Archive for 2012

My own selection of the best of TVB dramas from 2007 till this year, 2015.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2015 by vincentloy

Every year there would be some major awards presentations happening to honour the best of Hong Kong major television station, TVB annually. These awards ceremonies are not only held in Hong Kong but also in Malaysia and Singapore for the oversea Chinese audiences. I consider myself grew up with TVB dramas. In Malaysia, we have no nice local Chinese TV dramas to watch and so we depend on Astro to catch up to Hong Kong’s latest series and other variety programmes. For the awards this year, the Singapore Starhub TVB Awards was in last month, and tomorrow we would have the TVB Star Awards Malaysia. It will all end with the Hong Kong’s TVB Anniversary Awards next month.

I myself do make my own list of the best of TVB dramas every year. I started this in 2007 but I never put up my selection to my blog here. I think this would appeal to some of my blog readers who are interested on things about TVB dramas, and so, I put it up now, at here below:

BEST OF TVB DRAMAS OF THE YEAR 2007

Best Series: Heart of Greed

Best Leading Actor: Moses Chan (Heart of Greed)

Best Leading Actress: Louise Lee (Heart of Greed)

Best Supporting Actor: Louis Yuen (Heart of Greed)

Best Supporting Actress: Tavia Yeung (Dicey Business)

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BEST OF TVB DRAMAS OF THE YEAR 2008

Best Series: Moonlight Resonance

Best Leading Actor: Raymond Lam (Moonlight Resonance)

Best Leading Actress: Michelle Yim (Moonlight Resonance)

Best Supporting Actor: Wayne Lai (The Gentle Crackdown II)

Best Supporting Actress: Tavia Yeung (Moonlight Resonance)

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BEST OF TVB DRAMAS OF THE YEAR 2009

Best Series: Rosy Business

Best Leading Actor: Wayne Lai (Rosy Business)

Best Leading Actress: Sheren Tang (Rosy Business)

Best Supporting Actor: Michael Tse (E.U.)

Best Supporting Actress: Susan Tse (Rosy Business)

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BEST OF TVB DRAMAS OF THE YEAR 2010

Best Series: No Regrets

Best Leading Actor: Wayne Lai (No Regrets)

Best Leading Actress: Sheren Tang (No Regrets)

Best Supporting Actor: Evergreen Mak (No Regrets)

Best Supporting Actress: Fala Chen (No Regrets)

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BEST OF TVB DRAMAS OF THE YEAR 2011

Best Series: Ghetto Justice

Best Leading Actor: Kevin Cheng (Ghetto Justice)

Best Leading Actress: Myolie Wu (Curse of the Royal Harem)

Best Supporting Actor: Sam Lee (Ghetto Justice)

Best Supporting Actress: Sharon Chan (Ghetto Justice)

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BEST OF TVB DRAMAS OF THE YEAR 2012

Best Series: The Hippocratic Crush

Best Leading Actor: Kenneth Ma (The Hippocratic Crush)

Best Leading Actress: Kate Tsui (Highs and Lows)

Best Supporting Actor: Power Chan (The Confidant)

Best Supporting Actress: Elena Kong (Silver Spoons Sterling Shackles)

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BEST OF TVB DRAMAS OF THE YEAR 2013

Best Series: Brother’s Keeper

Best Leading Actor: Ruco Chan (Brother’s Keeper)

Best Leading Actress: Krystal Tin (Brother’s Keeper)

Best Supporting Actor: Him Law (The Hippocratic Crush II)

Best Supporting Actress: Elena Kong (Triumph in the Skies II)

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BEST OF TVB DRAMAS OF THE YEAR 2014

Best Series: Line Walker

Best Leading Actor: Roger Kwok (Black Heart White Soul)

Best Leading Actress: Charmaine Sheh (Line Walker)

Best Supporting Actor: Benz Hui (Line Walker)

Best Supporting Actress: Sharon Chan (The Ultimate Addiction)

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BEST OF TVB DRAMAS OF THE YEAR 2015

