Wednesday, February 29, 2012
The Three Musketeers (2011) is an adventure movie based on the characters of the Three Musketeers - Athos, Porthos, and Aramis.
Synopsis: D'Artagnan (Logan Lerman) sets out to become a musketeer and arrives in Paris to find the famed trio Athos (Matthew Macfadyen), Aramis (Luke Evans) and Porthos (Ray Stevenson) disbanded and de-commissioned by Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz). After a bravado skirmish with the Cardinal's guards, the young but inexperienced King Louis XIII (Freddie Fox) reinstates Athos, Aramis and Porthos to their former rank and even has D'Artagnan join them for good measure.
The awesome foursome then discovers the Cardinal's deadly plot to overthrow the King. By employing Athos's former lover the beautiful but deadly assassin Milady De Winter (Milla Jovovich), the Cardinal fabricates infidelity between Queen Anne (Juno Temple) and England's Duke of Buckingham (Orlando Bloom). By doing so, the devious cardinal plots to unleash war on the European Continent, and in the process plans to dispose the King and Queen of France, while acquiring the throne of France for himself. It is now up to the (four) musketeers to prevent France and England from plunging into war by stopping Milady from executing the Cardinal's evil plan. [source]
Milla Jovovich as Milady and Christoph Waltz as the evil Cardinal save the movie! The rest of the cast's performance doesn't really to seal the movie's entertainment value. The movie's soundtrack reminds me of Sherlock Holmes 2. The sword fights and canon ball battle scenes are pretty good though.
This is another popcorn entertainment kind of movie. Watch it for fun then!
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
This Means War (2012) is a romantic comedy action movie.
Synopsis: Best friends Tuck (Tom Hardy) and FDR (Chris Pine) are CIA agents. One day, they discover that they are dating the same woman, Lauren (Reese Witherspoon). Thus begins a war to win her affection by utilizing CIA's staff and gadgets. Who will Lauren choose, and will Tuck and FDR remain friends?
This is a romantic comedy plus action movie. So you can expect much cheesy liners and lovey-dovey scenes plus CIA agents in action scenes. These elements are kinda balanced with enough amount of comic relief moments. This is definitely a popcorn entertainment sort of movie.
I don't find Reese Witherspoon suits to play Lauren. And the way her friend Trish talks is helluva annoying. In fact, the whole Lauren-Trish chemistry is horrible. I think it'd make a difference if Jennifer Aniston plays Lauren and someone else plays Trish. However, the movie is partially saved by the fantastic chemistry and brotherly love between Chris Pine and Tom Hardy. Too bad Til Schweiger (as Heinrich the bad guy) has such short screen-time.
Well, this is a popcorn movie. So, if you don't mind spending money, you can watch it for fun.
Monday, February 27, 2012
If you intend to conduct your wedding ceremony in a Catholic church, here are some guidelines.
I'm sharing our wedding preparation experience for our wedding in St. Ignatius Church, Kelana Jaya in June 2012.
Either the bride and/or the groom must be a baptized and confirmed Catholic.
If both the bride and groom are Catholics, a full Wedding Mass will be conducted. If only the bride or the groom is a Catholic, a Wedding Service will be conducted.
9 months (at least) before your intended wedding date
- Go to the parish office to get the Wedding Enrollment form & check if your intended wedding date and time are available.
- Sign up for the Catholic Marriage Preparation Course (CMPC), a 7-week program for couples intending to get married.
Submit your Wedding Enrollment form with:
- A copy of Baptism certificate by the church where you were baptized.
- A copy of Confirmation certificate by the church where you were baptized.
- Recent passport-sized photos: one for each person, to be used in the Banns.
- A copy of CMPC certificate.
- A copy of IC of 2 witnesses; one for the bride and one for the groom.
- Arrange with the parish office for Prenuptial Inquiry (PNI).
- After PNI, proceed to apply for the Civil Registration of Marriages. Refer Legal requirements (Civil Registration of Marriage) below.
