Archive for July, 2018

Ending the weekend with final episodes of TVB ‘Succession War’.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2018 by vincentloy

Saving money is the priority this weekend after a heavy spending on Universal Studios last weekend. I already had an outing yesterday plus a movie and so for today, I will just stay at home most of the time. That’s the best way to keep the money in the wallet. End of the month is near and I can’t wait to get my hard earned salary. I have been spending the day mostly being online on Facebook and YouTube, taking a nice rest in preparation for busy weekdays ahead as usual, and had just watched the exciting final two episodes of TVB drama ‘Succession War’.

It is a historical drama that starred Ruco Chan, Shaun Tam, Selena Lee, Elaine Yiu, Natalie Tong, Angelina Lo, Yoyo Chen, Jonathan Cheung, Stephanie Ho, Matthew Ho, etc. The drama revolves on the last 28 days of the life of Qing dynasty court official Heshen, who is known for being the most corrupt court official in Chinese history.and focuses on the Emperor’s attempt to eliminate him. The drama has 28 episodes, and each episode reflects one day of the storyline. That’s a cool approach and it helps to get the story fast-paced and not lacking any depth, thanks to the multiple helpful flashback scenes.

Ruco Chan is very convincing as Heshen while on the other hand, Shaun Tam who is portraying as the emperor is doing very poorly in this drama. I have never seen him in any dramas before and so I think he is inexperienced. All he do in this drama is to forcefully show his very angry face in every scenes. One same facial expression (and the deep ‘Batman’ voice) for almost the entire drama. An emperor can still convey his power and fearfulness through many subtle ways, but Shaun Tam is just not knowing how to do that or is not given any useful advice by the production team. I hope he do knew all these criticism and improve on his acting skill since we will be seeing him in more dramas in the future.

The girls in this drama are just taking on minor and supporting roles but they too shine due to their great performances and story arc that binds the whole series together. Selena Lee is beautiful and excellent as the imperial noble consort. She has improved a lot over the years and I can say that by now, she is a best actress material. Too bad, this drama isn’t focusing on the females and she will not get any recognition or awards from her role here although she nailed it very well. Elaine Yiu and Natalie Tong are also great in their respective roles that are very similar (helping Ruco on his mission with all kind of sacrifices while being his lovers). Also not to be missed out is the fantastic performances by the veterans such as KK Cheung as the retired emperor and Angelina Lo as the dowager noble consort.

The number of good TVB dramas every year has been decreasing rapidly. ‘Deep in the Realm of Conscience’ is a poor drama and I was surprised by the huge rating and critical reception it gets especially from mainland China. On the other hand, I’m shocked that this ‘Succession War’ receives very low audience viewership and isn’t getting the popularity that it deserves. I personally think that ‘Succession War’ is so much better than that boring ‘Deep in the Realm of Conscience’. The former is very engaging and delivers exciting storyline in every episode up until its aired finale just now. The only bad thing from ‘Succession War’ is Shaun Tam’s acting. Other than that, everything is good. Even my dad who seldom watch dramas is praising it. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Succession War’ a total of 8.1. The best TVB drama of the year so far.

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

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Movie review for ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’ and ‘Extinction’ (2018)

Posted in Miscellaneous on July 29, 2018 by vincentloy

I am a movie fans; I usually watched about 100 films every year. More than half of 2018 is gone and I have only watched about 30 movies. I should have gone past 50 by now or at least should be around there. Looks like my passion on movies have gone down a little this year or that I’m so preoccupied with work that I have to put movies aside. Nevertheless, in this last weekend of the month, I have watched two new movies and here’s my reviews;

‘Mission Impossible; Fallout’ is the sixth and latest film in the ‘Mission Impossible’ film series. The film is popular for its iconic soundtrack, extreme actions and Tom Cruise portraying as the main character called Ethan Hunt. In this latest installment, Ethan Hunt and his team have to track down stolen plutonium while being monitored by a CIA agent after a mission goes awry. Besides Tom Cruise, the movie starred Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Michelle Monaghan, Alec Baldwin, etc. I’m keen to watch this movie because it scored an incredible 97% in Rotten Tomatoes. It is still a good solid action film but I don’t think it deserves that superb rating. Anyway, this movie is an improvement to the previous one (Rogue Nation). I can’t remember anything from ‘Rogue Nation’ and that means it is not really good as the film was only released 3 years ago. I do remember many scenes from ‘Ghost Protocol’ (2011) instead, especially the Burj Khalifa tower scaling’s scene.

