Saturday, December 27, 2008

Women of the Night

This is about how women became prostitutes in post-war Japan told through the stories of a widow, her sister and her friend.

Interesting plot! Thought this might be a pre-cursor to "Life of Oharu" filmed four years later with the same lead actress, Tanaka Kinuyo, with a similar theme. Didn't really understand why she did not choose to stay in the women's home as it offered food and shelter with a lot of pros and very little cons.

Internet Movie Database Link

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea

This is a kids adaptation of the mermaid fairytale about how a small fish with magical powers fell in love with a five year old boy and wanted to become human after he scooped her up from the sea.

Liked the nice storyline, the cute fish/girl and the catchy soundtrack at the end of the film!

Internet Movie Database Link

Osaka Elegy

The story is about Ayako's fall in society when she accepted her boss's indecent proposal in order to raise money to save her father.

This film is part of the Criterion Eclipse Series 13 boxset also named as Kenji Mizoguchi's "Fallen Women". The other titles are "Sisters of the Gion", "Women of the Night" and "Streets of Shame".

Liked the nice storyline that explained Ayako's actions due to her circumstances! Thought she celebrated a little bit too soon towards the end though.

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hearts and Minds

This is a documentary about how the Americans got involved in the Vietnam War and its impact on both countries.

Liked the interviews with the people from the different sides and the newsreel clips! Gained a better understanding of this historic event after watching the film.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Elephant and the Sea

The film is about how a young man and middle aged man lived their lives after a mysterious disease struck their fishing village.

Liked the nice country side scenery and how the theme of emotional paralysis was elaborated through the performances of the two protagonists! Learnt a bit more about the film after the director revealed his influences by Hong Sang Soo during the Q&A. Realized that the prostitute scene with the middle aged man could have been adapted from a similar scene in "The Day a Pig Fell into the Well" while the young man's behavior could have been taken from "Turning Gate". The young man's friend's sister looked quite pretty in the pink dress!

Internet Movie Database Link

Story of a Prostitute

This is a love story between a prostitute serving the Japanese Army during the Second World War and a corporal.

Thought this film had a similar anti-war theme as the director's two other works: "Fighting Elegy" and "Gate of Flesh". Liked the manga visual style of the film, especially the surreal imagined scenes and the slow motion static shots! Nice story and great performance by the lead actress!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, December 13, 2008

For Every Minute I Live, I'll Enjoy Sixty Seconds

This is a documentary about how a retrenched middle aged man living in a small county town in Hunan spends his time.

Initially it was interesting to follow the protagonist around but got boring after a while as we realised how monotonous his life was! Reminds me of "Lim Poh Huat", a Singapore short film that describes how a Singaporean security guard working as a part time extra went about his day.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Nibelungen: Kriemhild's Revenge

This is a sequel to "The Nibelungen: Siegfried's Death". Following her husband's death, Kriemhild wanted to seek revenge on her husband's murder and plotted to do so after King Attila proposed to her.

King Attila had a very cool image and Kriemhild looked very scary with her vengeful eyes! Quite sad how the thought of revenge could destroy families and wreck havoc on entire nations. Liked how the contrast between the loyalty among the Nibelungens and the cold blooded actions of Kriemhild slowly built towards a grand finale in the end!

Internet Movie Database Link

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Cape No. 7

The story is about how the people living in a small town near the seaside formed their own band to perform at a beach party. Cape No. 7 is the address of an undelivered package that fell into the hands of one band member who is a postman.

Interesting to see the lives of the ordinary people in the small town! Liked the quirky old ex-postman and the enthusiastic drummer! The music was nice too! Didn't like the two main leads and the subplot about the story of the undelivered package.

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Nibelungen: Siegfried's Death

The story is about how the dragon slayer, Siegfried, helped his future brother-in-law win his bride through unfair means and suffered in the end because of this.

Liked the plot where it explained how Siegfried got his super powers, the special effects for the cute lethargic dragon and the great looking outdoor sets! Quite scary to think what could happen when two women quarrel!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Port of Call

The story is about how a girl from a broken family and with a secret past fell in love with a sailor.

Thought the girl looked a little bit like Reese Witherspoon! Interesting storyline and I liked how the relationship of the couple evolved with time!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Quantum of Solace

The story is about how a British spy called James Bond tracked down a mysterious organisation and helped a beautiful lady in the process.

Liked the big touch screen monitor at the headquarters as well as the cool Sony Ericsson phone! It was hard to follow the plot as it was a little bit convoluted but enjoyed the action sequences! Disappointed that there was little interaction between James Bond and Camille.

Internet Movie Database Link

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

The story is about how a lion, a giraffe, a zebra and a hippopotamus originally from the New York Zoo escaped from Madagascar where they were trapped in the first episode to land in Africa when their plane crashed.

Liked the slick moves performed by the lion, the funny dialogue and the interesting storyline!

Internet Movie Database Link

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Days and Nights in the Forest

The story is about four young men from the city spending their holiday in a chalet in the forest and how they met two beautiful ladies staying nearby.

Liked the funny moments, the nice tribal music in the background and the psychological tension towards the end!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Singapore Shorts Vol 2

This is a collection of 9 Singapore Shorts. Each of them has a family related theme.

Among the shorts in the DVD collection, I had seen "Match Made" at last year's Singapore International Film Festival, "Absence" at a Singapore shorts screening at National Museum, a large part of "Gourmet Baby" on television and "Yesterday’s Play" at Kinokuniya's DVD launch prior to this. I had also heard of "Imelda Goes to Singapore" at Biennale 2006. The other films are: "Labour of Love - The Housewife", "A Family Portrait", "Autopsy" and "Wet Season".

Liked the well crafted documentary in "Match Made", the music in "Imelda Goes to Singapore", the story of "Gourmet Baby" and "A Family Portrait" as well as the interesting use of animation in "Wet Season"! The two nieces in "Gourmet Baby" looked quite cute and the food looked delicious!

It was interesting to see how both "Yesterday’s Play" and "Autopsy" explore the mother and son relationship in their own ways! The former is shot as a single scene with monologues from both son and mother while the latter is shot as a series of flashback scenes coupled with a Q&A session between mother and son in the background.

Didn't really like the strange story in "Absence". I also felt that "Labour of Love - The Housewife" was stretched too long and tried too hard to drum its message to the audience.

Asian Film Archive Link

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Yamamura Showcase

This showcase consists of the following short animations:

Franz Kafka's A Country Doctor (2007, 21 min)
A Child's Metaphysics (2007, 5 min)
Fig (2006, 6 min)
The Old Crocodile (2005, 13 min)
Pieces (2003, 3 min)
Mt. Head (2002, 10 min)
Your Choice! (1999, 10 min)
Bavel's Book (1996, 6 min)
Kid's Castle (1995, 5 min)
Kipling Jr. (1995, 15 min)
A House (1993, 5 min)
The Sandwiches (1993, 5 min)
Imagination (1993, 5 min)
Perspektivenbox (1989, 4 min)
Japanese-English Pictionary (1989, 12 min)
Aquatic (1987, 5 min)

Was most impressed with "Mt. Head" by its interesting storyline and powerful narration! Felt quite sad when I watched "The Old Crocodile" and I thought "Franz Kafka's A Country Doctor" looked innovative! The series involving two birds: "A House", "The Sandwiches" and "Imagination" was quite cute too!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Freedom Project

The story is about how people fled earth to live on the moon because of an ecological disaster, how survivors from earth made contact many years later and how these two groups reconciled their differences.

Liked the exciting music from Utada Hikaru and the interesting characters! Nice storyline that is well paced!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sing to the Dawn

The story is about how the life of a group of Thai villagers changed with the construction of a casino.

