Well after months of excitement, anticipation, predictions and a thousand other award ceremonies, last night the envelopes were finally opened and the names were revealed. We saw some surprise winners and some less surprising winners. Host Seth Macfarlane has received a lot of mixed reviews from the critics and twitter...ok so they're mostly negative reviews but who cares? I personally enjoyed him hosting; the musical numbers, the bad taste jokes...What did people expect from the man who created Family Guy? Anyway, lets take a look at who won and whether my predictions were right.
Sunday, 24 February 2013
An Academy Award is seen by many as the pinnacle of acting, the holy grail for those performers who have made an unforgettable mark on pop culture and film history, yet many stars have an empty space on their mantelpiece where their Oscar should be. As you go down my list of actors and actresses who have not received an Academy Award, I defy you not to gasp and say "How have they not won an Oscar?!", pointing angrily at the screen and cursing the Academy for all eternity. With that in mind, here are the nominees for Best Actor or Actress in a Leading or Supporting Role who should have won a damn Oscar!
Saturday, 23 February 2013
Live Lounge is great and all but what I love most is trawling through Youtube to find the best cover versions of my favourite songs by unsigned or small-time artists. If you put the time in, you'll find so many different and innovative interpretations of the biggest hits right now... but who has the time for that I hear you say? Have no fear for that's what our Youtube Faceoff is all about. Previous posts have looked at artists as diverse as Macy Gray, Britney Spears, Adele and Kesha. Today it's One Direction's turn!
'Kiss You' is the third single from the boys 'Take Me Home' album and it's an addictive little pop number that's been in my head non-stop now for the last two months. As One Direction are insanely popular at the moment, I figured it would be easy to find hundreds of awesome versions of 'Kiss You' but that certainly wasn't the case. Actually, it turns out that every fan out there thinks that they can do an amazing cover, no matter how terrible they are. Saying that though, I did find some brilliant interpretations of 'Kiss You'. It just took longer than usual! Reacquaint yourself with the original first by clicking here.
Friday, 22 February 2013
Live Lounge is great and all but what I love most is trawling through Youtube to find the best cover versions of my favourite songs by unsigned or small-time artists. If you put the time in, you'll find so many different and innovative interpretations of the biggest hits right now... but who has the time for that I hear you say? Have no fear for that's what our Youtube Faceoff is all about. Previous posts have looked at artists as diverse as Adele, Britney Spears, Macy Gray and Robyn.
Some of the best covers are based on songs that seem shallow and trashy on the surface but are actually surprisingly good when sang differently. To day we're going to take a look at Kesha's 'Die Young', which is a perfect example of this. I've never been a huge fan of her sleazy image but dammit, some of Kesha's songs are just beyond catchy. Check out the original song below for a reminder of how good Kesha can be when she actually bothers to sing properly on a track and look! She's even washed her hair!
Thursday, 21 February 2013
The release of 'Wreck-It Ralph' has everyone pining for classic video game characters and it was amazing to see some long forgotten favourites arrive on the big screen, including Q*Bert, Dig Dug and Neff from 'Altered Beast'. A whole host of retro heroes and villains appear in the films opening act but I was still disappointed to see some missing, so here are the childhood favourites of mine which I think should have made it into the final picture, copyright issues aside.
Wednesday, 20 February 2013
The Queen of K-Pop has returned this week with a brand new track called 'Disturbance' that she wrote and composed herself. The song is a 90s style RnB ballad that has a similar vibe to Boa's 2012 hit 'Only One', but it flies in the face of pretty much everything else that's big in k-pop right now. While most other acts are cheesy and attention grabbing with their flashy dance routines, Boa continues to play it cool in the promo, with a classy demeanor that is subtly sexy rather than in your face. Whether 'Disturbance' will appeal more to Korean or Western audiences though remains to be seen but you owe it to yourself to see what all the fuss is about by clicking below.
Tuesday, 19 February 2013
Even with the rise in popularity of teen books like 'The Hunger Games' and 'Twilight', the YA genre is often criminally overlooked. Some of the best books I've ever read were written primarily for teenagers but that doesn't mean that they are dumbed down by any means. Sure there are a number of generic trashy YA novels out there which were written for an easy read but that's true for books targeted at any age range. Particular favourites of mine include Michael Grant's 'Gone' series and the 'Chaos Walking Trilogy' by Patrick Ness but these books are popular already. Today's post is all about those underrated teen books that deserve to be read by a wider audience. And if you're not a fan of YA fiction yet then I think at least one of these five selections might change your mind. Read on and give them a go.
