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One week left before I’m back to Malaysia, and movie review for ‘The Mummy’ (2017)

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

I have one submission today and a final submission of the semester this Friday which is the design studio’s portfolio. The deadline for the folio is actually on next week but I have to hand it in this week as I will be flying back to Malaysia on next Monday already. So yeah…I have one week left in Perth before returning to my home for the mid-year break which is going to take about a month. After that, I’m coming back to Perth for my final semester before the graduation.

The disadvantage is that I have one week lesser than everyone else to work on my folio. Hence, I don’t have the time to add more newer or revised drawings to be included into the folio which is going to take up quite a lot of percentage of the unit’s grading this semester. I also have to work on a physical model that is also can be divided into two halves for lecturers’ pleasure. It’s hard work. Usually, workload for a semester is supposed to diminish after the final presentation of the design studio. That is not the case this time as our lecturers intend to prolong our suffering by still giving us plenty of works to do after the final presentation. I will just work on it as much as I can till this Friday. I have to leave my coming weekend to pack up my stuff, clean my room and has a last chilling moment before flying back.

Yesterday, I watched a new movie. I think it will be my last movie here in Perth before going back. Price for a movie ticket here is extremely expensive. With one entry ticket here, I can watch movie in cinema back in Malaysia for four times from the same amount of price. Okay…back to the movie, not the price. I watched ‘The Mummy’ which is like a reboot to the trilogy in the past that starred Brendan Fraser. This time, it starred Tom Cruise and all the other cast who I don’t know. I noticed that this movie received mostly negative reviews, and after I watched it, I don’t think it is that bad. It is still an enjoyable ‘mummy’ monster movie with some thrilling scenes.

Of course, I obviously saw that most parts of the movie are recycled, but there are still some originality to it. I don’t mind that. I’m only disappointed that the havoc scene in London isn’t really intense enough and almost all of that is already shown in the trailer. So, expect nothing more from that in the movie after you have watched the trailer. There are some scary moments (of course there will be since it’s about a resurrected mummy) and also some funny scenes too. There are also some parts that I don’t really get it and the plot isn’t strong enough. This is an average way to launch the ‘Dark Universe’ film franchise. ‘Godzilla’ did much better on launching their ‘Monster Universe’ back in 2014. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘The Mummy’ a total of 7.0. I prefer Hollywood to actually continue from the previous trilogy that has Brendan Fraser in it than starting it again. That one appears more convincing and felt more ‘mythical’ to me than this one.

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

Review for TVB drama ‘Phoenix Rising’.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2017 by vincentloy

‘Phoenix Rising’ (蘭花刼) is a TVB drama that is already 10 years old but is only released in Hong Kong this year. It is first released overseas in 2007 and has been warehoused for a decade before a full release this year. It is such a strange move by TVB on releasing a 10-years old drama. Didn’t they have a lot of completed dramas in waiting list for release? Why ‘Phoenix Rising’? Nobody know the answer. And for now, I just treat it as a 2017 drama.

The drama which has 20 episodes revolves on 3 orphan sisters. They are then separated as they leave the orphanage. They were reunited, but under bad event when one of the sisters is receiving death penalty soon for murdering her foster mother. The murderer then uses various tricks and evil plans to escape the death penalty, even by sacrificing her own sisters. The drama starred Kristal Tin, Louisa So and Leila Tong as the 3 sisters and also Sunny Chan, Ben Wong and Jack Wu as other significant characters.

The drama is actually quite nice to watch. I like to watch drama with some vicious plots. I always felt that a series would not be intense or thrilling without those evil plans by the villain characters. I never see Louisa So portraying a villain character before and she did quite well here. Actually, I seldom see her in dramas at all. So, this is actually a great opportunity for me to see back some past artistes such as Louisa So, Sunny Chan and Leila Tong. I wonder what is happening to them right now…

Sunny Chan is the main male lead of the series but this series is never intended to emphasize on the males anyway. It’s mostly about the three sisters. And for that, I’m a bit disturbed by the way that Sunny Chan’s character will occasionally disappear throughout the series, most notably in the last two episodes. Ahh…it’s so nice to see Leila Tong. Eventhough I’m not that fancy of most of her characters in the past as she didn’t leave any memorable or powerful roles, but it’s delightful to watch her in this series. As for Kristal, I didn’t realize she has such good acting skill back then. She handled this lead role well and it is just that her character here that is too unbelievably stupid and being over kind, and in the end she herself ended up to be the one to suffer to protect everyone else. Well, if she didn’t do so, we wouldn’t have a drama to watch.

