Archive for 2014

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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Emporis Skyscraper Award 2014.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2015 by vincentloy

The annual Emporis Skyscraper Award is back. If you have a particular interest in skyscrapers like me, then you should probably know the existence of this award. Emporis is a large database famous for its collection of information and photographs of highrise buildings across the world. The company also stored data of low-rise buildings and other man-made structures. Its skyscraper award which is one of the world’s most renowned architectural prize for skyscrapers is presented out annually to honour buildings with architectural excellence.

For this year’s award, the winning buildings must be completed in the previous calendar year (2014) and shall be of at least 100 metres high. The winner of the 2014 Emporis Skyscraper Award is Wangjing SOHO building located in Beijing, China. Chosen from over 300 skyscrapers built in 2014, Wangjing SOHO emerged as the prestigious winner.  The complex consisting of three unique skyscrapers with a height of 118 meter, 127 meter and 200 meter each, impressed the jury by its excellent energy efficiency and its distinctive design, which gives the complex a harmonious and organic momentum. The soft and fluid forms were designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, making Wangjing SOHO an architectural landmark of the metropolis Beijing. This complex of buildings do really look spectacular and very futuristic-looking. Zaha Hadid is always good in producing this kind of designs. Her style…

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Second-placed Bosco Verticale (“vertical forest”), however, stands out through its “green” architecture, which marks a milestone in the field of sustainable construction. The facade and balconies of the two towers designed by Boeri Studio are covered with more than 700 trees and 90 different species of plants, which help to reduce smog and attenuate noise, while simultaneously producing oxygen and controlling the temperature inside the 105 meter and 78 meter tall towers.

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The expert jury voted Tour D2 in Courbevoie into third place. Its elegant shape is defined by an external diagrid structure that spans the 171 meter tall oval tower in full height: The extravagant diamond design gives the skyscraper its characteristic appearance and makes the facade sparkle in the sunlight. On the roof, the steel mesh merges together to form an imposing dome above what is called the “Cloud Garden”, a 500m2 large green oasis in the heart of the business center.

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Here’s below is the full list of Top 10 skyscrapers voted for Emporis Skyscraper Award 2014:

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Although often represented in the Top Ten, Wangjing SOHO is the first time China manages to take the crown, since the Emporis Skyscraper Award was established in the year 2000 (fifteen years ago). Surprisingly there is not a single Canadian building among the winners this year, even with Toronto being one of the cities with the most new high-rise and skyscraper projects. Nevertheless, there is cause for celebration for North America: After the United States – the cradle of high-rise architecture – had been left empty handed two years in a row, this year two projects from New York made it into the Top Ten of the sought-after architecture prize. The iconic One World Trade Center made it to the list. I’m also surprised that my country, Malaysia made it into the Top 10 list too this time around with KKR Tower placed at No.10. It is a twisting (but the degree of twisting is not much disappointingly) office building located in my city, Kuala Lumpur. (image below)

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I guess my city’s newly completed Ilham Baru Tower (274 metres tall and to be finished by this year) will be able to shine in this award next year. When choosing the winners, height records hardly play any role. Hence, only three “supertalls” (skyscrapers with a height of at least 300m) made it to the Top Ten this year. Instead of following the principle of “Bigger, Higher, Faster”, the jury put its emphasis on other qualities: “The results of recent years clearly show that criteria such as sustainability, efficiency and a clever design play a much more important role than reaching new superlatives”, says Daniel Schuldt, Emporis’ managing director.

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

(Information source: http://www.emporis.com)

My personal top 10 best English films in year 2014

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2015 by vincentloy

Awards season for the English films released in the previous year (2014) had concluded with the 87th Oscars held not long ago in late February. I have watched all the films released last year that I’m looking forward to. The total number of English films in 2014 that I have watched now stands at 50. That’s not a very massive figure, but it’s considered a lot compared to normal movie-goers. I can consider myself someone who loves and craze for movies. For me, they are not only a form of entertainment, but also a type of visually moving arts that move and capture our thoughts and feelings.

