Sunday, June 21, 2009

Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009)

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A movie for all women who loves to shop, and for all men who just hates women who shop!
Hilarious and engaging with the antics of the cute and pretty lead actress, Isla Fisher who plays Rebecca Bloomwood, there will be so many things to look forward to in the movie besides the sweet and doe-eyed lead actress.

Based on the equally hilarious novel by Sophie Kinsella (check out my other blog on the book), this story tells of a young and twenty-something girl who just couldn't stop shopping. Image Hosted by PicturePush - Photo Sharing
Her compulsive behavior led to the high amount of debts she has landed herself into, and she still could not find a way to control herself.

When she loses her job, by chance, a ridiculous letter she sent out after getting drunk one night, got her another job with Successful Saving; a magazine which is affiliated to Alette, the fashion magazine which she dreamed of working there.
She decided to accept the job offered by Luke Brandon who runs the magazine as a stepping stone to Alette despite her lack of knowledge of finance and saving (since she is such an obsessive shopaholic!)
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She starts to write in a way which relates her shopping adventures and her personal emotions when she shops to learning how to save.
Surprisingly, she was once again lucky when her article won the hearts of many and even critics start to call in with praises. She soon shot to fame and was known as the Girl with the Green Scarf.

At the same time, she was continuously pursued by her debtor whom she lied to Luke that he was an ex-boyfriend who is stalking her. Her best friend, Suze helped her to overcome her 'disorder' by forcing her to counselling sessions with other shopaholics whom she actually induced to fall back to their old habits; with her vivid tales, much to the chagrin of the counsellors.
The best part was even the counsellors started to turn to shopping after hearing her stories about shopping!

She starts falling for her boss, Luke Brandon, who also felt the same but both were too shy to admit to each other. She was elated when Luke asked her along on a business trip to Miami and there was a hint of romance when Luke asked her to ball that night. However, much to both of their disappointment, Alicia, a thin and hot woman asked Luke instead and Becky was crushed.

Soon, one downfall led to another, and Luke discovered the ugly truth about Rebecca's compulsive way and was upset that she lied to him about taking the job; which she revealed was not really her interest and that it was just meant to build the path for her to Alette. It was then that Rebecca truly felt so depressed that she had disappointed Luke, and at the same time, she had also hurt her best friend, she decided to turn over a new leaf and started selling all her stuffs in a garage sale.

She sold off everything, even her luck charm; the green scarf.
However, it ended happily when she found out that the persistent bidder who wanted the green scarf was sent by Luke and they were finally together!

I love Isla Fisher as Rebecca Bloomwood and I felt she is just so naturally sweet for this character.
Her golden blonde hair and all the clothes she was fitted for made her look stunningly gorgeous!
Hugh Dancy, was of course, oh, suave and the two just looked so good together!

Full Cast (credits to Wikipedia)
Isla Fisher as Rebecca Bloomwood
Hugh Dancy as Luke Brandon
Krysten Ritter as Suze Cleath-Stuart
John Goodman as Graham Bloomwood
Joan Cusack as Jane Bloomwood
John Lithgow as Edgar West
Kristin Scott Thomas as Alette Naylor
Leslie Bibb as Alicia Billington
Lynn Redgrave as a doyenne of a publishing empire
Julie Hagerty as Haley
Nick Cornish as Tarquin
Fred Armisen as Ryan Koenig
Wendie Malick as Miss Korch

I've read and loved the Shopaholics series, and this is truly a must-watch for all girls who loved to shop, love shoes, and just love romance and a good laugh!

TVB: Corruption Doesn't Pay 廉政英雄之火槍柔情 (1994)

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An investigative drama centered on the ICAC bureau in Hong Kong. This drama zooms into the special armed unit of the ICAC and involves the cases they pursued and at the same time, the lives of the three female armed officers in the Team B.

Poon Wai Yan (Sharon Tang Shui Man), is the only female armed officer when the series start and she was one of the most elite members in the squad; despite her gender. She is very dedicated to her work; despite the protests from her own family (mainly her old grandmother, played by Lai Suen) and her boyfriend. Her determination in her work soon led to the break up between her and her boyfriend; when he felt neglected for so long that he had found love in his colleague.
Devastated, Wai Yan then realized it was her own mistake as much as it was his, although she could not accept her cheating on him. Focusing all her energy on work, she then embarked on a dangerous mission with the new hire as they go undercover to unveil the truth behind the smuggling of drugs of the syndicate which involved air-stewardesses and HK Customs/Immigration.
At the same time, she found herself drawn towards her own superior, Cheuk Ming (played by Lee Chi Hung) who shared the same feelings as her. When they finally started their relationship, her long lost friend came back from the past, however, she had to be careful to thread on the lines as her old friend, Ma Kei Cheung (played by Cheung Kwok Keung) seems to be involved in a highly-complex treachery in the commercial world.

