“Tak Boleh Tahan!” is Malay that can be somewhat translated as “I can’t take it anymore!” (if i’m not wrong!) so why this title you ask? Because I can’t take it anymore, I feel so blessed with such awesome friends and I actually feel really sad leaving (again) this time!
So minus the fact of the escalating cost of living in Singapore, I realized this trip home made me miss being in Singapore more than the past few times when I was traveling around. Perhaps because I have been back for more than a month, I got really comfortable with the environment and weather (even if I wished for more sun). Or perhaps I have been away for too long? haha though 2 years away from home is nothing as compared to some of my international friends out there.
some of the fond memories from this vacation <3
Since it was Chinese New Year period and the fact that I was so busy with my thesis preparation/PhD application, I didn’t get to meet up with many people but still I had fun with the few cliques that I managed to meet up. I am so so so sorry for those whom I didn’t have time to meet up with! But thank you for the others who managed to take time off for me, especially knowing how everyone is busy with work or tired after work but still came down for me really appreciate it! The unplanned numerous hi-bye small chats were pleasant surprises too! It was awesome to know new friends too, especially the team behind re:solve, all the best for the rest of the production and looking forward to the upcoming movie!
Fear not! (haha I don’t think anyone is..lol) I will be back in June and be done with Beijing very soon! Please pray for me and wish me luck for my thesis and I promise to keep everyone posted! I will also try to do the vlogs that I have always wanted to do while in China to show how life is over the great firewall! But that’ll come probably in April, after I submit my MA thesis.
In the meantime, take care everyone and God bless! Thank you Singapore, it’s been a great time being home. (As much as I still do not want to settle down here yet..lol)
I was just watching the trailer of this movie 2 days before meeting my friend who randomly decided that we are watching a movie (lol). So off we went to catch “Upside Down” which was directed by Juan Diego Solanas. Will keep this short since I wasn’t intending to review movies any more but since I was getting bored from my thesis, why not? (haha)
I would say it is a romance film about Adam(Jim Sturgess) and Eden(Kirsten Dunst) that is separated by the social class and gravity. I won’t go into the details over the story since you will be left with nothing to watch, but pretty much you can easily predict what is happening in the next scene while watching this movie.
Personally I felt that the script was the weakest aspect of the film. The whole upside down universe concept and twinned worlds with opposite gravity was interesting but man, the plot and script certainly needs polishing. As much as I think it’s refreshing how they tried to portray the injustice between the social classes, the character development was lacking throughout the movie.
The CGI and effects were stunning and I really adored the mountain+restaurant sets which were magnificently beautiful even if it’s over used. I gotta say, half the time I’m turning to my friend and going “that’s ridiculous!” when I know very well that it can’t be get any more realistic (duh, I mean like..really? what am I expecting from an upside down world?) As much as I can con myself into believing that this is a romantic flick that tells a “gravity defying love”, the story just fails to be compelling. Perhaps it’s just me, growing up and whatnot. haha
At least there’s Jim Sturgess whose character (and looks) grows on you after awhile, Kirsten Dunst caught my attention only during the Tango scene. I’d say I’ll give this movie a 3/5 for its visuals. Watch if you’re a fan of sci-fi/fantasy films or just to admire the sets/effects.
“Up-top, they always win, And down-below, we always fail.” – Adam
Tom: “Either she’s an evil, emotionless, miserable human being, or… she’s a robot.” (500 Days of Summer)
It has been a really long break I took from blogging. Like what Tom said, I was definitely a miserable human being trying to be a workaholic robot. Not an excuse for my tons of overdue posts (Timbre Rock and Roots, Timbre Song Writing Competition, Fairly Legal Review, many weeks of AOTW and TV+movie reviews) I know. So sorry to all my readers but I AM BACK (-inserts awkward silence-) Those posts will come shortly after!
But yes, getting back to the whole blogging thing before I am doomed behind the Great Firewall. In case you have not heard, I will be leaving Singapore in a few months time for further studies in Beijing. The good thing is, it will be conducted in English (Phew!) The bad thing is, I have to leave my loved ones behind and also having unstable internet for the rest of the months I’m there. Hopefully I can continue blogging with the not-so-secret mighty VPN power. More on that decision next time!
