Archive for January, 2017

Happy Chinese New Year! It’s the year of rooster!

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2017 by vincentloy

I’m wishing everyone a Happy Chinese New Year! This wish is particularly for my family, relatives, friends, neighbours, and to all Malaysian Chinese! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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The lunar new year comes early this year. This Chinese largest festival (known as Spring Festival in China) always falls on February every year. But for this time, it’s on end of January. We have just finished celebrating the new year 2017 and now we get to celebrate another one. Next year, this festival will be pushed back to February due to additional days in our lunar calendar once every four years.

We now say goodbye to the year of monkey and welcomes the year of rooster. Rooster is the main character this year and unfortunately, it’s also usually the main character in our Chinese dishes. Chicken dishes everywhere and my two nephews love to eat them the most.

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This is also the time for us, the superstitious Chinese to check on our zodiac forecast of the year. I was born in the year of sheep and so my Chinese zodiac sign is sheep. I found out that this is going to be an average year for me, with nothing really bad or good happening. It’s a fairly flat year for me. I will take that. Well, I’m not superstitious but getting a knowledge of it is something not harmful either, so why not…

I had a fairly plain reunion dinner just now in a simple and affordable restaurant nearby. The important thing is not the cost of the food, but everyone being together on the table for this significant meal. It’s alright. We will be having a ‘grander’ dinner soon for the next weekend when my eldest sister and her family will join in too. I will be spending the first day of the Chinese New Year visiting some relatives and also watching a Chinese New Year movie in cinema hopefully. Then, from second day to sixth day of the celebration, I will be having a vacation in Hanoi, Vietnam with my parents. After coming back, I will be spending that coming weekend (next Saturday and Sunday) on Genting Highlands. That’s it. After that, it’s the end of my Chinese New Year celebration this year before I fly back to Perth, Australia near the end of February to resume the final year of my postgraduate study.

Let’s not talk that far yet. Now, is the time to get prepared to welcome this lunar new year with joyful mood, get dressed in new clothes, get angpows, meet relatives (and hopefully successfully dealt with all those questions from aunties and uncles asking about whether you have boyfriend or girlfriend already or not), gamble (who doesn’t like to play and hopefully win), attend friends’ gatherings, eat all those delicious new year biscuits and cookies, watch all the released CNY movies this year, light up firecrackers or fireworks, etc.

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Once again, Happy Chinese New Year! May you have a blessed year ahead with good health and wealth! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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

Nomination list for the 89th Academy Awards.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2017 by vincentloy

Here below is the full nomination list for the 89th Academy Awards alongside with my predictions and thoughts. The awards ceremony will take place on February 26, 2017.

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BEST PICTURE
Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

Predicted to win: Moonlight

My choice: La La Land

Opinion: 9 nominees for best picture this year. Academy voters love to vote for movies dealing with serious or heartfelt issues, and to cope with strong criticism last year for being pure White in their nomination list, I’m quite confident the Academy this year will award their most prestigious best picture prize to a movie about Black people. Deep down in my heart, I still wish ‘La La Land’ to win as it is a musical masterpiece.

BEST DIRECTOR
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Predicted to win: Damien Chazelle (La La Land)

My choice: Damien Chazelle (La La Land)

Opinion: This one looks like a lock for Damien Chazelle who has been sweeping all precursor awards for his directing work in ‘La La Land’. Since I think it is unlikely for ‘La La Land’ to emerge as best picture winner, it is highly likely that Damien will take this best director award as a consolation.

BEST ACTOR
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences

Predicted to win: Casey Affleck (La La Land)

My choice: Casey Affleck (La La Land)

Opinion: Casey Affleck is the clear frontrunner as he has been winning multiple best actor prizes for his subtle yet strong performance in ‘Manchester by the Sea’. Denzel Washington is a dark horse contender here. It’s good to see Andrew Garfield on his first nomination here as he is one young good actor. However, this is not the time yet but I’m sure he will be rewarded in near future.

