R.I.P. Stan Lee, the Marvel Comics legend.


I was shocked to hear the news of Stan Lee’s death this morning. His death yesterday had left the Marvel Comics fans across the world and artistes who have played Marvel characters in all the recent popular Marvel superhero films in grief. His passing away was met with a wave of tributes, including Marvel stars and friends Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Sebastian Stan, Tom Holland, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Lawrence, Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and many more.

Stan Lee, born on December 28, 1922 was an American comic book writer, editor, producer, and publisher. He was the Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics, and later its publisher and chairman, leading its expansion from a small division of a publishing house to a large multimedia corporation. In collaboration with several artists—particularly Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko—he co-created fictional characters including Spider-Man, the Hulk, Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Black Panther, the X-Men, and—with his brother, co-writer Larry Lieber—the characters Ant-Man, Iron Man, and Thor. Besides that, he pioneered a more complex approach to writing superheroes comics in the 1960s and revolutionized them by introducing superheroes designed to appeal to older readers than the predominantly child audiences of the medium.

Following his retirement from Marvel, he remained a public figurehead for the company, and frequently made cameo appearances in movies based on Marvel characters. Meanwhile, he continued independent creative ventures into his 90s until his death. He died due to pneumonia yesterday (November 12, 2018) at the age of 95.

I always enjoyed all his interesting cameo appearances in almost all of the Marvel films. He would appear out of sudden in a scene for just a few seconds that would certainly tickle the excitement of Marvel fans. We would see his cameo for Marvel films next year too such as the much anticipated Avengers 4 (as he had already filmed them this year), but after that, we would no longer be able to look out for his cameo anymore. That’s sad. The person who co-created some of our most favourite fictional superheroes had left us and he will be forever remembered for being one of the legends behind Marvel, an icon. Rest in peace, Stan Lee.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

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Review for a drama and a movie.


I have finally watched ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, a film that was a surprising hit at the American box office. This romantic comedy-drama film follows an American professor who travels to meet her boyfriend’s family and is surprised to discover they are among the richest in Singapore. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Kevin Kwan and it starred Henry Golding, Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh, Gemma Chan, Awkwafina, etc. Another fun fact: it is the first film by a major Hollywood studio to feature a majority Asian American cast in a modern setting since The Joy Luck Club in 1993.

The film not only does features all Asian cast but two of the main cast, Henry Golding and Michelle Yeoh are Malaysians. This film is Henry Golding’s debut and surprisingly, he is quite natural in it. Constance Wu is good as the female lead while Michelle Yeoh is very convincing in her portrayal as the very mean mother. The story flows very well and the many beautiful settings in the movie got me further engaged. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ a total of 7.1. How I wish I can be a ‘crazy rich Asians’ too (not asking much, just being normal rich is enough already…haha).

By the way, the movie featured many picturesque places in Singapore and Malaysia. This film is certainly a great platform (and is just a first step) to introduce these Asian gems to American audiences (be it the actors, the places, the food, the culture, etc). This is also a call for more Asian representation in Hollywood films from now on.

Movie review done. Now, it’s drama review. The Hong Kong TVB series ‘Life On The Line’ (跳躍生命線) that I have been catching has just completed its running (25 episodes in total) yesterday. The drama revolves on the life and work of paramedics, through medical cases based on real-life stories and experiences. It starred Joe Ma, Matthew Ho, Moon Lau, Kelly Cheung, Susan Tse, Joey Law, Lee Shin Cheung, Helena Law, etc.

What I like the most from this drama is the touching monologues on meaningful life lessons on almost every ending of each episode. This drama overall also reminds me a bit of the 2012’s ‘The Hippocratic Crush’ (another very good and moving series). They are both medical-based dramas and that’s why they shared similar direction and story-telling. This series marks Joe Ma’s return to TVB series after over a decade of not seeing him. He is doing unexpected well in this drama too and since it is one of the anniversary series this year, he is now most likely in top 5 for best actor race. Matthew Ho, a young junior actor rises to the occasion by giving a solid performance here as the second male lead. Actually, most of the cast in this drama are junior actors/actresses and they are doing great in it. Having too many newbie cast in a series may ruin the show, but this one defies the odd (also good for not seeing similar faces again and again in TVB series).