In other news, the last few weeks of school was great. Catching up with old friends, meeting new ones, getting enough sleep (or so I think) and busy planning for the Beijing trip and studies. I am currently working full time at Epiphany Education till I leave town, it has been real fun conducting workshops for students and knowing that they enjoyed the time spent together with their coaches, hopefully learning something out of the workshop too? Hee.
Mayor: “You see Mr Ringo, people need to believe in something.Pick it up your destiny waits.”
Anyone who knows me would know that I’m a HUGE Johnny Depp fangirl – you won’t be surprised if I said I loved the movie, just because Johnny Depp is involved.
Rango is the story of a lonely chameleon who got separated with its owner and off he entered the desert to become a great asset to the town of Dirt. I would say Rango belongs to more of an adult story rather than a simple animation meant for children. Without a doubt, Johnny Depp delivers almost perfectly that quirky, slightly unstable yet confident personality that is almost natural from him. In fact, I think the voiceovers were very well done, including Jake the Rattlesnake, who is actually Bill Nighy, whom you may recognize as Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean.
Rango: “So you want something to believe in? [points at the "Sheriff" sign] Believe in that there sign. For as long as it hangs there we’ve got hope.”
I thought the story took off on a rather slow pace as it was a pretty good introduction to the characters but personally there were certain details that can be left out for me. One thing about animated films is that the suspense is often lost as the audience usually is able to predict the next scene but I thought Rango built up to the climax pretty well. Fine, I still thought it was predictable but at least it was a satisfying conclusion to the film.
Humor? It is definitely there. The animation looks fantastic and overall, it was a captivating animated film. I could almost see bits of Captain Jack Sparrow somehow, just in a lizard form. As much as I dislike lizards, I would say Rango hit all the notes in the right key.
If you like the whole western cowboy feel and Johnny Depp, you are sure to enjoy the story of Rango. I’ll give it 4/5.
Courtesy of HP, I had the chance to attend the Sex and the City 2 Gala Premiere @ Golden Village, VivoCity with my bestie, Rachael ! I’m ashamed to say that I am no huge fan of the TV series nor have I watched “Sex and the City” before the event, so I went into the theatre pretty much with an open mind and the idea that the whole show is about – 4 manipulative women in NYC with the most gorgeous dresses and a lifetstyle to die for…and I came out with the same conclusion !
This highly anticipated film, well..put it this way – if men have porn, women have Sex and the City. The fashion is to die for, the lifestyle is to die for, the men are to die for. The story gets drowned among the blings and backdrop, a typical chick flick about relationships, sisterhood, women empowerment – the men just don’t get it ! Girls gone wild but a more mature version and bringing the glam factor to the max. If you’re a film critic, you might want to skip this film but you must watch this if you’re a fashionista or follower of SATC the series. I’ll pretty much spoil the entire show if I were to comment on the story (yes, it’s THAT shallow and the plot is absurdly over-simplified) so I shall keep my comments to myself. Let’s just say that I can relate to Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) most because of her relationship problems and craziness while with her friends. I can almost imagine myself telling my future husband “Me and you, just us two”. On a side note, I must say it is quite an interesting topic to discuss if this film were to be alil more political – they were (almost) certainly mocking the Middle East in a way ! (haha)
Anyways, back to the event itself ! I had a great time checking out the HP products (look out for the gorgeous HP mini in the show itself ! ) and catching up with other bloggers. Thanks HP once again for the great night ! As you can see, it’s rather rare for me to post up pictures of myself on my blog but the SJP perfume is my current favourite ! Will someone please get it for me ? (puppy eyes) Hur.
I’ll give this movie a 2.5/5 but a 5 for the gorgeous dresses and yummy eyecandies ! They coo, we coo and coo some more together..that’s how the movie goes.
A quick review on both movies that I caught recently. It’s the battle between the IM 2.
Iron Man 2 – Even though I’m not exactly a hardcore comic book fan, it was rather easy to catch on the characters with its brief build-up and backstory scenes between the characters. One scene that I thought was superbly done was the grand prix scene in Monaco with the introduction of the character Vanko aka Whiplash. Another would be the scene whereby WarMachine and Iron Man battled against the Vanko and his droids army. Overall, the movie was really enjoyable but I thought the fighting scenes could be longer (like seriously, fighting against Vanko took less than 1 minute ?! That’s…noob.)
