Sunday, December 25, 2005

A Hen In The Wind

The story is about a young mother waiting for her husband to come back from war. Her son fell seriously sick one day and she is forced to prostitute herself one night to earn the money for the medical bills. Her husband eventually came back and learnt the truth but he had a hard time accepting it.

The film has some interesting shots of huge half completed buildings that shows Japan in the state of rebuilding itself. The huge buildings contrast with the people who walk beside them. Great acting by the actress, Tanaka Kinuyo, who played the distraught wife! There is also a bit of unravelling of a mystery as the husband seeks to find out the truth on his own. The finale scene is powerfully shot and it symbolised the difficult times that Japan is going through.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

The story is about how Wallace and his loyal dog, Gromit, solve the mystery of a beast who roams the gardens of the people and threatens the success of an upcoming giant vegetable growing contest.

Wallace and Gromit has been a team for several films already. Wallace is an inventor while Gromit is his great assistant. Gromit does not have a mouth like "Hello Kitty" but it is very skilful at many tasks! It drives the car, cooks meals, is good at making things and does detective work! I liked the interesting storyline and the exciting chases that are well choreographed! The bunny looks funny too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The story is about the adventures of four siblings in a strange land called Narnia where the Lion and the Witch lived. A magical wardrobe is the connection from the real world to Narnia.

The youngest daughter, Lucy Pevensie, looks very cute! She is also very friendly and helpful, that makes her more likable than her other siblings: Edmund, Susan and Peter. The special effects are very well done as the creatures look believable even though I know that real animals can't move their mouths when they speak. The Lion looks magnificent and has great charima when it talks, yet when Lucy brushes her hand across her mane, it looks friendly like a furry and huggable giant soft toy.

I like the plot as it describes the struggle between good and evil plus the value of keeping promises. The final battle scene is well choreographed! I am quite amazed at the prowess of the evil Witch and impressed by how the four siblings helped each other towards the end of the film!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Pride & Prejudice

The story is about five sisters from the Bennett family whose lives are turned upside down when a wealthy young man, Mr. Bingley, and his best friend, Mr. Darcy, arrive in their neighborhood.

The film is an adaptation from Jane Austen's novel and it is one of my favorite book partly because of the character of Elizabeth Bennett. She is an intelligent young woman who cares very much for her sisters! The story is very well written with detailed description of English family life, an exciting plot and interesting, witty conversations.

Liked how the camera pans around to show what everybody is doing with the soundtrack in the background! The soundtrack is very nice and I was pleasantly surprised by how the director managed to put some comical touches to the film!

One bad thing about reading the novel before watching the film is that one tends to compare the two during the film and be distracted. Generally, I think it is quite a good adaptation although the book did a better job in explaining what each of the characters were thinking and why one character fell in love with another.

Among the sisters, I think Rosamund Pike who plays Jane Bennett looks the prettiest followed by Kiera Knightly who plays Elizabeth Bennett and Jena Malone who plays Lydia Bennett. Didn't quite catch a good look at Mary Bennett, Kitty Bennett or Caroline Bingley.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Crazed Fruit

I bought the DVD as I was attracted by the nice cover! The story is about what happens when two brothers fall in love with the same woman. The setting is in post WWII Japan and it depicts how the youth idle their time away by engaging in water sports, going to clubs and fooling around.

The film describes how life was like during that period, especially on the attitudes of Japanese youth. A good film to watch before CF would be Fighting Elegy that talks about the attitudes of youth during pre WWII Japan. Liked the complex relationship among the characters that is very well portrayed! The psychological tension builds up to a climax towards the end of the film!

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Mirror Mask

Watched the movie at a premiere jointly organised by Singapore Film Society and British Council. The story is about what happened when the mother of a circus family fell ill. The daughter, Helen, was brought to a strange land one night where everybody wears masks and she had to find the Mirror Mask and figure out her way home.

There are several films with a similar storyline about the adventures of a little girl in a strange land, examples would include "Wizard of Oz" and "Spirited Away". MM loses out to WOO in terms of the costume worn by the lead character and to SA in terms of the strange creatures encountered in the land but its artwork is pretty unique as it has a graphic novel feel to it.

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Jurong Green CC Scrabble Mini

I joined the Jurong Green CC mini to have a taste of Scrabble again as I have stopped playing for a long while. I was quite lucky to be the last person to be placed in div B and to have a round robbin competition, so I had a chance to play with intermediate players like Zi Peng, Marcus and Victor.

Game 1: vs Ang Chew Chuah
Chew Chuah is my colleague and he came especially early to play a game before the actual tournament started! Bingoed with GoALPOST(66) through an existing S at O8. but could have done better with GALiPOTS(80) O1. Also missed another bingo AUSTERER(77) through an existing R at A8 but played a phoney UREATES* instead. Was leading quite comfortably by about 50 points until Chew Chuah scored well with RIOTERS(90) as bingo and QIS(39). Lost by 7 points in the end.

New words learnt: FIFE, FANE
My Bingoes: GoALPOST(66) (Ana: GALiPOTS) Opp Bingoes: RIOTERS(90)
My Phoneys: UREATES* (Ana: AUSTERE) Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: KOR(30), ROAD(39), DAWNS(41) Opp High Moves: XI(34), WREN(30), FIFE(33), QIS(39)
L 391-398, -7. 1 Loss (Accum spread -7).

Game 2: vs Kevin Lim Tze Peng
My first time playing with Kevin who was a student at Raffles Instution and he led most of the way. Almost caught up when I bingoed with LININGS(75) but still lost in the end by 26 points. There is a mistake for the scores on toucanet as I wrote the 7 like a 2 on my score sheet.

