Monday, December 31, 2007

Ivan's Childhood

The story is about how the 12 year old Ivan helped the Russian Army in doing reconnaisance work during the Second World War. His family had been killed by the Germans and he often dreamed about the idyllic pre-war days.

Liked the nice dream sequences which contrasted with the grim reality of war! The soldiers also showed great carmaraderie in their last mission!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Breath

The story is about how a married woman fell in love with a death-row convict while watching the news on TV one day and how this affected her family life.

Not much of dialogue as the death-row convict hurt his throat during an attempted suicide. His fellow inmates do not talk much too. Liked how the married woman brought colorful wallpaper to simulate the four seasons in the visiting room and the nice songs that she sung! Interesting psychological study on how people might behave under certain conditions!

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Masculin Feminin

The film is a sociological study of youth in France in the 60s. The alternative title to this film is "The Children of Marx and Coca-Cola".

Got interested in the film after reading Pauline Kael's review. Liked how the director showed how the young French people at that time reacted in different scenarios! Especially liked how the main protagonist tried to ask Madeleine out for a date, how his friend tried to learn more about Madeleine's friend and the interview with "Miss 19"! The teeny bopper songs featured in the film were quite nice too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Monday, December 24, 2007

Woman on the Beach

The story is about the relationship between men and women. A film director, his friend and the girlfriend of his friend went to the beach to get inspiration for a script. During their stay there, the director got to know another girl .

Not much of a storyline as the interesting bits are mostly in the dialogue that explained the thought process of each character. Liked the interview questions posed by the director to the second girl and the scene where the director drew diagrams on his notebook to elaborate lessons in life to the first girl!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, December 22, 2007

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

The story is about how a young man travels all around the world with his buddy and girlfriend in search of clues to help clear his family name. New evidence has emerged that suggested his ancestors was involved in president Lincoln's assassination.

Liked the amazing clue deciphering abilities of Nicolas Cage! It was also interesting to visit the many places of interests around the world! A fun movie!

Internet Movie Database Link

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Citizen Dog

The story is about how a young man left his village to work in Bangkok and found a girl that he liked.

The movie is a bit more convoluted than what my synopsis suggests as it has many minor characters and includes several fantasy sequences. Liked the songs in the film! Didn't really like the storyline as it rambles along many different topics without any fixed objective.

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Heartbreak Kid

The story is about a guy getting married and how he fell in love with another girl during their honeymoon trip to Mexico.

Liked the directors' previous works such as "There is Something About Mary" and "Shallow Hal" better as I thought their storylines were better. Didn't like the guy who tells lies and happily engage in an affair! I was also shocked by the two scenes shown during the credit rolls. They were pretty tasteless in my opinion!

Internet Movie Database Link

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Killer of Sheep

The story is about life in the LA black district during the early 70s. There was a major racial riot several years earlier at the same location in the mid 60s and the effects of destruction can still be seen.

Liked the nice songs played throughout the film and how natural the children at play and the adults at work are being captured!

Internet Movie Database Link

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Golden Compass

The story is about the adventures of a little girl who has a special device called the golden compass in her possession. The golden compass uncovers the truth for its owner. She travels towards the north with a group of gypsies and an armoured polar bear to save her friend.

Pretty impressed by how the little girl is able to talk her way out of very tricky situations! The final battle scene is a little bit messy as the opposing sides are not easily differentiated.

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, December 09, 2007

The Prisoners' Song

The story is about political prisoners imprisoned in Taiwan during the "White Terror" period in the early fifties.

Liked the nice song sung at the very beginning! Pretty informative as we find out more about what these people go through from the interviews!

Internet Movie Database Link

The Leopard

This is an epic about the slow decline of a family with royal background in Sicily during the 1860s. Wars erupted and the nephew of the head of the family married a rich mayor's daughter.

Liked the nice dresses worn by the women and the interesting dances performed at the ball towards the end!

Internet Movie Database Link

Friday, December 07, 2007

Nanking

This is a documentary about what happened in Nanking during the Japanese invasion seventy years ago. It consists of interviews with the survivors, news clips and readings from the journals of a group of foreigners helping out in China at that time.

Liked the interviews and the news clips but didn't feel much for the journal readings as they were acted out by people who were not involved in the actual incidents. This film reminds me a little bit of "Feet Unbound" which is a local film about women soldiers involved in the Long March. Liked "Feet Unbound" better as it feels more real without the journal readings and with its reflection on both the present and the past.

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Bakumatsu Taiyoden

The story is about life within a brothel in the last days of the Shogunate. The protagonist is a poor guy who manages to make ends meet by being street smart.

A little boring in the beginning as the prostitutes are just shown to be rushing from one room to the next. Liked the scenes where they demonstrated how street smart the guy is! He helped a prostitute get out of a difficult situation and tricked a bag of money out of the brothel owner.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Madame Bovary

The story is based on a French novel by Gustave Flaubert about a woman who married a doctor and was dissatisfied with her life.

Have read the English translated novel before and was impressed by the detailed description of each character's psychology! The movie is not as detailed but most of the ideas got through with the help of the narrator and the interesting dialogue! Liked the nice costumes worn by the lead actress and the beautiful countryside!

Internet Movie Database Link

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pixar Story

This is a documentary about Pixar that is an animation production house that gave us "Toy Story", "A Bug's Life", "Monsters Inc", "Finding Nemo", "The Incredibles" and other blockbuster animation films.

Liked the interviews and the clips that showed us how far the animation media has gone! Learnt the early impact of computers on how animators did their work and the fun working environment in Pixar!

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

5cm per second

This is a collection of three short stories about how people drift further apart as time goes by.

Liked the nice piano soundtrack in the background and the MTV towards the end! The melody of the song in the MTV was a little bit repetitive though. Also liked the storyline and how realistic everything looked!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, November 25, 2007

International Shorts Programme 3

This is one of the many international shorts programme featured at the Animation Nation 2007.

Liked the funny "The First day father let his daughter drive", the black humour in "Lapsus", the philosophical "An Artistic Presentation of Metaphysical Butterfly Effect" and the imaginative "Premium Reincarnation"!

Didn't really like these:
-White
-Backyard Shadow
-Complex
-The Chamber
-The White Wolf
-My Life at 40
-Dream Tapir
-White Snake

Animation Nation Link

International Shorts Programme 2

This is one of the many international shorts programme featured at the Animation Nation 2007.

Liked the imaginative "Walking in the rainy Day", the innovative "White Line Syndrome" and the interesting love story in "The Danish Poet"! "Shipwrecked", "Puppet" and "Shut Eye Hotel" were not bad! "Ark", "Eels", "Flutter" and "Madame Tutli-Putli" were pretty abstract and didn't really know what was going on.

Animation Nation Link

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Freedom Project

The story is about how people lived underground on the moon after climate changes made Earth inhospitable. One group of racers decided to break the rules and tried to travel back to Earth secretly.

Liked the fast pace action and the exciting storyline! As the movie is sponsored by Nissin, the protagonists are always eating Nissin cup noodles! Had a good laugh whenever I saw those product placements!

Internet Movie Database Link

Khan Kluay

The story is about the adventures of an elephant named Khan Kluay when he travelled across the country in search for his father.

Nice storyline that is based on historical facts! Liked the songs and how the director infused the film with Thai culture!

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Anna and Anna

The story is about what happens when two identical looking women both named Anna but living in different parts of the world finally meet.

First part of the film reminds me a bit of "Double Life Of Veronique". Rest of the film is pretty slow paced and nothing exciting really happens. Won't really recommend unless you like to watch emotionally unstable men breakdown on the big screen.

Internet Movie Database Link

Monday, November 19, 2007

Turning Gate

The story describes what happens when a self centered actor meets two women separately on a trip. His behaviour echos that of an ancient story that revolves around a particular turning gate in Korea.

The self centered actor is one of the most unlikable characters that I have seen! Felt exasperated that he simply does not care about the people around him and thinks only about himself! Liked the two female leads who are pretty in their own ways and the quieter scenes that had minimal dialogue but explained a lot about the two relationships!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Doraemon: Nobita's Dinosaur

The story is based on a popular Japanese comic that features an earless robotic cat called Doraemon who lives with a boy called Nobita. Nobita and his friends went back in time to bring a small dinosaur home with the help of Doraemon's gadgets and they had a bit of adventure while doing that.

Liked the strong bond between Nobita and the dinosaur as well as the exciting adventure!

Internet Movie Database Link

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Touch of Zen

The story is about how a poor scholar's life changed after he discovered that a beautiful woman has become his new neighbor. She is a mysterious figure who is skilled in martial arts and has a complicated relationship with a powerful eunuch and a group of monks.

Enjoyed the movie pretty much! Some parts were really funny and the martial arts sequence superbly choreographed!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Lust, Caution

The story is about the life of a group of resistance fighters in China during World War II focusing on the relationship between a female resistance fighter, Ms Wang Jiazhi and a traitor, Mr Yi, who is working for the Japanese.

Great acting by the main actress and felt that the title is really appropriate! "Lust" describes the attraction between Ms Wang and Mr Yi while "Caution" comes from how Ms Wang has to keep herself on her toes when she infiltrated into the enemy's camp. The sex scenes were nicely choreographed and pretty effective to show how Mr Yi's attitude towards Ms Wang evolves over time! Learnt a bit of history from the film.

Internet Movie Database Link

Madonnas

The story is about how a young woman tries to take over the caring of her children from her mother after a stint in jail.

Interesting family drama that shows how the young woman struggles with her relationship with her mother, her new found father, her boyfriend and her children! Pretty good acting by the main actress!

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Emma's Bliss

The story is about how a guy who is terminally ill, stole company's fund and accidentally crashed into a girl's pig farm. The girl looked after the guy and they fell in love after a while.

Liked the nice little pig farm and the interesting stories told by the girl to the guy! It is funny and sad at the same time!

Internet Movie Database Link

Monday, November 05, 2007

Still Life

The story is about two pair of couples looking for each other in China's Sanxia region where plans for building a gigantic dam is underway.

Nice scenery and I liked how the camera panned around to show the expressions of the people sitting in the boat! Thought it is interesting that the director divided the film into chapters titled "Cigarette", "Wine", "Tea" and "Candy" that are basic ingredients in people's lives.

Internet Movie Database Link

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Gate of Flesh

The story is about post-war Japan focusing on the lives of a few prostitutes who stayed together under the same roof with a renegade soldier.

The film managed to recreate the primitive, disorderly and anti-American atmosphere at that time very well! Liked the war torn buildings and the bright colored costumes worn by the prostitutes! The songs were nice but the tough rules that the prostitutes abide with were terrible!

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pleasure Factory

The story is about life in Geylang focusing more on the red-light district part of it. It consists of three segments: a young man's first sexual encounter, a middle aged working lady initiating her daughter into the trade and a young working lady finding diversion with a tatooed singer.

Thought one of the actor looked like Gurmit Singh and one of the actresses looked quite cute with her bunny teeth! There was not much of a plot though and halfway through the movie, I realised that the audience is supposed to soak in the atmosphere that the film is trying to create. Liked the face-to-face interviews of the actual residents that were conducted and I wished that there were more of those!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Love is a Crazy Thing

The story is about how a mother of two struggles to make a living with many debts to clear. She becomes a call girl by chance and slowly gets adjusted to her new way of life.

The film reminds me of "Streets of Shame" by Mizoguchi and "When a Woman Ascends the Stairs" by Naruse. The former is about the life of prostitutes while the latter focuses on the life of a head bar hostess. These two films are made around fifty years ago but the problems highlighted are still relevant today. Great acting by the lead actress! Liked the use of the entirely black screen to prepare the audience on what to expect next towards the end of the film!

Internet Movie Database Link
koreanfilm.org review

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Battle of Algiers

The story is about how Algeria achieved independence through terrorist attacks against the French government in the city of Casbah. The police made life difficult for the inhabitants and destroyed every member of the FLN that was behind the attacks in 1957 but the fall of the FLN has made such an impression on the people of Algeria that they took action a few years later to gain independence in 1962.

Got interested in this film as it is in the top 10 list here. Liked the documentary style and how the Algerians fought for their freedom! Read that the US counter intelligence group studied the film in detail to understand how not to make the same mistake as the French in their fight against terrorists and to lose the overall battle in the end.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Resident Evil: Extinction

The story is about how the whole world is affected by a strange virus that turned people into man eating zombies and how Alice, who is a powerful zombie hunter hiding from an evil scientist for many years, decide to join a group of volunteers to fight against him in the end.

Nice zombie killing moves by Milla Jovovich! She looked pretty cool with guns strapped around her legs too! Think the director assumed that the audience would have watched the previous two episodes and did not explain the relationship between Alice and the scientist as well as between Alice and the volunteer group very clearly. Guess I'll have to find out more about the background history from the internet.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Sun Also Rises

The film is about the life of several characters during the last year of the Cultural Revolution. It is broken up into four segments. Each segment gives the point of view of one character and the audience has to figure out how they are interconnected. The last segment is a flashback to explain how everything began.

Just saw "The Day a Pig Fell into the Well" two days ago, so thought the style was pretty similar! Liked the nice countryside scenery, the interesting crazy antics of a particular person, the second segment's opening sequence with the female cooks lined up neatly and the flashback in the last segment!

Internet Movie Database Link

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Day a Pig Fell into the Well

The film is about the complicated love relationship among several characters. It is broken up into four segments. Each segment gives the point of view of one character and the audience has to figure out how they are interconnected.

Nice debut from the Korean director Hong Sang Soo! Liked his jigsaw puzzle type of film editing that tests the audience's ability to spot minute details and connect seemingly unrelated things together! Also liked the subject matter on how lonely individuals are coping in society! Was shocked and surprised at first but was really impressed by how everything gelled together towards the end!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Dying at a Hospital

The film is about how people spend their last days in the hospital told in a "Crime Watch" style; several short stories were acted out based on real events.

Nice opening scene! Hmm, wonder if Tsai Ming Liang was influenced by it when he made "I Don't Want to Sleep Alone". Liked the unhurried style employed by the director, the voice narration and how the vibrant city life were interspersed with that of the hospital life! The stories of each of the characters were all pretty interesting!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Nianchan

The story is about the plight of Koreans staying in postwar Japan during the 50s told through a family of four siblings that just lost their father.

The two younger siblings looked really small and skinny! Thought the size of the younger sister especially contrasted with the size of the bath house! Liked the positive attitude of the second brother and that of the teacher!

Internet Movie Database Link

Appassionata

The story is about the life of a famous Japanese female painter. She was born in the late 19th century and specialises in drawing pictures of beautiful women.

Pretty interesting biography! Realised how difficult it was for a woman to succeed in the painting circles during that time and was quite amazed that she succeeded against all odds! Liked the nice award winning paintings that flashed on the screen from time to time and the actress's fully concentrated face when she is at work! Nice ending too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ballad of Narayama

The story is about life in a small village with a strange custom that required the son to carry his 70 year old parent on the back and trek to Mount Narayama.

Liked how the director showed how the old grandmother lead a dignified life despite the harsh environment! There were many funny moments and interesting scenes with the animals in the jungle! I also find the journey to Narayama towards the end pretty touching!

Internet Movie Database Link

Vengeance is Mine

The story is about how a killer goes about cheating and killing people. At the same time, it shows how the lower class people lead their lives.

Liked how the director examined the killer from many different angles! There are flashbacks to his family background, shots from the killer's point of view as well as police interviews with his father, wife and lovers. Loved how the director was able to explain things very concisely with just a few scenes and the touching episode with the bar owner lady!

Internet Movie Database Link

Black Rain

The story is about the long term effect of the atomic bomb blast at Hiroshima on the survivors after the second World War. In particular, it focuses on a young girl who has many rejected marriage proposals because of health reasons.

Was shocked by some of the scenes in the post atomic bomb city and liked the twist that followed after the neighbor offered the girl his handmade statues! Felt the rest of the scenes were a bit too repetitive though.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Home Song Stories

The story is based on the director's life when he was still a little boy staying with his mother and his sister. They travelled from Hong Kong to Australia and their mother had a hard time searching for a father for them.

Liked the small little details that made each of the family members come to life! I also liked the flashback sequences and the fantasy sequences! They helped me to understand the mother and the son better. The daughter looked quite cute with two pony tails! The grandmother looked very fierce and just right for her role!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Willow Tree

The story is about how the life of a blind professor changes after he regains his eyesight.

Liked the depiction of the nice family life that the professor leads and his encounter with a fellow patient! Preferred the director's previous work, "The Children of Heaven" with its innocent child actors as I find it difficult to identify with the erratic professor and the film's heavy religious slant.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Simpsons Movie

The characters in this movie is based on the popular animation TV series, "The Simpsons", that describes the life of the Simpsons family in a town called Springfield. The movie is about how the dad of the family, Homer Simpson, caused his fellow neighbors in Springfield to be so unhappy with him that he fled town with his family and how he managed to turn things around at the very end.

Thought the theme on not polluting the environment and staying together as a family at times of crisis were brought across quite effectively! Liked the exciting skateboarding action by Bart Simpson at the start and a particularly sad moment with Homer Simpson alone in their Alaska home.

Internet Movie Database Link

Stranger Than Fiction

The story is about how an IRS auditor discovers that he is just a character in a novel and how his life is turned upside down because of this.

Nice voice narration by the author of the novel, played by Emma Thompson, who has a heavy British accent! Also liked how the story unfolds as the protagonist unravels the mystery and manages to live his life as he wants it despite having his fate partially decided by the whims and fancy of someone else! The story within a story idea reminds me a bit of the novel "Sophie's World".

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Late Autumn

The story is about how the daughter of a widow turns down marriage proposals so that she can stay with her to keep her company. Towards the end of the film, she goes on a final trip with her mother and gets married to someone she loves.

This is basically a remake of the director's previous film "Late Spring" made slightly more than ten years ago except that the old film talks about a pair of father and daughter. The daughter became the mother and the father became her brother-in-law in the new remake. Liked the simple story and how the director made the characters come to life through small everyday life details! I really felt for the characters and the film is filled with both touching and funny moments!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Pervert's Guide to Cinema

This is a film criticism piece that describes how philosophy and psychoanalysis plays a part in how the audience views cinema and how the two subjects are incorporated in different films.

Quite amazed by how the narrator managed to link more than 40 films together in just 150 minutes! Liked the movie clip excerpts and the insights offered by the narrator! Pretty interested to catch David Lynch films now! Maybe someone could organise a David Lynch film retrospective!

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Flash Point

The story is about how the police tries to catch three filial brothers who are cold blooded crooks.

Very nice gun fights, car chases and martial arts action that includes lots of wrestling moves! The girlfriend of one of the undercover police and the fierce head police woman both look quite pretty! A pity that they only had "flower vase" roles.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Invisible City

This is a documentary of the less-well-known part of Singapore history that people seldom talk about.

Liked how the director combined film clips of Singaporeans in the past, photos of old colonial buildings, a Japanese reporter interviewing a former resistance fighter, a group of archeologists at work and a recount of the incidents leading to the Chinese students boycotting school during the sixties in a coherent big picture!

Early Spring

The story is about what happens after a young officer worker has an affair with his co-worker. It also depicts a group of office workers at work and at play.

Liked how the film showed the typical life of an office worker! Not much has changed between now and fifty years ago! The train is as packed during rush hour and colleagues still gossip about each other at work! Thought the wife and the mistress were the stars of the show although it mainly centers around the husband! The mistress's nick name, Goldfish, is pretty cute!

Internet Movie Database Link

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Tokyo Twilight

The story is about how broken families coped in Japan during the late 50s through the eyes of two sisters. This is part of the "Late Ozu" Eclipse series from Criterion that consists of "Early Spring", "Tokyo Twilight", "Equinox Flower", "Late Autumn" and "The End of Summer". Chose to watch this first as I liked the DVD cover! It shows the young sister supporting her chin with her hand and staring in front of her.

Was quite surprised by the sharp social commentary made by Ozu as he is more famous for making family dramas with happy endings! Almost thought I was watching a Naruse or a Mizoguchi film from the way the story developed towards the end! Liked the great acting by the young sister!

Internet Movie Database Link

The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes

The story is about how a doctor abducts an opera singer and invites a piano tuner to tune his strange machines.

Heard from a friend that many people walked out during the premiere, so I was curious to see it. Liked the dream sequences, the special effects that depicted the strange machines and the nice scenery! The opera singer looked quite pretty too! The dialog was interesting as many segments seemed to be talking about one thing but indirectly hinting at something else at the same time.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, August 04, 2007

PSTAR Scrabble Games 2007

The PSTAR Scrabble games is an annual event for organisations in the civil service to take part in a friendly game of Scrabble. It was held at the Civil Service Club on 4th Aug 2007 from 10am to 5pm. A total of 28 teams from 17 organisations took part. MINDEF had two teams taking part this year.

Here's my match report, with quizzes marked with [number] and the answers given at the end of the report.

I was there a bit earlier to help draw the pairings for my team. Had a history of drawing bad pairings and true enough, my first draw resulted in my team playing against MOE 1 which is one of the strongest teams in the field!

Game 1: MOE 1
I played against Suhaimi, JP played against Elizabeth and CC played against Vincent.

Our scores were neck-in-neck and the board was getting very closed. Had EILNOR? on my rack and decided to try LOINERs* back hooking to OHO on the board. Unfortunately, it was challenged off. Missed another playable bingo that ends with the letter S[1]. My play went downhill after that, using my blank for very few points which did not help to open up the board while my opponent bingoed with nUTTIEST(66).

Lost my first game by 286-360. Our team also lost the match narrowly by 1-2.

Had hoped to play against an all-girls team in the next round but I drew against MHA 1 which consists of a tough-looking all-guys team. :(

Game 2: MHA 1
I played against Mahendra, JP and CC played against two other guys.

Managed to bingo once with RETAINED(72) and scored well with the Z and the Q. This coupled with my opponent's several phoneys HEI*, NI* and WEVE* helped me to win easily.

Won 476-236. Our team won convincingly with 3-0.

Had free lunch catered for us after our second game and it was delicious! Liked the potato cubes, chicken wing and pastries!

Finally had a chance to play against CPF in the third game but it happened to be an all-guys team once again!

Game 3: CPF 1
I played against Chee Keong, JP played against How Fatt and CC played against Boon Khee.

I was lagging behind until I saw a bingo with a DEINTV? rack. The last letter of the bingo had to front hook to an existing AH on the board.[2] A higher scoring play would be an eight-letter bingo through an existing I across the TWS cell but I gave up figuring out what it was after a few minutes.[3] Later, my opponent had a chance to bingo with a AENUVW? rack[4] but I blocked his only spot. In desparation he tried sUNWAVE* but it was challenged off the board!

Won 408-292. Our team won convincingly with 3-0.

After 3 rounds, the top 4 teams were placed in the Cup category, the next 8 or 10 teams in the Plate category and the rest in the Bowl category. We were placed in the Plate category while MOE 1 was placed in the Cup category despite having the same number of wins and less spread than us.

The tournament director explained to us how the format favored the early winners. A loss in the first round would mean that there was no way for the team to become one of the top 4 teams as we were already classified among the loser pile. MOE 1's second round loss was classified as the best loser and they were placed in the top tier together with teams having two wins.

Our final game is against SSC. Thought it would be an easy match as our opponent only had two players but it turned out tougher than we thought.

Game 4: Singapore Sports Council
I played against Azmi, JP played against a malay guy while CC had a walkover.

Was lagging behind until Azmi opened up the TWS lane and I scored well with BOX(43) and then ZEL(37). Pulled slightly further ahead with QUA(34) a few more turns later and maintained my lead throughout the game. Heard from JP later that he is very impressed with how his opponent played and felt that it was his toughest game in the whole tournament!

Won 369-329. Our team won convincingly with 3-0.

In the end, MOE 1 won the tournament. NP 1, HDB 1 and MOH 1 came in 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively. MOE 2, HDB 2 and CAAS 2 came in top 3 in the Plate category while CPF 1, CPF 2 and IRAS 1 came in top 3 in the Bowl category.

MINDEF 1 didn't do too badly, just losing two individual games in the first round to the eventual winner but our spread in the last round was not enough for us to get top 3 placing in our category.

MINDEF 2 didn't do as well but they had a great time honing their Scrabble skills and socialising with their opponents too!

Quiz answers (highlight to see clearly)

[1] NEROLIs
[2] INViTED
[3] DIVINEsT
[4] UNWeAVE

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Gone Shopping

The film explores how a young tai-tai, an office guy and a little girl view shopping differently. One shops to vent her emotions, one hangs around shopping centers to laze around and one runs around looking for her parents.

Lots of voiceover by Kym Ng! First time I see her in such a moody role, quite unlike her image on television. Liked her performance and Adrian Pang's guest appearance! The office guy story segment was so so and I was puzzled over the little girl story segment.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Paprika

The story is about how things went horribly wrong when a machine designed to probe into a person's dream got misused.

Pretty impressed by how the director blended dream and reality so nicely together like what he did in "Perfect Blue"! Also liked the running theme and how Paprika changed into many different costumes similar to that in "Millenium Actress"! The Chinese translation of the title, "Red Chilli", was especially appropriate as it referred to both Paprika's hair color as well as her never-say-die attitude!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sada and Kichi

The story is based on a famous murder case that happened in late 1930s Japan. A geisha strangled a rich man and cut off his private parts after making love with each other in a room for a month.

Learnt from the Q&A session that this film belonged to the "Roman Porno" genre created by Nikkatsu in the 60s to save them from bankruptcy. The obsessive love between the couple was portrayed realistically and the flashbacks on the geisha's past made me understand her better. Thought a good companion film could be "World of Geisha" shown in cinemas a few months ago that starred the same leading actress. Looking forward to catch "In the Realm of the Senses" by Nagisa Oshima based on the same true story if it is ever allowed to show here.

Internet Movie Database Link

Friday, July 27, 2007

Transformers

The story is about how two types of robots, Autobots and Decepticons, from outerspace fought against each other with the human beings caught in between. Autobots protect humans and transform themselves into automobiles while Decepticons don't like humans and transform themselves into weapons.

Learnt a great deal on how the robots came about from this film! Remembered watching cartoons on transformers when I was young but had no idea why they were fighting each other. The transformation of the robots look very cool! Was also impressed by the two lead actresses in the film! One was a car expert while the other was a computer security expert.

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Scrabble Nationals 2007 (Day Two)

Game 5: vs Ganapathy
Had a bad record against Ganapathy. He won in all our encounters. I was leading by a bit until he bingoed near the end of the game. Lost in the end!

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: FEEDERS(78) Opp Bingos: STRIKES(81)
My Phoneys: NAR* Opp Phoneys: RETRIVES*
My High Moves: - Opp High Moves: LEZ(33)
L 307-392, -85. 2W 3L (Accum spread -83).

Game 6: vs Valli
Was pleasantly surprised when my PLACATED(97) turned out to be good when challenged! Realised that I could have scored more if I had planned my end game moves better.

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: PLACATED(97) Opp Bingos: CLOSING(69)
My Phoneys: KEELY* Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: - Opp High Moves: QIS(32), ZA(31)
W 387-381, +6. 3W 3L (Accum spread -77).

Game 7: vs Sharul
Quite happy to meet Sharul again at a competition as he was the first player I played with almost four years ago at the PSTAR games! Had an ADILNU? rack which could only play with either A or U as the first letter and tried UNDIALs*(71) but it was not challenged off as it allowed him to play off some of the consonant tiles.

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: UNDIALS*(71) Opp Bingos: -
My Phoneys: UNDIALS*(71) Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: NIX(32), BREW(31) Opp High Moves: ZIT(35), WEEPY(42), CARS(38), TOWING(41)
L 351-414,-63. 3W 4L (Accum spread -140).

Game 8: vs Sim Pin Yi
Had very good tiles in this game with JKQZSSSS?? while my opponent only had the X! Had a chance to bingo out in the end but just couldn't see the word in my EEINRR? rack. Wasted a few moves trying a few possible words that turned out to be phoneys before giving up.

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: TOENAIL(67) Opp Bingos: -
My Phoneys: REINERs* Opp Phoneys: NEM*
My High Moves: QI(30) Opp High Moves: EX(35)
W 428-256, +172. 4W 4L (Accum spread +32).

Game 9: vs Ruby
Was greedy when I put MOTIONER(74) instead of STONIER as I discovered that STONIER just managed to fit in between two DWS cells without touching any of them. Turned out to be a bad move as Ruby managed to hook HAILERS(77) at the back. Was beaten convincingly by her.

New words learnt: MOTIONER(74)
My Bingos: MOTIONER(74) Opp Bingos: UNBARES(72), HAILERS(77), STEROID(76)
My Phoneys: PUHL* Opp Phoneys: UNBANGS*, STORIE*
My High Moves: TOWEL(33), WIVE(31), OX(38) Opp High Moves: ZIT(35)
L 354-448, -94. 4W 5L (Accum spread -62).

Game 10: vs Siew Chin
Turned out that all my King of the Hill opponents were female players. Both of us played several phonies in the beginning before we had one bingo each. Managed to capitalise on my opponent's mistakes to win by a small margin.

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: HALFTONE(72) Opp Bingos: MEDIANS(87)
My Phoneys: KOE*, PENSIER* Opp Phoneys: CEG*, TAC*, MONT*
My High Moves: ZEE(35), FINER(49), DIGS(40) Opp High Moves: RAX(40), MOWER(33), EQUIP(32)
W 402-335, +67. 5W 5L (Accum spread +5).

Game 11: vs Linda
Was quite happy to meet Linda as she was Winston's colleague from Ngee Ann Poly and a possible opponent at the upcoming PSTAR games. We had one bingo each and our scores were quite close until I leapt ahead with KIVES* which was not challenged off. Lucky for me!

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: FASTENS(81) Opp Bingos: COOLIES(72)
My Phoneys: JANG*, KIVES*(46) Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: - Opp High Moves: BEAST(36)
W 405-346, +59. 6W 5L (Accum spread +64).

Game 12: vs Dinna
Met her during the Causeway Cup last year. Didn't manage to catch her with the Q at the end of the game otherwise I could have a chance of winning as it would mean a 30 point difference.

New words learnt: ARGON
My Bingos: CARNAGE(80) Opp Bingos: -
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: COER*
My High Moves: FOR(32), OHS(36), FOREX(31), DREW(36) Opp High Moves: JUTES(34), KNEE(36), SHADE(51), ADZ(33)
L 376-400, -24. 6W 6L (Accum spread +40).

Finished the whole tournament with 6 wins, 6 losses and +40 spread in 12th position. Met my basic target with getting at least 6 wins with positive spread but just failed to reach top 10 position. Think that will be the goal for my next tournament!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Scrabble Nationals 2007 (Day One)

Had not played in tournaments for around half a year but decided to take part in the Nationals to prepare for the upcoming PSTAR games in August. This year's tournament is at a new venue at Toa Payoh West CC.

Game 1: vs Dexter Chew
My first opponent was against a young boy who is Alvin Seo's junior from Bukit Panjang High school. He appeared quite nervous and told himself aloud to be calm several times. Guess the very cold aircon didn't help too. Managed to win by scoring two bingos and closing up the board. His last rack was EHIRST? but had no place to play it but he tried to hook to several places to form phoneys and I challenged them off in the process.

New words learnt: TYRAN
My Bingos: PETTIES(76), NUMERATE(71) Opp Bingos: -
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: ABAY*, TEV*, ARAGED* TCOB* SCOB*
My High Moves: - Opp High Moves: TYRAN(51), ZOA(32)
W 472-209, +263. 1W 0L (Accum spread +263).

Game 2: vs Ashley
My second game was with Ashley whom I have played twice before and lost in both occasions. The score was very close until I tried to do a set up by placing CAN on the board. Two blanks and one S had been played while I had two of the remaining three S. Thought it should be quite certain that the remaining S is in the bag but turned out that he had it on his rack and he scored with WISP(30). The remaining game went downhill after that.

New words learnt: VOLAR
My Bingos: UNTILED(90) Opp Bingos: ROADIES(69), SEDITION(80)
My Phoneys: HEG* Opp Phoneys: VIB*
My High Moves: KEF(31), JOG(37), XI(37), PYA(35) Opp High Moves: WISP(35), ZEL(32)
L 369-464, -95. 1W 1L (Accum spread +168).

Game 3: vs Arul
Was glad to meet Arul for my third game as I knew he had very good board equipment! Had this bad feeling when I once again played a vertical CAN on the board. True enough, Arul scored heavily with a DOZIEST(127) bingo followed by FLATWARE(69). He had a few other high scoring moves and thrashed me by almost 200 points.

New words learnt: DOZIEST, FLATWARE
My Bingos: - Opp Bingos: DOZIEST(127), FLATWARE(69)
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: EXIT(31), AURAS(30), QAT(30) Opp High Moves: ICING(31), APSO(41), TEARY(30), VIRAL(30)
L 312-498,-186. 1W 2L (Accum spread -18).

Game 4: vs Catherine
Had played Catherine many times and I lost more often than I won. Managed to score well with KEXES(59) although I was unsure of it. Later got away with JAIS*(72) by back hooking JAI with RATIONS(72). Was leading by a comfortable margin but left too many bingo lanes open though and Catherine closed the gap with two bingos near the end of the game.

New words learnt: NUTTERS, SILLERS
My Bingos: RATIONS(72) Opp Bingos: NUTTERS(72), SILLERS(90)
My Phoneys: JAIS*(72) Opp Phoneys: STUNTER*
My High Moves: LIEN(37), KEXES(59) Opp High Moves: -
W 443-423, +20. 2W 2L (Accum spread +2).

Finished day 1 with 2 wins and 2 losses in 10th position.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The New Taira Clan

The story is about the rise of Samurais through the Taira family in ancient Japan when monks are well respected and abused their authority.

Learnt a bit about the social conditions at that time. Young master Taira has really thick eye brows!

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Nancy Drew

The story is about how a young girl who likes to solve mysteries got herself involved in yet another mystery.

Pretty impressed by Nancy Drew who excels in all areas of her schoolwork! She is also polite, likes to help people and has very good dress sense! Liked the way the interesting mystery was unravelled and the delicious pastries presented!

Internet Movie Database Link

Monday, July 02, 2007

Repast

The story is about how a wife got tired of her household chores when her husband's niece came to visit them and went back to her parent's place to reflect about her situation.

Liked the voice over narration, the outdoor sequences and how the relationship of the couple developed! The actress looked convincing as the overworked wife!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

The story is about how a team of super heroes named the Fantastic Four saved the world and their encounters with an alien named the Silver Surfer.

Liked the little quarrels among the team and how they managed to stick together to solve their problems together in the end! Nice special effects too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Miss Oyu

The story is about a man falling in love with a widowed woman named Miss Oyu but marries her sister instead.

Liked how the film explained the relationship among the three people and how their actions are affected by people's attitude at that time! Was also impressed by the nice black and white cinematography and the fluid camera action that followed the characters around!

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

The story is about a girl who discovered that she could travel back in time by leaping forward.

A charming film that describes the girl's everyday life at school and at home in great detail! The theme "Time waits for no one" comes across very nicely too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ghost Rider

The story is adapted from a comic book about a rider who serves the devil to eliminate his violent son.

Nice special effects! The skull on fire looks cool!

Internet Movie Database Link

Wild Hogs

The story is about four middle aged friends going on a road trip around United States on their motorcycles.

Interesting trip where they meet all sorts of people! Marisa Tomei who acted as the waitress looked quite cute! The action sequences are exciting too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Music and Lyrics

The story is about how a once popular boy band member discovers that his gardener had great lyric writing talent and cooperated with her to make a new song.

Interesting to see how the creative process evolved! Nice dance choreography by the singer whom the song is meant for too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Zodiac

This is based on a true story about a serial killer who taunts the police by forcing the newspaper to publish articles about himself in the 70s.

There was too much information overload and didn't manage to understand who the potential suspects were. A bit too draggy to my liking.

Internet Movie Database Link

Bubble Fiction: Boom or Bust

The story is about how a young girl travelled back in time to the early 90s to maintain Japan's economic bubble by stopping the economic minister from releasing a particular news.

Interesting and funny film! Was kept in suspense throughout on how everything would end!

Internet Movie Database Link

Bridge to Terabithia

The story is about how two classmates became good friends and how they discovered a secret hideout that they named Terabithia.

Liked the depiction of school life and how the friendship evolved over time! The lead actor's sister looks quite cute! Also liked the nice ending!

Internet Movie Database Link

Friday, June 15, 2007

After This Our Exile

The story is about the relationship between a father and a son living in Malaysia. The father has a wife who left him because he was a loser. The son chose to stay with his dad even though his mum is financially better off.

Chose to watch this two days before Father's day because of its theme. Realised that Aaron Kwok can act pretty well! The son did a very good job too! Liked the scenery at the countryside and the emotional build up to the final scene!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, June 10, 2007

D.O.A: Dead or Alive

The story is adapted from an X-box game "Dead or Alive" and is about how a group of martial arts expert are invited to take part in a martial arts competition on an island where the top prize is US$10 million.

Very impressive martial arts choreography! Also liked how the lead actresses worked well together as a team!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Crucified Lovers

The story is about how a young wife of a wealthy miserly scroll-maker leaves home with one of the most hardworking workers and falls in love with him in the process. The custom of the time in 17th century Kyoto was to nail adulterous couples on the cross which is how the title comes about.

Liked the nice black and white cinematography and the detailed description of the social conditions in Japan at that time! Very well written storyline that explains how one event leads to another! The lead actress, Kyoko Kagawa, looks a bit like local actress Evelyn Tan.

Internet Movie Database Link

Monday, June 04, 2007

Gion Festival Music

The story is about life as a geisha in Japan through the eyes of two geishas who have both a teacher-apprentice and a sisterly relationship.

The second film in the Mizoguchi DVD box set that I watched. The rest of the films in the 8-disc box set are: "New Tales of the Taira Clan", "The Crucified Lovers", "Miss Oyu", "Sansho the Bailiff", "Ugetsu" and "The Life of Oharu".

Realised that geishas have to undergo rigorous training in playing musical instrument and dance before they can graduate but their actual job hardly require much of those skills. Learnt that it is more to build up their character and make them more feminine. Story is interesting and I liked the great acting by the two lead actresses!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Maya Deren Experimental Films

The DVD consists of several short films by avant garde film director Maya Deren: "Meshes of the Afternoon", "At Land", "A Study in Choreography for Camera", "Ritual in Transfigured Time", "Meditation on Violence", "The Very Eye of Night".

Got this at the World Book Fair as I wanted to see what avant garde film is all about. Thought "Meshes of the Afternoon" and "At Land" were abstract but pretty interesting! Her background in psychology comes through in her films. The rest of the films were pretty boring though in my opinion.

Internet Movie Database Link

The Empress Yang Kwei Fei

This is a love story set in the palace during the Tang dynasty in China. The queen is said to be one of the four all-time most beautiful women in China.

Got a box set of Mizoguchi films from Commercial Press at the World Book Fair and chose to watch this first. Found it strange initially to see the actors and actresses dress in Chinese costume but speaking in Japanese but got used to it after a while. Liked how the director related the personal story of Ms Yang!

Internet Movie Database Link

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hibiscus Town

The story is about how life in a small town where a couple sells rice bean curd changes during the Cultural Revolution.

Had a better understanding of the Cultural Revolution which is like a large scale social experiment! There is a very tight command and control structure and people's roles are reversed. The rich has to sweep the streets while the uneducated poor became civil servants. Learnt even more about the background to the Cultural Revolution when I chanced upon a talk on Mao ZeDong at the World Book Fair in the later part of the day.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story

The film is a documentary about the problem of North Koreans abducting Japanese during the late 70s and early 80s period and focus on the case of Megumi Yokota who was 13 years old when she was abducted in 1977.

Was very happy that I managed to get the free tickets that Planet Ads was giving out! Learnt that this is not about a few bad guys abducting rich kids for ransom but involves large scale secret agent operation from a hostile country. Pretty informative as the political situation of both Japan and Korea was explained and there were interviews with Megumi's family and friends as well as a North Korean spy. Felt quite sad for the family of the victims as they had to visit many different places to publicise their cause and when the old photos of Megumi Yokota was shown on the screen!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Experiment

The story is about a two week psychological experiment conducted to observe how a group of men would behave when given roles as guards or prisoners in a make-shift prison cell. The rules state that anyone can quit anytime, no violence is allowed and money is only given to all those who make it to the end of the experiment.

Quite scary to see how the guards slowly start to abuse their authority while the prisoners have to endure the stress of living in a cell! Realised that it is based on the true story only after watching the film!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Dancer Upstairs

The story is about a police investigating the identity of a mysterious leader who instigated a series of violent acts in the name of starting a revolution. The title comes about because his daughter learns ballet and he became friends with her teacher.

Not the usual CSI type of story where the focus is on getting clues to solve the crime as there is some discussion about family relationship and other social issues. A little slow pace but I liked how everything gels together towards the end!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Da-Yu: The Touch of Fate

The story is about how a school drop-out fell into bad company and learnt to be a pickpocket. He enjoys his new found lifestyle at first but soon finds out that it is not as rosy as he thinks.

Liked the animation, the fantasy sequences and the in-depth character study! The lead actor's female classmate looks quite cute too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Mother

The story is about the hardships that a family has to face especially that of the mother. Quite coincidental that I am watching this on the eve of Mother's day! A search on the Internet Movie Database shows more than a dozen films with the same title!

Read from "One Hundred Years of Japanese Cinema" by Donald Ritchie that this is director, Mikio Naruse's, happiest film. The DVD cover with two smiling faces seems to convey the same message too! I think I agree with the comment based on the few films from the director that I have watched so far. The playful kids and the cheerful teenage daughter who is in love with a bakery assistant help to liven up the atmosphere while we see how the mother struggles to keep the family together. Good storyline and nicely executed!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Summer Palace

The story is about the life of a teenage girl from her college days in the late 80s to more than 10 years later in the 21st century. Many big events happened along the way, for example, the Tiananmen Square incident, the fall of Berlin Wall, the disintegration of the Soviet empire and the Hong Kong reunification.

Had hoped to understand more about the Tiananmen Square incident as the protagonist was studying in Beijing University at the right time but was disappointed! The political events during the era only served as a backdrop and had nothing to do with the story at all! Liked the nice songs played but the film felt too long and could have been compressed a bit. Pretty good acting by the lead actor and actress although I find it hard to understand why they do certain things.

Internet Movie Database Link

Friday, May 04, 2007

When A Women Ascends The Stairs

This film has one of the most beautiful titles in my opinion! It is descriptive as it evokes an image of a beautiful lady making her way up the stairs elegantly, yet there is little clue on what exactly the film is about and leaves much room to the viewer’s imagination. The beautiful lady, Keiko, is played by Takamine Hideko who has acted in several other Naruse films such as “Floating Clouds” and “Lightning”. She is the head bar hostess and has to climb a steep staircase every night when she goes to work. This explains how the title comes about. The staircase is also symbolic of the obstacles that she has to overcome each day in order to survive.

Set in Tokyo in the early sixties, Keiko faced the same set of problems that women face today. She had to deal with pressures from work and from her family. At the workplace, she has a demanding boss but the manager likes her and she is on very good terms with the girls under her charge. Her public relations skills is put to good use when she deals with her customers that included a rich arrogant man, an old sugar daddy, a fat man who looked like her ex-husband and a good looking banker. Her family which included her mother, her retrenched brother and her polio inflicted nephew all depended on her to be the breadwinner.

I liked how voice over narration was used as both a social commentary and the inner thoughts of the lead actress! By listening attentively to what is being said and correlating it to the well shot documentary styled outdoor scenes of the city and ordinary people walking about, one is able to piece together a pretty concrete picture of people’s life then. The accompanying soundtrack that consists of light piano and xylophone music is soothing to the ears and does not distract one from the main story.

I also found out that the director was a very good story teller and was able to explain the cause of a certain action and its ripple effect of the resulting consequence really well! The tempo of the film was quick and I did not feel bored at any time! The director’s humanistic touch in the story also makes one feel for the character as they go through the ups and downs of their life.

This is one of the best Japanese films I have ever seen and I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Au Hasard Balthazar

This is about the life of a donkey whose name is Balthazar. The donkey had to work very hard and yet was mistreated by some of its owners.

A very unique film that sees life through the eyes of a donkey! The narrative is not very straightforward though and many scenes not directly related to the story are omitted to give it a minimalistic feel. Nice background music by Schubert and the ending was beautifully done!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, April 29, 2007

F*ck

This is a documentary about the most commonly used English swear word. It describes the origin of the word as well as its effects on society.

Liked the animation and the film clips shown to describe the usage of the word! Was quite impressed by the number of meanings that the word could take on depending on the context!

Internet Movie Database Link

Atheism

This is a documentary that discusses about the different beliefs about whether there is a god in the world. Scientists, religious people, writers and professors of philosophy were interviewed.

Pretty interesting to hear about the opinions of people from different walks of life! Was not bored at all by this heavy topic and was particularly intrigued by the discussion on the effects that religion had on society.

German Animation

This is a collection of short German Animation compiled into a single programme.

Liked "The Rocks", "Hessi James" and "Terminal Paradise" the best for their storyline and the humour! Fell asleep during "Cherchez la Femme" as I had a heavy lunch. Thought "Rubicon" was cute" while "Hobo", "Ghost Train", "Recently 2", "The Modern Cyclops" and "The Raven" were pretty interesting! "Harara", "Escape", "The Message", "The Moment" and "The Patchwork Queen" were too abstract for me.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Side Effects Of Love

This is a love story of an Indian couple shown through the male perspective with lots of song and dance.

Liked the many comical moments and how the male lead was able to explain his situation so clearly!

Internet Movie Database Link

Don't Look Back

The film consists of three short segments. The first is about a father attempting to reconcile with his daughters. The second is about a telecoms engineer falling in love with a girl who is having an affair with a married guy. The last story is about a guy feeling lost about how things have changed after he got discharged from National Service.

All the three stories are about regret of some sort and how life must still go on despite of this. Liked the shots of the train and the railway tracks that appeared in all the film segments!

Internet Movie Database Link

The Choice

The story is about how a detective solved a murder mystery involving a pair of twin brothers who lead very different lifestyles.

Liked how the film unravelled the thought process of the police in solving the case! There was quite a bit of suspense where the audience had to decide who could be the real murderer! Very well written script with great dialogue!

Internet Movie Database Link

Friday, April 27, 2007

Life in Loops (A Megacities RMX)

This is a documentary that describes the life of the underpriviledged people in the big cities. It is edited from a similar themed film "Megacities" made almost ten years ago with additional scenes in Tokyo.

Liked how the music complemented what is shown on the screen and the MTV feel! Interesting how the film is cut to show the parallels among the different cities!

Internet Movie Database Link

A Zen Life

This is a biography of D.T. Suzuki who brought Zen to United States.

The documentary interviewed many people who are influenced by him. Learnt quite a bit about the Zen philosophy through them and Suzuki's television interview.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Scream of the Ants

The story is about a newly wed couple's honeymoon trip in India. It also turned out to be a spiritual journey as the people that they met acted as their guide.

Liked the interesting imageries and the dialogue! It is also funny at times! Good that most of the dialogue is in English so that I spend less effort reading the subtitles.

Internet Movie Database Link

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ad Lib Night

The story is about what happens in a single night when a girl pretends to be the long lost granddaughter of a man who is dying of terminal disease.

Liked the script and the quiet moments of the film! The girl looks very pretty too! Especially liked the sock changing scene that symbolised the decision to step into the shoes of the other person and the dialogue in the car towards the end where the revelation made everything fall into place!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Other Half

The story is about the life in Sichuan, China where a young woman work as a secretary in a law firm. Clients would come to their firm and seek consultation on their cases and these are presented in a face-to-face interview style.

Liked how the different clients presented their cases at the law firm! The different problems that they faced helped me understand life in China better. Also liked how the digital camera captured the small town life so realistically!

Feet Unbound

The story is about a young woman retracing the steps of the Chinese Red Army during the Long March period more than 70 years ago. She interviewed six surviving female soldiers who recounted the living conditions then.

Liked the interesting personal stories told by the old soldiers! They looked smart in their uniforms and so animated when they recalled how they had to traverse the mountains, cross the rivers and fight the enemies all at the same time! Also liked the narration by the young woman that served to contrast between the past and present life!

In a Year of 13 Moons

The story is about a man with an identity crisis. He had a sex change operation to turn from Erwin to Elvira so that he could be with a man (Anton) he loved and left his wife (Irene) and daughter (Marie Ann) but things didn't work out as planned and he became depressed in the process.

Liked the extensive use of voice narration and the scenes where Elvira had to talk to strangers in the street! Also liked how the nun weaved her way across the different characters as she walked and the interesting dance that was performed in Anton's office!

Internet Movie Database Link

The Woven Lives of Others

This is about the life of a tribal village in Philippines. The priestess laments about her diminishing role in the village while soldiers and communist rebels fight in the jungle.

Liked the leisurely pace, the songs and the music in the film! Not much of a plot though as it just shows the daily life of the different types of people in the tribe.

Betina

A strange film about life in an Indonesian village where people rear cows. A girl tries to find her father who seems to be working in a cemetry and using black magic on widows who just lost their husbands.

One particular cow seems to be a witness to what goes on in the village as people interact with it. The girl milks her and lies together with it in the barn while her colleague is jealous of the cow and abuses it. Reminds me a bit of "Au Hasard Balthazar" about the life of a donkey which I am watching halfway.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Unfolding Florence: The Many Lives of Florence Broadhurst

The story is a biography of a famous Australian, Florence Broadhurst. She is a socialite who started a company doing colorful wall papers when she became a grandmother and got murdered mysteriously one day.

Interesting use of animation to tell her story! Also liked the interviews with her staff who clearly loved her and feared her at the same time! Didn't like the part where they simulated a day in the life of Florence showing her walking around as I thought it was quite pointless.

Internet Movie Database Link

The Last Chip

A cute short film about a trip to the casino by three asian women in Australia where one gambler passed them her last chip which is supposed to bring them good luck.

Interesting look at how the casino works in the eyes of both the staff and the client! Quite educational since the Integrated Resorts will be opening in Singapore soon!

Internet Movie Database Link

Prague

The story is about how a man travelled with his wife to Prague to collect his dad's dead body and finding more about himself in the process.

Was quite surprised to see the bad guy in "Casino Royale" act in this film! Great acting and nice scenery! Liked how the male lead tried hard to communicate his feelings even though he is clearly not very good at it!

Internet Movie Database Link

Friday, April 20, 2007

M

The story is about the Japanese society's perception of the female sexuality shown through a young housewife who is being pimped by a gang member.

The film described the different roles of the female gender pretty well! As an adult, she has to fulfil her role as a wife to her husband and as a mother to her child, yet she longs to be just a daughter of a father figure. At other times, she is just a sexual image in the head of her husband and other men. Had a better understanding of this through the young housewife's dealings with her husband, her son, her pimp and a young man who befriended her son at the baseball field.

Grbavica

The story is about the life of a Bosnian family that consists of a single mother and her daughter. The mother works in a factory in the day and a bar in the night. The daughter studies in school and she has an upcoming class trip that costs US$ 200. The cost can be waived if she proves that her father died in the war as a soldier, so she keeps bugging her mother about it.

Liked how the film showed the group of single mothers quietly sitting down and staring at different directions! The songs and poems are beautifully written too! Also liked how the individual parts combined nicely together towards the end!

Internet Movie Database Link

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Journals of Knud Rasmussen

The story is based on the journals of a Danish ethnographer named Knud Rasmussen in the 1920s. He and his friend stayed with an Inuit family in an igloo and he recorded their way of life which is slowly being eroded away by Western culture.

Liked the opening that showed the family preparing for a group photo and how the director showed their everyday life! Compared to "Nanook of the North", which is another documentary about Eskimos, this films describes more on the family relationship and the spiritual aspect rather than how they catch fish or canoe around on the icy waters. One girl who sat in the corner quietly in her thick bearskin fur coat reminded me of one particular character in "South Park"!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Marriage of Maria Braun

The story is about how a German woman, Maria, survive post World War II Germany through her wits and charm!

Liked how the strong minded Maria manage to survive the tumultous times! She figures out other people's mind easily but has people guessing what she'll do. Very nicely written dialogue that cuts straight to the point! Liked the explosive start and finish too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Simon the Stylite

I thought the story would be about an actual filming of a guy named Simon who had great balancing skills on top of a few tall columns but realised that I was mistaken shortly after the film started. The balancing act happened many years ago and all that was left was building ruins and incomplete columns.

Learnt a bit about history from the film even though it was not quite what I expected!

Match Made

This is a documentary about how one Singaporean marries a Vietnamese bride through a marriage agency. There are interviews with the bride, the groom as well as the agents from both countries.

Interesting to see the entire work process from the arrival at Saigon to the interviewing process, and then to the actual marriage cermony. The interviews gave a peek to the thoughts and feelings of various parties. Also liked the filming of the bride's peaceful village home town! The ending really caught me by surprise though!

More insights into Vietnamese brides in here

Best Foods

The film is about life in the slum area of the Philippines. The people have not much to eat and drink but they live their life as best as they can.

Liked the nice black and white documentary and the close up shots on the characters!

Be Quiet, Exam is in Progress!

A light hearted look at the earthquake that occured in Indonesia on May 27, 2006. A student who was learning about World War II history for his elementary school exams, runs after a few Japanese volunteers who are trying to help the victims!

Pretty fun movie to watch on such a serious topic! I also liked the documentary shots interspersed in the film!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

KAFA Animation

This is a collection of nine animation works from the graduating students of the Korean Academy of Fine Arts (KAFA).

Didn't catch the titles for most of the works but they are pretty nicely drawn! There is a plant that turns into an umbrella, a realistic doll house, a visit to the zoo, a visit to a sister's place, two big eyed children who rears fish, role reversal between dog and master, a cool detective type of story involving mermaids and the fight for survival between the rabbit clan and the wolves. There is one more shorts but I have forgotten what is it about. My favorite would be the detective story!

Effi Briest

The story is about how a young girl got married to a high ranking civil servant and how her marriage life changed as time went by.

Liked the black and white cinematography, the third person narration and the intertitles shown on the screen. These contribute to a theatrical feel to the film. The storyline reminded me very much of "Anna Karenina" that I read recently! Both stories had a cold rational high ranking civil servant as the husband, a wife who had an affair and a heartbreaking mother and child reunion.

Internet Movie Database Link

Friday, April 13, 2007

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

The story is about how a 60 year old German cleaner, Emmi, fell in love with a Moroccan garage mechanic, Ali, who is 20 years her junior. It also describes their friends', neighbors' and relatives' reaction to it.

The director gave a very in-depth character study with a simple storyline! I especially liked how Ali summed up his situation in just a few Haiku-like German phrases! There is not much dialogue but the looks on Emmi and Ali's faces said everything! I also enjoyed how the director was able to highlight social issues very clearly and concisely!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, April 07, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

This is a documentary about the effects of global warming presented by Al Gore who is the former vice president of the United States. It also describes what motivates Al Gore to become an environmental activist.

Al Gore is a very good presenter! He explains complex scientific concepts very simply through all sorts of graphs, charts, photographs and video clips so that even a layman like me can understand them. I also liked how he begins the lecture with various photographs of the earth to appeal to the audience's heart and how he ends it by breaking the top three misconceptions on global warming to convince the audience's mind!

Ten things to do to stop global warming
Internet Movie Database Link

Friday, April 06, 2007

I Don't Want to Sleep Alone

The story is about how a few Malaysians found company in each other when they happened to meet in the streets. They include a poor unemployed guy, a foreign worker and a coffee shop owner's family.

The director's style of having very long takes and little dialogue gives a relaxing feeling as one watches some scenes run real time. Some other scenes are pretty abstract though and I didn't like those. Liked how songs sung in different languages are interspersed throughout the film!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Peacock

The story is about the life of a Chinese family consisting of three siblings from the late 70s to the early 80s. The eldest son is fat and mentally challenged, the sister works in a factory washing glass bottles and the youngest son is a shy student.

Liked how the film goes through the life of each sibling in turn with voice narration in the background! The storyline is interesting and the slow pace of the film gives it a poetic mood!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Freedom Writers

The story is based on a true story and it is about how a new teacher's innovative teaching methods helped her class get good grades. She asked her students to keep a daily journal and this helped her to better understand them.

Very impressed by the teacher's dedication to her work and how she managed to help the students work together as a team! I also liked how the film presented each student's journal with voice narration in the background! They sounded very sincere and personal!

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Nine Lives

The story is about the lives of nine women described separately in different short segments. Each segment is filmed in a single shot and some women appear in more than one segment as their lives intersect.

Liked the natural dialogue and how the different roles played by women are presented! Each segment provides a sample on a typical mother, wife, lover or daughter through basic daily activities.

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, March 25, 2007

McDull, prince de la bun

This is a sequel to "My Life as McDull" which is an animation about the life of a family in Hong Kong. In the first movie, McDull, who is a little pig, studies in a kindergarten and trains hard to be an athlete. The sequel presents the life of McDull's parents as a bedtime story told by the mum to McDull.

Liked the film's distinctive Hong Kong flavor that came out through the social issues discussed and the realistic 3D cityscape! The bedtime story is also very interesting and meaningful!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Hula Girls

The story is about how a small town in Japan transformed from a coal mine place to a Hawaiian tourist attraction in the 60s. Part of the plan was to train the miner daughters to be Hula dancers.

Liked the interesting dance moves and the pretty costumes! Was caught a little off guard by the melodramatic moments but they were pretty well executed and not too over-the-top.

Internet Movie Database Link

The Old Man and the Sea

The story is adapted from a novel by Ernest Hemingway and it is about how an old fisherman battled a big fish out at sea.

Liked the narration that describes the old fisherman in great detail! Great action at sea too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Osen of the Paper Cranes

The story is about how a servant girl, Osen, befriended a penniless young man and how they escaped from their household headed by an unscrupulous antiques dealer to lead a new life.

Was really impressed by the scene where Osen whipped out a crane from nowhere and blew it towards the sky! Didn't really understand the first part where they described how the bad guys cheated other people and felt quite puzzled. Liked the special effects and the exciting finish though!

Internet Movie Database Link

Nightly Dreams

The story is about how a waitress worked very hard to provide for her son and how she reconciled with her out-of-job husband but things didn't turn out as well as expected.

The husband looked like the landlady's husband in "Kungfu Hustle"! The director would suddenly zoom very close to a character's face for several scenes and I didn't really like the effect as it made me dizzy. The storyline is quite good though!

Internet Movie Database Link

Woman of Tokyo

Saw three silent films at one go at the NUS Arts Festival organised by NUS. The first film is a family drama about what happens when a brother learns about another side of his sister from his girlfriend.

The story telling is very well done and everything falls in place nicely! Liked the tense "face-off" among the chracters towards the end! The girlfriend, played by a young Tanaka Kinuyo, looked quite pretty! Only seen her in later films like "Life Of Oharu", "Flowing" and "Equinox Flower" and she looked a little bit older in those films. Hmm, those films happened to be one Mizoguchi, one Naruse and one Ozu too, similarly to what is featured in this film festival!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Pursuit of Happyness

The story is about how the life of a young father, Chris Gardner, changes after he started attending a stockbroker course.

Really impressed by how Chris Gardner manages his time and his skills as a salesman! Would have liked the film even more if it was more compressed it is quite longwinded with multiple chase scenes of a similar nature.

Internet Movie Database Link

The Sun

The story is about the life of Japan's Emperor during the end of World War II focusing on his everyday life and the interaction with General MacArthur from the US.

Liked the claustrophobic feel of the underground bunker and the interaction between the Emperor and General MacArthur! The animated dream sequence was very nicely done too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

The story is about a little girl's adventure in her garden's labyrinth towards the end of the Spanish Civil War. Her mother remarried a Captain whose job is to eliminate the freedom fighters in the woods.

Very nice visual effects but it was more violent than I expected! Liked the green dress that the little girl was wearing and the interesting tasks that she has to complete! I was very worried when she took her time on one of them!

Internet Movie Database Link

The Lives of Others

The story is about conditions in East Germany during the mid 80s seen through the eyes of the Stasi (secret police). A captain's life changes after he starts monitoring a playwright for illegal activities.

Nice plot and the film explains the work of the Stasi pretty well! Quite scary to see the things that people do when they have a lot of power in their hands! Realised that one always have a choice on how he leads his life even under very trying circumstances!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Casablanca

The story is set during World War II where refugees were trying to escape to America via Casablanca. An influential saloon owner, Rick, meets a former lover, Ilsa, unexpectedly and has to deal with both the police and the black market as events unfold.

An exciting story and great acting by the leading actor and actress! The actress, Ingrid Bergman, is very pretty too! I also liked how Rick manages the bar! He treats his staff well, drives a hard negotiation with his stakeholders and goes out of his way to help his customers! Interesting to note that most of the cast were real life refugees who escaped from Europe! No wonder I felt a genuine sense of patriotism when they sang the French anthem!

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Miss Potter

The story is about the life of a famous children's book author from England, Beatrix Potter. She wrote "Tales of Peter Rabbit" and does her own illustrations using water color!

Liked how the film showed the little things that happened in Miss Potter's life that helped her to become a good writer and the nice use of animation to make the animals in the illustrations come alive!

Internet Movie Database Link

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Birth of a Nation

The story is about the life of two American families during and after the Civil War. The film is made 50 years after the end of the Civil War.

Not too familiar with the historical events depicted in the film at first and felt it dragged a little bit but the pace picked up towards the end! Learnt how the Ku Klux Klan came about and how people coped with the racial tension that was present at that time.

Internet Movie Database Link

Monday, February 19, 2007

Notes on a Scandal

The story is about the friendship between two teachers in school and what happens when they attempt to cover up a scandal.

Great acting by Judi Dench! She can look lost like a kitten or fierce like a giant tiger in a split second! Liked the voice-over narration as well!

Internet Movie Database Link

World of Geisha

The story is about the life of a group of geishas during the time when Japan wages war against Russia in 1918 and has trouble within the country itself as well.

Thought I could learn a bit more about Japanese history from this film but it only made use of several newspaper cuttings to describe the major events of that era so I didn't learn as much as I hoped to.

Pretty comprehensive coverage of the different types of geishas! There is an apprentice undergoing on-the-job training, a geisha with her first client, a popular geisha doing a show for a group of clients and an obnoxious aged geisha who spends her time sucking flies from the ceiling with a special gadget. Didn't like the blatant use of gigantic words written on the screen to convey the so-called "principles" though.

Internet Movie Database Link

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Employee of the Month

The story is about two guys competing to become the employee of the month at a megamart store and to capture the heart of a fellow colleague.

Pretty interesting look at the life of the people working in a supermart! The competition at the end was very well thought out and tested the skills of the cashiers to their limit! Hmm, maybe someone should organise a cashier competition inviting NTUC, Carrefour and Giant to take part!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Babel

The story is about how families from different parts of the world have trouble communicating with each other properly. A Moroccan family, an American family, a Mexican family and a Japanese family are featured and they are interconnected with each other.

Liked how the director cleverly linked the different stories together and showed how each family unite in the face of crisis!

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Bobby

The story is about a day in the lives of the people in a hotel during the Robert Kennedy election. Something shocking happened in the end but I won't spoil it for you here by revealing what it is.

I liked the documentary clips that were inserted into the picture! The film dived directly into showing the thoughts and actions of the ordinary folks with a brief overview of the era of that time. Lots of big stars in this film but the small characters were interesting too! Thought the girl working in the F&B outlet and the reporter from Czechoslovakia looked quite cute!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Tickets

This is a collection of three short stories about the use of the train ticket on a train. It is a collaboration effort among three directors from different countries: Ermanno Olmi from Italy, Abbas Kiarostami from Iran and Ken Loach from UK.

The professor in the first segment reminds me of the "Little Red Riding Hood" story where the little girl asks why her grandmother's nose is so big! Liked the multiple flashbacks that presents several perspectives of what happened.

Second segment had an unreasonable old lady, a helpful young man who travels with her and a cute girl in braces. Great acting by the old lady! I felt intimidated when she was arguing with other passengers and sad for her towards the end when she was left alone.

Last segment was about an encounter between a group of Scottish soccer fans and a refugee family. Liked how the dilemma faced by one of the soccer fans was presented and how they struggled to decide what to do!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Millenium Cup 2006 (Day Two)

Game 5: vs Wong Ying Quan
Was more than 150 points ahead when I bingoed with OCToPUS(74) and my opponent played a few phoneys. He held an EGIINS? rack one time and tried dIEINGS* and tIEINGS* but both were challenged off. He managed to play SINGERs(76) after getting rid of the extra I. This was one of the few games that I tracked correctly and I found out that he could bingo out with an AEELNRT rack and blocked it with LENS(32).

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: OCToPUS(74) Opp Bingos: SINGERs(76)
My Phoneys: CLIT* Opp Phoneys: DEA*, LEO*, dIEINGS*, tIEINGS*
My High Moves: ADZ(43), SEX(34), LENS(32) Opp High Moves: -
W 420-288, +132. 2W 3L (Accum spread -62).

Game 6: vs Low Bee Tiang
Our scores were quite close until my opponent played CURVE with the C on the TWS line. Had the choice of playing MU(22) on top of CURVE or CREAM(30) down the TWS line. In the end, I played CREAM(30) and Bee Tiang pulled ahead with QUEST(76) with Q on the TWL cell and T on the DWS cell!

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: - Opp Bingos: -
My Phoneys: STAN* Opp Phoneys: ETS*, OORN*, RINT*, DOGER*
My High Moves: CREAM(30) Opp High Moves: ZIG(33), TOTES(39), QUEST(76), YEW(30)
L 309-357, -48. 2W 4L (Accum spread -110).

Game 7: vs Chua Zhong Jie
A combination of my opponent's phoneys and having high scoring tiles on my part helped me win the game despite being outbingoed 2 to 1. Missed challenging NUP* although I knew it looked suspicious. I used to think DUH* was good as it was part of the vocabulary of Homer Simpson but remembered that somehow it wasn't in SOWPODS!

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: NERDIEST(60) Opp Bingos: ROUTINEs(66), SEATERS(71)
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: OIR*, OIS*, DUH*, NUP*(29)
My High Moves: REH(32), EVADE(33), BY(30), NOX(47), RIZ(38) Opp High Moves: -
W 450-342, +108. 3W 4L (Accum spread -2).

Game 8: vs zzBye

W 150-100, +50. 4W 4L (Accum spread +48).

Game 9: vs Valli
Interesting to note that my opponent's first move was VALI which is similar to her name! My break came when I tried TALKIER(87) that turned out to be good when challenged! My opponent had very bad luck as she changed twice and phonied several times. Had the chance to bingo again towards the end of the game but I threw it away when I played something that blocked the two existing bingo lanes!

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: TALKIER(87) Opp Bingos: ASSIGNEd(59)
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: PAU*, RETOWNER*
My High Moves: CORDS(38) Opp High Moves: ZED(33)
W 378-323, +55. 5W 4L (Accum spread +103).

Game 10: vs Ng Ming Wei
Start of the KOH round. Realised after the tournament that I could have gotten 3rd place if I had won all 3 KOH rounds. Alvin was placed behind me at this point in time and he eventually got 3rd place. My opponent scored well with the high scoring tiles and got away with several phoneys. Lost despite outbingoing my opponent 2 to 0.

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: NEWSIER(91), INFESTED(76) Opp Bingos: -
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: ZOEAEL*(23), WINT*(21), BORG*(23)
My High Moves: - Opp High Moves: ZOEAE(48), MEDIC(36), QAID(48), VEX(38), QUEY(48), PORN(30)
L 378-402, -24. 5W 5L (Accum spread +79).

Game 11: vs Ashley
My opponent had two blanks, all 4 S and JKQX while I only had the Z. Was basically thrashed by my opponent!

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: - Opp Bingos: LOUsiER(79)
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: QUILTY*
My High Moves: FIZ(30), CAR(34) Opp High Moves: EXACT(39), KEEN(38), HUH(35), GNAW(31), TEENSY(62)
L 311-440, -129. 5W 6L (Accum spread -50).

Game 12: vs Low Bee Tiang
Was holding a ADDEILT rack and hoped that my opponent would somehow open an E out for me to bingo. My wish came true when he played BRAVE back hooking the R to iTEMISE and hitting the TWS line with the E. I had to restrain myself from calling out "Challenge!" as iTEMISER* looked very much like a phoney. Played DETAILED(149) as a nine-timer on my next turn! My first nine-timer in a tournament!

New words learnt: KALE
My Bingos: DETAILED(149) Opp Bingos: iTEMISE(81)
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: MEaTIES*
My High Moves: HEW(40), LIMN(38), ZIN(32), FARO(31), QUAT(39) Opp High Moves: NOSY(30), AXIL(49)
W 475-386, +89. 6W 6L (Accum spread +39).

Had 6 wins out of 12 including a bye and came in 9th out of 13. Didn't do as well as I thought I should. Hope to reach above 1500 ratings by the end of the year!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Millenium Cup 2006 (Day One)

My second time playing in the Millenium Cup. Decided to take part this year again as the venue happened to be quite near to my place at Hwa Chong Institution.

I went to HCI much earlier than needed to catch the div A players in action. Witnessed the exciting finish of the first game between Jiang Pern and Dorai where Dorai managed to bingo out to edge out a win with a DIMNOOS rack! After that, I had lunch at the pool side restaurant where I met Alvin, Huang Zhi and Bee Tiang who were also playing in div B. I saw a few more familiar players including Arul, Boon Hock and Thiam Yong back at the playing venue. Waited for a while more before the pairings were announced shortly after 1pm.

Game 1: vs Chen Huang Zhi
Was quite confident as I had played with him at the Causeway Cup last year. A bingoless game but my opponent tried BARINGS* and another bingo back hooking AJAR with S which I challenged off. Missed challenging AME* though.

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: - Opp Bingos: -
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: BARINGS*, AJARS*, AME*(25)
My High Moves: WIZ(51), LOX(43) Opp High Moves: -
W 392-260, +132. 1W 0L (Accum spread +132).

Game 2: vs Tan Boon Hock
Had lots of vowels at the start and played AIA right in the middle. Probably should have changed instead as my opponent placed BAKE on top of it to score 38 points! He also set up a bingo line across the TWS with NOD and bingoed with mInNIES(83) front hooking NOD with the S! Had DEMOTES(73) late in the game but was too far behind to catch up.

New words learnt: CLEPT, SNOD
My Bingos: DEMOTES(73) Opp Bingos: mInNIES(83)
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: JAG(39), EX(39) Opp High Moves: BAKE(38), CLEPT(30), QI(31), ZIT(48)
L 374-417, -43. 1W 1L (Accum spread +89).

Game 3: vs Dewin
My first time playing with Dewin and he is a very polite guy who apologises for counting too slowly or overdrawing. He bingoed with RELISTS(91) first and I bingoed next with LINTERs(65) just below the TWS line. He tried FENnERS* later but was challenged off. I blocked one of the bingo lanes with EX but we realised after the game that two more bingo lanes were available: one back hooking the S to OLD and another front hooking the S to LINTERs. He put FENdERS(84) back hooking to OLD later not realising the existence of the other higher scoring bingo lane.

New words learnt: GOOPY
My Bingos: LINTERs(65) Opp Bingos: RELISTS(91), FENdERS(84)
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: FENnERS*, MOVEN*
My High Moves: PEH(31), QI(44), EX(32), MEAL(31), JUN(36) Opp High Moves: DEMON(34), ZANY(32), GOOPY(49), WEFT(30)
L 357-461,-104. 1W 2L (Accum spread -15).

Game 4: vs Lee Thiam Hock
My first time playing with Thiam Hock although I have seen him several times at tournaments. He started well with ZINEB(52). I scored badly as I was trying to fish for bingos. Tried UNGASSED* with a ADEGNSU rack through an S on the board but it was challenged off! Lost badly in the end!

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: - Opp Bingos: MASsAGES(70)
My Phoneys: UNGASSED* Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: LEWD(32) Opp High Moves: ZINEB(52), CRONY(35), DJINNI(44), FOE(32)
L 244-423, -179. 1W 3L (Accum spread -194).

Finished day 1 badly with 1 win and 3 losses in 12th position. Hope to do better the next day!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Pandora's Box

The film is adapted from a play and describes society in the late 20s through the life of a woman named Lulu. She has a very strong personality and affects the people around her subconsciously including her friends, her husband and her step son.

Liked the cute hairstyle of the lead actress played by Louise Brooks! She also acts very well and has great screen presence! The DVD extra features include a documentary "Looking for Lulu" that talks about the life of the actress and I find it very interesting too as it shows the actress acting in many other films and how her real life parallels that of the life of Lulu!

Internet Movie Database Link
Looking for Lulu

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Dog in the Manger

The story is adapted from a play that describes life in the Spanish court. The countess is jealous that her secretary has fallen in love with her maid and this affected the relationship among the three people.

Interesting to see the tricks up the sleeves of the countess! She is quite fickle minded though and I could empathise with the secretary's situation! Liked the nice looking costumes and the beautiful verses spoken!

Internet Movie Database Link