In ‘Fallout’, I’m seeing lesser humor in the dialogue which is very much welcomed in the earlier films of this franchise. The car chasing scene in Paris is long but felt repetitive, lacks originality and delivers plain and mostly flat level of intensity. Only the helicopter scene at the end is worth complimenting. Tom Cruise is still very good in his role here while Henry Cavill is a great addition. There is a plot twist involving his character but I already expected it from the very beginning and hence I have to say that the twist didn’t work out for me. Spoiler ahead; I’m certain his role wouldn’t be just a new fresh supporting sidekick to Ethan and he would eventually reveal himself to be the main antagonist in this film. And yup, I was right. ‘Fallout’ is still a solid entertaining action film and I don’t mind seeing more in this franchise since the three recent ‘Mission Impossible’ films have been doing very well to the critics. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Mission Impossible” Fallout’ a total of 7.7. It is so cliche seeing bomb gets defused in the very last second for any action movie again and again. Well, we can’t run away from that as it is a must to get the audiences to the edge of their seat.

The other movie I have watched recently is ‘Extinction’. It is an alien invasion film by Netflix and starred Michael Pena, Lizzy Caplan, Mike Colter, Israel Broussard, etc. The story is about a father who has a recurring dream about the loss of his family while witnessing an alien invasion. The invasion eventually came true and he needs to save his family. Well, I thought the movie is going in that direction too but wow, I’m surprised by the plot twist here. Now, that’s a successful twist. Spoiler ahead; the alien invasion I’m mentioning just now is actually an invasion by the human while the people on Earth are actually androids. So here, we are seeing an opposite kind of situation. Usually it would be alien invading Earth. Now, for this film, it’s like the vice versa (human living off Earth invading human-like android/robot on Earth) with a bit of brilliant story added in.

The family forms a warm and strong storyline to the movie but I couldn’t stand the countless dumb decisions and crying by the the youngest little girl of the family. The director seems to have no other choice but to give all the necessary stupid actions to the little girl to keep the movie thrilling. The first half of the movie is boring but once the movie entered the second half, everything gets intense and engaging. That is where the plot twist is revealed too. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Extinction’ a total of 7.8. It is not an ordinary sci-fi alien invasion movie. It has heart in it, and most importantly, it has originality in it.

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

An exciting theme park experience in my first ever visit to Universal Studios Singapore today.

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2018 by vincentloy

I have been to the entrance of the Universal Studios Singapore at Sentosa Island for couple of times in the past but never had the opportunity to enter into the theme park. I remember I could only stand outside of the gate and had a peek to the theme park. Today is the day when I finally got to enjoy the rides inside and I’m super excited. I couldn’t remember how many years have gone by since I last visited a theme park. The normal admission price for an adult is SGD76 while a child ticket would costs SGD56. I’m visiting the park with four of my newly met friends in Singapore.

The entrance fee is certainly expensive and so I would want to cover all the rides that I wanted to in the park. We reached HarbourFront MRT station in the VivoCity Mall at around 8.40am and we walked to the island through the beautiful promenade. We immediately went into the park once it opens at 10am and the first ride we went to was the Battlestar Galactica. It is the world’s tallest dueling roller coaster and we went for both ‘Cylon’ and ‘Human’ coasters. It was super exhilarating and I’m really nervous as I have not been on a scary roller coaster ride for a long time. Our first two rides in the park were certainly giving us high adrenaline.

Before we came to the park, I have researched and discovered that queue for each ride would usually takes up to over an hour and this worries me because we didn’t purchase the super costly express pass. Fortunately, the queue today for most of the rides are not that long and we were able to cover all the rides that we have planned earlier. We went for the famous Transformers ride, Revenge of the Mummy ride (failed first attempt as the roller coaster experienced technical problem and had to close for some time when we were already very near in the queue…fortunately, it is opened back later in the late afternoon and I even went for the ride twice), Puss in Boots ride, Jurassic Park boat ride, Enchanted ride, Sesame Street ride, Shrek show, Madagascar ride, etc. Also not to be missed is the engaging Waterworld live action show and the hilarious-looking Jurassic World show.

There were some cool spots throughout the park for photographs such as at the lake giving a glimpse of a large chunk of the park, the Far Far Away Castle, the Battlestar Galactica roller coasters and the Hollywood street that greets visitors once they enter into the park. The park is quite small but is enough for a full day trip. We left the park at about 7pm and we were very satisfied. We had dinner at the Malaysian Food Street just outside the theme park before leaving the island and get back to our home respectively. The time at there will not be complete without a photograph of the famous ‘Universal Studios’ globe at the entrance of the park.

It was a tiring day but certainly a fun and a memorable one. Had a wonderful experience there and it’s worth 76 dollar from my point of view since I have covered most of the rides and shows (skipped some due to timing as well as certain rides are more kids-oriented). Really enjoyed the trip to Universal Studios Singapore today. I also realized that most attractions here will get you wet, but that for me is a good thing since the weather today was so hot.