The drama has a good ending too. No one dies in the last episode which is quite surprising after the prediction from the previous episode. Bob Cheung’s character dying in the series is already sufficient and that part is really saddening due to the heavy friendship he built particularly with Matthew Ho and the other guy (didn’t know his name) in the series. The drama is not without some lacklustre aspects. The romantic line between Joe Ma and Kelly Cheung felt too predictive, some characters just come and go with effort-lacking conclusion, and some other minor issues which do not majorly impact the quality of the series. ‘Life On The Line’ is a still a decent drama and I would rate it 7.8 out of 10.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

Deepavali’s Eve at two malls and a movie!


Another post with sincere Deepavali greeting to all who are celebrating this festival especially to my Indian friends! Although they only got to enjoy the festival with only one day of public holiday (as opposed to other main races in the country of which they got to have two days of public holiday for their big festival aka Hari Raya Aidilfitri for the Malays and Chinese New Year for the Chinese), but my blog here dedicated two posts (not one) of Deepavali greeting for my Indian friends! Although Indians make up a very small population in the country, but they are still one of the three main races of the nation and deserves two days of public holiday for their main festival too which is Deepavali! I’m totally supporting for that call! (haha, who doesn’t love extra holiday?!).

I have been hearing more fireworks this year in conjunction with this celebration compared to the previous years when the clock strikes 12am last night. Yesterday on the day of Deepavali’s Eve, I went to two malls; Sunway Velocity Mall in the afternoon for lunch and shopping and Pavilion KL in the evening for a movie. Although the scale of decorations for this festival is miniature compared to others but I am still amazed by the iconic ‘kolam’ decoration that is synonymous with Deepavali. In case you didn’t know, ‘kolam’ is a form of drawing that is drawn by using rice flour, chalk, chalk powder or rock powder, often using naturally or synthetically colored powders. It is usually in the form of a geometrical line drawing composed of curved loops, drawn around a grid pattern of dots and is thought to bring prosperity to Indian homes.

(The very happening Pavilion KL’s entrance and ‘Kolam’ decoration in its main atrium in conjunction with Deepavali Festival 2018)

I did mentioned earlier that I watched a movie last night and the movie is ‘Hunter Killer’. Here’s a quick review for the film. The movie revolves on an untested American submarine captain who teams with U.S. Navy Seals to rescue the Russian president, who has been kidnapped by a rogue general. The movie starred Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Common, etc. Forget about those serious critics’ reviews that only desire for lengthy character development or emotional depth and gave this film bad rating. Ignore them (and ignore the low rating it has from Rotten Tomatoes).

This type of action film does not requires those elements and will still work perfectly fine especially to the general moviegoers. The only thing crucial is the suspense, intensity build-up and the actions and this film certainly delivered! I was glued to the screen the whole time and was very engaged to this fast-paced story. It is also refreshing to see a war movie to be based mostly on underwater (submarine) rather than typical setting on land or air (this movie also has certain scenes on land and in the air, making it very well-rounded). Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Hunter Killer’ a total of 8.2. A much less popular film at the cinemas now but certainly should not be missed especially if you are looking for an intense action-packed war movie.

(First, fourth and fifth images in this post are from various online sources)

 

Deepavali holiday back in Malaysia.


Happy Deepavali to all my Indian friends and to the others who are celebrating this wonderful festival! May this Festival of Lights be a festival of joy, peace and prosperity!

This year’s Deepavali falls on a Tuesday (tomorrow) and many people including me are taking leave today (Monday). That means we got to enjoy a four-days long break after counting in the past weekend. I was definitely not missing out this opportunity to return to KL for a long holiday, desired entertainment, deserving rest and to reunite with my family.

