By KENNETH BELLIVEAU
Top Five Movies
5. X-Men: First Class
In fifth place is X-Men: First Class. This film introduces us to many new characters and has brilliant acting and storytelling. The X-men series has been in need of a revamp since the disastrous Origins flick. Now with a set of characters already established, it seems to me like a new set of X-men films will be in the works. And that has me excited for future films.
This is essentially the David vs. Goliath of sports movies. You have the $39-million payroll of the Oakland Athletics vs. the almost $150-million budget of the New York Yankees. Brad Pitt stars as the confident Billy Beane, the Athletics manager who is forced to work with the small budget. It is the story of how believing in something may be all you need to make it work.
3. The Help
Emma Stone is the new Hollywood it girl. The Help and Stones’ captivating performance fall in at number 3. Stone gives her character of Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan a voice, and reminds everyone how powerful one person’s voice can be. The Help has a darling cast and is well-written.
2. The Rum Diary
The Rum Diary falls just short of number 1. Johnny Depp stars in this adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s novel of the same name. With the film set in sunny Puerto Rico, the antics of Paul Kemp are a fun throwback to the laid-back atmosphere of the ’60s. Depp and his cast mates perfectly portray these well-designed characters. Amber Heard is very appealing in her role as Chenault; her beauty instantly captivates Kemp and their connection is established. Their forbidden romance blossoms throughout the film.
In a year that was filled with blockbusters such as Harry Potter and X-Men it was a small comedy that caught my attention. 50/50 gets the number 1 spot for its ability to make me laugh and almost cry all within the same movie. Joseph Gordon-Levitt perfectly balances an upbeat Adam with an emotionally torn apart Adam. He provides just enough A-List appeal and buddy-like personality to make this work.
Top Five TV Shows
5. Criminal Minds
Season six was marred with exits that made little sense. Two cast regulars left and fans were in an uproar. This season both Paget Brewster and A.J Cook have returned. With them back Criminal Minds has also returned to form going back to the reason they were successful in the first place, original and compelling storylines. There is a dynamic amongst the cast that was not captured during season six.
4. Two and a Half Men
With Charlie Sheen out and Ashton Kutcher in, this show drew a lot of attention from people. The premiere had 28 million viewers, the highest ratings yet for the show. It was a good, refreshing pace for a show that had grown stale over eight seasons. With Charlie in the lead it seemed like it was always the same storyline. With a new character it has been exciting to see his relationships develop with all of the old characters.
Simply one of the best shows on TV. Community always keeps the humour relevant. Danny Pudi continues to be the standout as Abed, while John Goodman was a stellar addition to an already amazing cast. The only sad thing is Community has been put on hiatus until further notice, which could be the first step to its impending cancellation.
2. Breaking Bad
Just when you think Breaking Bad has done it all it comes back with an even more explosive conclusion. Season four ended with Walter White finally going insane because of his lifestyle. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul should once again be front runners come Emmy nomination time. Cranston has won for the previous three seasons of Breaking Bad and season four probably won’t be any different.
1. The Walking Dead
Ten months was a long wait for season two, but immediately it started with a bang. Shattering basic cable records worldwide season two of The Walking Dead has been much slower than the first, allowing time to explore the characters. No ending scene was better than the one in episode seven, entitled Pretty Much Dead Already. The search for a missing Sophia has been concluded, and the only way you can understand the emotional impact it had is to watch the show.
Top Five Albums
5. Hope and Ruin by The Trews
Nova Scotian rockers The Trews came back with a slower and smoother album. The melodies are slower but the love of music is still apparent. A solid turnaround after their acoustic album Friends and Total Strangers. As the band gets older their music reflects their thoughts on life, love and friendships.
4. I’m with You by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Nothing was more rewarding than hearing a new Chili Peppers song. Despite the fact longtime guitarist John Frusciante had left the band the Chili Peppers were able to find a new sound with Josh Kloffhinger. It may not be their best album of all time but it is still a well-written and well-paced album.
3. Going Out in Style by The Dropkick Murphys
This is a concept album telling the trials and tribulations of the band through a fictional character. It is their seventh studio album. Adding the concept has kept the album fresh and worth a listen.
2. Take Care by Drake
Drake continues to rap about fame and fortune and how it has changed his life, except this time around it is a slower, more emotional approach to what fame has brought him. The emotion on the song is well done because of Drake’s actor roots. The album proves how versatile Drake can be as an artist.
1. Camp by Childish Gambino
Rapping under the pseudonym, Childish Gambino, actor/writer Donald Glover proves he is more than just a one note star. His album Camp focuses on his growing up and his views on current society. Like many rappers Glover talks about struggles growing up; unlike many rappers it is about how his family struggled to improve themselves while giving their children everything they could. Camp is honest and real from start to finish.