Friday, January 31, 2014

Promo: ADAMS

[from left to right] Shota (guitar) & ADAM (vocals)
|Official Site||Official Facebook|

It's been a long time since I've done these, yeah? Borrowing themes of homosexuality from Russian duo t.A.T.u and mixing it with visual kei, ADAM and Shota joined together to form "NEO SEXUAL" rock in ADAMS. ADAMS formed in 2011 and released their first single, Dizzy Love, in August 2012. They still have a small following in Japan, but have taken a leap in touring Europe to visit and entertain the Eves (the fan name). ADAMS' ten year plan is to experiment with various genres and show that homosexual love is just as beautiful and natural as any other type of love.

I found this duo on my Tumblr dash and checked out the two PVs they had out at the time. Initially, I wasn't completely blown away with their talent, but there was something about them that still kept me interested. Fortunately, I did not regret my decision of keeping tabs on them as their music and concepts progressively got stronger and stronger over time. I must admit their music isn't loud, in your face, and possibly not super memorable, but there's definitely something special about them that makes their music charming. The music is admittedly minimalistic and simple, but the lyrics and delivery is what makes it truly enjoyable. They have a strong sense of what they want to do with themselves and their concept, while keeping their bond with each other and their fans. ADAMS has something important that keeps me following groups with potential: chemistry, charisma, and charm. Whether you're watching a music video, a promotional commentary, or samples from their lives, you can feel the drive and love they have for their art and their fans. I truly hope they reach their goal as a duo and continue to improve.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

DBSK's "Something" vs. Girl's Day's "Something"

Ah, it feels like forever since I've gotten around to one of these music comparisons. Don't worry, I have more in store for you, guys. Also, if you want more, please let me know by voting in the poll to the right as well as anything else I should post more of. Today is [obviously] a comparison between the two "Something" releases. I guess they're running out of titles.

Where to begin with these lyrics? Honestly, I really don't know. I feel like I'm missing "something" to understand what's going on in this song. I think I got the gist of what they're trying to convey, so don't yell at me too much if I'm completely off base. The song is about this woman who keeps hanging around them and has some sort of feelings or interest toward them, but is hesitant or shy about doing or saying anything. The guys want her to speak up, if she doesn't, she's wasting their time, even though they don't mind giving her chance. They want to give her a good time, make the night the best night of her life, but they're not going to do anything if she doesn't make a move first.

The sound is a nice step away from the usual SM electro-pop/dubstep fusion. It has a nice big band sound with a nice swing beat. It's a bit refreshing from everything else. It's smooth, fun, and sophisticated. The melody goes well with the lyrics and the chorus is easy enough to stick in your head without getting on your nerves like most earworms.

Visual Content
Honestly, I was dreading having to re-watch this video for this post because of the visuals, but I'm going to try not to make this too review-like. The guys wardrobe pleasantly matches the tone of the song and lyrics as the classy, mature men with a slight edge, even though the fake tattoos look super tacky. The scenery also matches the tone very well, along with the mix of sophisticated male dancers and sexy, dangerous female dancers. Despite all those positives, with it's puppetry choreography, it's not that interesting at all. It's negatives bring it down a lot and brings that dread I mentioned before. God, I hope I never have to watch this MV ever again.

Thank you, Girl's Day! I understand your lyrics with no hesitation. *grumbles* This song is about a cheating lover and the girls notice that "something" is off about them. There's a strange scent, they're acting odd, etc. In typical cheat songs sung by women, they wonder why. Was it something they did? Did their lover think their feelings were fake? It's well put together and *yells at DBSK's songwriters* easy to understand.

It was interesting that After School put out another version of "First Love". No,'s true. They sound almost alike, but fortunately, I like that song and this one was pretty decent. It has a simple beat that I bet would sound amazing live with real instruments. It's easy and familiar whether you listen to kpop or not. It's a simple fusion of R&B and electro-pop.

Visual Content
Once again, I have to call Girl's Day out on their appearance. This is totally some SISTAR's "Alone", but more risque. I think they had to change their outfits for certain live performances or "something". Anyway, the video is a pretty basic choreography and story switch. You have the girls dancing, playing with their feather rings and slits in their skirts, and doing some weird bounce movement. I thought they had to pee. The story simply features typical beauty shots of the girls emoting disappointment, subtle anger, and sadness in various rooms of a home.

Looking at what I had to say about both videos, it's probably obvious which one I would pick as the winner, but I must admit I'm not a big fan of either of these groups or songs. On the plus side, DBSK has "something" different than majority of what kpop groups are putting out. They made a bold move by turning their dubstep dance break into a big band interpretation of that sound. Unfortunately, their biggest downfall was their visuals. Aside from the obvious [and annoying] use of white women as a luxurious accessory, the wardrobe made me uncomfortable, the tattoos were silly, and the sets seemed cluttered with effects and people. For Girl's Day, they stuck with typical sounds and visuals and don't offer anything new or even slightly different like DBSK. But I think I could listen to their song every now and then without cringing and their video is easier on the eyes too. Therefore, the winner is Girl's Day!

