Monday, November 30, 2009
When I first heard of the movie and the radio commercials, I admit that I did not put much thought into it as I was just like, “It’s probably just another impersonator of MJ that they put into the movie to relive the past memories of the King of Pop”
However, needless to say, I also thought that I should go to watch whatever that’s left of the King of Pop’s memory; impersonation or not and I must say I was not disappointed by the outcome after I bought that movie ticket.
It was a movie from MJ’s productions and it started off with his dancers relating their emotions and their thoughts of MJ’s death and the concert which will never happen now.
This Is It was the theme for his final concert; a concert which MJ planned to be the best of all his previous ones and to have that one and final comeback with a BANG before he finally retires from the entertainment world.
Unfortunately, I think MJ did not realize that it was also really IT for his life; a glamorous one indeed, if I may say.
The movie is a whole two hours of the snippets captured during his rehearsals for this last concert; taken from some of the crew who had saved the videos. We are taken on a journey through his life as he prepares for the concert and I am touched and impressed by the hard work and details he put into choreographing his whole stage appearance.
I could not help shedding a tear right at the beginning of the movie as the dancers all sobbed of their grief over the loss of the King of Pop.
Then, I was brought on an enchanting journey for the next two hours and it feels like the King himself is still alive when we relive all the memorable hits from him; and watched how he choreographed each song into beats and dance moves.
I found myself grooving and rocking to the beats of his ever so popular renditions of Beat It, I just can’t stop loving you and impressed by the fantastic choreography of Thriller, They don’t really care about us, Smooth Criminal, Earth Song.
MJ is a perfectionist but he is truly a music prodigy and I think, after watching this touching movie, all his fans would pine after his death more.
His enthusiasm and perfectionism is truly a symbol of his legendary existence.
I can tell you, you will not even realize that MJ is already past 50 years of age when you see him hopping along with his dancers during the rehearsals. He was just so energetic and bursting with excitement as he bopped with the music and showing them the right steps.
Perhaps, it was also his exhaustion which had led to his death.
He was just so keen to give his fans one great show that he had given his all; including his life.
He is truly, a legendary pop icon and MJ, you will definitely be missed.
I am sure all the fans are with me, especially after watching this movie that your efforts have not gone to waste; despite the fact that the concert will not happen as this movie had indeed shown us what you have laid ready to amaze all of us out here.
We acknowledge your great efforts and we pray that you will rest in peace, knowing that you have left good footprints behind you and creating history in the world of music.
Rest in Peace, King of Pop and to the rest of you, if you watched this movie, remember to watch until the very end of the movie; and that means AFTER the credits as there is still a surprise at the end.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I absolutely LOVE this movie!
I've read the book before this and was looking forward to the movie when I heard that it's about to be out.
It took me a while before I finally settled down to watch this movie, and boy, do I love this whole movie.
I think I've said enough to show you how much I am really into this movie!
The story is based on the book with the same title written by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo; sharing the opinions and tips/pointers on knowing the level of interest a guy is in a girl or vice versa.
Made into a Hollywood film with a whole load of huge names, BAM, you have this movie which explores into man/woman relationships.
There are several plots but they are all intertwined together; with the respective characters connected to another character and the list goes on.
The movie starts with a narration by Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) who shared the distorted views girls used to have about boys from all the feedbacks obtained by our elders.
Girls are taught a lot of stuff growing up. If a guy punches you he likes you. Never try to trim your own bangs and someday you will meet a wonderful guy and get your very own happy ending. Every movie we see, Every story we're told implores us to wait for it, the third act twist, the unexpected declaration of love, the exception to the rule. But sometimes we're so focused on finding our happy ending we don't learn how to read the signs. How to tell from the ones who want us and the ones who don't, the ones who will stay and the ones who will leave. And maybe a happy ending doesn't include a guy, maybe... it's you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is... just... moving on. Or maybe the happy ending is this, knowing after all the unreturned phone calls, broken-hearts, through the blunders and misread signals, through all the pain and embarrassment you never gave up hope.
(Quoted from imdb.com)
We see Plot 1;
Gigi who was this girl who was eager to have a steady relationship with a man that she starts going out on dates and trying to hook up with every single guy she went out with. Yeah, it sounds desperate and she IS desperate. She started out as this annoying girl who's always waiting for guys to call or just throwing herself at every single guy that comes her way or she brushes against at the pub. She was struck with Conor (Kevin Connolly) but he never called her even though he said he would.
She started checking out his information and went to the bar where she knew he hung out and that was where she met Alex (Justin Long) who runs the bar. She waited for him; trying to chance upon him and Alex told her that Conor just isn't interested in her and that she should not be wasting her time around him.
Gigi came up with excuses on why she thinks Conor does not call and Alex shared with her his views on how a guy would show that he cares if he really cared at all. Gigi was heartbroken but she moved on. At the same time, she started consulting Alex over every date she went and received all the wise pointers which left her with practically nobody.
When Alex asked her out; telling her that he would like to introduce his cousin Bill to her, Gigi jumped to the conclusion that Alex had been giving her signs that he is interested in her.
She played along and even enjoyed being the hostess at Alex's party. After all the guests left, she stayed back to clean up and then hurled herself at the surprised Alex who pushed her away and told her that he never had anything for her and the two had a row. Gigi was hurt and ran off, telling Alex that she'd rather be like herself than be like him; desperate and silly but yet a lot closer to love than he is.
The two broke off all their previous communication they shared and Alex found himself thinking of Gigi, a lot. He missed her and was checking his phone more than a hundred times a day; and even his emails. His colleagues/staff warned him and he knew, that deep down inside, he had fallen for Gigi, hard. Gigi, on the other hand, went out on that date with Bill and was glad that this could finally be a normal and stable relationship she wanted until Alex turned up at her door that night after her date with Bill.
