Last night in Malaysia before going back to Perth.

Posted in Explosive News and Results on February 19, 2017 by vincentloy

My nephew is giving us a very gloomy expression throughout the whole dinner time we had just now. Well, it’s understandable since it is Monday tomorrow. Monday blues start right on Sunday night for everyone especially for him who is still not used to studying for long hours in Standard One (primary school). A full week is looming ahead and just now is the time for him to showcase his ‘acting’, showing all the ‘falling sick’ expression so that his mom (my sister) will let him be absent for school tomorrow. This trick didn’t work anymore.

It’s also a great ‘Monday blues’ mood for me right now as I will be finally flying back to Perth tomorrow to continue my study. No more holiday and it’s time for me to be prepared to welcome incoming huge amount of assignments in this final year of my master programme. I have done packing earlier and there is still some stuff for me to pack tomorrow morning before setting off to the airport. A lot of stuff to carry tomorrow to the airport as expected.

I managed to watch the last part of the 2016 TVB International Chinese New Talent Singing Championship just now. It is aired simultaneously from Hong Kong and it has two Malaysians competing in it. The two Malaysians are the ones finishing first and second place in Astro Star Quest 2016; Wendyy and Brian. Our home champion, Wendyy lost in the earlier round surprisingly but fortunately, we still have one Malaysian standing on the stage. He eventually won the competition beating out competitors from Hong Kong, Singapore and United States. Wow…congratulations! This is the third consecutive win for Malaysia in this annual competition held in Hong Kong. Uriah won the 2014 edition, Jacqueline won the 2015 edition, and now Brian won the 2016 one.

By tomorrow at this time, I would be in the plane en route to Perth. This time, I will only be spending about four months over there for one semester before flying back to Perth by mid of the year. I won’t be staying there during the winter break like last year. Looking forward to commence my third of the four semesters in my Master of Architecture programme.

Few more days in Malaysia before flying back to Perth

Posted in Interesting Encounters on February 16, 2017 by vincentloy

My excessively long three-months school break is finally ending soon. Next week is already the Orientation Week at the campus but that is none of my business since it is for newcomers. The semester will only start on the week after, but I will be flying back to Perth next Monday already. Hence, I have only few more days here in Malaysia to enjoy before all the stress from the study strikes again for this final year.

What I have mostly done in the past three months?

Changed my room’s appearance

41721556ad36b6be15de3fcd66d47f79

Once I’m back to my home last November, I couldn’t stand the messiness and the past poor arrangement of furniture in my small little bedroom. Besides than cleaning up the whole room to make it pleasant to atay in, I also bought new study table, chair, bedside table and some accessories from IKEA while throwing away some old stuff. I also hanged an image of Hong Kong city skyline in puzzle I completed some time ago, and placed some decorations on wall mounted planes (also from IKEA). Now my room doesn’t look like a store room anymore.

Watched a lot of movies

movies

Yes, I watched a lot of movies since I have all the time in this long holiday. This period (November to January) is the best time for me to catch up on some last year’s films that I have missed earlier as well as chasing all the Oscar-bait films that were typically released within that period too. Watching movie is one of my most favourite things to do as you tend to forget about everything else and just immerse into the drama and fun of those films.

Went for vacations

midtown-luggage-storage

During the Chinese New Year, I went to Hanoi, Vietnam with my parents and got to see breathtaking places like Tam Coc and Halong Bay. That 5 days 4 nights trip was a great one. We followed a tour group of only 14 people (the lesser the better) and we find it was worth the price that we have paid. Another new country checked on my list of countries that I have traveled to before. Not long after that, I also went up to Genting Highlands (I count that as a vacation too) to enjoy the colder air up there, visit the new Sky Avenue shopping mall and to try my luck (I won a bit in the end).

Rot at home

first-world-problem-bored-lazy

Most of the time, I was just in my home, rotting. Well, that is the essence of holiday when you just get to do nothing. Afternoon nap, watching a movie or two in a day, Hong Kong series marathon, playing games, searching for random stuff online, surfing Facebook twice in an hour and not setting any clock alarm are all possible in this break. The next time I got to have this kind of break again is on this end of June for my mid-year break. Now, I have to be prepared to turn off my ‘lazy’ mode.

