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.