- Arrange for a commentator, a lector (reader), and the choir for the Wedding Mass.
- Prepare your wedding booklet.
- Arrange for a florist (with the church or external).
- Arrange for a wedding rehearsal with the sacristan.
- Provide a copy of your wedding booklet for the priest to review.
- Wedding rehearsal.
Legal requirements (Civil Registration of Marriage)
Catholics have the option to conduct their Civil Registration of Marriage at Assumption Church, Petaling Jaya.
- Make an appointment with Jessie at the Assistant Registrar of Marriage's office and she will provide the JPN.KC02 form for you.
- Set your intended registration date and time with her.
- Fill up the JPN.KC02 form.
- Prepare one color photograph (32mm x 38mm) against a BLUE background for each person.
- Prepare photocopies of IC (both bride and groom).
- Make an appointment to meet the Commissioner of Oath to get their signature. We're getting ours done by Helen Koh (Damansara Uptown). More information here.
- Visit any Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara (JPN) branch to get your form certified. If you want to go on a Saturday, only the Putrajaya branch and ibu negeri branches are open. More information here.
- Prepare photocopies of 2 witnesses' IC (to be brought on the day of registration).
- Submit the signed and certified form to Jessie, at least 3 weeks before your intended registration day, so that she can put up the Banns.
On the day of registration
- Witnesses have to be present.
- There's no strict dress code. The ceremony can be either simple or grand, it's up to you and your spouse.
- Then, remember to submit a copy of the civil certificate to the church where you've submitted your Wedding Enrollment form a while ago.
Most importantly, enjoy grace in the process. These priceless experiences bring you closer to your spouse and to God too.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
The colleagues (team) organized a mini team building last Friday. We did bowling at UBowl, One Utama.
The bowling alleys and the ten pins at the end of each alley gave me some sort of inspiration about life's journey. For newbie bowlers like me, if I'm lucky, I could knock down 9 out of 10 pins. Most of the time, only 4 or less pins were down. Sometimes, the ball would roll into either the left or right "drain" alongside the bowling alley, without much effort. Hahaha!
You see, life's journey is not a smooth one. Along the way we meet "the pins" (obstacles, problems, setbacks, etc). Sometimes, we "knock down the pins or strike" (face and deal with those difficult situations). Sometimes, we choose to avoid them by "going down the drain" (running away from difficulties).
Whatever method we choose, we will have to face the consequences. "Knocking down the pins" might be painful, but issues are resolved. "Going down the drain" might be less painful, but it is usually a temporary solution and the real fundamental issues could show its ugly head again sooner or later.
Nevertheless, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger (What Doesn't Kill You, Kelly Clarkson).
Love life and live life to the fullest! :)
Friday, February 24, 2012
The Woman in Black (2012) is a horror thriller movie based on Susan Hill's 1983 novel of the same name.
Synopsis: Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) travels to a remote village in England to sort out some legal paperwork of a house belonged to a deceased Mrs. Drablow. What is supposed to be a simple 3-day job becomes a nightmare when Kipps starts to be haunted by supernatural appearances of dead children and a sinister woman in black.
Horror movies with sinister ghosts hungry for revenge are always very good to watch. This movie has its story set in the late 19th century and its main focus is a huge, dilapidated, and creepy mansion. The mansion is extremely isolated from the rest of the village, thus adding extra chills to the movie's already dark mood.
I really like the following comment:
The mood is perfect (emphasized by extreme isolation), the sustained dread is gut-wrenching, and the anticipation is a killer. Although this is a ghost story with the standard dilapidated, abandoned mansion as the central location for trepidation, it presents several very unique ideas for old-fashioned hauntings.
