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‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is the latest film to join 1-billion dollar club and movie review for ‘Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2018 by vincentloy

As expected, the latest film in the Star Wars film franchise, ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ has grossed over US$ 1 billion on its worldwide box office recently. The movie reached the milestone only about three weeks from its release date. As of 2nd January 2018, the film has grossed US$ 1.056 billion (US$ 533 million from US and Canada and US$ 523 million from all other markets). It is very seldom that the international intake is more than the domestic intake for a film and this ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is an example. It proves that this film franchise is intensely popular in US. On its release week, it has the second largest opening ever if I’m not mistaken.

The movie is now one of the four films in 2017 that grossed over US$ 1 billion respectively. It is currently the 22nd highest grossing film of all time but that ranking is expected to rise further as the movie still observes high attendance from all parts of the world and that it has not even released in China yet. I’m expecting that it will have a final box office intake of somewhere around US$ 1.5 billion. It will not come close to 2015’s ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ that has gained US$ 2.068 billion to become world’s 3rd highest grossing movie of all time (unadjusted for inflation). ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ will ultimately topped the chart as the highest grossing 2017 film, defeating ‘Beauty and the Beast’ that stands at US$ 1.263 billion. The conclusion is; whenever you are producing a Star Wars film, you are sure to get over 1-billion dollar box office return. I’m not a fans of this franchise and I have not watched it yet (no huge interest on it).

Now, let’s talk about another movie and I’m giving my quick review to it now. It’s ‘Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle’. I watched it two weeks ago. It’s a sequel to the first ‘Jumanji’ film in 1995(and 2005’s ‘Zathura: A Space Adventure) and has its story set 21 years after the first film. I remembered those two films and I loved both of them. The plot now follows four teenagers who are transported into the video game world of Jumanji, playing as the characters they chose, and must beat the game in order to return home. It is no longer based on a board but rather on a video game. The movie starred Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, etc.

I had a great time watching it. There was so much fun in this movie. Hilarious moments in almost every scenes, gorgeous visuals, likable cast, and great actions. This is one of the most entertaining movies that I have watched in recent years. I’m happy that Hollywood decides to remake ‘Jumanji’. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle’ a total of 7.8. I am seeing Dwayne Johnson everywhere. He is taking up so many movies (Fast and Furious franchise, San Andreas, Journey to the Mysterious Island, G.I.Joe: Retaliation, Central Intelligence, and upcoming Rampage, etc) right now, and is a much needed actor for movies that require an extreme body physique.

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

 

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2017 films that I have watched and list of 10 highest grossing films for the year.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2017 by vincentloy

2017 is coming to an end soon. This is the time for me to have a post that compiles a list of films released in 2017 that I have watched. This has been a tradition of my blog here for several years by now.

Hollywood films in 2017 that I have watched:

(The asterisks indicate my personal rating for each movies. 5 is the maximum. The ones in bold are my top 10 selection)

