Sunday, December 16, 2007

World of Idols

The first Idol show I followed was American Idol Season 3, and if memory serve me right, it was in the same year of the first and only World Idol. I caught that on a repeat telecast and it was the first time I saw Kelly Clarkson in action. (Well.. I don't watch a lot of TV or listen to the radio much then). Kelly sang Natural Woman and I thought, "How can she only won second place? The other contestents aren't even half as good as her!" Clips from her time in American Idol shows an adorable bubbly personality and her attention to what the judges said display such intelligence and openness to constructive critism. (some contestents actually argued with the judge, I recalled one who cussed too). I mean.. what a woman... my kinda gal.

Could not find a clip of her in World Idol. This is a similar performance in American Idol.

And then of course Kurt Nilsen from Norway opened his mouth and I can only go, "Oh.. ooooh!" Kurt Nilsen won the World Idol hands down fair and square.
It was 8TV (best free TV channel in the country) that brought the Idol show to Malaysia 4 years ago with Malaysian Idol. The other stations wouldn't bring it in because the franchise was too expensive. 8TV makes no secret that its intention was to send a Malaysian Idol onto the world stage and our very first Idol, Jaclyn Victor proved that she has the prowess to be there. Unfortunately, there was never a second World Idol show.
The good news however, is that the first Asian Idol, with idols from six Asian countries, just finished its competition stage some half an hour ago as I am typing this. And our first Malaysian Idol was right up there with Singapore Idol, Vietnam Idol, Philippines Idol, Indonesia Idol and India Idol. I'm not good with names so I can't remember them but the Vietnam Idol is really pretty. Poor gal is not too happy when one judge commented that whether she can sings or not, she has the greatest commercial value of all the contestents there. She wants to hear compliment on her singing, not her look. She already knows she is pretty. What a character. Nice...
OK... Jaclyn Victor! She definitely did Malaysia proud. I think she has the most powerful vocal there. One judge said that she is too technical but I think that is one skill where she really outperformed the other. On the judge point that it was too technical that she failed to immersed herself in the song? I'm not sure, I didn't quite notice.
But the Idol is a win by votes competition. How can the show avoids bias judgement? Every countries is bound to vote for their own idol right? The Asian Idol solution is that each voter has to votes for two favourites or his/her vote will not count. This way I can vote for my own idol as well as another deserving Idol at the same time. For example, I voted Malaysia as well as each other country three times. That means each Singapore Idol, Vietnam Idol, Philippines Idol, Indonesia Idol and India Idol each got three votes from me while Malaysian Idol got 15. Suddenly, I am not too sure about their system. If 10 million Malaysians vote as I did, imagine what the score would be for Jaclyn? But then again, what is our measly population compared to India or Indonesia? My condolences to Vietnam and Singapore, by the way.
I recalled the system in the World Idol was that you cannot vote for your own country (unless you happened to be in another country at the time of voting). The result from each country is first individually ranked and then collectively tabulated. Using point system determined by the contestents' ranking, the rightful winner is finally fairly announced.
My suspicion for Asian Idol is that they will eliminate all the own country vote, otherwise Indonesia Idol will almost certainly wins. Why asking us to vote for 2 countries in the first place when they intend to do that then?
To ensure that we DO vote. One possible reason there wasn't a second World Idol is probably the lack of response to voting. By letting us vote for 2 countries, they tugged at our spirit of patriotism to support our local Idol as well as ensuring that we send votes for someone else that we think deserved to win. Yes.. I too can get very technical.
Which also means damn.. I just sent 3 votes for each country against my own. Oops..
Another thing I really wonder about is the quality of the sound mixing. The judges loved Philippines Idol's rendition of Reach but to me, it was rather flat without much high and low, as if she was saving her breath for an explosive ending which I thought she failed to deliver. When they show the recap however, it was totally different as she was actually really powerful. That was what the judges hear. That was what brought in the positive comments. Unfortunately for the home audiences, the poor sound mixing of the broadcast understated the true extend of the Idols' talent.
In my humblest and most honest opinion, I still think Malaysian Idol delivered the best performance. Jacyln Victor's vocal and showmanship (especially her showmanship) is unparalleled to the other Idols.
Yes.. I voted for my own Idol but my opinion is only 5% biased.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Do our education lack a secret recipe?

I really need to write about something other than movie review.

Jaclyn sent me a link today on sales event in Malaysia and the first thing that caught my eyes is the Secret Recipe's 10th year anniversary celebration where they will be giving away one free cake with every cake purchased.
Being one of the most popular cakes in town, there is naturally a lot of excitement. In the forum, people started asking if anyone knows what are the term and conditon, or if there will be a limit to how many cake a single customer can purchase, what cakes are available in this promotion..
My initial thought is this is probably restricted to dine in order only but nobody seems to have the answer. I did the only thing I can do then. I clicked on the link provided to Secret Recipe website.
Lo and Behold!
All the information are there. Why can't anyone just click on the damned link? Is that so much of a hassle? Is it more productive to ask in the forum and keep checking for an answer that never comes? Do we blame the government for an incompetent education system that apparently left us all waiting to be spoon fed all the times?
If anyone is curiuos, the... know what? nobody should wait to be spoonfed. Anyone who is interested to know only need to know one thing. All info is in the Secret Recipe website!

Delightfully Enchanting

Two fairy tales in a week and I love them both. I hope I am not getting soft.
But while Stardust is a tale of adventure and destiny, Enchanted is about something even greater - love.
Don't let my choice of words fool you. Enchanted is nowhere as epic or grand as Stardust. It is just much more delightful to watch.
Starting off as a cartoon, with the beautiful Giselle and the handsome Prince Edward falling in love at first sight, the movie quickly took a twist when Prince Edward's evil stepmother, reluctant to step down from the throne as Queen, banished Giselle into another world. Our world, or the middle of New York City, to be precise.
New York City is a world very different from the enchanted land of Andalasia. The sweet and innocent Giselle would not last one night in New york had she not meet dashing lawyer Robert who happened to be passing by with his daughter. Giselle however, is not doomed to be stuck in New York forever as her chipmunk friend, Pip saw everything and alerted the prince to come rescue her.
As with most of the leading ladies in traditional fairy tales, Giselle is full of love,ever kindhearted, eternally optimistic, hopelessly trusting, enjoys cleaning the house, speak to animal, sings at every opportunity.. the list goes on. In short, she gives us every reason to love her, provided we do not overdosed from her sweetness. From her horror upon arrival, to her delight of making new friend, to her cluelessness of the way of our world, and her joy when she sings, Amy Adams fits into this animated role so effortlessly she might as well be an animation herself.
Equally animated, Prince Edward was also swallow, as was every Prince Charming in existence. If we looked back at all those Disney cartoons, the prince never did anything but show up in the end of the movie to marry Snow White or Cinderella. At least in Sleeping Beauty, he fought a dragon. Still, it was fun to watched him basking in his own glory of greatness and courage.
Robert was probably the least remarkable of the three characters. But he is dashing and Dempsey does dashing well. All the ladies would swoon over him. The children I suspect, would prefer the prince.
It was a fun filled movie with plenty of laugh worthy moments and a few good song. It was the characters that made this movie comes alive, most notably Amy Adams's excellent portrayal of Giselle. Clearly a children film but the dance sequence near the end was so well done it upped the romance element several notches. The humour would appeal to most comedy lovers too. Definitely the best date movie I ever seen, if only I had a date.
Ah.. maybe it won't be long before I found my true love kiss..

Friday, December 7, 2007

Shining Stars

There are times when I just want to be thrilled by nerve-wrecking action on screen, or awed with the acrobatic prowess of a martial art exponent. Other times, nothing engaged me more than the mind game and strategy two brilliant opponents employed on one another. Then again, sometimes I just want to laugh my heart out on the silliest matter. But nothing really beat the charm and delight of watching a fairy tale.Stardust is a story about a young man's journey across the wall from the mortal world of Wall, England into the magical world Stormhold to retrieve a fallen star to prove his love to a girl. In that realm however, the star took the form of another beautiful girl. Young Tristan convinced the star, Yvaine to follow him home so he may present her to his love. Unknown to them however, hot on their trail is a wicked witch intended to capture the star, whose heart is able to restore her youth and a prince aftering her for a jewel she found and wore, so he may rightfully take the throne.
The story may not be much, and we can already guess of the happy ending. But it was the journey, not the destination that matter the most isn't it? Neil Gaiman had fill the story with some very likable and memorable characters as well as interesting concepts. The very idea of a fallen star taking the form of a human is by itself fresh. It was delightful how she literally shines when she is filled with joy. Then there are the ghosts of dead princes stranded on earth until a new king is crowned, which made for good laugh. The magic chain that rebond after it is cut is a simple but neat idea. But my favourite has to be the flying ship, with net that flap out like wings, used to collect lightning in stormy skies and subsequently sold as spell.
The movie has an easy flow with everything tying up nicely in the end. While I am not too familiar with Neil Gaiman's work, the film was too apparently light for his style. I was told that the original story was darker and does not have a happy ending. Although fans will swear that the book is much better, and the work is illustrated by Charles Vess, whose works I absolutely adore, I am not too sure I want to know the story in any other way than what was portrayed in the movie.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Need-More-Wonder Emporium

A children movie about a magical toy store, Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium appeared to already has the right ingredients to charms its viewer, very much like Willy Wonka's chocolate factory in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. After all, what more could children love as much as chocolate if not toys?

