Day 6 (Fri): The Intern

Oh man, these ‘Day X’ posts with my dealing of family’s Umrah Trip is almost alike Mark Wattney’s vlog while stranded on Martian soil, and actually harvesting potatoes grown from personal poop. **couldn’t resist pointing out the solitude life that both Me and Mark have to overcome!

‘The Martian’, very very good movie by the way..

But.. The Intern?

Well.. yeah, I had a juicy, smoking, hot, private affair with ‘The Intern’… a Nancy Meyers movie (Director of It’s Complicated, Something’s Gotta Give, Sister Act), so you know it’s going to be all warm and mushy, gleaming and almost perfect.

Yep, I watched the movie ‘The Intern’. Bah.

Almost perfect, because while the movie was a real a joy to watch, it got a little bit tedious towards the end as you sort of get impatient in wanting to skip towards its climax — a 2min scene out of a 2 hour+ movie indeed!

The movie, starring Robert De Niro, a retired widower who feels he can accomplish more, and Anne Hathaway, a business owner who zips through her workplace on a bike so she can save time, is about a career woman’s meteoric rise in e-commerce and the baggages that comes with it.

Fresh from watching De Niro in ‘Heist’, I thought he downplayed his character here much too many, but in the end it proved to be quite effective as he became the calming force to the tornado that is Hathaway.

I think the movie was quite serene, romantic, modern yet charmingly chivalric at times, and if I could sum it up in one word, enjoyable.

Hmm, much like how my week has been too. ; ) *winks*

The Muppets, Shaw @ Lot 1.

I’ll have to admit that I was certainly expecting a far more mesmerising movie, but for what The Muppets had to offer, i was nostalgically, pleasingly and wholly entertained.

I’m certainly glad that I didn’t give it a pass. Cue, wide, beaming smile.

muppet_show_cast.jpg
The original Jim Henson’s The Muppet Show

I have to admit that The Muppet Show, or TMS, was not at all on my radar and I only chanced upon it while browsing for reviews of Breaking Dawn, the ‘in’ movie right now — why, everybody loves sultry vampires, shirtless-werewolves and a-teen-angsted-girl-that-can’t-wait-to-get-it right?

Apprently, after reading enough reviews of Breaking Dawn: Part 1, it dawned on me that there’s only 2 things worth noting of that movie.

1) That ‘wedding ceremony dream’ and 2) the ‘bella and baby birthing’ scenes. Ok, next!

And then there was The Muppets, a show that I’ve never really loved nor went all out to catch an episode of, but somehow reading its reviews won and warmed every bits and pieces of my heart, of which Breaking Dawn’s reviews managed to tear, crush and disappoint succesfully,

Here’s a disclaimer though: Unless you are an animated character yourself, The Muppets will probably bore you halfway into show, but if you’ve always had that little kid in you lying dormant for a very long time, then there’s no better movie to let it out to than this.

Like I mentioned earlier, it’s a nostalgically, pleasing show that puts you in a world where the only line drawn between Man and Muppets are… oh, there’s no line!

For goodness’ sake, it’s The Muppets!

The movie is musically pompous, and comically graphic, but take nothing away from its ability to reel you emotionally into their world, a world which is in danger of being wiped away due to Kermit’s initial act of passing over the Muppets Studios’ deeds to an oil baron, in hopes of better care, and as we all know too soon, it’s all but a scam!

That’s where Walters, our main lovable star comes in, and I must say how spot on the guys at Disney were in building up his character from the start, as it’s hard to not empathise for Walters as he watch his brother, Gary, grows up.

While all the growing up happens, all of a sudden you’re whisked into the magical and maddening, earnest and endearing world of the Muppets, as they seek once more to preserve themselves, and as much as I’d like to say how much of a cliche this movie is, it all somehow feels warm and fuzzy, and everything is good.

As The Muppets climaxed and went for it’s closing moments, I felt a tingling sensation at the back of my tear glands, where I’d sum up the feeling as if I was transported back into the 80’s, where watching hand-driven puppets were as convincing as today’s 3D graphics.

Indeed if you were to ask I’d retort with ‘who needs 3D’ when you’ve the Muppets?