  1. Eloise. ***
  2. Rings. **
  3. Logan. ***
  4. Kong: Skull Island. ***
  5. The Space Between Us. ***
  6. Beauty and the Beast. ****
  7. Life. ***
  8. The Boss Baby. ****
  9. The Fate of the Furious. ****
  10. The Bigfoot Project. *
  11. Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume II. ***
  12. Alien: Covenant. ***
  13. Wonder Woman. *****
  14. The Mummy. ***
  15. Power Rangers. ***
  16. Split. ***
  17. Get Out. ****
  18. Despicable Me 3. ***
  19. Baby Driver. ***
  20. Dunkirk. ***
  21. Spider-man: Homecoming. ***
  22. 47 Meters Down. ***
  23. War for the Planet of the Apes. *****
  24. It Comes At Night. *
  25. Annabelle: Creation. ***
  26. It. ****
  27. Transformers: The Last Knight. ***
  28. Leatherface. **
  29. Cult of Chucky. *
  30. Zombies. *
  31. Open Water 3: Cage Dive. ***
  32. The Emoji Movie. ***
  33. Happy Death Day. *****
  34. Jeepers Creepers 3. **
  35. Thor: Ragnarok. ***
  36. Victoria And Abdul. ***
  37. Justice League. ****
  38. Geostorm. ****
  39. Serpent. **
  40. American Assassin. ***
  41. Kingsman: The Golden Circle. ****
  42. The Foreigner. ***
  43. Stronger. ***
  44. Mother! **
  45. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. ****
  46. Birth Of The Dragon. *
  47. Beyond Skyline. ***
  48. The Son Of Bigfoot. ***
  49. Battle Of The Sexes. ****
  50. Call Me By Your Name. ****
  51. Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle. ****
  52. Unhinged. *
  53. Lady Bird. ****
  54. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. ***
  55. I, Tonya. ****
  56. The Disaster Artist. ***
  57. Coco. *****
  58. Breathe. ****
  59. The Shape of Water. ****
  60. Jigsaw. ****
  61. Tulip Fever. ***
  62. Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets. ****
  63. Darkest Hour. ***

Malaysian Film in 2017 that I have watched:

(The asterisks indicate my personal rating for the movie. 5 is the maximum.)

  1. KL24: Zombies. *

Thailand Film in 2017 that I have watched:

(The asterisks indicate my personal rating for the movie. 5 is the maximum.)

  1. Bad Genius. ****

Chinese (Hong Kong/China/Taiwan) Films in 2017 that I have watched:

(The asterisks indicate my personal rating for each movies. 5 is the maximum. The ones in bold are my top 1 selection)

  1. Kung Fu Yoga. *****
  2. Love Contractually. ***
  3. Cook Up A Storm. ****

The list above is to be updated accordingly as I’m still on track to watch some new 2017 films soon. Looking at the current progress, I have been watching much lesser films this year compared to last year (2016). So far up until 11th January 2018, I have only watched 68 films. The reasons for that are that I have been spending more time on my study this year (especially on my thesis work) and there are not much films this year that appeal to me. You would have also noticed that I have been writing much lesser movie reviews this year (maybe I’m tired of it already).

December 2017 to February 2018 would be the period of time that I’m going to catch up on more 2017 films just to wrap it up on time before the Academy Awards to be held on March 2018. I have a lot of Oscar-bait movies to catch up later too and I’m looking forward to that. Hence, the total number of 2017 films that I have watched is expected to rise in the coming days/months but it would still be below the amount achieved for 2016 films for sure.

So now, here’s the list of top 10 highest grossing 2017 films as of 11th January 2018:

  1. Beauty and the Beast. US$ 1.263 billion.
  2. The Fate of the Furious. US$ 1.235 billion.
  3. Star Wars: The Last Jedi. US$ 1.222 billion.
  4. Despicable Me 3. US$ 1.033 billion.
  5. Spider-Man: Homecoming. US$ 880 million.
  6. Wolf Warrior 2. US$ 870 million.
  7. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. US$ 863 million.
  8. Thor: Ragnarok. US$ 850 million.
  9. Wonder Woman. US$ 821 million.
  10. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. US$ 794 million.

Four films this year successfully joined the 1-billion dollar club. ‘Beauty and the Beast’, the live-action remake of the 1991 animated film of the same name topped the chart this year and also becomes the 10th highest grossing movie of all time. ‘The Fate of the Furious’, the eight installment of the franchise comes close by taking the 11th spot in the all-time chart. Despicable Me 3 is the highest grossing animated movie this year and it shows that the popularity towards the little minions has not dies down yet. The same cannot be said for ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ franchise as its latest film is not getting great box office result like its predecessors which shows that the interest to this franchise is going downhill now.

