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Review for TVB drama ‘Bet Hur’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2017 by vincentloy

‘Bet Hur’ (賭城群英會) is a TVB drama directed by famous film director, Wong Jing that revolves on revenge started from a lost in a gambling match between two masters. The revenge continues to the younger generations. The drama is categorized as a gambling drama but gambling is only present on the first and the last episode of the whole 35-episodes series. I was very excited for this drama back then because it is a huge production drama and it has a great cast including those we have long not seen in television before such as Patrick Tse, Nat Chan, and Monica Chan. The drama also starred Kenneth Ma, Charmaine Sheh, Raymond Wong, Samantha Ko, Dominic Ho, Carlo Ng, Joseph Lee, Connie Man, Matt Yeung, Louisa Mak, etc.

What do I think of the drama? One word: Lousy! The drama’s title itself gives a huge false impression. It is so misleading. I am expecting a drama filled with intense gambling, dramatic action scenes and suspenseful plots. I ended up seeing a drama with extremely poor story, illogical plot that doesn’t flow cohesively, and emphasizes more on boring love storyline. I can only see gambling on the first and the last episodes of the drama. That’s it. No thrilling actions or plots going in between. The huge amount of time given to develop the romantic relationship between Dominic Ho and the other two girls is so unnecessary and irrelevant to the whole story. Even the love storyline between Kenneth Ma and Charmaine Sheh is not developed to that level. Everything is not balanced.

The presence of heavyweight cast in this series is a total missed opportunity. They are some great scenes for them to showcase their acting (especially some explosive or death scenes) but they are not enough to save the whole drama. It is a waste to their talents. Nevertheless, Kenneth Ma do has one scene that is amazing but that doesn’t help to push him for any award recognition this year. The old veteran that acted as the nemesis of Patrick Tse in the drama is very poor on voicing out his lines. I always cannot hear what he said. Patrick looks cool at his age but his role is so ’empty’. Nat Chan and Monica Chan couldn’t act and shouldn’t be here at all. Louisa Mak, a newbie actress, performed badly but can be forgiven since this is her first time acting. Her crying (Nat Chan’s crying too) scenes in this drama are awful. Raymond Wong and Connie Man’s characters are very minor and it makes me feel as though they are added to the story just to join in the fun.

I can literally call this drama a rubbish. There is literally nothing going on for almost 30 episodes of the drama. And as the drama nears its ending, the scriptwriter decided to kill as many characters as he/she wants. So many deaths, and surprisingly, I’m not feeling anything. The whole story is badly written. And how about the conclusion? Another bad conclusion. Kenneth’s character has to have evil intentions and has to kill innocent people to win in the end. And he is not going to jail for that? Hmm…that is sending out a bad message to audiences. Charmaine’s character made a good decision to leave him. The only happy thing is at least that the whole bad family is now gone, and the scriptwriter decided to stress on that again and again in the last episode. That is so not necessary.

Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Bet Hur’ a total of 5.0. Out of that 5, 3 points are for the stars and 2 points are for the production effort. No point at all for the story. It’s a total crap. Very disappointed with this series. Let’s get this series out of the mind and I now look forward to the next TVB drama ‘The Unholy Alliance’.

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

 

 

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Week ends with a long wait to a studio’s presentation and ‘The Conjuring 2’ movie after that.

Posted in Interesting Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2016 by vincentloy

Today was the last session for my urban design studio class this semester before submission of portfolio next week. And we have to present verbally on our final detailed masterplan boards today to our lecturers for grading. Fortunately, everything went well and smooth for me, but I have to wait for over 7 hours until my turn to present. That was certainly a long wait as I do came early to pin up my works and I was already getting cold, nervous and tiring at the same time. My presentation went quick and well to my satisfaction and hopefully to my lecturers’ satisfactions as well. A quick look of where I have been stuck in for most of the day today in my campus’ architecture building waiting for my 10-minutes presentation:

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After that, it’s time to relax myself after a stressful time of waiting and preparing to present the works and me and my classmates decided to watch the latest horror movie on the cinema right now; ‘The Conjuring 2’. I seldom watch horror movies right in the theatres because I’m a bit afraid and I’m not usually very attracted to this genre of movies. However, I like the first movie ‘The Conjuring’ and I do hear some early positive reviews about this sequel, and so I decided to watch it in cinema as soon as we finished presenting. It’s also good to support this particular movie as it is directed by a Malaysian-born director, James Wan (whom is now an Australian living in Perth, the same city I’m in now for my study).

