slot. This album solidifies Liturgy’s throne as the most innovative band making metal today, and I don’t have the energy to venture a description more specific than that right now. Once again I’m reminded of what Radiohead might sound like in some bizarre alternative universe where tremolo and blast beats are cool. H.A.Q.Q. lacks the gleefully defiant attitude of its profoundly underrated predecessor The Ark Work, and most people will be quite thankful for that. The package is more dense and refined. Hunter is screaming again. There are probably more notes in the first track than in half of The Ark Work combined. H.A.Q.Q. brings Liturgy back to the thick volume of a fundamentally black metal album, and you’re too busy trying to keep up to stop, breathe, and try to parse what the hell is happening. Somehow I think this makes it more accessible. The Ark Work still stands as my favorite Liturgy album, and a top 10 all time contender in general, but it will be well into next year before I’ve fully digested this late release. It blew me away on first listen, and 30 spins in I still feel like there’s a vast world of imaginative experimentation to discover.

1. Horsehunter – Horsehunter

sludge/doom metal

Sample track: Nuclear Rapture

“Liars! Set your face on fire!” At least I think that’s what he’s screaming at the start of this album, and it’s metal as fuck so let’s roll with it. Horsehunter is the most uncompromisingly metal album I have heard in ages, and ten months removed from its release I am still maxing out my car speakers to this one every chance I get to drive somewhere without kids in the back. The bass tones are offensively thick but still feel completely raw. The solos catch a filthy, captivating groove executed with a blues aesthetic that holds up to the greatest legends of heavy metal. Every time Michael Harutyunyan opens his mouth he’s shouting something so over-the-top ridiculous that I just want to wind down my window and flash devil horns at random strangers on the street corner while banging my head into my dashboard. I never thought when I heard this back in March that it would hold up to my first impression, but here we are. This is the definition of turning it up to 11, and it will likely be years before I hear anything this goddamn metal again. It had to trump a lot of top-tier frontier-paving releases to reach the #1 spot, but as we are pleasantly reminded in the closing line of the grand finale, SUFFOCATE! THE PLAGUE WILL WIN!

Previous years on Shattered Lens:

2011 / 2012 / 2013 / 2014 / 2015 / 2016 / 2017 / 2018


Cinemax Friday: Extramarital (1998, directed by Yael Russcol)

Traci Lords in Extramarital

Having quit her corporate job, Elizabeth (Traci Lords) has taken a position as an intern at We@r Magazine.  (Yes, that’s how it’s spelled.)  She’s not making much money and she and her husband, Eric (Jack Kerrigan), are really struggling to pay the bills.  However, Elizabeth is getting to work for her college mentor, Griffin (Jeff Fahey), and she’s pursuing her dream.  Unlike Eric, who surrendered his fantasies of being a professional photographer, Elizabeth is determined to make it as a writer.

The only problem is that she can’t seem to get anything published.  Griffin tells her that she’s too repressed and that she doesn’t put enough of herself into her stories.  He orders her to “confront your demons and nail your endings.”  Elizabeth gets a chance to do just that when she meets Ann (Maria Diaz).  Ann says that, like Elizabeth, she spent her youth at a Catholic boarding school and she married the first man that she ever had sex with.  However, Ann is now in an open marriage and she says that it’s the greatest thing that ever happened to her.  Intrigued, Elizabeth decides to write a story about Ann.  But, when Ann disappears, Elizabeth fears that she may have been murdered and she decides to track down Ann’s latest lover, Bob (Brian Bloom), herself.

Extramarital is the type of thriller that used to air on Cinemax, late at night, in the 90s.  In fact, it’s such a 90s film that the entire plot hinges on deciphering a garbled message that was left on a broken answering machine.  Like most of the Cinemax thrillers of the era, the plot borrows a lot from Basic Instinct and no one ever does anything intelligent.  (To cite just one example, after Elizabeth discovers the someone is planning to kill her, she calls everyone but the police.)  The film deserves some credit for actually having the guts to cast Traci Lords as someone who is sexually repressed.  Griffin calls her the “Virgin Adulteress,” which probably would have been a better title than Extramarital.

Because of her background in the adult film industry and the fact that even her non-porn roles usually required her to show a lot of skin, Traci Lords never got much respect as an actress but, as she shows here and in her other 90s direct-to-video films, she had more talent than she was given credit for.  Lords seems to really invest herself in the role of Elizabeth and her performance is often the only thing that holds this film together.  Her best moment is when she discovers that she’s been betrayed and she trashes a room while screaming, “Fucking liar!”  Traci could destroy a room with the best of them.

