Archive for opinion

Review for TVB drama ‘The Unholy Alliance’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2017 by vincentloy

Hmm…I was disappointed. That’s my feeling right after watching the final episode of ‘The Unholy Alliance’ (同盟) just now. It is an action crime-thriller television drama of 28 episodes produced by TVB that revolves on a modern Hong Kong crime family, led by the matriarch Ling Hung. She reunites with his son, Ko Tzi Kit who is sent to Taiwan to avoid any danger linked to the business empire her family is owning. That leads to many dangerous events and Ling Hung’s desire to leave the crime world. This drama is a follow-up production after the successful ‘A Fist Within Four Walls’ drama last year and brings back most of the cast and production crew members.

Why am I disappointed as mentioned earlier? The series started with a ‘bang’! Things are so intense and heart-stopping in every episodes. Yes, every episodes. There are suspenseful and chilling scenes in every episode. The story is fast-paced, the action sequences are awesome, the cast is doing great job (will talk more about it later), and every ending part of each episode had me yearning for more every day. This is a sign of an exciting series.

But then, as its last few episodes near, I sense downfall. The story just went downhill after Elena Kong is revealed to be the ultimate villain. I’m not saying her character is bad but every plots that are surfacing after her character is shown in the drama are terrible. Elena Kong is actually nailing this cool villain role and its definitely not her fault. It’s the storyline after her character appears that is so poorly written and messy. Those very awesome tricks in earlier episodes pulled of by Ling Hung (Nina Paw) are what made this drama intense. However, over usage of them in the last few episodes and with each covering very short span of the drama delivers no intensity. If you watched the drama, you will know what I mean. Short-lived plot twists….

Before the release of the final episode, everyone is guessing that Anthony (portrayed by Jazz Lam) is the ultimate big boss behind Kam Tien (Elena Kong). Even I am guessing the same too ever since the scene when he whispered something very evil to his brother, Ricky (Pierre Ngo) at the airport in earlier episode. There may be something evil behind this quiet kid. Yes, he is doing something wicked in the end but his character is immediately wiped out as he is not the main focus (the ultimate big boss). That role is revealed to be a group of four unknown wealthy men. This definitely puts me off. The last few episodes are messing the whole series up. It is this TVB’s recent pattern when they usually couldn’t finish a good series nicely.

How about the cast? Nina Paw did a good job taking on the role of Ling Hung. This is the first time I’m seeing her on television drama as she only works in film industry and has been crowned Film Queen before (won Best Actress in Hong Kong Film Awards). A great veteran actress. However, I find that her way of presenting her dialogue has been very rigid and being too similar (voice control and facial expression). The other two leads, Ruco Chan and Nancy Wu won both best actor and actress last year for their wonderful performances in ‘A Fist Within Four Walls’. Can their winning continues to this year with their role in this sister production? Definitely no. They have no challenging roles here and their characters are too ordinary. Ruco’s sudden transition from a very naive innocent guy to an immoral and manipulative man (not considered evil but still cunning) in the last few episodes (you will notice even his clothing style changes) is too unbelievable. Many people are praising Mr Yik (portrayed by Jimmy Au) but I personally felt he is just fine. A tough guy with cool stunts delivered….nothing more. On the other hand, I have to say Joel Chan and Elaine Yiu did well. I’m supporting them for the best supporting actor and actress awards end of this year for their roles here. They are doing great. Joel is a very talented actor and his character is very likable (I thought his character would turn evil in the end, but he is a nice guy all the way to the end). Elaine nailed her role too which is very demanding as it requires a lot of emotional scenes as her character is stuck between her family (who are plotting to kill Ling Hung) and Ling Hung’s family.

So…the series is very impressive on its first three quarters. It then goes downhill to a poor, rushed and unnatural script and disappointing conclusion. It would be much better if the production team placed more effort and thinking into the script for the plot’s ending and extends the drama to a little over 30 episodes. The drama should be fine (or even much better) with few more episodes. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Unholy Alliance’ a total of 7.8. If it does well on its ending part, I could have easily given this drama over 8. By the way, there are too much sexual innuendos going on between Ruco and Nancy. I knew this pairing is very much hyped now, but in real life, they are just friends. The producers made a bad decision to put in a lot of awkward sexual-related scenes for them in this drama. It felt distasteful and very unnecessary.

