Archive for June, 2013

Movie review: Monsters University (2013)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2013 by vincentloy

Still remember ‘Monsters Inc’? I can’t believe that movie was 12 years ago. At that time, I was just a kid, and I’m very entertained by the movie. The giant fluffy blue monster, Sullivan and a small one-eyed green creature, Mike are two very iconic Pixar characters that made a memorable mark to my childhood. Now, after over a decade, the two are back in a new film, entitled ‘Monsters University’ which acts as a prequel to the first one. I wonder why it take so long for Pixar to create a following film to ‘Monsters Inc’ as I believed it did quite well back in 2001.

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Now, in ‘Monsters University’, the story rewinds back to the time when Mike had just entered the Monsters University and get himself trained to be a scarer which has been his goal since he was a child. From there, he embarks on a learning process and meeting new people whom mostly are making his life difficult as he is seen not suitable to be the scarer. After being kicked out from scaring programme in school, he doesn’t give up and insisted on joining the scare games to get back on his track, and that decision sets for a good ride along. In the end, he turns out to be a great scare planner while his best friend, Sullivan do the scare job.

Sorry for a little spoiler. By looking at the plot itself, you would know it’s going to be fun. Yes, it is. I am immersed into how Mike feels when he goes through the days in the university, not letting his dream goes while always being looked down by the others. The story is quite engaging eventhough I actually hope for more intense parts. This time, I realized that there is a serious emphasis on carrying out the story, while slightly neglecting on putting some extra effort to get us excited with climax-reaching sequences. I still remembered that ‘Monsters Inc’ had much more ‘rides’ to offer than this. It still has the fun, but not to the very best as hoped for.

I find that some parts which are intended to be hilarious turned out silly for me. Perhaps, kids will laugh, but not to adult. Anyway, I just take it lightly and things still go fine.

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It’s still a good animated movie to watch. It has a solid plot, quite a delightful story, and I believe people will like another movie like this based on the ‘Monsters’ characters. Kids will definitely enjoy it, but I think it will just be seen as a moderate work by Pixar to the adults like me. It doesn’t reach to Pixar’s highest standards, but it’s a fun flick to spend your leisure time on a Saturday’s night. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Monsters University’ a total of 6.9. Now, I had a feeling, wanting to re-watch ‘Monsters Inc’. I think the first one is slightly better. Anyway, ‘Monsters University’ is still proven to be a good effort, just not among the best.

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

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Middle of the week only? Bored…

Posted in Interesting Encounters on June 26, 2013 by vincentloy

Middle of the week. Boring. Just boring and tired of waking up early to work, and then, when it’s time to get home, it’s almost night already. Now, waiting for another weekend to arrive, and this would be the last weekend of the first half of the year. When I woke up this morning and get to my car for work, I was surprised that there are water droplets all over it. That’s mean not long ago, there was a downpour. Ohh…thank God. What’s the fuss of it? It’s because I have not seen rain in KL for like two to three weeks.

It’s dry season now in Malaysia, and furthermore, many regions in Peninsular Malaysia are recently blanketed by haze originating from Indonesia, our neighbouring country. Eventhough it’s just a few drops, not a heavy one, but at least we are all slightly relieved that the atmosphere gets better today. It’s no longer that hazy as compared to what we observed last Sunday and Monday when many areas reached unhealthy and very unhealthy levels forcing closure of schools in those particular areas. Today, there is no more bad smell of the air too. Visibility level improves. Today, I can finally see Petronas Twin Towers, which had disappeared out of my sights in the past few days. But still, the haze has not gone completely. Hotspots in Indonesia are still increasing. I predicted that today was just a slight relief, thanks to the drizzle.

It would be much better if it’s a heavy rainfall. Now, just hoping that the haze won’t get bad again. Next, I’m going to write about my working colleagues. Currently, I had been working with the present job for over a year in a small company. From there, I get along quite well with my working colleagues (not many people though). Not long ago, two of my colleagues quitted. And yesterday, another colleague who sat besides me also left the office. She is my senior and has helped me a lot. We are good friends. Hmm, I realize that things really don’t stay long. Hmm…just feeling a bit moody and boring with such change that I need to adapt to. Time is like a bit longer now in the office beginning today. By the way, new people are coming in. New faces, and so I got to make new friends too. I take it positively then.

