Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fate

I am moving my left hand.

Am I moving my hand by the commands of my own free will?
Or I am moving my hand because there is a pre-determined force that dictates that at this exact moment, I shall move my left hand?

"What do you think of fate?"
A friend asked me after a long discussion of relationship woes. I needed some time to sort this big word out. And I think I can answer my friend now. What is fate.

Fate is the imagery of boy meets girl on random day on a random place at a random time and fall head over heels for each other and they live happily ever after. Yes. This is the concept, the perception, THE idea that pop culture has imprinted in our minds. With the emergence of endless fairytale- like romance story from Taiwan, Korea and Japan, youngsters further believe in fate. Just like my friend.

I was researching for a project in the library yesterday. I went through the psychology section and came across a few books that intrigued me. I have drawn an early conclusion on FATE based on theories by book authors and also, by my own naive experience.

This is an excerpt of a book that I read and its content truly intrigued me.

"There is no other way to say this. Fate irks me.

Romance is important. Essential, even. Explosions are not. And because romance is so important, it is a crime when it is evoked lazily... which is why the notion of fate is so upsetting. Fate, if you think about it, is the opposite of romance.

Which sounds more romantic to you? The lovers who are together because it is "meant to be", or because lovers strive and claw and build and question and come to realization that because of that struggle, because they devoted the time and the effort to learn from and about each other, they've built a love strong enough for a lifetime?

It's awfully ironic that the idea of lovers fated to be together is considered romantic. What's so romantic about a complete lack of effort or free will? If truly fate, and the lovers couldn't possibly do anything to stay away from each other, doesn't that mean that they're not really responsible for being together in the first place?

Pop culture created lofty and wrongheaded expectations about love. Like the idea that fate brings people together, or the notion that there's a knight-in-shining-armour coming for you, and all you have to do is to wait for him."

From this excerpt, I would like to add my own point of view, saying that fate is not pre-determined. We meet lots of people every day, every where. We chose to or not to interact with these people around us. We consciously make choices. It is not fate that brought people together. It is the initiation one takes that starts a friendship or a relationship. It is ones conscious choice that people keep in touch or lose touch.

There is no such things as "Follow fate" because fate is literally in or own hands. We make our own fate. It is not fated that a friendship or a relationship fails. It is because the believe in the wrong notion of fate that results in the lack of effort from either or both parties. It is not fated that a friendship or a relationship works. It is because, like the author said, people put in time and effort and understanding that makes it work.

Dear friend, fate is not a big word after all. Because it is really in your hands.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Dorian Gray - A Review

I am sure that Dorian Gray is no stranger to anyone of us.
For the benefits of ignorant souls who never know the wonder of classical stories, The Picture of Dorian Gray, is a story about a young man whose physical appearance remained forever young while a portrait of him aged until Dorian Gray can't even bare to look at it.

This movie starred Ben Barnes of the Prince Caspian fame, seasoned actor Colin Firth, Ben Chaplin and Rachel Hurd-Wood. Ben Barnes played the young and innocent Dorian Gray who arrived at London to inherit his dead grandfather's fortune. He was slowly corrupted by Lord Harry Wotton (Colin Firth) who preached to him a life he never dare to live. He however, fell in love with one girl, Sybil (Rachel Hurd-Wood) and she died for him. After discovering that the portrait of himself painted by Basil (Ben Chaplin) was somewhat alive and was carrying all the mortal signs of himself, Dorian emerged himself in total hedonism. After years of traveling, young Dorian returned to London to meet his group of friends, now old and whithered. He then fell in love with Emily, Harry's young daughter. To protect Emily, Harry discovered Dorian's secret and tried to destroy the portrait. Dorian killed himself in the end.

The movie was rather artistically shot. The angle of the camera and the setting were perfectly arranged to suit the dark tone of the movie. I can see that at the beginning of the movie, when Dorian was still innocent and carefree, the colour tone of the movie was bright and colourful. When Dorian was corrupted and devious, the colour palate naturally turned darker. The soundtracks, though not very notable, but still fit the mood of the movie.

I would say that Ben Barnes weren't much of an actor. His innocent face, his I-am-so-in-love face, his orgasmic face, his sad face, his evil face, his every face... It is all that same straight face who needs to do nothing except to look pretty. However, I should applaud Colin Firth who was out of his usual Mr Darcy role. He played one wicked man with an hidden agenda who made Dorian Gray the monster he was.