France won FIFA World Cup 2018!

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , on July 16, 2018 by vincentloy

Congratulation, France! It must be a very festive and joyful atmosphere now in France for it has just won the World Cup! It defeated Croatia 4-2 in the final held yesterday in Russia. France took the cup once again after 20 years as their last win in this prestigious tournament was back in 1998. This is their second win in the history of the tournament. Although losing in the final, but we should give a big round of applause to Croatia. It is a small country and has ranking much lower than its competitors in football, and yet managed to go through all the way to the final. It is already a wonderful achievement.

This marks the end of Russia 2018 World Cup. No more football fever or staying up late for the matches. I didn’t watch any of the matches this time unfortunately. I’m not that interested into football and the timing is not good (most of the matches are on late night or past midnight). I originally planned to watch the final but I couldn’t even do so as I was stuck in a traffic congestion on my way back to Singapore from KL last evening. I’m expecting to reach home at about 11pm just in time for the final, but I ended up reaching home at 1am. The match ends exactly at 1am.

In the history of the World Cup, only 8 countries have won before. They are Brazil, Germany, Italy, Argentina, France, Uruguay, England and Spain. They are all European countries. Asian countries just couldn’t perform to their level in this sport and I wonder why. Brazil won the cup for the most times at 5 while Germany and Italy are right behind at 4 wins. Germany which won the previous edition in 2014 got eliminated in the group stage this time to the surprise of everyone. Other powerhouse countries like the ones which have won before (mentioned above) also lost and none of them made it to the final besides France (which eventually won the cup).

France has just celebrated Bastille Day (National Day for France) on Saturday (14th July) and this World Cup win the next day is just simply amazing. Must be an awesome weekend for the French. With the World Cup 2018 now concluded, attention now slowly shifts to the next one which will be held at Qatar in 2022. Another 4 years to wait for all the football fans. Nevertheless, there are still many other football championships besides than World Cup to watch like UEFA Euro, etc.

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

A day in two malls and at Sentosa Island.

Posted in Interesting Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2018 by vincentloy

Although I’m still feeling slightly unwell today, but I insist on heading out to explore the city and seeks some entertainment in this weekend. Things go according to plan as me and my friend went to the Sentosa Island. This is the first time he is visiting the island while this is my third time doing so. The area around the Resorts World Sentosa still looks the same with all the fee-charging attractions. As I said earlier, I went there for the third time already and I still have not had the opportunity to enter into the Universal Studios.

We were just looking around for some sights and enjoy the happening atmosphere with a lot of tourists over there. We also went into the casino not to play, but to enjoy the comfy air-conditioning as the weather outside today is pretty hot. We spent nothing there except for the monorail fees (4 dollar) and a lunch at the ‘Malaysian Food Street’. Walking outdoor for over 10 minutes is already a bit unbearable with that scorching heat this afternoon and we decided to head back to the Vivo City shopping mall. The mall is the point for people who are taking public transport to travel to the island and it is also one of the largest malls in Singapore.

After Vivo City, we went to City Square Mall to catch a movie. Good seats are all taken up at Vivo City’s cinema and we have no choice but to change mall. We watched ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’. I enjoyed the film very much and I highly recommend it especially to the Marvel fans. It is very entertaining and I have an enjoyable time through the whole movie. In this movie, Scott Lang (Ant-Man) works together with Hope (Wasp) and her father Hank Pym to retrieve her mother Janet from the quantum realm.

The movie focuses mostly on turning small things to big things or vice versa and those scenes are brilliantly executed to deliver a lot of fun and thrills to the audiences. Ample of hilarious scenes made this movie experience very enjoyable. Those funny scenes felt very natural unlike those from ‘Deadpool 2’ that felt forced and awkward at some point. ‘Deadpool 2’ is the Marvel movie that comes right before this although it has no link to the storyline of Ant-Man or Avengers.

There are also some quick yet warm family and romantic moments to keep the whole atmosphere light and cheerful in ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’. The actions are good and the cast are fantastic. Do stay until the end for one mid-credit scene and one post-credit scene. The mid-credit scene is particularly crucial as it ties back to the event from the ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. I rate ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ a total of 8.5. A highly enjoyable and fun movie. With so many superhero movies released in the past already, Marvel is still able to produce some good works these days.

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

This week’s update is on movies and a drama that I have finished watching.