But that is exactly what they failed to do, imbueing enough wonder into the film.
The film actually has a promising start. Hoffman's Mr Magorium, being the over 200 years old magic character he is, was delightful and likable and naturally said the strangest thing. His toys store has been around for a long time and he was planning to pass it down to store's manager, Molly played by Natalie Portman. To faciliate this transfer, the accountant Henry was hired. But when the magical store itself learnt of his planned departure, it began to throw a temper tantrum. Colours on wall desaturated and toys started to misbehave. It is up to Mr Magorium's as the fatherly figure to the store to persuade the store to accept Molly as the new owner and to Molly to retain the magic in the store.
Charming story this. If only the writer knew where to focus the story on. Everything that seems so wonderful and creative about the movie appeared to dwindle as the movie progress. I would prefer to see Mr Magorium training Molly to take over the store and using the opportunity to showcase more magical things that happened within instead of Molly trying to convince him not to depart. The direction got a bit too serious, even when the writers tried to make it light. In the end. they tried too hard to write a meaningful story that they neglected the magic. Some adults seems lost to what story the movie is trying to tell, I doubt the children will get it.
Children's movie does not always need to tell a meaningful story. The writers need to let go of reality and let their imagination just take over. I read a children book off the shelf of a bookstore about a boy taking a bath and before long, he was joined by many wild animals one by one. I admitted I don't remember the details much there is at least an elephant and a whale in his bathtub before he is done. In the end, the book never suggested that it was all just his imagination and it was an absolute delight to read it.
Yes.. the playful cardboard dinosaur was funny and the hug-hungry sock monkey was totally adorable. That were exactly what the movie need, in extra large helping. All that is sadly wanting in this movie.
But not all is lost. There is one scene in the beginning of the film when Mr Magorium told Henry how very long ago, he fell in love with a pair of shoes and bought enough pairs to last him a lifetime. That is how he knew his time is up because he is now wearing the last pair. Of course that doesn't make sense but there is something so charming about it that it will probably be the one thing I will remember about the movie in years to come.
Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium could certainly do with a little more wonder.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Of Hero and Liar

Look at the movie pass above. Apart from Kee Lin is too broke to pay for movie that is why he only watches free movie nowaday, what else can you tell?
Is anyone aware that the entire movie is rendered in CG? Looking at the promotional image, I never suspect a thing. Something doesn't quite looked right but I never once suspect the movie isn't a live motion picture.
I was told that Beowulf is a Scandinavian mythology but really, all those praises to Odin is already a dead giveaway. The movie begins with celebration of victory in war and of the new hall built. This celebration is cut short when a monster, a giant in the form of a very deformed human attack and killed most of the men there. When King Hrothgar challenged the monster however, it chose to flee. Out of sorrow, the new great hall is sealed and the King offered as reward to anyone who can kill this monster Grendel, half of all the golds he owns. Beowulf arrived and slayed Grendel, not realising that its mother is an even greater terror.
The story and script is acceptable but after the first confrontation between Beowulf and Grendel's mother, it kind of lost its direction. Much is not explained in the movie with the biggest question of all, why did Grendel's mother did what she did? She did not kill the killer of her child but instead bear another with him and gave him glory as king and warrior, undefeatable as long as she deems fit.
Isn't she trying to avenge Grendel's end?
I have no problem with how the story ends however. It was actually quite apt. How else can it ends? That's the way folklore goes.
Though not exceptional, the script is provoking enough. Fans of Neil Gaiman will still be disappointed as it somehow lacked the depth that he well known for. Still, the speech he gave to a defeated invader on why he cannot be killed is pretty powerful. It was also interesting how he tried evading Hrothgar's direct question on whether he kill Grendel's mother. I also happen to recall a scene when he explained how he lost a swimming marathon because he got caught up in a battle with a sea monster when in fact he was seduced by a mermaid.
Damned Beowulf is horny and a liar!
Since most of us were fooled by the poster of the movie, it goes without saying that the graphic was what really stood out in the movie. Due to its realistic factor, it will bound to draw comparison to Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within. The difference though, is that the color in FF:TSW is more highly saturated and the characters have more beautiful hair. I recalled right away that in the movie Virtuocity, Denzel Washington had his entire head scanned so the special effect team may render him likeliness and filmed all his stunt digitally, which is what is being done to the entire film here. To compress the size of the file however, they scraped off some unnecessay details.
Herein lies the problem with CGI. Making everything in full detail takes too much time and space so the programmers tend to cut corners somewhere, ie the supporting characters and the extras. Most of the men in the movie are probably fully rendered digitally and thus, lack the realism compared to the main characters. Even the stars were rendered in different level of details with Angelina Jolie's character as Grendel's mother the strongest while John Malkovich's Unferth the weakest. Unferth was almost unable to make any expression whatsoever. And with the raw data of the highly detailed rendition of Jolie, the programmers are now free to render her anyway they want. Tsk.. it wasn't so difficult to understand how they list their priority after all.
But why make it a CG? Why can't they just film it? With a script like that, the film would be made better when we can see some real acting. Not Oscar worthy definitely but live would still be better.
In the end, this is a movie that leave much to the viewers' own imagination. Though it has good monster fight scene supported with a decent script, it doesn't really has the substance or depth. Falling short from being an epic, most viewers were probably more interested in seeing Angelina Jolie.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Eat Your Vegetables, Shoot Your Load

"You know what I hate the most?"
Watching a crappy movie like Shoot 'em up and actually found myself enjoying it.

Shoot 'em Up is a satire of action noir movie. The story begins with Clive Owen's Smith rescueing a pregnant woman from a group of assasins. The woman died and he ran off with the baby, intending to keep him safe and finding out the reason for the assasination.
Everything in the movie, from the people to the words to the action are either vulgar or downright ridiculous. Smith actually delivered a baby in the middle of an action in the beginning of the film and later does the same in the middle of making love to Bellucci's Donna.
"Talk about shooting your load", he said.
The movie could easily become a very bad B-graded movie except that it was evident that everything incredibly stupid about the movie is actually quite deliberate.
As if to show that this is not just a mindless action film, a lot of twist and turn are thrown in, wrapping the film in a tight conspiracy theory. Both the hero and the baddy, Hertz, also demonstrated intelligence in the pursuit for truth for the former and in locating his target for the latter. Yes... the logic used in their "investigation" is silly, I admit. Hertz located Donna because he realised that the baby needed to be fed and started looking for all lactating prostitute in the city. Smith discovered who the baby's real father is when he noticed an article in the newspaper he was using as diaper for the baby.
Clive Owen, both as an actor and as the character Smith in this movie is without a doubt the reason why this movie is so fun to watch. He is perfect for such kind of role isn't he? The dark noir type of tough guy in trench coat with a haunting past who smokes heavily to drown away his sorrow. Except for the unique twist that he doesn't smoke. He eats carrots. It is, after all, a healthier alternative, not to mention that he can used it as a weapon, or to reach a gun just beyond his grasp. Eating carrots never looked so cool before.
Another thing that most of us, or at least I can relate to is how much he hates road bully. Smith drove up to the car and forced it off the road. A very bad influence, I always wanted to do that. Most, if not every character such as the one he played here is righteous but his choice of what to be righteous about is really fresh.
With Smith disposing all the assault thrown onto him, including the 50 henchmen who ambushed his home, Hertz asked a very valid question.
"These men suck... or is he that damn good?"
Pretty much what crosses our mind in just about every action movie we saw. The heroes are good but the goons remained goons... idiots.
The writer director went to great length to portrayed Smith as a very exceptional and extraordinary man. His deductive reasoning is (silly but) sound and his skill with guns has to be seen to be believed. Actually it was still unbelievable even after you seen it but that was again, quite deliberate from the director.
I stepped into the theater hoping to catched a movie that would not assault my mind - I was too tired to think. I did not expect one who would tickle my senses the way this one does. An enjoyable movie as long as you are open to the idea that is is a satire. All those punny one-liner alone is enough to leave you in stitches. Leave your brain at home, just enjoy the ride.

