it's a wrap!

just another manic monday…

Archive for Movies

Serial Marathons

I’ve been staying up late or early depending on how one looks at it.
Having serial marathons.
Oh yes.
CSI in Hong Kong.
* grins
I grew up with Hong Kong serials. My grandparents watched them all the time. I remembered when I was younger, my grandmother will make an impromptu trip to the video store to get the newest episode in exchange for the ones we just finished, usually 1 or 2 episodes, depending on the rate they’re produced. We used to play it in the VCR, Video Cassette Recording.

The shop had shelves upon shelves of cassettes all stacked along the walls. We have an account there, it consist of a yellow A4 card, with columns where they record how many cassettes we’ve loaned. Fee was $2.50 per cassette. I used to enojy myself sitting at my grandparents’ feet and watching those serials with them.
Well, the store lasted till VCDs and Astro came along. It closed down soon after.
But the industry of drama serials continue to flourish to this day! I’m still enjoying them at any rate.
I was watching the recent Forensic Heroes III.
In one of the scenes, this actor, Jim took his girlfriend Mandy to dinner, he said he was looking for a Korean place. They drove past a cafe, and Mandy’s eyes looked longingly at it. The cafe however had a tag on the glass door that said, “Business ended.” Jim asked her what was wrong as they drove pass.
Mandy told him that the coffee and lemon meringue from this cafe were her absolute favourites.
She had earlier grimaced at a cup of coffee from another joint.
Jim made a U-turn and brought her to the cafe again. Sniffing she said she smelled coffee. Thinking it her imagination, she stepped down, closer to the cafe. But it’s true. It does smell like coffee, she turned questioniongly to Jim.
Jim, shrugging said, we might as well go in then since we are here.
They opened the door and stepped inside. The proprietor came forward and greeted her, smiling and saying that Jim had earlier came in to request that he brewed coffee another time for his girlfriend. He asked them to wait while he got the lemon meringue out. Stars in her eyes, Mandy thanked Jim.
I told this story not only for the romance. It was a great surprise true, but Jim could just as easily take her to the most expensive restaurant, Michelin starred and Mandy would’ve been as surprised.
It was the thought and the heart he put into thinking how to present to Mandy her absolute favourite things. The coffee and meringue that she loved, it couldn’t have been so expensive but it had the ability to touch her heart so much, because it was what she loved.

C.S.I

I have been hooked on CSI for the longest time. I used to love the original Las Vegas series, with Grissom then came New York. As the seasons progressed, I grew to like the characters Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) and Stella Bonasera (Melina Kanakarades) all the more. I love it when Stella speaks or exclaims, lapsing into Greek to express herself. There was this episode where she was having coffee with Mac outdoors. They just bought it and walked outdoors talking, sat down, she shook her packet of sugar, and “Plop”. Something fell from above, and the camera’s angle panned up to show a huge bird circling. She exclaimed “Yuck” then looking into her coffee cup, lapsed into Greek, I caught the word “caffe” something. But her expression was really funny. Incidentally, the thing that fell into her cup was not faeces, it was an eye. How’s that for bizarre?
I’m watching Season 5 of NY now. Lindsay (Anna Belknap)’s pregnant with Danny (Carmine Giovinazzo)’s child.
I’ve always thought that Danny will marry Lindsay because she’s pregnant. And he did ask her. But he asked her with a slight trace of hesitation. If I as an observer felt it, I’m sure Lindsay felt it all the more.
After that , she actually looked at him wih compassion, put a reassuring hand on him and said “No”. Felt he was asking her for the wrong reasons. And I couldn’t help but be amazed at her restraint. If I had been as much in love with Danny as she was, I would’ve been tempted to say “yes”, whatever the reason that was prompting him to ask for her hand. It was interesting to see the part of her where she was patient enough to let him have his time to work through his issues.
She said to him, “Wouldn’t you rather walk down the aisle then be pushed?”
I laughed. I did. The mental picture was just too much.
In following episodes, Lindsay seemed to have put this issue to rest for a season while Danny struggles to come to terms with his insecurities, to an answer that gives him peace.
When he went to speak to Mac about a case, he inadvertently got distracted when he saw Lindsay crossing. Sharp as ever Mac caught him in the act and reassures him that Lindsay will be back from her short break before he knows it.
Danny lets his demeanour slip and his frustration was evident when he told Mac he asked Lindsay to marry him but she said no, because she thinks that he is asking her to marry him because she was pregnant.
Mac says, “Are you?”
Danny says he doesn’t know, he’s so afraid of disappointing her and the kid.
Mac told him that he had these fears with his wife, Claire. He was also afraid that he couldn’t live up to her expectations. He was never in a hurry to have children with her, and now, when she had passed away, he regrets. He told Danny that he believed that God had brought Lindsay and him together and that they were blessed to have a child, that Danny could either continue living in that place of fear or he could choose to believe in the best version of himself.
It seemed that the talk cleared up some doubts and answered some questions for Danny, he stood up looking much more determined and at peace with himself.
Mac told him moments before he left, “You’ll make a good father.”