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

70th British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) 2017 honours ‘La La Land’ with best film.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2017 by vincentloy

The 70th British Academy Film Awards, or simply known as BAFTA is held yesterday at Royal Albert Hall, London. It is the fourth of the five major annual awards celebrating the best of Hollywood films. It is also an important precursor award to the coming OSCARS as there is an overlapping of over 500 members voting for the BAFTA and also at the OSCARS. Stephen Fry is hosting the awards ceremony again. Here below is the full nomination list with the winners highlighted alongside with a bit of my thoughts.

british-academy-film-awards-logo-01-1600x498

BEST FILM
ARRIVAL Dan Levine, Shawn Levy, David Linde, Aaron Ryder
I, DANIEL BLAKE Rebecca O’Brien
LA LA LAND Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt – WINNER
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Lauren Beck, Matt Damon, Chris Moore, Kimberly Steward, Kevin J. Walsh
MOONLIGHT Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski

og

Opinion: Deserving win for ‘La La Land’, an energetic and heartfelt musical masterpiece. It looks like this Oscar frontrunner is unstoppable as the momentum of ‘Moonlight’ is going downhill now. ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ should be at least getting a nomination here and replace ‘I, Daniel Blake’. Well, British tend to be biased towards their own productions and so there must be at least one British film contending for the top honour here. 

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM
AMERICAN HONEY Andrea Arnold, Lars Knudsen, Pouya Shahbazian, Jay Van Hoy
DENIAL Mick Jackson, Gary Foster, Russ Krasnoff, David Hare
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM David Yates, J.K. Rowling, David Heyman, Steve Kloves, Lionel Wigram
I, DANIEL BLAKE Ken Loach, Rebecca O’Brien, Paul Laverty – WINNER
NOTES ON BLINDNESS Peter Middleton, James Spinney, Mike Brett, Jo-Jo Ellison, Steve Jamison
UNDER THE SHADOW Babak Anvari, Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Lucan Toh

untitled-design-26

Opinion: Since ‘I, Daniel Blake’ is even getting nominated for best film, it is a 100% certainty that it is going to take home this one. 

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER
The Girl With All the Gifts: MIKE CAREY (Writer), CAMILLE GATIN (Producer)
The Hard Stop: GEORGE AMPONSAH (Writer/Director/Producer), DIONNE WALKER (Writer/Producer)
Notes on Blindness: PETER MIDDLETON (Writer/Director/Producer), JAMES SPINNEY (Writer/Director), JO-JO ELLISON (Producer)
The Pass: JOHN DONNELLY (Writer), BEN A. WILLIAMS (Director)
Under the Shadow: BABAK ANVARI (Writer/Director), EMILY LEO, OLIVER ROSKILL, LUCAN TOH (Producers) – WINNER

Opinion: No comment. Didn’t watch any of these works above.

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
DHEEPAN Jacques Audiard, Pascal Caucheteux
JULIETA Pedro Almodóvar
MUSTANG Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Charles Gillibert
SON OF SAUL László Nemes, Gábor Sipos – WINNER
TONI ERDMANN Maren Ade, Janine Jackowski

Opinion: ‘Son of Saul’ won the Oscars last year for best foreign language film  in 2015 but it is only released in UK last year (2016). Hence, it is a year late and that doesn’t take away its position as the best in this category. 

DOCUMENTARY
13th Ava DuVernay – WINNER
THE BEATLES: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK- THE TOURING YEARS Ron Howard
THE EAGLE HUNTRESS Otto Bell, Stacey Reiss
NOTES ON BLINDNESS Peter Middleton, James Spinney
WEINER Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg

Opinion: No comment. Didn’t watch any of these works above.

ANIMATED FILM
FINDING DORY Andrew Stanton
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS Travis Knight – WINNER
MOANA Ron Clements, John Musker
ZOOTROPOLIS Byron Howard, Rich Moore

kubo-and-the-two-strings-is-a-film-that-will-be-appreciated

Opinion: Very happy for ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ to win. It is certainly a much better choice than the Oscar frontrunner, ‘Zootopia’ (or called ‘Zootropolis’ here in UK). ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ was better in story, style, and of course in visuals. I hope it will win in the coming Oscars too.

