My Favourite Dramatic Feature Films 2017

1.Loveless (Dir. Andrey Zvyagintsev)










2. Mother! (Dir. Darren Aronofsky)










3. Call Me By Your Name (Dir. Luca Guadagnino)










4. Foxtrot (Dir. Samuel Maoz)










5. On Body and Soul (Dir. Ildikó Enyedi)










6. Lady Bird (Dir. Greta Gerwig)










7. Get Out (Dir. Jordan Peele)










8. Happy End (Dir. Michael Haneke)










9. The Shape of Water (Dir. Guillermo del Toro)










10. Phantom Thread (Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)









11. Downsizing (Dir. Alexander Payne)

12. Dunkirk (Dir. Christopher Nolan)

13. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos)

14. The Death of Louis XIV (Dir. Albert Serra)

15. The Florida Project (Dir. Sean Baker)

16. The Square (Dir. Ruben Ostlund)

17. Personal Shopper (Dir. Olivier Assayas)

18. Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (Dir. Paul McGuigan)

19. Thelma (Dir. Joachim Trier)

20. God’s Own Country (Dir. Francis Lee)

21. Blade Runner 2049 (Dir. Denis Villeneuve)

22. A Ghost Story (Dir. David Lowery)

23. BPM (Beats Per Minute)  (Dir. Robin Campillo)

24. Good Time (Dir. Josh and Benny Safdie)

25. I, Tonya (Dir. Craig Gillespie)

26. A Fantastic Woman (Dir. Sebastián Lelio)

27. Brad’s Status (Dir. Mike White)

28. Coco (Dir. Lee Unkrich)

29. Life (Dir. Daniel Espinosa)

30. Baby Driver (Dir. Edgar Wright)



Favourite Dramatic Feature Films 2016

  1. Moonlight (Dir. Barry Jenkins, USA)


2. Manchester by the Sea (Dir. Kenneth Lonergan, USA)


3. Toni Erdmann (Dir. Maren Ade, Germany)


4. Neruda (Dir. Pablo Larraín, Chile)


5. Arrival (Dir. Denis Villeneuve, USA)


6. The Handmaiden (Dir. Park Chan-wook, South Korea)


7. Sing Street (Dir. John Carney, Ireland)


8. 20th Century Women (Mike Mills, USA)


9. Jackie (Dir. Pablo Larraín, Chile)


10. Everybody Wants Some!! (Dir. Richard Linklater, USA)


11. Christine (Dir. Antonio Campos, USA)


12. Sieranevada (Dir. Cristi Puiu, Romania)


13. Krisha (Dir. Trey Edward Shylts, USA)


14. Heartstone (Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson, Denmark/Iceland)


15. Certain Women (Dir. Kelly Reichardt, USA)


16. Hell or High Water (Dir. David Machenzie, USA)


17. The Fits (Dir. Anna Rose Holmer, USA)


18. American Honey (Dir. Andrea Arnold, UK)


19. Operation Avalanche (Dir. Matt Johnson, Canada)


20. My Life as a Courgette (Dir. Claude Barras, Switzerland)


21. Little Men (Dir. Ira Sachs, USA)


22. A Bigger Splash (Dir. Luca Guadagnino, Italy)

23. Hail, Caesar! (Dir. Joel & Ethan Coen, USA/UK)

24. Zootopia (Dir. Byron Howard, Rich Moore, USA)

25. A Monster Calls (Dir. J.A. Bayona, USA)

26. Finding Dory (Dir. Andrew Stanton, USA)

27. Knight of Cups (Dir. Terrence Mallick, USA)

28. Death in Sarajevo (Dir. Danis Tanović, Bosnia and Herzegovina)

29. Love & Friendship (Dir. Whit Stillman, Ireland)

30. Heal the Living (Dir. Katell Quillévéré, France)

31. Elle (Dir. Paul Verhoeven, France)

32. The Rehearsal (Dir. Alison Maclean, New Zealand)

33. Green Room (Dir. Jeremy Saulnier, USA)

34. Midnight Special (Dir. Jeff Nichols, USA)

35. Swiss Army Man (Dir. The Daniels, USA)

36. Nocturnal Animals (Dir. Tom Ford, USA)

37. La La Land (Dir. Damien Chazelle, USA)

38. The Dreamed Ones (Dir. Ruth Beckermann, Austria)

39. The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki (Dir. Juho Kuosmanen, Finland)

40. The Untamed (Dir. Amat Escalante, Mexico)

41. Blessed Benefit (Dir. Mahmoud al Massad, Jordan)

Favourite Dramatic Feature Films 2015

1. The Revenant (Dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu)


2. Spotlight (Dir. Tom McCarthy)


3. Carol (Dir. Todd Haynes)

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4. Mad Max: Fury Road (Dir. George Miller)