Indeed, all those high star ratings for The Muppets have been wholesomely deserved, and as for Breaking Dawn, oh well, I think that I’ll still pass!

And now, if only I can get one of them ‘travel-by-map’ button…

Rise of The Planet Of The Ape

Okay, a quick one here. ; )

Rise of the planet of the apes was so entertainingly good that I get to see why so many friends of mine gives it a thumbs up, where I was initially sceptical in how a movie about primates can be understood by them whereas movies concerning shiny robots or wizards with glasses failed miserably.

From the charm of the baby ape to the predicament of the scientist losing those closest to him, the movie succeeded in taking the viewers for a ride, although one does question at the end of the movie, what next?

Certainly the movie has its fair share of criticism and plotholes, but I guess I can’t take away it’s plaudits of being an entertaining movie and a worth-every-cent-paid show.

Now, do they really have that serum?

I’d like to give my cats some of ’em.. Um, and as for you, go get the movie!

Marianas Trench: Masterpiece Theatre review.

Have you heard of Marianas Trench?

Well I stumbled upon them while I was stumbling upon Kristyn’s blog, Pretty Missile, and I sort of enjoyed the preview I got there.

Long story short, I bought their album, was tremendously impressed — after a long while of stale melodies and riffs — and thought that I could recommend you a listen to the album ‘Masterpiece Theatre’.

Here we go..

Full of Acapella verse and goofy, lyrically majestic and musically refreshing — what’s not to like about Canada-based Marianas Trench, especially when their music videos might fool you into thinking that it was a mentos commercial (and not that their songs wouldn’t complement such commercials though~)?

From the contemporary catchy ‘All To Myself’ to the soothingly smooth ‘Beside You’ to the emotional emphatic explosive endearment of ‘Lover Dearest’, a song that derived from a letter written to a drug addiction.

That the latter song (full lyrics here)is written by Josh Ramsay, lead vocals, while he was in rehab makes it all the more compelling, and as you breathe in his honest confessions of “..my tongues turnin’ black, but I’ll take you back, your still the best more or less..” and “..it hurts me to say that it hurts me to stay
and it might be all right if you go..
“, it all builds up into an emphatic crescendo of an ending with “..i think that the bitter in you and the quitter in me is the bitter in you and quitter in me..“.

That ‘Lover Dearest’ is just one of the many listenable, emotionally charged and tight lyrics with teasing riffs, justifies this denouement that is their follow-up album, aptly titled ‘Masterpiece Theatre’, to ‘Fix Me’.


The beautifully arranged and directed music vid, ‘Beside You’.

Worth listening from the album includes ‘Perfect”, a raunchy riffy song for any day and the 3 parts ‘Masterpiece Theatre’, which is experimentally musically yet ably sounding complete, rich and exquisitely executed.

You’ve got to appreciate the candid outlook of the guys mixed with sober experimentation of their sound, and which band do you know of that holds a contest for anyone to grab the chance of doing a duet with them in a performance of their next song?

What a delicately painful-yet-oh-so-passionate duet ‘Good to you’ is indeed (with Kate Voele on the track), that reminds you of the moment where you’re caught in between something you’re-not-but-willing-to-be and the real you.

And if the more upbeat tracks like ‘Sing Sing’ and ‘Celebrity Status’ don’t make you feel like giving your bums a good workout, then perhaps I might’ve erred when I claim them as THE next big band to break out into mainstream this year.

Recommend for tasteful audiophiles everywhere, and even if you’re not one of them, I’d guarantee that you’d still be able to appreciate the album.

Oh, did you know that ‘Mariana Trench’ is actually the world’s deepest ocean trench? Well, now you do.

And Marianas Trench’s music is deep indeed.

Brick, Boring Brick — Paramore’s Hayley Williams dissociates

It’s been a long while since I’ve heard of Paramore and a llittle bit or maybe more, since Riot! in 2007, the band takes on darker foreboding themes.

Brick, Boring Brick talks of dissociation when face with life’s problems and somehow it feels close to me.

Like how when faced with a conflict/trauma, I choose to dissociate personally from the problem and instead work towards the solution, it may seem well and smart, but when you think that dissociation are what Military and Illuminati employs in their bigger Agenda, it gets creepy.

