Sunday, May 30, 2010

Valentine's Day - A Review

Okay... I know it's May, almost June, and no where near Valentine's Day...
But yours truly is feeling all mushy-lushy-lovey-dovey... So I watched this movie =)


The whole point of the movie is Valentine's Day, just as the title suggested. Every frame of the movie was bombarded by HUGE stars with HUGE names. And as expected, there are people who lived for the day, people who runs away from the day, people who is crazy for the day and people who are not aware of the day.


My favourite couple is Ashton Kutcher and Jennifer Garner, who started as best friends but ending for them was sooooo romantic.


And I really think that Taylor Swift should stay with playing guitar. Her character was totally bimbo. And Taylor Lautner, is soooooooooo KAYU (wood).


But I kinda like their friends who tried to have sex for the first time on this very special day! My favourite scene was the guy rehearse singing naked in her room!


Appearances by heartthrobs like McDreamy and McSteamy was.... surprising. I mean how their characters are. I totally love how Patrick Dempsey was dumped. I must remember to do that when I have the chance to!


One notable thing about this movie is the dialogues. They are not cheesy at all! In fact, Anne Hathaway's lines were so funny that I look forward to every single line she said. Of course it helps that she is a very good actress that can carry the lines and deliver them to perfection!


I also love the soundtrack! All very cheerful and happy songs by great artists. Joss Stone's "4 & 20" in the album is my favourite. Those by Taylor Swift's are okay, but not remarkable. The whole OST album carries this sort of jazzy classy taste to it. Love it!


However, there is this line that got stuck in my head for a very long time.

There was a scene where Ashton Kutcher asked his friend how he maintains a happy marriage.

That friend simply replied, "It's simple. I married my best friend."

That is exactly what I want to do. Marry my best friend! I mean, there must be a reason he is my best friend right? That he was there for all the ups and downs and lefts and rights. This guy must have known me inside out, seen me when I am happy and sad, polite and bitchy, serious and bimbo.


But but but.... I don't think anyone of my guy best friends want to marry me... They have seen and know too much...

So, anyone wants to be my new best friend?


Ratings : 7/10. Enjoyable but not epic scale.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Red Cliff 1 - A Review

The most expensive Asian- financed film to date... From the critically acclaimed director John Woo, with a row of extraordinary cast of actors Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Zhang Fengyi, Chang Chen and Zhao Wei... I watched the Red Cliff Part 1 last night.


This 2 hour 30 minute movie is a historical reenactment of one of the most important battles in the China history, though according to some of my friends who are very familiar with China history that this movie is not factually accurate. But I still think cinematographically, it is still one hell of a movie.

The audiences were introduced to Chancellor Cao Cao who wanted to conquer the northern region ruled by Sun Quan and Liu Bei in the name of eradicating rebels. Part 1 of Red Cliff showcased the legendary combat skills by Liu Bei's sworn brothers, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei. We were also introduced to Zhao Zi Long, a brave young commander who rescued Liu Bei's infant son single-handedly. Liu Bei's advisor, ZhuGe Liang embarked on a mission to the Wu Kingdom up North to seek alliance from Sun Quan. We were then introduced to Sun Quan's military advisor Zhou Yu and his beautiful wife Xiao Qiao. The Northern Kingdoms formed an alliances and defeated Cao Cao's land army with some very clever use of combat tactics. The movie ended with Zhou Yu instructing on the second attack via the naval route.


After watching this movie, I felt like I have watched a very expensive 2 hour 30 minute trailer of Red Cliff 2, or maybe perhaps 3. This piece is brilliant nonetheless. It is fully packed with action and occasionally, sex. No, not the 18 and above rated kind. But there were some moments where development were rather slow, like the awkward silences, the knowing glance, the unexplained action. But every scene was essential and necessary, nonetheless. I'll have to say that this movie doesn't require audiences to just watch but to interpret as well.


