Music Obsessions – May 2018

music obsessions

I can’t believe that the weekend is about to end. And then it hit me that I actually never posted up this post…well..actually it was never finished. So, that’s a problem..haha! Either way, here we go! Better late than never, right? I have been still going through somewhat of a nostalgic phase but I have also found some cool new music particularly from TV show soundtrack and movie. I’ll talk more about it in the descriptions below the songs.

Hope you enjoy!

Duelling Pianos: Why I’m Talking to You/Till You’re Gone – Jon McLaughlin feat Gabe Dixon

I love Jon McLaughlin ever since I heard ‘So Close’ from Enchanted and he’s always been on my radar. This popped up on my feed the other day from his Duelling Pianos series and I love this mash-up so much with Gabe Dixon as they sing each other’s song, ‘Till You’re Gone’ and ‘Why I’m Talking To You’. Its a ton of fun. Plus, I do play the piano and since I played mostly classical stuff, I’m less fluent in these groovy bluesy style of free-style piano. Habits are quite hard to break but these songs always give me something to motivate me to spend more time trying to get to a place where I’m comfortable with playing songs like this.

Killing Strangers – Marilyn Manson feat Tyler Bates (John Wick Soundtrack)

My husband was making lots of comments about how many times I played this song after I saw John Wick. Either way, its a fantastic song. It has a ton of mood and matches the movie so well. The song is great but its also nice to remind me of how great John Wick is.

Sweetest Life – KWAYE

So..if you didn’t know, I binge-watched the Netflix Original series On My Block about 3 times and one of the opening of the episodes was with this song by KWAYE called Sweetest Life. There is so much I love about that series and I’m so happy that they got green-lit for a second season. Can’t wait! In the mean time, I’ll probably binge-watch it again sometime in the next few months and listen to this really fun song. Actually, the soundtrack for the entire season is great so check it out if you have time!

You Are The Reason – Calum Scott

A very slow song compared to the other choices but I love the lyrics of it and Calum Scott has a beautiful voice. I actually hadn’t listened to the radio for months and then turned it on right when they switched to this song. Its quite full of emotion, which is a good thing.

Smart – Tension

Its been kind of weird because I’ve been seeing ‘NSync pop up on Ellen lately after a few weeks of listening to a few of their music and then some Backstreet Boys medley and other 90s music stuff. It kind of lead me to thinking about some Taiwanese boy bands and then landed on Tension, which was like the 2000s version of Backstreet Boys/’NSync. The similarities of their music videos at least in the vibe of it all kind of gave them an edge. Plus Taiwan went through a phase of having these kinds of boy bands with Energy, 5566, F4 and eventually, Fahrenheit (which are ones I liked). Unfortunately, Tension disbanded when their contract ended due to not agreeing to what they were outlined for the future of their group and limited them creatively (according to some research). Actually, the fun fact here is that the group member, Jimmy Hung is actually one of the sons of Sammo Hung.

Coffee Please – Jay Hardway

What kind of music obsessions would it be without some electronic music, right? Jay Hardway honestly has never disappointed me with any of this music.  I discovered him through Electric Elephants which I think is still my favorite of his but this one is pretty good as well. Great beats in general and gets me into a great mood and energy!

That’s it for this month’s Music Obsessions!
What have you been listening to lately?

Double Feature: John Wick (2014) & Kumiko the Treasure Hunter (2014)

And we’re ramping up on some of these double features. I’m trying to boost up some of the movie reviews especially since I’m trying to catch up on a lot of movies available on Shudder before I take a little break from subscribing to their streaming service. I do love their selection and they constantly are coming up with movies from Fantasia in the past few years that I had to miss due to scheduling conflict. Regardless, I’m going to try my absolute best to get through as many as possible.