The film’s ending doesn’t make much sense and you’ll figure out who the main villain is just by process of elimination.  That’s one problem with low-budget whodunits.  There usually aren’t enough people in the cast to really keep you guessing.  But Traci Lords is both sexy and sympathetic as Elizabeth and Jeff Fahey gives another memorably weird performance.  As far as late night Cinemax features from the 1990s are concerned, Extramarital delivers exactly what it promises.

Lisa Reviews An Oscar Nominee: Hope and Glory (dir by John Boorman)

The world is at war and a child is having the adventure of a lifetime.

That’s the idea behind the 1987 best picture nominee, Hope and Glory.  Taking place at the start of World War II, Hope and Glory shows us the Blitz through the eyes of ten year-old Billy Rowan (Sebastian Rice-Edwards).  The world around Billy is on that is full of destruction, death, and often surreal imagery.  It’s a world where school children wear gas masks and the nights are full of explosions and shaking walls.  In the morning, everyone steps outside to see whose house has been destroyed.

Billy’s father, Clive (David Hayman), joins the army, leaving his wife Grace (Sarah Miles) to look after the Billy, Susie (Gerladine Muir), and their rebellious older sister, Dawn (Sammi Davis).  While Dawn falls in love with a Canadian soldier (Jean-Marc Barr) and Grace is tempted to have an affair with her husband’s best friend, Mac (Derrick O’Connor), Billy spends his days exploring the ruins of London and collecting scrap metal.  He and his friends loot bombed-out houses for all that they can find.  When they hear that Pauline’s (Sara Langton) mother was killed in the bombing, they blithely ask her if it’s true.  And while Billy eventually comes to better appreciate the reality of what’s happening around him, the rest of his friends remain cheerfully unconcerned.  “Thank you, Adolf!” one yells to the sky after learning that their school has been bombed.

Hope and Glory is a comedy but it has a very serious core.  Even while we’re watching Billy having his adventures, we’re very aware of what’s happening in the background.  For that matter, so is Billy, even if he doesn’t always immediately understand what he’s seeing or hearing.  Billy may be confused as to why Grace and Dawn have such a strained relationship but, for the observant viewer, the clues are there in every tense line of dialogue, awkward silence, and sidelong glance.  One of the film’s best scenes features Billy pretending to be asleep while listening to Grace and Mac talking about their past together.  As they speak, it becomes obvious that Grace may have married Clive but she’s always loved Mac.  Marrying Clive allowed her to have a family and a home, both of which now seem as if they could all just instantly disappear depending on where the bombs randomly land.  It’s a sweet but rather sad scene, one that’s perfectly played by both Sarah Miles and Derrick O’Connor.

I cried a lot while watching Hope and Glory.  I cried when Clive told his family that he was leaving.  I cried when Billy was forced to confront the reality of war.  I even teared up when Billy, while cheerfully exploring the ruins of a house, caught sight of the house’s former inhabitant watching him with a shell-shocked expression on her face.  But it’s also a very funny film.  About halfway through, Billy’s grandfather (Ian Bannen) shows up and he’s a wonderfully cantankerous and proudly contrary character.  It was also hard not to like little Roger (Nicky Taylor), the pint-sized leader of the gang who swaggers like a mini-James Cagney and delivers his lines with a rat-a-tat combination of innocence and jerkiness.

Not surprisingly, Hope and Glory was autobiographical.  Director John Boorman based this film on his childhood and Hope and Glory is sweetly touching in the way that only a story that comes from the heart can be.  This deeply moving and very funny film was nominated for best picture but it lost to The Last Emperor.

Here Are The Nominations of the Georgia Film Critics Association!

Winners will be announced on January 11th!

The Farewell
Ford v Ferrari
A Hidden Life
The Irishman
Little Women
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Uncut Gems

Sam Mendes – 1917
Martin Scorsese – The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Bong Joon-ho – Parasite
Benny Safide & Josh Safdie – Uncut Gems

Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems

Awkwafina, The Farewell
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Lupita Nyong’o, Us
Saoirse Ronan, Little Women
Renee Zellweger, Judy

Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse
Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Al Pacino, The Irishman
Joe Pesci, The Irisman
Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell
Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers
Florence Pugh, Little Women
Margot Robbie, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Shuzhen Zhou, The Farewell

The Farewell – Lulu Wang
Knives Out – Rian Johnson
Marriage Story – Noah Baumbach
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood – Quentin Tarantino
Parasite – Bong Joon-ho & Han Jin-won

