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Royal conspiracy lead to tragedy
This movie is based on true events which wonderfully depicts a colourful and rich part of our Malay history. Unlike their European counterparts (i.e. Elizabeth I) the Malay rulers didn't have the education necessary and almost compulsory to rule a country. As such, they were vulnerable to their respective advisers which were all a matter of luck. This tragedy was mostly the cause of bad advice on the part of one of the advisers to the Sultan who was only out for revenge. The worst part was that being royalty usually meant you could get away with everything so a dispute about a fruit is seen as almost stupid in the eyes of present society. Thank god those days are over!
Cash & Marry (2009)
I am a fellow (documented) immigrant to the EU too and I have my own opinions to the causes and effects of the open borders policy. That aside, what I really liked about the documentary though was their brutal honesty in approaching the matter. They didn't attempt to hide it under any other premise than the fact that they were searching for someone to marry for the sole purpose of gaining citizenship and a passport. A good level of English is also spoken here which may be a surprise to some viewers not familiar with the East European communities. I won't give out the ending but I do hope more people will watch this.
Army Daze (1996)
Lost on foreigners
There are a few reviews here, presumably from foreigners, who have blatantly criticized this locally made Singapore movie. I think the format is lost on them because comparisons are made to Platoon. It is not Platoon and doesn't purport to be and doesn't aspire to be. It is a humble simple local movie about a very Singaporean topic so perhaps that itself is already lost on people who have absolutely no idea about life in Singapore.
This movie is based on a popular play about something that touches almost all families in Singapore and that is the mandatory military service (the official name is 'national service - NS for short') which all 18 year old males have to undergo for 2 years (Israel has it too and for both genders so we are not exclusive is that area). NS is dreaded by every male and their parents in this country as they forlorn the loss of those precious 2 years and the rigorous mental and physical routine and training under the humid Singapore sky and constant 30Celsius sun.
Things have changed for the better in the 80s and 90s and when the play came out, it was a big hit because it touched on the lighter side of NS, which up until then, was perceived to be non-existent. Then they made it into a movie and it was an even bigger hit because some of us, like myself, had missed the play due to age and/or ignorance of its existence. I reckon that the joy of watching the movie is lost on foreigners who don't appreciate and/or understand our local humor so naturally you aren't able to enjoy it in the way we do.
The fact that the movie doesn't appeal to you foreigners doesn't mean the movie deserves the negativity (some of which are quite mean-spirited) to which you have been so generous to dispense. Just as how we Singapoeans are able to enjoy British costume dramas and cowboy-and-Indian movies despite of our unfamiliarity with them, the same applies to you. And just like how those costume dramas depict a fact of life in England to which most of us have no first hand knowledge of, Army Daze is a visual documentation (of sorts) on a facet of our way of life here and it would be nice if you could try to enjoy it even if you cannot really appreciate and/or understand it.
Naturally, it isn't Fellini-quality but given the resources they had, the movie has turned out to be a decent piece of entertainment, presumably better than all those B-grade action movies Steven Seagal and the likes of all those other talentless actors churn out - they all the flair and pomp but no substance. We have given the same consideration to Western-made movies since the invention of movies itself and it would be nice if you guys cut us some slack as we try to navigate our way into the world of movie making, Singapore style.
30 Days of Night (2007)
I thought this would be just another horror zombie flick but as it turns out, it was actually quite a good movie. Yes, we've all seen the plot before but the 30 days without sun scenario actually gave the movie a big part of its realism. I get crazy enough during the short winter days so I can't imagine what your mind does to you if you don't see the sun for a whole month. The action is real and the survivors don't go to any extraordinary means to stay alive, they just used good old-fashioned group work. There were some good performance from the lead and it was nice to see Josh Harnett isn't just another pretty Hollywood face. The ending has a real nice melancholic twist to it.
Love In The City of Lion
As a born & bred Singaporean, I was intrigued by the title and the producers' choice to film the movie in Singapore. However, I couldn't help feeling that it was more of a 'product placement' for touristy Singapore with the locations being in the typical tourist spots like Chinatown and Arab Street. It would seem logical that the German lead actress would be seen going in and around the touristy spots as it was her first time in Singapore but for a Singaporean watching it, it feels tacky.
