Archive for 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pritzker Prize 2017 Winner: Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta (RCR Arquitectes)

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2017 by vincentloy

The recipient of this year’s Pritzker Prize, the world’s most prestigious honour to architect, is a little less known. The recipient goes to not only a single person this year, but three, who works under one office; RCR Architects. They are Rafael Arana, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta. Well, it’s not about popularity and the ‘star’ appeal to win this honour. It’s about one’s significant contribution to the field of architecture to be able to receive this award.

Here are an article from Dezeen (original source: https://www.dezeen.com/2017/03/01/key-projects-pritzker-prize-laureates-rcr-arquitectes/) that introduces us to this award-winning architecture office, RCR Arquitectes:

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Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem and Ramon Vilalta all studied at the School of Architecture in Vallès, and set up their practice in their home town of Olot, Catalonia, in 1988. Their work ranges from public and private spaces to cultural venues and educational institutions, each designed to closely relate to the environment of its site. The three architects started working locally, designing an athletics track for the town in 2000 before creating their own office in an old foundry there eight years later. RCR Arquitectes’ other projects in Olot include a private house and a restaurant.

Many more of the studio’s projects over the past 10 years have also been located in Spain’s Girona province, ranging from a winery to a kindergarten and a public theatre. Later the firm began building slightly further afield – completing an art centre and a museum in France in 2014. Often collaborating with other architects, the trio uses materials like recycled steel and plastic. The Pritzker jury described their projects as “beautiful and poetic”. “Each building designed by these architects is special and is uncompromising of its time and place,” said the jury citation. “Their works are always the fruit of true collaboration and at the service of the community.” “They understand that architecture and its surroundings are intimately intertwined and know that the choice of materials and the craft of building are powerful tools for creating lasting and meaningful spaces.”

See 10 key projects by RCR Arquitectes below, in roughly chronological order:

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Tossols-Basil Athletics Track, 2000, Olot, Girona, Spain

Looping through two clearings in an oak forest, the running track avoids the trees and is coloured green to blend with its surroundings. The natural topography of the site provides stands for spectators, while a small pavilion comprising two Corten steel volumes includes a bar and storage for the football field.

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Bell–Lloc Winery, 2007, Palamós, Girona, Spain

A descending pathway with angled steel sides funnels visitors down from opposite directions to the entrance of the winery. Once inside, the material also creates a vaulted ceiling over the wine production machinery and barrel storage areas, where gaps in the roof allow slithers of light into the underground spaces.

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Sant Antoni – Joan Oliver Library, Senior Citizens Center and Cándida Pérez Gardens, 2007, Barcelona, Spain

Situated in Barcelona’s dense Eixample district, this cultural venue was intended to break the continuity of its historic street. A bridging section of the front building – which houses the library – provides public access underneath to a courtyard behind, where a low-slung volume wraps around the edge.

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Barberí Laboratory, 2008, Olot, Girona, Spain

RCR Arquitectes transformed a former foundry in their home town into their own offices and studio. Elements of the original building, like crumbling walls and a steel structure, were preserved. They were then paired with huge expanses of glass to create light-filled workspaces.

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El Petit Comte Kindergarten, 2010, Besalú, Girona, Spain
In collaboration with Joan Puigcorbé

Gradients of colourful plastic create a rainbow effect across this kindergarten building. A courtyard at the centre lets children play outside in a protected environment, while the plastic allows coloured light to flood the spaces inside.

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La Lira Theater Public Open Space, 2011, Ripoll, Girona, Spain
In collaboration with Joan Puigcorbé

To form a covered public space for theatre productions, the architects built a slatted-steel box, with angled sides and open ends, over a plaza sandwiched between two old structures. The volume faces a river and is connected to the opposite bank via a bridge made from the same material.

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Les Cols Restaurant Marquee, 2011, Olot, Girona, Spain

Swooping over this restaurant is a lightweight structure made from thin metal pipes, with translucent plastic stretched across the top. The canopy evokes the experience of dining al fresco, and extends beyond the enclosed space to protect those who are actually eating outside.

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Row House, 2012, Olot, Girona, Spain

When renovating this house in their home town, the architects exposed the underside of its tiled roof and concealed circulation on either side behind thin vertical louvres. In the central space – illuminated by a giant glass wall at the back – contemporary insertions form a sunken kitchen and dining level, with two separate mezzanines for lounging and sleeping above.