New words learnt: MAGI, EINE, UNWIRED
My Bingoes: LININGS(75) Opp Bingoes: -
My Phoneys: ENROUTE* Opp Phoneys: AZOS*
My High Moves: URINE(45), PELT(35), CUPS(40) Opp High Moves: HOX(35), JAY(39), UNWIRED(43), ZOS(52)
L 377-398, -26. 2 Loss (Accum spread -33).

Game 3: vs Sharifah
My first time playing with Sharifah who was a pleasant Malay girl. Bingoed with DECLINE(77) but played badly overall as I allowed my opponent to score highly with the X, J and Z. Lost by 39 points in the end.

New words learnt: AGON, RILL
My Bingoes: DECLINE(77) Opp Bingoes: -
My Phoneys: TEI* Opp Phoneys: OPER*, TAJS*
My High Moves: - Opp High Moves: XI(52), TAJ(34), DOZE(41), EVET(32)
L 349-388. -39. 3 Loss (Accum spread -72).

Game 4: vs Victor Chua
My first time playing with Victor who was a student. Trailed from the very start when my opponent pulled away with RIOTERS(72). We had an exciting finish as both of us bingoed on our last turns. Victor bingoed with LINIEST(80) 6A and I had EEHIRS? on my rack. Could have gotten a nine-timer with my tiles, but I went over time for just over 1 minute to come up with RELISHEd(83). Lost by 54 points with the 20 points time penalty.

New words learnt: CHISELER, HIRSELED
My Bingoes: RELISHEd(83) Opp Bingoes: RIOTERS(72), LINIEST(80)
My Phoneys: REY* Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: EQUAL(45) Opp High Moves: TREZ(46)
L 353-407. -54. 4 Loss (Accum spread -126).

Game 5: vs Peter Tay
My second time playing with Peter Tay who was a Masters player. Managed to score well whenever he tried to open up. Was leading with REASONS(66) until he also bingoed with SITTERS(69). Lost by 28 points in the end.

New words learnt: JEELY
My Bingoes: REASONS(66) Opp Bingoes: SITTERs(69)
My Phoneys: NIN* Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: TORID(31), DOUBT(32) Opp High Moves: JEELY(51)
L 336-364. -28. 5 Loss (Accum spread -154).

Game 6: vs Marcus Goh Kim Leng
My first time playing with Marcus who was a seasoned intermediate player. Didn't have a chance as he got both blanks early in the game and bingoed with THiEVES(84) and FATTIES(96). Managed to bingo with ELATION(65) near the end but it was too late. Lost by 135 points.

New words learnt: CION
My Bingoes: ELATION(65) Opp Bingoes: THiEVEs(84), FATTIES(96)
My Phoneys: PEINT*, ALM* Opp Phoneys: AWARNER*
My High Moves: NIXY(48), ZIGS(42) Opp High Moves: PAT(32), RAW(40), QUEER(33)
L 326-461. -135. 6 Loss (Accum spread -289).

Game 7: vs Kum Zi Peng
I played Zi Peng several times before on ISC but this was my first time playing with him in an actual competition. Was leading most of the way when I bingoed with LINGERS(74) but Zi Peng pulled away with DETAINS(76) as bingo. Lost by 56 points in the end.

New words learnt: FEME
My Bingoes: LINGERS(74) Opp Bingoes: DETAINS(76)
My Phoneys: TAL* Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: JAR(35), WAX(46) Opp High Moves: MEOW(40), FEZ(43), FEME(32), VINS(32)
L 348-404. -56. 7 Loss (Accum spread -345).

Game 8: vs Peter Yu
Learnt many new words from Peter Yu whom I played once before. I bingoed with OTARINE(79) and he bingoed with URBANITE(65). In the end, I lost by 33 points.

New words learnt: ANOW, WAID, LOAM
My Bingoes: OTARINE(79) Opp Bingoes: URBANITE(65)
My Phoneys: GUEL* Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: BYE(31), ZEE(32) Opp High Moves: KEEN(39), ANOW(30)
L 348-381. -33. 8 Loss (Accum spread -378).

Game 9: vs Gwee Choon Siong
My first time playing with Choon Siong who brought his son along to play too! Learnt later that I edged his son out from the div B competition. Had a very very close game! Our scores were neck-in-neck and none of us had a bingo. I managed to pull ahead when he phoneyed with BEA* and caught him with a C in the end to win by 3 points.

New words learnt: -
My Bingoes: - Opp Bingoes: -
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: BEA*
My High Moves: JUS(36), HIVE(30), COX(33), BOW(35) Opp High Moves: FAZE(36), GRADE(33), LIMP(31), RHO(31), METES(34)
W 356-353. +3. 1 Win 8 Loss (Accum spread -375).

Had a fun afternoon playing Scrabble, although now I know I definitely need to brush up on my 3s! Came in last but I will aim to do better next time!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Edukators

The story is about a group of activists, Jule, her boyfriend Peter and Peter's friend Jan, who break into the homes of the rich, re-arrange their furnitures and leave them a warning note in order to change the world.

Great acting by the leads as the film explains the complex relationship among the three activists! The discussions on why the world need to change is interesting! Nice ending too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Friday, December 02, 2005

Fighting Elegy

A 1966 Japanese film by Suzuki Seijun about school life in Japan before the Second World War. The male lead, Kiroku, boards with a Catholic family and he falls in love with the daughter, Michiko. To control his raging hormonal urges, he joins a club that teaches him how to fight and rebel against existing rules.

Quite cute to see Kiroku trying very hard not to be tempted by lustful thoughts! Michiko looks very pretty and she plays the piano very well! She has some resemblance to Selena from the pop group S.H.E. From the film, I also get a basic understanding on the background to how Japan's rising militarism started.

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


An interesting love story that revolves around four characters: Aimee, her husband August, Alex and his girlfriend Simone! Alex and Aimee got to know each other when they met at the train station.