Best Series: Captain of Destiny

Best Leading Actor: Ruco Chan (Captain of Destiny)

Best Leading Actress: Liza Wang (Limelight Years)

Best Supporting Actor: Kenneth Ma (Lord of Shanghai)

Best Supporting Actress: Alice Chan (Lord of Shanghai)

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I only provided five categories. Very limited places and so making each categories more prestigious. This is not like giving out pork chop awards to as many people as possible like those ‘my favourite characters’ awards. I also decided to kick out the smaller categories like most improved for the same reason. Well, you will notice that some of my selection differs from the TVB awards results for that particular year as this is solely depending on my own analysis without influence from the past TVB awards. My selection is also different since it only involves dramas that I have watched only every year and not all.

You may have forgotten some of the great performances several years ago that I include in my list but is not visible in TVB awards for that particular year. Maybe posting this up from 2007 (till this year) will refresh your mind a bit on some classic nice dramas we have watched from 8 years ago. You may also comment here on your own selection for best of TVB this year, particularly if you differ from my thought that ‘Captain of Destiny’ is the best series of 2015. I do think a lot that this year is the battle between ‘Captain of Destiny’ and ‘Lord of Shanghai’ for best series, but in the end, after a careful analysis, I ended up picking the former with my own reasons. I welcome all of your thoughts if you are also interested in TVB dramas like me.

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

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Is your city truly a global city? Check out the list below to find out.

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 29, 2015 by vincentloy

A global city, also called world city or sometimes alpha city or world center, is a city generally considered to be an important node in the global economic system. The concept comes from geography and urban studies and rests on the idea that globalization can be understood as largely created, facilitated, and enacted in strategic geographic locales according to a hierarchy of importance to the operation of the global system of finance and trade. Basically, a global city is a well-known international city with great urban surrounding and a major commercial hub with high economy that impacts not only its country but also the world.

‘Global city’ is different with ‘Mega city’ as the latter defines a city that houses very massive population and is not necessarily a global economic point. Global city status is considered to be beneficial and desired, and because of this, many groups have tried to classify and rank which cities are seen as world cities or non-world cities. The following are the criterias used mainly by those groups out there in classifying cities around the world in global city ranking;

  • A variety of international financial services, notably in finance, insurance, real estate, banking, accountancy, and marketing.
  • Headquarters of several multinational corporations.
  • The existence of financial headquarters, a stock exchange and major financial institutions.
  • Domination of the trade and economy of a large surrounding area.
  • Major manufacturing centres with port and container facilities.
  • Considerable decision-making power on a daily basis and at a global level.
  • Centres of new ideas and innovation in business, economics, culture and politics.
  • Centres of media and communications for global networks.
  • Dominance of the national region with great international significance.
  • High percentage of residents employed in the services sector and information sector.
  • High-quality educational institutions, including renowned universities, international student attendance and research facilities.
  • Multi-functional infrastructure offering some of the best legal, medical and entertainment facilities in the country.

In 2012, Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) updated a list that identifies three levels of global cities and several sub-ranks and the list is published in 2014. The categories / levels in the list are:

  • Alpha++ cities are London and New York City, which are vastly more integrated with the global economy than all other cities.
  • Alpha+ cities complement London and New York City by filling advanced service niches for the global economy.
  • Alpha and Alpha- cities are cities that link major economic regions into the world economy.
  • Beta level cities are cities that link moderate economic regions into the world economy.
  • Gamma level cities are cities that link smaller economic regions into the world economy.
  • Sufficiency level cities are cities that have a sufficient degree of services so as not to be obviously dependent on world cities.

