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Monthly Archives: February 2017

Korean Musical Instruments

The origin of music in Korea can be traced back to ancient times. It gradually grew and gained importance in the courts of all Korean dynasties. Back then, there were four main genres of Korean music – folk, classical, devotional and court music. Over a period of time, music in Korea started evolving and it slowly began catering to a global audience, rather than restricting itself to its own shores. The fact that contemporary Korean music is a rage in the whole of Asia is a testament to its growth.

The recent case of plagiarism, wherein an Indian music composer was accused of ripping off a Korean song for a Bollywood film, is a good example of the impact and the popularity of Korean music all over the world. Speaking of popularity, Korean musical instruments aren’t lagging that far behind either. They have been attracting tremendous attention of late, not just in Asia, but elsewhere as well. On that note, let us take a look at some popular instruments that made Korean music into what it is today. A majority of traditional and contemporary choices happen to belong to the category of percussion, woodwind and string instruments. Let us have a look at the different instruments belonging to each of these categories:

String Instruments

  • Gayageum
  • Geomungo
  • Ajaeng
  • Yanggeum
  • Dang-bipa
  • Choktae

A unique characteristic of Korean string instruments is that with the exception of the yanggeum which has metal strings, most of the other string instruments comprise strings made from silk. The yanggeum can have anywhere between 72 and 104 strings wherein the strings are divided into different groups. It is played by striking the strings using a bamboo stick. Therefore, it is often referred to as a string as well as percussion instrument. The gayageum or kayagum can very well be labeled the signature instrument of Korea. It is a 20-stringed instrument made out of wood and is small enough to rest on a musician’s lap. It requires the musician to pluck the silk strings with one hand and use the other hand to adjust the movable bridge in order to play different notes.

Wind Instruments

  • Senap
  • Danso
  • Hae Gum
  • Daegeum
  • Hun
  • Piri
  • saenghwang
  • Sogeum
  • Nabal

The daegeum is one of the oldest wind instruments of Korea. It is a side-blown bamboo flute which has been used for ages in different forms of Korean music. Danso or tanso is an end-blown flute that produces a unique sound which makes it suitable for Korean folk music. The hun is a spherical instrument made from clay that has 4-5 blowing holes on its surface. It produces a low sound that otherwise is quite similar to the ocarina. The piri is typically made out of bamboo and produces a tone that resembles an oboe.

Percussion Instruments

  • Jing
  • Janggu
  • Buk
  • Jabara
  • Sogo
  • Ulla
  • Pyeongyeong

The jing is a traditional Korean gong. Usually made from brass, it is struck by a hammer that is layered with soft cloth to smoothen the texture of the sound produced. It is typically played at the onset of ceremonies and special occasions. The janggu is an ancient Korean drum that resembles an hourglass and has two playing surfaces. It can be played either using one’s bare hands or by striking it with a hammer. The pyeongyeong is a unique Korean percussion instrument that comprises sixteen slabs of pumice stone which are struck with a hammer. Each slab has a different thickness which produces a different musical note.

Jazz Music in the 1920s

The Beginning of Jazz

The origins can be traced back to the nineteenth century, when African-American musicians started experimenting with European musical instruments in their own distinct style. Jazz originated from New Orleans in the 1900s, and soon disseminated to Chicago, New York and Kansas City. The 1920s were the most glorious years for this genre of music. The decade also witnessed the rise of many independent (Indie) record companies. The Indie companies started recording with jazz groups, which helped the genre reach wider masses, and led to its popularity during that decade. Jazz dance form was also developed during this period. Jazz bands began to mushroom all around the United States, and became very popular with the middle and upper class Americans, despite racism being prevalent during that period. There were skeptics who considered jazz music and its respective artists to be some sort of a threat, because jazz was very different from everything that they had heard till then. It reflected the drastic alternate changes taking place in society, where African-Americans were more powerful, women voted, and people had surplus time to perform, listen, and experiment with music. The Harlem Renaissance and the jazz era was majorly influenced by the African-Americans, and the genre undoubtedly helped these people get acceptance in society through their talent. This era also reflected an eclectic mix of jazz, fashion and movies, all in co-ordinance with each other.