The director broke the story into fragments and pieced them up together in an unusual way! Several versions of the same scene were shot and it presents many possibilities of what actually happened to the viewer. The actress who played Aimee looked stunning! The cinematography is very well done and the city of Copenhagan looked very beautiful in this film!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Sophie Scholl

The setting is during the Second World War when Germany was facing great losses in battle and a resistance group against the Nazi regime called the "White Rose" was established. The story is about how three of the "White Rose" members, Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans Scholl and a friend Christoph Probst were caught and integorrated by the Gestapo.

Great acting by the actress who played Sophie! She displayed wits and courage during the interrogation and never losing her cool! Liked the brilliant arguments presented between her and the investigator when he tried to "correct" her thinking! One thing that I learnt is that although the integorrator or the judge tend to shout very loudly, the truth always speaks louder than that.

Internet Movie Database Link
More info on the White Rose

Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul

An interesting documentary about the music that is played in Istanbul, the capital of Turkey. Many different styles of music are featured, including rock, hip-hop, and pop, but all of them have a Turkish feel to it.

Very nice music! Liked how the camera focused on the musician's expression when they play the music or when they sing the song! The interviews with the musician's were interesting and insightful too! I also liked the advertisements in the film that were quite funny!

Internet Movie Database Link

A Scene at the Sea

The story is about how a cleaner, Shigeru, picked up surf boarding as a competitive sport and how his girlfriend, Takako, supported his passion for the sport. Both Shigeru and Takako are deaf and dumb, but they are able to communicate with each other and fit in with the crowd.

A nice quiet film by director Kitano Takeshi with a great soundtrack! The small little things that the couple do together and their facial expressions help us feel for the characters although they don't talk at all. I also liked the well executed ending!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Singapore Shorts Showcase

Saw this after the Singapore Students Shorts Showcase and it comprised of the following:

Crocodile Journals
Last Drop
Elephant: Ok
The Habit

I think the difference between the professionals and the students is that the message is brought out more clearly through a strong storyline and the sound track is better too!

Felt quite sad for the crocodile in "Crocodile Journals" who tried so hard to fit in with the rest. "Last Drop" reminds me of a German animation that I saw a few years back about a person finding himself in worlds made of different materials. "Flutter" had nice Indian music as background. Liked the storyline in "Elephant: Ok" and the message that it brought across. Didn't really like "The Habit" as I thought it was a bit gross.

Singpapore Students Shorts Showcase

Saw this during the Animation Nation 2005 at the Singapore History Museum and it comprised of the following films:

The Art of War
The Battle of Bukit Chandu
Konnimo: Our Phantom Skies
Kung Food
The Other Side
Restricted Roads
Team Innovation

Liked "The Art of War", "The Battle of Bukit Chandu", "Kung Food" and "The Other Side" the best!

"The Art of War": The way the pac-man like soldiers slowly fall backwards when hit was quite cute!

"The Battle of Bukit Chandu": Most professionally done with a good story line and well choreographed action!

"Kung Food": Liked the matrix-like kung fu action and how the apple perspires out of fear!

"The Other Side": Interesting idea that the "person" on the other side of the mirror actually has to try very hard to imitate every action that one does! Pretty funny too!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Ah Sou

The story is about what happens when a triad chief, Gent, gets killed and his adopted child, Phoebe, takes over as the head.

Liked the use of animation to show the flashbacks of the adopted child! The story is not too interesting. I thought I could learn how Phoebe managed the team that comprised of her foster father's pals: Buddy, Whacko and Chance, but the film didn't show any of that! :( One plus point for the film is that Karena Lam acted quite well as Nova, a female triad chief who was an enemy of Gent.

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Valiant is an animation film about how pigeons served the army during the Second World War by helping to deliver messages.

The story is quite good and the action in the air is well choreographed! I have seldom heard English accent in an animation but this is one of the few.

Internet Movie Database Link

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D

Caught the last half hour of this film as I was channel surfing. The story is about the adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl who are creatures in a boy's dream that suddenly turned true.

The adventures are quite interesting as we see how shark boy and lava girl co-operate to defeat the bad guys despite being very different. Sharkboy is a hybrid of a boy and a shark and he can only live in water. Lavagirl produces so much heat that she destroys everything that she touches but she cannot stay long in water.

Lavagirl has the most radiant smile I have ever seen and the ice princess looks quite cute too! I also like the jokes told by the weird guy in giant goggles who is supposedly the boy's physics teacher in real life.

Internet Movie Database Link

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Watched this Tim Burton film next as I missed the public screening in Singapore. The story is adapted from a novel by Roald Dahl and it is about Charlie visiting a gigantic Chocolate Factory together with four other lucky children who won tickets to do so.

Liked the adventures in the factory itself, the flashbacks to the factory owner's childhood days and how Charlie's house slant to one side! Didn't like the small little creatures who look horrific and the musical numbers that they performed though.

Internet Movie Database Link


Saw this Korean film on an SQ flight back to Singapore. The story is about how much an autistic guy, Cho Won, likes running and how he trained to complete the Marathon. It also shows his relationship with his family, his coach and the general public.

Great performance by the actor who played Cho Won! He plays the autistic guy very convincingly! Was expecting to learn how a proper training program would be like but there is not much of it. The coach just said that pacing was important and to start slow and run fast when it rains. Not very helpful advice I would think.

Liked the depiction of how different the mother and the coach treated Cho Won! The former over-protects him to such extent that he is like an invalid while the latter treats him just like a buddy. Guess it is hard to strike a balance as an autistic does have special needs but still needs to learn to be independent like any other ordinary person.

Internet Movie Database Link
Korean Film Review

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Densha Otoko (Train Man)

Saw this Japanese film on an SQ flight to Australia. The story is about how a shy Japanese guy, Densha Otoko, started dating a young woman, Hermes, after he saved her from a molestor on a train. Fellow internet chat users gave him lots of advice on what to do on his date.

