Sunday, May 27, 2007

June holidays... time to get busy!

Sorry for the lack of posts in the last week or so. No excuse, just plain lazy to post. lolz. Well, here's a bumper crop of reviews of some movies I've caught. Actually there's one more I watched but I don't think I'll bother putting up a review... NEXT... it's quite a silly movie with Nicholas Cage trying so hard to NOT act his age. Getting quite tired of him trying to be young. heh.

Anyway, I'm gonna be travelling over the next few weeks. I'm freelancing with a travel company and I'll be helping to lead two tours over the June holidays. The first one is to New York and Boston next week and the next one is to Japan sometime in the middle of the June holidays. Yep, the two countries I like best! It's been a while since I last led a tour... specifically, almost 6 years coz that's when I left Ken-Air and joined RI. I'm kinda looking forward to it, but as with all new experiences, there is some apprehension with leading a group again after so long.

Yeah, some of you are gonna say it sounds so lucky that I get to travel. Truth is, it's a mixed bag of feelings. While it's lucky to be able to travel to work, it's also quite a huge responsibility coz I've gotta take care of the group and make sure nothing goes too wrong. lolz. Of course, I won't deny that it will be fun to visit these places again, even if I won't be able to do my own things like when I travel on my own for leisure. Will probably be bringing my laptop, so I'll be able to blog while I'm away. Gonna miss the opening of Shrek... who knows, maybe I'll catch it in the US. heh.

Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End

OK, I admit it, having a fictictious Singapore play a small role in a major blockbuster movie was a big kick in itself. It was fun to see Singapore portrayed as an irreverant pirates den, though I believe this might not be totally untruthful of Singapore's ancient past.

I didn't really expect much from POTC3. Frankly, I didn't think POTC2 was very good. I felt the story was getting too complicated for its own good. Well, I think POTC3 is a little better than 2 but the first movie is still the best.

Johnny Depp goes back to being a little more fun in this movie, not trying to be too serious like in POTC2. Of course, all eyes are on Chow Yun Fatt to see how he can carry his role in a Hollywood blockbuster. Well, here is a case where I thought Chow spoke too well. haha.. I know I shouldn't be subscribing to hollywood stereotypes, but to see an ancient chinese pirate speaking in almost perfect american english with little accent just feels wrong.

Story wise, it's also a little better with some cool ship battle scenes thrown in. The effects for the movie are pretty good. Quite awesome to see the sea waters swirling around.

I'm guessing this is one movie which will do well regardless of the reviews. So, go watch it and enjoy it. Just don't expect too much from it.

Blades of Glory

This is one heck of a funny movie.

I really enjoyed it coz it doesn't really pretend to be anything more than it really is... a simple campy look at the world of competitive ice-skating. Of course, it's totally politically incorrect as it plays up all the stereotypes of ice-skaters. Hence, expect scenes of effeminate guys and macho women. lolz.

There are some drop dead funny scenes. Some of the skating routines alone are worth the ticket price! Take my advice, don't be late for the movie. The first two routines which show the difference between the skating styles of the two leads is hilarious. Will Ferrell is pretty ok in the movie, he hasn't reached my irritation levels so far.

So, if you're looking for some good laughs, don't miss out on this. Probably one of the funnier movies in recent months.

Hula Girls

Last Week, I was invited to go for a special preview screening of HULA GIRLS by the Japan Tourist Board. I must admit that I wasn't too keen on going coz (1) there were some outstanding work which I was rushing and (2) with a title like HULA GIRLS, it doesn't exactly sound like a very interesting movie. I'm glad to say that in end, I was very wrong.

The movie is basically about a small mining city in 1965 Japan and how they struggled to come to terms with how their economy was dying and how they need to move on with the times when someone comes into town to start a Hawaiian tourist resort in the city. The movie boasts some really strong performances by the leads, especially the two girls who struggle to be more than what they were expected to be.... simple daughters of coal miners. Of course, there are the usual gags of how the girls from the city struggle with learning to dance and worse still, dancing in bikinis. lolz... But these were handled very well and never become campy.