Sunday, 17 February 2013
Remember when Toni Braxton was still making music and the Whitney/Mariah rivalry was big news? In this weekly feature, I take a look back at some of the best RnB artists of yesteryear, sharing their signature videos and underrated hits, as well as looking at what they’re up to nowadays. Previous posts have focussed on classic Mary J.Blige album My Life, Destiny's Childs debut single No, No, No and their live comeback appearance at the Superbowl Halftime Show this year, as well as the top 5 RnB covers by Youtube sensation VanJess.
This week I was inspired by the new promo for Justin Timberlake's comeback hit 'Suit and Tie'. The David Fincher directed video is a classy affair which shows a more mature Justin perform rat-pack style to an intimate crowd. As if that wasn't sophisticated enough, hip-hop legend Jay-Z makes a smooth appearance with one of his finest guest raps in some time. Mr Carter has lent his trademark verses to a number of RnB acts over the years and while some appearances have been more memorable than others, its hard to deny the superstar impact that a quality Hova verse can have on a track. With that in mind, let's count down the top 5 best Jay-Z guest raps from a career that has spanned almost twenty years in the business. First though, check out the legend in Justin Timberlake's new song 'Suit and Tie'.
Saturday, 16 February 2013
Anticipation has been high for the release of Tom Odell's first single from upcoming album 'Long Way Down' so is it up to scratch? Well the achingly beautiful ballads that made up Odell's 'Songs From Another Love' EP have been mostly left behind for this first release in favour of a more uptempo sing-along vibe. The intense passion is still there in his voice though, backed by his beautiful piano playing and there's a soft breakdown towards the end that's reminiscent of 'Another Love', which initially marked Odell out as one to watch last year. Singer/songwriters may come and go but all the acclaim is definitely deserved in this case as Odell is that rarest of things; a credible musician with commercial appeal. Check out the official video for 'Hold Me' which sees Odell turn out a manic performance at his piano and see what all the fuss is about.
After releasing numerous club mixes and two remix albums in a career that's spanned over 14 years to date, Britney Spears has finally filmed an original promo for one of her reworked singles...and its awesome! 'Scream and Shout' has become a huge hit for the Princess of Pop so it made sense to release an official remix of the song but even with Will I.Am's involvement, I was surprised at how hip-hop the final track is. With extra verses from rappers Diddy, Waka Flocka and Lil Wayne, the 'Scream and Shout' Remix works in a completely different genre to the original so of course a new look was required for Ms Spears and I can tell you now you've never seen Britney like this before. Check out the official promo below.
Thursday, 14 February 2013
'American Horror Story: Asylum' took everything that was great about the first series and improved it in every way. With each dark twist and messed up revelation, I fell more and more in love with this show but as soon as I watched 'The Name Game', I realised that this could be one of my favourite series ever.
The episode was full of standout moments, including the deaths of not one but two major characters but one scene in particular elevated 'The Name Game' to classic status. Yes, of course I'm talking about Sister Jude's transformation from broken mental patient to sassy pop singer. Thank you electroshock therapy! 'The Name Game' was originally written and recorded by US singer Shirley Ellis in 1964 but Jessica Lange makes the novelty hit her own in a bizarre version that fits the tone of the show perfectly. Check it out below. I guarantee you'll press play more than once.
Sunday, 10 February 2013
Remember when RnB was about smooth grooves and sultry vocals instead of hard hitting dance beats? In this weekly feature, I take a look back at some of the best RnB artists of yesteryear, sharing their signature videos and underrated hits, as well as looking at what they’re up to nowadays. Previous posts have focussed on Ashanti, classic Mary J.Blige album My Life, Destiny's Childs debut single No, No, No and the groups live comeback appearance at the Superbowl Halftime Show this year.
