Monday, July 11, 2005

Initial D - not too bad ... if not a bit flat .. 71%

Watched Initial D over the weekend. I went in with zero expectations. I have never read the comics. I am not a car fanatic. I didn't really plan for the movie until a few friends wanted to watch and asked me along.

Well, simple story. This kid is the son of a car racer legend. He turns out to be better than his father. And the along the way he fell into love, and out of love. But 2 characters who stole the show, are the father "Bunta", and his best friend, Itsuki" who brags too much. The kicker of the movie are the racing scenes. They are very compelling, and really cool to watch. But somehow, the focus on "drifting" seems to have been over emphasized, that makes it seems like who ever can drift better will win the race. The races are well choreographed and considering that the story is running around 1 single track, and the fact that they can make it interesting enough for more than 1 hour is quite an achievement already.

But how about the flaws? I am not sure about how the actual character is supposed to be, but watching Jay Chou's interpretation, it seems like Takumi's a rather boring dude, who really doesn't have much way of expressing his own feelings. Like I said, I didn't read the comics, but while there are overacting seen in actors, he's a case of underacting. I didn't understand how the girl could get so excited over him for? And it wasn't explained what she sees in him. Also, she mentioned that she has known him for years and they always talked, until recently. Why? Did the main character go through something that turned his personality into the passive, quiet type?

The father "Bunta" played by Anthony Wong is the character to watch. He's dynamic and it seems like he's having fun playing the role. Same for Kenny Bee, but he's not having the most screen time. "Itsuki", played by Chapman was the usual, having all the loud talking always seem by him in other movies, maybe he's chosen because he is ultimately just natural at being a loud mouth brat.

What I learnt, Initial D was a Japanese Comic that got translated into Chinese and then made into the movie. What I would truly like to see, is whether the script was written originally in Japanese, then translated and localized, or was it the other way around. I would wanna watch the Japanese dubbed version to see how it works out. It would be kinda weird to see a bunch of Chinese acting as Japanese - if I were a Japanese. And the fact that those "gang" members who are so blatantly "lineless" just made the movie kinda flat to a certain extent. The inability of the main chinese characters to interact with the rest of the obviously Japanese team members (for instance, the relationship between "Ryousuke" and his gang") is strikingly obvious.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

the Box that will be ....

Why be brutalized by an uncaring
world? My RES Box will give Joe Q
Public a realm where he is king.
Not that someone like you would need
it. Someone so intelligent. Witty.
Charming. But for the lonely, the...

Paranoid? The psychotic?

(didn't miss it)
...The Box can change their lives.
(looking around)
Our stock coupons will spike.

Edward turns, actually CLAPS Stickley on the back.

Hell. Might even bring old Stickley
here a few extra bucks. Huh, Fred?


Bruce takes off his glasses, rubs his eyes in vague
disbelief, cleans the lenses.

Wayne Enterprises will spearhead an
entertainment revolution.

Later in the movie

"How fitting that numbers lead you to me. For numbers will crown me king. My Box will sit on countless TV's around the globe, mapping brains, giving me credit card numbers. Bank codes. Safe combinations. Numbers of infidelities. Of crimes. Of lies told. No secret is safe from my watchful electronic eye. I will rule the planet. For if knowledge is power then tremble world, Edward Nygma has become a God."

TAKEN FROM "Batman forever" (1994)

1994, Riddler (Edward) aimed to take over the world with his little green TV boxes.

2001. Gates did the same with his hugeass Xboxes.

Long Live Blogs

"A strong and confident government may not like its critics, but it should be able to withstand a robust public debate. The right to be who you are and express what you feel is one of the most fundamental of human existence, and governments who lock up dissenters are showing contempt for all their citizens.

Freedom of belief and freedom of expression are far from universal. But in the words of the Declaration of Human Rights, they are the 'highest aspiration of the common people.'"

Long Live Blogs :)

Bush's stance on Global Warming

Finally ... after rejecting that Man has any role to play in warming up the planet ... he has finally given in ... a little bit ... this time .. the answer is "to a certain extent"...

"I am sorry ... US economy is more important ... the rest of the world will just have to burn in hell with the warming issue, we can't fix the CO2 issue if we can't make mo' money"

So .... let the selfish leaders of the world decide what's more important. Money or the Health of the planet. Yes, money can help to heal the planet to a certain extent ... but there's one thing it can't buy .. Time ....,0,7451975.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Monday, July 04, 2005


Man i love Michael Jackson. Recently I have been going through some sort of a MJ renaissance, going around looking for his CDs and snapping up the old discs that I missed. Listening to his music again suddenly brought back memories of my teenage years when I was so crazy crazy over him. Yes, yes ... I admit i did practice the moonwalk behind my closed doors. :P I bought every single, and taped all the TV shows with his appearances .. and of course, I went to his concerts. :)

Now, again looking through the collection of all the MJ stuff I have, I am suddenly amazed again at how wonderfully talented this singer is. He's lived his entire life providing entertainment to people, and if you think about it, it is a very scary thought. I mean, I hardly remember anything from 5, 6 years old, but that is when he started. For 4 decades. 4 freaking decades. His life is like a movie played out 40 years for people to watch. The recent trial was probably one of the biggest thing in his "History" when one looks back from the future. I just hope that his musical/entertainment journey doesn't just end here.