Wai Yan's best friend,Chung Chi Lin (played by Kiki Sheung Tin Ngor) is a simple-minded woman who is more devoted to her family than her job and often advises Wai Yan to start to think about her own happiness too. When she was accidentally dragged into the undercover story and unable to get home, she missed her husband and son so much and was depressed. When the case was finally solved, she found that her own marriage was in trouble as her husband seems to have feelings for their son's teacher, Ms Yim. There were soon cracks in the marriage as the couple starts to engage in distrust and frustration even after the husband vowed never to see the other woman again (who decided to further her studies abroad). They finally reconciled when Chi Lin decided to take a long break and amend things. However, Chi Lin had to step in to help her two best friends when they were in a situation with the criminals.

Polly, Kam Po Ling (Esther Kwan Wing Hor) first appeared as a victim held hostage by the criminal in the first case. When Wai Yan rescued her from the hands of the bad guy, she was in awe of the ICAC and decided to join the squad. She was successful following the training and the examinations and was enlisted as one of the new officers; assigned under Wai Yan, whom she highly admired. She was diligent and dedicated to the work; although was overly aggressive in the beginning and was constantly reprimanded by Wai Yan. She also had to deal with her stepfather whom she had misunderstood for so many years and had to reconcile with after she realized how much he cared for her. At the same time, she found herself drawn towards a guy, Kelvin Chow Man Hin (played by Alex Fong Chun Shun) whom she initially detested and then slowly falling for his charms.

The whole drama was indeed a realistic depiction of the way the ICAC carried out their operations and I especially love the chemistry of the teamwork and how the whole team worked so well together on each of the cases.
The chemistry of the couples in the drama was right; and my favorite couple has to be Polly and Kelvin; although I do like Wai Yan and Cheuk Ming as well.

A lovely and heart-warming ending to the action-packed drama, which made me reeling for more of ICAC suspense!

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Little Nyonya 小娘惹 (2008)

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The Little Nyonya has garnered one of the highest ratings of the Singaporean dramas since it was released at the end of 2008.
This drama spins an intriguing tale of three generations in a local Peranakan family.

The interesting theme of using the Peranakan tradition and culture as the background of the story is the part which wooed most of the viewers to watch the drama.
Furthermore the story includes the engaging plot of a family drama; with its twists and turns and trailing across the Straits Settlement; mainly Singapore and Malacca as the plot background but include Penang in some of the filming.

The Straits Settlement has always been well known for their sisterhood secrets and the unique Peranakan culture is definitely one of them.
The producers have definitely done a good job on the research of the traditions and cultures practised by the Peranakan folks; more fondly known to the locals as Baba and Nyonya.

The story starts with the present; with Anqi (Felicia Chin) on a bus ride to Malacca after she returns from Canada to visit her grandmother and to put the past of her unhappy love relationship behind her to the trip.
Her arrival in the Historical City commences on a nostalgic journey back to the past, and continues to dazzle us viewers with the beautiful and unique traditions preserved by the present Peranakan culture, with a tale dating back to the past.

The Little Nyonya is a story that starts from the present and trails back to 70 years ago, to tell us the fate of a family alongside the strict conservative minds of the Peranakan folks back then.

Back to the story, it tells of a prominent family in Malacca; the Huangs who are involved in the trade and financial business.
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Following the death of old Mrs Huang, her only son stayed in the ancestral house with the occasional visits of his elder sister.
Mr Huang himself has a wife who has borne him a son and a daughter, who were close to his sister's two daughters as well.

Then comes our protagonist; Juxiang and her mother who were depicted as the servants in the house, cooking and serving to the masters and mistresses of the house.
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The three girls often made fun of Juxiang, and constantly bullied her.