After a time of analysis and recalling, here are my personal top 10 best (or you can say, most favourite) English films in year 2014 and along with each, is my brief summary of that particular film:

1. The Theory of Everything

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A moving story on science, romance and commitment, accompanied with superb performances by the two leads in this Stephen Hawking’s biopic told from his divorced first wife, Jane’s perspective.

2. Birdman of The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance

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Not only incredible from its scenes that appeared to be in one continuous shot, Birdman marked an overwhelming comeback of a veteran actor to Hollywood. The film is masterful, and came with great cast, making it a deserved pick as Oscars’ Best Picture.

3. Whiplash

Watch Whiplash (2014) English Full Movie Online Free

Energetic, exhilarating, exciting, and astounding! What more can I say. I’m definitely in tempo with this one. Certainly enjoyed every way from the harsh yet rewarding relationship between a merciless music professor and a never-give-up drummer.

4. Interstellar

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An epic science-fiction masterpiece that not only impressed us with cutting-edge visuals and scientific happenings at the outer space, but also moved us with heartfelt touching story back on the polluted Earth from a father separated with his two kids. A grand production equipped with excellent acting and heart-stopping score.

5. The Imitation Game

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A very solid and beautifully produced film on biopic of Alan Turing, whom is considered as the Father of Computers. Captivating plot and mesmerizing acting made the film a must-see.

6. The Grand Budapest Hotel

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An interesting story between a head concierge and his lobby boy that made you follow closely on their adventure with a visually ornate environments that came real from the brilliant, creative and unique designs in its production, costume, make-up, hair-styling, etc.

7. Fury

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Not a big-scale or epic war film, but this movie managed to keep momentum going without pushing over the top or dragging things slowly with nothing. It focuses into only a single war tank with the members inside as great friends and right things came along despite the ‘only one survived’ ending.

8. Nightcrawler

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A new and interesting idea of a man goes out of law and morality in videotaping accidents or crime scenes on the first hand to earn cash. And the idea was put into a movie with excellent acting.

9. The Lego Movie

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The only one animated film in my top 10 list here, and it’s seriously snubbed in the Oscars. The Academy is so wrong. A story about a Lego minifigure prophesied to save their Lego universe from the villain, and it’s not just that. The ‘twist’ in the ending is surprisingly good and made it stands out among the rest. ‘Everything is awesome’!

10. Boyhood

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Couldn’t get myself engaged to the film, but I’m totally with everyone else on the huge admiration on the making of the film that took 12 years for a more realistic outcome to this coming-of-age film about the growth of a small kid to a young adult.

What’s your top ten? Share it in comments below.

Fun fact: 9 out of 10 movies listed here are nominated for at least a single category in the 87th Academy Awards (Oscars). Only ‘Fury’ didn’t make it, of which I find that the film is underrated. 8 of the 10 movies above also won at least a single Oscars. ‘The Lego Movie’ and ‘Nightcrawler’ did received nominations but did not win anything.

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

Full list of winners alongside with my thoughts for the 87th Academy Awards (Oscars)

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2015 by vincentloy

Finally, the wait is over. The most prestigious and famous film awards in Hollywood, the 87th Academy Awards (or simply known as the Oscars, name of the gold statuettes presented to winners) was held successfully on Sunday’s night, February 22nd, 2015. It’s the Hollywood’s biggest event! Fortunately, I got to watch some key parts of the awards ceremony live in my hotel room in the morning over at Indonesia during my vacation.

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Oscar Exhibition in Frankfurt Main

Hereby are the full list of winners for the 87th Oscars alongside with my thoughts on some categories I’m particularly interested on:

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
JK Simmons for Whiplash (Winner)
Robert Duvall for The Judge
Ethan Hawke for Boyhood
Edward Norton for Birdman
Mark Ruffalo for Foxcatcher

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Comment: A very much predictable outcome. JK Simmons is simply the best among the five nominees. Edward Norton, a strong dark horse could not catch up to Simmons’ tempo in this since the latter also swept most of the supporting actor awards available in the awards season before this Oscars. Very well deserved. He is fantastic in Whiplash.

ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Milena Canonero (Winner)
Inherent Vice – Mark Bridges
Into the Woods – Colleen Atwood
Maleficent – Anna B Sheppard
Mr Turner – Jacqueline Durran

Comment: Also another expected result. The Grand Budapest Hotel simply excels than the others in most of the technical categories but will not turn out to be the best picture winner at the end of the night simply because it lacks the ‘power’ of doing so from the style and type of the story the film delivered. Lovely costumes observed in the film, and so I can say it’s deserving too.

ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKE-UP AND HAIRSTYLING
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Frances Hannon, Mark Coulier (Winner)
Foxcatcher – Bill Corso, Dennis Liddiard
Guardians of the Galaxy – Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou, David White

Comment: Ahhaa…The Grand Budapest Hotel again. Also expected, but I actually prefer ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ to take this one. But, you know, Oscars don’t really like sci-fi superhero film to win.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Ida – Paweł Pawlikowski (Winner)
Tangerines – Zaza Urushadze
Leviathan – Andrey Zvyagintsev
Wild Tales – Damián Szifrón
Timbuktu – Abderrahmane Sissako

BEST LIVE-ACTION SHORT FILM
The Phone Call – Mat Kirkby, James Lucas (Winner)
Aya – Oded Binnun, Mihal Brezis
Boogaloo and Graham – Michael Lennox, Ronan Blaney
Butter Lamp – Wei Hu, Julien Féret
Parvaneh – Talkhon Hamzavi, Stefan Eichenberger

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 – Ellen Goosenberg Kent, Dana Perry (Winner)
Joanna – Aneta Kopacz
Our Curse – Tomasz Sliwinski, Maciej Slesicki
The Reaper – Gabriel Serra
White Earth – Christian Jensen

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING
Whiplash – Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, Thomas Curley (Winner)
American Sniper – John T Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, Walt Martin
Birdman – Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Thomas Varga
Interstellar – Gary Rizzo, Gregg Landaker, Mark Weingarten
Unbroken – Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, David Lee

Comment: Happy for Whiplash to get further recognition besides only the supporting actor category.

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING
American Sniper – Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman (Winner)
Birdman – Aaron Glascock, Martín Hernández
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Brent Burge, Jason Canovas
Interstellar – Richard King
Unbroken – Becky Sullivan, Andrew DeCristofaro

Comment: I knew it. The Academy would really wish to honour American Sniper, at least on this single category. Fine.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Patricia Arquette for Boyhood (Winner)
Laura Dern for Wild
Keira Knightley for The Imitation Game
Emma Stone for Birdman
Meryl Streep for Into the Woods

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Comment: A very much expected result too. Patricia Arquette had been sweeping all supporting actress awards and this should not be an exception. She is lovely as the mother in the movie Boyhood. She deserved the award. Some are actually hoping for Emma Stone to win but I think her acting is not great enough in Birdman to win the Oscars yet.

ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS
Interstellar – Paul J Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter, Scott R Fisher (Winner)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Dan Deleeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill, Daniel Sudick
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Erik Winquist
Guardians of the Galaxy – Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner, Paul Corbould
X-Men: Days of Future Past – Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie, Cameron Waldbauer

Comment: This is the only category that the Academy can really think of to at least honour Interstellar with a single Oscars. Interstellar is really a good movie, but since Gravity (another outer space film last year) had already won many Oscars in the last edition of the awards, the Academy will find it too quick this time to honour another outer space film again. So, Interstellar can only pull this one off. Nothing else eventhough I personally think Interstellar is seriously a very good and intelligent film.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM
Feast – Patrick Osborne, Kristina Reed (Winner)
The Bigger Picture – Daisy Jacobs, Chris Hees
The Dam Keeper – Robert Kondo, Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi
Me and My Moulton – Torill Kove
A Single Life – Joris Oprins