Today I'm going to share my favourite RnB covers by Youtube sensation VanJess, who have racked up millions of hits online for their unique interpretations of current chart hits and classic RnB tracks. Ironically for a group who became famous from recording covers, these the two sisters are all about originality as they mix it up with acapella vocals, beatboxing and piano playing to create their own signature sound. Let's see what all the fuss is about by counting down their Top 5 best RnB covers, starting with number five.
Saturday, 9 February 2013
Makato Shinkai. You might not have heard of this anime filmmaker yet but you should have. The triple threat talent produces, writes and directs beautiful movies which have encouraged comparisons between him and the king of anime himself, Hayao Miyazaki. Films such as 'Voice Of A Distant Star' and 'The Place Promised In Our Early Days' have won Shinkai many honours in his native Japan but I first noticed him for his acclaimed work on '5 Centimeters Per Second', which explores the relationships that a boy named Takaki Tono develops from his youth up to the present day. The film consists of three segments which each focus on a different time in Takaki's life, titled Cherry Blossom, Cosmonaut and 5 Centimeters Per Second.
Friday, 8 February 2013
Most of you probably know white rapper Macklemore and his producer Ryan Leslie from their worldwide smash 'Thrift Shop', which has become a huge hit from their album 'The Heist', despite being released independently. I never really got the songs novelty appeal though and figured the Seattle based rapper would just be a one hit wonder so I was surprised to hear another song of his that really affected me on an emotional level.
Thursday, 7 February 2013
I love finding a new author, one who's been around for a while with a whole back catalogue of books to catch up on. After reading his collection of short stories Nocturnes, which you can read about here, I immediately went in search of the next John Connolly book to get my greedy little hands on. The Book of Lost Things was a christmas present and went straight to the top of my reading pile, which is massive by the way.
Wednesday, 6 February 2013
‘Ed Wood’ is perhaps Tim Burton’s most underrated film commercially but it was released to critical acclaim during the directors golden period of filmmaking in the 1990s. The story of Hollywood’s ’Worst Director’ was a perfect fit for Burton’s love of oddball characters and while ‘Ed Wood’ may not be completely accurate historically, it features a brilliant madcap performance from Johnny Depp as the filmmaker who longed to create the next ‘Citizen Kane’ but only ended up producing trash. Rather than portray his entire life, the film chooses to focus specifically on the production period of Wood’s most famous films and his relationship with the actor Bela Lugosi, played by Martin Landau.
Monday, 4 February 2013
Remember when Aaliyah ruled the charts and 'No Diggity' was on in every club? In this weekly feature, I take a look back at some of the best RnB artists of yesteryear, sharing their signature videos and underrated hits, as well as looking at what they’re up to nowadays. Previous posts have focussed on Tweet, Ashanti, classic Mary J.Blige album My Life and Destiny's Childs debut single No, No, No.
Today, I wanted to celebrate Beyonce's stunning performance at the Superbowl Halftime Show, which featured Mrs Carter singing a variety of her biggest RnB hits...with a few special guests thrown in for good measure. Yes that's right. Destiny's Child reunited live on stage to perform their signature hit 'Independent Woman' and they all looked/sounded INCREDIBLE! The girls even helped Beyonce out on her solo smash 'Single Ladies', which made me wish that the song had always been a Destiny's Child hit from its first release. Sure the group have recently released compilation album 'Love Songs' with new track 'Nuclear' but this performance just made me crave even more new material from the girls. Make it happen Destiny's Child! Anyway, enough talk. Click below to see the amazing Halftime Show in its entirety.
Sunday, 3 February 2013
This years best directing category was the biggest surprise when the nominees names where announced. Former front runner and previous winner Kathryn Bigelow wasn't shown any love from the academy for her work on Zero Dark Thirty, but she wasn't the only one. Ben Affleck's name was absent as well for Argo and Tom Hooper was nowhere to be seen. Very surprising after they all picked up Diretors Guild of America nominations. So who are the lucky devils who did get nominated, let's take a look shall we?
Saturday, 2 February 2013
After being shown theatrically before 'Wreck-It Ralph' in US cinemas, 'Paperman' received a huge amount of critical acclaim from the press and well, just about anybody who got a chance to see it in full. John Kahrs animated short is only seven minutes long but its impact has been huge. This week, it finally became available online and I watched it for the first time. So did Disney's latest short live up to the hype? Most definitely.