Archive for August, 2015

Two movie reviews to end the month; ‘Southpaw’ and ‘Robert The Doll’ (2015)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2015 by vincentloy

I believe today is a beautiful Monday for all Malaysians as we don’t need to go out for work or study today. It’s public holiday as the nation celebrates 58th independence anniversary today. Happy Merdeka Day to Malaysia! Wonderful timing as the National Day this year falls on Monday, hence extending our weekend break. There shouldn’t be any Monday blues mood today. I’m ending the month with two movie reviews as I have watched two films released this year recently; ‘Southpaw’ and ‘Robert The Doll’.

‘Southpaw’ is a 2015 sports drama film which revolves on a boxer, Billy Hope who turns to trainer Tick Willis to help him get his life back on track after losing his wife in a tragic accident and his daughter to child protection services. The film directed by Antoine Fuqua starred Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker, Rachel McAdams, Naomie Harris, Oona Laurence, etc. First of all, I’m quite enjoyed with the redemption theme of the storyline eventhough many said its’ very much predictable and shown nothing fresh to the audiences. The plot is quite engaging but the development may be a bit unnecessarily too long.

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The focus of the film must be on the performance of Jake Gyllenhaal as he is rumoured to be a heavyweight potential for best actor nominee in Oscars next year from this movie. Well, he is doing another fantastic job by being very much committed to this role of troubled boxer. He turned from a skinny man in last year’s ‘Nightcrawler’ to a bulky body in ‘Southpaw’. However, I think his role here is not exceptional enough to put him in frontrunner for a nomination next year since the competition in best actor is always compacted. Anyway, he still carried the movie very well with great performance. Another thing lacking from this drama is that they failed to inject some really cool heart-stopping climax moments into the film. There are also quite a number of emotional scenes but they didn’t hit at high note. Hence, these issues prevent the movie from climbing up the rating from movie critics. As for me, I’m still thinking that it’s a good solid movie. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Southpaw’ a total of 7.5. This was the last film to be scored by James Horner before the composer’s death sadly.

Next movie is ‘Robert The Doll’, a very much unknown horror movie this year that are also based on a haunted doll. I still went for the movie despite knowing it received poor ratings from IMDb because I’m interested with haunted doll theme especially after being quite excited with ‘Chucky’ and most recently ‘Annabelle’ movie. ‘Robert’ film is said to be based on real life events when a family experience terrifying supernatural occurrences when their son acquires a vintage doll called Robert. I browsed the web to search about this doll and it do exists. However, the doll in the movie doesn’t look anything similar to the real thing which is now exhibited in a museum at Florida. Just like Annabelle, the doll looks more creepy in the movie. I knew they made it looks more terrifying for the scare effect.

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The plot of the movie actually comes with potential to deliver. However, everything is ruined when scenes are poorly done, the characters are odd and the acting is bad. The worst thing is the acting part. The cast were just delivering their lines with forced emotions displayed on their faces. It’s so obvious that their acting is bad especially the woman portraying as the mother. Things are getting boring and unappealing even when it comes to the end when the doll start to show itself how evil it is. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Robert The Doll’ a total of 5.9. Many points are just given for the very creepy-looking doll itself. The movie just couldn’t pull it off at all.

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

 

 

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Yellow everywhere for this year’s Merdeka Day.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2015 by vincentloy

First of all, I would like to wish Happy National Day to Malaysia!

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Today, in the last day of the month, the nation celebrates 58th anniversary of independence. I’m glad that the country is still stable and peaceful after 58 years, but things are not turning good either. The country has been marred by many negative issues recently such as  alarming drop in our currency, implementation of burdening GST, corruption scandal by Prime Minister, inefficiency of handling MH370 tragedy, debts of 1MDB, etc. In fact, I have been saying all these quite frequently in my recent blog posts.

These are some of the things that brought the image of the country down. Many foreign press are writing very much negatively about our country now. We can’t blame them since these are the truths. Hence, many Malaysians felt that having another street demonstration is the best way to put pressure on the sickening government and to show to them of how united we are in opposition to the current country’s leadership that contributed to all these. ‘Bersih 4.0’ is then held successfully with huge number of turnouts in the past two days. Many of my relatives and friends attended the rally. It was also a very peaceful street protest with no violence or scuffle occurring. Even our former premier, Tun Dr. Mahathir attended the rally. Wonderful.