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

Advertisements

16th anniversary of 911 and new iPhone X release!

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2017 by vincentloy

Two days ago, 11th September 2017 marks the 16th anniversary of the tragic 911 terrorist attacks in the United States. A news that had the world stunned and in shock. The image of the World Trade Center twin towers collapsing after being hit by passenger planes still haunts the minds of millions of people especially the Americans. 16 years have passed, and all shall move on. There is a small tribute ceremony held to mark this particular anniversary on the Ground Zero site, now redeveloped into a Memorial Park with the finished new 1 WTC tower. Some have commented to only organize such memorial ceremony once in every five years, rather than once a year as a sign for people to move on from this sorrow memory.

 

I disagree in my personal opinion. You can have 364 days a year to ‘move on’ but why not just take a single day in a year to look back to the past and remember this tragedy and the lives lost from it. It’s not a big request. A simple tribute ceremony as a gesture of respect once a year is still reasonable. At the end of the day, we do not wish to see any more terrorist attacks happening in this world. Attacks of such proportion in September 2001 on the US is terribly wrong. Every time I re-watch the clips of the news coverage or videos taken by the public during the twin towers’ attack and collapse, I’m deeply saddened. These terrorists are inhuman for doing such nasty things.

And, the day after (yesterday) is also a big day in US. Apple has just announced its latest release of the new iPhone X (and iPhone 8 and 8Plus, Apple Watch Series 3) yesterday to the public in a grand product launch event. It is also the first grand event that is held on the Apple’s new campus that is shaped like a ring (or a huge alien ship) that reportedly costs US$ 5 billion dollar to construct. What an expensive building. I contributed some for it too since I am an iPhone user. I’m a bit excited for its new iPhone X (X means 10 in romans to mark the 10th anniversary of the first iPhone release back in 2007). It has glass on the phone’s back for wireless charging ability, facial-recognition feature to unlock phone, absence of home button, screen filling up the whole front of the phone, latest operating software (IOS 11), better camera technology, etc. All these new features may have been done by the other smartphone brands earlier but hey, now it’s Apple’s turn. Due to its branding, hence all of its products are super expensive.

But I’m still attracted to it somehow. Will I buy? No. My previous iPhone 5 died last year. I can no longer wait for this new phone and so I bought the iPhone 7 in October last year. Now, even my iPhone 7 is considered out-dated even it is just one-year old. If my previous iPhone 5 can survive for another year (last until now), then I will certainly go for this new iPhone X. But it costs a whopping US$ 999 at least. Crazy…On the other hand, nobody really wants to talk much about the other products; iPhone 8 and 8 Plus which is just a slight upgrade from iPhone 7. As for the new Apple Watch Series 3, its new features are the ability to make and receive calls and surf internet. A very small gadget but with multiple advanced functions. Will I buy it? No. I don’t think I need it. Fancy and cool stuff but not necessary. I’m fine with just the smartphone. And on top of that, it’s very costly!

There are more and more great smartphones out there by other brands. Hence, I think Apple do really need to further step up their game in their future products. This new iPhone X may looks awesome but still there is nothing really ‘breakthrough’ or very ‘wow’ from it.

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

 

Nomination list and my prediction for the Singapore’s Starhub TVB Awards 2017

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 8, 2017 by vincentloy

I was reminded by a person that leaves a comment to me here that the nomination list for the Singapore’s Starhub TVB Awards 2017 is out and asking me whether I will be writing a post about it and putting in my thoughts and predictions. I didn’t realize that the nomination list is out and it marked the first of the three annual major awards presentation honouring the best of TVB series and programmes (the other two awards that will come later are the TVB Star Awards Malaysia and Hong Kong’s TVB Anniversary Awards).

