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A day in two malls and at Sentosa Island.

Posted in Interesting Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2018 by vincentloy

Although I’m still feeling slightly unwell today, but I insist on heading out to explore the city and seeks some entertainment in this weekend. Things go according to plan as me and my friend went to the Sentosa Island. This is the first time he is visiting the island while this is my third time doing so. The area around the Resorts World Sentosa still looks the same with all the fee-charging attractions. As I said earlier, I went there for the third time already and I still have not had the opportunity to enter into the Universal Studios.

We were just looking around for some sights and enjoy the happening atmosphere with a lot of tourists over there. We also went into the casino not to play, but to enjoy the comfy air-conditioning as the weather outside today is pretty hot. We spent nothing there except for the monorail fees (4 dollar) and a lunch at the ‘Malaysian Food Street’. Walking outdoor for over 10 minutes is already a bit unbearable with that scorching heat this afternoon and we decided to head back to the Vivo City shopping mall. The mall is the point for people who are taking public transport to travel to the island and it is also one of the largest malls in Singapore.

After Vivo City, we went to City Square Mall to catch a movie. Good seats are all taken up at Vivo City’s cinema and we have no choice but to change mall. We watched ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’. I enjoyed the film very much and I highly recommend it especially to the Marvel fans. It is very entertaining and I have an enjoyable time through the whole movie. In this movie, Scott Lang (Ant-Man) works together with Hope (Wasp) and her father Hank Pym to retrieve her mother Janet from the quantum realm.

The movie focuses mostly on turning small things to big things or vice versa and those scenes are brilliantly executed to deliver a lot of fun and thrills to the audiences. Ample of hilarious scenes made this movie experience very enjoyable. Those funny scenes felt very natural unlike those from ‘Deadpool 2’ that felt forced and awkward at some point. ‘Deadpool 2’ is the Marvel movie that comes right before this although it has no link to the storyline of Ant-Man or Avengers.

There are also some quick yet warm family and romantic moments to keep the whole atmosphere light and cheerful in ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’. The actions are good and the cast are fantastic. Do stay until the end for one mid-credit scene and one post-credit scene. The mid-credit scene is particularly crucial as it ties back to the event from the ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. I rate ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ a total of 8.5. A highly enjoyable and fun movie. With so many superhero movies released in the past already, Marvel is still able to produce some good works these days.

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

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Oasia Hotel Downtown won ‘Best Tall Building Worldwide’ at 16th CTBUH Awards.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2018 by vincentloy

Oasia Hotel Downtown in Singapore has been selected by the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) end of last month as the winner of ‘Best Tall Building Worldwide’ in its 16th Annual CTBUH Awards. Oasia Hotel Downtown was chosen from among the four regional Best Tall Building winners.

American Copper Buildings won for Best Tall Building Americas, Oasia Hotel Downtown is named the Best Tall Building Asia & Australasia; Best Tall Building Europe went to The Silo; and Zeitz MOCAA for Best Tall Building Middle East & Africa.

The visually-striking Oasia Hotel Downtown stands out amongst the gray and blue high-rises of Singapore with its plant-covered façade of red and green, which connects to the green of the cityscape. Landscaping is used extensively as an architectural surface treatment, and forms a major part of the development’s material palette, with a total of 54 species of plants climbing along the aluminum mesh façade screen. With a substantial commitment to outdoor communal space through the incorporation of “skyspaces” along its height, the tower provides respite and relief to its occupants, neighbors, and city. “This project won not only because it incorporates 60 stories of green walls along the exterior,” said CTBUH Executive Director and Awards Juror Antony Wood, “but because of its significant commitment to communal space. The tower has given over 40 percent of its volume to open air communal terraces in the sky.”

I have the opportunity to view this building a couple of times as it is located right at the downtown of Singapore. Although it is not as tall as some of its neighbouring buildings, but it stood out from its distinctive red-coloured aluminium mesh facade coupled with greens all over the four sides of the building. The appearance breaks away from typical glass tower block or monstrous solid mass while the detailed design thought to the communal spaces is a plus point.