This little peek into the personal lives of the on-screen characters gave me a new insight into the interaction between two beings.
I’ve never really given much thought into the workings of the mind of the other gender. Never knew that they too could be plagued with insecurities and fears like these, albeit a different kind from my own.
I guess valor and honour really weighs heavier on them. It takes courage to be able to accept the consequences that comes when one nods to accept the challenge.
For worse or better, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.
Now, that holds a lot of weight.

Sister and I were walking in the mall and decided to catch a movie. I felt like watching a romantic comedy. But she deems action movies are more money-worthy. So it was between “Red” and “Takers”. I vaguely remembered a friend say she wanted to watch “Red”, so that translates to a plus here. She picked “Red” anyhow.

I looked at the cast list and was reassured, Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman. The movie can’t be that bad. In fact, in my limited scope of movies, I have never come across a movie that is action, keeps me guessing, and has romance and comedy all in one like Red. I like it, I like it a hell of a lot.

1)       I am awed by the scene where Frank (Willis) gets out of a spinning car, walks, in the nick of time, and the tail end of the spinning car misses his legs, he puts a few bullets into the black 4 wheel drive chasing him! (I think my mouth dropped in an “O” there for a bit.) He calmly gets into the car and drives off.

2)       Sarah (Parker) tells Frank (Willis) that this was not how she wanted their first date to be, and she was hoping he had hair. He smiled wryly and said, sorry. Can you believe it?

3)       Frank (Willis) holding Cooper (Urban) in an arm twist asking him if Kosentky trained him and he said yes, Frank response to that was, “I trained Kosentky.”

4)       Frank (Willis) went into the dungeons CIA Archive to get a file from Henry (Borgnine), the Records Keeper, who was delighted to see him again. Henry (Borgnine) telling him that a young punk was looking at his file yesterday, Frank (Willis) describes, “6’1, cute hair?”, Henry, “Ahh, hair’s kinda cute.”

The movie started with Bruce Willis waking up to his day. That struck a chord with me. I don’t wish that on anyone least of all… He actually looks pretty good for his age, better than a lot of youngsters in their 20s actually. Well, he seemed pretty adapted to his life, keeps his distance from a lot of people, quiet, routine. But, he seems lonely. His highlight of the day was to pick up the phone and call this girl working in Social Securities to chat. Pretty sad, I wished he would just get up the courage and ask her out properly, which he actually did, eventually.

Action picks up soon after with a serious attempt at assassination aimed at Willis. Willis shows up at Parker’s house to get her to run for her life. Obviously like any sane person, she refuses. The scene changes and focuses on Willis driving and apologizing for their first meeting. And then the camera pans to Parker, tied and gagged, cursing and mumbling beneath the gag. I almost dropped out of my seat laughing at that.

Next up, nursing home and Morgan Freeman the cool as a cucumber retired agent. He was the most level headed of the bunch and the person who’s always one step ahead of everybody. I thought in that one scene where they wanted to assassinate him in his nursing home and he resignedly bowed his head, that it was so unfair, that was the end of him, already? Unfair! Ah ha! Surprise, surprise, in the playback of that scene, like I said, being one step ahead of everyone, he had a gun in his hand and was quick to shoot the baddie. Yay!

Marvin, Marvin (Malkovich), he looks like a senile old guy, but it turns out, his wackiness just gets in the way of him expressing his observations adn perception. He is one hell of an observant guy and a great shot. “Old man” and “No respect”, great lines in a really huge blasting scene!