Now, let’s talk about the movie. Eventhough it is not as good as the first one (as expected), but this sequel is still a great one to watch. Usually a sequel will be much worst compared to its predecessors but that is not the case for this one. James Wan still delivered on creating another effective horror movie based on the paranormal cases investigated by Ed and Loraine Warren in the past. This one is actually nears the quality for the first one and it is still an excellent movie. What’s interesting to this franchise is that its films didn’t only contain the horror elements, but also successfully engages us into the characters and their relationships and struggles with the demons or spirits in the movies, also enhanced with brilliant acting by the cast.

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I like the cast especially Vera Farmiga whom portrayed Loraine Warren. The young girl that get possessed in this movie also did a very good job. They are all generally being very immersed into their roles and make this story enjoyable (actually horrifying) to watch. This movie also delivered on several very effective jump scares. Its early trailers had revealed some of them but it has a bit more to that. I do freak out in certain unexpected scenes. The demon in the form of a nun in this movie is really very creepy and the image still sticks in my mind right now. She looks extremely scary. The story development also went through well and I do like the beginning part more that focuses on the children experiencing strange happenings in their house. The ending is a bit too rushed and illogical but is still fine and climatic-reaching. Overall, this movie is certainly a wonderful and an excellent piece of horror movie and it has the similar strengths and tactics like the first one (except it uses a bit more CGI for this sequel). I would rate ‘The Conjuring 2’ a total of 8.0. I rate the first movie 8.0 too in the past (three years ago) but now, I would like increase that to 8.1. So, this sequel is only like 0.1 point behind. So you see, this one is really good too.

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

Just finished ‘Master of Destiny’, a Hong Kong joint China TV drama.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2015 by vincentloy

風雲天地 (Master of Destiny) is a Hong Kong joint China television drama created by famous Hong Kong director Wong Jing. At China of which it is aired earlier, the series has a total of 40 episodes as per information from its wikipedia page. However, we in Malaysia (also for Hong Kong) get to watch the version of the series that has only 32 episodes (8 episodes shorter) and the series had just ended with its finale yesterday.

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When this series was at the early planning stage, I’m very excited by news reporting that award-winning actress Deanie Ip will be heading huge list of famous cast in this series helmed by director Wong Jing. Kenneth Ma will also be in the cast. However, both Deanie and Kenneth dropped out and Liza Wang and Edwin Siu were brought in to replace them. Lesser impressive cast, but I would still watch it because it’s refreshing to see a drama by Wong Jing whom is famous for producing brainless yet funny movies back in the 90s.

The series chronicles the rise and the eventual hardships of the affluent Cho family from Hong Kong, which eventually, they fight the corruption that reeks inside their family while being entangled in various troubled relationships. The series starred Liza Wang, Angie Chiu, Hawick Lau, Kenny Wong, Edwin Siu, Kimmy Tong, Natalie Meng, Monica Mok, etc. I thought Angie Chiu, a great veteran actress would have a heavy role here, but in the end, she is more of a minor supporting role only. I thought I would see more of her after her last TVB drama ‘Point of No Return’ 12 years ago that I have watched. Anyway, she is still amazingly beautiful at her current age of 60.

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I decided to watch this series because of its kind of storyline. Revolving on a wealthy family with a huge business background would means a lot of quarrels, scheming and dramas. This series had all that but they are not up to my preferred way or style. There are too many story developments that are not making any sense; the villain (Song Chi Wah) can have so many money on ‘buying’ all the people around on helping to achieve her evil plans like she had nothing else to do besides that, the good girls being too naive (or I should say dumb) for the boys they blindly love, etc. And the thing that I don’t like is the dubbing. Well, I have to get over with it since it is a joint production and it involves cast from mainland China.