The use of demonic-looking toy contraptions and unnerving dolls is nothing new. Nor are the expected, manipulative jump scares fueled by loud thuds, screeches, and jarring sound effects (and a pesky crow), or the sudden appearances of otherworldly imagery coupled with crescendo-favoring musical accompaniment. But the evil spirit itself is wonderfully singular in its ability to scare through subtle materialization (coming into sight in alarming manner, with slower paced emergence more traumatizing than the rapid ones), its targeting of children and pattern of avoiding physical harm to adults, and most of all in its vengeful mission that cannot be appeased, calmed or quelled. She's a wronged poltergeist of legendary ill-omen stature, foreshadowing doom; she's not meant to be satisfied but rather endured. [source]
Seriously, if you're a hardcore fan of old-fashioned horror movie, you must watch this movie.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
I sing out a love song to Jesus
In moments like these I lift up my hands
I lift up my hands to the Lord
Singing, I love You, Lord
Singing, I love You, Lord
Singing, I love You, LordI love You
I really, really want this hymn for our church wedding ceremony.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
0.1 second to aim at the enemy
0.01 second to pierce the heart
Arrow: The Ultimate Weapon (2011) is a South Korean historical action movie set during the second Manchu invasion of Korea in 1636. According to history, nearly half-a-million people of the Joseon Dynasty had been taken captive by the Qing Dynasty (Manchurian) of China during this period.
Synopsis: During the second Manchu invasion of Korea, Seo-goon (Kim Mu-Yeol) and Ja-in (Moon Chae-won) are kidnapped by the Manchurian army on their wedding day from a village in Joseon Korea. Ja-in's brother Nam-yi (Park Hae-il), a skillful archer sets out to save her and other victims by hunting down the elite troop led by Jyu Shin-ta (Ryoo Seung-yong), a fierce Manchurian warrior. A fierce battle between two of the finest warriors from the Joseon Dynasty and Qing Dynasty unfolds.
The reasons why you should watch this movie:
1. Powerful main characters & cast [source]
- Nam-yi: He is willing to do everything in his power to save his sister Ja-in from harm. Forced to take up his bow in an incredible fight against the enemies, his archery skills is put to its ultimate test.
- Ja-in: On her wedding day, her village is demolished by the Qing troops and she is taken captive. Amidst life-threatening situations, she is able to stand strong with her intelligence and unwillingness to sacrifice her dignity before the enemies.
- Jyu Shin-ta: He is the leader of the elite troop, Niru who regards his troop members as his own brothers. He is also a fierce warrior and a master in archery.
- The entire cast gives solid performance that will definitely blow you away.
- Nam-yi's arrows: Only 1/3 of the traditional arrow size and weight, making it superior in velocity, force, and range. His arrows make it hard to detect the shooter's location, thus ideal for an ambush.
- Jyu Shin-ta's arrows: 24 times heavier than the traditional arrow, tearing apart targets with just one shot.
- The bow-and-arrows in action scenes will keep you in awe and you will have that heart-in-throat kind of feeling throughout the entire movie.
3. The usage of the Manchu language [source]
Director Kim Han-min introduces the Manchu language in order to portray a more realistic historical depiction of the 'Manchu War of 1636'. Due to constant practice and learning, the actors were able to speak Manchu at a level not seen since the actual days of the Qing Dynasty. The heavy, masculine tone that the Manchu language exudes is especially well-carried out by Ryoo Seung-yong who acts as Jyu Shin-ta, a Manchu warrior. The persistent efforts that both actors and film crew alike made to stay true to the Manchu language surely lends in favor of the movie's overall depiction of this period in history.
You really, really must watch this movie. Its impressive action sequences and historical details plus the few factors listed above will make you feel like you have stepped back in time to witness history for yourselves.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
The most important element is FOOD! Food, glorious food! Indeed, we had a wonderful selection of food at Cheryl's housewarming party last Saturday.
Top (left to right): A chunk of apple pie with vanilla ice-cream; melted chocolate & marshmallows
Bottom (left to right): Pickled baby cucumbers (since April 2011); a giant bottle of apple cider
Top: Rainbow cake with Nutella frosting; rice with feta cheese dressing & baby tomatoes
Bottom: Beef meatloaf
There are much more food without photos: Doritos, cheese fondue, mashed potatoes, pizza, salad, fortune cookies, lemonade with mint leaves, ice-cream, etc.