Interesting use of split screen to show people from all walks of life reading about the protagonist describing how his day went and giving generous advice simulaneously! Seems like technology has advanced quite a bit since the days of "You've Got Mail" from one-to-one communication to many-to-many communication. It is fun watching Densha Otoko on each date although the character of Hermes never really got developed fully.

One thing that bugged me was the thick notes given to Hermes to choose her computer. I think it is too much information overload! It'll be better if there is only a single piece of paper that says buy computer brand W, model X from shop Y at price Z.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Corpse Bride

The story is about the arranged marriage between two families and what happens when the groom, Victor, accidentally recites his wedding vows to a female corpse, Emily, who mysteriously died during her wedding day. Victor is brought to the underworld while his bride-to-be on earth, Victoria, is put into another arranged marriage.

The film is done using stop motion animation and it is visually stunning! I like the piano pieces played by Victor and Emily. Emily's fingerwork is dazzling! The relationship among the three people, Victor, Emily and Victoria is very interesting! Through these characters, the concept of a sense of duty and self sacrifice is explained and we see how it is being executed in different scenarios. Recommended!

Internet Movie Database Link
Original Folk Tale

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Interesting Maths Question

I saw this interesting maths question on TV.

PQRS is a rectangle with PQ = 15 units, QR = 6 units and it is divided into 4 smaller rectangles by two lines, TU and VW. T is a point on PS, U is a point on QR, V is a point on PQ and W is a point on RS. X is the intersection point between TU and VW. If the area of triangle SXW is 4 sq units and area of triangle XVQ is 16 sq units, find the area of rectangle XURW.

Here is my solution:

Let WR = x and RU = y.

This means that
(XURW) = xy
SW = (15 - x)
UQ = (6 - y)

(SXW) = 4
==> (TXWS) = 8
==> (15 - x)y = 8 ---- (1)

(XVQ) = 16
==> (VQUX) = 32
==> x(6 - y) = 32 ---- (2)

From (1), y = 8 / (15 - x) ---- (3)
Sub (3) into (2)
==> x(6 - 8 / (15 - x)) = 32
==> 6x (15 - x) - 8x = 32 (15 - x)
==> x^2 - 19x + 80 = 0
==> x = (19 +- sqrt(41)) / 2 ---- (4)

Sub (4) into (3)
==> y = (11 +- sqrt(41)) / 5 --- (5)

(4)*(5) ==> xy = 25 +- 3* sqrt(41)
==> (XURW) = 25 +- 3* sqrt(41) sq units

Both solutions for the area of rectangle XURW satisfy the consistency check that 0 < x < 15 and 0 < y < 6. Note that the assumption that S, X and Q are collinear is not true.

Check out a related link here

Afternote: By replacing the hardcoded values with variables using (TXWS) = A, (VQUX) = B, PQ = w, QR = h and k = wh - (A + B),

I found that (XURW) = (k +- sqrt(k^2 - 4AB)) / 2

Saturday, October 08, 2005


I watched this at GV Plaza as part of the European Union Film Festival. As I made my way up the escalator, I saw gigantic banners of "The Legends of Zorro" and they look very good, especially the one with Catherine Zeta Jones!

The story is about the everyday life of a group of ticket controllers. They have to deal with many different types of passengers who refuse to co-operate. It made me realise how tough the job of the ticket controller could be. I also like the ambience in the subway and the cool soundtrack. The girl in the bear costume look quite cute too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Brothers Grimm

The story is about the encounters of the brothers grimm who were witch hunters. A difficult task was assigned to them and it was to find missing girls who were taken away from the village to an enchanted forest with a deserted castle.

Monica Belluci who acted as the queen in the castle looked quite pretty! Liked the funny scene with the toad in a belly up position! Didn't like the scenes with the soldiers as I think they should be trimmed off to make the show more compact. Had fun identifying fairytales like "The Little Red Riding Hood", "Hansel and Gretel", "Rapunzel", "Snow White", "Sleeping Beauty" and many others that were incorporated into the show seamlessly!

Internet Movie Database Link

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

When The Rain Lifts

The story is about a few days in the life of an unemployed samurai and his wife during the rainy season. They were initially staying in an inn before the husband got invited to be a fencing master at a castle.

The samurai is very skilful! I liked the way he dodges his opponent easily! A little disappointed with the lack of action, passion and suspense like in "The Incident" or "The Tragedy of W", but the film is still enjoyable as a quiet little piece peppered with a dash of humour!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Incident

The story is about a shipyard worker being tried for killing a woman who was his girlfriend's sister. The whole film is centered around the court, similar to that in 12 Angry Men and Rashomon.

My favorite film so far at the Japanese Film Festival followed closely by TTOW! Liked the exciting court room scenes and how the film slowly describes in-depth about each character! Very well written script! I also like the complex relationship among the chracters!

Internet Movie Database Link

Castle of Sand

The story is about detectives solving a murder case of an old man who had been a model policeman.

As in the previous film, I am amazed at how the detective can find out what happened from seemingly unconnected clues! The flashback about the son and the father is quite well done! The soundtrack is nice too! One thing that does not look quite right is the pianist doubling up as the conductor at the same time.

Internet Movie Database Link

Zero Focus

The story is about a newly wed wife searching for her husband who went missing during a business trip. Many secrets were revealed during the process!

For the first few minutes, I was distracted by the mole on the actress's face but I soon forgot about it as more clues pop up and the mystery deepens! The scenery at the countryside is very nice, especially that on the cliff! The rich man's wife looks quite fierce though!

Internet Movie Database Link

The Tragedy of W

My first film at the Japanese Film Festival. The Japanese Association of Singapore is showing a number of films for free at its auditorium and this is one of them. The story is about how an aspiring actress got the leading role of a play named "The Tragedy of W" through an unexpected turn of events.