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Liza Wang, is as usual, good on her lead role as the tough mother to the family. This year, we saw her in ‘Limelight Years’ and in this one and she was awesome in both of the series. A hardworking veteran actress with solid acting. Hawick Lau is getting more popular now but I think his acting is still not excellent. Just average. Even Kenny Wong and Edwin Siu (as his brothers in the series) were better than him in terms of performances. Also average level of performances by the girls (mostly China’s actresses in this series). I would like to praise Selena Li who portrays the younger version of Liza Wang’s character in the series. She is absolutely fantastic especially in her emotionally-heavy and crying scenes. She should be more acknowledged by TVB by now.

The title of the series suggests something epic, intense and dramatic but the series couldn’t really pull it off especially with the non-engaging storyline and draggy developments as it progresses. I felt bored and uninterested in most of the episodes. I’m left slightly disappointed and now I’m glad the series is over. The happy ending still could not save much of the troubled content of the drama. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Master of Destiny’ a total of 6.8.

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

Movie review: The Conjuring (2013)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 17, 2013 by vincentloy

I have to admit that I don’t usually watch supernatural horror films because I’m scared. I can be easily freaked out with jump-scare moments or terrifying ugly ghost appearance usual in horror films that usually couldn’t get off my mind easily. But why do I decide to watch ‘The Conjuring’? First, it is because that everyone else is saying all the good things about this film. The film is receiving overwhelming positive feedbacks worldwide. Secondly, it’s because the film is directed by James Wan, a Malaysian. I have to support a work by a talented man who was born in the same country as mine.

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The film, centred on two paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, came to the assistance of the Perron family who are experiencing increasingly disturbing events in their farmhouse in Rhode Island in 1971 once they moved in to the new home. It is based on a true story. What! ‘Based on a true story’? You may not believe it, but I already felt the creepiness in the air. I have just finished watching it. Not only horrifying but also exciting at the same time. Can I sleep tonight? Ohh, come on. Don’t be silly. Let’s move on then.

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I have to say ‘The Conjuring’ is an extremely well-crafted horror film. It has a very solid and suspense-building story. No shallow plot here. It started out with Annabelle doll story that doesn’t quite link to the main story but certainly provides a great precedent to what’s following. Then, we were introduced to a family moving into a new house. It first started with a bit of curiosity and ‘hints’ of what’s next, then a bit of creepy here or there before finally reaching the climax when everything unfolds and goes intense just like a ride you would never expect from a horror film.

It certainly has some smartly-delivered and terribly-effective old-school scares. We may have seen a lot of previous horror films with scenes like door moved on its own, lights off in sudden, disturbing sound heard, looking to the back, etc but for this movie, it’s brilliantly presented that created awesome suspense and raise up the intensity as the story uncovers further. Excellent. The casts also contributed solid performance that made the movie so good and ‘real’ as though we are in the situation itself. Thumbs up to the effectiveness of mood and sound effects for shocks that never feel cheap from this movie.

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A horror film would not be successful if it’s easily forgotten. It means there is no unforgettable scary or creepy parts that are worth to be kept in your mind for a time. This is not the case for ‘The Conjuring’. If you had watched it, I’m sure even after some time, you would still remember things like ‘Annabelle’ doll, music box, 3.07am, wardrobe, hide and clap. Generally, it’s a strong, sensational, thrilling, and horrifying movie not to be missed particularly for horror movie fans. I even watched this even when supernatural horror category is never my type. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Conjuring’ a total of 8.0. An impressive score, the highest ever I have given to a horror film ever since I began writing movie reviews several years ago.

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

 

James Wan, a Hollywood director whom actually came from Malaysia

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2013 by vincentloy

Let me give you a question before I start to write on this topic. How many Malaysian film celebrities you know that made it to international fame and appeal? Yes, I guess, only one or two, right? That’s Michelle Yeoh of course (reached beyond Hollywood), and probably Angelica Lee whom had won best actress before in Hong Kong Film Awards and Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards. But do you guys know who is James Wan? By the way, he is not an actor.

