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


 

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

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

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

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

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

A day in two malls and at Sentosa Island.


Although I’m still feeling slightly unwell today, but I insist on heading out to explore the city and seeks some entertainment in this weekend. Things go according to plan as me and my friend went to the Sentosa Island. This is the first time he is visiting the island while this is my third time doing so. The area around the Resorts World Sentosa still looks the same with all the fee-charging attractions. As I said earlier, I went there for the third time already and I still have not had the opportunity to enter into the Universal Studios.

We were just looking around for some sights and enjoy the happening atmosphere with a lot of tourists over there. We also went into the casino not to play, but to enjoy the comfy air-conditioning as the weather outside today is pretty hot. We spent nothing there except for the monorail fees (4 dollar) and a lunch at the ‘Malaysian Food Street’. Walking outdoor for over 10 minutes is already a bit unbearable with that scorching heat this afternoon and we decided to head back to the Vivo City shopping mall. The mall is the point for people who are taking public transport to travel to the island and it is also one of the largest malls in Singapore.

After Vivo City, we went to City Square Mall to catch a movie. Good seats are all taken up at Vivo City’s cinema and we have no choice but to change mall. We watched ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’. I enjoyed the film very much and I highly recommend it especially to the Marvel fans. It is very entertaining and I have an enjoyable time through the whole movie. In this movie, Scott Lang (Ant-Man) works together with Hope (Wasp) and her father Hank Pym to retrieve her mother Janet from the quantum realm.

The movie focuses mostly on turning small things to big things or vice versa and those scenes are brilliantly executed to deliver a lot of fun and thrills to the audiences. Ample of hilarious scenes made this movie experience very enjoyable. Those funny scenes felt very natural unlike those from ‘Deadpool 2’ that felt forced and awkward at some point. ‘Deadpool 2’ is the Marvel movie that comes right before this although it has no link to the storyline of Ant-Man or Avengers.

There are also some quick yet warm family and romantic moments to keep the whole atmosphere light and cheerful in ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’. The actions are good and the cast are fantastic. Do stay until the end for one mid-credit scene and one post-credit scene. The mid-credit scene is particularly crucial as it ties back to the event from the ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. I rate ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ a total of 8.5. A highly enjoyable and fun movie. With so many superhero movies released in the past already, Marvel is still able to produce some good works these days.

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

90th Academy Awards: ‘The Shape of Water’ wins best picture.


The 90th Academy Awards took place on March 4th, 2018 (Sunday) in Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles. Well, it’s Monday’s morning (the next day) for us in Asia to catch the ceremony live. I am very excited for this year’s result as I watched a lot of the nominated films this year including all the 9 films nominated for best picture. Well, for your information, the films nominated are the ones released last year (in 2017). Jimmy Kimmel hosted the ceremony for the second time consecutively and he did quite well. The best picture mix-up error made last year became the highlight of his talks this year besides than the currently viral issue of empowering the females in Hollywood.

Here below is the full result of the 90th Academy Awards along with the list of nominees and my opinions:

BEST PICTURE

Call Me By Your Name
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post

WINNER: The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Opinion: I’m so delighted that ‘The Shape of Water’ wins best picture for this year when the race is too close to call. This movie is certainly my best out of the 9 nominated films. It has a daring story, amazing performances by lead and supporting cast, beautiful score, mesmerizing production design, great cinematography, and fantastic direction. What more can you ask for? The movie excels in almost all categories and it is further proven by securing 13 nominations in the Academy Awards (the biggest ever this year) and winning 4 (also the biggest winner). I’m predicting earlier that ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ will win after its triumphant victory in Golden Globes, SAG and BAFTA although I don’t wish too because I didn’t enjoy the movie. I’m very happy for ‘The Shape of Water’ winning in the end to my excitement. It has now won the Golden Lion, Critics Choice, PGA, DGA and the Oscar.

LEAD ACTRESS

Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
WINNER: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Meryl Streep, The Post

Opinion: I’m okay with Frances McDormand winning (also very much expected) but I would prefer to give this win to someone else who has not win an Oscar before. Sally Hawkins is incredible in ‘The Shape of Water’ and it’s a pity that she lost here. Frances McDormand is amazing in ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ by the way. I like her more and more after seeing her going on the stage in the past two months receiving Best Actress trophies and giving speeches with style.

LEAD ACTOR

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
WINNER: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Opinion: Expected again. It is finally the year for Gary Oldman, a great actor to take home an Oscar. Although I do not enjoy his performance as Winston Churchill in ‘Darkest Hour’ (the movie is also boring to me), but I’m still fine with him winning just like how I was fine with Frances McDormand winning. It is more like a career award for him. Timothee Chalamet is actually the best among these 5 nominees in performance wise but he is too young and too early for an Oscar. I believe there is much more chance for him to get nominated and winning later in his future career (which is going to be bright).

