If there was one confidently sure thing that defined the films I had the privilege of seeing this year, it would certainly be the spirit of diversity and creativity that made each of the selections on my annual shortlist distinctive in their unique cinematic way. Curiously enough, the fifteen films that comprise my list this year were evenly divided into five key film genres: comedies, documentaries, animation, indies, and blockbusters. This is perhaps a serendipitous sign that regardless of their silver screen pedigree, the illustrious crop of films below represent a positive step forward in the right direction as far as the future of filmmaking is concerned, and that there will always be something for everyone. From massive tentpole crowd-pleasers to critically-approved arthouse works, may you find something to discover and enjoy in my list of the Best In Film Of 2015.
My love for music has been embedded since childhood, roughly around the same time I had started to develop a vested interest in films. The golden years of MTV were a crucial element during the formative stages of my life, and as I grew older, I was exposed to a wide variety of artists and genres which gave me valuable insight into cultivating my personal preferences when it comes to music I love to listen to. A brief but memorable phase of my late adolescence was my stint as a radio DJ for a local station in my hometown where the Billboard Hot 100 songs and other well-curated upscale tracks reigned supreme to a target audience that demanded sophisticated songs as opposed to unpalatable mass market tunes playing on the airwaves.
Throughout the years, technology has steadily evolved and the way I consumed my regular sonic fix has changed to reflect the passage of time and the kind of music I am willing to absorb. Back then, I heavily relied on radio and television to get maximum exposure on my favorite artists and find out about emerging talents in the scene. If I wanted to enjoy repeated listening sessions in the comfort of my home without resorting to my previous default options, then cassette tapes were somewhat a grudging compromise to the more expensive CDs housed in shiny jewel cases that I could not afford with my meager allowance at the time. Fast forward to my present age of not-quite-yet-30, the internet has become an invaluable source of easily discovering and acquiring music I love by way of high-quality MP3 downloads and high-definition music video viewing on YouTube.
So far, my musical tastes are more or less entrenched in what I really care to listen to nowadays, but there is still plenty of leg room should there be interesting aural avenues that deserve a place in my digital music library. And I do realize that, for a huge fan of music like myself, it has taken me quite a while to write a year-end blog post about the best in music for the past twelve months given that I have been doing this for the field of movies for a few years running. Better late than never, as the saying goes, and I am thankful to the sonic gods and goddesses that 2015 has blessed me with an eclectic plethora of harmonious choices that ultimately compelled me to compose this inaugural list of my handpicked finest sonic cuts of the year. From concise extended plays (EPs) to full-length studio albums (LPs), this is the Best in Music of 2015 presented in alphabetical order by artist.
January in Cebu City means two things: the start of the New Year, and of course, the big Sinulog weekend.
The Sinulog Festival—held every third Sunday of January in Cebu City—is a massive cultural and religious festival that commemorates the Filipino people’s acceptance of Roman Catholicism, where the very first of such spiritual conversions happened on the island of Cebu way back in 1521. In recent years, the festival has grown to such epic proportions that it has garnered worldwide attention from adventurous globe trotters everywhere who flock to the Queen City of the South in order to witness the famous grand street parade and other sidebar highlights. Sinulog has achieved a sterling reputation for the Philippines that it has held pride of place for many fun-loving travelers; putting it on equal footing alongside other huge international festivals such as the New Orleans Mardi Gras and the Carnaval Do Brazil.
Relatively new to the Sinulog scene is the huge rave experience known as LifeDance. Birthed in 2012, this intrepid outdoor music festival has steadily grown in terms of scale and ambition over the years. It has billed itself as the country’s first and largest ever ongoing al fresco music event that exclusively caters to the EDM genre and its thousands of devotees. Think of it as the Philippines’ ingénue answer to more established global EDM gatherings such as Electric Daisy Carnival, Tomorrowland, ZoukOut, The Big Chill, and Ultra Music Festival. Strong word of mouth plus incredible support by dedicated partyphiles from all over the Philippines has made LifeDance a major sidebar attraction for many visiting locals and foreigners during the weekend of Sinulog since its inception.
Rare is the film that deftly weaves masterful storytelling, gripping action sequences, precise acting performances, and a biting social commentary on class warfare. Look no further than “Snowpiercer” to deliver all these elusive elements perfectly distilled and combined into what is perhaps a bravura masterpiece from acclaimed Korean auteur, Bong Joon-Ho. Adapted from the relatively obscure French graphic novel series originally titled “Le Transperceneige” created by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand, and Jean-Marc Rochette, director Bong (who helmed previous hits such as “Mother”, “Memories Of Murder”, and “The Host”) bravely took the source material and by bucking against typical Hollywood filmmaking restrictions, he has delivered a tour-de-force experience that can comfortably rest alongside the greatest science-fiction films in cinematic history. Period.
Have you ever stumbled upon an independent musical act so good that you kind of want them to remain a precious little secret, but at the same time, you also want them to be exposed to other people who have discerning taste in music like yourself? Well, this writer has had the pleasure of encountering such an extraordinary find in the form of Womb—a local trip-hop trinity that has finally given birth to their much-awaited full-length debut album, “Anesthesiac”.
With the summer movie season coming up, I’m pretty sure that many of you are quite stoked about seeing a handful of films for this year’s stellar lineup. While most of us are sure to gravitate towards the big blockbuster flicks, there are those small indie productions that are also worth watching. And one of these deliciously juicy gems that I am personally looking forward to seeing is director Sofia Coppola‘s intriguing take on the infamous burglaries of several Hollywood celebrities a few years back.
I am, of course, talking about “The Bling Ring”.
So I just wanted to share a little something to the readers and followers of my humble blog (11 fabulous people and counting!). I figured that I’d do a sort of personal post about myself outside of sharing my thoughts on the books I’ve read, the films I’ve seen, the music I’ve heard, or any other pop culture tidbit that so happened to capture my discerning interest.