I absolutely adore the cinematography. John Woo is a genius with the camera. Every scene was capture so intensely, no matter if it is a battle scene or just plain serene scenery. And the editing was superb. I especially love the scene where Zhou Yu and ZhuGe Liang played musical instruments together. It was so tense between the characters and all the meanings are conveyed through musical notes alone. The camera angles were perfect. I also like the love- making scene between Zhou Yu and his wife, because it is so artsy and beautifully portrayed (unlike many Western films who just get down and dirty) The whole incident was arranged against the background of rain and bamboo and white silk, which according to my interpretation, symbolises a lot of things.


Another remarkable point of the movie is the soundtrack. The boy who played the flute so wonderfully was juxtapositioned against army training in the valley of mountains. And those fearless battle tracks. Of course, one of my favourite was the scene where Sun Quan hunted the tiger. It was a perfect marriage of art direction and sound editing.


Ratings : 8.5/10. I am singing praises for this movie! But it is really darn long........

Prince of Persia : The Sands of Time - A Review

I didn't play the game. I didn't read any reviews about this movie. I only watched the trailer.

And it did not disappoint at all!


I don't know if the story was true to the original game but it was very good story- telling. From the very beginning, we were introduced to how the Empire of Persia works and how Dastan (Jake Gyllenhaal) ended up becoming the Prince of Persia despite being born a commoner. Then the audiences were taken into a mesmerising journey of how the magical Dagger and how the Sands of Time works after an alleged assassination of the King by the Dastan. There were plenty of adventure and the ending was surprising.


I wouldn't want to reveal too much of the plot because there were plenty of twists here and there. But it did not slow down at all during the entire 2 hours. There were fight scenes after fight scenes, escape after escape and lots of romantic bickering between Dastan and Princess Tasmina (Gemma Artenton). What I absolutely love is the parkour fused brilliantly into the movie. It was known that Jake Glyllenhaal was trained by the creator of parkour himself and did most of the stunts in the movie. And gosh, I have to say that Jake Glyllenhaal surprised me in this movie. All this while ever since his huge shot to fame in The Day After Tomorrow, Glyllenhaal appeared to me as the sissy nerdy but smart guy. But in this movie, he was a man, with well- toned body and very tough characters.


Another point worth applauding is the row of extraordinary cast. Ben Kingsley, as always, is brilliant as the deceiving Nizam. Steve Toussaint and Alfred Molina were both very funny as Seso and Sheikh Amar, which provided the right dosage of comical relief to the movie, but serious enough to show that they mean business. However, Gemma Artenton was a little lack luster compared to the extraordinary cast. Don't get me wrong, she was brilliant at being very very pretty, but I personally find her lack of facial expression very boring.

Get rid of all those dirt, I find Princess Tasmina bear little resemblance to Troy's Briseis played by Rose Byrne.

The scores of the movie was exciting. Written by famed composer Harry Gregson- Williams, the scores did not fail to fit perfectly into the movie. With a touch of Middle East and a smart combination of modern digital instruments, the music literally made the action so much more alive!


Ratings : 8.5/10. Action- packed, though the climax and ending was a little weird and anti-climax, but still a good film to catch!

Red Cliff 2 - A Review



This movie is a sequel to Red Cliff 1 and the story picked up right after where Red Cliff 1 ended.
I personally thought that this epic will be brilliant if watched at one go, but that would mean a crazy movie endurance test of 5 long hours.


Anyway, this epic depict of the naval war at Red Cliff between Cao Cao and the Eastern Wu empire. The princess of Eastern Wu, Sun Shang Xiang (Zhao Wei) infiltrated Cao Cao's camp and became a spy for the Wu army. When Cao Cao's army was infected by typhoid fever, Cao Cao sent the corpse of his dead army to the shores of Eastern Wu to spread the disease and forced Liu Bei to break alliance from Zhou Yu (Tony Leung). However, ZhuGe Liang (Takeshi Kaneshiro) stayed behind and helped the war. Part 2 was mostly about the cat and mouse game between strategic planner Zhou Yu and ZhuGe Liang trying to out-smart and out-wit each other on friendly terms. Here, we saw the reenactment of how ZhuGe Liang collected 100,000 arrows from the enemy fleet over one single night. We also saw how Zhou Yu's brilliant plan incapacitate Cao Cao's navy fleet. In the end, ZhuGe Liang brilliantly predicted the change of climate and helped plotted the attack on Cao Cao's fleet. Zhou Yu's wife, Xiao Qiao, secretly crossed over into Cao Cao's camp to help buy time for Zhou Yu's troop. In the end, Cao Cao lost the Battle of Red Cliff.




