Archive for April, 2014

Movie review: Rio 2 (2014)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2014 by vincentloy

The first ‘Rio’ is a good one. So I don’t think its sequel would be disappointment. And yes, I was right. I had fun watching it. Well, I was referring to ‘Rio 2’, the sequel to the 2011’s Rio that focuses on Blu and Jewel, a sweet pair of blue macaws in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (hence the movie’s title). In this sequel, they travelled to Amazon alongside with their three kids to help their human friends to find the additional macaws they discovered while facing the return of their previous enemy, Nigel and also a huge illegal logging team headed by a ruthless leader.

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The story is an interesting one despite sets further away from Rio de Janeiro this time. The macaws’ adventure at the Amazon was a good one and I enjoyed it. There are many sub-plots going on (seeing Blu and Jewel as the parents now, Blu being too attached to human lifetstyle, Blu’s relationship with his father-in-law that didn’t go well in the beginning, Blu’s jealousy of Jewel’s childhood friend, Blu’s adaptation to Amazon, blue macaws’ conflict with the red macaws, Nigel’s new team to take revenge but is always foiled hilariously, Jewel’s father’s hatred to humans, and the presence of the big bad boss of the illegal logging team) combined for a wonderful and colourful adventure in the new setting; Amazon. Many things going on, and still it goes smoothly and easily understandable.

No room to judge acting skill here since this is an animated film. However, the voice over by all the casts looks great particularly Jesse Eisenberg as Blu and Kristin Chenoweth as Gabi, the frog that is Nigel’s sidekick. While on the other hand, the visuals look great and stunning. I can easily get annoyed with musical elements (singing and dancing) in a movie but not from this one. I find it fun, energetic and vibrant to watch instead. Also not to forget many funny scenes throughout the film that can give us (even adults) a good laugh. I’m sure kids will love this. Should recommend my sister to bring his son to watch this too.

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Nigel and Gabi is the funniest pair to watch here. They are not just evil. Their presence here made things go better. As for the Blu and Jewel’s three kids, I wish for more emphasis on them. Maybe they could help out with significant roles in this, like maybe to track down the bad guys, but turned out only to be a mere addition to the already heavy number of characters. And Bruno Mars is even here voicing out as Roberto, one of the new supporting characters.

The movie is entertaining all along. Well, I couldn’t say this is exciting since there isn’t any serious dangers or problems going on to the birds, not until the last fifteen minutes of the movie where climax finally comes. No worries. There isn’t any boring moments either. Everything goes dramatic and progresses well, and finally to a happy ending as expected for a light animated film like this. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Rio 2’ a total of 7.4. Rio 2 is promising as a more colourful, busier, and delightful animated film. It’s slightly better than its predecessor. Go watch it if you haven’t.

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

 

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Obama’s visit to Malaysia is a buzz!

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2014 by vincentloy

The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama is now here in Malaysia (my country) for a three-days visit from 26 to 28 April 2014. He is originally scheduled to visit the country back in October last year but couldn’t do so due to their partial government shutdown crisis at the time. This time around, there isn’t anything that blocks the way and here we welcome him to our country. His visit marks the second time a U.S. President came to Malaysia, as the first one was back in 1966 (48 years ago) when President Lyndon B. Johnson set his foot here too.

Why is it that his arrival here is much more exciting, happening and making a lot more buzz than the other presidents, prime ministers or even kings? Well, no doubt United States is a superpower, and having the leader of a superpower here  is something we find of utmost importance especially of guaranteeing his safety and smooth tour in Malaysia. Just days before his arrival, I have read news of the level of security provided for him, particularly from his official presidential plane, Air Force One and his presidential limousine called The Beast and all the checks by U.S. Secret Service. Interesting facts: There is a medical operating room in the Air Force One. And if you think that it is not enough, there is also a blood bank in The Beast containing the similar blood type with the President in case anything emergency happens that requires it.

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Barack Obama arrived here yesterday’s afternoon to a grand welcome after having been to Japan and South Korea. Later on, he would goes to Philippines, which would be his last stop of the four-nations Asia tour. He went to the Parliament House on yesterday’s evening for an official welcoming ceremony, and attended a state banquet at National Palace with the King and Queen, the Prime Minister and the main cabinet ministers. Today, he will be heading to Putrajaya, administrative capital of Malaysia to hold talks with Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak before going to nearby Cyberjaya for the launch of the Malaysia Global Innovation and Creative Centre (MAGIC). The US President will also hold a town hall session with young leaders from South East Asia and to visit National Mosque this afternoon.