The music is also really good. I've been looking for the CD since watching the movie but no luck yet. It's by this fella, Jake Shimabukuro. Anyone knows where to get his CD in Singapore?

HULA GIRLS is one of those shows I think will never last in the cinemas. It's due to be released on 31 May only at The Cathay and many people will probably just skip it. Well, if you are interested in a heartwarming story about people overcoming their traditions, don't miss out on this. I'm almost sure you won't regret it.

Check out the official site here.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

More 8-bit pics

Heh, managed to do two more lego mosaic designs. The one on the left is Rockman. Anyone wanna guess who is the one on the right? Prize is a pat on the back!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

New Lego Mosaic

The new Lego Mosaic was just released a couple of days ago in Singapore. It's basically a collection of lego 1x1 pieces which are arranged on a transparent 16x16 grid lego plate to form designs. Of course, the included designs are kinda kiddish as you can see below. Not too expensive, $29.90 for a large box and $14.90 for a small one.

I have some strange attraction to this 16x16 pixel art coz the old arcade/video games like Pacman and Mario were designed to fit a 16x16 grid. I think they call them 8-bit graphics. Anyway, I looked up some pics on the net and put together a blue pacman ghost and a pretty nice mario mushroom. Whaddya think?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Favourite Singapore Adverts

Was at Forum Galleria yesterday morning when I saw this poster for those Children Learning Centre. I'm a little curious why anyone would want to give their child a chance to excel in Hyperactivity, Clumsiness and Learning Disability.... lolz....

Friday, May 11, 2007


OMG! OMG! OMG! Just look at this special edition Simpsons Movie Xbox360! I want to sell mine to get this new one!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Lucky me! - LUCKY YOU

On Monday, I was invited by Golden Village to go for a preview screening of Lucky You, a new movie starring Eric Bana (of Hulk fame) and Drew Barrymore (my favouritest actress).

As I did with my previous reviews on movies starring Drew Barrymore, I would like to warn you that I tend to be biased with any movie starring my dahling. lolz.

So, how was Lucky You? It was quite nice actually. Not as fun as MUSIC & LYRICS but it's quite watchable. It's basically a movie about playing Texas Poker (I think) and how a sweet innocent girl (Drew at her sweetest and innocenest) is able to change the cold logical heart of a professional gambler (Eric Bana).

Frankly, this movie is pretty by the book, so don't expect any twists and turns. I did get a simple lesson on Texas Poker and I think I at least understand how to play it a little. Heh. I'm sure the Las Vegas casinos must have invested in the film. I can imagine many non-gamblers thinking about trying it out after learning it from the movie.

This is the kind of movie you go to if you are a gambling addict or in the mood for a chick flick. For me, it's neither. I went coz it starred my dear drew. lolz. (i noe i sound like an idiot but I dun care).

So go watch it when it's released! Support Drew!

Spiderman 3

Was really looking forward to this movie. Actually, I was looking forward to the months of May, June and July. Other than Spiderman 3, there's Shrek 3, Pirates of the Carribean 3, Harry Potter 5 & Transformers, just to name a few! So Spiderman 3 kinda starts the entire summer movie craze.

With expectations running high, I guess you could say that it would be very hard for Spidey3 to meet them. And I think Spidey3 falls short in some areas but does meet up to the expected standards in others.

Marvel decided to give the fanboys everything. And nowadays, I am coming to the realization that more doesn't always mean better. In this case, I don't know how wise it was to have three villains in the story: Sandman, Venom & Green Goblin's son. While attempts were made to flesh out the backgrounds/characters, it was quite a rush job and you never really feel for the poor Sandman and his conflicts. Venom is supposed to be quite terrifying. But other than a few cheap shocks (you know, the sudden face grabs-jump out at you moments) and the snarly teeth pics, venom doesn't really do much more. And Green Goblin's son? Well, nothing new and interesting here. He puts on his father's costume and tries to kill Spidey for killing his dad.

The story also tries too hard to be dramatic. So much so that at times, it almost feels like watching a soap opera. It has too many coincidental moments. You know, spidey is happy, wants to propose, girl gets into bad luck, wants to tell spidey, spidey is overly excited, doesn't hear, girl gets upset, spidey gets bad news, girl comes over, spidey brushes her off, AWWWWW.... heartbreak. And the director/writer does this pretty often in this movie. So after a while, it just felt poorly directed.

