World’s Ten Tallest Cities in 2018

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2018 by vincentloy

I have written a post on the top 10 tallest buildings that will be completed this year (2018) few days ago. Now, it’s time to proceed to another similar topic; world’s top 10 tallest cities in 2018. How do I decide which cities are taller? Taking reference from Ultrapolis Project website that sorted world’s tallest cities several years ago (and is now no longer doing so, hence the statistics on its website not being updated), I look to add up the height of top 20 tallest buildings in a particular city and divide them by 20 to get the average height of 20 tallest buildings in that city.

At first, I look to only add up the height of top 10 tallest buildings in a city only, and not 20. However, later I found that top 20 will make the data more credible and better visualize the ‘tallness’ of a city. Buildings mentioned here include the topped-out ones but exclude the telecommunication or observation towers as they are non-habitable structures. The list of top 20 tallest buildings of the cities across the world can be found from Emporis website, and it is a very reliable source of information besides than Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). Before going down the list below, which cities do you think will be included in this list and which one of them is the tallest of them all?

WORLD’S TOP TEN TALLEST CITIES IN 2018

1.Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Points: 374.35

Tallest building in the city: Burj Khalifa (828 metres)

2. Shenzhen, China

Points: 338.60

Tallest building in the city: Ping An International Finance Center (599 metres)

3. New York City, United States of America

Points: 313.70

Tallest building in the city: One World Trade Center (541 metres)

4. Guangzhou, China

Points: 311.50

Tallest building in the city: CTF Finance Centre (530 metres)

5. Shanghai, China

Points: 311.25

Tallest building in the city: Shanghai Tower (632 metres)

6. Hong Kong, China

Points: 295.30

Tallest building in the city: International Commerce Centre (484 metres)

7. Tianjin, China

Points: 290.00

Tallest building in the city: Goldin Finance 117 (597 metres)

8. Chicago, United States of America

Points: 280.70

Tallest building in the city: Willis Tower (442 metres)

9. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Points: 275.90

Tallest building in the city: The Exchange 106 (492 metres)

10. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Points: 267.30

Tallest building in the city: Burj Mohammed Bin Rashid (382 metres)

Hong Kong would have topped this list a decade or two ago. However, many other cities in China are now in skyscraper boom and some of them immediately overtake Hong Kong in the race to build taller skyscrapers. Hong Kong appears to have slow down a lot in recent years on that progress, and is now pushed down to 6th spot. China dominated the list again as expected with 5 of its cities in this top 10 list. I am also surprised that a much less known city, Tianjin made it to the list too. Although China is the top country in this trend of building supertalls, Dubai still took the crown for being the world’s tallest cities in 2018. A lot of points to push Dubai to the top definitely comes from Burj Khalifa, which stands at a whopping 828 metres high alone and is still the current world’s tallest building.

I’m delighted that my home city, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is within this top 10 list. Although KL is quite a small city, but we do have a number of tall skyscrapers. I have decided to include in the still under-construction The Exchange 106 Tower (492 metres tall) into the calculation because this building is definitely going to be completed this year and is nearly at the stage of topping out now.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

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Top 10 tallest buildings to be built in 2018

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2018 by vincentloy

2018 will be another great year in worldwide achievement on building skyscrapers. China is again leading the way in building supertall buildings. My capital city, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia will also be included into this list for the first time after so many years due to the projected completion of 492 metres tall The Exchange 106 Tower mid of this year. So, what are the top 10 tallest buildings to be built in 2018? Here’s the answer:

  1. Goldin Finance 117 Tower, Tianjin, China (597 metres, 128 floors). The tower is now nearing the stage of topping out with the construction of the diamond-shaped crown to commence shortly. However, there are news that this project is put on hold due to budget constraint and may not be completed this year. If it is managed to be completed this year, it will be the world’s 5th tallest building. It is only 3 metres shy from 600 metres mark.

2. Tianjin CTF Finance Centre, Tianjin, China (530 metres, 97 floors). The tower has topped out and is set to be completed this year while fate is still unknown for the Goldin Finance 117 Tower mentioned above that is located in the same city; Tianjin. When completed, it will be among the world’s top 10 tallest buildings.

3. China Zun Tower, Beijing, China (528 metres, 108 floors). The tower has topped out. When completed, it will be among the world’s top 10 tallest buildings.

4. The Exchange 106 Tower, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (492 metres, 106 floors). The tower is now nearing the stage of topping out with the construction of the glass crown to commence shortly. This will be the first building in the country to have over 100 floors and will be the country’s tallest when completed.

5. Lakhta Center, St Petersburg, Russia (462 metres, 86 floors). The tower has topped out and will be the tallest building in Russia when completed. First time seeing Russia join in the race to construct building of this height.

6. Changsha IFS Tower 1, Changsha, China (452 metres, 94 floors). The tower is nearly completed with all exterior cladding already installed.