Victoria (Helen Mirren), sweet old lady in English styled home named Eagle’s Nest. I remarked that it all seemed so “civilized” when the scene started, all English China and afternoon tea laid out. She’s got this dry sense of humor, heart of gold where her friends are concerned and a restlessness which she calms by taking the odd job on the side. Loved the scene where she smacked one of the guards with her clutch, slips into combat boots and calmly fires machine guns. She is so cool and elegant, gotta give that to her!

Helen Mirren: “Me, not the queen, Bruce Willis, evening dress, machine gun. Gotta do it.”

The average age of this veteran cast must be at least 60. But yet, it is one of the best movies I have seen all year and that is saying something. It’s a little bit of the maturity, a little bit of the experience of the cast, a little bit of the professionalism that the cast brings to the film, a little bit of Bruce Willis’s charm, a little bit of Parker’s sweetness, a little bit of Malkovich’s wackiness, a little bit of Mirren’s tough yet still a lady’s elegance, a little bit of Borgnine’s delightedness, a little bit of Freeman’s wit, a little bit of Urban’s awakening, cute dark hair, a little bit of Robert Schwentke’s directorship, all added up into a cast iron pot of gold. It keeps you thinking, laughing and engages you. What more can one want from a Sunday afternoon at the movies? Perfect.

Avatar

Yes, I am outdated as far as the latest movies are concerned. Am I disturbed by it? Well, not really I guess. Life for me has other aspects.

Where were we again? Right, Avatar. I watched the movie on Blu Ray with surround sound. Don’t think it gets any better than that outside the cinema *grins 😀

As a student of 3D before, I would have to say I am blown away by the amazing CGIs I saw in the movie. The purplish blue soft crest in front of the rhinoceros like creature, to the flowers that shrinks like the mimosa plant upon touch, to the ground that changes colour when one steps on it from pink to blue to purple, to the sparkling deep blue sea with corals that are reflective, to the tress that are alight with fairy lights. I love the raucous birds they rode, every one of those creatures is more magnificent than the peacock in its colours. Every shades of the colour palette possible. Lovely.

The creativity and attention to detail down to the most miniscule flower seed was given a sparkling twist.

When I first saw Dr. Grace Augustine, I opened my mouth and said, “Hey is that…” and before I could complete my question, there was an answer, “Yes.” 

Surprised, I turned and ask, “Yes what?”

“Yes to the question you were going to ask.”

*And by now, I mildly irritated and very interested to know if it was really that goosebumpy. 

“Well, what was I going to ask then?”

*Eyes rolling, “You were going to ask if that is Sigourney Weaver.”

“Stop reading my mind!”

Shiatz…is it mind-reading or am I predictable? I am flabbergasted.

Actually it’s really unerving when somebody could read you so well, they know what you’re going to say before you say it, know how you’re feeling just by the way you say hello over the phone and finishes off your thoughts for you.

Some heart

I chanced upon a blog post by a friend about Iron Man, 2008. I’ve always held a soft spot for this movie. But I have always brushed it aside as sentimentalism, or so I thought.

Maybe sometimes, you chance upon things, sometimes a movie, sometimes the lyrics of a song or the lilting melody of a tune, even writings that resonate with your heart and thoughts and this strikes a chord so deep that it makes its mark. You never forget it.

 This friend wrote about Tony Stark @ Iron Man, who was to the world a harsh, handsome, heartless, rich, arrogant heart breaking rogue, who has everything he wants, booze, women, even the government has to sing to his tune because he holds them by their necks. It figures, he supplies their fire arms after all, their defense mechanism. He says what he wants when he wants, does things without seeming to care for other people in the least, shows up at his time and is just a real pain in the ass neck.

And then, he stumbled, he messed up. Ah ha! But he got up again, he came back!

But changed, changed is our Mr. Arrogance, on the inside. Maybe the word change is not fully appropriate, awakened would be a better choice. Something in him, during that encounter with a man who sacrificed himself to save his life, coupled with his brush with death, made him see the world, not from his pedestal, but from the real world, ground level.

The real world who suffered at his hands, the real world who shared the after effects of the weapons he made, the real world that stood and watched their family die in the bomb explosions, the real world that lose their limbs when firearms are fired at them.

Underneath his seemingly heartless exterior, he was still human. The only time he lets his guard down was in the sanctuary of his own home. The only time he feels that he doesn’t need to perform or meet people’s expectations. He seemed confident on the outside, invincible, great at his job, successful, great, can do no wrong. One mistake, that is all it takes and people will remember his mistake and cast it up to his face for all times.