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La Cuisine Art Center, 2014, Nègrepelisse, France

Tucked inside the stone walls of a historic chateau, rooms made from steel and glass wrap around three sides of the building’s internal perimeter. These spaces host exhibitions, conferences and workshops dedicated to the art and design of food and cooking, and face a central courtyard that is used for larger events.

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Soulages Museum, 2014, Rodez, France
In collaboration with G Trégouët

Contemporary art exhibitions are housed within weathering-steel boxes that cantilever slightly from a small slope. The galleries are linked by glazed corridors and bridges, forming a route through the museum.

After receiving this prestigious honour, this Spanish firm along with these three leading architects shot to fame immediately in world of architecture.

(Images and information in this post are from the following source (also stated earlier): https://www.dezeen.com/2017/03/01/key-projects-pritzker-prize-laureates-rcr-arquitectes/.)

 

Winners for the 89th Academy Awards (2017)

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2017 by vincentloy

The 89th Academy Awards finally took place just now, ending the awards season for 2016 films. Here below is the full list of nominees with the winner in each categories highlighted in bold. I put in my opinion on most of the categories too.

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BEST PICTURE
Arrival
Fences
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Lion
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

Opinion: A huge mistake in the ceremony when ‘La La Land’ is first announced as the winner. It turned out that ‘Moonlight’ is the winner. I prefer to just stay with the mistake and have ‘La La Land’ winning this.

BEST DIRECTOR
Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Opinion: An expected outcome. Damien Chazelle is a young director with huge talent, particularly in movies related to music. I first heard of his name from his writing in ‘Whiplash’ movie. He is now the youngest director to win the Academy Award at age of 32.

BEST ACTOR
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
Ryan Gosling, La La Land
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington, Fences

Opinion: Pleased for Casey to win. He is great in ‘Manchester by the Sea’. There is a moment when I’m afraid that Denzel may win this. But hey…great performance not necessarily translates to loudest performance. It is incredibly challenging to put on a very subtle yet strong expression in the acting. And Casey Affleck did that in ‘Manchester by the Sea’.

BEST ACTRESS
Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Ruth Negga, Loving
Natalie Portman, Jackie
Emma Stone, La La Land
Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins

Opinion: Natalie Portman isn’t even present in the ceremony. She knew her chance is very little, but in my mind, I’m still hoping she win this for her extraordinary performance in ‘Jackie’. Now, as expected, Emma Stone won. She is a wonderful person but I don’t think her performance in ‘La La Land’ is the strongest among the 5 nominees.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Dev Patel, Lion
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals

Opinion: Didn’t watch ‘Moonlight’ but it was a predictable result. Mahershala Ali has been taking a lot of major precursor awards before this. However, I prefer Dev Patel to win this actually as I’m very amazed by his emotional performance in ‘Lion’.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Viola Davis, Fences
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Nicole Kidman, Lion
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Opinion: I guess everyone would protest if Viola didn’t win this. I didn’t watch ‘Fences’ but I heard that she was exceptional in that movie and some even thought she should be in lead category. Besides than her, I’m rooting for Michelle Williams to win actually.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Hell or High Water
La La Land
The Lobster
Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Women

Opinion: A very unique and depressing story. But for me, that script for ‘Manchester by the Sea’ is not dramatic enough.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Arrival
Fences
Hidden Figures
Lion
Moonlight

Opinion: I didn’t watch ‘Moonlight’. Hence, my preferred choices would be ‘Hidden Figures’, ‘Arrival’ or ‘Lion’.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Arrival
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Silence

Opinion: Yup…great cinematography in ‘La La Land’. The colours and lighting in ‘La La Land’ amplified the beauty of the whole movie.