I find that it is a bit too early for Starhub TVB Awards to be held in October every year. This automatically puts those usually better series released in November and December to be placed in contention for the next year’s awards. This is a huge disadvantage to these series. However, in the same time, I find that Hong Kong has been very biased and putting too much of their attention to their anniversary dramas while forgetting other good dramas released in early parts of the year. As for Malaysian voters, they tend to just simply vote for their favourites without really judging wisely which one is truly the best in terms of performance. Pros and cons to these 3 respective awards.

Let’s get back to this coming Singapore’s Starhub TVB Awards 2017. It is going to be held on 21 October 2017 and the nomination list is out two days ago. Only Singaporeans are eligible to vote for this awards. Malaysia and Hong Kong citizens will have their turn later on. Here below is my predictions for each categories: (There’s asterisk marks (*) that indicate my top 5 predictions for several categories)

Nomination list for Singapore’s Starhub TVB Awards 2017

My Favourite TVB Drama Theme Song:

Sand in Hand – Hana Kuk (My Unfair Lady)
I Would Not Pout – Stephanie Ho (My Unfair Lady)
Walk With You – Kayee Tam (My Unfair Lady) 
King – Hubert Wu (Two Steps from Heaven)
That’s The Way I Am – Nancy Wu (The No No Girl)
Insight – Vincent Wong (Legal Mavericks)
In Front Of Love – Stephanie Ho (Legal Mavericks)
The End Of The World – Fred Cheng (Provocateur)
Trigger On – Ruco Chan (The Unholy Alliance)
Alone – Gallen Lo (Provocateur)
Conquer – Fred Cheng (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch)
Skynet – Pakho Chau (Line Walker: The Prelude)
Forgot Myself – Hana Kuk (Line Walker: The Prelude)
Behave Oneself – Vivian Koo (Line Walker: The Prelude)
After Graduation – Mag Lam (Oh My Grad)

My Pick: Walk With You – Kayee Tam (My Unfair Lady)

Opinion: I hardly remember most of the nominated theme songs above. Looks like ‘My Unfair Lady’ and ‘Line Walker: The Prelude’ is overwhelming the list. I have not even heard anything from the latter since the drama is not released yet. So far the most beautiful song this year is ‘Walk With You – Kayee Tam’ that is always playing whenever there is a romantic scene between Vincent Wong and Natalie Tong in ‘My Unfair Lady’.

My Favourite TVB On-Screen Couple:

Tony Hung & Priscilla Wong (Married But Available)
Frankie Lam & Jessica Hester Hsuan (My Unfair Lady)
Vincent Wong & Natalie Tong (My Unfair Lady) *
Ruco Chan & Nancy Wu (The Unholy Alliance) *
Ruco Chan & Rosina Lam (Burning Hands)
Edwin Siu & Priscilla Wong (Two Steps From Heaven) *
Joel Chan & Elaine Yiu (The Unholy Alliance) *
Eddie Cheung & Adia Chan (The No No Girl)
Kenneth Ma & Charmaine Sheh (Bet Hur)
Vincent Wong & Ali Lee (Legal Mavericks)
Raymond Cho & Grace Wong (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch) *
Matthew Ho & Rebecca Zhu (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch)

My Pick: Joel Chan & Elaine Yiu (The Unholy Alliance)

Opinion: I feel like Ruco Chan & Nancy Wu will win this since their relationship is very much hyped now eventhough obviously there is nothing happening between them. Vincent Wong & Natalie Tong may win this too since I remember their romance outshine even that of the main leading pair in ‘My Unfair Lady’, Frankie & Jessica. They missed out Edwin Siu & Kristal Tin pairing in ‘A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch). I prefer this pair to replace Matthew Ho & Rebecca Zhu. Very tough competition.

My Favourite TVB Variety Show Host:

Pauline Lan – Lady First Singapore Season 5
Alice Chan – Wai Gor’s Wok
Tony Hung – Retiring in Paradise
Kenny Wong, Brian Tse, Chris Leung, Mayanna Mak, Alychia Chan, Ashley Chu – Peak to Pit
Benjamin Yuen, Mat Yeung – All Work No Pay Holidays (Series 2)
Lee Ka Ding, Helen Tam – The Ahistoric Grandpa Cooking Show (Series 2)
Samantha Ko, Auston Lam – Chef Minor in Singapore
Maria Cordero, Luk Ho Ming – Good Cheap Eats (Series 6)
Gigi Wong – Eating Well With Madam Wong (Series 3)
King Kong, Kitty Yuen, Jarvis Chow – Neighborhood Gourmet (Series 4)

My Favourite TVB Infotainment Programme:

Big Big World III
Retiring In Paradise
Easy Come, Easy Health
Belt And Road Initiative
Cantoxicating!