Liked the nice songs and the strong storyline! Didn't really like the 3D animation as I thought the characters looked quite stiff. Might have enjoyed it better if they were done in the traditional 2D style.

Internet Movie Database Link

Monday, October 27, 2008

Piano Forest

The story is about how two guys became good friends through playing the piano. One was rich with his own practice room while the other had to play on an abandoned piano in the forest.

Liked the nice piano pieces and the friendship between the two guys who have quite different personalities!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, October 25, 2008

International Shorts Showcase 1

There are altogether seven shorts: "Yellow Sticky Notes", "Procrastination", "Fantasmagorie 2008", "Bloom", "Irresistible Smile", "Death By Scrabble" and "Mesh"

"Yellow Sticky Notes" shows the to-do lists of an animator from when he was still a student until he graduated and started working. "Procrastination" describes what it means to procrastinate. "Fantasmagorie 2008" is about the interaction between old and new digital animation. "Bloom" is based on an Indian folktale. "Irresistible Smile" describes a day's work of a flight attendant. "Death By Scrabble" describes the strange happenings when a couple played scrabble. "Mesh" is a mathematical video on the impact of geometry on science and how digitisation is used in computers.

Liked "Yellow Sticky Notes" as it was a personal account from an animator's perspective and "Mesh" as it was very informative!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


The film is made up of three short stories about life in Tokyo. "Interior Design" describes the small Tokyo apartments through a just-married couple, "Merde" describes the xenophobic Japanese through a dirty old foreign-looking man who created havoc in the streets. "Shaking Tokyo" describes how an extreme introvert who avoided eye contact with people and stayed indoors all the time changed after an earthquake struck.

Liked the innovative "Interior Design" and "Shaking Tokyo"! The twist towards the end of "Interior Design" was interesting and the pizza delivery girl in "Shaking Tokyo" looked quite cute! Thought the poster showed her in a hair salon but realised that it was her helmet! Didn't like "Merde" as I thought it was a little bit boring. The news anchor and the Japanese translator were the only saving grace of this segment of the film.

Internet Movie Database Link


The story is about the thirst for love told through a ballet dancer's relationships with her two lovers and the encounters of her recently widowed friend.

It was a little bit hard to follow the plot as there were many flashbacks and flashforwards. Thought some of the lines spoken were pretty well constructed and made a lot of sense!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Go West: A Lucky Luke Adventure

This is a Western about how a super hero called Lucky Luke helped a group of pioneers to travel from New York to California within 80 days while battling an evil salesman, the Daltons brothers who were bank robbers travelling with them under lock and chains as well as unfriendly Indians.

Thought the battle of wits between the bad guys and the good guys was interesting but some of the gags got a bit too repetitive at times! Nice exciting finale!

Internet Movie Database Link

Between dogs and wolves

This is a compilation of 8 short animations that are either about dogs or wolves.

"Three Little Pigs" made use of wire coils to create the shape of the animals and the narration was funny! "The White Wolf" was about how a pair of brothers made friends with a wolf in the jungle and it was interesting but certain scenes were a little bit sad. "AP 2000" was exciting as it described how the fleas on a dog fought against the latest anti-flea micro-robots in computer-game style!

Fell asleep during "Last Howl" and "Marvelously Grey", so not really sure what the stories were about. "Ponpon the Dog" was very nicely done as it described the flashbacks of a dog just before it was about to be hit by a truck! "Raining Dogs" was too abstract for me and I wasn't sure what was going on. "Dog Days" had a very innovative script about how a baby girl and a male baby dog accidentally switched families one day and their life stories years later!

Sunday, September 28, 2008


The story is about a young man's encounter with vampires in a small town.

Liked the eerie atmosphere and the great special effects! The old vampire looked very scary!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, September 27, 2008

ISBG Scrabble Games 2008

The ISBG Scrabble games is held every two years, for statutory boards to take part in a friendly game of Scrabble. It was held at the PUB Recreation Center on 27th September 2008 from 9am to 5pm. 15 statutory boards are divided into four groups where round robin matches are played to select the top two teams from each group. This is then followed by a series of elimination rounds to decide the top 4 positions.

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

Our first game was against NParks.

Game 1: NParks
Had a bye for my first game so I had a good walk around to see how the other players were doing. Noticed that the IRAS team was quite bored as they were in group A where there were only 3 teams and they had a bye in the first round. HDB and CPF had excess players and they were having practice matches against themselves. I also saw Adeline's end game where she tried AZOS* and ZOAS* in succession and they were challenged off by her opponent! Do you know what is the only back hook for AZO?[1]

My team won the match 4-1!

Our second game was against LTA.

Game 2: LTA
My opponent was a jovial man with a loud voice. Saw him previously at the final game of this year's PSTAR tournament as he was sitting diagonally across me. Had ADEIMT? at one time but gave up thinking of a bingo out of it. There are 10 anagrams for it out of which two are common words![2]. I overtook him when I bingoed with RADIAnS(70) but he was not far behind as he scored steadily. Had a lot of vowels subsequently and I exchanged several times while allowing my opponent to score heavily with EX(36) and SUQ(47). Thought I had a chance when I challenged off his TEB* in the final few moves but he scored with BrUISE(28) along the TWS lane on his next move and I lost.

Lost my second game with 357 vs 378. Our team also lost the match 2-3.

Our third game was against NUS.

Game 3: NUS
Had a relatively easier time when I surged ahead after my opponent played OB just next to the TWS lane and I bingoed with TAPERED(103). I scored steadily while keeping the board close. He had a bingo later with LAYINGs(77) but it was a bit too late. Adeline did very well against Karthik who was one of the most experienced masters player from NUS! She was trailing until she bingoed with a EHIKOOS rack[3] just above the TWS lane and scored big again with MATH underneath. It was a close match and she managed to win by just a few points.

Won my third game with 454 vs 314. Our team also won the match 3-2.

It was an interesting situation after the end of all the small group matches as NUS, LTA and DSTA all have 2 wins and 1 loss. NUS beat LTA 3-2, lost to DSTA 2-3 and won NParks 5-0. LTA lost to NUS 2-3, won DSTA 3-2 and won NParks 5-0. DSTA beat NUS 3-2, lost to LTA 2-3 and won NParks 4-1.

First step to unravel the dead-knot was to look at the matches involving just the 3 teams. All 3 teams had a 1-1 match record and 5-5 games record. Next step was to look at the matches involving all 4 teams. It was here where we lost out. All 3 teams had a 2-1 match record but both NUS and LTA had a 10-5 record while DSTA only had a 9-6 record. NUS was named group champion as they beat LTA in their head-to-head match.

I wonder what would happen if we also beat NParks by 5-0. The rules did not spell out how they would differentiate the sub-group rankings in this case. Hmm, maybe it should have been more comprehensive to cover all possible scenarios.

Packet lunch in the form of seafood fried rice was provided by the organisers. It was not very good! After lunch, some of us went back home while Jiang Pern and Adeline stayed back to play a few more informal games. Learnt later that LTA won 1st place, NUS 2nd, HDB 3rd and CAAS 4th.

Quiz answers (Highlight to see clearly):

[1] AZON

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Please Vote for Me

This is a documentary about the class monitor elections in one of the primary schools in China. Three primary 3 students have been shortlisted and they have one week to convince their classmates why they should be class monitor.

A very funny film that touches on the lives of the students and their parents! It was interesting to see how people react in different situations!

Internet Movie Database Link

Though I am Gone

This is a documentary about an old man recollecting what happened to her wife during the Cultural Revolution.