7. Suzhou IFS, Suzhou, China (450 metres, 98 floors). The tower has topped out and its exterior cladding is almost completed.

8. Wuhan Center Tower, Wuhan, China (438 floors, 88 floors). This one also has topped out. Another higher skyscraper, Wuhan Greenland Center is also rising quickly in the same city and when completed in 2019, the 125-storey tower will have a height of 636 metres.

9. China Resources Headquarters, Shenzhen, China (393 metres, 67 floors). Topped out. Shenzhen has been seeing record-breaking number of skyscrapers completed in recent years.

10. Shum Yip Upperhills Tower 1, Shenzhen, China (388 metres, 80 floors). Topped out. Another one in Shenzhen.

Out of the 10 building above, 8 are in China, 1 is in Malaysia and 1 is in Russia. We seldom see any supertall skyscraper completion in Russia and 2018 will be the year for that to happen. China dominated the race to build skyscrapers again from its cities like Tianjin and Shenzhen. United States, which is once known as the country of the origin of skyscrapers did not make it to the list. The first 8 in this list will have final height of over 400 metres respectively while the first 3 even exceeded 500 metres mark.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

My personal selection of the best for 2017 Hollywood films.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2018 by vincentloy

An actor from Hollywood can win over 20 best actor honours from a single performance or a movie can take multiple best film titles. That is possible because there are a lot of different film organizations or festivals in the West which get to pick their best of the year. For example, each states in US has its own film critics group. I have been thinking that why not Malaysians get to have our own group of film critics that get to pick the best in Hollywood too. That would be interesting.

I myself watched considerably huge number of Hollywood films every year. For 2017, I have watched over 60 Hollywood films to date and I have also compiled a list of all the 2017 movies that I have watched end of last year in a blog post (link: https://vincentloy.wordpress.com/2017/12/21/2017-films-that-i-have-watched-and-list-of-10-highest-grossing-films-for-the-year/). I do not have a voice (not able to vote) on the result for the Golden Globes, SAG, Critics Choice, BAFTA, Academy Awards or any other film awards but I can have my own annual list of the best for 2017 Hollywood films published here too.

The list of my personal best is shown right below (and it has 25 categories) and you will notice that I have a fair mix of major blockbusters and Oscar-type movies. The result is only from the movies that I had watched and is based on my personal analysis and statistics from the on-going awards season.

MY SELECTION OF THE BEST FOR 2017 HOLLYWOOD FILMS

Best Film: The Shape of Water

Runner-up: Beauty and the Beast, Wonder Woman, Get Out, War for the Planet of the Apes, It, Happy Death Day, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Coco

Best Director: Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)

Runner-up: Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Steven Spielberg (The Post), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name)

Best Leading Actor: Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour)

Runner-up: Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name), James Franco (The Disaster Artist), Jake Gyllenhaal (Stronger), Tom Hanks (The Post)

Best Leading Actress: Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water)

Runner-up: Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Margot Robbie (I, Tonya), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Meryl Streep (The Post)

Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Runner-up: Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water), Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water), Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Sebastian Stan (I, Tonya)

Best Supporting Actress: Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird)

Runner-up: Allison Janney (I, Tonya), Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water), Tatiana Maslany (Stronger), Julia Roberts (Wonder)

Best New Performer: Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name)

Runner-up: Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Jessica Rothe (Happy Death Day), Tom Holland (Spider-man: Homecoming), Asa Butterfield (The Space Between Us)

Best Original Screenplay: The Shape of Water

Runner-up: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Get Out, I Tonya, Lady Bird

Best Adapted Screenplay: Call Me By Your Name

Runner-up: The Disaster Artist, Stronger, Victoria and Abdul, Wonder

Best Production Design: The Shape of Water

Runner-up: Dunkirk, Darkest Hour, The Post, Beauty and the Beast

Best Cinematography: The Shape of Water

Runner-up: Dunkirk, Call Me By Your Name, Darkest Hour, The Post

Best Costume Design: Beauty and the Beast

Runner-up: The Greatest Showman, Victoria and Abdul, Darkest Hour, The Shape of Water

Best Film Editing: I, Tonya

Runner-up: The Shape of Water, Dunkirk, Get Out, Baby Driver

Best Make-Up and Hair-Styling: Darkest Hour

Runner-up: Wonder, Victoria and Abdul, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol II, I Tonya

Best Sound Mixing and Editing: Dunkirk

Runner-up: Baby Driver, The Shape of Water, Get Out, Wonder Woman

Best Visual Effect: War for the Planet of the Apes

Runner-up: Beauty and the Beast, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol II

Best Original Score: The Shape of Water

Runner-up: Dunkirk, The Post, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Victoria and Abdul

Best Original Song: This Is Me (The Greatest Showman)

Runner-up: Remember Me (Coco), The Mystery of Love (Call Me By Your Name), Visions of Gideon (Call Me By Your Name), Evermore (Beauty and the Beast)