Alex confessed to her and the two kissed, becoming the sweetest couple in the entire movie thereafter! =)
They're definitely my favorite couple...I loved them! =D
Plot 2: Janine (Jennifer Connelly) - Gigi's best friend cum colleague
Janine married early; to her high-school sweetheart who was her hunk of a husband now, Ben (Bradley Cooper). Ben, on the other hand, thought his marriage was all, until he bumped into hot yoga instructor, Anna (Scarlett Johansson) at the local grocery store.
Anna, on the other hand, was pursued relentlessly by Conor, a guy whom she had an on-off relationship with.Ben realized that he was attracted to Anna; and despite reminding himself that he was married, he found himself wanting to see her and created opportunities to be with her. They soon found themselves involved in an affair; behind Janine's back. Janine had an OCD behavior; where she freaks out when she sees cigarettes as her own father had died of lung cancer. She was suspicious of Ben's behavior and believed that he was smoking behind her back. Ben then suddenly confessed that he slept with Anna, and Janine was furious. However, she tried to save her marriage and tried to spice things up with him by surprising him at the office with a sexual invitation. Unknown to her, before her arrival, Ben was about to be engaged in the same sexual act with Anna who was thrown into the closet while hearing Ben and his wife in the office. Anna was disgusted and swore Ben off forever. She then turned back to Conor, but the relationship didn't happen and she became a PRO in a pub in the end; while Ben was also divorced from Janine who got herself an own apartment and was content with her own new life.
Plot 3: Beth (Jennifer Aniston) - Gigi and Janine's friend/colleague
Beth had been co-habitating with her boyfriend, Neil (Ben Affleck) and had been secretly wishing to get married just like all her other girlfriends. However, Neil thinks that things were perfect just the way they were and had no intention/plan to get hitched.
This caused a rift between them and they broke up. Beth was ridiculed by her cousin for being available and not married while most of them were. When her father had a stroke, she took great care of him and was frustrated with how uncaring her own siblings/brother-in-laws were. At this time, Neil showed up to help her and she was touched and realized that she would rather have a guy like him; unmarried than to have married those men like her brother-in-laws. The couple made up and Neil soon proposed; as he realized that he could not live without her.
It was again, a happy ending for this couple =)
Plot 4: Mary (Drew Barrymore) - best friend of Anna
To be frank, this role of Mary seemed to be a little on the lowlight for Drew; as she could be doing much more. It seemed like this character was just to add a little bit of decor to the whole movie as there was no really character/plot development for her. Mary was just a simple girl who wanted to find a guy to start a relationship; like Gigi. She was like Dear Abbey; close to every single guy around her but unfortunately, they were mostly homosexuals who were not interested in her. She runs an ad for Conor; but the two had never met in person before.
It was only towards the end when they bumped into each other at a cafe that they know and then, they became a couple?
See, like what I said, it seemed like a little bit abrupt for a plot like this, ain't it?
Overall, I loved how the stories are being told and I must say each and every actor/actress played their role really well.
I don't need to repeat my favorite couple here; but I must say that I was a little annoyed with the role played by Scarlett. It was probably one of the thrashy roles I have seen her in as I've always imagined her as the sweet and innocent girl (think Boleyn girl).
My favorite quotes from the movie; from imdb.com:
Mary: I had this guy leave me a voicemail at work, so I called him at home, and then he emailed me to my BlackBerry, and so I texted to his cell, and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies.
Mary: It's exhausting.
Gigi: We are all programmed to believe that if a guy acts like a total jerk that means he likes you.
Gigi: A girl will never forget the first boy she ever likes.
Gigi: How stupid is it that a girl has to wait for a guy's call anyway, right?
Mary: He MySpaced me.
Joshua: Oh girl I don't know about that... My trampy little sister says MySpace is the new booty call.
Gigi: Hey Conor, It's GiGi, I just thought that I hadn't heard from you, and I mean how stupid is it taht a girl has to wait for a guy's call anyway, right? Cause we're all equal right? more than equal. more women are accepted into law school now then men. Call me, oh this is GiGi, call me.
I LOVE all these quotes between Alex and Gigi =)
Gigi: Maybe his grandma died or maybe he lost my number or is out of town or got hit by a cab...
Alex: Or maybe he is not interested in seeing you again.
Alex: I'm sorry I'm late.
Gigi: No, it's okay. I like a little time before a blind date; prepare myself mentally;
[He puts a hand on her shoulder]
Gigi: remind myself not to tell the story about my molars.
Alex: Ah, Gigi, he's not coming. But you can tell me the story about the molars; I'd love to hear it.
When Alex rejects Gigi...=(
Gigi: I would rather be like that, then be like you.
Alex: Excuse me? What's that supposed to mean?
Gigi: I may dissect each little thing and put myself out there so much but at least that means that I still care. Oh! You've think you won because women are expendable to you. You may not get hurt or make an ass of yourself that way but you don't fall in love that way either. You have not won. You're alone. I may do a lot of stupid shit but I'm still a lot closer to love than you are.
Gigi: Hey sorry to bug you again! Uh quick question.
Alex: What's going on?
Gigi: Ok I'm making out with this guy, PG stuff. but he mentions he's going out of town so he's gonna be out of touch.
Gigi: But maybe he is going out of town.
Alex: To where? New Guinea? Where's he gonna be that he's gonna be out of touch?
Gigi: Opens bathroom door - Where are you going out of town to again?
Gigi: So what now I'm just supposed to turn from every guy who doesn't like me?
Alex: Uh. Yeah!
Gigi: There's not gonna be anybody left.
When Alex realizes he missed Gigi...
Alex: Hey, Kelli Ann. Uh, did I get any calls?
Kelli Ann: Since you asked me 11 mins ago, no, not a lot of phone traffic.
Alex: [obsessively checks phone for signal]
Kelli Ann: Oh, my God.
Kelli Ann: What's her name?
Kelli Ann: The girl... Alex.
Alex: There's no girl.
Kelli Ann: You can't hide it, man. I know strung out, and YOU are strung out.
Kelli Ann: This is amazing. You can't focus. Right? Jumping every time your phone rings. Checking your e-mail a hundred times a day. Wishing you could write songs.
Kelli Ann: No. Feeling the need to bring up her name in random conversations. It's always the same and it has happened to you, my friend.