OK, I'm not saying Spidey3 is a bad movie. Actually, despite the above, I still enjoyed the movie. I guess I just wished it was even better. I liked some of the action sequences. Pretty well choreographed. Effects were very good too. The scene where Sandman is born and how he tries to take his first step is very well done. (Unfortunately, after that, the effects crew decided to emulate the sand storms in Mummy Returns, so it got kinda cheesy). Venom also looked pretty good. There were some nice lighthearted moments in the movie. Peter Parker turning to the bad side (when he wore the black costume) was quite hilarious. But the thing is, it almost felt out of place coz it stared feeling very b-gradey at that point.

I think I liked Spidey 2 best. But it would be a tough fight between spidey 1 and 3. Spidey 1 had a sucky villain but it had the privilege of introducing spiderman to us. Spidey 3 had much much more action and 3 villains, but the whole movie didn't seem to gel as well.

Haha, but regardless of wat I say, I'm pretty sure half (if not all) of Singapore would probably go watch it. Have fun!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Daiso Rocks

I discovered Daiso a long time ago when I visited IMM a long time ago. Thought it had excellent variety for the $2 price tag. Of course, considering that in Japan, this would be like the local 'Hyaku-en shop' (or 100 yen shop) which converts to only S$1.35 nowadays, Daiso must be earning heaps thanks to the exchange rate!
Anyway, due to the Rhythm of Kyushu event, I've been visiting Daiso a little more, but it was only yesterday when I discovered they had these mini 130-piece puzzles. Quite nice quality for $2. I've been thinking of doing a puzzle of The Tower of Babel by Pieter Brueghel d. for a long time. Since this was only 2 bucks, heh, I thought why not. Took me about 15mins to finish this I think. Quite nice, no?

The Rhythm of Kyushu - Reflections

It's taken about 2 days and I can't say I've recovered but at least I'm functioning more normally. Lolz.

The Rhythm of Kyushu (RoK) has been a pretty interesting experience for me. I think the most significant thing for me is that it's the first time I've ever planned a public event. In the past, it has always been in fairly controlled conditions. I know who are the audience, where it'll be held, what time we are gonna do what, how everything is coming into place, etc, etc. This time, it's been almost the opposite. I don't know how many people will come (or even if people will come at all!), I had to go find a venue for it to be held, I was held ransom by the weather and I didn't noe how to do many of the things. And I think because of this, it's been fairly stressful (especially towards the end) but also very educational for me. And I think that's something I've craved coz one of the reasons why I left RI was to pick up new skills and learn new things.

It was interesting to learn how to arrange with contractors to put up canvas backdrops, exhibition stands, tie up with sponsors (who of course wanted their brand name to be advertised), design and print posters, and the list goes on and on. Another big difference was that in RI, I had an army of students to work on the project. I pretty much worked on RoK with a core team of .... 4 persons. So each person really had to do much more. But I'm glad it turned out well.

I think I'm personally proud of two things in particular: (1) the Taiko Drum Competition and (2) the exhibition.

It was really a godsend to find Namiko Sensei who worked with us to conduct the Taiko Drum workshops and Competition. I am very impressed with what the students were able to put up after about only 7 hours of workshop! And the crowds at the two group rounds was really quite good. I thought it was extrememly successful! Wouldn't mind organizing more of such competitions.

The exhibition was the other thing I was quite happy with. Although it might not seem like much, but I learned quite a bit in terms of using the graphics editing software and preparing stuff for printers. Also thought the poster boards turned out well. Must say that I am extremely thankful for one of the staff members for working on the small pics which went onto the boards. We had to review the boards via the phone until like 5am so that it could be sent to the printers in time! Lolz. Talk about stress!

Of course, it wasn't a perfect event and some things went wrong, but I think on the whole I definitely learnt quite a bit. It's my first time doing a public event (hopefully not the last....) and I think on the whole, it should be a pass grade. :D