What do you guys think? Do you agree with me? Or do you think that DBSK has "something" more than Girl's Day? Leave a comment and tell me your thoughts on this musical comparison.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Horror Movie Annoyances: Excessive Gore

Of course horror is suppose to have a level of violence and gore, but sometimes newer movies go overboard and believe the gore factor equates to scary or make up for weak storytelling. Sure, some of the iconic horror contain gore, but most of it is not as excessive as current horror. The way they use it more for shock while the situation and/or antagonist contribute to the scariness. Everything has a purpose and balance.

For example, the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre had plenty of uncomfortable, gory moments. Whenever Leatherface successfully captured his victims, you knew things weren't going to be pretty. But the fear didn't lie within the horrific gory imagery, it was solely him and his behavior or the thought of his potential actions. For a current example, American Mary decides to leave its gory imagery off camera and allow audiences to use their imagination.

To show you how moviemakers are doing it wrong, check out the new Evil Dead. Because technology and props have upgraded since the original, the movie relies on severed parts, blood, and gore to scare its viewers. Every characters' gory actions toward each other and themselves are taken to the extreme. Hostel is another movie that depends on gore to get its scariness across. Nearly every torture scene is on camera and the consequences are amped up.

I believe that sadly the choice to add more and more blood have manipulated newer or younger fans that excessive gore is required in horror movies and that it translates to scary. You don't need an overwhelming amount of blood, guts, and whatnot to make a successful horror movie. You don't even need to make gore unsettling either. Look at The Strangers or Saw. These movies depended on atmosphere and quick editing to get its mood across.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Q&A: -OZ-

At A-Kon 23 in Dallas, TX, -OZ- held a Q&A for the fans and here is a summary of what was said and done at the event. This transcription and summarization was written by a good friend, Aurora, and I want to thank her for sending this to me and allowing me to share with you (once again), my lovely Cult followers! Also, I want to thank Babel Entertainment for bringing -OZ- to Dallas and allowing the fans this opportunity. Lastly, a thank you to the members of -OZ- and their team for allowing us to become a little closer to them.

Due to the request of the band's management, pictures were not allowed during the Q&A. Also, most of the questions the band attempted to answer in English.

Written by: Aurora | Edited by: Miko Suzahiru

Band Members
Natsuki - vocals
Aki - guitar
Tama - guitar
Nao - bass
Zukki - drums

Q: Do you like non-Japanese girls?

After much band discussion.

Natsuki: Yes of course
Aki: Of course, very well
Zukki: Yes yes
Tama: Very yeeeeeaaah wooo hoooooo

Q: Favorite Video Game?

Natsuki: Final Fantasy…Final Fantasy VII! Cloud...Sephiroth...uh..
Audience: Tifa!
Natsuki: Tifa! Oh yes~! Aerith..all of them!
Nao: Monster Hunter. My weapon is hammer!

Q: How do you go about song titles?

Natsuki: uhhh...dictionary!

There was a momentary pause in which Natsuki requested one translator move to the other side of the table because they were both at one end and it made it difficult for the members on the far side to hear the translations.

Q: What kind of books do you like, manga etc?

Aki: I don’t read book.
Zukki: Hajime no ippo
Natsuki: I am otaku okay? Many many eeeeeto ni...Kuroshitsuji. Future Diary, ..(and another title I didn’t catch.)
Nao: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Naruto (and he started naming characters)
Tama: Death Note, Fist of the North Star

Q: Battle of the bands. Who would you go against?

Aki: Lady Gaga & Justin Beiber
Zukki: X Japan
Natsuki: Aerosmith, Marilyn Manson
Nao: Korn, Slipknot
Tama: Linkin Park

Q: Who has tattoos and which is your favorite?

Aki joked about showing off a tattoo in a danger zone before saying that he was wearing an OZ original temporary tattoo.

Zukki: Nothing.
Natsuki: Nothing but I want to.
Nao: I’m nasty but I want –points to nipple-
Tama: I don’t want to. I think it hurts.

Q: Do you all get along well or argue a lot?

Aki: I put up a fight every day –punches air-

One of the members mentions them being friends from long ago in their childhood (junior high school). Natsuki, Tama and Nao went to the same junior high school. Zukki knew Aki from high school and Natsuki met Zukki when they formed the band.

Q: Japan vs US?

Natsuki: I was surprised the hot dogs were so good.
Nao: They were so good! I put two in one bun and I had four today in fact!

Q: Where did the band name come from?

Natsuki: It has a nice ring to the ear.

Q: What Japanese bands inspire you?

Tama: J. X Japan. Favorite song is "Good bye".
He then sang part of the song
Natsuki: X Japan. Luna Sea. Siam Shade.
Aki: X Japan. Hide is his guitar hero.

Q: Were you surprised by the encore? Why did you take so long to come back?

Natsuki: Sorry, we were tired. We used all of our energy and had to take a break.

