Happy Halloween! What’s the coolest Halloween gift you ever receive?


 

This famous painting of the nun from the ‘Conjuring’ film series would be the perfect Halloween gift for your friends! Give it as a surprise Halloween present for your playful friends! Haha. By the way, the painting seriously looks damn creepy. It would be terrifying if you really have this painting in your bedroom, right on the wall across from your bed. And when you turn off the light, the painting is slightly illuminated to reveal yet another sight of horror. I believe no one will dare to hang that up.

The movie ‘The Nun’ which was just released last month has been doing very well at the box office (it has grossed over US$360 million so farĀ  and is already the highest grossing film in the ‘Conjuring’ film series). It does not perform well to the critics though; earning less than 30% at Rotten Tomatoes. Have you watched the movie? It is a must watch if you are a fan of the ‘Conjuring’ film series. James Wan, a Malaysian born Australian film director is the man behind this. A very talented man (he designed this nun’s appearance as well as the creepy Annabelle doll too).

Anyway, Happy Halloween! Until these days, I’m still confused and curious on why do the Western people (or Christians) ‘happily celebrate’ and ‘enjoy with fun’ a festival that remembers the dead and puts ghosts and scary stuff to the spotlight. It is a norm for them to play trick-or-treat, pranks or other games, watch horror movies, attend costume parties, share horror stories, visit haunted attractions, and just enjoy the fun. Try imagine us, the Chinese celebrating Qing Ming Festival or Hungry Ghost Month Festival with games and laughter like Halloween. We would be grilled by the elders due to being very disrespectful. That’s such a different (totally opposite) practice by different culture. We said ‘Happy Halloween!’, but we will never say ‘Happy Qing Ming!’.

Halloween comes and it means this long month of October is finally coming to an end. I’m looking forward to the next two months (last two months of the year) where many holiday is coming such as Deepavali (next week!), Christmas and New Year celebration.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

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‘The Nun’ can be much better but it is still a good addition into the ‘Conjuring’ universe.


I was so looking forward to a full length film for the demonic nun named Valak that first appeared in ‘The Conjuring 2’ movie released 2 years ago. The horrifying doll ‘Annabelle’ that is first introduced from the very first ‘The Conjuring’ film (and is actually based on a real haunted doll of the same name) gets its own 2 movies. After ‘The Conjuring 2’ is released, people couldn’t get their mind off from the haunting visual of the nun and its very own spin-off film is finally released now. I was a little worried before watching it just now as I knew it received mostly negative reviews (scored less than 30% in Rotten Tomatoes). After watching it, I think it deserves more than that rating.

‘The Nun’ is the fifth film in ‘Conjuring’ universe but has a story that acts as a prequel to the whole thing. Sets in 1952 at Romania, the movie revolves on a priest and a novice who are sent by the Vatican to investigate the death of a young nun at a monastery. They together with a guy who first found the corpse of the nun encounter a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun. Many are criticizing the film for having poor story or narrative but I’m in the opposite opinion here. I find that the film has quite a clear plot and an easy to understand flow of story. It is simple and it’s good in a situation where it is not distracting the horror purpose of the movie.

What’s lacking from the film is that it has not much of suspense or building up of fear going on even as it reaches its climax near the end. The previous horror films in this franchise especially the first ‘The Conjuring’ film succeeds because it is extremely good on delivering scenes that build up the tension and intensity to get us to the edge of our seats. This movie relies too much on loud jump scares instead. There are also excessive scenes of the demon lurking and stalking behind the characters without any real frightening content later on besides than those expected jump scares. The film ends up being not as scary as anticipated. The nun appears briefly in ‘The Conjuring 2’ and it scared the hell out from a lot of people. Now, it has its own movie and appeared for a lot of scenes but it already losses its frightening effect. Sometimes (or maybe always) it is good to keep the ghost appearance to be as minimal as possible to make its horror effect much more lasting from various other means.

