Archive for the Miscellaneous Category

Happy Chinese New Year! If you didn’t know, it’s the Year of Dog!

Posted in Miscellaneous on February 15, 2018 by vincentloy

Happy Chinese New Year!

It’s the time of the year again for you to return to your hometown, visit your relatives and friends, get ‘angpow’, toss ‘yee-sang’, have reunion dinner, eat all the delicious CNY biscuits and cookies, wear bright red clothing, hang lanterns and decorations, play fireworks or firecrackers, have a fun gambling time (cards, tiles, etc), watch some CNY movies or programmes on TV, enjoying lion dance performance, etc. As for me, it’s the time of the year again to go for a long vacation. I’m currently at Zhangjiajie, China for a lengthy 9 days 7 nights trip on this CNY break. Hence, I’m not able to do most of the usual CNY routines.

Chinese New Year is much more fun when you are a kid. I am reminded on how excited I am when this festival arrives. The whole family would wake up early. My parents will do some worshiping rituals. I will immediately wear new shirt and a family-inherited gold necklace (only wear it during CNY). I will grab some quick CNY snacks first before heading out to my grandmother’s home for a vegetarian lunch. After that, we will be going to some relatives’ homes and enjoy the snacks, chats and of course the ‘angpows’. The second day of CNY is much more interesting for me as we will be spending most of the day on my eldest aunt’s large home where all my other relatives on my mother’s side gathered there too. It was very happening with all the noises and laughters heard from the adults playing rummy and mahjong on upper floor while the kids play cards and other games (also watching TV) on ground floor, and lastly having dinner and playing with the fireworks together in the evening. All these excitement is gone when you are growing up and becoming an adult now. Hence, I opt for a vacation instead since this is the only time when my father can have a long holiday from his business.

This is the Year of Dog according to Chinese calendar. There are 12 animals representing the 12 Chinese zodiac signs. My father was born in Year of Dog as well (back in 1958) and that means he is turning 60 years old this year. Wow…I do not believe on superstitious stuff but I would still pay attention to what those feng shui masters will say about my zodiac sign and forecast of the year. I was born in Year of Goat and I realized that I would not be doing that well this year too (have been told the same for the past few years continuously but I’m still fine). My luck will only comes next year and will last for 5 straight years. Well, I’m looking forward to that but for now, I will just have a very neutral mindset about it. Just listen to those advice but don’t get too affected by them. It is still all up to you to decide your own life.

Happy Chinese New Year once again! May you and your family have a prosperous and a healthy new year ahead! Gong Xi Fa Cai!

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

 

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Exciting Best Picture race for the upcoming 90th Oscars.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2018 by vincentloy

The 90th Academy Awards honouring the best of 2017 films will be held on 4th March 2018, which is less than a month from now. The voting will open on 20th February (2 days after the British Academy Film Awards, the BAFTA)  for all Academy members to cast their votes until 27th February. A number of major film communities (Gold Derby, Awards Circuit, Indiewire, etc), critics group and news reporters had revealed their Oscar predictions. I had also released my predictions in this post here alongside with the nomination list (https://vincentloy.wordpress.com/2018/01/23/nomination-list-for-the-90th-academy-awards/) about two weeks ago.

There have been many discussions out there on analyzing which film will win ‘Best Picture’, the last and most coveted prize of the Oscars’ evening. I too have my own thoughts on this topic after seeing some of those discussions and debates. This year’s race for ‘Best Picture’ is intense and exciting as there is no clear frontrunner at this stage unlike in previous years. Some pointed out that it will be a tight battle between ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ and ‘The Shape of Water’. This is reminiscent to the ‘Moonlight vs. La La Land’ last year, ‘Spotlight vs The Revenant’ in 2016, ‘Birdman vs Boyhood’ in 2015, and ’12 Years A Slave vs Gravity’ in 2014.

After looking at the 9 nominated films (I watched all of them) this year and seeing their performances in the past major precursor awards, I attempt to break them down into three tiers. The two films in the first tier has the most probability to win, while the four films in the second tier may have the chance to sneak in for the win, while the remaining three films in the third tier will be in a long shot for the win.

FIRST TIER

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The Shape of Water

Opinion: ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ won Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Cast at the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG). The movie had also won scores of awards in acting races (Frances McDormand in best actress and Sam Rockwell in best supporting actor). The disadvantages to the film are that it didn’t get a crucial director’s nomination in the Academy Awards and it is currently receiving several backlash and criticisms over Sam Rockwell’s racist character who tries to redeem himself at the end of the movie.

