Movie Review | The Forest (2015)

“Game of Thrones” alum Natalie Dormer stars as an American who travels to Japan’s Suicide Forest to find her missing twin sister. What follows is a mix between human-made suspense and a supernatural thriller. As Dormer’s Sara ignores all reason to locate her sister, eventually drawing a travel journalist (Taylor Kinney) and perceptive guide (Yukiyoshi Ozawa) into her plight.

It is easy to empathize with Sara, one half of a contrasting, identical twin combo. She is the long-suffering sister of her troubled counterpart, Jess. Recently, Jess had been getting her life together, teaching English in Japan. It is during a school field trip that she disappears. The assumption is made that since she vanished in Aokigahara (the Suicide Forest), she stayed to commit suicide. A frantic Sara does not believe it and packs her bags, determined to find her sister. 

At first she hits several dead ends before encountering the enthusiastic Aiden (Kinney). She agrees to be a part of an article he wants to write about her case, in exchange for his help. With a deal struck, the two set off on a mission with Michi (Ozawa), the guide. It is not long before visions of ghosts and angry spirits begin to haunt Sara. They appear to her, even before she enters the reputedly haunted forest.

It is the beginning of the movie toying with whether what you are witnessing is “real” or not. Is it supernatural or the product of someone becoming psychologically unglued? Or is Sara being hunted by a living presence, working in a sinister capacity? You have to stay tuned to find out. 

Director Jason Zada keeps the pace moving and the story unfolding with newfound revelations around every bend. “The Forest” is not a boring movie, by any means. It incorporates the 3 plot mainstays that comprise the mystery thriller genre with remarkable ease. Its unexpected mix of the 3 infusing the movie with an unpredictability factor it would have otherwise lacked.

Why Figure Skaters Should Consider Music from 'Game of Thrones' and 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

A new season of figure skating is upon us and with that, a slew of new programs. If you are a fan of figure skating, be it singles, pairs or ice dance, then you know that music selection can oftentimes be the make or break difference between a good program and a great one.

The beautiful part of the following music is that working two programs around them would be easy. There is enough variety on these soundtracks that using a different medley of songs from the same soundtrack would be sustainable for both the short and free skate, and it would not bore the listener. Plus, it would tie the two programs together.

With a bent towards the classics, certain skaters have dared to flirt with the modern and last season saw a nice rotation of movie soundtracks. Ashley Wagner performed to a medley from “Moulin Rouge” for her free skate, while Mirai Nagasu skated to one from the 2013 “Great Gatsby” remake. It is a trend that would be wonderful to see continue and Eclectic Pop has some ideas on how to keep it going.

Entertainment Inquiry #7 - Fall Movies, 'Fifty Shades Darker', 'Narcos' & more!

Since there is only so much time in the day to read 750+word reviews, it seemed right to boil down all of the sentiments expressed on Eclectic Pop into a simple question and answer format; getting to the point in a concise and clear manner that transforms those broader analyses into a bite-size read.

If there is an entertainment topic you want a quick answer to, the Entertainment Inquiry aims to give it to you. These questions have been self-generated by taking into account current hot topics and the interests you already come to Eclectic Pop for coverage on. In this edition, you will find inquiries about the “Fifty Shades Darker” trailer, the Venice Film Festival, the recent season of “Narcos”, what’s worth watching on Netflix, Emmy predictions and more…

#RKC Presents the Final Eclectic Selection #12 - The Complete Playlist

On Friday September 23; Eclectic Selection #12 will premiere on #RKC. As previously announced playlist #12 will also be the last Eclectic Selection. The final show will consist of a 16 song lineup. Below you will find the complete playlist (in order of airplay), the artist, the song and the social media links for you to connect with the featured artists further. I would like to thank all of the talented artists whose music comprises this playlist and all of the previous installments. As with every Eclectic Selection; it has been your music that has made the evening sing!

I would also like to thank everyone who has listened to the show throughout the past 2 years, my fellow Selectors for their support and of course, Jerome (aka Ze Boss) for the opportunity to compose 12 Eclectic Selections. It has been a blast.

Eclectic Pop News | Music Announcment

As many of you know there has been a recent change with the content on the site.
For one, there has been less of it. As my freelancing work expands, Eclectic Pop has taken a bit of a back seat, though it remains a top priority. Working through this learning curve has been an adjustment. Rest assured that through the ebbs and flows, new content will continue to be created. However, the focus of that content will soon be changing.

Effective immediately, Eclectic Pop will be taking an indefinite sabbatical from conducting music reviews. As many of you who have reached out for a review are aware I have been saying for a while now that I would only be taking submissions for the Eclectic Selection playlist on #RKC. As you may have recently read, I will no longer be doing that either.

Eclectic Pop News | The End of Eclectic Selection on #RKC

As the title of this post suggests, this is an announcement about the end of the Eclectic Selection show on #RKC.