I understand that the movie was made for a German audience but they ought to know that Singapore's first language is English and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who speaks German as fluently as the local actors do (although I think their voices were overdubbed as I am pretty sure Wong Lilin doesn't sound they way she does when speaking German).
All in all, it was a decent piece of Sunday television and nice for Europe-based Singaporeans like me.
I have been a faithful Law & Order fan ever since I can remember so I waited with anticipation as I heard about this new one here. All in all, it's pretty entertaining and gripping at times & as another commentator quoted here, it's a lot like 'Grey's Anatomy' but the sex-in-the-workplace formula is getting really old. They've used it in almost every series so they should do something different already. I mean it's logical for co-workers to get involved, especially ones who spend a lot of time at work but I'm sure not all lawyers marry/sleep with other lawyers. It would be interesting to see how they would juggle with a partner of a different profession. Wouldn't that be more interesting especially if it were to explore another territory altogether instead of doing the same old thing all the time. We had it from Ally McBeal, The Practice etc. They should do something different for a change.
Beyond Borders (2003)
Sad but as realistic as can be
I didn't even know about this movie until I chanced upon a trailer of it and then realised it hadn't even made it to the cinemas. I wondered why so I searched on IMDb, most comments are mixed but I reckoned I should give the movie a watch but couldn't get hold of the DVD until now. Only then did I know why it never made it to the box office nor even near any cinemas in certain countries.
Let's face it - we go to the cinemas to forget our problems and not be reminded of them which is precisely the reason why movies like these don't make any money but others do. Most movies about injustice and persecution always have the good guys win in the end but this movie doesn't. In fact, we're introduced to the startling reality of the lives of volunteer workers and what they have to go through with all their good intentions in place. We are also introduced and/or reminded of the ugly side of humanity as to why certain countries will never be able to have peace because people are just too selfish fighting out their own agendas to spare any thought for another person.
Clive Owen was superb in this movie and whilst I would've liked to see him paired up with Catherine-Zeta Jones (the original choice for the female lead), Angelina Jolie was pretty decent as well. It could've been worst coz the behind-the-scenes commentary said their original male lead was Kevin Costner. No offence but I don't think he would've pulled it off. He's too 'The Bodyguard' if you know what I mean.
The love story is just a sub-plot and was so subtly done and there are no mushy lovey-dovey sequences to make your eyes roll. It's just a simple story about two people bonded by their common passion but whilst one chooses to act it out whole-heartedly, the other keeps a silent but burning fire for it. Now, that's love!
One commentator here said that this movie doesn't do any justice for the refugees and the victims but I must say that no movie can. Even if you do visit these places to see for yourself what really goes on, you have a choice - you can leave whilst these people don't so unless you are in that exact same position, I think nobody should ever try to comment about it because it's something I don't think none of us in developed countries can ever truly understand. Besides, this movie is about the volunteer workers and what they have to go through and the love story between the two leads as the backdrop to distract us from the painful realities depicted in the movie. I don't really agree with some inaccurate plots in certain movies but I don't know the 110% truth about this movie so I just accept it and then find out more about it if I want to. It's something you can't expect from movies anyway coz movies are not supposed to educate but just to entertain and maybe enlighten us a little. You want a 100% accurate show, then go watch National Geographic.
All in all, the filmmakers of Beyond Borders deserve some credit for trying to tell a story different from the rest of the junk playing in the cinemas nowadays. Some of you might have felt they didn't really succeed but I still think they gave it their best shot. Now, you have to give them at least that!
The Nanny (1993)
Vanity project for Drescher
Yes, this series is hilarious but I truly believe the best lines and comedic routines were held by the supporting cast of the likes of Daniel Davis and Renee Taylor. Davis' ability to keep a straight face whilst delivering the wittiest and funniest lines is absolute to die for and Renee Taylor played the nosy mother to perfection. I especially loved Yetta and every scene that she was in was superb.