BEST ACTRESS
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Predicted to win: Isabelle Huppert (Elle) / Natalie Portman (Jackie)

My choice: Natalie Portman (Jackie)

Opinion: This is a very competitive and tough race. I’m surprised to see Amy Adams get snubbed for her solid work in ‘Arrival’. That slot has been given to Ruth Negga. I think this will be a three-way fight between Isabelle (Globes best actress-drama), Emma (Globes best actress-comedy or musical) and Natalie (Critics Choice best actress). And Meryl Streep may just take that advantage and sneak in to clinch her historic 4th win. This is also her record-breaking 20th Oscar nomination.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel, Lion
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Predicted to win: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

My choice: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

Opinion: Mahershala, Jeff, Lucas and Dev are the four lock-in for this nomination. The fifth slot goes to Michael Shannon. Hugh Grant from ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ and Aaron-Taylor Johnson from ‘Nocturnal Animals’ (Globes best supporting actor) couldn’t snatch that fifth slot unfortunately. Academy will certainly vote for Mahershala Ali since they are now determined to make sure their awards are as diverse as possible.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Predicted to win: Viola Davis (Fences)

My choice: Viola Davis (Fences)

Opinion: For the diversity reason mentioned earlier and also to compensate for Viola Davis for losing few years ago, this is certainly the year for her. The other four nominees are simply here just to fill in the remaining slots and to be audiences for the ceremony next month.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Hell or High Water
La La Land
The Lobster
Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Women

Predicted to win: Manchester by the Sea

My choice: Hell or High Water / The Lobster

Opinion: I don’t really find any greatness in ‘Manchester by the Sea’ for its script. I would then prefer for ‘Hell or High Water’ to win since it would stand no chance in other categories or ‘The Lobster’ since this is the only category it is nominated in.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Arrival
Fences
Hidden Figures
Lion
Moonlight

Predicted to win: Fences

My choice: Arrival

Opinion: ‘Fences’ will win here because there is no other categories for it to shine and I feel that this movie must be rewarded for Academy to achieve their diversity objective. My prefered choice would be ‘Arrival’ for its unique approach to an extraterrestrial-themed film and also for its briliant plot with deep subject and mind-fucked plot twist.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Arrival
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Silence

Predicted to win: Arrival / La La Land

My choice: Arrival

Opinion: Hard to choose from this 5 nominees. I pick ‘Arrival’ because I do think this is the only category in high possibility for this particular movie to get rewarded.

BEST FILM EDITING
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Moonlight

Predicted to win: La La Land

My choice: La La Land

Opinion: All the way for ‘La La Land’. The brilliant editing work in ‘La La Land’ is very obvious from the start (continuous shot of musical sequence on a congested highway) to the end (alternate reality of the two leads over the years) of the movie.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Predicted to win: The Jungle Book

My choice: Doctor Strange

Opinion: ‘The Jungle Book’ is predicted to win due to its realistic talking animals and the beautiful scenery throughout the whole movie. My own choice would be ‘Doctor Strange’ for its exceptional and out-of-this-world visual treatments.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Arrival
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hail, Caesar!
La La Land
Passengers

Predicted to win: La La Land

My choice: Passengers

Opinion: No one has predicted ‘Passengers’ to get nominated at all in the Oscars and yet it does. I enjoyed that film and I’m glad it receives a nomination here eventhough I think it is unlikely for the movie to win. The heavy favourite ‘La La Land’ is going to take this award home but I actually don’t think the production works for ‘La La Land’ are that amazing.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Allied
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
Jackie
La La Land

Predicted to win: Jackie

My choice: Jackie

Opinion: If Natalie Portman didn’t win best actress, then this is the only category for ‘Jackie’ to win. The movie shown to us some great costumes in 1960s.