‘The Shape of Water’ won Best Picture at Critics’ Choice, and won top honours at Producers Guild Awards (PGA) and Directors Guild Awards (DGA). The movie also excelled in a lot of technical achievements, and hence collecting up to 13 nominations at the Academy Awards (film with highest number of Oscar nominations this year). The disadvantages to the film are that it did not manage to win anything at SAG (also not getting a nomination at all in the crucial Best Cast category) and that its premise of a woman falling in love with an amphibian may turn off some voters.

There are pros and cons to these two films. For right now, I think the Oscar for Best Picture will be handed to ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ while the Director prize will go to Guillermo del Toro for his work in ‘The Shape of Water’. The Academy always deliver a split here in recent years. In my personal opinion, I would prefer ‘The Shape of Water’ to take both the Best Picture and Best Director because I find it superior (much better) than ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’. I didn’t enjoy the latter at all. The preferential ballot by the Academy may also be helping ‘The Shape of Water’ as some voters may place ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ in the lower ranking of their best picture picks (that will seriously hurt its chance) due to its controversy and some who find it overrated. Yup…I find ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ over performed in the major precursor awards too. 

SECOND TIER

Lady Bird

Get Out

Dunkirk

Phantom Thread

Opinion: There is a possibility that the two films at the first tier above will cancel each other out and make way for one of these four films in this second tier that I have predicted. ‘Lady Bird’ and ‘Get Out’ are beloved by many critics group. However, they have not been receiving much love at the major televised awards. I myself didn’t have huge excitement for them too because I find ‘Lady Bird’ to be a very ordinary coming-of-age story of a high school female student while I think that ‘Get Out’ only managed to deliver a level above the typical horror flick which is still not deserving enough to get Best Picture win.

‘Dunkirk’ may stand a chance too but I find it overrated too. I don’t enjoy the movie and find it boring. There is literally not much drama at all in this war movie. As for ‘Phantom Thread’, it suddenly gained a lot of love from the Academy as proven by multiple number of nominations it received to everyone’s surprise. This period drama film that starred Daniel-Day Lewis (his final film) may sneak in to win in the end but the possibility at this point is still quite low. I find this movie boring too.

THIRD TIER

Call Me By Your Name

Darkest Hour

The Post

Opinion: ‘Call Me By Your Name’ is not getting much love from major precursor groups. However, it is receiving a lot of attention from online communities that comprise mostly of the younger generations that may have different takes with the older ones that form these major precursor groups as well as the Academy. Its queer love story may disturb many conservative voters. Remember back then when ‘Brokeback Mountain’ lost to ‘Crash’ for the Best Picture although everyone is rallying behind the former. Fortunately, the film is still receiving some Oscar nominations and is also a frontrunner to win ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’.

On the other hand, ‘Darkest Hour’ is certainly to pull off wins in ‘Best Actor’ (for Gary Oldman) and ‘Best Make-up and Hair-styling’  but is certainly not a best picture material to many. ‘The Post’ is first seen as a strong contender but loses all the momentum it needs in the major precursor awards. It didn’t win anything and has only two nominations at the Oscars (including Best Picture). I didn’t expect that this movie has under-performed to such level although it is directed by the mighty Steven Spielberg and starred the great Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep (nominated for best actress). So, it will be a long shot for either of these three films to win ‘Best Picture’. If it does, the world will be in shock. 

Conclusion…this year’s best picture race is certainly an intriguing one because there is no one clear frontrunner at all. All films in my first and second tier groups have their chance to win (6 of the 9 nominated films). However, the awards buzz is following more on ‘The Shape of Water’ followed by ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’. The former is now the frontrunner to win best picture according to Gold Derby and Awards Circuit predictions. ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ is now losing some crucial momentum although standing up tall in the earlier major precursor awards. It still has a high chance of winning. I predict it to win but I would personally prefer ‘The Shape of Water’ as I’m very engaged and amazed by all the aspects in the latter from its story, performances, directing, production designs, score, etc. What do you think?

By the way, the Academy should just include one more nominee in the best picture race to round it up to 10 films easily. ‘I, Tonya’ should be in the list too. I’m really excited to know which film will prevail in the end…But before the Academy Awards, there will be one more major precursor that many will be paying attention to; the BAFTA (British Academy Film Awards) which is set to take place on 18th February 2018.