Very similar to All About Eve that won the 1951 Best Picture Academy Awards but with more detailed explanation on the training and auditioning process. Well written script that shows how real life parallels the stage play! The actress looks quite pretty too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Be With Me

Went to watch the film as Ezann Lee is acting in it! There are three subplots in the film and they share a common theme: a longing for our loved ones. "Meant To Be" is about a lonely old provision shopkeeper. "Finding Love" is about a middle aged security guard who secretly admires someone working in the same building as he does. "So In Love" is about how the relationship between two teenage girls changes over time.

BWM is inspired by an extra-ordinary woman, Theresa Chan, who is both blind and deaf but still manages to lead an independent life. She is also the glue that joins the three stories together. Her story reminds me of The Land of Silence and Darkness which I saw not long ago.

I like the nice piano soundtrack and the minimal use of dialogue to convey the message! Ezann Lee and the security guard acted very well! Samantha looks quite pretty too! Some minus points are too many close-ups and information overload in the subtitles. Highly recommended!

Internet Movie Database Link
Review with nice movie stills!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Three Colors Trilogy

The Three Colors Trilogy is a series of films by Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski based on the three colors of the French flag: blue, white and red. The colors represent liberty, equality and fraternity respectively. "Blue" is about a young woman re-discovering herself, "White" is about a an ex-husband seeking revenge on his wife and "Red" is about a beautiful model's encounter with a stranger.

The nice DVD boxset that I bought at HMV comes with lots of special features! The cover looks very pretty too! I just started to watch the special features in "Blue" and there are many interviews with the lead actress Juliette Binoche, film critics and the director's friends.

Saw "Blue" a few years ago at Alliance Francaise and I was impressed by the visual effects with the use of colors, the in-depth character development and the small little details that link the three films together. The interviews gave me a better insight into how the different film techniques are used to tell the story more effectively! The DVD is rated M18 though, so you can't watch it if you are under 18.

Blue: Internet Movie Database Link
White: Internet Movie Database Link
Red: Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The Bow

Saw this at the Korean film festival in Orchard Cineleisure. The story is about a 60 year old man and a 16 year old girl living on a boat together. The old man is waiting for the girl to reach 17 years old to marry her. Meanwhile, outsiders would pay to come on board to fish and stay a few days. The relationship between the girl and the old man changes when a college guy gets on board the ship.

This is a quiet film where the two lead characters hardly speak at all but the expressions on their faces say a lot about what they feel. I think it is interesting how the bow is used both as a weapon and a musical instrument! The same bow is used by the old man to shoot at people who harass the girl, as well as to play music when he is bored. The way the old man helps his customers tell their fortune is also very innovative!

The director Kim Ki Duk has taken ideas from his previous films and put it in this one. The setting is similar to The Isle where people fish on a quite lake, the same actress acted in Samaritan Girl, the quiet couple reminds me of 3 Iron and scenes where people peep through the window reminds me of Bad Guy. I think KKD has toned his film down quite a bit in terms of sex and violence since his early days. TI and BG had a R21 rating, SG was M18, 3I and TB both has an NC16 rating.

The ending is very well done and I like the surprise twist at the end where the arrow fell from the sky and something happened!

Internet Movie Database Link
Korean Film Review

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

March of the Penguins

An interesting French documentary about the Emperor Penguins living in the polar regions. Not sure whether is it North or South pole though. I guess it is the North pole as I didn't see any polar bears around.

What makes this different from regular documentaries is the use of songs and first person narration to tell the story. This allows us to feel closer to the penguins rather than cold facts and figures. Didn't realise that the penguins have to travel so much during their life! They look like elegant businessmen in suits when they walk, cool surf boarders when they slide on their stomachs and great athletes when they swim and leap out of the water! The scenery looks quite pretty too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Dude, Where's My Car?

Chanced upon this little gem when I was channel surfing. The story is about what happened when two friends, Jesse and Chester, woke up and found that their car was missing. They soon discover that this is not a simple case of car theft and that they are involved in something very much bigger.

Jesse and Chester have many strange encounters as they try to recover their car. I like the interesting people that they meet and the funny gags that play on words! The film reminds me of The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie when they show how sadistic the officer at the car pound is and the several dream sequences by one of the main leads. The way they repeat their dialogue also reminds me of how Kevin Bacon lamented to his psychologist in The Woodsman that their conversation is like a merry-go-round.

The finale is very well done! I am very impressed by how the two friends use both their wits and brawn to handle a super-emergency situation! The large scale special effects is visually stunning too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Woodsman

The film is about how an ex-offender adjusts back to society despite constant temptation to return back to his evil ways and prejudice from other co-workers.

Kevin Bacon plays the lead character in TW. We see him working quietly by himself in the lumber yard, having therapy with his psychologist and watching the activities at the school across his home. A female co-worker and a police sergeant would sometimes visit him to see how he is doing.

Great acting by Kevin Bacon! His facial expression allows the audience feel his struggles to lead a "normal" life. It reminds me of his performance in "Hollow Man" where he acted as a man who turned invisible in an experiment and was tempted to do things that he would normally not do.

The conversations with the psychologist and the police sergeant are quite interesting too! Also liked the touching scene with Kevin Bacon sitting on the bench in the park talking to someone towards the end of the film!

Afternote: Check out that describes events that aim to help ex-offenders. I saw the ads when I was taking the bus home.

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Art Museum By The Zoo

Missed a large part of the show as I thought Central was showing it another day when I saw the stills of "The Way Home" in the newspaper. In actual fact, the two Korean films were showing on the same 9pm time slot: the former on Central and the latter on Channel U. Incidentally, I was browsing and found that both films are by the same director!

AMBTZ looked quite interesting from the few scenes that I saw! The male and female leads collaborated to write a story that talks about how a girl working at the art museum met a vet at the zoo. Didn't quite catch the details as I was watching "The Apprentice" at the same time but the leads do have the right chemistry together! The female lead, Shim Eun-Ha also acted in "Christmas In August" that is another film that I enjoyed.

