Archive for the 'movies' Category

china’s crime-free crime films

At least half of Hong Kong movies today are co-produced with mainland organizations, and screenwriters here are also having to toe the Beijing line. “That’s why we usually make ‘ancient swordsman’ films, or stories that happen in the period before the founding of the New China,” the Hong Kong screenwriter explained. He meant that you can show something negative in mainland China only so long as it happened before the Communist revolution in 1949 — but be careful not to portray that period as a golden era, because for that you might get censored.

Can a good story be written under such conditions? It’s difficult. Some screenwriters have managed through cunning: One director squeaked a crime movie set in Hong Kong past the censors after claiming the action took place before the transfer in 1997, while the territory was still under the rule of those evil Brits.

I found this article on the Middle Kingdom’s film industry both sad and amusing. Click here to read ‘China’s Crime-Free Crime Films’!


forever 21

Kang Hao, Ming Zhen and I decided to watch Into the Woods at Filmgarde in Bugis+ this afternoon. I volunteered to go slightly earlier to purchase tickets, but alas, when it was my turn, only front row seats were left.

So I quickly decided to switch to Birdman. However, it just so happened that it was rated M18, and the young Malay woman at the box office absolutely, obstinately and steadfastly refused to sell me the tickets until all my friends were present and could show her IDs. Goodness! In any case, we’re all almost a decade past 18! So I guess that’s saying something! :D

As for Birdman, I went into the cinema not knowing what to expect. The film was about a washed-up movie star who wanted to stage a comeback by directing and acting in a Broadway production, and he tensions between members of the crew. There were lighthearted moments, but it was not a comedy. To complicate matters, what was shown on screen was often not what it really seemed. Very postmodern and meta. Overall, I thought it was a bit too highbrow for my plebeian tastes, though I still can’t decide whether I like it or not!

you learn something new every day

Went to see the animated film Big Hero 6 on Friday evening. It’s a hilarious and heartwarming story of a teenage boy, Hiro Hamada, and his giant inflatable robot, Baymax, against a backdrop of love and loss. The way Hiro dealt with his grief moved me to tears a few times. Definitely worth a watch!

Anyway, when I got home, I browsed the discussion topics about the movie on IMDb. In one of the discussions, I came across the term uncanny valley. A rather interesting concept indeed!

the grand budapest hotel

I enjoyed comedy film The Grand Budapest Hotel (though I disliked the ending, which was too Life Is Beautiful for my tastes) and was therefore quite amused to see this article in the Telegraph:

At the time of writing, the Grand Budapest Hotel was rated 1 of 1 hotels in The Republic of Zubrowka, having received 46 reviews which described it as “excellent” and only five that found it “terrible”.

Someone calling himself TheSamSolomon said: “My only complaint is the staff seem to be living in a different century- no one could find me an iPhone lightning cable nor did they know what an iPhone was. Also, the internet connection was almost non-existent. Zero was a great help though and he had many great ideas, he seemed a little bit deluded at time. But that must be the altitude.”

Click here to read the article, and click here to read the TripAdvisor reviews on this amazing institution! :D

frenzied friday

Joanne and I made a last minute decision to meet for dinner yesterday evening. We settled on Bugis+, thinking that it would not be crowded. How wrong we were! It was just as packed as the connecting Bugis Junction! There was also some sort of yo-yo event going on in Bugis+’s atrium, and lots of weird-looking youngsters were in attendance. :P

(I must say that CapitaMall Trust has done a great job of buying over the erstwhile Illuma, a ghost town, and turning it into a mall as successful as Bugis Junction, which CapitaMall also owns.)

All the eateries on the fourth floor had ridiculously long queues, while the ones on the first floor looked blah, so we decided to venture outside to find food. We went to Japanese vegetarian restaurant Herbivore in Fortune Centre, but there was a queue, and then to dimsum joint Victor’s Kitchen in Sunshine Plaza, but it was closed for the day.


So we went back to Bugis+, where the crowds had significantly dissipated, and settled on Ma Maison. Were super hungry so we both decided to get tonkatsu sets ($19.80 each) even before we were seated. The food tasted similar to other Ma Maison outlets, but the portions seemed smaller. And each tonkatsu set came with dessert, and what we got was matcha ice cream (above), which alas, tasted much more milk than green tea. But it was served in a darling little heart shaped bowl, which in turn stood in a shallow depression in a matching saucer.

pacific rim spoiler warning!

life of pi

After lunch, I went to watch Life of Pi. Had missed the movie’s original run late last year, but it started showing again at selected cinemas recently due to the Oscar buzz. (It received 11 nominations at this year’s Academy Awards, and eventually won four: Best Original Score – Michael Danna; Best Cinematography – Claudio Miranda; Best Visual Effects – Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan de Boer, and Donald R Elliott; and of course Best Director – Ang Lee.) The movie is based on the book of the same name – I had a copy, which I lent Ahgong and somehow he lost it. :(

Like the book, the movie told the story of Pi Patel, who survives a shipwreck and then a journey across the Pacific Ocean in a lifeboat with a tiger called Richard Parker.