Kelli Ann: Welcome to my world, asshole. Let me get the door.
Gigi: [Answering machine answers, Gigi's voice:] Or call my cell, or try me at work but definitely leave a message here first. Thanks!
Alex: Hey, Gigi. It's Alex, um, how's it going?
[He starts to pace]
Alex: Uh, just wondering how you're doing. I haven't talked to you in a little while and, uh, just wondering how you're doing.
[He sits on the couch]
Alex: So... I was hoping to talk to you... obviously. But you're out, I guess. So, just call me some time. Or tonight, uh, in around... uh, I'll be in around... that's, that's... not... now. It's Alex. Okay.
[He hangs up the phone]
Alex: [He looks down] I know.
My FAVORITE (I could rewind and watch this again..LOL!=)
Gigi: [opens the door, thinking it's Bill] Did you forget something?
Gigi: Really? What did you forget?
Alex: [pulls out a promotional pen from his pocket] This.
Gigi: So you came all the way here at 11 o' clock in the night to give me a promotional pen?
Alex: Yeah... Yeah, I did. I thought I would come up with some really great excuse to get over here. That's how it's done, right?
Gigi: [smiles] Sometimes.
Alex: Look, I can't stop thinking about you. I... It's a problem. I drive by your place; I call and hang up; I've turned into...
Gigi: A wise person once told me that if a guy wants to be with a girl, he will make it happen, no matter what.
Alex: That's true.
Gigi: But when I was hurling my body onto yours, you did not seem to want to make it happen.
Alex: Okay, yeah, here's the thing about that... You were right. I'd gotten so used to keeping myself at a safe distance from all these women and having the power that, that I didn't know what it felt like when I actually fell for one of them... I didn't know.
Gigi: Look, I just went out with your friend Bill. He might be just exactly what I need. No drama, he calls; he does what he says...
Alex: [stepping closer] I can do that stuff too...
Gigi: But you didn't! And that same wise person told me that I'm the rule. That I have to stop thinking that every guy will change, that I have to stop thinking that...
Gigi: [Alex kisses her]
Gigi: ... I'm the exception...
Alex: [whispers] You are *my* exception.
[they kiss again]
One good quote from the movie is from Alex: So trust me when I say if a guy is treating you like he doesn't give a shit, he genuinely doesn't give a shit. No exceptions.
So, girls, do you have a guy who's truly into you or NOT? Else, RUN....
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
An interesting plot which revolves around past lives and present.
It is not like your usual reincarnation stuffs where you die and then meet again and then fall in love again.
ATV went out of the way to lead the audience to believe it that way when the drama start with this lady ghost haunting a brothel (played by Alice Chan).
Tong Jin Pang or fondly nicknamed Tong Sap Sam (Frankie Lam Man Lung)is the only son of the Tong family which was very wealthy in the district. They run a health products/traditional medicine hall specializing in bird's nests, ginseng, tonics, etc.
Jin Pang is a playful guy; and he spends little time with the family business and rather wastes his time away at the brothel; wasting the family's finances at the same time.
His mother is constantly worried about her only son; and instructed one of their young maids; Yu Chu (Annie Man) to watch over him.
Yu Chu is also a playful young girl and often lets Jin Pang slip away from her watch; causing her to be reprimanded and constantly punished by his mother.
Due to that, Yu Chu developed a hatred feeling for her young master; and often at loggerheads with him.
Jin Pang was also at the same time betrothed to his close cousin; Lai Khuan (Kristy Yang) whom he almost sold in one of his gambling bouts with a dead man in the brothel; angering Lai Khuan parents who were hesitant to marry their daughter to such a philandering young man and only relented after Mrs Tong begged them and promised them that Lai Khuan will lead a good life under her watch.
There was a vengeful lady ghost haunting the brothel which Jin Pang frequents and she was looking for her lover from the past life. In an incident, she found out that Jin Pang was her past lover and started to haunt him, trying to find out the truth on the day she committed suicide.
Mrs Tong was warned of this by a medium; and that was the reason of her worries for her son's well-being. The medium had predicted that Jin Pang will not be able to live for long and not past his next birthday which coincidentally falls on the 14th day of the 7th month in the Lunar Calendar (the festival of the Hungry Ghosts)
Mrs Tong tried to arrange for his marriage as soon as possible; despite the protests from Jin Pang to help him to counter this obstacle. At the same time, she also ordered Yu Chu to watch over him to ensure that he does not leave the house that night.
However, as fate would have it, Jin Pang slipped out of the house with Yu Chu's help who allowed him to help her sister who was sold to the brothel by their gambling uncle.
The angry ghost found out that Yu Chu was the one who caused the failure in her plan in the past life; as Yu Chu was the wife of her lover at that time when she was the prostitute who was in love with Jin Pang and in a struggle, both Yu Chu and Jin Pang died.
Mrs Tong was deeply saddened by the news and told Lai Khuan that she can return to her home as she was only married by name to Jin Pang and being her aunt, she does not want to see her as a young widow. The loyal and defiant Lai Khuan insisted to stay back despite her parents' persuasion.
In the meantime, Yu Chu and Jin Pang both had to adapt to their after-death life in the netherworld where they were given a guide by the old grandad and depended on each other.
They were still at loggerheads with each other; but often helped each other as well.
During their times with each other, they both start to fall for one another and became closer.
When Jin Pang learnt that Lai Khuan had not let go of him, he felt guilty and decided to appear in her dreams to advise her. However, this led to Lai Khuan believing that he still cared for her and she pined after him.
She even thought of suicide to reunite with him; despite Jin Pang telling her that he now loved only Yu Chu.
Jin Pang and Yu Chu then tried to set Lai Khuan up with his cousin brother (David Siu Chung Hang) who seemed to treat Lai Khuan well and was taking care of the Tong's business together with the former.
It was later revealed that this cousin brother was actually wicked and schemed to inherit all of Tong's properties.