My Favourite TVB Variety Programme:

Wellness On The Go Singapore *
Lady First Singapore Season 5 *
Chef Minor In Singapore *
The Ahistoric Grandpa Cooking Show (Series 2)
Spirits On Vacation
Peak To Pit
50 Golden Classics *
Good Cheap Eats (Series 6) *
All Work No Pay Holidays (Series 2)
Side Walk Scientists (Series 5)
TV Awards Presentation 2016
Dinner Ma’s

My Pick: Anything that has ‘Singapore’ name in it.

Opinion; I didn’t watch most of the nominated programmes. I enjoyed watching ‘Spirits On Vacation’ but I don’t think it will have any winning chance. I heard many have been enjoying the ’50 Golden Classics’ particularly in Hong Kong because those classic Hong Kong songs are mostly great (unlike now).

My Favourite TVB Supporting Actress

Elaine Yiu (The Unholy Alliance) *
Samantha Ko (My Unfair Lady) 
Katy Kung (Two Steps From Heaven) *
Rebecca Zhu (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch)
Koni Lui (Tiger Mom Blues) *
Alice Chan (Two Steps From Heaven)
Kelly Fu (Burning Hands)
Jacqueline Wong (Provocateur) *
Vivien Yeo (My Lover From The Planet Meow)
Tracy Chu (Legal Mavericks) *
Roxanne Tong (The Tofu War)
Jeannie Chan (The No No Girl)

My Pick: Elaine Yiu (The Unholy Alliance)

Opinion: Elaine Yiu shines in her role in ‘The Unholy Alliance’. Her character goes through a lot of things in the series and she nailed it well, particularly the many emotional scenes she had in the series.

My Favourite TVB Supporting Actor

Owen Cheung (Legal Mavericks)
Mat Yeung (My Dearly Sinful Mind) *
Hugo Ng (Burning Hands) *
Jonathan Cheung (The Tofu War) *
Luk Wing (Two Steps From Heaven)
Joel Chan (The Unholy Alliance) *
Eddie Kwan (My Lover From The Planet Meow)
Kenny Wong (Dead Wrong)
James Ng (Destination Nowhere)
Benz Hui (Line Walker: The Prelude) *

My Pick: Joel Chan (The Unholy Alliance)

Opinion: This should be Joel’s year. He has been impressive in these few years and many even said he outshined Ruco Chan in ‘The Unholy Alliance’ so far. He has improved significantly and I have no doubt seeing him taking on lead roles in the future.

My Favourite TVB Female Character

Jessica Hester Hsuan as Ling Man (My Unfair Lady)
Natalie Tong as Ling Yu-ken (My Unfair Lady) *
Nancy Wu as Yuen Ching-yan (The Unholy Alliance) *
Priscilla Wong as Koo Shing-seung (Two Steps From Heaven)
Rosina Lam as Ho Ching-fa (Burning Hands)
Elena Kong as Cha Heung-sin (Tiger Mom Blues) *
Ali Lee as Wong Lai-fan (Legal Mavericks)
Grace Wong as Guo Cian / Wong Yi-san (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch) *
Sisley Choi as Chiu Ching-mui (Legal Mavericks)
Samantha Ko as Tian Mi (My Unfair Lady)
Kristal Tin as Fong Wai-chi (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch) *
Adia Chan as Law Lai-ching (The No No Girl)
Charmaine Sheh as Sze Shiu-tung (Bet Hur)
Alice Chan as Koo Shing-fun (Two Steps From Heaven)
Katy Kung as Carmen Ching Sze-Yue (Two Steps from Heaven) *
Tracy Chu as Tai Tin-yan (Legal Mavericks)
Moon Lau as Emma Yip Yip (Two Steps From Heaven)
Mandy Wong as Lung Lai-sa (Nothing Special Force)
Rebecca Zhu as Fong Wai-ling (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch)
Elaine Yiu as Kate Wai Yee-yau (The Unholy Alliance)

My Pick: All 6 names above with asterisks (*).

