For someone who cries at the movies all the time (the slightest swell in the soundtrack can set me off), I was surprisingly unmoved by The Theory Of Everything. Based on the second memoir by Jane Wilde Hawking (Stephen Hawking’s first wife), “Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen”, it told the story of the famed scientist, played by a determined Eddie Redmayne.
Hawking’s battle with the debilitating motor neuron disease (a version of ALS, which was thrust into the limelight last year by the “Ice Bucket Challenge”) was inspiring. There was no doubt that Redmayne put in a great deal of effort into the physicality of the role, and he nailed it. Redmayne also embodied Hawking’s self-deprecating homour in the most endearing way.
To say I have been anticipating this film adaption of the Broadway musical “Into The Woods” would be an giant understatement. Since the first time I saw an excerpt of “Into The Woods” on TV during the 1988 Tony Awards, I was hooked. The incredible score by Stephen Sondheim, loaded with innovative chords and unconventional melodies, took my breath away, and I was utterly entranced by the refreshing, original story.
I’m glad that the film stayed true to both these aspects. The tale centred on a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt), and weaved in familiar fairytales – “Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) and the Beanstalk”, “Little Red Riding Hood” (Lilla Crawford), “Rapunzel” (Mackenzie Mauzy), “Cinderella” (Anna Kendrick).
(Razlan’s Note: This is the first contributed post by Alex Lou, whom will be guest blogging for You Got Me Blogging for movies he loves to hate and hates to love)
It is perhaps fitting that my first review of 2015 is about one of the most prolific and famous film critics of our time, Roger Elbert in “Life Itself”
There was a time when Siskel and Ebert’s “Thumbs Up” was my guide to selecting movies. As my appreciation for films evolved, that system became too simplistic for me. After Gene Siskel passed on, I continued reading Roger Ebert’s reviews online, and I often found myself disagreeing with his assessment. For example, he gave a gushing, glowing review of “Knowing” (2009), one of the most awful Nicholas Cage movies (and there were SO MANY) I’ve had the misfortune of watching. Opinions aside, I’ve always admired Ebert’s writing – it was clear, cohesive and reflected his passion for movies.
This documentary, based on his memoir of the same name, recounted his career highlights (the successful TV show “Siskel & Ebert & the Movies”, winning the Pulitzer Prize, his “discovery” of Martin Scorsese, etc.) The parts that exposed his ego and his love-hate relationship with Siskel were certainly enlightening, but it was his courage in battling cancer that moved me.
The last time I watched The Phantom of the Opera, I was seated at a balcony three stories up, viewing the stage sideway. By the end of the three hours show, I left the theatre (that was in Singapore, probably nine to ten years ago), my neck was cricked, I had a splitting headache and my impression of the show was, needless to say, far from good.
Tonight, I sit seven rows from the stage. If I crane my neck a little, I can see the bassoonist polishing her instrument, the pianist flexing his fingers. When the show starts I see, vividly, how the chandelier rises to the ceiling, and the ballet dancers take the stage.
It’s only fitting that, after a marathon of Sex and the City movies back-to-back last weekend that I blog about my very own Sex and the City moment in Morocco.
For the uninformed, the second movie of the highly successful stories of Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda, while was about Abu Dhabi – the “new” Middle East – the movie was mostly shot in Morocco, spread over a couple of cities. When I planned my trip to the North African country last year, many of my friends thought it was in honour of the movie.
Truth to be told, I had no idea until a few days before I was to leave for my holiday.
How uninformed I was! So while at Marrakech, having some off hours free in the afternoon, we decided to visit Hotel Amanjena, the beautiful palace-like hotel where Sex and the City 2 was shot at.
The hotel was located some 10 km away from the medina of Marrakech (where we were staying at), and apparently no metered taxi will venture that far out. So we booked one. And upon arriving, the kind English-speaking concierge told us that we had better book the taxi for the return trip, for none will come this way. And so we did.
Was the hassle worth it? You bet. Upon knowing that we were from Singapore, the concierge wondered if we were “mystery shoppers” (the hotel was, apparently, operated by some company from Singapore), and proceeded to offer us a complimentary tour around the sprawling complex.
I’ll not pretend that I am a fan of comic, especially not the Marvel. While my childhood friends starve themselves silly to save up their miserable stipends for shiny, glossy comic books, I was more contend with a full stomach and a hearty (read: thicker than average) library book.
So when my better half treated me to watch Captain America, I went with an open mind.
At this point I bet you think I would say Captain America blown my mind (my style of writing is, if nothing else, a tad predictable). Only it did not, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the show. Who doesn’t enjoy a from-zero-to-hero tale of a Brooklyn boy whom, by a stroke of scientific genius, turned from a scrawny boy with a big heart to a shield-wielding super hero, still with the same big heart, only now with bigger muscles?
I remember that moment vividly. It was in 2001. I was done with my working day (I was an attachment student then) and walked into a book store, carelessly picked up the third book of Harry Potter, wondering what was the fuss all about.
Fast forward ten years. Seven books, eight movies, countless hours spent rereading the entire series from the first to the last page, endless tears coursing down my cheek as scene after gripping scene tugged at my heartstring, the adventure ended.
Let me start by saying there is no spoiler ahead in this blog post.
Well, not that much of a spoiler anyway. Disney tried-and-proven formula of the good guys winning over the bad guys worked time and time again, and Kungfu Panda 2 wasn’t an exception. There was more than a touch of Harry Potter to it. Fat Bo, the panda finally learned about the prophecy which led to him having a goose for a father and a showdown with an unlikely villain in the shape of an arrogant peacock.
Together with the faithful five, Bo was so comical throughout that the moments of hilarity wasn’t short in supply. The 3D effect was stunning and one of the best I have seen so far.
On a side note… for this movie, I watched the movie in Cantonese, and with someone named Bo too.
I contemplated for a grand total of 12 hours if I should be blogging about this movie. The sci-fi fanatic in me caved in to my more critical side, so excuse me if the piece seems somewhat incoherent to your own experience watching Skyline, the latest B-grade movie with a “modest” budget of 10 million bucks.
Harry Potter’s 7th installment, The Deathly Hallows, hit the cinemas in Singapore yesterday afternoon. Fans of Potter throughout the tiny island, I am sure, rejoiced in unison as the Boy Who Lived once again graced the silver screen.
But not me. Why? Because I am stuck here in Hong Kong. And to rub salt to my wound, the first part of the epic finale will only show here on 16 December, almost one whole month from today.
Injustice, this was. So spare me of any spoilers while I wallow in misery watching the trailers instead.