Movie review for ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘The Space Between Us’ and ‘Life’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous on March 27, 2017 by vincentloy

Finally, I have time back for some movies and their reviews here.

‘Beauty and the Beast’ is the live-action remake of the 1991 animated film of the same name. That 1991 movie was a classic and it’s a good move that Disney is making a live adaptation of it. Beyond that, Disney is also now planning to produce more remake of their animated classics like ‘Mulan’ and ‘Aladdin’. Previously, this movie went viral because it contains a homosexual scene and it is originally banned for release in my country, Malaysia. However, that particular scene isn’t anything serious or detrimental (just a dancing scene of Le Fou revealing his tummy to express his love to Gaston for one second). And the movie finally get to be released in Malaysia on 30th March. Making a fuss out of a very small issue.

As for the movie itself, I’m pleased that they went with the same storyline with the original one without putting in unnecessary stuff or twist into the plot as those do happened in some of Disney’s past remakes (like in ‘Maleficient’). Emma Watson is playing Belle. I like her but I find that she isn’t the best one for the role. I somehow find her voice didn’t fit into her acting altogether in this movie. Also to be noted is that this movie has a great cast; Dan Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts, etc. I love it when they used most of the music from the original into this live-action remake. I understand the need to edit those music for a bit of originality, but the outcome is not as good as the original animated movie. This live-action remake is still an entertaining one to watch, for the kids as a lovely new fairy tale movie and for the adults as well to relive their childhood memories of this classic. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Beauty and the Beast’ a total of 7.1. And this movie is now making huge money in worldwide box office. It is likely that it will be the first 2017 movie to cross US$ 1 billion in total grossing.

‘The Space Between Us’ is a romantic science fiction film about a boy born in Mars and then sent back to Earth during his late teenage years. He can’t cope with the gravity on Earth and yet he has to find the girl he loved as well as his presumed dad. The movie starred Asa Butterfield, Gary Oldman, Carla Gugino, etc. It is quite an interesting premise by combining a boy living his years in Mars with romance on a short-lived stay on Earth. I noticed the movie do have some very strong touching dialogue but they are not expressed to their full potential. Actually, the whole movie can reach great height but is not pushed to the very limit given an interesting plot. A bit of a waste. Asa Butterfield is a great young actor and he handle this role well. I see huge future for him in Hollywood. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Space Between Us’ a total of 7.2. The critics went too harsh on this movie.

‘Life’ is another recent movie set in outer space that I have watched. It is a science-fiction horror film about a group of astronauts in International Space Station having to deal with the danger posed by an extraterrestrial form brought in from Mars. It is like another version of ‘Alien’ film. Well, the next ‘Alien’ film entitled ‘Alien: Covenant’ will be released soon in this year too. This movie ‘Life’ starred Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, etc. Ryan Reynolds is given limelight on the marketing for this movie but he is actually the first character to be killed in the movie. What a joke. The movie actually developed fast to show the alien form starts attacking but I still find the overall pace to be quite slow. It’s not that engaging or intense as hoped earlier. However, it is still a good movie with an expected plot twist at the very end. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Life’ a total of 7.2.

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

Earth Hour 2017 today!

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , on March 25, 2017 by vincentloy

I have been keeping myself 24 hours a day in my room concentrating on reading plenty of online articles and websites on the topic for my dissertation proposal. I have a Part 1 submission on Monday and hopefully I will get it done by tomorrow. It’s been tiring for my eyes to read lines by lines in those articles the whole day. Actually, I have been doing this for the past few days as well to the point that I have neglected my design studio unfortunately.

Time goes by unbelievably fast. A month of the semester is already over. I felt as though we have just started the semester. Now, about a quarter of it is gone. More and more submission deadlines are coming in and that makes a stressful time out of my life. What to do…that’s the life of an architecture student. Now, I can’t wait for the two weeks of break somewhere on mid of April. That would be a great time for me to catch up on my assignments while still having the time to chill and relax.

On the other hand, I almost forget that today is the Earth Hour event. Started 10 years ago in 2007 at Sydney, Australia, this event of switching off non-essential lights for one hour from 8.30pm to 9.30pm (local time) has becomes a worldwide phenomena ever since. Well, it doesn’t play much role on saving the Earth but the event at least has the potential and impact of raising awareness among the general public on the importance to take care of this lovely planet. But since I’m doing my assignment just now during that one hour, I couldn’t bother but to continue on my work without switching off any lights at all. Unfortunately, this event is also getting lesser and lesser attention on each passing year.

