Archive for rating

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)

TVB Drama review: Recipes to Live By (2017)

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

‘Recipes to Live By’ (味想天開) is a 2017 historical comedy drama from Hong Kong by TVB with food as the theme. Having 25 episodes, the story centers on Ding Yat-san, a poor village boy who is a foodie and has a ‘golden tongue’ (can identify all ingredients in a tasted food) and later discovered that he is the son of the God of Cookery. He then investigates the past accusation against his father that got him killed. The drama starred Tony Hung, Sisley Choi, Rebecca Zhu, Hugo Wong, Ram Chiang, Mary Hon, Stephanie Ho, Toby Leung, Maria Cordero, etc.

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It has been such a long time since TVB last produced a series with food as the theme. Hence, this one got me interested eventhough I’m not that satisfied with the cast. With food as the theme, I’m expecting to see a lot of nice dishes, tricks and cooking competitions throughout the series. Yes, I do see them in this drama but they are not exciting as hoped. The story then swifts to many other directions to cover other smaller plots. That is necessary to keep the series going with more things to catch up. However, the excessive use of plot twists especially near the end of the series which are supposed to make the drama more exciting to watch turned out to be quite anti-climatic. They also forcefully put in too many unnecessarily tragic, ‘misunderstanding’ and ‘curse effect’ storyline to the characters in this drama. I’m annoyed when they are too many. Anyway, overall, the drama still has a decent storyline that goes back to the food theme.

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As for the cast and their performances, my expectation is right. Tony Hung is not a good actor and giving him the first male lead role here is a bad decision. There is still much for him to learn in acting. I think he did his best but there is something not right to his expression. Similar issue goes to the first female lead that goes to Sisley Choi. However, I find that she has at least improved. Anyway, I just don’t like her for being too thin and tiny, and having a sharp voice. Just not the right person for a leading lady role. Rebecca Zhu and Hugo Wong are both great in their supporting roles (or I shall say second leading roles). I hardly notice Hugo in the past but after seeing this and also in ‘Burning Hands’ where he is also involved, I think he is one underrated actor. Other veteran cast are great and I wish to highlight on Lee Kwok-lun who portrayed the main villain here. He is one excellent actor and is especially good in taking on bad roles. TVB should honours him with at least a professionalism or a supporting actor award soon.

This drama is worth to watch when you have nothing else to do. It is not a great series but still good enough with some comedic, touching and suspenseful moments. The only problem is the leading cast (Tony and Sisley). Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Recipes to Live By’ a total of 7.0.

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

 

 

Movie review for ‘Jackie’ (2016), and have you heard of Razzies?

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2017 by vincentloy

‘Jackie’ is the last Oscar-type films of 2016 that I watched before the announcement for the nomination list of the 89th Academy Awards later on. ‘Jackie’ is a biographical drama film that starred Natalie Portman as the titular character, following her life after the 1963 assassination of her husband John F. Kennedy. John F. Kennedy was famously known to be the fourth and the last President of the United States to be murdered while still in office. And on the other hand, nothing much have been known about his wife, Jackie Kennedy, the First Lady before, during and after the infamous assassination. I’m interested to know more on that, and so, I’m interested to watch this movie.

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The other reason I watched ‘Jackie’ is also because I’m amazed by Natalie Portman’s scenes in the movie trailer alone. She is one great actress and I love her since her award-winning performance in ‘Black Swan’ several years ago. I already sense huge Oscar feel to her performance just by watching the trailer. And after watching the whole movie just now, I have no doubt that her performance here will land her another best actress nomination in the Oscars and I don’t mind her winning it again too. She is phenomenal as Jackie. The whole movie is seriously focusing on her with many close-up scenes of her face (though I find it unnecessarily too much at some point) to show her emotions and expressions in dealing with all the issues after her husband’s shocking death. She not only mastered that, but also nailed the accent and posture that the real Jackie Kennedy had. She put in a lot of effort in this role and she delivered. The only imperfection is that her face didn’t resemble Jackie Kennedy’s face at all.

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Peter Sarsgaard is solid for his supporting role as Robert, the younger brother of John F. Kennedy in this movie. An unknown Danish actor who portrayed John F. Kennedy in this movie shocked me because his face really resembles closely to the late President himself. While watching the movie, it was really as though John F. Kennedy himself was in there. The costumes are great, the production design is excellent, and the way they used old recordings of Jackie’s introduction to the interiors of the White House and putting in the same scenes in the movie with Natalie Portman as replacement is commendable. As for the story and its editing, they are just average. The overall feel is a bit bored and plain (like too many scenes of Natalie walking around in the White House). There is no greatness in this film besides than Natalie Portman. But she faces strong competition from Emma Stone and Isabelle Hupert for the Oscar trophy for best actress next month. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Jackie’ a total of 7.1. This kind of movies makes me wanted to do a quick online research on the real information behind such historical events.