Dissociation has slowly ingrained itself in my veins ever since the setback of a beloved’s passing, and perhaps at the sudden and untimely manner of her passing traumatised me so much that I was vindicated whenever I dissociate.

Is that good?

Now, I feel myself disconnected to problems and troubles, and instead of feeling emotionally drained whenever conflict arises, I’m able to dissociate and move on, or promptly come up with a solution.

Is that good?

Do I not care? Do I not bother? Do I not even feel a pinch?

Is that good?

Actually I do, I care, I bother and I certainly feel the pinch but I won’t brood over it or forget to put cat food in a bowl because of it.

I get up and get things done. I get going and get into action

Time is extremely precious.

Paramore in concertIn this music video, Hayley Williams (Paramore’s lead vocal/keyboardist) faces conflicts and dissociates by transforming her mind into a child that wanders into a castle where bundles of happy thoughts awaits her.

But, as we later finds out, the castle’s smiling portraits and characters turn sinister, sooner or later, and there’s only so much that the child can run away from. In the end she gets buried alive.

Before anyone says what an abusive video, the child burying graphics can actually be taken as the burying of Hayley’s ‘child’ persona that runs away from problems — that she’s burying ‘her’ because she’s facing up to the conflicts and not running away anymore.

Because sometimes, running away won’t solve anything and you’ve got to ‘bury that child’ and face reality.

Dark, dreamy, foreboding video concept, but interesting, thought-provoking and challenging as hell.

Paramore‘s work never fails to tickle my toughts.

Kick-Ass, the kicks ass movie review.

It was a Shawshank Shaw Bugis Redemption yesterday, but that’s just sugar-coated gloss over my blunder of booking a movie at the wrong time slot and collecting the tickets on a wrong day.

I bought 2 Saturday tickets, when I actually intended to watch the movie on Sunday, me and D (wkwkwkwk, I’m still getting into this naming of persons in their initials as seen in many many blogs).

That I drew out the tickets without any initial flags or alarm raised by the box office, is amusing enough. Fair enough both parties didn’t realise the mistake early on.

Fortunately the box office Auntie was kind enough to allow us to change to the current date so that we were able to watch the movie as intended. What a kind and nice Auntie~

Kick-Ass!

No, not the Auntie, but the movie that we watched was Kick-Ass!

I’ve read a few glowing reviews of it and though I’ll expect any comic-book adapted movie to be sub-par most of the time, Kick-Ass truly kicked ass!

The profanities flew by as fast and furious as the punches and gore hits you, and you’ll be forgiven for thinking it’s just another mindless, action-thrill ride, but despite the ‘superhero’ setting of it all, the show remained very much human.

And that’s what I loved about it, that the leading characters are all limited by their human potential, and that the real superhero lies not in super powers, but rather a change in the mindset of the person.

It begs the question “What would you do? Would you help someone in trouble?”

I know I would, and I know I’ll probably get beaten up, ass-kicked and stabbed too — *spoiler alert* just like what our main character suffered in his first Superhero impression — but what really matters is that you stand up and fight for the weak, right?

Like how James Cameron plays ‘Avatar’ in listening to the plight of the Amazon natives.

It’s like they’re trying to send us a message. That they can take whatever they want, but this.. this is our — oh wait, wrong movie. Back to Kick-Ass.

There’ve been a couple of these ‘human’ superhero movies in recent years, and most notably Batman and Ironman, rich fellas with gadgets to play with, and also who can forget the affable Watchmen with their naked blue Dr Manhattan.

And does anyone recall Mystery Men, with Ben Stiller in that movie? I loved that too, though it wasn’t a big hit with the mainstream movie-goers, and I thought it was a delicate story then.

With Kick-Ass, it’s not just a delicate story. It is brutally kind, heartfeltly heartless, crazily cracked-up and humanly superhuman.

Take away the profanities, the explosions, the human-microwave torture and it’ll still be a great movie to catch. If there’s one up and coming prodigy to watch out for, Hit Girl, played by Chloe Grace Moretz, is it.