Opinion: Singapore’s Starhub TVB Awards presented this award to 6 characters last year unlike in Hong Kong’s awards when there is only one winner. I didn’t watch ‘Two Steps From Heaven’ but I picked Katy Kung because she is lauded last year for her crying scene that led to her winning Best Supporting Actress in last year’s Hong Kong awards. Anyway, I’m still having doubt of that and Ali Lee, Elaine Yiu or Tracy Chu may steal that spot from her.

My Favourite TVB Male Character

Ruco Chan as Ko Tsz-kit (The Unholy Alliance) *
Raymond Cho as Zuo Guang-dao / Fung Yat-bo (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch)
Bosco Wong as Chun Sing-hoi (Two Steps From Heaven)
Edwin Siu as Yuen Chong-huan / Wan Tai-kwan (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch) *
Frankie Lam as Man Nim-sum (My Unfair Lady)
Benjamin Yuen as Chui Tin-tong (Line Walker: The Prelude)
Pakho Chau as Lok Siu-fung (Line Walker: The Prelude) 
Michael Miu as Cheuk Hoi (Line Walker: The Prelude) 
Moses Chan as Sit Ding-kap (My Lover From The Planet Meow)
Vincent Wong as Man Sun-hop (Legal Mavericks) *
Kenneth Ma as Chung Tai-yin (My Dearly Sinful Mind) *
Wayne Lai as Kong Sheung-hung / Kazuo Suzuki (No Reserve)
Tony Hung as Au Yeung Tsz-chung (Married But Available)
Mat Yeung as Tung Yat (My Dearly Sinful Mind)
Owen Cheung as Kuk Yat-ha (Legal Mavericks)
Raymond Wong as Cheung Chin-pok (Married But Available)
Eddie Cheung as Chong Fu-ho (The No No Girl)
Joel Chan as Ling Tsin-yau (The Unholy Alliance) *
Chris Lai as Wong Siu-ming (The Tofu War)
Wong Cho-lam as Choi Sum (Oh My Grad) *
Matthew Ho as Li Jin-zhong/ Li Siu-tung (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch)
Roger Kwok as Wai yat-sing (Dead Wrong) 

My Pick: All 6 names above with asterisks (*).

Opinion: Singapore’s Starhub TVB Awards presented this award to 6 characters last year unlike in Hong Kong’s awards when there is only one winner. ‘Oh My Grad’ isn’t released yet but I think Wong Cho-lam is going to be super funny again and that would make his character easily likable. I didn’t pick anyone from ‘Line Walker: The Prelude’ because I have less expectations from it. Usually a TVB prequel or sequel isn’t doing well and putting in so many new major cast in the drama isn’t helping either.

My Favourite TVB Leading Actress

Kristal Tin (Destination Nowhere) *
Jessica Hester Hsuan (My Unfair Lady)
Nancy Wu (The Unholy Alliance) *
Elena Kong (Tiger Mom Blues) *
Nancy Sit (The Tofu War)
Ada Choi (Oh My Grad)
Rosina Lam (Burning Hands)
Grace Wong (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch) *
Ali Lee (Legal Mavericks)
Adia Chan (The No No Girl)
Nina Paw (The Unholy Alliance) *
Mandy Wong (Nothing Special Force)
Sisley Choi (Legal Mavericks)
Charmaine Sheh (Bet Hur)
Niki Chow (Rogue Emperor)
Priscilla Wong (Line Walker: The Prelude)
Myolie Wu (No Reserve)
Natalie Tong (My Unfair Lady)

My Pick: Kristal Tin (Destination Nowhere)

Opinion: There is no other performance this year so far that can surpass Kristal’s acting in ‘Destination Nowhere’ even when you place the males into the picture as well. She is exceptional and handled the challenging role very well. The dark horse in this category would be Grace Wong and Nina Paw. Nina Paw is a Film Queen and she did a wonderful job in ‘The Unholy Alliance’ too. How about Nancy Wu that been winning a lot of Best Actress awards in recent years? Well, her role in ‘The Unholy Alliance’ is poorly written. She has the skill but the role didn’t need her to do much.