The production design for the film is brilliant nonetheless. A lot of effort has been put into that to create a creepy ambience that is perfect for a horror story. The setup of the monastery and its interior is worth a praise. The music perfectly fits in and it helps a lot to elevate and magnify the horrifying presence and arrival of the demonic nun. The cast did well on their acting especially Frenchie (the guy who first found the corpse) who are adding some unexpected hilarious content to this horror film. Last but not least, I also like how the first scene and the last scene of the movie link back to the whole ‘Conjuring’ universe. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Nun’ a total of 6.8. It is not that bad actually and it’s a good addition into the ‘Conjuring’ universe. I don’t mind if there is ‘The Nun 2’ since ‘Annabelle’ also has its second film already.

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

Asian Games 2018 update so far and a movie review for ‘The First Purge’.


Asian Games 2018 currently on-going at Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia is reaching its midpoint by now a week after its opening ceremony. China topped the medal tally so far as expected with over 70 gold medals and will stay comfortably on top till the end of the games. Japan is in second now with 34 gold medals while South Korea is in third with 24 gold medals. Iran is on fourth place with 14 gold medals so far while the host country, Indonesia is also doing very well (as predicted too due to home advantage) by being placed at 5th position currently with 10 gold medals.

Where is Malaysia? Malaysia is right now at 19th place with only 1 gold medal, 4 silver medals and 1 bronze medal. We are not performing well so far and it’s quite a challenge to reach our target of getting 7 gold medals. I’m hoping that we could break into the top 10 position but looking from the current situation, that is highly unlikely. We have to further lower down our expectation and it would be fine for Malaysia to just repeat the same achievement they have four years ago at Incheon 2014 with 5 gold medals. It looks like something is needed to be done urgently to bring our national athletes to adequate standard. If not, we will just be in a continuous downhill at international sporting events like this.

I’m only paying attention to badminton. Unfortunately, most of our national badminton players have already been eliminated before even reaching the quarter-final stage. They even failed to clinch any medal for team events. Only two Malaysian men doubles pair are left standing as they manage to get into quarter-final. Lee Chong Wei is not participating in this Asian Games 2018 as he currently quits playing to recover from illness. This means not only that we lost a huge chance to win a gold medal in men single event but this decision also means that Lee Chong Wei will never get to win Asiad (Asian Games champion) title in his career as he is too old for the next edition of the games in 2022.

Let’s move the focus from sports to movies now. ‘Weekend for movie’ is a good plan for me and that applies for this weekend too. There are not many good movies in release currently. I’m more excited for movies next month such as ‘The Nun’, ‘Johnny English Strikes Again’ and ‘The Predator’. I have not much option this month and so I went for ‘The First Purge’. It is the fourth film in The Purge franchise (I have watched all the first three movies in this franchise) and it is a prequel depicting the origins of the first annual ‘Purge’, a 12-hour span once a year in which all crime in America is legal including murder. For this prequel, this ‘Purge’ is being seen as an experiment and it only takes place in Staten Island, New York City.

I enjoyed the first movie in this franchise very much and I’m amazed by the idea of this ’12-hour murder spree’ thing in a film. The first movie is good as it builds up a lot of suspense in a confined environment (the whole story sets entirely in a house and is about the parents protecting their children from a group of outsiders who wanted to purge and broke into their home). As more sequels are coming, they are no longer decent as the direction changes from small-scale intimate setting and suspense building type of movie to large-scale shooting and brainless violence. Excessive unnecessary scenes of people dressed in masks and weird costumes and parading through streets are added in the sequels including this latest film. For me, those are rubbish. I am not here for massive action or gangster kind of movies and I am not here either for weird cosplay on the big screen. I’m here for intense adventure of hide-and-seek game and survival-driven film plot. Recent films in this franchise sway away too much from this more engaging approach. I only get this portion in the last quarter of this ‘The First Purge’ movie when a group of hired killers moved to the apartment block where the main characters are hiding to kill everyone in the block while the main lead character is going in for the rescue. The first half of the movie is very boring and draggy. The momentum only starts to build in the second half and that is very slow. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The First Purge’ a total of 6.0. If there are more sequels coming in for this franchise, I hope they listen to my opinion here.

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

A day in two malls and at Sentosa Island.


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)

Movie review for ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ and 2-billion box office milestone for ‘Avengers: Infinity War’.


Dinosaurs return to the big screen. The fifth film in the Jurassic Park film franchise, ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ opened on international markets much earlier than its debut in the US to our delight. We get to watch it two weeks earlier. The release of this latest film also coincides with the 25th anniversary of the first film that started it all. Can’t believe it has been 25 years already since the first time we are seeing the ‘kids hiding in the kitchen scene’, ‘raptor knowing how to open a door scene’, ‘T-rex saving the day at the end of the movie scene’, etc.