Best Animated Film: Coco

Runner-up: Ferdinand, The Boss Baby, Despicable Me 3, The Emoji Movie

Best Horror / Supernatural Film: It

Runner-up: Jigsaw, Annabelle: Creation, Eloise, Rings

Best Science-Fiction / Fantasy Film: War for the Planet of the Apes

Runner-up: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Life, Kong: Skull Island, The Space Between Us

Best Action / Thriller Film: Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Runner-up: The Fate of the Furious, Split, Alien: Covenant, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Youth / Superhero Film: Wonder Woman

Runner-up: Justice League, Spider-man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, Power Rangers

Best Musical / Comedy Film: The Greatest Showman

Runner-up: Happy Death Day, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Beauty and the Beast, The Disaster Artist

Best Foreign Language Film: Bad Genius (Thailand)

Runner-up: Kung Fu Yoga (China, India), Cook Up A Storm (Hong Kong, China), The Adventurers (Hong Kong, China), Love Contractually (China)

‘The Shape of Water’ is the biggest winner with 7 wins. I enjoyed this film and I am amazed by almost everything in it from its masterful direction, brilliant acting performances and technical presentations. ‘Call Me By Your Name’, ‘Darkest Hour’, ‘The Greatest Showman’ and ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ has two wins respectively. If you are a movie lover, what do you think of my list here?

Movie reviews for ‘The Shape of Water’, ‘Bad Genius’ and ‘Darkest Hour’.

Posted in Miscellaneous on January 12, 2018 by vincentloy

Here comes the post that contains 3 movie reviews in a row. I have been busy watching some nice movies recently and is working hard to increase the number of 2017 films that I have watched. It has been raining continuously for two days now without any sign of stopping in KL. The temperature has dropped to below 25 degree celsius constantly these two days. It’s quite a rare phenomenon for a country with a tropical climate. So, there’s nothing better than staying indoor and enjoying some nice films.

‘The Shape of Water’ is a romantic dark fantasy film directed by Guillermo del Toro. Sets in Baltimore in 1962, the story follows a mute custodian at a high-security government laboratory who befriends a captured amphibian creature and later falls in love with him. She eventually plans to free the creature from the facility, prompting the government to track them down and as she attempts to introduce him to the oceans. The film starred Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg, Doug Jones, Octavia Spencer, etc.

I enjoyed this film a lot and there are a lot of things that I am very impressed on from this movie. Sally Hawkins is incredible. I have not seen her much in television or movies and I’m stunned by how great she is performing in this movie. It’s challenging to showcase acting when your role is a mute one (you have no dialogue) and yet Sally Hawkins nailed it with great range of emotions delivered. She is actually my ‘best actress’ pick for 2017 Hollywood films. Also amazing performances by the supporting cast (Shannon, Jenkins, Stuhlbarg and Spencer). It’s a pity that there isn’t enough room to fit them in all the nomination list for this present award season. Besides than acting, I am also amazed by the beautiful score by Alexandre Desplat (simple yet magical) that allows me to immerse further into the story and the environment. The sets (production design) are also brilliant and awesome direction by Guillermo del Toro too. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Shape of Water’ a total of 8.3. The plot reminds me of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ but the whole movie is done in a mesmerizing and artistic style, something that the Academy Awards love. ‘The Shape of Water’ is also my best Oscar-type film in 2017.

Next up is ‘Bad Genius’. It is a Thai heist thriller film  about a straight-A student who devises an exams-cheating scheme that eventually rises to international levels. Inspired by real-life news of students cheating on the SAT, the film transplants the heist film structure to a school-exams setting, and features themes of class inequality as well as teen social issues. I seldom watch Thai film but when I do, it must be that it is very good. And yes it is. The storyline is very engaging and it was really exhilarating  watching the cheating scenes in the movie. The movie also delivered valuable life messages. The cast did a good job in acting wise. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Bad Genius’ a total of 8.0. Why wouldn’t Malaysia made movies with this kind of quality?

My last movie review for this post is for the movie ‘Darkest Hour’. It is a war drama film that starred Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, and follows his early days as Prime Minister of UK, as Hitler closes in on Britain during World War II. The film also stars Ben Mendelsohn, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, and Ronald Pickup. I am usually not interested in this kind of political movie and the reason I’m watching this is because I want to pay attention to Gary Oldman’s award-winning performance in this one. Yes, he is great and I hardly recognize him in this role with all the heavy make-up on his face. He is an amazing actor who is really overdue for some awards. This is like his greatest chance to win the coming Academy Award for best actor. Give that to him. However, I find that the whole movie is trying too hard to showcase Gary Oldman’s take on Winston Churchill with excessive higher-tone dialogues from him and excessive close-up shots of him. There is literally nothing much going on in this movie besides his speeches and his speeches. I find this movie rather boring and lacks excitement besides than some clashes with the government members. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Darkest Hour’ a total of 6.8. Not my type of movie.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

2018 Critics’ Choice Movie Awards: Winners list

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2018 by vincentloy

Here comes the second out of the five most prestigious film awards for the annual Hollywood award season. The 2018 (23rd) Critics’ Choice Awards was held yesterday that honours the best of television and movies in year 2017. I will only post the result for the film categories as I have not watched any television series from the West for the past year.