DIRECTOR
ARRIVAL Denis Villeneuve
I, DANIEL BLAKE Ken Loach
LA LA LAND Damien Chazelle – WINNER
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Kenneth Lonergan
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Tom Ford

Opinion: A very predictable win. Damien Chazelle has been taking all the director awards for his work in ‘La La Land’.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
HELL OR HIGH WATER Taylor Sheridan
I, DANIEL BLAKE Paul Laverty
LA LA LAND Damien Chazelle
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Kenneth Lonergan – WINNER
MOONLIGHT Barry Jenkins

Opinion: Another expected result. Deserving win for ‘Manchester by the Sea’ that has a fantastic script and amazing performances by the cast.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
ARRIVAL Eric Heisserer
HACKSAW RIDGE Robert Schenkkan, Andrew Knight
HIDDEN FIGURES Theodore Melfi, Allison Schroeder
LION Luke Davies – WINNER
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Tom Ford

Opinion: Not only that ‘Lion’ is getting a lot of love from the Oscars in their nomination list, but also here with a win in adapted screenplay, beating out all other excellent nominees. 

LEADING ACTOR
ANDREW GARFIELD Hacksaw Ridge
CASEY AFFLECK Manchester by the Sea – WINNER
JAKE GYLLENHAAL Nocturnal Animals
RYAN GOSLING La La Land
VIGGO MORTENSEN Captain Fantastic

awards-bafta-1

Opinion: With Denzel Washington not being nominated here, it is unsurprising for Casey Affleck to take home best actor easily. Well, he deserved it too for his amazingly restrained performance in ‘Manchester by the Sea’. It will be a battle between Denzel and Casey in the coming Oscars and I still prefer Casey. Denzel has won Oscar twice in the past. 

LEADING ACTRESS
AMY ADAMS Arrival
EMILY BLUNT The Girl on the Train
EMMA STONE La La Land – WINNER
MERYL STREEP Florence Foster Jenkins
NATALIE PORTMAN Jackie

awards-bafta

Opinion: It looks like Emma Stone is going to take the Oscar for best actress too. While I love ‘La La Land’, I find that her performance in it was not challenging, not a breakthrough and not an eye-opener. People just voted for her due to her adorable persona and not based on true performances. I’m still hoping for Natalie Portman to win in the coming Oscars for her splendid performance in ‘Jackie’ as the titular character. 

SUPPORTING ACTOR
AARON TAYLOR-JOHNSON Nocturnal Animals
DEV PATEL Lion – WINNER
HUGH GRANT Florence Foster Jenkins
JEFF BRIDGES Hell or High Water
MAHERSHALA ALI Moonlight

awards-bafta-2

Opinion: Mahershala Ali is a frontrunner in this category all along until British Academy decided to award it to someone else. What a surprise. It makes the race in this category very exciting. The winner, Dev Patel deserves this award too for his excellent performance in ‘Lion’.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
HAYLEY SQUIRES I, Daniel Blake
MICHELLE WILLIAMS Manchester by the Sea
NAOMIE HARRIS Moonlight
NICOLE KIDMAN Lion
VIOLA DAVIS Fences – WINNER

article-doc-ln3w2-9czgnmkfc618a08829d69895b1d-617_634x422

Opinion: This is the only acting category that is a lock. Viola Davis all the way. 

ORIGINAL MUSIC
ARRIVAL Jóhann Jóhannsson
JACKIE Mica Levi
LA LA LAND Justin Hurwitz – WINNER
LION Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Abel Korzeniowski

Opinion: Very much expected. A film that is all about music should win this one easily. ‘La La Land’ presented to us amazing score and songs. Enough said.

CINEMATOGRAPHY
ARRIVAL Bradford Young
HELL OR HIGH WATER Giles Nuttgens
LA LA LAND Linus Sandgren – WINNER
LION Greig Fraser
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Seamus McGarvey

Opinion: Yup…’La La Land’ again. Beautiful camera work throughout the whole movie.

EDITING
ARRIVAL Joe Walker
HACKSAW RIDGE John Gilbert – WINNER
LA LA LAND Tom Cross
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Jennifer Lame
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Joan Sobel

Opinion: I thought that ‘La La Land’ would win this as well. Fine. I’m glad that British Academy decided to spread the wealth and award something to ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ which is also another great film. 

