Friday, January 30, 2015

My 2014 Top 10 Films ~ No. 5 - No. 1

Hello there! Welcome to the second part of my top 10 movies of 2014. This is where finally I'm revealing my top 5 films of the year. If you missed out the films I've listed at number 10 to 6, you might want to check Part 1 of the post. To continue to my top 5, read on below.

5 - Gone Girl

I went to see this movie because there were a lot of talks about the twist that was featured in it, and it got me curious. What the twist is about? And who killed the wife? After watching it, I must say that I like the movie a lot, more than I expect I would. To be honest, when the twist was finally revealed, I was satisfied with it and thought that it was the end of the movie, I was even ready to walk out of the cinema. Little did I know that it wasn't the end, and I still got almost half of the movie left. Eventhough the movie felt long to me, it was worth a journey to take, and the part after the twist was revealed was even more crazy and satisfying to watch. I have to admit, my jaw dropped a few times during this part of the movie. It was seriously insane! - in a good kind of way of course. I really like Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike performances in this movie, they were really great. The rest of the cast were good too, especially the main supporting cast which include Carrie Coon, Kim Dickens, Tyler Perry and Neil Patrick Harris. Gone Girl had been received well among critics, and it has been commercially successful too, garnered more than $350 million worldwide.

Image source from Gone Girl official website.

4 - Interstellar

I love movies about space exploration, how humans venture into the unknown and try to solve the mysteries of the universe, or simply trying to find another planet for humans to live. That is why I love Prometheus, the 2012 Ridley Scott's movie eventhough the plot was a bit confusing. But Interstellar is more than just a sci-fi movie about space exploration, it is also a movie about relationship between a father and his daughter. There were quite a few touching moments between the main character Cooper, played by Matthew McConaughey, and his daughter Murphy played by Mackenzie Foy as young Murph (she's really amazing in this film, by the way) and Jessica Chastain as adult Murph. Not just that, they were some emotional scenes between other characters too. It's amazing to think that I could love Interstellar as a drama as much as I love it as a science fiction movie. And talking about science fiction, this film doesn't disappoint in that regard as well. Christopher Nolan, the director and co-writer of the movie, as well as the crews that involved in it, want to achieved a sci-fi movie as close to reality that they could, meaning that they want to portray the science aspect of it as accurate as possible. That was quite a huge goal to achieve given the ambitious story they were trying to tell. I'm no scientist, but as an average moviegoer, I'm happy with the result; it tried to explain to me all this science theories but at the same time it doesn't forget the development and emotional weight of the characters. Quite a brilliant movie, I might add.

Image source from Interstellar official website.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

My 2014 Top 20 Songs from K-pop Girl Groups ~ No. 5 - No. 1

We're almost at the top! Welcome to the fourth and final part of my top 20 favourite songs from K-pop girl groups for the year 2014. If you missed any of the previous posts for this chart, you can click here for Part 1 (no. 20 - 16), Part 2 (no. 15 - 11) or Part 3 (no. 10 - 6). Now it's time to wrap this up!

5 ~ Stellar: Marionette

Group: Stellar
Track: Marionette
Members: Gayoung, Minhee, Hyoeun, Junyool
Watch Marionette MV here!

When the music video for this song was released back in February 2014, it caused quite a controversy with it's sexy, 19+ concept. Yes, the music video is age-restricted in YouTube. While there are many other groups that use sexy concept for their music video as well, maybe Stellar went a bit too far with their clothing (or lack of it), scenes and choreography. I have to admit, there are few scenes in the music video that I feel were unnecessary, while the choreography was a bit awkward with its "scratching" and "grabbing" moves. It's a shame that the music video took all the attention away from the song because the song itself is great. It's catchy and has a good beat to it, and the lyrics are quite good too, talking about being used and dragged around by someone like a "marionette". It's not fair to blame it all on the girls, since the concept idea might not even come from them. I hope that in 2015, they will release more good songs like Marionette but tune down a bit on the sexiness. They are already beautiful, so I don't think we need them to flaunt more than they need to.

4 ~ AOA: Miniskirt

Group: AOA
Track: Miniskirt
Members: Choa, Jimin, Yuna, Mina, Chanmi, Hyejeong, Seolhyun
Watch Miniskirt MV here!

I've mentioned that there are other groups that use sexy concept for their music videos too, right? Well, AOA is one of them. But they are quite popular, so I guess their level of sexiness is acceptable to the mainstream audience. As for me, I'm all about the songs. No matter how flattering or sexy they are, if the song is not good, then it's a no for me. Luckily Miniskirt is a great song, hence it landed on number four in my list. Miniskirt is a song about how a girl dress to impress a guy but the guy didn't even notice her. I've looked up the lyrics translation and one of the line is somewhat translated like this, "I'm so sexy, even if I don't show skin". It's a bit ironic if you asked me since the girls show quite a lot of skin in the music video. Nevertheless, I love AOA (my favourite member is Choa by the way) and I love Miniskirt too. I wish they continue to gain success with their careers and become one of the most fearsome girl groups in the K-pop music industry, because with the momentum that they are having now, I can totally see that happen.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My 2014 Top 20 Songs from K-pop Girl Groups ~ No. 10 - No. 6

We have reached the top 10! Welcome to Part 3 of my top 20 songs from K-pop girl groups. So far we have counted down from number 20 to 16 in Part 1, and number 15 to 11 in Part 2. You may click in the respective parts if you missed any of them. Right now, let's begin counting down the lower half of my top 10 songs. Here are the songs from number 10 to number 6.

