Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Steamboy - 85%

Ok, this is a DVD review. Kinda late I know, but never too late for a good movie right? Steamboy is a great animated feature. This is a Japanese anime created by the maker of "Akira" and is touted to be 10 years in the making. Well, what struck me about this anime is not how detailed the drawings are or how technologically awesome the movie is. I mean yes, it is visually stunning. And mind you, considering that Disney has all but given up on 2D hand drawn animation, this one still has all that in spades - and they are very well done.

However, the great thing about this anime, is its story. It is a story about a little boy in a family of inventors who specializes in steam technology. One day, he received a package from his granddad, a steamball, and which triggered a cat and mouse chase between himself, and some men with evil intent. The little boy undergoes a growing process, where he is exposed to the vileness of human nature and trickeries of men to gain what they want. He sees how men are seduced by power and how fine a line it is between self righteousness to serve mankind and the true altruistic desire to change society.

This is a good story beneath a beautiful wrap of stunning visual treat. It is not as technically impressive as Appleseed, but the story beats it hands down anytime.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Promise - 52%

I haven't felt so compelled to write a review about a movie for a long time. I have just finished watching a 9pm show and I have to write this before I go to sleep. DO NOT WATCH THE PROMISE. Man this is really one of the worst film I have watched whole year. No make it "the most badly written film I have E-V-E-R watched".

Ok .. now that it is out of my system, here goes. The story is about a beautiful woman in a fictitious country, which is the subject of many powerful men's struggle to gain her love. Yet, she is "cursed" with a promise she made to never be able to receive true love from anyone in return for material wants beyond her wildest dreams. The story revolves around a general, a slave and a usurper who all wants a piece of the girl. But what has gotten into Chen Kaige to spend so much (20million? The most expensive Chinese movie ever made), to direct a story as ludicrous as this one?? This is a mystery I wish to seriously want to unravel. The characters are unbelievably directed to act with almost an operatic fashion that seems to lose balance at the edges of sanity. The lines written are so corny it almost made the film look like a comedy. And again I ask, what has driven to Chen Kaige to stoop so low???

The special effects are terrible. It seems like he has engaged a wrong team to work on the computer effects which are not any better than those we seen these past few years in Chinese movies. Of special mention (not in a good way), were how terrible the animated bulls looked. The stampede scene was almost cartoon-like and considering how I have watched a greatly choreographed stamepede scene (in King Kong), this one was totally unispiring and almost embarrassing in comparison.

The best part of the film? I don't know - why? Because there was a "love making" scene between Ceclilia Chong and Hiroyuki Sanada that was snipped by the censors. It could have provide some serious juice for the film and could have at least been the redeeming factor. :) But seriously, I doubt even if it wasn't cut, the film wouldn't be able to save itself.

The actors were all a waste of talent. And I say this especially for Kang Dong-Jun, Hiroyuki Sanada and Cecilia Chong. And man, it was so sad (and hilarious) to see how the males in the movie were acting like tearful adult gays when they were capable of so much more. Hiroyuki Sanada was great in Twilight Samurai, and what did he see in the script of this one? It will remain a mystery to all.

And then there is the wonderfully incredulous fantasy story that fails to inspire and touch. There was a moment in the film when the protagonists seem to finally come to realization about the misplaced/misundertood love between them that I thought "wow, is the movie actually gonna turn good towards the end and redeem itself after putting the audience through almost 2 hrs of agony?" The answer sadly is no.

So from one of the best Asian film of recent memory - Farewell to my Concubine to the Promise he has delivered today, we see how Mr Chen has succumbed to "commercialism" to make a movie that the public will love. He claims this movie is made with "commercial" intent. And guess what Mr Chen? There are a bunch of good commercial movies out there and this one is not one of them. This is one bad movie with no commercial value. And the mystery of how this movie was ever made by Chen Kaige still lingers ... as I end this review and get ready for bed.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Getting Personal

Well .. it's too long since i posted something like really .. personal. I mean nonsensical to those who do not know me. I mean geeze .. this blog was meant to be something for my friends. I have become so busy of late (of late few years?) it has been so tough for me to follow up on them or for them to follow up on my dailies. Email used to be good .. but really ... I've gotten lazy too. Blogging is like writing a diary for me, and it lets off my steam and angst and anguish ... used to do weekly updates on my life. ... maybe i shld start going back to doing that ....