Q: How do you keep your hair so fabulous?

Natsuki: We have good hair/make up artist. Her name is Mika!

Q: What hobbies do you have?

Tama: Drinking. I love beer. –shiver- woooo very very delicious. Watching TV, eat ramen.
Natsuki: I am otaku. Watch anime and make computer.
Zukki: Fishing
He and Aki pantomime going fishing.
Aki: Window shopping, driving and avoiding trouble.

Q: What is the inspiration for your music?

Natsuki: Screamo music. I like Machine Head.

Q: What is your favorite American movie?

Natsuki: Back to the future 1, 2 & 3!
Aki: Die Hard! Die Hard? Texas location?
Nao: Armageddon
Zukki: Titanic
Tama: Tim Burton

Q: Do you like tacos?

Natsuki: OZ members like tacos.

Q: Was this your first time stage diving and did you have fun doing it at A-KON?

Natsuki: The concert was tons of fun and it was my first time stage diving. I apologized to the staff afterward.

Q: Best gift from fan?

Aki: Letter.
Zukki: Chocolate
Natsuki: Love. Do you love me?
Fans say yes
Natsuki: Thank you.
Nao: When you scream, that makes me really happy
Tama: Beer. Beer, beer, beer, beer, beer, beer, beer.

Q: Favorite song because of meaning & why?

Natsuki: Detox. When we played it live, tremendous reaction.
Nao: Stigma, because it was the first song we made since I joined OZ.
Zukki: Last Shell. The tempo is slow. I can relax a bit.
Aki: Reverse. Powerful song

Q: What are you afraid of?

Tama: Empty beer.
Nao: I’m scared when Tama gets drunk
Natsuki: It’s scary, especially when Tama and Zukki are drunk at the same time.
Zukki: When Tama is drunk he always punches me on the shoulder.
Aki: Zukki’s snoring!
Tama put hands on his head.

Natsuki: Last question! Do you like OZ?
Audience: -cheers-
Natsuki: Thank you

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Live: A-Kon 24

A-Kon 24
[2013.05.31] Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, TX
featuring: NSDP & exist†trace

Atsushi: vocals
Yui: guitar
Kuro: bass
Shue: drums
Keiji: keyboards/programming

Honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to this band and I openly expressed that to a few friends. The PV A-Kon decided to put up on their site didn’t give much promise to the band’s talents. I had some pretty low expectations, but I still listened with an open mind. When the band came out, they were full of energy and charisma. Their music really surprised me! I really should’ve learned from seeing MUCC and Sugar live. Anyway, their music is a mixture of ska, rap, and rock. I don’t think I’ve heard anything like that from Japan, especially from the combination of musicians from other bands. Maybe Cyntia will have a future guest appearance in America someday soon as Yui is the guitarist for that band and Babel Entertainment has been bringing over some awesome j-metal bands lately. Anyway, I could understand Atsushi’s appeal. He’s like Miyavi’s rebel twin, but shorter. He was shirtless the whole time. I guess he’s allergic to shirts like Kyo. He interacted with the crowd as much as he could. He even mentioned that his English wasn’t very good and that we should learn Japanese. He had a really long speech, I think it was about how he felt about being there and dreams and such. I couldn’t completely understand it and I think the people around me got bits and pieces. He made a bold move by jumping into/joining the crowd for a moment and touching everyone’s hands. I guess I should be fangirling over touching the hot Japanese man more than once, but I'm not. Anyway, I really liked their music and decided to go pick up their CD when I got a chance.

Jyou: vocals
Miko: guitar
Omi: guitar
Naoto: bass
Mally: drums

Normally, I would say that this next band is one I was excited to see, but I’ve been having conflicts with exist†trace’s current musical direction, especially with the addition of Miko sharing the vocal spotlight with Jyou. I have wanted to see exist†trace live. I even thought about going all the way to Washington a couple years ago to see their U.S. performance at Sakura-Con, but D won out on that battle. Anyway, there was some sort of excitement to see them. Despite my disagreement with their music direction, I still enjoyed them, otherwise I wouldn’t have traveled so far to see them. Their set started with the members filing onto the stage one by one with welcoming energy. If you’ve been keeping up with their little video segments on Kawaii Girl Japan, then you would know about the stage formation change to be a star shape. Jyou and Miko in the forefront, Naoto and Omi on the side points, and Mally being the top point. Also the decision of Miko singing was mentioned in a video as well and her reasoning behind it. They stuck by their word and also their message on Twitter, I believe, about performing some new songs from their single, DIAMOND. When the performance began, I was so shocked to hear “JUDEA” live. It was just as amazing and powerful as I imagined it would be. I didn’t think I would hear Jyou growling, but I’m very happy that they had this mix of old and new. Miko spoke a little English during the MC portions and Jyou did her best. She was really cute. Another surprise was that they picked a lot of songs that I enjoy, because honestly I was nervous about the potential song choices. Everyone seemed energetic, the crowd was very responsive, and Jyou’s voice was absolutely beautiful and passionate. Hearing Miko’s voice in the forefront for the first time was a little awkward and not that great. I was anticipating that they only had one song together with Miko singing with Jyou after “GINGER” for this new single, but I was wrong. I hope it doesn’t stay like that for long. Anyway, I had a lot of fun and I wouldn’t mind seeing them live again. Here’s the official setlist from Kawaii Girl Japan:

1. Diamond
3. Kuchibiru
4. Daybreak
7. Cradle
10. TRUE

12. liquid

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Horror Movie Annoyances: Iconic Villain Backstory

Unfortunately, we live in a time of sequels, prequels, adaptations, and reboots/remakes saturating the cinema market. The whole trend is a bit hit and miss, but when it comes to iconic horror villains there have been several misses. These strikes against the horror genre come in the form of remaking classic/iconic movies of our past and giving the villain a backstory. The usual goal of a backstory is for the audience to understand the character and their function. Sometimes it is used for us to sympathize with their past tragedy. This dissolves the whole mystery and fear of the villain and ultimately makes them more mortal or human like the protagonist.

Not sure what I'm talking about? Well, here are a couple examples. Let's start with Michael Myers from Halloween. I will admit I've never seen the original to completion, but I know enough to gather that this towering, silent antagonist has intimidated and haunted many devoted horror fans. The thing that made him memorable and frightening was his emotionless face/mask and the fact he killed his family at a young age with no explanation. He is a supernatural force that appears to be unkillable and very few know what he looks like behind the mask. In the tragic retelling of Halloween by Rob Zombie, we get to experience the stereotypical broken home Michael lives in. His mother works late night hours as a stripper, his mother's boyfriend is an abusive jerk, and his older sister is simply rude and possibly out of control, like those teens you would see on Maury. As we follow young Michael, we sympathize with his living situation and bullying he puts up with in school, but the movie tugs its audience back and forth between sympathy, concern, and fear. He displays signs of psychopathic behavior, yet audiences could connect this behavior to his unfortunate and unpleasant surroundings. Aside from an unsympathetic protagonist and other terrible characters Michael encounters in the sanitorium, we lack fear in his future violent actions.

Next is a villain I thought was safe from the dreaded remakes, A Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger. Although the original touched on Freddy's backstory, it was quite brief and told by Nancy's mother. Freddy murdered children and was never prosecuted by the authorities, so the parents took action by burning him alive. In the remake, they show Freddy as an innocent school janitor that happened to be close to the children and, at first, show that the parents burned him alive without too much explanation. When the end is near, it was revealed that there was questionable evidence that Freddy molested the parents' children. The difference between the original and the remake pertain to the parents' actions. In the original, they informed the authorities of the murders. They didn't bother reporting Freddy's molestation actions in the remake. Although Freddy isn't completely portrayed as a sympathic character, the structure of the story makes you believe Freddy is a nice guy, if you're unfamiliar with the original, and that he was wrongfully executed especially with the flashbacks the teenagers have of him. The details put into the backstory gives us way too many emotions for Freddy aside from fear among other "creative" choices, like showing his face right off the bat as opposed to the original's decision to shadow his appearance.

In short, don't give us a backstory, especially a stereotypical broken home, bullying, lover's tragedy for our iconic horror villains. The fear that haunts us about them is the unknown and everyone knows that humans cannot handle the unknown very well. It makes us uncomfortable and even paranoid.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Horror Movie Annoyances: Excessive/Unnecessary Nudity or Sex

Nowadays, it's hard to find a horror movie that doesn't include a nude or sex scene. Majority of the time, it doesn't add to the story. It's only purpose was to fulfill fanservice or just a now typical factor of horror. Thinking back on the famous shower scene of Psycho, did audiences blush at the sight of a bareback?

I think sex was purposely incorporated into horror when the slasher sub-genre was born. It was used as a commentary to the AIDS epidemic and sexual liberation of the 70s. Every character that engaged in sexual activity were "punished" with death and the virgin was "rewarded" with life (and perhaps some emotional scars). Examples of this can be found in classic slashers such as Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street.

Unfortunately, horror movies, whether part of the slasher sub-genre or not, have decided to include these unnecessary and sometimes uncomfortable sexual moments. They have turned an old commentary into a character or necessity. Any movie with an annoying group of teenage characters or stereotypical party going college students, there's always that one couple who possess an abnormally high level of hormones and that's all their personality is. They don't contribute to the main character's development or progress the story. There's no depth to their character just someone whose purpose is to have sex with another character and be killed off.

