Archive for April, 2017

I.M. Pei, an architect who had just celebrated his 100th birthday.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2017 by vincentloy

I.M.Pei, a renowned Chinese-American architect has just turned 100 years old few days ago. A lot of major architecture websites do share news of his centenary birthday and a glimpse of his architectural projects under his career that spanned over six decades. He defied the typical saying that ‘architect do dies early due to the stress, heavy workload and constantly being all-nighter’.

Born on 26th April 1917 in Guangzhou, China, I.M.Pei moved to USA and studied architecture in University of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Graduate School of Design. He was inspired by works by Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer during his years in architectural education. He was particular fascinated by modern architecture and International Style.

I.M.Pei’s design style is described as modernist with significant cubist themes. He is known for combining traditional architectural elements with progressive designs based on simple geometric patterns. He has designed over 70 projects across the world and has received multiple awards and honors such as the Pritzker Prize (known as Nobel Prize of architecture) in 1983, AIA Gold Medal in 1979, Royal Gold Medal in 2010, Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992, etc.

Here below are 10 of his most iconic works:

131 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, USA (1949) – I.M.Pei’s first project.

Luce Memorial Chapel, Taichung, Taiwan (1963)

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, USA (1973)

OCBC Centre, Singapore (1976)

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston, USA (1979)

Bank of China Tower, Hong Kong, China (1989)

Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas, USA (1989)

Louvre Pyramid, Paris, France (1993)

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, USA (1995)

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar (2008)

Looking just at 10 of his works above, you will obviously notice that he applied strong geometrical shapes into his design. It has become his signature approach in architecture. He designed a variety of projects ranging from community centers to highrise towers. He is no doubt one of the greatest living architects of our generation.

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

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And so, the two weeks of my holiday ends!

Posted in Interesting Encounters on April 21, 2017 by vincentloy

The holiday disappeared! I didn’t go out for any vacation and I didn’t have a single day totally dedicated to be off-assignment day. Two weeks of mid-semester break is gone just like that. What have I been doing the past two weeks? I have been working on my assignments and still they are not completely finished. There is actually a long way to go to have them finished. I’m also trying my very best to be productive during the break but I just can’t. I have to get my comfy sleep and I just can’t let those assignments to ruin my mood everyday. There will be a major design studio submission next Friday. Wish me luck…

I thought I would of at least watch three new movies in this holiday since I got some ‘so-called’ free time and there are quite a number of nice movies out now. However, I ended up to have watched only one; ‘The Fate of the Furious’. You can check out my review to this movie in my previous blog post. The movie set the record for the biggest opening weekend worldwide, beating the previous record holder, ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’. Now, it is on track to be the second movie of 2017 to gross over US$ 1 billion in worldwide box office, after ‘Beauty and the Beast’ which had just achieved that milestone not long ago. ‘The Fate of the Furious’ didn’t really perform that well in US but it did exceptionally well in all oversea markets.

During this holiday, I have been spending my time working on my assignments while listening to music. Those who are familiar with me will know that I like Sammi Cheng’s songs a lot. She is a Hong Kong singer and actress and she is famously called as Cantopop Diva due to her immense success in entertainment industry. Recently, I kept repeating this side-track song medley by her. I think it’s a collection of some of her unpopular songs she released many years ago. She has over 100 songs and so there are some that are not given the deserved attention inevitably. You can listen it below if you understand Cantonese. Even if you don’t, you can also just enjoy the melody that sounds very nice.

That’s it for my blog update. I have to get back to my ‘never-complete’ studio works.

Easter joy for ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (2017) as the movie surpassed 1-billion dollar in worldwide box office. Also movie review for ‘The Fate of the Furious’ and ‘The Boss Baby’ (2017).

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2017 by vincentloy

First of all, Happy Good Friday and Easter to those who are celebrating! This year’s Easter has been a joyous moment particularly for the movie ‘Beauty and the Beast’ as it has recently grossed over US$ 1 billion in worldwide box office. This live-action remake of the original 1991 animated movie that starred Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Stanley Tucci, Emma Thompson, etc has become the 29th film in history to cross over the 1-billion milestone. The movie has exceeded expectation in the box office and is also gaining positive reception from critics. It is the first 2017 film to cross that mark and soon, there will be another movie this year joining that prestigious list. And that will be ‘The Fate of the Furious’ which is the 8th film in the popular ‘Fast and Furious’ film series. Besides than being currently the highest grossing film of the year, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ also accomplished another record by being the highest grossing live-action musical film ever.