Out of the 10 films above, I have watched all but ‘Wolf Warrior 2’ and ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’. The former is a Chinese film and is the only non-Hollywood film that is listed on the all-time worldwide top 100 box office. And as for the latter, I’m not a Star Wars fans…enough said. But this latest entry to the Star Wars franchise is going to end up taking the top spot for the year with expected final grossing of around US$ 1.5 billion. The famous ‘It’ movie became the highest grossing horror film in history (unadjusted for inflation) and is a huge box office success with a grossing that nears US$ 700 million. It is now the 11th highest grossing film of the year.

(Post originally written on 21st December 2017 and has been updated on 11th January 2018)

Movie review for ‘Annabelle: Creation’ (2017), ‘It’ (2017) and a big news for ‘Despicable Me 3’ (2017).

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2017 by vincentloy

Hmm…I’m up to some horror movies recently. Well, it is the Hungry Ghost Festival now and it further sets the mood to watch some scary movies in these weeks.

‘Annabelle: Creation’ is a supernatural horror film that acts as a prequel to 2014’s ‘Annabelle’ movie and is the fourth installment in ‘The Conjuring’ film series. Remember the freaky Annabelle doll from the first ‘The Conjuring’ movie? The real doll (by now, you should already know that there is really a true story behind the doll) actually looks much more friendlier but of course for a horror movie purpose, a new doll with scary features has to be created. And then, it became so popular that it has its own stand-alone movie. And that’s not enough. Now, we have a prequel to that stand-alone film that drives from another film. And after the success of ‘The Conjuring 2’ as well, we will have a new stand-alone movie for that creepy nun too, soon (next year).

Let’s get back to the movie. It tells the story of a family who has its one and only daughter killed in a freak traffic accident. After that, the couple experienced strange things in the house and they assumed it was their daughter. But it’s not; it’s a demon craving for some horror and manifest itself in a doll. Several years later, the couple welcomed a group of girls and a nun to their house and the demon resurfaces to haunt and possess the children. This movie is slightly better than 2014’s Annabelle. The doll itself is still very creepy eventhough I have seen it many times by now. However, I find that this film series now is showing more and more of the demon’s feature (a black figure with horns?) and that somehow didn’t quite make it that scary anymore for me. Too much have been shown. The intense horrific and heart-stopping atmosphere has been toned down in my personal opinion. However, I am still impressed by some scary scenes or old school tactics used in the movie. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Annabelle: Creation’ a total of 7.2. I also like that the ending of this movie links to the starting scene of 2014’s Annabelle for a sort of continuity.

Next horror movie I have just watched is ‘It’. What a name. Just ‘it’. That ‘it’ refers to a clown called Pennywise. It is a supernatural horror film based on a novel by Stephen King and tells the story of a group of 7 children in Derry who are terrorized by the eponymous being, mostly in the form of a clown. First of all, I have to say I hate clowns. There’s the irony. Clown is created to entertain kids, but they turned out scaring them, and that’s the point for this movie (and also for several other movies in the past too). The movie delivered an effective horror outcome but it didn’t quite scare me. But if a kid is watching this, I’m sure he or she will be very terrified. It just didn’t work out for adults.

However, I still have to compliment the movie for being very effective as said earlier. The story is straight to the point, fast-paced, and covered a lot on these characters of innocent kids. These kids gave a very good performance in this movie. Another extra point to the movie is for its emotional grasp. I do felt the friendship between these kids and the sadness of one of them for losing his younger brother and his dedication to find him. However, this movie also sends out a bad message; implying that fat boy will not get the girl while a handsome one will. You will know once you have watched this movie. There is also some unexpected funny scenes throughout the movie. The clown is creepy and without any background knowledge of this story, I would say that it is all just the fear in the mind of these kids (the clown isn’t real?). Out of 10 points, I rate ‘It’ a total of 7.8. Now, this is just Chapter One as revealed at the end of the movie and I’m looking forward to Chapter Two which is going to be set 27 years later when they all turned into adults (of course will have older cast to replace them for those characters). This movie is safe for adults. Warning: just don’t bring kids to watch this. It is going to be a hell for them.