On the other hand, have you heard of Razzies? It is a name for the Golden Raspberry Awards, an annual awards presented to honour not the best, but the worst films. It’s like the total opposite of the Oscars. I guess many of you do not know of such existence. It even has its nomination list for the worst for films in 2016 released yesterday. The awards usually took place a day before the Oscars. Among the films with most nominations (hence being regarded the worst movies in 2016) are ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’, ‘Independence Day: Resurgence’, ‘Gods of Egypt’, ‘Zoolander 2’, ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’, ‘Suicide Squad’, ‘Dirty Grandpa’, etc. ‘Winners’ will be famous for the other way round. This is the only awards that nobody wants to get nominated or even involved in.

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

‘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)

 

Movie review for ‘Spectral’, ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ and ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ (2016)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2016 by vincentloy

This post would be my last movie reviews of the year. In the past week, I have watched three additional new films of which they are all released this year and I have some thoughts to write about each of them. So here it goes.

‘Spectral’ is a military science-fiction film by Netflix about a special-ops team that is dispatched to investigate strange killing of their troops and later found out what they are dealing with is supernatural beings, or is it? This movie is a bit under-rated and it’s a waste that such movie didn’t get a worldwide theatre release. It’s a great movie. It’s full of actions and suspense, and that’s enough for movie of this category. I’m not looking for any deep character development and just a thrilling action ride, and this movie delivered to the best. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Spectral’ a total of 7.8. I don’t even mind for sequels for this film since the story looks like it has a lot of potential to develop, especially on the scientific part of the creation of those ‘supernatural’ beings and the further sinister plots behind it.

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‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ is a must-watch movie for all Star Wars fans. I’m not a fans of this franchise but since it is so popular, I watched this ‘Rogue One’ which is actually a prequel to the earlier films. The story is about the Rebel Alliance which makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow. It starred Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Riz Ahmed, Forest Whitaker, etc. A very ‘international’ cast indeed. I’m surprised that the Chinese actors in this movie get to play more significant roles this time. Chinese cast are usually just taking very minor roles in big Hollywood productions just to attract Chinese market. The movie is fine. I’m actually feeling bored with the first half of the movie and the movie only got my attention in the last part when ‘Rogue One’ ship started its mission to steal the plans for the Death Star. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ a total of 6.7. This movie is going to earn a lot in box office as expected (I think will gross over US$ 1 billion in box office). And we are going to see more Star Wars films soon since this film franchise now returns to the big screen, since Hollywood knew how much profit they can make from this franchise.

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‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ is an animated movie about a young boy named Kubo who must locate a magical suit of armor worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past. It is a 3D stop-motion fantasy action-adventure film by Laika which is a famous studio specializing in producing stop-motion animated movies. Their past works are ‘Coraline’ (I love this movie), ‘ParaNorman’ and ‘The Boxtrolls’. Their latest work, ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ has a good and moving plot, beautiful visuals and styles, lovely and engaging main and supporting characters, thrilling adventures and hilarious moments. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ a total of 8.0. Another masterpiece by Laika. ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ is so far the best animated movie of the year. I’m looking forward to more Laika animated films since I enjoyed watching stop-motion style in animation. It’s unique and interesting.

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

TVB drama review: Dead Wrong (2016)

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2016 by vincentloy

‘Dead Wrong’ (致命復活) is a Hong Kong television drama by TVB that revolves around Vincent, a man who was abducted and imprisoned on a deserted island in Vietnam for ten years. After being rescued, he struggled to adjust to his new life, but soon learns that there was more to his abduction than it meets the eye. It is the last of the three anniversary dramas this year to celebrate TVB’s 49th anniversary. It is also the last drama this year in contention for the TVB Anniversary Awards to be held tomorrow.

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Before the series started, I look forward to watch it because I read a number of news about it, highlighting that Roger Kwok (portraying as the main lead, Vincent) has filmed several challenging scenes particularly on his abduction and has also purposely lose down weight for this role. There was hype even before this drama’s release and everyone is anticipating for Roger Kwok’s performance in this one.