PRODUCTION DESIGN
DOCTOR STRANGE John Bush, Charles Wood
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Stuart Craig, Anna Pinnock – WINNER
HAIL, CAESAR! Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh
LA LA LAND Sandy Reynolds-Wasco, David Wasco
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Shane Valentino, Meg Everist

Opinion: Well, British Academy would want to award ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ at least in one category and this is it. It’s a British film and British Academy would not want it to be completely shut out. 

COSTUME DESIGN
ALLIED Joanna Johnston
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Colleen Atwood
FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS Consolata Boyle
JACKIE Madeline Fontaine – WINNER
LA LA LAND Mary Zophres

Opinion: ‘Jackie’ presented to the audiences amazing costumes in that period of 1960s in the US, especially the glamorous ones worn by Natalie Portmna as Jackie. A deserving win. 

MAKE UP & HAIR
DOCTOR STRANGE Jeremy Woodhead
FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS J. Roy Helland, Daniel Phillips – WINNER
HACKSAW RIDGE Shane Thomas
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Donald Mowat, Yolanda Toussieng
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

Opinion: Happy for ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ to win this. Great make-up and hairstyling works in that movie. I’m surprised this film is not even getting a nomination in the Oscars in this category. BAFTA did it right more than the Oscars here.

SOUND
ARRIVAL Claude La Haye, Bernard Gariépy Strobl, Sylvain Bellemare – WINNER
DEEPWATER HORIZON Mike Prestwood Smith, Dror Mohar, Wylie Stateman, David Wyman
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Niv Adiri, Glenn Freemantle, Simon Hayes, Andy Nelson, Ian Tapp
HACKSAW RIDGE Peter Grace, Robert Mackenzie, Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright
LA LA LAND Mildred Iatrou Morgan, Ai-Ling Lee, Steve A. Morrow, Andy Nelson

Opinion: Surprised to see ‘La La Land’ losing this one. Still happy for ‘Arrival’ to win with its unique and interesting sound work.

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
ARRIVAL Louis Morin
DOCTOR STRANGE Richard Bluff, Stephane Ceretti, Paul Corbould, Jonathan Fawkner
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Tim Burke, Pablo Grillo, Christian Manz, David Watkins
THE JUNGLE BOOK Robert Legato, Dan Lemmon, Andrew R. Jones, Adam Valdez – WINNER
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Neil Corbould, Hal Hickel, Mohen Leo, John Knoll, Nigel Sumner

Opinion: A very deserving win for ‘The Jungle Book’, a movie filled with great scenery, realistic talking animals, and breathtaking visuals overall. 

BRITISH SHORT ANIMATION
THE ALAN DIMENSION Jac Clinch, Jonathan Harbottle, Millie Marsh
A LOVE STORY Khaled Gad, Anushka Kishani Naanayakkara, Elena Ruscombe-King – WINNER
TOUGH Jennifer Zheng

Opinion: No comment. Didn’t watch any of these works above.

EE RISING STAR AWARD (voted for by the public)
ANYA TAYLOR-JOY
LAIA COSTA
LUCAS HEDGES
RUTH NEGGA
TOM HOLLAND – WINNER

bafta-winner-tom-holland-meets-andrew-garfield-nabbed-spiderman-job-828086

Opinion: I knew that Tom Holland will win this eventhough I find that Ruth Negga is more deserving of this recognition. All the British girls will just vote for Tom Holland while the boys also will vote for him, anticipating his upcoming Spiderman role in ‘Spiderman: Homecoming’. He is actually great in ‘The Impossible’, a disaster film few years ago when he was still a child. Now, he is a young adult and there is a bright future for him ahead.

OUTSTANDING BRITISH CONTRIBUTION TO CINEMA
CURZON CINEMAS

Opinion: Curzon Cinemas is a chain of cinema that specializes in art house films. Didn’t know anything about it since I’m not living in London. Hence, no comment for its win.

BAFTA FELLOWSHIP (Lifetime Achievement Award)
MEL BROOKS

Opinion: I don’t know who is Mel Brooks and so no comment too.

‘La La Land’ is the biggest winner of the ceremony with 5 wins including taking home the best film prize. ‘Nocturnal Animals’ and ‘Moonlight’ are completely empty-handed without any win respectively. But overall, this awards has been spreading the wealth with many nominated films winning at least one award in the evening respectively.