I’m actually surprised by the low attendance of our Malay friends. I recalled in the past ‘Bersih’ rallies, Malays make up about 70 to 80 percent of the participants. Now, in ‘Bersih 4.0’, the Chinese took up the majority. Where are you guys? No matter which political parties you are supporting, we should see the bigger picture and focus on the problems the nation is currently facing. All Malaysians are impacted no matter which race you belong to, and hence, do ‘come out’ and show our frustration. The people should not be afraid of its government. The government should be afraid of its people.

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Well, in response to the rally, our Prime Minister, Najib, called the participants shallow and unpatriotic, and that the event tarnished the country’s image. Another hilarious and brainless statement. Malaysians participated and supported the rally because they still love and care for the nation. They were willing to sleep on the street outside at night just to keep their determination to go against the current government. PM, you are the one being shallow for saying such a remark. And by the way, you are the one bringing down the nation’s image. It’s such a shame you didn’t realize that. Many ‘Bersih 4.0’ rallies were also conducted in many foreign countries in similar objective. The spirit is not only in KL but also across the world where Malaysians are present.

It’s definitely yellow everywhere for this year’s Merdeka Day. I sincerely hope that all these negativity revolving around the present government would be over soon, and that means there is only one way to do it, have them replaced. Then, only that the nation can celebrate ‘Independence Day’ more peacefully and meaningfully in near future. The rally was over, but we will not give up on fighting for our nation. That’s the real patriotic spirit our PM will never understand. Maybe he thinks that getting 2.6 billion for himself …opps…for his party is the most patriotic action of all. Haha…

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

 

‘Minions’, another movie this year that crossed 1 billion mark.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2015 by vincentloy

Congratulations to ‘Minions’ for having gained over USD$ 1 billion in box office grossing worldwide recently, just before the end of the month. This animated movie, which is the prequel to the two ‘Despicable Me’ films earlier focused on three little minions who went on a journey to find a great villain named Scarlett Overkill to be their master before they eventually settled with Gru. I did watched this movie a while ago, and my review for it is at this link: https://vincentloy.wordpress.com/2015/06/20/two-animated-movies-this-week-the-book-of-life-2014-and-minions-2015/.

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I have that particular post as a movie review for ‘The Book of Life’ too, another animated film last year which I find slightly better to watch than this ‘Minions’. ‘Minions’ is still an entertaining film but these little minions alone couldn’t carry the movie on their own. Nevertheless, the movie do performed successfully in the box office worldwide since it is now only the third animated film in history to break over 1 billion milestone. I didn’t expect that to happen, as earlier I predicted that it will only ends up taking about USD$ 900 million the most. But now, these little yellow adorable creatures do win the hearts of both adults and the kids across the world.

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‘Minions’ now gained more than the two ‘Despicable Me’ films respectively. The first ‘Despicable Me’ gained USD$ 543 million while the sequel performed far better with USD$970 million. Now, ‘Minions’ passed them all. From Box Office Mojo, ‘Minions’ now had USD$ 321 million domestic intake and USD$ 682 million international intake for a worldwide total of USD$ 1.003 billion. It is currently the 23rd highest grossing film of all time and the 23rd film to achieved 1 billion mark. Well, it’s box office intake isn’t stopping now as it is still playing in theatres worldwide and has not even been opened in several big markets too like China.

I’m expecting its final grossing would be somewhere in USD$ 1.2 billion. It will certainly drives past ‘Toy Story 3’ (USD$1.063 billion) and may even beats ‘Frozen’ (USD$1.279 billion) to be the highest grossing animated film ever (unadjusted for inflation). ‘Minions’ is now the fourth highest grossing film of the year, behind ‘Jurassic World’ (USD$1.624 billion), ‘Furious 7’ (USD$1.511 billion) and ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ (USD$1.401 billion). The movie studio ‘Universal’ is breaking almost all kind of records this year and there are still few more months yet before 2015 ends. Its movies like ‘Jurassic World’, ‘Furious 7’, ‘Minions’, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and some others are making huge profit.

We are entering into the last four months of the year. Big movies this year that are expected to gross over 1 billion respectively are definitely ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’, the latest addition to the iconic epic space-opera film franchise, and ‘Spectre’, the latest James Bond movie of which its last film ‘Skyfall’ did amazingly well in the box office too. ‘Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part II’, the concluding film of its franchise may do very well in the box office too and has the possibility to break 1 billion barrier too. Right now, it’s just August and we have had already four films this year achieving that particular milestone with ‘Minions’ as the latest one to do so. The best year for box office so far.