Here's a quick example of what I mean. You'll probably get tired of me picking apart the notorious Hostel, but there's a lot wrong with that movie and reasons I dislike it so much. For a good chunk of the beginning, the main characters' focus is on drugs and women...not really women, but sex. I remember sitting in the theater and just wondering when the horror elements would pop in in this "softcore porn" of a movie. Yes, it really seemed that way. The guys would go out, drink, obtain some drugs, and hook up with these prostitutes or whatever. It seemed like that was the whole purpose, especially the guy who knew where to get the girls at. For a more visual commentary on unnecessary sex in horror, check out Cabin in the Woods.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Review: Would You Rather

Starring: Brittany Snow, June Squibb, Jeffrey Combs, Sasha Grey
Directed by: David Guy Levy
Language: English
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 93 minutes

This film has been mentioned, good and bad, on this horror movie confession blog I follow on Tumblr. The confessions for this movie was either on side of the spectrum of praise or the other side with criticism and mockery. Reading the plot of the story sounded interesting and a bit flimsy, but the trailer further provoked my curiosity. I was surprised to see it sitting on the shelf at my job and decided to snag it for myself.

Raleigh is struggling with leukemia and his sister, Iris, has stayed by his side to take care of him. Despite struggling financially, Iris tries her best to find money and make ends meet while trying to gain enough money for Raleigh's treatment. She eventually is introduced to philanthropic billionaire Shepard Lambrick who owns a foundation that helps people with medical treatments and expenses. All Iris has to do is attend his dinner party and play a game, then Shepard would provide enough money for Iris and Raleigh and find a bone marrow donor. When Iris arrives at the Lambrick house, she has an opportunity to get to know the other contestants participating in the game. Everything, of course, seems normal until the dinner is over and the real game begins.

I had predictions that this movie was probably going to be bad, but have an interesting story. Did it meet my expectations? Not really and that's a good thing...somewhat. The premise was indeed interesting, but once the dinner began, I completely forgot the whole purpose of Iris' attendance. So, in that sense, it was weak, but the actions on the screen were so entertaining to me that I really didn't care that much. I'm sure this movie could easily be placed in the "torture porn" sub-genre, but they really didn't show what the characters had to do when it came to gore. Maybe it was because of budget reasons, director's choice, or something else, but I really liked the off camera gore. It had a tiny similarity to Saw when it came to the participants. At least, they had better sense to try to work together, excluding one person and I think they made it entertaining. The antagonist though was pretty cliche and unbelievable in reality, but it didn't take away from the movie. He was quite amusing in his over the top sadistic mannerisms.

In short, I did like this movie, but I have to admit there were a few things that could've made it better. I mentioned I liked that most of the characters worked together, but I wish there was a little more background on the participants. I already said the premise was weak and forgettable too. The beginning scenes with Iris and Raleigh weren't very interesting. Lastly, the script was predictable at times. This is definitely a movie that follows step by step of what a movie of this genre should be, but I had fun with my own little commentary. For what it was, it was entertaining and short. If you want something that isn't too involved or gory, then take a quick glance at this movie.

Rating: 3/5

If there's something you want me to review, check out this post on how you can submit requests.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Movies Watched in 2014

Let's hear it for Round 6!

