Sunday, 24 May 2009

Some New Books

Kinokuniya was having a 20% discount last week and I managed to grab a few new books. Lately I've been even more moody than ever and needed moody books to read.


I'm currently switching between Wastelands and Man in the Dark. I'm itching to read Let the Right One In and Graveyard Book too. I've actually started those and switching between this and that. So weird. So ADHD-like. Sometimes I wonder if I am.

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Monday, 18 May 2009

Movie Weekend: Thoughts

I watched several movies over the weekend and I shall recap some small thoughts I had:

Star Trek - this latest installment RAWKS. I'm not a Trekkie, so I don't have any knowledge of how true-to-original this movie was. I just liked the story, the cinematography, the wittiness of the script and also Captain Kirk (or rather, the hawtie who played the young Kirk). Initially I had problems with Spock. I couldn't help thinking, "Oh no, Sylar has fooled them into thinking he's Spock!" (You know, with his abilities and all, he fooled people into thinking he's Nathan and now he's Spock?) But after a while, I got over it and I found him a rather enjoyable Spock. Especially after he gets the girl. So yea, I also liked this version of Spock. :D

Starship Troopers 3 - I just chanced on this and watched it. It's actually quite entertaining, especially the script can be quite spoofy, witty and sarcastic, despite all the blood and gore. This means I've seen all 3 Starship Troopers!

Dark Knight - I don't get it , I just don't get it. The awards that went to this show I mean. Ok, it was entertaining and people are emotional due to the tragedy surrounding this movie, but still.

The Duchess - I don't like Keira Knightley, but I must admit she turned in a fine performance. I totally believed her pain and anguish, plus sympathised with her. The beautiful sets and costumes definitely helped alot too. Sad to say, I'm a sop and cried buckets at her plight, at 1am in the morning and couldn't get to sleep after all the agitation.

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Friday, 15 May 2009

Review: After Dark, Haruki Murakami

"Walk a lot; drink your water slowly."

"That's not it," he says. "Walk
slowly; drink lots of water."

"One's as good as the other, I'd say."

That's one of my favourite conversations between Mari and Takahashi, the 2 main characters in After Dark.

After Dark is book about events that take place in 1 night, between the early hours of the night and dawn.

I liked the book. I finished it quite fast actually.

But I don't feel like writing much about it.

That's all I have to say about it.

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Thursday, 14 May 2009

Thoughts on Again, My Love

I've been catching episodes of K-drama Again, My Love on KBS World every now and then. I saw the first few episodes and found the leads, Yoon Hee and Min Soo very annoying.

In particular, I was super annoyed by the way Yoon Hee (the female lead) was portrayed. It's true, the script required her to be steely and determined: Her character is supposed to be ambitious and vicious, able to hold her own against older "dragon lady", Min Soo's mother, Mdm Han, who is also the lady president of a large corporate empire. Despite that, I think Yoon Hee is also supposed to be loveable/endearing in certain ways because many people love her. Yet, I found nothing at all endearing about the way the lead actress portrayed her.

So, I stopped watching it, especially when I soon also found Min Soo too annoying. Though not as annoying as Yoon Hee. It was mostly Yoon Hee who irked me.

Recently I started watching it again at episode 20-22. I think it's nearing the end of the series and to avoid spoilers for people who might want to watch it, let's just say that the 2 lead characters are experiencing some hardships. I think viewers, in normal circumstances, would be rooting for the leads and hoping they will overcome their difficulties. However, I felt no sympathy at all, especially for the female lead! I felt she deserved to get as much hardship and "punishment" as possible, as a come-uppance to her bloody arrogance.

I feel this is a failure on the part of the lead actress, Park Ye Jin, who plays Yoon Hee. I felt she veered to much into self-righteousness in playing the character Yoon Hee. In fact, I felt more sympathy for the supposedly "evil" older dragon lady, Mdm Han, played by Choi Myeong Gil. Her portrayal of this character, Mdm Han, has many layers. I find it easier for me to accept her as a flawed human who made mistakes but is suffering from her errors, despite all her evil ways.