Ratings : 6.5/10. Visually pleasing movie because I like the whole setting and arrangments of the scenes. Be warned of certain explicit content. Not a movie to watch with the whole family unless you want a very early sexual education and nudity exposure to kids.

FAME - A Review

I have heard of many good words and reviews of this movie. When I finally got to watch it, I was very astounded by the whole portrayal of the movie.

This movie tells the story of several young aspiring teenagers auditioning to enter the prestigious Performing Arts school. There were dancers, pianists, violinists, actors, rappers and many more. The movie opened with practically every creative performing arts that you can think of. Then the movie progressed into freshmen year where youngsters got to know each other, then into sophomore year, where everyone work extra hard, then into junior year where things started to turn harsh, and finally into senior year where things started to fall into place. The movie, like all performing arts movie, ended with a final showdown at the graduation ceremony.


I was expecting this movie to be like Step Up or so, with talented outcasts that emerged from their caterpillar cocoons and blossomed into beautiful butterflies. I was wrong. The movie was nothing like that, but harsh reality of those pursuing performing arts. The movie doesn't centre around any character or concentrate on a particular storyline. The movie gave space for all the major characters to grow and to develop. The only regrettable thing is that this is a 2 hour plus movie where details of the characters cannot be shown. But to me, it was sufficient enough to tell the story perfectly.


It was inspiring to see Denise (Naturi Naughton) who broke apart from the classical pianist role her parents set for her and answered her true calling of becoming a singer. It was almost exhilarating to watch Malik (Collins Pennie) to slowly break down the walls that surrounded him and emerged as a good rapper. It was also heartbreaking to see the young aspiring director to be cheated by some scam. It was painful to see a male ballet dancer to be told by his teacher that he just wasn't good enough to be a professional dancer. It was disheartening to see Joy who was so wonderful at acting to drop out of school because she was trying so hard to be an actress. I can say that the movie really provided good coverage of the characters' lives to let the audience feel them.

FAME, is, again, a movie centred on performing arts. And of course there were scenes where creativity literally flew off the screen. I totally love the cafeteria duel between two rappers and the rest of the school joined in randomly using their instruments or talents. I also love the dance number by Alice, though I don't really like her character. I especially love Denise's singing. And that guy's beautiful voice. I can feel the emotions when he sang in the class and also in front of the piano in the diner. Superb!

Ratings : 7/10. All the pieces were superbly arranged and choreographed. The storyline wasn't very dramatic but a mild slap of reality. Recommended.

The Light In The End

You have to pass through a dark night of soul. Everyone does. A time comes when what you have always believed is true melts away underneath you. When you cast in doubt, even the most obvious, most simple. When it seems that dark night is all around, and you are all alone; Take heart. This journey through abyss is final barrier before your emergence into the heavenly lights of a new synthesis of your being.

Hold on to what is good,
even if it's a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe,
even if it's a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do,
even if it's a long way from here.
Hold on to your faith,
even if it's easier to let go.

PS : To You, who has always been, and will always be, my Inspiration. Amen.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Carriers - A Review

This was just some random movie I watched due to boredom.
And it didn't do much to ease my boredom.

This is yet another movie on human Apocalypse, but in a minor scale. The background story is more or less like those in 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later but this one seems like a low- budget cousin of 28 Months Later.

The human race was on the brink of extinction and the movie was entirely about 2 brothers, Brian (Chris Pine) and Danny (Lou Taylor Pucci) and their girlfriends going on a road trip to the beach and what happened throughout the journey. They abandoned a father with an infected daughter, fought another surviving human group, killed a pair of Christian ladies, and finally turned their guns at each other. In the end, Danny arrived at the beach with his girlfriend and felt at lost.


I was half- expecting gun-slinging kick-ass stunts from this movie like Resident Evil or at least evil mean looking flesh eating zombies. Alas, I was disappointed. All we get to see in this movie is just half-dried ugly looking dead bodies (and some alive ones too) that has not much difference from any other dead bodies. It was not even bloody. All we get to see is the toned down specks of blood here and there. The rest of the movie rested on much more important human psychology stuff, like the a dominant bad-ass jerky older brother, Brian; his equally kick-ass girlfriend Bobby (Piper Perabo); the timid brainy gutless younger brother, Danny and his pushy girlfriend Kate. Their interactions were pretty interesting too. The only thing that got me excited was the thought of what they are going to do to each other. Were they going to kill each other? Will the brothers really help each other out or kill each other off? When will the gutless Danny finally stand up to Brian and Kate?


