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Start the New Year on the right foot with recommendations from our staff

Good year! Every week in this space you’ll find a set of recommendations from our writers, ranging from TV and movies to music and podcasts, or whatever we might be right now. These things may or may not be new to the world, but that is not the point. What matters is what’s interesting and what’s worth your time. This week’s entries include: The apartment, Rated X and “Our New Year” by Tori Amos, as well as an anthem to the horror community (this year in particular) by Alix Turner.

If you are looking for new things to enjoy this New Year, we hope this gives you a good start and that you will join us every week to see what we recommend for you throughout the year. 2022 has to be the time when everything turns around, right?

Film to see for the new year: The apartment

Annie Flowers: It might be a bit of a cliché, but it’s not a New Year in our house until we ring it in with the annual visualization of The apartment. It’s tradition!

This is not your typical cute vacation romance encounter. There is more nuance and sorrow. The story begins when CC Baxter (Jack Lemmon), insurer, goes up to the 27th floor of a fantasy, Mad Men-Building NYC, but not through hard work and persistence. Oh sure, he does his job as well as anyone else. But what sets Baxter apart is the unique service it offers patrons: a key to its comfortable bachelor pad. And in real life Mad Men in fashion, shady executives bring mistresses to the said apartment for more privacy, away from prying eyes.

It is only when Baxter sees the damage caused by his service that he is determined to change. Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), sweetheart and elevator operator in the posh office building, tries to kill herself in Baxter’s apartment after realizing her affair with Mr. Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray), Baxter’s boss, means more to her than to him. After all, he has a wife and children to think about. It’s when Baxter finds out about Kubelik that there is a noticeable change in him.

This isn’t the New Years Eve wellness movie setup that most people might be looking for. But it’s the face and charm of Baxter’s watchdog, Kubelik’s vulnerability and sharp tongue, and MacMurray’s skillful delivery of Wilder’s classic dialogue that brings these characters, their restlessness and their desire to life. ardent. We find redemption. Both hopeful and melancholy, it’s the story of a man who turned his New Years resolution into a real mensch.

Musical recommendation for the New Year: Tori Amos, “Our New Year”

Daniel Siuba: “Our New Year” is the last song of Tori Amos Winter graces, which is a seasonal album featuring renditions of classic Christmas songs and hymns (“What Child, Nowell”, “Star of Wonder”, “Emmanuel”). It also has a handful of original songs which are, for me, the best part of the album. From the first time I listened to this album, this song was instantly my favorite. It’s downright honest and subtly scary; it evokes the feeling of a cold winter night. The singer remembers and remembers; as she contemplates the passing of another year, she is acutely aware of the people in her life who are no longer there. She doesn’t just remember them, she wishes they were still alive, so much so that she begins to see them; then she is struck by their absence. Amos sings,

Lately I’m sure it’s you waving
far away, closer. The closer I get …
Tears of disappointment. Yes it rocks
They just have the same color of your hair

In the chorus of the song, Amos repeats the phrase “You’re not there”, with little variation, but the instruments under his voice get stronger steadily; the chord progression keeps changing and changing, and at the end of the song the band, strings and piano erupt into a climax that mixes joy and sadness. In the final chorus, the first few times Amos sings “You’re not there” it sounds like an expression of mourning, but as the music beats and gets louder, she feels like she’s been singing ever since. a place of deep acceptance. This saying is, I think, intentionally ambiguous; it lends itself to many interpretations, but however you understand it, it is impossible for me to hear it without being moved.

As is the case with many Amos songs, it ends without a clear resolution. The conclusion is both upbeat and somber, which suits a song about the end of one year and the start of another.

If you’re interested, check out this live version of ‘Our New Year’ from Amos’ 2012 Gold Dust Orchestral Tour. It includes woodwinds and brass, in addition to strings and piano, and a few more instrument bars here and there. This arrangement is lush and intricate, and watching Amos play it live makes the story even more poignant.

Ode to horror

Alix turner: What is it that binds people together in horror? I’ve seen it a bit in the world of science fiction and comic book conventions; but in the horror scene, the other fans describe her as a “community” and call themselves “family”. Maybe that’s because our tastes – and there are so many different kinds! Even if I don’t see the point of Friday 13 and another horror addict doesn’t understand Environment, we will always accept each other’s views much more liberally than family members who try to tolerate each other’s different political or religious views; and we will often work to appreciate titles or subgenres that we had not considered before.

In this time of the coronavirus pandemic, I have been fortunate enough to join the editorial teams at Horror Obsessive and Ghouls Magazine, both of which have very active online platforms for editorial planning and social dialogue. Outside of these formal crews however, the feeling of a real welcome scene is stronger: directors and audiences discussing movies together on Facebook and Clubhouse, but my favorite by-product of virtual life since the start of the season. pandemic are the video calls that take place around film festivals, such as online after-parties. The Soho Horror Festival has been especially hospitable, helping us nuts get through long bottlenecks with ‘Shockdown Saturday’ events, making them free to attend, and running events online outside of those screenings so we can all get together. feel connected to each other.

In the past, finding people with a gender outlook similar to me involved traveling across the country (or at least that’s how I felt). Virtual festivals and the community spirit that surrounds them have made these activities so much more accessible: people with financial or mobility problems, people with anxiety or with family responsibilities can now attend many more events than before and meet other people with common interests more easily. For me, that included bringing my teenager, who wouldn’t normally be admitted to horror film festivals for a few years. Today is what thrills me: They attended the Big Fat Horror Quiz of the Year last night (hosted by Mitch Harrod from Soho) and stayed awake chatting with Soho regulars until the early hours. New Years Eve. I love that this crowd make my kid feel welcome, never talk down and ask for his opinion and recommendations like anyone else. . Can’t wait to take them to a ‘real’ festival, but in the meantime, this chosen family has opened their arms online.

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Another musical recommendation (happy new year!): Rated X

Steve swift: Do you want to rock? Then Rated X is here to help. Forgotten when it was released in 2014, it was a project by Joe Lynn Turner. The much loved Rainbow singer and many others have been joined by Carmine Appice on drums and Tony Franklin on bass, so he has a good pedigree.

What does it look like? Bombastic, Hard Rock radio with a pushed organ, plus the smooth guitar solos of Karl Cochrane, sometimes in tones of Ritchie Blackmore, with the powerfully emotional vox of Joe, it’s awesome.

And the choirs will make themselves at home, loot the fridge and drink your alcohol.

He was neglected at the time, he did not deserve this fate.

What are you doing to ring in the new year? Let us know in the comments!