Hustlers – Lorene Scafaria
The Irishman – Steven Zaillian
Jojo Rabbit – Taika Waititi
Joker – Scott Silver & Todd Phillips
Little Women – Greta Gerwig

Ad Astra
A Hidden Life
The Lighthouse
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Portrait of a Lady on Fire

The Lighthouse
Little Women
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

1917 – Thomas Newman
Joker – Hildur Guðnadóttir
Little Women – Alexandre Desplat
Parasite – Jung Jae-il
Uncut Gems – Daniel Lopatin
Us – Michael Abels

“Glasgow (No Place Like Home)” from Wild Rose
“A Glass of Soju” from Parasite
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman
“Into the Unknown” from Frozen II
“Stand Up” from Harriet

The Irishman
Knives Out
Little Women
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

The Farewell
Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Pain and Glory
Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Ana de Armas
Julia Fox
Kelvin Harrison Jr.
George McKay
Florence Pugh
Taylor Russell

Frozen II
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Missing Link
Toy Story 4

American Factory
Apollo 11
The Biggest Little Farm
Love, Antosha
Midnight Family

Here Are The 2019 Dorian Award nominations!

GALECA, the Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, have announced their nominations for the best of 2019!

And here they are:


Film of the Year
Little Women
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Pain and Glory
Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Director of the Year
Pedro Almodovar, Pain and Glory
Greta Gerwig, Little Women
Bong Joon-ho, Parasite
Sam Mendes, 1917
Celine Sciamma, Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Film Performance of the Year — Actress
Awkwafina, The Farewell
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
Lupita Nyong’o, Us
Alfre Woodard, Clemency
Renee Zellweger, Judy

Film Performance of the Year — Actor
Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Taron Egerton, Rocketman

Supporting Film Performance of the Year — Actress
Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Florence Pugh, Little Women
Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers
Margot Robbie, Bombshell
Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell

Supporting Film Performance of the Year — Actor
Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood
Al Pacino, The Irishman
Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Song Kang-ho, Parasite

LGBTQ Film of the Year
End of the Century
Pain and Glory
Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Foreign Language Film of the Year
Pain and Glory
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
The Farewell

Screenplay of the Year
Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Bong Joon-ho, Han Jin-won, Parasite
Greta Gerwig, Little Women
Céline Sciamma, Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Rian Johnson, Knives Out

Documentary of the Year (theatrical release, TV airing or DVD release)
American Factory
Apollo 11
For Sama
One Child Nation

LGBTQ Documentary of the Year
Circus of Books
Gay Chorus Deep South
The Gospel of Eureka
Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street

Visually Striking Film of the Year (honoring a production of stunning beauty, from art direction to cinematography)
The Lighthouse
Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Unsung Film of the Year
Her Smell
Gloria Bell
The Last Black Man in San Francisco

Campy Film of the Year
Knives Out


TV Drama of the Year

TV Comedy of the Year
The Other Two
Russian Doll
Schitt’s Creek

TV Performance of the Year — Actress
Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll
Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek
Mj Rodriguez, Pose
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag
Michelle Williams, Fosse Verdon

TV Performance of the Year — Actor
Bill Hader, Barry
Dan Levy, Schitt’s Creek
Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us
Billy Porter, Pose
Jeremy Strong, Succession

TV Current Affairs Show of the Year
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
The Rachel Maddow Show
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Leaving Neverland

TV Musical Performance of the Year
Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, “Shallow,” The 91st Academy Awards
Lizzo, “Truth Hurts,” VMAs 2019
Megan Mullally, “The Man That Got Way,” Will & Grace
Annie Murphy, “A Little Bit Alexis,” Schitt’s Creek
Michelle Williams, “Who’s Got the Pain?,” Fosse/Verdon

LGBTQ TV Show of the Year
The Other Two
Schitt’s Creek
Tales of the City

Unsung TV Show of the Year
Gentleman Jack
On Becoming a God in Central Florida
The Other Two
Years and Years

Campy TV Show of the Year
American Horror Story 1984
Big Little Lies
RuPaul’s Drag Race
The Politician

We’re Wilde About You! Rising Star of the Year
Roman Griffin Davis
Kaitlyn Dever
Beanie Feldstein
Florence Pugh
Hunter Schafer

Wilde Wit of the Year (Honoring a performer, writer or commentator whose observations both challenge and amuse)
Dan Levy
Billy Porter
Randy Rainbow
Taika Waititi
Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Wilde Artist of the Decade (Special accolade)
Lady Gaga
Greta Gerwig
Ryan Murphy
Billy Porter
Phoebe Waller-Bridge

The winners will be announced on January 9th!