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

Movie review for ‘Allied’, ‘Lion’, ‘Underworld: Blood Wars’ and ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’ (2016)

Posted in Miscellaneous on February 13, 2017 by vincentloy

The British Academy Film Awards 2017 is just few hours away and I managed to watch four more films of 2016 before that awards ceremony. They are ‘Allied’, ‘Lion’, ‘Underworld: Blood Wars’ and ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’. The latter two are not getting any awards buzz or nominations simply because they are not good films. Some may argue and said that two films are also not considered 2016 films because their major release dates were in 2017. However, I decide the year of the film based on its first ever release date and both of them had their first ever release in 2016. Hence, they are rightfully 2016 films. Here, I’m going to give a quick review to these 4 films.

‘Allied’ is a World War II romantic thriller film about a Canadian intelligence officer who encounters a female French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. When they reunite and get married in London, the officer is told that his wife may be a German spy. The film starred Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, etc. Before watching this movie, I was thinking that this movie may be like a ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ version in a period piece (Brad Pitt also starred in ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ and that movie was exciting to watch). However, ‘Allied’ is a disappointment with lack of actions and lack of love drama between Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Allied’ a total of 6.5. It receives an Academy Award nomination for Best Costume Design.

allied_2016_full_movie

‘Lion’ is a drama film based on a true story about a five-year-old Indian boy who was lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia. 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family and his plan succeeded with the help of Google Earth. The film starred Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara, etc. Before watching the movie, I find it very weird for this movie of such story is given the title of an animal; lion. After watching it, you will understand why this film’s title is ‘Lion’. It is a touching story that comes with wonderful score and exceptional performances by Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman. The child portraying the main character before Dev Patel taking over was also very good. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Lion’ a total of 7.8. This movie is getting a lot of love from the Academy by receiving 6 Oscar nominations; best picture, best supporting actor (Dev Patel), best supporting actress (Nicole Kidman), best adapted screenplay, best original score and best cinematography.

lion-2016-poster-5

‘Underworld: Blood Wars’ and ‘Resident Evil: The Final Chapter’ are both identical movies with story about killing zombies or vampires. They are also very similar by having the lead, a sole female hero on saving the world at the end of the day. This kind of movies never appeal to the critics due to the lack of emotions, shallowness of characters and variety of other reasons. I’m going to combine my thoughts to these two movies together and I’m going to rate them equally at 6.0 out of 10 points. Just sit back and enjoy the actions and then you are fine. If not, you will think these two as unnecessary sequels with rubbish plot and quality created just to earn some money from movie audiences. ‘Resident Evil’ film franchise began very well with its first movie that was interesting. Then, it goes downhill as more sequels came in. As for ‘Underworld’ film franchise, I can’t even remember what has happened in the past before this latest movie.

underworld

resident-evil-6-the-final-chapter-wallpaper

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

TVB drama review: Burning Hands (2017)

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

‘Burning Hands’ (乘勝狙擊) is a 2017 Hong Kong drama by TVB that revolves on a team of con-artists and illusionists who are hired by a casino tycoon to find the mastermind behind his casino’s embezzled funds. But the leader of the gang, Chak Koon-yat, has his own reasons for helping the mogul. Things then lead to unexpected development of conflict, betrayal, friendship and hardship to the characters. This 28-episodes drama starred Ruco Chan, Joel Chan, Rosina Lam, Pal Sinn, Kelly Fu, Rebecca Chan, Hugo Wong, Hugo Ng, etc.

15940665_1398642166822232_3657344935302710849_n

This drama is the best TVB drama so far for this first quarter of the year. Having casino as the main theme drives the plot to an interesting direction. It is at least a fresh take on a TVB drama that usually goes with typical occupation themes like doctor, lawyer, or police. Now, it all revolves mainly on a group of con-artists and businessmen. On top of that, the many tricks executed by the characters in the series to excel in their missions are exciting to watch and had me looking forward to watch every episodes. The series also explores into friendship value between friends and business partners as well as love relationship between the young as well as the old couples (surprisingly nice to see the pairing of Pal Sinn with Rebecca Chan).