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He will leaves to Philippines tomorrow. Before he is leaving, I think there is a bit of ample time for him to truly discover the wonder of Malaysia. Maybe he can drop by at some famous tourist destinations in Kuala Lumpur like Chinatown, Batu Caves, KLCC, etc or even try our local delicacies like nasi lemak, cendol, char kuey teow, or even durian if he can stand the smell. Too bad that he only has three days here (actually only one and a half). If not, he could explore more on what we can offer to the current 44th US President.

His visit here is not only to improve bilateral ties between the two nations but also as an approach to further engage with Muslim world and these priorities reflect the American leader’s multicultural heritage, which has given him a wider view of the world. Obama’s efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples has won him the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize too. His landmark visit here to Malaysia marks a new chapter in the history of both nations. Welcome once again, Mr. Barack Obama.

(Information and images in this post are from The Star Online)

Movie review – Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2014 by vincentloy

Great! Really great! For quite some time, I had never been feeling this excited after watching a movie. The movie I’m referring to for now is ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’, the second instalment of this particular superhero film franchise. The story sets two years after the Battle of New York (as seen in The Avengers), when now Captain, Black Widow and Falcon join forces to uncover a conspiracy within S.H.I.E.L.D. while facing a mysterious assassin known as The Winter Soldier. After the 2012’s The Avengers, we had seen the return of Iron Man and Thor in their respective stand-alone films. Now, Captain is back too, and the outcome turns out to be much more exciting than the others.

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The previous ‘Captain America’ film sets in 1940’s during the World War period where we saw the transformation of a skinny military man into a superhero with exceptional physical abilities and thus being called as the first avenger. After an encounter with the villain Red Skull, HYDRA leader, he is lost in the middle of the ocean, being rescued and slept till the present day (a bit of flashback to what’s happened on the first movie). Later in The Avengers, we didn’t see much from him coping with the current era which would be fun to see but there are many other superheroes to focus on in that film too, hence no time for that. We do see a bit of that part in this current sequel, but still I think it is not enough. It would puts in a bit of comedic touch to turn this movie into perfection, but it didn’t in the end. But don’t worry. There are still some light funny moments in this one.

Nevertheless, the story here is solid and wonderfully developed enough to have it being critically-acclaimed as it turns out to be now. It’s interesting to see Steve Rogers (the Captain) teams up with Black Widow (she previously collaborated most with Hawkeye in The Avengers) and also later with Falcon (new appearance) on many challenging tasks ahead in this movie. Nick Fury also had more significant role here which is of something good to see. The storyline is extremely engaging and the plenty of intensifying action scenes made it further fun and exciting. I just couldn’t get my eyes off the screen for even a second from the start to the end. The actions (crashes, explosions, blasts, gunfight, combat) are awesome here! I couldn’t expect more from this superhero of whom has the lesser power compared to the other superheroes and yet could contribute to this amount of climax-reaching actions in this film.

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Chris Evans did not only proves himself to being a favourite by many girls out there due to his handsome look and superb fit body, but also shown good acting performance here alongside with Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow. The other aspects to compliment are the great visual effects (must be using up a lot of budget). Every action-packed scenes looks very realistic and convincing enough to keep us at the edge of our seats. There are also some very nice twists, and interesting character’s development. Bucky Barnes as the old friend of the Captain and as the Winter Soldier here (the villain) isn’t really evil and I’m happy to see him rescuing Captain in the end (sorry for a bit of spoiler) and then looking to discover more on his past (check out the post-credit scene if you haven’t watch it) after he is brainwashed by the true villain of the film, Alexander Pierce as the secret agent of HYDRA within the S.H.I.E.L.D. There are a mid-credit and post-credit scenes. Don’t miss both.

I have to say this is by far the best superhero film I have seen after The Avengers. I would rate ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ a total of 8.0. Solid story, great flow, plenty of actions and intriguing suspense. Nears perfection.

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

 

Absence of nice series recently had me returning back to Runescape.

Posted in Interesting Encounters on April 24, 2014 by vincentloy

Sad to say that there isn’t any good TVB series aired recently. Those currently airing aren’t appealing to me. The last series I watched is ‘Storm in a Cocoon’ starring Steven Ma and Tavia Yeung. That was surprisingly a good drama. Now, I have plenty of time at night after work and on weekend, and I’m looking forward to get something else nice and entertaining to do before the next appealing series comes in. And the first thing on my mind to spend off my time now is ‘Runescape’.

If you didn’t know, ‘Runescape’ is a MMPORG (stands for Massively Multi-Player Online Role-playing Game) I started playing many years ago. After a year or two, I quit. The reason is that I’m not a member (pay-to-play) and many content of the games are limited to us in free-to-play browser (that’s typical since we didn’t pay a single cent for it). So, it started to get boring after some time. Then, I stopped for like two years. And when I returned to the game this time, things appear to be refreshingly new back. Now called ‘Runescape 3’, the games is enhanced with stunning graphics and effects, more possibilities of actions and even bigger in-game world for free-to-play users.

