Monday, November 27, 2006

The magic of The Prestige

I wasn't quite sure how to write this review. I thought that the movie is brilliant but you see, I don't quite like the ending. The idea suggested in the end was too mind-boggling to grasp that somehow, I felt cheated because I could never have seen it coming. This, despite that the ending was hinted before it was revealed but the concept was just too fantastic that I rejected the notion, and looked forward to other more logical explanation. This is akin to the experience I went through when I read Alan Moore's "The Watchmen".

Therefore, I found it difficult to write this review without revealing the ending because without it, I would not be able to describe how I feel. Yet, I do not wish to spoil the ending for anyone who had not watch it yet.

Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale played two magicians who started off as friends but ended up as enemies, whose rivalry grew deadlier with time. Jackman's Angier is more a showman and less a magician, and strictly abided by his principle of not getting his hands dirty, like killing little animal for the sake of performance. Bale's Borden, on the other hand, a superior magician albeit with poorer showmanship, believes that sacrifice must be made and literally lived his trick in his everyday lives, even keeping the secret of his tricks from his beloved wife.

When the movie begins, Angier drowned to death in a magic trick gone wrong. Being present at the crime scene, Borden was eventually convicted for his murder. The story then unfolded through a series of flashback on how they both began their carrer as magicians and how they became the enemies that they were, leading subsequently, to the murder of Angier. Of course, like the magic tricks that are the theme of this movie, nothing is as it seems. Watch this and be astonished, not unlike watching magic itself.

I used the word earlier and I will use it again. Mind- boggling. Do not watch this when you're having a headache.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I am Bond... born again

"Dry martinis."

"Shaken or stirred?"

"Do I looked like I give a damn?"

Well, I heard this is going to be a very different Bond. He is, tough as nail and extremely dangerous. I am guessing that everyone has either watch the movie or read its review so I will just skip the part of the storyline here.

For the record, I like Brosnan's Bond for no other reason than he is super smooth and suave. I like smooth. Connery's Bond is universally accepted as the best while the others who ever (attempted to) played this characters are pretty forgetable. Unexpectedly, Craig just managed to slips in the ranking between Connery and Brosnan.

This is by far the most realistic Bond film I saw and it calls for a new tougher and harder hero. With a little of Connery's charm, Brosnan's suaveness and a whole new level of unprecendented toughness, Craig will erase all doubt casted upon him as the new Bond. Everyone is loving the new Bond and I do wonder if they are going to maintain the hot-headed character portrayed here or as the films progressed, will he evolve into the Connery's Bond we have all come to know.

As with all recent Bonds, the producers tried to give a Bond girl more equal to Bond himself and they succeded admirably here. But instead of merely being merely smarter or tougher than the classic Bond girls, they create one with strength in character instead and it is easy to understand how Bond could falls in love with her.

I am not sure if I am the only one complaining here but I am not too impressed by the villain though. Sure, at one point he orchestrated the capture and torture of James Bond but beyond that, he never struck me as dangerous. It was also quite a dissappointment that as a professional gambler, he would has such a tell-tale sign of bluffing. It's a wonder Bond is the only one who caught on to it.

I would like to mention about Chow Yuen Fatt in "The God of Gamblers". In that film, the villain observed that Chow has a tendency of subtly touching his ring whenever he bluffs. He tried to uses this knowledge, along with a series of dirty tricks to defeat the God of Gamblers only to find out in the end that Chow deliberately played out this habit for an entire year in order to mislead him. Brilliant... but I guess most of the world are just not obsessed with gambling as the Chinese are?

OK, back to Bond. Like I mentioned earlier, I like smooth. Craig is a little weak when he played smooth but for what he lack in suaveness, he more than make up for in gritty toughness. An enjoyable movie overall.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Will Draw For $

In the month of September 2006, a friend recruited me to do a comission work for a pre-school book for 4 years old. A total of 24 pages of drawing in 2 weeks- pencilled, inked, coloured and layout. I did it in a little over 3. Fortunately, they still accepted and paid me as agreed.

It wasn't easy drawing for children. Not to me anyway. I grew up drawing superheroes afterall. I was struggling with the correct proportion but in the end, I pulled through, thanks to the unrelenting and uncompromising criticism my dear sister provided. The whole look is quite inconsistent but I think I am getting the hang of it. The publisher is pleased too.

The moral of the story; Criticism is good. Listen to it and use it to improve yourself.

I am grateful to land the job and just as glad when it's over. I am still holding a full time job and only had time to complete the drawing in the night. For almost a month, I went to bed only at 1 am and woke up at 7 am for my day job. I practically do not have the time to see any friends outside of work.