Fine, let’s move on. I found out that there are a lot of interesting movies up now or going to be released soon at theatres that I wish to watch. It’s been a long time for a movie on zombie outbreak at global scale to get onto the big screen. Finally, the time arrives. ‘World War Z’ that stars Brad Pitt is now in my watch list. ‘Monsters University’, the prequel to the much earlier ‘Monsters Inc.’ would be a fun animated movie to watch too. Looking forward to the movie’s characters and how they scare the hell out of the kids in the movie. Next on my watch list would be the upcoming ‘Despicable Me 2’. Ahh, still remembers well how cute the minions are! Ba..ba..na..na. Too adorable. Any place I can find their toys? I saw some of my Facebook friends had the minion toy which is so cute.

Also not to forget another upcoming blockbuster film ‘Pacific Rim’ on battle between human-controlled robots against giant extraterrestrial monster coming out from the ocean. The trailer looks promising. I think it’s going to be a BIG film. It would be up next month. There is an upcoming Hong Kong film which I am very much interested too. It’s ‘Blind Detective’ starring two huge superstars (my favourite); Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng. What about TV show? Currently, I’m hooked to ‘The Apprentice Asia’ which is showing its episode every Wednesday on AXN channel. Tony Fernandes, founder of Air-Asia, head the show which is loosely based on Donald Trump’s The Apprentice in US. The show which centered on competitions involving business strategies is quite interesting. Ohh…today is Wednesday’s right? That’s mean, a new episode would be aired tonight. On the other hand, there is no TVB drama to follow recently. Just waiting for ‘Triumph in the Skies 2’ which will be aired by mid of July. That’s it.

Worsening haze in KL now…

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , on June 24, 2013 by vincentloy

Last Saturday was the last day we see the clear blue sky over Kuala Lumpur. At least clearer than what we see these two days. Yesterday, the first thing I realize as soon as I woke up; what is the smell? Ehh…it’s the smell of the air outside. That’s how bad it is. The smog has even penetrated into my home even when we have closed all the doors and windows. The haze has now returns to Kuala Lumpur after making its stop earlier at Singapore. And I got a recent news yesterday that API reading at Muar, Johor rises up to 750, the highest ever recorded in 16 years. That’s crazy. I’m really worried if KL hits that figure too soon. Wait…where is KLCC? I can’t see it…I think the picture below had already shown KLCC at the clearest these two days. Got it?

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(Image source: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/06/23/malaysia-smog-worst-in-16-years-due-to-indonesia-fires/)

It is really very hazy out there. Visibility drops to a point that I could barely see the hill which is very near behind my house. The smell is almost unbearable especially to me who has quite a sensitive nose and had asthma history. On Sunday, I just went out quickly just for lunch and dinner. The rest of the time; at home. Ahh, it’s good to be a student. You don’t need to go to school today as the government had announced closures of all schools in several states including in Kuala Lumpur. For me who has to work, I have to go to work too. No excuse, since I would be working all the eight hours inside an air-conditioned room unlike those who has to work outdoors.

Just a few advice to people here currently experiencing the haze which is quite bad to our health. Try to stay indoor most of the time. Drink plenty of water. Wear mask when you are outside. Rinse your eyes when you feel uncomfortable or itchy on your eyes. And drive extra carefully on roads at this point of time when visibility is quite low. Even today, I felt slightly not well on my throat and eyes already when the haze has just hit my place for two days. More is coming as it is reported that the hotspots in Sumatra (the cause of the haze) has doubled yesterday. That means thicker haze is on their way to Peninsular Malaysia. Oh…no!