Famous Jazz Musicians

The roaring ’20s featured some of the most famous jazz musicians like Kid Ory, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Paul Whiteman and Duke Ellington. These artists were some of the most popular ones around. The actual list of great 1920s’ jazz musicians is incredibly long. Most of the recognized musicians played in famous bands like the King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, instead of going solo. However, many artists later parted ways with bands like Louis Armstrong, who played cornet for the Creole Jazz Band, and spearheaded the New Orleans Jazz, later decided to perform solo. Pianist Jelly Roll Morton, along with the Red Hot Pepper’s, are other such examples. In the 1920s, jazz bands were made up of three voices and a rhythm section. The voices consisted of a cornet, clarinet and the trombone, which were prominent jazz instruments. Some of the noted musicians during these times are listed here.

Joe “King” Oliver: A mentor to Louis Armstrong in his early days, King Oliver was a prominent protagonist of the jazz scene in the 1920s. Oliver initially played the trombone, but eventually transitioned into playing the cornet, and how! His band showcased some of the greatest musicians this era ever witnessed. Oliver on the cornet, Bill Johnson on the bass, Johnny Dodds on the clarinet, and Baby Dodds on the drums, certainly proved their mettle by totally bringing it with their compositions. His brief stint with Louis Armstrong marked a popular presence, and his band was recognized as the New Orleans Jazz.

Edward “Kid” Ory: A renowned jazz trombonist of his time, his band featured young underground and talented musicians, that included King Oliver, Sidney Bechet and Johnny Dodds amongst many others. He was acknowledged as the fore-runner of the first African-American band that recorded the first jazz set featuring Ory’s Creole Trombone and Society Blues. Kid Ory successfully retired in 1966 and had gained a number of accolades during his time. He also collaborated with most of the famous jazz artists back then.

Louis Armstrong: Finding himself a mentor in Joe King Oliver, Armstrong shot to fame as a legendary cornet and trumpet player. A staunch supporter of the Civil Rights Movement in America, Armstrong’s skills were renowned all over with the fact of him being the best jazz soloist of his time. His wife, Lil Hardin, also a famous jazz pianist, urged him to join Fletcher Henderson, who ran the show at that time in major dance balls across New York, and had collaborated with the likes of Don Redman and Benny Carter. A pioneer in scat singing (includes vocal concoctions with random words), Louis Armstrong set behind a legacy and was duly recognized for it.

Duke Ellington: Duke Ellington’s presence in the 1920s was prominent, and he led an eventful career as an established composer of the 20th century. His band, ‘The Washingtonians’ were regular performers at Club Hollywood, which later changed to Club Kentucky, and the venue was a host for jazz lovers and the swing scene. The band’s performance of their famous ‘Jungle Nights’ show was acknowledged well, and the band escalated to a permanent venue at the ‘Cotton Club’ – a major place for jazz performances. Jazz fans from all over flocked to Ellington’s performances in huge numbers, and he gained popular recognition for his compositions that came through the years ahead.

Bix Beiderbecke: Beiderbecke was a pioneer in bringing about the jazz ballad genre, and his takes on ‘Singin The Blues’ and ‘I’m Coming Virginia’ were received well all over. He recorded his first song with The Wolverines in 1924, and went on to join and tour widely with Frankie Trumbauer. Both later joined Jean Goldkette Orchestra in 1926. The duo also went ahead to join the Paul Whiteman Orchestra in New York. Beiderbecke’s performance on radio broadcasts got him recognition nationally. Unfortunately, he died at an early age of 28, as he succumbed to alcohol abuse and hallucinations.