A very depressing movie as we learnt about the atrocities performed by the students in the name of ideology! Would be interesting if the director could interview one of the Red Guards but there was no "the-other-side-of-the-story" to be heard. Learnt about the existence of a Cultural Revolution Museum from the protagonist. Would like to visit it if I have the chance!

Friday, September 19, 2008


The story is about how a Japanese soldier decided to commit seppuku (the act of killing oneself by slitting one's belly open) and his wife's reaction to it. This is an adaptation of the director's own short story.

Liked the silent film look and feel, the minimalistic noh theater setup as well as the great acting by the actor and actress!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, September 14, 2008


The story is about how a young man dreamed of building an Opera house in the jungles of Peru. He encountered many difficulties and even had to drag a streamboat across a mountain in the process!

Had a pleasant surprise initially when I saw that Claudia Cardinale was the lead actress but realised that it had been almost twenty years since she acted in Fellini's "8 1/2" and Visconti's "The Leopard". She still looked beautiful but not as young as before. Liked the nice jungle adventure and the great acting by Klaus Kinski!

Internet Movie Database Link

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Decalogue

This is a 10 1-hour episode TV series made in Poland that is loosely based on the Catholic Ten Commandments.

Liked the excellent script and the modern interpretation of the commandments! It is interesting to see how each character is placed in a situation where he or she has to make a moral choice where there is no clear right or wrong! Episodes 2, 3 and 8 are the most boring while episode 10 is the most funny! Episodes 4, 5 and 7 are pretty good but my favorites would be episodes 1, 6 and 9!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, September 06, 2008

PSTAR Scrabble Games 2008

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 6th Sep 2008 from 10am to 5pm. A total of 38 teams 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.

Chew Chuah helped to draw our first pairings for MINDEF 1 and it was against the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) team 1. MINDEF 2 played against the all girls team from CPF 2. I saw that Peng Kee was really happy with his draw!

Game 1: MEWR 1
Had a bye as my opponent could not make it on time. Played a friendly game with Linda from Ngee Ann Polytechnic instead. My luck was pretty good! I bingoed with TEARIES*(74) and AILERON(73). What are the 2 anagrams for AEEIRST ?[1] I also guessed correctly the "C" front hook for OFF and scored with CHAIN(59) by hitting the triple word cell. Linda could only bingo with BARTENDED(75). If only this was an actual game where it really mattered!

Our team won the match by 3-0.

Next game was against IRAS 2.

Game 2: IRAS 2
I played against Chris who was from the same reservist camp as me! It was a closed board with no bingos from either of us. I scored big when he opened up the triple word score lane with WaRNS(40) and JET(39) by capitalising on the double letter score. Was lucky to be able to play my Z late in the game with ZETA(23). If not, the score line could have gone the other way round.

Won 310-280. Our team won convincingly with 3-0.

Had free lunch catered for us after our second game and it was delicious!

Our third game was against CPF 1. Hmm, I remembered our third game at last year's PSTAR games was against them too!

Game 3: CPF 1
I played against Chee Keong, the same player whom I played last year. JP and CC had a switch of opponent from last year. Missed my opponent's opening phoney HINE*. He bingoed with SWaYERS(88) and scored big with sEZ(64) and OX(38). My only big scores were OATH(44) across the triple word lane and PEAK(35). Maybe I should have blocked when my opponent played OVER with the O hovering underneath the triple letter cell. Didn't realise he had the Z!

Lost 324-403. Our team won with 2-1.

After 3 rounds, MINDEF 1 was placed in the top category that consisted of the top 6 teams: HDB 1, HDB 2, LTA 1, MINDEF 1, MOE 1 and NP 1.

Our final game is against HDB 2.

Game 4: HDB 2
I played against David. Our scores were neck-in-neck after both of us scored one bingo each. I had SoRRIES*(74) while he had InTRUDE(68). What are the 2 anagrams for EIORRSS ?[2] I was leading slightly towards the end until he scored with JOBS(37) to pull ahead.

Lost 375-391. Our team lost narrowly with 1-2.

In the end, MINDEF 1 came in 4th placing among the top category teams. We beat MOE 1 and HDB 1 who both lost 1-2 in terms of spread. LTA 1 came in 1st, NP 1 came in 2nd and HDB 2 came in 3rd. MINDEF 2 had a pretty good showing too with 2 wins and 2 losses! Had fun seeing so many familiar faces! Hope we could do even better next year!

Quiz answers (highlight to see clearly)


Sunday, August 31, 2008


This film is adapted from a Japanese manga and it is about a girl growing up in a brothel and becoming the top prostitute.

Liked the colorful kimonos and the nice soundtrack! The lead actress, Anna Tsuchiya, was a pretty interesting character too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, August 30, 2008


This is a follow up to "Broken Blossoms" and it is a documentary about the director's role as a woman, a wife and a mother.

Liked the last segment best as I thought the director's daughter was very cute! It was also interesting to see how a midwife clinic worked!

Broken Blossom

This is a documentary about the impact of the director's miscarriage on her.

Liked the scene where the director talked about her feelings towards the miscarriage! I also learnt a bit more about her during the Q&A session later!

Birth / Mother

This is a documentary about the director's grandmother and how she gave birth to a baby son.

Liked the reality TV style with the extreme close up shots!

Internet Movie Database Link

The Banishment

The story is about what happens when a gangster went to stay in the countryside with his family that consists of his wife, his son and his daughter. Their peaceful lives were disrupted by a bunch of unexpected events.

The countryside scenery was beautiful and the portrayal of the husband-wife relationship was interesting! Didn't quite understand the last bit of the flashback towards the end though so I was not as moved as I thought I would be.

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Eternal Breasts

The story is about the life of a female poet who died at an early age due to breast cancer.

The pacing was slow and I thought the story could have been condensed! One thing that puzzled me was the relationship between the poet and the reporter towards the end.

Internet Movie Database Link

Love Letter

The story is about the plight of Japanese women who served the US soldiers during the second World War. After the war, they had to pay someone who knew English to write love letters to their former lovers to ask for money to survive.

Considering that it was a debut effort by Tanaka Kinuyo, it was not too bad! Thought it could be improved by deleting unimportant scenes which did not contribute to the main storyline.

Internet Movie Database Link


This is a documentary about the world of crossword puzzles.

Pretty comprehensive! Learnt a bit about the creators of the puzzles as well as the interesting people who do the puzzles both as a recreation and competitively! Didn't know that Bill Clinton liked to do crossword puzzles too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Wanderer's Notebook

The story is about how a woman called Fumiko struggles to survive and eventually becomes a successful writer.

Liked the sequence where Fumiko tried to find a job but was rejected repeatedly. Some parts were really funny!

Internet Movie Database Link

Ginza Cosmetics

The story is about the life of a middle aged bar hostess who has to support her young son.

Felt that this was like a precursor to "When a Woman Ascends the Stairs" which was made 9 years later! Thought the director has improved on his story telling skills in WWAS by presenting just the core ideas that he wanted to transmit to the audience.

Internet Movie Database Link

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sandakan No. 8

The story is about the plight of poor Japanese girls who were sent overseas to work as prostitutes in the early 20th century. This is told through flashbacks from an old Japanese woman to a researcher whom she befriended.

Liked the friendship forged between the researcher and the old Japanese woman! Nice story and the use of silence during two key scenes were pretty effective!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Mad about English

This is a documentary on how the people from China learned English in preparation for the Beijing Olympics. These included an elderly man who wanted to be an Olympics volunteer, a taxi driver who wanted to converse well with tourists, a young student who wanted a better future, an English tutor who wanted to spread his teachings and a foreigner who wanted to get rid of every wrongly translated signs.

