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Movie review for ‘La La Land’ and ‘Patriots Day’ (2016)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2017 by vincentloy

My blog especially in this month will be filled with more posts on movie reviews. Why? This is the month when all the remaining Oscar-bait films will be released all together before the awards ceremony next month and I love to review on those films. This is also the month for me to catch up back on some 2016 films that I have missed last year. ‘La La Land’ and ‘Patriots Day’ were released recently in the cinemas here in Malaysia but they are considered 2016 films because they have been released last year in other regions or has opened up in some film festivals. And these two movies are so far my top 2 best films of 2016.

I seldom enjoy a musical movie. This genre isn’t an appeal to me much. However, ‘La La Land’ is a total exception as I enjoyed this film very much. It is a romantic musical comedy-drama film with the plot that follows a musician and an aspiring actress who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles. A lot of people including myself are curious on why such film’s title? Then, after a bit of research, I discovered that ‘La La Land’ refers both to the city of Los Angeles and to the idiom for being out of touch with reality which is very related to the message of the movie. I decided to watch this film eventhough its not my appealing genre because it received overwhelming critical acclaim and that it had just won big in Golden Globe Awards recently.

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I watched it, and I can say it is truly an outstanding contemporary musical film. The opening sequence that shows a continuous shot of unexpected massive musical performance on a congested highway in LA is brilliant and immediately sets the right tone for the audiences on what to expect from the remaining of the movie. The story looks ordinary, but once you mix it with musical numbers, excellent performances by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling and a wonderful ‘alternate-reality’ (what if) ending, then the film becomes extraordinary. The film also excelled in all other technical categories like cinematography, production design, costume design, music (songs and background score), etc. The score may sometimes feel repetitive but the melody is so beautiful and it magically gets you immersed into the story. The ending is sad and moving, and it somehow relates very well to the present reality of Hollywood. Sacrificing all others (including your true love) for career. People who watch this movie without thinking a bit further will see this movie as just a typical musical piece. Once you start digesting the inner message, then you will realize that this movie is awesome. But I can assure you that this movie is not complicated. And also great directing with Damien Chazelle. Looks he is locked to be winning the Oscars next month for his directing work here. This movie is look to get a lot of nominations in Oscars too and it certainly deserves it. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘La La Land’ a total of 8.3. And yup…this is my highest-rated film of 2016 so far.

My next movie to review is ‘Patriots Day’. This is an action movie that will appeal to all, including those who doesn’t like to think too much while watching a movie. Well, this movie actually delivered beyond that. The movie is an account of Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis’s actions in the events leading up to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the aftermath, which includes the city-wide manhunt to find the terrorists behind it. It is based on the true tragic event of Boston Marathon Bombing in April 2013 that killed 3 civilians and injured 264 others. Its subsequent manhunt activity to capture the two brothers behind the bombing resulted in the death of 2 police officers too. I eventually searched online for more details regarding this tragedy after watching the movie.

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I don’t know exactly how much fictional drama is added to the story to makes it more intense and dramatic but I can see that the film did stays true and accurate to the real events of the bombing and its aftermath including the selection of cast that matches closely to the real persons. It’s also nice to see real footages throughout the movie to give out a more real experience to viewers that this ‘shit’ do really happened. It is sad to watch this film that is actually based on something real and I must say that terrorism should end not only in US but also in all parts of the world. I’m deeply moved by a dialogue spoken by the real surviving victims of the tragedy in the end of the movie that says ‘people are not the victims of violence, but ambassador of peace’ after learning of many terrorist attacks in the past. That is what the movie is trying to deliver besides than the typical explosive and action-packed scenes. The story is engaging, the manhunt and shooting scenes are intense, and the scene showing that the whole Boston city is strong after the attack is touching. Mark Wahlberg did another good job in his main role here as a police officer. This movie reminded me of ‘Deepwater Horizon’, another based-on-real-tragedy movie released last year too that also starred Mark Wahlberg and also with Peter Berg directing (he directed this ‘Patriots Day’ too). ‘Deepwater Horizon’ is a good movie but not as good as this ‘Patriots Day’ that stood out with a more engaging and suspenseful plot. It is a solidly crafted tribute to the people who died or affected from the tragedy. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Patriots Day’ a total of 8.0.