Paul Whiteman: Known as the ‘King Of Jazz’, Whiteman’s music reflected an amazing blend of symphonic music and jazz. Mississippi Mud, Rhapsody In Blue, and Hot Lips, were amongst many of his greatest hits. Duke Ellington shared a quote about Whiteman in his autobiography, “Paul Whiteman was known as the King of Jazz, and no one as yet has come near carrying that title with more certainty and dignity.” Whiteman, also, often showcased budding artists, that included the likes of Al Rinker, Johnny Mercer, Bring Crosby, Ramona Davies and Mildred Bailey, amongst many others. His noted performance was of ‘Rhapsody In Blue’ at ‘An Experiment in Modern Music Concert’ in Aeolian Hall at New York in 1924.

Jazz Sub-genres

In the early 20th century, musicians conceived a variety of sub-genres through jazz. New Orleans Dixieland dating from the early 1910s, big band-style swing from the 1930s and 1940s, bebop from the mid-1940s, a variety of Latin jazz fusions such as Afro-Cuban and Brazilian jazz, free jazz from the 1950s and 1960s, jazz fusion from the 1970s, acid jazz from the 1980s (which added funk and hip-hop influences), and NuJazz in the 1990s, are some of the sub-genres of jazz that are still prevalent. The work of the artists paved the way for new sub-genres, and poets transitioned their lyrics into jazz music. An example of jazz poetry and blues was the adaption of an excerpt from Langston Hughes’ first book ‘The Weary Blues’, which goes as the follows:

Me an ma baby’s,
Got two mo’ ways,
Two mo’ ways to do de Charleston,
Da, Da,
Da, Da, da!
Two mo’ ways to do de Charleston!
(Weary Blues)

Some popular sub-genres revolving around this time were:

  • Third Stream – The term was dubbed by Gunther Schuller in a lecture at Brandeis University. He proposed Musical Extemporization which includes spontaneous instrumental changes and communication of emotions in the songs whilst playing.
  • Trad Jazz – As the name suggests, the term is an abbreviation of traditional jazz, and pertains to the Dixeland and Ragtime jazz styles in the early twenties, and went on to be a major source of inspiration till the early sixties.
  • Urban Jazz – Succeeding trad jazz, this genre is a fusion of smooth jazz and R&B music, with steady basslines and percussion sets.
  • Vocal Jazz – Instrumental tunes combined with a smooth flow of vocals with unique styles of different artists, and also scat singing the composition which includes meaningless and nonsensical syllables, and random words tuned into the rhythm produced by the instruments.
  • West Coast Gypsy Jazz – Inspired by Django Reinhardt, this genre is a prototype of jazz music with dark musical scales which reflected gypsy elements. It has an element of bluegrass styles and portrays a distinct strumming with racy and uneven beats at irregular intervals, concocted into a rhythm.

Jazz music of the 1920s established jazz as a music genre, in the true sense. Many changes, improvisations, and experiments have taken place in jazz music since then. But even today, the genre cannot be defined in a few simple words. Paul Whiteman – The King of Jazz, described it as “the folk music of the machine age.” Personally, I feel jazz is the music that flows from the heart and appeals to the soul. The modern-day jazz scene has come a long way, and has been shaped with many artists like Norah Jones, Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra, The Soul Rebels, Ramsey Lewis Electric Band, Chico Trujillo, and many others. Montreal, today, is most popular for jazz music, and also hosts jazz festivals throughout the year, and is a platform for underground artists too.

Cult Classic Movies

Cult movies have almost fanatic fan following. These movies can be mainstream or obscure at the start. Some elements in the movies that are unique may strike a chord with the audiences. This may be catchy dialogs, amazing script and screenplay, hilarious plots, and over-the-top costumes. Every now and then such, a movie lifts the spirits of the cinema goer. The person might just be a bored patron with nothing to do on the weekend and probably cannot sleep at night. So he goes to one of the midnight screenings and comes out smiling. The word quickly spreads and popularity catches on.

For the mainstream films however, the factor that stands out should be awesome and should make the audience sit up erect in their seats, because most of these movies are pretty run-of-the-mill stuff. Ideas presented should be radical, thought-provoking, and the effects should last long after the movie has ended. In short, the buzz that the movie gives should be like LSD, lasting much longer than the usual short drag on the cigarette.

Cult movies generate quite a bit of revenue for the movies too, and this adds to the longevity. For example, a movie like the recent Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise was good, but is almost forgotten. But a movie like Terminator 2: Judgment Day is still imprinted in the minds of everyone who saw it. This is despite that both the movies are science fiction.

The Big Lebowski
Director: Joel Coen
Released: 1998
Duration: 119 minutes
Actors: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro.
Famous Quotes: “That rug really tied the room together.”

“Man, if my f**kin’ ex-wife asked me to take care of her f**kin’ dog while she and her boyfriend went to Honolulu I’d tell her to go f**k herself.”
This is a hilarious movie of a man looking for his rug. Between the events of the central character losing his rug and finding it, a lot of action happens. There are car chases, weird dream sequences, mugging, signature one-liners, and a horribly complex plot. This movie, directed by the Coen brothers, was specifically written for Jeff Bridges, who came to be known as the ‘dude’ after the release.

Cult Status
It has got its own festival, The Lebowski Fest. It is frequently listed in the funniest movies of all time. The movie made the word ‘dude’ hugely popular. It has had such an influence that it even started a religion called Dudeism.

Fight Club
Director: David Fincher
Released: 1999
Duration: 139 minutes
Actors: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf, Zach Grenier.
Famous Quotes: “Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”
This movie achieved notorious fame for its controversial plot and ideas. Based on a novel by Chuck Palahniuk, the movie stars Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. The movie was recognized for path-breaking techniques in film making, and introduced the audiences to dark undertones of nihilism, which even though sound irrational, are very enticing.

Cult Status
The movie gained notoriety as many such unofficial fight clubs were organized and founded over the world. The ‘Project Mayhem’, that was in the plot, was attempted by many people, with intensities varying from pipe bombs to homemade bombs detonated in public coffee houses. The movie is frequently talked about as being one of the best movies of all time.

Evil Dead
Director: Sam Raimi
Released: 1981
Duration: 85 minutes
Actors: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Hal Delrich, Betsy Baker, Sarah York.
Famous Quotes: Linda: “We’re going to get you. We’re going to get you. Not another peep. Time to go to sleep.”

Ash: “You bastards, why are you torturing me like this? Why?”
This movie series blurs the line between comedy and horror. The second installment gained fame from word of mouth and quickly achieved cult Status. It features the exploits of the protagonist played by Bruce Campbell against the underworld of undead, ghouls, and trees that rape. The Book of the Dead featured in the movie became an urban legend, and the plot of college students going to a remote haunted cabin inspired countless subsequent horror flicks.

Cult Status
The trilogy defined Bruce Campbell’s career and made him wildly popular with fans. The trilogy has one of the biggest cult following in cinema history. It also established Sam Raimi as a path-breaking director with a unique style of direction.

The Shawshank Redemption
Director: Frank Darabont
Released: 1994
Duration: 142 minutes
Actors: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown.
Famous Quotes: “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

“Lord! It’s a miracle! Man up and vanished like a fart in the wind!”
The movie is about Andy Dreyfus who is imprisoned for a double homicide, although he pleads not guilty. It is based on a novella written by Stephen King. Andy serves his sentence in the prison for double homicide. He forges deep friendship with Red, a fellow inmate. The movie teaches a lot about human nature, hope, and the extent to which adverse conditions change the mind of a person.

Cult Status
The movie is considered to be one of the best movies ever made. The scene in which Andy escapes and comes out of the sewer and stands with his arms stretched in the rain, has been copied and parodied in many subsequent movies.

2001: A Space Odyssey
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Released: 1968
Duration: 142 minutes
Actors: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Douglas Rain, Leonard Rossiter.
Famous Quotes: “Just what do you think you’re doing, Dave?”

“Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.”
This movie ushered in an era of space movies, and is celebrated for its visual style and uniqueness. Made in the year 1968, it is based on the screenplay written by famed science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, and directed by the maverick director Stanley Kubrick. The movie shows how an alien monolith starts human evolution and then the adventure of a spacecraft to Jupiter. They encounter the same monolith on their way, and everything is ambiguous after that. The movie does not have a definite end and is speculated in countless forums on the Internet.

Cult Status
The movie inspired numerous directors, most prominent of them being Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Ridley Scott. It also depicted the first visualization of how tablet computers might operate in the future, and they were right; since the tablets that we use today are very similar to those used on their crafts.

The Matrix
Director: The Wachowski Brothers
Released: 1999
Duration: 136 minutes
Actors: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving, Joe Pantoliano.
Famous Quotes: “To deny our own impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human.”

“You hear that Mr. Anderson?… That is the sound of inevitability… It is the sound of your death… Goodbye, Mr. Anderson…”
This trilogy is considered as one of the greatest science fiction movies ever made. It is set in the post apocalyptic era, where the machines have taken over the planet, and use humans as a source of energy and engage them in a virtual reality called the Matrix. Although many critics found the plot to be absurd and heavily influenced, they appreciated the style and techniques used by the Wachowski brothers.

Cult Status
The movie popularized the use of Bullet time or slow motion effects which was later copyrighted by Warner Brothers. It also made the careers of Lawrence Fishburne and Carrie-Ann Moss. The visual style of dark colors influenced many movies after it. Many people thought that Hong Kong style of film making was very dry and repeated, but this movie popularized the style and opened up the market for Asian movies that used the style for their action.

Harold and Maude
Director: Hal Ashby
Released: 1971
Duration: 91 minutes
Actors: Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort, Cyril Cusack, Vivian Pickles, Charles Tyner.
Famous Quotes: “Harold, *everyone* has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can’t let the world judge you too much.”

Harold: “I haven’t lived. I’ve died a few times.”
The movie tells the story of Harold, a young man who has lost his perspective on life, and is obsessed with death. He attends funerals of strangers, attempts innovative suicide attempts, and tries to get the attention of his mother unsuccessfully. However, he does get the attention of a 70-something widow who teaches him how to live.

Cult Status
It is frequently listed in the lists of the funniest movies. The movie did not make much money in the year of its release, but did develop a following. This was because of the presence of dark humor in the film which was still new to the movie going audience then. It also began the trend of movies with the message of living life to the fullest without any reservations.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Director: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
Released: 1975
Duration: 88 minutes
Actors: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones.
Famous Quotes: Black Knight: (after his arm is cut off)”It’s just a flesh wound.”

King Arthur: “Well, we’ll not risk another frontal assault. That rabbit’s dynamite.”
This famous movie by the troupe of Monty Python and the Flying Circus became a cult classic for its absurd and outrageous humor. It parodies the quest of King Arthur to find the Holy Grail. The movie is full of political, religious, and social satire. The humor is presented in a very stupid way, but is very intelligently written.

Cult Status
This movie brought worldwide acclaim to the already famous Monty Python troupe. The movie got a cult following for the different way in which the humor is presented. It is counted as one of the best comedies to date. Many of the concepts used in the movie have been replicated and borrowed in other movies, as a homage.

Blade Runner
Director: Ridley Scott
Released: 1982
Duration: 116 minutes
Actors: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos.
Famous Quotes: Batty: “Quite an experience to live in fear, isn’t it? That’s what it is to be a slave.”

Rachael: “I’m not in the business… I *am* the business.”
The movie, released in the year 1982, is set in the year 2019, where Tyrell Corporation has made androids who are indistinguishable to humans. They are called The Replicants, and are not allowed to enter the planet. Hence, they are hunted down by Blade Runners.

Cult Status
This movie, like many cult movies, did not do well at the beginning, but was recognized as time passed. Many of the designs used in this film have inspired subsequent futuristic movies. The movie is also hailed by many as the best science fiction film ever. The visual styles in the scenes are unique to the movie, and the technique of advertising on a skyscraper is taken from Blade Runner.

Night of the Living Dead
Director: George A. Romero
Released: 1968
Duration: 95 minutes
Actors: Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne.
Famous Quotes: “They’re coming to get you, Barbara, there’s one of them now!”

“All right, Vince, hit him in the head, right between the eyes.”
The first movie to popularize the reanimation of the dead, cannibalism, nudity, and killing of the undead, it automatically became a cult classic. The movie shows characters affected by the undead, swarming and multiplying as they spread their condition to other people. The movie was criticized heavily when it was released; due to explicit imagery. However, with time, it has achieved cult Status.

Cult Status
The movie spawned the series of the Living Dead. It also popularized the use of zombies in movies, although it does not refer to the undead by that name. It also ushered in the splatter genre, and inspired movies like Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Halloween.

Director: Anthony C. Ferrante
Released: 2013
Duration: 86 minutes
Actors: Tara Reid, Ian Ziering, John Heard.
Famous Quotes: Baz: “Storm’s dying down.”

Nova: “How can you tell?”
Baz: “Not as many sharks flying around.”
With Jaws, sharks were shown as killers, and with the film Twister, tornadoes were shown as danger to human lives. The movie Sharknado broke all limits of absurdity. It shows a big tornado affecting a city and bringing a lot of sharks with it. All these sharks turn out to be man-eaters and devour every human in the way. It doesn’t matter that the sharks cannot move on land and that a tornado cannot sustain so long. The movie makes all this possible.

Cult Status
As a Z-grade movie, it got midnight release in selected theaters and did not get a lot of audience. But it got a lot of publicity on Twitter after it was given a midnight slot on television. In the subsequent showing, the number of viewers just increased, and the popularity it generated even ended up with a green light for a sequel. Hope it is as absurd as its predecessor.

Cannibal Holocaust
Director: Ruggero Deodato
Released: 1980
Duration: 96 minutes
Actors: Robert Kerman, Gabriel Yorke, Francesca Ciardi, Perry Pirkanen, Luca Barbareschi.
Famous Quotes: “Today people want sensationalism; the more you rape their senses the happier they are.”
One of the most disturbing movies to ever get a release, or maybe ever made, Cannibal Holocaust, surprisingly has a cult following. The movie even holds a 65% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie is about a group of journalists who venture into the forests of Amazon and encounter an indigenous tribe indulging in cannibalistic acts. These acts are filmed and the journalists go missing. The tape is then found and the tribe is searched by the present crew. There is impaling, animal cruelty (real stuff), torture, sexual assault, and executions. Surely not a movie for the faint-hearted.

Cult Status
The movie pioneered the ‘found footage’ genre in film making, and was for a short period of time classified as a snuff film too. Many critics have made social metaphors about the gruesome violence depicted in the movie. However violet and sick the movie is, it is watched and critiqued by many, even though it is banned in many countries.

Plan 9 from Outer Space
Director: Edward D. Wood, Jr.
Released: 1959
Duration: 79 minutes
Actors: Bela Lugosi, Vampira, Lyle Talbot.
Famous Quotes: “Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.”
This movie is so bad, it’s good. It has a ridiculous plot, where an alien race resurrects all the dead people on the planet. Why? Because the human race has invented a weapon that can cause the universe to collapse. Gone are the questions that even seem remotely logical. This movie laughs in the face of logic and then bashes a pie in your face. And you know what? The pie is surprisingly good.

Cult Status
It bombed badly when it was released and was buried in obscurity before it was listed as one of the worst movies ever made. It also brought its director Ed Wood the accolade of the worst director ever. The movie is so bad, it cannot be parodied. No wonder it gives a good time to people who watch it.

Director: Ridley Scott
Released: 1979
Duration: 117 minutes
Actors: Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt.
Famous Quotes: Ash: “I admire its purity. A survivor… unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.”

Ripley: “Micro changes in air density, my ass.”
Innovative filming is the hallmark of Ridley Scott movies, and hence, he features on this list again. The film shows a spacecraft traveling in deep space, returning from a mining expedition. It is forced to land and investigate on a planet which hosts a terribly parasitic species of an alien race.

Cult Status
The movie was the first to have a female as an all out leader, both in the cast and in the story. The concepts of terraforming, stasis and artificial intelligence, and androids are well portrayed in the movie. It became a cult hit with sci-fi fans, and is very popular in conventions around the world

Battle Royale
Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Released: 2000
Duration: 113 minutes
Actors: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Taro Yamamoto, Masanobu Ando, Kou Shibasaki.
Famous Quotes: “So today’s lesson is, you kill each other off till there’s only one left. Nothing’s against the rules.”

“It’s beautiful, even though it’s where everyone died.”
This movie’s plot is almost like a fantasy of a very strict headmaster. In the movie, a class of 8th grade students are rounded and taken on a deserted island, where they are told that only one will survive. They are instructed to kill each other, and if they refuse to do so, everyone would be killed, thanks to an electronic tamper-proof collar fitted onto each one of them.

Cult Status
The movie inspired Quentin Tarantino and Hunger Games. The movie spoke about teenage problems and their behavior in hostile situations. It also inspired movies like The Tournament and Gamer.

Director: Katsuhiro Otomo
Released: 1988
Duration: 124 minutes
Actors: Mitsuo Iwata, Nozomu Sasaki, Mami Koyama, Taro Ishida, Mizuho Suzuki.
Famous Quotes: “Amoebas don’t build houses and bridges, they only eat.”

“The future is not a straight line. It is filled with many crossroads. There must be a future that we can choose for ourselves.”
The central character in the movie is Tetsuo, a member of a radical biker gang in the streets of Tokyo. Tetsuo has psionic powers, and that’s what makes the gang powerful. The gang’s leader Kaneda wants to prevent Tetsuo from unleashing Akira, who is too powerful and can cause catastrophic destruction if freed.

Cult Status
The movie was released in 1988 and exposed the western markets to Manga animation. It also had landmark animation techniques which were used in almost every other animated movie that came out of Japan. It also had Cyberpunk undertones, which inspired The Matrix.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Director: Jim Sharman
Released: 1975
Duration: 100 minutes
Actors: Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick.
Famous Quotes: “I’m just a sweet transvestite, from Transsexual Transylvania.”

“And crawling on the planet’s face, some insects called the human race. Lost in time, and lost in space… and meaning.”
This movie is a homage to B-grade movies with reanimations, UFOs, and apocalypse featuring in the movie. As with Plan 9, this movie too was first released as a midnight movie, and did not get recognition right away. But a ridiculous script and over-the-top costumes caught the eyes of the audiences.

Cult Status
The audiences themselves started dressing like the characters in the show and re-enacting it as a play in theaters, thus increasing its publicity. The number of such groups kept on increasing and many such re-enactments took place, making it the movie with the longest running theatrical release in film history.

Back to the Future
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Released: 1985
Duration: 116 minutes
Actors: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover.
Famous Quotes: Marty McFly: “Whoa. This is heavy.”

Dr. Emmett Brown: “There’s that word again. “Heavy.” Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the Earth’s gravitational pull?”
This movie is about a time travel adventure and how it can go wrong. Marty, an easygoing teenager, is friends with a seemingly nutcase/eccentric of a scientist, Emmett ‘Doc’ Brown. Doc creates a car that can go back or forward in time, and when things go wrong, Marty unexpectedly finds himself in the past, where things go lower south.

Cult Status
The film is appreciated by scientists for its innovative portrayal of time travel. The movie spawned a series of three Back to the Future movies which were popular too. Marty’s skateboarding in the movie also influenced teenagers too. This helped because the sport was still in its nascent stage. It also set a precedent to many time travel movies in the future.

Director: Paul Verhoeven
Released: 1995
Duration: 131 minutes
Actors: Elizabeth Berkley, Kyle MacLachlan, Gina Gershon, Glenn Plummer, Robert Davi.
Famous Quotes: “The Farmer in the Dell, The Farmer in the Dell, I had a cherry once, and now it’s gone to hell.”

“She’s no butterfly. Tony, she’s all pelvic thrust. I mean, she prowls. She’s got it!”
Directed by Paul Verhoeven, this movie was made on a budget of $45 million. It did get theatrical release, but because of the explicit content, was given midnight slots. The plot has a woman who climbs the rungs of the Las Vegas show business, upgrading herself from a stripper to a show girl. The movie bombed badly, and is considered by many as one of the worst movies ever made.