So, here’s below is the list. Did your city made it to the alpha? (Click on the image below to view clearly on the list of cities listed:

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I’m quite excited that my city, Kuala Lumpur (KL) made it to the alpha level and that is considered very good. KL is no doubt a major economic centre in the region besides than the nearby Singapore (which is better of course). We are even ahead of Seoul (I guess Seoul will most probably overtaken us in the future ranking very soon), Jakarta, Bangkok, Taipei, and Melbourne. A recent view of the KL city below (amazing photograph):

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(Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/126700026@N02/, from skyscrapercity.com)

 

However, KL still needs to improve on a lot of things (public transport, facilities, etc) and need to attract more investors, business partners and companies to come in to enhance its role as a commercial powerhouse in Asia. There are three other Malaysian cities listed in the ranking too (under the Sufficiency category only) and they are Penang, Johor Bahru and Labuan. There are many other lists like Global Cities Index by American journal ‘Foreign Policy’, Global Economic Power Index from ‘The Atlantic’, Global Power City Index by Tokyo’s Institute for Urban Strategies, City Wealth Report by London’s estate agent, Global City Competitiveness Index by ‘The Economist Group’, etc out there and KL didn’t really perform that well in those list. KL has to work hard to improve in these kind of crucial rankings. If not, we will be outpaced by other emerging cities quickly.

Information sources:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_city

2. http://www.lboro.ac.uk/gawc/gawcworlds.html & http://www.lboro.ac.uk/gawc/world2012t.html

Pritzker Architecture Prize winner for the last three years

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2013 by vincentloy

Pritzker Architecture Prize is awarded annually to honour “a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.” It is founded in 1979 and is often referred to as Nobel Prize in architecture, hence symbolizing the prestige and top honour of receiving this award. I’m now dreaming of whether in future I could have the chance to win this architecture’s highest honor. It’s something very hard to achieve, but I will try my best.

Notable former recipients of this award are Philip Johnson, Sir James Stirling, I.M. Pei, Richard Meier, Kenzo Tange, Oscar Niemeyer, Frank Gehry, Robert Venturi, Tadao Ando, Renzo Piano, Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, Herzog and de Meuron, Glenn Murcutt, Jorn Utzon, Zaha Hadid, Richard Rogers, Jean Nouvel, Peter Zumthor, etc. I recalled the last time I wrote about this award was in 2010, when Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA) won it for that year. Now, it’s time to highlight the recipients of this award from 2011 to 2013.

2011’s winner of Pritzker Prize is Eduardo Souto de Moura from Portugal. The prize was awarded for his work including Estádio Municipal de Braga (image shown below), the Burgo Tower in Porto and the Paula Rego Museum in Cascais. His buildings have a unique ability to convey seemingly conflicting characteristics—power and modesty, bravado and subtlety, bold public authority and sense of intimacy—at the same time. His design reinforces a sense of history while expanding the range of contemporary expression through beauty and authenticity of materials and construction.

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2012’s winner is Wang Shu from China. He is the first Chinese to win Pritzker Prize (second winner of Chinese descent after I.M. Pei).  His win is generally due to his “unique ability to evoke the past, without making direct references to history” and called his work “timeless, deeply rooted in its context and yet universal”. His architecture has been described as “opening new horizons while at the same time resonates with place and memory”, experimental, and as a rare example of critical regionalism in China. His notable works are Ningbo Museum (image shown below), Library of Wenzheng College, Xiangshan campus of the China Academy of Art and Old Town Conservation of Zhongshan Street, Hangzhou.

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The most recent winner of this Pritzker Prize for year 2013 goes to Toyo Ito from Japan. Unlike the previous two award recipients, Toyo is more popular and known for creating conceptual architecture, in which he seeks to simultaneously express the physical and virtual worlds. He is a leading exponent of architecture that addresses the contemporary notion of a “simulated” city, and has been called “one of the world’s most innovative and influential architects.”  Ito has defined architecture as “clothing” for urban dwellers, particularly in the contemporary Japanese metropolis. This theme revolves around the equilibrium between the private life and the metropolitan, “public” life of an individual. The current architecture of Toyo Ito is aggressively exploring the potentials of new forms. In doing so, he seeks to find new spatial conditions that manifest the philosophy of borderless beings. His notable works are Sendai Mediatheque (image shown below), Bruges Pavilion, VivoCity Singapore, Tod’s Omotesando Building, Kaohsiung’s World Games Stadium, Taoyuan International Airport,  Torre Realia BCN and Hotel Porta Fira at Barcelona.