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

My review for 4 movies in a row….yes, I watched 4 movies in less than a week.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2016 by vincentloy

I think there is nothing better than spending the beginning part of my semester break on new movies. I have many films to catch up on, and while I managed to watch one by one of them, more and more new ones are on their way to hit cinemas. I noticed that there are a lot of highly anticipated new movies coming out recently (and more soon). Well, it should be since it’s the summer holiday season over in US (it’s the total opposite; winter now here in Australia). The 4 movies that I have watched recently in less than a week are ‘Warcraft’, ‘Finding Dory’, ‘The Angry Birds Movie’ and ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’.

‘Warcraft’ is a fantasy film based on the popular video game of the same name, and it sets on the fictional world of Azeroth. It would be a surprise to inform you that I have not played that game before and I have no knowledge of what’s the setting of the story and its world is all about. I just watched this for pure entertainment. I’m quite blur in the beginning when I have to digest the names and the characters. I just take it lightly and I ended up find this movie actually quite enjoyable, in contrary to the very poor reception it has over on popular critics’ sites. This movie is also making big money in China to my surprise. And I didn’t even know which character is Daniel Wu portraying in this movie. In the end after a quick research only I found out that he is the main bad guy with magic abilities, the Guldan. Couldn’t realize that with all the extensive CGI and sound effects. Overall, I rate ‘Warcraft’ a total of 6.4. It looks like the ending of the movie hints of more sequels coming in in the future (as expected).

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Next is ‘Finding Dory’, the sequel to the highly successful award-winning ‘Finding Nemo’. ‘Nemo’ was released 13 years ago and it’s such a high nostalgic feeling to watch this underwater adventure story again. The first one was awesome, and this sequel that changes the attention from the clown fish to the blue tang didn’t disappoints too. The cute little Nemo and his father are still here, but the limelight is on the much funnier Dory that has a short term memory loss, and is lost, and has to find her parents in a marine park. It’s fun, engaging, and beautiful to watch, suitable for both adults and kids. And it is now making a lot of money across the world as expected. This is going to be the next 2016 film to cross over US$ 1 billion in grossing. I enjoyed this a lot, just like the first one. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Finding Dory’ a total of 8.0.

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We are only halfway there. Hang in there. Next up is ‘The Angry Birds Movie’. Another movie based on a popular video game, but this one is animated. I did play that game but not for long as my interest on it comes and goes very fast unlike some others. I still remember there was a period of time when almost everyone is playing it. Now, I don’t think so…its popularity fades quickly as well in this world where trends change quickly. It’s also a fun movie to watch but is not on Dory’s level yet. Hmm…I shouldn’t compare it that way and I would still like to compliment the effort of turning a simple video game into a movie with quite a nice storyline. It is also the directorial debuts for two talented people. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Angry Birds Movie’ a total of 6.9.

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Finally, the last movie review for the post. ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ needs no further introduction. It’s a sequel to the 1996’s Independence Day movie that had us saw the world (particularly US as usual) destroyed by huge alien ships. Twenty years later, its sequel has finally came with much bigger alien ship returning to destroy the world. I came for the movie with high expectation, and in the end, I’m quite disappointed. Roland Emmerich is the ‘Master of Destruction’ with spectacular visual effects on city’s destruction scenes in many of his past directed movies like ‘The Day After Tomorrow’, ‘2012’, etc. I’m looking forward to that here as hinted from its trailers themselves. However, it turned out that the movie only shown us that in a minute or two out of the overall 2-hours length of the movie. Huge disappointment for me who likes to see disasters in movies.

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Anyway, one plus point for changing the attention now from typical US landmarks to Asian landmarks now in this sequel (Marina Bay Sands and Singapore city, Petronas Twin Towers, Burj Khalifa dropping on London’s famous attractions like London Eye and Tower Bridge). Most of the destruction scenes are already in the trailer. That is what makes me angry and I hoped to see more of those heart-stopping sequences. On the other hand, it’s actually nice to see new cast mixed with the original cast (love to see Jeff Goldblum again) in this movie that worked out quite well. The visual effects are good (but not the best I have seen) and the score is not that powerful enough. It fells flat most of the time and it could be so much better in my opinion. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ a total of 6.1.

