Ryan Reynolds (left) and Morena Baccarin in “Deadpool.” (20th Century Fox)

The best of 2016: DVDs and music

By Everett Public Library staff

We conclude the best of 2016 staff picks list with our DVD and music selections. So many titles, so little time. If you want to take a look at the full list of staff picks, check out the Library Newsletter.

DVDs

• “The Nice Guys”

In 1970s Los Angeles, a mismatched pair of private eyes investigate a missing girl and the mysterious death of a porn star.

Director Shane “Lethal Weapon” Black uses action genre as background for brutally funny and incredibly twisting and twisted story performed with brio by Crowe as the brutal private eye and Gosling as his incompetent sidekick. Pure fun. —Alan’s pick

• “Zootopia”

Zootopia city is a melting pot where animals from every environment live together. But when optimistic Officer Judy Hopps arrives, she discovers some are turning vicious.

A terrific film for old and young alike, Zootopia says as much about racism and bigotry as it does in believing in yourself. And it’s masterfully done. And funny. Good for 8+. —Alan’s pick

• “Where to Invade Next”

Presents the theory that the American dream, all but abandoned in the United States, has been adopted successfully in other countries, including Italy, France, Finland, Slovenia, Germany, Portugal, Norway, Tunisia, and Iceland.

Love him or hate him, agree with him or not, Moore is a brave filmmaker who knows how to craft a compelling film filled with evidence and lots of style and humor. —Alan’s pick

• “Legend”

The true story of the rise and fall of London’s most notorious gangsters, Reggie and Ron Kray, both portrayed by Tom Hardy. This crime thriller takes viewers into the secret history of the 60s and the events that secured the infamy of the Kray twins.

Tom Hardy continues to be the best actor of his generation, and he has so much to work with here: one brother is conflicted, complex, genteel, the other savage. Beyond this acting showcase, this is the best gangster film since Goodfellas. See it. —Alan’s pick

• “Deadpool”

The origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool.

As a longtime fan of snark and a new fan of comic books, I was excited to see this on Valentine’s Day with my husband (my idea—it’s totally a love story!). I loved every second; it has the best opening credits sequence EVER! —Carol’s pick

• “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” Season 1

A successful, driven, and possibly crazy young woman impulsively gives up her partnership at a prestigious law firm and her upscale apartment in Manhattan in a desperate attempt to find love and happiness in suburban West Covina, California.

Hilarious, heartwarming, and utterly frustrating at times (Rebecca Bunch, what are you thinking?), this musical comedy is unlike any TV show I’ve ever seen. Season 2 just started, so now’s the time to catch up with this award-winning show! —Carol’s pick

• “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”

A defiant and troubled orphan finds himself on the run with his grizzled and very reluctant foster father in the wild New Zealand bush. With the two at the center of a national manhunt, they are forced to work together to survive.

This unaffected, emotional story has everything—drama, action and comedy! This mismatched-buddy pursuit movie was directed by Taika Waititi, who directed/wrote/starred in one of my fave films from 2014. What We Do in the Shadows. This film is PG-13. —Joyce’s pick

• “The Fits”

Director Anna Rose Holmer’s gripping feature debut is a psychological portrait of 11-year-old Toni (Royalty Hightower), a tomboy assimilating to a tight-knit dance team in Cincinnati.

The dreamy, beautifully syncopated movie—a coming-of-age tale—is extraordinarily watchable, made more so thanks to the thrillingly kinetic, fierce dancing. —Joyce’s pick

• “Everybody Wants Some!!”

Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused and Boyhood) hits it out of the park with this story of a freshman’s move from constant adult supervision to a new exciting life with his skirt-chasing, rabblerousing college baseball teammates in 1980s Texas.

The title (and movie poster) seemingly indicate dumbed-down, predictable shenanigans, but as author and director, Linklater has a bewitching touch which makes this comedy worth watching. —Joyce’s pick

• “Dark Matter Season 1”

Awoken from stasis with their memories erased, the crew of the spaceship Raza has to find out who they are and why everyone hates them so much as they rampage through the galaxy.

This TV series is classic over the top Sci Fi complete with a universe ruled by evil corporations, a sentient AI, self-repairing nanotechnology and, of course, space zombies (kind of). —Richard’s pick

Music

• “Good Times!” by The Monkees

The Monkees reunite to create an album that sounds like the best of their 1960’s output due mainly to excellent guest songwriters from Ben Gibbard to Andy Partridge.