Juxiang is actually mute and deaf; a fate that befell upon her after her distressed state following the death of old Mrs Huang who dotes on her. Her mother, Tian Lan (aka Auntie Lan) was the maid servant of the dear old Mrs Huang and was raped by the current Mr Huang.
Old Mrs Huang considered her as one of the daughter in law along with Huang's first wife, much to her anger.
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However, after the death of old Mrs Huang, the first wife, GuiHua, resumed her position as the maid servant, along with her daughter Juxiang, whom she does not recognize as the legitimate daughter of the Huangs and hence, the mother and daughter had to live an ill-fated life in the kitchen.
Ah Tao is another servant, who was an amah (maids sworn to celibacy), who was loyal to both Juxiang and her mother.
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When the Chens (another prominent family in Malacca) comes to attend the tok panjang (a feast), the Huangs were interested to do matchmaking and tried to promote their daughters to the Chens.
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Old Mrs Chen was the bosom friend of old Mrs Huang and it was this friendship that maintained the bond between the two families for the few generations.
Old Mrs Chen took an immediate liking to Juxiang and was impressed by her skills in cooking and embroidery.
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However, her handicap was an issue and thus, old Mrs Huang chose Meiyu instead to marry her grandson, Chen Sheng
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On the other hand, their own son, Jincheng married his cousin, Xiufeng although he was already in love with Xiujuan, Xiufeng's younger sister.
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Juxiang was then forced into marriage with another influential businessman, Charlie Zhang, a man who turned his back on his own ancestors in favor of the western culture to win their trust in him.
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Charlie Zhang was not just a cunning businessman but an equally despicable person in character. His attitude disgusts Juxiang, and she protested strongly against the marriage; to no avail and as a last resort, she ran away from home and was almost doomed to prostitution when she was saved by Yamamoto Yousuke, a Japanese photographer who was based in Singapore.
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He proposed to her after bringing her back to his house and they got married, to escape from Charlie Zhang's pursuit for his runaway bride.
Juxiang then led a blissful life with Yamamoto who loved her, leaving a distraught Auntie Lan back home. Ah Tao occasionally acts as the messenger for the mother and daughter.

Yamamoto then had to go back to Japan during Juxiang's pregnancy and then war struck after Juxiang gave birth to her daughter, Yueniang.
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She waits in hope for the return of her husband, and then bumps in Chen Sheng (the grandson of old Mrs Chen) who is now married to Meiyu.
He took care of her and Yueniang, and then Yamamoto comes back. He was held captive and forced to serve the Japanese army to which he managed to escape.
For the sake of his wife and daughter's welfare, he begged Chen Sheng to take them away to England, along with the Chens and Huangs.

Juxiang was then thrown off the ship by the cruel Meiyu and her mother upon being seen by them and she swam back to the shore with Yueniang (beats me how she did it) and went back to her husband.
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The family reunited, only to have Yamamoto being killed by the soldiers then after, who were being tipped by Charlie Zhang. Juxiang soon died of depression, leaving Yueniang to fend for herself.
The courageous little girl then demands the corpse of her father from the Japanese quarters and proceeds to bury her parents together.

She then travels back to Malacca (how she did it?) and reunites with Ah Tao and her grandmother, who was sick with missing Juxiang and mistaken her for Juxiang.
Yueniang grew up to look just like her mother, and again, led the life of what her mother and grandmother used to lead when the Huangs soon return to their ancestral home after the war. Yueniang was more defiant and independent than Juxiang, and
never let them bully her the way Juxiang was. She stood up to the injustice, only to be subjected to constant beatings.

She became best friends with Xiufeng's younger daughter, Yuzhu, who taught her English.
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Zhenzhu, the elder sister, was a selfish person and constantly bullies her own sister.
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When the Chens reunite with the Huangs again, they are once again looking at the prospect of bonding through another arranged marriage for their only grandson and great-grandson, Chen Xi.
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Zhenzhu and Yuzhu were both the prospects for his future bride, but Chen Xi had someone else in mind; he had already fallen for the cheeky Yueniang.
Their relationship was encouraged by Chen Sheng, his uncle, who often regretted his lack of courage to win Juxiang's hand in marriage and had to live his life in misery.
He has neglected his own wife, Meiyu, who then took part in separating Chen Xi and Yueniang, in favor of her own nieces.
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Chen Xi and Yueniang had a rocky relationship with the constant meddling of the women from the Huangs and in the end, in a twist of a fate, Yueniang was forced into marriage with a butcher whom they sought shelter from before, Liu Yidao.
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However, they didn't consummate their marriage and instead, they became sworn brothers and sisters.
Chen Xi, on the other hand, fell sick and was arranged into a marriage with Zhenzhu.
(They initially favored Yuzhu, but she was raped while helping Yueniang elope with Chen Xi).