It was interesting to see how enthusiastic the people were about learning English! I thought the multi-lingual police was quite funny when he imitated the New York accent! The sales people at the Silk Market were pretty good too!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Spirit Compendium

The story centers around a special book that is able to provide answers to your queries. A guy used this book to solve a few problems faced by him and his house mates during the hungry ghost festival.

The cast was pretty good looking and the outdoor scenes looked beautiful! I also liked the songs and the special sound effects used whenever something supernatural was encountered!

My Dad is a Priest

The story is about the relationship of a father and a son. The son is still studying in school while the father is a priest who is slowly losing his memory because of a recently diagnosed alzheimer's disease.

Liked the simple storyline and the close father-son relationship depicted! Thought the father acted really well when he showed the effects of alzheimer's disease!

La bete humaine

The story is about the dark side of human nature shown through the encounters of a worker at a railway station.

Liked the nice country side view during the train rides and the in-depth study of the psychology of the characters!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, July 26, 2008


The story is about what happened after a high school student discovered that she was pregnant. She decided to go through the pregnancy and got someone to adopt her baby.

The plot is straight forward but the director captured the relationship among Juno, her parents, her friends and the adoptive parents pretty well! Minus point would be that it was a little bit too wordy and the teenagers used some slang that was difficult to understand.

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Scrabble Nationals 2008 (Day Two)

There were a few casualties at the start of day two. Kum Zi Peng and Gan Cher Siong dropped out from div A, Lester Phong, Dinna Lim and Low Bee Theang dropped out from div B. This tested the skill of the tournament director to do a proper pairing so that those who were absent would meet each other. The proper pairings was eventually done with the help of Tony and Wei Bin. If there was a TD handbook, this should probably be one of the FAQ.

Game 5: vs Shahrul
Managed to close up the gap to about 18 points after my opponent scored his second bingo but he extended his lead further with AKE(30) and HEXING(39) towards the end of the game and I lost.

New words learnt: INDOLES, HEXING
My Bingos: - Opp Bingos: CHARRING(76), INDOLES(65)
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: ABE*
My High Moves: QI(46), FILTH(36), ZIT(35) Opp High Moves: BEES(30), AKE(30), HEXING(39)
L 409-364, -45. 2W 3L (Accum spread -92).

Game 6: vs Timothy Tan
Played badly at the start as I had lots of vowels and I played them for very few points while allowing my opponent to score big. Improved a little bit towards the end as I managed to score big with some of my tiles but couldn't catch up by then.

New words learnt: MOULDERS
My Bingos: DESIRES(70), LANTERNS(74) Opp Bingos: MOULDERS(71)
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: XI(34), CUBIT(30), WRIT(39), HENRY(34) Opp High Moves: KI(33), QADI(72)
L 390-416, -26. 2W 4L (Accum spread -118).

Had a birthday celebration for the tournament director after our second game and everyone in both division A and B were given a slice of cake each. I happened to be queueing after Serene and Yen Nee. Heard Serene requesting to have a small piece while Yen Nee wanted an extra large piece. Hmm, thought it should have been the other way round to balance things up?

Game 7: vs Eden Choo
Close game! Managed to edge out a win despite being outbingoed two to one.

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: TARDIER(82) Opp Bingos: DILUTES(66), INSTEAD(71)
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: COEDITS*
My High Moves: QATS(33), TWIRLED(45), VAU(31), FY(31), WINCE(39) Opp High Moves: WHIZ(43), TAK(31), OX(50), SIDE(32)
W 447-438, +9. 3W 4L (Accum spread -109).

After our 3rd game, I went to a nearby food center together with Winston, Victor and Timothy for lunch.

Game 8: vs Khamis
Khamis played the same phoney "ABE" as Shahrul in an earlier game. Think this must be one of the more common three letter phoneys played. Lost as I was outbingoed two to none.

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: - Opp Bingos: ENTAILED(61), FIGURES(72)
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: ABE*
My High Moves: JOLLY(46), HUB(32), YON(42), PAN(32) Opp High Moves: AXE(36), WHET(37), FUNS(33)
L 343-393, -50. 3W 5L (Accum spread -159).

Game 9: vs Soo Yi Wei
Had a comfortable lead after the first few moves and I extended my lead further towards the end with DITZ(47).

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: RIOTERS(70) Opp Bingos: -
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: AF*
My High Moves: CRAFT(32), FY(38), WAIST(34), WE(36), DITZ(47) Opp High Moves: -
W 463-210, +253. 4W 5L (Accum spread +94).

Game 10: vs Ruby Sim
Had a comfortable lead after I scored two bingos early in the game. I maintained my lead with a bit of help from Ruby who phonied twice and changed her tiles several times.

New words learnt: CARL
My Bingos: BEARING(63), TAINTED(73) Opp Bingos: -
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: ZIENS*, UVO*
My High Moves: - Opp High Moves: WOWS(40), ZA(37), AD(30), VIES(36)
W 449-322, +127. 5W 5L (Accum spread +221).

Game 11: vs Eden Choo
Played Eden once again in this KOTH round. Realised that I was really rusty when I took a long time to think of a bingo with a AEINTT? rack. Wanted the blank to be an S and in the 3rd position so that I could have a double double. Eden scored big in the middle of the game and extended his lead with a late bingo in the game.

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: INSTATE(80) Opp Bingos: GLINTED(74)
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: QIS(42) Opp High Moves: DJINS(33), JEE(32), ORAD(30), WIZ(42)
L 347-428, -81. 5W 6L (Accum spread +140).

Game 12: vs Ganapathy
Would have wanted to win the last game so that I could at least have an equal number of wins and losses but I really had no form in this game and lost badly.

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: - Opp Bingos: STARTED(74), STAPLED(75)
My Phoneys: WAM* Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: IWI(30), OOM(30) Opp High Moves: FAX(34), FURY(42), ZEE(32), ROUND(31)
L 287-479, -192. 5W 7L (Accum spread -52).

Finished the tournament with 5 wins and out of top 10. Hope to do better next year!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Scrabble Nationals 2008 (Day One)

This year's Nationals is once again held at Toa Payoh West CC. I went earlier in the hope of catching the masters players in action and saw Jiang Pern doing a post game analysis with his opponent as he just narrowly lost by 1 point. Had lunch and played a friendly game with Ruby before division B officially started.

Game 1: vs Winston Gwee
Our scores were neck in neck until the last few moves. I got away with STERILED* when I back hooked ZED to an existing STERILE on the board. Think I had mixed it up with STERILISED. Anyway, I made a silly mistake on my last move. I played GIN for 19 points, forgetting that Winston also had an "A" on his rack and he managed to bingo out with ERASION to win!

New words learnt: AWNER
My Bingos: TRIPLET(79) Opp Bingos: STERILE(73), ERASION(76)
My Phoneys: STERILED* Opp Phoneys: JUTED*
My High Moves: PRY(32), ZED(42), AWNER(43) Opp High Moves: BOX(61), TAJ(30), QI(31), WOK(39)
L 406-474, -68. 0W 1L (Accum spread -68).

Game 2: vs Lester Phong
He pulled ahead after his ROSEATE bingo. Mistakenly thought that HOE had no front hook but Lester promptly put EAGLES down the triple lane on his turn. I managed to narrow the gap with JET(36) and XI(38) but lost the game effectively after he scored heavily with DWEEBS(40) down the triple lane. For my last move, I could have saved 15 spread points if I had played CWM instead of BEAGLES.