It was Jin Pang's best friend (Eric Wan) who uncovered his plot and saved the Tongs. He was also secretly in love with Lai Khuan who finally accepted him after all the happenings as she was touched by his love.
At the same time, Jin Pang and Yu Chu were finally given a chance for reincarnation and then it flashed to the present where we see Jin Pang and Lai Khuan playing with their son and Yu Po (Yu Chu's sister) and her husband playing with their daughter.
They both named their children after Jin Pang and Yu Chu; which means that the duo had reincarnated as their children.
However, at the last scene, we see the duo appearing in their ghostly form when the family picture was taken.
I am guessing they did not reincarnate in the end?
It was a unique storyline; one which is totally out of your expectation.
Not much horror; but more of humor and focusing of family ties and relationships.
It was a touching drama which had the usual bad guy who wanted the family's properties; as a form of compensation for his status as a stepson and often sidelined in the family.
I think they should have focused more on the romantic development of Yu Chu and Jin Pang's relationship as it was like a sudden thing when they are together.
It left me at HUH, when did they officially declared or were together?
1. Yu Chu - Mainly because I have always liked Annie Man as an actress anyway, and I feel that she had done a great job in playing the fierce and unreasonable girl in most scenes and yet, showing how she wants to be cared and given attention as well.
2. Jin Pang - He was hilarious as the playboy and "Pai Kar Chai" who seemed to be philandering at all times. I loved how he softened down sometimes when he realized that he is in the wrong and I think he did show from his expressions how much he cared for Yu Chu. I think she was the only one whom he fell for; since the prostitutes in the brothel don't really count
Most Annoying character:
This goes to Lai Khuan played by Kristy Yang. I don't know what's with this actress as well; she's always playing the same old stereotypical roles where she's always so sad and pitiful and how she's always the damsel in distress. She is always weak and powerless and she must be given full attention.
She's had on the same facial expression in all the dramas I have seen her in; which is really annoying. I don't think she can really act; although she does have a sweet and demure look.
Secondly, I think her character was nice and naive and sweet but it ended there. She was soooooo annoying, doesn't she understand that Jin Pang had never like her right from the beginning?
I mean, come on woman, have some pride and self-dignity, how many times do you need a man to reject you before you come to your senses?
I know how loyal and devoted she is to her cousin brother whom she had admired and was infatuated with since they were kids, but she does need to differentiate between love and infatuation. Furthermore, Jin Pang never liked her at all in the first place.
Thirdly, why does she constantly want to break Jin Pang and Yu Chu up? She shows she is nice and giving and then she resorted to such nimwit ways to break a loving couple up; for her own benefit.
HELLO woman! They're dead; and even if she dies and joins them, there is still no way she can be involved in that relationship.
David Siew is always a villain; did you not notice? However, he was pretty convincing as the good guy who was actually evil within.
A few things that I must mention about the drama as well:
1. Costumes - I noticed that they were wearing the same outfits throughout the 30-episodes drama.
The prostitutes, aren't they supposed to be flamboyant and flaunting themselves off since they claimed that prostitutes make such a good living??
Jin Pang and Mrs Tong - isn't he the only son of such a wealthy family? Why only 2-3 outfits in every episode?
I feel that Jin Pang and Yu Chu had more outfits to change into after they died....funny! Maybe because they received more burnt gifts?
2. The props in the brothel. It seemed like the walls and doors are so fragile; and not convincing at all when Yu Poh banged on those walls where she was trapped in. I think a slight push would do the job anyway.
3. Lam Ching Ying had too little of an appearance in this drama; I was expecting more ghost-fighting stuffs from this veteran who often played his role well.
In summary, I think this is definitely an enjoyable drama to watch for the entire family.
It will definitely make you laugh!~
Thursday, August 6, 2009
The 6th book adaptation of the highly acclaimed Harry Potter series, creation of JK Rowlings.
The movie starts with Death-eaters appearing everywhere in the world; creating havoc and killing innocent Muggles in their own world.
Harry Potter was surprised to see Professor Dumbledore at the train station and he was told to hold to apparate with the professor himself where they found themselves in a small little village; surrounded by darkness and marshes.
He followed the professor into a rundown cottage where they found Professor Slughorn who had apparently turned himself into a couch in order to hide from the pursuits of the Death-Eaters who had earlier invited him into their recruitment.
Professor Dumbledore's purpose was to convince Slughorn to return to teaching in Hogwarts; where the latter initially declined. However, fearing for his life with the Death-Eaters' continuous pursuits, he finally relented.
Harry disapparated and landed into a marsh while Dumbledore has disappeared, he found that he was near his best friend, Ron Weasley's house in the middle of the nowhere.
Excited, he made his way to the house and Ron's sister, Ginny, who heard the commotion and found Harry's pet owl, Hedwig in the kitchen was convinced that Harry was there.
The Weasleys were excited to see Harry in their house, and the three friends were reunited again as they prepared to go back to school in Hogwarts, much to the disapproval by their parents. (Hermione happened to be staying with the Weasleys at the time).
Ron's two elder brothers, Fred and George's had opened a shop selling their creations of magical merchandise in Diagon Alley and the trio paid a visit to the shop.
Upon leaving the shop, Harry and Ron followed Draco Malfoy and his mother who was seen disappearing suspiciously into Borgin & Burke's along the same alley.
Draco's father, Lucius Malfoy had apparently fallen out of favor in the Ministry of Magic and Draco had currently been entrusted to an important mission by the Dark Lord. He had been recruited as a Death-Eater and his mother, Narcissa, entrusts her son to Severus Snape during his mission.
Bellatrix Lestrange, disbelieving Snape's intentions forced him to make a pact with Narcissa unto which she sealed it with the Unbreakable Vow Spell.
On the train journey back to Hogwarts, Harry still continues to be bothered by Draco's behavior and disguised himself to spy onto Draco; which unfortunately was foiled by Draco who put a spell so that Harry will be unseen. Fortunately, Harry was saved by Luna Lovegood, who had on Spectre specs and could see him.
Back at Hogwarts, Dumbledore introduced Slughorn as the new Potions master while Snape resumes his position as the Defence against Dark Arts master.