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(All information and images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web).

Emporis Skyscraper Award 2012’s recipients are…

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2013 by vincentloy

The world’s most renowned annual architecture prize for skyscrapers, the Emporis Skyscraper Award for year 2012, has been given to the Absolute World Towers in Mississauga, Canada. The award, given by Emporis (www.emporis.com), the international provider of building data, is being presented for the thirteenth time this year (first presented in year 2000).  If the awards started out few years earlier, I’m sure my local landmarks, Petronas Twin Towers would win it. By the way, let us look through the top three winners of this prestigious awards this year (for new buildings completed last year) to recognize excellence in highrise design and construction.

Absolute World Towers, which form part of a five-building complex and were designed by the architectural practices MAD and Burka Architects, won over the jury primarily through their unmistakable design: “The way the two structures twist organically by up to 8 degrees per floor is not just a superb technical achievement, but also a refreshing change to the set forms of high-rise routine,” stated the panel of experts in explaining the choice of the pair of towers, 176 and 158 meters tall, as the winner. The curvaceous form of this residential complex earned the building the nickname of ‘Marilyn Monroe’. The two towers also had continuous flowing balconies all around building, thus offering maximum lights to its interior.

MAD Architects . Absolute Towers . Toronto

 

(Image source: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-_k6GHZiydYY/TgmK58wgZkI/AAAAAAAAK1Y/gcz8LmmUWSQ/s1600/MAD+Architects+.+Absolute+Towers+.+Toronto.jpg)

The second-placed project is Al Bahar Towers in Abu Dhabi, designed by Aedas Architects. Due to its innovative and distinctive facade, the skyscraper complex convinces in terms of both climate and design criteria. The outer skin of the facades is rotated by computer in response to the sun’s position, leading to a substantial reduction in thermal energy inside the buildings. In designing the twin towers, the architects drew inspiration from Arab mashrabiya windows – sun and privacy screens found in traditional Islamic architecture. This ‘green’ building is targeted to achieve LEED Silver rating. Both towers stand at a height of 145 meters respectively.

Al Bahar Towers are seen in Abu Dhabi

 

(Image source: http://www.al-monitor.com/files/live/sites/almonitor/files/contributed/jnt_news_in-the-midst-of-the-arab-spring/1-RTR37TJ6.jpg)

The expert jury voted Burj Qatar, a 238 meter tall skyscraper in Doha, into third place. Designed by Ateliers Jean Nouvel, it is the building’s exceptional facade design that stands out. The metal mesh facade, whose design – as with Al Bahr Towers – draws on traditional mashrabiya windows and is intended to contribute to protection from the sun, reveals a complex pattern at close quarters. The imposing effect of the ornamental facade reaches its full expression under the dome that tops the cylinder-shaped skyscraper. Another interesting point of this building shall be its large atrium that runs from ground to 27th floor, reaching a height of 112 meters.

Burj-Doha-Doha-Tower-in-Qatar

 

(Image source: http://prafulla.net/wp-content/sharenreadfiles/2013/07/477110/Burj-Doha-Doha-Tower-in-Qatar.jpg)

I do hope that my home city, Kuala Lumpur would be building cool skyscrapers soon so that we may stand a chance to win this skyscraper award in near future. We do have a number of skyscrapers in KL, but most are built quite long ago and are generally cannot be regarded as striking or in state-of-the-art design. Too bad, this awards is not introduced yet when Petronas Twin Towers were completed back in 1997.