However, in terms of good acting, I have to credit Chris Pine. This character is a huge departure from his usual good guy roles like in Just My Luck, Princess Diaries 2, and of course, Star Trek. I really hate Chris Pine in this movie. He acted like a total ass! And he was pretty rough too. Great acting.


Ratings : 6/10. If you have nothing else to do, watch this. Don't expect too much though.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Out of the Blues

I wanted to blog but couldn't find anything blog-worthy. Therefore, I think this post is totally incoherent, random and a waste of your time.

I have been observing people quite a lot this week. I noticed a lot of things going on, noticed a lot of interactions between people. I do not aim this at anyone. This is just what I think of things going on around me.

No Safety Know Pain, Know Safety No Pain.
I got injured during Safety Campaign and came down with a flu and later a high fever during the entire duration of the campaign. Irony at its best moment.

Some lecturers like to throw us into deep waters. Like my friend once said, "Playing in deep waters is fun. But the risk of drowning is equally great." I guess sink or swim applies here.

Friends in need are friends indeed.
Nothing more to elaborate on this statement.

Increasing the standard of examination doesn't necessarily bring up the standard of students. IF you really want quality students, get quality lecturers with quality syllabus, not increasing the strictness of the marking scheme. Marking strictly according to the marking scheme only produce memorising machines.

Sometimes, people are just ... I can't find a word for it.
I don't know if you are an idiot or you just pretend to not know. Do you really need the sky to fall down or the clouds to bleed tears to be able to say "I really like you" to someone?

Everyone has a different view on different thing.
Sometimes we just need to step into his/her looking glass to see from their perspective.
Don't be so arrogant to think that what you see and what you know is the absolute truth. Listen to the grass root leaders. They are what made the top level leaders.

Human feel emotions, regardless of what emotion, happy, grateful, sad, angry, disappointed and many more, is because they CARE. When one feels nothing for you, not even angry with you, it means you are no longer in their lives, and that they don't care for you anymore.

Sometimes, I wish you would tell me more. Guessing who you really are is vague. And not productive at all to our friendship. Or maybe it is only me that regard you as a close friend.

Listening to OSTs can be very inspiring and soothing. I love James Horner.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Broken

Ben introduced me to Tal Bachman and I find myself listening to his songs on YouTube.

I figure that it is only fair that I share good stuff with everyone!!



This song is fun and lively. The arrangements are wonderful. Pay attention to the bass and the rhythm. They are really fun. Bachman's vocals are not bad either. Scruffy but kinda sexy too!

Enjoy!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Safety Campaign January 2010

Today is the first day of my Biomedical Science Year 1 Trimester 3.

Also the start of Safety Campaign and Non- Smoking Campaign.

Safety Campaign/ Non- Smoking Campaign
Date : 18 January 2010 - 22 January 2010

Time : 10.00am - 4.00pm

Venue : Block C Cafeteria, outside staff lounge

No Safety Know Pain, Know Safety No Pain


Highlights of the campaign :
~~Taekwondo Demonstration on Monday at 12.00pm

~~Bicycle Safety Demonstration on Wednesday at 12.00pm
Vouchers and discount coupons will be distributed to those who attend the talk.

~~Self Defense Workshop by Taekwando Club on Thursday in A011
Session 1 is at 2.00pm-2.45pm
Session 2 is at 3.00pm - 3.45pm
Limited to 40 participants only.
Register at our booth fast!!

~~AIDS Awareness Day on Thursday
Free brochures and interesting video clips to be shown

UTAR students, please drop by when you are free!!

Here are some of the stuff we did today...

Nicole the helper at the booth

Our booth outside staff lounge

Interesting interactive games, such as maze, crossword puzzle, quizzes and many more.

We are selling Pepper Spray at a price that no one can get outside UTAR, only at RM23
We are also selling bicycle accessories like bells, locks, helmets, seat safety pins, etc, at an extremely discounted price. Don't miss the chance!!


Exhibition boards


Non Smoking section of the exhibition


Safety is not just physical...
It is about safe sex too!!