5. Clouds of Sils Maria (Dir. Olivier Assayas)


6. Son of Saul (Dir. László Nemes)

Son of Saul

7. Inside Out (Dir. Pete Docter)

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8. Men & Chicken (Dir. Anders Thomas Jensen)

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9. Bridge of Spies (Dir. Steven Spielberg)

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10. The Hateful Eight (Dir. Quentin Tarantino)

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11. Mustang (Dir. Deniz Gamze Ergüven)

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12. Tangerine (Dir. Sean Baker)

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13. The Second Mother (Dir. Anna Muylaert)

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14. Anomalisa (Dir. Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson)


15. Beasts of No Nation (Dir. Cary Joji Fukunaga)

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16. Room (Dir. Lenny Abrahamson)


17. While We’re Young (Dir. Noah Baumbach)



18. James White (Dir. Josh Mond)

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19. Sicario (Dir. Denis Villeneuve)


20. The End of the Tour (Dir. James Ponsoldt)


21. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Dir. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon)


22. Brooklyn (Dir. Nick Hornby)


23. 45 Years (Dir. Andrew Haigh)

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24. Ex Machina (Dir.Alex Garland)

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25. Mistress America (Dir. Noah Baumbach)



Favourite Documentary Feature Films 2015

1. Listen To Me Marlon (Dir. Stevan Riley)

Listen to me Marlon

2. Best of Enemies (Dirs. Morgan Neville, Robert Gordon)


3. Heart of a Dog (Dir. Laurie Anderson)


4. Cartel Land (Dir. Matthew Heinman)


5. Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (Dir. Brett Morgen)


6. The Circus Dynasty (Dir. Anders Riis-Hansen)


7. Meet the Patels (Dir. Geeta V. Patel)

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8. The Arms Drop (Dir. Andreas Koefoed)

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9. The Look of Silence (Dir. Joshua Oppenheimer)


10. The Wolfpack (Dir.Crystal Moselle)

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11. What Happened Miss Simone? (Dir. Liz Garbus)

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12. Amy (Dir. Asif Kapadia)

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13. Winter on Fire (Dir. Evgeny Afineevsky)


14. Unbranded (Dir. Phillip Baribeau)


15. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

(Dir. Alex Gibney)


16. My Love Don’t Cross That River (Dir. Jin Mo-young)

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17. Missing People (Dir. David Shapiro)

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18. The Hunting Ground (Dir. Kirby Dick)

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19. Dreamcatcher (Dir. Kim Longinotto)

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20. Welcome to Leith (Dirs. Michael Nichols & Christopher Walker)

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Favourite Record Albums 2015

Some years, the stylistic direction that music travels diverges from my general taste. That can be a great opportunity to grow and acquire new perspectives towards music style. 2015 was definitely a more challenging year in music for me. The acclaimed records were a little more idiosyncratic than I was used to, so the appeal wasn’t as readily apparent. But ultimately, 2015 was rewarding once I opened my ears to the current sounds.  There were new works from several old favourites, but many new names appeared on the world stage.


 1. Mew, +- (art rock)mew plus minus album cover

You can’t talk about Mew’s music without mentioning singer Jonas Bjerre’s vocals.  There is an airy, falsetto quality to his singing that is even more delicate than fellow Scandinavian, Jónsi, of Sigur Rós.  That voice gives each song a fairytale quality, and Mew’s grand, sweepingly cinematic prog-rock music is a beautiful contrast to the frailty of Bjerre’s vocals. With +-, Mew balance their math-rock moments with sweet pop melodies that flow along beautifully, but there’s always the threat of an electrifying guitar solo at any moment.  This is a dynamic record.

2. Tame Impala – Currents (psychedelic pop)


With Currents there’s a soft rock of the 70’s sound that’s tempered the fuzzed-out neo-psychedelia that prevailed on previous Tame Impala albums (Innerspeaker and Lonerism). While the rock-god swagger of those great records doesn’t play here, a more personal and intimate type of music runs through Currents. It’s a break-up album that is sad and sweet in its vocals and lyrics, but balanced with slight R&B groves or the skip of a disco beat. This record is about moving on from relationships when you know you need a change in your life to progress, and everything in this production expresses that beautifully.