Posted in Miscellaneous on July 6, 2018 by vincentloy

There comes another weekend that I have been waiting for. Now, it looks like I am only able to write a blog post on Friday’s evening after work or during the weekend. ‘Busy’ is the only description to my life from the typical Monday to Friday routines and I am also been not feeling that well recently. I’m certainly going to take this weekend as the opportunity for me to take a good rest and hopefully recovers very soon.

Let’s talk about movies now. Another movie will be joining the 1-billion dollar club soon (most probably end of this weekend). It is ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’. The fifth movie in the highly successful Jurassic Park film series is the 35th film in history to achieve the milestone. Well, this is very much expected. However, it will eventually end up grossing much lesser than its predecessor, 2015’s Jurassic World (final box office intake of USD 1.671 billion). I am predicting that this ‘Fallen Kingdom’ will sits at around USD 1.2 billion as its final figure. It is still nevertheless a big achievement and I already can’t wait for the next installment to be released in 2021. Who doesn’t like to see dinosaurs come to life in the big screen?

There are quite a number of movies that have already been released and will be releasing soon that I’m eager to watch. One of them is ‘Incredibles 2’. The first ‘The Incredibles’ movie was very good and entertaining as far as I can remember. That movie was way back in 2004 (14 years ago!). How come Disney took so long to create its sequel? As a person who enjoy Marvel films, the next film ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ is surely not to be missed. It rides on the popularity of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ that is out only a few months ago and had already accumulated over USD 2 billion in worldwide box office. I am also looking forward to ‘Skyscraper’, another film featuring Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock). He is in a lot of movies recently. The movie’s title itself is already an excitement to me and looking from its trailer, the movie looks pretty intense and thrilling.

Recently, the TVB drama ‘Deep In The Realm Of Conscience’ has finished airing and I have finished the whole series. It has 36 episodes and is an indirect sequel to the 2009’s ‘Beyond The Realm of Conscience’. Well, these dramas that centred in the ancient Chinese palace are mostly about scheming (that’s what I like to watch) involving particularly the jealous and power-thirsty women in the palace. The first drama back in 2009 was very good. As soon as TVB announced that they will be making a sequel to it, I’m excited. However, after looking at the cast, I’m no longer attached to the whole thing. Poor casting in the first place. It took me huge effort to finish off the whole series as i find most episodes are boring. TVB placed a lot of effort in creating glamorous clothings and backdrops, but these are just supporting elements. I’m still looking mainly for the plot and the cast performances.

I’m left with nothing but disappointment to this sequel. Annie Liu’s Cantonese and her accent are poor, Kenneth Ma is too wooden most of the time, Edwin Siu appeared to be showing off his look rather than his acting skill, Nancy Wu’s eyebrow has issue, and Steven Ma is pretty wasted with the emperor role that has no challenge or shining moment. Nancy Wu is considered a main villain but I hardly see the evilness in her expression. Alice Chan is not bad as the princess but I find that she put too much effort on making her eyes wide when showing the fierce and evil side of her in the drama, ending up delivering an exaggerated look. The romance part of the story is not engaging, and the scheming tricks or plots in this drama I’m looking forward to are lacking. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Deep In The Realm of Conscience’ a total of 6.2.

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

 

Half of the year is gone, and so is the current on-going World Cup.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , on July 1, 2018 by vincentloy

The month of June has ended and that means half of year 2018 is gone. Things come and go at lightning speed. I couldn’t believe that I have finished my thesis about 8 months ago, graduated in a beautiful ceremony at Perth and went for a trip to China 5 months ago, and have worked in this new office in Singapore for 2 months already. In no time or to be exact, just 6 months from now, we will bidding farewell to 2018. That is quick.

Half of the year is gone and so is the current on-going FIFA World Cup 2018. The round robin stage is over with all countries having gone through matches within their assigned group. One of the major shocking news is that the previous champion, Germany has lost at this stage to people’s disbelief. People are now talking about this champion’s curse whereby the previous winner will usually lost in the next edition. It happens to many countries in the history of the World Cup too coincidentally.

We are now in the knockout stage at round of 16 before proceeding to the quarterfinals. Famous teams like Portugal and Argentina failed to succeed here and that means a surprising early goodbye to famous footballers like Ronaldo and Messi. A lot of good teams were already eliminated. England looks to have a good path ahead to get closer to the podium, Brazil seems to be making a comeback and will not face Germany this time around, Sweden and Spain are strong teams so far, and the host nation, Russia is still in the game.

It looks likely that there will be only intense matches to come before its climatic final on 15th July. So far, I have not watched a single game of this once-in-a-four-years tournament as I have no particular excitement for it and also I do not have a lot of free time for it. I think I will be only watching the final. Anyway, I am still updating my blog here with some info about it since it is a prestigious and a very popular sporting event. When the tournament reaches the later stages, it’s time for some predictions.

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