Let’s not talk about the horror stuff anymore. There’s a good news, and it’s about ‘Despicable Me 3’, an animated movie released few months back. The movie became the 31st movie in the history to gross over US$ 1 billion in worldwide box office. The achievement is accomplished as this week ends. It is now the 6th highest grossing animated film of all time and also the 3rd highest grossing film in 2017. That’s impressive. It is a good news to this movie as it will be out of the worldwide theatres very soon and yet it managed to cross the milestone and join the 1-billion club.

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

‘The Fate of the Furious’ becomes the 30th film in history to cross over US$ 1 billion in worldwide box office.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2017 by vincentloy

‘The Fate of the Furious’ is now officially the 30th film in history to gross over US$ 1 billion in worldwide box office. It is the second film in the ‘Fast and Furious’ film series to accomplish the milestone. The other film is  ‘Furious 7’ that has grossed a total of US$ 1.516 billion worldwide in 2015 which placed it as the world’s 6th highest grossing film. Gaining over US 1 billion in worldwide box office is a no easy feat. A movie has to be a super massive hit in theatres worldwide to join the billion dollar club. It is incredible to see that there are now a total of 30 films that have done that.

As of today, ‘The Fate of the Furious’ has earned US$ 193 million in domestic box office (North America) and US$ 868 million in foreign box office for a total of slightly over US$ 1 billion. Well, this is not the final box office intake yet at the movie is still in its wide release period. Hence, this movie is expected to earn about US$ 1.3 billion in the end. It will be slightly lower than the amount ‘Furious 7’ achieved due to the latter’s extreme popularity back in 2015 after the death of one of its main cast, Paul Walker. Anyway, it is still a huge box office success for this latest 8th installment of the film series. It is doing exceptionally well oversea. You can read my review of this movie in my previous blog post too. It is a good movie (has some crazy stunts as expected) but it is not as fantastic as ‘Furious 7’. I also read news that this film series will end with 10 films. Hence, two more to go. Would you believe it? I think after the 10th film, Hollywood will just replace all the cast and do some sort of spin-off or remake again, not in a single film but setting off another franchise again. Typical Hollywood pattern.

‘The Fate of the Furious’ is also the second movie this year to cross the milestone after ‘Beauty and the Beast’, the live-action remake of the animated classic of the same name in 1991. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ has now gained over US$ 1.1 billion and its box office intake is still not ending yet. Which movie do you think will be the next film of the year that will cross the 1-billion mark? I think ‘Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume II’ has the potential to achieve that. It has already been released here in Australia but I don’t have the time and opportunity to watch it yet. Other potential films released later this year that will have a shot on 1-billion box office are Spiderman: Homecoming, Justice League, Transformers: The Last Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Despicable Me 3 and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Unlike last year of which animated movies are doing exceptionally strong in worldwide box office (with 2 animated films grossing over 1 billion respectively), it is likely not the same case for this year. The only animated movie predicted to cross that mark is Despicable Me 3. This year, superhero movies are going to dominate cinemas worldwide. And of course, topping the chart for this year’s movies will be the Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It is almost a 100% confirmation that it will cross 1-billion mark and will go as far as above US$1.5 billion too. However, it is projected to be earning not as much as the Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015 which has earned US$ 2.068 billion.

That’s it for my box office analysis in this post.

(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) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Barberí Laboratory, 2008, Olot, Girona, Spain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Row House, 2012, Olot, Girona, Spain

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

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La Cuisine Art Center, 2014, Nègrepelisse, France

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

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

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

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

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

 

‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ (2016) cross 1-billion mark, movie review for ‘Manchester by the Sea’ (2016), and final thoughts before Oscars’ nominations announcement tomorrow.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2017 by vincentloy

‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’, the latest film in hugely successful Star Wars film franchise has recently grossed over US$ 1 billion in worldwide box office intake. This film that was released on December 2016 has a story that sets before the original 1977 Star Wars film (hence a prequel) and it starred Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, etc. I watched that movie and I did gave a short review for it in my earlier post. As of 23rd January 2017, the film has grossed US$ 1.011 billion. It is now the 28th film in history to cross the 1-billion mark and it is also the 4th film in 2016 that is able to do so. The other three are Captain America: Civil War (US$ 1.153 billion), Finding Dory (US$ 1.027 billion), and Zootopia (US$ 1.023 billion).