But the problem is ... I am not a person who likes to be "rigid-timized". Nope .. I don't like to set myself a timetable and force myself to adhere to. I don't like to set long term commitmental schedule that will rule my life .. and thus the weekly mandatory update only worked for so long. And maybe that's why I never could find a long term solution to my relationship problems .. or the lack of.

See .. I have problems finding myself a girlfriend ... for the LOOONGEST time ... and commitment problems? Actually I don't think so .. but the problem is I am unable to set my life in a "stable" format that keeps any girl from finding a "secure" man within me. What to do? Women these days (esp those SG ones) want their man to be dependable, stable, steady, careerminded blah blah blah ... but once things go out of the "expected path", they will get scared and run. Divorce case are on the rise .. and never did I expect that so many of my own friends are undergoing the split.

Are people these days so unacceptable to change, that's why they break when the "man/woman that I love is no longer who he/she was"? Or are they too quick to change and willing to "move on and not live with a mistake"? There are no straight answers i guess ... People these days are more "individual" driven ... more well off to make decisions like that ... more in control of their lives ... less concern of those divorcee stigmas etc. ...

But the bottom line is, people these days break more easily. Not just in relationship, but in things that they do, and mentally, and physically and all .... I break a little everytime ... and i wish I could stop breaking sometimes. ...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Whining about issues - Wake up Singaporeans!!!

This is a classic case of Singaporeans whinning and complaining about an issue they have and after weeks of discussing the problem, everyone just expects someone else to freaking do the complaining/job/followup/action for them. WTF!!?! Hey guys wake up!!! This the reason why SG will not go anywhere if the people just plaing "BOCHAP". This attitude has got to change. Complaining is one thing and acting upon it is another. It doesn't just apply to this Nintendo DS connection issue, but also to life in general. You think why Bungkok train station took 2 years to open? Cos only the freaking MP is doing the complaining. What is Singaporeans attitude?? Whine whine whine .. and expect MP to do the job for them cos "we pay tax"??? Fucking hell wake up!!! Write letters!!!! Hoardes and SHIT of them. Gather and go and approach the problem givers and show them we are united. Narbey scared kena police catch u? Then freaking do a peaceful protest!!! Or just keep making calls!!! Everyone does it ... pressures will be felt. If everyone keep thinking "useless one lah","nothing will happen one lah". Then yes!! .. NOTHING WILL EVER HAPPEN ON ANYSIDES!!!!

Below is the latest exchange I have with Singnet and I posted in anyone whishes to copy this to other Singapore gaming sites please do so.

Related Link:

Ok Guys, I have emailed Singnet about this issue again, and they actually called me back to follow up on this issue of Nintendo DS users not being about to connect and play wifi games if they are on Singnet Broadband. And guess what, they say I am an isolated case cos NO ONE contacted them about this problem. they say so far, I AM the ONLY PERSON THEY HEARD COMPLAINING ABOUT THIS.

I am getting rather miffed about this cos hey guys wake up, if you guys got a problem with this and refuse to call Singnet to let them know that a few hundred or tens of thousand of us have this problem and expect 1 or 2 of us to do the job for you, they are not going to care. Here's the email and the support number is Tel: 1800 - 8486933 (8am - 12mn). Email and let them know about this. I am not on Game Axis so if someone could post this message to them and ask everyone to get their asses off regarding this issue it would help tremedously.

Remember, whining about it and not doing anything about it will not solve the issue. Wake up fellow Singaporeans. Stop acting like lazy donkeys and start calling or emailing them.

The thing they want me to help find out for them now are 2 things which with my limited technical skills I am unable to.
1) What is the port this server "" is using for gaming and communication.
2) What is the IP address of the server.

If anyone could help out, please please please do something about this!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Intelligent Design - debunked

The ruling is out. This is a win for the critical thinkers, sciences, and logical brains. The scheme to sneak Christianity into the classrooms has been foiled once again. The judge for the controversial case of 11 parents suing a school for making a statement to be made before every class that teaches evolution to "discredit" Darwinism, has ruled against the defendent. This is landmark ruling which will have major repercussion throught the United States for schools (especially in Kansas) which tries to integrate religion and the state.