The sequel was very exciting. Following the footsteps of its predecessor, this one was equally brilliant in terms of cinematography and story telling. The angles were shot so brilliantly, with symbols of things all over the movie. I love how John Woo captured the serenity at Zhou Yu's home while Zhou Yu was practicing sword while Xiao Qiao made tea, despite the war going on. I love how ZhuGe Liang was filmed capturing the arrows and those scenes where he calmed down and thinks. The battle scenes were so surreal and definitely on par with Western epics like Lord of The Rings : Two Towers.



In this movie, I must applaud Zhao Wei for her outstanding performance as Sun Shang Xiang. She had more screen time here and she reminded me of her debut performance as Princess Xiao Yan Zhi in Huan Zu GeGe almost ten years ago. But her acting was good. She really portrayed the initial excitement for war, to the joy of being friends with the enemy while undercover, the pride of proving herself to Sun Quan that women can be equally capable, to finally, the sorrow the war had brought to her and her people.


Ratings : 8.5/10. Finally a chinese epic worth to be proud of!

Tooth Fairy - A Review

There is only one word to describe the entire movie

ABSURD


Wash up ice hockey star dubbed (ironically) the Tooth Fairy crashed young children dreams got a summoned by Fairy Land to perform two weeks punishment as, you guess it right, the Tooth Fairy. In the end, Tooth Fairy learned his lessons as a tooth fairy and restored dreams, which lead him to his very own happy dreams come true. Then everyone lives happily ever after.

Chuck originality out the window. Throw soundtracks out the door. Shove cinematography into the bin. I don't even want to talk about directing or editing or any of the technical stuff. Cause this is one dumbass comedy show that I totally enjoyed based on three things.

Number 1 : Absurdity. Seriously, how cliche can this be? The writers didn't even take the effort to exceed our expectations.


Number 2 : What is more hilarious than to watch the fearsome famed wrestler THE ROCK who debuted in the acting scene as the cruel legendary Scorpion King donned on wings and tutu?


Number 3 : The little boy who played Randy who played awesome electric guitar! The actor was Chase Ellison. According to IMDb, he was born in 1993, which means he is suppose to be 17 years old this year. Why the hell he can look like a 10 year old kid that totally stole my heart with renditions of Eric Clapton's musical pieces?


Ratings : 4/10. It should be lower if it wasn't for the dude who played impressive guitar. Only watch when you have absolutely NOTHING to watch.

Ninja Assassin - A Review

I thought the trailer was cool.

The statement above is totally true. Because that is all where the best scenes were. Sorry to say, the rest of the movie was boring.


This is a movie about Raizo (Rain) being trained as a ninja assassin by the Nine Clans since young but then he betrayed the clan and fought against them when they caught his first love running away and ran a sword into her heart. US forensic researcher Mika (Naomie Harris) was investigating a series of deaths in town and somehow traced it back to the Nine Clans and soon ninjas came knocking her door. Raizo came to rescue and in the end, the evil guys were killed and everyone lived happily ever after.


First of all, the storytelling sucks. There were way too much unnecessary scenes all over the movie. Yes, we all know Rain has great body. Yes, we all know ninjas were great. Yes, we all know how usually forbidden lovers fall in love and try to maintain that love. Yes, we all know there will be blood when a sword cut into flesh, etc. Everything was in excessive, rendering the movie empty with little essential parts.