So, without wasting any more time, here’s below is the full winners’ list for 2018 Critics’ Choice Movie Awards alongside with the list of nominees and my opinions. Do note that the number of nominees for each categories are inconsistent as they range from 4 to 7 for normal categories and 10 for best picture category:

BEST PICTURE
“The Big Sick”
“Call Me by Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“The Florida Project”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water” – WINNER
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Opinion: Delighted for ‘The Shape of Water’ to win. I have just watched this movie recently and it was fantastic and brilliant. Looks like the Oscar race for best picture will be now only between ‘The Shape of Water’ and ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ which had just won Golden Globes last week in Best Motion Picture – Drama. I still prefer the former. I find nothing exceptional for ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’.

BEST ACTOR
Timothée Chalamet – “Call Me by Your Name”
James Franco – “The Disaster Artist”
Jake Gyllenhaal – “Stronger”
Tom Hanks – “The Post”
Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out”
Daniel Day-Lewis – “Phantom Thread”
Gary Oldman – “Darkest Hour” – WINNER

Opinion: Expected result. Gary Oldman is overdue for awards and this is a perfect year for him. He is now the locked favourite to pick his first Oscar for best actor later. I’m quite happy that the list is expanded to 7 nominees in this category to fit in Jake Gyllenhaal as a little recognition to him as he has been very great in his recent film works. As for the other awards that has 5 nominees only for a category, he must be the one to be left out sadly.

BEST ACTRESS
Jessica Chastain – “Molly’s Game”
Sally Hawkins – “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” – WINNER
Margot Robbie – “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan – “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep – “The Post”

Opinion: Looks like Frances McDormand is on her way to win her second Oscar. She is now also locked for best actress win in the remaining awards including the Oscars. She is great in ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ but I find Sally Hawkins to be much more exceptional from her performance in ‘The Shape of Water’. Besides that, I am also annoyed by Frances McDormand’s strong personality and rude attitude. 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Willem Dafoe – “The Florida Project”
Armie Hammer – “Call Me By Your Name”
Richard Jenkins – “The Shape of Water”
Sam Rockwell – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” – WINNER
Patrick Stewart – “Logan”
Michael Stuhlbarg – “Call Me by Your Name”

Opinion: Willem Dafoe lost a lot of momentum by losing to Sam Rockwell again in this Critics’ Choice after being defeated too at the Golden Globes. Looks like Sam Rockwell is climbing the stair very quick to the top of the race and he is now the frontrunner to snatch the Oscar later. Well, he deserved it as I find his performance in ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ excellent. 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Mary J. Blige – “Mudbound”
Hong Chau – “Downsizing”
Tiffany Haddish – “Girls Trip”
Holly Hunter – “The Big Sick”
Allison Janney – “I, Tonya” – WINNER
Laurie Metcalf – “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer – “The Shape of Water”

Opinion: Similar case to Willem Dafoe-Sam Rockwell situation. Allison Janney continued her winning streak by taking this Critics’ Choice for best supporting actress. She now overtakes the previous favourite, Laurie Metcalf. Well, I am equally amazed by both of their performances. 

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS
Mckenna Grace – “Gifted”
Dafne Keen – “Logan”
Brooklynn Prince – “The Florida Project” – WINNER
Millicent Simmonds – “Wonderstruck”
Jacob Tremblay – “Wonder”

Opinion: Jacob Tremblay had won this before and so I don’t think he would be winning again. Dafne Keen is great in ‘Logan’ but performance in superhero film is usually not sought after for awards. I have not watched ‘The Florida Project’ and hence I have no comment to the winner’s selection in this category.

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE
“Dunkirk”
“Lady Bird”
“Mudbound”
“The Post”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” – WINNER

Opinion: Agree with this. Although I don’t think ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ is a masterpiece, but I have to admit that all the main cast (Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson and other supporting cast) did amazing jobs in this movie.