So what if she’s just 11 and sprouts the F language more than you’d hear from your next-of-kins? Welcome to the real world, dear Parents. That your child’s just playing World Of Warcraft or Audition SEA quietly in their room, oh boy.

Nicholas Cage in his withdrawn role, does what he does best, and that is to fill the movie with deadly coyful vengeance and a nonchalant upbringing attitude, a breathe of fresh air from his National Treasure and other supernatural movie days.

Meanwihle Aaron Johnson, who played Kick-Ass, the character, turned out to be the perfect cast for the fragile ambitious boy-grows-up role, with Matthew Vaughn directing impeccably. The tight editing and crisp soundtrack deserves a special mention because the ambience and mood it provides elevates the movie experience greatly.

There just never seem to be a dull moment, and every new scene throws the equilibrium of the show into unpredictability, and it’s this unexpected turn of events that keeps the show fresh and exciting, and in short, ass-kicking!

Need more tidbits of the movie, check it out over at IMDB yo, and don’t miss out on this movie.

It’s goooooooooood!

Russians Are Smart — Except Yuri In 2012, The Movie.

Seriously (yet again I try to be serious) I have a bad feeling that it’s not going to be China that’ll dictate the next global currency, but only because the Russians are quietly (and probably silently feeling amused at the current ongoing economic turmoil) planting their seeds of power.

Those who lay dormant quietly are the ones to be wary of, right?

How else could you explain the  rise of online music and online movies retailers who sell these entertainment wares at dirt cheap prices, and yet hollywood or the RIAs barely lifts a finger at them?

Actually, Russian law says its legal, so its legal. Aha, silently untouchable…

2012 The MovieAnyway, I just recently watched 2012, the movie, with Bangau and I think it’s a solid 2 and half hour of entertainment, of human emotions and reactions and how much worth the value of life can be measured at, during dire situations.

Like so what if you’re Mr President or some filthy rich Billionaires, ‘cos what good is money or status when you’re staring death in the face?

Indeed 2012 follows after his previous movies like ‘Day After Tomorrow’, ‘Godzilla’ or ‘Independance Day’ but on a grander, and much more fatalorrific (yes, that’s fatality + horrific) scale than before.

But like what Yuri faced towards the end of the movie (where he fell while trying to shove his son beyond the closing gates), it was imminently staring into a freefall abyss as the plot and cinematography became that little bit too cheesy for me, though I guess that Hollywood needed its heroic climax no matter how cheesy and predictable it can get.

However there was nothing cheesy about hurtling off the back of a crashing airplane on a yellow and voice-activated Bentley (I think), cos that’s just uber cool.

I liked it, the movie, but it didn’t impressed me as much as reading the rave reviews that it’s been receiving over the world wide web, so I give it a 7.9 out of 10, for being amply good entertainment on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

You know what else could be good entertainment on a Sunday afternoon? Zipping around the expressway in one of these:

Luxe Car Rental

You know if you’re going to impress anyone, THIS could do the trick.

Thanks to a Mr Pavel Zotov (W000~ Russians~), his niche idea, a luxury car rental company, has been driving sales pretty well that he’s considering to bring in more of them cars, like Lamborghinis for example.

Strangely I’m not a car fan (and not harbouring any interest in getting a car license explains it) but somehow the thought of going around in a speedy, blazingly fast machine is quite tempting.

Forget about the Lancers or the Skylines, we’re talking Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Bentleys, among a few.

If you’re a car enthusiast, there’s nothing unenthusiastic about these supercars.

Well if a car is rented for one day, which is $388 onwards, like why not? Instead of paying half a million or even millions to get one, this is wayyyyy more economical.

Of course there’s nothing economical about lavishly spending such obscene amount for a day of entertainment, and I don’t think I’m even gonna be renting one anytime soon (or ever!),  but it’s just tempting.

And I get tempted easily.

The Acer Experience

Sis’s Acer comp, one which I initially got to share with but inadvertently was taken control and overrun by the sisters (hehe) with massive Korean fanboy pics,  was downed by an unexplainable power shortage, and for a week the sisters had to live without a desktop– like can you imagine that!?

No videos of prancing, singing boys, like how could they live without that right?