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

 

Drama review for TVB’s ‘The Forgotten Valley’ (2018)

Posted in Miscellaneous on February 9, 2018 by vincentloy

‘The Forgotten Valley’ is a Hong Kong period drama that revolves on a remote village known as ‘Peace Valley’ where men hold power while the women are deemed as second grade individuals. Lau Kong portrays as the head village with four wives (portrayed by Rosanne Lui, Louisa So, Rebecca Zhu and Katy Kung). All things are in order (even the women are all being very obedient to the unfair village rules) until the return of the head village’s eldest son (portrayed by Raymond Wong) who came home from oversea with his new wife (portrayed by Grace Chan). Some paranormal incidents, kidnapping and village intrusion events lead up to a successful fight for women equality in the end. This 20-episode drama also starred Zoie Tam, Toby Chan, Willie Wai, Cilia Kung, Louis Yuen, Jess Sum, Max Cheung, etc.

This drama is released at a very right timing as many (Hollywood too) are heavily discussing on female empowerment issues recently. I believe that such village do exist in China back then with those unethical roles that diminish women’s position and rights. TVB is doing the right thing by creating a drama to make us aware that women should be treated equally as men.

‘The Forgotten Valley’ is a decent drama. I didn’t expect to see a good drama from TVB especially at the beginning of a year when usually lower quality dramas will be slotted in. It started off looking like a horror series, but it isn’t. Every episodes are quite intriguing and the fast-paced story development help making this drama pleasant to watch on every weekday’s night. Lau Kong is very convincing as the head village. He is one of the few veteran actor that I admired. I felt like he carried the drama more than Raymond Wong. Raymond is a good actor but I just couldn’t see him in first lead role (he is much more suited for second lead role). He portrayed his role well but I just don’t like his character especially in earlier episodes when he is being very coward and stays behind the arguments between his wife and his father (trying to ease quarrels but ended up not helping anything). Grace Chan…hmm, I can see that she has improved in her acting but still there is a huge room of improvement for her. Her extremely small figure and Westernized look just don’t fit into the context although her character is intended to be a Western-educated Chinese returning from the West. I will compare her with Sisley. Sisley has gone on to win people’s heart now with much more well-received and likable performances after heavy criticisms in the beginning of her acting career (just like Grace). But for Grace, she is still stuck somewhere.

The other cast did considerably good job too. Louisa So has her time in this drama despite the presence of so many other female characters in this drama. She is great as a protective mother and also as a scheming woman who is forced by Lau Kong to carry out some bad deeds. Rebecca Zhu…her character is very ordinary and I still cannot believe that she had just won ‘best supporting actress’ at the TVB Anniversary Awards 2017 for her mediocre role in ‘A General, A Scholar, And A Eunuch’ last year. She is no where near to that level and it can be proven from her easily forgotten presence here in this drama as well. Louis Yuen is doing well as the sneaky villain on the other hand. There are too many characters (especially the females) in this drama and so there is literally not much of character’s development for them. I felt that this series could be better with a few more episodes to accommodate for more back stories to some interesting characters that are left out most of the time.

Everything is too predictable. I am expecting for some really surprising twist to create some more dramas and to shake things up a bit but I’m left disappointed. The ending part is quite intense but it all leads to a boring happy ending as expected again. The ending also leaves out some unanswered plot holes (it’s too unbelievable for all men in the village to change their perception and treatment to women that quickly, how is the discovery of the gold ore going on in the end, etc). Anyway, this is still a pretty good drama to watch. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Forgotten Valley’ a total of 7.2.

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

 

Graduation, vacation, CNY festival…this is going to be an exciting month!

Posted in Miscellaneous on February 1, 2018 by vincentloy

Nobody gets to see the unusual ‘super blue blood moon’ yesterday’s evening due to the cloudy weather over Selangor and KL. The last time this rare phenomenon occurred was over 150 years ago.

Anyway, I’m not pretty much into such things and I went for a movie last night instead. Watching a movie with my sister is also a rare phenomenon (I hardly go out with her). The movie we watched is ‘Guardians of the Tomb’ and it is about a group of people carrying on a search and rescue mission for a colleague who was lost in an ancient underground labyrinth filled with deadly spiders. I like movie with such premise. However, this movie ended up for being very silly and awful to some points. I have been immensely bored by the frequent appearance of spiders throughout the entire movie and yet nothing much happens besides than seeing a group of people going through rocks and Chinese-themed ancient-looking sets. There are also excessive cliches, predictable plots, boring scenes, and awkward ending that made this movie unbearable to watch. Out of 10 points, I can only rate ‘Guardians of the Tomb’ a total of 5.7.