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad

Predicted to win: A Man Called Ove

My choice: Star Trek Beyond

Opinion: Academy doesn’t like blockbuster movies that much, hence ‘A Man Called Ove’ suddenly stand a strong chance to win. I’m also surprised that ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ and ‘Deadpool’ didn’t get nominated here.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Jackie
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Passengers

Predicted to win: La La Land

My choice: La La Land

Opinion: Also surprised to see ‘Passengers’ get another nomination here. It looks like ‘Passengers’ is getting surprising love from the Academy and I’m fine with it. But I don’t think it will win anything. At least getting some nominations is already a great news for this under-rated movie. ‘La La Land’ is certainly going to win this for its beautiful and inspiring background music.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” La La Land
“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls
“City of Stars,” La La Land
“The Empty Chair,” Jim: The James Foley Story
“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana

Predicted to win: ‘City of Stars’ (La La Land)

My choice: ‘City of Stars’ (La La Land) / ‘How Far I’ll Go’ (Moana)

Opinion: Two nominations for ‘La La Land’ in this category alone. Would it be harmful to the movie as the votes are split to the two songs in it? Probably. ‘How Far I’ll Go’ from ‘Moana’ may just sneak in and take this award.

BEST SOUND EDITING
Arrival
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Sully

Predicted to win: Hacksaw Ridge

My choice: Hacksaw Ridge

Opinion: This is the only category that ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ has high chance of winning. Let it win then. The sound work in the movie is brilliant.

BEST SOUND MIXING
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Predicted to win: La La Land

My choice: Hacksaw Ridge

Opinion: ‘La La Land’ should win this without any heavy competition. ‘Sound mixing’ and ‘Sound editing’ will be distributed equally to ‘La La Land’ and ‘Hacksaw Ridge’. I still think the Academy should just combine ‘sound editing’ and ‘sound mixing’ into one award.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle
Zootopia

Predicted to win: Kubo and the Two Strings / Zootopia

My choice: Kubo and the Two Strings

Opinion: ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ gets nominated in best visual effects’ category too and also shortlisted last time for best costume design category eventhough didn’t get nominated in the end. So, this movie stands a higher chance now to win this one, giving a strong competition to earlier frontrunner ‘Zootopia’. ‘Zootopia’ still has the chance to win due to the appeal from its box office success.

No predictions and comments for the remaining 4 categories above.

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
O.J.: Made in America
13th

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Land of Mine
A Man Called Ove
The Salesman
Tanna
Toni Erdmann

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Extremis
4.1 Miles
Joe’s Violin
Watani: My Homeland
The White Helmets

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
Ennemis Entreniers
La Femme et le TGV
Silent Nights
Sing
Timecode

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes
Pearl
Piper

What do you think of the nomination list? Do you agree to my predictions and thoughts? You may post your comment and it is very welcomed.

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There are some surprises in the nomination list as expected since the Academy likes to give us some shock every year. But the shock this year is not that much as most of the list are predicted from earlier on. ‘La La Land’ gets the most love from the Academy with most number of nominations at 14. The movie sets the record for film with most Oscar nominations and ties with ‘Titanic’ (1997) and ‘All About Eve’ (1950). ‘Arrival’ and ‘Moonlight’ each gets 8 nominations. ‘Hacksaw Ridge’, ‘Manchester by the Sea’ and ‘Lion’ each gets 6 nominations. Surprising entries into the list with multiple nominations include ‘Deepwater Horizon’ (didn’t expect it to be nominated at all in any categories), ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ (only expected it to be nominated in one category – animated feature film), ‘Passengers’ (didn’t expect it to be nominated at all in any categories) and ‘A Man Called Ove’ (only expected it to be nominated in one category – make-up and hairstyling) with two nominations each. ‘Deadpool’ is snubbed as I expect this movie to get one or two nominations.

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

Movie review for ‘Jackie’ (2016), and have you heard of Razzies?

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2017 by vincentloy

‘Jackie’ is the last Oscar-type films of 2016 that I watched before the announcement for the nomination list of the 89th Academy Awards later on. ‘Jackie’ is a biographical drama film that starred Natalie Portman as the titular character, following her life after the 1963 assassination of her husband John F. Kennedy. John F. Kennedy was famously known to be the fourth and the last President of the United States to be murdered while still in office. And on the other hand, nothing much have been known about his wife, Jackie Kennedy, the First Lady before, during and after the infamous assassination. I’m interested to know more on that, and so, I’m interested to watch this movie.