Surprisingly, the bus trip back to KL from Singapore on last Friday’s evening was not as bad as I expected. There were massive congestion of cars but my trip was not affected as we are on the bus lane that was less crowded. I was still to reach home at around 3 to 4am as usual (I was reminded back then when I only got to arrive at home by 6am when I cam back to KL during the Raya holiday).

This long break allows me to have a good bonding time with my family. I also got to play rummy game with my family on last Saturday’s evening after dinner (didn’t play it for quite a long time already). Then, we spent the whole Sunday at Genting Highlands. Although most of us lost some money up there (me included, but I’m glad I only lost a bit), but we were still enjoying the trip with some awesome time especially when riding the Awana Skyway cable car from the Premium Outlet to the mountain resort at the top (my second ride). It’s really hard to win money from Genting (if not, Genting won’t be as grand, big and wealthy as it is today).

This time around, most parts of the new indoor mall called Sky Avenue at Genting Highlands have opened up to the public including cool outdoor dining area, cinema, etc. However, the indoor theme park inside the mall isn’t opened yet (it will open most probably on January 2019). The very much delayed outdoor theme park (20th Century Fox World) is still under-construction but all the shapes and main structures were built already. After years of delay, I’m expecting it to finally open end of next year. By the way, it looks very small and compact. The new Sky Avenue mall has taken up a huge chunk of the land, hence reducing the area of the outdoor theme park unfortunately.

(Image source: http://www.themeparx.com/20th-century-fox-world-malaysia)

Time flies. I’m returning to Singapore tomorrow’s afternoon and my ordinary working life resumes after that. Anyway, I’m still cherishing the break I have back at home. The next long holiday that I have got to enjoy would be the Christmas break end of this year.

So how is the TVB Anniversary Awards going to be later this year? Here’s my early prediction so far.


News came out last month that TVB had decided to cancel their annual oversea awards (Singapore’s Starhub TVB Awards that are usually held in October and TVB Star Awards Malaysia that are usually held in November) beginning this year as an initiative to cut down their expenditure. Those who have been following closely or even been a frequent attendee to these oversea ceremonies would certainly be saddened by this decision.

Not forgetting the oversea audiences, TVB decided to introduce three new awards specially for the Malaysian and Singaporean audiences to vote. They are ‘My Favourite TVB Lead Actor’, ‘My Favourite TVB Lead Actress’ and ‘My Favourite TVB Drama’. The online voting for the first two awards are open now and several nominated TVB artistes have started their award campaigns here in Malaysia and Singapore. I read from somewhere that these two awards will be presented on November 19th at Hong Kong during the TVB 51st Anniversary Gala show. The voting for ‘My Favourite TVB Drama’ will be starting soon and the winner will be revealed on December 16th at Hong Kong during the TVB Anniversary Awards. Can someone help me to clarify on it? Is it true? By the way, I’m slightly confused with another question. So, will there be three new awards (combining votes from Malaysia and Singapore) or six new awards (separate winners)?

TVB should actually made it very clear by now since we are now left with a little over 2 weeks only before its Anniversary Gala on November 19th and less than 2 months before its prestigious Anniversary Awards ceremony. As mentioned earlier, the nomination list for ‘My Favourite TVB Lead Actor’ and ‘My Favourite TVB Lead Actress’ are out. I won’t post them here because basically, every lead (or even supporting) actors and actresses having filmed a drama released this year is nominated. I suggest TVB to narrow down their nomination list to just 10 or 5 per categories to make it more exciting just like how the Hollywood does with their awards.