Similar to how many religious conservatives are lobbying and pushing for people/companies/retailers to say "Merry Christmas" as oppose to "Happy Holidays", the people behind Intelligent Design is trying to shove Christian beliefs unto unsuspecting student and consumers, who would not have a fair and balance view of other religious theories. In fact, the US government policy of keeping State and Religion apart, is a very wise yet fragile stance that is often under attack. And the fact that freedom is upheld along side of fairness to all Americans regardless of beliefs and face, makes me very very proud of this nation. The fact that America allow their own system to freely and objectively criticize their own policies, is key to its success in ensuring everyone feels that they are equally treated regardless of their own color and history. I am no American, but I respect that kind of trust that they place in their own people.

If Singapore is to make me feel a sense of pride for her, I'd expect that the policies that it upholds is consistent with that they ask us as citizen to pledge (Regardless of Race, Language or Religion ... To build a Democratic Society, Based on Justice and Equality) ... Can our country live up to this?

NYTimes report

Friday, December 16, 2005

King Kong - 90%

This is possibly the best computer animated live action movie ever made so far. After watching this 3 hour epic, I took a step back and thought : Wow! Ann (Naomi Watts) and King Kong hardly exchanged any words. King Kong certainly didn't say a single word throughout the entire film. Yet, the amount of emotions exhanged between the 2 way surpasses many others that I've seen in so many other movies laden with dialogue (and sex).

This movie is 3 hours long, and I hardly find it draggy. Though 2 other people I know who watched it thought it so. Story is basically about a movie maker who managed to grab his crew to an undiscovered island to shoot his film. Ann Darrow was a performer who is struggling to feed herself and was provided with an opportunity to star in this film. Unfortunately, the island was inhabited by some rather unfriendly natives who immediately grabbed Ann and offered to King Kong as a sacrifice. But amazingly, King Kong and Ann developed a relationship beyond words, and throughout the film, you see how the 2 tried to protect each other from harm. Interestingly, Ann's love interest, a screenwriter played by Adrien Broody, was on his own journey throughout the entire film trying to "save" Ann. This setup, with 2 male characters, one human and another a huge gorilla, caring so much for the character of Ann, is so wonderful. The contrast of the 2 lovers, at times fighting against each other, while trying to protect the girl from harm was extremely well written.

The action sequences in the film were incredibly choreographed too. the dinosaurs stampede scene was breathtaking to behold. And the fight between the 3 Tyrannosaurus Rex and King King was spectaular. And the 3D animation of this movie is possible the best ever created up till this point in movie history. And we're talking live realistic animation. And this 1000 pound gorilla is just like the real thing - behavior wise especially.

And all these are the result of the ingeniuity of Peter Jackson. Honestly I never thought LOTR were that great a series, mainly because of how overly dramatic some of the scenes were and how "forced" the emotions were created in the trilogy. But here, JAckson managed to strike a perfect balance. And like I said before, the fact that no dialgue was exchanged between Ann and King Kong, and yet the director was able to bring out a believable sense of love and care they had for each other, was an outstanding achievement. This movie is destined to be a classic.

Monday, December 12, 2005

History of Violence - 87%

A story about a man who, in defence, killed 2 killers who were on a spree and becomes a national hero. Next thing you know, the killings continued, and more are after his blood. Why? You should catch the show to find out. This story of things which are not what they appears to be, is not new. I've seen something similar years ago in the form of "A Long Kiss Good Night" starring Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson. "Kiss" was more action oriented and much more stylistic, and it lacks something which "History" brings to the table - realism. "Kiss" was a fantasy ride in comparison, while "History" takes itself much more seriously.
And its gritty independent feel also reminded me of a movie made in the 70s called "The Straw Dogs" (Dustin Hoffman) - which is a good thing.

And yes, this movie is rated R21 for violence and sex. No kids allowed. And I guess, only adults would understand the complex undertones in the story. The struggle of Tom Stalls throughout the different stages of unravelling the secret, is well paced and written. The relationship between the father, son and the wife, as well their own struggles with their own personalities are well designed. The town itself seemed to be well "chosen" and characterized to house the characters too.

Well knowing this film to not last very long in the Singapore market - hurry down and catch the show ASAP before it ends its run end of the week.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Inconculsive data .. Why Report it ST?

Yesterday (6 Dec 05) I bought the papers. ... Yess ... I actually bought Ass Tee to read. :)
An article on the front page of the Home Section was headlined "1 in 25 gay men here may have HIV". Wow that certainly has caught my attention. A Dr Balaji Sadaivan made the statement. But as you read the rest of the article, these were pointed out:
1) data to come up with the figure was far from perfect
2) "There are many many questions about this data"
3) AFA (Action for Aids), a non governmental oranization has no idea how accurate the figure might be.
4) AFA's programme manager said the number could be an underestimate or overestimate

I fact almost 1/2 of the article went on to say how unreliable that headline/statement was. So I ask, if the data was not reliable, why the hell did ST even report it??? Was it to
1) scare the gay community?
2) warn the public about the local gay community? OR
3) sensationalize the news???