BEST FILM EDITING
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Moonlight

Opinion: Didn’t see this coming, More love for ‘Hacksaw Ridge’. ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ is in third place behind ‘La La Land’ and ‘Arrival’ in my opinion.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Opinion: Already expected. All that came from the breathtaking scenery and realistic looking animals that can talk in the movie.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Arrival
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hail, Caesar!
La La Land
Passengers

Opinion: ‘La La Land’ is great, but not in its production design. It was just colourful in some short scenes, and that’s it. They are without much effort like the other nominees.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Allied
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Florence Foster Jenkins
Jackie
La La Land

Opinion: I thought ‘Jackie’ would win this as the sole Oscar for the movie. ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ sneaked in successfully. Everything in ‘Fantastic Beasts’ are good, but not eye-catchy or ‘fantastic’ enough including its costumes.

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
A Man Called Ove
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad

Opinion: Oh…’Suicide Squad’ winning an Oscar. Eventhough the movie is generally bad, but its makeup and hairstyling is cool. The Academy should expand this too to 5 nominees like all the other categories.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Jackie
La La Land
Lion
Moonlight
Passengers

Opinion: Very well deserved. ‘La La Land’ truly excels in its score. Very appealing and beautiful musical score that still makes me humming to its music now.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” La La Land
“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls
“City of Stars,” La La Land
“The Empty Chair,” Jim: The James Foley Story
“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana

Opinion: A short yet beautiful song. Another well deserved win for ‘La La Land’. It’s almost impossible to see a great musical film like ‘La La Land’ not winning this.

BEST SOUND EDITING
Arrival
Deepwater Horizon
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Sully

Opinion: Good to know ‘Arrival’ is not left out. Its sound editing especially from the aliens in the movie is cool and really feels ‘out of the world’.

BEST SOUND MIXING
Arrival
Hacksaw Ridge
La La Land
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Opinion: I’m glad that ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ win something. It is really a good movie and for a war movie like this one, the sound work is to be loud and significant. ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ nailed that and totally deserves this award.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle
Zootopia

Opinion: NO! A BIG NO! ‘Zootopia’ is just an average animated movie with a theme that is politically-related and at the right timing. Nothing else. ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ is a much better animated movie in nearly all aspects. The ceremony this year is too politically charged. Hollywood should just stick to its business and stay out of politics for a while.

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Fire at Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
O.J.: Made in America
13th

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Land of Mine
A Man Called Ove
The Salesman
Tanna
Toni Erdmann

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT
Extremis
4.1 Miles
Joe’s Violin
Watani: My Homeland
The White Helmets

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
Ennemis Entreniers
La Femme et le TGV
Silent Nights
Sing
Timecode

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
Blind Vaysha
Borrowed Time
Pear Cider and Cigarettes
Pearl
Piper

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‘La La Land’ is the biggest winner with 6 wins while ‘Moonlight’ won the coveted Best Picture. Some great movies that are totally snubbed are ‘Hidden Figures’, ‘Lion’ and ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’. These films at least deserve an award each.

Jimmy Kimmel is doing a good job hosting the ceremony that took nearly 4 hours. I do laughed at most of his hilarious and on-point lines. Seeing Jackie Chan along with three other honorees getting a standing ovation from the audiences is awesome as the received Life Achievement Awards not long ago in the Academy’s Governors Ball.  It’s also interesting to see the unknown tourists getting into the Dolby Theatre with the ceremony happening (don’t know whether that is a staged event or not). Snacks dropping from the ceiling is a fresh, functional and hilarious act to the lengthy ceremony (I laughed when Jimmy Kimmel said ‘now, release the coffee’…haha). As for the speeches, I’m fed up with the excessive politically-charged statements in the ceremony. Like I said earlier, the Academy should just stays out of politic for a moment and sticks to its business. This went overboard. The Oscars is not a platform for you to voice out your dissatisfaction to the government. You can do it, but not this much until I find that it affects the real judgement of some winners this year.

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

3 major potential upsets tomorrow at the Oscars.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

70th British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) 2017 honours ‘La La Land’ with best film.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2017 by vincentloy

The 70th British Academy Film Awards, or simply known as BAFTA is held yesterday at Royal Albert Hall, London. It is the fourth of the five major annual awards celebrating the best of Hollywood films. It is also an important precursor award to the coming OSCARS as there is an overlapping of over 500 members voting for the BAFTA and also at the OSCARS. Stephen Fry is hosting the awards ceremony again. Here below is the full nomination list with the winners highlighted alongside with a bit of my thoughts.