For the record, I still rated Hot Fuzz as the classier and more intelligent satire to action movie.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

30 Days of Night

Spiderman and X-men were cool but not as cool as V for Vendetta or 300. The number of good movies adapted from comic books seems to be increasing every month, and the lesser known non-superhero title really shows everyone what a good story is really like. This month, we can add 30 Days of Night to the list.

Lying quietly in Alaska is the northern most town in US, Barrow which during the winter, faces 30 days of darkness. A group of vampires take the opportunity to hunt.
When I first read the sypnosis when the comic book first came out, I quickly thought that that was brilliant and wondered how noone ever thought of it earlier. This will be the time when the vampires can hunt freely and openly without the worries of sunrise. 720 hours to hunt and with the town communication disabled and all means of tranportation destroyed, the entire town is doomed to die feeding the vampires' hunger (or is that thirst?). And the entire town's population amount to 120 plus after a bigger majority whom left for other parts in the country to avoid these dark period. In the end, the vampires only need to burn the whole town down and noone will be able to suspect what really went on.
The vampires actually has the help of a normal human, except this is a scumbag of a human, who went into town earlier to steal and destroy all satelite phone, kill all sledge pulling dogs and damage the town's only helicopter. His reason to help these predators is he was promised to be made one of them. He didn't get his wish.
Josh Harnett played the town sheriff who initially hoped to to capture these perpetrators but upon understanding what he is facing, contented with just leading a group of survivors from their clutch, a role that he surprising, played effectively. There is only a handful of the survivors left at the end, with the sheriff making a final sacrifice to prevent the vampires from destroting all evidence.
I managed to predict how the story will conclude but I still enjoyed the whole movie. It was quite horrifying when the vampires started unleashing their terror as their intention is apparently not just to feed but also to terrorise. They don't get such chances very often, when they are in control of an entire town. The people are brave but not stupid brave and they know the best way to survive is to hide until the sun rise.
30 days later.
The vampires weren't given much of a background but it was enough actually. Aliens and predators didn't started off in the screen with much of a background either. One clear difference of these modern vampires compared to the tradisional ones is that they do not have 2 long fangs. They have a whole row of them in their mouth. The better to bite you with, dear.
The movie can get frightening but it was not scary as in horror scary. I am never quite shaken with physical horror. After all, anything that has a physical body is something that can be fought. Still, the director managed to keep the excitement and suspense up and the characters were quite likable. A worthy movie with decent story to be watched in the theater.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Sound of Music (NOT)

What does it mean when you hear a loud continous clanking sound from the back of your car as you drive?
I don't know either, which is why I stopped my car aside for a check when that happened last Tuesday evening. As it turned out, I had a flat. A long big bolt had somehow punctured the side of my tire. That sound was the sound of the bolt's head hitting the tar road as the wheel spins. I am glad I had a spare but I still can't figure out how the bolt got there.
And now I got to get a spare's spare since the spare I had is used and I no longer had that spare as spare for another time that I would need a spare. Dollar notes flying away again. Siennn!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Alice in Zombie-land

I was warned that I needed to watch the first two parts if I am to understand the story. I only know Milla Jovovich played a tough kick-ass babe combating hordes of undead zombies. It turned out that is enough to carry me through the film. I was also warned that the prequels, especially part 2, sucked big time. It turned out that part three didn't.
Milla Jovovich played, as mentioned above, a tough kick-ass babe combating hordes of undead zombies. The zombies in question were normal human infected with some kind of virus that turned them numb-minded and hungry for human flesh. Like a vampire, a normal human who did not die from an attack of an infected zombie eventually turned into one as well.
When the movie opened, the entire world is already overrun by these zombies. The Umbrella Corp, who is responsible for the outbreak is in secured hiding and desperately looking for a cure. This is done by continous cloning of Jovovich's Alice, whose DNA contained the secret to fight the viral infection. The real Alice however, is alone and on the run. It wasn't too long however, before she found and rejoin old friend Carlos, who is living among a group of human survivors who have learnt to adapt in this "post-infection" world. The third and presumebly final chapter of the movie also revealed that Alice is more than just a skillful combatant as she apparently has other power in her disposal. In the end of the movie, Alice once again faced the mandatory strong zombie nemesis.
Surprisingly, the movie wasn't action and gore all the way as time is taken to develop some of the character. and while I heard the zombie dogs were in both the prequels, Resident Evil: Extintion has a new horror to terrorise the humans in the form of undead ravens. They fly and are small enough to make shooting them difficult. Real menace but they led me to wonder, won't there be undead cockroaches and killer bees and locusts as well? Now that would be really creepy.
The chief scientist, who became Alice's nemesis, however, is pretty standard and boring villain stuff. I alway have a problem with normal human turning into super duper powerful being in such a short time. Too cliche. Still, my only complain is the nemesis itself. The rest of the movie is quite OK. The ending does not have a final closure, giving the viewers the freedom to decide what is next. For Alice and for the world.
Will there be another sequel? I don't know but Jovovich reportedly claimed she will not be playing Alice another time. Based on the reputation of the first two movie, I am surprised part 3 got made at all, but it was a good sequel made.

Of Gold and Silver.

So what is it about my company recent annual dinner that is so compelling that a month and a half after it was over, I still want to blog about it, despite it being a smaller event than the Sales conference in July?
Group photo at Sales Conference, where noone's face can be seen...

Best photo from Sales Conference, taken on third and final evening.

Personally, I did something that night I don't usually do.
I camwhored.
So yeah... many photos were taken and yeah... I had fun.

Me and the National Sales Manager (don't play play), or affectionately known as Ah Jher (big sister).

Me rocking it, Fred, Paul, Serena,Angelie, Peter, Chester, Adrian, Lim.

Kenny, Chester with wive, Peter, me, Paul, Adrian, Lim.

Paul, Bala(-ji), Siva(-ji), Adrian, me.

The annual dinner was on 31 Aug 2007. That was supposed to be my first public holiday in the company but I still had to attend a company function. Since it was held in Melaka, the company had graciously arranged for our accomodation in Fenix Inn. Don't let the name fool you. The place is quite comfortable, much better than some other places that had the cheek to call themselves a hotel. I suppose Fenix decided that instead of being an average hotel in Melaka, they rather be the best inn in town.
The theme of the night was Gold & Silver and it was only until during the mandatory speech in the beginning of the night that I realised why. It was Malaysia's Golden 50th annivery of independence as well as the company's Silver Jubilee of 25 years.
I wore a grey lined shirt to comply with the colour silver and sprayed my hair gold, as did Lim and Chester. It didn't actually coloured my hair gold but added golden glitter to it, like in stardust. Bala, whom everyone fondly remember as Zorro when he donned the mask for an earlier annual dinner again made his mark of creativity. He simply wore a white shirt with a rectangular sticker of gold and silver each on his sleeve. Hmmm...

4 out of five of the finalists for best dressed are from Sales team.

The best dressed award eventually went to Serena from Penang, with Adrian and Angelie clinching the runner-up prizes. Yup, there was no gender division and the reward left much to be desired but I guess the glamour that came with it cannot be bought by money. Right?
Still, the right incentive would have motivate more people to comply to the theme at least. Say... maybe a vacation trip. Just local would do but the bonus being the days spent during the trip would not be deducted from the winner's existing annual leave. How's that?

The not so glamourous sharing the glamour with the glamourous winners of the best dressed award.

The food was the westernised version of the typical Chinese 8-course dinner. Sharkfin soup was replaced with the cream of mushroom soup. While the change was refreshing and creative, the satisfaction just wasn't quite there.
See, if I have my own camera, I would have taken photos of the food as well, but I don't. Up and coming though. Already window shopping for one now. The grand lucky draw prize of RM3000 cash would really come in handy. Too bad I didn't win it. Maybe next time.
Personally, I didn't like the idea of cash prize so much. It reflected on the lack of thought on the side of the organising commitee but I admittedly wouldn't have said that if I won.

Best photo of the night. Adrian looking like a king in his palace.

Best pose of the night. HOT!!

Me, with the King and the Princess.

Group of posers. Ricky, Lim CK, Adrian, Paul and me acting larn yau yeng but my elbow made me looked like the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Chester (center, in yellow, hugging wife), won the coolest pose award hands down.

If we looked cocky, it's because we are good looking!!

I believe, I mean we believe we can fly. (And there is Bala, with his little gold and silver stickers.)

Me again, with the deserving winner of the best dressed award.

Upclose. I really only put this up because the picture managed to capture the golden glitter in my hair. Barely anyway.

Will the real Mr Smith please stand up... please stand up?