Of course, you can’t resist the charm of Robert Downey Jr and stunning Scarlett Johansson as Natalie Rushman. Apparently The Avengers will be out in 2012, I believe this is a good intriguing ‘trailer’ for fans out there. Jon Favreau (Director) handled the action and special effects with real skill, I have to say it was better than what I’d have expected.
Ip Man 2 – A real dramatic martial arts film, in terms of plot and characterization, it portrayed how Chinese people were treated by the British back in those days, as well as the western perceptions towards Chinese martial arts. A random rush of Chinese pride after watching this film, especially when you recall the history of how the Chinese have always been ‘bullied’ by the Japanese then British during that period. Patriotism much. (Jackie Chan should just step aside with his crappy police beat them up action flicks)
Sammo Hung is one of my favourite martial art actor and I think his character was terrific. It’s a shame that it won’t be a trilogy as to build up the characters more and there would be a better focus in Ip Man 2′s story. Impressive use of technology to showcase the traditional martial arts and I really enjoyed the fighting scenes. As usual, the villains in most movies are rather astonishingly dumb, like how 20 men would wait patiently for their turn to whack Donnie Yen or having one ignorant boorish British man offending the entire Chinese population, but that’s how movies do it – unfolding the next events.
If you’re not exactly into the action, I must add that Huang Xiaoming (Leung) is rather cute as Donnie’s first student. Too bad there wasn’t much worth-watching scenes of him except being a troublemaker (which instigated the fight that brings Yen and Hung together)
I’ll give this movie a 4.5/5 !
If you have only time for just one movie this summer, I would say go for Ip Man 2 !
Let’s put it this way, Terry Gilliam isn’t the most coherent story-teller and is the kind of director whom you either love or hate. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is either utter rubbish or rather epic for movie-goers. Unlike the boyfriend, I’ll choose the latter. Almost like how things just don’t make sense at first but evolves into a somewhat fantastic, abstract, and amazing imagery. I feel that the film was rather ‘Hitchcockian’ as well and quite similar to how he directed 12 Monkeys. (Which is not a compliment IMHO)
So the story follows Doctor Parnassus (Christopher Plummer) and his traveling theater troupe, which includes Anton (Andrew Garfield), Percy (Verne Troyer) and his daughter Valentina (Lily Cole) as they try to show people the enlightenment within life – through a mirror which brings u to the imaginarium that’s some sort of dreamland where your wildest fantasy are realized. Mr. Nick (Tom Waits) aka the Devil, on the other hand, allows people to get quick gratification they desire. So at a certain point the person in the imaginarium will be given a choice of easy temptation or harder road to enlightenment.
Obviously if you choose the former, your soul will end up with the Satan, while the latter will return and be happy. I will not spoil the rest of the story but Tony (Heath Ledger) was rescued by the troupe and the story progresses from there.
While most people won’t embrace the fantastical,the scenes inside the imaginarium were pretty awesome with the (hand-drawn?) CGI. I thought the usage of CGI environments were pretty well-blended into the story. However,the way how Tony as a character morphing into Johnny Depp/Jude Law/Colin Farrell was just too convoluted and forced. Perhaps Ledger’s death affected the ‘original presentation’ but it felt really incomplete. On a side note, I’m not sure if it’s just me or the dialogues were rather muffled. Perhaps it’s post-production but it was a struggle to understand the actors at times.
There were just way too much set-up to absorb and it was like the movie will never get going ! Just like how your naggy old dad is telling you a story and keeps on interrupting himself with random things, that’s how the movie started. The plot just won’t start rolling and it took me awhile to understand (I won’t even dare to say fully understood) the movie. I’m quite sure the impatient movie-goers would have walked out of the theatre before the story actually start flowing. (You should see how the grumpy boyfriend was frowning at the end of the movie.HAHA!)
I was quite disturbed when I see Doctor Parnassus romancing his daughter, Valentina, or rather her mother who was played by the same actress. It was almost like incestuous ! But Lily Cole is really gorgeous in a special way. Percy”s one-liners cracked me up during the film but overall, I didn’t think any characters actually stood out but great acting nonetheless. I don’t think I’m bias to say that Johnny Depp was brilliant even though it was just a short appearance. In fact, it was only at that point where I understood the story better ! Sadly Ledger didn’t get to act in those imaginarium scenes, would be fantastic to see a quirky side of him.