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BEST FILM
ARRIVAL Dan Levine, Shawn Levy, David Linde, Aaron Ryder
I, DANIEL BLAKE Rebecca O’Brien
LA LA LAND Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz, Marc Platt – WINNER
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Lauren Beck, Matt Damon, Chris Moore, Kimberly Steward, Kevin J. Walsh
MOONLIGHT Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adele Romanski

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Opinion: Deserving win for ‘La La Land’, an energetic and heartfelt musical masterpiece. It looks like this Oscar frontrunner is unstoppable as the momentum of ‘Moonlight’ is going downhill now. ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ should be at least getting a nomination here and replace ‘I, Daniel Blake’. Well, British tend to be biased towards their own productions and so there must be at least one British film contending for the top honour here. 

OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM
AMERICAN HONEY Andrea Arnold, Lars Knudsen, Pouya Shahbazian, Jay Van Hoy
DENIAL Mick Jackson, Gary Foster, Russ Krasnoff, David Hare
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM David Yates, J.K. Rowling, David Heyman, Steve Kloves, Lionel Wigram
I, DANIEL BLAKE Ken Loach, Rebecca O’Brien, Paul Laverty – WINNER
NOTES ON BLINDNESS Peter Middleton, James Spinney, Mike Brett, Jo-Jo Ellison, Steve Jamison
UNDER THE SHADOW Babak Anvari, Emily Leo, Oliver Roskill, Lucan Toh

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Opinion: Since ‘I, Daniel Blake’ is even getting nominated for best film, it is a 100% certainty that it is going to take home this one. 

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER
The Girl With All the Gifts: MIKE CAREY (Writer), CAMILLE GATIN (Producer)
The Hard Stop: GEORGE AMPONSAH (Writer/Director/Producer), DIONNE WALKER (Writer/Producer)
Notes on Blindness: PETER MIDDLETON (Writer/Director/Producer), JAMES SPINNEY (Writer/Director), JO-JO ELLISON (Producer)
The Pass: JOHN DONNELLY (Writer), BEN A. WILLIAMS (Director)
Under the Shadow: BABAK ANVARI (Writer/Director), EMILY LEO, OLIVER ROSKILL, LUCAN TOH (Producers) – WINNER

Opinion: No comment. Didn’t watch any of these works above.

FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
DHEEPAN Jacques Audiard, Pascal Caucheteux
JULIETA Pedro Almodóvar
MUSTANG Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Charles Gillibert
SON OF SAUL László Nemes, Gábor Sipos – WINNER
TONI ERDMANN Maren Ade, Janine Jackowski

Opinion: ‘Son of Saul’ won the Oscars last year for best foreign language film  in 2015 but it is only released in UK last year (2016). Hence, it is a year late and that doesn’t take away its position as the best in this category. 

DOCUMENTARY
13th Ava DuVernay – WINNER
THE BEATLES: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK- THE TOURING YEARS Ron Howard
THE EAGLE HUNTRESS Otto Bell, Stacey Reiss
NOTES ON BLINDNESS Peter Middleton, James Spinney
WEINER Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg

Opinion: No comment. Didn’t watch any of these works above.

ANIMATED FILM
FINDING DORY Andrew Stanton
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS Travis Knight – WINNER
MOANA Ron Clements, John Musker
ZOOTROPOLIS Byron Howard, Rich Moore

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Opinion: Very happy for ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ to win. It is certainly a much better choice than the Oscar frontrunner, ‘Zootopia’ (or called ‘Zootropolis’ here in UK). ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ was better in story, style, and of course in visuals. I hope it will win in the coming Oscars too.

DIRECTOR
ARRIVAL Denis Villeneuve
I, DANIEL BLAKE Ken Loach
LA LA LAND Damien Chazelle – WINNER
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Kenneth Lonergan
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Tom Ford

Opinion: A very predictable win. Damien Chazelle has been taking all the director awards for his work in ‘La La Land’.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
HELL OR HIGH WATER Taylor Sheridan
I, DANIEL BLAKE Paul Laverty
LA LA LAND Damien Chazelle
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Kenneth Lonergan – WINNER
MOONLIGHT Barry Jenkins

Opinion: Another expected result. Deserving win for ‘Manchester by the Sea’ that has a fantastic script and amazing performances by the cast.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
ARRIVAL Eric Heisserer
HACKSAW RIDGE Robert Schenkkan, Andrew Knight
HIDDEN FIGURES Theodore Melfi, Allison Schroeder
LION Luke Davies – WINNER
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Tom Ford

Opinion: Not only that ‘Lion’ is getting a lot of love from the Oscars in their nomination list, but also here with a win in adapted screenplay, beating out all other excellent nominees. 