Tuneful, hook-laden, and loaded with perfect pop songs, what’s not to like? Plus, you get to hear the voices of the dearly departed Harry Nilsson and Davy Jones on 13 new songs. Much better than their last, dreadful 80’s reunion. —Alan’s pick

• “Blackstar” by David Bowie

David Bowie’s heavy, difficult, yet meditative industrial art-rock masterpiece recorded as he was dying from liver cancer.

Bowie recorded Blackstar to say goodbye. No one, including the musicians, knew this. They may have been distracted by this inspired genius incorporating hip-hop, jazz, folk, etc., into a stunning, sad, and beautifully dark album. Best of the year. —Alan’s pick

• “Everybody Wants” by The Struts

Rock music with toe-tapping melodies, clever lyrics, and attitude.

ROCK IS NOT DEAD. Anyone who has told you that needs this CD. Lead singer Luke Spiller has an amazing vocal range, guitarist Adam Slack has some hot licks, and the whole band is covered in glitter and yelling at me— and I love it. —Carol’s pick

• “Laurie Berkner’s Favorite Classic Kids’ Songs” by Laurie Berkner Band

Laurie Berkner presents a treasure trove of well-loved traditional children’s songs plus six of her most popular originals.

This is classic kid’s music at its best! From “Alouette” to “Zodiac,” these songs have great arrangements and delivery. Not just kiddie music, you’ll love it too. Fantastic! —Leslie’s pick

• “Puberty 2” by Mitski

Gritty but lovely indie rock.

Mitski Miyawaki explores love, loss, anxiety, and depression in this emotionally-raw album. —Lisa’s pick

• “Habib Galbi” by A-Wa

Three sisters with a love for electronic music, reggae, and Yemenite women’s chants.

It’s a really fun, upbeat, dancy album. —Lisa’s pick

• “Awo” by uKanDanz

This group considers their style “Ethiopian Crunch Music,” which is a wonderful combination of world music styles.

It’s a thoroughly-satisfying mashup of metal and hard rock guitar riffs and power chords; a blues and jazz horn section; and amazing vocals that expressively wail, croon, and keen. —Lisa’s pick

• “LateNightTales” by Ólafur Arnalds

Down-tempo dreamscapes with some trip hop beats interspersed.

Fans of Bjork, Prefuse 73, and Sigur Rós would probably be into it. ‘Icelandic’ would be the best adjective to describe this album. —Lisa’s pick

• “No Manchester” by Mexrrissey

A bit mariachi, a little bit rock and roll – all Morrissey.

I love the variety of artists and styles used to cover some very well-known Morrissey hits. Dedicated fans and those only slightly familiar with his work will find something to enjoy. —Lisa’s pick

• “Buenaventura” by La Santa Cecilia

A fusion of Latin jazz, rock, Mexican folk music, rockabilly, and more.

Toe-tapping tracks are full of guitars, horns, accordion, and gusty bluesy vocals in Spanish and English. —Lisa’s pick

• “The Impossible Kid” by Aesop Rock

This is the kind of hip-hop album that you’ll listen to a hundred times and probably notice something different each time.

Intricate, powerful rhymes do acrobatics with the English language, making the listener sit up and take notice. —Lisa’s pick

• “Adore Life” by Savages

Adore Life is a solid rock album that brings to mind the likes of Joan Jett, The Pixies, and Fugazi.

I really appreciated the progression of the album; it has the ability to rip things apart and then slow everything down with a lyrical and melodious groove. —Lisa’s pick

• “Outskirts of Love” by Shemekia Copeland

A fiery, driving mix of blues, rock, and soul.

It’s the type of album you want to listen to on repeat. —Lisa’s pick

• “Tower Music” by Joseph Bertolozzi

A hard album to define! This album was made by using the Eiffel Tower as a percussion instrument.

The music is somehow lively and minimal at the same time. It really is impressive how intricate each track is, and the range of sounds the artist was able to create using the iconic landmark. —Lisa’s pick

• “Love & Hate” by Michael Kiwanuka

First and foremost a soul album, but with hints of rock, blues, gospel, and even a kind of classic rock feel at times.

It’s very beautiful, grand, and political. —Lisa’s pick

Be sure to visit A Reading Life for more reviews and news of all things happening at the Everett Public Library.

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