Yes, Roger did well in this drama. His acting experience and determination to get into the character enabled him to shine again. However, I have to say that this is not a breakthrough role for him as he is already professional enough and has set a bar that is almost impossible for him to achieve further. He nailed the abduction scenes, he nailed the skinny look, he nailed the crying times, and he also nailed the scenes when he has to carry out his revenge. However, there are times when I find that he overacted slightly and that some of his expressions are a bit forced and exaggerated. Just a bit. But that’s the bit that pull him down in best actor race tomorrow. Well, that is just my opinion. He still stand a strong chance as a dark horse contender for the best actor race tomorrow in the TVB Anniversary Awards while Ruco Chan is the current frontrunner. He has won the prize three times in the past, and so I think it is better to award best actor to Ruco this year for his equally well-received performance in ‘A Fist Within Four Walls’.

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Joey Meng also did very well in ‘Dead Wrong’. I don’t really like her in her past TVB dramas but this one changed my mind. She is also a great actress and she still looks young despite her current age. Vincent Wong also did incredibly well as the supporting character who helped Vincent (Roger) a lot in this storyline. He is one young talented actor that I think TVB can give more opportunities to him than many other ‘younger-generation’ artists who are not up to the standard yet. Kenny Wong, taking on the villain’s role in the story, is as expected, unlikable. I don’t enjoy seeing him in any dramas as I always find his acting to be slightly wooden. I would prefer other actor to replace him for this role.

As for the storyline, the first few episodes look quite intense. However, the plot goes slow and draggy after that unfortunately. This series tried too hard to extend the whole story into a 28-episodes drama. It would be better if they shorten it to 20 or 25 episodes so that there would be something intense or exciting for audiences to catch on in every episodes. Hence, it started to feel a bit boring in the middle. The final 2 episodes aired just now was good and saved the day. It was a good ending and the plot twist at the end there is quite shocking yet predictable too.

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Overall, this drama still has chance for best actor award (Roger Kwok), and Vincent Wong is snubbed for a nomination in best supporting actor race from his role here, and in the end not the quality yet for best drama honour. I also find it annoying to keep seeing flashback scenes repeating over and over again. Those were too much. I think I saw flashback of the abduction scenes for more than twenty times throughout the whole series. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Dead Wrong’ a total of 7.6.

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

Finally had an awesome stress-free weekend. And a movie review for ‘Doctor Strange’ (2016).

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2016 by vincentloy

After having done my final submission for my design studio on last Friday, I’m finally having a great stress-free weekend. It’s something that I don’t get to see for the many past weeks. My second semester is going to end soon and now I can start to feel all the burden and pressure going off slowly from my mind and body. Anyway, there are still two submissions before I can officially call it the end of the semester. But for right now, I think I deserve some time to rest and chill and this is the perfect weekend for it. It’s also my second last weekend here in Perth before I fly back to Malaysia for my year end break.

My day was fully occupied yesterday. It started with a shopping in Westfield Carousel mall alone while waiting for my friend to come over and fetch me. It’s nice to shop alone as you have no distraction. But clothing on sale here are pretty expensive and I couldn’t buy a lot. Then, I joined my friends for an over 2-hours badminton session. There are three courts for us and so everyone of us have to be like almost playing non-stop this time. It’s an intense session but fun. Then, I’m back to the mall for lunch and accompanying my friends for shopping this time.

Then, I spent the rest of the day attending the early Christmas gathering in my friend’s house. It’s a potluck dinner and everyone brought a Christmas present to be exchanged. I’m having a great time and after it ended, we were all feeling exhausted after a long busy day. Time passed like faster than usual yesterday.

Just this morning, I head back to Carousel mall again, but this time, is to watch a movie. I watched ‘Doctor Strange’, a Marvel superhero movie that I’m much anticipating due to the critical acclaim the film received right now. The film turned out to be very good from the great acting by the main cast (Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelsen). Those are the actors and actresses that I like and they are all in this movie. The visual effects are fantastic. I think it’s the film with best visual effects this year so far and I think it stand a chance to win Best Visual Effects in the Oscars. The movie relied a lot on CGIs that most parts of them reminded us on ‘Inception’ movie too. I have to really compliment the effort put on the graphic of this movie that seriously paid off.

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The story is fast-paced, some scenes are hilarious, and the characters’ development is there eventhough it’s a bit not enough for Rachel and Mads’ characters. The actions are brilliant as expected based on Marvel standard. Overall, the movie is really good and it revealed the fifth Infinity Stone in the whole Marvel cinematic universe that will leads to the Avengers: Infinity Wars. There are also two scenes after the end of the movie not to be missed. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Doctor Strange’ a total of 8.0. It’s exciting and it’s considered something fresh and out of typical dimension in Marvel’s formula. I’m interested to know how are they going to bring in Doctor Strange to join the Avengers team later on.

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