LEADING ACTOR
ANDREW GARFIELD Hacksaw Ridge
CASEY AFFLECK Manchester by the Sea – WINNER
JAKE GYLLENHAAL Nocturnal Animals
RYAN GOSLING La La Land
VIGGO MORTENSEN Captain Fantastic

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Opinion: With Denzel Washington not being nominated here, it is unsurprising for Casey Affleck to take home best actor easily. Well, he deserved it too for his amazingly restrained performance in ‘Manchester by the Sea’. It will be a battle between Denzel and Casey in the coming Oscars and I still prefer Casey. Denzel has won Oscar twice in the past. 

LEADING ACTRESS
AMY ADAMS Arrival
EMILY BLUNT The Girl on the Train
EMMA STONE La La Land – WINNER
MERYL STREEP Florence Foster Jenkins
NATALIE PORTMAN Jackie

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Opinion: It looks like Emma Stone is going to take the Oscar for best actress too. While I love ‘La La Land’, I find that her performance in it was not challenging, not a breakthrough and not an eye-opener. People just voted for her due to her adorable persona and not based on true performances. I’m still hoping for Natalie Portman to win in the coming Oscars for her splendid performance in ‘Jackie’ as the titular character. 

SUPPORTING ACTOR
AARON TAYLOR-JOHNSON Nocturnal Animals
DEV PATEL Lion – WINNER
HUGH GRANT Florence Foster Jenkins
JEFF BRIDGES Hell or High Water
MAHERSHALA ALI Moonlight

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Opinion: Mahershala Ali is a frontrunner in this category all along until British Academy decided to award it to someone else. What a surprise. It makes the race in this category very exciting. The winner, Dev Patel deserves this award too for his excellent performance in ‘Lion’.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
HAYLEY SQUIRES I, Daniel Blake
MICHELLE WILLIAMS Manchester by the Sea
NAOMIE HARRIS Moonlight
NICOLE KIDMAN Lion
VIOLA DAVIS Fences – WINNER

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Opinion: This is the only acting category that is a lock. Viola Davis all the way. 

ORIGINAL MUSIC
ARRIVAL Jóhann Jóhannsson
JACKIE Mica Levi
LA LA LAND Justin Hurwitz – WINNER
LION Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Abel Korzeniowski

Opinion: Very much expected. A film that is all about music should win this one easily. ‘La La Land’ presented to us amazing score and songs. Enough said.

CINEMATOGRAPHY
ARRIVAL Bradford Young
HELL OR HIGH WATER Giles Nuttgens
LA LA LAND Linus Sandgren – WINNER
LION Greig Fraser
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Seamus McGarvey

Opinion: Yup…’La La Land’ again. Beautiful camera work throughout the whole movie.

EDITING
ARRIVAL Joe Walker
HACKSAW RIDGE John Gilbert – WINNER
LA LA LAND Tom Cross
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA Jennifer Lame
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Joan Sobel

Opinion: I thought that ‘La La Land’ would win this as well. Fine. I’m glad that British Academy decided to spread the wealth and award something to ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ which is also another great film. 

PRODUCTION DESIGN
DOCTOR STRANGE John Bush, Charles Wood
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Stuart Craig, Anna Pinnock – WINNER
HAIL, CAESAR! Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh
LA LA LAND Sandy Reynolds-Wasco, David Wasco
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Shane Valentino, Meg Everist

Opinion: Well, British Academy would want to award ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ at least in one category and this is it. It’s a British film and British Academy would not want it to be completely shut out. 

COSTUME DESIGN
ALLIED Joanna Johnston
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Colleen Atwood
FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS Consolata Boyle
JACKIE Madeline Fontaine – WINNER
LA LA LAND Mary Zophres

Opinion: ‘Jackie’ presented to the audiences amazing costumes in that period of 1960s in the US, especially the glamorous ones worn by Natalie Portmna as Jackie. A deserving win. 