So, this drama is short and engaging. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Phoenix Rising’ a total of 7.2. And Nancy Wu has a small supporting role as a pregnant prisoner in this drama. Back then, she was not yet reaching her fame. Now, she is a two-time TV Queen. As for now, I’m hoping that TVB will get back to its form by releasing back its recent dramas. Or maybe TVB knew its recent dramas are mostly bad. Come on, get up on your game…it’s your station’s 50th anniversary this year!

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

Bad day lighten up with a great movie!

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2017 by vincentloy

Today is the day for my final presentation for my design studio this semester. After days of insufficient sleep and constantly glued to my laptop working for this assessment, the judgement time finally arrives. However, things turned out to be bad this morning when I get quite harsh criticisms from the lecturers. I’m open to feedback but they should have said it out to me on my design during the tutorial sessions earlier. And then, here they came stabbing not only on my design, but also on almost everyone’s else. I’m shocked to see them complimenting on somebody’s works that are obviously lacking in quality and quantity and then criticizing heavily on people who produced serious amount of works. They even asked us ‘what went wrong?’. My answer deep down in my heart would be ‘You guys are the ones who went wrong!’.

I’m hoping my lecturers won’t be seeing this. It’s just me voicing out my frustration of the day. I’m quite confident of my level of works (I put in more time and effort on it than I put on my previous two design studios) and I didn’t see what’s happening today coming to me. It’s literally 80% negative comments and only 20% of consolation words. I knew they are trying to force us to improve further and face the harsh reality, but that is something that I’m not ready to face after putting so much effort and passion on it. They will never understand. I’m also surprised to see them not agreeing and again harshly criticizing on most of the other people’s works too, some of which are very well done from my point of view.

Let’s not talk about them anymore. It’s over. Arrghh…it’s not. This final studio presentation this time is not actually the ‘final’ as we have the portfolio submission that requires immense amount of new stuff from us and covers a huge percentage of our grading of the unit for the semester. This studio is really giving me all sort of pressure and literally headache. We are supposed to have this studio end by now and not prolonged with more works to be done. This is so unlike the last two design studios. Our lecturers are making life so much more unnecessarily difficult for us.

The only positive thing to cheer me up today after the studio’s presentation is the ‘Wonder Woman’ movie. Finally, it’s the time for me to get some much needed break and went for a new movie. There are so many cool movies out now but ‘Wonder Woman’ is my top priority. And I didn’t choose wrongly. It’s such an amazing movie that not only strikes with lots of actions but also strikes right to the heart. Gal Gadot is impressive and spectacular as the titular character. I don’t think there is anyone else that could portray this superhero better than her. She is not only here for the attacks to save the day, but also here to carry the whole movie with passionate acting and engaging performance. And not to mention that she is incredibly pretty and hot too. I’m melted. Chris Pine is also great in portraying as her lover, Steve Trevor.

I think this is the first time that DC movie is doing it right. The previous DC superhero movies are just average and not as good as Marvel ones but this ‘Wonder Woman’ came out as an exception to my delight. The plot is nice and easy to grasp, the chemistry and romance between the two lead cast is amazing, the actions are awesome, the visual effects are cool, the score are intense and dramatic, the emotions are there, the messages are there. There is also one unexpected major plot twist regarding the revelation of the main villain in this movie. I did not see that coming. And that is great. What more do you want? There are even some nice hilarious scenes put in to create a lighter tone which is an approach not very much attempted in DC movies’ style that prioritizes dark and serious mood. It’s a good addition to the movie to keep everyone entertained from beginning till the end. I literally have not a single bad words for this movie. Well done to DC! Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Wonder Woman’ a total of 8.2. It is very engaging and thrilling! I love it. This is one cool awesome movie.