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Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Review: Let The Right One In

I debated watching the movie version of Let The Right One In before reading the book, which I just bought over the weekend.

In the end, curiosity won and I decided to watch the movie first, because I'm in the midst of reading After Dark by Haruki Murakami.

The film was moody and the main actors were well cast, but I suspect it doesn't delve enough into the juicy bits of the book, because I went away from the movie feeling nothing much. I wasn't drawn into the lives of the main characters nor become engaged in their problems. In fact, I just realised, I came away from the show feeling like I just finished watching a documentary!

The story is about 2 young people on the verge of adolescence, both 12 years old, coming from very different but maybe not so different circumstances. The girl is a vampire and the other a young boy who is suffering from vicious bullying in school.

Credit must be given to the cinematography, with beautiful shots and exquisite lighting. However, that is all that I found nice about the show. I think I must read the book before I express more thoughts and opinions about the movie.

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Sunday, 10 May 2009

Babylon AD and Fast & Furious 4.

Just finished watching 2 Vin Diesel movies: Babylon AD and Fast & Furious 4. Vin Diesel never fails to deliver on the brawn! Love it! He's also one of the few action men who can be tough but be a believable softy too.

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Just wanted to write about some movies I saw recently (some on the plane).

Shinjuku Incident - very entertaining. I quite liked it.
Curious Case of Benjamin Button - very nice story, but I didn't like the leads *sad*
7 Pounds - cried tonnes ... Will Smith outdid himself!
Transporter 3 - formula is getting a bit tired but I still love Jason Statham
K20: Legend of the Mask - quite entertaining. Takeshi Kaneshiro is cute but he speaks Japanese weirdly - it sounds weird to me, even though I'm not a Japanese / speak Japanese.
X-men Origins: Wolverine - Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! And lots of hot bods to boot!
Knowing - Sucks. Zzzzzz. (I didn't finish it, shhhhh).

I want to catch Star Trek and Fast & Furious 4 next.

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Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro

I stole some time during lunch to finish Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro, and I am left feeling a bit weepy and melancholic. Ugh, an unbearable mood to be in, right after lunch, in a freezing cold office. So, I had to write this review as an exorcism.

Basically, I am also feeling abit nonplussed, as I come away without a grasp of what this book is about, if there really is a "purpose" to the story.

With some books, you know right away, the writer's agenda or focus. Some others, like this one, the "meaning" is obscured. Normally, I'm not keen on fiction with an agenda. Afterall, stories are meant to be enjoyed as they are, stories of possibilities and imagination. However, I have a sense that Never Let Me Go has a larger meaning but I'm just not getting it.

I think this has to do with the heavy themes in the book: death, ethics in science, morality, the existence of a soul, etc. They linger and are hinted at. In fact they are actually central to the story but are never really addressed. Maybe that's what frustrated me. On the surface, it appeared to be simply a story about a typical love-triangle. Except, seriously folks, there isn't anything typical about the 3 people in this love story!

Never Let Me Go is told from the point of view Kathy H, who is 31 years-old reminiscing about the past. Her memories focus on the relationship between herself and 2 other people, Tommy D. and Ruth (I can't find her initial). The memories are roughly divided into 2 periods: When they were growing up in a sort of boarding school called Hailsham, and after they left Hailsham.

Hailsham is not an ordinary school, and the students there are not ordinary either. This fact becomes clearer as the story progresses with clues coming from references to "donations" and the students' lack of surnames or parents. If you'd like to read the book, I'd leave you to figure the "mystery" out yourself, although I would think, if you're like me, you'd have figured it out already, once book reviews make references to those clues I mentioned.

For me, the enjoyment of the book comes from Kazuo Ishiguro's writing, the way he phrases sentences, chooses words and creates scenes. There is such a sense of loss and longing in the book, that maybe a less melancholic soul might find it hard to finish reading it. However, I would say I enjoyed this book tremendously and would recommend it to anyone who is keen on a quiet and meditative reading material.

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