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Coincidentally, all the four highest grossing films in 2016 (of which each of them gross over US$ 1 billion) were distributed by Disney. What a huge success for Disney last year then. The 5th film in the list also goes to another movie distributed by Disney, and it is ‘The Jungle Book’, but it could only accumulates US$ 966 million (still a huge box-office hit). Everyone is loving Star Wars (but not me, and I find that the Americans love it very much), hence this box office outcome for ‘Rogue One’ is very much expected. This also comes after the big hit from ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ in 2015 that managed to gain US$ 2.068 billion, becoming the third movie in history to cross the near-impossible 2-billion mark. The next Star Wars film to be released in cinema is ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ on end of this year and I’m sure it is going to achieve similar success in box office too.

On the other hand, I have watched another new film just now. It’s a 2016 film called ‘Manchester by the Sea’. The reason I watched this movie is because it receives a lot of awards buzz and also overwhelming critical acclaim, with many praising and awarding best actor to the lead of the story, Casey Affleck. I stand with the minority this time. I think this movie is good, but clearly not a masterpiece or a solid top-notch drama as claimed by various critics out there. The movie, written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, revolves on an uncle (Casey Affleck) who is tasked to take care of his teenage nephew (Lucas Hedges) after the boy’s father dies.

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What’s good from this movie is the acting. I find that Casey Affleck did well for his performance here. He nailed all the scenes when he has to convey subtle emotions and expressions. It’s not easy to do that and yet he did it. In past years, we always see showy and dramatic performances that got the actors and actresses winning awards. This year, it’s time to recognize subtle performances. This is one great example and it’s not easy to be done. Hence, I have no issue with Casey being nominated for best actor in Academy Awards and even winning it next month. However, I still think that his performance here in ‘Manchester by the Sea’ to be not perfect yet, as I find some of his scenes are a bit over wooden and pale. Lucas Hedges is great as the teenage boy in the movie and he should get a best supporting actor’s nomination. Same goes to Michelle Williams as Casey’s ex-wife in the movie. Her screen-time is very little and yet she manages to conquer those emotional scenes very well. A best supporting actress nomination for her. Other than acting, there is actually nothing else great about this film. It has a plain story, poor editing, and unsuitable background score too. It’s supposed to be a dramatic and a moving film, but in the end, I don’t feel anything. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Manchester by the Sea’ a total of 7.0. And all those points are mostly from acting only. This is one over-rated 2016 film.

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The nomination list for the 89th Academy Awards will be announced tomorrow. Me, as one of the moviegoers who also loves watching Oscar-type movies are quite excited for it. Who will be snubbed this year? Who get to sneak in? Which film gets the most love? And which film gets forgotten? All will be revealed tomorrow.

As for my final thoughts before the nomination list’s announcement tomorrow, I think there would be a few surprises in the nomination list as expected since Academy loves to give us some shock and surprise every year. ‘La La Land’ is expected to get the most nominations, and together with ‘Manchester by the Sea’, ‘Moonlight’, ‘Fences’, and ‘Arrival’, these 5 films look like they are a lock-in for the best picture nominees. There are 3 or 4 more slots in that category and all the other potential films are trying to squeeze in. Best actor race is not that interesting this year and it looks like Casey Affleck is going to take the Oscar home. On the other hand, best actress race is very competitive this year. It’s like anyone can win it this year with no clear favourite and that makes this category intense and exciting. Alright. I will leave more of my opinions when I published the nomination list in my blog here as soon as it is revealed tomorrow.

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