Continue reading ‘life of pi’

the hobbit: an unexpected journey

After dinner on Thursday, I met Zhiqi and we went to attend my company’s Members’ Appreciation Nite, where we screened The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to members who had previously purchased tickets at $10 a pair. We were in the last row, with some of my colleagues and their friends and family.

Continue reading ‘the hobbit: an unexpected journey’

caught on camera

‘I never watch them. I can’t stand my voice. I cannot change the channel quick enough’

Actress Michelle Pfeiffer on her own movies

The Straits Times, Life!, 16 August 2012, page C8

This quote reminded me of my Chinese classes in Secondary 2. My teacher, 陈老师, divided the class into fixed groups right from the first few lessons and often got each group to act out various parts of various 课文 in the textbooks, which usually resulted in the rest of the class exploding in mirth.

Sometimes we would go to the Cyber Learning Centre, where our Oscar-winning performances would be recorded on video. Later, she would screen the video recordings for our viewing pleasure. Whenever I saw myself onscreen, I had to hide my face, because my acting was completely cringeworthy and my voice, super shrill. Haha.

I think 陈老师 was one of the best teachers I ever had. :)

brilliant and obscene

After my short shopping sojourn, MRTed down to VivoCity and met Zhiqi to watch Ted.

spoiler warning!!!

white ramen and green tea

On Friday evening (24 August), Daphne and I decided to go get dinner at Raffles City after work. We walked around the eateries located in the basement a couple of times, but couldn’t decide on what to eat. Finally, we decided to try this newly opened restaurant on the first floor, Menya Musashi (named after legendary Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi), which specializes in ramen.

We joined a rather long queue outside the restaurant. To reduce waiting time, they had a staff go down the line to pass menus out and take orders.

As there were only two of us, we were lucky enough to get a table after waiting less than 15 minutes, ahead of other larger groups!

Continue reading ‘white ramen and green tea’

day at the museum

On Thursday, I took leave from work to visit the Harry Potter: The Exhibition and Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal exhibitions at the ArtScience Museum in Marina Bay Sands with Ahgong. To see both exhibitions, we bought all-access passes, which were $24 each for Singapore residents.

We decided to see the Harry Potter exhibition first, and were made to join a queue just outside the entrance to the exhibition. Staff draped Hogwarts scarves on us (only Gryffindor and Slytherin colours available so we both chose the Gryffindor ones), and snapped a photo of us standing in front of a green screen. Finally we were allowed in!

A staff member in robes appeared and performed a sorting ceremony. Volunteers were requested to sit on a stool, and the staff member held the Sorting Hat above their heads, and a voice boomed out which house they were sorted into. Three excited children volunteered. Before they were sorted, each was asked which their favourite house was, and all of them got into their favourite houses (as if it could be any other way!). None of them mentioned Hufflepuff, and Ahgong commented that nobody wanted to be hardworking and loyal. :P

Continue reading ‘day at the museum’

eating our way through a saturday

Made a new friend yesterday!

Had arranged to meet Joanne at Marutama Ramen at the Central at 2.30 pm, and she would be bringing her friend Serena. In the end I was half an hour late, and by the time I reached the restaurant, Joanne and Serena were finishing their ramen and extra order of cha shu.

So I quickly ordered a bowl of their the eponymous Marutama ramen!

Continue reading ‘eating our way through a saturday’

viva mexico

Went out with a newfound friend G (pseudo-date? :P) on Friday after work. First we went to watch All’s Well Ends Well 2012 at Cineleisure. It’s a romantic comedy with a (naturally!) happy ending, and nothing too thought provoking. The most notable thing about the movie is that Donnie Yen proved that he can do comedy really well!

After the movie, we walked down Orchard Road and went to Viva Mexico in Cuppage Terrace for a late dinner/supper! Apparently, G had wanted to try this place, which does Mexican cuisine (obviously! :P),  for some time. This is the first time I had Mexican food, not counting the one time I had Taco Bell during secondary school.

There was a heavy stone bowl on each table and I wondered what it was for.

Continue reading ‘viva mexico’

slip of the eye

‘I was 27 years old, I went 100 days over schedule, massively overbudget and I was roasted by the studios, who called me an irresponsible young film-maker. It was a debacle. Who could have guessed the public would embrace Jaws the way they did?’

Steven Spielberg on the popularity of his 1975 shark movie

The Straits Times, Life!, 12 October 2011, page C8

I was glancing through the quotes in the ‘Go ahead quote me’ column when I thought I read ‘Who would have guessed the public would embrace Jews the way they did?’, and immediately did a double take.

harry potter and the deathly hallows: part 2

My designer CX said that they had an extra ticket for the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 preview on Wednesday night, but she couldn’t make it, so would I like to go instead? I said yes, and MRTed down to Lido to meet her colleague JW.

spoiler warning!!!

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