While loitering in the hallway, Harry and Ron were approached by Professor McGonagall who told them to go for Slughorn's NEWT levels' Potions class, and Harry dragged a reluctant Ron along.
Professor Slughorn was pleased to welcome them into his class and while he was conducting his lessons, he told the duo to take their textbooks from the old cabinet in the classroom and Harry found a book with annotations in it; stating that it was a property of the Half-Blood Prince.
The annotations helped him in preparing his potions and even won himself the vial of luck, Felix Felicis, by preparing the potion correctly, even defeating Hermione, winning the favor of the Professor.
During the Quidditch qualifying round in assigning their new players, Ron made it as the Keeper; beating Cormac McLaggen who had his eyes on Hermione.
Ron, upon making it as the Keeper was proud of his achievement and drowned in his moments of glory, made out with Lavender Brown who then became his girlfriend, much to the disappointment of Hermione.
Ginny Weasley, at the same time, was also in a relationship with Dean Thomas, much to Ron's fury and Harry's disappointment as well.
While the young adults deal with their own feelings in the complicated romance triangle, they remain best friends and decided to spend Christmas in Ron's home.
They were reunited with Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks (members of the Order of Phoenix) and during their warm celebration, they were attacked by Bellatrix Lestrange and Fenrir Greyback. While no one was harmed, the Burrow was burnt to flames.
Back in Hogwarts, Harry was suspicious with Draco's sneaky attitude and followed him; ending in a battle in the loo where Draco was injured.
Snape rushed in and healed him; much to Harry's chagrin.
At the same time, Harry was forced to give up his Potions book which he was clearly getting obsessed with and he obligingly went with Ginny to the Room of Requirement to discard and hide the book where they kissed.
Ron also broke up with Lavender during one of his injuries and he was admitted to the school ward and he cried out Hermione's name, leaving Lavender in dismay.
Harry had his secret private meetings with Professor Dumbledore who showed him the memories of Tom Riddle which he collected and Harry had a preview into Tom's childhood memories and how Dumbledore brought him out from the orphanage and into Hogwarts, not realizing that he would one day turn into the age's darkest lords.
Harry was surprised to find that Slughorn was Tom's teacher and understood finally the reason Dumbledore invited Slughorn back to Hogwarts to teach when Dumbledore entrusted Harry to find out from Slughorn the missing part of Tom's memory which was suspected to be tampered with.
Harry then used his vial of luck and managed to get the answer from Slughorn; Tom was asking the use of Horcruxes.
Dumbledore was then shocked and explained that Horcruxes are a method or a way to separate one's soul and guard it in an object; granting the person immortality until all the Horcruxes have been found and destroyed. The Horcruxes are found in seven; and can be hidden in seven different objects and stored in the varying locations.
He then explains that is the only way to destroy Voldemort; and told Harry that two of the Horcruxes have been found and destroyed; Tom Riddle's diary and his mother's ring.
After locating another of the Horcrux, Dumbledore brings Harry along to help him to retrieve and destroy the Horcrux which was hidden in a cave; near a raging sea.
Inside the cave, Dumbledore forced himself; with Harry's help to drink a foul potion which hides the locket in which the Horcrux is hidden.
Dumbledore was weakened by this potion but yet manages to fend themselves off the attacks of the Inferi inside the cave and apparates them back to Hogwarts' Tower.
They heard noises and Dumbledore forced Harry into hiding; telling him to stay there no matter what he saw or heard.
Dumbledore was approached by Draco Malfoy who was sent to kill him and he let in the Death-Eaters; Bellatrix and Fenrir who ordered him to kill Dumbledore immediately.
When Draco cowers and weeps, Snape emerges from his hiding place which he told Harry to remain hidden and kills Dumbledore himself and helped the Death-eaters to escape.
Harry was furious and chased after Snape, screaming that Dumbledore trusted him.
As Snape fends off his spell, he reveals that he is the Half-Blood Prince and that Harry is using his own spell on him.
Harry returns to the castle and found that all the staffs and students of Hogwarts have found Dumbledore's body.
They lifted their wands to illuminate in final respect to their dead headmaster.
As Hogwarts mourn Dumbledore's death, Harry took a look at the Horcrux and realized it was a fake. A note was left in it that the person has found the real Horcrux and hopes to destroy it along with the other Horcruxes.
He revealed it to Hermione and Ron and they vowed to find the person with the initials R.A.B and destroy all the Horcruxes instead of returning to Hogwarts for their final year.
It was a long watch; a total of 2.5 hours; close to 3 hours and mind you, this installation is slightly long due to the numerous parts of the story which needs to be told.
In fact, the book itself revealed too much to be summarized in a 3 hour movie and hence, this should be understood before complaining about how long and boring it is.
I remembered seeing people getting restless in the cinema and some leaving early.
All I can say is, unless you have read the book or a Harry Potter fan, it is not recommended to watch it as you may not even know what it is all about.
This installation brings back a lot of old memories and flashbacks from the previous books and it is advisable, even for Harry Potter's readers, to read the books prior to watching this movie to make head or tail out of this.
At the same time, personally, I felt David Yates could have choreographed his movie in a more interesting and faster-paced movie.
Overall, I can't wait for the final installation...I heard that it is already in the making and they are going to break it into 2 parts to tell the story?
That sounds promising:)
A movie production produced and starring our popular diva queen, Beyonce Knowles which is all about a good catfight between two women for a man with high prospects in his career.
A simple and overused storyline, in my humble opinion and for you to judge as you read the summary of the story as below.
Derek Charles is the vice president in a private company where he works and is highly regarded by his management and his colleagues. At home, he has a beautiful wife, Sharon and a young boy of a son. Overall, his life paints a perfect picture of a happy family and a happy man; especially when they have recently purchased a new house and are preparing to move in.
Then comes a temp worker, Lisa, who initially seems really hardworking and efficient at her work and is supposed to fill in the vacancy of his subordinate who was on medical leave. Lisa seems to be a pleasant person whom Derek was impressed with the efficiency of her work performance and her personality.
