Here is a long list of things.
Actually, it is three lists of things.
I decided (actually, Ken, Planet's graphic designer suggested) asking the book, music and rental dvd departments to give me their top ten lists.
Now, best and favourite type lists are an ongoing discussion within and between departments, have been and always will be. But in the end we've all developed a philosophy of avoiding the idea of ten best, it's too subjective. Instead, we more go by what seems cool enough to keep best in the memory. Also, we make no apologies that we get enthusiastic to push things out to the front the mainstream usually overwhelms.
With this in mind each department had a go and here's the result.
Haydn, Luke, Kate and Chris of the rental desk each gave me their ten from which I compiled the following. All of them had issue with something I left out. The rental guys are a diversified lot and that's a good thing.
TEN THINGS ON DVD WE REALLY LIKED THIS YEAR
Before The Devil Knows You're Dead
Dir: Sydney Lumet
82-year-old veteran film director and a top cast nail this modern day Shakespearian tragedy. Script, performance, everything is top notch.
Dir: Anton Corbijn
Riveting retelling of the Ian Curtis tragedy and the fate of Joy Division in all its bleak detail by a master photographer.
Dir: Sergei Bodrov
One of the hottest actors in the world today, Tadanobu Asano, binds together the episodes that make this a true epic about the rise of Genghis Khan. Spectacularly shot in Mongolia.
Dir: Harmony Korine
The writer of Kids, Ken Park & Gummo takes a more settled route when directing this subversive tale about a utopia for celebrity impersonators. Strange but endearing.
Dir: Christopher Nolan
Dir: Jon Favreau
The debate over which one to put in got too intense, so we decided you can chose the one you prefer. Both were the standouts, both were cool, both carried by engrossing performances, especially Downey Jr. and Heath.
Dir: David Cronenberg
Time and again Cronenberg has shown he's a master craftsman. Thus his take on Russian gangsters in London becomes even more compelling than you would expect it would already be.
The Darjeeling Limited
Dir: Wes Anderson
Anderson's films are usually quirky cool as he has an oddball way of seeing the world. This one is no different but has a quaint charm within the subtlety.
Beowulf & Grendel
Dir: Sturla Gunnarsson
The classic tale as made and told by the Scandinavians. Strong cast, strong production. It avoids distracting special effects and keeps a refreshing level of realism only enhanced by the amazing landscape.
Not Quite Hollywood
Dir: Mark Hartley
A roller coaster ride of a doco on the golden age of Ozploitation. Every piece of violence, every car crash, every naughty bit is crammed in there. Very entertaining. And who knew Tarantino was an expert on our crap? (I'll be doing a lengthier piece on this one soon)
Grindhouse: Death Proof & Planet Terror
Dir: Quentin Tarantino & Robert Rodriguez
More of the crew liked Tarantino's DP over Rodriguez's PT (but not Kate), mainly because of Kurt Russell. Either way, they capture the '60s drive-in experience. We list both cause we would like to see the original Grindhouse released as a dvd as well as the two films individually.
Ben and the rest of the music desk of James, Nick, Jacqueline, Charlotte, Georgia, Caitlin and Brendan gave me a fait accompli, which was much appreciated. Music isn't my strong point, but it's certainly their's.
TEN ALBUMS WE ENJOYED AT PLANET THIS YEAR
After much deliberation and work on the whiteboard we came up with these...
Much anticipated new album from Portishead didn't disappoint. A little darker and noisier than before, and we like it.
TV On The Radio
This album was a bit more upbeat and "radio-friendly" than their previous music, but in a good way.
The keys in your pocket make better music than this? We don't think so.
Wobbly, electronic beats. A surprise release from an independent artist we hadn't heard much about before.
For Emma, Forever Ago
The most played album on the planet stereo, just sit back and take it in
New Amerykah Pt 1
The most soulful woman in the world is back!! All killer, no filler on this epic, soulful LP
Diary Of An Afro Warrior
Dubstep was definitely a big sound this year, and this was the biggest album in the genre.
