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<Henry Stewart>

01/23/22 4:09am

Adding songs to a playlist can be a great way to organize your music and share it with others, but there are a few things you should keep in mind when creating one. First, consider what mood or atmosphere you’re trying to create. Do you want something upbeat and energizing? Something mellow and relaxing? Selecting songs that fit the overall tone you’re going for will help create a more cohesive playlist. Next, you would want to consider who will be listening to this playlist and what kind of music they like. The most critical aspect of building the ideal playlist is to keep in mind that no one wants to listen to the same artist or genre non-stop. Make sure to mix things up a bit to keep listeners interested. 

Here are some tips:

Find Your Hookmusic playlist

Think about the purpose that your new playlist will serve. Is it a quick, go-to playlist with random upbeat songs that you want to play when cleaning your home or organizing your closets? Do you need to play some tunes that can stimulate certain areas of your brain, making you more creative or better focused? These playlists usually go well hand-in-hand with work tasks, studying, and hobbies like painting, drawing, or playing skill games online.

What’s the Right Approach?

Some people are more worried about following certain linear steps while creating a new playlist, concerning themselves with choosing similar styles and artists. Others choose to rely on a more creative or eccentric spark to set the foundation for a new playlist. There is no right or wrong answer here.

Whatever might be pushing you to want to create a new playlist, one thing is for sure: you need to prepare yourself to chase down your own story hiding throughout the selected songs. Once you have your hook all figured out, start expanding on the feelings that directed you there. Gradually, add songs that will match certain contexts that are representative of you, such as sitting behind a virtual poker table and needing to make a very important decision, preparing for an exam, or looking for an extra push to run a marathon.

Choose According to Your Needs

Once you have the purpose in mind, consider what kinds of songs will fit that mood. Is it for a party? A road trip? Exercise? Concentration? Relaxation? Are you trying to create a relaxed atmosphere, or pump people up for a party? Make sure the songs you choose reflect this. If you need help getting started, there are plenty of online resources with suggestions for specific purposes. Once the style or context is clear to you, opt for a dedicated music streaming service or app and select the “add similar songs” option. This will help you find dozens of more similar songs that match your criteria.

Here are a few pointers:

Opt for a “throwback” type of playlist if you want a melancholic vibe. If you are looking to relive certain happy moments in your past, choose a time when you remember having the most fun and select those songs that will remind you of those events. For instance, add jam bands like Pink Floyd with music from the 80s, fill up your playlist with some R&B songs from Destiny’s Child from the ’90s, or go back to the early 2000s pop era with some Britney Spears and OutKast tunes.

Choose casino-themed songs if you want to improve your play. Experts in the casino industry have put together what they call “awesome playlists for passionate casino players” but you can easily create your own. Try songs like Playing to Win by Little River Band, Blow Up the Pokies by Whitlams, Stephen Stills’ Black Queen, or The Gambler by Kenny Rogers. You could also listen to entire movie soundtracks from Game of Thrones or The Avengers if you particularly enjoy themed slots and want to fully immerse yourself into a game.

Choose upbeat songs for your workouts. If you need a gym playlist, choose some songs with a fast tempo and a powerful baseline, with special emphasis on EDM and dubstep songs from Nicky Romero, Martin Garix, or Modestep.

Choose soothing music for guided meditation. Whether you want to meditate, relax, and wind down, choose soft tempo tunes with a quiet baseline, with special emphasis on classical music.

To Shuffle or Not to Shuffle

This is another important question that you may ask yourself. Should you let your fate determine the next song you are going to listen to or keep your tracks in order? Some people like to sequence their playlists since each particular song is meant to tell a small part of the story. However, the shuffle option can make the experience more exciting and engaging, since you never know what you could get next. As a general rule of thumb, avoid overthinking the order of your songs. It’s not that important, as long as you are happy with every song that made it on the list.

How Many Songs is Too Many?

Ideally, your playlist should have between 30 to 50 songs. However, it all depends on the purpose why you are creating it. If you need to run half a marathon, go hiking for five hours a day, or study for six, the playlist should be long enough to captivate your attention and keep you going for as long as you need to. Adding a maximum of two songs per artist should suffice, as you do not want your playlist to sound too repetitive, boring, or easy to anticipate.

Finally, keep your ears open for new music recommended by friends or played on the radio. Feel free to add fresh tunes to your playlist constantly. There’s always room for improvement and new songs pop up every day.

12/27/21 2:32pm
Create your own playlist

Adding songs to a playlist can be a great way to organize your music and share it with others, but there are a few things you should keep in mind when creating one. First, consider what mood or atmosphere you’re trying to create. Do you want something upbeat and energizing? Something mellow and relaxing? Selecting songs that fit the overall tone you’re going for will help create a more cohesive playlist. Next, you would want to consider who will be listening to this playlist and what kind of music they like. The most critical aspect of building the ideal playlist is to keep in mind that no one wants to listen to the same artist or genre non-stop. Make sure to mix things up a bit to keep listeners interested. 

Here are some tips:

Find Your Hook

Think about the purpose that your new playlist will serve. Is it a quick, go-to playlist with random upbeat songs that you want to play when cleaning your home or organizing your closets? Do you need to play some tunes that can stimulate certain areas of your brain, making you more creative or better focused? These playlists usually go well hand-in-hand with work tasks, studying, and hobbies like painting, drawing, or playing skill games online.

What’s the Right Approach?

Some people are more worried about following certain linear steps while creating a new playlist, concerning themselves with choosing similar styles and artists. Others choose to rely on a more creative or eccentric spark to set the foundation for a new playlist. There is no right or wrong answer here.

Whatever might be pushing you to want to create a new playlist, one thing is for sure: you need to prepare yourself to chase down your own story hiding throughout the selected songs. Once you have your hook all figured out, start expanding on the feelings that directed you there. Gradually, add songs that will match certain contexts that are representative of you, such as sitting behind a virtual poker table and needing to make a very important decision, preparing for an exam, or looking for an extra push to run a marathon.

Choose According to Your Needs

Once you have the purpose in mind, consider what kinds of songs will fit that mood. Is it for a party? A road trip? Exercise? Concentration? Relaxation? Are you trying to create a relaxed atmosphere, or pump people up for a party? Make sure the songs you choose reflect this. If you need help getting started, there are plenty of online resources with suggestions for specific purposes. Once the style or context is clear to you, opt for a dedicated music streaming service or app and select the “add similar songs” option. This will help you find dozens of more similar songs that match your criteria.

Here are a few pointers:

Opt for a “throwback” type of playlist if you want a melancholic vibe. If you are looking to relive certain happy moments in your past, choose a time when you remember having the most fun and select those songs that will remind you of those events. For instance, add jam bands like Pink Floyd with music from the 80s, fill up your playlist with some R&B songs from Destiny’s Child from the ’90s, or go back to the early 2000s pop era with some Britney Spears and OutKast tunes.

Choose casino-themed songs if you want to improve your play. Experts in the casino industry have put together what they call “awesome playlists for passionate casino players” but you can easily create your own. Try songs like Playing to Win by Little River Band, Blow Up the Pokies by Whitlams, Stephen Stills’ Black Queen, or The Gambler by Kenny Rogers. You could also listen to entire movie soundtracks from Game of Thrones or The Avengers if you particularly enjoy themed slots and want to fully immerse yourself into a game.

Choose upbeat songs for your workouts. If you need a gym playlist, choose some songs with a fast tempo and a powerful baseline, with special emphasis on EDM and dubstep songs from Nicky Romero, Martin Garix, or Modestep.

Choose soothing music for guided meditation. Whether you want to meditate, relax, and wind down, choose soft tempo tunes with a quiet baseline, with special emphasis on classical music.

To Shuffle or Not to Shuffle

This is another important question that you may ask yourself. Should you let your fate determine the next song you are going to listen to or keep your tracks in order? Some people like to sequence their playlists since each particular song is meant to tell a small part of the story. However, the shuffle option can make the experience more exciting and engaging, since you never know what you could get next. As a general rule of thumb, avoid overthinking the order of your songs. It’s not that important, as long as you are happy with every song that made it on the list.

How Many Songs is Too Many?

Ideally, your playlist should have between 30 to 50 songs. However, it all depends on the purpose why you are creating it. If you need to run half a marathon, go hiking for five hours a day, or study for six, the playlist should be long enough to captivate your attention and keep you going for as long as you need to. Adding a maximum of two songs per artist should suffice, as you do not want your playlist to sound too repetitive, boring, or easy to anticipate.

Finally, keep your ears open for new music recommended by friends or played on the radio. Feel free to add fresh tunes to your playlist constantly. There’s always room for improvement and new songs pop up every day.

12/02/21 4:18am

Non-fungible tokens (NFT) offer a lot of advantages over traditional digital assets. They can be used to create unique experiences for customers, and they can help companies build closer relationships with their customers. They’re also more secure than traditional digital assets, since each one is unique and can’t be replicated.

Today, anyone who wants to create a unique digital asset should consider creating their own non-fungible token. This could be an artist who wants to create a limited edition of works, or a musician who wants to sell rare recordings. It could also be a company that wants to create a loyalty program with exclusive rewards, or an individual who wants to create a unique digital ID. Another good use case for non-fungible tokens is when there is a need to track ownership or provenance of an asset. 

One example is Grimes, who sold her digital images and short videos as NFTs and got $6 million on it. What’s stopping you from doing the same with your own digital art? OK, so you’re not Elon Musk’s (ex)girlfriend. That’s beside the point. Today, not a day goes by without the news of a fresh NFT being dropped with the image of a social media influencer next to it, promoting it to the masses. NFT news platforms also update their content non-stop with interesting interviews, analysis, drops to be on the look for, suggestions, and tips on how to make your own NFT, or which NFTs to buy right now. 

NFTs

Let’s Start With the Beginning: What‘s an NFT?

An NFT is, as mentioned before, a non-fungible token. What does that mean, exactly? “Non-fungible” is a term that refers to something unique and irreplaceable. The majority of NFTs belong to the Ethereum blockchain. Ethereum is a cryptocurrency similar to bitcoin, only its blockchain is created in such a way as to support NFTs. In the blockchain, the tokens or files can verify ownership of the digital artwork they represent. As a buyer, you get limited rights to display the digital artwork.

How Big Are They? Well, They’re Everywhere Now

While NFTs can be represented by almost anything digital, including music and drawings, the use of technology to sell digital forms of art is what is causing the most uproar. In fact, this technology has surged in popularity in recent months not only in the United States, but also in the Middle East, with companies giving assistance in the creation of NFTs becoming the latest trend. Some people hope NFTs will turn into something very similar to collecting art. After all, someone was willing to pay $6.6 million for a video that belonged to Beeple. Who is Beeple? It’s the pseudonym chosen by Mike Winkelmann, a graphics designer from South Carolina who is known for his short films and Creative Commons VJ loops. One of his pieces representing a collage of 5000 digital artworks was even auctioned at Christie’s auction house for the incredible amount of $69 million. This made him of the top three most valuable living artists. Before the NFT madness, Beeple’s most expensive print was selling for $100.

It’s not just the US that has developed an obsession with NFTs. They are widely and quickly spreading all around the world, from Asia to Australia, Europe, and the Middle East. The NFT momentum is equally ferocious in the Middle East thanks to artists such as Aya Tarek and Kristel Bechara who have already launched their projects to the public. After initially starting out as a marketplace for car parts in Egypt, the Y Combinator graduate Odiggo turned into an NFT marketplace. Plus, the largest art fair in the region, Art Dubai, also chose to dedicate a whole section to NFTs and digital forms of art.

If You’re An Artist…

NFTs could make a lot of sense to you if you are already an artist looking more clever ways to sell your pieces. Whether your work implies making digital stickers or collages, turning them into NFTs could bring you the sales you are interested in sooner than you might think. NFTs can actually pay you a certain percentage every time they are sold or resold to someone else. In other words, if your artworks suddenly grow in popularity and exponentially grow their value, you will not be left out. The good news is that learning how to make an NFT from scratch is not as complicated as you might think. There are plenty of solid platforms that can give you the 101 on how to get started.

If You’re a Potential Buyer…

If you have one or two artists that you could like to show your support to, by all means, buy their NFTs. You will get some basic usage rights and be allowed to post the image online or even use it as your profile picture on your social media. You will also get to enjoy the bragging rights that you actually own the work of art and you will have a blockchain entry that will effectively back it up. Should you pay hundreds, thousands, or more on an NFT in hopes the technology will turn into the future of collecting fine art? Only if you can actually afford it.

For the moment, it remains to be seen whether the NFT frenzy is a bubble patiently waiting to burst all of a sudden, or whether it will actually turn into the new way of buying and selling digital assets. After all, the metaverse is just around the corner.

10/13/21 4:06am

Las Vegas is one of the top 10 most visited cities in America with roughly 50 million tourists expected to visit Sin City before the end of 2022. Known as the gambling capital of the United States, Vegas is the #1 destination on the itinerary for many gambling enthusiasts. However, they’re not the only ones dreaming of a Vegas trip.

Even though there are more than 100 gambling venues in the city, Las Vegas has so much more to offer than just gambling. A trip to Vegas is an adventure of a lifetime that can include all sorts of activities other than gambling. For instance, you can attend a Katy Perry concert at Resorts World, watch David Copperfield perform his magic tricks at MGM Grand, or see the amazing fountain show at The Bellagio.

If all this hasn’t made you fall in love with Vegas, maybe you should take a closer look at what this city has to offer. Our advice is to give a watch to some Vegas-themed movies that will show you what kind of adventures await you in Sin City.

So, which films should you check out? Below are our top 5 picks – these movies will make you want to go to Vegas (or at least visit your local casino).

The Hangover

The Hangover tells a tale of what can happen when a group of friends gets dead drunk at a bachelor party in Las Vegas.

Mike Tyson’s tiger in the bathroom, a baby in the closet, and a missing groom  – the protagonists wake up after a drunken night to a room full of unanswered questions. Finding the groom and getting him to the wedding on time — and in one piece — is what the bunch tries to do throughout the movie, embarking on all kinds of adventures (and misadventures) along the way.

Molly’s Game

Let’s jump from the comedy genre to a more serious genre here. Molly’s Game is an action-packed drama based on real events. The protagonist – Molly Bloom – is a real person whose story of a high-stakes underground poker business was made into a moving picture.

Although Las Vegas isn’t the main setting of the film, Molly’s Game does feature scenes filmed in Sin City. Still, the main reason why we included this movie in our list is that it gives you an insight into what might be going on in the world of high rollers.

If you go to Vegas to gamble with big sums of cash, you might end up playing against elite athletes and Hollywood A-listers, but also possibly against real mobsters.

Casino

The clue is in the name – Martin Scorsese’s 1995 masterpiece puts the casino business in the center of the story. Robert de Niro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone are just some of the Hollywood legends featured in the movie that deals with the mafia’s involvement in the raise of the gambling empire in Vegas.

As you’d expect from a Scorsese movie, Casino is packed with drama and violence. Still, the movie also gives you a glimpse of the luxury and glamour that marked 1970s Vegas.

Rounders

Okay, this movie isn’t taking place in Vegas rather it is set in New York. However, Sin City does play an important role in the story – moving to Vegas to play in the world Series of Poker is Matt Damon’s character’s lifelong dream.

Does he make this dream come true in the end? Spoiler alert – he does! But on the road to achieving his ambition, he must take down a Russian mobster in a game of high-stakes poker.

The reason why Rounders is a must-watch is the deep dive it takes into the world of poker, revealing table lingo and bluffing tactics to the audience. The proof of this film’s influence is that a number of professional players cite it as their inspiration to get involved with poker – Dutch Boyd, Gavin Griffin, Vanessa Rousso, and many others.

21

As its name suggests, 21 is based on blackjack, a card game in which the goal is to get as close to 21 points as possible. The movie is based on a true story of six MIT students who travel to Vegas to make millions by counting cards.

Although counting cards isn’t illegal in Nevada, casinos do have the right to stop card-counters from playing. The only problem is that spotting card-counters isn’t easy, as you will see once you watch this movie.

Honorable Mention – Louis Theroux: Gambling in Las Vegas

The top 5 must-watch casino movies are all works of fiction, even though some of them are based on real events. If you’d like to see a film that shows Vegas’ casino industry “as is” our advice is to watch Louis Theroux’s BBC documentary called Gambling in Las Vegas.

Preparing for Your Las Vegas Adventure

After doing your homework and watching the top casino movies, you’re ready for your Vegas adventure, right? Well, not quite.

Going to Las Vegas almost certainly means gambling some money on casino games. To ensure you don’t gamble away too much, you need to prepare yourself first. With preparation, becoming an expert in casino games could even result in big winnings in Vegas.

So, how do you prepare for a gambling adventure in Vegas? By playing online casino games at home. Practice makes perfect, meaning that the more you play, the better you will become. The trouble is that playing online casino games requires money. There is, however, a solution to save yourself some cash.

The solution is to take advantage of no deposit bonuses offered by some online casinos. In layman’s terms, these bonuses give you a chance to play slots, blackjack, poker, or any other game without having to pay any of your money.  

05/25/21 1:37am

It’s not easy to explain the kind of pleasure that all horse racing enthusiasts can find in films about this topic. You can imagine that it’s something like living inside that film’s world, more or less like feeling to be the film’s hero riding a powerful horse for miles and miles. Adventure and challenge are the two main keywords that can give you a clue about the feeling for horse racing films.

Why Are Arabs The World’s Biggest Horse Film Fans?

Usually, horse racing films revolve around a dramatic plot that makes the public even more passionate about the film’s story and horse racing as a sport. Now, it’s interesting to notice that Arab people stand out in the world for being some of the biggest horse racing film enthusiasts of all time. There’s a historical reason: horses have been living “hand in hand” with Arabs since the first human settlements in the Middle East (before the era of Islamic invasions in this region). Horses and camels were the only possible means for to reach several cities in the Middle East for merchants and vendors. Those who owned a horse had a fortune in their hands.

Arab people used to breed the best horses to use them as not only means of transportation but also to sell them, which started a flourishing market around these animals. Moreover, Arabs began to use horses for their racing events. Now, it’s simple to understand where the Arab people’s passion for horses comes from!

The 5 Best Horse Racing Films Of All Time

In particular, these best five horse racing films represent a true milestone in the story of cinema in the Middle East. Each film offers a specific perspective of horse racing and the relationship between the horse and the rider. Let’s add that each film comes packed with a captivating atmosphere and a fascinating story set. Let’s get closer to some of the world’s best titles:

  1. A scene of "Grand Prix" Grand Prix
    “Grand Prix” is one of those films that can engage the audience from the first to the last second. It’s a masterpiece of its genre, released in 2010, set in an epic horse racing plot where the protagonist has to fight to reach the race’s finish line. It all comes wrapped with a romantic love story between horse races and stunning moments during the races. The riders are often subjected to injuries as accidents daily happen when riding a horse on a circuit. The film’s story continues until the worst accident can destroy the protagonists’ dreams and makes their project’s future collapse forever. The film tells about their depression and frustration highlighting their force of will to return to their previous life.
  2. Secretariat
    This film generated a total “sold out” in the USA when released in 2010. The film’s story depicts one of America’s best horses, Secretariat. The adventure starts with Secretariat’s early days when he lived at his breeder’s farm. Penny Chenery has to return to her native place after her mom’s death, who had stables for horseracing. She finds herself in a difficult situation as she has never worked as a horse breeder, but despite her little or nothing experience, Penny decides to try her best. If someone would have told her she was going to start an epic adventure with Secretary becoming America’s icon, she wouldn’t have believed at all! But life is unpredictable: Secretariat became the Nation’s first Triple Crowner winner for 25 years.
  3. Ride Like A Girl
    Here is a film released in 2019 and based on a true story. Michelle Payne becomes the first woman to ride and win the Melbourne Cup. The fact happened in 2015: Michelle Payne reached the winning line at Flemington on Prince Of Penzance. The particular point of this film is that Michelle’s brother, Stevie Payne, starred as himself. “Riding Like A Girl” earned a positive audience response as soon as it was released in worldwide cinemas.
  4. Come On George!
    For nostalgic film lovers, “Come On George!” is for sure one of the best titles to consider. It’s a typical comedy focusing on George Formby‘s skills as a horse rider. George has to ride his horse in a race where he falls off endless times. But this is where the film becomes stunning: George can cross the winning line of the race! Despite his non-genius riding, George got a huge success. Before being a horse rider, he was a rider in his early days. Suddenly, George becomes the UK’s most-paid rider and entertainer of all time!
  5. Michelle Payne and her horse The Derby Stallion
    One of the most viewed films of 2005 is “The Derby Stallion”, a horse racing-inspired work that shows all the beauty of horse competitions on the racetrack. The film makes the audience enjoy every single minute from the beginning to the end. It also shows all the pains and suffering that the riders have to go through during the race. The film tells a 15-year-old rider’s story, Patrick McArdle, who doesn’t want to play baseball as his father would like him to do. Patrick is going through hard pressure from his family until he meets a former horse trainer who introduces him to the horse racing world. Patrick discovers the beauty of horse riding as he literally falls in love with everything related to horses. But Patrick still has to face a couple of wealthy riders who don’t accept him in the race, and, last but not least, his trainer gets injured and dies. Patrick wants to participate in the race for him, too. Patrick can win by riding his trainer’s horse. It’s a touching story that will move you.

Horse racing films are exceptionally engaging as they show a world, the one of horses and riding training, that is mostly unknown to most people. That’s why we warmly suggest you all pick a film of this genre and watch it!

02/24/21 2:48pm

Best Djs in history

Choosing the best DJs in music’s history is no easy task but if anyone can do it then it’s Gia Janashvili. As a Dj. music producer and blog author, Gia Janashvili will give us his personal list of the best Dj’s of all times. The success of a Dj. he says comes from the understanding that everyon likes different styles and genres, and what may be cool for someone may not be so for others. Nonetheless, we will face the challenge of speaking of those that left a mark music’s history with their mixes and productions. Rankings for Best DJ have been around since 1993, when DJ Magazine created the first one, since then. it has becme a popular trend. Different media outlets have created their own rankings, through voting or through other criteria, such as winnings or number of concerts per year. Today dear readers, we want to present our list of the best DJs in music’s history, presented to us by Gia Janashvili;

Carlo Cox: All Time Favorite

The 58 years old DJ was chsen as best DJ for the first time in 1997. The English entertainer is one of the highest grossing DJs in the media, and his specialty are mixes of techmo, house and tech-house. Since 1997. he has always been part of the list of best DJs in history. A true symbol and a guest of honor at festival, currently Cox he monetizes through private channels and distribution channels with his fans.

Tiesto: Two Decades Among The Best

This DJ and producer from the Netherlands is loved by festivals and audiences all around the world. He’s 52 and has been mixing since 1984, in 1994 his first album came out. The best electronic music DJ in history for many, Tiesto was added to the ranking for the first time in 2002. He has received numerous awards and recognitions for his music ever since.

Paul Van Dyk: Awards, Award, Awards

Best electronic music DjsThis 49 years old german DJ is globally known for the trance music he has produced. He’s being part of the rankings of best DJs in history for over a decade. His career began in 1991 in Berlin and from there he jumped to stages around the world. He has received more than 30 different awards throughout his career, from different companies and media. His discography is one of the widest among current DJs.

David Guetta: Grammy And Sales

The frenchman Guetta is one of the most recgnized and loved DJs in the international stage. He’s 53 and began his musical career between the 80’s and 90’s. His work in 2009 earned him a Grammy Award and over 5.5 milion copies sold worldwide. Considered by many the best electronic music DJ in history among other genres, thanks to his record breaking sales. He has managed to sell over 45 million records throughout his career, becoming the first DJ to achieve this and for many the main musical companion in nightlife.

Marttin Garrix: Top Spots

The Dutch youth is a big name in current music. At only 24 years of age, Garrix has taken the leap of spot 40 in the rankings to top 1 in preference in the last ten years. His musical career began at age 8, learning how to play the guitar and later, he fell in love with electronic music by wathcing Tiesto and discovering the energy in his music. His career has grown exponentially since 2013, becoming DJ numer 1 in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Avicii: Recognition Beyond The Veil

His premature passing hasn’t undermine the vitality in his music. The Swedish DJ managed to reach millions of people since 2011, but his first experience with music came at age 8. He was always listed in the top spots of DJs rankings, and his music was recognized by the biggest names in the industry, like MTV, The Billboard Award, Teen Choice Award and many others. His sudden passing left a mark in music history that will forever stay.

Djs in tomorrowland

The List Goes On

Sadly, the available space for this list falls short of the huge amout of talents that require naming. If we wished to talk about all the best DJs in history we would need far more in terms of space, for music’s history is full of great talents and geniuses that have shocked our senses with their music. Steve Aoki, Afrojack, Marshmello, these are just some of the biggest names in the industry tha fall short of makng it on the list, yet theay also deserve recognition. let this short article serve as a start up guide on the most popular DJs according to our opinion, and let our readers add their own artists to create their personal list.

12/20/20 5:52am
Scrooged Christmas Classic

There are many fantastic Christmas themed films to pick from, and each year a new film is released in the hopes of becoming one of the Christmas classics we will want to see again the following year. With so many wonderful films to choose from, it’s easy to overlook the old standbys. There are several fantastic Holiday classics that deserve to be watched again this winter so whether you’re searching for a heartwarming story or a laugh-out-loud comedy, this list is for you!

Let’s take a look at some of the best Christmas movies from 1969 to 2017;

Palestinian Christmas (2017)

The film “Palestinian Christmas”, directed by Shadi Qutob and starring Eman Esfandi, Anna Clare Hicks, and Paul Grubb, is a must-see on Arabic Christmas movie lists and also one of our personal favorites. The film is a Christmas comedy that depicts the story of two Christian families who were neighbors in Palestine until one day they chose to move to California with no other ambitions but to seek a brighter future. Suddenly, they find themselves in Los Angeles, where they must withstand Hollywood culture and American Christmas traditions while also surviving their neighbors from back home. The film is rated 8.3/10 on IMDb and on Rotten Tomatoes it has a rating of 91%.

Elf (2003)

Elf is about Buddy (Will Ferrell), who was raised in the North Pole by Santa’s elves. He heads to New York City to find his father, played by James Caan who thinks Christmas is just an excuse for children to ask for more toys.

However, he soon realizes that Christmas is actually about spending quality time with family and friends.  He later tries to save Christmas for his son even though he does not believe in Santa Claus. Elf is rated 7.6 on IMDb and has a christmas rating of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Polar Express (2004)

The story is about a boy who goes on an adventure to the North Pole and learns the true meaning of christmas. The film is an adaptation of the book by Chris Van Allsburg. The film is rated 7.1/10 on IMDb and 74% on Rotten Tomatoes.

This Christmas themed movie is pretty similar to “A Christmas Story” only less serious and good for children/tweens. It has some funny parts but mostly it’s family friendly so parents can watch it with their kids without having to worry too much about language or adult content.

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

The Nightmare Before Christmas is a 1993 American stop-motion animated musical dark fantasy film directed by Henry Selick and produced/co-written by Tim Burton. The story follows Jack Skellington, a being from ‘Halloween Town’ who accidentally lands in Christmas Town and decides to take over the christmas preparations, but he only manages to become depressed and confused as christmas doesn’t go as his plan. This movie is great for adults that are into animation, but the film is also suitable for families with young children. It’s rated 7.9/10 on IMDb and 96% on Rotten Tomatoes.

home alone movie

Home Alone (1990)

No Christmas without the filme “Home Alone”. It tells the story of a young boy, Kevin, who is accidently left behind when his family leaves for France and has to defend himself against 2 burglars. The movie became a Christmas classic and it received positive reviews from critics on both IMDb(7.9/10) and Rotten Tomatoes 88%.

Die Hard (1988)

Die Hard from 1988 is the first movie in a serie of five and the only one with a Christmas theme. It’s an action movie with Bruce Willis as the lead actor, and Alan Rickman as a villain. It’s a typical christmas-time scenario where all is peaceful and quiet, there’s christmas music playing, people shopping for christmas presents etc.. And then along comes the villain who could care less about christmas, he just wants to do his business. And this is where christmas themed movies get interesting because the main character has to figure out how to beat the man who’s got him cornered, with no experience in fighting christmas villains whatsoever! The fim is rated 8.6/10 on IMDb and 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Scrooged (1988)

Scrooged is a Christmas themed film with Bill Murray as the lead actor, where he plays Frank Cross an arrogant TV executive who plans Christmas specials every year. He’s also planning to put on “A Christmas Carol” with a modern twist to it, but his boss won’t sign the deal unless he gets an A-list Christmas star to play Christopher Cross. The film is rated  7.4/10 on IMDb and 67% on Rotten Tomatoes.

It’s christmas time again (1976)

This film is about an orphaned girl who spends christmas with her aunt and uncle, they really don’t want her there and would rather open their presents early. It’s christmas time again is rated 7.1 on IMDb and has a christmas rating of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Christmas story (1974)

This Christmas themed movie is about a man who is down on his luck struggles to see the magic of Christmas. The christmas story from 1974 is rated 8.2 on IMDb and has a Christmas rating of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1969)

This movie debuted in theaters in November of 1969 and is generally considered first Christmas themed movie ever produced. Despite it’s age, it still has a very good rating on IMDb & Rotten Tomatoes (8/10). It tells the story of how Charlie Brown tries to find the true meaning of Christmas after he gets depressed with everything surrounding Christmas; from his peers making fun of him for celebrating Christmas to the commercialization of Christmas which gets him very depressed. Eventually his friend takes him to the woods where he shoots off his own Tannenbaum, which is seen as a Christmas tree by Linus. All around the Christmas tree are lit up lanterns, which according to Linus symbolize what Christmas really should be about The story has good messages for kids but also teaches older viewers that Christmas can’t always be peachy & it may take you some time to realize the true meaning yourself. Currently A Charlie Brown Christmas is only available on Apple TV.

Christmas movies are a great way to get into the holiday spirit, and to keep it a bit longer. They provide entertainment and cheer, and can help to create a festive atmosphere. So if you’re looking for a fun way to spend Christmas this year, be sure to watch one, or all, of these classic movies – You won’t regret it!

07/15/15 8:00am

photo courtesy of IFC Films

The Stanford Prison Experiment
Directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez
Opens July 17

This harrowing dramatization of the infamous titular incident is hardly the first film to take it as its subject. But previous inspirees, from 2001’s Das Experiment to its straight-to-DVD American remake, The Experiment, have been “based on” Dr. Philip Zimbardo’s questionable research into power dynamics, resembling it rather than re-creating it; whether for provocation or titillation, those depictions moved past mere sadism into manslaughter, their filmmakers not realizing that such hyperbole wasn’t necessary; as The Stanford Prison Experiment so efficiently demonstrates, the real story is horrible enough without embellishment.

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05/26/15 7:59am

photo courtesy of Radius

It all began with The Pleasure of Being Robbed, a title that in hindsight perfectly encapsulates what it was like to be young during the Bloomberg years—having fun, going broke. In the movie, released in New York in 2008, Eléonore Hendricks plays a young woman who indulges her curiosity about the lives of others by stealing their stuff: handbags, books, photographs. Generous critics might have seen it as an airy indie fable. But most were unkinder; a headline in the Village Voice called it “A Whimsical Gust of Nothing,” and, in Slant, Nick Schager ended his one-star review by suggesting “the film would be better off being called The Pleasure of Being Shot, with Hendricks on the receiving end of the bullet.”

But I saw something else, something that’s kept me coming back to the Safdie brothers’ work every time they release something new: it wasn’t so much a fable as a parable, a story about New York City and how we live in it now. With its white woman effortlessly robbing us of the things that make us us, stealing the city out from under us, it was, weirdly and allegorically, about gentrification, displacement, development, white return—whatever you want to call the most pressing issue of the last 20 years and the next 20 years, an issue that the Safdies’s subsequent oeuvre has only delved into more deeply.

The brothers—Josh, who lives in Harlem, and Benny, who lives on the Upper West Side, because “Uptown still has a living-city vibe”—make movies about New York like no one else, finding little bits of the old city hidden in plain sight on the streets of the new one, little reminders of the Koch era sneaking into the post-Giuliani landscape like lost time travelers. The people from whom we look away every day are the ones the Safdies turn and point their cameras at, whom they make time for even when their characters won’t. “It’s an onion city,” the brothers write to me by email, “in that the outer layer is always indicative of the many layers beneath it. New York will never be dead because the soul of the city lies in its sidewalks.”

Their latest film, Heaven Knows What, is a perfect example. It’s “Inspired by” a soon-to-be published memoir about drug addiction and homelessness by Arielle Holmes, who also stars. “It’s more ‘based on’ than ‘inspired by,’” Josh writes. “It’s all the same, really. There’d be no film without Arielle and her story. Heaven Knows What is her story. I commissioned her writing. [Cowriter and coeditor] Ronald Bronstein, Benny, [producer] Sebastian [Bear-McClard], we all read her incredibly original writings as they came in. Most times I couldn’t read as fast as she could write! (Granted, I’m a slow reader.) Ronnie and I took her writings and condensed some characters and truncated time, as things always seemed to happen very quickly in her world and in her writings. We just wanted to get at the greater truth. Sometimes to tell the truth, you gotta lie a little.”

The story of how Josh and Arielle met “feels like a Disney film to me at this point,” he writes. It was “while deep in research in the Diamond District. She was there, working as an apprentice for a dealer while moonlighting at a dominatrix club in the 20s and living on the street. I stopped her as she was going into the subway and told her she really caught my attention, and that she should maybe be in this Diamond District film we were trying to do. I didn’t know she was homeless, madly in love with a beautiful crazy person named Ilya, or addicted to dope. I found that out after, during our second meeting. I didn’t know we were gonna make a film together till months into our friendship. I don’t know what drew me to her; you gotta look at what draws one person to another. I became her friend, and she let me into her world. I found an affinity in Arielle and in her friends. It was always now, which in the moment is always exciting. The problem became the curse of the now. With them, there was no future and no past, just drama. I’m a drama addict.”

The resulting movie feels present-tense, with little plot beyond immediate need. It’s a movie about young junkies, and like addiction itself it follows a basic cycle of ever-repeating conflict (how will I get my fix?), resolution (I’m high as fuck!) and conflict (now how will I get my next fix?). It’s a hard-eyed look that eschews sentimentality or theatricality; it’s not sociological—it’s ethnographic (with a nod to film history, as it’s based around the Sherman Square area, a la Panic in Needle Park.) Like the tiles of the mental hospital seen behind the opening credits, covered in a layer of institutional grime no set dresser could so authentically distress, the details give the movie an unfakeable verisimilitude: dirty fingers and bloody cuticles, bad teeth and glassy eyes, malnourished bodies and crushed cigarette butts clearly picked up off the sidewalk.

When I ask where that attention to detail comes from, Josh writes, “When I was a kid and I would draw a scene, I would often add as many details as I could. I liked the effect of feeling them rather than noticing them. When we were kids, our dad filmed us constantly with his camcorder, often focusing on small moments. As a kid, knowing that a camera is a tool for documentation, we’d probably ask ourselves, ‘Why is this moment so important? All I’m doing is combing the carpet with my hands.’”

The authenticity in Heaven Knows What is built in the foreground but also in the margins—with extras and bit players (including the rapper Necro), with familiar locations viewed anew in a different context or from a novel point-of-view. It feels like Kids for the 21st century. That’s one of the many titles the brothers cite when I ask which New York films have influenced them, as well as On the Bowery, Juice, The Cool World, Scorsese—from Taxi Driver to “Life Lessons” to Wolf of Wall Street—Jon Alpert and Spike Lee. “Saturday Night Fever is maybe one of the top 10 films of all time,” they write. “Richard Price always writes NYC with great nuance. I love Bloodbrothers as a great Bronx film… Harmony Korine’s Julien Donkey-Boy is a great Queens film, as is, of course, Coming to America… James Gray did a great job in Two Lovers and We Own The Night… On the lower-budget side of things, Michael Bilandic’s Happy Life, lensed by Sean Price Williams [who also shot Heaven], captures a great New York.” (That said, they deny the new movie is inherently New York. “If Arielle did not live and breath here, I genuinely believe that Heaven Knows What could have been in any town,” Josh writes.)

“A well-captured city [in a movie] should act as a plane ticket and a felt experience, one without the stress of turbulence and long security lines,” they write. The brothers’ earlier films, Pleasure of Being Robbed and Daddy Longlegs (also known as Go Get Some Rosemary), introduced viewers to the city from the point-of-view of its children of privilege. The bad father of the latter was played by Bronstein, director of the Richard Brody-celebrated Frownland (2007) and now a regular Safdie collaborator. His character was a Gen Xer aged out of hipsterdom into parenthood, but acting with startling (if also amusing) entitlement, not just in the way he’d drug or abandon his young children but in the way he abused his city.

I love the scene in which he becomes cross that a mugger (played by Abel Ferrara, a perfect cameo) made him drop his ice cream cones, but even better is another, in which Bronstein takes up tagging, scrawling “DAD” across a doorway, and then can’t believe that the cops who catch him treat him roughly. It’s gentrification in a single scene: the reclamation of a classic urban signifier, recast as anodyne, the watering down of the urban experience into the suburban experience where everything, even Times Square or graffiti, has to be family-friendly—and then the outrage when the old city, in the guise of the NYPD, oozes back up like the slime in Ghostbusters II.

Arielle Holmes, Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie; photo by Eleonore Hendricks

 

The Safdies’ last two films have been about people from the other side of the privilege line, those still struggling in the world their first protagonists took for granted. Lenny Cooke was atypical for them, not only because it was a feature-length documentary and a sports film—about a promising high school athlete whose career unspectacularly fizzled—but because it also used a lot of footage they themselves hadn’t shot. In the context of their filmography, though, the movie helps us transition to Heaven Knows What, whose characters seem to inhabit the city that Lenny Cooke was brought up in: the hard city. Hendricks and Bronstein took whatever they wanted; Cooke had to hustle for it.

Lenny Cooke had the misfortune to be born into the unenviable socioeconomic conditions of 1980s Bushwick (before it became the basin for New Williamsburg’s spillover). The heroes of Heaven Knows What are to some extent more responsible for their lots in life: they’re junkies, not exactly born into this (unless you subscribe to hard determinism). Still, the Safdies make you feel the unforgiving demand that governs their lives; the movie is staged narrative, but it feels like documentary. “Ari says the film feels exactly like what her life felt like then,” Josh writes. “We tried to stick to the facts as much as possible. It’s a true psychodrama in that regard.”

The leads—especially Holmes, but also Buddy Duress, who plays the drug dealer she hooks up with for most of the movie—bring a naturalism to their performances that feels hard-earned. When the characters shout at each other on the streets—and they’re always shouting, melodrama being a side effect of youth and substance abuse—while gathering up their cardboard signs and Duane Reade shopping bags, or while they’re trying to bum Metrocard swipes, you have to stop to wonder: Was I there when they shot this? This all looks so familiar. Our city exists not next to theirs but right on top of it. “New York City just happens to be filled with a romanticism that comes with island-life, and being able to live 1,000 feet from Donald Trump and pay 1,000 times less rent than him,” the brothers write.

We all live on top of each other in the Safdies’ city. My favorite of their movies was barely a movie at all: it was a program of shorts called Buttons that played DUMBO’s now-shuttered reRun Theater in August 2011. I mean shorts: most of the films, shot by the brothers or Alex Kalman (a friend and producing partner whom they met in college), last only seconds, and are verité glimpses of life in Bloomberg’s city: people eating lunch, others riding the subway, a mailman with a radio, flies in an amorous pas de deux—what I once called “a pocket-camera ode to urban amblers and the sights they espy.” It was like they took my favorite parts of their movies—the way they’ll linger on the guy with a hot dog cart—and purified them, unburdened them of the weight of narrative demand. The “buttons” encourage us, like all the Safdies’ work, to keep our eyes and ears open when it’s so easy to tunnel-vision your way through the city. Everything that makes New York interesting enough to be worth living in is happening around your the edges of your senses. All you have to do is turn your head—or, if you’re the Safdie brothers, your camera.

03/11/15 6:23am

Image courtesy of Radius

It Follows
Directed by David Robert Mitchell
Opens March 13

It’s like John Hughes has become John Carpenter. Those who saw writer-director David Robert Mitchell’s 2010 debut, The Myth of the American Sleepover, a portrait of adolescent hesitation whose romantic imagery belied its textual cynicism, might be surprised to see his byline on this creepy-as-fuck supernatural horror movie. But then again, maybe not. Myth’s depiction of lite pubescent debauchery—kissing, junk food, beer ‘n’ wine—played like a slasher movie with the killer edited out, leaving behind just the sensitive and wistful observations of suburban end-of-summer rituals, from skinny dipping to egging houses. It Follows opens on a suburban street similar to those wandered in the previous film—both were shot around Detroit—as though it were set in a neighboring house. Mitchell emerges not as the nostalgic chronicler of youth he might have seemed, the second coming of a Sixteen Candles maker, but as a documenter of suburban life and the variety of tales contained therein: the innocent and the awful, from Colonial Street to Elm Street.

Maika Monroe plays a coed at Wayne State who has sex one evening with her new, seemingly nice boyfriend; he cums, chloroforms her, ties her to a chair, and explains something very serious when she wakes up. Now she has It—a unique curse involving a supernatural menace, a slow-moving stalker who will always be coming after her until it kills her or she has sex with someone else and passes it on. This “Follower” can take any form it wants, usually something eldritch, like an elderly person in a hospital robe, identifiable by its undistracted, direct-line approach; oh, also, no one else can see it. Good luck!

Myth felt relatively chaste, even a little slut-shamey, and It Follows adheres to a similar if intensified morality: these characters are a few years older, graduated from making out to doing it, and thus the stakes are higher. The worst thing that could happen to Myth’s heroes? Their love could go unrequited. The worst thing that could happen to Monroe is she’ll be brutally killed, her body bent and broken. It’s easy to want to interpret this venereal hex as a personification of AIDS—the lead user-review on IMDb calls the movie “a game of psychosexual-tag-you’re-it featuring the most sinister STD ever”—but the details complicate such a reading. (You don’t get to get rid of HIV by having more sex.) Instead, it’s more about the fucked up relationship between Eros and Thanatos; the movie is so terrifying because the long takes, circular pans and goosefleshing musical cues expose something more fundamental than sexual anxiety: the persistent terror of dying, of never feeling safe, never being able to just go home and lock the door, never being able to stand still or fall asleep. The Follower is inescapable, always approaching, bound to catch up eventually—it’s certain, like taxes and that other thing. Mitchell transforms our usually abstract fears into a menace more distressing than most boogeymen. It Follows is as scary as a serious consideration of your own death.