Next, the action was good, way too smooth, as if the rest of the ninjas voluntarily walked into Raizo and be willingly sliced apart. And the moves were so well choreographed that it offended me as an audience. I am not stupid. Why is it that everyone dies but Raizo? If the ninjas really are as mysterious as mentioned in the opening sequence, why is it that the police armed with only guns can beat the crap out of ninjas in their very own turf? Why is it that Raizo risked his life for Mika whom he barely know? So many plot holes that not even Rain can hold it together!


Ratings : 3/10. Waste of time. Barely memorable. Excessive everything non-essential. Way too much blood and gore.

Deeper Conversation

I recently discovered the wonder of local artists the likes of YUNA!

And she is awesome!


She actually had the crowd singing to her!
And that touched me as a performer!


Her voice is AWESOME!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Simply Beautiful Mess

I know I blogged about this song before but I am just so addicted to it!


I love it that he totally control the entire stage and the audiences using ONLY his guitar and those beautiful voice!

I can play the simpler parts of the song and I am so looking forward to be able to play the entire song! Sad thing is that I can't reach those notes... Johnny Leong, you can be my singer?

Education

I was browsing through a number of my friends' blogs and websites.
And I noticed two things :

Disclaimer :This is merely MY observation and MY personal opinion and interpretation formed based on these observations. I have NO intention of offending anyone. Opinions and intellectual spars are very much welcomed.


1. Almost ALL of them are blogging about exams.
Universities and colleges are having Finals these days
*with the weird exception of UTAR where we have very different semester schedule than the rest of the world*
SPM-ers are having their mock Trials or unified mid terms now.
*Trial exams are mock-real SPM. Now we have mock Trials that mock Trial exams that mock the real SPM. Redundant.*


2. Student bloggers can be divided into THREE obvious major category
*of course there are other minority but I am going to talk about the three MAJOR ones*

Category 1 : High Achievers
Born genius, work damn hard, become geniuses and scoring the elusive 4.0 CGPA or very close to 4.0 CGPA, like 3.9999. And they blog about missing that 0.0001 or "the higher purpose of education". I do enjoy very much reading the "higher purpose of education" posts with rare insights and creative opinions but readng about 0.0001 miss is a real turnoff since you people are so rare. I guess these geniuses have way too much brain power to ponder upon much complex issues compared to the Gifted Learners.
*Yes, I understand the quest for perfectionism. I WAS a High Achiever, that is until reality smacked me in the head with grades.*


Category 2 : Gifted learner
Not very bad grades, but not good enough either. Not very ambitious, but with a certain personal standard to achieve. Still dreaming of getting CGPA 4.0 even though hanging onto dear life between the deadly cliff of pass and fail. The Gifted Learners are too busy chasing grades than to ponder upon the noble purpose of education or the flaw in the system even though some know that grades are not everything and understanding the purpose of education is equally important as getting grades. Alas, we shall leave the pondering to the academic elites...


Category 3 : Creative Learners
This category consists of many types of students but all hold dearly to the same principle: "Work Hard, PLAY HARDER!" They couldn't care less about grades because "it is just a paper qualification that only reflect how much you can study." and they couldn't care less about the purpose of education because "I play harder than I work." How I envy this group of carefree students!

Finally, I wish all my friends and fellow bloggers GOOD LUCK IN YOUR FINALS in all your respective universities.
To High Achievers,
say HELLO to another position in the Dean's List or the President's List!
To Gifted Learners,
the sky is not too far to reach.
To Creative Learners,
please try not to set the exam paper on fire with your mind during the exams! ;)

GOOD LUCK AND ALL THE BEST!

Monday, May 24, 2010

So You Think You Can Dance Season 6 - A Review

I have finally finished watching Season 6.

And to quote Mia Michaels, Season 6 did blew Season 5 out of the water!
We have several history in the making (or made) here, with not one, not two BUT THREE tappers on the Top 20. We have the first ever married couple in the Top 20. And we have the first ever Krumper on the show! And it was great!

Not wanting to give away who got into Top 10 or Top 6 or even win the show, I shall keep mum about the results. But gosh, this season's winners and finallists are so great that they deserved to be where they are! I personally see a lot of growth in Russell and Legacy, both not having formal dance education, yet perform equally well as classically trained contemporary or jazz dancers. And I seriously think that Ryan and Ashleigh should not be doing ballroom but go for contemporary instead. Ashleigh dance so well in contemporary.