Ruco Chan is as usual being great in his roles and this one is not an exception. As the leader of his gang, he put in a lot of energy and passion to act the best out of that character and he nailed it. Joel Chan is also convincing as the main villain, a person that nobody expects would turn this bad from the earlier episodes. TVB should give more good roles to Joel and I look forward to him getting some recognition soon. Rosina Lam on the other hand is not doing well. Her expressions were limited and it looks like she couldn’t concentrate on her role here. Also not performing well are the actors acting as his brother and father in this series. The other cast are fine especially the veterans like Hugo Ng, Pal Sinn and Rebecca Chan. Hugo Ng is making a huge comeback last year from his role in ‘Brother’s Keeper II’ and he is great as the other villain in this story too.

bba9ebb15ab6ae81a55ed1e86aed76ca

 

cheat4

One good thing for this drama is that it delivered quite a number of suspense. There are a lot of plot twists especially near the end of the series when things really get intense and literally mad when the villains are ‘betting’ all out to succeed. That was good. The very final scene of the last episode of this drama I had just finished watching revealed to us that Joel survived the bullet, imprisoned, having mental problem and showing to us a deck card of ‘2’. What a cool way of hinting to us that there may be a sequel that continues from this concluded story. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Burning Hands’ a total of 7.5.

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

Last trip to Genting last weekend before flying back to Australia again

Posted in Interesting Encounters on February 7, 2017 by vincentloy

Since I have returned to Malaysia for my study break last November, I always wanted to go up to Genting at least once before I’m returning to Australia again for my study. That wish is fulfilled when I got to go up to that famous mountain resort last weekend with my parents. It would be a big wish if I am still a child because I remember how much I wanted to go up there with my whole family when I was a little kid for all the fun at the theme parks there. Now, the only reason we go up there (being an adult already) is the ‘fun’ from the casino.

I can’t believe that I’m still getting free room promotion up until now at the First World Hotel which is now the largest hotel in the world in term of number of rooms since the addition of an annex building to the Tower 2 not long ago. Complimentary room….now that’s good as I got to save money on the room for something else. There is a visible change to Genting Highlands since I last visited it over a year ago. The construction for the new outdoor theme park called 20th Century Fox World to replace the old one is still on-going and I find that their progress is very slow. Perhaps the frequent misty weather is not helping the construction site. Its opening has been delayed several times and now I’m guess the long-awaited theme park (will be the world’s first 20th Century Fox World theme park) will only be ready by 2018. Part of the previous land on the former outdoor theme park is also allocated for a new shopping mall called Sky Avenue and it has been partially opened when I visited it last weekend.

This Sky Avenue has over 70 new restaurants (Dragon-I, Madam Kwan’s, Absolute Thai, Morganfield’s, Burger & Lobster, Malaysian Food Street, etc) and retail shops (Adidas, Samsung, Padini, Giordano, G2000, Puma, Skechers, etc). Besides that, it has three atriums, with one of them decorated with huge LED screens all around for a magical visual display for visitors. There would also be a new casino in here (not opened yet) as well as a cable car ride at the Awana Skyway (already opened) linked to this building. I guess this Sky Avenue Mall will be fully ready together with the opening of the outdoor theme park in 2018. An impressive new addition to the mountain resort that has been here for almost 50 years. A transformation is needed to keep Genting ‘alive’ and this Sky Avenue is part of it. Next time, we will have more choices for places to dine and we can even do great shopping up there. By the way, do not confuse this mall with Genting Premium Outlet, another mall under construction currently at the lower level of the peak.

img_4960

As for my luck in the casino, I won only RM100 after two days of playing. I only played roulette. On Saturday’s afternoon before dinner, I lost RM300 on the roulette table. It is so hard to play the table one because the minimum bet is RM20. That is so expensive. Only the rich can play them now. Not me. After dinner of which we met our relatives coincidentally, I went in to the casino again to try my luck. This time, I played the roulette on machine because their minimum bet is much lower at RM5 and I won back RM300. That’s no win and no loss at the end of the day. Before leaving Genting on Sunday afternoon, I went into the casino with my dad again and this time I won from playing the machine’s roulette. Well, only RM100 as mentioned earlier. Well, better than nothing. I tend to spend quite a long time in casino not because I’m an addict to gambling, but because I like to see other people’s games in the casino and all their drama from either winning or losing. I also enjoyed being stopped by the guard at the casino’s entrances to check my identification because it means I look younger than 21 years old, the minimum age to enter the casino. Haha…