I noticed there are a number of cool movies coming out this month and I don’t have the time and opportunity to watch them unfortunately. They are ‘Power Rangers’ movie (the original series made up part of my childhood entertainment), ‘Life’ (movie about an extraterrestrial invading the outer space station), ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (a live-action remake of the animated classic starring one of my favourite actresses, Emma Watson), The Boss Baby (an animated comedy that looks promising from its trailer), etc. How nice it is if I have a few days to be totally free and watch all of them, and the spare time will be spent wandering around in the city too. I also wish to visit Fremantle. Since coming back to Perth last month, I have not been to Fremantle yet. But now, I couldn’t get my mind off from those assignments! Damn…what a stressful life.

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

 

 

Movie review for ‘Logan’ and ‘Kong: Skull Island’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous on March 20, 2017 by vincentloy

It’s been over a week since I last written a blog post here. I have been busy for the past week due to a hectic design studio submission and I had also fall sick during that time. The extreme change of weather right now in Perth leads to me not feeling that well. In a sudden, the temperature soared beyond 35 degree celsius, and an hour later, it dropped to below 20 degree celsius. I was having fever, sore throat, cold, flu and headache for few days last week due to the weather, stress from assignments and constant lack of sleep. Fortunately, I was getting better now. Now I’m back to be slightly free and I immediately return to my blog here. I’ll have this post for movie review for ‘Logan’ and ‘Kong: Skull Island’ (2017). I have watched them some time ago actually.

‘Logan’ is a superhero movie featuring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. It is the third films in X-Men series that focused on Wolverine (I think I have even forgotten on what’s happening in the first two). In this movie, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X somewhere on the Mexican border in near future. However, Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces. The young mutant is later revealed to be his daughter.

This movie has been getting very critical acclaim and is doing good in box office too. However, I don’t really enjoy the movie. I think people rate it very good because they put in a father-daughter relationship focus into the movie and it will create a lot of emotions. Even in that point of view, I’m not buying it. I don’t get carried away by that focus and I think their interaction falls flat. I also find that the action scenes in this movie are very little and unoriginal (it only has the gore), excessive draggy scenes throughout the movie and a sad ending that felt like ‘forced out’ of nowhere. I will only rate ‘Logan’ 6.2 out of 10.

The next movie is ‘Kong: Skull Island’. It is a monster film about of a team of scientists who went to explore and uncharted island in the Pacific. They ventured into the domain of a huge Kong and must fight to escape another species of monster called Skullcrawler in the island too. The movie starred Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, John C. Reilly, etc.

I love watching monster films. This latest movie about Kong is still an entertaining one but I can’t resist from comparing it to the 2005 film ‘King Kong’ that starred Adrien Brody and Naomi Watts. I think that 2005 movie is much more exciting in terms of the story, character’s development, intensity of actions, production designs, and almost everything else. This latest Kong film is just a bit dull with the same formula (a team of people discovering a new island, some monsters in the island, etc). There are not much exhilarating scenes in this Kong movie (some were too fast especially when the Kong is killing a giant squid and when the soldiers were killed by a giant spider) that left me disappointed. The only thing I’m excited is watching the post-credit scene and hearing Godzilla’s roar again. I can’t wait for them to get together in a single movie and the start of Monster Universe films (just like DC Cinematic Universe and Marvel Cinematic Universe). Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Kong: Skull Island’ a total of 6.8.

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

Second week done with plenty of gatherings and a TVB drama review for ‘Destination Nowhere’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2017 by vincentloy

First week of the semester is considered a happy-go-lucky week as no one would like to start on the assignments on the first week itself. Now, even the second week is gone and there is no more time to be wasted anymore. There are several submissions coming very soon already and I’m way not prepared yet. I did do my work, but 24 hours a day is just not enough. I’m not on track in my progress in all the units this semester. Well, I took that off my mind for a while first to enjoy this weekend.

