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Friday, January 10, 2014

Top Ten Movies Of 2013

Before the Golden Globes officially kicks off Awards Season this weekend, I thought it was time (finally) for my annual year-end list of my favorite movies of 2013. Overall, I found it a pretty uninspiring year for movies. I've liked all the potential Oscar frontrunners, but none has really excited me to the level of movies like Hugo in 2011 or Les Miserables in 2012. Oh well, for a superhero nerd like myself, 2014 should more than make up for that! Without further ado, here's my top ten (and five bonus picks):

1. The Way Way Back Awkward and charming and ultimately very, very sweet. I can't remember any 2013 movie giving me a better feeling coming out of the theater. The year's best coming-of-age film, and that's saying a lot because this was an excellent year for the genre.

2. Dallas Buyer's Club Featuring the best performances of the year. At turns devastating and hopeful, it's not the kind of movie I want to watch everyday, but it's stuck with me more than any other this year.

3. Iron Man 3 Proves that Marvel's winning streak continues. The best part isn't even the action sequences -- it's the dynamite script.

4. Mud Captures a vision of the American South that carries the film through even its sloggier moments. The cast is exceptional.

5. Thor: The Dark World Marvel's second round in 2013, and a better film than the first one. Total fun.

6. Kings Of Summer The funniest movie of the summer, and yet another example of how well 2013 did coming-of-age films.

7. Ender's Game Maligned by some, but I thought the visuals and performances were a huge step ahead of most sci-fi blockbusters.

8. 12 Years A Slave A harrowing film to watch, but one that manages to firmly plant the viewer right in the middle of the horrific slave experience.

9. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Improves on the original, with more time spent exploring the build-up to the games, including all the nasty politics and wars of words.

10. The Butler A history lesson in the American civil rights movement, told with brevity and power.

Plus Five More:
11. American Hustle
12. Rush
13. The Conjuring
14. Gravity
15. Saving Mr. Banks

And a few I haven't yet seen that could potentially be on my list after I do:
The Spectacular Now
Captain Phillips
Kill Your Darlings
The Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug
August: Osage County

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Wednesday, January 08, 2014 - Feelin' Myself (ft. Miley Cyrus, French Montana, Wiz Khalifa & DJ Mustard)

"I came from the bottom, the sewer side"

This isn't new, but I've been playing it a lot this past month and I honestly can't understand why it's not absolutely smashing the charts right now. This track reminds me of when hip hop used to be fun. I'm thinking 90's era Busta Rhymes and Missy Elliott, or even that brilliant "Da Dip" track by Freak Nasty (anyone remember that?) It's just a super corny, feelgood track. Miley Cyrus certainly helps its awesomeness, even if she's verging on overexposed. Her southern drawl works wonders when put up against the more traditional verses by the song's gaggle of rappers. Even isn't totally obnoxious. And if nothing else, you've gotta appreciate that addictive beat, perched somewhere between Robyn's Cobrastyle and Adam Tensta's My Cool.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the single here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Hardwell - Dare You (ft. Matthew Koma)

"I dare you to try"

We're still in Sweden today, with one of those ubiquitous EDM tracks that are slowly growing more tiresome the more of them I hear. For something like this to appeal to me now, I've gotta love the vocals and melody. Everything has a massive build these days, so that's not enough to fully capture my attention. The thing that sticks out most about this new Hardwell track is the vocals by Matthew Koma. Despite being an American, he's got a real Scandinavian sound to the tone of his voice. I'm thinking Donkeyboy mixed with Erik Hassle mixed with Oh No Ono and Studio Killers. It doesn't hurt that the track's a real belter. The hook is sky high. Fun bonus fact: Koma co-wrote/produced a bunch of Carly Rae Jepsen's latest album (but not Call Me Maybe). Who knew?

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the single here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Monday, January 06, 2014

Anton Ewald - Close Up

"I wanna zoom in on you"

Happy (late) 2014! I've still got some countdowney stuff planned for the next week or so, including my favorite movies of 2013, bu I'm back with new music! I want to kick off 2014 in Sweden, with Anton Ewald's new single Close Up. This is officially the song that takes him from "that guy with the cool Melodifestivalen track that I liked" to "that guy that's turning into one of the country's most exciting new pop stars". I expect that whatever he performs at this year's MF will only cement that. For now, we have this fantastic little dance pop confection. From the staccato beat and vocal delivery to the tight dancing in the impressive video, everything about this screams Michael Jackson. And if you're a disciple of the Church Of Jackson like I am, that is a very, very exciting thing. I love dancers-turned-singers because they've always got the beat in mind when it comes to their music. I have high hopes for Ewald's debut album, whenever we get to hear it.

Close Up by Anton Ewald on Grooveshark

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the single (worldwide!) here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.