Avoiding accidents

Survival tips

Committee On Duty

Today was a good day indeed!!
Besides the fact that both my classes got cancelled today without early notice and I actually waited for half an hour. And I got a little accident on my part. **Yes yes, I know I am clumsy**

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

PS : I Love You - A Review

I have watched this movie thrice. And I will watch it again should there be a fourth time.


This is a love story between Holly (Hilary Swank) and Gerry (Gerald Butler). They were a couple who fought everyday about petty issues until, one day, Gerry died of brain tumour. After his death, Holly withdraw herself into her own world, worrying her mother Patricia (Kathy Bates) and her best friends Denise (Lisa Kudrow) and Sharon (Gina Gherson). Then, a cake from Gerry arrived at Holly's doorsteps. Gerry arranged to send her a series of gifts and letters after his death and this was the first of them. All the letters and gifts were signed "PS I love you". His letters were in fact tasks and assignments that send Holly out of her withdrawal stage and into adventures. However, Patricia, Denise and Sharon were worried that these post-humous letters might tie Holly to the past. But Gerry was a smart man. He even arranged a trip to his native Ireland for Holly, Denise and Sharon. They met William (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) who happened to had a crush on Holly and also Gerry's childhood friend. After the trip, Holly enrolled herself into a course and ventured into the shoe designing business. She also learned that her mother was the one delivering those letters all this while. The movie ended with Holly moving on with her life.


This movie was based on a novel by Cecelia Ahern of the same name. I have not read the book. But the whole idea of the story was touching enough to make me cry. (Yes, I am a hopelessly romantic girl) I find the whole couple fighting thing in the movie interesting and very loving. Quarreling and making up was like the fun of their love-hate relationship. And the flashbacks that made the audience felt that as if Gerry was there with us too. I particularly like the words Gerry used, the way he was so familiar with his wife, right-down to her reactions and actions to the letters. I love how Gerry encouraged and guided his wife to move on with life but at the same time did not shove her out in the world. I also love the loyalty, though unhealthy, shown by Holly to her husband. It was totally irony that Holly and William ended up in bed, talking about Gerry after a brief one night stand. And I love the whole Daniel character who was a bit rough but caring at the same time. I don't know if such sweet love exist in this world, but this movie which is soaked up in total romantic excesses actually made me feel emotional watching it because chances are, this won't happen in my life. ( I secretly think a lot of people are attracted to this movie because of this also.)


The soundtrack of the movie is fantastic. It used a combination of instrumental music and pop songs at the exact right moments. The scenery was wonderful. Really a visual feast. The movie was filmed in Ireland and part of it in New York. The angles of the scenes were artistic and very nicely arranged. I should send my compliments to the entire production team and the director because I feel that the teamwork between filming and post-production really made this movie fits in nicely with all the emotions, the visual and the audio. The casts were amazing too. Kathy Bates, again, picked up her role as a strong maternal figure quite nicely. Hilary Swank put down her usual iron lady image in Million Dollar Babe and Freedom Writer to become this widow in distress. What amazed me most was Gerald Butler. He is really a versatile actor. He is convincing as an action hero like Chuck Norris and equally convincing in romantic movies like Hugh Grant. In fact, I think Gerald Butler did a better job than Hugh Grant in romantic movies! (Look at this one and also Ugly Truth)


Ratings : 8/10. Very touching. Appeals to audience who loves romantic movies. Girls, this will be your dream romantic life (minus the fact of a dead husband). Guys, this should be a movie you learn from on how to treat girlfriends and wifes (with or without your death!)

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Ludlows

When I first watched Legends of the Falls, I fell in love with the soundtrack.

I stress again, JAMES HORNER IS A GENIUS!!

But this very short piece of "The Ludlows" on classical guitar really impressed me.
This provides a whole different feel of the song than the rich and emotional full orchestra in the original soundtrack. This is simple yet amazing!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Wonderful Tonight

I watched a live show last night in a cafe. This song was stuck in my head ever since...
Found some nice covers on YouTube as the recording at the cafe wasn't that clear.



Absolutely love her voice. It is thick and powerful. Perfectly evoked the emotions of the song!



Fingerstyling play of the song. It was almost like Eric Clapton's version, but much more detailed. And the technique used!! Totally inspired me to learn this tab!