Last Friday, I get back to the court to play badminton with my friends for about 3 hours. That was after a very stressful design studio with nothing from my part to show to the lecturers and I don’t really get what they want with their super-hard-to-understand words. It’s good to be back playing badminton after several months of not playing it already, and unfortunately, my badminton skill has not improve. The gathering did not stop there as we went for some snack and drink after that. Then, yesterday evening, we had another gathering in a friend’s house to enjoy the potluck dinner as well as to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Several hours later, I will heading out with my housemate to watch a movie. So many activities, and hence, not much time to focus on my assignments. Well, I will promise to myself to concentrate on my study from tomorrow onward.

Recently, I finished watching another TVB drama. It’s ‘Destination Nowhere’ (迷), a Hong Kong drama about a female news reporter who get caught up in the problematic collusion scheme between government official and businesses. All the hardship she faced has lead to her to be forced to become cunning and evil especially after the murder of her daughter. Those complicated cases that were actually linked to one another were then investigated by a police inspector who later felt in love with the female news reporter. This 30-episodes series starred Kevin Cheng, Kristal Tin, James Ng, King Kong Lee, Winki Lai, etc.

The plot is very interesting but there are several obvious plot holes that ruin the logic of the story in some major parts. The main cast, Kevin Cheng and Kristal Tin only get to bump onto each other in the very later stage of the series. I’m fascinated by the director’s decision to show them crossing over but not knowing each other in many occasions in earlier episodes but that were taking too many episodes. Once they knew each other, their relationship builds up too quickly. It’s a fresh thing to see this new pairing between Kevin and Kristal by the way. Their acting in this drama were also top notch especially Kristal. I’m stunned yet by another groundbreaking performance by Kristal. Her character is a very challenging one that requires execution of variety of emotions. She has a role that has to show the innocent side, leadership side, crying side, and cunning side all in one drama. She nailed it. There were time when I was sleepy and not paying attention while watching new episode of this drama on late night, and then, I immediately paid attention and went fully awake by her performance. I don’t mind giving her another best actress award but it is too early to tell right now since awards season is at the end of the year. This drama is being shown too early in the year and will be usually forgotten by the time awards season come. Other cast also did good job such as James Ng (still don’t like his face and his crying is too ugly to watch) and Winki Lai. Even the bad guy portraying ‘Wat Dee’ is putting on a very good performance. I don’t know his name but I pity him for always portraying bad guy in TVB dramas. He has the bad-guy look.

Overall, this drama is nice to watch. It is all good due to the amazing performances by the cast. Their acting kept me not wanting to leave my seat watching every episodes of this drama. There is also a good amount of suspense and dramatic moments throughout the whole series to keep engaging the viewers. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Destination Nowhere’ a total of 7.5.

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

First week done…looks like there is going to be a lot to do in this semester. On the other hand, a drama review for ‘Tiger Mom Blues’ (2017).

Posted in Miscellaneous on March 3, 2017 by vincentloy

First week of the semester is over! Usually, first week is the week when the lecturers will only hand out and explain on the module outlines and give brief introduction to their respective units. This is not the case for my course; Master of Architecture. In this first week itself, besides than introducing the unit, we have to start to work on so many things; thinking and conducting research on personal topic for thesis next semester, understanding professional practice and the many procedures and documentations involved and carrying out and presenting site analysis for a design project.

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So many things until that I find 24 hours for a day is not enough. It’s going to be like that for the rest of the semester and now, it’s just the beginning! Well, don’t get myself too stress for now first. It’s just week 1. Should chill down a bit and enjoy this weekend first.

On the other hand, recently, a TVB series called ‘Tiger Mom Blues’ (親親我好媽) has finished airing and I completed it. It is a Hong Kong drama that basically revolves a mother who is very strict to her family particularly to her two daughters, trying all methods to control and decide for them in everything. I believe this actually reflects to most parents nowadays too without giving a bit more freedom to the children to decide on their own. Back to the story, the series developed with more conflicts in her daughters’ school, in her husband’s job, and dealing with return of her eldest daughter’s biological mother. The 20-episodes series starred Elena Kong, Ben Wong, Sharon Chan, Willie Wai, Matthew Ho, Koni Lui, Michelle Yim, Angelina Lo, etc.