Lisa, on the other hand, was attracted to Derek and continues to get closer to him, much to the suspicions of Sharon who was surprised to find Lisa filling in as Derek's assistant during his assistant's absence.
Derek reassured Sharon that Lisa is only a temp worker and is not there for permanent.
When Lisa continues to fill in for his workers who surprisingly seems to take medical leaves in turn, Derek becomes suspicious.
Lisa then throws herself at him during the Christmas party in the office, causing Derek to panic and on the verge to reporting the incident to the management. However, his colleague, Ben, advised him to ignore the case since she is just a temp worker and furthermore, his track record was not that promising since he married his last personal assistant, Sharon.
Derek obliged, only to find that Lisa's approaches are getting malicious and she even sneaked into his hotel room after drugging him and committed suicide.
When Sharon found out, she was furious and believed that Derek had cheated on her and kicked him out of the house; only allowing him to see their son once a week.
However, the couple soon realizes that they missed each other and they reconciled.
They realized in panic that their son could possibly be abducted when they return to their home one night after their dinner and the babysitter mentioned that Sharon's friend came over to see their son.
Sharon was angered and called Lisa in a fit of anger, threatening her if she were to try any funny tricks with her family anymore.
After they found their son, they start to install an alarm system in their house to detect and prevent any intrusion attacks.
During one of their getaway to celebrate their wedding anniversary, Sharon forgots to turn on the alarm as she left the house and when she turned back to the house, she met Lisa who was already in the house and there was a fight between the two women, in which in the end, I guess we all know what's the ending like.
I find this movie a little boring for a thriller; and it seemed like a whole show staged for Beyonce to engage in a catfight with another lady; and to flaunt her strength.
Furthermore, the storyline is overused too often that it becomes too predictable.
Not much of a wow factor indeed; and a movie which one can skip without missing anything.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
This production from mainland China was originally titled Tian Di Bu Rong 天地不容 (literally translated as even the Heavens forbid); but currently is released with the new title of Suo Qing Qiu 锁清秋; which to me is a rather weird name as literally it does not really mean anything by 'Lock Clear Autumn'
Anyway, this 35-episodes drama is set in Shanghai (it is produced by Shanghai Television Station (SMG)) and is centered upon the stories of women back then during the particular period and their lives with the men around them.
Of course, the title revealed itself to focus on the stories of four women; in their different ways and background and how their lives come to intertwine with each other in the drama.
Women, as we know were not looked upon kindly; let alone highly in those period and this drama shows through the characters introduced how each struggle against the society to make their stand for their own; besides the misery faced in the process.
The cast boasts of a strong batch from mainland itself; including Ady An,Annie Yi,William Feng Shao Feng and also Hong Kong stars Rain Li and veteran Michelle Yim, which makes this a much anticipated drama.
The story starts with a young girl; Du Lan Yen, who after mourning after her beloved father's death was forced out of her luxurious life by her ruthless and cruel stepmother who intends to sell her off to a brothel. She was locked in the stables until the arranged date to send her to prostitution when she was rescued by a young servant boy who was also her childhood friend, Leng Yun.
In the bid to make the escape, Leng Yun held himself back to prevent the stepmother from pursuing her, while urging Lan Yen to run for her life during the blazing fire which they accidentally set during their escapade.
Fast forward to the future, Du Lan Yen has now grown up to be a young lady serving as a maid in the house of Zhou. She is the favorite maid cum assistant of the mistress, Mrs Zhou, maiden name Li Yue Er (Annie Yi) who dotes on her. This invoked the jealousy of another maid, Kuang Chun Ni (Deng Jia Jia) who plots to get rid of her, by spreading rumors of her to the mistress.
At the same time, Master Zhou Si An had his eyes set on Du Lan Yen who brushed off his advances but stirred suspicion and jealousy in his wife.
Mrs Zhou, then decided to marry Lan Yen off to a poor cosmetics seller, Lu Da You (Wilson Guo) who fell in love at first sight with Du Lan Yen at the temple when she was with her best friend, Su Xin He (Li Fei Er).
Lan Yen refused to marry Lu Da You; however, despite her struggle, Mrs Zhou forced her into the marriage. Zhou Shi An, knowing his wife's intentions still could not get over Lan Yen and plots to find his way to rape Lan Yen.
He threatened Lu Da You, who let him rape his wife on their wedding night; stirring hatred in Lan Yen's heart for her scumbag of a husband.
The duo then became husband and wife in name only as Lan Yen continued to be raped by Zhou Shi An; to protect Da You's younger sister, Lu Wu Shuang (Xiao Yu Yu) from being raped by Zhou Shi An (as threatened by him).
Lan Yen grows to hate Da You more and more, but yet, she helped him with his cosmetics business; in selling lipstick and color blushes in the market to support their living.
In a chance meeting, she met up with Leng Yun(He Chengming), the big brother and childhood love whom she had been waiting all her life to be reunited with him. However, due to her married and 'dirty' status, she realized there is no longer hope to be with him ever again. Moreover, Leng Yun also happens to know Lu Da You who was his life saviour from the fire in the past.
Her best friend, Xin He, on the other hand, fell in love with Leng Yun and kept it a secret in her heart to avoid hurting her best friend.
At the same time, Mrs Zhou is grows suspicious of her husband and found out that he has been seeing Lan Yen even after the marriage. She was upset and sought comfort in her best friend, Jiang Yu Ping (Rain Lee) who was the rich widow of a medical hall's merchant.
After her husband's death, she inherited all his properties and served as the guardian protector for her younger brother-in-law, Jiang Shao You (Zheng Guo Lin), and playful and good-for-nothing chap.
She also had an affair with the charming heir of their alliance medical hall; Shen Zhao Chong (William Feng Shao Feng) and constantly have their tryst at a hall behind a temple, where she pretends to pay homage twice a month (1st and 15th of the lunar month)
Seeing her best friend in distress, Jiang Yu Ping enlisted the help of the charming playboy, Shen Zhao Chong to seduce Du Lan Yen and then jilt her to avenge the suffering of her best friend. Zhao Chong agreed due to the benefits of their medical supplies to his own business and started his mission to capture Du Lan Yen's heart.