Th-th-th-that's all folks!
Well, for the night anyway. The next day, we did what tourists do in Melaka and toured Jonker Street. Bought myself a cowboy hat just for fun, and for shade from the sun. Paul spent quite a sum on some ethnic musical instruments. Who would have thought he is into that kind of thing? I always thought he is a little rock and roll but I guess we just can't judge a book by its cover.
We had different noodles each for breakfast and finished with a bowl of ABC. Alice and Lim had their fortune predicted in a temple. Our lunch was pork satay and after hearing so much from Lim about its aromatic meat and gooey pineapple sauce, it turned out to be a disappointment.

Well... at least I got my cowboy hat.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

I looked like a girl.

Angelie just pointed me to an interesting site. It has a face recognition software and upon uploading of your own photo, will match you up with celebrity who look like you. Interesting...
So who do I looked like? According to the site, the celebrity who bears the greatest resemblance to me is a very beautiful Song Hye Kyo.
But.. I... am... a... guy...
Song Hye Kyo is a girl I would love to go out with, NOT someone I want to look like. C'mon... which part of me exactly that looked like a girl???

The list of who I look like is outrageous. I even looked like Naomi Watts and the late Anita Mui. Let's see who else is there- John Woo, Alan Tham, Vince Vaughn, Salvador Dali(??), and Andy Lau. For those who do not know Salvador Dali, he was a great artist who was the father of surrealism, an art movement on things that are well... surreal. I would love his imagination but I don't want his moustache. Well, at least the last person was a saving grace for me. But no Wang Lee Hom in the list? I am dissapointed...
The second picture I uploaded revealed even more unbelievable result.

Sammi Cheng, Lauryn Hill, Sheryn Regis, Jericho Rosales, Katherine Hepburn, Jolin Tsai, Siti Nurhaliza and Tyra bank. Only one guy in the list? This is not helping with my self esteem here. What is really scary though is that I thought the resemblance to Katherine Hepburn is uncanny.
The third picture I tried is a little more encouraging.

There are still three hot babes there in Jang Nara, Sofia Vergara and Ayumi Hamasaki but at least there is also the hunky Takashi Sorimachi, Takashi Keneshiro and Won Bin. Hmm... and acclaimed director Chen Kaige.
I am certain this is not the same face recognition software used by the FBI. I HOPE this is NOT the same software used by the FBI. Definitely not to be taken seriously but it was fun while it lasted.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Scolding not enuff ler...

A very well known advertisement we see in theater recently is the Digi advertisement, in which a cocky fat boy spoke freely and loudly in the theater without regards to the other patrons. He even bragged that noone will dare to scold him because he is "tai kor what".
That advertisement just has an updated version. He still received call in the cinema but his phone is in vibrate mode now. And he didn't even answer the call, just quickly rejected it. He can call back later, he probably thought. Oh... one of his arm is also in cast and his eyes is swollen.
He didn't get any scolding the last time he answered his call all right. He simply received a good beating from another patron. I think it was Vishul.

Friday, September 21, 2007

There's a rat in my soup.

When every other studios seems to be releasing their own 3-D CG animated movie recently, having one more title seems so... unexciting. I was admittedly skeptical about this film until I know it was directed by Brad Bird. Yes, the same man who gave us the incredible The Incredibles. The man who beat Antonio Banderas (Shrek's Puss in Boots) for best voice acting award with his portrayal of the eccentric Edna Mode. That Brad Bird.
I felt something was missing when I watched The Incredibles. After watching Ratatouile, I think I know what that is. Despite the medium, Bird has the ability to make an animation feels somewhat like a full feature movie. Compared to an actual good feature movie however, an animation still somehow falls short, which explained for the nagging feeling that something is missing. Erm... am I making any sense here?
Anyway... Ratatouille is a story about a rat, not just any rat. Remy has a sense of smell far superior than any other rats but more important than that is what he choose to do with it. He smells out the good food and stays away from the rest, unlike his brethrens, who eat anything. He hung out a lot in the human's house, going through their spices and watching their TV. His favourite programme is a cook show by Gusteau, who advocated that anyone can cook. He also read Gusteau's cookbook which is conveniently left in the kitchen (Sesame Street was on before the cookshow, that's where Remy picked up his ABC).
Remy soon ended up separated from his colony and alone in Paris. In extreme hunger, he saw the spirit of Gusteau himself, who insisted he is a figment of Remy's imagination. Gusteau led Remy to his restaurant where he was soon discovered by the new barbage boy, Linguini (wait... isn't that an Italian pasta?). Linguini found Remy mixing spices and flavours to improved a soup Linguini himself accidentally ruined, thereby revealing Remy's genius in the art of culinary. The two became friends and eventually work out a system for Linguini to cook on Remy's behalf, who made the choice of what ingredient to use and how to cook it. The story presented is very unlikely but that is what animation is for isn't it?
Remy is not a sweet, cute and adorable character but he is likable in his own way. The other characters are nice although nothing really outstanding. Bird's characters do tend to become a wee too real for animation.
However, Bird managed to pulled the story together very well. As usual, he never hurry through the story, picking up the pace only when it's necessary and prefering to let the story unfold slowly. This slow pacing seems to have an extra magical effect when set in Paris.
The animation is superb. I noticed that Bird seems to like a painted effect in the colour of his animation, similar to what he done in The Incredibles. It is a effect I like quite a bit.
What is most important though, is that the movie is darn entertaining. And at almost 2 hours long, we hardly felt the time goes by. It is simple enough for the children to enjoy and yet still has plenty more to offer the adults. What was the title that made Brad Bird a household name in animation? The Iron Giant I think. I really got to get my hand on a copy of that.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Recently I saw in a pharmacy, three elderly friends taking their blood pressure test. They were apparently very close with each other and there was an easy banter among them. These three friends, best of buddies, are by the way, consisted of a Chinese, a Malay and an Indian.
A truly muhibah friendship that crosses across border. I felt like I was in the middle of a Petronas "Merdeka" advertisement :-)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Fairy Tale

I don't really listen to Chinese songs. In fact, I don't really listen to much songs at all. I guess I am more of a visual person, which is why I prefer movies. But once in a while you come across something memorable.
The mandarin song Tong Hua is one that really caught my eyes. Yes, that wasn't a typo. It caught my eyes because I didn't really care for that song until I saw the music video in a Karaoke session.
The video begins with a grand piano being pushed onstage. Michael then came up, dialled a number on his mobile phone and started playing. The scene shifted to the past when Michael was attempting to compose a song and his girl friend gave him the first few note of the chorus. We then see a few couple moment, mostly with the girl seemingly bullying the boy, affectionally of course. They then kissed and after that, the girl laughed at Michael as he has blood below his nose, not realising then that those are her blood flowing out. She has a medical checkup and then accompanied Michael for his rehearsal but she collapsed just as he started playing. Hospitalised and obviously terminal, she insisted Michael continue with his performance on stage, which bring us back to the present, with Michael playing the piano on stage and his girlfriend in the hospital, listening to the performance by phone. At the end of the song, she closed her eyes and passed away.
I am sorry to give away the ending. I am not one who usually do that but the whole video is just so touching. The director did an excellent job and the use of silent moment and slow motion really increase the emotion of the video. Viewers find their heart gripped with sorrow every time something happened to the girl. My friend from Hong Kong, Elsa jumped when the girl passed away. I am not joking. She was sitting right in front of her and that was how she reacted but who can blame her? That scene was really intense.
Watch it and see if it make you cry too.

The song itself is just a typical Chinese love song. Nice, sweet, and easy on the ear. The lyric is not as heart wrenching as the video. In fact, it is really a song of a guy wanting to convince a girl that he can give her a live with a fairy tale ending despite her disbelief in such. The words are simple and needed only average command of the Mandarin language to learn the song.
With a little help, I too learnt that song and in fact, sang it for a friend on her birthday celebration. She was plesantly surprised since everyone know I can't read Mandarin. I realised it's not one of the most played song in most location but when she does hears this song, I would like to know that she would remember me.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Hardest Feeling of All

I can't sleep.

For there is someone in my mind.

And my heart ache at the thought of her.

I do not know where to begin. Perhaps I should at the first time I saw her. She is a pretty girl and immediately I was interested to know her better. Admittedly the initial attraction is more physical than anything else but in time I saw her heart for what she is and gradually I fell, deeper and deeper. She was already with another man and though I long to be the one for her, I could not bear the thought of breaking them up for I have come to know that this is a good man. Gentle. Kind. Honest. Faithful.

I felt unqualified to pursue her love as I am not certain the depth of my feeling matches his. But we grew very close. So close she would tell me almost everything. And though she confessed that she is not happy with her relationship as she felt he does not understand her well enough, I could only encouraged her to keep trying and advised her on how to communicate to him on what she needs. Though my heart yearned to tell her my true feeling for her, the voice of my mind could only tell her what a wonderful man he is to her because deep inside, I know that she will be well taken care of and I wanted what was best for her.

