Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games began and it marked the fifth time Australia is hosting the games.

I realized that there is going to be a lot of international sporting events this year. We have seen the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at South Korea two months ago. Now, we came into the period of the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Later on, we would observe FIFA World Cup in June and July at Russia, Asian Games at Palembang (Indonesia) in August and September and also the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires at Argentina in October. So many sports to look out for in this year alone.

The 21st Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast 2018 began yesterday in a glitzy opening ceremony held in Carrara Stadium. The games will be held from 4th to 15th April 2018 in Gold Coast, a city famous for beautiful beaches in Queensland, Australia. This is the fifth time that Australia is hosting the games. The last time Australia hosted the Commonwealth Games is on 2006 in Melbourne (12 years ago). I have to admit that the Melbourne 2006 games was much more grander (more spectacular ceremonies) but Gold Coast 2018 also didn’t disappoint with an opening ceremony that shines a light on the aboriginal people of Australia and also presenting the diverse culture and beautiful nature of the country.

The games is officially opened by Prince Charles on behalf of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. He is joined by his wife, Camillia and Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia. There will be 275 events in 19 sports available in this games which saw 71 participating teams representing the various countries and territories which were once under the reign of British empire. My country, Malaysia has a pretty good record in this games and its capital, Kuala Lumpur has also hosted the games once in 1998. It would be nice if Kuala Lumpur has the chance of hosting it again in near future. In the first day of the games (today), Malaysia has already won one gold medal.

I only watched the highlights of the opening ceremony and I realized that there is no cauldron lighting (a tradition observed in other events like the Olympics) but rather a segment where the Queen’s Baton Relay ends with a message from the Queen read by Prince Charles in the ceremony to officiate the games. Typical with the other recent ceremonies, Gold Coast 2018 emphasizes on vibrant and colourful light projection in its opening ceremony. There is no specific ‘shockingly majestic’ moment in the ceremony but it is still a success considering the recent games’ objective (including other games like the Olympics, Asian Games, etc) to minimize the budget and scale of events to prevent the host from running into deficit and ‘white elephant’ issues to the venues.

Now, I wish all the best to the athletes (especially the Malaysian athletes that I’m supporting). In the previous edition (Glasgow 2014), Malaysia won 6 golds, 7 silvers and 6 bronzes for a 12th place finish in the overall medal tally. I think Malaysia will perform slightly better in this edition and let’s hope that it will break into the top 10 spot this time.

(Images in this post are from The Guardian. More images here:


Movie review for ‘Black Panther’ and ‘A Quiet Place’.

After a long delay and an instant thought of probably skipping it, I had finally watched ‘Black Panther’. And now, I seriously do not understand how it manages to be this successful. The movie scored 97% in Rotten Tomatoes and becomes the highest rated Marvel movie in the website. ‘Black Panther’ also performed exceptionally well in worldwide box office by taking in US$ 1.28 billion to date and is currently the 10th highest grossing film of all time. I watched the movie and I find it just ordinary. Nothing very spectacular or groundbreaking at all. I’m curious.

The superhero ‘Black Panther’ has previously appeared in ‘Captain America: Civil War’ but with little emphasis due to presence of many other superheroes in the latter. It now get to have its own solo movie and it saw T’Challa (Black Panther himself) returns home to Wakanda as kingĀ but finds his sovereignty challenged by a new adversary, in a conflict with global consequences. There is nothing new in this type of storyline and I have to just sit and enjoy the visual effects and the actions in the movie. And even that, I find the movie did not deliver well enough. I guess the hype for this movie is all from the recent call for diversity (showcase of black people’s talent here) and this ‘Black Panther’ movie being the last one before ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ kicks in. I won’t count all that in judging a movie. Hence, I rate ‘Black Panther’ a total of 6.4 only. It is just average at best. Out of the 18 Marvel Cinematic Universe films that had already been released, ‘Black Panther’ would have been ranked at among the bottom (not the lowest, but certainly among the poorer ones) in my personal opinion. And I was so surprised that it is the highest rated Marvel movie in Rotten Tomatoes. Anyway, I’m now ready for ‘Infinity War’!

‘A Quiet Place’ is the other film that I have watched recently. It’s a horror film with plot that follows a family of four who must live life in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound. I was so excited for this movie as soon as I watched its trailer months ago. This movie received critical acclaim and I agree to that. ‘A Quiet Place’ is masterfully crafted. While the movie progresses with mostly silence, the director decided to inject some amazing score and music in certain scenes to build up the intensity, fear or just to create a warm family moment. The build-up of atmosphere is wonderful and got me to the edge of my seat throughout the entire movie. There are certain effective jump scares (I was really shocked at one particular jump scare) while on the other hand, there are certain moving moments to keep us engaged to the characters and their tense response or condition at a particular time. The cast, particularly Emily Blunt (as the mother) contribute a flawless performance here.

I felt for the characters. I felt for the parents; their responsibility to keep their children safe. I felt for the children; especially one of them who blame herself for one past incident (not giving out spoiler here). I am so thrilled at the scenes when they have to hide from the monsters while trying their best of not making a single noise. This movie is thrilling. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘A Quiet Place’ a total of 8.2. In here, you will be moved by the characters, you will be terrified by the scares, and you will be thrilled by the story. This is a very successful horror movie and this one also reminds me of ‘Don’t Breathe’, another horror movie two years ago thatĀ  focuses on three friends who get trapped inside a blind man’s house while breaking into it and must find a way to escape without making a noise to avoid detection from the notorious blind man.

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