In this ‘Fallen Kingdom’, the story sets few years after the event in ‘Jurassic World’ whereby the theme park is now permanently closed and left abandoned. The dinosaurs roam freely until a volcanic eruption on the island occurred that will put them into extinction once again. Owen and Claire returned to the place to rescue them but were actually tricked to do so by a businessman to make profit by selling them and on the other hand creates another powerful hybrid dinosaur called Indoraptor. Another hybrid dinosaur on the limelight after the terrifying Indominus Rex that brought an end to the ‘Jurassic World’ theme park in the 2015 movie.

I think I have very high expectation before the movie and so after watching it just now, I felt a little disappointed. I have to say that 2015’s ‘Jurassic World’ is better and more exciting than this one. Well, this ‘Fallen Kingdom’ is also worthy of a praise by me mainly due to the fact that the people behind it can still creatively moving the story forward from and after the first four movies. The starting scene of this that features the Mosasaurus escaping is thrilling while there are still some heartstopping scenes after that. However, the level of intensity seems to have gone down and the supposingly climax-reaching scene in the end couldn’t hit me.

The 2015’s ‘Jurassic World’ has a great introduction scene to the opened theme park, had a great flow of story in the middle, and a jaw-dropping finale fight scene between the dinosaurs. All that is gelled into a great and an entertaining movie. This ‘Fallen Kingdom’ couldn’t reach that high standard set by its predecessor, but it is still a good effort. I like the play of light, shadow and colour in this one which delivers it into a darker tone and intended horror buildup of the story (there are still some funny moments to lighten up the mood). Besides that, I am also moved by some very sad moments involving the dinosaurs as the movie also goes deep to the emotional side.

I missed the post-credit scene unfortunately (didn’t know that Jurassic Park movies now beginning to have post-credit scene too) but I knew the details of it already and find it unimportant. Jeff Goldblum is in here but for a very unimportant cameo role who is just present to deliver some golden quotes. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ a total of 7.3. It’s still fun and nice to watch; I will never get bored of another Jurassic Park film.

This movie is expected to gross over US$ 1 billion (I’m thinking about US$ 1.3 billion) in its final box office revenue just like its predecessor. ‘Jurassic World’ in 2015 gained over US$ 1.6 billion worldwide. ‘Fallen Kingdom’ is predicted to earn lesser than that but will still easily cross the 1-billion mark. On the other hand, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is in a certain position to reach the 2-billion box office milestone by end of this weekend or latest by early next week. It will be the only fourth film in history to reach that impressive figure (after ‘Avatar’, ‘Titanic’ and ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’). Now the question is whether it will eclipse ‘Star Wars: The Force Awaken’ which earned US$ 2.068 billion back then for the third spot in the table of highest grossing films of all time (unadjusted for inflation). There is quite a high possibility for ‘Infinity War’ to do so.

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

 

 

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ crosses US$ 1 billion in record time.


You must be joking if you told me that you haven’t watch the ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. You must be belong to the 1% of the world population if you haven’t and didn’t plan to watch it, or you are in China where the movie will only be released this coming week. It is the biggest movie of the year so far and is expected to remain so despite some upcoming major releases like ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ and ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’. You can check out my review for ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is my previous post.

As predicted, this particular movie that saw Marvel superheroes assembled together to take on Thanos broke multiple box office records. It has the biggest worldwide opening at US$ 640.5 million, easily dethroning the previous champion in this record; ‘Fate of the Furious’ that gained US$ 541.9 million in its worldwide debut. The 640.5 million does not even includes China, the second largest market in box office as the movie will only has its premiere in that country on May 11th if I’m not mistaken.

Besides that, the movie has now accumulated over US$ 1 billion in global box office and is the 34th film in history to do so (unadjusted for inflation). ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is the fastest film to reach the milestone, as it only needs 11 days to do that. This is calculated from April 25th, where the movie had its first ever release to today (May 6th, Sunday). It is the second movie of the year to join the 1 billion dollar club, the other being the ‘Black Panther’ which is also from Marvel. What a successful year for Marvel. Marvel’s ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ and ‘Deadpool 2’ will also be released later this year.