Starting date: January 3, 2014
Finishing date: December 28, 2014

1. Would You Rather (2012, USA)
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013, USA)
3. R.I.P.D. (2013, USA)
4. The Lords of Salem (2012, USA)
5. The Lego Movie (2014, USA)
6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014, USA)
7. Oculus (2014, USA)
8. The Amazing Spider-man 2 (2014, USA)
9. Fantastic Four (2005, USA)
10. X-Men: First Class (2011, USA)
11. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014, USA)
12. Maleficent (2014, USA)
13. Oldboy (2013, USA)
14. Carrie (2013, USA)
15. The Bling Ring (2013, USA)
16. One Hour Photo (2002, USA)
17. Now You See Me (2013, USA)
18. Peeples (2013, USA)
19. Byzantium (2012, UK)
20. This is the End (2013, USA)
21. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010, USA)
22. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014, USA)
23. Don Jon (2013, USA)
24. The Purge: Anarchy (2014, USA)
25. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013, USA)
26. Lucy (2014, USA)
27. Her (2013, USA)
28. Pacific Rim (2013, USA)
29. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014, USA)
30. The World's End (2013, USA)
31. Vampire Academy (2014, USA)
32. Gravity (2013, USA)
33. World War Z (2013, USA)
34. What Maisie Knew (2013, USA)
35. American Hustle (2013, USA)
36. You're Next (2011, USA)
37. Disconnect (2012, USA)
38. Rosemary's Baby (1968, USA)
39. The Giver (2014, USA)
40. Sound of My Voice (2011, USA)
41. Akira (1988, Japan)
42. Prisoners (2013, USA)
43. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014, USA)
44. Dead Man (1995, USA)
45. Filth (2013, UK)
46. The Lone Ranger (2013, USA)
47. Transcendence (2014, USA)
48. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014, USA)
49. Twixt (2011, USA)
50. The Single Moms Club (2014, USA)
51. Maniac (2013, France)
52. Syrup (2013, USA)
53. The Quiet Ones (2014, USA)
54. The Sacrament (2013, USA)
55. Plush (2013, USA)
56. Contracted (2013, USA)
57. Hotel Chevalier (2007, USA)
58. The Darjeeling Limited (2007, USA)
59. Bottle Rocket (1996, USA)
60. Moonrise Kingdom (2012, USA)
61. 13 Sins (2014, USA)
62. Insomnia (2002, USA)
63. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004, USA)
64. The Bleeding House (2011, USA)
65. Afflicted (2013, Canada)
66. Stage Fright (2014, Canada)
67. I Am Divine (2013, USA)
68. Premium Rush (2012, USA)
69. Trainspotting (1996, UK)
70. Under the Skin (2014, UK)
71. We Are What We Are (2013, USA)
72. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006, USA)
73. Suspiria (1977, Italy)
74. Magic Magic (2013, USA)
75. The Boxtrolls (2014, USA)
76. The Boondock Saints (1999, USA)
77. Dark Water (2005, USA)
78. Alice Sweet Alice [Communion] (1976, USA)
79. Lars and the Real Girl (2007, USA)
80. Suicide Room [Sala samobójców] (2011, Poland)
81. The Truman Show (1998, USA)
82. Jawbreaker (1999, USA)
83. Eden Lake (2008, UK)
84. American Grindhouse (2010, USA)
85. Picture Day (2012, Canada)
86. Push (2009, USA)
87. Think Like a Man Too (2014, USA)
88. Super 8 (2011, USA)
89. Jacob's Ladder (1990, USA)
90. The Angriest Man in Brooklyn (2014, USA)
91. Annabelle (2014, USA)
92. Let Me In (2010, USA)
93. Sin City (2005, USA)
94. Grand Piano (2013, Spain)
95. Room 237 (2012, UK)
96. Office Space (1999, USA)
97. The Dark Crystal (1982, USA)
98. Frankie & Alice (2010, Canada)
99. Son of God (2014, USA)
100. Saving Mr. Banks (2013, USA)
101. Toys (1992, USA)
102. Eyes Wide Shut (1999, USA)
103. Only God Forgives (2013, France)
104. Gone Girl (2014, USA)
105. Snowpiercer (2013, USA)
106. Life After Beth (2014, USA)
107. Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014, USA)
108. Deliver Us from Evil (2014, USA)
109. Repentance (2014, USA)
110. Anna (2014, USA)
111. The Double (2013, UK)
112. Big Hero 6 (2014, USA)
113. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014, USA)
114. Divergent (2014, USA)
115. Enemy (2013, Canada)
116. 22 Jump Street (2014, USA)
117. Charlie Countryman (2013, Norway)
118. The Ward (2010, USA)
119. The Good Doctor (2011, USA)
120. God's Not Dead (2014, USA)
121. The Signal (2014, USA)
122. Poltergeist (1982, USA)
123. Unbreakable (2000, USA)
124. Night Moves (2013, USA)
125. In Bloom (2013, USA)
126. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014, USA)
127. Nick of Time (1995, USA)
128. Kite (2014, USA)
129. Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012, USA)
130. 2 Little Monsters (2013, USA)
131. A Merry Friggin' Christmas (2014, USA)
132. Rushmore (1998, USA)
133. Drive (2011, USA)
134. Mean Girls (2004, USA)
135. Annie (2014, USA)
136. The Maze Runner (2014, USA)
137. The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975, USA)

Happy New Year!!

2013 has ended and 2014 has began! With the changing of time, it's time for me to check in with you guys, my lovely Cult followers, and ask what you guys would like to see more of on the site. I know I'm still catching up on some things I have lined up, but input helps a lot as well. Call it supply and demand. Anyway, I would really appreciate you all taking a few seconds to check out the poll to your right and picking whatever options you feel I should produce more of.

I'm looking forward to sharing more content and trying to stay active on Muddy Cult this year. Thank you for your comments and support! Please feel free to continue sending questions, suggestions, and requests for the blog. I love answering things and providing my commentary on various aspects of pop culture. Once again, Happy New Year!

Your Cult Leader,
Suzahiru Miko

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Most Shocking/Disappointing/WTF Asian Music Moments of 2013

Promising J-Indies Favorites Disband
I thought it would be excessive to give each of these bands their own entry as there's not much to say other than I'm sad I won't be seeing much of them, if anything, in 2014. Some were bands I've followed in the beginning and sad to see their journey end when they were reaching their peak: otogadead, cocklobin, and Eat You Alive. Some were new discoveries, but sadly faced their end when I was about to jump on the bandwagon of greatness: Called≠Plan and 2the DISCOLAND. I hope at least they find something else to join and continue on their musical journey.