Now, we have entered into the second month of the year. To be honest, I have done nothing much for the past month besides than enjoying the holiday and being lazy most of the time. I have this one more month to enjoy before heading to all the stress and challenges after being employed. February 2018 is going to be very short and quick for me. I will be heading off to Perth for my graduation next week. After completing my Master of Architecture study end of last year, it’s finally time for me to graduate and receive the certificate officially. It’s going to be a brief trip to Perth as my parents couldn’t stay for long due to working commitment.

And on a week after that, I will be heading to Zhangjiajie, China for a long vacation with my parents. It is usual for us to go for a long vacation during Chinese New Year break every year. I’m going to spend about 9 days in China to see all the beautiful places that Zhangjiajie has to offer especially its breathtaking mountains. It’s winter over there right now and I’m also slightly excited to experience cold temperature again soon. What I’m not looking forward to from this upcoming trip is the toilet’s hygiene (always smelly), mainland Chinese’s behaviour (not queuing, very rude, etc), excessive people in tourist places (‘people mountain, people sea’) and sometimes the food too (being too oily). Well, I couldn’t complain much as I didn’t pay a single cent for it.

Once we return from the trip, we have some few more days to celebrate the Chinese New Year festival by possibly visiting some of my relatives, having our postponed reunion dinner, getting some angpows, have some little gambling time, and watch some special CNY programmes on TV or movies in cinema. By the end of the month, I will be preparing for intensive job hunt (most probably at oversea locations first before heading back to Malaysia as my final option). So, you see…my whole February is taken up. Furthermore, this month only has 28 days. It’s going to be fast, tiring and awesome (hopefully)!

By the way, I have been starting to hear festive Chinese New Year songs playing on TV and in shopping malls recently! The vibrant CNY atmosphere is back and I’m loving it. CNY mood returns…

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

2 years left only and can Malaysia achieved Vision 2020? Nope…

Posted in Miscellaneous on January 29, 2018 by vincentloy

Many years ago, the former prime minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has created this ‘Vision 2020’ of which he expects Malaysia to turn into a developed nation by 2020. The leadership since then has passed on to Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and then to the current Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. This is already year 2018 and we only have 2 years more to reach year 2020. Unfortunately, I don’t think we will achieve the status of a developed country.

It does not only takes a country’s economy, people’s literacy level, or government’s infrastructure building effort to determine whether a country is developed. A huge part of the responsibility lies on the people themselves. Their mentality. With the recent news of people throwing off office chair from their high-rise flat that killed innocent people passing by on the ground, I felt angered and sad over the present mentality of a lot of Malaysians. Other reports surfaced after this tragic accident, and that includes unidentified people throwing fridge, glass bottle, used diapers, packet of drink, television down to the street…and I’m not surprised. I used to visit my late grandmother’s home in a public housing flat for many years in the past. I had to withstand the smell of pees in the elevators, vandalism all over the place, smelly environment with rubbish thrown everywhere, etc. People who have been doing these are really uneducated. With this kind of mentality, we are no where close to the Vision 2020’s goals. We don’t even need to look so far for examples to learn from. Just look at our neighbouring country, Singapore. Everyone is so disciplined and taking cleanliness seriously.

The government also plays a huge role to ensure that our country is moving forward. However, our present government moves backward. While I have to admit that the recent opening of MRT is a really positive news for the country (actually only for people living in KL), there are so much more poor things that the government have done that we have not forget. Just take the recent event for an example. DBKL (city council for Kuala Lumpur) has reportedly spent RM4 billion on creating a 6km bicycle lane on KL roads by painting them blue. It was then later corrected that the actual amount of money spent on this project is RM4 million. And then, they went a step further to defend themselves by comparing their cost to a similar project by opposition-led state government in Penang. That is the mentality of our authority! And by the way, RM4 million for that 6km of blue-painted lane is still super costly! That’s equal to RM666.67 for a metre of paint. Totally unreasonable cost. Furthermore, the blue lanes have been criticized for poor thought and planning, and for posing risk to both cyclists and motorists. So, this is like throwing RM4 million (people’s money) into the drain yet again. The money went into some people’s pockets again.