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Big Hero 6 (Winner)
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

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Comment: I’m still not done yet with my frustration towards the Academy for not even nominating The Lego Movie. This is the biggest error they had in this year’s Oscars. The Lego Movie easily tops the rest of the films above. Anyway, the reality is it isn’t here. Big Hero 6’s win in this is also quite surprising since many predictors had expected How To Train Your Dragon 2 to win. This is a close race between that and Big Hero 6, but in the end, the latter wins. I enjoyed both films, and so I’m fine with any of those two winning.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
The Grand Budapest Hotel: Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock (Winner)
The Imitation Game: Maria Djurkovic, Tatiana Macdonald
Interstellar: Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
Into the Woods: Dennis Gassner, Anna Pinnock
Mr Turner: Suzie Davies, Charlotte Watts

Comment: The Grand Budapest Hotel is magnificent on its production design and effort. By far one of the most impressive works (in terms of production design) I have seen in recent years. Very well deserved win.

ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
Birdman: Emmanuel Lubezki (Winner)
The Grand Budapest Hotel: Robert D Yeoman
Ida: Lukasz Zal, Ryszard Lenczewski
Mr Turner: Dick Pope
Unbroken: Roger Deakins

Comment: Another predictable outcome. Birdman stunned us on its excellent and beautiful cinematography. The use of single-shot style throughout most of the film is remarkable. Who else can beat Birdman on this? No one.

ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING
Whiplash – Tom Cross (Winner)
Boyhood – Sandra Adair
The Imitation Game – William Goldenberg
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Barney Pilling
American Sniper – Joel Cox, Gary Roach

Comment: Didn’t expect Whiplash will win this too. This is quite a surprise. I expect Boyhood to take this one. It’s no easy to edit many scenes taken in the length of 12 years into a single film beautifully.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Citizenfour – Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky (Winner)
Finding Vivian Maier – John Maloof, Charlie Siskel
Last Days in Vietnam – Rory Kennedy, Keven McAlester
The Salt of the Earth – Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, David Rosier
Virunga – Orlando von Einsiedel, Joanna Natasegara

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Glory from Selma – Lonnie Lynn (Common), John Stephens (John Legend) (Winner)
The Lego Movie – Shawn Patterson (Everything Is Awesome)
Beyond the Lights – Diane Warren (Grateful)
Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me – Glen Campbell, Julian Raymond (I’m Not Gonna Miss You)
Begin Again – Gregg Alexander, Danielle Brisebois (Lost Stars)

Comment: I knew the Academy is not going to let Selma down again by letting the movie’s song to win this. Selma is already snubbed in many nominations, so this is like a consolation for the movie. So now, everything is seriously not awesome for The Lego Movie.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Alexandre Desplat – The Grand Budapest Hotel (Winner)
Alexandre Desplat – The Imitation Game
Hans Zimmer – Interstellar
Jóhann Jóhannsson– The Theory of Everything
Gary Yershon – Mr Turner

Comment: Many said that it’s time to honour Alexandre Desplat. He had produced many beautiful movie scores in the past but never wins. So, I’m glad that this time he is recognized finally. However, I don’t really think his score in The Grand Budapest Hotel is as good as Johann Johannsson’s one for The Theory of Everything.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo – Birdman (Winner)
Richard Linklater – Boyhood
E Max Frye, Dan Futterman – Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Dan Gilroy – Nightcrawler

Comment: Wow…Birdman for original screenplay. Also quite a surprise. That means Academy do loves Birdman over Boyhood. The film’s screenplay didn’t feel that ‘original’ or superior than the other nominees. I actually prefer Nightcrawler to win this. Nightcrawler is a great film and is been shut off completely by Academy. That is so mean.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Graham Moore – The Imitation Game (Winner)
Jason Hall – American Sniper
Paul Thomas Anderson – Inherent Vice
Anthony McCarten – The Theory of Everything
Damien Chazelle – Whiplash

Comment: Happy for The Imitation Game to win this one at least. It is another excellent and solid film that had quite a number of nominations but is expected to come down maximum to only a single win. So, this is for the movie.