Due to the guilt, Yueniang could not bring herself to be with Chen Xi and their love story was left behind, in a cliffhanger, as Yueniang was shown as accepting a proposal from the Englishman, Mr Smith while Chen Xi was said to have married his classmate from England, Libby.

Anqi was also revealed to be the granddaughter of Yuzhu and Robert Zhang; the man who raped Yuzhu and subjected her to a lifetime of misery and sexual abuse.
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Nevertheless, it was a dramatic tale, spanning from a few generations and decades; filling in the pieces of jigsaw puzzle to form the present.
It is one of the most used ideas, but MediaCorp has certainly done a little more than just the usual story-telling to spin this intriguing tale of the Peranakan family.

The series was detailed in its narration; even touching the daily lives, culture, dressing and the spread of the food!

At the same time, the drama is touching everyone's heart as we follow the ill-fated lives and love stories of the mothers and daughters; from Auntie Lan to Yueniang, who never seem to have a happy ending in their love lives.
Juxiang was both loved by Yamamoto and Chen Sheng, while Yueniang was also loved by Smith and Chen Xi.

It was a rather sad ending; and I heard rumors that there is a possible sequel in which Anqi will find a letter from her late grandmother, Yueniang's box which tells the story from which Chen Xi never really married Libby after all.
Wow, that is something to look forward to!

I am definitely addicted to Singaporean dramas; it has been so since my first drama back in the 90's (Rising Expectations starring Zoe Tay)

I give this drama a thumbs up, and would definitely leave it on my "Will watch again" shelf!
Highly recommended and bravo to MediaCorp for such a brilliant piece of work!

The full cast (from MediaCorp)
Jeanette Aw - Huang Juxiang/Yamamoto Yueniang
Dai Yang Tian - Yamamoto Yousuke 山本洋介
Pierre Png - Chen Sheng
Qi Yuwu - Chen Xi
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Cynthia Koh - Xiujuan
Pan Lingling - Xiufeng
Apple Hong - Huang Meiyu
Darren Lim - Huang JinCheng
Lin Mei Jiao - Gui Hua
Xiang Yun - Tian Lan
Huang Hui - Ah Tao
Li Yin Zhu - Old Mrs Chen
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Andie Chen - Alexander Huang Tianbao
Eelyn Kok - Huang Zhenzhu
Joanne Peh - Huang Yuzhu
Desmond Sim - Charlie Zhang
Zzen - Robert Zhang
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Felicia Chin - Angela/ Anqi
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Nat Ho - Li Xiuwen

For further information, do visit the official site

(All photos used here are taken from MediaCorp official website and only for illustration purpose)
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One word, this drama will definitely relive that love for Nyonya food and Peranakan culture for anyone!

Nyonya food anyone?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Angels & Demons (2009)

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The mystical design of the poster has kept the contents of the movie very much mysterious to the viewers; although it should come as no surprise anymore since it comes from the same author of the highly acclaimed Da Vinci Code, which has rocked the Roman Catholic community from the start.

Readers and fans of Dan Brown should expect no less either; after reading the story from the book of the same title; since the movie is, after all, based on the book itself.

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Interestingly to note though, in the book sequence, Angels & Demons is actually the prequel to the Da Vinci Code.
This sequence seemed to have taken a switch in the movie release; as they had followed the frenzy created after the fame of Da Vinci Code.

To be frank, I think nothing much of Da Vinci Code, which I only read the book and not watch the movie (I don't really see a point to).
Religion aside, I do admire Dan Brown for his great twists and turns and how he manages to confuse readers on fact and fiction, a dangerously thin line in between as he cooks up a plot like in the Da Vinci Code and ultimately, putting the Roman Catholic Church to infamy.

I decided to watch Angels & Demons, after reading the review from the Church that is is practically harmless, and at the same time, since it's been such a long time I've actually watched a movie.
(After so long, and I watched 2 movies two days in a row..LOL!)