Art Museum By the Zoo: IMDB Link
Art Museum By The Zoo: Korean Film Review

Christmas In August: IMDB Link
Christmas In August: Korean Film Review

Monday, August 22, 2005

Man with a Movie Camera

A 1929 silent film documentary made by Russian director Dziga Vertov. The story is about a man who carries the movie camera around and films scenes from many interesting places such as coal mines, factories, railway stations, salons, a lady's house and the city. I like the soundtrack that fit nicely to the story and the special effects!

The editing is very well done to acheive the special effects! We see the director standing on top of the camera in one scene and appearing within a cup in another. The use of freeze frame shows the facial expression of selected individuals, slow motion shows atheletes in action and fast motion shows the trams, horses and people rushing about in the town!

I especially like the scene where they show the operator frantically connecting the lines from one node to another node! I feel that the trams, horses and people move a bit too slow even though it is already in fast motion. Guess I am too used to the speed of automobiles racing on the highway to appreciate it.

Internet Movie Database Link

The Land of Silence and Darkness

This 1971 documentary by German director, Werner Herzog, is about the lives of people who are both blind and deaf. The story is told through a middle aged woman who became blind and deaf during her teens. She actively organises outings for people who have similar disabilities.

Interesting to learn how they communicate through braille drawn on the hand and fingers of the receiver! The film shows a couple of their adventures: flying on a plane, touching the cactus (ouch!), feeding the elephant and carrying a monkey. We learn that these people can lead a normal life despite their disabilities.

The film also shows the plight of the minority who are abandoned at homes and how difficult it is to teach children who are born deaf and blind. I realised how fortunate we are. It also made me empathise better with Kelvin Tan, the visually challenged contestant of project Superstar.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie

An interesting film about a group of friends trying to have a meal together but some strange incident (both real and imaginary) would always occur to prevent it from happening. It is a political satire about people with great wealth and high social standing. The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Picture in 1972.

The director, Luis Bunuel, is very good at filming dream sequences! I think he is influenced by his friend, Salvador Dali, who is a surrealist painter. My favorite parts of the film are those where the characters recall a dream that they had before. One soldier dreamt about an unforgettable incident during his childhood and another dreamt about his old acquaintances. Both are very well done!

The rest of the film does not really have a main storyline but still manages to capture the attention of the audience as many strange things happen. There is even a lesson on how to prepare a martini! The scene where the ambassador shot at something on the ground through the window and the one where a girl wore the hat of a certain famous person came across as the most memorable for me.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Scrabylon / Word Wars

Bought these two Scrabble documentaries during the National Day holiday and they are pretty interesting!

Scrabylon is about the 2001 World Scrabble Championship at Las Vegas. It explains a little bit about the history of Scrabble and why some of the players like the game so much. It is a straight forward documentary that shows the rational aspect of the game like learning the wordlist, having a good situation awareness of the board and calmly analysing the game after it has ended.

Word Wars on the other hand revolves its story around four players and how they prepare for the US Scrabble Nationals in San Diego. It reveals the emotional aspect of the game like the effect of Scrabble on the player's personal life, the carmaraderie among the players and the player's facial expression during the game itself. I especially like the the short and sharp video clip on the rules of Scrabble and the use of computer animation to virtually re-arrange the tiles on the screen itself! Had fun trying to guess the word before the time is up!

Watching the tiles fly around on the screen reminds me of a game in "Discovery Kids" on the Discovery channel where they show a zoomed-in view of a particular thing while giving many hints on what that is, one at a time. A time slider bar is shown at the side and it slowly slides from a score of fifty to zero. The objective is to guess what that particular thing is as quickly as possible. I always had fun playing that game too!

Picked up the following interesting anagram combinations from Word Wars. See if you can guess what they are without using LexPert!!


Learnt the following words from Word Wars:
WADI (n) a dry riverbed
ALIENOR (n) one who transfers property
JERRID (n) a blunt javelin
CLABBERS (n) a complex variation of Scrabble
TENTER (v) to stretch on a frame
GENTIAN (n) a flowering plant
DATELINE (n) the origin of a news story
NONLIFE (n) the absence of life
ESTUARY (n) an inlet to a river
BEDSORE (n) a sore caused by a prolonged stay in bed
OBLIQUE (adj) slanted
AZURE (n) a blue color
DOURINE (n) a disease of horses
VODUN (n) religion of the west indies
EGESTING (v) discharging from the body
VARNA (n) a Hindu social class
EXORDIA (n, pl) beginnings
SYLVITE (n) an ore of potassium
DJIN (n) a genie
RETSINA (n) a Greek liqueur
REVELRY (n) noisy merrymaking
ARENOSE (adj) sandy
QUAI (n) a wharf
FRUGAL (adj) thrifty
TWA (n) two
OUTBOXED (vb) surpassed in boxing
INARABLE (adj) unsuitable for farming
INDOLE (n) a chemical compound

Scrabylon: IMDB Link
Word Wars: IMDB Link

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Wayward Cloud

The film reminds me of a Guinness record breaking attempt shown on TV. The objective is to smash as many watermelons as possible with your forehead in one minute and the record now stands at 16!

The story is about how people live after the city is hit by drought. To quench their thirst, they buy mineral waters and water melons. The lead actor, Lee Kang Sheng and actress, Chen Hsiang Chi stay in the same apartment and they start seeing each other when the actress recognizes the actor as a former acquaintance.

There is not much dialogue except for several interesting musical numbers interspersed throughout the film. I like the sound of the clogs on the ground when the lead actress walk about and her brilliant acting performance as a lonely girl searching for someone to care for her!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Born Into Brothels

Saw this Oscar winning documentary during the Indigo film festival at the Singapore History Museum. The story is about a group of children living in the red light district of
Kolkatta. This is narrated by Zana, a photographer who gave them lessons on photography and one camera each to practice.