Other than that, I am more than convinced that this show is just a vanity project for Fran Drescher so she could prance around in her awful costumes whilst pursuing the man of her dreams who ignored her for 5 whole years. There are other wonderful shows about women who are desperate to get married or whose ultimate and/or only ambition in life is to get married but they aren't as pathetic and blatant as Fran Drescher's portrayal in this show. Furthermore, I didn't see any sexual chemistry between the nanny and Maxwell Sheffield and there was more between Niles and CC but even they got married in the end and it was such an anti-climax.
This is very slapstick humour and though it was fun at times, it got really bad towards the end when they all fulfilled their characters' ambitions for the show. Yes, it may not belong in the ranks of 'Seinfeld' but it could at least preserve some of its original dignity like how 'Friends' did.
Sex and the City (1998)
Great show but lousy ending!
Coming from a non-liberal Asian culture, this show is a breath of fresh air and I relished the sexual escapades these 4 women shared. I'm also glad that in the end the show finally proved the bottom-line of the whole saga - it was more about the friendship these 4 women shared more than anything else.
Yes, Carrie delivers the underlying message of her misadventures in this show which we all can relate to - we all want to love and to be loved and like how Carrie said in the finale, most of us want that undying, can't-be-apart-from-you love but do we really have to watch her torture herself all over again with Mr Big?! I think not especially for any smart single woman who knows that if it didn't work the first and second time around, there is no guarantee it would work the third. It seems that the finale is only meant to serve the affirmation for many single women out there that we can change a man and that after years of non-compliance, he will eventually come to his senses and having Mr Big and Carrie together in the end will somehow prove that somehow but we all know that is BS and real life is so not like that. It is so clichéd that it became disgustingly tragic!
I think perhaps the producers of the show had to succumb to public favour that the finale did eventually bring these two people together after years of hits and misses but it could have been done in a less clichéd, dramatic end i.e. she decides to come back to NY on her own and then meets Mr Big upon her arrival who had decided to wait for her return but not to go to Paris as she had blew him off on the night of her departure. The 'Gone With The Wind' finale was so hard to swallow and should have been altered to fit into this century's mindset and practice.
All in all, I loved this show but the ending was such a disappointment. It was such an anti-climax that I couldn't help but feel cheated out of the years of devotion that I've put into the show. Yeah, I sound dramatic but those of you who love this show or any other show as much would understand.
House of Sand and Fog (2003)
Somber solemn story
I guess this movie might be a bit too heavy for some and very depressing at the same time but I must say it isn't totally unbelievable. Firstly, there is a lesson to be learned with Ben Kingsley's character; his pride just won't let him go of his former glory though his situation and circumstances are totally different. He is so adamant of reclaiming his 'rightful' place that he goes to great lengths to achieve it, including buying the house with the specific intention of selling it off at a lucrative profit. Though he legally owns the house, he would have had more compassion for Jennifer Connelly's character if he wasn't so overwhelmed with greed. Their insistence in maintaining a lifestyle they couldn't afford has a lesson to be learned.
Jennifer Connelly managed to pull off her character with great empathy. She brilliantly portrayed a woman pushed to the edge that you almost felt sorry for her. You could imagine how a woman in her position could turn the way as she did, especially with no friends and/or family to turn to. I have to admit though that she did better here than in 'A Beautiful Mind'; I didn't think she completely earned her Best Supporting Oscar for that movie but she did here. Well, she got it already.
Though I was thoroughly annoyed with Ron Eldard's character, I felt he could be someone a lot of men could relate to. He was a typical confused troubled husband and father who just didn't know what to do and met a woman whom he thought was the answer to all his problems. I hope other husbands/fathers who watch this movie take a lesson from it; don't take the easy way out. True, you don't want to be stuck in a loveless marriage but at least let it cease the right way instead of getting yourself into more trouble.
All round solid performances by all and a somber plot to accompany them. It might depress you but the moral behind it serves as a reminder to most of us so watch it anyway. A movie like this won't hurt once in a while.