And then, here comes another viral issue. The official logo for Visit Malaysia 2020 has been released by the authority recently and it received serious backlash from most of the people. Why? The design is so low-quality and cheaply made. I wonder how much money they have spent on this one! (Must be thousands or millions again just for a shit-looking logo). The minister defended by saying that it is impossible to get everyone to agree with the design. He also said that the logo is never intended for the locals (only for tourists) and that he did not hire outsiders with huge price to work on the logo. He clarified that he has his people in his department to work on it instead. Well, that still costs money, right?! And the logo is really awful as if it was made with Microsoft Word or Paint two decades ago. This is leaving very silly impression to the tourists and putting our country’s name to shame. I’m glad that a lot of people online are now creating much more beautiful designs of the logo (so much more creative) and had posted them up. However, I’m sure that the authority will just ignore all of that and proceed with their ‘backward’ mentality.

The country’s general election will be held somewhere this year, before August 2018. It’s time to make the right decision and vote wisely. We have seen what’s been happening to our country. Efficient investigation into the smaller-scale underwater tunnel project in Penang but no investigation at all to the big-scale 1MDB scandal. In the end, the current ruling coalition is still predicted to win on this coming election (although I don’t wish to) because of the serious gerrymandering trick by them, chaos and disunity within opposition parties, and barrier from the opposition parties to reach to the Eastern states that contribute big winning to the ruling coalition in all these years. I’m looking for a big change, but that would just happen in my dream, but not in reality.

How can a country be doing well with this kind of attitude, both from the government and the people themselves?!

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

Just watched my first 2018 movie. Movie review for ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2018 by vincentloy

‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ is the third and last installment of the ‘Maze Runner’ film franchise which is based on a series of novel of the same name. In the first movie ‘The Maze Runner’ released back in 2014, Thomas wakes up in a maze with a group of other boys (Newt, Minho, etc) and later a girl (Teresa) with no memory of the outside world other than dreams about an organization known as W.C.K.D. He slowly remembered his past with clues he discovered in the maze and he attempted to escape the deadly maze with the others. In the second movie ‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ released a year later in 2015, Thomas and his group (known as Gladers) continued their journey on the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with obstacles (particularly Cranks, the infected victims from the Flare virus that turned to zombie-like creatures) to find more clues about W.C.K.D.. They have uncovered their plan which is to torture the immunes and extract blood from them to be made as a cure to the virus. They have also teamed up with resistance fighters and Minho is captured in the end. Finally, in this last movie ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’, the group went into W.C.K.D. base in the Last City to rescue Minho and other captured immune kids.

With the quick recap of the whole story explained, now it’s time to move on to my review for this final film. I recommend you to re-watch the first two movies before going to this third one. This movie is quite long (over 2 hours plus) but I am engaged to it from the beginning to its end, thanks to the multiple exhilarating action-packed scenes. The movie is mostly about the mission to enter the enemy’s territory that involves a lot of guns, fights, explosions, and Cranks (the zombies). There is not a a single scene that feels draggy. From the opening scene that involves Mad Max-inspired train hijacking to encounters with Cranks in a tunnel, and then to breaking into the W.C.K.D. labyrinth-like base, everything is fast-paced and thrilling. Besides than actions, the movie also provides time for characters’ development and emotional moments. Conventional young adult films (like The Hunger Games or Divergents) would focus on romance, but this ‘Maze Runner’ series emphasized on friendship (and bromance) and that is what I’m happy about especially from this concluding film that tells a lot more on this aspect. Thomas do love Teresa but nothing much is shown in their relationship (only a quick kiss in the end…sorry for spoiler). Thomas focuses more on his mission to save his friend, Minho and he also reserves most of his emotion to Newt especially in the end when the latter turned into Crank, struggled and killed himself. This movie is doing all the right thing for Newtmas’ fans while staying true to the books. The ending of this movie is an emotional one and it provides a satisfying conclusion to the overall storyline and the friendship between Thomas and Newt.

Dylan O’Brien (as Thomas in the movie) has proven to everyone that he is a great young actor that can take on other more challenging roles from now on (evident from his previous work in ‘American Assassin’). Thomas Brodie-Sangster is perfect for the role of Newt while Ki Hong-lee is also good as Minho. Kaya Scodelario (as Teresa) is also convincing in these three movies altogether. Their chemistry is very good between one another. Although they are just mostly running around in this film series, but I still see effort from them to carry the story through with more matured performances.