Previously, it is the southern part of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore that were hit hard by the severe smog with API (air pollution index) or PSI (pollution standard index) hitting very unhealthy or even hazardous level. Then, now, wind blows the haze to the central part of Malaysia, and that’s where Kuala Lumpur, the capital, my place is. Thanks to my neighbour country for contributing this special gift (haze) for almost once every year. And they are blaming on Malaysian companies for doing open burning at their place, not realizing that it is their authority that gives approval to those responsible companies. And also they mentioned that Singapore behave like a child when the latter sends warning to Indonesia to tackle the issue. Wait, the haze comes from where first? Indonesia. I believe the three countries should sit together and discuss for a long-term solution to prevent haze from occurring again which is bad to people’s health and to economy.

Many people are now making hilarious comments or responses regarding the haze. Even my colleague today joked that they are now working at Genting Highlands since there are a lot of mist out there (it’s actually smog). Everyone must be talking about the haze now. It’s predicted to last for another few weeks more. Oh my…have to stand with this kind of atmosphere for that long. Some said that yesterday’s night, we are supposed to see supermoon of the year, the event when Moon is closest to the Earth in the year. I saw a slightly bigger moon, but it turns out in dark orange to us, thanks to the trapped dust particles at the sky here in Malaysia due to the haze that made the moon to look like this. Haze, when will you go away?

Went to KL Convention Centre today for ARCHIDEX 2013

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2013 by vincentloy

ARCHIDEX 2013 is Malaysia’s 14th international architecture, interior design and building exhibition that is taking place in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from 19 to 22 June 2013. It’s an annual event which will features exhibition booths or kiosks from various suppliers in building industry, design conference and forum, displays of outstanding works by university students major in architecture. Today would be the last day of ARCHIDEX 2013, and so hurry up if you are interested, before you have to wait for a year. The official website of the event: http://www.archidex.com.my/.

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(Image source: http://smartform.greenreg.org/cis/archidexprereg2013/images/archidex_header1.png)

I went to this exhibition this morning together with one of my working colleagues. This is my 3rd time attending ARCHIDEX, and also my second time in a row. Two weeks earlier, I have received an express tag which doesn’t requires me to register and I can just straight walk in for admission without any more procedures. I think I have the tag because I have registered and attended the event last year, and so the organiser presented this express tag to facilitate our admission, and keep us coming every year.

We walked around all the exhibition halls and that took us around 3 hours. We stopped by for a minute or two on several booths that display interesting products, and we were given excellent briefing by the booth operators. If we were to do this for every booths, we wouldn’t be able to finish visiting all of them by 7pm when it will be closed. Hence, we cut short our time at several booths when their operators show very much interest on explaining briefly to us. Sorry for that. At many other booths, we just take a glimpse of what they offer, and just get their brochures as fast as possible. Things we have taken from the exhibition:

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After three hours of visiting all the halls, we were very tired, not because of walking, but because of carrying so many bags containing brochures, books, magazines, small product samples, and name cards (we actually to take as much as possible from them since it’s free and we can read after the visit). They are so heavy, and we didn’t have the mood to go any further. However, we still feels like ‘let’s finish visiting all, that’s very little left’. At the last section of the final exhibition hall, we just walked by quickly without any intention of asking for things anymore. At last, we finished touring all the halls. What an amazing experience of having able to see new advanced products, learn new technologies or systems, and meeting new people in building industry which are all essential to us in architectural works. It’s good to have this kind of exhibition which will definitely broaden our knowledge in the vast building industry especially to me, considered a newbie to this field.

Alarming haze now pushes Singapore’s pollution standard index to over 400 today.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2013 by vincentloy

Haze has been quite an annual event that strike Malaysia, thanks to the seasonal burn off from Sumatra, Indonesia, its neighbouring country. Haze returns this year, at this similar period of time when the region experiences dry and hot season with little rain. However, it is not Malaysia that is hit hard by the haze this year. It’s Singapore now, a small island beneath peninsular Malaysia. Wind usually brought the smoke from Sumatra land to the middle of Peninsular Malaysia. However, for this time, the wind blows the haze towards the south, hence affecting badly Singapore and southern parts of Malaysia.