‘The Fate of the Furious’ sees the return of original cast as well as some new members. This movie reminded me again of the death of Paul Walker several years ago, an actor who has been crucial in this film series but died in a car accident. The previous ‘Furious 7’ film concluded with high note and touching ending and is the first of the film series to gain over US$ 1 billion in worldwide box office. Hence, I’m expecting this 8th film to cross that milestone too. Back to this latest movie. It tells about an arrival of a mysterious woman who seduces Dom (Vin Diesel) into the world of terrorism and a betrayal to those closest to him. The movie starred Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Charlize Theron, Luke Evans, etc.

Similarly to the previous movie, this film delivered with some intense, over the top and exhilarating action scenes in a scale that no one has foreseen. Cars raining down to the street and a huge submarine chasing a group of cars and a tank. This film series started with some humble car racing moments to extensive gun fights and attacks of high proportion we saw in recent movies. It is going big. Despite it is already being the 8th film, I find every film has its refreshing storyline and different outtake on its action sequences. I also noticed that Hollywood takes on this approach to find Oscar-winning cool-looking actresses to portray villain in big-budget movies nowadays. Charlize Theron as the villain in this movie and then soon Cate Blanchett will be the villain in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ which will be coming out end of this year. There are some hilarious parts to balance things out (and also some adorable moments from a baby). Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Fate of the Furious’ a total of 7.6.

Recently, I also watched another much relaxing movie called ‘The Boss Baby’. It is an animated movie about a suit-wearing briefcase-carrying baby who pairs up with his seven-year old brother to stop the dastardly plot of the CEO of Puppy Corporation. It’s funny to see a baby with an adult mindset on a serious mission to stop an evil plot, and he is joined by a brother who wanted him to be out of the family due to diversion of his parents’ attention to the baby. The movie is highly entertaining. Certain flaws and plot-holes in this movie are forgivable too. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Boss Baby’ a total of 7.0.

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

36th Hong Kong Film Awards

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2017 by vincentloy

The 36th Hong Kong Film Awards was held last evening to honour the best of Hong Kong films released in 2016. I didn’t pay much attention to this awards this year (and also last year) as I didn’t watch most of the nominated films. Most of their movies nowadays just didn’t appeal to me with similar genre, similar style, similar story, poor visual effects and too depressed. Their movies also fail to break out of their boundary to reach out to international market due to the reasons I highlighted earlier.

The presentation ceremony yesterday has its free online streaming but that service is not available in Australia. Hence, I couldn’t watch it live. Anyway, I still manage to hear part of its live broadcast from Myfm, a Malaysian radio station. It’s a 3 hours and 30 minutes long ceremony. Very interesting poster for the awards ceremony this year (see below):

I’m more excited with the presence of many celebrities in the awards ceremony such as Jackie Chan, Leon Lai, Aaron Kwok, Karl Maka (he is the bald guy in the classic hit film series ‘Aces Go Places’ with Sam Hui), Eric Tsang, Miriam Yeung, (and many other recognizable faces) than the results. Here below is the full list of winners for the 36th Hong Kong Film Awards:

Best film
Trivisa


Best Director
Frank Hui, Jevons Au, Vicky Wong (Trivisa)
Best Actor
Gordon Lam (Trivisa)
Best Actress
Kara Wai ( Happiness )


Best Supporting Actor
Eric Tsang (Mad World)
Best Supporting Actress
Elaine Jin (Mad World)


Best New Performer
Tony Wu (Weeds on Fire)
Best Screenplay
Trivisa
Best Cinematography
Peter Pau, Cao Yu (See You Tomorrow)
Best Film Editing
Allen Leung, David Richardson (Trivisa)
Best Art Direction
See You Tomorrow
Best Sostume and Make-up Design
The Monkey King 2
Best Action Choreography
Operation Mekong
Best Original Film Score
Peter Kam, Yusuke Hatano (Soul Mate)
Best Original Film Song
Anthem of Shatin Martins (Weeds on Fire)
Best Sound Design
Kinson Tsang, George Lee Yiu-Keung ( Cold War 2 )
Best Visual Effects
The Monkey King 2
Best New Director
Wong Chun (Mad World)
Best Film from China and Taiwan
Godspeed

Overall comment:

‘Trivisa’ is the biggest winner of the ceremony with 5 wins, including the coveted ‘Best Film’ prize. The film also won for best director, best actor, best screenplay and best film editing, taking out most of the important categories. ‘Mermaid’ which has a total of 8 nominations failed to win anything at all in the ceremony. The movie which is a critical box office hit and is directed by Stephen Chow is one of the only two films nominated in this awards that I did watched. The other one is ‘The Monkey King 2’ which won for ‘Best Visual Effects’. Gordon Lam is being nominated for the first time in lead actor category and he won it at the first attempt. Kara Hui also won surprisingly for best actress from her role in ‘Happiness’. This is her third best actress win in history of Hong Kong Film Awards. She has also won a best supporting actress award 3 years ago. She is now the second actress that has won the most best actress awards, only behind the legendary Maggie Cheung who has won it five times in the past. On the other hand, past winners and veterans Eric Tsang and Elaine Jin emerged as winners again this year in supporting actor and actress categories respectively from their roles in ‘Mad World’.