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This is obviously a family drama. So, don’t expect any actions or professional people on duties in this drama. It’s a warm story that comes with a number of heartfelt and relatable family situations. I think this is the first drama for Elena Kong to become the first female lead. I always see her in supporting roles in the past and she was great in them. I’m not surprised that she is doing absolutely well as the ‘fierce’ mother in this drama too. She gets into the character very well. Same goes to everyone else especially the young actress (didn’t know her name) who portrayed as her eldest daughter. Watching the series day by day, and didn’t realize it ended so quickly at 20 episodes. It’s a fairly good drama but after some time, this will be forgettable too.

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The series lacks memorable moments and lacks intense or dramatic plots especially in major first half of the series, has some plotholes (like since when the wife gets back together with her husband after a very serious quarrel, since when the wife’s mother changed her attitude so quickly to her husband whom her mother didn’t like at all, etc). Sharon Chan’s relationship with Willie Wai is boring to watch (I never like Willie Wai and in this drama, he gets quite a heavy role). In the end, Elena’s family and their issues in the drama save the day. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Tiger Mom Blues’ a total of 7.0. I think I have to stop watching two dramas every evening since my semester has already started and I have to allocate more time for my study from now onward.

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

 

Pritzker Prize 2017 Winner: Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta (RCR Arquitectes)

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2017 by vincentloy

The recipient of this year’s Pritzker Prize, the world’s most prestigious honour to architect, is a little less known. The recipient goes to not only a single person this year, but three, who works under one office; RCR Architects. They are Rafael Arana, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta. Well, it’s not about popularity and the ‘star’ appeal to win this honour. It’s about one’s significant contribution to the field of architecture to be able to receive this award.

Here are an article from Dezeen (original source: https://www.dezeen.com/2017/03/01/key-projects-pritzker-prize-laureates-rcr-arquitectes/) that introduces us to this award-winning architecture office, RCR Arquitectes:

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Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta all studied at the School of Architecture in Vallès, and set up their practice in their home town of Olot, Catalonia, in 1988. Their work ranges from public and private spaces to cultural venues and educational institutions, each designed to closely relate to the environment of its site. The three architects started working locally, designing an athletics track for the town in 2000 before creating their own office in an old foundry there eight years later. RCR Arquitectes’ other projects in Olot include a private house and a restaurant.

Many more of the studio’s projects over the past 10 years have also been located in Spain’s Girona province, ranging from a winery to a kindergarten and a public theatre. Later the firm began building slightly further afield – completing an art centre and a museum in France in 2014. Often collaborating with other architects, the trio uses materials like recycled steel and plastic. The Pritzker jury described their projects as “beautiful and poetic”. “Each building designed by these architects is special and is uncompromising of its time and place,” said the jury citation. “Their works are always the fruit of true collaboration and at the service of the community.” “They understand that architecture and its surroundings are intimately intertwined and know that the choice of materials and the craft of building are powerful tools for creating lasting and meaningful spaces.”

See 10 key projects by RCR Arquitectes below, in roughly chronological order:

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Tossols-Basil Athletics Track, 2000, Olot, Girona, Spain

Looping through two clearings in an oak forest, the running track avoids the trees and is coloured green to blend with its surroundings. The natural topography of the site provides stands for spectators, while a small pavilion comprising two Corten steel volumes includes a bar and storage for the football field.

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Bell–Lloc Winery, 2007, Palamós, Girona, Spain

A descending pathway with angled steel sides funnels visitors down from opposite directions to the entrance of the winery. Once inside, the material also creates a vaulted ceiling over the wine production machinery and barrel storage areas, where gaps in the roof allow slithers of light into the underground spaces.

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Sant Antoni – Joan Oliver Library, Senior Citizens Center and Cándida Pérez Gardens, 2007, Barcelona, Spain

Situated in Barcelona’s dense Eixample district, this cultural venue was intended to break the continuity of its historic street. A bridging section of the front building – which houses the library – provides public access underneath to a courtyard behind, where a low-slung volume wraps around the edge.

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Barberí Laboratory, 2008, Olot, Girona, Spain

RCR Arquitectes transformed a former foundry in their home town into their own offices and studio. Elements of the original building, like crumbling walls and a steel structure, were preserved. They were then paired with huge expanses of glass to create light-filled workspaces.