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Pollution standard index (PSI) of Singapore has been reaching hazardous or very unhealthy level in these few days. By this morning, PSI of Singapore reached 401, the highest ever recorded for the island since September 1997 when it recorded 226. The current figure is almost double of the previous record. That’s very bad and serious. The haze must be very thick, the visibility must be very low, the air must be very smelly and choking. People in Singapore are now advised to stay indoors and to avoid going outdoor if necessary. The severe smog has continued to affect the developed country badly, which will inflict on huge losses in economy indirectly.

In regard to the worsening situation which is expected to last for at least few weeks, Singapore has pushed Indonesia to do something to tackle the haze which originated from the latter. However, Indonesia’s authority fights back and said that Singapore acted like a child, reporting that many companies that are responsible for land-clearing and open burning in Indonesia which contributed to the haze are from Malaysia and Singapore, and not from them. The blame has been fired back to us. I believe all the three involved countries should sit together and find an effective solution both in short-term and long-term to monitor the situation, enforce stricter laws on preventing pollution, so that haze will not be an issue in the region in future.

There is no point of fighting in words. It is the health of the people and the living quality of the environment that we should look into as priority. Even today, I noticed that haze starts to blanket over my city, Kuala Lumpur, which is few hundred kilometres away from Singapore. I started to smell something unpleasant from the air. This means that the haze now started to spread over the middle of Peninsular Malaysia too. Over 200 schools in Johor were ordered to close today, so that the children could stay at home, not exposed to dangerous air outside. Haze has been an every year’s gift from Indonesia for many decades, but still no ‘real’ action had been truly implemented to prevent it from further occurring.

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Now, Singapore suffered seriously from the haze, and it made headlines in global news now. Previously, Malaysia had been hit hard by the haze in many years but receiving little international attention, while Singapore is always the least affected. Now, things turned the opposite way and yet Singapore’s haze is now on worldwide news. That’s the difference between Singapore and Malaysia, a developed nation and a only developing nation. I’m slightly off topic now. Sorry. The main issue now is that we want no more haze! That’s it. Haze has been the hot topic discussed now even on the internet. Interesting topic but of something which we don’t want.

Image source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2345093/Singapore-haze-2013-Residents-told-stay-indoors-possibly-WEEKS.html

Information source: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/06/21/world/asia/singapore-smoke-haze

Frequent headlines from Penang: Structures collapsing

Posted in Explosive News and Results on June 19, 2013 by vincentloy

Not more than two weeks ago, we are shocked to find out that part of the ramp leading to the Second Penang Bridge which is still under construction has collapsed. The ramp is at the Batu Maung section. The accident has caused death to a person whom was buried inside his car beneath the rubble and injuries to several others. A panel had been set up to probe on the cause of the structural failure that led to the collapse. Well, it should be the poor quality of construction in Malaysia that has contributed to such unwanted case. Not opened yet, and part of it had already collapsed. What if the bridge has opened at the time of the accident? And it collapses at the peak hours when people are leaving work to return home. It would be much more tragic.

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(Image source: http://media.themalaysianinsider.com/images/sized/images/uploads/leads/leadpix2-msia-june7-540×403.JPG)

The bridge which is scheduled to be completed by this September would most probably now heading for a new completion date. It’s going to be delayed again, which is the same fate KLIA2 expansion is receiving now. The new airport terminal which is to house the famous low-cost airline AirAsia is expected to be opened this year, but is now scheduled to open May next year instead. Malaysia is so used to delay construction projects. Disappointing. What to do. We can just hope for these structures to be completely safe after built.

Last week, we learnt of another collapse accident in Penang again. This time, it’s a lighting arrestor which is over 20 metres long (that’s a huge one) that falls from the top of 21-storey UMNO Building in Georgetown after a heavy storm. Together with several other accompanying structures, it came crashing down to Macalister Road, wrecking havoc to the area as though a war has just erupted there. Many cars and the road that received the direct impact are damaged seriously. First, it is reported that the accident had caused a death and injuries to few persons. Then, only few days later, it is discovered that there is a car found buried few metres deep within the damaged road caused by the crashing lighting arrestor.