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Yesterday, when I had watched the Fast and Furious 6, I did a bit of research regarding the film and its future sequel. This sixth instalment of the franchise is directed by Justin Lin, whom had previously directed also three films of the same franchise. However, he had announced to step aside from the directing work in the upcoming seventh instalment. And the job is passed on to James Wan on which the principal filming would begin by this August. Then, it is written on the article that James Wan is actually a Malaysian-born Australian film producer, screenwriter and film director! He was born in Kuching, Sarawak and was raised in Perth, Australia.

Ohh, Malaysia has actually a directing talent making his name in Hollywood already and yet we didn’t notice that for so long. Now, have you watch any or all of the films in popular ‘Saw’ franchise which focuses on death games or something gruesome like that? If you are a horror fans of such genre, you must be loving this kind of films. Yes, ‘Saw’ franchise is started out by James Wan in collaboration with Leigh Whannell. Surprised right? The man who actually thought of such a brilliant horror theme and paved the way for much more subsequent films in the franchise is actually from Malaysia! Now, the successful franchise had seven films. And I watched all of it. What a great horror franchise! He is the director and writer of ‘Saw’, producer of ‘Saw 2′, Saw 3’ (also writer), ‘Saw 4’, ‘Saw 5’, ‘Saw 6’, and the latest one, ‘Saw 3D’.

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Besides than that, other of his notable works are ‘Dead Silence’, ‘Death Sentence’ and ‘Insidious’. ‘Insidious’ which is a psychological horror film came to be a huge success in box office reception as well as in reviews and ratings worldwide when it is released two years ago. It is James’ most profitable film up to date. He had also directed the film ‘The Conjuring’ and ‘Insidious Chapter 2’ which both are scheduled to be released later this year. Hmm…he seems to be involved only on horror genre. But nope, now he is signed on to direct ‘Fast and Furious 7’ as mentioned earlier.

It’s an action-packed film involving street racing and tackling some sort of heist or other type of crime. No horror element, but the studio is confident by the ability of James Wan and had selected him for the directing job. So, it’s time for James to explore new element, and let’s hope he would do well on it. Malaysia Boleh, right? Haha… And he is now only 36 years old. Long way ahead for him to make further success in Hollywood screen. Perhaps, in near future, his work could win him a best director and best picture awards in Academy Awards. Let’s hope so. Too bad, he is an Australian citizen now, but still had its root in Malaysia. He is one of the local-born talent not many Malaysians know. Now you know it. I only found it out yesterday. Haha…

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

The Hurt Locker wins big in 82nd Annual Academy Awards – Oscars (2010)

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2010 by vincentloy

This morning (yesterday night at United States, 7th March 2010), the 82nd Annual Academy Awards was held, famously-known as the Oscars and is the greatest awards presentation in film industry of the West.

                

I didn’t care much on it, because out of several films nominated, I have only watched one or two, the most famous of all, Avatar. However, it is a great shock that Avatar is not the biggest winner of the night. The record-breaking world highest grossing film worlwide, Avatar, written, produced and directed by James Cameron lost to another film created by his ex-wife, Kathryn Bigelow, the director of the winning film, The Hurt Locker.

         

I have never heard of this film until the results were announced through the media and internet. Many people said that it is a nice movie, but still not as good as Avatar. But then, how come Avatar did not win the grandest, Best Motion Picture? It is probably because Avatar is just famous on its visual effects and technology (which I agree in some aspects) and it’s a high budget production, as well as a comeback film by James Cameron, famous director of the film ‘Titanic’.

                

The performances of actors and actresses in Avatar is good, but not at the best, to be honest. Avatar has a good storyline, good background, good effects…but because it is too famous, it receives not only positive comments, but also negative responses. The film is even better if watched in 3D. The Hurt Locker is not as famous as Avatar, but qualified enough to defeat Avatar to win the Best Picture as well as other main awards in the ceremony. None of the actors and actresses from Avatar is nominated in leading, and supporting roles too. Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Best Director.