Here's hoping to many more years of Jacko's Wackiness, and great music. :)

Are Singaporean pampered?

My observation, would be "yes", and I didn't realize that about myself too until I have spent a few years overseas. It is funny how we cannot see our own faults until we step into other people's shoes. It is always tough to take criticisms, but it is like bad tasting medicine - they are essential to making us better.

But another problem with Singaporeans (generally speaking, again), is that, they want to rebuke, explain, and use excuses to justify their actions, without first considering why the criticism are raised. They are too eager to offer a response, that they refuse to look at things from the critics' perspective.

Back to the pampered issue. Why do I say so about Singaporeans? Well, we're too sheltered, having the system spoon feed us in every way, always having rules to control our behavior in the society, etc ... these in one way or another, resulted in a parental disciplinary kinda of attitude the government has towards us, the children. And as a result, this kind of attitude gets filtered down to the kind of upbringing we're subjected to - the parents who never allows the kid to do anything unless permission is given, in a way to protect the kid - thus the kids will grow up teaching their kids the same thing. A vicious cycle. They see that the kind of "sheltered upbringing" is keeping them safe, and prosperity. They see that by believing what the government tells them to do, our economy will prosper, our children would be safe, and everything would be great.

The system works, so everyone in their own comfort zone, learn to obey the rules and see everything else (outside Singapore) as not as good as what you got at home. "We are Singapore. We are Singapore. We're a nation strong and free forevermore" sings the children. "We have the best airport, busiest port .." as we are taught. The system has instilled in all of us a sense of elitism that we close our minds to the fact that "we're not No.1 in everything".

But reality now comes back to bite us. We are not as dynamic as we should be in a slump of the economy. The people are inflexible. Now the pampered Singaporeans who follows the rules are realising that following the old rules doesn't seem to pull our economy back on its feet ... and the now a few crazy ones wants to revolutionize and make things better. But the "crazy ones" are the, minority. But they are ones who wants to create, and inject changes - something the pampered system would resist.

However, the system understands that it needs the crazy ones to work with and improve the system, and not to shut them out entirely. The system understands that it is the crazy ones who will create new markets and new opportunities.

But the crazy one says ... "I am a quitter. I can't fight the system alone. I will leave and find my opportunities elsewhere". So the system will have to find a way to work with, and not fight the crazy ones. Or the system might one day drown in its own delusional elitism.

Friday, July 01, 2005

War of the Worlds (2005) - 75%

Yes, finally caught it. Like many of Spielberg's movie, there were so many of his signature shots in there. He loves to do long continuous shots of conversations and do the panning around the characters maneuver. You see quite a number of these in War of the Worlds 2005. Actually I only noticed this style of his from his last film "Minority Report" and I realise that he has repeatedly used this again and again here.

One scene one might not notice, is the shot of Cruise and kids in the car for the first time, and u see how the camera is flying around them while the entire conversation is taking place. Awesome awesome awesome ..... For those who didn't notice, watch the show again and discover this. It is totally impressive.

Ok, enough of the technical stuff. How about the story? It is basically the same as what novel and the previous movie were about. Aliens arrive, aliens attack, people run, people die, people go crazy, then aliens die. Nothing unexpected, but the effects are very very impressive. There's a very simple setup, and within 15min, the action started to roll. And it is a rollercoaster ride all the way from start to finish. It is intense, and unforgiving. No holds barred aliens bent on human extermination. This is not a kiddy movie, and it does not serve to explain why things happen the way they do. It is like a documentary of what happened in the history of mankind in a few crazy days. As a result, you leave the theater with lotsa of unanswered questions. But the movie reminded the audience, that in the heat of emergencies and destruction, it is the people around you that matters. Basically, you do not stop to think, for you may die if you do, you'd just run and survive first.

The references to war are also there. Or at least if you bothered to make the references. To me, it didn't matter if it was the aliens who attacked or not - survival was all that mattered. "I don't care if you hate me .... think of your sister ... I love you", said Ray, the character played by Tom Cruise, to his son in a pivotal moment in the movie. It is the sacrifices you're willing to make to protect the ones you love, and what truly mattered or not in war. Or should I say, what didn't matter, when all you got to lose, are all the loved ones around you.

So does the ending suck this time? Hmm ... it is basically still the same as before, but I thought in light of how the movie is setup (no explanation how/why things started), it is alright that they ended with no full explanation. Maybe there will be a documentary in that world that would show on their History channel few years after the events that happened in the movie, that would explain what they found out. But we will have to satisfy with at least the scenes of how the events unfolded - and leave the rest to our imagination.