BEST DIRECTOR
Guillermo del Toro – “The Shape of Water” – WINNER
Greta Gerwig – “Lady Bird”
Martin McDonagh – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Christopher Nolan – “Dunkirk”
Luca Guadagnino – “Call Me By Your Name”
Jordan Peele – “Get Out”
Steven Spielberg – “The Post”

Opinion: Happy for Guillermo del Toro to win. His direction is brilliant in ‘The Shape of Water’. He is now the hot favourite to pick the Oscar and that puts Christopher Nolan aside. Poor Nolan. He has directed some stellar works in the past but never win big. I hope his chance will come very soon again next time.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor – “The Shape of Water”
Greta Gerwig – “Lady Bird”
Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani – “The Big Sick”
Liz Hannah and Josh Singer – “The Post”
Martin McDonagh – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Jordan Peele – “Get Out” – WINNER

Opinion: ‘Lady Bird’ is tipped to win this, but ended up losing to ‘Get Out’. Looks like ‘Lady Bird’ is not getting any love from Critics’ Choice. I have to admit that ‘Get Out’ do have a standout story in a horror theme, a genre that usually has typical and repetitive plots. 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
James Ivory – “Call Me by Your Name” – WINNER
Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber – “The Disaster Artist”
Dee Rees and Virgil Williams – “Mudbound”
Aaron Sorkin – “Molly’s Game”
Jack Thorne, Steve Conrad, Stephen Chbosky – “Wonder”

Opinion: ‘Call Me By Your Name’ has its only chance here and yup, it won. Competition in adapted screenplay isn’t strong this year and so it makes way for ‘Call Me By Your Name’ to sweep multiple awards in this category easily including the coming Oscars.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Roger Deakins – “Blade Runner 2049” – WINNER
Hoyte van Hoytema – “Dunkirk”
Dan Laustsen – “The Shape of Water”
Rachel Morrison – “Mudbound”
Sayombhu Mukdeeprom – “Call Me By Your Name”

Opinion: Didn’t watch ‘Blade Runner 2049’ but I heard a lot of good words on that movie particularly on its technical achievements. 

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Paul Denham Austerberry, Shane Vieau, Jeff Melvin – “The Shape of Water” – WINNER
Jim Clay, Rebecca Alleway – “Murder on the Orient Express”
Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis – “Dunkirk”
Dennis Gassner, Alessandra Querzola – “Blade Runner 2049”
Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer – “Beauty and the Beast”
Mark Tildesley, Véronique Melery – “Phantom Thread”

Opinion: Glad that ‘The Shape of Water’ win this one too because it clearly has amazing production design that successfully enables me as an audience to immerse myself into the movie. 

BEST EDITING
Michael Kahn, Sarah Broshar – “The Post”
Paul Machliss, Jonathan Amos – “Baby Driver” – WINNER
Lee Smith – “Dunkirk” 
Joe Walker – “Blade Runner 2049”
Sidney Wolinsky – “The Shape of Water”

Opinion: Happy for a recognition to ‘Baby Driver’. It was a great movie. The editing is brilliant in that one. However, I have a feeling that ‘Baby Driver’ will not win for the coming Academy Awards in this category as usually a film winning this award will be getting a best picture nomination in Oscars’ history. ‘Baby Driver’ certainly won’t be getting a best picture nomination.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Renée April – “Blade Runner 2049”
Mark Bridges – “Phantom Thread” – WINNER
Jacqueline Durran – “Beauty and the Beast”
Lindy Hemming – “Wonder Woman”
Luis Sequeira – “The Shape of Water”

Opinion: There has to be something for ‘Phantom Thread’. And yup, Critics’ Choice found a category for it. I would prefer ‘Beauty and the Beast’ to take this.

BEST HAIR AND MAKEUP
“Beauty and the Beast”
“Darkest Hour” – WINNER
“I, Tonya”
“The Shape of Water”
“Wonder”

Opinion: Gary Oldman’s transformation as Winston Churchill in ‘Darkest Hour’ is something that many people talked about. The make-up is incredible and it makes me not even able to recognize that it was Gary Oldman. So, a win for ‘Darkest Hour’ in this category is expected.

BEST SONG
“Evermore” – “Beauty and the Beast”
“Mystery of Love” – “Call Me By Your Name”
“Remember Me” – “Coco” – WINNER
“Stand Up for Something” – “Marshall”
“This Is Me” – “The Greatest Showman”

Opinion: ‘This Is Me’ won in Golden Globes but ‘Remember Me’ won in Critics’ Choice now. So, it’s the battle between these two in the remaining awards. I’m okay with any of these two songs winning.

BEST SCORE
Alexandre Desplat – “The Shape of Water” – WINNER
Jonny Greenwood – “Phantom Thread”
Dario Marianelli – “Darkest Hour”
Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer – “Blade Runner 2049”
John Williams – “The Post”
Hans Zimmer – “Dunkirk”

Opinion: Another expected and satisfying outcome. Alexandre Desplat crafted a simple yet magical soundtrack for ‘The Shape of Water’. The score adds extra layer to the movie.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Dunkirk”
“The Shape of Water”
“Thor: Ragnarok”
“War for the Planet of the Apes” – WINNER
“Wonder Woman”

Opinion: Also happy for ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ to win as that was the last movie in its film franchise. The creation of the realistic apes in the movie is a challenging task to do and yet so amazingly delivered in this movie.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“The Breadwinner”
“Coco” – WINNER
“Despicable Me 3”
“The LEGO Batman Movie”
“Loving Vincent”

Opinion: ‘Coco’ all the way. Everybody is now 100% sure that ‘Coco’ will take the same prize in the coming Oscars too. This wonderful movie has been snatching almost all of the precursor awards and it totally deserves all of them. 