The day I left the company was the most bitter and yet the sweetest day that I can remembered. For I know I will not be able to see her everyday. But it was also on this day that she told me, she broke up with her boyfriend. It was my last day she said, and she continued with the question was there anything I would like to tell her?

Yes there is. I wanted to tell her that in the time we shared together, I have grown really fond of her, and that deep down inside me, I wanted to be with her more than anything else. But instead, I only told her that among all the colleagues there, she is the one hardest for me to say goodbye to, and the one I will miss the most. She smiled a shy smile but I have the feeling that was not what she was hoping to hear. I continued that there is much more I wanted to tell her but the time has not come. I said that because I was not sure what her feeling for me are and I do not wish to frighten her.

We continued to meet up even after I went separate way to a different company. We watched movie together, celebrated her birthday, shared a strawberry cheese cake over a dinner. I would like to believe I stood a chance but though she appeared more and more comfortable around me, I have the feeling her affection is decreasing? I also know of another guy who was aftering her, for far longer than I have. I made a decision. I decided that I wanted her to choose the one she really likes, regardless if it was he or I.

But the more I learnt of this person, the more I became afraid that she would really choose him. For he is not like the man she was previously with. I became more determined to win this war even though pressure from and commitment to work tired me greatly. I was continually robbed of chances to reveal my feeling for her and before long, I realised this person played a role in sabotaging some of my plan. My determination could only grow with this discovery but in the end I lost when she revealed that her feeling for me was never the romantic kind. Ironic that it was this moment that I realised how deep my feeling for her really are.

It was difficult to let go of the feeling after all that we have gone through. I have noone to turn to as my best friend himself has also just broken off a 4 years relationship. I chose to be his outlet to pour out his grief, instead of asking him to be mine. My dear sister knows of this but she will only worry too much if she truly knows how much this is hurting me so I hide this from even her. Everyday, I put on a brave face and tried to remained cheerful. It was the hardest feeling.

I thought of the last girl I fell for. Somehow, it has been easier to let go then. Perhaps because I know I was not yet the man she would like to share her lives with. Perhaps because I believe she found someone really compatible to her and one capable of giving her everything she needs. Perhaps it's simply because, I found someone else. But it is not so easy this time. If I have lost to a better man, perhaps it will be easier to be happy for her. I do not believe the man this girl chose deserved a person as wonderful as her. I can only console myself that despite my impression of him, I still believe that his feeling for her is true. And though he has a temper, he will not let it out on her. Or though he is far from honest, he will not hurt her.

Though I realised the futility of such thought, I admit I still harbour hope that she will one day choose me. The question is, until then, can we remain as friend? She assured me we still are but though she answered my call and we continue to chat, I could sensed her enthusiasm is no longer there. She hasn't as much to tell me as before and I have not seen her since the fateful day of my confession. Something always came up but I chose to believe her every reason for each time that she backed out. But I don't think I can continue with this. Each time she agreed to meet up is accompanied by the anxiety that she will cancel. And each time that she does cancel is the time my heart break all over again.

We were to meet up this weekend but she has cancelled again. I know I should let go.

It is hurting again. And it is always the heart that feel the pain the most.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Transform (and have a rolling good time).

I finally watched Transformer and if I have to describe it in a word, it will be satisfying. Not great, not even good, just satisfying.

In a nutshell, the Transformers, both good and evil are on earth, searching for the All-Spark, a mighty artifact of unknown origin from their planet Cybertron that crashed landed here on earth. Of course the origin is unknown. The filmmaker couldn't possibly find enough time to tell everything. Beside, it would means that they have to figure it out too. Back to the movie, the good Autobots, wanted it to rebuild their planet, which is ravaged by the long war between the two factions. The evil Decepticon, on the other hand, wished to use it to create an army to take over the world. The cube shaped thingy was featured in the animated series as well, although they are known as energon and are the source of energy for the Transformers. The Autobots don't seems to need them though as they never try to collect any.

Bumblebee, who was the heart of the team in the original Transformer animated series was chosen as the star Transformer in the film. Good choice here and though fans wondered about the change in Bumblebee (he was a VW Beetle originally and a sporty Camaro in the movie), it didn't take long before we love the new version. Beside, in one scene, he single-handedly took out the Decepticon's Barricade, something we will probably have a problem accepting if he was the kind-hearted mild mannered Beetle that he was. Easily the most likable robot in the whole of the movie (made us all want a Bumblebee), we were expected to feel really sad, maybe even shed a tears, when he was captured by the humans. We can see he is in pain but it was also obvious he is not really fighting back hard because he does not wants to hurt them. How touching but why is it I felt... nothing?

Seems as hard as he tried, Michael Bay is still not the heart type of director he aspired to be. But then again, I did not come to watch this movie to cry my heart out. I am in it for the action and the robot and the mayhem etc. On that matter at least , Bay delivered. From earlier on, Bay showed us how superior a Transformer is to even our most advanced technology when the Decepticon's Blackout, in guise of a combat helicopter effectively and easily wiped out an army base. The tricky part here is that we must remember that although each Transformer is able to take the form of an earthly automotive, they are not made out of the same material as the automotive itself but presumably of their own harder substance that cannot be found on earth. For instance, an Autobot who tranformed into a Proton Saga will still emerged unscathed in a collision with say, a Hummer. Therefore we may questioned on why the Autobots all chose to disguise as street vehicle when the Decepticon took the more combat ready form of war vehicles but in the end, it doesn't really matter because in their robots' form, it all boiled down to who is tougher and better skilled.

Having said that, I thought Starscream was the most combat-effective of all the Transformer featured in this film, rapidly changing his mode of attack as he switched from vehicle mode to robot mode and back. He also appeared to be the only one who can maintained his flight as a robot. Megatron who was a handgun in the original Transformer was given a major upgrade in the film. As an alien's fighter plane, he was the strongest of them all. I recalled in the the cartoon I watched as a kid that he was never stronger than Optimus Prime although he undeniably has greater firepower. Here, he totally overwhelmed Prime and at one time, transformed both his arm into a powerful cannon he used to blasted Prime. I thought that was a pretty clever referrence to the original Megatron. Prime too showed a darker side when he earlier transformed his arm into a blade he used to destroyed a Decepticon. It happened quite fast. I think he either decapitated his enemy of sliced his throat. That was the first mortality before we saw Megatron tore the Autobot's Jazz in two. Nobody ever get mortally wounded or fatally killed in the original cartoon series.

We however, have to accept a few suspension of the physics law if we were to enjoy the movie. In the scene where the Autobots are hiding from the humans, we saw them swinging and jumping around (like monkeys do) the support of a bridge without dealing any damage to it. And I lost count of how many times Sam fell but was caught by an Autobot without suffering any injury whatsoever. The Autobots know Tai Chi?

The robots, both the Autobots and Decepticons but especially the Decepticon was not given enough screen time that it was difficult to tell them apart sometimes, except for Prime and Bumblebee that truly stand out. Fans who want to know the robot better may be disappointed by this but it helps in the development of the story which I must say cleverly involved the human protagonist, Sam from the beginning to give both side of the Transformers reason to seek him out. It still, however, has more holes than any cheese you will find in Ratatouille. The ending was quite unexpected for me, though I was probably expecting Prime to die due to what happened in the animated movie.

All in all, we have a Transformer that is edgier than what we used to watched. The camera angle and special effect is engaging. The robots do not appeared geeky when they were transforming (and in fact they transformed a lot in the middle of an action). The babe in the movie is really hot. What is there not to like about the movie? Satisfying indeed.