My personal favourite male dancer is Jakob Karr and my favourite female dancer is Kathryn McCormick cause the both of them are AWESOME!!!

Let me share with you some of my personal favourite routines on the show in no order...

The pairing of Legacy and Kathryn. Now, the both of them are not technically awesome, especially Legacy, whom I thought cannot survive in the show since he seemed to be unable to do anything else but B-Boy. But he proved me wrong and grew so so so much. Kathryn, is as usual, great!




Now, Ryan and Kathryn... is like the dream team of ballroom dance. Ryan is strong and steady and Kathryn is flexible and graceful. And they are both so HOT on the floor!



Back to Legacy, his performance with Ellenore is one of my top favourites this season. The routine was said to be the most dangerous routine in the season and one that could win Travis Wall an Emmy for Best Choreography. They brought Mr & Mrs Smith to a whole new level!


Now, take a look at Kathryn and Russell. We all know that Russell is a fantastic Krumper but he is not necessarily a good hip-hop dancer. Kathryn, no doubt, is one of the best contemporary/jazz dancer, but in this number, she got down and dirty!


Back to something more romantic, this number by Mollee and Jakob is beautiful. Its Viennese Waltz, in a very beautiful and flawless way. Both of them keep the fluidity going in the dance. Just wonderful to watch!


Our married couple, Ashleigh and Ryan... Despite lasting very long in the show, they only got to dance together twice on the stage, and only once competitively. And this number is the one and only competitive dance. Take note of the emotions and the chemistry. This is going to be one of their fondest memories in life!


Now, finally, both of my favourite dancers dancing together! Jakob and Kathryn! Two wonderful contemporary dancers, doing a beautiful choreography, with beautiful Michael Buble's voice. Simply lovely!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Apples

Someone privately replied to my previous post and made me realise something. The ultimate goal of courtship, the whole LOVE thing, it is like an endurance race in the mountains.

This race is not only about skill and luck, but of endurance too. If one is hasty, one will be worn out before the race is over. If one keeps looking into the rear mirror, one can't concentrate on the road and is bound to make mistakes. If one predicts the route, one might lose track of what is right in front of their track and eventually get lost.

Therefore, live in the present.


PS : I think my dad has been trying to tell me the same thing for a very long time. Don't live in the past, don't live in the future. Live in the present.
Credits to Carlos Gustavus El Marcelino for the interesting insight.

Three

This is the story about three people, living in a world, looking for something call "Love".

DISCLAIMER : This is purely something that sprouted randomly out of my mind. Maybe I am being very cynical after watching the very very very cheesy Valentines' Day; Or maybe I am being very betrayed after a "close friend" told me that "we barely know each other."*ouch*
And the gender conotation DOES NOT represent that only men or women are like that. It's just there to make my story-telling easier. ;)


The Egoist
This Egoist needs to have a girlfriend/boyfriend to feel good. The Egoist uses a relationship to reassure himself, to tell himself that he is desirable, he is "in demand", he is good enough, he is worthy enough. The Egoist needs The Other Half to secure himself, to boost his ego and self- confidence. The Egoist is almost always in a rebound relationship and constantly say that "I need to FIND a boyfriend/girlfriend."
My note to The Egoist : You don't FIND love, love comes knocking on your door. Why are you LOOKing for someone to decorate your arm all the time?

The Needy
The Needy actually doesn't need anything. She only needs to have a girlfriend/boyfriend to "just be there" or to "just have someone". She doesn't really love, or even like The Other Half but need The Other Half to do her bindings. She needs The Other Half to be her Driver, ATM machine, sex machine, washing machine, vending machine, dish washer, car washer, floormat, etc. And all the while The Needy THINKS that she loves The Other Half but at the first sight of trouble, she fleds.
My note to The Needy : Love is something sacred. Don't use it as a commodity.