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

Top 10 Landmarks in the World on 2017 by TripAdvisor

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , on May 29, 2017 by vincentloy

TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel website company that provides reviews of travel-related content and also includes interactive travel forums. The website has been here since year 2000 and has claimed to have more than 315 million members and over 500 million reviews and opinions of hotels, restaurants, attractions and other travel-related businesses. Recently, the website released a ranking of the top 10 landmarks in the world on 2017 as reviewed by its online members. Besides than posting the 10 landmarks below, I will also delighted to share to you which one I have personally visited too.

Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia. *

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, Cordoba, Spain.

St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, Italy. *

Taj Mahal, Agra, India. *

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, St Petersburg, Russia.

Great Wall at Mutianyu, Beijing, China. *

Machu Picchu, Peru.

Plaza de Espana, Seville, Spain.

Duomo di Milano, Milan, Italy. *

An asterisk at the end of the landmarks’ names indicate that I have personally visited the place. Out of the 10, I have visited 5 of them. Not bad. I enjoy travelling (who doesn’t?) and my family has this habit of travelling oversea at least once in a year and it usually takes place during our lengthy Chinese New Year break annually. We just went to Hanoi, Vietnam early this year (awesome to see the beauty of Halong Bay as the main attraction of Hanoi) and we will go to Bangkok, Thailand next month during the Hari Raya holiday. That’s the time when I’m already back to Malaysia for my mid-year break.

Out of the 5 places I have visited and mentioned above, the ones that fascinated me the most are Angkor Wat, St. Peter’s Basilica and Taj Mahal. I noticed most of the 10 listed landmarks are religious buildings. I think people are more friendly towards religion-sensitive sites when putting their reviews. Whatever they are, they are all impressive man-made structures. Of the remaining 5 that I have not visited, I would love to visit Machu Picchu and the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. I’m also surprised that no landmarks in North America made it into this Top 10 list. On the other hand, if there is a chance that one of Malaysian landmarks get to contest in this top rankings, I think it must be our iconic Petronas Twin Towers which now still stand tall as the world’s tallest twin buildings.

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

36th Hong Kong Film Awards

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2017 by vincentloy

The 36th Hong Kong Film Awards was held last evening to honour the best of Hong Kong films released in 2016. I didn’t pay much attention to this awards this year (and also last year) as I didn’t watch most of the nominated films. Most of their movies nowadays just didn’t appeal to me with similar genre, similar style, similar story, poor visual effects and too depressed. Their movies also fail to break out of their boundary to reach out to international market due to the reasons I highlighted earlier.

The presentation ceremony yesterday has its free online streaming but that service is not available in Australia. Hence, I couldn’t watch it live. Anyway, I still manage to hear part of its live broadcast from Myfm, a Malaysian radio station. It’s a 3 hours and 30 minutes long ceremony. Very interesting poster for the awards ceremony this year (see below):

I’m more excited with the presence of many celebrities in the awards ceremony such as Jackie Chan, Leon Lai, Aaron Kwok, Karl Maka (he is the bald guy in the classic hit film series ‘Aces Go Places’ with Sam Hui), Eric Tsang, Miriam Yeung, (and many other recognizable faces) than the results. Here below is the full list of winners for the 36th Hong Kong Film Awards:

Best film
Trivisa


Best Director
Frank Hui, Jevons Au, Vicky Wong (Trivisa)
Best Actor
Gordon Lam (Trivisa)
Best Actress
Kara Wai ( Happiness )


Best Supporting Actor
Eric Tsang (Mad World)
Best Supporting Actress
Elaine Jin (Mad World)