3. Beach House – Depression Cherry (dream pop)

Beach House Depression Cherry Album Art

Ethereal music that floats along like a breeze through chiming keys, with waves of synth, gentle buzzing guitars and an occasional thumping beat. Singer Victoria Legrand’s vocals are often a feathery whisper, but can soar with the sudden symphonic swell of the keyboards or gravelly growl of guitar grows out of atmospheric music.  This is music for watching sunrises and sunsets.

4. Jamie xx – In Colour (electronic, dance)

Jamie xx In Colour Album Art

Jamie xx is a great music producer, and his album In Colour is a beautiful blend of styles that run from starkly atmospheric to dynamic tracks that alternate between drum & bass, R&B, hip-hop, indie-rock and trippy dance in one of the most kinetic album of the year.

5. Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly (hip hop)

To Pimp a Butterfly Album Art

Prince used to make albums like this (Sign o’ The Times, Lovesexy). Soulful R&B and hip hop, that’s personal, political, pertinent and really dramatic. It’s the artistic statement of the year because it is fearless in its raw expression of defiance, debauchery and personal confession with music that can be dark or aggressive at moments, but often beautiful in its reference to free form jazz, or wonky psychedelic funk. Kendrick Lamar demands your attention to absorb his complex layers of music and lyrics.  He’s an incredibly engaging storyteller and eclectic songwriter.

6. Sufjan Stevens – Carrie & Lowell (indie folk)

Sufjan_Stevens_-_Carrie_&_Lowell Album Art

The songs on this album were inspired by the death of Sufjan Stevens’ mother, Carrie, and the family trips that they took to Oregon in Stevens’ childhood. His mother suffered from depression, schizophrenia and drug abuse. This record expresses the pain, suffering and intense love in their life and her death. It’s a coming to terms with loss, and a closure. Beautiful, sad music.

7. Grimes – Art Angels (synthpop)

Grimes Art Angels Album Cover

8. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear (indie folk)

Father John Misty I love you honeybear art

9. Julia Holter – Have You in My Wilderness (art pop)

Julia_Holter In my wilderness cover art

10. Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color (blues rock)

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11. D’Angelo and The Vanguard – Black Messiah (funk, soul, R&B)

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12. Blur – The Magic Whip (indie rock, Britpop)

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13. C Duncan – Architect (indie pop, indie folk)

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14.  Dawn Richard – Blackheart (electronica, dance pop, R&B)

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15. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit (indie rock)

Courtney Barnett Sometimes I Sit Album cover art

16. New Order – Music Complete (electropop)

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17. Mac Demarco – Another One (jangle pop, indie rock)

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18. Emily King – The Switch (R&B)

Emily King Switch Cover Art

19. Julio Bashmore – Knockin’ Boots (house)

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20. The Weeknd – Beauty Behind the Madness (alt. R&B)

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21. Jazmine Sullivan – Reality Show (contemporary R&B)

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22. Leon Bridges – Coming Home (soul, R&B)

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23. Sheer Mag – II 7″ (indie rock)

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24. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Multi-Love (psych. rock, indie pop)

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25. Duran Duran – Paper Gods (synthpop, dance-rock)

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26. Swervedriver – I Wasn’t Born to Lose You (indie rock, shoegaze)

swervedriver i wasn't born to lose you

27. Beach House – Thank Your Lucky Stars (dream pop)

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28. Dråpe – Relax/Relapse (indie pop)

drape relax relapse cover art

29. Tobias Jesso Jr. – Goon (folk, baroque pop)

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Favourite Record Albums 2013

For me, a great record album often demands multiple attentive listens under different circumstances, different hours of the day, different moods and having the benefit of the live experience, before its richness is revealed. I’ve been listening to and enjoying the sounds of these ‘Year 2013 Records’ for months but I’m still discovering references, meaning and musicality that I missed the first dozen, two dozen or more times that I visited them.  And I know that years from now I’ll have a different relationship to them than I do now, which will add something I can’t imagine today.

1. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City (Indie, Chamber, World Beat)

Modern Vampires Of The City

Lyrically and musically playful, and rich with layer upon layer of religious, historic, political and music references.  The metaphors are beautiful, intricate and have fans arguing about song meanings. From the opening notes of the album there are hints of gospel revival that run through the record.  Yet, three songs in and “Steps” lays out samples from ’90s rap group Souls of Mischief played through the prism of Bach styled chamber music. Doo-wop, Rockabilly, Afrobeat and Surfer Rock weave through the record, and lead singer, Ezra Koenig, quotes from the Bible to Milton to Run DMC. I’m sure that I’m still missing half of what’s going on in these tracks, but I’m looking forward to discovering more.



2. The National – Trouble Will Find Me (Indie Rock)

Trouble Will Find Me

There has always been a heavy, sometimes weary sentiment in the vocals of The National lead signer Matt Berninger, and an almost trance-like repetitiveness to the music. But somehow, through the regret and anguish conveyed in their music there is often a point where there is a soaring grace. These are intimate, personal songs that feel like confessions, and the music follows the emotions like a heartbeat that begins to race until it bursts.




3. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories (Dance, House, Soft Rock)

Random Access Memories

Dance music at its best.  Simple, funky and smooth. But Random Access Memories gains depth as you travel through it. It sounds like it could be a classic 70’s concept album. Like a spaceship trip through the cosmos that ends with an intense, fiery crash landing. Excellent collaborations with Julian Casablancas (The Strokes), Pharrell Williams, Paul Williams and Panda Bear.





4. John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts (Electro Chamber Pop)

Pale Green Ghost

Truly a singer-songwriter’s album. John Grant knocks out grand electro-piano tracks that feel intensely personal and DIY, yet sometimes these songs sound as cinematic as a James Bond score. Closing track “Glacier” is heartbreakingly beautiful and epic.  And this may be the best coming-out album of all time.






5. Cut Copy – Free Your Mind (Electro Pop, Acid House)

Free Your Mind

Reminiscent of the early 90’s UK club scene dance music.  This is Cut Copy’s homage to Screamadelica era Primal Scream.  Can never stop dancing when I hear these etherial tracks. Euphoric!







6. Arctic Monkeys – AM (Rock)


The sexiest rock album of the year. AM has the swagger of 70’s era rock gods Led Zepplin. Stomping good, big-hair rock!








7. Arcade Fire – Reflektor  (Indie Rock)


Understated indie rock that rewards after repeat listenings. Reflektor reminds me of The Clash at their best.








8. Suede – Bloodsports (Glam Rock)


I used to always think “classic Bowie” when I listened to Suede. Now, with Bloodsports I’m just thinking “classic Suede!”  Dramatic!








9. The Strokes – Come Down Machine (Indie Rock)

Comedown Machine

The Strokes sound like they are having fun again; a lot of fun!  Come Down Machine is like a blend of every era of rock history rolled together, even the brief disco-rock period (Think Kiss’ “I Was Made for Lovin’ You”), and yet it sounds perfectly contemporary and exciting.







10. Laura Mvula – Sing to the Moon (Soul, R&B)

Sing to the Moon

A magical album of orchestral soul/R&B.  One of the most unique records of the year that sounds like a fairytale.








11. Phoenix – Bankrupt! (Indie Pop/Rock)











12. Pet Shop Boys – Electric (Electro Pop)











13. Valerie June – Pushin’ Against a Stone (Blues)

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14. Telekinesis – Dormarion (Alternative)

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15. Shout Out Louds – Optica (Indie Pop)

Optica (Bonus Track Version)










16. The Bryan Ferry Orchestra – The Jazz Age (20’s era Jazz)

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17. Foxygen – We Are the 20th Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic (Psychedelic Folk Rock)

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18. James Blake – Overgrown (Trip Hop)

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19. London Grammar – If You Wait

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20. Cayucas – Big Foot (Surf Pop)











21. Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse (Pysch-pop)

Wondrous Bughouse










22.  MGMT – MGMT

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23. Camera Obscura – Desire Lines (Indie Pop)

Desire Lines










24. Kurt Vile – Wakin On A Pretty Daze (Indie Rock)

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25. Foals – Holy Fire (Indie Rock)

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26. Diana – Perpetual Surrender

Perpetual Surrender










27. Majical Cloudz – Impersonator











28. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (Roots Rock)

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros (Deluxe Edition)










29. Various artists – After Dark 2 (Electronic/Slow Disco)

After Dark 2










30. My Bloody Valentine – m b v

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