~Gosh, I have so many plucking songs that I learned halfway and jumped to the next song! And I can only play a handful of songs without referring to the tabs! I am such a bad guitarist!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Pathology - A Review

I first heard of this movie from a friend of mine. He said it was good and I had a certain expectations of standard. It certainly was interesting and mind-boggling.


The story opened with Dr Ted Grey (Milo Ventimiglia) attending the city morgue and working there as a resident. The audiences were then introduced to Dr Jake Gallo, Dr Jullitte Bath and many other doctor residents. They were rather reckless or irresponsible to the corpse in their charge. At first, the audiences were lead to believe that these doctors were just arrogant and numb with their work. Then, the audiences were lead into a lively game between these 6 residents who started this intellectual challenge against each other. These doctors would kill people and brought them to the table where the other 5 would figure out the methods used in killing. The ultimate goal was to perform the perfect murder. The game went on for a while until Dr Grey's fiancee came to town and he decided to quit the game, only that there wasn't a way to quit. So Dr Grey committed one last murder by killing all the doctors involved in the game. Unfortunately, Dr Gallo escaped and killed Grey's fiancee. In the end, Grey killed Gallo for revenge.

GORY IMAGES AHEAD!

The story was way out of mainstream. I would say that this movie was disturbing, with a group of highly-privileged and talented doctors killing innocent people as a sport. I was also mildly disturbed by the way these doctors acted, so full of arrogance that they would never get caught and so self-centred that they lost respect for their own profession. However, I find the idea of the movie very intriguing. I also learned quite a lot of biology and chemistry from this movie.

The cast were virtually unknown. There wasn't much of a soundtrack or effects. The main star of this movie is really the plot itself. How two self-proclaimed genius battled each other, trying to out-smart each other, on the expense of innocent lives. The actors actually did pretty well carrying the movie. It also resembled quite accurate facts on autopsy and the study of pathology. A rather informative movie I think.

Ratings : 7/10. Stay away if you can't stand realistic blood and gore. Stay away if you have a phobia for science. This one is recommended for doctors, biomedics and science students looking for virtual biological excitement that must not be committed in reality.

Star Trek - A Review

A prequel to the famous Star Trek saga in the 1980s, this one certainly had gotten my attention. And my high expectations too.

And it didn't disappoint me.


I was introduced to the Star Trek saga when I was about 7 or 8 years old. "Space is the final frontier..." and the Vulcan hand greeting were like, part of my sub culture. I was naturally very excited when there were announcements that there were a prequel to it and the original actor playing Spock, Leonard Nimoy, will be playing Spock again! Then there were news of drop-dead-so-hot actors the likes of Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto (Sylar!!! Don't ask me why...), John Cho, Anton Yelchin and many more in the cast. I was waiting to watch the movie!


The story started with Captain Kirk on USS Kelvin saving millions of lives, including the lives his wife and his new-born son James Tiberius Kirk, by sacrificing himself to defend against the attack of a Romulan ship that came from the future. Fast forward a few years, we saw young James Kirk performing reckless stunts on Earth and young Spock being rididule over his half-Vulcan, half-human heritage. Fast forward a few more years, we saw the adult James Kirk (Chris Pine) being recruited on board of the Star Fleet and Spock (Zachary Quinto) being an officer in the Star Fleet. Kirk and Spock wasn't friendly with each other at first. After assigning to the USS Enterprise on her maiden voyage, Kirk saved the ship from walking directly into the Romulus trap but the entire Vulcan planet was destroyed by something called the Red Matter. Kirk was then sent to an inhabitable moon where he met the older Spock. It was then revealed that the Romulus and Spock Prime were sucked into a black hole from the future and the Romulans were taking revenge at the Federation planets for the destruction of their own planet. They also met Scotty who discovered some time warp thing on that planet and they both got back on board of USS Enterprise. Kirk provoked Spock into showing his emotions and at last took his seat as Captain Kirk. They rescued Captain Pike, destroyed the Romulus ship and saved lives. The movie ended with the trademark almost- legendary dialogue of "Space is the final frontier..."