- The crowd - Great friends make a big difference to the atmosphere. The more the merrier. In this case, too many cooks don't really spoil the broth.
- The music - Not too punk or rock, not too slow either. It all depends on the mood of you want to set.
- The games - Good to have boardgames to kill time and to keep your guests away from stuffing themselves with too much food. :P
- The house - Give your guests a good map. You won't want them to end up in Holland. Make sure your house is de-cluttered too. You gotta make space for your guests to sit or just stand around.
- Disposable plates, forks and spoons, cups - Prepare in abundance. However, if you're against using too much of these green-unfriendly disposable stuff, you might want to remind your guests beforehand not to throw away their plates and cups too frequently.
- Dustbins - Do prepare a few and put them at prominent places, not just under the sink in the kitchen.
- Tissue paper - This is a must-have item. Prepare in abundance as well.
Finally, a word of caution. Be prepared to become dead tired at the end of everything. :P
Monday, February 20, 2012
The moment the "glorious" pear was served, both of us almost laughed out heads off. It looked like a lump of poop, right? So, here's to a "shitty" Valentine's Day! :P
The pear's succulent middle was stuffed with grated lemon rind and juice. Caramelized sugar was drizzled generously over the pear. A few chunks of walnut and a sprinkle of cinnamon powder gave this dessert an unforgettable appearance and taste.
Note: Casa del Cocco is a new outlet replacing Cafe Libre.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Bought this lovely vintage necklace with a yellow rose from the flea market at Amcorp Mall.
So proud of the fiance! He does wonders with wood, nails, and stuff like that. *beams* Well, we're practicing frugality and practicality. When things are broken, fix them rather than buying new ones! :D
This fella, especially the way he stands, makes me smile. He has just joined our family of astromech droids and other Star Wars stuff. :)
Gotten him a Star Wars novel. Happy Valentine's Day!
Every time I see sunflowers, my heart soars. The fiance knows, so every time he sees sunflowers, he takes a shot and sends a virtual bouquet to me. :P
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
Puss in Boots (2011) is a computer-animated movie, that follows the character of Puss in Boots on his adventures before his first appearance in Shrek.
Synopsis: Years before meeting Shrek and Donkey, the adorable but tricky Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) must clear his name from all charges making him a wanted fugitive. While trying to steal magic beans from the infamous criminals Jack (Billy Bob Thornton) and Jill (Amy Sedaris), he crosses paths with his female match, Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek), who leads him to his old friend, but now enemy, Humpty Alexander Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis).
Memories of friendship and betrayal enlarges Puss' doubt, but he eventually agrees to help the egg get the magic beans. Together, the three plan to steal the beans, get to the Giant's castle, nab the golden goose, and clear Puss' name.
I'd say there's nothing revolutionary about this movie but if you're a fan of the Shrek series and Puss, you might find it entertaining. I do quite like the story's pace, Antonio Banderas' voice as Puss, and the surprising twist of Humpty Dumpty's character.
So there, if you want something light to watch, this movie will do you some good.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
The Big Year (2011) is a comedy movie based on the book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession written by Mark Obmascik. It introduces bird-watching in depth, or "birding" for serious bird lovers.
Synopsis: Brad Harris (Jack Black) follows his dreams to compete in the "Big Year" in a year's time. Along the way, he meets other talented birders including defending champion Kenny Bostick (Owen Wilson) and semi-retiree Stu Preissler (Steve Martin). As the three desperately try to outdo each other to win the title, they find themselves struggling with priorities and what is important in their life.
This is a really heart-warming movie. First of all, the plot is minimalist but with great storyline. The entire movie is about birding and that takes us the audience to almost everywhere in the U.S. - from Attu Island in Alaska to Brownsville, the southernmost tip of the state of Texas, and everywhere in between.