My Favourite TVB Leading Actor

Bosco Wong (Two Steps From Heaven) *
Roger Kwok (Dead Wrong) *
Kenneth Ma (My Dearly Sinful Mind) *
Ruco Chan (The Unholy Alliance) *
Frankie Lam (My Unfair Lady)
Edwin Siu (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch)
Gallen Lo (Provocateur)
Vincent Wong (Legal Mavericks) *
Ben Wong (Nothing Special Force)
Eddie Cheung (The No No Girl)
Tony Hung (Married But Available)
Moses Chan (My Lover From The Planet Meow)
Chris Lai (The Tofu War)
Pakho Chau (Line Walker: The Prelude)
Benjamin Yuen (Line Walker: The Prelude)
Wayne Lai (No Reserve)
Kevin Cheng (Destination Nowhere)
Michael Miu (Line Walker: The Prelude)
Matthew Ho (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch)
Raymond Cho (A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch)

My Pick: Roger Kwok (Dead Wrong)

Opinion: Roger Kwok is great in that series and there is no particular impressive acting by the other males in the dramas this year so far. Ruco Chan is no longer getting his winning streak because his performance in ‘The Unholy Alliance’ is ordinary so far.

My Favourite TVB Drama

Two Steps From Heaven
Burning Hands
Destination Nowhere *
My Dearly Sinful Mind
My Unfair Lady
Tiger Mom Blues
A General, A Scholar, And An Eunuch *
The Unholy Alliance *
Legal Mavericks *
Line Walker: The Prelude *
Oh My Grad
Dead Wrong
Provocateur
The No No Girl
Bet Hur
The Tofu War
Married But Available
Nothing Special Force
My Lover From The Planet Meow
No Reserve

My Pick: The Unholy Alliance

Opinion: So far, the best series of the year that I have watched is ‘The Unholy Alliance’. It has suspense in every episodes, it has cool actions, some exciting characters, has engaging and fast-paced storyline, and has great cast. I don’t understand why there are some harsh critics that pan the drama. After the top 5 listed above, my next 5 picks would be ‘Two Steps From Heaven’, ‘Tiger Mom Blues’, ‘My Dearly Sinful Mind’, ‘Dead Wrong’ and ‘Burning Hands’.

Once you look at the nominees above, you will notice that most TVB anniversary dramas have been left out as they have not been released yet. Hence, the result of this Singapore awards usually differ with that of Hong Kong and Malaysia. And there are no public voting for ‘Most Improved TVB Artiste’ or ‘Best New TVB Artiste’.

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

29th SEA Games Kuala Lumpur 2017 opens with surprisingly good opening ceremony!

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2017 by vincentloy

The 29th South East Asian (SEA) Games Kuala Lumpur 2017 has officially opened with a magnificent opening ceremony held just now in Bukit Jalil National Stadium. I am not in Malaysia but I am glad to be able to watch the ceremony live just now from YouTube. It began on 8.17pm (20:17 time for this year of 2017). I didn’t have high expectation of the ceremony, as you know, it is Malaysia. I remembered that our opening ceremony for 1998 Commonwealth Games was nothing exciting and I don’t even remember a single moment from the ceremony in 2001 when we last hosted this SEA Games.

Then, I am left surprised. The opening ceremony just now was actually good. Not to the point that it was incredible or out of this world, but it is still a great show. We of course cannot compare this to Olympic-level ceremonies. This is considered breathtaking at SEA Games level. The ceremony is short (just two hours) and I’m fine with it. The official speeches were short (good too). The first half of the ceremony is dedicated for all the official procedures like flags parade, athletes parade, and oaths taking. Then, came the second part that I’m looking forward to which is the performance segment.