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The other reason I watched ‘Jackie’ is also because I’m amazed by Natalie Portman’s scenes in the movie trailer alone. She is one great actress and I love her since her award-winning performance in ‘Black Swan’ several years ago. I already sense huge Oscar feel to her performance just by watching the trailer. And after watching the whole movie just now, I have no doubt that her performance here will land her another best actress nomination in the Oscars and I don’t mind her winning it again too. She is phenomenal as Jackie. The whole movie is seriously focusing on her with many close-up scenes of her face (though I find it unnecessarily too much at some point) to show her emotions and expressions in dealing with all the issues after her husband’s shocking death. She not only mastered that, but also nailed the accent and posture that the real Jackie Kennedy had. She put in a lot of effort in this role and she delivered. The only imperfection is that her face didn’t resemble Jackie Kennedy’s face at all.

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Peter Sarsgaard is solid for his supporting role as Robert, the younger brother of John F. Kennedy in this movie. An unknown Danish actor who portrayed John F. Kennedy in this movie shocked me because his face really resembles closely to the late President himself. While watching the movie, it was really as though John F. Kennedy himself was in there. The costumes are great, the production design is excellent, and the way they used old recordings of Jackie’s introduction to the interiors of the White House and putting in the same scenes in the movie with Natalie Portman as replacement is commendable. As for the story and its editing, they are just average. The overall feel is a bit bored and plain (like too many scenes of Natalie walking around in the White House). There is no greatness in this film besides than Natalie Portman. But she faces strong competition from Emma Stone and Isabelle Hupert for the Oscar trophy for best actress next month. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Jackie’ a total of 7.1. This kind of movies makes me wanted to do a quick online research on the real information behind such historical events.

On the other hand, have you heard of Razzies? It is a name for the Golden Raspberry Awards, an annual awards presented to honour not the best, but the worst films. It’s like the total opposite of the Oscars. I guess many of you do not know of such existence. It even has its nomination list for the worst for films in 2016 released yesterday. The awards usually took place a day before the Oscars. Among the films with most nominations (hence being regarded the worst movies in 2016) are ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’, ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’, ‘Gods of Egypt’, ‘Zoolander 2’, ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’, ‘Suicide Squad’, ‘Dirty Grandpa’, etc. ‘Winners’ will be famous for the other way round. This is the only awards that nobody wants to get nominated or even involved in.

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

‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ (2016) cross 1-billion mark, movie review for ‘Manchester by the Sea’ (2016), and final thoughts before Oscars’ nominations announcement tomorrow.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2017 by vincentloy

‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’, the latest film in hugely successful Star Wars film franchise has recently grossed over US$ 1 billion in worldwide box office intake. This film that was released on December 2016 has a story that sets before the original 1977 Star Wars film (hence a prequel) and it starred Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, etc. I watched that movie and I did gave a short review for it in my earlier post. As of 23rd January 2017, the film has grossed US$ 1.011 billion. It is now the 28th film in history to cross the 1-billion mark and it is also the 4th film in 2016 that is able to do so. The other three are Captain America: Civil War (US$ 1.153 billion), Finding Dory (US$ 1.027 billion), and Zootopia (US$ 1.023 billion).

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Coincidentally, all the four highest grossing films in 2016 (of which each of them gross over US$ 1 billion) were distributed by Disney. What a huge success for Disney last year then. The 5th film in the list also goes to another movie distributed by Disney, and it is ‘The Jungle Book’, but it could only accumulates US$ 966 million (still a huge box-office hit). Everyone is loving Star Wars (but not me, and I find that the Americans love it very much), hence this box office outcome for ‘Rogue One’ is very much expected. This also comes after the big hit from ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ in 2015 that managed to gain US$ 2.068 billion, becoming the third movie in history to cross the near-impossible 2-billion mark. The next Star Wars film to be released in cinema is ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ on end of this year and I’m sure it is going to achieve similar success in box office too.

On the other hand, I have watched another new film just now. It’s a 2016 film called ‘Manchester by the Sea’. The reason I watched this movie is because it receives a lot of awards buzz and also overwhelming critical acclaim, with many praising and awarding best actor to the lead of the story, Casey Affleck. I stand with the minority this time. I think this movie is good, but clearly not a masterpiece or a solid top-notch drama as claimed by various critics out there. The movie, written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, revolves on an uncle (Casey Affleck) who is tasked to take care of his teenage nephew (Lucas Hedges) after the boy’s father dies.