So far, I have watched 9 TVB series this year including the currently running ‘Life On The Line’. If there are six new awards (3 for Malaysia, 3 for Singapore), I would pick 3 names for each that I think will have a high chance of winning one, two or all three (highly doubt that). Why 3 names? I’m predicting and equating these new oversea awards to the ‘Most Popular TV Female Character’ and ‘Most Popular TV Male Character’ awards to be presented at TVB Anniversary Awards annually. So, now, here comes my early prediction:

Most Favourite TVB Lead Actor – Malaysia, Most Favourite TVB Lead Actor – Singapore, Most Popular TV Male Character – Hong Kong

Ruco Chan (Succession War),

Carlos Chan (Daddy Cool),

Chris Lai (Who Wants A Baby?)

Opinion: Not a single outstanding performance from either actors or actresses this year. And this makes the awards much more open and it seems now that many people really stood a chance this time. No exceptional strong contender. For these same-ranked awards, I’m picking these three (shown above). Benjamin Yuen is a dark horse here since TVB seems serious to be highly promoting him this year. As for the highest honour, the Best Actor at TVB Anniversary Awards, it’s still too early to tell but I have a feeling Vincent Wong from his upcoming ‘Fist Fight’ drama will make him win this award twice in a row. Steven Ma from ‘Deep In The Realm Of Conscience’ could be rewarded but I doubt that so far.

Most Favourite TVB Lead Actress – Malaysia, Most Favourite TVB Lead Actress – Singapore, Most Popular TV Female Character – Hong Kong

Selena Li (Succession War),

Mandy Wong (Threesome),

Ali Lee (Who Wants A Baby?)

Opinion: I didn’t watch ‘Threesome’ but I heard good review to Mandy’s performance in that short series. It’s also TVB’s pattern to reward young actresses that did show breakthrough. Selena Li has been with TVB for so long and has not even receive a single award from TVB Anniversary Awards. She deserves it this year from her role in ‘Succession War’. Although her role is somewhat a not powerful or dominating one, but she carried it very well and elegantly. Where is Alice Chan? Although I find her performance in ‘Deep In The Realm Of Conscience’ exaggerating and over-the-top at many scenes, she still stood a high chance on winning not any of these three but the coveted Best Actress at TVB Anniversary Awards, since the competition is so weak this year (last year too…still mad that Natalie Tong won best actress last year from her performance that was nothing spectacular at all).

Most Favourite TVB Drama – Malaysia, Most Favourite TVB Drama – Singapore, Best Drama – Hong Kong

Daddy Cool,

Deep In The Realm Of Conscience,

Life On The Line

Opinion: The currently running ‘Life On The Line’ seems promising and is quite moving. This drama reminds me a bit of ‘The Hippocratic Crush’ back in 2012 of which they are both medical dramas and taught audiences a lot of touching life lessons. ‘Deep In The Realm Of Conscience’ obtained huge popularity from mainland China and I’m quite certain it would be rewarded somewhere although I disagree as I find the drama boring and poorly executed. ‘Daddy Cool’ is quite an interesting and highly watchable drama early this year. ‘Fist Fight’ which will be airing soon may join the race later. I actually liked ‘Succession War’ a lot but it just doesn’t get the popularity it deserves.

That’s it for my early prediction to several new key awards for annual TVB Anniversary Awards this year. Once the full nomination list for the December 16th’s TVB Anniversary Awards 2018 is out, I will post a much updated prediction for each categories by then.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

Happy Halloween! What’s the coolest Halloween gift you ever receive?


 

This famous painting of the nun from the ‘Conjuring’ film series would be the perfect Halloween gift for your friends! Give it as a surprise Halloween present for your playful friends! Haha. By the way, the painting seriously looks damn creepy. It would be terrifying if you really have this painting in your bedroom, right on the wall across from your bed. And when you turn off the light, the painting is slightly illuminated to reveal yet another sight of horror. I believe no one will dare to hang that up.

The movie ‘The Nun’ which was just released last month has been doing very well at the box office (it has grossed over US$360 million so far  and is already the highest grossing film in the ‘Conjuring’ film series). It does not perform well to the critics though; earning less than 30% at Rotten Tomatoes. Have you watched the movie? It is a must watch if you are a fan of the ‘Conjuring’ film series. James Wan, a Malaysian born Australian film director is the man behind this. A very talented man (he designed this nun’s appearance as well as the creepy Annabelle doll too).