Best New Performer
Tony Wu (Weeds on Fire)
Best Screenplay
Trivisa
Best Cinematography
Peter Pau, Cao Yu (See You Tomorrow)
Best Film Editing
Allen Leung, David Richardson (Trivisa)
Best Art Direction
See You Tomorrow
Best Sostume and Make-up Design
The Monkey King 2
Best Action Choreography
Operation Mekong
Best Original Film Score
Peter Kam, Yusuke Hatano (Soul Mate)
Best Original Film Song
Anthem of Shatin Martins (Weeds on Fire)
Best Sound Design
Kinson Tsang, George Lee Yiu-Keung ( Cold War 2 )
Best Visual Effects
The Monkey King 2
Best New Director
Wong Chun (Mad World)
Best Film from China and Taiwan
Godspeed

Overall comment:

‘Trivisa’ is the biggest winner of the ceremony with 5 wins, including the coveted ‘Best Film’ prize. The film also won for best director, best actor, best screenplay and best film editing, taking out most of the important categories. ‘Mermaid’ which has a total of 8 nominations failed to win anything at all in the ceremony. The movie which is a critical box office hit and is directed by Stephen Chow is one of the only two films nominated in this awards that I did watched. The other one is ‘The Monkey King 2’ which won for ‘Best Visual Effects’. Gordon Lam is being nominated for the first time in lead actor category and he won it at the first attempt. Kara Hui also won surprisingly for best actress from her role in ‘Happiness’. This is her third best actress win in history of Hong Kong Film Awards. She has also won a best supporting actress award 3 years ago. She is now the second actress that has won the most best actress awards, only behind the legendary Maggie Cheung who has won it five times in the past. On the other hand, past winners and veterans Eric Tsang and Elaine Jin emerged as winners again this year in supporting actor and actress categories respectively from their roles in ‘Mad World’.

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

 

Return of Gallen Lo in ‘Provocateur’ (2017).

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

Gallen Lo is a famous veteran actor who has starred in many critically successful TVB dramas particularly in 1990s and 2000s. In recent years, he took extensive long break and didn’t shoot any dramas. His last TVB series is 2009’s ‘Born Rich’ (I didn’t watch that). However, I do remember well and admired some of his past iconic and powerful roles in dramas like ‘Golden Faith’, ‘Feminine Masculinity’, ‘Secret of the Heart’, ‘Old Time Buddy’ and ‘At The Threshold Of An Era I & II’. He has won best actor in TVB Anniversary Awards for three times, becoming the actor with most best actor wins in TVB (a record tied with Roger Kwok and Wayne Lai). He is also the first recipient of best actor award in 1997 when TVB started introducing their awards presentation that year.

Now, he returns for a new TVB drama called ‘Provocateur’. I’m watching this drama because he is in it. He portrayed a cosmetic business mogul who encounters various difficulties such as his business challenges, his long lost son who came back to take revenge on him, his declining health, etc. This 25-episodes drama also starred Fred Cheng, Ali Lee, Jacqueline Wong, Jonathan Cheung, Lee Shin Cheung, Raymond Cho, etc. I think this is Fred Cheng’s first leading role in a drama.

I have high expectation from Gallen. He did well on his part but I think his role isn’t anything special. There is not much ways for him to showcase his acting or express his talent. In most of the time, he was just walking around, having his hand on his head while thinking on some business strategies and chatting with the others. I knew sometimes acting is from the very subtle yet powerful facial expression. Gallen did has those moments in this drama but those scenes are too much and it lessen the essence and strength of the outcome. Even the part when he had terminal illness, he also couldn’t perform to the point that it moves me. I also noticed that he is getting really old looking now. Well, he is 55 already. But I do enjoy his involvement in this drama as a senior and his collaboration with many young cast.

I have heard that Fred Cheng actually didn’t get this leading role at the first place. It was supposed to be someone else but due to schedule conflict, the other actor dropped this role and Fred came in. He is not bad in acting but I think he is incapable of taking this important leading role, plus he has to face Gallen most of the time throughout the whole series. He is much better in supporting role. His expressions especially in scenes when he has to show his revengeful face are awkward and appeared ‘forced’. He just can’t balance it and went overboard. His character in this drama is being helped by a group of his friends specialized in pulling off tricks. This reminded me of ‘Burning Hands’ which is released not long ago before this series. In ‘Burning Hands’, we saw Ruco Chan being helped by a group of his friends too. Such a similar idea in both dramas. Fred’s chemistry with his on-screen partner in this drama, Ali Lee is very low too.