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“BPM (Beats Per Minute)”
“A Fantastic Woman”
“First They Killed My Father”
“In the Fade” – WINNER
“The Square”
“Thelma”

Opinion: No comment in this category as I have not watched all of the nominated films. 

BEST ACTION MOVIE
“Baby Driver”
“Logan”
“Thor: Ragnarok”
“War for the Planet of the Apes”
“Wonder Woman” – WINNER

Opinion: Delighted for ‘Wonder Woman’ to win. I had an awesome time watching it months ago. Brilliant movie and is the ‘only’ brilliant movie by DC in recent years.

BEST COMEDY
“The Big Sick” – WINNER
“The Disaster Artist”
“Girls Trip”
“I, Tonya”
“Lady Bird”

Opinion: I am surprised that ‘Lady Bird’ lost for this one. Even if ‘Lady Bird’ lost, I would thought of it losing to ‘I, Tonya’ or ‘The Disaster Artist’. It ended up losing to ‘The Big Sick’, a movie that has not received a lot of awards buzz. I’m surprised.

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY
Steve Carell – “Battle of the Sexes”
James Franco – “The Disaster Artist” – WINNER
Chris Hemsworth – “Thor: Ragnarok”
Kumail Nanjiani – “The Big Sick”
Adam Sandler – “The Meyerowitz Stories”

Opinion: Expected. James Franco won here after similar win in Golden Globes few days ago. Well, his winning will end here as there are no longer separate category for acting performance in musical/comedy in the remaining award presentations. It will be all just nominations for him from here onward.

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY
Tiffany Haddish – “Girls Trip”
Zoe Kazan – “The Big Sick”
Margot Robbie – “I, Tonya” – WINNER
Saoirse Ronan – “Lady Bird”
Emma Stone – “Battle of the Sexes”

Opinion: Saoirse Ronan surprisingly lost to Margot Robbie here. Again, another surprise. Saoirse Ronan won in Golden Globes but now Margot Robbie came into the light by winning in this Critics’ Choice. But I’m actually happier that Margot Robbie won as I find that her performance is slightly better than Saoirse Ronan. Anyway, both of them are sure to be nominated for best actress in the coming Academy Awards but they won’t be able to win. So, it is very obvious that ‘Lady Bird’ is totally shut out in Critics’ Choice to the shock of many people.

BEST SCI-FI OR HORROR MOVIE
“Blade Runner 2049”
“Get Out” – WINNER
“It”
“The Shape of Water”

Opinion: This is the category for ‘Get Out’ to win. Enough said. 

The next major Hollywood film awards will be the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG) to be held on 21st January 2018.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

‘Heart and Greed’ is a lot less stellar than its last two predecessors.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2018 by vincentloy

‘Heart and Greed’ is the third installment in the ‘Heart of Greed’ Hong Kong drama franchise. The first ‘Heart of Greed’ was released way back in 2007 with critical acclaim and the drama went on to win the most accolades at TVB Anniversary Awards that particular year. The drama has also lead to popularization of ‘golden words’ derived from some intense script in it. I enjoyed the drama a lot, particularly on the theme of inheritance-fighting, the emotional impact especially touching on the warmth of the family, and the superb performances by all the cast. It is a classic. Looking on its success, TVB decided to make a sequel entitled ‘Moonlight Resonance’ the next year (2008). Similar hype and success came in as well as the drama also become the highest rated TVB series of all time with its final episode hitting 50 points.

So about ten years later (now), TVB decided to make yet another sequel (with the same 40-episodes span). It’s called ‘Heart and Greed’. I was very excited because of how great the first two dramas turned out in the past. I also very much enjoyed drama with the theme of family and fighting for inheritance with all sort of tactics and schemes. However, I noticed that this latest drama is no longer relating to ‘inheritance’ kind of story but rather about man who would sacrifice everything to help his friend’s dying business.  This drama brought back old cast (Ha Yu, Louise Lee, Michelle Yim, Susanna Kwan, Louis Yuen, Bosco Wong, etc) and mix it up with new people (Vincent Wong, Eliza Sam, Sharon Chan, Michael Tong, Priscilla Wong, etc).

After I saw the change of cast (disappointed for not seeing Linda Chung, Tavia Yeung, Raymond Lam, Moses Chan, Fala Chen, Chris Lai anymore in here) and the change of plot’s theme, I lowered my expectation even before I started watching the drama. And yup…I am right. The drama is no where near the quality to be called a ‘classic’ like its first two predecessors. The drama lacks the intensity and the dramas that we observed in almost every single episodes for its first two series. Besides than the boring storylines of ‘Kyle falling in love with Belle’, the plain development of ‘old Mr Wong persistently helping his old friend, Alan who had once saved him’ part, the out-of-arch segment of ‘daughter of the family making immoral advance to a married man’ and lastly the illogical and rushed plot when the ‘uncle suddenly turned bad in the end’, there is nothing much going on to make this drama a memorable one.