American Copper Buildings is a dual-tower residential skyscraper in New York City, USA. It is a venturesome and highly visible architectural statement clad in copper that addresses the area’s dual need for affordable housing and climate resiliency. The two towers are designed such that they appear to “dance” with each other. They are also connected by a bridge approximately 300 feet from the ground, which will be three levels in height.

The Silo in Copenhagen, Denmark is a 17-storey former grain silo that is now turned into a residential apartment. Exterior of the existing silo is reclad, while its interior has been preserved as raw and untouched as possible. An angular faceted exterior facade made of galvanized steel has been installed to serve as a limate shield. This has allowed the building’s characteristic slender tall shape to be maintained.

Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town, South Africa underwent a similar approach with The Silo in Copenhagen. Zeitz MOCAA is formerly a grain silo building too and is now trasnformed into a contemporary art museum. Using a variety of concrete-cutting techniques, the interior of the building was carved out to create a number of galleries and a large central atrium. The remaining concrete shafts were capped with strengthened glass in order to allow natural light to enter and create a “cathedral-like” interior. I am in awe of the result of this concrete-cutting design approach. The space created looks awesome and I personally find that this is more deserving to win Best Tall Building Worldwide.

In addition to the regional and overall Best Tall Building winners, a number of other award recipients were recognized at the conference, including the World Trade Center Master Plan for the Urban Habitat Award; MULTI for the Innovation Award; The EY Centre for the Construction Award; New York Times Tower for the 10 Year Award (2007 Completions); and Shanghai World Financial Center for the 10 Year Award (2008 Completions). In all, the 10 awards winners were chosen from a group of 48 Finalist projects representing 28 countries.

Reference:

http://tallinnovation2018.com/winners/

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

‘Heart and Greed’ is a lot less stellar than its last two predecessors.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2018 by vincentloy

‘Heart and Greed’ is the third installment in the ‘Heart of Greed’ Hong Kong drama franchise. The first ‘Heart of Greed’ was released way back in 2007 with critical acclaim and the drama went on to win the most accolades at TVB Anniversary Awards that particular year. The drama has also lead to popularization of ‘golden words’ derived from some intense script in it. I enjoyed the drama a lot, particularly on the theme of inheritance-fighting, the emotional impact especially touching on the warmth of the family, and the superb performances by all the cast. It is a classic. Looking on its success, TVB decided to make a sequel entitled ‘Moonlight Resonance’ the next year (2008). Similar hype and success came in as well as the drama also become the highest rated TVB series of all time with its final episode hitting 50 points.

So about ten years later (now), TVB decided to make yet another sequel (with the same 40-episodes span). It’s called ‘Heart and Greed’. I was very excited because of how great the first two dramas turned out in the past. I also very much enjoyed drama with the theme of family and fighting for inheritance with all sort of tactics and schemes. However, I noticed that this latest drama is no longer relating to ‘inheritance’ kind of story but rather about man who would sacrifice everything to help his friend’s dying business.  This drama brought back old cast (Ha Yu, Louise Lee, Michelle Yim, Susanna Kwan, Louis Yuen, Bosco Wong, etc) and mix it up with new people (Vincent Wong, Eliza Sam, Sharon Chan, Michael Tong, Priscilla Wong, etc).

After I saw the change of cast (disappointed for not seeing Linda Chung, Tavia Yeung, Raymond Lam, Moses Chan, Fala Chen, Chris Lai anymore in here) and the change of plot’s theme, I lowered my expectation even before I started watching the drama. And yup…I am right. The drama is no where near the quality to be called a ‘classic’ like its first two predecessors. The drama lacks the intensity and the dramas that we observed in almost every single episodes for its first two series. Besides than the boring storylines of ‘Kyle falling in love with Belle’, the plain development of ‘old Mr Wong persistently helping his old friend, Alan who had once saved him’ part, the out-of-arch segment of ‘daughter of the family making immoral advance to a married man’ and lastly the illogical and rushed plot when the ‘uncle suddenly turned bad in the end’, there is nothing much going on to make this drama a memorable one.