New words learnt: ROSEATE, INTIL, DWEEBS
My Bingos: - Opp Bingos: ROSEATE(72)
My Phoneys: DICY* Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: ZAS(38), JET(36), XI(38) Opp High Moves: NOMAD(30), QI(33), DWEEBS(40)
L 302-378, -76. 0W 2L (Accum spread -144).

Game 3: vs zzBye
Played a friendly game with Lester's girlfriend during my bye. She was lucky with several bingos like CATFISH and TRAIPSED. Tried PERTInG* when I had a ?EGIPRT rack but was challenged off!

W 150-100, +50. 1W 2L (Accum spread -94).

Game 4: vs Ganapathy
Mistakenly thought that RAINING(79) had no front hook when I was deciding how to back hook the "N" of my bingo to an existing PROVE on the board. In fact, there were four possible front hooks! Ganapathy scored very well despite having no bingo but I maanged to pull ahead with my second bingo TOILETS(70) when he opened up with CENTS(15).

New words learnt: GRAINING, FANNY
My Bingos: RAINING(79), TOILETS(70) Opp Bingos: -
My Phoneys: GOF* Opp Phoneys: NES*, JUDE*, JUDES*
My High Moves: - Opp High Moves: PIE(37), AGON(33), BREWS(48), FANNY(53)
W 427-380, +47. 2W 2L (Accum spread -47).

Finished day 1 with 2 wins and 2 losses.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Help Me Eros

The story revolves around the lives of an unemployed person, his counsellor and a group of betel nut sellers.

Liked the surreal scenes of the cosplay sequence and the acrobatic sex sequence! Most of the other scenes were a little bit boring though.

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, July 13, 2008


The story is about how an autistic girl fought her way to retrieve money from people who owed her mother money. Her mother was the lover of a Thai gangster but fell in love with a Japanese man.

Thought the autistic girl had a cool pose when she was a baby! Pretty impressed by her ball catching skill when she became bigger too! Nice martial arts action! My favorite move would be the one where she bent backwards to slide under a table while avoiding a flying cart!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, July 12, 2008

5th Singapore Short Cuts

Saw five shorts at this first free screening at National Museum:

Lorong 27 by Kenny Tan
- Interesting story about an exchange student's adventure during his stay at his host's place at Geylang Lorong 27!

Pontianak by Raihan Harun
- Quite a scary story about a mother who died from child birth and who wanted to take her living daughter away too!

Lim Poh Huat by Lee Wong
- Interesting story about an ordinary guy who works as a security guard full time as an extra part time!

Embryo by Loo Zihan
- An abstract piece which I had no idea what it was about!

Zo Gang + Zo Hee by Jacen Tan
- Two very humorous pieces! A little bit sick of the main protagonist in the end as he was always complaining but I learnt a lot about the problems faced by film makers! The girl at the substation looked quite cute!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Pierrot le Fou

The story is about a married man leaving his wife and kids to go on a journey with his babysitter.

Liked the interesting dialogue between the couple and how the different settings and genres were used! The couple would be on a beautiful island at one moment and then driving around in the city at the next moment. The genre would switch from romance, action, crime and even to a musical! All of them were nicely gelled together!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Beyond the Clouds

This consists of four short stories on the relationship between man and woman. They are linked by a narrator who is a director walking around Italy looking for inspiration.

Liked the first and the last short story! Thought that the narration was a little bit too wordy though! The last short story reminded me a bit of "Beyond Sunrise" made in the same year. Both had a couple talking to each other about small little things while walking around in the city.

Internet Movie Database Link


The story is about a few days in the life of a British photographer living in London during the sixties. The title refers to a darkroom technique of enlarging the details of a photograph to see them more clearly.

Was expecting an action packed movie with lots of explosions when I saw the title of the movie but this film had none of those. Nevertheless, I liked the psychological study on the lead actor and the innovative ending that summarised the overall theme of the film very well!

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Antonio Gaudi

This is a documentary on the architecture of a Spanish architect called Antonio Gaudi.

Liked how the buildings incorporated elements of nature like trees and sea shells into the design! They looked very nice!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Red Desert

The story is about the psychological trauma that resulted after a woman got into a car accident.

Liked the strange soundtrack that sounded like music from outerspace. It reminded me of "Solaris"! I was also reminded of "Woman In the Dunes" made in the same year while watching the film. The dialogue was pretty interesting with lots of nice catch phrases! Great acting by Monica Vitti who played the neurotic housewife very well!

Internet Movie Database Link

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I-San Special

The story is about a bus trip from Bangkok to a small town in NorthEast Thailand. The passengers behaved normally off the bus but became actors of a radio drama when they boarded the bus.

The radio drama worked pretty well despite having the plain bus interior as backdrop! It was also interesting to see how the real life of the passengers mirrored the one acted out in the radio drama!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Vanquished

The film consists of three short stories. Each story is about youths that commit crime out of boredom during post war Europe.

Liked the opening scene that explained the objective of the film very clearly through the narration and newspaper cuttings! All the three stories were interesting in their own ways! The girl in the "Rome" episode looked the prettiest in my opinion!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, June 21, 2008


This is a documentary about China during the middle of the Cultural Revolution in 1972. It is divided into three parts and describes Beijing, Henan, Suzhou, Nanjing and Shanghai.

Liked the narration that explained Chinese culture through activities such as acupuncture, taiji, acrobat and culinary delights as well as the depiction of ordinary folks at home, at play and in school! Especially liked the song and dance performance by the nursery school kids!

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

The story is about the adventure of three female strippers driving across the desert.

Wonder how many movies have three or more exclamation marks in its title? Liked the exciting comic book type action and the funny dialogue in the film! The characters were interesting too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Monday, June 16, 2008


This is a documentary on the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Liked the opening scenes for both parts of the film! Each of them showcased the beauty of the human body in a different way! The individual events were interesting to watch too! The tension among the competitors and the enthusiasm among the supporters were well depicted!

Part 1 Internet Movie Database Link
Part 2 Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Last Mistress

The story is about a playboy who decides to bid farewell to his last mistress and get married. He recounts his past love story to his prospective grandmother a few days before his marriage.

Liked the interesting psychological study on the relationship between men and women! The new wife played by Roxane Mesquida looked quite pretty and she looked very nice in the green coat!

Internet Movie Database Link

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

The story is about how Prince Caspian returned to power after being forced into exile by his evil uncle with the help of four teenagers and a group of creatures who lived in the land of Narnia.

Some parts of the film reminded me a little bit of "Lord of the Rings". Liked Susan who looked quite pretty and Lucy who looked very cute! Susan looked very smart when she was shooting arrows at her enemies!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Come Drink With Me

The story is about the battle between a female government agent called the Golden Swallow and a group of bandits who kidnapped her brother.

Saw this movie at the National Museum "Under the Banyan Tree" screening which was a free-of-charge outdoor screening at night. Liked the nicely choreographed martial arts moves! The Golden Swallow looked quite cool and the musical pieces were interesting! I thought "A Touch of Zen" by the same director was slightly better though.

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chariots of Fire

The story is about how a group of friends trained hard to represent England in the 1924 Olympic Games athletics event.

The soundtrack was quite famous and I often heard it during my secondary school days. I also got interested after watching clips of it from one episode of the "Fuwa" TV series about the adventures of the Beijing Olympics mascot. Liked how it focused more on the human relationship rather than on the training technique alone!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, May 24, 2008

2008 Singapore Open Scrabble Championship

Took a ride from Winston to Anchorvale CC and was surprised to be greeted by a bunch of friendly students! They helped with the registration process and passed us our goodie bag as well as our personalised sticker.