I’m surprised that the role of the creative director is given to a Chinese this time. Cool. That’s a wise decision. I’m not intending to be racist here but giving major role to a Chinese in Malaysia is a very seldom occasion. Give us a chance and we will deliver. And he (forgot his name) delivered. I’m amazed by his ability to combine the traditional shows with contemporary elements for the performances. It’s hard to do that and he accomplished it. I can still experience the unique diversity of Malaysia (and ASEAN overall) through traditional dances and outfits, but at the same time, listening to vibrant modern music and seeing high-tech colourful lighting and projection all around. The choreography and synchronisation aren’t at the best but the effort is there. The presentation appeared to be like a mess for a time but overall, the energy was there.

Before watching the show, I have fear that the ceremony will be overwhelmed with very traditional dances and songs. I’m now certainly in relief. The songs during the performance are also great and complements to the energetic atmosphere of the almost fully-packed stadium. As for the stadium, I love the newly refurbished stadium. It looks awesome with the new skin cladding and modern LED lights. A major disappointment of the ceremony would be the cauldron. It’s just a huge chunk of cylinder mimicking ‘oil lamp’ (the broadcaster said so). That part is supposed to be intense and exciting. The end result is not. Lack of effort on this crucial part of the ceremony. And I don’t even know the last torch bearer. Apology but who is she? The last torch bearer is supposed to be someone who is the most excellent in world sports. By the way, where is our beloved Datuk Lee Chong Wei? He is not appearing at all in this ceremony. He is the best choice for that spot.

Last but not least, the concluding fireworks is awesome although I wish for more. Generally, the ceremony is great and is a good effort but it lacks ‘wow’ moment. There literally isn’t any ‘wow’ moment in the show. All the ‘suspended in the air’ show in the ceremony fall short of excitement too. The idea of having LED lights installed at the side of audiences’ seats reminds me of the same situation for London 2012 ceremonies. Well, I’m fine for this idea to be reused again to make the show better. Now, the games begin and we will see if Malaysia could reach its target by winning over 111 golds and topping the medal tally. The games will end with a closing ceremony on 30th August 2017, which is coincidentally the eve of the country’s 60th anniversary of independence celebration.

(Images in this post are from The Star Online and YouTube screenshots)

Movie review for ’47 Meters Down’ and ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2017 by vincentloy

It has been so chilly in these few days in Perth. Perth city recorded only 1.7 degree celsius early this morning. It almost nears the freezing point. The worst thing is I think that the heater in my room is not working well. There is not much heat radiating out from it. Please don’t be down. I need you for the rest of the winter. You are super crucial to someone like me who enjoy being in warm rather than in cold weather like this.

Alright. Back to my blog’s topic. I have watched two new movies in my first few days here in Perth. They are ’47 Meters Down’ and ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’. Here’s below are my quick reviews of them.

’47 Meters Down’ is a survival horror film about two sisters who go on a holiday in Mexico and are invited to cage dive and see sharks up close. The cable holding the cage breaks and it plummets 47 metres down to the ocean floor, trapping both of them. Then, you know the story…they have to find a way to escape with their air supplies running low and the great white sharks stalking around. It’s basically another shark movie.

They are a lot of bad shark movies out there but not this one. It has a good plot and I particularly amazed by a twist of the story in the end that kept me surprised. I didn’t expect there is such a ‘shocker’ in this kind of monster movie besides than the typical jump-scare moments when the shark suddenly appears. The two female leads in this movie are doing good without any exaggerated performance. The movie did deliver by giving us realistic picture that kept me to the edge of my seats. The direction this particular movie is going is different with the typical shark attack movie. The only minor issue is that the cage and the failed cable really looks too crappy. Once I saw them on the first time, I wouldn’t want to get into that cage straight away. Out of 10 points, I rate ’47 Meters Down’ a total of 7.2.

‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ is the third and final installment of the ‘Planet of the Apes’ reboot series. If you do not remember much from the first two movies, don’t worry. This movie starts with a brief summary of what happens in the first two movies. Here in this concluding chapter, Caesar leads a team of apes to confront human who started the war against their species.