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

 

Return of Gallen Lo in ‘Provocateur’ (2017).

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2017 by vincentloy

Gallen Lo is a famous veteran actor who has starred in many critically successful TVB dramas particularly in 1990s and 2000s. In recent years, he took extensive long break and didn’t shoot any dramas. His last TVB series is 2009’s ‘Born Rich’ (I didn’t watch that). However, I do remember well and admired some of his past iconic and powerful roles in dramas like ‘Golden Faith’, ‘Feminine Masculinity’, ‘Secret of the Heart’, ‘Old Time Buddy’ and ‘At The Threshold Of An Era I & II’. He has won best actor in TVB Anniversary Awards for three times, becoming the actor with most best actor wins in TVB (a record tied with Roger Kwok and Wayne Lai). He is also the first recipient of best actor award in 1997 when TVB started introducing their awards presentation that year.

Now, he returns for a new TVB drama called ‘Provocateur’. I’m watching this drama because he is in it. He portrayed a cosmetic business mogul who encounters various difficulties such as his business challenges, his long lost son who came back to take revenge on him, his declining health, etc. This 25-episodes drama also starred Fred Cheng, Ali Lee, Jacqueline Wong, Jonathan Cheung, Lee Shin Cheung, Raymond Cho, etc. I think this is Fred Cheng’s first leading role in a drama.

I have high expectation from Gallen. He did well on his part but I think his role isn’t anything special. There is not much ways for him to showcase his acting or express his talent. In most of the time, he was just walking around, having his hand on his head while thinking on some business strategies and chatting with the others. I knew sometimes acting is from the very subtle yet powerful facial expression. Gallen did has those moments in this drama but those scenes are too much and it lessen the essence and strength of the outcome. Even the part when he had terminal illness, he also couldn’t perform to the point that it moves me. I also noticed that he is getting really old looking now. Well, he is 55 already. But I do enjoy his involvement in this drama as a senior and his collaboration with many young cast.

I have heard that Fred Cheng actually didn’t get this leading role at the first place. It was supposed to be someone else but due to schedule conflict, the other actor dropped this role and Fred came in. He is not bad in acting but I think he is incapable of taking this important leading role, plus he has to face Gallen most of the time throughout the whole series. He is much better in supporting role. His expressions especially in scenes when he has to show his revengeful face are awkward and appeared ‘forced’. He just can’t balance it and went overboard. His character in this drama is being helped by a group of his friends specialized in pulling off tricks. This reminded me of ‘Burning Hands’ which is released not long ago before this series. In ‘Burning Hands’, we saw Ruco Chan being helped by a group of his friends too. Such a similar idea in both dramas. Fred’s chemistry with his on-screen partner in this drama, Ali Lee is very low too.

Ali Lee has a big year in 2016. She has starred in a lot of dramas last year and she won Most Improved Female Artiste Award in TVB Anniversary Awards 2016. She is good. But his acting in this drama is just very average and a bit wooden at some point. It felt like she is uninterested on this role. On the other hand, Jacqueline Wong who is also a newbie actress contributed a lot of her passion into her role as Gallen’s daughter. Let’s give her more roles. At first, I didn’t have any expectation from her, but after watching this drama and seeing how she develops together with her character, I’m engaged. I have no issue seeing her nominated for Most Improved Female Artist award end of this year.

I’m glad that this drama only has 25 episodes. Not any longer. The plot fits best in this 25 episodes. While I particularly didn’t enjoy some decisions in the storyline, the overall drama is still solid. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Provocateur’ a total of 6.8. It’s a series that will be easily forgotten after a month or two. A ‘cheaper’ version of ‘Burning Hands’ and a plain comeback role from Gallen Lo.

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

Top 10 Tallest Buildings in the World (as of April 2017)

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2017 by vincentloy

The two cities that witness the birth of skyscrapers are Chicago and New York City in United States. That was over a hundred years ago after the introduction of steel framed construction and passenger elevator that enables buildings to be built much taller. Now in 2017, only one building in United States that is placed within the top 10 tallest buildings in the world currently. The other 9 are generally all located in Asia. Here below is the current top 10 tallest buildings in the world as of April 2017. The list only includes completed buildings and does not include television towers, observation towers, masts, antennas or buildings with very little percentage of habitable floors.