However, as he starts to know her better and knowing her predicament, he was touched by her kindness and beauty and starts to head over heels in love with her; much to the anger of Jiang Yu Ping who now becomes the possessive lover and instructs Zhao Chong to leave the damsel in distress.
Zhao Chong refused; and professed his love for Lan Yen and vows to take her out of this predicament. His persistent actions led to Lan Yen also falling deeply in love with him, and after a series of incidents where Lan Yen's affair with Zhou Shi An was revealed, Zhao Chong wants to take her away from her home.
In an accidental struggle, Lu Da You was killed and Lan Yen felt guilty as she suspected herself to be the killer.
Leng Yun was on good terms with the local law enforcers and as he sought out the truth of the murder, he found more signs leading to Da You's death which ruled out the stories and confessions from Lan Yen and Zhao Chong. However, the culprit was suspected to be Su Xin Hai (Qiao Zhen Yu), Xin He's brother, who was in a relationship with Wu Shuang (Da You's sister).
The cause was ruled to be the forbidden relationship by Lu Da You which caused Xin Hai to kill in a fit of fury. Xin Hai denied but amidst the confusion, as Wu Shuang persuaded him to surrender to the law, she kills him to avenge her brother's death and then killed herself to be with her lover.
This led to Xin He to stray away from Leng Yun, as she blamed him for the fate which befell her own brother. Xin He then became closer to Jiang Shao You, the young master whom she despised from the start. She was actually a maid in the Jiang household and was the favorite assistant of Jiang Yu Ping.
In a twist of fate, she fell in love with Shao You and married him to be the 2nd mistress in the Jiang household.
At the same time, Du Lan Yen was facing objections from Zhao Chong's mother, Mrs Shen (maiden name: Yin Xi Hong played by Michelle Yim) but faced by the defiance of her own son, Xi Hong had no choice but to allow him to marry the widow into the family; thus making Lan Yen the third wife of Zhao Chong.
Coincidentally, her old friend cum nemesis, Kuang Chun Ni was married into the family as the 2nd wife after a brief affair by mistake. However, Chun Ni was favored by Xi Hong; much to the chagrin of the first wife who was a selfish person who thought only of her own benefits.
She rejoiced at the presence of Lan Yen and formed a bond with her, using Lan Yen to threaten Chun Ni's position as Lan Yen was doted on by Zhao Chong; the master of the house.
Chun Ni then tried to get involved in the family business and impressed Xi Hong. Lan Yen was also helpful and was the mastermind behind most of Zhao Chong's decision.
Jiang Yu Ping was angered by the union of Lan Yen and Zhao Chong and plots to destroy their happiness. She started to open a medical hall opposite Zhao Chong's and drops her price by half of his price; to drive him into a huge loss. Chun Ni was smart to propose to drop the price as well, and then further introduce a new product which was then jeopardized by Yu Ping.
Slowly, Yu Ping lost her status among the villagers as rumours were spread about her medicine and she was driven out of the village; where she was thrown into poverty following her bankruptcy. Her house was burnt and she had to escape with Xin He and Shao You who was badly burnt.
As they put up shelter at an old temple, Xin He begged Yu Ping to allow her to get a doctor to tend to the burnt Shao You and while Xin He was on the way, Yu Ping wickedly strangled Shao You to death.
Yu Ping then plots revenge against Zhao Chong and tricked Xin He into the plot; which Lan Yen tried to break her best friend out of it as Xin He abodes hatred for Zhao Chong whom she believed to be the culprit responsible for the family's predicament.
At the same time, Zhao Chong realized the true story of his birth and that Xi Hong was not really her biological mother. He was in denial and refused to believe the true story about the nun in the temple who was his real mother. In the long attempt to clear the truth, Xi Hong realized that she was tricked by her dead husband and Zhao Chong was about to unite with his biological mother when she was killed in a fire which was the works of the Jiang Yu Ping.
Meanwhile, Lan Yen became a more spiteful person following the miscarriage of her first child and she starts to turn ruthless in her bid to survive in the political household.
Chun Ni, on the other hand, feels really guilty about the miscarriage and then became a nun at the end.
Zhao Chong, in a twist of misfortune, ends up supposedly dead, but he was actually in another place and he had lost his memory. Upon his coming to, he had to masquerade as the succeeding commander to avoid revolution towards the army forces in power. He soon found himself back to Lan Yen; and as he regained his memory, he had to leave his masquerading lifestyle.
However, he was requested to help again and to aid the country in their mission which he turned down.
Lan Yen then ended her life as she knew that she was the main deterrent factor in his decision.
The drama ended with Zhao Chong resuming his position as the commander in chief and to set out to marry the general's daughter.
The drama was interesting; and not boring at all. In fact, I find their outfit ensemble along with their hairstyle a bit unusual and I couldn't help grimacing at the ugly hairstyle they have which seems to be plastered onto their head.
Besides the costumes, the character and storyline development was convincing and had me hooked onto the next plot to be revealed in the story.
Of course, it was lot of predictable plots which were re-used from other dramas but overall, it was still a fresh idea to focus on the lives of these women who, each in order to survive, have their own reasons of survival and love.
I liked the development of the female lead; Du Lan Yen who finally became ruthless after a lifetime of being pushed around like a puppet and thrown into misery after misery. She led a pretty sad life; in my opinion.
Ady An as Du Lan Yen
She has a rather pleasant looking face; which made it all convincing as she plays the damsel in distress and the kind woman. However, I did notice that her expression was stuck when she had to turn ruthless; it's like she was not sure how to play evil.
Her character was really pitiful and Ady did a great job in expressing it through her acting; especially in her fear of Zhou Shi An.