After nearly 2 years, 11 aired playlists, 275+ songs and lots of contemplation, the time has come to announce that I will no longer be a Selector for #RKC. I would like to thank Jerome, Ze Boss of #RKC for giving me the opportunity to be one. It has been an incredible learning experience and his patience throughout its sporadic installments has been greatly appreciated. Thanks to him, so many wonderful indie artists have a platform to be heard. What #RKC does for those artists, along with giving music enthusiasts an outlet to compose a playlist, is nothing short of inspired.

Album Review | Eliza Neals, 'Breaking and Entering'

Detroit’s Eliza Neals serves up a confection of electrified blues and fizzy jazz with “Breaking and Entering”. An album that is fun (‘Sugar Daddy’), fresh (‘Southern Comfort Dreams’) and stamped with the indelible signature of Neals’ vibrant personality. Her soulful vocals breathing life into a record that’s topics range from self-empowerment (‘I’m the Girl’) to being madly in love (‘You’) and beyond. 

The title single; ‘Breaking and Entering’ does what great music is supposed to, transporting you from a drive in life’s ordinary lane to riding in the extraordinary. This is due to Neals' infectious ability to conjure road trip anthems that put listeners on sonic cruise control with a relaxing invigoration.

Whether the ‘Windshield Wipers’ are “wiping her tears away” or she is going on a ‘Detroit Drive’, Neals finds a clever way to draw Motor City’s namesake into the lyrical conversation. The honor for the album’s standout track belongs to the theatrically-inclined ‘Jekyll and a Hound’. Its impressively addictive tune tangles with a deceptively dark lyrical narrative. The result of which is a song as brooding as it is haunting with a crackling production that is exemplary in its unique edge.

While Neals’ sings the blues, “Breaking and Entering” is an upbeat record that never slides into a depressive tone. It offers a hopeful lens by which to see the varying circumstances of life and when you finish listening, Neals' enthusiasm cannot help rubbing off.

Movie Review | High-Rise (2015)

There are movies you watch and wonder how and why on earth they were made, such is the story of director Ben Wheatley’s “High-Rise”. An adaptation, based on the novel of the same name by J.G. Gallard, “High-Rise” is a relentless look at the decadence and moral depravity that consumes a buffet of humanity living in a tower block during the 1970’s. The high-rise features 3 basic levels: lower, middle and upper; each floor representing the financial class of those who live there. 

As a result, the high-rise contains a cauldron of financially widespread inhabitants, as all of London’s various strata live under the same roof, just on different levels. Inevitably, tensions ignite. As fights over the use of the community swimming pool, accusations of unlawful behavior being visited upon the lower levels without any consequences and power outages that besiege the building; accounting for some of the complaints lobbied.

Top 10 Most-Read Posts of July 2016

Top 10 Recap: Previous months’ Top 10 Most-Read Recaps and recent special features reigned victorious in July. As the re-launch of the Quick Hit Movie Reviews and Entertainment Inquiry each claimed 2 spots, while general movie reviews took 3 slots on the list. The complete playlist for #RKC’s presentation of Eclectic Selection #10 landed in third place.

For the second straight month, the #ThrowbackThursday and #FlashbackFriday social media campaigns majorly rejuvenated interest in old reviews. The Shailene Woodley starrer “White Bird in a Blizzard” zoomed to first place by re-sharing it with the popular hashtag on Twitter and Google+. Clinging to a close second was the #6 installment of the Entertainment Inquiry, which dealt with questions surrounding the final episodes of “Game of Thrones'” sixth season and whether or not Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) betrayed Jon Snow (Kit Harington) in the season’s penultimate episode. Likewise, the #5 E.I. heavily featured the HBO series.

Also featured in that column and all Entertainment Inquiries are insights into the content streaming on Netflix. So if you ever experience a time where you are unsure of what is worth watching on the streaming giant or feel like you have watched everything already on it, the Entertainment Inquiry hopes to supply you with some fresh ideas in a brief way.

Of exciting personal note is that the review for the phenomenal film “Far from the Madding Crowd” made its third consecutive appearance on the Top 10 list. In July it even rose 3 places from its June finish, going from #10 to #7. For all of you HBO subscribers, it is important to mention that this amazing movie will be leaving at the end of August, so you need to check it out while you still can.

Content Notes for the Remainder of August:
- Those links to my “Game of Thrones” pieces for are coming. While the delay was unfortunate, the good news is there is now more content to pore over than there would have been if it had been published earlier.

- The Quick Hit Movie Reviews and Entertainment Inquiry features will continue on a bi-monthly to monthly basis. If there’s a particular theme or genre you would like to see included in the Quick Hits, leave a comment below. Same goes for any question you would like to submit for the Entertainment Inquiry.

- This month, two older features were reworked and re-launched as one: the Top 5 and Best New Movie Bets. The new incarnation is a hybrid: [insert movie] - the Top 5 Things You Need to Know. This gives Eclectic Pop a chance to spotlight a movie of interest and supply readers with 5 fun facts regarding it. The goal is to hopefully include trivia you won’t find on IMDB and offer a different take on why you should see the film in the first place. Right now, the focus of the feature is movies, though that could potentially expand to TV.

So that about does it, as always thank you for reading! To discover all of the posts that made July’s Top 10 Most-Read list, scroll down and click the titles to read them.