Information source:

http://www.emporis.com/awards/2012

http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/canada-s-absolute-world-towers-wins-emporis-skyscraper-award-2012-113091800302_1.html

A year after London 2012

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , on July 30, 2013 by vincentloy

A year ago, the world witnessed the successful opening ceremony of the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games on 27th July 2012. Ohh, it’s been one year anniversary of the games already. I couldn’t believe it. I felt like the games just ended not long ago. I remembered very well that in weeks before the games, the anticipation is already building up high worldwide as everyone is watching on how London is going to stage the world’s biggest sporting event. And yes, London delivered.

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(Opening ceremony fireworks. Image source: http://sport-onthebox.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/BBC-London-2012-Anniversary-programming.png)

Eventhough its opening and closing ceremonies are not on par compared to Beijing 2008 in terms of scale, proportion, synchronization and performance levels, London 2012 was still a very successful games. I recalled that I purposely wake up in the middle of the night just to watch the opening ceremony. I love to watch things like that. And what I remembered the most till now from the ceremony would be the scene of James Bond (by Daniel Craig) with the Queen in parody jumping off a helicopter to enter the Olympic Stadium. What I like is there is some sort of humour and lightness in this ceremony which is not seen in Beijing 2008.

And not to forget also Rowan Atkinson’s appearance in the ceremony as the popular Mr. Bean character. That’s cute. The part of lighting of Olympic cauldron is also quite unforgettable. We don’t see this kind of thing in Beijing 2008, and that’s what still makes London 2012 memorable eventhough Beijing 2008 impressed me more. Let’s not compare anymore. One is something happened a year ago, and not to mention another one was like 5 years ago. In London 2012, the most impressive performance from Malaysia would definitely falls on Lee Chong Wei, as he bagged another Olympic silver medal for the country in badminton. Pandelela Nirong also helped Malaysia to score a bronze medal in diving.

That was Malaysia’s best performance in Olympic history despite not having able to win a single gold medal from this games so far. Nevermind, three more years later, all the best athletes, sportsmen or sportswomen would gather again to compete in the next edition of Summer Olympic Games, Rio 2016, to be held at Rio de Janeiro, a breathtaking city in Brazil. By the way, I remembered that the London 2012 Olympic Park would undergoes some kind of renovations or transformations into a large urban park after the games as planned. I wonder how is it going so far now since it’s already been a year after London 2012.

Movie review: The Impossible (2012)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2013 by vincentloy

I won’t usually write a review for movie released in previous years, but this has to be an exception. Yesterday’s night, half an hour before 12am, I was thinking of watching a bit of this movie before going to sleep as it is a working day tomorrow. But then, this movie just made me not realizing the time. By the time I finished the movie, it’s already well over 1am midnight. My God…and so today I felt sleepy the whole day. But then, I didn’t have any regret, and all I have to say that this movie ‘The Impossible’ is awesome. It’s released in last quarter of last year, but then it’s only available recently in Malaysian cinemas. I recommend Malaysians or anyone to go watch it now if you haven’t.

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The movie is based on a true story of a family as a foreign tourists that visited a beach resort in Thailand during the time of the horrific 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. Their encounter with the deadly catastrophe leads to multiple suspense and touching events that we will see in this movie. Something which is based on a true story is always a very good selling point, as it can gives the audiences a much closer attitude and perception of receiving the logic and drama present in the movie. We would feel as though we are ‘in’ the movie rather than just seeing the movie. You would get it once you see this movie. I won’t reveal any spoiler here. It’s not that massive destruction that we are going to focus on, but we are now dealing closer to how a family that got separated tackled with their deeper feelings in such situation. That’s a very good direction.

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The family got separated after the tsunami, and in their mind, while keeping them survive, they thought of something else far more important in their lives; their other lost family members. So, there is a very strong presence of family love in this one. There are a number of very impacting and emotional moments that melts our hearts. And there is also people (others) whom some would lend a hand to help while some would gets selfish in such situation. We tend to see much more things after the tsunami from this movie which is not revealed to us in news reporting or clips that we have seen years ago regarding the tsunami that killed almost 300 000 people if I’m not mistaken.