The children shot many nice photographs! I could tell how enthusiastic they are about this new found hobby! The film focusses on one children at a time to understand their background and why they are passionate about photography. The format of the film reminds me a little bit of "Spellbound" that is about a group of children preparing for the National Spelling Bee competition. The living environment in India is very poor as shown in the photographs and it help me understand why Indians work so hard in their studies and do so well in the Spelling Bee competitions.

BIB also explain how Zana help the children to get into a boarding school. There are lots of paper work to be done, much like what one episode of "The Amazing Race" described!

More details about the film can be found at

P.S. Just realised that two of the children have names that are valid Scrabble words (SOWPODS) while another two can be anagrammed to be one. See if you can guess who they are without the help of LexPert!

The children's names are: Avijit, Gour, Kochi, Manik, Puja, Shanti, Suchitra and Tapasi

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Singapore Scrabble National Championship 2005 (Day Two)

Game 5: Peter Tay Yap Tong
I was leading with a RATLINe (66) bingo until Peter bingoed with SEASING (92) by front hooking to my CRY. Then I had EINSUV? that I could back hook to M. Didn’t manage to think of the two common anagrams and was hoping to form a word with UN?IVES. I went through all the alphabets in my head and was deciding between D, G, H, L or W for the blank. In the end, I chose UNhIVES (72) and it happened to be good when challenged! Peter replied with WINER* O1 to form MUR* but I thought it was valid and did not challenge it.

Final score: 385 to 412. 1-4, -61 cumulative spread.

Game 6: Teo Teow Koon
Both of us had one bingo each. I had ENTERED (65) while Teow Koon had SNoRING (85). Won by getting away with IFFS* and scoring well with the Q, X and Z.

Final score: 442 to 329. 2-4, +52 cumulative spread,

Game 7: Aaron Lee Kin
After I bingoed with EtESiAN (85), we began an exchange of challenges. I challenged his STUNGED*, GLITE*, WER*, SCADE* and MER*. He challenged my VOR and RAXES. I missed his HAX* for 47 points though.

Final score: 378 to 310. 3-4, +120 cumulative spread,

Game 8: Peter Yu
Peter bingoed with NAILERS (83) and could have two more if he knew the right anagram. He put down NATTIES* instead of SATINET and BUILtER* instead of BUILdER. Managed to capitalize on the Z with ZEINS for 87 points but still lost in the end.

Final score: 345 to 430. 3-5, +35 cumulative spread,

Game 9: Tan Yao Zhong
I made a very silly mistake when my opponent put down DEAlTING* (lower case L to represent the blank). Not only did I fail to challenge it, I also mistook the total score that my opponent announced to be the word score. Instead of 72 points, I recorded that turn as 98 points! Gave away 26 points for no reason at all! Yao Zhong could have another bingo with AEIFNST but he chose to back hook to an existing NE with NAIFEST to form NEN* which was challenged off.

Final score: 387 to 297. 4-5, +125 cumulative spread,

Game 10: Valliammah Thambiayah
I bingoed with TOASTER (66) and OTARInE (75) while Valliammah bingoed with SPELLING (86). She scored high with the Q and Z, while I scored high with the J. Our score was dead even at some point in time. I think she got impatient and tried to score high with SHINTED* but it was challenged off. I learnt a new word from her later when she back hooked FUND with SHINE to form FUNDI.

Final score: 445 to 404. 5-5, +166 cumulative spread,

Game 11: Serene Ngu
Serene bingoed on her very first turn with UNOILED (75). I tried TORRIED* in the middle of the game but it was challenged off. The board was quite closed and I had a bingo on my rack at one point in time but had no place to play it. In the end, I got thrashed by Serene for almost 180 points.

Final score: 258 to 424. 5-6, +0 cumulative spread,

Game 12: S. Shanthikumar
Challenged off BEGINING* at the start but Shanthikumar got another bingo with INSpIRE (73) through my CRY. I played badly in the end game when I allowed my opponent to score high with his C, V and X left on his rack and lost by over 100 points.

Final score: 294 to 397. 5-7, -103 cumulative spread.

In the end, I won 5 games and got 13th position out of 18 for the individual event. I also took part in the team event representing DSTA together with my team mates, Jiang Pern and Chew Chuah. We managed to get 3rd position with Jiang Pern winning the division A and Chew Chuah also getting 13th position in division C.

I was happy to have the chance to play against masters players like Peter Tay Yap Tong, Serene Ngu and M. Ganapathy. It is a pity that I didn’t have the chance to engage in a battle of wits against up-and-coming players like Kian Boon, Zi Peng, Victor and Marcus. Hopefully, I could play with them in the future!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Singapore Scrabble National Championship 2005 (Day One)

The Singapore Scrabble National Championship 2005 was held at SAFRA Toa Payoh from 23rd to 24th July. It was my first time taking part and I was quite excited to be able to play in division B!

I came quite early and saw two end games of division A. Jiang Pern finished with a PORKIEST bingo and Tony Sim finished with a KAISERIN bingo. Learnt two more new words! I also saw the poster girl featured on the front page of our newsletter, Sarah Law, who is also playing in division A! Maybe I could ask her to autograph for me the next time we meet.

Soon after coming back from lunch with Kian Boon, Li Wei and Zi Peng at Toa Payoh Central, the division B competition started.

Game 1: Aloysius Conzaga
I bingoed with STEAMEr (74) and scored high with the X and with the triple word score cells. My favorite moves are: a front hook to RIPE with CUZ and a back hook to ANTS with COY down the triple-word-score line. Aloysius tried to bingo with UNFARTs* towards the end but it was challenged off. Had a very good start for my opening game!