The Invisible
He is not invisible at all. But he comes quietly and goes quietly. The Invisible takes care of The Other Half silently, supporting The Other Half from behind, helping The Other Half from the side, shielding The Other Half in front. And when the time comes, he walks away, even when it is very painful to do so. The Invisible often gets overworked and underpaid. The Invisible takes The Other Half exactly the way he/she is, good and bad. The Invisible would rather take a second seat in The Other Half's life so that he can be in his/her life.
My note to The Invisible : There are so many of you, yet so little of you.


Writer's note : When I draft the post, The Egoist was in the image of someone who hurt The Moon; The Needy was in the image of someone I personally disagree with; The Invisible was in the image of my dream love. Now that I've finally finished writing this post, I suddenly realised one thing. I have written The Invisible completely in the image of my parents. And reading back, I felt like I was The Needy at times. And everyone has a little Egoist in him/her. Who doesn't want attention or reassurance from The Other Half? Why do human, unlike animals, get marry and live with someone? Simply because we want The Other Half to witness our lives and to reassure ourselved that we've lived.

I was naive when I drafted this post. But after writing, I felt that I've grow up, just a little. Therefore I still want to post this and share.

And to tell my family and all my friends, THANK YOU FOR BEING A PART OF MY LIFE, no matter how brief or how shallow...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Use Somebody

I was sitting in front of my laptop, humming a tune while randomly surfing...

Then I stopped myself. I was humming Use Somebody by Kings of Leon.

Immediately I went on YouTube to satisfy my sudden craving for this song. And guess what I found.... Pixie Lott doing an acoustic cover of the song! And it's superb!


Now I feel like doing a cover! Yay!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fringe - A Review

I have finished Season 1 and almost finishing Season 2 now....


And I am endlessly being impressed by whatever that happens in the series!
Freaking awesome, literally!

Fringe is a TV series about FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) who recruited eccentric scientist, fringe science frontier and former mental institution patient Dr Walter Bishop (John Noble) and his equally brilliant but cunning (in a nice way) son, Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) to investigate series of unexplained phenomena known as The Pattern. This stuff includes flesh dissolving viruses, man-morphed creatures, chimeras, time travelling, inter-dimensional travels, mind control, memory reading, reanimation and all sorts of stuffs. It's the new generation of X Files, minus the creepiness.

The main characters Peter Bishop, Olivia Dunham and Walter Bishop

The entire Fringe division

I like it that the stuff there seems to be scientifically possible but not quite achievable in the next, maybe, two decades. I like it that most things on the show are factually accurate but not quite imaginable. It is like manipulating and bending known science theories to accomodate all these wild ideas! This, in my humble opinion, is what triggers imaginations and really start off some serious research!

I love the plot of each episode. Though to some people, there might be a certain predictability in the episodes. After all, it's a one hour show with an obvious introduction, conflict, climax and resolution. But, there is a main story with a bigger picture here. Each episode, we discover more about the characters and add some knowledge regarding The Pattern. It is really addictive!


And I officially have a HUGE lesbian crush on Olivia Dunham! She is so cool and so fearless! She draws her gun, watch her steps and she never lets the bad guys go unpunished. But she is flawed in some ways, like being emotional, too perfectionist, focus too much on work, etc, stuff that most people can relate to. But I think her character is where these people can draw strength from and say to themselves, "I can do this!"

And I also absolutely love Peter Bishop. Just cause he is handsome. In the rugged way. Like he can be mean if he has to, but most of the time he is very nice.


However, my favourite character has to be Dr Walter Bishop. His character is conflicted in so many ways. He was not a kind man who attempted all kinds of nasty tests on human. But now that he is old and apparently has repented, you can't help but to sympathize him. And his oblivion cravings or wants for certain food or item is absolutely funny. He provides the comical relief in this mostly heavy and serious show!

All I can say is.... WATCH THE SERIES!!

Ratings : 9/10. Must watch if you are into Sci- Fi. Must watch if you are into facts and figures and imaginations. Must watch if you want thrill and excitement!

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