Film still from The Impossible

The performance by the casts are outstanding and very convincing. They acted as if they are in the real situation of the family that was really at there at the time of the tragedy. That’s a very solid performance, especially from Tom Holland as Lucas. His performance is particularly genuine and amazing and his chemistry with other casts (especially with his mother, portrayed by Naomi Watts) is fascinating. The visuals are brilliantly done too. At first I thought such movie would came with pretty bad graphics due to low budgeting, but then I was wrong. The scene of the tsunami is so real and intense, making it as though the gigantic waves are crashing onto us. It’s all accompanied with great background score too. Fantastic. ‘The Impossible’ is a very emotionally realistic disaster film that focuses very well on its direction and goes closely to the true story of one family’s survival. It’s definitely one of the best movies in 2012 for me. Out of 10 points, I rate this movie a total of 8.0. Very much recommended. Go and experience this moving film. ‘Separated by disaster, driven by hope’.

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

The Collector and The Collection

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2013 by vincentloy

‘The Collector’ and ‘The Collection’ are both horror movies. Great horror movies. No ghost, but a killer who is at his best with his deadly traps. The former is released in 2009 while the latter which is the sequel is released last year. Have you heard of these two movies? I think both are must-watch especially to horror movie fans like me. But I find myself already late on realizing the existence of the two films only in last week. And yes, I completed watching both yesterday.

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‘The Collector’ started with a handyman trying to break into a house which he had worked on before to steal. However, he was not alone in the house as a masked man had set up various traps to torture and kill every person in the home. The masked man, known as the collector had habit of killing everyone but one, and keep the person in a box as a bait for the next murder spree. Well, I don’t know the reason behind it. His identity remains unknown but from the story itself, it is revealed that he is actually one of the exterminators working for the house before. (sorry for little spoiler). There are a number of plotholes, but for me, in this situation, I don’t care. The movie still delivered. His traps are brilliant and gruesome, and the way he tortured his victims are terrifying. Well, that is what to expect from horror movies like this, and ‘The Collector’ definitely nails it.

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The story is very interesting, and I’m fully immersed as it progresses every second. Every moment is intense, with the handyman called Arkin trying to get out of the house before get killed by any of the traps or by the collector himself. It’s extremely exciting with perfect setting (in a huge house in darkness with heavy downpour outside). He went up and down, hides here or there, while many times almost being found out by the psycho man or get caught in traps. My heart felt pathetic and rushing as every painstaking scream and disturbing visuals are shown from this film. Well, that is what a bloody and gruesome film like this should have achieved. The Collector made it. I find it’s even better than ‘Saw’ or ‘Hostel’ franchise. Finally, there is a new horror franchise to catch up with in recent years. I rate ‘The Collector’ a total of 8.0. There is never a horror movie that got that high rating from me.

Then, came ‘The Collection’, the sequel. The story follows on a girl, Elena discovering a box containing Arkin (from previous film). She released him, and that provokes a series of deadly traps set by the collector to a bigger group of people. Then, Arkin lead a hired group of people to rescue Elena whom had been captured by the collector that now resides in an abandoned hotel. From here, the collector’s mad intention and objective of killing people is shown back in his lab, linked with his obsession to insects. It turned out more bloody, but I find its predecessor is much better in terms of leaving terrifying impact and suspense level to the audiences. Anyway, it’s still a nice sequel to follow. I rate ‘The Collection’ a total of 7.0. I’m looking forward to another planned sequel to be entitled ‘The Collected’ eventhough the ending from ‘The Collection’ isn’t encouraging for a continuation.

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I have to say the collector must have been a new horror icon in the history of Hollywood horror movies. It’s a new frightening character to fear for. On other hand, I have to praise on the performance by Josh Stewart, the main star in both the films, portraying as Arkin. He is tired, extremely painful, and yet had to stay on, and tried his best to get out from the house (as seen in first film) and to kill him (as seen in second film) while saving some others. Josh delivered a solid performance. The story is cool. Low-budget films but with great quality. Awesome films, particularly the first one, ‘The Collector’.