The visuals are brilliant. It is obvious that a lot more money is spent on this final installment. The views of the dystopian setting the film is centered on (and views of the Last City) are breathtaking. The set design is also cool (particularly the W.C.K.D. labyrith-like base) while the score is fascinating as well to compliment the visual progression of the movie. This is a very satisfying conclusion to this film series. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ a total of 8.0. I enjoyed this movie a lot. At one point in the past, I was worried that this final installment will not get to see its release date because of a serious accident involving Dylan O’Brien during the early filming of this movie in 2016. The accident has delayed the production for around a year and filming only resumes last year. I’m glad that Dylan recovered and decided to finish the movie and I  compliment his effort in it after a tragic accident from it that almost took his life.

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

Movie reviews for ‘The Shape of Water’, ‘Bad Genius’ and ‘Darkest Hour’.

Posted in Miscellaneous on January 12, 2018 by vincentloy

Here comes the post that contains 3 movie reviews in a row. I have been busy watching some nice movies recently and is working hard to increase the number of 2017 films that I have watched. It has been raining continuously for two days now without any sign of stopping in KL. The temperature has dropped to below 25 degree celsius constantly these two days. It’s quite a rare phenomenon for a country with a tropical climate. So, there’s nothing better than staying indoor and enjoying some nice films.

‘The Shape of Water’ is a romantic dark fantasy film directed by Guillermo del Toro. Sets in Baltimore in 1962, the story follows a mute custodian at a high-security government laboratory who befriends a captured amphibian creature and later falls in love with him. She eventually plans to free the creature from the facility, prompting the government to track them down and as she attempts to introduce him to the oceans. The film starred Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg, Doug Jones, Octavia Spencer, etc.

I enjoyed this film a lot and there are a lot of things that I am very impressed on from this movie. Sally Hawkins is incredible. I have not seen her much in television or movies and I’m stunned by how great she is performing in this movie. It’s challenging to showcase acting when your role is a mute one (you have no dialogue) and yet Sally Hawkins nailed it with great range of emotions delivered. She is actually my ‘best actress’ pick for 2017 Hollywood films. Also amazing performances by the supporting cast (Shannon, Jenkins, Stuhlbarg and Spencer). It’s a pity that there isn’t enough room to fit them in all the nomination list for this present award season. Besides than acting, I am also amazed by the beautiful score by Alexandre Desplat (simple yet magical) that allows me to immerse further into the story and the environment. The sets (production design) are also brilliant and awesome direction by Guillermo del Toro too. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Shape of Water’ a total of 8.3. The plot reminds me of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ but the whole movie is done in a mesmerizing and artistic style, something that the Academy Awards love. ‘The Shape of Water’ is also my best Oscar-type film in 2017.

Next up is ‘Bad Genius’. It is a Thai heist thriller film  about a straight-A student who devises an exams-cheating scheme that eventually rises to international levels. Inspired by real-life news of students cheating on the SAT, the film transplants the heist film structure to a school-exams setting, and features themes of class inequality as well as teen social issues. I seldom watch Thai film but when I do, it must be that it is very good. And yes it is. The storyline is very engaging and it was really exhilarating  watching the cheating scenes in the movie. The movie also delivered valuable life messages. The cast did a good job in acting wise. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Bad Genius’ a total of 8.0. Why wouldn’t Malaysia made movies with this kind of quality?

My last movie review for this post is for the movie ‘Darkest Hour’. It is a war drama film that starred Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, and follows his early days as Prime Minister of UK, as Hitler closes in on Britain during World War II. The film also stars Ben Mendelsohn, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane, and Ronald Pickup. I am usually not interested in this kind of political movie and the reason I’m watching this is because I want to pay attention to Gary Oldman’s award-winning performance in this one. Yes, he is great and I hardly recognize him in this role with all the heavy make-up on his face. He is an amazing actor who is really overdue for some awards. This is like his greatest chance to win the coming Academy Award for best actor. Give that to him. However, I find that the whole movie is trying too hard to showcase Gary Oldman’s take on Winston Churchill with excessive higher-tone dialogues from him and excessive close-up shots of him. There is literally nothing much going on in this movie besides his speeches and his speeches. I find this movie rather boring and lacks excitement besides than some clashes with the government members. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Darkest Hour’ a total of 6.8. Not my type of movie.

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