BEST DIRECTOR
Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman (Winner)
Richard Linklater for Boyhood
Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game

Comment: It’s a tight race between Alejandro and Richard all the way. But in the end, Alejandro wins as all the waves are riding high for Birdman. I actually prefer Richard to win. Hey…he used 12 years to make Boyhood film. That’s already an achievement in the history of the cinema. Pity for Richard.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything (Winner)
Steve Carell for Foxcatcher
Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game
Bradley Cooper for American Sniper
Michael Keaton for Birdman

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Comment: Yes. I’m excited that Eddie Redmayne wins. He stunned the world from his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in the film The Theory of Everything. He nailed the role so well that you actually thinks that it’s Stephen himself in the movie. Before the Oscars, many said this is a very close call between Eddie and Michael. Michael is good in Birdman and I actually had a bit of worry that Michael will take home this too in the current high momentum of Birdman. But fortunately, the Academy made the right decision and honour Eddie instead. A very deserving win.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Julianne Moore for Still Alice (Winner)
Marion Cotillard for Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything
Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon for Wild

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Comment: A very much expected result, and I’m happy that Julianne wins. She is overdue for this awards and she had been nominated four times previously in the Oscars but without a single win. This is her time to shine, and yes, she won it. A very professional and great actress, Julianne’s portrayal of a woman struck with Alzheimer’s disease in Still Alice is remarkable.

BEST PICTURE
Birdman (Winner)
American Sniper
Boyhood
The Imitation Game
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

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Comment: Finally, all results revealed. Birdman took home the biggest prize of the night. The best film for the year 2014 recognition by Oscars. I’m fine with it since I personally enjoyed Birdman more than Boyhood. This is a close battle between Birdman and Boyhood from the very beginning. In the end, Birdman flies for the win. Quite deserving eventhough I personally root for The Theory of Everything (but I never think it will win).

Overall thoughts and summary:

  • Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is the biggest winner of the night, winning four major prizes: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Cinematography. Now, there is no more reason for you not to watch Birdman if you haven’t. The movie which centred on the excellent acting by the cast, did not actually win anything in the acting categories ironically. Everyone nominated from the cast is second in line to win in their respective categories (Michael behind Eddie for Leading Actor, Edward behind Simmons for Supporting Actor and Emma behind Patricia for Supporting Actress).
  • Boyhood ended the night with only a single win (Best Supporting Actress) disappointingly. It lost out the major battle to Birdman. The movie first is predicted by most to score big in the early awards season, and it did so. But as the season is drawing closer to major guilds and the Oscars, it somehow loses momentum, and that makes way for Birdman to fly high.
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel also ties with Birdman as film with the most number of wins. The film won 4, all in technical categories; Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Make-Up and Hairstyling and Best Original Score.
  • Whiplash performed better than expected in the Oscars, winning three awards; Best Supporting Actor, Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing.
  • Each films nominated in Best Picture won at least a single award.
  • I personally think that Neil Patrick Harris actually hosted the Oscars better than Ellen deGeneres last year, but most others out there think the otherwise.
  • Overall, the 87th Oscars delivered some very good results to overcome the backlash the Academy received earlier (for this year’s Oscars being the whitest, major snub for Selma, Nightcrawler and The Lego Movie, etc).

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

3 movies in a week! ‘Under The Skin’, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ and lastly, ‘Birdman’

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2015 by vincentloy

It’s now less than 2 weeks before the Oscars and it’s the perfect time for me to watch some remaining Oscars-nominated films this year before the awards presentation which is scheduled to take place on 22nd February 2015. ‘Under The Skin’ is the first one I watched this week. Eventhough it is not nominated in the Academy Awards, but it gained largely positive reviews and was named one of the best films in 2014 by over 100 publications. So, I will give it a go.