I can't wait for my next project on Feb next year.
My first piece, also the piece that got me the assignment. This is one of the piece that worked out as I hope but the boys look like they are older than 4. No big deal though.
A family portrait. This is exactly the piece I did. No changes although I realise (after submission of my work) that there is no shadow on the floor. Gasp... a floating family.

Two pieces on emotion.
Some other selected images. I kinda like the one with the three friends. Original drawing was very small though, only about 5 x 5 cm so there isn't much room for detail.

Two pieces of maze that I need to do. I have to make sure it's not too challeging for 4 years old though. I enjoyed creating these mazes. Maybe I will make one with higher difficulty just for the kick of it.

Well... like it? If you have any commission work to offer me, let me know.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Dentist Visit

It's ironic. I never have any problem with my teeth or visit a dentist in my 29 plus years of living until now, 2 months after I joined a dental supply equipment.

About a month ago, I noticed there was a stain on my second premolar tooth on the upper right quadrant. Terms I learnt from my current job but since I am the one who just got a filling along with a warning that I might need a root canal, I am not feeling too cocky.

I intended to get a checkup on this but which doctor should I look for? In my line of work, I have come to know several dentists whom I know is really good but premium services comes with premium charges. Also, knowing the benefit of laser tretment, specifically, laser supplied BY my company, I intended to only look for a dentist with similar equipment. This eliminate the only dentist I know who is delicately careful but charges reasonable rate simply because he hasn't own the laser yet. In a case of knowing more than I need but less than I want, I kept delaying the dreaded visit to the dentist. Furthermore, I brushed my teeth twice a day and there was no pain or sensitivity whatsoever. Surely it can't be that bad. Maybe just a bit of decay that can easily be sterilised and the tooth remineralised?

Well, a friend went to a polyclinic for checkup and scaling. registration is only RM 1 and the scaling for RM 2. Very cheap. I came up with the ingenious idea of going there for check up and then deciding later, which doctor to visit for treatment.

I visited them today and the dentist told me I need a filling. Not just on the tooth I mentioned but also another on a tooth on my upper left quadrant. And when she proceed with the filling, I did not object, having totalling forgotten at that time that the girlfriend of my friend just had a filling redone as the first one fell out. Premium dollar for premium care. I just paid RM 2 for this filling. What type of service am I getting here???

To give the dentist credit, I thought she did a good job although I really wish she didn't keep asking her nurse how many patient is waiting outside. I don't doubt her skill but I do wonder if she care more about my oral health or about going home early. She did not even do the filling for the other tooth, telling me to return again. She never tell me what she is doing and what my option is but followed her Nike syndrome to "just do it". Whatever answers I have, I got by staying back and asking. Apparently, my teeth grow very close and tight so it is difficult to remove food stuck between. But I always check, that is how I notice the stain. She answered all the questions I can think of but I got the feeling like I was holding her captive against her will.

"What is wrong with this guy? Let me see my last patient so I may go home!!"

For some people, I guess it is OK. By some people, I am referring to those people who don't care about their teeth and went to the dentist only when they are seriously aching. I am not one of those people. I want to be able to smile with a full set of my natural teeth when being photographed on my 90th birthday celebration. So much for that wish. Served me right for never visiting the dentist all this time, for arrogantly believing that good genes and low craving for sweet is all I need to maintain my teeth. Afterall, my father smoked and only brushed indifferently once a day and he is still able to chew through fresh sugarcane.

And the moral of the story is; take good care of your teeth and remember to visit your dentist. I felt so silly because my previous company has a dental plan but I never use it. I only thought of going for a scaling when I was resigning, then feel guilty about using the company resourses so I didn't. Bodoh.

And when you are visiting your dentist, ask if he/ she used laser. Better still, tell your dentist you prefer laser treatment for your teeth under the precision of magnification of a microscope, then tell me which clinic and where. Heh heh.

Damn, treted tooth feels a bit cool now. I hope it's just my imagination.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Birth

Since I am new at this and am going to post something as a test, I might as well make something out of it and write about the name of this blog.

Before that, I just want to add that the date of birth for this site of 11 November is no coincidence. I chose this date of double eleven. However, as I was trying name after name that turned out to be taken, and passing the intended birthtime of 11.11 am, it never occur to me to try the name double-eleven. I came up with instead.

As it turned out, it wasn't so bad. As an artist (OK... an aspiring comic artist), I started most, if not all my drawing with a pencil. The name indicated a comic book superhero character and the title itself is like a movie name, which, being a movie buff of sort, is quite complementary.

The Pencilman Lives - um... kinda cheesy actually. Oh well...