Pre-tournament Practice: vs Victor Gwee
Had a practice game with Victor before the start of the tournament and was thrashed by him who outbingoed me three to one. :( Managed to find DOVeTAIL from ADILOTV?, can you find the other valid anagram?[1]

New words learnt: CONNERS(78)
My Bingos: DOVeTAIL(72) Opp Bingos: CONNERS(78), STRIpED(98), LAIRISE(63)
My Phoneys: NEX* Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: ZOL(32), DEAF(36), KEX(33), QAT(30) Opp High Moves: HALVE(30), JOR(38), WAIS(47), THREE(36), WANT(35)
L 323-511, -188.

Game 1: vs Ismail
Didn't have a good track record with Ismail, so wasn't feeling too confident. Had an ADIONRU rack at one turn with a floating T on the board and was deciding whether OUTDRAIN* or DRAINOUT* looked more valid. Decided that both might be wrong and played off OU in the end. Can you find the valid anagram that I missed?[2] I also got away with a phoney VARIEST* with an AEIRSTV rack, can you find the 3 valid anagrams?[3]

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: VARIEST*(77) Opp Bingos: URINAtED(68), SOLvENT(63)
My Phoneys: VARIEST*(77) Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: BEZ(34), JIG(31), HAND(36) Opp High Moves: PAW(33), FAINTER(42), HIVE(37)
L 330-436, -106. 0W 1L (Accum spread -106).

Game 2: vs Winston
Pulled away after scoring two bingos, but allowed Winston to narrow the gap towards the end when he bingoed with two blanks on his rack. Bingoed with REPRISE with a EEIPRRS rack. Can you find the other 3 valid anagrams of which one is a common word?[4]

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: REPRISE(76), DEADENS(75) Opp Bingos: KNEeLEd(75)
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: RIO*
My High Moves: QIS(36), MY(32), TAX(54) Opp High Moves: FEZ(30), HONE(38)
W 410-353, +57. 1W 1L (Accum spread -49).

Packet lunch was provided after the end of the second game. Had fried rice with vegetables, fried chicken drumstick and fishball which were not too bad! Was already looking forward to the tea break to be held at the end of the tournament!

Game 3: vs Bye
Had a bye after lunch and wanted to tour around the CC but realised that there was really nothing much to see as construction work was still ongoing.

W 100-50, +50. 2W 1L (Accum spread +1).

Game 4: vs Ang Chew Chuah
Both of us changed tiles several times but my rack remained terrible until I managed to close the gap by bingoing with INVITER(100) down the triple score lane front hooking the V to an existing ENDINGS on the board.

New words learnt: -
My Bingos: INVITER(100) Opp Bingos: SeASONS(82), ENDINGS(73)
My Phoneys: MIU*, MIN* Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: JUS(32) Opp High Moves: ZA(31), BAND(33)
L 352-432, -80. 2W 2L (Accum spread -79).

Game 5: vs Chen Huang Zhi
Was feeling confident as I had a very good record against Huang Zhi. He missed a chance to score big when he played the Z on a double word score cell to form Z?, REZ and ER? but announced the blank to be O instead of A. I promptly challenged off ERo* once he confirmed the end of his turn!

New words learnt: LICH
My Bingos: MOOdIER(76), SEALING(74) Opp Bingos: -
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: ERO*
My High Moves: QAID(34), TAJ(30), FOP(32) Opp High Moves: XI(34), SeZ(36)
W 526-266, +260. 3W 2L (Accum spread +181).

Game 6: vs Ismail
In 4th position with the last KOTH round to be played. Had a good chance to come in top three if I won this game but my hope was dashed when he bingoed twice towards the end of the game to win by almost 150 points.

New words learnt: ZOIST
My Bingos: - Opp Bingos: ASTOUND(67), OTARINE(70)
My Phoneys: - Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: HIVES(37), AFT(31) Opp High Moves: ZOIST(71), JANE(38)
L 290-431, -141. 3W 3L (Accum spread +40).

Post-tournament leisure game: vs Ang Chew Chuah
Played a leisure game with Chew Chuah while waiting for the prize presentation ceremony. Thought I could avenge myself but was thrashed by him again. Learnt two interesting words: OOSPERM and SPOOR from this game though.

New words learnt: OOSPERM, SPOOR
My Bingos: - Opp Bingos: SADDeNS(79), OOSPERM(91)
My Phoneys: LURVINGS* Opp Phoneys: -
My High Moves: MOG(36), QIS(30) Opp High Moves: LUNGY(33), CHUNK(30)
L 286-420, -134

Had teabreak after the prize presentation and it was delicious! Especially liked the chocolate cake and the nice hot tea! Came in 5th out of 9 players in the end. Hope to do better during the upcoming Nationals in July!

Answers: Highlight to see clearly


Monday, May 19, 2008

Red Psalm

The story is about a group of Hungarian peasants revolting against the authorities during the late 19th century.

The movie was full of symbolism and pretty hard to understand. Liked the nice songs and the neat mass choreography though!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Kidz in the Hood

The story is about an African girl asking a tattooed Swedish rock band guitarist to be her foster parent after her grandfather passed away.

Interesting musical that combines rock and hip hop! Thought the African girl's classmate cum neighbour was a little bit too smart alecky for her own good though.

Internet Movie Database Link

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Ear

The story is about a couple returning home from a party and finding it bugged with listening devices. The wife refers to them as "The Ear" which gives rise to the movie title. The director shot the movie in Czechoslovakia after the Russian invasion in 1970 and it was banned for many years.

Liked the nice black and white cinematography as well as the pychological drama on the couple's relationship! Thought it was more direct and intense than "The Lives of Others"!

Internet Movie Database Link

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism

The film starts off as a documentary on a famous psychotherapist called Wilhelm Reich. It then digresses to discuss about the relationship between national ideology and personal love through a fictional story on two Yugoslavian girls.

Interesting to see how the different ideas seemed to talk about the same thing when combined together! Liked the nice Russian choral music and the studious look of the female lead when she wore her spectacles!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Speed Racer

The story is adapted from a comic book and describes the dark side of professional car racing through the Racer family.

The car tracks are beautifully constructed just like a roller coaster and the special gadgets equipped in the cars are very interesting! Also liked how the family helped each other during a period of crisis!

Internet Movie Database Link

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


The story is about the school life of a young English boy from a single-parent family and how he trained a falcon to be his pet.

Nice story and great acting by the little boy! Learnt a bit more about the education system in Britain during the late 60s.

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, May 04, 2008

In the Realm of the Senses

This is based on a true story about an obsessive love affair between a man and his servant, Sada, in pre-war Japan.

The theme of obsession was very well illustrated in the film! Liked how focused the couple were in experimenting and indulging in their sensual pleasures! The dream sequences by Sada were pretty interesting too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Iron Man

The story is about how a rich technopreneur, Tony Stark, in the defense industry decided to stop manufacturing weapons and go into the human-robotics interface field. It is adapted from a Marvel comics of the same title.

Gwyneth Paltrow, who acted as Tony Stark's personal assistant, wore many pretty dresses in this show! Liked the systematic way by which Tony Stark tested and improved his prototype as well as his working relationship with his personal home robot!

Internet Movie Database Link

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Andrei Rublev

The story is about the life of a Russian painter called Andrei Rublev during the early 1400s.

Learnt a bit about Russian history from the film and the interesting people that Andrei Rublev met! Liked the nice cinematography that showcased the beautiful Russian landscape and the grace of the horses!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Two or Three Things I Know About Her

The story is about life in Paris during the late sixties seen through the eyes of a housewife.