Cult Status
This movie was popular in video rentals, making almost $100 million. The makers were also surprised by the late success their movie achieved. It was appreciated for stupid humor, and loads of nudity and explicit scenes. The movie is still popularly rented in the States, even today.

Director: Kevin Smith
Released: 1994
Duration: 92 minutes
Actors: Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Jason Mewes, Lisa Spoonhauer.
Famous Quotes: “People say crazy shit during sex. One time I called this girl “Mom.””

“I’m offering you my body and you’re offering me semantics.”
The movie, made on a shoestring budget of $27,000, launched filmmaker Kevin Smith’s career. It depicts a typical day in the life of two convenience store employees. Smith himself makes an entry in the movie as Silent Bob. The movie is the first in the series of later movies set in the ‘Askewniverse’ universe made by Kevin Smith.

Cult Status
This film is very funny, and after Miramax agreed to distribute it, it generated more than $3 million in box office collection. It was a surprise hit, and was appreciated by audiences and critics alike. The movie makes entries into many top comedy movies lists, rated well by various critics and publishers.

Korean Movies

Memories of Murder
This is a crime-drama that is based on a true life event. It is about the country’s first known case of serial murders. These murders took place between the year 1986 and 1991. Song Kang-Ho one of the most popular actors of Korean cinema along with Kim Sang-kyung starred as a detectives who try to solve the crime. It all happens when the police force was neither equipped nor experienced in solving a crime of such a scale. This engrossing movie will require your full attention. Must watch for thriller buffs.

A Moment to Remember
Have you ever experienced the loss and discovery within a relationship that is marred by Alzheimer’s disease? A Moment to Remember is does just that makes it so endearing. The movie begins on a romantic comedy note. It moves on to a blissful married life of the couple where the husband (Jung Woo-sung) discovers that his wife (Son Ye-jin) is suffering from forgetfulness. The movie then moves on to the revelation aspect of Alzheimer’s that the wife is diagnosed with. Despite all the trials the couple goes through due her forgetfulness, the couple remains committed. Finally, Su-jin forgets all her memories and Woo-sung visits her in the hospital hiding his tears behind glasses. All those who love sweet, eternal romance should watch this movie.

Old Boy
This movie is based on a Japanese manga of the same name. The story is about Oh Dae-su (Choi Min-sik), who shown in a police station for drunken public disorder. He is bailed out by his friend and on release he calls his daughter home who is waiting for him to celebrate her birthday. He disappears on his way home and realizes that he is imprisoned against his will in a cheap motel room. He remains captive for the next 15 years and he doesn’t even know why. After his release, he still finds himself in a web of conspiracy as well as violence. Will he ever be able to free himself from the conspiracy? Watch the movie to uncover the mystery.

My Little Bride
This was the first Korean movie I watched and fell in love with Korean cinema. This is a sweet, innocent romantic comedy about an arranged marriage between a teacher and a student. A 15-year-old high school girl (Moon Geun Young) who have a crush one her school’s baseball team ace is ordered to marry Kim Rae Won, a new teacher by her grandfather. This is all because the grandfather had made a pact with Rae Won during the Korean War. Despite opposition they are married. Young decides to act as if she does not have a husband and dates her crush. Everything goes well, until the day Rae Won comes to her school as a teacher. Do these young lovebirds fall in love and live happily? Do watch this movie and find out.

Fantasy, romance, comedy all in one. Windstuck is one of the top grossing movies of 2004. The story is about Officer Yeo Kyung-jin (Jun Ji-hyun), an ambitious female police officer. She accidentally cathes Go Myung-woo (Jang Hyuk) who is a physics teacher. Soon, they start romancing each other and Myung-woo tells her that if he were ever to die he will come back as the wind. In an shocking twist, Myung-woo is killed by a shot fired by another officer in a freak accident. Kyung-jin thinks she killed him and falls into a suicidal depression. She tries to jump off the building but is saved by a giant balloon float. She starts experiencing Myun-woo as the wind. A love story that one should not miss watching.