DIRECTOR

Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Jordan Peele, Get Out
WINNER: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

Opinion: Expected outcome too. I’m happy that Guillermo del Toro wins for his amazing directing in ‘The Shape of Water’. I think only his visionary mind would be able to accomplish such movie. Now all the Three Amigos (Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro G. Innaritu and Guillermo del Toro) from Mexico have won best director in the Oscars.

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
WINNER: Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Opinion: Also expected. Allison Janney gave a memorable performance as a fierce mother in ”I, Tonya’. Her character stood out more than the other strong contender, Laurie Metcalf who also portrayed a mother (in ‘Lady Bird’).

SUPPORTING ACTOR

Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
WINNER: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Opinion: Yes…expected too. Besides Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell steals the show in ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’. Now, Gary Oldman, Frances McDormand, Allison Janney and Sam Rockwell became the first group in history to have a clean sweep in all the five major televised awards show in the same year. All four of them won in Golden Globes, SAG, Critics Choice, BAFTA and the Oscars.

ORIGINAL SONG 

Mighty River, from Mudbound (Mary J. Blige, Raphael Saadiq and Taura Stinson)
Mystery of Love, from Call Me By Your Name (Sufjan Stevens)
WINNER: Remember Me, from Coco (Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez)
Stand Up for Something, from Marshall (Diane Warren and Lonnie R. Lynn)
This Is Me, from The Greatest Showman (Benj Pasek and Justin Paul)

Opinion: I’m fine with ‘Remember Me’ winning but I actually prefer ‘This Is Me’ to win instead for the more powerful and catchy the latter is. I somehow find that ‘Remember Me’ is moving but has too simple lyrics and is overused in the movie ‘Coco’.

ORIGINAL SCORE

Dunkirk, Hans Zimmer
Phantom Thread, Jonny Greenwood
WINNER: The Shape of Water, Alexandre Desplat
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, John Williams
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Carter Burwell

Opinion: Yup! A very deserving win. Alexandre Desplat’s score for ‘The Shape of Water’ is unique, magical and it suits the movie’s vision very well.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

WINNER: Blade Runner 2049, Roger A. Deakins
Darkest Hour, Bruno Delbonnel
Dunkirk, Hoyte van Hoytema
Mudbound, Rachel Morrison
The Shape of Water, Dan Lausten

Opinion: I didn’t watch ‘Blade Runner 2049’ and hence not much comment on this but I have heard a lot of good feedback to this movie especially on its visuals and cinematography (lighting design).

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

The Big Sick, Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani
WINNER: Get Out, Jordan Peele
Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig
The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh

Opinion: I’m happy that ‘Get Out’ is not going home empty handed with this win here. A very competitive category. This is a very close race between ‘Get Out’, ‘Lady Bird’ and ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’. A horror movie that is so intelligent and achieves a level higher than all the other films in this genre should be acknowledged and I’m glad that the Academy did.

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

WINNER: Call Me By Your Name, James Ivory
The Disaster Artist, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Logan, Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green
Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin
Mudbound, Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

Opinion: Competition is so much more less intense in adapted screenplay. ‘Call Me By Your Name’ is the clear favourite already because it is the only film which is also nominated for best picture. Enough said.

SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

DeKalb Elementary
The Eleven O’Clock
My Nephew Emmett

WINNER: The Silent Child
Watu Wote: All of Us

Opinion: No comment. Didn’t watch any of these.

DOCUMENTARY (SHORT SUBJECT)

Edith+Eddie
WINNER: Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405
Heroin(e)
Knife Skills
Traffic Stop

SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

WINNER: Dear Basketball
Garden Party
Lou
Negative Space
Revolting Rhymes

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

WINNER: A Fantastic Woman (Chile)
The Insult (Lebanon)
Loveless (Russia)
On Body and Soul (Hungary)
The Square (Sweden)

DOCUMENTARY (FEATURE) 

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Faces Places

WINNER: Icarus
Last Men in Aleppo
Strong Island

ANIMATED FEATURE

The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner

WINNER: Coco
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

Opinion: There is no competition this year for animated features. ‘Coco’ excels by a mile. It is a wonderful (both colourful and moving) animated movie and Pixar always do well here. Anyway, this movie reminds me a lot of 2014’s ‘The Book of Life’ (also an animated film…very similar theme and vibe).

FILM EDITING 

Baby Driver, Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos
WINNER: Dunkirk, Lee Smith
I, Tonya, Tatiana S. Riegel
The Shape of Water, Sidney Wolinsky
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Jon Gregory’

Opinion: I prefer ‘I, Tonya’ to win. I find that ‘I, Tonya’ has much more obvious masterful editing than the other nominees. The Academy seems to have deep fascination to war films and will keep choosing them to win in technical categories like this ‘film editing’ and both ‘sound mixing’ and ‘sound editing’.