The "concrete jungle" aspect of Paris is shown quite nicely! The narration is a little bit soft as if the narrator is trying to whisper some secret to the audience but the ideas presented are quite interesting!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Manufactured Landscapes

This is a documentary about the works of a Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky. He likes to film gigantic man-made structures such as factories, quarries, harbors, dams and industrial waste.

Liked the part on the life of the factory workers! Pretty amazed by the skills of one of the workers! She assembled an electronic gadget very quickly and seemingly without any effort at all!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Sex is Zero 2

This is a comedy about college student life in Korea that describes the students' attitudes towards sexuality. It is also a sequel to "Sex is Zero" which is widely considered to be the Korean version of "American Pie". The first movie concentrated on how the lead actor who was in the martial arts club tried ways and means to get acquainted with the girls in the aerobics club. This time round, he is shown to have a top swimmer as a girlfriend at the very start.

The ridiculous tricks that college students played on each other were just as funny and gross as in the original movie but there was less emphasis on the aesthetics of sexuality this time round. Guess what makes a difference in this sequel is the depiction of the relationship between the lead actor and his girlfriend. The ups and downs in the relationship made me feel happy and sad accordingly and I thought some scenes were particularly touching!


Friday, April 18, 2008

The Travelling Players

The story describes the history of Greece from 1939 to 1952 through a group of theatre actors who travels to different towns to showcase their performance.

Liked the songs and dances in the film! The announcements in the streets and the three narrators did a good job providing the background knowledge on the rest of the film! The unhurried pace, long shots and circular camera movements also gave a sense of the gradual flow of history.

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, April 13, 2008


The story is about how the poor in the Philippines had to beg, borrow or steal to survive and how religion and politics influenced their lives.

The opening scene of the police raid was nicely executed! I gained a better understanding of how the poor people in the Philippines operated but didn't like how the film was fragmented with no main storyline.

Flower in the Pocket

The story is about how two Malaysian brothers with a workaholic father spent their time in school, outside school and at home. They didn't have a mother and the title refers to a Malaysian tradition of putting a flower in the pocket during Mother's Day.

Liked how the film showed the Malaysian way of life through the eyes of the two brothers! The director seemed to be quietly observing how things would turn out and adding a little bit of humour in certain scenes.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Little Girl of Hanoi

The story is about the encounters of a little girl after her home got bombed by the Americans towards the end of 1972. Filmed in 1973, the scenes of destruction were all shot on location and they were very realistic.

The little girl looked quite cute! Liked how the director contrasted her peaceful life before the war with how everything fell apart when the bombing started! I also liked how it inspired patriotism in its people!

Mrs Nam

The story is about how a war veteran spent her free time looking for the bodies of her fellow comrades which were hastily buried in different places and giving them a proper burial.

Wasn't able to understand the film fully as it was not subtitled but I liked the documentaries interspersed with it as well as how they showed Mrs Nam at work digging up bones and cleaning them up properly!

Path of Justice

The story is about the long term effects of a chemical weapon called "Agent Orange" which was used during the Vietnam War and how the victims were taking legal actions to get compensation from the United States.

Interesting to see this film double billed with "The Enemy Within" that had a similar theme! I thought the effects of "Agent Orange" was even worse than that land mines as they were passed on to the next generation. Most victims were also mentally challenged and could not be interviewed personally.

The Enemy Within

This is a documentary about how land mine survivors fend for themselves in Cambodia. Their problems do not end after getting an artificial limb but also include learning a skill and finding a job.

Liked the interesting characters interviewed by the director! They included a bike mechanic who continued to work despite losing both legs, a couple who married after losing their limbs through land mines and three girls who were learning to repair radios and televisions.

Landmine Survivors
International Campaign to Ban Landmines

Friday, April 11, 2008

Mrs To Hau

The story is about how a Vietnamese woman overcame many personal tragedies and helped the nation fight against the French imperialists.

Liked the close ups on the characters, the interesting storyline and the fluid camera movement! I think it lived up to its reputation as "one of two masterpieces in early Vietnamese cinema" very well!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Boomtown Beijing

The story is about how the upcoming 2008 Olympics affected people living in Beijing, focusing on three characters: a disabled athlete trying for the paralympics, a small boy aspiring to be a torch bearer and an old man getting his community to learn a new olympic ribbon routine that he invented.

Nice documentary which was informative and had very interesting characters! Liked the quirky old man the best! Was happy to have the opportunity to listen to the Q&A session conducted by the director after the show!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

The story is about a father visiting his daughter in America. It is based on a short story with the same title.

Liked how the director, Wayne Wang, showed how difficult it was for the father to communicate with his own daughter and yet how easy it was for him to talk to an Iranian woman in the park despite the need to use gestures! Also liked the shot of father and daughter sitting on the same bench! Reminded me of Ozu which happened to be Wayne's favorite director.

Internet Movie Database Link

If You Were Me: Anima VIsion 2

This is a collection of six Korean short animation with a common theme on human rights. "The Third Wish" is about a visually challenged girl who was given three wishes. "Peeling" is about a father persuading his son to circumcise like the rest of his friends. "Baby" is about a working pregnant woman trying to make arrangements for her unborn child. "Shine Shine Shining" is about migrants in society. "Merry Golasmas" is about how a group of people got discriminated when they applied for the job of Santa Claus. "Lies" is about the plight of one homosexual who is forced into marriage.

Liked "Shine Shine Shining" the best as the story was very well told with a clear message! The characters were quite cute too! This would be followed by "The Third Wish", "Baby" and "Peeling". Didn't really like "Merry Golasmas" and "Lies".

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Philippine Science

The film describes the student life in the Philippine Science High School in Philippines that takes in the top Science students in the country. The director was an alumni since 1986.

Liked the stories on student life which were based on real life experiences! Learnt a bit about Philippines history too! Thought the director gave a very nice tribute to his former school!

Internet Movie Database Link

Paper Cannot Wrap Up the Embers

This is a documentary about women who are forced to become prostitutes due to their economic circumstances in Cambodia.

A little bit boring at times as there was not much organisation in the subject matter and the audience was left to be immersed in the prostitute's living environment, somewhat similar to the reality TV format.

Internet Movie Database Link

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Princess of Nebraska

The film is adapted from a short story and it is about what happened when a young Chinese woman came to the United States. She was pregnant and stayed at her boyfriend's gay lover's place. She also explored the city and got to know a new friend at a karaoke bar.

Liked the realistic close up shots provided by the handheld camera! Story is interesting and the lead actress Ling Li acted very well! Nice ending too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


The story is about a couple on a journey to visit their parents during the weekend. Many strange encounters happpened along the way.

Thought it would be a relaxing film to watch based on the title but it was far more complex and chaotic than I imagined! I made the same mistake once before when I borrowed "Rite of Spring" from the library to listen to. Interesting to see how the director indirectly criticised the bourgeois way of life through the couple's actions and his innovative style!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Beyond the Call

The story is about three middle-aged ex-military guys helping out in humanitarian work all over the world.

The three characters were quite interesting especially the guy who was a fan of Napolean and had a train with rail tracks in his back yard! These people had lots of experience driving a hard bargain and did not hesitate to provide help with money out of their own pockets! From the number of countries that they had visited, I realised that the world was a less peaceful place that I had imagined and that humanitarian work was required in many places. Thumbs up to these brave men who deserved our respect!

Internet Movie Database Link

Along the Way

This Indian short filme is about a young woman who received help from a stranger when she was looking after her son in the hospital.

Didn't quite understand what was going on in this film but I thought the actress looked more Chinese than Indian. There were some moments of suspense when she tried to identify the stranger from the black leather shoes that he wore.