Final score: 434 to 258. 1-0, +176 cumulative spread,

Game 2: Valliammah Thambiayah
Valliammah bingoed with DESiGNS (73) and scored high with the K and the X. The last time I played with her, she scored very well with the power tiles as well! Hmm, I must position my words such that she cannot score so high the next time we meet.

Final score: 320 to 385. 1-1, +111 cumulative spread,

Game 3: Lim Li Wei
Li Wei bingoed with PRETeND (70) and DOSAGES (77). I scored well with the J and the Z but still lost out in the end.

Final score: 326 to 386. 1-2, +51 cumulative spread,

Game 4: M. Ganapathy
Ganapathy bingoed with OUTLOVE (72) and sPORTIER (70). I had a chance to bingo with AILTSS? on my rack and ZING N2, QI 3M, TIN 4L on the board but couldn’t find the corresponding anagrams.

Final score: 318 to 403. 1-3, -34 cumulative spread,

End of Day One: Had only two blanks out of eight and was out-bingoed five to one. Hope I would be luckier the next day. One complaint about the competition is that no drinks were provided! I was especially thirsty in the afternoon but could only go to the toilet to quench my thirst. Where did our registration fee go to?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Fantastic Four

I have been watching many comic book adapted films lately, from Batman Begins, Initial D to Sin City. FF is yet another one. The story is about how four people gained special powers after being exposed to cosmic radiation and how they used it to help people and fight bad guys.

Reed Richards is Mr Fantastic. He can stretch any part of his body like rubber. Sue Storm who is Reed's ex-girl friend is Invisible Girl. She can become invisible or create a force field around her. Johnny Storm who is Sue's brother is Human Torch. He can fly and set himself to flames. Ben Grimm who is Reed's friend is The Thing. He is very strong and tough like rock but has very fat fingers.

The special effects are pretty well done and it is interesting to see how the four friends/sibling interact with each other and how they complement each other in time of crisis! The film also has witty dialogue and is quite educational. The scene at the bridge with The Thing spotting somebody he knew is very well done and it made me feel very sad for him.


Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Sin City

SC is a comic book adaption about a city that is full of corruption. The bad guys are in power and ordinary citizens have to find ways to protect their self interest.

What an exciting film! I like the black and white cinematography, the action scenes and the narration that tells us what the characters are thinking about! I am also very impressed with Miho's fighting skills! Although I am happy to see so many beautiful actresses in the film, the film also has many really ugly looking villains that make me lose my appetite. One example is Elijah Woods who looks really creepy!

Highly recommended!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Three Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales

Saw the following films at the Singapore History Museum for free!

The Tinderbox
Hans The Clodhopper
The Snow Queen

Liked the plasticine animation in TT and HTC! The story is nicely told too although I am surprised by the violence depicted in TT. TSQ is interesting too and beautifully drawn!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Resurrection of the Little Match Girl

The Korean film ROTLMG by Jang Sun Woo was shown in Singapore during the Hans Christian Anderson Film Festival and I love it! It is a remake of the story of the "Little Match Girl" with a science fiction / video game twist. The Little Match Girl is a computer character and to win the game, a player has to ensure that she freezes to death and die thinking about him / her.

I like the beginning that summarised the original story with a nice song in the background! The video game analogy is cool! There are lots of exciting gun fights, car chases, amazing martial arts stunt and special effects! I also like the intense training that the male lead has to go through to hone his concentration and the cute looking weapon that he uses in the end.

The actress who play the LMG is very versatile! She looks convincing both as the depressed little match girl and the resourceful expert fighter!

Highly recommended!

Internet Moview Database Link
Korean Film Review

Green Chair

GC is about the relationship of a couple that has been condemned by society. The girl is a divorcee in the thirties and the guy is a minor in high school. The film describes what happens to them when the girl gets arrested and sentenced to 100 hours of community service.

I like how GC shows the everyday life of the couple and how their age difference does not affect them loving each other at all! The couple continues to find ways to express their love to each other despite other people's views! It is also very interesting to hear the views of their friends towards them at the end of the film.

Internet Movie Database Link
Korean Film Review

Friday, July 08, 2005

Wuthering Heights

Just finished reading "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte and I think it is a very good read! The story is quite similar to the movie "Batman Begins" with the dark and gloomy setting, the theme on revenge and the presence of a loyal servant. WH does not have such cool gadgets like BB though.

I like how well the author describe the psychology of each character and the elaborate plot that spans across a few generations! Some of the dialogue is beautifully written! One minus point about the novel is the heavy accent that one of the old servant speaks in that makes it hard to understand what he is talking about.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Young Anderson

Saw this film at the opening of the Hans Christian Andersen film festival. The film shows what Hans Christian Andersen was like before he became famous and his school life. We see how creative Andersen is and how the principal has a great influence on his life.

Not too bad but a bit too sentimental at times. Would like to hear more of his fairytales in the film but there isn't many of them.

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Initial D

ID is a comic book adaptation about a kid who becomes a skilled driver after delivering tofu for his father on the same mountain route for the past five years. The film depicts his interaction with his friends as well as his competition against fellow race car drivers.

I like the exciting car chases down the hill! His love interest, Anne Suzuki, looks quite cute too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Batman Begins

BB is a comic book adaptation that describes how a rich man's son, Bruce Wayne, became a villain fighting superhero. The superhero goes by the name of Batman because of the costume that he wears and no one knows that Bruce Wayne and Batman are the same person.

The storyline is great! I like the flashbacks to Batman's childhood days, the cool gadgets invented by Morgan Freeman and the strong bonds between Batman and his butler!

I also like the many memorable quote worthy lines spoken by the characters! Some are funny and humourous while others are embedded with words of great wisdom. The music and CGI animation are very effectively used too!

Highly recommended!

Internet Movie Database Link