We also visited the Genting Visitor Gallery to explore the success stories behind the resort’s founder, the late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong. We and many other people usually just passed by that area without noticing this gallery. This time, we finally went in to catch a glimpse of the history of the resort. There are a lot of images of the founder or his son (Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, now the boss of the resort) with foreign dignitaries, prime ministers, famous people, etc as well as a huge replica model of the whole Genting Highlands on display in this rather small gallery.

img_4958

Yesterday, me and my family finally had a better ‘reunion’ dinner. Better here means more costly compared to the much more economical dinner we had on the Chinese New Year’s Eve earlier when my eldest sister and her family are not present. Last night, we had the dinner at Harbour Seafood Restaurant in Cheras. The dishes served are generally good but their services are poor. The restaurant was crowded with lack of staff and so we didn’t get the required attention. Last night is the first time I tossed ‘yee sang’ for this year’s Chinese New Year festival that is going to end this Saturday. It is the usual practice here for Malaysian Chinese to toss ‘yee sang’ as high as possible while saying out their wishes. Typical wishes are like good health, great fortune, world peace, excel in study, and so on. This year, I said out an extra wish while tossing; get our prime minister to jail. And my family laughed but agreed. Haha…I guess most Malaysians agree and wish for this to be true soon.

img_4963

And yup…in less than two weeks, I will be flying back to Australia. No more trip to Genting for at least another year. Last time, I usually went up there at least four times a year.

(Copyrights reserved to images in this blog post. Please request permission if you intend to use them for any purpose.)

TVB Drama review: Recipes to Live By (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2017 by vincentloy

‘Recipes to Live By’ (味想天開) is a 2017 historical comedy drama from Hong Kong by TVB with food as the theme. Having 25 episodes, the story centers on Ding Yat-san, a poor village boy who is a foodie and has a ‘golden tongue’ (can identify all ingredients in a tasted food) and later discovered that he is the son of the God of Cookery. He then investigates the past accusation against his father that got him killed. The drama starred Tony Hung, Sisley Choi, Rebecca Zhu, Hugo Wong, Ram Chiang, Mary Hon, Stephanie Ho, Toby Leung, Maria Cordero, etc.

recipes_to_live_by

It has been such a long time since TVB last produced a series with food as the theme. Hence, this one got me interested eventhough I’m not that satisfied with the cast. With food as the theme, I’m expecting to see a lot of nice dishes, tricks and cooking competitions throughout the series. Yes, I do see them in this drama but they are not exciting as hoped. The story then swifts to many other directions to cover other smaller plots. That is necessary to keep the series going with more things to catch up. However, the excessive use of plot twists especially near the end of the series which are supposed to make the drama more exciting to watch turned out to be quite anti-climatic. They also forcefully put in too many unnecessarily tragic, ‘misunderstanding’ and ‘curse effect’ storyline to the characters in this drama. I’m annoyed when they are too many. Anyway, overall, the drama still has a decent storyline that goes back to the food theme.

maxresdefault

As for the cast and their performances, my expectation is right. Tony Hung is not a good actor and giving him the first male lead role here is a bad decision. There is still much for him to learn in acting. I think he did his best but there is something not right to his expression. Similar issue goes to the first female lead that goes to Sisley Choi. However, I find that she has at least improved. Anyway, I just don’t like her for being too thin and tiny, and having a sharp voice. Just not the right person for a leading lady role. Rebecca Zhu and Hugo Wong are both great in their supporting roles (or I shall say second leading roles). I hardly notice Hugo in the past but after seeing this and also in ‘Burning Hands’ where he is also involved, I think he is one underrated actor. Other veteran cast are great and I wish to highlight on Lee Kwok-lun who portrayed the main villain here. He is one excellent actor and is especially good in taking on bad roles. TVB should honours him with at least a professionalism or a supporting actor award soon.

This drama is worth to watch when you have nothing else to do. It is not a great series but still good enough with some comedic, touching and suspenseful moments. The only problem is the leading cast (Tony and Sisley). Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Recipes to Live By’ a total of 7.0.

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