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

A big day for Malaysians….Bersih 4.0

Posted in Explosive News and Results on August 29, 2015 by vincentloy

After months of waiting, the day has finally arrived! Bersih 4.0 rally is set to begin today at 2pm in major areas in Kuala Lumpur, and will continue for 34 hours until the clock ticks at 12am to mark the nation’s 58th anniversary of independence on this 31st August. The rally also will expands to several oversea locations. Great! Let me say this out first; I’m not intending to promote the rally here; I’m just an ordinary Malaysian with all the rights to write down my opinion regarding the rally and the objective behind it. I stated this clearly as my blog may be at risk of being banned by Malaysian authority as they had just declared that they will ban any websites that are found to be promoting Bersih 4.0 rally. Well…that’s how Malaysian government works. They simply love to ban things they are not happy with. Even wearing yellow T-shirt with Bersih logo is now prohibited…..No freedom of speech. And now, no freedom of wearing shirts too…LOL!

And certainly no freedom of holding demonstration to voice out our frustration, anger and opposition to the current administration of the country. Haiz…This is so undemocratic. It’s too bad that I’m not free on this particular day to join the rally as I have to take care of my nephew who is recently admitted to the hospital today. Even my colleagues and friends are going. Well, my heart is still with the rally. Eventhough my dad also advises me not to join the rally with fear of any possible violence, but I think it’s nothing wrong or to be afraid of to exercise my democratic right as a Malaysian who very much cares about for this country.

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Malaysians wouldn’t be that free to organize rally like this if the government is doing well. But now, everything is so wrong…I mean seriously wrong and unacceptable. Years ago, we had the first Bersih rally to call for transparent government, clean and fair election and several more followed. Now, Bersih 4.0 is set to proceed due to mounting pressure and frustration by all (seriously, it’s now affecting all Malaysians no matter you are pro-opposition or pro-government) from the current crisis in the country. Once you hear 1MDB, once you hear GST, once you hear 2.6 billion, once you hear donation, once you hear RM against USD or SGD, you will immediately knew what they are. And many more terrible and ‘hilarious’ stuff from our ‘beloved’ Najib’s administration. We are now also a huge embarrassment in the eyes of foreign nations…’thanks’ to him.

It’s expected that the authority declared the rally illegal with reason that it ‘interrupts national peace and order’. Haha…national peace and stability will not be present as long as the present government is still functioning. (By the way, it’s a fake government since they lost by popular votes in the past general election…they won it because of the imbalanced allocation of votes to seats that determine the majority in parliament). They wanted the rally to take place in a stadium so that they can show to us that Malaysians who aren’t happy can be ‘contained’. Well, we are not! We are not blind, we are not stupid and we are not being unfair too. You brought the whole nation to a whole new level of ‘darkness’ and and we just couldn’t stand it any longer. Furthermore, the rally is a great platform for Malaysians to show that they are strong and united to fight against corruption and bad government. And yet you are against that…so, you are indirectly admitting of your bad deeds?

It’s still a big NO to violence, but can’t we just request the Prime Minister to resign? A simple request by majority of Malaysians (I believe). Anyway, I hope that there will be no scuffle, fights or any violence later during the rally which is expected to be the biggest in the history of the country. I think the rally will achieve nothing in the end as the government doesn’t know shame and will not be pressured to step down like this. They have ‘thick skin’ and will just use all their power to stay in power. That’s it. That’s reality we hate to see. Hence we still need to do something like having this rally. To show to them how strong we are up against them. It’s without any result as expected but the objective behind it should be commended. This country still has hope, but the longer the present government stays….the more impossible it is to propel the nation back to glory time. I’m not physically in the rally, but my heart is in full support for the objective of the rally. Go forward, Bersih 4.0…for the nation.

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

 

 

 

‘Brick Slaves’, a Hong Kong drama which tells us how crazy the property value in the city is.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2015 by vincentloy

‘樓奴’ (Brick Slaves) is a 2015 Hong Kong romantic-comedy television drama by TVB and starring Vincent Wong, Selena Li, Evergreen Mak, Eliza Sam and Kiki Sheung as the main cast. The theme of the storyline is based on Hong Kong’s extremely unaffordable houses. Well, we knew Hong Kong is among the cities in the world with the highest property prices. Before I get into a review for this particular drama that had just concluded, I’m just going to tell you briefly how expensive purchasing a flat at Hong Kong is now.