MAKE UP & HAIR
DOCTOR STRANGE Jeremy Woodhead
FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS J. Roy Helland, Daniel Phillips – WINNER
HACKSAW RIDGE Shane Thomas
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Donald Mowat, Yolanda Toussieng
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

Opinion: Happy for ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ to win this. Great make-up and hairstyling works in that movie. I’m surprised this film is not even getting a nomination in the Oscars in this category. BAFTA did it right more than the Oscars here.

SOUND
ARRIVAL Claude La Haye, Bernard Gariépy Strobl, Sylvain Bellemare – WINNER
DEEPWATER HORIZON Mike Prestwood Smith, Dror Mohar, Wylie Stateman, David Wyman
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Niv Adiri, Glenn Freemantle, Simon Hayes, Andy Nelson, Ian Tapp
HACKSAW RIDGE Peter Grace, Robert Mackenzie, Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright
LA LA LAND Mildred Iatrou Morgan, Ai-Ling Lee, Steve A. Morrow, Andy Nelson

Opinion: Surprised to see ‘La La Land’ losing this one. Still happy for ‘Arrival’ to win with its unique and interesting sound work.

SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
ARRIVAL Louis Morin
DOCTOR STRANGE Richard Bluff, Stephane Ceretti, Paul Corbould, Jonathan Fawkner
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Tim Burke, Pablo Grillo, Christian Manz, David Watkins
THE JUNGLE BOOK Robert Legato, Dan Lemmon, Andrew R. Jones, Adam Valdez – WINNER
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Neil Corbould, Hal Hickel, Mohen Leo, John Knoll, Nigel Sumner

Opinion: A very deserving win for ‘The Jungle Book’, a movie filled with great scenery, realistic talking animals, and breathtaking visuals overall. 

BRITISH SHORT ANIMATION
THE ALAN DIMENSION Jac Clinch, Jonathan Harbottle, Millie Marsh
A LOVE STORY Khaled Gad, Anushka Kishani Naanayakkara, Elena Ruscombe-King – WINNER
TOUGH Jennifer Zheng

Opinion: No comment. Didn’t watch any of these works above.

EE RISING STAR AWARD (voted for by the public)
ANYA TAYLOR-JOY
LAIA COSTA
LUCAS HEDGES
RUTH NEGGA
TOM HOLLAND – WINNER

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Opinion: I knew that Tom Holland will win this eventhough I find that Ruth Negga is more deserving of this recognition. All the British girls will just vote for Tom Holland while the boys also will vote for him, anticipating his upcoming Spiderman role in ‘Spiderman: Homecoming’. He is actually great in ‘The Impossible’, a disaster film few years ago when he was still a child. Now, he is a young adult and there is a bright future for him ahead.

OUTSTANDING BRITISH CONTRIBUTION TO CINEMA
CURZON CINEMAS

Opinion: Curzon Cinemas is a chain of cinema that specializes in art house films. Didn’t know anything about it since I’m not living in London. Hence, no comment for its win.

BAFTA FELLOWSHIP (Lifetime Achievement Award)
MEL BROOKS

Opinion: I don’t know who is Mel Brooks and so no comment too.

‘La La Land’ is the biggest winner of the ceremony with 5 wins including taking home the best film prize. ‘Nocturnal Animals’ and ‘Moonlight’ are completely empty-handed without any win respectively. But overall, this awards has been spreading the wealth with many nominated films winning at least one award in the evening respectively.

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

TVB drama review: Burning Hands (2017)

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

‘Burning Hands’ (乘勝狙擊) is a 2017 Hong Kong drama by TVB that revolves on a team of con-artists and illusionists who are hired by a casino tycoon to find the mastermind behind his casino’s embezzled funds. But the leader of the gang, Chak Koon-yat, has his own reasons for helping the mogul. Things then lead to unexpected development of conflict, betrayal, friendship and hardship to the characters. This 28-episodes drama starred Ruco Chan, Joel Chan, Rosina Lam, Pal Sinn, Kelly Fu, Rebecca Chan, Hugo Wong, Hugo Ng, etc.