Being a fan of the original Star Trek franchise, I have to say that JJ Abrams was true to the movie. Fans from the original franchise can relate to the characters and the sci-fi terminologies in the movie and new fans are being attracted to this new way of presentation. Abrams provided ample explanation to new-comers without boring the die-hard fans, and brought the action and cinematography to a whole level. Chris Pine portrayed the young and reckless young Kirk to perfection, that in my humble opinion, explained the older Kirk's confidence and recklessness in commanding the ship. Zachary Quinto also did an outstanding job of playing Spock with a rather emotionless stoned-faced Vulcan who suppressed his feelings and forced himself to be logical. Another noticeable performance was from Anton Yelchin and John Cho who played Chekov and Zulu respectively. Karl Urban also made an appearance playing Dr Leonard "Bones" McCoy with his rather humurous character.

The action scenes weren't exactly remarkable but quite sufficient compared to the originals. And James Kirk got kicked around a lot. But the portrayal of fights and stunts were rather realistic and believable which actually I quite like. I also praised the screen write for the story with "alternative reality" because of the disruption of the time continuum. This released the actors from the pressure of imitating the original casts and also provided more space for development and not worry about not being able to connect to the original stories.

Ratings : 7.5/10. A good movie. Exceeds my expectations. IF you got blur in this movie, I suggest you dig up the old ones and watch. They are pretty addictive too!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Rocker Chic

I was browsing through the Internet for fashion tips and saw this whole rocker chic look that I absolutely love!!

I have a thing for girls rocking out in dresses!

Avril Lavigne looks absolutely SMOKIN' in this dress!
The corset- like top paired with lacey flair dress!

Nonetheless, Avril's teen years with her punk rock image is still much more casual!
I love the top and how the inner lining paired so perfectly with the singlet!

Allison Iraheta totally rocked out in this dress!
Without the jacket and the chains, this number actually looked very feminine.
But when paired with accessories, viola, we have a rocker chic!

This one looked like a prom dress.
But I think Allison Iraheta carried it very nicely with her signature red hair and fishnet stockings.

This one is from New York Fashion Week.
The whole image looked FIERCE!!
The skinny pants/leggings absolutely carried the look!

Straight-cut pants with side buckle and...
inscriptions...
Don't quite know what it writes but kinda nice...

Left : Aly Michalka with blue top and skinny jeans. Love the belt!
Right : Amanda Michalka with green top and slacks... I like the layering of the top!


Far left : Disheveled rocker chic look. The top went really well with the mini skirt.
Left : Casual rocker look. Blazer with 2 colours paired perfectly with white top!
Centre : Gypsy glam rocker with colourful dress and really fitting boots! The red gloves just emphasised the effect!
Right : Classic rocker chic with a figure hugging dress! She will look extremely cool with an electric guitar!
Far right : Mushroom dress with interesting patterns. Not exactly my favourite but still a nice design.

Orianthi in her rocker mode!
The fashion was rather bland but the main focus is not the guitarist, but
THE GUITAR!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

21 Guns

A fantastic cover?



No No!!
Mama Mia, High School Musical, time to move aside...

AMERICAN IDIOT THE MUSICAL IS COMING!!

How cool can a musical based on a punk rock band called GREENDAY can be?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bandslam OST - A Review

As mentioned in my previous posts, I have watched the movie Bandslam and is absolutely in love with their soundtrack.

I have yet to be able to find a working link.
Those who know me personally, you can get the songs directly from me if you are interested.

o1. Rebel Rebel - David Bowie
This song is by legend David Bowie. It opened with one unique guitar riff that got my head bobbing to the equally fun drum beats. Then the vocals came in and added flavour to the song. It feels like a little bit of a disco in rock to me. One hell of a song!
Ratings : 7/10

02. Amphetamine - I Can't Go On, I'll Go On
The song started with high octane fuel guitar and then surprisingly, trumpets. Aly Michalka, one half of girls' group Aly & JJ came in with her sexy voice. The drum beats and the keyboard play is the soul of this number but the really fun part of the song is the trumpets! Another enjoyable part of the song is the consistent performance from the bassist. The ending of the song was also nicely arranged.
Ratings : 8.5/10

03. 24 Hours - Shack
This song sounds a little indie but still enjoyable. This song was by an English band formed in Liverpool in 1986. The style of the music is very 90's but nonetheless, makes me bob my head to the rhythmic guitar play. Lead vocals Mick Head had a rather mesmerizing voice with a smexy accent.
Ratings : 8/10