Why don't all Transformer take the same form that Megatron took, seeing how strong and powerful that form is?
There is a giant robot scorpion. What on earth did that Decepticon scanned on exactly?
Why do all the new robots created from the energy of the All-Spark so hostile?
Bumblebee became Sam's new best friend. He make out with his new girlfriend on top of Bumblebee. Eeewwww.
Hey, Starscream is still alive and well at the end of the movie.
Many more stoopid questions I can't recall at the moment.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Film Workshop, 4 Aug 2007, Central Market

I went for a Film Workshop in Central Market this morning with Duncan and his sister Cordelia. Presented by Australian writer cum director cum actress Denise Roberts, I expected a talk on the steps and process of making a film. Instead, the speaker seems more interested in sharing her view on what makes a good script and movie. Which is actually fine with me because I am even more interested in that topic.
Her first topic was the importance of punctuality, especially since shooting usually runs on very tight schedule and any delay could potentially raise the budget by several hundred thousands of dollar. This short topic is probably directed at the few of us who did not arrived before 10 am. Ahem.
Also present to assist her in the workshop are two local actors. I have never see the girl before but the guy looked familiar (not to mention tall, dark and handsome too). They were given a simple script without any indication of what actually happened. The script basically goes like this; the guy asking the girl to stop doing something that is annoying him and the girl telling him to get lost.
Needless to say, the act was rather dry. Denise then explained to us the important of love or lack of love in a script as "love makes the world go round". Love which she also used as an acronym for Loading, Objective, Vulnerability and Empathy.
The second time the act was played out, she loaded the actors with a little background. The guy loves the girl and can't stand that she is addicted to drug. The girl loves the guy too but stronger than her love for him is her urge to get her regular fix.
That little background makes a world of different on how they actors acted out their role and how they delivered their lines. It is much better this time. Denise keeps adding more dimension to the scenario till she fill up on the rest of the acronym. Although audiences do not necessarily need to know the full background of the characters, it is important that the actors at least have a hint of it so the scenes may be acted out with more depth.
The workshop covered on pretty basic but important stuffs. Stuffs most movie buffs would probably already know though not necessarily apply when they write or attempt to write.
However, the problem with film as an art is that everything can be very objective and what works for one might not work for another. I can see Duncan shaking his head when she said the movie Fight Club was boring, pointless and she fell asleep at the same scene the 3 times that she tried to watch it. I saw the movie later of the day on DVD and I also beg to differ. It has a brilliant script and can be very deep. I am still digesting it as I write this.
I am also rather surprised that her style is very much inclined toward the Hollywood 3-Acts format with their mandatory positive message ending. This is a topic that drew some debate from the audiences with someone pointing out that a film with no message can be a message itself. Personally I felt that topic is more toward the Etiquette and Integrity of Filmmaking and does not necessarily make or break a film.
Denise also shared with us her experience as an actress in Australia and some difference between theater acting and filmed acting. One hint I very useful was how to protect the copyright of your script when you send one to a producer, short of registering a trademark for it.
Overall, a satisfying workshop I have no regret attending. Personally, the most important thing a film can achieve for me is to tell a story effectively.

p.s. I just thought of the movie Babel. A very good movie telling a story very effectively that ties up everything in the end but one which I can find no positve message from. It was just very real and very engaging.

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Donnie Yen still got it.

No. Let me rephrase that.

Donnie Yen is better than he had ever been before.

I got a free pass to watch the first screening of Flashpoint in Malaysia. The movie started off with an interesting scene of Donnie Yen stepping into a kickboxing training gym to arrest a criminal hiding there. As he climbed into the ring, he was already taking off his coat and talking at the same time, getting ready for a fight. The said criminal fought back his arrest but of course he was no match for Donnie's Inspector Ma. One thing I noticed right away is Donnie using wrestling locking moves. Surprise surprise.

That essentially sums up his character in the movie. Tough as nail and as far as he is concerned, his duty is to arrest criminal. Period. If they want to resist arrest, then bring it on. Lets see who is tougher.

The storyline is nothing complicated. Three Vietnamese brothers making their mark in the Hong Kong triad society and Donnie trying to arrest them with the help of undercover cop Wilson, played by Louis Koo. As it turned out, the brothers found out about Wilson's real identity and attempted to kill him. As they were also too busy escaping at the same time, they did not finish the job and Wilson only ended up slightly crippled. Which is not so bad since he has a loving and beautiful girlfriend by his side (I still can't believe this babe is the last girl he thought of calling to celebrate his birthday).

Back to the story, the eldest of the three brothers was arrested and so the remaining two set out to kill all witnesses who will testify against him. I will leave out the details because I really come to see this movie for the action. And after a slow hour of storytelling, it finally begins.

The highlight was definitely the final fight between Donnie and the second brother of the trio played by Colin Chou. Donnie as the action director has certainly set a new standard here. I can't think of a better way to describe it other than fast and furious.

The two were equally matched in every sense although Donnie seems to made the first mistake by underestimating Colin. The upper hand kept switching between the two and was determined only by who managed to gain the momentum of the attack. But while Colin seems to displayed a strictly attack style of kickboxing, Donnie switched from kickboxing to judo to wrestling. Yes. Jackie Chan and Jet Li did that before as well but never to the degree that Donnie managed to achieved in this movie. He switched style so flawlessly, and executed each move so effectively that he seems like he been doing all these styles all his lives, unlike Jacky or Jet whom don't really divert much from the style they are familiar with and only managed to appeared dabbled into a new style to suit a particular movie.

We all know who will emerged the victor of course. But while the action is captivating, the plot left much to be desired. There were too many holes, like why the three brothers chose to go against the triad in Hong Kong. Or how the leaders of the triad could choose to testify against them without implicating themselves. There are more but why bother?

We are watching this to be thrilled by Donnie Yen martial art prowess and in that department, he did not fail to impress.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Am I losing my touch?

Just for fun, and to avoid work, I looked at some old entries I wrote on my Friendster blog and found, hey... I seems to be a better writer back then than now. Everything's much more sincere and meaningful. What has happened to me that changed me so much that my even my writing style is altered?
This is how I should be writing review. Or shared a beautiful story.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The worst is not over...

With everything that has happened to me in July, it's still not unlucky enough? And I have to get into an accident to make it worse?
I hit a car in the rear last Thursday, damaging the left rear light and bumper of the car. On my own side, the bonnet is dented, front right light broken and the bumper, though still attached is pushed all the way back to the tyres. That means though the engine is still OK, I can't drive the car.
Repair will comes up to the thousands for both car and since it was my fault and I don't have that kind of money to spare, I am claiming from the insurance. The loss of moolah to go into repair is one thing, the inconvenience caused is the real consequences of the accident.
There I was hoping to close more sales for the month and here I am now, running around trying to take care of all the paperwork required for the claim. That and the fact that my car will need to remain in the workshop for a month. Luckily, I still have a Kancil for backup.
The whole accident is a hassle, and could not come at a worst time but is there still a silver lining to be found here?
I was bound for NS these 2 days and there was a report of a serious accident along the highway when a car skidded and crashed into a group of motorcyclists taking shelter from the rain under the bridge. I could have been there, I am just thankful a minor accident prevented me from making the trip. Plus, while searching for the panel workshop for Kurnia, a man collapsed in front of me in an epilepsy attack. I sort of helped that man recover.
So yeah... I can find the silver lining but I still hope for unlucky July of 2007 to go away soon and looking forward to a learning month of August. I have signed up for a filmmaking workshop on Aug 4 and a marketing seminar on communication helmed by a Mr Jeffrey Kee on 25th and 26th. Should be interesting.

Monday, July 23, 2007

(Un-)Lucky Seven

There are much that I foresee for the month of July 07, especially in the 3rd week where everything would fall into place and the world would become a much more beautiful place. Instead...
1) The admin girl forgot to process my commission
2) My best friend's heart's broken
3) My heart's broken
4) My grandma passed away
There should be more but I can't seems to remember so I guess I can add 'failing memory' to the list. Sigh...

On the bright side, I made many new friends in person and one very interesting one online. OK, need to get into my positive thinking mode and start believing everything is possible.

Just a phrase on friendship I like to use even though most of my friends think it's corny.
"Without friend, noone would choose to lives, though he has all other goods" - Aristotle

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


People who know me would probably described me among other, as patient and forgiving, some may even said I am too patient and forgiving to a fault.





UPDATES 23/7/07 : See, I am still forgiving. I removed the name of my enemy. Admittedly, the above post was a knee-jerk reaction and hardly justified. Anyone I have spoke to, I begun by admitting that I was being a baby about it. I acknowledged that I am probably as much a villain in my enemy's eyes as he was in mine. Still, in the exact same situation, I doubt I would do the things he does. In fact, I knew I won't because I been there.
Whatever... I just hope he is a better person that the (slightly tainted) impression I have of him right now, and not just because of 'this incident' especially since the battle was lost, just before the end of 17/7/07.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Best "Underrated Movie" of the Year.

Here's a movie most people would miss, so if you are reading this, please don't miss it.

Hot Fuzz begins with a top London cop being promoted to sergeant and reassigned to the countryside for no reason other than he made the rest of the department looked bad. The village Sandford is a model village with extremely low crime rate and this is bad news for Nicholas Angel as he is totally commited to enforcing the law. So what do a hardcore top cop to do when everybody seems to be obeying the law and the worst crime in the village is the occasional grafitti?