Finally, The Hurt Locker won 6 awards while Avatar won only 3. Many thinks that Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay would go to Avatar, but all finally went to The Hurt Locker. What an unexpected results….I should find a time and go watch The Hurt Locker, since it won so many awards…Congratulations to both films, and another one, ‘Up’ as the best animated film eventhough I did not watch it also, but it receives many positive feedbacks.

The full official results of the 2010 82nd Annual Academy Awards:

Best Picture: The Hurt Locker

Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker

Best Actor: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart

Best Actress: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side

Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds

Best Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique, Precious: Based On The Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire

Best Animated Feature: Up

Best Art Direction: Avatar

Best music (original song): The Weary Kind (Theme From Crazy Heart), from Crazy Heart

Best visual effects: Avatar

Best music (original score): Up

Best screenplay (original): The Hurt Locker

Best short film (live action): The New Tenants

Best short film (animated): Logorama

Best documentary (short subject): Music By Prudence

Best documentary (feature): The Cove

Best makeup: Star Trek

Best screenplay (adapted): Precious: Based On The Novel ‘Push’ By Sapphire

Best film editing: The Hurt Locker

Best costume design: The Young Victoria

Best sound editing: The Hurt Locker

Best sound mixing: The Hurt Locker

Best cinematography: Avatar

Best foreign language film: El Secreto De Sus Ojos (Argentina)

    

Salute to James Cameron!

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2010 by vincentloy

Do you know who is James Cameron? People who watch movies will definitely know who he is…He is a very famous director of popular movies of all time. Do you know that the top two films of highest grossing worldwide are directed, written and produced by him?

             

The two movies are Titanic (1997) and Avatar (2009).

Everyone knows Titanic, the movie more than the history. The impact is so deep and great after watching ‘Titanic’. Eventhough it has been released over 13 years ago, nowadays people still want to watch it, for several times, without knowing the word ‘boring’. It is definitely a great film based on history in history. Hope you know what I mean! The romance in the movie is so touching, and the themes portrayed in the film are well-elaborated.

      

The next film is Avatar, only began production in 2005, and released in 2009, last year only. The movie which is released in normal screening and in 3D few weeks later receives much attention due to the storyline, background, the visual and sound effects, the performances, etc… This is basically a great film….a great film does not need to be done in a quick period of time, it is the quality that matters…

  

Both films are definitely great…Titanic is the current highest grossing film worldwide with gross of  over 1,800,000,000 USD, while Avatar is the second highest with gross of over 1,600,000,000 USD.

UPDATED — February 1st, 2010

Avatar movie is now the current highest grossing film worldwide, with gross of over 1,920,000,000 USD, defeating the previous title holder, Titanic. I am wondering if Titanic movie is released to the public again through cinemas screening and in 3D, then it is highly probable that Titanic can snatch the title back, since a lot of people wish to watch it back again, especially in the cinema, and it would be a new and fresh experience in 3D…why not?!

Crazy numbers! Do not forget that the movie Avatar is still in cinema with now in 3D as well, meaning people will get into the cinema to watch it again and again! Hence, the number will be increasing in fast rate. By then, Avatar will be expected to defeat Titanic, which had held the title for 12 years ++.

James Cameron really has the ability to direct movies that could stunt us, amaze us, impact us in a way that no other films can do that. That is why the title of this post is already saluting him, considering him as the best director, writer and producer in history. Yes…he just won the Best Director Award in the recent 2010 Golden Globe Awards for the movie Avatar, and the movie won the Best Picture Award.

  James Cameron poses with 2010 Golden Globes award he picked up for directing 'Avatar.'

He is even inducted as the 2396th star on the famous Hollywood Walk Of Fame. He is predicted to win the same two awards in the upcoming Oscar.

                 

He had also directed other famous films, like Terminator sequels, Aliens sequels, etc. Described by a biographer as part-scientist and part-artist, Cameron has also contributed to underwater filming and remote vehicle technologies.

To check on the latest list of world highest grossing films of all time, go to:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_highest-grossing_films

Eventhough this is a wikipedia site, but all the information is true and referenced, and updated whenever a data changed with proper sources credited.