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Category / Movies & Plays

It’s been something like a year since I did a movie review on this blog, there’s no particular reason for this slack but here’s a movie that I thought deserve one – Prometheus (2012).

Prometheus 2012

The movie is sort of a prequel to the Alien series that many of us grew up watching, and in a way, an integral part of our childhood’s formation years. Prometheus is directed by the same Ridley Scott that made those classics the original Alien and Blade Runner.

I watched this movie in TGV’s IMAX screen at Sunway Pyramid, and it utterly blew my mind away – the IMAX theater that is. It was crisp, clear, and sounded superb. Not entirely unlike switching from a 21″ old tube TV to the latest 55″ high definition LCD panel with a beefed up sound system to boot.

So much so that I want to watch every movie that’s release on TGV IMAX from now on, and I am not getting paid to write this. 😀

TGV IMAX completely ruined my “normal” movie experience.

Prometheus screenshot

Anyway back to the movie that scored a (I think) very overrated 7.8/10 at IMDB.

The storyline:

A team of scientists travels through the universe on the spaceship “Prometheus” on a voyage to investigate Alien life forms. The team of scientists becomes stranded on an Alien world, and as they struggle to survive it becomes clear that the horrors they experience are not just a threat to themselves, but to all of mankind.

The movie has really excellent visuals with some scenes rival that of Avatar, pretty good pace, with rather decent acting (Michael Fassbender was excellent), and on top of that, you have Charlize Theron, that is always a bonus.

However, what I thought made it very disappointing are the things left unexplained and many that never make any sense. I know it’s essentially a sci-fi and you should be able to get away with many things, but consistency is key to any good story.

From here onwards it’s all spoilers, and read only if you have watched or are planning to watch.

Now here’s a list of problems I have with the movies:

  • How could biologists violate all the health code there is? Taking off the face mask = risking potential alien virus/bacterial infection
  • The same guy (Fifield) who deployed the navigational bots is the same guy who gets lost afterwards…
  • The same paranoid guy (Milburn) somehow wanted to play with alien snake
  • What are those black goo that kept flowing out of the vase?
  • What is David’s motive in “poisoning” Charlie?
  • A far superior civilization, the Engineers, didn’t even want to talk and just starts killing everyone in sight, that doesn’t seem very smart
  • Charlize Theron’s character was smart enough to lead a space expedition, but couldn’t figure out running side way will save her life
  • That almost Star Wars “father” line was utterly unnecessary
  • How did the face hugger grew to be the size of Kraken in the medical pot without food?
  • Why would the Engineer head to human’s escape pod when they have many other space ships of their own? If he wanted to kill all human on the planet first he’d have done it before the first attempt to fly off anyway.

OK I’ll stop here.

It’s been a while since I last wrote about any movie on the blog, and even longer since I watched any local movie on the big screen, but last night I went to the cinema and caught Nasi Lemak 2.0, and you should too.

nasi lemak 2.0

Nasi Lemak 2.0 is directed by Namewee, a name that should be familiar with every youtube generation that resides in Malaysia, his is (in)famous for quite a few music videos – Negaraku-ku being the more prominent one.

I’ve always thought about Namewee as a person who has a talent and definitely passionate about the country. However, he also struck me as a person who sometimes uses his talent in not a particularly great way to voice out what he has to say.

This movie changes some of that perception for me.

Firstly, the plot (pulled from wikipidia, skip if you do not want/need any potential spoilers)

A young chef, Huang Da Xia (played by Wee Meng Chee) struggles to get his restaurant business going. The reason his restaurants rarely gets customers is because he cannot adapt to the “localized” cooking his patrons are looking for. However, contradicting his unpopular cuisine, he is also well-known as “Hero Huang” in the local neighborhood where he carries out good deeds in helping the community (e.g: Filming videos and putting them on his Youtube account.) until he met Xiao K (played byKaren Kong) who asked for his help. Xiao K’s father, owner of a famous chinese restaurant, is fighting with her aunt for the ownership of the restaurant. After some complicated discussions, they decided to hold a contest to see who can cook the best chinese dish. Desperate to get his life and the restaurant business back on track, Chef Huang decided to help Xiao K. Huang seeks help from a mysterious hawker stall lady (played by Adibah Noor), who summons him to embark on an extraordinary journey of his life. During this self-enlightening experience, he will also meet many “local heroes” each lending their support to help him re-discover his roots and the real hidden message of “Nasi Lemak”.