The veteran cast is doing well in leading the whole show. Or is it? It looks to me that Michelle Yim’s role is now so small and yet she is nominated for best leading actress in the coming TVB Anniversary Awards. She is a great actress, and yet given such unimportant character this time, which is in total contrast to her award-winning performance as Yan Hung in ‘Moonlight Resonance’. On the other hand, I find that Louise Lee had been pushing too hard to act in this drama with frequent shouting kind of tone when speaking. Her age must be weakening her performance. Susanna Kwan is good though and I am impressed with her ability to memorize long script for her part. Eliza Sam is still not doing enough to carry her role while Vincent Wong is as his usual good form. Michael Tong returns with his first drama here after many years and he is doing well. Now I wonder why he and Jacqueline Ch’ng (who portrayed as Adam’s wife) are not being nominated in supporting categories for the coming TVB Anniversary Awards. They are good in their roles here. The drama lacks a few more major characters (the main family group now lacks so many people when compared to its first two dramas) to further escalate things up, to create more tensions and climax for the story.

Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Heart and Greed’ a total of 7.4 only. I would have easily rated ‘Heart of Greed’ and ‘Moonlight Resonance’ above 8 and even nears to 9 respectively. But for this third installment, it is just not that good. It is still a solid drama with some (much lesser) warm and touching family scenes, some fun (but less exciting) conflicts in business and relationship issues. The songs in this drama are nice to listen to by the way while I can see also a lot of effort and budget has been placed on the setting (house interior) and the costumes too. The producers have been forcing themselves to create another sequel to this franchise and it turned out not working that well to my earlier projection.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

75th Golden Globe Awards: The full results.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2018 by vincentloy

The 75th Golden Globe Awards has concluded not long ago with a ceremony that focuses on the women fighting for gender equality and against sexual harassment, Hollywood’s hottest topic in recent time. Last year’s ceremony was so much about voicing out political dissatisfaction (when Donald Trump got elected to be the President), and this year is all about women rights. These award shows have become a platform to voice out issues like those. My focus is still on who’s winning though in this awards organized by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA).

Here’s below is the full result for the 75th Golden Globe Awards with the nominees also included and my opinions to all the film categories:

Best actress in a limited series or television movie

WINNER: Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies
Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan
Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette and Joan
Jessica Biel, The Sinner

Best supporting actor in a motion picture (drama)

Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
WINNER: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World

Opinion: Willem Dafoe is the frontrunner in this one but he surprisingly lost out to Sam Rockwell. I didn’t watch ‘The Florida Project’ and so I’m not sure how great his performance is in that one. On the other hand, I do watched ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ and I think Sam Rockwell do indeed deserves to win this. 

Best actress in a TV series (musical/comedy)

Pamela Adlon, Better Things
Alison Brie, GLOW
WINNER: Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Issa Rae, Insecure
Frankie Shaw, SMILF

Best actress in a TV series (drama)

WINNER: Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
Claire Foy, The Crown
Katherine Langford, 13 Reasons Why
Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Deuce
Caitriona Balfe, Outlander

Best actor in a TV series (drama)

Freddie Highmore, The Good Doctor
WINNER: Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan

Best TV series (drama)

WINNER: The Handmaid’s Tale
This Is Us
The Crown
Game of Thrones
Stranger Things

Best supporting actor in a series, limited series or TV film

Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Alfred Molina, Feud: Bette and Joan
WINNER: Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies
David Thewlis, Fargo

Best Original Score

Carter Burwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
WINNER: Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water
Jonny Greenwood, Phantom Thread
John Williams, The Post
Hans Zimmer, Dunkirk

Opinion: I have not watched ‘The Shape of Water’ and ‘Phantom Thread’ and so my personal preference would be ‘Dunkirk’. But I’m still happy that ‘The Shape of Water’ did get recognized as I have heard a lot of good things about it. I’m going to watch it soon.

Best original song

Home, Ferdinand
Mighty River, Mudboumd
Remember Me, Coco
The Star, The Star
WINNER: This Is Me, The Greatest Showman

Opinion: Although ‘Remember Me’ gets the most cheer when the nominees are announced just now, but ‘This Is Me’ triumphed in the end due to its more energetic and powerful melody and lyrics. ‘Remember Me’ is a good and an affecting song, but it is a bit too simple to be called awards-worthy.

Best actor (comedy/musical)

Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes
Ansel Elgort, Baby Driver
WINNER: James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

Opinion: This is certainly for James Franco. His portrayal as Tommy Wiseau in ‘The Disaster Artist’ is brilliant. The only other strong contender in this category is Daniel Kaluuya but he is much lesser known compared to James Franco. 