Based on an accurate survey, the average price per square foot for a flat at Hong Kong is about USD$ 1200 or more. I’m not even talking about those strategically-located flat at the city centre region. Hong Kong is famous for having very limited land, and so their houses are usually very small and compact. A flat in Hong Kong would be somewhere in 700 sq ft or lesser. So, let’s multiply USD$ 1200 with 700 and you will get USD$ 840 000. Convert that to Ringgit Malaysia (oppss..now it’s multiply by 4), and the amount is RM 3.4 million. Crazy, isn’t it? With the same figure, I can buy at least 5 units of apartments in Malaysia.

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So, you see…how hard is the life of Hong Kong people. They have to work, work and work to save money to own a house which is the most basic ambition for them. I understand that it is always feeling stable to own a house especially for those with family to take care of. Hence, not only in Hong Kong, but everywhere that people now are mostly ‘樓奴’. Working madly just to own a house. That’s what this particular TVB series is all about. Vincent Wong worked hard in his life and he finally had enough saving to pay for the deposit of a house which is his goal to start a family with his girlfriend. However, his girlfriend broke up with him and rented half of the house to her friend, Selena Li. Both are originally very much in conflict between each other due to difference in personalities. However, as time passes, they start to know each other more and felt in love.

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Well, quite a typical plot but I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline. There are also many other supporting plots which are interesting enough to pull this into one piece of good drama to watch. The series is short, having only 20 episodes, but I think that’s enough for this light-hearted romantic comedy series. That makes the series entertaining most of the time with nothing much draggy in between. Vincent Wong is the male lead in the series and his performance is not bad. I’m fine with him taking on more leading roles in the future since TVB is now lacking leading artists. He had a good chemistry with the female lead, Selena Li in this series.

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Some say Selena is over-acting in this drama. Well, I think her character in this drama needs her to be slightly exaggerated, and hence it’s not her fault. Instead, I think she delivered the role very well. It’s seriously time to acknowledge her more in future series as I find her performances are always great. Even Liza Wang praised her when she guest starred in the former’s recent series ‘Master of Destiny’. She needs more leading roles too and I believe she can do it. TVB, just don’t keep promoting those newbies too much (Grace Chan, Eliza Sam, Mandy Wong, Tracy Chu, etc). Put more focus on Selena Li or Nancy Wu besides than the already emphasized Kate Tsui, Tavia Yeung and Linda Chung.

Opps…I’m getting way too far about the series. Eliza Sam had quite a major role in ‘Brick Slaves’. I knew she tried her best but still, she couldn’t pull it off nicely. Her crying scenes were awkward and I don’t feel anything when she speaks or delivers her emotion. She still needs to work hard on her acting. Well, the boy portraying as Dor Dor is also very poor in the series. On the other hand, Evergreen Mak and the one acting as his wife in the series were both great and acted very natural. Overall, the series is enjoyable to watch but very much will be forgotten after a month or two. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Brick Slaves’ a total of 7.4. Okay…to move on with new TVB drama next month.

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

 

Any paranormal encounter?

Posted in Interesting Encounters on August 27, 2015 by vincentloy

Today is the best day to talk about this topic. Why? Today is the 14th day of the 7th month of the Chinese lunar calendar, which means it’s the annual Hungry Ghost Festival. Based on traditional Chinese beliefs and legends, tonight is the night when ghosts or spirits can roam freely in the world, and it’s a once-in-a-year opportunity for them. Usually, the elderly will advise the young ones not to go out tonight or better, to go home early to avoid seeing ‘them’ as we may get into trouble (may get ill suddenly, may be very bad luck for some period of time or the spirit may follow you home) if we bumped into them. Hence, today, I’m not staying back long in office despite still having a lot of pending works to do. I don’t want to be in a situation like the previous TVB drama (ghost overtime with you). Haha…

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Hmm…Have you had any paranormal encounter before? I personally don’t have and I’m definitely not hoping for that of course. But it would be boring if I’m not sharing anything creepy today. Haha…Well, it’s a true story, a true paranormal encounter by one of my family members last year. There is one day when he went up to Genting Highlands alone and I didn’t follow. My other family members were up there too and I forgot why I didn’t join them that time. Then, at night, he drove down the hill alone to return home. He said that there are not many cars and the road down from the peak was blanketed with mist that time. It’s usual when you are driving down from Genting Highlands at night.