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

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! Mooncakes…my favourite.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2015 by vincentloy

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival (or Mooncake Festival or Lantern Festival or whatever you called it) to all my Chinese families, relatives, friends, neighbours, colleagues, or whoever out there reading this and do celebrate it! The festival which falls on the 15th day of the 8th month on Chinese lunar calendar is one of the most important festivals in Chinese tradition. It is even made a public holiday in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. But why not in Malaysia too? Hmmm….we felt sad of not getting a holiday for this major festival.

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Anyway, forget about holiday and let’s put our focus on the positive meaning behind this celebration. This Mid-Autumn Festival is meant for whole family to gather together under the bright full moon, and is emphasizing on three fundamental concepts; gathering (family and friends), thanksgiving (give thanks for the harvest or for harmonious unions), and praying (moon worshipping in hope for conceptual or material satisfaction). Let’s make it simple; it’s all about family harmony. So, please do stay with the family today (it’s convenient since it’s Sunday and everybody is not going to work or school) and enjoy dinner and chats with mooncakes tonight. Kids can have fun and play lanterns and candles tonight.

Leave your tablets or smartphones away and indulge in the true meaning behind this wonderful festival. Have a try on delicious mooncakes, a bakery product which is specially made for this celebration. Now, there is a lot of variety to the flavours of mooncakes available for sale from many different brands here in Malaysia (Kam Lun Tai, Tai Thong, Overseas, Baker’s Cottage, etc). I love mooncakes, and since I can only eat them for only a short period of time in a year, I would be willing to buy many of them. Recently, not only I do bought two boxes of mooncakes from Tai Thong that cost me over RM100 (even after discounts) and additional two boxes of jelly mooncakes (another RM64 spent), but I also sometimes bought some mooncakes from a hawker stall that I frequently visited to buy my breakfasts in weekdays.

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Mooncakes taste good and I especially like the original ones (lotus paste with yolk). I also enjoyed the snow-skin and the durian-flavoured ones. But buying many of them is very costly now. My wallet hurts. If I’m not buying them, my home would be empty without any mooncakes to taste (all my other family members didn’t really quite like mooncakes), and that would make the festival ’empty’ and ‘meaningless’ to my family. Anyway, I really ate quite a lot of mooncakes this year, since my generous colleagues were offering mooncakes in the office many times recently. I’m not tired of it (just like how I’m not tired of eating my favourite durian…haha).

Anyway, Happy Mid-Autumn Festival once again!

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

Malaysia Day, a day which is supposed to remind us that we are all Malaysians, but the red-shirt rally planned today goes against it.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2015 by vincentloy

Ahh..it’s a nice Wednesday when you don’t need to wake up early to go to work. It’s holiday in conjunction with Malaysia Day celebration. Today marks the 52nd anniversary of formation of Malaysia since the country comprising of Peninsular Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak first became official in 16th September 1963. Singapore was part of Malaysia back then but it withdrew to form its own nation two years later. The island republic did marked its 50th anniversary in a grand-scale celebration not long ago.

What a nice feeling when it’s just the middle of the week and yet you don’t need to go to work. For children, their holiday is extended to two continuous days since all schools in several states including capital, Kuala Lumpur were closed yesterday due to the worsening haze. The Air Pollution Index on yesterday’s midnight reached very unhealthy level, hence resulting in closure of schools in badly affected regions. Now, I felt jealous to them for having so many holidays as the kids would also be enjoying a whole week of break next week too.

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It’s Malaysia Day and it is supposed to be the day to remind us that we are all Malaysians. We are all united and live harmoniously among each other in this nation for many decades. We should not be divided to Malays, Chinese or Indians, as we are all simply Malaysians. With the past Bersih 4.0 rally held on 31st August (on Merdeka Day) to call for clean and fair government that saw turnouts of huge number of Chinese, some Malay-based organizations saw red over it and considered that as the threat to the Malays. Another brainless mindset going on….And so, these organizations would be organizing a rally today calling for gathering of all Malays to counter the yellow (Bersih) rally by wearing red.

Bersih 4.0 rally came with a clear positive objective: to call for transparent leadership and clean government. That’s a logical reason behind the organization of this demonstration. Now, there is this red-shirt rally that acts as an anti-Bersih movement. So, does that means that these people want a dirty government and a corrupted prime minister? Since when the Chinese threaten the Malays? Honestly, I only felt the otherwise and we just live with it and move on. I wonder what these organizations are thinking? Or are they not using their mind for once at all? These people are just blindly supporting the government without trying to evaluate things for a second. I’m not even going to elaborate all the racist actions these people did. If not, it would be a novel written here.