10 ~ Orange Caramel: My Copycat

Group: Orange Caramel
Track: My Copycat
Members: Raina, Nana, Lizzy
Watch My Copycat MV here!

It's the third Orange Caramel song in my top 20 list, making it the group with the most songs charted in this list. What can I say? They had released amazing songs in 2014, and with After School having a break, Orange Caramel is on hyperdrive and kept on releasing song after song, gaining more attention and definitely gathered more fans. My Copycat has an interesting concept for its music video, where viewers get to play "Spot the difference" games and try to find differences between scenes that were played out. It's fun, interactive, unique and very creative. While concept-wise I still think Catallena has the best one, but when it comes to the song itself, I have to say that I love My Copycat more than Catallena. It's a great song and very addictive. I just love it.

9 ~ Secret: I'm In Love

Group: Secret
Track: I'm In Love
Members: Jieun, Hyosung, Sunhwa, Hana
Watch I'm In Love MV here!

To be honest, I don't really follow Secret so I can be a bit clueless when it comes to their songs. But I do know that they are very popular and have a big following in South Korea as well as on the internet. This song of theirs caught my attention almost instantly. This is that type of song that can attract you even if you are not a fan of the group. I had in two occasions were asked about this song and who sing them when I played it out loud on my laptop, one of them rarely listen to K-pop no less, which just shows the attention-grabber tune this song have. It's a great pop song and the vocal performance by the members were amazing too, it certainly deserved every attention it gets. I'll be looking forward for their next comeback.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

My 2014 Top 10 Films ~ No. 10 - No. 6

It's that time again where I list down my top 10 favourite films of the year. I've seen a lot of people posted their own version of top 10 films of the year on the internet lately. So here is my top 10 list. For the record, I've only watched 26 films in the cinemas in 2014, down from the 30+ films that I've watched in 2013. Although it's not much, I'm still taking my time to list it down, making sure I consider every film that I watched carefully, since I love quite a few of them. It's still a fun thing to do though. I will break the post/chart in two parts, and in this first part are my favourite films from number 10 to number 6. Without further delay, let's begin.

10 - Big Hero 6

This is the follow-up movie from Walt Disney Animation Studios after the highly successful Frozen released back in 2013. It's pretty hard to match the success of Frozen, don't you think so? It's already January 2015 and people are still talking about Frozen...but not much being said about Big Hero 6. Well, don't let the popularity status of a movie fool you. Eventhough Big Hero 6 had not received as much hype as Frozen, it is still an entertaining movie, one that have an emotional journey of a character that audiences worth tagging along with. Underneath all the colourful visuals and the superheroes vibe, is a movie about a young boy trying to overcome his grief over losing his older brother, and there are quite a few touching moments in the movie, I might add. It has good moral values for children and enjoyable to adults too, an excellent recipe for a good family movie. It raked in more than $370 million in worldwide box office and received critical acclaim as well. I wonder if they would make a sequel out of it?

Image source from Big Hero 6 official website.

9 - The Maze Runner

This film is good! I like the story with its suspense, mysteries and twists in the plot, I like the settings as well as the casts too. It was an enjoyable film which by the end of it, it made me want more. I want to know what will happen to the characters next. Well, it looks like I won't have to wait long as the sequel for the film, The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials, is set to release in September 2015. 20th Century Fox, the studio behind the film, was so confident that the film would become a success (which it did, and started a new franchise for the studio) that they decided to move ahead with the sequel even before this film was released in theaters. It's good that the studio believe in the franchise but at the same time I hope the sequel won't become a rushed product and would be as good (if not better) as its predecessor. Let's hope for the best for this new franchise.

Image source from The Maze Runner official website.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Parasyte -the maxim- ~ midseason review (episode 1 - 12)

Parasyte -the maxim- anime series which is currently airing on Animax Asia (ASTRO Malaysia channel 715) is based on the manga series Parasyte by mangaka Hitoshi Iwaaki. The plot is basically about a male high school student named Shinichi Izumi who had been 'infected' by a parasitic being that had ate and replaced his right arm. This review is for episode 1 until 12 (the series is ongoing), and there might be some spoilers here and there. If you haven't watch it and plan to do so and don't want anything spoil for you, you might want to skip this one out.

Let me start this review by saying that this anime series is awesome! It truly is! The manga it was based from was published in magazine from 1988 until 1995. I was wondering why did it took so long for them to make an anime series out of it? It has a nice plot with very interesting twists, certainly it would become a great series. Maybe it was not as popular back then? But that couldn't be the case since the manga had won several awards, so it must have quite a following. Nevertheless, the series seems to be in full swing now, it not only have an anime series, a two-part live-action movies had also being developed with the first part had been released in Japan's cinemas in November 2014, with the second part scheduled to be released in April 2015.

I've mentioned that the anime series had a nice plot. Well, to be more precise, it actually has a great plot (at least up until episode 12). I expected it to have a basic story surrounding the main character fighting other parasyte-infected beings. While that is definitely true, it is actually more than that as the plot has a much deeper story revolving around the main character (Shinichi Izumi) emotional journey as he become involved with the parasytes. I love how the story portrays his relationship with his parents as he struggles to keep his secret from them, also his relationship with his friends as he become more distant and cold towards them as his power evolved inside of him. It's very interesting to explore that side the character as it made the story more personal and not just another typical anime with one-on-one fight between characters.