The veteran cast is doing well in leading the whole show. Or is it? It looks to me that Michelle Yim’s role is now so small and yet she is nominated for best leading actress in the coming TVB Anniversary Awards. She is a great actress, and yet given such unimportant character this time, which is in total contrast to her award-winning performance as Yan Hung in ‘Moonlight Resonance’. On the other hand, I find that Louise Lee had been pushing too hard to act in this drama with frequent shouting kind of tone when speaking. Her age must be weakening her performance. Susanna Kwan is good though and I am impressed with her ability to memorize long script for her part. Eliza Sam is still not doing enough to carry her role while Vincent Wong is as his usual good form. Michael Tong returns with his first drama here after many years and he is doing well. Now I wonder why he and Jacqueline Ch’ng (who portrayed as Adam’s wife) are not being nominated in supporting categories for the coming TVB Anniversary Awards. They are good in their roles here. The drama lacks a few more major characters (the main family group now lacks so many people when compared to its first two dramas) to further escalate things up, to create more tensions and climax for the story.

Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Heart and Greed’ a total of 7.4 only. I would have easily rated ‘Heart of Greed’ and ‘Moonlight Resonance’ above 8 and even nears to 9 respectively. But for this third installment, it is just not that good. It is still a solid drama with some (much lesser) warm and touching family scenes, some fun (but less exciting) conflicts in business and relationship issues. The songs in this drama are nice to listen to by the way while I can see also a lot of effort and budget has been placed on the setting (house interior) and the costumes too. The producers have been forcing themselves to create another sequel to this franchise and it turned out not working that well to my earlier projection.

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

TVB drama review for ‘A General, A Scholar And An Eunuch’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2017 by vincentloy

‘A General, A Scholar And An Eunuch’ (超時空男臣) is a science-fiction comedy drama by Hong Kong’s TVB. Based on the theme of time traveling, it tells the story of three imperial officials from Ming dynasty who accidentally traveled to modern day China while searching for a missing princess. The 32-episode drama starred Edwin Siu, Raymond Cho, Matthew Ho, Grace Wong, Kristal Tin, Rebecca Zhu, David Chiang, James Ng, Tsui Wing, etc.

The series has just aired its final episode few hours ago. Finally, another TVB drama completely watched for this year. This is an interesting drama. A story about time travel. What could go wrong? The series started with many good laughs as the three officials have to adapt to the modern world. I can remember the first few episodes were seriously very funny. As the story progresses to more serious business involving Kristal’s restaurant, I am still engaged. However, I find that this drama is a bit draggy after episode 20. It loses appeal at that point but come back nicely in the last few episodes. The flow and the story would be much better if it is cut short to 28 episodes.

I noticed there are quite a number of illogical points or strange plotholes throughout the story especially when it nears its end. Well, I can ignore them since this drama is never about being logic in the first place. It was a fun premise, then added with some quick romance and challenges in businesses the modern-day characters have to encounter. I have to admit that the conclusion (final episode) was sad and appears more like an open ending. But after a second thought, I actually like this ending. It will be at least more memorable and stays away from typical happy-ending drama from TVB. Well, at least, Edwin finally admits in his heart that he do love Kristal.

Everyone in the cast did a good job in this drama. Kristal Tin has a lot of series coming up this year and I’m sure she was tired working on all of them. It must be stressful for her. However, she still managed to deliver to her role here as the anchor of the story. I’m still rooting for her to win Best Actress this year so far, not from this drama, but from ‘Destination Nowhere’ drama released earlier this year. I seldom see Edwin being good in taking on main lead role, but hey, he is actually not bad in here. His consistent posture and expression (to reflect his Ming dynasty period when he is a general) show how much he dedicated to this role. Grace Wong on the other hand is well known to be able to elevate her expression in her acting and still people don’t get disturbed by it. Due to this ability, she shined in all her recent roles including her award-winning role last year in ‘A Fist Within Four Walls.’