VISUAL EFFECTS

WINNER: Blade Runner 2049
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Kong: Skull Island
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes

Opinion: Bad outcome for ‘Planet of the Apes’ franchise. After three attempts, this franchise still couldn’t manage to win an Oscar for their brilliant visual effect (the apes really look very realistic). This final film of the series delivers the highest chance for it to win but lost to ‘Blade Runner 2049’ in the end for the more futuristic looking visuals in the latter.

PRODUCTION DESIGN

Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
WINNER: The Shape of Water

Opinion: Another victory for ‘The Shape of Water’. Very well deserved. The sets in the movie are incredible and adds up a lot to let the audiences immerse into the story and the setting.

SOUND MIXING

Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
WINNER: Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

SOUND EDITING

Baby Driver, Julian Slater
Blade Runner 2049, Mark Mangini and Theo Green
WINNER: Dunkirk, Richard King and Alex Gibson
The Shape of Water, Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Matthew Wood and Ren Klyce

Opinion: I still couldn’t find the difference between ‘sound mixing’ and ‘sound editing’. Academy, just combine them into a single category. The winner and all the nominees in the two categories are the exact same. What’s the point?! ‘Dunkirk’ is exceptionally good in sound and is right to win these two although I find it overrated (I didn’t enjoy the movie).

COSTUME DESIGN

Beauty and the Beast, Jacqueline Durran
Darkest Hour, Jacqueline Durran
WINNER: Phantom Thread, Mark Bridges
The Shape of Water, Luis Sequeira
Victoria & Abdul, Consolata Boyle’

Opinion: The only win for ‘Phantom Thread’ as predicted. The movie about costumes is winning ‘Costume Design’. Well, what more can I say?

MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

WINNER: Darkest Hour, Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick
Victoria & Abdul, Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard
Wonder, Arjen Tuiten

Opinion: A deserving win for ‘Darkest Hour’ for its amazing work on Gary Oldman in transforming him into Winston Churchill. The Academy should expand the nominees to 5 just like the other categories.

Well, the 90th Oscars has ended. The major awards season for 2017 Hollywood films is over too. ‘The Shape of Water’ becomes the biggest winner with 4 wins including the coveted ‘Best Picture’ title. ‘Dunkirk’ slightly over-performed with 3 wins while ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ slightly under-performed with only 2 wins. ‘Coco’, ‘Darkest Hour’ and ‘Blade Runner 2049’ each has 2 wins. ‘Call Me By Your Name’, ‘I, Tonya’, ‘Phantom Thread’ and ‘Get Out’ each has 1 win. ‘Lady Bird’ and ‘The Post’ are the two films nominated for best picture and not winning anything at all. I find that there is no clear favourite for this year’s Oscars and the awards are well distributed to a lot of movies. This year’s outcome is one of the most satisfying in my personal opinion as most of the results is much expected.

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

 

Cody and Jessica won The Amazing Race Season 30. I would have preferred other teams to win.


A lot of things are ending. This month is ending soon and that means my holiday is finishing. The two trips for this month (one to Perth, Australia for my graduation and the recent one to Zhangjiajie, China for vacation) were over. The 15-days Chinese New Year festival is also ending when this month concludes. And ‘The Amazing Race Season 30′, the reality television show that I have been catching on recently has also ended. I suddenly felt ’empty’. There is nothing more for me to look forward to in entertainment / leisure . Now, I’m getting nervous as I’m about to welcome the next stage in my life which is getting a job. No more long holiday…

As mentioned earlier, I have just finished watching the latest season of ‘The Amazing Race’. This show has now entered the 30th season (I have been following this since several years ago on its earlier seasons). If you didn’t know about this TV show, it’s a reality game where 11 teams of two complete tasks on every episodes to move forward till the final leg to win US$ 1 million. In this Season 30, teams traveled to Iceland, Belgium, Morocco, France, Czech Republic, Zimbabwe, Bahrain, Thailand, Hong Kong and finally back to United States.

As I was not around for the past week, I covered the last 4 episodes in a row for ‘The Amazing Race Season 30’. It was fun but I was not that happy with the outcome.

Team Indy (Alex & Conor) were eliminated in the second last leg at Hong Kong. They were a great team to watch. They have been on the 1st position multiple times in the earlier legs but luck is not on their side in the 11th leg. This leaves Team Big Brother (Cody & Jessica), Team Yale (Henry & Evan) and Team Extreme (Kristi & Jane) to become the final three teams to compete in the crucial last leg (12th leg) in San Francisco, USA. I’m going to be straightforward in my words. I don’t like Jessica from Team Big Brother. She literally contributed nothing in most of the show and yet her team ended up winning the race. This is mostly due to contribution by her partner, Cody who is very physically fit and has huge advantage in most tasks that require physical strength. That is so unfair to other teams particularly Team Extreme and even Team Indy when each members are equally good and competitive. Jessica is very weak and complained a lot throughout the entire season when even she has to do nothing much. She depends mostly on Cody who is a monster and handled a lot of things pretty quickly. Luck is also on her side in the final task that requires some puzzle solving.