Secondly, the characters are good. Owen Wilson plays Kenny Bostick, the defending champion of the "Big Year" who has trouble deciding between his obsession and spending more time with his wife, Jessica (Rosamund Pike). As the world's greatest birder, he does everything he could to thwart his competitors' chances of winning.
Steve Martin plays Stu Preissler, a businessman on the verge of retirement who decides to pursue his long-time dream to spend a year birding, but he faces strong resistance from his employees. Jack Black is Brad Harris, the youngest of the lot. As aimless as he seems to be, his passion in birds is priceless. Along his journey, he finds friendship and love.
In short, it's really enjoyable watching these three actors with performances beyond their usual comedy shtick.
Again I would say, this is a really heart-warming movie. There are funny moments here and there, but as the movie ends, you might have started thinking about your own priorities and dreams in life, as the tagline says, "Everyone is searching for something."
Do watch it if you need some inspiration at this point of time.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Chronicle (2012) is a sci-fi movie that chronicles what happened to three teenagers and the scenes are shot primarily with various video recording devices, particularly hand-held camcorders.
Synopsis: Three high school friends, Andrew Detmer (Dane DeHaan), his cousin Matt Garetty (Alex Russell), and their fellow schoolmate Steve Montgomery (Michael B. Jordan) stumble upon an unknown underground object and gain telekinetic abilities. They become the best of friends and use their new-found abilities mainly for personal gains. Their friendship is soon tested when Andrew begins to use them to harm and hurt others.
I'd say this is the best line to summarize this entire movie: "From the deceptively ordinary beginning, Josh Trank's Chronicle grows into an uncommonly entertaining movie that involves elements of a superhero origin story, a science-fiction fantasy and a drama about a disturbed teenager." (Roger Ebert)
There are many found-footage movies these days - The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity - to name a few. Chronicle stands out with its engaging, fast-paced storyline and great performances from the three young, talented cast.
If you're watching this movie, do pay attention to Andrew the character. He's the key to the entire movie. Being a disturbed teenager who possesses superhero abilities, he becomes a very dangerous entity because he doesn't know how to control himself.The ending, being the climax of the movie, is rather sad but inevitable.
Here's the question: What would you do if you possess telekinetic abilities?
Do watch this movie if you like found-footage movies.
Sunday, February 12, 2012
We were in IKEA, hunting for wedding decor stuff. While lining up at the cashier, we saw a couple with two kids - one boy, one girl. In fact, throughout the time spent in IKEA, I've noticed quite a number of families and most of them have shopping trolleys with kids. Some kids were sleeping, some were chatting away happily, some were wailing, and some were dashing here and there.
I realize that we'll be joining the crowd, soon. I can envision us pushing a shopping trolley in a mall with our kids either standing in it or trailing behind us, asking questions non-stop, pestering us to buy this and that. Maybe we'll have one boy and one girl, or one boy and two girls. :)
Until that happens, let me get on with my wedding planning. :)
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Synopsis: Jon Man (Jay Chou), an agent with the International Security Affairs is on a mission to protect a criminal scientist in escort when his team leader Sean (Andy On) betrays the team. Jon is injured and told to have only two weeks to live. He goes back to Beijing to spend his remaining days with his mother who later tells him about his long-lost brother, Man Yeung (Nicholas Tse) whom she left behind with his father, Man Tin (Liu Kai-chi) more than 20 years ago.
Jon arrives in Malaysia and discovers that Yeung is a wanted criminal and is somehow involved in Sean's plan. Jon is drawn into the conflict with the hope to stop Yeung from continuing his crooked path and to thwart Sean's criminal plan.
With more than two hours of intense action right from the very beginning, I find myself very lethargic. I think the movie fares better if it's a tad shorter, say 20 minutes.
Beginning with gunfight scenes in Jordan, action continues with Dante Lam's signature directions, i.e. jumping from tall buildings, car chases, extensive gun shootings, bomb blasts, helicopter chase, brutal murder, kidnapping, one-on-one combat, etc. I wonder if Dante Lam wants to be Michael Bay or something like that. This movie seems to be very ambitious because it crams in all sorts of possible action scenes.