Besides than doing well in the box office, ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is also getting positive reviews. It currently has 84% rating from critics and 92% audience score in Rotten Tomatoes, 68% in Metacritics and 8.9/10 from IMDB. Well, DC will be very jealous of these achievements. Their previous film ‘Justice League’ (released last year) that saw a similar assembly of superheroes too only raked in US$ 658 million in its final grossing. Very disappointing. DC, ‘in time, you will know what it is like to lose’ (quote from Thanos).

Let’s get back to Marvel. So what do you think ‘Infinity War’ final box office intake would be by studying its current impressive run in the entire world. I think the movie will end at around US$ 1.8 billion and will be the fourth highest grossing film in history (after Avatar, Titanic and Star Wars: The Force Awakens that have each grossed over US$ 2 billion). I don’t think ‘Infinity War’ is capable of hitting 2-billion. It may have a chance to get near to 1.9 billion. It all depends on whether people will get back to the cinema to watch it the second time or not.

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

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is awesome!


‘Avengers: Infinity War’ is by far my most anticipated movie of the year and I’m so excited that its release has finally arrived. I have watched all the previous 18 MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) films that began 10 years ago with ‘Iron Man’. I’m thrilled and impressed by how far Marvel has gone to in the development of their films with many of them being exceptionally well executed, and them having all the stories culminate into this third Avengers movie.

I’m also amazed by the creative marketing from my country (Malaysia) in promoting this ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ such as installing a lit Avengers logo on the top of the Telekom Tower (Stark or Avengers Tower as shown in the first Avengers movie resembles a lot like the Telekom Tower) and having large visual projection of the film’s advertising on the facade of Suria KLCC mall which is directly at the base of the Petronas Twin Towers.

As for the movie itself, it is awesome! Marvel has accomplished it again by delivering to us an amazing movie of which almost all previously appeared Marvel superheroes assembled again to take on the villain, Thanos who finally collect the Infinity Stones by himself to power up the Infinity Gauntlet and be the most powerful being in the universe. It’s a bit sad of not seeing Hawkeye and Ant-man joining the huge group of superheroes here (I felt a bit incomplete). Anyway, the movie still has all the charm from the multiple exciting battle scenes, some humorous moments and interesting emphasis on the character development of Thanos. He is not just a bad guy who aim to wipe out half the universe and be evil for no purpose. There seems to be reasoning on his part (although I couldn’t agree on his stand) and I praise Marvel for adding this story to refine this particular character.

This makes no time for the superheroes to shine on their own (most of them only has very few lines in the movie), That is reasonable due to the huge number of superheroes involved while most of them already had their arc explained in their past individual films. The whole movie is quite straightforward except the very end which will puzzle the audiences especially those who are not a strong Marvel comic fans. I only understand some of the ending theories as explained by some people out there on the internet. Spoiler ahead; I don’t think all those who are dusted after Thanos snapped his finger from his Infinity Gauntlet complete with all the six Infinity Stones will just died like that. I believe they or some of them may appear again (maybe resurrected?) in the next Avengers movie scheduled next year. And where has Thanos went to in the end? I don’t quite get that. I think I need to research a bit more on the details of the ending. It’s an open conclusion as expected because Marvel will not just end here as there are so much more future plans ahead for MCU.

The battle scenes are fantastic and explosive till I wouldn’t even want to blink for once during those scenes. Besides that, I can really feel the intensity especially when Thanos appears with those amazing score and the CGI of Thanos’ appearance properly worked on. (it’s so cool watching the scene when Thanos used his gauntlet to pull and throw a planet onto the superheroes…and also many other scenes!) It’s actually very hard to make a movie not only about one superhero but to gather a lot of them into a single production with a great villain and plot. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ a total of 8.0. If you haven’t watch it and plan to do so, please stay till the end of the credits for a post-credit scene (typical for Marvel movies).

By the way, this movie is going to make a lot of money in worldwide box office. There is no doubt it will be the second movie of the year to gross over US$ 1 billion after ‘Black Panther’ (currently has US$ 1.3 billion in box office). I’m thinking that this ‘Infinity War’ will hit US$1.8 billion in the end.

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