I do have fun watching this drama. A great and a hilarious beginning, a steady story development but a bit draggy in the middle, and an unusually sad yet memorable ending. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘A General, A Scholar And An Eunuch’ a total of 7.5. I’m guessing the four of them (including the princess portrayed by Grace) have no choice but to return to Ming dynasty to avoid rewriting the history that will affect its future (the present).

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

Easter joy for ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (2017) as the movie surpassed 1-billion dollar in worldwide box office. Also movie review for ‘The Fate of the Furious’ and ‘The Boss Baby’ (2017).

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2017 by vincentloy

First of all, Happy Good Friday and Easter to those who are celebrating! This year’s Easter has been a joyous moment particularly for the movie ‘Beauty and the Beast’ as it has recently grossed over US$ 1 billion in worldwide box office. This live-action remake of the original 1991 animated movie that starred Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Stanley Tucci, Emma Thompson, etc has become the 29th film in history to cross over the 1-billion milestone. The movie has exceeded expectation in the box office and is also gaining positive reception from critics. It is the first 2017 film to cross that mark and soon, there will be another movie this year joining that prestigious list. And that will be ‘The Fate of the Furious’ which is the 8th film in the popular ‘Fast and Furious’ film series. Besides than being currently the highest grossing film of the year, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ also accomplished another record by being the highest grossing live-action musical film ever.

‘The Fate of the Furious’ sees the return of original cast as well as some new members. This movie reminded me again of the death of Paul Walker several years ago, an actor who has been crucial in this film series but died in a car accident. The previous ‘Furious 7’ film concluded with high note and touching ending and is the first of the film series to gain over US$ 1 billion in worldwide box office. Hence, I’m expecting this 8th film to cross that milestone too. Back to this latest movie. It tells about an arrival of a mysterious woman who seduces Dom (Vin Diesel) into the world of terrorism and a betrayal to those closest to him. The movie starred Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Charlize Theron, Luke Evans, etc.

Similarly to the previous movie, this film delivered with some intense, over the top and exhilarating action scenes in a scale that no one has foreseen. Cars raining down to the street and a huge submarine chasing a group of cars and a tank. This film series started with some humble car racing moments to extensive gun fights and attacks of high proportion we saw in recent movies. It is going big. Despite it is already being the 8th film, I find every film has its refreshing storyline and different outtake on its action sequences. I also noticed that Hollywood takes on this approach to find Oscar-winning cool-looking actresses to portray villain in big-budget movies nowadays. Charlize Theron as the villain in this movie and then soon Cate Blanchett will be the villain in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ which will be coming out end of this year. There are some hilarious parts to balance things out (and also some adorable moments from a baby). Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Fate of the Furious’ a total of 7.6.

Recently, I also watched another much relaxing movie called ‘The Boss Baby’. It is an animated movie about a suit-wearing briefcase-carrying baby who pairs up with his seven-year old brother to stop the dastardly plot of the CEO of Puppy Corporation. It’s funny to see a baby with an adult mindset on a serious mission to stop an evil plot, and he is joined by a brother who wanted him to be out of the family due to diversion of his parents’ attention to the baby. The movie is highly entertaining. Certain flaws and plot-holes in this movie are forgivable too. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Boss Baby’ a total of 7.0.

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

Movie review for ‘Spectral’, ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ and ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ (2016)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2016 by vincentloy

This post would be my last movie reviews of the year. In the past week, I have watched three additional new films of which they are all released this year and I have some thoughts to write about each of them. So here it goes.

‘Spectral’ is a military science-fiction film by Netflix about a special-ops team that is dispatched to investigate strange killing of their troops and later found out what they are dealing with is supernatural beings, or is it? This movie is a bit under-rated and it’s a waste that such movie didn’t get a worldwide theatre release. It’s a great movie. It’s full of actions and suspense, and that’s enough for movie of this category. I’m not looking for any deep character development and just a thrilling action ride, and this movie delivered to the best. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Spectral’ a total of 7.8. I don’t even mind for sequels for this film since the story looks like it has a lot of potential to develop, especially on the scientific part of the creation of those ‘supernatural’ beings and the further sinister plots behind it.