The Deserter

This short film is about a young American couple who escaped to Toronto, Canada in order to avoid going to the war in Iraq. They joined an organisation based in Canada that welcomeed deserters from United States since the Vietnam War.

Learnt about the effects of war through the interviews with soldiers who have participated in the Iraq War! It was also interesting to follow the couple's journey as they travel across United States to reach the other end of the border!

Becoming Jane

This is an autobiography of Jane Austen who is a famous English writer in the 19th century. She specialises in writing family dramas on marriages of eligible young ladies and many of her works have been adapted to film.

I still remembered catching sight of five pretty young ladies on a particular show many years ago when I was in secondary school. Found out that it was "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen from my sister and I searched for the electronic text years later during my university days. Bought the paperback version eventually as I got tired of reading it on the computer screen and it became one of my favorite novels with her humor and insight into human behavior!

Liked the nice ballroom dancing sequences and the beautiful countryside scenery! It was also interesting to see how Jane Austen lived as a writer and to know what were the real life events that inspired her!

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Silence

The story is about how a family of three spent two days in a strange country at the hotel on the way home. The family consists of a mother, her son and her sister. This is the last part of Bergman's religious chamber trilogy

Liked the eccentric old caretaker and how the director highlighted the sensual side of the mother and the intellectual side of her sister! It was also interesting to see how people could still communicate with each other despite not sharing the same language.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Magic Flute

The film is based on the opera of the same title written by Mozart. The story is about how a soldier, Tamino and his friend Papageno ventured into the kingdom of Sarastro to save Pamina who is the Queen of the Night's daughter. They were given a magic flute and a mini-xylophone to help their quest.

Liked the nice songs and the many pretty actresses! A little big draggy at times but the overall plot was interesting! Interested to catch Bergman's adaptation now!

Internet Movie Database Link

Friday, March 21, 2008

Secret Sunshine

The story is about what happened after a young widow, Shin Ae, moved from Seoul to Miryang that means "secret sunshine" when written in Chinese.

Great acting by the lead actress, Jeon Do-yeon! The small town life was well described and it was interesting to see how the plot evolved as Shin Ae went through different phases of her life! Also liked the nice quiet moments and the intense psychological study on her character!

Internet Movie Database Link

Winter Light

The story is about how a small town pastor came to have doubts on his own faith one day during winter time. This is the second part of Bergman's religious chamber trilogy

Liked the beautiful scenery, the lean storyline, the nice close ups on the characters and the interesting dialogue! Especially liked the letter reading scene as well as the conversation between the hunched back employee and the pastor towards the end!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Rule #1

The story is about how a policeman found himself transferred into a special "ghost busters" department and how he spent his time there.

Pretty scary at times! Quite sad to see so many young lives ruined by the vicious ghost! Liked the well executed twist at the end! Thought it was influenced by both "Sixth Sense" and "Infernal Affairs".

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Through a Glass Darkly

Just started on the first part of Bergman's religious chamber trilogy boxset. The story is about how a family spends their time together on an island. The father is a writer who cares more about his work than his family and the daughter has just been diagnosed with mental illness. They are accompanied by the son and the son-in-law.

Liked the nice black and white cinematography! The theme of the movie was meaningful too! It talked about the void that was often felt in the human heart and how each family member coped with it. Everyone acted very well, especially the daughter! The film won the 1962 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, March 01, 2008


This movie consists of five shorts with a common theme on examining various aspects of the female sensibility. These include a young female student's love for her teacher, an unlikely female trio's money problems, a fantasy about a male co-worker, a young boy's infatuation with the mother of his classmate and an old man's lover's relationship with his subordinate.

Went to catch the movie after reading about the review on Zaobao. Agreed with the critic that the last short was the most incomprehensible of them all! Thought the third short on the fantasy about a male co-worker was the most fun to watch! The dance sequences interspersed among the shorts were nicely choreographed too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Stranger than Paradise

Tbe story is about how Willie, his friend Eddie and his cousin Eva spent their time in three different locations in the United States: New York, Cleveland and Florida.

I knew that the director was a fan of Ozu, so I was not surprised with the numerous static long takes. Liked his unique sense of humour, the eccentric Aunt Lotte with the heavy Hungarian accent and the beautiful Eva! The outdoor scenery looked nice too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, February 23, 2008


The story is about the life of a girl who grew up in difficult conditions in Iran. She spent her teenage years in Europe, came back home for a few years and decided to leave home the second time for France.

Nice black and white cinematography! Liked the quick pace and fluid cuts that brought the audience through the modern history of Iran! The family members of the little girl and her encounters were interesting too!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, February 09, 2008

CJ 7

The story is about what happens after a father brings back a mysterious object from outerspace home for his daughter.

The daughter and her friends are the main stars of the show while director Stephen Chow who plays the father takes a back seat and plays the supporting role. Liked the cockcroach stamping competition between the father and daughter, the fantasy sequences dreamt up by the daughter and the pretty costume worn by Ms Yuen!

Internet Movie Database Link

Monday, February 04, 2008


The film captures ten different conversations between a female driver in Iran and her passengers which include her son, her sister and other strangers.

Pretty innnovative camera angle that enabled the audience to just see one person at a time in the car! The conversations were pretty interesting too but I thought the son was a real brat!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Thin Blue Line

This is a documentary about the events that led to the murder of a policeman and how an innocent man was sentenced to life imprisonment as a result.

Interesting how the director interviewed so many people to give different perspectives on what actually happened! Pretty scary to think how eye witnesses could be bought and how people can ignore hard evidence and just choose what they want to believe in!

Internet Movie Database Link

Sunday, January 20, 2008


The story is about what happens when a young girl staying in a small town moved to the city with her mother whom she has not met for 18 years.

Interesting to see the contrast between life in the small town and in the city! The former is peaceful and people are very helpful towards each other while the latter is bustling with activities but people care only about themselves. Especially liked the surprising twist in the end that caused the young girl to move back home to the small town!

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Just bought the Early Bergman Eclipse series and Bergman's religious chamber trilogy boxset from Criterion. Probably won't try to watch them all at one go as some of the titles sound a little bit depressing. This film belongs to the "Early Bergman" Eclipse series which consists of "Torment", "Crisis", "Port of Call", "Thirst" and "To Joy".

The story is about how a young man coped with his hectic school life with a sadistic Latin teacher and how he became friends with a female shop assistant.

Liked how the film demonstrated how words can be used effectively to torment people psychologically! Could also identify with the frustrations of the young student! Prefer "To Joy" slightly better to this though.

Internet Movie Database Link

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Radio On

The story is about a young man's road trip from London to Bristol to investigate his brother's death. The radio is sometimes turned on and we hear how different types of music is played in different context.

Liked the nice black and white feel of the film! Thought the music and the landscape reflected how England looked like in the 80s pretty well! Reminds me a little bit of "Singapore Gaga" which is also a musical journey minus the road trip part.

Internet Movie Database Link

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Tuya's Marriage

The story is about what happened when Tuya discovered she could no longer look after her paralysed husband after she hurt her back. She filed for a divorce and searched for a new husband who would look after the two of them.

Nice scenery in Inner Mongolia and Tuya looked quite smart riding the Camel! Also liked the complex psychological relationship among Tuya, her husband and her suitors!

Internet Movie Database Link

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

To Joy

The story describes the ups and downs of a musician couple who were both violinists in an orchestra. The title refers to Schiller's poem "Ode to Joy" which is used as the lyrics in the choral section of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9.

Liked the many lovely classical pieces in the film and the emotional rollercoaster ride with the couple! The sequences with the conductor commmenting on how the couple get along with each other were nicely done too!

Internet Movie Database Link