Nasi Lemak 2.0 is a comedy on the surface, but the heart of the movie touches on lives in Malaysia that most Malaysians can relate to. This is truly a 1Malaysia movie that is undoubtedly Malaysian and sends a strong message about our identity.

There were at least half a dozen languages used in the movie, and I’m quite sure that most everyone will have to read the subtitles somewhere along the way, so don’t feel bad if you don’t speak/understand Cantonese, Tamil, or even Malay, you will still get  (most of) the jokes. Knowledge of current affair and political landscape of the country helps too (like the hidden meaning of “diam lah”).

Certain direction of the movie, such as the repeated “funny” actions of certain characters could have been done without, but otherwise Nasi Lemak 2.0 hits the spot pretty good, even with it’s ultra low budget and crap quality special effects.

If you haven’t catch the show yet, go watch it! I genuinely enjoy the movie and I believe most of you will too!

It’s been a while since this blog featured a movie review, with the last one being Inception some 10 months ago. I guess there just wasn’t a movie I like enough to be writing a review since then.. until I managed to catch Source Code a few days ago.

Source Code movie poster

The movie currently score a pretty good 7.9/10 on IMDB, pretty good for a relatively low budget scifi. This movie sort of took Jake Gyllenhaal back to his Donnie Darko roots after the semi disaster that was Prince of Persia, Like Donnie Darko, this is another sci-fi film that has something to do with alternate history/universe theme. Something that the geek in me love seeing on big screen.

This is the second full featured film from Duncan Jone, the other being Moon, which was another sci-fi film with an even lower budget, but a must-watch if you’re a fan of hard scifi instead of space soap opera.

This review is going to have some spoilers/discussions, so for those who hasn’t watch the film, go watch it now!

source code train scene
the co-star is pretty cute!

Jake Gyllenhaal’s character, Captain Colter Stevens wakes up in a train and found himself looking at a “stranger” female who clearly knows him, and when he went to the toilet, the person in the mirror wasn’t himself.

He attempt to get to know what happens, but 8 minutes later, the train to Chicago blew up, killing everyone on board…… and he woke up in a bunker strapped on a chair with a woman name Goodwin on the screen trying to explain to him what happened.

Apparently Colter Stevens was in the Source Code, a program that puts him into someone’s mind over the last 8 minutes of his life. In this case, 8 minutes in the train that got blown, his job was to find the bomber.

The plot is covered on wikipedia, so I guess I shall not repeat the story.

source code experiment room scene

While started out a little slow, the pace of the movie worked out pretty well at the end. I love the premies of the story even though it was as almost as far fetched as space aliens hanging out with human breathing the same atmosphere and being able to have hybrid children.

The one part that I wish to be different is perhaps the way the film ends. I think it would carry a little bit more of an impact if the movie ended at the freezing frame where everyone was laughing on the train listening to Russel Peters with Stevens and the girl kissing.

While the ending in the movie works well on the many world interpretation quantum mechanics postulate, it left a bit too sweet a taste and a bit too Hollywood for me.

This is a must watch movie for all geeks, and while you’re at it, get a copy of Moon and watch that too!

NBA playoffs 2011

For those of you who are following the NBA, the playoffs are finally here!

First round Eastern Conference would be Indiana vs Chicago, Philadelphia vs Miami, Atlanta vs Orlando, New York vs Boston, and Western Conference match ups are Memphis vs San Antonio, New Orleans vs Los Angeles Lakers, Portland vs Dallas, Dallas vs Oklahoma City.

I am gonna admit that I like the Miami Heat and want them to do well. I watched Lebron James live in Washington DC while he was  in a high school all stars games. The second round match up could be Miami vs Boston, and that’s gonna be mighty delicious!

I think Miami or Chicago’s gonna come out from the East, and Lakers might represent the West again, though I hope OKC or San Antonio (might be too old) can spoil it.

The problem with basketball games is that often time it is only interesting at in the last half an hour or so, and that American time zone isn’t very compatible with the one we’re in either, so Astro B.yond PVR to the rescue!

I’m gonna record all the games and make sure I don’t miss the important moments!

The last time I did a movie review on this blog was almost two years ago. Every once in a while there is a film that’s good enough I thought I’d blog about it, but inevitably always change my mind. In the world of Twitter, facebook, and all it’s instant short feedback capability, movie reviews sorta took a back seat in this blog.

That is, until a movie like Inception comes along.

Inception, movie poster

Ever since I first heard about Inception, the mere knowledge that is is directed by Christopher Nolan and lead by Leonardo DiCaprio. I know it is something that shouldn’t be missed. While I expected a good film, the movie delivered way more than what I had expected.