By the way, it's really interesting to watch our Malaysian police force in action. And also when Man Yeung drives a Perodua Myvi. Hahaha!
Overall, it's a good action thriller, one that can rival some of Hollywood's movies of the same genre. With big names like Nicholas Tse and Jay Chou, and with almost 80% of the movie shot in KL, how could you miss this movie?
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Johnny English Reborn (2011) is a British spy comedy movie, the sequel to Johnny English (2003). Rowan Atkinson reprises his role as Johnny English.
Synopsis: MI7 spy Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) is in exile in a Tibetan monastery since his screw-up in Mozambique. When MI7 boss Pegasus (Gillian Anderson) knows about an attempt to assassinate the Chinese premier Xian Ping, she has to bring English back into action. Given a young sidekick named Tucker (Daniel Kaluuva) and with the help from another MI7 field agent whom he "worships", Simon Ambrose (Dominic West), and psychologist Kate Sumner (Rosamund Pike), English has to find out the mole in MI7 before it's too late.
I just got to know that Johnny English, debuting in 2003 is a spy movie parodying James Bond. Having seen Rowan Atkinson as "Mr. Bean", I expect Johnny English to be a funny, no-brainer movie, i.e. a half-stupid-half-smart movie that gives you a lot of laughs. True that, it's just another movie "exploiting" Atkinson's comedic talent.
The character that I like the most is the "Killer Cleaner" old lady. She carries around unassuming-looking gadgets that could be assembled into awesome killing machines in each of her "assignment" to finish off English. Cool beans! She's a limelight stealer!
Anyway, this is a good tea-time movie on a sunny afternoon. :)
Sunday, February 5, 2012
It's four months to our wedding and I've started to feel panicky and anxious. I'm finding it hard to stay calm amidst situations whereby some decisions couldn't be made yet due to insufficient information.
There's this relationship advice that I heard somewhere, some time ago. It goes somewhat like this: Wedding is a major event in a couple's journey in life together. The preparation for this major event is an important test. With this couple, the test strengthens their bond. With another couple, the test weakens their bond and brings out unresolved underlying issues.
Being in a serious relationship that heads towards marriage is not an easy-peasy experience. You (as a couple) gotta make it works no matter how. Wedding preparation is one of the many hows.
Four months to go. The groundwork has been done. The blueprint is ready. The challenge now is to fill in the details. That's the hardest part because some details will not be able to be finalized until one month or so before the actual wedding day itself.
Well, let's see how things gonna roll in the next four months!
Friday, February 3, 2012
Synopsis: A girl group known as Pink Dolls is struggling to make a name in the music industry. When the girls - lead singer Jen-ni (Jin Se-yeon), pretty girl Ah-rang (Choi Ah-ra), former backup dancer Eun-joo (Ham Eun-jeong), and rapper Sin-ji (Maydoni Kim) - release their new single with the title "White" - a remake from an untitled music video found in their studio, they become instant sensation.
Soon, strange things begin to happen. As suspicious and gruesome incidents happen to Jen-n-, Ah-rang, and Sin-ji, Eun-Joo suspects that the happenings are related to the music video. She begins to look into the mystery behind it with her best friend, Soon-ye (Hwang Woo-seul-hye). In the end, she too falls victim to the cursed song.
Most mainstream Asian horror movies still won't veer away from portraying a main vengeful ghost. There's a black-haired Sadako in the Japanese Ringu and now you have another similar character in this Korean movie. There are scary moments but those are sort of expected and not that memorable.
The interesting thing about this movie is that you get to spend almost half the time watching K-pop music video. Guys would be happy to watch these sweet young things doing their sexy dance moves.
And, the "White" song is pretty catchy too.
If you're a K-pop fan, I'm not sure whether you'll like this movie or not but it's a different kind of experience watching haunted girl groups. Haha.