Angeline Jolie Casts Miyavi
If you haven't heard the news, then I'll let you know that this isn't a rumor or a typo. I couldn't believe it myself, but apparently it's true. Angeline Jolie is directing a movie and Miyavi auditioned for it. I have no idea how his acting abilities have changed since Oresama, but I really hope he doesn't try to overwhelm himself with outside work like his pal Gackt. To make the situation even more amusing was his appearance in a tabloid claiming that Brad Pitt was jealous of Miyavi because he resembled a former lesbian lover his wife had. Don't you love tabloids~

Gisho and Hakuei Reunite
I must admit that this whole Litchi Hikari Club thing is a bit hit and miss and a little confusing to me. I don't understand its purpose anymore, unless there's an epic anime series coming out soon based on the manga. Anyway, as a casual listener of Penicillin, I was surprised to see Gisho reemerge to join Hakuei's side for the project. I don't know if it's a permanent addition, but whatever. Hakuei's way of working has always confused me.

Rubik's Kei Fired
Normally I would leave news like this off, especially since I'm not super into this band nor do I know enough people that even know of their existence, but I couldn't resist the vagueness of the news. I do like this band and they make good music too. Among all the band member departures, I think this one won the best of the best. Kei was apparently fired for "inhumane acts". What does that mean? No one knows and I doubt anyone will tell what those "inhumane acts" may be, but it was amusing to see what other people come up with as to what it may be.

ALSDEAD's Setsua's Departure
I think these member departures hit me harder after seeing them live and interacting with each other offstage. It's really weird. You believe everything is well and then bam! member departure or disbandment. It makes you wonder what happened between then and now to make someone leave or decide to break up the band. Anyway, I hope Setsua gets to fulfill everything he wants musically.

Signal's Controversial Disbandment
I thought about adding Signal to the disbandment entry, but there was something more going on with their story. I'm not sure how many people are familiar with them, but they are another talent j-indies band that sadly ended before they reached their peak. I was saddened by their shorten journey and disappointed to find out that their bassist embezzled money before their final live. I never understood the reasoning behind a member betraying their band, especially financially. Fyi, these visual kei bands don't really make much and most have to pick up another job or two to support themselves.

KARA Member Departure(s)
I'm not really a KARA fan, but I do like a couple or so of their songs and my favorite member is Nicole. I was aware that the group, or at least 3 members, had some contract issues with their label DSP Entertainment. Fortunately, things got settled and KARA has been one of the most successful kpop groups in Japan. Toward the end half of the year, Nicole and Jiyoung contemplated letting their contracts expire and leave KARA behind. Nicole made up her mind without hesitation and decided to let her contract expire, while Jiyoung takes the remaining few months at the beginning of the year to think things over. I think KARA is one those brave kpop groups that has a firm grasp of their individual futures and how business works in some way. Since I only have a bit of an attachment to Nicole, I hope this isn't the last I see of her in the public eye, but I want her to be happy with her freedom as well as whatever Jiyoung's decision may be on her own future.

Wonder Girls Hiatus
It all started when Sunye announced that she was getting married and it kinda seemed out of the blue. Of course, a lot of people assumed that she had a bun in the oven and worried about the future of Wonder Girls. Well, she did give birth and probably extended the group's hiatus as she adjusts to motherhood and married life. There was hope, but then Sohee decided to let her contract expire to pursue acting and modeling. I'm curious as to what is going to become of the Wonder Girls now. Will they pick up another member? Form a sub-unit or conduct solo careers in the mean time? I suppose we'll find out eventually.

SE7EN Scandal
Rain had a rocky check out of the military and SE7EN decided that he was continuing the celebrity military scandals when he began his 2 year service. Normally I would make fun of how big of deal South Korea made of SE7EN's trip to the massage parlor, but I can understand the fuss. Aside from ruining his dignity as a South Korean citizen serving his time, he also committed infidelity on his long time girlfriend. The interesting thing is that this scandal may change the system for male celebrities serving their mandatory military time. I guess something about it causes their hormones to go crazy.

BORN Accused of Starting Bizarre "Trend"
Overseas media love picking up bizarre "trends" that aren't really trends at all. Sure, Japan can be weird, but most things westerners think is weird they think is weird too. Eyeball licking happens to be one of those things. Although this viral "epidemic" was proven to be a hoax on CNET, BORN gained some views for "Spiral Lie" and of course some humorous commentary on the situation. Most long time fans of jrock are familiar with the late hide and Zi:Kill's TUSK's short film Seth et Holth and mentioned that, if anything, they would be the ones to start the "trend" of eyeball licking among visual kei. Nonetheless, everyone had a good laugh while it lasted.

Piggy Dolls Revamped
Piggy Dolls was a group that not many people knew about that possessed massive vocal talent and charisma. They started off with a bit of controversy with their image and name, but they embraced it and joked about their appearance while delivering powerful and confident performances. They were silent for a while, but I was happy when they returned with their first album. Unfortunately, more weight controversy arose when the girls lost weight. Whether it was the label's decision or they really did work their asses off literally, no one will know. Piggy Dolls went silent once again and returned with another controversial comeback: the original members were replaced. This upset me as well as other Piggy Dolls fans. Something I enjoyed about the group was that they stood out from the stereotypical imagery of kpop, but most of all they had mesmerizing vocals. Their replacements were quite vanilla and their debut was very bland. In short, I gave the new girls a chance and decided to abandon this new direction.