04. Where Are You Now - Honor Society
The song opened with a melodious guitar play then charged into a sort of slow jam. Lead singer has a special voice that sets him apart from all the other boy bands along this genre. Plus the lyrics are really meaningful. The bass of the song is very very nicely played with mostly palm mute technique. The solo part of the electric guitar part is also very enjoyable. The whole arrangement of the song is superb!
Ratings : 9/10

05. Lunar One - Seventeen Evergreen
This is a slow number that opened with a mellow start by the vocals. Then the band came in with slow drum beats and various use of digital effects. I love the use of violins and keyboard in the music. And the lyrics, though not really meaningful but rather catchy. Overall, this number sounds sad and mellow but still provides a glimmer of hope and some comfort in it.
Ratings : 8/10

06. Femme Fatale - The Velvet Underground
Another stellar appearance of a legendary band in the OST. The beginning of the song was really cute. A nice guitar riff and the unique drum beat that maintains the mood of the song. The backup vocals provided just the right emphasis on the whole setting of the song. As the song progressed towards the ending, we have a very nice rhythmic guitar play then the song sort of faded out. Perfect!
Ratings : 7.5/10

07. Twice Is Too Much - Exist
Piano and acoustic guitar opened the song then electric guitar and drums came in. Then all came to a stop to allow the vocals to demonstrate his prowess accompanied by acoustic guitar. This song has many pauses arranged very nicely in mid song to produce exactly the effect it needed. The use of piano and bass riff provided the right tempo and the acoustic guitar showed the "sensitive" side of the song. The lead guitar play emphasized the mood of the song. Backup vocals were pretty good too, providing the "hopelessly in love" feeling to the song. Nice number!
Ratings : 8.5/10

08. Road - Nick Drake
The plucking of bass guitar, coupled with melodious plucking of the acoustic guitar; it is not country nor pop. The vocals by Nick Drake is very very soothing and nice. It is a rather short song but still one hell of a song.
Ratings : 8.5/10

09. Someone To Fall Back On - I Can't Go On, I'll Go On
A very soothing piano play with the clear vocals of Aly Michalka, I was not distracted by anything and really paid attention to the meaningful lyrics. After the first verse, the band came in with superb performance by the bassist and the drummer. The lead guitar took a side seat to the piano this time. An introduction of cello to the chorus totally gives the feeling of climax of the song. A perfect ending to the song with the full demonstration of each instrument in the song. This is a cover of a song by some classical pianist named James Something. And this song far surpassed the original.
Ratings : 9/10

10. I Want You To Want Me - I Can't Go On, I'll Go On
This is the song that launched me into rocker chic craze!! Military drum sequence that propelled the song into a kickass guitar play. Then the guitar play became rather rhythmic with the drums. I took notice of the bassist's play because the bassist sort of took control of the whole tempo of the song to perfection. The guitar solos were a feast to the ear. It was really really fun shredding with a sort of cheeky playful play. Again, Aly Michalka demonstrated her vocals in this song and far surpassed the original by Cheap Trick.
Ratings : 9.5/10

11. Pretend - Scott Porter & The Glory Dogs
This is a very slow and nice acoustic song by Scott Porter. The bass and piano came in during the chorus and further reinforce the emotions of the song. I love the strumming technique of the song that provided such nice tempo that replaced the drums. The use of "shake shake" melted my heart with the melodious tune. Overall, the song wasn't too "crowded" with effects or instrument that I can actually pay attention to the meaningful lyrics.
Ratings : 9/10

12. Stuck in the Middle - The Burning Hotel
This song is one high-octane fueled son with kick ass guitar play and drum play! This song sounds a little like garage band play with the vocals that sounded like My Chemical Romance. Nonetheless a nice song.
Ratings : 7/10

13. Blizzard Woman Blues - The Daze
Audiences were introduced to quirky guitar play and a very expressive drum play. This song sounded a little crowded to me. However, the band still maintained the playfulness of the song with touches here and there. The sound of the band felt so natural that you just feel like jumping to the beat and the bass! The solo were fantastic with god-like shredding!
Ratings : 7/10

14. Everything I Own - I Can't Go On, I'll Go On
The band built up the anticipation of the crowd with their instruments then the lead vocal, Vanessa Hudgens came in. Maybe it is because Hudgens was singing the song, it sounded generic and very Disney, that totally robbed the rock-ness of the song. There was even one part where Hudgens went awfully off tune! But I gotta praise the band for the play. This song consist of only four basic chords and the arrangement of the instruments extrapolated into such kick ass rock-ness! The trumpets and the drums totally stole the limelight of the song!
Ratings : 7.5/10