Best supporting actress in a series, limited series or TV film

WINNER: Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale
Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
Michelle Pfeiffer, The Wizard of Lies
Shailene Woodley, Big Little Lies

Best animated film

The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
WINNER: Coco
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

Opinion: This is very much expected. ‘Coco’ is certainly the best animated film in 2017. No other animated movies can even get close to it. 

Best supporting actress in a motion picture (drama)

Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Hong Chau, Downsizing
WINNER: Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Opinion: Golden Globes love to give us surprise in supporting actor / actress categories. The projected frontrunner, Laurie Metcalf lost this one to Allison Janney. I personally prefer Laurie Metcalf to take this as I find her role in ‘Lady Bird’ is more significant than Allison Janney’s role in ‘I, Tonya’. 

Best screenplay

The Shape of Water
Lady Bird
WINNER: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Post
Molly’s Game

Opinion: There is so much love from the HFPA for ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’. Although I admire the idea and performances in this film, I actually find the movie not doing enough to create a memorable and impacting outcome. 

Best foreign film

A Fantastic Woman
First They Killed My Father
WINNER: In the Fade
Loveless
The Square

Best actor in a miniseries or TV movie

Robert De Niro, The Wizard of Lies
Kyle MacLachlan, Twin Peaks
Jude Law, The Young Pope
WINNER: Ewan McGregor, Fargo
Geoffrey Rush, Genius

Best TV series (comedy)

Black-ish
WINNER: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Master of None
SMILF
Will & Grace

Best actor in a TV series (musical/comedy)

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
WINNER: Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Kevin Bacon, I Love Dick
William H. Macy, Shameless
Eric McCormack, Will & Grace

Best film director

WINNER: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Ridley Scott, All the Money in the World
Steven Spielberg, The Post

Opinion: Many are expecting Christopher Nolan to take this including me. But hey, another surprise for the evening; Guillermo del Toro emerged the winner in the end. Sympathy for Christopher Nolan. He has been the director for many great films in the past but never get the chance to win in Golden Globes. 

Best miniseries or TV movie

WINNER: Big Little Lies
Feud: Bette and Joan
Fargo
Top of the Lake: China Girl
The Sinner

Best actress in a film (comedy/musical)

Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
WINNER: Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes
Helen Mirren, The Leisure Seeker

Opinion: Expected result. Saoirse Ronan is phenomenal in ‘Lady Bird’. Her other major opponent, Margot Robbie must be very close. Saoirse Ronan has the advantage because she has been in the awards season for couple of times already while Margot Robbie is still new in contending for awards. 

Best film (comedy/musical)

The Disaster Artist
Get Out
The Greatest Showman
I, Tonya
WINNER: Lady Bird

Opinion: I still don’t understand how ‘Get Out’ is a comedy film. It’s a horror film, a total contrast to the category it is nominated in. Golden Globes always gave us this kind of joke every year (like ‘The Martian’ in the past). I prefer ‘I, Tonya’ to win this actually because I’m more engaged and thrilled watching that one compared to ‘Lady Bird’. 

Best actor (drama)

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Tom Hanks, The Post
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
WINNER: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Opinion: Gary Oldman has been talking bad about Golden Globes and HFPA few years ago. I thought it would harm his chance to win. But still, in the end, HFPA forgot about the past and decided to still pick him for his strong performance in ‘Darkest Hour’. I have not watched ‘Darkest Hour’ yet and so my preference is actually Timothee Chalamet from ‘Call Me By Your Name’. Gary has been too showy in ‘Darkest Hour’ while Timothee has been more raw, fragile and real in ‘Call Me By Your Name’, and that’s the reason I choose the latter. 

Best actress (drama)

Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
WINNER: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Meryl Streep, The Post
Michelle Williams, All the Money in the World

Opinion: Sally Hawkins has been losing momentum and it is evident here. Frances McDormand has been rising intensely on the wins in critics’ and film festivals’ awards and continued the luck to this one. Meryl Streep again…always seeing her in awards season every year because she is simply great in all the roles she delivered. She looks likely to get her crazy 21st Oscar nomination but will likely not winning.

Best film (drama)

Dunkirk
The Post
The Shape of Water
Call Me by Your Name
WINNER: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Opinion: So much love for ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ from HFPA. It is the biggest winner with 4 wins. It is a good movie but not great and that deserving for this top honor. I would personally choose ‘Call Me By Your Name’ or even ‘The Shape of Water’. Now, it makes ‘Dunkirk’, ‘The Post’, ‘Call Me By Your Name’ leaving the evening without any win at all of which I find something is not right. It’s interesting. Before this Golden Globes, there is actually no clear frontrunner for this year’s award season. Now after this Golden Globes, the hype for ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ would be soaring high automatically. 

So, now, that’s the end of the first of the major 5 film awards in Hollywood. The next one coming up is the Critics’ Choice Awards to be held on January 11, 2018 (just a few days later!).

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)