If you’re familiar with Nolan’s work, I can only summarize Inception as having the twists of Memento, the drama of Prestige, and the spectacle of The Dark Knight.

While I could never pen down the intricacy and complexity of the movie on this blog, for those who does not want to have the slightest spoiler, you should stop reading now, and immediately make sure you get the tickets to the next screening.

Don’t miss it!

Ken Watanabe and Marion Cotillard in Inception

In essence, Inception is an original sci-fi film with a heist theme, but I’m doing injustice to the multi layered plot and all it’s intricacies here.

DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, the Extractor, a man who specializes in subconscious security, invading dreams and stealing ideas in corporate espionage. In his team there’s Gordon-Levitt as the Point Man, who researches the target. Ellen Page was recruited as the Architect to create the scenes in the dream. Then there’s also a Forger, and a Chemist.

Inception building bending

Ken Watanabe plays Saito, the client who hired Cobb, but instead of stealing ideas, Cobb is asked to plant a new idea in the target – Robert Fischer (by Cillian Murphy). The difficult part is of course, ideas has to be original, and when it is not, you always remember the origin.

It is with this premise that the movie develops its multi layered plot that demands and ultimately rewards 100% concentration to every details and development in the entire film. The last hour or so of the movie is nothing like I’ve ever seen before, the climax that never ends. (reminds me of pigs’ orgasm)

While the visual effects (with computer graphics only when absolutely required) are spectacular, it was never blowing things up for the sake of blowing things up. Everything shown is necessary and every aspect of the film adds up to make a viewing experience unlike anything else.

The excellent cast and sound track definitely carried out the story beautifully. Leonardo DiCaprio did not need to carry the weight of the movie, but delivered an excellent performance yet again, Ellen Page and Michael Caine sorta did their usual roles, and Marion Cotillard must have left one of the strongest impressions while not having that much screen time.

Gordon-Levitt in Inception

Just when you think the movie industry is void of creative ideas with studios seemingly only keep investing on sequels, prequels, and reboots, Inception is definitely a very strong reminder that all is not lost.

I hate to sound like a fanboy, but Christopher Nolan really did outdone himself in this one. I haven’t yet manage to find a weak point in this movie, and will definitely watch it again. Right now it’s a 10/10 for me.

p/s: Got the screening tickets from Nuffnang, thank you Robb!

Thanks to the magnificent suanie and her connections, I was invited to the press screening of the local comedy SELL OUT last night. So horng, Suan, and I reached Mid Valley Gardens last night to find Gareth and Joshua among the few attendees to the screening who neither participated in the movie itself nor attached to any traditional media outlets.

GSC Signatures is my favorite cineplex currently, and it would be great if there are more movie screenings there. Then again, I shall be grateful for not having to pay to watch screenings and premiers, beggars can’t be choosers.

SELL OUT! the movie
SELL OUT! (2008), directed by Yeo Joon Han

SELL OUT! is a movie about two person, Rafflesia Pong (yes, it’s a comedy) and Eric Tan who work for FONY media and FONY electronic division of the same conglomerate respectively. Rafflesia is a TV personality while Eric is a product designer, both of them share the same two unreasonable and demanding bosses.

Rafflesia’s show about local artists were going nowhere; at the same time, Eric Tan invented a soya bean machine but met with resistance by the two bosses in marketing the device. The advanced on a different direction with Rafflesia getting a break after filming her dying fiance’s final poem on TV while Eric Tan split into two after being exorcised by a particular medium (ala multiplicity style).

The story then proceed on and ended with one (or both of them) selling out after a lengthy process of quite a lot of nonsense that are, well, very humorous at times.

Jerrica Lai played the role of Rafflesia brilliantly, while the Peter Davis was slightly disappointing as Eric Tan, the character was just a bit flat and “kayu” in my opinion. The format of the movie was very bold, with plenty of songs ala musicals in between that, well, could have been executed in a better way (they should be shorter, mostly).

While a lot of the jokes in the movie were very funny and original, some of them were overused and got old after the 4th time. In fact, instead of nearly 2 hours, I really think that the movie would have been excellent had it been edited down to, say, an hour.

That said, Sell Out! is still a pretty watchable movie. Being a local film, it is also expected that the colors/lighting and audio are not always perfect, there is no exception here but at least it was kept in a tolerable manner. I would place Sell Out! in between The Red Kebaya and Mualaf (which I watched in Singapore since it was banned in Malaysia).