Archive for the Miscellaneous Category

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)

Movie review for ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘The Space Between Us’ and ‘Life’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous on March 27, 2017 by vincentloy

Finally, I have time back for some movies and their reviews here.

‘Beauty and the Beast’ is the live-action remake of the 1991 animated film of the same name. That 1991 movie was a classic and it’s a good move that Disney is making a live adaptation of it. Beyond that, Disney is also now planning to produce more remake of their animated classics like ‘Mulan’ and ‘Aladdin’. Previously, this movie went viral because it contains a homosexual scene and it is originally banned for release in my country, Malaysia. However, that particular scene isn’t anything serious or detrimental (just a dancing scene of Le Fou revealing his tummy to express his love to Gaston for one second). And the movie finally get to be released in Malaysia on 30th March. Making a fuss out of a very small issue.

As for the movie itself, I’m pleased that they went with the same storyline with the original one without putting in unnecessary stuff or twist into the plot as those do happened in some of Disney’s past remakes (like in ‘Maleficient’). Emma Watson is playing Belle. I like her but I find that she isn’t the best one for the role. I somehow find her voice didn’t fit into her acting altogether in this movie. Also to be noted is that this movie has a great cast; Dan Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere, Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts, etc. I love it when they used most of the music from the original into this live-action remake. I understand the need to edit those music for a bit of originality, but the outcome is not as good as the original animated movie. This live-action remake is still an entertaining one to watch, for the kids as a lovely new fairy tale movie and for the adults as well to relive their childhood memories of this classic. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Beauty and the Beast’ a total of 7.1. And this movie is now making huge money in worldwide box office. It is likely that it will be the first 2017 movie to cross US$ 1 billion in total grossing.

‘The Space Between Us’ is a romantic science fiction film about a boy born in Mars and then sent back to Earth during his late teenage years. He can’t cope with the gravity on Earth and yet he has to find the girl he loved as well as his presumed dad. The movie starred Asa Butterfield, Gary Oldman, Carla Gugino, etc. It is quite an interesting premise by combining a boy living his years in Mars with romance on a short-lived stay on Earth. I noticed the movie do have some very strong touching dialogue but they are not expressed to their full potential. Actually, the whole movie can reach great height but is not pushed to the very limit given an interesting plot. A bit of a waste. Asa Butterfield is a great young actor and he handle this role well. I see huge future for him in Hollywood. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Space Between Us’ a total of 7.2. The critics went too harsh on this movie.

‘Life’ is another recent movie set in outer space that I have watched. It is a science-fiction horror film about a group of astronauts in International Space Station having to deal with the danger posed by an extraterrestrial form brought in from Mars. It is like another version of ‘Alien’ film. Well, the next ‘Alien’ film entitled ‘Alien: Covenant’ will be released soon in this year too. This movie ‘Life’ starred Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, etc. Ryan Reynolds is given limelight on the marketing for this movie but he is actually the first character to be killed in the movie. What a joke. The movie actually developed fast to show the alien form starts attacking but I still find the overall pace to be quite slow. It’s not that engaging or intense as hoped earlier. However, it is still a good movie with an expected plot twist at the very end. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Life’ a total of 7.2.

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

Movie review for ‘Logan’ and ‘Kong: Skull Island’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous on March 20, 2017 by vincentloy

It’s been over a week since I last written a blog post here. I have been busy for the past week due to a hectic design studio submission and I had also fall sick during that time. The extreme change of weather right now in Perth leads to me not feeling that well. In a sudden, the temperature soared beyond 35 degree celsius, and an hour later, it dropped to below 20 degree celsius. I was having fever, sore throat, cold, flu and headache for few days last week due to the weather, stress from assignments and constant lack of sleep. Fortunately, I was getting better now. Now I’m back to be slightly free and I immediately return to my blog here. I’ll have this post for movie review for ‘Logan’ and ‘Kong: Skull Island’ (2017). I have watched them some time ago actually.

‘Logan’ is a superhero movie featuring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. It is the third films in X-Men series that focused on Wolverine (I think I have even forgotten on what’s happening in the first two). In this movie, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X somewhere on the Mexican border in near future. However, Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces. The young mutant is later revealed to be his daughter.

This movie has been getting very critical acclaim and is doing good in box office too. However, I don’t really enjoy the movie. I think people rate it very good because they put in a father-daughter relationship focus into the movie and it will create a lot of emotions. Even in that point of view, I’m not buying it. I don’t get carried away by that focus and I think their interaction falls flat. I also find that the action scenes in this movie are very little and unoriginal (it only has the gore), excessive draggy scenes throughout the movie and a sad ending that felt like ‘forced out’ of nowhere. I will only rate ‘Logan’ 6.2 out of 10.