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In the end, I am very annoyed. The movie had just wasted my time. The movie starred Scarlett Johansson as an alien seductress who preys on men in Scotland and with subsequent event that lead her to begin a process of self-discovery. Looking from this kind of plot, it should be exciting or intense at some points. But not at all. It is more of an artistic film that never suits me. It is very plain and boring. I’m not into this type of movie. The plot betrayed me. I am expecting that this may be a good or exciting science fiction thriller film, but it’s not. Things are creepily dull and silently ‘dead’ in this film. I can’t really appreciate the ‘values’ or the ‘meanings’ from this film. Out of 10 points, I can only rate it 6.0.

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Next, is ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’. This film won Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical in Golden Globe Awards and received five awards from the British Academy Film Awards. It also secured 9 nominations in the upcoming Academy Awards, being the film with most nominations together with ‘Birdman’. Those achievements above encouraged me to try this one. And fortunately, I did. The film is strangely beautiful! It starred Ralph Fiennes as a concierge who teams up with one of his employees to prove his innocence after he is framed for murder. The storytelling is interesting and engaging. Ralph Fiennes’ performance in the film is also notably excellent. When I hear his voice, this would always come into my mind automatically; ‘Voldemort’ is back. Haha…The best thing of the film is from its wonderful and creative production designs. Extremely distinctive, fresh and the arts here worked for me. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ a total of 7.8.

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Lastly, it’s time for ‘Birdman’ or ‘The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance’. The story tells on Riggan (Keaton), a faded Hollywood actor famous for his superhero role struggling to mount a Broadway adaptation of a Raymond Carver story. I watched this for the main purpose of checking out Michael Keaton’s performance here that won rave reviews and he is then considered a hot favourite to take home Best Actor in the coming Oscars. For me, I don’t think so. I still prefer Eddie Redmayne in ‘The Theory of Everything’ after seeing both of their performances. Michael Keaton is great in ‘Birdman’. This movie is there to propel Keaton into stardom again. This is his great comeback! But his role here is nothing that challenging compared to that Redmayne’s take on Stephen Hawking role.

Besides than Keaton, Edward Norton and Emma Stone also delivered brilliantly in ‘Birdman’ as supporting casts. Now, everyone is saying that if JK Simmons and Patricia Arquette aren’t in the awards season this year, then it shall be Norton and Stone’s victories in best supporting actor and actress categories. And I agreed on that. Naomi Watts is also great in this movie. Another compliment to the film is on its technique of shooting that appears as a continuous long take throughout most of the whole movie. That is interesting as the director said ‘we live our lives with no editing’. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Birdman’ a total of 7.9. ‘Birdman’ isn’t only a film; there lies a lot of mystery or uncertain meanings behind the story that makes the movie exceptional.

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

Done watching ‘Whiplash’ (2014) in just few hours before the BAFTA 2015.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 8, 2015 by vincentloy

‘Whiplash’ is a 2014 film that tells the story of a young and talented drummer attending a prestigious music academy and finds himself under the wing of the most respected professor at the school, one who does not hold back on abuse towards his students. The drummer then came through all the pressures to achieve greatness and perfection in his performances. The film starred Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, etc (both of them steal the show, the others mean basically nothing in this movie).

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It is a critically acclaimed film and went on to receive five nominations in the coming 87th Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. This is what encouraged me to watch it, and I just did. A fantastic and electrifying film. I’m with the majority of critics out there on agreeing that ‘Whiplash’ is certainly one of the ten best films last year. It’s energetic and exhilarating! Perhaps the best praise to the film shall goes to the performances by J.K. Simmons. And that is why he went on to sweep almost all supporting actor awards available in the current Hollywood awards season. He deserved it so much from his brilliant performance in ‘Whiplash’ as the harsh and abusive music teacher, Terence. But wait…let us not forget on Miles Teller too. He is fantastic as the drummer, Andrew. I can see how much effort he put into this movie. Definitely a young rising star to watch out for!

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‘Whiplash’. What an intense and inspiring film. Out of 10 points, I rate it a total of 7.9.