Well they could, thanks to the Acer’s Aspire One netbook — so life wasn’t that tough after all.

But the desktop still required its fix, so for being the overly concern and caring brother that I could be, I woke up at 8.30am for once ON A SATURDAY (I just had to bold this part didn’t I?), and fetched the unworkable Desktop to Acer’s service centre at Jurong.

I’ve heard and read of the pleasant Acer service experience, but this being my first time sending in a comp for repair, I didn’t really knew what to expect.

I certainly didn’t expect to get out of the service centre in less than 5 mins, granted the Desktop wasn’t serviced until they gave me a quote, but the speed and efficiency of it all is impressive.

There wasn’t anyone at the information counter but as I approached, a young fella greeted me and asked if I wanted to service the machine (like so obvious right?) and then gave me a form to fill up, which I quickly did.

Looking for a service counter was a breeze as all the counters were manned and unlike most outlets of different company, you will definitely see unmanned counters, while the queuing crowd builds up inevitably.

At the counter, I was asked a few questions, and before long they took in the Desktop and the session ended just as quickly.

As a form of goodbye some staffs stood up, clasped both hands and sang me a christmas Jingle as I sheepishly made my way out of the building. Wait, you think this was a christmas carol concert?

That last part about the staff jingling wasn’t true, but the impressive thing is that everything else about Acer’s impeccable customer service is, and for that I like them a lot.

I wonder, will the repair and service quote be to my liking as well?

Probably The Best D*mn Movie I’ve Seen In Years: District 9

District 9From an actor (Sharlto Copley) who’s never really acted in any other movie, from a director (Neill Blomkamp) who’s never really directed a big budget movie and given the carte blanche stance, from a producer (Peter Jackson) who brought his previous employers to the courthouse (and not for a friendly cup of tea, mind you), from a movie poster (see them here) which spells ’12 year old’s drawing books’, AND from a half past 6 blogger1 (ooh, that’s me!) who’s not that often impressed by almost all the movies these days, District 9 is… here it comes… get ready for it… *takes a deep breathe*… refreshingly astoundingly entertainingly gruellingly thrillingly movingly ass-kickingly simple-yet-mesmerisingly  awe-inspiring.

And if those 9 words can’t describe it any better, than maybe I’ll summarise my reaction at the end of the movie in the next 9 words: Probably Definitely the best damn movie I have seen in years.

Everything about the movie felt complete, and not since LOTR, Terminator 2 or Finding Nemo have I spent minutes just trying to figure out the bad parts of the movie, and I just couldn’t.

It’s part documentary, part political, and maybe racial (or should I say Alienial?), part action and part emotional that it’s hard for me to really divide it into it’s own genre — but if I had to compare it to a movie, I’d say that in the end it’s like Black Hawk Down + Gladiator and lots of Aliens.

Thank god the intention of making a Halo movie didn’t materialise and instead Peter Jackson allowed Blomkamp to do whatever he wishes, and though at the beginning you may be forgiven for thinking that it’s just another B-Grade movie that’s a little protracted, however you will be extremely gratified for staying put on that movie seat at the end of it all.

The action sequences will put Die Hard fans to shame, the CGI (though nothing like 2012) is so good, that Hollywood should learn here that less is actually more, and directors *koff-michael-bay-koff* should note that you don’t need hot babes to make a movie lustful, because we have porn movies for that right?

But here, in District 9, there are Prawns instead — a slur that’s given to the Aliens, by the locals in Johannesburg, whom they live in close contact after their mothership descended on our planet (and thank goodness it isn’t another Washington) and then failed to take off, leaving these Prawns stranded among us.

You’ll soon learn how the authorities work behind thinly veiled propaganda (probably in real life itself, but who knows~) for other agendas, and when Wikus (Sharlto Copley) leads a battalion into District 9 in an attempt to get the Prawns to agree to an eviction, that is when the plot thickens and the pace quickens.

Where it goes after this, I shall not spoil much (you can Google and spoil yourselves) but the movie should pick you up well and leave you exhausted from allthe explosions, the voodoos, Wickus’ emotional roller coaster ride and thrilling visual treats.