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What’s good from this movie is the acting. I find that Casey Affleck did well for his performance here. He nailed all the scenes when he has to convey subtle emotions and expressions. It’s not easy to do that and yet he did it. In past years, we always see showy and dramatic performances that got the actors and actresses winning awards. This year, it’s time to recognize subtle performances. This is one great example and it’s not easy to be done. Hence, I have no issue with Casey being nominated for best actor in Academy Awards and even winning it next month. However, I still think that his performance here in ‘Manchester by the Sea’ to be not perfect yet, as I find some of his scenes are a bit over wooden and pale. Lucas Hedges is great as the teenage boy in the movie and he should get a best supporting actor’s nomination. Same goes to Michelle Williams as Casey’s ex-wife in the movie. Her screen-time is very little and yet she manages to conquer those emotional scenes very well. A best supporting actress nomination for her. Other than acting, there is actually nothing else great about this film. It has a plain story, poor editing, and unsuitable background score too. It’s supposed to be a dramatic and a moving film, but in the end, I don’t feel anything. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Manchester by the Sea’ a total of 7.0. And all those points are mostly from acting only. This is one over-rated 2016 film.

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The nomination list for the 89th Academy Awards will be announced tomorrow. Me, as one of the moviegoers who also loves watching Oscar-type movies are quite excited for it. Who will be snubbed this year? Who get to sneak in? Which film gets the most love? And which film gets forgotten? All will be revealed tomorrow.

As for my final thoughts before the nomination list’s announcement tomorrow, I think there would be a few surprises in the nomination list as expected since Academy loves to give us some shock and surprise every year. ‘La La Land’ is expected to get the most nominations, and together with ‘Manchester by the Sea’, ‘Moonlight’, ‘Fences’, and ‘Arrival’, these 5 films look like they are a lock-in for the best picture nominees. There are 3 or 4 more slots in that category and all the other potential films are trying to squeeze in. Best actor race is not that interesting this year and it looks like Casey Affleck is going to take the Oscar home. On the other hand, best actress race is very competitive this year. It’s like anyone can win it this year with no clear favourite and that makes this category intense and exciting. Alright. I will leave more of my opinions when I published the nomination list in my blog here as soon as it is revealed tomorrow.

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

 

Less than a week to Chinese New Year and I’m frustrated by almost everything.

Posted in Interesting Encounters on January 23, 2017 by vincentloy

Chinese New Year is just around the corner and I’m supposed to be excited since the time for me to get angpow and to go to Vietnam for a vacation are near. However, I’m feeling frustrated rather than delightful surprisingly. I’m frustrated because this Chinese largest festival is coming too early this year. It gives me and my family not enough time to bask ourselves into this lunar new year’s mood. There’s not enough time for me to do CNY shopping, to buy CNY cookies and biscuits, to visit malls to check out variety of CNY decorations, etc.

Me and my family visited three malls yesterday. That’s a record. We planned to spend our Sunday on two malls earlier but my dad couldn’t find his favourite sport shoes to buy after visiting several stores. I didn’t realize my dad is that picky in choosing not only shoes, but also shirts to purchase. We ended up visiting Aeon Jusco Maluri, then Cheras Leisure Mall, and finally Sunway Velocity Mall. My dad bought the most stuff since he didn’t buy any new clothes yet (and I did so last month). I also didn’t come home empty handed again this time as I bought another new collared T-shirt for me to wear this coming Saturday most probably for the first day of CNY because it’s red in colour. It’s Chinese colour for prosperity.

malls

While millions of Americans are currently frustrated by their newly-elected President, me here is also being frustrated by our government over here in Malaysia. That one needs no further explanation. If not, I can be writing a novel here on that issue. Instead, I wish to highlight my recent frustration by the public sectors in Malaysia. We constantly experience water disruption especially in this highly-populated Klang Valley region. Since I’m back to Malaysia from November last year, my house has already experienced water disruption for over three times. This has happened more frequently in recent years and is certainly troublesome to all. Furthermore, the authority didn’t even bother to inform us earlier on the disruption. Sometimes, they do informed, but their schedule is totally off (not accurate). Very very poor management of water supply. SYABAS…what are you doing?