Michelle Yim as Yin Xi Hong
What more can I say of a veteran actress? She was all the bit a convincing mother who was possessive of her only son; even though she knew he was no hers to begin with. She was a confused woman who was thought to be evil; but then we realize that she had a pitiful past and also, she was tricked by her own husband who had an affair with another woman. The son she raised over the years; one she thought was not her own, turned out to be really her husband's son in flesh and blood. Despite her hatred for her husband, she could not help her own motherly feelings towards her only son.
Her kindness and compassion showed when she planned for Lan Yen's future after Zhao Chong's assumed death.
Rain Lee as Jiang Yu Ping
I am not a fan of Rain Lee; and I have always felt that she is a rather 'wooden' kind of actress; one without much expression. In this drama, she has probably improved a little but I could not help noticing that she seems to be forcing that wicked look which seemed a little unnatural to me.
It was probably the make-up which made her brows look more wicked than the original.
She was definitely the most despised character here in the drama; never knowing when to give up and that things cannot be forced. She was also the root cause of all the turmoil in the drama.
Is she a good villain? I think it was okay; and it does make sense that a woman's fury can lead to so much trouble.
Deng Jia Jia as Kuang Chun Ni
Next to Jiang Yu Ping, this is the 2nd most despised character in the drama. She was jealous of everything; and yet, it is understandable since she was quite pitiful, as she revealed her own feelings. In a way, her actions are more justifiable compared to Jiang Yu Ping. After all, beneath all that jealousy, she still had a conscience and a soft heart and she never intend to hurt anybody in a serious or fatal way.
I felt that this actress looked a bit similar to Ady An initially; but towards the middle of the drama, she is indeed different. She has that look to show that warm and cold character in her.
Annie Yi as Li Yue E
This woman just had the same expression all the way!!
When she's happy, when she's sad, when she's angry, when she's calm, gosh, there is just not more expression to display how she feels.
She is supposed to play a woman who is distrustful of her own husband, and yet she constantly seems to be so despaired and confused in what she wants to do next. It is just not convincing and unmatchable to her character here!
I can't feel much for this woman either; whether she is pitiful or just pathetic!
Li Fei Er as Su Xin He
This lady is a bit blind and confused, in my opinion. She was initially portrayed as a strong lady who knows what she wants in life and stands firm on her decisions. She was the total opposite of Du Lan Yen and is more independent. However, when she meets Leng Yun, she was facing a dilemma. She was in love; and yet she could not bring herself to betray her best friend. That's why I was surprised at how she believed her own best friend's affair with Zhou Shi An when she chanced upon their tryst in Da You's house. She was the one who denied her own best friend!
Then she hated Leng Yun for causing her brother's death and slowly she fell for Shao You. She was back to normal at that point, and then she went berserk again after his death and on the strings of Jiang Yu Ping as she plots revenge against Shen Zhao Chong.
Sometimes, her portrayal made me feel like Xin He does not even know what is her main aim in life.
Xiao Yu Yu as Lu Wu Shuang
This young and immature girl stood by her elder brother faithfully; probably due to him being her only family member left. She was too blinded by their sibling love and was angered at her sister-in-law's infidelity towards her brother; without knowing the real reason. She was angered by her brother's objection towards her relationship with Xin Hai. She is just an impatient and brash person; who just killed the man he loved upon suspecting that he was responsible for her brother's death.
I guess it's a hard toss between sibling and the love of your life, huh?
William Feng Shao Feng as Shen Zhao Chong
A charming man to play this casanova in the drama; he really that the looks and that mischievous grin to play the role convincingly. He was really playful in the beginning and enjoyed his trysts with the widowed Jiang Yu Ping; behind his wife's back. However, when he was entrusted with the mission to seduce Du Lan Yen which he accepted willingly, he found himself in a confused state when he starts to fall for the girl. He then turned into a different person as we see how Zhao Chong matures and starts to think for others. He starts to be protective of Lan Yen and even defied his mother's wishes to marry her. I could feel his love; which was just romantic as he just dotes on his third wife. His love for her was just strong that it did not even waver amidst all the happenings in his life. It was sad that he witnessed how she took her own life for his good and for the country; and I was proud that he did not fall back after the sacrifice of Lan Yen.
This is the character that I truly liked in the drama; for his character went through a dramatic change throughout the episodes.
Mickey He Chengming as Leng Yun
He loved and cared for Lan Yen his whole life; and he was initially like everyone else, believing in the rumours that she committed adultery with Zhou Shi An. After the truth is revealed, he found himself getting even more protective over her but yet he could break against the barrier to betray his life saviour, Lu Da You.
However, he still stayed by her side and refused to accept Xin He in his heart. When he is ready to be with Lan Yen, it was already too late as she had fallen for Zhao Chong. He was noble to stay by her side as a big brother and wished for their happiness. He cared for Xin He; and I think he himself was confused over his own feelings for Xin He.
I could see how much he cared for her when she was addicted to opium.
Somehow, this is another pitiful character and why is it that all the women he loved turned out to marry someone else? He took up Xin He as his responsibility and stayed with the girl who turned crazy at the end.
Wilson Guo as Lu Da You
Despicable! Initially I pitied him as he had disabilities (speech and walking) but I was totally disgusted with his act in allowing Zhou Shi An to rape his own wife to protect his own sister.
Sure enough, he loved his own sister much more than anyone else, but to stand there and cup his ears when his wife was screaming during the rape is too much for a man! He is just plain selfish; he knew that Lan Yen did not love him and yet he just refused to let her go when she found Leng Yun and then when Zhao Chong wants to take her away.
I was not sorry that he died in the drama; as there is no nobility at all in this character!
Qiao Chen Yu as Su Xin Hai
I did not see much from him except his love for Wu Shuang and his trying so hard to do something good to prove himself to the silly Lu Da You who looked down on him (as if Lu Da You has any great accomplishment in his life!)
Overall, it was a well-developed story and I find myself feeling the emotions experienced by most of the characters here. It was also a colorful and dramatic plot; and do watch it with an open heart; without any high expectations as this is after all, a usual soap opera type of drama.
Furthermore, this is all focused on the women and for the first time, the men are the accompanying characters =)