To keep it short and simple – Watch it if you’re a Ledger’s fan, it’s his last performance afterall. Watch it if you’re Johnny Depp fan. Watch it if you like bizzare stuff. Watch it if you’re a deep thinker (especially if like me, you can relate it to the bible/religion etc). Watch it if you like detailed settings and wardrobe. Watch it if you’re patient enough to stay through the movie. Else don’t bother. Not the usual Hollywood film that movie-goers would enjoy ! I’ll give it a 3.5/5 personally !
Caught the premiere screening of Astro Boy with the boyfriend at Golden Village earlier on. Before I share my thoughts on Astro Boy, I think Singaporeans are really inconsiderate when it comes to such events which are free seating. I don’t see how you can’t move in - knowing that others who come in later than you will have a hard time moving to the middle seats. OR putting your bags next to you to occupy another seat. Like seriously, quite a disgrace to call myself Singaporean when you are in such situations.
Anyways, the synopsis for Astro Boy reads something like how a typical Japanese cartoon would be like – Set in futuristic Metro City, Astro Boy is a young robot with incredible powers created by a brilliant scientist. The robot then turns into a hero and save Metro City and embarks on a journey in search of his destiny. Cliché but it was not what I was expecting after the nice happy start of the film.
Without a doubt, the best thing about Astro Boy was the hard hitting and rather dark first act that sets the back story. We see the brilliant scientist Dr. Tenma (Nicholas Cage) and his really smart human son being introduced. Not having a single clue of how Astro Boy’s story is like, I would have expected some science-experiment-went-wrong which transformed the son to a heroic figure with super powers as it’s a children-friendly film. How the film went was much darker and the emotional depth was surprisingly effective in the rejection scene which followed shortly between the scientist and the recreated son. I thought this component of the film was well handled and it gave a solid foundation for the film to kick off with.
Overall, the animation was not fantastic but attractive enough from both animation and cinematography perspective. I liked how 2D and 3D animation is blended together to produce a visually appealing piece. I think Imagi (the Hong Kong Animation Studio) did a slick job for the CG and kinda bring the whole story to life. There are a number of ‘useless’ yet interesting characters that piece the film together. For instance, I really liked the 3 robots called the “Robot Revolutionary Front” who were the comical relief in the film. Although it felt as though these sidekick characters were created to take up screen time but I think their presence added the entertainment element – even if they have no positive or negative impact for the story. You can totally agree with the robots’ last line” Well, I guess we didn’t actually do anything” – quite right!
One thing I’ve never liked about animation movies is that you have all these voices of high profile actors are not necessary the best choice. Most of them were emotionless and flat when it comes to portraying their animated characters. Then again, I think guys will like Kristen Bell as Cora even if, in my opinion, Cora’s character was rather weak. I’m not sure how different the Manga is as compared to the film but I find the messages behind the story were literally in your face – like “how fitting in when you’re different from others harder to do than you thought” (somewhere along that line) or how you can never replace your loved ones etc. However, I find the music by John Ottman infused the right atmosphere and really fits the film.
Overall, the movie started off with a bang but weakens as the movie reaches the end. Especially when you were expecting the action to get more exciting – reaching “OH NO,ITS THE END OF THE WORLD” when the red core and the blue core meets…but hell no, it was a “That’s it ?!” disappointing moment for me. I didn’t quite get why the president kept repeating that he is trying to win an election, going on and on about it…like what’s the point ? (inside joke?) Isn’t evil guys suppose to destroy the world with such great power ?! That’s how the story should be like ! (I’m sadist)
It was quite a straightforward story for kids to understand with jokes that are good enough for the adults to chuckle over. I have a soft spot for this iconic figure created by Osamu Tezuka aka “God of Manga” because of his cute hairdo and spunky red boots. So I’ll say it’s a 4 out of 5 (despite my slightly negative review) for this fun family film that everyone can comes away happy for different reasons. It could have been better.
It opens in cinema this coming Thursday, 5th November !
A reinvention of the original Oscar-winning hit film, Fame ! This a remake of the original musical & soundtrack made popular in the 80’s. The album features stunning tracks by the cast and other popular songs from the incredible film. After taking a listen to it (courtesy of the nice people at Universal Music), here’s what I think of it!