Let’s say no to racism and say no to this kind of red-shirt rally. This is pointless. Even former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir said it is meaningless and should not proceed. What all Malaysians should do now is to stay strong and united in this time of fragile economy, low ringgit value, high cost of living, and negativity to our national image thanks to all the scandals involving our Prime Minister Najib that are known worldwide now. Why is he still up in the post? What a thick-skinned man with an overly-spending wife.

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Anyway, Happy Malaysia Day! Besides than a public holiday to be happy for, there is nothing to celebrate or be proud of on this very special day anymore as long as the present government is still here leading the country to a dark corner.

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

 

Yellow everywhere for this year’s Merdeka Day.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2015 by vincentloy

First of all, I would like to wish Happy National Day to Malaysia!

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Today, in the last day of the month, the nation celebrates 58th anniversary of independence. I’m glad that the country is still stable and peaceful after 58 years, but things are not turning good either. The country has been marred by many negative issues recently such as  alarming drop in our currency, implementation of burdening GST, corruption scandal by Prime Minister, inefficiency of handling MH370 tragedy, debts of 1MDB, etc. In fact, I have been saying all these quite frequently in my recent blog posts.

These are some of the things that brought the image of the country down. Many foreign press are writing very much negatively about our country now. We can’t blame them since these are the truths. Hence, many Malaysians felt that having another street demonstration is the best way to put pressure on the sickening government and to show to them of how united we are in opposition to the current country’s leadership that contributed to all these. ‘Bersih 4.0’ is then held successfully with huge number of turnouts in the past two days. Many of my relatives and friends attended the rally. It was also a very peaceful street protest with no violence or scuffle occurring. Even our former premier, Tun Dr. Mahathir attended the rally. Wonderful.

I’m actually surprised by the low attendance of our Malay friends. I recalled in the past ‘Bersih’ rallies, Malays make up about 70 to 80 percent of the participants. Now, in ‘Bersih 4.0’, the Chinese took up the majority. Where are you guys? No matter which political parties you are supporting, we should see the bigger picture and focus on the problems the nation is currently facing. All Malaysians are impacted no matter which race you belong to, and hence, do ‘come out’ and show our frustration. The people should not be afraid of its government. The government should be afraid of its people.

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Well, in response to the rally, our Prime Minister, Najib, called the participants shallow and unpatriotic, and that the event tarnished the country’s image. Another hilarious and brainless statement. Malaysians participated and supported the rally because they still love and care for the nation. They were willing to sleep on the street outside at night just to keep their determination to go against the current government. PM, you are the one being shallow for saying such a remark. And by the way, you are the one bringing down the nation’s image. It’s such a shame you didn’t realize that. Many ‘Bersih 4.0’ rallies were also conducted in many foreign countries in similar objective. The spirit is not only in KL but also across the world where Malaysians are present.

It’s definitely yellow everywhere for this year’s Merdeka Day. I sincerely hope that all these negativity revolving around the present government would be over soon, and that means there is only one way to do it, have them replaced. Then, only that the nation can celebrate ‘Independence Day’ more peacefully and meaningfully in near future. The rally was over, but we will not give up on fighting for our nation. That’s the real patriotic spirit our PM will never understand. Maybe he thinks that getting 2.6 billion for himself …opps…for his party is the most patriotic action of all. Haha…

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

 

May 1st, Happy Labour Day and it’s the start of Expo Milano 2015.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2015 by vincentloy

First of all, Happy Labour Day! Time to give yourself a much deserved break as the year is almost half way over. What’s better than enjoying four days of break continuously here in Malaysia. We have Labor Day today (Friday), then typical weekend on this Saturday and Sunday, and replacement holiday for Wesak Day on Monday since it falls on Sunday. A long break, and a perfect opportunity for you to maybe take a short vacation, go out for movies and relaxation, or simply just stay at home comfortably for a good rest.

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It looks like it’s going to be quite a short month. About less than 4 weeks of work this month compared to April when there is not a single holiday and there was like about 5 weeks of work. This is the month I’m not going to be stressed by work anymore as I think it should be the time for me to make the next step; take Master study abroad by middle of this year after three years of working in KL. Many of my friends have even graduated in Master already, and I should not be left behind.

