Marvel rules at the box office again.


The first two movies last year to gross over US$1 billion in worldwide box office sales are ‘Black Panther’ and ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. They are both Marvel movies. The latter even crossed over the incredible 2-billion milestone. The same pattern is going to happen this year too. ‘Captain Marvel’ has recently passed the 1-billion mark. It is the 38th film in history to accomplish that and is the first this year.

Although not met with highly positive reviews, ‘Captain Marvel’ soared in ticket sales due to several factors; it is the first standalone female superhero film in Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), it serves as a warm-up to the highly anticipated ‘Avengers: Endgame’ that is coming up not long after, and lack of competition from other movies released in the same period. As of 5th April 2019, ‘Captain Marvel’ has grossed over US$1.005 billion. I expect it to end somewhere at US$1.1 billion.

The next film of the year that is going to achieve this milestone would be ‘Avengers: Endgame’. That is a definite thing. Early indication had shown strong worldwide interest and box office projection for this film. The film is projected to score the biggest opening worldwide and is very likely to join ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ in the 2 billion dollar club. They will be in the same group as ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and the top 2 highest grossing films of all time; ‘Avatar’ and ‘Titanic’ (both directed by James Cameron).

Same like the others, now I can’t wait to watch ‘Avengers: Endgame’. It is set to be released in Malaysia on 24th April 2019. That’s 2 days earlier from the rest of the world including US. But that days falls on a normal day. I will have to wait for that weekend or even the next weekend to watch it if tickets are still available. Advance tickets sales had started and I heard most of the seats are already taken. Some people even resell it online at a price of RM700 per ticket. That’s absurd. Fatigue of countless superhero movies nowadays? Obviously not for this one.

Other films this year that are expected to cross the 1-billion milestone (it’s getting easier now to accomplish that due to increasing ticket prices and higher availability of movies in cinemas) are ‘The Lion King’, ‘Aladdin’, and ‘Star Wars: Episode IX”. ‘Toy Story 4’, ‘Frozen 2’, ‘Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw’, and ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’. Five films last year (2018) managed to do that. I’m expecting the same this year. Alright. That’s my box office news to start off the month.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

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Marina One is a perfect example of a design that you should not judge a book by its cover.


Today is a cloudy day and that makes for a nice weather for me to have a walk in the city to check out this new development called Marina One. I was told by my friend recently that it has a very nice architecture and that I should have a look at it.

Marina One, designed by Christoph Ingenhoven is a mixed-use development comprising of 4 towers (2 residential and 2 office towers) and a retail podium at the downtown of Singapore. When I look at its external, I find that it is just another massive complex of typical looking glass towers. However, as I walked to its centre, I am totally surprised. The highlight of the development is on its centre, a courtyard featuring lush landscaping and is called ‘The Heart’.

What’s more interesting from this project is the contrast of the form from its very rigid and squarish external perimeter to its organic and fluid volume on its internal perimeter. The horizontal louvre fins on every floors of the tower cascade all the way to ‘The Heart’ in undulating pattern that reminds me of flying roller-coaster platform. The busyness of the fins is then balanced with the calm greenery, noiseless waterfall and ornamental pool on the ground plane.

It looks cool right? It appears very boxy, massive, plain and nothing unusual on the outside but the design’s main feature is actually on the inside. This is an architecture that informs us not to judge a book by its cover. The only little downside to its design would be its insular nature of the development. If you didn’t watch closely and walk into the complex, you will never find out about its hidden gem.

‘Aquaman’ hits US$1billion and movie review for ‘Escape Room’.


At last, one DCU (DC comic cinematic universe) film managed to gross over US$1 billion in worldwide box office, an accomplishment that is quite easy for past MCU (Marvel) films but not DCU films. 6 Marvel films have achieved that milestone (while Avengers: Infinity War even managed to break past 2-billion mark) ever since they started back in 2008. DCU began with Man of Steel in 2013 and all their films never able to join the prestigious 1-billion club…until today.

‘Aquaman’ has grossed slightly over US$1 billion by this weekend and its number will continue to increase until its worldwide run ends. It is the 37th film in history to gross over US$1 billion and is the 5th film released in 2018 that achieved the milestone (after Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Incredibles 2). Although ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (both gross over US$1 billion respectively too) are from DC but these two films are not sharing the same universe as DCU.

Enough on box office reporting and let’s move on to a review for the first 2019 film that I have watched; Escape Room. This horror thriller film follows a group of people who are sent to navigate a series of escape rooms, only to find the consequences are deadly. The characters had to solve puzzles and riddles using clues, hints and strategies (nature of escape room game) to get past but then realized that they will get killed if they failed. One by one died in tragic death. On the other hand, the theme of the escape rooms were all linked to the characters’ past.

This movie is very intense and thrilling as soon as the ‘game’ begins. It reminds me of ‘Saw’ but with no gore and disgusting stuff. The film relies on atmosphere, creativity of the riddles in each rooms, and immersive performance by the cast (unknown actors but they all did well). This movie got me to the edge of my seat with its fast-paced plot and plenty of tense situations. I rate ‘Escape Room’ a total of 8.1. What a great start for 2019 films. Now, I hope for more sequels for ‘Escape Room’ very soon to create a franchise (good at this time since there is no longer any new ‘Saw’ movies around).