1.Welcome To P.A. – Raney Shockne
2.Fame – Naturi Naughton
3.Big Things – Anjulie
4.Ordinary People – Asher Book
5.This Is My Life – Hopsin, Ak’Sent, Tynisha Keli & Donte “Burger” Winston
8.You’ll Find A Way (Switch & Sinden Remix) – Santigold
9.Can’t Hide From Love – Naturi Naughton & Collins Pennie
10.Black & Gold – Sam Sparro
11.Back To Back – Collins Pennie featuring Ashleigh Haney
12.I Put A Spell On You – Raney Shockne featuring Eddie Wakes
13.Get On The Floor – Naturi Naughton & Collins Pennie
14.Try – Asher Book
15.You Took Advantage Of Me – Megan Mullally
16.Too Many Women (Damon Elliott Remix) – Rachael Sage
17.Someone To Watch Over Me – Asher Book
18.You Made Me Love You – Raney Shockne featuring Oren Waters
19.Hold Your Dream – Naturi Naughton, Asher Book, Kay Panabaker
Quite a well-balanced list of up-tempo numbers and a few ballards, though it was almost like Naturi Naughton EP because you can see the name in almost every other song ! Voice isn’t too bad and I thought “Out here on my own” was quite a nice track. Then again, I’m biased since I like Asher Book (featured here as my last AOTW with his song “Try”) alot more ! Love his cover of John Legend’s “Ordinary People” as well !
In my opinion, kids from the Drama/Dance Club will love this OST because of the upbeat songs and if you’ve caught the movie, you’ll know what it is all about. The strong dance-pop influenced album is more of a crowd-pleaser rather than focusing on the original soulful music. Still worth listening if you enjoyed the movie or just need something easy to listen to while working !
The movie is already screening in cinemas since 25th Sept (I know I’m pretty SLOW at this, catch it NOW if you have not) ! The soundtrack is also available out in stores, check out getmusic.com.sg for more information.
I have FAME OST CD and goodie to give away as well !
Just drop me an ONE email (exit18 [at] gmail [dot] com) before 15th Oct 2009 2359 hrs with your contact details (name/email/blog if any! *Singapore residents ONLY*)
It is indeed a remarkable achievement for Harry Potter to enter its sixth movie, I still remember watching the first and thinking “oh my god,this totally ruin the book!” Without a doubt, I’m one of those who prefers reading the books to watching it on the big screen – this time is no exception.
I have to say the effects were marvelous, judging how clever they put the “magic” into the “real world”. I quite miss the magical moving paintings on the walls and the ever complicated stairways, Hogwarts looks too “normal” in this film, it felt as though alot of details were lacking. Speaking of lacking, the action in the film seems to be background-ed by the focus on the characters and the romance between these teenagers. Sure,it’s puberty but snogging and crying over boys/girls isn’t exactly what I’m here for. Complex human beings indeed. I had to control my giggles when I thought of various reasons why Dumbledore likes to invite Harry to his room alone, c’mon ! Look at the way he looks at Harry ! (HAHA)
I’ve always thought the death eaters deserve more scenes than the good old Harry, I’m glad Malfoy and Snape stole the limelight for a second. I thought Tom Felton (Malfoy) did a good job at the killing scene, his acting skills has improved from the last films. This film was definitely “darker” than the previous installments but the lack of spells and actions was disappointing. It is already obvious for audience to guess the ending, I thought the screenwriters tried a little too hard this time, could have taken a more passive approach towards the ending. The Dark Lord is straightforward evil, even non-Harry Potter fans would have known, the show just leads to their showdown no matter how the story develops. Harry is never going to escape from the confrontation of the approaching evil dark force and good people always die – well,here and there.
I do like the young Tom Riddle, he sure gives me the creeps. Thankfully, there’s Emma Watson to save the day. You have to admit that she’s looking great as compared to her fellow actors, the twins were pretty amusing – I really miss Cedric aka Robert Pattinson though. (hee hee)
Just a tip for people who are intending to watch this – do your homework ! Expect characters jumping into the scene without proper introductions (and disappearing, like Slughorn from the finale) or broken storyline if you are clueless about the Harry Potter series. The storytelling moves forward too quickly and it concentrates on the characters more than ever, lacking the continuity from previous films. The Half-Blood Prince to me was purely a “set up” to the next one, like superior continuation of a TV series which hopefully gets better. Till now, I still think that the movies never really lived up to the books.
And my owl must be late, where’s my letter to Hogwarts !