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El Petit Comte Kindergarten, 2010, Besalú, Girona, Spain
In collaboration with Joan Puigcorbé

Gradients of colourful plastic create a rainbow effect across this kindergarten building. A courtyard at the centre lets children play outside in a protected environment, while the plastic allows coloured light to flood the spaces inside.

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La Lira Theater Public Open Space, 2011, Ripoll, Girona, Spain
In collaboration with Joan Puigcorbé

To form a covered public space for theatre productions, the architects built a slatted-steel box, with angled sides and open ends, over a plaza sandwiched between two old structures. The volume faces a river and is connected to the opposite bank via a bridge made from the same material.

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Les Cols Restaurant Marquee, 2011, Olot, Girona, Spain

Swooping over this restaurant is a lightweight structure made from thin metal pipes, with translucent plastic stretched across the top. The canopy evokes the experience of dining al fresco, and extends beyond the enclosed space to protect those who are actually eating outside.

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Row House, 2012, Olot, Girona, Spain

When renovating this house in their home town, the architects exposed the underside of its tiled roof and concealed circulation on either side behind thin vertical louvres. In the central space – illuminated by a giant glass wall at the back – contemporary insertions form a sunken kitchen and dining level, with two separate mezzanines for lounging and sleeping above.

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La Cuisine Art Center, 2014, Nègrepelisse, France

Tucked inside the stone walls of a historic chateau, rooms made from steel and glass wrap around three sides of the building’s internal perimeter. These spaces host exhibitions, conferences and workshops dedicated to the art and design of food and cooking, and face a central courtyard that is used for larger events.

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Soulages Museum, 2014, Rodez, France
In collaboration with G Trégouët

Contemporary art exhibitions are housed within weathering-steel boxes that cantilever slightly from a small slope. The galleries are linked by glazed corridors and bridges, forming a route through the museum.

After receiving this prestigious honour, this Spanish firm along with these three leading architects shot to fame immediately in world of architecture.

(Images and information in this post are from the following source (also stated earlier): https://www.dezeen.com/2017/03/01/key-projects-pritzker-prize-laureates-rcr-arquitectes/.)

 

Started first class of the semester yesterday.

Posted in Miscellaneous on March 1, 2017 by vincentloy

Wow…we have come to the third month of the year. Yesterday was the last day of February, and it was also the first day of class for this semester. It’s good to be back to campus, attending classes as a student. The only not good thing is getting to know all the assignments and their deadlines. It’s great to walk the usual path to the campus again (usually I enjoyed the 10 minutes walk to the campus but not this time during the summer season when it is so hot), wandering inside the architecture building (time to get lost in this block again…it’s so weird, the classroom is on 7th floor, and when you go up to 7th floor, you can’t find it…the room is only accessible from a single stair up from a corner on 6th floor…who designed this?), to meet back my classmates and lecturers (some new faces too). Hmm…my busy mode starts.

I noticed that there are a lot of significant things associated to the number 50, particularly 50th anniversary. The university I’m studying at right now, Curtin University is celebrating 50th birthday this year. It’s their grand 50th anniversary celebration. Well, it has nothing to do with me unless the university announced huge reduction for our school fees. Well, I’m dreaming. This huge campus has been here in Perth for 50 years. My former employers in the last two architecture offices that I worked with before I came to study were all graduated from Curtin coincidentally. I will be the next one hopefully.

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What I’m doing usually on evening everyday besides than having dinner and doing assignment? I will be watching some TVB dramas. TVB is a major television company from Hong Kong and is famous for delivering various series and programmes for entertainment of Chinese not only in Hong Kong but also abroad. This year, this station will be celebrating its 50th anniversary too. And I’m looking forward to their grand production (series) near end of this year which will include ‘Beyond the Realm of Conscience 2’, ‘Heart of Greed 3’, ‘Line Walker 2’, etc. Currently, I’m watching two series (now in broadcast); ‘Tiger Mom Blues’ and ‘Destination Nowhere’. So, I’m quite occupied on almost every evening. Sometimes, we need to take a break out of the study stress, and hence here comes TVB series to save the day. I have watched TVB stuff for about 20 years already.

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So much ’50’ around. I hope that doesn’t reflect into any of my subjects’ result. 50 is just a mere passing mark and I’m not too keen about that. I’m setting a much higher expectation to all the subjects in my study. Okay…that’s it for my first post of the month. Have a great month, everyone!

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