“I can confidently say that they are usually a different person in the confines of their home. A place they can just be themselves. These people have such a big heart for others to the stage that people even doubt the existence of their heart. They often portray themselves as emotionless beings for the sake of others. To be the source of hope and encouragement to those around.” –Isaac Lee

Do we see underneath it all? Do we see his heart? The fragility of his human heart is just like everybody else’s. Do I see that part of it?

When he came back, his assistant Ms. Pepper Potts (Am I the only one who finds it odd that her name’s Pepper?) greeted him. This must be the only superhero movie that only hints at a romance. Her expression portrays her emotions at Tony’s awakening. It was as if she saw that part that was dormant in him, was frustrated that he chose to ignore it and be the cool guy. But now, now he acknowledges it and embraces it.

 But to Tony, it was as if he was only now realizing her beauty and the way she captivated him.

Will one fully understand what was going through Pepper’s mind all those years? Or Tony’s blindness? Will the audience criticize Pepper? I’m sure. But unless one goes through what she went through, can we be a worthy judge?

I’m thinking not.

Iconic Tower

The Empire State Building in New York makes a beautiful backdrop in winter for those Christmas lights. It’s referred to as the iconic tower that represents romance in a review written for the 1957 movie, “An Affair to Remember” starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.

“If I don’t look, I’ll always wonder.”

Life is full of these whether it’s in hope for the future or tinge of sorrow for the what if that has passed. Lately, I find myself reluctant to sleep with exactly that feeling of “wonder-ing”. I know I need sleep. My eyes half closed most nights and I still sit in front of the screen, typing, browsing, sometimes reading a book, just letting time drag by, until I’m so tired, too tired to think, and then I can fall asleep quickly, sleep comes almost instantateously. Call it escape, call it running away, call it one of the ways of dealing with it.

Yet I still wonder. And the problem is my gut feeling is it’s a “When…” and not an “If…” and it scares me. It brings me to a point when I let myself think, what if I’m wrong…and I do not dare answer that question. Maybe I’m just being an ostrich, pushing away the truth by burying my head in the sand and seeing nothing. Maybe I just don’t want to admit the obvious. I can’t explain this and honestly, it’s not fun. It’s tiring, draining, teary, demanding, taxing and it’s definitely not fun…if this is a time of testing adn waiting God, would you please sustain me, if You would end it, please do…

Now for some movie trivia that I read about:-
Nora Ephron wrote Sleepless in Seattle (1993), When Harry Met Sally (1989) and You’ve Got Mail (1998).

Night at the movies

You’ve Got Mail, from 1998, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. Ten years ago, when emails and instant messaging first became popular. I still have about half an hour of the movie to go. These are lyrics from a song in the movie. Dream by Roy Orbison.

Dream, when you’re feeling blue
Dream, that’s the thing to do
Just watch the smoke rising rise in the air
You’ll find your share of memories there

So dream when the day is through
Dream, and they might come true
Things never are as bad as they seem
So dream, dream, dream [Repeat]

Ahhh…my day is almost through now, so I’m going to be going to bed, probably falling asleep a few minutes after my head touches the pillow, and to dreamland goeth I. 🙂

Serendipity (2001) Kate Beckinsdale and John Cusack. While You Were Sleeping (1995) Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman. I’m going to be watching Sleepless in Seattle (1993) also Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan soon.

I must say I enjoyed every one of them. The jokes they pulled and words they said in these old movies had just the right amount of humor and wit in them to make me laugh so hard. Ah, the good jokes.

Their languages were much more colorful then, subtle yet delightfully amusing jokes. The manner and the wit with which the scripts are written are also more thought out, to bring out somehow or to heighten the scene. Is it me or is today’s language and acting in the movies are somehow been watered down?

I love movies, well, because they are inspired by real life, those scriptwriters, directors, producers, actors, people who did the casting, chose the songs all bring rich life experiences of their own, enriching the movie, making each one unique and like no other ever made.

I especially liked movies that inspire one to think, to spur one on in life, to make an impact, to make people want to be a better man, so to speak. Then again, I love a good, clean movie that is just packed full of humor, in good doses and taste of course, which cracks me up and just gives my belly and lungs that rip roariously great time and exercise it needs.