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This drama is the best TVB drama so far for this first quarter of the year. Having casino as the main theme drives the plot to an interesting direction. It is at least a fresh take on a TVB drama that usually goes with typical occupation themes like doctor, lawyer, or police. Now, it all revolves mainly on a group of con-artists and businessmen. On top of that, the many tricks executed by the characters in the series to excel in their missions are exciting to watch and had me looking forward to watch every episodes. The series also explores into friendship value between friends and business partners as well as love relationship between the young as well as the old couples (surprisingly nice to see the pairing of Pal Sinn with Rebecca Chan).

Ruco Chan is as usual being great in his roles and this one is not an exception. As the leader of his gang, he put in a lot of energy and passion to act the best out of that character and he nailed it. Joel Chan is also convincing as the main villain, a person that nobody expects would turn this bad from the earlier episodes. TVB should give more good roles to Joel and I look forward to him getting some recognition soon. Rosina Lam on the other hand is not doing well. Her expressions were limited and it looks like she couldn’t concentrate on her role here. Also not performing well are the actors acting as his brother and father in this series. The other cast are fine especially the veterans like Hugo Ng, Pal Sinn and Rebecca Chan. Hugo Ng is making a huge comeback last year from his role in ‘Brother’s Keeper II’ and he is great as the other villain in this story too.

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One good thing for this drama is that it delivered quite a number of suspense. There are a lot of plot twists especially near the end of the series when things really get intense and literally mad when the villains are ‘betting’ all out to succeed. That was good. The very final scene of the last episode of this drama I had just finished watching revealed to us that Joel survived the bullet, imprisoned, having mental problem and showing to us a deck card of ‘2’. What a cool way of hinting to us that there may be a sequel that continues from this concluded story. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Burning Hands’ a total of 7.5.

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

TVB Drama review: Recipes to Live By (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2017 by vincentloy

‘Recipes to Live By’ (味想天開) is a 2017 historical comedy drama from Hong Kong by TVB with food as the theme. Having 25 episodes, the story centers on Ding Yat-san, a poor village boy who is a foodie and has a ‘golden tongue’ (can identify all ingredients in a tasted food) and later discovered that he is the son of the God of Cookery. He then investigates the past accusation against his father that got him killed. The drama starred Tony Hung, Sisley Choi, Rebecca Zhu, Hugo Wong, Ram Chiang, Mary Hon, Stephanie Ho, Toby Leung, Maria Cordero, etc.

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It has been such a long time since TVB last produced a series with food as the theme. Hence, this one got me interested eventhough I’m not that satisfied with the cast. With food as the theme, I’m expecting to see a lot of nice dishes, tricks and cooking competitions throughout the series. Yes, I do see them in this drama but they are not exciting as hoped. The story then swifts to many other directions to cover other smaller plots. That is necessary to keep the series going with more things to catch up. However, the excessive use of plot twists especially near the end of the series which are supposed to make the drama more exciting to watch turned out to be quite anti-climatic. They also forcefully put in too many unnecessarily tragic, ‘misunderstanding’ and ‘curse effect’ storyline to the characters in this drama. I’m annoyed when they are too many. Anyway, overall, the drama still has a decent storyline that goes back to the food theme.

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As for the cast and their performances, my expectation is right. Tony Hung is not a good actor and giving him the first male lead role here is a bad decision. There is still much for him to learn in acting. I think he did his best but there is something not right to his expression. Similar issue goes to the first female lead that goes to Sisley Choi. However, I find that she has at least improved. Anyway, I just don’t like her for being too thin and tiny, and having a sharp voice. Just not the right person for a leading lady role. Rebecca Zhu and Hugo Wong are both great in their supporting roles (or I shall say second leading roles). I hardly notice Hugo in the past but after seeing this and also in ‘Burning Hands’ where he is also involved, I think he is one underrated actor. Other veteran cast are great and I wish to highlight on Lee Kwok-lun who portrayed the main villain here. He is one excellent actor and is especially good in taking on bad roles. TVB should honours him with at least a professionalism or a supporting actor award soon.

This drama is worth to watch when you have nothing else to do. It is not a great series but still good enough with some comedic, touching and suspenseful moments. The only problem is the leading cast (Tony and Sisley). Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Recipes to Live By’ a total of 7.0.

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