I promise you that I never plan these things out so well but hey, apparently, I landed on a 2014 double feature. Why not, right? So, first one is catching up on John Wick, which everyone has been telling me to especially since its been a bumpy road for my Keanu Reeves love that has definitely faded quite a bit in the recent years, especially with the horrible Knock Knock that I wanted to roll under my car a few times if I had an actual physical copy of it. I heard John Wick is fantastic and it feels like its more in the Keanu Reeves element so I’m looking forward to it. Then its time to start the Shudder trek and go for a treasure hunt adventure in Kumiko The Treasure Hunter. It seems from what I’ve seen, its not exactly horror so I’m not sure why its in Shudder but hey, its been on my to-watch list for quite some time so I’m expecting some incredibly slow-paced indie film style. To be honest, I have no idea what to expect but it has this odd yet intriguing thing about it.

Without further ado, lets just jump right in!

John Wick (2014)

John Wick

Director: Chad Stahelski

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen, Willem Dafoe, Dean Winters, Adrianne Palicki, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Lance Reddick

An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that killed his dog and took everything from him. – IMDB

John Wick is one of those movies that I sit down and right away its obvious that its going to be a fun little ride to the end. Keanu Reeves has had a few down moments but this is definitely one of those great moments that I loved him for. Him as John Wick is truly in his own element. Its a simple story about revenge and it was about John Wick’s loss and while it felt like it wasn’t a big deal to others, he lost everything that was worthwhile.

Its one of those films that build on its character gradually. When the movie started, it was just about this tired man who lost his wife and then gets broken into and steals his car and killed his dog. But as we pan into these other characters, we learn more and more about John Wick. First that he is a person to be feared and then how he got that title and finally, it gradually through the many scenes showed up his true focus and competency. Its builds and paces itself well. It didn’t need a lot of dialogue and fit the story perfectly because sometimes being about to see what is unsaid is a truly great performance in itself.

john wick

The characters whether it was the longer staying ones or the cameos all were memorable characters. Michael Nyqvist was great as the bad guy here taking his role to a fantastic new level that made him very fun to watch as well. Unfortunately, I did miss that he had passed away last year but learned about while researching the film a little further. He had done some great roles and this one included. John Leguizamo had a cameo role and I like that guy a lot ever since I saw him in Moulin Rouge. He has such a stand-out presence.

john wick

Overall, John Wick was a fun and thrilling ride from start to finish full of action and one liners and great performances through and through. The story was never too complicated and that fitted in exactly the focused character that John Wick was portrayed as while showing off how incredibly fantastic he was as a hitman. The soundtrack also was so awesome, accentuating every action scene.

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (2014)

Kumiko the Treasure Hunter

Director (and co-writer): David Zellner

Cast: Rinko Kikuchi, David Zellner, Shirley Venard

A jaded Japanese woman discovers a hidden copy of Fargo (1996) on VHS, believing it to be a treasure map indicating the location of a large case of money. – IMDB

Right off the bat, lets just say that Kumiko the Treasure Hunter is definitely an indie film experience. Its fairly slow paced and honestly not a whole lot happens. We follow around this oddly introvert Japanese woman who believes in the based on a true story Fargo’s hidden treasure to fill her life goal to find it. Is it a journey to find meaning in her life? Theres something deeper in this story that pulls me in but yet, it feels like theres not a whole lot going for it because it feels empty and then maybe that is what Kumiko feels as her emotions are more connected to her pet bunny Bunzo than even her own mother. However, the story itself is quite unique and surprisingly, the more I think about it, I feel like there may be more to discover. Writing it up now, the intriguing elements of this story is in Rinko Kikuchi’s performance no matter how little she says, her actions and her expressions define her character and keeps us wondering what she will do next as he focuses on getting to her treasure.

Kumiko the Treasure Hunter

I can’t say I am a huge fan of the movie or that I get whats going on completely and maybe it merits a second viewing. While I acknowledge the great performance of Rinko Kikuchi and the uniqueness of centering a story on someone actually believing the based on true story movies that general movie viewers (myself included) may have become skeptical to, Kumiko the Treasure Hunter has some good moments and some well shot scenes but its definitely not for everyone. It requires a lot of patience to get through, but if you enjoyed A Ghost Story, this one might be right up your alley in terms of pacing at least. A bit of mixed feelings towards this one for myself.

Thats it for this 2014 double feature. A contrast in so many ways.
The first is action packed and the second is slow paced execution.
Have you seen these two yet?