The next movie is ‘Kong: Skull Island’. It is a monster film about of a team of scientists who went to explore and uncharted island in the Pacific. They ventured into the domain of a huge Kong and must fight to escape another species of monster called Skullcrawler in the island too. The movie starred Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, John C. Reilly, etc.

I love watching monster films. This latest movie about Kong is still an entertaining one but I can’t resist from comparing it to the 2005 film ‘King Kong’ that starred Adrien Brody and Naomi Watts. I think that 2005 movie is much more exciting in terms of the story, character’s development, intensity of actions, production designs, and almost everything else. This latest Kong film is just a bit dull with the same formula (a team of people discovering a new island, some monsters in the island, etc). There are not much exhilarating scenes in this Kong movie (some were too fast especially when the Kong is killing a giant squid and when the soldiers were killed by a giant spider) that left me disappointed. The only thing I’m excited is watching the post-credit scene and hearing Godzilla’s roar again. I can’t wait for them to get together in a single movie and the start of Monster Universe films (just like DC Cinematic Universe and Marvel Cinematic Universe). Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Kong: Skull Island’ a total of 6.8.

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

Second week done with plenty of gatherings and a TVB drama review for ‘Destination Nowhere’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2017 by vincentloy

First week of the semester is considered a happy-go-lucky week as no one would like to start on the assignments on the first week itself. Now, even the second week is gone and there is no more time to be wasted anymore. There are several submissions coming very soon already and I’m way not prepared yet. I did do my work, but 24 hours a day is just not enough. I’m not on track in my progress in all the units this semester. Well, I took that off my mind for a while first to enjoy this weekend.

Last Friday, I get back to the court to play badminton with my friends for about 3 hours. That was after a very stressful design studio with nothing from my part to show to the lecturers and I don’t really get what they want with their super-hard-to-understand words. It’s good to be back playing badminton after several months of not playing it already, and unfortunately, my badminton skill has not improve. The gathering did not stop there as we went for some snack and drink after that. Then, yesterday evening, we had another gathering in a friend’s house to enjoy the potluck dinner as well as to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Several hours later, I will heading out with my housemate to watch a movie. So many activities, and hence, not much time to focus on my assignments. Well, I will promise to myself to concentrate on my study from tomorrow onward.

Recently, I finished watching another TVB drama. It’s ‘Destination Nowhere’ (迷), a Hong Kong drama about a female news reporter who get caught up in the problematic collusion scheme between government official and businesses. All the hardship she faced has lead to her to be forced to become cunning and evil especially after the murder of her daughter. Those complicated cases that were actually linked to one another were then investigated by a police inspector who later felt in love with the female news reporter. This 30-episodes series starred Kevin Cheng, Kristal Tin, James Ng, King Kong Lee, Winki Lai, etc.

The plot is very interesting but there are several obvious plot holes that ruin the logic of the story in some major parts. The main cast, Kevin Cheng and Kristal Tin only get to bump onto each other in the very later stage of the series. I’m fascinated by the director’s decision to show them crossing over but not knowing each other in many occasions in earlier episodes but that were taking too many episodes. Once they knew each other, their relationship builds up too quickly. It’s a fresh thing to see this new pairing between Kevin and Kristal by the way. Their acting in this drama were also top notch especially Kristal. I’m stunned yet by another groundbreaking performance by Kristal. Her character is a very challenging one that requires execution of variety of emotions. She has a role that has to show the innocent side, leadership side, crying side, and cunning side all in one drama. She nailed it. There were time when I was sleepy and not paying attention while watching new episode of this drama on late night, and then, I immediately paid attention and went fully awake by her performance. I don’t mind giving her another best actress award but it is too early to tell right now since awards season is at the end of the year. This drama is being shown too early in the year and will be usually forgotten by the time awards season come. Other cast also did good job such as James Ng (still don’t like his face and his crying is too ugly to watch) and Winki Lai. Even the bad guy portraying ‘Wat Dee’ is putting on a very good performance. I don’t know his name but I pity him for always portraying bad guy in TVB dramas. He has the bad-guy look.

Overall, this drama is nice to watch. It is all good due to the amazing performances by the cast. Their acting kept me not wanting to leave my seat watching every episodes of this drama. There is also a good amount of suspense and dramatic moments throughout the whole series to keep engaging the viewers. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Destination Nowhere’ a total of 7.5.