In this supposedly sequel to Da Vinci Code, Tom Hanks reprised his role as world-renowned symbologist and Harvard professor Robert Langdon who was called upon by the Roman Catholic Church/The Vatican in Rome to assist in their crisis of the four missing cardinals (known as preferiti in the movie) following the death of their beloved pope and towards the commencement of the papal conclave.

The Church mourns the death of the Pope and all the necessary arrangements are being made at the same time to elect the next pope; keeping the church busy with the preparations for the well-known papal conclave (the selection process of the pope which involves the congregation of the cardinals from all around the world to partake in the election process).
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At the same time, the movie details the process of the melting of the pope's ring after his death and the funeral procession as well.

On the other hand, in the world's famous science laboratory; European Organization for Nuclear Research in Switzerland (CERN), scientist Dr Vittoria Vetra (Ayelet Zurer) works in collaboration with Father Silvano Bentivoglio to initiate the antimatter; through the Large Hadron Collider.
They then captured the antimatter in three cannisters and kept them securely locked in the secret room; accessible only by retinal recognition.

Shortly after, we were brought to the scene where Dr Vittoria found the dead body of Father Silvanor who was found lying on the floor of the lab with his eyeball taken out of its socket; an obvious indication of someone breaking into the lab when she also finds one of the canister missing.

Back to Rome, while the Church continues to mourn and prays in faith for the selection of the next Pope.
Robert Langdon is then brought to Rome and was given an exactly warm welcome as most of the Church remembers his previous deeds on the Holy Grail mystery (prequel of Da Vinci Code). He feigns subtlety and interst when he was introduced to the Vatican police, Inspector General Ernesto Olivetti (Perfrancesco Favino) and Lieutenant Valenti (Victor Alfieri), Commander Richter (Stellan Skarsgard) who fills him in on the seriousness of the issue when they revealed the story of the four missing cardinals; preferiti, who are the four possible successors to being the next pope.
He was also given a piece of paper with the inscribed 'Illuminati' which the Vatican received following the disappearance of the four cardinals.
He immediately links this to the 400-year old secret society; Illuminati which was depicted as the Church of Science and is in conflict with the Catholic church from the past as they killed their members in public (an event known as Inquisition).

Robert was told to listen to the message sent by the kidnapper, which threatens that each of the cardinal will be killed from 8.00pm that same night; with one cardinal per hour and then the Vatican City will be destroyed in a burst of light at midnight.
He traces it back to the message and deduced that this pattern is in sync with the death at the four altars of the Path of Illumination; or the four altars of science which coincides with the four main elements of the universe; air, water, fire, earth.

At the same time, Robert also meets with Dr Vittoria who will join him in his race as she wants to salvage her antimatter before it truly destroys the Vatican City.
She requested for the diary of Father Silvano to be flown into the Vatican City immediately while Robert demands access to the Vatican Secret Archives; a request he has been denied for years, explaining that the clue to unravel the paths to the four secret churches/altars could be found in the original copy of Galileo Galilei's book, which was banned by the Church.
The Camerlengo, who is the person in charge of the church during the sede vacante (the period during the death of the pope until the selection of the next pope) grants him the access after asking him whether he trusts in God, and Robert Langdon gave a very interesting answer, "Faith is a gift I have yet to receive"

Using the only copy left, Robert, Vittoria and the Vatican cops raced to the first church, Santa Maria Del Pappolo; only to find that they were too late (they misinterpreted the clue and went to the wrong church; the Pantheon at first). They found the first cardinal dead on the floor; with a brand of 'Earth' on his chest.

Based on his observation on the statues and possible symbols in the first church, he raced towards the second location at the square where they found the wind symbol and found the second cardinal dead with puncture in his lungs as they tried to revive him.
They then proceeded to the next church; Santa Maria Vittoria where they find the famous St Theresa in Ecstasy and found the third cardinal burnt at the stake; hanging from the two pillars of the church.
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The two Vatican cops were also killed as Robert continues to fight against time.

Earlier, Vittoria had gone back to the Vatican upon arrival of Father Silvano's diaries and found the behavior of Commander Richter suspicious when she found the missing diary locked in his drawer.
Robert had also tried to check the Galileo's book again and was found trapped in the secret archives, gasping for air but fortunately and miraculously escaped after his several ridiculous attempts at breaking the hermetic vault room.