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

 

Gold Coast 2018 ended with Malaysia still couldn’t break into top 10 in final medal tally.


The 21st Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast 2018 concluded today after 11 days of competition involving athletes from 71 participating countries and territories. I watched the highlight of the closing ceremony and it was a very underwhelming way to brought the successful games to an end. Although as expected, there is no particularly striking moment in the closing ceremony due to the relevant budget cut to hosting sporting events recently (hence inevitable decrease in scale and quality of ceremonies…and there is even no allocation for grand performance), but the show felt like the organizer wanted to just end it once and for all. It’s like a show made for no one to care for with lack of star power, poor fireworks, etc. By the way, the next edition of the games will be held on Birmingham, England in 2022 (4 years from now).

In Gold Coast 2018, the host nation, Australia topped the final medal tally as expected (due to it being a strong powerhouse in sports and also having home advantage) with 80 gold medals, 59 silver medals and 59 bronze medals (total of 198 medals). It is a huge win to Australia as England which came in second place only has 45 gold medals, 45 silver medals and 46 bronze medals (total of 136 medals). India is in third place finish with 26 gold medals, 20 silver medals and 20 bronze medals (total of 66 medals). Canada is in fourth place while New Zealand is in fifth.

Where is Malaysia? Malaysia is at 12th place with 7 gold medals, 5 silver medals and 12 bronze medals (total of 24 medals). This is a fairly good result for Malaysia as the country usually delivered around this figure in every Commonwealth Games. We have also achieved our target set earlier aiming for 6 gold medals. Well, I think the country set a pretty low target. We should at least aim for 10 gold medals. The country also failed to break into top 10 countries in the final medal tally. What’s the point of winning 145 gold medals in the 2017 SEA Games in KL but not doing well in larger-scale sporting event like the Olympics, Asian Games, or even this Commonwealth Games? Anyway, I do believe our athletes have already tried their best and I wish congratulation to the Malaysian medalists. The point is that our sporting performance still has a long way to go.

Malaysia started off really well in this games by clinching two gold medals in the first two days of the games from weightlifting events. However, we suffered a drought in multiple days after that as the country under-performed in other events like cycling, swimming, diving, squash and also badminton of which I would like to discuss here. It’s still a good news that we managed to win 2 gold medals in badminton but I’m actually expecting 5. Lee Chong Wei rise to the occasion in men single after losing to the same Indian player in the mixed team event while Vivian Hoo and Chow Mei Kuan shown to us that they are unbeatable this time in women doubles.

Chan Peng Soon and Goh Liu Ying only managed to secure a bronze in mixed double to my disappointment. Goh V Shem and Tan Wee Kiong also only managed to get a bronze in men doubles to my disbelief. We also lost to India in the final of team event surprisingly. I have to admit that India do improve a lot in this particular sport but I’m still strong to my opinion that we are a level above them. This result shows that we have been declining in badminton. If we managed to get additional 3 gold medals, we can actually reach the 10-gold milestone. Last time, we are the only country that can give a good fight to Indonesia and China in badminton. Then, South Korea overpowered us. Next, Japan also went over us. Soon, India, England or even Thailand will deliver better than us in this sport too. We are on the downhill especially when now, we still couldn’t able to find talent to take over Lee Chong Wei and other aging athletes in badminton.

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

In between inspired and stressed.


It’s half past 10 o’clock in the evening and I saw one of my housemates brushing his teeth and get ready for his sleep. I then proceed to my room to continue on my assignments. Sleeping at 11pm is an impossible mission for an architecture student. Even when you found the opportunity to sleep around that time, you will still end up not able to fall asleep due to that worried feeling lingering in your brain about that many more things needed to be done after this.

Recently, I put a lot of effort on preparing for my thesis project next semester. Our supervisor has been great to me and my other two peers by inviting a former student to present his last year’s thesis work to us recently. It is a benchmark to us as the student scored a ridiculous 95% for his thesis. He did enormous quantity of works on his thesis and his effort paid off. I saw that as both an inspiration as well as a pressure for me even by this semester already as our thesis has actually started with this preparation unit this semester. I felt like I have done insufficient work. I really need to work a lot on it.

This is the time when I have to get a lot of things done before the end of semester next month. In about a month from now, I would be flying back to Malaysia for my semester break and to conduct my site analysis for my thesis project next semester. My dad also told me that I would be able to eat durian this year when I’m returning next month since I skipped the durian season last year as I didn’t go back home last year during the mid-year break. I can’t wait to taste one of my most favourite fruits! And can’t wait to return to KL to look at the twin towers.

There is a joyful news in this busy time. I recently received a letter of commendation from the school that praises my outstanding achievement on my previous semester last year. I also did receive a similar letter for my first semester. Now, I’m hoping that I can consistently producing similar result in both this semester and the next one which is the crucial final semester. This, similarly to the recent presentation of past year’s impressive thesis works, have given me both motivation and pressure. It’s up to me to decide on which part should I look forward to. I guess I have to be positive, and goes with the motivation.