It doesn't make thing easier that he has a partner whose impression of law enforcement in the city comes form the many action movies he seen. On top of that, there is the very active Neighbourhood Watch Association who keeps a close eyes on everything that goes on in the village. The police officers there have practically nothing to do. While Angel tried to adapt, and his partner continued to remained unprofessional and unserious about his job, it soon became clear that there is more going on in the village than meets the eyes (I know, Transformer fever. Forgive me). Though the village is low in crime rate, it does has an incredibly high rate of accidents.

Angel began to suspect that there is a murderer at loose and this murderer is cleverly disguising the murder as accident. With scantly any support from the local police force, he set out to investigate but the murderer always seems to be one step ahead of him.

Of course he solved the mystery in the end, this is a movie after all. While this movie poked fun on other movie for laugh, it does so brilliantly, unlike most of the slapstick movie we find nowaday. And though one would enjoy this movie most if one is familiar with cop-buddy films and the typical style of such film, there is enough effort in parts of the makers that others unfamiliar with this genre would still get the jokes. I saw neither Bad Boys II nor Point break, the two most satired films in this movie but I still laugh at its every reference, thanks to the film successful attempt to fill us in on the scenes.

When I watched this, Duncan and Suet were watching it for the second time. The first time around, both of them, together with another friend were the only ones laughing as the rest of the patrons do not appeared to get the joke. Brilliant as it is, this is one of those film that will only bring in mediocre blockbuster success along with a small but strong fanbase. Sadly, people nowaday prefer more in your face and obvious brand of comedy the likes of slapstick Scary Movie and its other incarnation. I admitted the first was quite good because it was unexpected and fun but the following sequel were just in bad taste in my humble opinion.

And hell, think I posted this review a little late since the movie is no longer showing in the theater. Go get the (original) DVD.

Drop Dead!

I just read an interesting tips on mosquitoes control. Apparently, you can dilute a few drops of lemon flavoured dish wash liquid in a white dinner plate of water and mosquitoes will be drawn to the solution, drink it and died. A simple and far less toxic method to control mosquitoes if you planning to have a garden picnic than the regular insecticide.

Don't ask me if it really work, or if the solution must be strictly in a white dinner plate or if the mosquitoes will eventually develop resistance to dish washer solution. I haven't try it and I haven't a clue. All I remember was an even more powerful technique I once employed.

I was driving when I noticed a mosquito flying around inside the car. I don't know how it got in but I do know it's blardy irritating and my hands are quite occupied at the moment. I just wished for it to drop dead and sure enough... it did. Right in front of me and in mid flight, it just dropped dead on the dashboard (of old age maybe?).

If you can name any technique greater than having the mosquito drop dead at your mental command, please feel free to share but do not underestimate the power of the Force.

You do NOT want to cross me.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I don't want to watch Alone alone

While I am admittedly not a big fan of the horror genre, I been itching to watch something that will scare the living daylight out of me. So far I have been disappointed. Amityville does nothing for me despite watching it in a darkened theater. Dark Water was more scary when Silas told me the story than when I actually watched it. Having not watch The Ring, its prequel Ring 0 is more confusing than frightening. Haunted Spirit is so amateurish I don't even want to talk about it. A friend once told me there are only two movies that scared the piss out of him so much he shat. And anyone who knows Pang can attest that it takes a lot to scare this daredevil. That 2 movies are the original Ring and a Thai film Shutter. While I have watch neither, the makers of the latter has recently released a new movie - Alone.

Pim is a Thai woman living in Korea with her husband Wee. News from home of her mother's succumb to stroke forced her to return home and once again face the past she was trying to put behind. The movie then revealed that she was the surviving sister of a pair of Siamese twins, with her other half supposingly perished in the operation that separated them. Flashback revealed her sister Ploy to be vengeful and possessive, especially of her twin sister. When a handsome young patient they met in a hospital fell for only Pim, Ploy became insanely jealous and even refused to budge from the bed for Pim to say her farewell on the day he left. This incident leaded Pim to insisted on living a separate live from the sister she is attached to. Hence, the burden of her guilt as she is convinced that her sister would still be alive if she hasn't make that decision.

What really happened? Here comes the spoiler. They are in red, so just avoid them if you are planning to watch it soon.

The sister who survived is not Pim but Ploy. Jealous of and upset with her sister, she strangled Pim to death. The manner in which it was revealed is brilliant, almost as good as Shyamalan's 6th Sense. In the beginning of the film, the sisters are easily identified with a simple pair of glass, with Ploy being the one who wore them. Pim has always been the sweet one while Ploy is constantly portrayed as the ... well, maybe not evil but definitely twisted sister. In the scene of the operation, Pim appeared unconscious while Ploy has a sad longing expression on her face. What we didn't know is that it wasn't anesthetic, Pim was already dead. Which is why the operation need to be carried out to save the surviving twin. Ploy then lived her live as Pim, corresponding with Wee and eventually moving to Korea to stay with him.

While it was great to watch a horror film with a strong storyline, here is where being too intelligent spoilt the mood of the movie. Suddenly, the victim became the victimizer and instead of rooting for her, we started wondering if the haunting spirit is being far too lenient. We no longer care if she survive and in fact hope she receive her just punishment. Afterall, the film been leading viewer to hate Ploy and to have her as the evil spirit definitely up the scare factor while Pim as the spirit leave us wondering if she has the heart to hurt anyone.

When Ploy scheme was revealed, Wee became the victim of torture as she was enraged that he could not accept her even though he has been living with her as Pim all these year. Earlier in the film, she accidentally ran over Wee's pet beagle and was upset that he couldn't care for the new beagle she bought him. They are identical in look, why does it matter so much that they are not the same, she questioned. An intense scene more suitable for a more grounded genre like psychological crime than supernatural horror, in my humble opinion.

Having said that, did the film did it for me? I wanted scare, so was I?

Hell, yeah. There is the complaint that there was too little of the scary parts and each of them was rather short as the director is more interested in developing the characters, which I should mention that they did well in, but it scared me good. The importance of a good director is evident here especially in cliche scene like seeing the spirit hanging on a slow moving ceiling fan because damn, I closed my eyes during that scene. I mean, I saw it coming but it didn't make it less scary. There is some unexpected scene though, one that I remember vividly is when Pim walked along a beach and turned to find that there were two set of footprint behind her. Too bad, it turned out to be merely a nightmare.

This has been an effective horror film for me but if you read the spoiler above, you would understand that I felt the story is more suited for other genre. Now I understand why most horror film has such a simple storyline because at the core or it, it is the scary part that matter the most. If the director has only added a few more scene, and prolong each of the scene to increase the suspense, then I will definitely be scared so bad I shat.

The scare factor is decent. But don't just take my word for it. I dare you to go watch it.


Saturday, June 9, 2007

Trip, Rip, Drip.

This post is likely to invoke two type of emotion among friends who read my blog (Hi Alia, Hey Cheryl). The first is probably an immediate concern for my well-being because just a month ago, I had a minor accident. I tripped while moving up an escalator and fell face first onto the edge of its steps. Ouch! Believe me, that hurts.
That incident took place in Ikano and that fall left some cuts on both my shins and three on my lower lips, with the worst one on the left. My first instint was to clean my wound in the nearest washroom but when it would not stop bleeding, I take a look in the mirror and was horrified to find a gash so deep, it practically split my lower lips to two. I was overcame with an immediate concern that the bleeding will not stop and I need medical attention. I rushed out immediately and approached the first guard I can find. Not only was he unwilling unable to help me but he also glared at me with disgust and contempt. I am not sure if he is truly disgusted or merely horrified, which would explain why he refused to budge from his position. So frightened was he by the blood flowing out of my wound that his knee got all wobbly and standing still itself was a challenge. I left him and found another equally (in-)competent guard but at least the second guard did not glare. The woman in the information counter could do nothing but informed me that there is a clinic in Ikano but it was already closed and suggested that I try the one opposite the road in the Curve.
I don't know what made me decided to use the tunnel at the other end of Ikano but I was glad I did as when I was near there, I suddenly thought that the people in Ikea may be able to help me. The first man I approached in a help desk immediately picked up the phone and called their first-aid personnel. Ah.. the Swedish company is well prepared to handle small emergency.
The personnel who came however, told me frankly upon seeing my wound that it was too deep for her to do anything about it. Though she was not able to help, she stayed with me and was sympathetic about the accident. Maybe it was her professional training to relax me so I do not go into a shock but I think she was just a sweet girl trying to help.
I eventually went for a treatment in a 24-hours clinic in Uptown as all other clinics were closed by that hour. The doctor there advised that I needed a stitch for that cut. I asked for alternative and he ended up using glue to held my broken lips together as they healed. Yes... I wasn't aware of it either but there is such a thing as skin glue, used to hold soft tissues together. But as the cut was quite deep, his only concern was that the glue will not works. It took him several attempt before he managed to hold them together. The good news is my lips is almost all healed up now as I type this.
Looking back, the only pain was the pain I felt "on impact", after which it was gone. Considering the depth of the cut, the bleeding stopped very quickly with hardly any effort and there was no itchiness or irritation on the wound throughout my healing. Well, there was the uneasiness that comes with feeling the dry and ugly scab as the wound healed, which for once, I am disciplined enough not to peel as it seems to be the only thing holding my lips together. It kinda reminded me of some cases we see in Ripley's Believe it or Not!, where some people got into a serious accident, like a guy who had a steel rod impaled through his chest but miraculously missed all vital organs and major blood vessel, thus making the injury minimal. My case is much less severe compared to that but I still feel fortunate that it missed whatever veins or nerve in my lips that can make this much more complicated. Unbelievable? Believe it!
As for how I can tripped on a moving escalator.. well, here comes the second "emotional part" for those who are reading this. An unbelievable sense of incredulousness of the dumb things men do coupled with an exclamation of "Of all the stupid stunts he can pulled...".
I tripped because I was running up the escalator. I wasn't even in a hurry, I just do that all the times. I just never tripped before that day.
Yes, I know that was really stupid. And just one week after the accident, I found myself running up another flight to rush to a seminar. Halfway up and I suddenly remembered the accident and stopped. See... lesson well learnt.
I noticed something though. I was used to running up 2 steps at a time but at the time of the accident, I was only running up one. Must be a muscle memory kind of thing that caused that trip then as the momentum then does not feel naturel?
And no, that wasn't my ego speaking. And yes, despite this discovery, I am determined not to run up another flight of escalator.
Oh... if you ever need any help while you are in Ikano, don't bother asking the guard. They are just positioned there to give patrons a false sense of securities but are in fact, not allowed to move away from their designated spot and their walki talkie was not for communicaton for the handling of a emergency but for light chatting on a slow day when the guards are feeling a little bored.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Along Comes a Spider...