We are just few hours away from the biggest event in British film calendar, the 68th British Academy Film Awards (or widely known as BAFTAs). It will be held today from 9pm onwards (means very early in the morning over here in Malaysia). What is your predictions, particularly on those important categories?

My personal predictions (final predictions before the awards); Best Film will be a tight race between Boyhood and Birdman. If Boyhood wins Best Film, Birdman will probably takes the Best Director, or otherwise. Outstanding British film will be also another tight race between The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything, both that also earned very good amount of nominations in the coming Oscars. Best Leading Actor will most probably goes to Eddie Redmayne for his terrific performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. He had since won Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild for Best Actor too. Dark horses in this category are Michael Keaton (Birdman) and Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game). Best Leading Actress…no question; Julianne Moore (Still Alice). Also 100% sure that supporting actor will goes to Whiplash’s J.K. Simmons and supporting actress to Boyhood’s Patricia Arquette. The Rising Star Award is the only one voted by the public, and I will go for either Miles Teller or Jack O’ Connell. Both are great and had a wonderful past year in films.

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

Winners of the Archdaily’s 2015 Building of the Year Awards

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2015 by vincentloy

Archdaily is one of the architectural websites that I’m constantly checking on when I’m free. I get to know many interesting designs from articles published in that particular site. Every year, the website would select buildings featured in their Archdaily website for the past year as winners in several categories from their collective intelligence of over 31 000 architects across the world. These winners are picked from over 3 000 entries (projects) featured in the site in the year 2014.

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The winning buildings represent a diverse group of architects, from Pritzker Prize winners such as Álvaro Siza, Herzog & de Meuron and Shigeru Ban, to up-and-coming practices such as EFFEKT and Building which have so far been less widely covered by the media. In many cases their designs may be the most visually striking, but each also approaches its context and program in a unique way to solve social, environmental or economic challenges in communities around the world. By publishing them on ArchDaily, these buildings have certainly helped to impart inspiration and knowledge to architects around the world.

Here are the complete list of winners of the Archdaily’s 2015 Building of the Year Awards:

Sports Architecture – Project: Arena do Morro. Architect: Herzog & de Meuron.

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Offices – Project: The Building on the Water. Architect: Alvaro Siza + Carlos Castanheira.

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Refurbishment – Project: The Number 6. Architect: Building.

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Cultural Architecture – Project: Fogo Natural Park Venue. Architect: OTO.

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Healthcare Architecture – Project: Livsrum – Cancer Counseling Center. Architect: EFFEKT.

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Religious Architecture – Project: Sancaklar Mosque. Architect: Emre Arolat Architects.

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Interior Architecture – Project: Wieden + Kennedy NY. Architect: WORKac.

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Industrial Architecture – Project: Carozzi Production and Research Food Center. Architect: GH+A / Guillermo Hevia.

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Public Architecture – Project: Twin Stations. Architect: sporaarchitects.

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Housing – Project: The Iceberg. Architect: CEBRA + JDS + SeARCH + Louis Paillard Architects.

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Houses – Project: Sambade House. Architect: spaceworkers.

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Educational Architecture – Project: Farming Kindergarten. Architect: Vo Trong Nghia Architects.

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Commercial Architecture – Project: Cultura Bookstore / Studio MK27. Architect: Marcio Kogan + Diana Radomysler + Luciana Antunes + Marcio Tanaka + Mariana Ruzante.

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Hospitality Architecture – Project: Nine Bridges Country Club. Architect: Shigeru Ban Architects.

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Total of 14 categories announced. In my personal opinion, I’m suggesting to include one or two more categories ; Skyscraper Architecture, and maybe Bridge Architecture.

To view more details (and of course striking images) of these winning projects, you may go to the original source here: http://boty.archdaily.com/us/2015. Which of the projects above impress you the most?

(Information and images in this post are from the following source: http://www.archdaily.com/595490/winners-of-the-2015-building-of-the-year-awards/ & http://boty.archdaily.com/us/2015)