Ali Lee has a big year in 2016. She has starred in a lot of dramas last year and she won Most Improved Female Artiste Award in TVB Anniversary Awards 2016. She is good. But his acting in this drama is just very average and a bit wooden at some point. It felt like she is uninterested on this role. On the other hand, Jacqueline Wong who is also a newbie actress contributed a lot of her passion into her role as Gallen’s daughter. Let’s give her more roles. At first, I didn’t have any expectation from her, but after watching this drama and seeing how she develops together with her character, I’m engaged. I have no issue seeing her nominated for Most Improved Female Artist award end of this year.

I’m glad that this drama only has 25 episodes. Not any longer. The plot fits best in this 25 episodes. While I particularly didn’t enjoy some decisions in the storyline, the overall drama is still solid. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Provocateur’ a total of 6.8. It’s a series that will be easily forgotten after a month or two. A ‘cheaper’ version of ‘Burning Hands’ and a plain comeback role from Gallen Lo.

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

Top 10 Tallest Buildings in the World (as of April 2017)

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2017 by vincentloy

The two cities that witness the birth of skyscrapers are Chicago and New York City in United States. That was over a hundred years ago after the introduction of steel framed construction and passenger elevator that enables buildings to be built much taller. Now in 2017, only one building in United States that is placed within the top 10 tallest buildings in the world currently. The other 9 are generally all located in Asia. Here below is the current top 10 tallest buildings in the world as of April 2017. The list only includes completed buildings and does not include television towers, observation towers, masts, antennas or buildings with very little percentage of habitable floors.

  1. Burj Khalifa, 828 metres, 163 floors, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (completed in 2010).

2. Shanghai Tower, 632 metres, 128 floors, Shanghai, China (completed in 2015).

3. Makkah Royal Clock Tower, 601 metres, 120 floors, Mecca, Saudi Arabia (completed in 2012).

4. Ping An Finance Center, 599 metres, 115 floors, Shenzhen, China (completed in 2017).

5. Lotte World Tower, 555 metres, 123 floors, Seoul, South Korea (completed in 2017).

6. One World Trade Center, 541 metres, 104 floors, New York City, United States (completed in 2014).

7. Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, 530 metres, 111 floors, Guangzhou, China (completed in 2016).

8. Taipei 101, 508 metres, 101 floors, Taipei, Taiwan (completed in 2004).

9. Shanghai World Financial Center, 492 metres, 101 floors, Shanghai, China (completed in 2008).

10. International Commerce Centre, 484 metres, 108 floors, Hong Kong, China (completed in 2010).

This list will change drastically from year to year due to rapid increase of construction of supertall skyscrapers in the world in recent decade. More and more new buildings are reaching further to the sky. Out of the current top 10 tallest buildings in the world, half of them are in China (this doesn’t even include Taipei 101 in Taiwan). 8 of them soar above 500 metres in height respectively too. Also noted is that every buildings in this top 10 tallest list has over 100 floors respectively. The tallest in the world, Burj Khalifa has been on the top of the list for over 7 years now. By 2020, it is expected to be defeated by Kingdom Tower, a skyscraper currently under construction in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. That tower is projected to soar above 1000 metres (1 km!) when completed in 2020.

The oldest supertall in this list is Taipei 101 which is only 13 years old by now as it is built in 2004. More and more new buildings are joining the list with two newcomers this year; Ping An Finance Center and Lotte World Tower at No.4 and No.5 placing respectively. Former world’s tallest buildings and still the current world’s tallest twin buildings, the Petronas Twin Towers are kicked out of the top 10 list this year as they are now placed at No.11 (and 12) with height of 452 metres. Too bad…my home coutry’s famous twin towers are now out of the ranking. Anyway, in few years to come, Malaysia will have another new supertall; PNB 118 Tower that will certainly join this top 10 list with a height of over 600 metres.

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