District 9 is the kind of movie that probably makes you want to leave your seat within the first 30 minutes but then makes you wish for more at the end of it all.

Sure 2012 have gotten all the attention, and deservingly so too, but if I had to put my last $10bucks into watching a movie this year, this is the one ticket that I’ll gladly put my money on — even after having seen it 8 times.

But if you’ve yet to catch it in a cinema near you, and you had a few *ka-chings* in your pockets, then you can catch District 9 in DivX quality here (not free though~).

Mar’s Movie Ratings: 9.3 / 10
Mar’s last word: Since an alien spaceship won’t be descending anywhere anytime soon, the next best thing then is to go watch it.

Is Bidpax Really A Scam And Can I Actually Win Cheap Auctions?

This is a follow up post to my earlier account of how I met the online penny auction website during one of my few forays within Facebook’s ads. I will attempt to rate their value based on points which I will give along the way.

Of course these points don’t matter, just like using cents as bidding power. Ahhh…

Okay, so the big question, is Bidpax.com a scam & can one really win cheap auctions? I’ll disect this question into 2 parts:

1) So is it a scam?
Let’s put it this way, a short dictionary definition of a scam is ‘A fraudulent business scheme’, and at first glance, Bidpax.com does have all that legitimate business cosmetics via its webfront and its FAQ pages, which it even teaches you how you can protect yourselves. 2 points to Bidpax.com for these slick moves.

And then comes the not so slick moves, like having a ‘First In Singapore’ tagline in its header only for you to realise that it’s a website with a Hong Kong contact address. Why the conflicting data? Oops, gotta take away 1 point in this instance.

So who is the company/person behind Bidpax.com? No mention at all, and in this day and age, any reputable business operating online would want to build trust by being transparent and contactable. 3 points taken away as this is a vital information that is missing.

By now Bidpax.com has already gone -2 points in total. Let’s go further.

Next we’d like to know how Bidpax.com gets its products from, as in is it a partner of an electronics vendor? Or is it an electronics vendor itself, who simply doesn’t want people to know about (actually it’s not so bad if people knew eh~)? Why do we need to know? Because how else can we get a guarantee that once an auction is won, that we’d get it? Oh, and in case we don’t get it, there’s really no person/company that we can go after to get back our money spent in the bidding process! Ahhh, see where I’m going here as why transparency in company details is important? Another point taken off.

If you’ve been to their mainpage, you’ll see all the ongoing auctions and how intensely fought these are by the users of bidpax, but are these really users at all? Are they real? Where are the user profiles? Why can’t we access them and see who these users are? We want a vibrant, breathing community but the current state leaves us feeling like robots. Almost all the internet business have a method where users communicate with each other, via PMs, forums and so on, where they leave comments and feedbacks. If Bidpax.com have the genius to program the auction software, then why not host a simple forum as well (there are many free options anyway, so the hesitation is questionable..)? 10 points deducted. Wooo~.

So many more questionable points to talk of, like why is a driver’s license required to receive the winning item? Why is Bidpax.com using Plimus as their e-commerce merchant platform when Plimus’ website explicitly mentions that they are a platform if you are a merchant for DIGITAL GOODS AND SERVICES? 20 points deducted.

Okay, enough questions and point deductions.

I think I’ve injected quite a few food for thoughts here, and to answer the question if Bidpax.com is a scam, you, yes you, must decide and consider for yourself if it is so.

I’m not saying it’s a scam, and I’m not saying that it isn’t either. You decide, but I know where I stand, which is as far away as possible.

Oh, here’s the 2nd part before I forget.

2) Can one win really cheap auctions?
Say, if you want to spend as little as you can, you purchase the 25 bids package for SGD$42, which translates to 25cents of bidding power. ‘Powerful’ stuffs huh~ That’s like a value of $1.68 ($42/25) for every 1 cent of bidding power. Woo~

Let’s assume the going rate of a PSP at Bidpax.com (as of this article) is $5.62, which really translates to 562 cents X SGD$1.68 = SGD$944.16 !!! Cheap or expensive?

Think it’s worth a gamble? Then go ahead. Oh, and do let me know when your items have arrived, so good luck.