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

First week done…looks like there is going to be a lot to do in this semester. On the other hand, a drama review for ‘Tiger Mom Blues’ (2017).

Posted in Miscellaneous on March 3, 2017 by vincentloy

First week of the semester is over! Usually, first week is the week when the lecturers will only hand out and explain on the module outlines and give brief introduction to their respective units. This is not the case for my course; Master of Architecture. In this first week itself, besides than introducing the unit, we have to start to work on so many things; thinking and conducting research on personal topic for thesis next semester, understanding professional practice and the many procedures and documentations involved and carrying out and presenting site analysis for a design project.

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So many things until that I find 24 hours for a day is not enough. It’s going to be like that for the rest of the semester and now, it’s just the beginning! Well, don’t get myself too stress for now first. It’s just week 1. Should chill down a bit and enjoy this weekend first.

On the other hand, recently, a TVB series called ‘Tiger Mom Blues’ (親親我好媽) has finished airing and I completed it. It is a Hong Kong drama that basically revolves a mother who is very strict to her family particularly to her two daughters, trying all methods to control and decide for them in everything. I believe this actually reflects to most parents nowadays too without giving a bit more freedom to the children to decide on their own. Back to the story, the series developed with more conflicts in her daughters’ school, in her husband’s job, and dealing with return of her eldest daughter’s biological mother. The 20-episodes series starred Elena Kong, Ben Wong, Sharon Chan, Willie Wai, Matthew Ho, Koni Lui, Michelle Yim, Angelina Lo, etc.

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This is obviously a family drama. So, don’t expect any actions or professional people on duties in this drama. It’s a warm story that comes with a number of heartfelt and relatable family situations. I think this is the first drama for Elena Kong to become the first female lead. I always see her in supporting roles in the past and she was great in them. I’m not surprised that she is doing absolutely well as the ‘fierce’ mother in this drama too. She gets into the character very well. Same goes to everyone else especially the young actress (didn’t know her name) who portrayed as her eldest daughter. Watching the series day by day, and didn’t realize it ended so quickly at 20 episodes. It’s a fairly good drama but after some time, this will be forgettable too.

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The series lacks memorable moments and lacks intense or dramatic plots especially in major first half of the series, has some plotholes (like since when the wife gets back together with her husband after a very serious quarrel, since when the wife’s mother changed her attitude so quickly to her husband whom her mother didn’t like at all, etc). Sharon Chan’s relationship with Willie Wai is boring to watch (I never like Willie Wai and in this drama, he gets quite a heavy role). In the end, Elena’s family and their issues in the drama save the day. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Tiger Mom Blues’ a total of 7.0. I think I have to stop watching two dramas every evening since my semester has already started and I have to allocate more time for my study from now onward.

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

 

Started first class of the semester yesterday.

Posted in Miscellaneous on March 1, 2017 by vincentloy

Wow…we have come to the third month of the year. Yesterday was the last day of February, and it was also the first day of class for this semester. It’s good to be back to campus, attending classes as a student. The only not good thing is getting to know all the assignments and their deadlines. It’s great to walk the usual path to the campus again (usually I enjoyed the 10 minutes walk to the campus but not this time during the summer season when it is so hot), wandering inside the architecture building (time to get lost in this block again…it’s so weird, the classroom is on 7th floor, and when you go up to 7th floor, you can’t find it…the room is only accessible from a single stair up from a corner on 6th floor…who designed this?), to meet back my classmates and lecturers (some new faces too). Hmm…my busy mode starts.

I noticed that there are a lot of significant things associated to the number 50, particularly 50th anniversary. The university I’m studying at right now, Curtin University is celebrating 50th birthday this year. It’s their grand 50th anniversary celebration. Well, it has nothing to do with me unless the university announced huge reduction for our school fees. Well, I’m dreaming. This huge campus has been here in Perth for 50 years. My former employers in the last two architecture offices that I worked with before I came to study were all graduated from Curtin coincidentally. I will be the next one hopefully.

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What I’m doing usually on evening everyday besides than having dinner and doing assignment? I will be watching some TVB dramas. TVB is a major television company from Hong Kong and is famous for delivering various series and programmes for entertainment of Chinese not only in Hong Kong but also abroad. This year, this station will be celebrating its 50th anniversary too. And I’m looking forward to their grand production (series) near end of this year which will include ‘Beyond the Realm of Conscience 2’, ‘Heart of Greed 3’, ‘Line Walker 2’, etc. Currently, I’m watching two series (now in broadcast); ‘Tiger Mom Blues’ and ‘Destination Nowhere’. So, I’m quite occupied on almost every evening. Sometimes, we need to take a break out of the study stress, and hence here comes TVB series to save the day. I have watched TVB stuff for about 20 years already.

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So much ’50’ around. I hope that doesn’t reflect into any of my subjects’ result. 50 is just a mere passing mark and I’m not too keen about that. I’m setting a much higher expectation to all the subjects in my study. Okay…that’s it for my first post of the month. Have a great month, everyone!

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

 

3 major potential upsets tomorrow at the Oscars.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 25, 2017 by vincentloy

The 89th Academy Awards is finally just around the corner. It will take place tomorrow and to watch it live, I have to purposely wake up early on Monday morning (time difference). Fortunately, I don’t have any class to attend on Monday for this semester. I have been staying closely with the awards season this year and it gets more exciting day by day as the Oscars gets nearer. I had in the past posted the full nomination list of this coming Academy Awards alongside my predictions on who should and who will win on that evening.

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Just a day before the ceremony, I’m here to write on 3 major potential upsets that may happen tomorrow in the Oscars.

First one would be ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ winning the Best Animated Feature over the frontrunner, ‘Zootopia’. ‘Zootopia’ has been leading the race in this category ever since with wins in many precursor awards including some major ones like Annie Awards, Golden Globe Awards and Critics’ Choice Awards. However, do not look down on ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ that has been in the second place to many people’s predictions in winning the best animated film. The movie has also won multiple precursor awards including the BAFTA which is a strong indicator of Oscar winner in animated film category. I myself love ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ much more than ‘Zootopia’ and I would love it if it really takes home the award tomorrow. In my opinion, it has a much more better story, better visual, better style, better characters, better animations, and better effort than ‘Zootopia’ and the remaining three other nominees; ‘Moana’, ‘The Red Turtle’ and ‘My Life as a Zucchini’. I would love this upset to happen. It’s time to reward Laika, the production company behind this work. Their past works are three also great stop-motion animated films (all were nominated but didn’t win); ‘Coraline’, ‘Paranorman’ and ‘Boxtrolls’.

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Next major upset will be in Best Actress category. The frontrunner now is Emma Stone from her wonderful performance in ‘La La Land’, a film that has been getting a lot of love as shown from the 14 nominations it gets in this Academy Awards. She has won best actress in Golden Globes (musical and comedy), Screen Actor Guild and BAFTA. She is great in that movie. However, her performance is not the strongest compared to the other nominees in this category. It is very obvious. People are just voting her because it is Emma Stone and she is likable, and is not voting based on performance in the film. I would like to see Natalie Portman to win this as a major surprise of the evening. Her performance as Jackie Kennedy in ‘Jackie’ is tremendously good. People just think that it is too fast to award her the second Oscar since she won it few years back from her performance in ‘Black Swan’. Hey…stop that mentality. If she deserves it, then she deserves it..no matter how many she has won before. Another ‘dark horse’ contender will be Isabelle Hupert from ‘Elle’. Deep down in my heart, I still think Natalie has a shot at it because Academy usually loves people who acts as a real-life historical figure and Natalie nailed that role effectively and with a lot of effort. Seen as the early favourite as Natalie won best actress at the Critics Choice, her momentum went downward because the movie ‘Jackie’ is not getting a lot of attention unfortunately.

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The last major potential upset I foresee is in best supporting actor. Currently, Mahershala Ali is the one to beat from his performance in ‘Moonlight’. I didn’t see that movie. He has been also sweeping many precursor awards and hence many see him as a lock in this category, up until when he lost the award surprisingly in Golden Globes (to Aaron Taylor-Johnson in ‘Norturnal Animals’) and in BAFTA (to Dev Patel in ‘Lion’). Mahershala is still in the lead position to win supporting actor as he did won at Critics Choice and at Screen Actors Guild. However, Academy usually love to award Best Supporting Actor to someone many didn’t see it coming. Hence, get ready to watch some drama when the name in the envelope tomorrow is not stating ‘Mahershala Ali’. I’m thinking that all the other nominees has a chance for it except Lucas Hedges since he is too young for it, and I’m wishing for Dev Patel to win it. It’s because I watched ‘Lion’ and I’m amazed by his performance in there.

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These are my last opinions before the Academy Awards tomorrow. What do you think? My biggest wish is still to see ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ winning Best Animated Feature. It totally deserves it way more than the others. ‘Zootopia’ has the edge just because of its right timing to the current political situation in USA. It’s just an ordinary animated film, and no where near the excellence delivered by ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ in nearly all aspects.

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