On the other hand, today marks the start of the Expo Milano 2015. It is a universal exposition, held once in every five years in various developed cities across the world. The last edition of the expo is the highly publicized Shanghai 2010 World Expo. Remember that? So fast, that’s already half a decade ago. Now, world’s attention is on Milan, the host city of 2015 Expo from May 1st to October 31st (typical duration of 6 months). The central theme of the expo is ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’.

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Expo Milano 2015 will talk about the problems of nutrition and the resources of our planet. The idea is to open up a dialogue between international players, and to exchange views on these major challenges which impact everyone. Milan will become a global showcase where more than 140 participating countries will show the best of their technology that offers a concrete answer to a vital need: being able to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the Planet and its equilibrium. In addition to the exhibitor nations, the Expo also involves international organizations, and expects to welcome over 20 million visitors to its 1.1 million square meters of exhibition area.

A platform for the exchange of ideas and shared solutions on the theme of food, stimulating each country’s creativity and promoting innovation for a sustainable future, Expo 2015 will give everyone the opportunity to find out about, and taste, the world’s best dishes, while discovering the best of the agri-food and gastronomic traditions of each of the exhibitor countries. One of the highlights of the expo is also the many interesting exhibition pavilions constructed temporarily for the expo. My country, Malaysia’s pavilion looks good (designed based on seed form) and much better this time compared to the traditional-looking structure back in Shanghai 2010 Expo.

In conjunction with the opening of this global event, Expo Milano 2015, my blog’s header of the month will be dedicated to introduce and promote this wonderful expo to the world, especially to those who have not even heard of it yet. It’s important to broaden and expand our knowledge and exposure to all parts of the world. If you are the lucky ones who will be visiting the expo, you can share your thoughts here.

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

Movie review: Triumph in the Skies (2015)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2015 by vincentloy

‘Triumph in the Skies’ is the first film of 2015 that I watched. It is a Hong Kong film and it is an adaptation of a successful TVB series franchise of the same name. However, the movie version is not related to the storyline in the two television dramas from that particular franchise. It brought back some original casts (Francis Ng, Julian Cheung, Kenneth Ma, Elena Kong) but with addition of more (Louis Koo, Sammi Cheng, Charmaine Sheh and Amber Kuo) to add up the glamour to the film version.

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What I dislike mostly regarding the film is its plot that is broken down to three separate love stories; Francis and Sammi as a pair, Louis and Charmaine as another pair, and lastly, Julian with Amber. I’m already not a fans of romance movie, and this movie even had three of those to deliver. Oh my God…I can’t stand it. Focusing on one pair is already enough. Eventhough each of the three love stories are quite interesting on their own, but putting them up all together in a single movie is a bit too crowded and makes way for things under-developed. There isn’t enough story development to create spark in this romance-based film, but if they want to go with that, then we might even end up with an over three-hours long movie. A big NO to that too.

Wait…I thought this is supposed to be a pilot-centred drama in the first place. Now, it’s about romance and relationships all over the place. After a scene had shown enough of this pair, then it will switch to the next one, and we saw just the repetition of that in the entire movie till each stories end with very much predictable happy ending. The outcome is quite a boring movie that is only saved by some beautiful sceneries captured in the film. No doubt that this movie delivered fantastic cinematography. I’m worried that it is the only compliment I had for the movie. Ahh…one more…I also enjoyed some light-hearted and hilarious moments in the movie. But those are very little. This isn’t a comedy after all.

As for performance category, nobody stood out since everyone of the main casts had their fair share of time on screen. The only most interesting character in this movie is T.M., portrayed by Sammi Cheng. I like the scene when she performed ‘hit wall’ moves for a commercial with the awkward Francis. I also enjoyed the scene when she explained how she had the ‘T.M.’ nickname. But like I said earlier, none of the characters is given the opportunity to excel in this film that emphasizes too much on the ‘love’ matters unnecessarily.

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After watching this movie, you will find yourself loving the TVB series (Triumph in the Skies I and II) more. But this movie is still recommended especially for those sweet couples planning to spend their lovely Valentines together in a cinema. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Triumph in the Skies’ (film version) a total of only 6.8. Disappointing. I am expecting things would turn out good when the movie started with the popular theme song by Eason Chan. It raises the bar but everything just went downhill with all the unappealing love stories. It fails to triumph in the skies.

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