(h/t to Awards Watch)

The North Carolina Film Critics Association Names Parasite The Best of 2019!

Below are the winners and the nominees from the North Carolina Film Critics Association!  It was another victory for Parasite, which has emerged as the critical favorite during awards season.

Best Film
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Parasite – WINNER

Best Director
Bong Joon Ho — Parasite – WINNER
Sam Mendes — 1917
Martin Scorsese — The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino — Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Taika Waititi — Jojo Rabbit

Best Actor in a Leading Role
Leonardo DiCaprio — Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Adam Driver — Marriage Story – WINNER
Eddie Murphy — Dolemite is My Name
Joaquin Phoenix — Joker
Adam Sandler – Uncut Gems

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Awkwafina — The Farewell
Scarlett Johansson — Marriage Story
Lupita Nyong’o — Us – WINNER
Saoirse Ronan — Little Women
Charlize Theron — Bombshell
Renée Zellweger — Judy

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Laura Dern — Marriage Story
Jennifer Lopez — Hustlers
Florence Pugh — Little Women – WINNER
Margot Robbie — Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Zhao Shuzhen — The Farewell

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Willem Dafoe — The Lighthouse
Tom Hanks — A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Shia LaBeouf — Honey Boy
Joe Pesci — The Irishman
Brad Pitt — Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – WINNER

Best Original Screenplay
Noah Baumbach — Marriage Story
Bong Joon Ho; Han Jin-won — Parasite – WINNER
Rian Johnson — Knives Out
Quentin Tarantino — Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Lulu Wang — The Farewell

Best Adapted Screenplay
Micah Fitzerman Blue; Noah Hapster — A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Greta Gerwig — Little Women – WINNER
Anthony McCarten — The Two Popes
Taika Waititi — Jojo Rabbit
Steven Zaillian — The Irishman

Best Cinematography
Jarin Blaschke — The Lighthouse
Roger Deakins — 1917 – WINNER
Kyung-pyo Hong — Parasite
Hoyte van Hoytema — Ad Astra
Robert Richardson — Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Best Use of Music
Jojo Rabbit
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – WINNER

Best Use of Special Effects
Ad Astra
Avengers: Endgame – WINNER
The Irishman
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Best Foreign Language Film
The Farewell
Parasite – WINNER
Pain and Glory
Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Best Documentary Film
American Factory
Apollo 11 – WINNER
Hail Satan?
Knock Down the House
One Child Nation

Best Animated Film
Frozen II
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part
Missing Link
Toy Story 4 – WINNER

The Ken Hanke Memorial Tar Heel Award
Best of Enemies – Durham, NC
Jonathan Majors (formerly from UNC School of the Arts) – The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Tyler Nilson & Michael Schwatrz — The Peanut Butter Falcon – WINNER
Joshua Overbay – Luke & Jo

Music Video of the Day: Lookin’ Out My Back Door by Creedence Clearwater Revival (1970, directed by ????)

Despite what you may have heard, this is not a song about drugs.  The flying spoon was not for cocaine.  The animals were not the result of an acid trip.  The parade?  That was just a reference to a passage from a Dr. Seuss book.  Instead, John Fogerty wrote this song for his son, Josh, and he filled it with imagery that he thought would appeal to a 3 year-old.

The video, which was filmed long before the days of MTV, is a performance clip, featuring CCR performing the song and looking like they’re having the time of their lives doing so.  When you see everyone so happy here, it’s easy to forget that, in just another two years, John Fogerty would leave CCR and he and his former bandmates would spend the next few decades suing each other.

Just got home from Illinois, lock the front door, oh boy!
Got to sit down, take a rest on the porch
Imagination sets in, pretty soon I’m singin’
Doo, doo, doo, lookin’ out my back door
Giant doin’ cartwheels, statue wearin’ high heels
Look at all the happy creatures dancin’ on the lawn
Dinosaur Victrola list’nin’ to Buck Owens
Doo, doo, doo, lookin’ out my back door
Tambourines and elephants are playin’ in the band
Won’t you take a ride on the flyin’ spoon? Doo, doo, doo
Wond’rous apparition provided by magician
Doo, doo, doo, lookin’ out my back door
Tambourines and elephants are playin’ in the band
Won’t you take a ride on the flyin’ spoon? Doo, doo, doo
Bother me tomorrow, today, I’ll buy no sorrow
Doo, doo, doo, lookin’ out my back door
Forward troubles Illinois, lock the front door, oh boy!
Look at all the happy creatures dancin’ on the lawn
Bother me tomorrow, today, I’ll buy no sorrow
Doo, doo, doo, lookin’ out my back door