Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Round Up!

Just popping in to wish everyone a happy and healthy 2015!

This was a year full of ups and downs--in life and in cinema. I was without a car for some few months so I couldn't get to the cinema and for another few months I was too busy to go to the cinema. But I also found tentkotta.com and all the lovely streaming Tamil films there and I discovered that Hulu had put some wonderful older Hindi films up. Was there a more enjoyable cinema moment for me in 2014 than watching Maine Pyar Kiya? The lowlight… suffering through the Lunchbox. Dear lord, that film was awful.

Some of the films I enjoyed this year were:

Hindi:

PK, of course. I've read a little about the "controversy" surrounding it and it just seems so tired. On the one side are people from a variety of fundamentalist/conservative religious stripes saying it's offensive and on the other are all the people saying it's not anti-religious/anti-God enough. Well I'm an atheist who tries to be respectful of all religions and I LIKED IT!

Highway was the other more "serious" Hindi film I saw and liked this year.

Action Jackson and Bang Bang were not perfect but were both fun, female-driven films, and Action Jackson introduced us to the lovely Manasvi Mamgai!

Entertainment was delightful in that way only an Akshay Kumar film can be!

Also, bonus shout outs for Kick and Main Tera Hero, both of which I saw and enjoyed but had nothing to write about them other than… they're solid, hero-driven entertainers. I did podcast with Asim about Kick which you can listen to over here!

I'd still like to see a bunch of films released in 2014 from Haider to Kill Dil… I should take a week off to just watch movies. Heh.

Tamil:

Jilla!!!!!

Pizza!!!!!!!

VIP!!!!! DHANUSH!!!!!

Madras!!!!

Mundasupatti!!!!

If seems like I enjoyed every Tamil film I saw… correct! But realize that part of the reason is tentkotta.com and the fact that if I got to a certain point in streaming and the movie just felt like it was going to SUCK then I turned it off.

Kannada:

Lucia! This is a wonderful, wonderful low-budget, crowd-sourced, highly original film and I 100% recommend it.

Japanese:

Seven Souls in Skull Castle is the one I wrote about but I also really enjoyed Why Don't You Play in Hell during the same film festival. I caught some other odds and ends of Japanese film--this one called The Snow White Murder Case was good.

Other:

Dead Snow 2: RED OR DEAD, a Norwegian horror-comedy film about zombie nazis vs. zombie soviets. Yup.

Guardians of the Galaxy. Obviously.

22 Jump Street. Hilarious.

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Music-wise… I was 100% about the J-pop this year. Nothing really grabbed me from Bollywood other than the extremely obvious G Phaad Ke and Pink Lips. For Tamil films, I'm quite taken with Anirudh Ravichander and, the-new-to-me, Sean Roldan! (Which reminds me I still need to watch Kaththi!!) Seriously, guys, check them both out if you haven't already. Two great young talents!

"Rasa Magarasa" from Mundasupatti… with bonus Vishnu being charming! ♥

I was really, really taken with the loopy "Udhungada Sangu." There's something about the weirdo synthesizer breakdown and oddly layered vocals that hit me right in the gut. Great film, great soundtrack.

My top albums of the year… in no particular order:

* Sean Roldan Mundasupatti OST, which I already talked about.

* The Bawdies, Boys

One of the singles off of it--"Kicks!" The Bawdies are four rock lovin' motherfuckers from Japan and I found them this year. They always talk about "roots rock" but that term has such lame connotations here in America that it's probably best to avoid it at all costs. They like the old garage-y stuff but update it, kind of like The White Stripes.

* Taemin Ace

"Danger"! Ace was Taemin's debut solo EP and--for my money--the best pop album of 2014.

* ゲスの極み乙女。『魅力がすごいよ』[Gesu no Kiwami Otome. Miryoku Ga Sugoi Yo]

"Digital Mogura" aka "Digital Mole" which is about online trolls. Gesu is what happens when you combine a Bootsy Collins loving bass player, a prog rock loving keyboardist, and a drummer who spent middle school happily pounding away on concert bass drum, with a Jarvis Cocker-esque singer. AKA THEY ARE SO AWESOME!