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(Image source: http://gotgame.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/runescape-3.jpg)

Most people would be playing Dota, Warcraft, football games or some random games from Facebook or from your smartphone. But I wouldn’t let ‘Runescape’ down since it has been my favourite game last time when I was still a teenager. In the game, I got to earn coins (and now I had over 8 million, but still not much compared to the wealthy players, but my goal now is to keep more than 10 million coins), training skills (combat, mining, smithing, woodcutting, fire-making, cooking, crafting, fishing, magic, prayer, etc) and exploring new stuff. I can immerse myself into my avatar of the game for like an hour or two at night which is quite helpful to get rid of my stress from work of the day.

To further enjoy the game, I recommend to have more contents provided to the free-to-play users too since that without us, ‘Runescape’ couldn’t claim itself to be the world’s largest MMPORG game to date. Or at least lowering down the membership fee, so that more would find it affordable (including me) to be member of the game to enjoy more features. I’m hoping that some Jagex moderators or staff could see this and take into their considerations on my suggestions. More feedbacks here; free-to-play users wanted to have more quests or challenges too, bigger in-game world, more valuable drops from killing monsters, etc. Please provide that while you still can maintain the exclusiveness of the members.

My total level is over 820 (as of now), and my combat is 135. That’s considered a medium-ranked player. How about you?Try the game if you haven’t. If you have played it before, you can share here on why you quit playing it. If you are still playing it now, you can comment here on how well your avatar is progressing in the game.

 

Spent the past weekend on 3 movies.

Posted in Miscellaneous on April 21, 2014 by vincentloy

Besides than joining a marathon (refer to my previous post) on yesterday, I spent the past weekend mostly on watching movies. If you are a frequent reader of my blog, you should know that I love to watch movies a lot. I can watch over 60 films a year. It’s a very relaxing activity for me. In the past weekend alone, I watched three movies; Escape Plan, The Internship and Carrie. All were released last year respectively. The first one is an action thriller, the second one is a comedy and the third one is supernatural horror. Three totally different categories. I am into any genres.

‘Escape Plan’ follows Sylvester Stallone’s character Ray Breslin, a structural engineer who is incarcerated in the world’s most secret and secure prison, aided in his escape by fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger). First, Breslin seems to have no trouble escaping prison with his thorough observation and smart skills. Then, he is captured and kept in an illegal-for-profit prison on a ship in the middle of the ocean where things really turned out hard for him. I enjoyed watching how his carefully-planned strategy goes in this intense thriller, but the collaboration between these two famous veteran actors isn’t that great. A very serious film, and I will rate ‘Escape Plan’ a total of 6.8.

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Next is ‘The Internship’. Time for a light comedy movie. And the story is about two salesmen (portrayed by Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson) whose careers have been ruined by the digital age, and they find their way into a coveted internship at Google, where they must compete with a group of young, tech-savvy geniuses for a shot at employment. Quite an interesting story that gives us meaningful messages in the end. I am quite entertained especially when the two tried hard to cope with the current generation as a necessity to work in Google and in the end got embarassed. I did get a bit annoyed by Vince’s acting but as for Owen, he is good. A fun movie. I rate ‘The Internship’ a total of 7.0. It looks great to work with Google. Their office is really cool.

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Lastly is ‘Carrie’, a horror film based on a novel of the same name. It tells the classic horror tale about Carrie White, a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother, who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom. First time watching Chloe Grace Moretz in such a ‘burdening’ film and she did fairly good eventhough not the best yet from her. A very good story development and the chaos she unleashed at the climax is awesome (I hope for more). Message learnt from this movie; never bully anyone. It’s bad and you may not know what he or she can do to you later for revenge. Be good. I rate ‘Carrie’ a total of 7.1.

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Now, these three films helped me to push up the number of 2013 films I have watched to 52.  There had been quite a number of films this year already released and yet, I still haven’t had the opportunity to watch them. Have to get back to this year’s films already.

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

Milo Breakfast Day Run 2014

Posted in Interesting Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2014 by vincentloy

I think this is my first time joining a marathon. I got persuaded by my sister to join her for a family run on Milo Breakfast Day Run 2014 at Putrajaya this morning on 20th April. And for that, I have to get myself up from the bed on 5.30am. That’s a very hard and a suffering task. I have never been waking up this early for a long time already. The sun hasn’t even rises yet. Luckily we managed to reach there right on time by 7am (the time when the run is supposed to commence) after having difficulty of finding parking. And the run only began after 7.30am.

