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Dec 15, 2015 — Our “Best Of 2015” series will be a bit different than most. Rather than having the staff write about things released this year, we’ve elected to allow anything they’ve listened to/played/read/watched this year that they’ve enjoyed. Our second installment comes to us from Corey Wagner, a Library Associate in the Public Services department.
While coming up with a “Best of 2015” list a couple of things became clear to me:
Since I failed to read much of anything (except comic books) this year I’ve decided to make my best of list more media heavy.
My “mainstream” music picks of the year are:
Faith No More – Sol Invictus
It’s rare for a comeback album to be good. When bands get back together after 10, 15, or more years after separating the new music tends to be safe and tread similar ground. Honestly, I can’t think of a single instance of a band reforming after a significant hiatus and releasing a good album. Faith No More’s Sol Invictus didn’t just exceed my admittedly low expectations, it’s nearly as good as anything they have ever released. Angel Dust (1992) is a masterpiece, and I’m partial to King for a Day… Fool for a Lifetime (1995). Sol Invictus almost reaches those heights. “Matador” is one of the best songs they’ve ever written and “Sunny Side Up” is one of the catchiest. I should know better from a Mike Patton-related project. He never mails it in.
Check out the CD in the library catalog.
Ghost – Meliora
The third album from the Swedish rockers is arguably their best and their popularity continues to skyrocket. Their single “Cirice” has been nominated for a Grammy and earlier this year they appeared on Late Show with Stephen Colbert. This album somehow manages to be Ghosts’s heaviest album while still being very melodic. “Absolution” and “Deus In Absentia” is the best 1-2 punch to close an album I’ve heard in a long time.
Check it out on hoopla.
Movies & TV
Ex Machina – Oscar Isaac has turned in to an actor I pay attention to over the last few years. Domhnall Gleeson has also been showing up in a lot of movies I’ve watched over the last couple of years. When I learned the two of them were together in a small sci-fi movie about artificial intelligence I was immediately sold on the film. It lived up to my expectations (and the hype of the overwhelmingly positive reviews). Also, the CG in the film is so well done that I would have believed the budget to be 3 or 4 times as big as it was. These two actors will also be in another small sci-fi film in a few days.
Mad Max: Fury Road – I don’t know what else I could possibly say about this. It’s great. I saw it in theaters approximately 8,000 times.
Sicario – Director Denis Villeneuve’s previous two movies (Prisoners, Enemy) had a lot to like but ultimately didn’t really connect with me. If nothing else, those two movies did have some fantastic performances. Sicario also has some great performances from Emily Blunt, Benecio Del Toro, and Josh Brolin. Unlike his previous two films, however, Sicario held my attention. The score really helped build suspense and dread. I expect this will receive some attention from the Oscars.
Better Call Saul Season 1 – It took 3 episodes but my reservations about a Breaking Bad spinoff completely disappeared after that. I’ve been a big fan of Bob Odenkirk for a long time and it’s nice to see him in a more dramatic role. For those unaware, Better Call Saul is a prequel to Breaking Bad that follows Bob Odenkirk’s character Saul Goodman (or James McGill) prior to the events of Breaking Bad. Odenkirk has been nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in season 1. Jonathan Banks also reprises his role as Mike Ehrmantraut.
Mad Men Season 7 Part 2 – The final episodes to one of the best television series of all time. Jon Hamm finally won an Emmy for his performance!
Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson (Volumes 2, 3, & 4 released in 2015) – Kamala Khan is one of the best new characters in superhero comics in recent memory.
Hawkeye by Matt Fraction (Volume 4 released in 2015) – The final issues of one of my favorite comic runs in recent history!
Thor: Goddess of Thunder by Jason Aaron (Volumes 1 & 2 released in 2015) – The continuation of Jason Aaron’s Thor: God of Thunder finds a new person wielding Mjolnir and the title of Thor.
Moon Knight by Cullen Bunn and Brian Wood (Volumes 2 & 3 released in 2015) – This series serves as a good introduction to the character. Unfortunately, after 17 issues (the last 11 issues are in these two collections) the title has been cancelled and I’m not entirely sure what the plans for the title/character are in the future.
Wytches Volume 1 by Scott Snyder & Jock – Scott Snyder is one of my favorite current comic writers. Artist Jock and colorist Matt Hollingsworth are also worth mentioning, since the artwork is memorable and beautiful (and, at times, disgusting).