Team Yale came in second place. Many other teams do not like this pair. However, I find them pretty likable actually. Yes, I knew that Evan is a bit arrogant, always overpowering Henry who is soft at all times and being cold to other teams frequently. But I think that is sometime necessary as this is still a competition. Her way of doing things here are still bearable. I have to admit that Henry has to listen to her sometimes as he get to be blur and weak in certain critical moments (especially in the last task when he actually solved the puzzle first but didn’t get the examiner to check, and that has costed this team the win and the US$ 1 million). Team Extreme is nice (hard to see such competitive and strong all-female team) but they tend to get stressed easily and eventually came in third place finish. So for now, this season is over and I’m already hoping that the next season will start very soon. This reality game show is exciting most of the times.

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

Just watched my first 2018 movie. Movie review for ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’.


‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ is the third and last installment of the ‘Maze Runner’ film franchise which is based on a series of novel of the same name. In the first movie ‘The Maze Runner’ released back in 2014, Thomas wakes up in a maze with a group of other boys (Newt, Minho, etc) and later a girl (Teresa) with no memory of the outside world other than dreams about an organization known as W.C.K.D. He slowly remembered his past with clues he discovered in the maze and he attempted to escape the deadly maze with the others. In the second movie ‘Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials’ released a year later in 2015, Thomas and his group (known as Gladers) continued their journey on the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with obstacles (particularly Cranks, the infected victims from the Flare virus that turned to zombie-like creatures) to find more clues about W.C.K.D.. They have uncovered their plan which is to torture the immunes and extract blood from them to be made as a cure to the virus. They have also teamed up with resistance fighters and Minho is captured in the end. Finally, in this last movie ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’, the group went into W.C.K.D. base in the Last City to rescue Minho and other captured immune kids.

With the quick recap of the whole story explained, now it’s time to move on to my review for this final film. I recommend you to re-watch the first two movies before going to this third one. This movie is quite long (over 2 hours plus) but I am engaged to it from the beginning to its end, thanks to the multiple exhilarating action-packed scenes. The movie is mostly about the mission to enter the enemy’s territory that involves a lot of guns, fights, explosions, and Cranks (the zombies). There is not a a single scene that feels draggy. From the opening scene that involves Mad Max-inspired train hijacking to encounters with Cranks in a tunnel, and then to breaking into the W.C.K.D. labyrinth-like base, everything is fast-paced and thrilling. Besides than actions, the movie also provides time for characters’ development and emotional moments. Conventional young adult films (like The Hunger Games or Divergents) would focus on romance, but this ‘Maze Runner’ series emphasized on friendship (and bromance) and that is what I’m happy about especially from this concluding film that tells a lot more on this aspect. Thomas do love Teresa but nothing much is shown in their relationship (only a quick kiss in the end…sorry for spoiler). Thomas focuses more on his mission to save his friend, Minho and he also reserves most of his emotion to Newt especially in the end when the latter turned into Crank, struggled and killed himself. This movie is doing all the right thing for Newtmas’ fans while staying true to the books. The ending of this movie is an emotional one and it provides a satisfying conclusion to the overall storyline and the friendship between Thomas and Newt.

Dylan O’Brien (as Thomas in the movie) has proven to everyone that he is a great young actor that can take on other more challenging roles from now on (evident from his previous work in ‘American Assassin’). Thomas Brodie-Sangster is perfect for the role of Newt while Ki Hong-lee is also good as Minho. Kaya Scodelario (as Teresa) is also convincing in these three movies altogether. Their chemistry is very good between one another. Although they are just mostly running around in this film series, but I still see effort from them to carry the story through with more matured performances.

The visuals are brilliant. It is obvious that a lot more money is spent on this final installment. The views of the dystopian setting the film is centered on (and views of the Last City) are breathtaking. The set design is also cool (particularly the W.C.K.D. labyrith-like base) while the score is fascinating as well to compliment the visual progression of the movie. This is a very satisfying conclusion to this film series. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ a total of 8.0. I enjoyed this movie a lot. At one point in the past, I was worried that this final installment will not get to see its release date because of a serious accident involving Dylan O’Brien during the early filming of this movie in 2016. The accident has delayed the production for around a year and filming only resumes last year. I’m glad that Dylan recovered and decided to finish the movie and I  compliment his effort in it after a tragic accident from it that almost took his life.

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