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There were a lot of people, and all (almost everyone) were in green, wearing the Milo-brand shirt given before the run after each participants registered. There were two categories in the run. The first one is 7km long. My brother-in-law joined that and he won a medal since he finished off the run in less than 1 hour and 30 minutes which is the requirement for a medal. My cousin also won that since she is quite experienced in running for marathon too. It shouldn’t be hard for me too but I didn’t take part in this category as I have to accompany my sister and her two sons for the family run category which only covers 3km.

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From this marathon, I got to see how the big-scale run looks like. I got to see people of all walks of life gathering together for a run or simply a walk. Group of friends, family with children or even babies, couples, elders, etc. Before the run began and when everyone is going to the start point, I was amazed by when everyone stopped while the national song is played. I’m glad I still see sign of unity, respect and love to the country. It’s an overwhelming scene eventhough nobody is actually singing it. I won’t too. At the start point, people basically couldn’t run as there were really too many people.

This run also gave me opportunity to enjoy looking at the architecture of many government buildings there since it took place at the main road in Putrajaya (the one that started from Prime Minister’s Office to Putrajaya International Convention Centre but our run actually starts at Perbadanan Putrajaya Building opposite the Palace of Justice). First time I passed by the few new highrises built there and I find that those highrises didn’t fit the setting there well despite carrying a bit of modern Islamic design characteristics. And most importantly, I can sweat out and gets a bit healthy from this run. I didn’t actually run. Just walk for the whole 3km since I have to look after my sister’s son along the route.

But that is still quite tiring. The run ended by receiving a goodie bag and we have to wait a very long queue just to get a cup of Milo to drink. Milo trucks were everywhere but all with long queues too. There were a lot of tents set up around there for activities and sale of food and drinks. But since we were all tired, we left early. It’s quite a wonderful experience as this is my first time joining a marathon. Next time, I think I’m going for a real marathon (maybe maximum 10 km long as I know my limit) but the only worry is that I don’t want to wake up so early. Haha…okay, now I need to have an afternoon nap. Bye…

R.I.P. Karpal Singh ( 1940 – 2014 )

Posted in Explosive News and Results on April 17, 2014 by vincentloy

I find that this year is mostly filled with sad events. 2014 hasn’t been a good year for Malaysia. We were all greeted this morning yet with another heartbreaking news that Karpal Singh, the former national chairman of Democratic Action Party (DAP) and the current MP for Bukit Gelugor had died in a car accident in the early hours of 17th April 2014. He was 73. He was on his way to Penang to attend a court case later in the day when the car he was travelling in collided with a lorry near Gua Tempurung on the North South Expressway here early Thursday.

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Karpal’s assistant, Selvam is also killed in the accident. The other two passengers, the driver and one of Karpal’s son, Ramkarpal are both safe. May he rest in peace, and my deepest condolences to his family and to all his friends particularly from the Opposition. It must have been a tough life for Karpal Singh. A motor vehicle accident in 2005 left him using a wheelchair permanently and problems with his arm. But he still stays on his active political career until recently that he decided to step down as the national chairman of DAP. Now, his death is also caused by another motor vehicle accident. It’s very unfortunate for him.

Being in the opposition is never easy in Malaysia. However, he never felt afraid, never felt of giving up, and never stop from fighting for justice and democracy in the country. His political career spanned for over 40 years, when he first joined DAP in 1970, citing the party’s multiracial political platform following the race riots in 1969. He was first elected to parliament in 1978 as the representative for Jelutong, Penang and held the seat for more than 20 years. He then led the party to its strongest ever win in 2008 General Election and further improving the party’s success in the most recent General Election in 2013.

His most iconic actions would have been heavily criticizing the restriction of media coverage of the opposition, rejecting death penalty especially in relation to drug-trafficking offences, staunchly opposing to the notion of Malaysia as an Islamic state, arguing that the Constitution provides for a secular nation with Islam being the official religion and not being a fully Islamic state (considering the presence of citizens of other races in the country) and also highly against PAS (another opposition party)’s plan of implementing ‘hudud’ in one of the states . Besides that, he is also known for being a very firm person and a man who dares to challenge whichever is wrong, hence being a man to fear in the Parliament, and a strong leader of the opposition.

His death today led to many people, particularly politicians, including the Prime Minister to pay tribute to this courageous man. In both courtrooms and parliament, he was known as a controversial figure. He was suspended from parliament numerous times, charged for sedition, and had been detained under Malaysia’s internal security laws. He had went through thick and thin. His reputation as a firm lawyer and opposition politician earned him the nickname “the Tiger of Jelutong”. His death today certainly is a great loss to the nation. It may turned out to be a happy news to the government (since he is a strong member of the opposition that the government has to watch out for), but it is definitely a saddening news to most Malaysians. He made an important mark in the nation’s history. R.I.P. Karpal Singh.