The movie is quite long (over 2 hours) and can be shortened by reducing the amount of time spent on watching Woody Harrelson staring very long on Caesar in many scenes. Other than that, this movie has absolutely no negative things for me to comment on. The CGI is extremely great as the apes look very realistic. The background or setting views are amazing too. Groundbreaking visual effects. Andy Serkis gave another tremendous performance portraying as Caesar, the ape that serves as the leader of its species. You can felt his sadness, his anger, his happiness, his power, his toughness, his anxious, and his care all from his facial expression. Another excellent job the movie did is touching on the relationship between human and apes, and the messages delivered out from it are exceptional and moving. There is no point for seeing which species is stronger; ape or human. In the end, mother nature overwhelms. That is reflected through the ending of the movie. The movie goes deep to the messages it wanted to deliver and succeed also by its great actions, emotional parts and engaging storyline. There are also some unexpected funny scenes in this movie, mainly due to one ape that even wears winter clothing to join Caesar. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ a total of 8.2. I think this is the second movie of the year so far that I have given over 8 point in the rating. What an epic conclusion to this reboot trilogy.

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

Second week done with plenty of gatherings and a TVB drama review for ‘Destination Nowhere’ (2017)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2017 by vincentloy

First week of the semester is considered a happy-go-lucky week as no one would like to start on the assignments on the first week itself. Now, even the second week is gone and there is no more time to be wasted anymore. There are several submissions coming very soon already and I’m way not prepared yet. I did do my work, but 24 hours a day is just not enough. I’m not on track in my progress in all the units this semester. Well, I took that off my mind for a while first to enjoy this weekend.

Last Friday, I get back to the court to play badminton with my friends for about 3 hours. That was after a very stressful design studio with nothing from my part to show to the lecturers and I don’t really get what they want with their super-hard-to-understand words. It’s good to be back playing badminton after several months of not playing it already, and unfortunately, my badminton skill has not improve. The gathering did not stop there as we went for some snack and drink after that. Then, yesterday evening, we had another gathering in a friend’s house to enjoy the potluck dinner as well as to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Several hours later, I will heading out with my housemate to watch a movie. So many activities, and hence, not much time to focus on my assignments. Well, I will promise to myself to concentrate on my study from tomorrow onward.

Recently, I finished watching another TVB drama. It’s ‘Destination Nowhere’ (迷), a Hong Kong drama about a female news reporter who get caught up in the problematic collusion scheme between government official and businesses. All the hardship she faced has lead to her to be forced to become cunning and evil especially after the murder of her daughter. Those complicated cases that were actually linked to one another were then investigated by a police inspector who later felt in love with the female news reporter. This 30-episodes series starred Kevin Cheng, Kristal Tin, James Ng, King Kong Lee, Winki Lai, etc.

The plot is very interesting but there are several obvious plot holes that ruin the logic of the story in some major parts. The main cast, Kevin Cheng and Kristal Tin only get to bump onto each other in the very later stage of the series. I’m fascinated by the director’s decision to show them crossing over but not knowing each other in many occasions in earlier episodes but that were taking too many episodes. Once they knew each other, their relationship builds up too quickly. It’s a fresh thing to see this new pairing between Kevin and Kristal by the way. Their acting in this drama were also top notch especially Kristal. I’m stunned yet by another groundbreaking performance by Kristal. Her character is a very challenging one that requires execution of variety of emotions. She has a role that has to show the innocent side, leadership side, crying side, and cunning side all in one drama. She nailed it. There were time when I was sleepy and not paying attention while watching new episode of this drama on late night, and then, I immediately paid attention and went fully awake by her performance. I don’t mind giving her another best actress award but it is too early to tell right now since awards season is at the end of the year. This drama is being shown too early in the year and will be usually forgotten by the time awards season come. Other cast also did good job such as James Ng (still don’t like his face and his crying is too ugly to watch) and Winki Lai. Even the bad guy portraying ‘Wat Dee’ is putting on a very good performance. I don’t know his name but I pity him for always portraying bad guy in TVB dramas. He has the bad-guy look.

Overall, this drama is nice to watch. It is all good due to the amazing performances by the cast. Their acting kept me not wanting to leave my seat watching every episodes of this drama. There is also a good amount of suspense and dramatic moments throughout the whole series to keep engaging the viewers. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Destination Nowhere’ a total of 7.5.

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