Camerlengo Patrick McKenna was trying to convince the cardinals to evacuate the Vatican; telling them that the church is under attack by the Illuminati while Cardinal Strauss who was the appointed elector of the conclave, insisted on the proceeding of the conclave and towards the seclusion as scheduled.
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Robert continues his raging time battle with the Hassassin, and races to the final location in Piazza Navona where the Fountain of the Four Rivers are located and successfully rescued the last cardinal, who was bounded and branded with 'Water' before being thrown into the fountain.
Upon ensuring the safety of the cardinal, Robert rushes after the Hassassin to find the Church of Illuminati and save the Vatican city from being destroyed.
He found his way to the Castel Sant'Angelo with Vittoria and met the Hassassin who spared their lives; relating that he was not instructed to kill them and told them to stay off; as they are dealing with very faithful and highly dangerous people; indicating that they came from the Church itself.

The Hassassin found his vehicle which contained his payment but the car exploded immediately after he ignited the engine.

Robert then discovers in shock that there is a fifth element and together, he and Vittoria raced towards the Vatican, upon realizing that the Camerlengo himself (who is the temporary person in charge of Vatican) has been identified as the last victim.
They rushed into his rescue when he was found suffering from the fresh brands on his chest and pointing to both the Commander Richter and one of the cardinals as illuminatus which triggered the Swiss Guards to fire shots at them to save the Camerlengo.

In the confusion, Robert found a key entrusted into his hand by the Commander.
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They then rushed to the location of the hidden antimatter and upon finding it, realizes that the battery is dying fast (due to the temperature) and they may not be able to get it out by flight on time.
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The Camerlengo snatches the antimatter from them and ran off; taking flight in the helicopter, flying high above, leaving the copter to explode in the air finally while Vittoria and Robert mourns his great deed.
The faithful were relieved to find him flying down with his parachute and though suffering serious wounds, he was fine.

Robert then used the key to Richter's office and found a videotape that revealed the mastermind of the whole murder was actually the Camerlengo himself and not the Illuminati. He was against the whole idea of science and was worried for the future of the church.
At the same time, while the Camerlengo was being treated at the hospital for his wounds, the conclave was coming to an unanimous vote to have his as the next pope; despite his age and non-cardinal status by invoking the Election by Adoration (where they ask for the intervention of the Holy Spirit).

Robert raced to the Vatican and informed the cardinals and the Camerlengo was summoned back to the Vatican. He was anticipating his election and was shocked to realize that his plot has been uncovered; by the faces of the Cardinals of the College.
He then runs off and heads towards the center of the St Peter's Basilica and burns himself, praying to God from one of the holy lamps.

The new Pope is then elected; who was the surviving preferiti cardinal taking on the new name of Pope Luke (a name that was never used before) and he gives the Galileo's book to Robert as a sign of gratitude.
At the same time, the Church announces the Camerlengo has died due to his internal wounds during the explosion and landing and has been canonized as a saint.

Cardinal Strauss also made an interesting statement to Robert Langdon,
"Every religion has its flaws; as in every man, including the one that is standing before you. However, it is the man who is the flaw in the religion"

Overall, the movie was well-filmed; after all, we had the award winning Steven Spielberg and I can't expect lesser than that.
The story plot was interesting and the whole movie was kept to a dark and sinister atmosphere which made the whole storyline even more interesting as a whole.

However, as a Roman Catholic myself and also an avid reader, I have to share a few interesting quirks I found in the Angels & Demons concept in general.

The FACT vs FICTION part in Angels & Demons:
1. The overall papal conclave process is accurate; whereby the cardinals are locked in seclusion in the Sistine Chapel which is a tradition for centuries, following the death of the pope. The election process can take days; where the College will burn the election votes using damp straw with chemicals to produce black smoke; indicating that there is no decision yet, and dry straw for white smoke; the victorious moment when the pope is selected!
2. The process of the ring and the sealing of the documents, funeral and arrangements are accurate (shown in the beginning of the movie).
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(The following is from Wikipedia)
The death of the Pope is verified by the Cardinal Camerlengo, or Chamberlain, who traditionally performed the task by gently striking the Pope's head with a small silver hammer and calling out his Christian (not papal) name three times. During the twentieth century the use of the hammer in this ritual has been abandoned; under Universi Dominici Gregis, the Camerlengo must merely declare the Pope's death by calling him three times by his Christian name in the presence of the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, and of the Cleric Prelates, Secretary and Chancellor of the Apostolic Camera. The Cardinal Camerlengo takes possession of the Ring of the Fisherman worn by the Pope; the Ring, along with the papal seal, is later destroyed before the College of Cardinals. The tradition originated to avoid forgery of documents, but today merely is a symbol of the end of the pope's reign.[36]

During the sede vacante, as the papal vacancy is known, certain limited powers pass to the College of Cardinals, which is convoked by the Dean of the College of Cardinals. All cardinals are obliged to attend the General Congregation of Cardinals, except those whose health does not permit, or who are over eighty (but those cardinals may choose to attend if they please).