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However, out of sudden, without him knowing, he had lost track of the time and also his consciousness. More than an hour later, my other family member tried to call him but he didn’t pick up the phone. Fortunately, he picked up the phone when my sister tried calling the second/third time. He told us that he only regained consciousness when he finally heard the phone ringing. And then, he was shocked when he realized that he was on a highway in Petaling Jaya, still driving. My home is at Ampang and it would be impossible to take Petaling Jaya route to return home. He was shocked and at the same time relieved because he was not ‘hurt’ and he managed to return home safely. He only told this happening to us the next day.

And on that week, we accompanied him for a worshiping ritual as a measure to avoid him from being in such situation again. What is really happening that night? We came up with a solid opinion that he was actually being in control/manipulation by a ‘spirit’ that time and that the spirit may want to bring him to his/her home (may be somewhere in Petaling Jaya since he is driving on a highway there when he regained his consciousness). Ewww….scary right?….Eventhough my family member didn’t see any visual of that ‘spirit’ but this encounter is terrifying enough. He had also some past paranormal encounters before but I would just like to share his most recent one. I believe some people in this world can get to see or experience this kind of thing easily. I’m glad that I’m not that group. By the way, do you have any personal haunting paranormal story? You can share it here too, especially on this day.

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

No more Zaha Hadid’s design for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2015 by vincentloy

I knew this is quite an old story. I never had the time to share this out when the news first broke out early last month. Now only I did have the time to post this up and place a bit of my thought regarding it. The issue is that the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe decided that the design of the main stadium to be used for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games to be started again from the scratch due to spiraling costs. Conclusion: the original approved design for the main stadium by Zaha Hadid (shown below with original proposal to final amended design) is now scrapped and things are getting back to drawing board.

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Zaha Hadid must be very sad and frustrated over this decision. Yet, she simply can’t do anything now besides than defending her design and trying to convince everyone that her design will not costs a lot of money to build. Before all these happened, there was actually quite a strong opposition to the Zaha Hadid’s design earlier especially by the local Japanese architects that see the design as being too massive in scale, having no context to the site and does not represents anything on Japanese. I agree with the points. The design is interesting, daring and fluid (well, that’s Zaha Hadid’s iconic style) but it just doesn’t feel relatable to Japan.

But their opposing views (including from Toyo Ito, Kengo Kuma, Fumihiko Maki) were not bothered and the design proceeds. The design had also been amended due to budget cut and also to respect the site with smaller scale but still receiving heavy amount of criticisms. Now, they must be relieved and happy that her present design will not be built. So now, what’s happening? Is Zaha Hadid going to design another option which would be more cost-saving or other architects would join in as well and the design competition starts again? I’m not sure, but I’m thinking that local Japanese architects should exhibit their best design talents for a stadium where the world will see in 2020 during the prestigious Olympics. I wonder why the local architects lost out in the competition earlier to Zaha Hadid. It’s the opportunity now for them to gain back the honor to design for the stadium to show to the world that Japanese architect can design their own stadium beautifully. They should work out to their best.

There is no doubt that Zaha Hadid is one great architect. In fact, she is no doubt the most famous living female architect right now. Her designs are usually astonishing and look fantastic from all angles. I’m actually impressed with her design for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium despite not engaging to the context of the site as explained earlier. But when cost factor comes in, her design is usually very expensive to be built. Hence, the design will not be materialized. Too bad. But wait…time is running out as we have less than five years left before Tokyo 2020. How are they going to come out with another brilliant design if there is now a huge restriction on time and also on cost. I hope they won’t come out with design like London 2012 Olympic Stadium which looks nothing more than a round bowl of skeletal structures.

Beijing 2008’s ‘Bird Nest’ stadium is simply the best.

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On the other hand, progress is currently underway for the construction of many new sporting venues for the Rio 2016 Olympics next year. This games is much sooner and it is now only less than a year before the games begins. I think Brazil will deliver the games well with fantastic stadiums in fantastic setting of beautiful beaches and mountains. Time flies. It has been 7 years since Beijing 2008 and 3 years since London 2012. I’m now looking forward to watch wonderful ceremonies (opening and closing) and sporting events from Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.

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