Nope. this is not my review of the movie Spiderman III although I really should get to that. After all, with ticket to an early screening comes the responsibility to inform to the public the quality of the show.

Yeah, right!

Well, actually I just could not resist wasting spending my weekend to draw this. It was in reference to the movie Charlotte's Web, where a spider named Charlotte attempted to rescue a piglet named Wilbur from slaughter by spinning 'miraculous' web with words of compliment to the pig.
Wilbur was born a runt and because he is one of 11 to a sow with 10 teats, he would probably not be able to fight for his share. For this reason alone, the farmer decided to slaughter him on the very night he was born. However, he was rescued by the farmer's daughter, who took to caring for him.

Wilbur was a warm-hearted and friendly pig, not to mention really cute too and he brought some joy to the otherwise mundane farm. Everyone (as in, the other animals) grew to loves him but he was the only one who would befriend a spider. And what a friend Charlotte turned out to be as when Wilbur found out that he would be slaughtered by winter, she made a promise without a second thought, to save Wilbur from such fate. One night, she had an inpiration and weaved the word "some pig" on her web above Wilbur. The humans are so amazed by it they declared the incident a miracle.

However, Charlotte was not too confident that this is enough to saves Wilbur and so begin a search for a more incredible words that will both honestly describe Wilbur as well as touches the hearts of the humans in the farm. Spinning those words on web however, is a difficult job for Charlotte as she has never done it before. As the movie progress, so too does the design of the web as the tapestry became more refined. In the end of the movie, the tiny Charlotte did rescue Wilbur as the human were to amazed with the presense of such web that they put off the slaughter.

Yes...don't tell the children but from the direction of the movie, it was obvious that Wilbur will not survive the next winter. Ignore this fact however, and you will have an absolutely delightful movie to bring the kids to. Due to the cute factor, not a bad movie to bring a girl to as well.

I give the movie a three stars. I would also like to mention the visual effect is excellent. Talking animals, a CG spider and in my opinion, very realistic webs. Though it is no longer showing in the theater, I am certain that the 'resourceful' Malaysian will not have problem looking for an alternative. And here is the cartoon I just drew.
Apparently, Spiderman has an easier time 'writing on web' compared to Charlotte. And if you have seen Spiderman III, you might noticed that Venom pulled the same trick when he was trying to get Spidey's attention.

Monday, April 30, 2007

The human spider

Me: So, you stick to walls, you shoot web, you have the proportional strength of a spider... you are literally a human spider. Do you feel blessed for all this?

Spiderman: Well, with great power comes great responsibility. I wouldn't use the word blessed but I guess I am glad. Glad that at least I didn't develop an appetite for bugs although considering the current economic, that might not be such a bad idea. But most of all, I am just glad that unlike normal spider, I don't shoot web out of my butt.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

It's not my fault, it's the voice inside my head.

BTW, something I thought of when I watched Spiderman 2. Does Sam Raimi has something for villains with voices in their head? The Green Goblin hears voices in his head in the first movie and so does Dr Octopus in the second, even though as far as I know, Doc never have that problem. Spiderman 3 will sees the appearance of Venom and since it is a living alien symbiote, chances are the host Eddie Brock will also hears voices in his head. Hmm...

It's the Venom of Love that sting the worst...

Friends who know me probably guessed that one of my most awaited movie of the year was Spiderman 3. X-Men may deserved the credit of jumpstarting the recent flood of big budget adaption of comic book superheroes but it was Spiderman that was the most successful in this franchise. Duncan already secured tickets to the early screening of Spiderman 3 in Cineleisure Damansara on May 1, at 2 pm. To those who don't have a ticket... nyeh nyeh.

The marketing has been brilliant. The fans already know there will be a new Goblin. The studio revealed that the new villain for part 3 would be Sandman. We fans go WTF... we want Venom. What we didn't know is Venom IS in it. It was just never revealed until the first teaser was released and all the fans around the world started jumping with excitement.

Confession. Truth is... I am not too optimistic about part 3. Why? Hmm, must be an overexposure of their promotion. Too much of a good thing is not always ermm... a good thing. Beside, although my jaw dropped to the ground at earlier Spiderman 3 poster, I am getting bored with each new variation. Red and blue Spidey in new poses with a relection of the same Spidey in black. How much more repetitive can you can? Can we see a bit of the new Goblin or Sandman please... even though it is Venom we are waiting for?

In fact, there was a rumour when part 2 was screened that Harry Osborn will be Venom in part 3. Personally, I thought that would be an interesting twist to the original story. After all the only important criteria as the host for the alien symbiote is that the person hated Spiderman. Very very much. So far, we saw the gooey black costume, nice effect by the way and a glimpse of Venom. Unlike the comic version, this Venom is not brawnier than Spiderman. In fact, I would say it look more like a black Carnage and I thought I saw in the trailer, Venom shooting out black web. Which indicated that he is not capable of generating his own webbing but utilise the symbiote's shape shifting ability to replicate web. Kinda like how Carnage uses that property to create sharp tentacle as weapons.

There is other apparent difference that was revealed in the trailer. For one, Gwen Stacy will be in part 3. This difference, the presense of Gwen as MJ's love rival however, we fans don't quite find agreeable. In the book, Gwen was Peter's first love, not MJ Watson. And it was also she whom Green Goblin thrown off the bridge. Except in the book Spiderman failed to save her. Yes, in one of the most memorable story in Spidey's mythology, the first love of Peter Parker died because even though he managed to snatched her with his web before she hits the ocean, the force of the fall broke her back, killing her. That was about the only time the law of physic was not broken in a superhero story.

I understand the need for this though. At the core, what Spiderman really is is a soapy sappy love story. The superpower, the costume, the action- they are merely gimmick. Admit it or not, Sam Raimi got us, or at least me, all emotional over every victory and defeat of young Peter Parker. We rooted for Peter to find the courage to confess his love to MJ and we were moved speechless when he decided to remain "friend only" with her due to the tragedy that befell Harry Osborn in part 1. We cheer him on when he attempted to win back the then engaged MJ in part 2 and gritted in frustration when Peter blew his chances. When they finally got together in the end of that episode, we grinned like silly when MJ told Peter to "Go get 'em, Tiger" (a line from the comic).

So what will we be left with if after every battle, Spiderman gets to return to the loving embrace of the love of his live? Just another action movie. Heck, even in the newspaper comicstrip, their relationship is anything but smooth sailing. Therefore, we need something to rock their relationship and there is nothing like the presense of a sexy blonde to do just that. I believe they will have a rosy ending still after this episode and though Sam has not confirm it yet, trust me that if there will be a part 4, something else will be threathening their relationship. Maybe Logan will visit Manhattan and MJ finds him absolutely irresistable.

So if there is any guy out there who think it is not macho to watch romance, don't let anyone know you are watching Spiderman because screw Titanic, Spiderman IS the greatest love story of all time.