I also enjoyed the Okamoto's VXV, an EP where they collaborated with five different acts to make five different and awesome songs.

Okamoto's x RIP SLYME!

The debut album from high energy Kyoto pop punks 本気の夜ダンス:

DANCE TIME, YO!

And some delightful electro-music from Kyary Pamyu Pamyu:

Extra bonus shout-out for Sexy Zone's Sexy Second, Arashi's Digitalian, and A.B.C-Z's From ABC to Z, no clips of which are up legally anywhere but all of which were utterly delightful pop music like they don't make anywhere else.

And in the US, just about the only thing to catch my attention was Weird Al's "Tacky."

Yup. Still good.

Feel free to share anything you like in the comments and happy 2015!

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ETA: I forgot two movies I really enjoyed!!

The Pulp concert DVD/documentary--

And the documentary about young magicians called Make Believe that introduced me to Hara Hiroki.

Make Believe!

4 comments:

Moimeme said...

First of all, Happy New Year, FG! I hope your 2015 goes better than 2014. :)

I'm glad to see this roundup, mainly because I'm happy to see you blogging. I do want to make one comment, though, about the protests to PK. We talked once about the difference distance makes in understanding issues, and I think this is an example of that. What I think you're missing is context. I think it would be fine for you to just say that there have been some protests about PK, which you're not going to go into, but you liked the film and that's what's important. Or you could even not bother mentioning the protests, but just give your opinion of the film. When you mention the protests only to dismiss them cavalierly, I think you're doing a disservice to your readers who may have been interested in understanding them. At the same time I'm not suggesting you invest the time and effort necessary to understand the context to these protests, because frankly, I don't think it's worth your while as a film blogger. Not only are the issues complex, finding reliable information about them is much, much more complicated than the effort you put in to unravel what's true and what's not about film related "news" items from India. Then, to really understand them, you'd have to go back at least 30 years, and possibly to the time before India attained independence from India. I can only tell you that it's taken me about the last 15 years to begin to understand it all.

However, if you are interested in getting a clue of what I'm talking about, here's an article that might give it: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/entertainment-akshay-kumar-johnny-lever-censor-slams-bollywood/1/375961.html

Moimeme said...

Oops, arithmetical error on my part. I should have said that you need to go back at least *forty* years or maybe to before Indian independence.

On another point, did you really "suffer through" The Lunchbox? I don't remember your review to be so scathing. I thought you felt it was a nice enough film, just not worth all the laurels being heaped upon it.

odadune said...

Happy New Year to you and your readers! Wishing you health and prosperity in the new year, and time to enjoy both. :)

I'm still running behind, as usual-I've seen about five 2014 releases (Queen, Holiday, Entertainment, and the Ajith Kumar vehicles Veeram and Arrambham). I liked all of them, Queen and Entertainment not quite as well as you (found Queen's "adult content" moments kind of hypocritical and Entertainment kind of sloppily made in places) but I feel like I have so much catching up to do.

Thelondongirl said...

I hated Holiday, I couldnt get through it, but then thats how I feel about pretty much all of Akshay films (sorry). but Bang Bang, KiCk (yes Salman, just this once) I had no idea that it was that good. just like i didnt know how great Guardians of the Galaxy was, and er, Hilarious. But i'm a horror movie buff too, and The Babadook was great more the the story telling and less obvious horror stuff. i found some great old k films too, like The concubine and A frozen flower. The latter great because of Jo In Sung, who was also great in Its Ok Thats love this year, ( a great K drama recommendation). 22 jumpstreet. naa son. not funny to me, and the constant stream of found footage films just got me wanting to throw a bag of excrement at the directors, I rolled my eyes so much i'm cross eyed. I'm going to watch Haider, but I hear Shakespeare anything, and i feel like i need a stiff drink. it might take a while. Though thats not a patch on what I have watched this year, happy new year to all of you.

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl