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)


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