My house’s electric meter has broken down and has been replaced on July last year. And till now, we still did not receive our electricity bill that reflects the real amount of power we have used. I have made complaints through countless emails, plenty of calls, and even went ahead to visit their headquarter office at Dua Sentral Complex in KL. And yet, none of my effort is paid off. The best thing TNB can do is telling me that our new meter is not updated into their main system and hence their billing couldn’t read our home’s meter and can only print out our bill monthly based on assumed reading (average usage). They told me they will work on it and I have been waiting for few months, and still it has not been done. I’m sure no one in TNB is doing their work. Very lazy and incompetent. You guys are the one making us setting our mindset that our authority is super lazy and not doing anything. It is in fact true and has not been changed since the beginning of time. No one to be blamed but your own…this is a fact and is a notice to all government bodies and authorities of Malaysia. Also not to mention the very slow and unstable internet speed in this country. How can we be a developed nation if you guys work like that?

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Not only I’m angered by the authority, I’m also frustrated by private sector. Since getting a new debit card equipped with Mastercard function (it’s compulsory to change all ATM card to debit card now), I couldn’t make any online transaction at all with that card. I made more than 5 calls to the bank (AmBank) and they couldn’t solve my problem at all. It’s just a simple problem and a huge bank couldn’t even solve it. What a shame. Also not to mention how hard it is to get someone from the bank to just answer my calls every time. You see…so many things not resolved since I’m coming back home from Australia last year. I’m already here for 2 months already. There is no other way that I can avoid from being frustrated by all that issues. This post is here for me to write out all my anger and hopefully can get rid of it so that it won’t affect my mood this weekend for Chinese New Year and for my vacation to Vietnam.

Movie review for ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ and ‘A Monster Calls’ (2016)

Posted in Miscellaneous on January 21, 2017 by vincentloy

Before moving on to the movie reviews, let’s talk about Donald Trump for a while. The day has finally arrived. It’s the President’s Inauguration Day in United States and Donald Trump has officially becomes the 45th President of the country. I have high doubt that he will do well on his job on the highest office of US because he is already 70 years old now, has no political experience at all, a bit too extreme on certain issues, unprofessional behaviour, and couldn’t even speak well. Like it or not, he is the president now. That’s already a fact, and goodbye to President Obama for his 8 years of service as the first Black President of the United States.

Now, moving on back to the movie reviews. Recently, I watched two new movies. And yes, I’m still watching 2016 films. Not a single 2017 film yet. They are ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ and ‘A Monster Calls’, and both are really good movies.

‘Hacksaw Ridge’ is a biographical war drama film about the World War II experiences of Desmond Doss, an American pacificist combat medic who was a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, refusing to carry or use a firearm or weapons of any kind. Doss became the first conscientious objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor, for service above and beyond the call of duty. The movie starred Andrew Garfield (as Desmond), Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, etc.

hacksaw-ridge

The movie has a compelling true story with proper characters’ development and appropriate pacing. The war scene at the ridge is explosive, thrilling and got me on the edge of my seat. It delivered far beyond merely actions, but also excels in conveying the bravery and determination of Desmond Doss on bracing through the enemies to save the injured during the war. Andrew Garfield did an excellent job taking on this role. This is his best role yet that I have seen. He is one young good actor and I first saw his talent from his supporting role in ‘The Social Network’. I wouldn’t have surprise that his performance here will grant him his first ever Oscar nomination in best actor. Director Mel Gibson also did a great work here. Besides that, the sound editing work is wonderful and suits well to the several touching and heart-stopping moments throughout the film. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ a total of 8.0.

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‘A Monster Calls’ is a dark fantasy drama film about Conor, a child whose mother is terminally ill. One night, he is visited by a giant tree-like monster, who states that he will come back each night on 12.07am and tell him three stories. Conor seeks the help of the tree monster to cope with his mother’s terminal illness. The film starred Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Tobby Kebbell, Liam Neeson (voicing the tree monster), etc.