  1. Burj Khalifa, 828 metres, 163 floors, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (completed in 2010).

2. Shanghai Tower, 632 metres, 128 floors, Shanghai, China (completed in 2015).

3. Makkah Royal Clock Tower, 601 metres, 120 floors, Mecca, Saudi Arabia (completed in 2012).

4. Ping An Finance Center, 599 metres, 115 floors, Shenzhen, China (completed in 2017).

5. Lotte World Tower, 555 metres, 123 floors, Seoul, South Korea (completed in 2017).

6. One World Trade Center, 541 metres, 104 floors, New York City, United States (completed in 2014).

7. Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, 530 metres, 111 floors, Guangzhou, China (completed in 2016).

8. Taipei 101, 508 metres, 101 floors, Taipei, Taiwan (completed in 2004).

9. Shanghai World Financial Center, 492 metres, 101 floors, Shanghai, China (completed in 2008).

10. International Commerce Centre, 484 metres, 108 floors, Hong Kong, China (completed in 2010).

This list will change drastically from year to year due to rapid increase of construction of supertall skyscrapers in the world in recent decade. More and more new buildings are reaching further to the sky. Out of the current top 10 tallest buildings in the world, half of them are in China (this doesn’t even include Taipei 101 in Taiwan). 8 of them soar above 500 metres in height respectively too. Also noted is that every buildings in this top 10 tallest list has over 100 floors respectively. The tallest in the world, Burj Khalifa has been on the top of the list for over 7 years now. By 2020, it is expected to be defeated by Kingdom Tower, a skyscraper currently under construction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. That tower is projected to soar above 1000 metres (1 km!) when completed in 2020.

The oldest supertall in this list is Taipei 101 which is only 13 years old by now as it is built in 2004. More and more new buildings are joining the list with two newcomers this year; Ping An Finance Center and Lotte World Tower at No.4 and No.5 placing respectively. Former world’s tallest buildings and still the current world’s tallest twin buildings, the Petronas Twin Towers are kicked out of the top 10 list this year as they are now placed at No.11 (and 12) with height of 452 metres. Too bad…my home coutry’s famous twin towers are now out of the ranking. Anyway, in few years to come, Malaysia will have another new supertall; PNB 118 Tower that will certainly join this top 10 list with a height of over 600 metres.

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

A much needed break is finally here.

Posted in Interesting Encounters on April 8, 2017 by vincentloy

Yes. My 2-weeks long mid-semester break has arrived. I have waited a long time for this. Every semester, there would be two separate tuition-free weeks. In this semester, the two weeks are on one after another. A 2 continuous weeks to enjoy. It is good for those who plan to take a long trip elsewhere during this break. But it ain’t good for me who prefer to use the time wisely for rest and for my assignments. Thinking of the excessive number of free days in this break, I would easily becoming very lazy and unmotivated to do any work. If the holiday is only a week, then I knew I have to manage my time well to gain the most out of the free week. And then, there will be also another 1 week of break left later on that would be good. Now, it’s all put together, and after this, it’s all pressure to get this semester done.

My housemate even asked why I don’t use this time to go back to Malaysia since I am the nearest to my home country compared to all the other five housemates in my residence. Well, if I go back, it will carry away my concentration and I don’t think I will be doing anything much on my assignments already. Since I will be back on mid of the year later, I won’t take the trouble to return again as plane ticket is not cheap though. Now, I will just prepare a timetable for this 2-weeks of break, allocating about three quarters of it to work on my assignments in no-rush mode and the remaining time for chilling. What a best feeling when I don’t have to set any alarm for the next morning now on every night.

Talking about Malaysia, I was recently very alerted by a statement from a politician. If you are a Malaysian, I’m sure you know what viral topic I will be talking about. He mentioned that a rapist need to just marry the rape victim in order to avoid from being sentenced. He further added that even 9-years old girl can get married if she reach puberty early by that age. I can’t believe that people with such mindset still exist. And the worst thing, he is a politician, a figure who is helping to run the country. How is Malaysia going to be a nation with advanced society with people like this?! I’m sure there will be a number of people supporting such statement too and this is such a disgust. It’s against everything. And I haven’t even started on some other funny and viral topics in Malaysia recently such as the return of the ‘Raja Bomoh’ and his idiotic rituals and his claim that he has been protecting the country for 70 years since his birth. Hahaha…You will get entertained just by reading some news from Malaysia.