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(Image source: http://news.abnxcess.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/umnopenang5.jpg)

Search and rescue team came in. More digging works are carried out to find the remain of a man believed to have been in the car during the accident. Everything in pieces beneath. The collapsing force is very high. The rescue operation is called off few days ago with briefing given to the family members of the missing man on the cause to stop the operation. Further digging would affects structures nearby and could damage underground piping or ducting. Hence, now it can be confirmed that this accident had took two lives. The heavy storm which is seen as the worst in recent years at Penang had also led to another death from falling tree, pushing the death toll to 3. May the deceased both from the ramp collapse and lighting arrestor’s collapse, also from the Penang’s recent storm rest in peace.

Malaysians now love to politicize things, including these two recent collapses. Government blaming the opposition, and vice versa. I’m sick of it. Stop all these. Start a fair and wise investigation to find out the truth. Correct the mistakes, do things in the right way with quality, so that unwanted accidents like this will not happen again that easily in Malaysia.

 

 

Movie review: Hatchet 3 (2013)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2013 by vincentloy

Victor Krowley is back! If you do not who he is, then I believe you are not interested in slasher films. He can be considered as a recent addition to the list of Hollywood’s most famous psycho-killer characters in movie history. On Hatchet 1 (2006), and Hatchet 2 (2010), two separate groups of people are murdered brutally by this huge-sized deformed man that has his own dark past that haunt the swamp he lives in for many years. Everyone thought it was just an urban legend, not knowing that Victor Krowley actually exist and will hunt them all. That’s how the story goes in the first two films. Quite interesting.

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Then, it continued to this third instalment which is newly-released this year. After the violent massacre from events in first and second movies, a  search and recovery team heads into the haunted swamp to pick up the pieces (the dead bodies) and on the other hand, Marybeth (main character of the franchise) learns the secret to ending the voodoo curse that has left Victor Crowley haunting and terrorizing the swamp for many years. This is how the plot goes this time in Hatchet 3. Quite a similar plot that this kind of movie wouldn’t run away from as expected. Hatchet 3 only runs less than one and a half hour, so things went pretty fast.

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That’s good anyway. We wouldn’t want to be dragged by plenty of character development in movie like this one which some serious movie critics are always desperate for. It’s shown enough from this movie. I even find that there is a bit too much of talking this time around, but luckily, things went straightforward back quick to the killing spree in the swamp by the terrific-looking Victor Krowley who is now resurrected once again after being killed by Marybeth in previous film. What we are looking for is of course the gruesome parts, the scary parts, or the bloody parts. And this film kind of delivers it quite well, just like its two predecessors. Some scenes are quite shocking and disgusting, and this time a lot of people (cops) got killed in a split second. I didn’t even catch those scenes in detail properly. It’s too fast.

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I won’t say much about acting. Poor acting can be forgiven in films like this. There is not much chance for decent performance to be shown on this type of film. Some characters are a bit too stupid that made themselves easy to be killed which is very predicted as I have been watching various slasher films before that go with similar direction. One noticeable thing from this franchise is the Chinese actor Parry Shen. He had appeared in all the three films in the franchise; got killed in the first because he tried to take a weapon while Victor is so near (that’s stupid decision), got killed again in the second (as different character) because he is too freaked out and made the wrong step. Finally, he survived in this third movie because he is a bit clever now as another different character (this time as a paramedic). As for Marybeth portrayed by Danielle Harris, she appears annoying to me. That’s it.

The movie started off quite well. But then, I find there is too many people involved now and got killed too quick without even a little attention to them. The ending came too shallow. The way Victor dies here is too simple. Perhaps he is going to come back easily again for next sequel (again). Well, this is a another good slasher film eventhough it’s not the best of course, but this didn’t disappoint similarly to the first two. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Hatchet 3’ a total of 6.8. I would look forward if there is another sequel planned for this.

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