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Atlantis Singapore

Is anyone familar with the myth that is Atlantis? Well, in writings of Plato from 360 BC, he described an island that existed over the Atlantic Ocean about 11,000 years ago. According to this legend The people of this land possessed great wealth and the island was a center for trade and commerce. The rulers of this land held sway over the people and the Atlantean led virtuous and simple lives. Then eventually, greed and power came to overcome the people, and the nation grew arrogant and proud. The Great Geek God Zeus, seeing that the people had grown immoral and corrupted, decided to punish the Atlanteans, with a violet storm. And in a sudden surge, Atlantis was swallowed by the ocean.

Sounds familar? I'd say Singapore sounds very much like a modern day version of the mythical land. Singapore is a land surrounded by waters. Started off as a simple fishing island off the Malayan Straits, now it is a metropolitan city island arguably one of the wealthiest nations in the region. It grew as a center for trade and commerce too, and is one of the busiest ports of world. The rulers (PAP?) definitely held sway over the people. The people of the land sees that the rulers are "doing a good job", does not do much to question nor object to the government's decisions - rather deciding to let them run the show cos "they know best". The nation grows proud and arrogant, and usually does not appear to "bow down" to their neighbors, while only maintaining a very "business like" relationship with them. Singaporeans wrote their own rules, and they live by the book.

In the wake of the recent tsunami and earthquake disasters happening around the world, I've often asked my fellow Singaporeans what they think about the possibility of such disasters befalling us. I argued, the ice caps are melting, and water level will rise, someday the waters will sink Singapore. But never have I gotten a single answer from any Singaporeans who even thinks this is possible. Reasons given:
1) We are not on the edge of plates, so earthquakes will affect us.
2) We're surrounded by many islands, tsunami will not hit. We're protected.
3) There are many places for the water to go to, it won't hit us.
4) Our government is not worried, why should we?

My question is, where will the excess water go to? Ah ... the arrogance of a proud nation.

"We are Singapore, We are Singapore, We're a nation strong and free forever more"

Friday, December 02, 2005

Execution Nguyen

So its been done. Nguyen was hung on 2nd Dec Morning. I spoke to many Singaporeans and these are some quotes:

1) It's about time.
2) He deserved it.
3) Walau, everybody knows drug trafficking in SG is death what! Even the plane announce so clearly.
4) You know the amount of drugs he carry can harm how many people?

Ok. The 4th response was probably the strongest to supporting the death sentence in SG. I do not deny how true that statement is. Drugs has destroyed many people's lives and governments all over the world work hard to stop its proliferation. SG just has a harsher, tougher stance on the issue. Death is the result, and it doesn't matter how u get associated by it.

But the first 3 kind of responses are the reason people from other countries see Singapore as unfeeling, inflexible and arrogant. I say Singaporeans are calling for his blood, and many claim I am being too exaggerating. But given the kind of tone that we carry with the statements made, is it not true? And I believe, a certain amount of pride has to do with all this. A nation under scrutiny, will rebel and stand up against the attacks. Maybe if Australian media did not come down so harsh with its criticism on Singapore, the Singaporeans wouldn't have behaved so "unfeelingly".

I do wonder, if the SG government should "reverse" its stands and provide clemency for Nguyen, would the nation balked at the leaders calling them double standards? Or would the people still stand by the decisions of the leaders? Of course these are just speculation. I always see Singaporeans as not having a mind of their own, always following what the government says and decide. So I would always imagine "what if" scenarios happening.

I am not a proponent for "Death penalty". I do not see it as a means to any end. But of course this is my opinion. Readers who do not agree with me please do not bother to comment on this. I do not wish to partake in arguments about "who's gonna pay for feeding these murderers?", "let's see if your mother is murdered" or stuffs like that. I've heard enough of such arguments. At the same time they are valid, I do not feel that they invalidate my own stand. I treasure life too much to see more lives being destroyed for any causes. Maybe for drugs, other than using death penalty as the only way to deter drug trafficking, we should develop some sort of magic formula that can cure addiction? Just wishful thinking ...

"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Unless you have three eyes. Then you'll probably be alright."
-Mahatma Gandhi