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This is certainly not a typical monster film. You won’t see a monster roaming the Earth and destroying buildings (well you still see a bit of that here). It’s a more psychological-themed and I welcomed this new approach. The young boy, Lewis MacDougall, who portrayed as Conor did a very good job (but he can actually do better in some scenes) and I saw glimpse of Tom Holland in him. Soon, this young boy will be as famous as Tom Holland who get famous after appearing in ‘The Impossible’, a disaster movie that is directed by J.A. Bayona (he also directs this movie). On the other hand, it’s great to see Sigourney Weaver back in film and she is great. Same goes to Felicity Jones as the ill mother. I myself also learnt a lot from the three stories told by the tree monster in this movie (also very beautiful visual depiction of those told stories). They are meaningful and convey a lot of messages in life. The final scene (Conor has to let go of his pain and accept the fate that his mother is going to die) also relates a lot to my own experience and is very sad and touching. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘A Monster Calls’ a total of 7.7.

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And, looking at this progress, it is most probably that I would have watched over 100 films (2016 movies) before the end of this month. That is a great accomplishment that matches back to the similar record I had for 2015 films. It’s not easy to do that. You really have to spend a lot of time and effort on it too.

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

A new laptop to use. And it’s Acer again.

Posted in Interesting Encounters on January 17, 2017 by vincentloy

I have used my previous laptop for about 5 years and it is dying. The battery needs to be replaced and some buttons for its keyboard are not working occasionally. It is an Acer Aspire 5750G laptop in dark blue colour. Its specifications are Intel-Core i7-2630QM 2GHz (Turbo Boost to 2.9GHz), NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M (up to 3765 MB Turbo Cache), 4GB DDR3 memory, 640GB HDD, 15.6 inch HD LED LCD. I’m not a particular technology-savvy person and so I didn’t really know much about all those specifications. For me, as long as the laptop is working, not too expensive and looks nice, then I’m okay.

It has been the laptop I have been using for almost every day for past 5 years. It is my second laptop. The reason I bought it because I lost my first laptop while I was in Ipoh. It is a Compaq brand laptop (this brand no longer present now), and it is stolen by robbers unfortunately. Now, it’s time for my second laptop to show ‘aging’ sign with more and more problems but I’m still grateful because it is still usable last year when I have that one and only laptop to work on all my assignments for my study. That laptop is significant, and I’m glad it can still manage to do all that tasks. It can still work now but is getting slower and accompanied with more problems now.

Hence, it’s time for my third ever laptop. I visited Low Yat Plaza, the digital mall in KL last Sunday with my friend who is kind of an expert in seeing those products’ specifications. At first, I would actually prefer to choose other brand this time. Dell is my first option. After a bit of research, Dell appears to be in quite a good ranking compared to all other laptop brands in terms of overall performance. However, when we visited its store in the mall, no one wants to entertain us (their potential customer), and it appears that their laptops are not that appealing. Then, we visited other stores. HP laptops are too expensive, no interest in ASUS laptops, and Lenovo laptops are not equipped with latest specifications. Our last stop was Acer store. Back to the store when I bought my second laptop on the ground floor of the mall. The staff is friendly and serves us well and their new laptops are looking good with great specifications too.

Hence, I ended up buying Acer laptop again. The one I chosen is Acer Aspire F 15 (F5-573G-75T4) in silver colour. It has Intel Core i7-7500U 2.7 GHz (Turbo Boost to 3.5GHz), NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M with 4GB dedicated VRAM, 4GB DDR4 memory (I upgraded it to 8GB), 128GB SSD + 1 TB HDD, and 15.6 inch FHD Acer ColorBlast LCD. It also has backlit light for keyboard and a Full HD 1080 desktop screen. This new laptop costs me RM3899. I also get a free backpack and a wireless mouse from that purchase. Now, this laptop is going to be my ‘main force’ for the next 5 years or more hopefully. I hope it will be good to use. As for my previous laptop, I’m not sure whether I can bring two laptops over to Australia next month for my study. If can, then I will bring two together and I will leave my old laptop for secondary use which may be necessary and useful sometimes.

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