Anyway, Happy Halloween! Until these days, I’m still confused and curious on why do the Western people (or Christians) ‘happily celebrate’ and ‘enjoy with fun’ a festival that remembers the dead and puts ghosts and scary stuff to the spotlight. It is a norm for them to play trick-or-treat, pranks or other games, watch horror movies, attend costume parties, share horror stories, visit haunted attractions, and just enjoy the fun. Try imagine us, the Chinese celebrating Qing Ming Festival or Hungry Ghost Month Festival with games and laughter like Halloween. We would be grilled by the elders due to being very disrespectful. That’s such a different (totally opposite) practice by different culture. We said ‘Happy Halloween!’, but we will never say ‘Happy Qing Ming!’.

Halloween comes and it means this long month of October is finally coming to an end. I’m looking forward to the next two months (last two months of the year) where many holiday is coming such as Deepavali (next week!), Christmas and New Year celebration.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

Movie and library session today at Orchard.


It would be boring if the outing every weekend is just for watching a movie and do some ‘window shopping’ (a term for just looking around in mall but not buying anything). A movie is still a must (I’m a movie buff) but let’s add up some other things to do (and most preferably, something that does not cost money in this city where the cost of living is super high). The first thing that came to my mind recently is heading to a library.

Since staying here in Singapore from late April onward, I have never visited a library in this island. Me and my friend looked up on the web and found one really cool library and it is located at Orchard Road, the famous road lined with shopping malls. We decided to head there this afternoon after lunch and had a quick reading of some books in this very quiet place. The library is quite small and has very few seating place (unless you want to sit on the floor which may be inconvenient for people to walk through). I also find that the atmosphere in there is way too quiet which makes just a bit of talk feel very stressful. There should be some rooms dedicated for discussion.

We stayed there for about an hour and left to roam the malls and street in that bustling area. Next, we went to our usual ‘movie-in-the-weekend’ session and we watched ‘Halloween’, a horror slasher film that hits the timing as its release coincide with the Halloween Festival which is just around the corner. The movie which is a direct sequel to the famous 1978 film of the same name follows Laurie who survived from the 1978 film, and is now prepared to face the psychopathic masked killer, Michael Myers once again. Well, the film delivered with some genuine suspenseful moments, clever moves, brilliant kills (much better if some of them are shown in more details and length), and some quick gory scenes. Although the first half of the movie felt a bit draggy, but once it reaches the last half, all the excitement and tension comes in. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Halloween’ (2018) a total of 7.6.

On the other hand, I actually had watched another new film early this week. It was the ‘Incredibles 2’. It is the sequel to 2004’s ‘The Incredibles’ (waited 14 years for its sequel!…that’s such a long wait). In case you didn’t know anything about it, ‘Incredibles’ is an animated superhero film and in this sequel, the Parr family (family of five with everyone having different superpower) tries to restore public’s trust in superheroes while balancing their family life, only to combat a new foe who seeks to turn the populace against all superheroes. The first film was one of my most favourite animated films while this sequel couldn’t become a classic in my personal opinion. The plot is just being too ordinary (too predictable) and there is nothing impressively new added in (besides than Jack Jack’s possession of multiple powers), However, it is still highly entertaining and I had a great fun watching it. It is certainly a much needed sequel to the 2004 film and I’m not disappointed at all. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Incredibles 2’ a total of 7.4. So far, there isn’t any outstanding animated films released this year. Anyway, congratulation to ‘Incredibles 2’ for making huge bucks at the box office (grossed over US$ 1.2 billion worldwide so far and is currently the fourth highest grossing film of 2018, second highest grossing animated film and 16th highest grossing film of all time – unadjusted for inflation).

(Images in this post are from multiple online sources)