T-ara Ruins CEO's Competitive Plan
It seems like the overflow of drama has made it to 2013 with Kim Kwang-soo's initial plan falling apart before his eyes. Although we'll never know the truth behind Hwayoung's departure and relationship with the other members, we do know that new addition Aerum left before any serious attachments formed, but is said to possibly have a solo career in future. We also know that Dani will probably never be part of the main group and remain in T-araN4 as long as that exists or until she follows the same path. Either way, the line-up remains as six as it should've been in the beginning.

-OZ-'s Disbandment
As mentioned in my entry about Setsua's departure, I had the same feeling toward the announcement of -OZ- disbanding. They were an indies band that I felt would be producing music for a long time as their quality seemed to improve with every release. The band had amazing chemistry on and off stage and they were very consistent with everything. I hope the members find some projects to participate in because they are very talented, but nothing will replace -OZ-'s powerful energy.

AYABIE Member Shuffle
I've gained some enjoyment from this band after a few releases and seeing them in person. I still might not get over the whole name thing, but I learned to look past it enough and simply enjoy the music. Some time passed and Taito was announced to be part of the band as keyboardist. Later, KENZO stated he was leaving the band and I was really surprised, but it was nice he was working with Nightmare's Hitsugi on a side project called GREMLINS. After releasing a new single after his departure, Yumehito and Intetsu announced that they would be departing at the end of year. It looks like the band will continue with a new set of members to the existing and I'm really curious how that's gonna go.

Koki Tanaka Gets Kicked Out
I've surprisingly enjoyed KAT-TUN more and more over the last year and I know my younger self would be surprised that I would pick them over Arashi now, but I still have a soft spot for MatsuJun. Even though I'm not a hardcore fan, I was shock to see that Koki was getting the boot from Johnny's for violating the rules. After leaving, he was rumored to be offered to write a book about the scandalous underbelly that goes on in Johnny's Entertainment, which caused Papa Johnny to make a move to silence him. It didn't seem like Koki cared either way and went about his busy conversing with his fans on Twitter and working on his restaurant.

Dir en grey's Kyo Becomes Super Active
After recovering from vocal issues...again, Kyo decided to be more interactive. He opened a Twitter and Facebook account, had his photos featured in a gallery, created a website for his solo endeavors including some fictional characters he drew up, and lastly put together a band called sukekiyo. As much as I worry about Kyo's health, it is exciting to him open up more to his fans and try new things. Unfortunately, you have to deal with these crazy fans who think Dir en grey is breaking up. To those people, please calm down and reevaluate everything.

Block B vs. Stardom Entertainment
Block B has been through a lot of ups and downs as a rookie group, well somewhere in between rookie and veteran. They recovered fairly well after the mistranslated Thailand incident and soon the contract dispute began. I really wish companies would stop taking advantage of young talent (and their parents). The struggle was over their contract and not being paid what was due to them. According to sources, their parents contributed to the group's funding as well and the group never received what was promised to them. Fortunately, Block B made a true comeback under Seven Seasons and a new mini-album.

Rain Returns
Some of you may know that Rain is my ultimate kpop bias and the reason I even know what the heck kpop is. I've already expressed my excitement when I watched MAMA 2013 and watching him perform on stage like a boss. I remember holding back just a little when I heard the announcement of a new album for 2014 and a documentary/reality show. The more Rain the better. I'm obviously not complaining and can't wait to hear and see and feel everything for this man.

Ailee vs. AllKPop
Some of you may know I really dislike AllKPop and that I don't understand why people rely on them for news because they're as poor, reliable, and unbiased as Fox News and CNN. Most people know the story, AllKPop posted some nude photos of Ailee and everyone went crazy over it. I never really voiced my opinion on the actual situation of who was right or wrong, except for a class assignment, but I don't think I will be changing that anytime soon. Although, I still thought the "boycott" was stupid. Fans will continue using the site and continue to bash Ailee.

Gackt Scandal Part 2
Congratulations, you made the list twice and stayed consistent with being the spotlight of scandal! I thought things would settle after the financial and possible illegitmate child news and then we would get new material. Well, Gackt has been super busy throughout 2013 as an actor, judge, and musician, but he didn't avoid the scandal boat. As much as I wanted to rant about the fan commentary presented on the matter, I didn't make the time for it and I kinda wanted to avoid certain aspects of it. In short, a woman went to a tabloid and exposed her sexual exploits with Gackt. She accused him of sexual assault and the story went all twisty turny. As I want to still maintain my opinion on the whole situation toward the comments a secret, I'm not surprised that Gackt continues on by gearing up with several singles for 2014 without a moment's hesitation.

Pay money To Pain's K Passes Away
Only a few days after posting 2012's list and mentioning K's mental health, it was announced that the vocalist passed away. I wasn't expecting such news to occur so quickly when there was so much hope for recovery and new material for the coming year. With two new songs on the compilation album to hold us over, they did a fine job honoring K's essence with their last album.