With folk having a comeback in recent years, this ablum is a cut above the rest!
Eddy Current Supression Ring
DIY garage rock at its best.. you would have heard us playing this & you probably liked it too.
Chemistry Of Common Life
These guys wont sit still, even with the sheer volume of material they have released this year it hasnt lessened the quality of their music. This is one of the best albums this year! Fucked up are breaking new boundaries and trying new things.. so should you!
In the bookshop I asked Alan, Cassie, Sam, Alison, Paul, Sue and Bec for one or two titles that stood out for them. I compiled the final list, which they all seemed pretty happy with and not at all upset with what I included or excluded. Which is great cause I did take liberties. They're a laid back lot in the bookshop.
TEN BOOKS WE THOUGHT WERE RATHER COOL THIS YEAR
2666: A Novel
by Roberto Bolano
This novel is quickly becoming a literary phenomenon. Though it can be described as a journey to the dark heart of Mexico, no simple description can do this novel justice. Its multi-story, multi-character narrative is grand, ambitious and wholly successful. And the packaging makes book lovers giddy.
by Neal Stephenson
Though the setting is at first of cloistered monks (on another planet, no less) it soon becomes an epic odyssey. An expansive novel that ranges from bawdy adventures to intense intellectual debates as it explores the relationship between science, religion and everything else in between.
by Cory Doctorow
A terrorist attack on San Francisco allows the Department of Homeland Security to create a police state. It's up to some pesky kids to take down the system. Sounds simple but this is the young adult novel of the year and so cool in its execution adults are just as hooked.
by Tim Winton
This is an evocative coming of age tale of two boys under the influence of a mentor surfer who is not all he seems. A sinister underside is ever present as the relationships are cleverly intertwine, especially when the surfer's wife enters the scene. The tension mounts but it is the sheer quality of writing that takes you on the to the inevitable.
by Nam Le
Seven extraordinary stories, seven special characters, seven circumstances of struggle and fate that circle the globe. Each story captures a different place, a different time, and a different way that the world works for the individuals at the center of each tale. All the superlatives have been used in the reviews and it's winning the big prizes. All of it deserved.
Tales from Outer Suburbia
by Shaun Tan
Mr. Tan imagines a quirky but special world that lies within our ordinary lives. Each tale is accompanied by Shaun's art that goes from the whimsical to the beautiful. Each tale evokes a different feeling and changes the way you see your everyday existence. It is a humourous, thoughtful, playful and poignant collection of little tales masquerading as a groovy art book.
Pandora in the Congo
by Albert Sánchez Piñol
This is a clever pastiche of early twentieth century adventure novels; an evil grin fabulation that plays through classic styles of writing. And like all the best novels of this type ranges from creepy to tender to outrageous all in well-executed style. Lots of dark fun while meditating on the human condition, plus it has monsters.
Pretty Monsters: Stories
by Kelly Link
As a short story writer Kelly Link is regarded as a master of her craft. With two successful collections behind her, she puts together nine stories aimed to satisfy children and adults a like. The stories range from clever to quirky to creepy to gruesome and enhanced by the accompaniment of Shaun Tan illustrations.
True Norwegian Black Metal
By Peter Beste
No story hear, just photos. Coffee table sized photos of; you guessed it, Norwegian Black Metal performers. These artists have created their own metal mythology and play it out in chaotic, dark metal splendor. I lied; there is a story here, between the quotes and passages. Something intense and outrageous is unfolding, but you have to immerse yourself in the portraits to find it.
The Graveyard Book
By Neil Gaiman
Gaiman again shows his clever technique of appropriating other works and creating something fresh and original. In this case he retells Kipling's Jungle Book as a story of a child that comes to be raised and taught by ghosts in a sprawling and ancient graveyard. Dark and full of mysteries, the mini-adventures come together in this unique tale. What's more, you can choose two different editions depending on which illustrator you prefer, Dave KcKean or Chris Riddell.