3. There is no such term as preferiti, for the next in line cardinals.
The correct term is papabili.

4. St Theresa in Ecstasy is not depicted as the saint in a lucrative manner; and has no sexual indication. It was a portrayal of a holy woman who experienced the presence of God and the Holy Spirit and was said to have described is as such elevating happiness that it was illustrated by Bernini in the form of ecstasy.

5. The churches are, accurate, on location in Rome, though not accurate in the direction in the storyline.
All the churches are not as near as depicted in the movie where Robert Langdon can arrive in a mere 1-2 minutes from one church to another.

6. Antimatter do exist, but it is not something which can be brought or stored in a canister for that matter.
The impact of the explosion (if it does occur) can definitely destroy the whole of Vatican City.

7. Galileo and Bernini are not part of the Illuminati as claimed.
Reason 1: They are both faithful men to the church; especially Bernini who was favored by most of the popes and a highly gifted child artist and sculptor since young.
Reason 2: Illuminati existed and was abolished a century before Galileo was even born!

8. Galileo was not prosecuted by the Church; it was Giordano Bruno.
Galileo was indeed called for Inquisition and was renounced due to his aggressive acts to prove his theory; and given the state of the church who was fighting against the Protestants, it was a threat to their existence.
However, Galileo was not killed by the Church.
Copernicus was also not being punished by the church for starting his idea of the planetary movement and that Earth is not in the center. In fact, the Pope then was accepting the idea and Copernicus himself dedicated the theory/book to Pope Paul III.

9. The Great Castration by Pope Pius IX, is not as claimed. In fact, the fig leaves were added, but not castrated. Subsequent efforts to remove the leaves proves harder than leaving them in place.

10. Camerlengo is indeed the man in charge of the Vatican during the period between the death of the pope until the selection of the next pope; a period known as sede vacante tempe.
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The Camerlengo is the chamberlain and oversees the Holy See's Office and all office matters. He is also the one in charge of making funeral arrangements after the pope's death and calling for the conclave into action.

There are many more facts vs fiction that I think I must create an article in my blog on this one day =)

Another interesting part of this movie is the cast too; boasting of a wide international cast:
Robert Langdon - Tom Hanks (US)
Dr Vittoria Vetra - Ayelet Zurer (Israel)
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Camerlengo Patrick McKenna - Ewan McGregor (Scotland)
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Cardinal Strauss - Armin Mueller-Stahl (Germany)
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Commander Richter/Head of Swiss Guards - Stellan Skarsgard (Sweden)
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Inspector General Ernesto Olivetti - Pierfrancesco Favino (Rome, Italy) - remember the evil uncle in Prince Caspian?
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Hassassin - Nikolaj Lie-Kaas (Scandinavia/Denmark)
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My thought?
I applaud Dan Brown for a brilliant piece of work, and in twisting the fact and fiction.I have to say that he is indeed a creative and innovative writer; whose work really amazes me.
At the same time, Steven Spielberg has once again contributed to the blockbuster status of the movie with his great work and the strong cast.

The church is depicted in connection to the dark ages in the past, where several issues of disgrace were being discussed in both the book and the movie, the corruption, conspiracies, and the lives and reigns of the popes which have been consistently the central theme in Dan Brown's stories in both Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons.

I was taken on a memorable and nostalgic ride through the city of Rome where I visited last year, and it made me wanting to go again after watching the movie.
I am very sure that all the landmarks of the movie/book will be world-famous landmarks(as if they are not already) and the major tourist attractions!

A definitely recommended movie to watch; but for pure entertainment fiction; not for factual education!

Dan Brown's works could definitely awaken Leonardo Da Vinci,Bernini, Galileo and Copernicus, and various historical figures from the dead, with their alleged involvement in his various theories!
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