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‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ is a must-watch movie for all Star Wars fans. I’m not a fans of this franchise but since it is so popular, I watched this ‘Rogue One’ which is actually a prequel to the earlier films. The story is about the Rebel Alliance which makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow. It starred Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Riz Ahmed, Forest Whitaker, etc. A very ‘international’ cast indeed. I’m surprised that the Chinese actors in this movie get to play more significant roles this time. Chinese cast are usually just taking very minor roles in big Hollywood productions just to attract Chinese market. The movie is fine. I’m actually feeling bored with the first half of the movie and the movie only got my attention in the last part when ‘Rogue One’ ship started its mission to steal the plans for the Death Star. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ a total of 6.7. This movie is going to earn a lot in box office as expected (I think will gross over US$ 1 billion in box office). And we are going to see more Star Wars films soon since this film franchise now returns to the big screen, since Hollywood knew how much profit they can make from this franchise.

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‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ is an animated movie about a young boy named Kubo who must locate a magical suit of armor worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past. It is a 3D stop-motion fantasy action-adventure film by Laika which is a famous studio specializing in producing stop-motion animated movies. Their past works are ‘Coraline’ (I love this movie), ‘ParaNorman’ and ‘The Boxtrolls’. Their latest work, ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ has a good and moving plot, beautiful visuals and styles, lovely and engaging main and supporting characters, thrilling adventures and hilarious moments. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ a total of 8.0. Another masterpiece by Laika. ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ is so far the best animated movie of the year. I’m looking forward to more Laika animated films since I enjoyed watching stop-motion style in animation. It’s unique and interesting.

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

Shanghai Tower named CTBUH’s Best Tall Building Worldwide in 2016 and won Emporis Skyscraper Award 2015

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2016 by vincentloy

Shanghai Tower is a 632 metres tall skyscraper located in Shanghai, China and is currently the second tallest building in the world. Completed in 2015, it is also the tallest building in China, a country that has been actively building supertalls in recent decades. Designed by Gensler Architects, Shanghai Tower has 128 floors and is one of the three supertall buildings in the prime area in Pudong. The other two are the Shanghai World Financial Center (492 metres high) and Jin Mao Tower (421 metres high).

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Recently, the tower is named Best Tall Building Worldwide in 2016 by Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Besides that, the tower has also won the Emporis Skyscraper Award 2015. It’s a double joy for the tower. Shanghai Tower has accomplished such level of recognition due to many reasons. Some of them are its elegant spiraling cylindrical form, energy-efficient performance of the building, extraordinary double-skin facade, world’s fastest elevator, etc.

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Shanghai Tower prevailed over other winners in smaller categories in CTBUH Best Tall Buildings selection to take the top prize after winning the Best Tall Building Asia and Australasia. Best Tall Building Americas goes to VIA 57 West, Best Tall Building Europe goes to The White Walls and Best Tall Building Middle East and Africa goes to The Cube. As for the Emporis Skyscraper Award, Shanghai Tower topped the list of their 10 finalist selection. The other 9 in order from top to bottom are Evolution Tower in Russia (no.2), II Dritto in Italy (no.3), Jiangxi Nanchang Greenland Central Plaza in China (no.4), ABODE 318 in Australia (no.5), Icon Bay in United States of America (no.6), D1 Tower in United Arab Emirates (no.7), 432 Park Avenue in United States of America (no.8), Citygate in Austria (no.9) and ICE II in Canada (no.10).

I would love to visit Shanghai Tower and goes up to its observation deck to enjoy the panoramic view of the city and to purchase a replica model of the skyscraper. If you know me well, one of my hobbies is to collect replica models of famous buildings and towers around the world. This hobby is actually very costly, but what can I do since it’s my interest. I have not visited Shanghai before and I am looking forward for a trip to that city in near future. I think I would be very impressed not only by the supertalls in that city, but also by the overall magnificent skyline of the city.

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