15. What Light - Wilco
A country song by Wilco, with very nice music. It sort of provided the feel good feeling to the whole song, if not, the whole album. The tune of the song tempted me to sway to the melody and the lyrics were very catchy and memorable. Perfect closing song to the entire kickass OST album!
Ratings : 8/10

This is a very nice OST album with lots of nice rock songs of the yesteryears and the new decade. Highly recommended!

Check out the review of the movie in previous post.

I Want You To Want Me

After listening to the OST of Bandslam, I am very very addicted to this song now!!
It is sung by Aly Michalka, one half of the girls' group Aly & JJ. Love her beautiful voice. And the two insane guitarist!!



The original by Cheap Trick. Might not as explosive as the current covers but this one is the father of other kickass covers! And undeniably, it causes one hell of a rock wave when it first came out decades ago.



Some other kickass versions...

This one by KSM. I don't really like the voice of the lead vocals. But I absolutely LOVE the lead guitarist! She so has got the rocker chic style and attitude!! And the solos are fantastic!



This one by Lindsay Lohan in Freaky Friday. She definitely had the rocker chic attitude. Not to mention her unique voice that suits singing rock songs so much!



Now, this is the song that I wish I have a kick ass guitar to play!
I am so tempted to put up an acoustic cover of this song now. Possible to maintain the rock elements in it? *Doubtful*

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus - A Review

I was following the progress of this movie ever since Heath Ledger died. I didn't know Malaysia started showing this movie until a friend surprised me with movie tickets!


The story opened with a troupe of street performers, consisting Anton, Scrumpy, Percy and of course Dr Parnassus, trying to attract attention of the local crowd with a weird story. A drunk young man entered the magical mirror and failed the test of faith. The audiences were then told that Dr Parnassus was a monk who made a deal with the devil to gain immortality and youth so that he can be with the one he loved. In return, the devil demanded his children's soul upon their sixteenth birthday. So when Dr Parnassus' daughter, Scrumpy was about to turn sixteen, the devil made another deal with Parnassus. Who got themselves five souls wins the bet and gets Scrumpy. One night, the troupe picked up an amnesiac stranger, Tony, and he helped both sides collect four souls. I shall not further spoil the movie for you. Watch it in your closest theater.


I admittedly do not understand the story or its objective. It does sound like a simple story but the loops and turns in it was simply confusing but interesting nonetheless. The element of surprise was always there where I find myself always wondering what will happen next. The imaginarium is indeed an imaginarium but something rather similar to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Nothing in the imaginarium surprises me. On the other hand, the development of the plot is something that intrigues me. Hours after the movie, I was still thinking of what happened in the movie.


This movie was halfway in production when Heath Ledger died. Thus, many scenes with Tony wasn't completed. But I have to compliment on the director's brilliant idea on using famous "doubles" like Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell. They each played a different imagination in the imaginarium and it fitted perfectly. The acting was rather good too! I love all the accents by the actors playing Tony except Colin Farrell. Colin Farrell seemed to be a little out of place in this movie but he did played the darkest and baddest part of Tony's life, which is rather suitable with his bad boy image. Director Terry Gilliam chose these three actors to played Tony so that Heath Ledger can have his final legacy in the film and Gilliam kept the replacement cast close to heart too. All three actors were friends with Ledger and all three actors redirected their wages to Ledger's daughter, Matilda, who was left out of Ledger's old version of his will. Gilliam also changed the credit from "A Terry Gilliam flim" to "A Film from Heath Ledger and friends". I find this touches very thoughtful and moving.


The soundtrack of the movie was rather funny and cute. It was, again, a little like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But this one was a little more terrifying and unexpected. But nothing spectacular from the scores or the sound. The digital department also didn't demand much attention with their rather tested and true methods of animations. The animations in the imaginarium looked rather cartoon-ish, either intended or not. But to me, it wasn't as real as I expected it to be.

Ratings : 7.5/10. Not a bad movie. The twist and development of the plot is still food for thought for me. Not the best of fantasy films but this one did make a mark as Heath Ledger's final product.
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