THE BEGINNINGS OF A VISIONARY

jobsmovieJOBS (2013)
3 out of 5 stars

This is the story of how Steve Jobs became the legend he was – from college dropout to entrepreneur.

First of all, I love the trailer for this because it features Can’t Hold Us from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis!


Personally, I’m not sure if Steve Jobs appeared topless as many times as Ashton Kutcher did in the movie because just the trailer only featured many topless shots. It was quite interesting to see how much of a perfectionist he was (DUDE, TYPEFACE IS IMPORTANT) and then it’s quite sad how he can seem lost in his own fantasy at the risk of his company’s profits. I wished they showed more about the creation of ipod, ipod nano and the iphone though.

678 BEANS

MELANCHOLIA (2011)
– 4 out of 5 stars

This movie revolves around two sisters, Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), during the events of Justine’s wedding and the impending collision of Earth and another planet, Melancholia a.k.a. the end of the world.

Justine: That I know things. And when I say we’re alone, we’re alone. Life is only on earth, and not for long.

Those slow-motion shots in the opening sequence really grabs you the moment you start, and the music doesn’t help either (Wagner’s prelude to Tristan and Isolde). Each time the music plays in the movie, it sets a really ominous tone and it kinda freaks me out.

These two sisters are as different as chalk and cheese and while Justine suffers from depression, Claire has a case of over-anxiety. It’s interesting to watch how they deal with the end of the world and I guess you never really know until that moment approaches. As the story unfolds, you start to notice the bits that were featured in the opening and also signs that Melancholia is drawing near.

Kirsten Dunst won Best Actress at the 64th Cannes Film Festival.

THE EGG OF DESTINY

HOP (2011)
– 3 out of 5 stars

E.B. (voiced by Russell Brand) is due to succeed his father as the Easter Bunny of Easter Island. However, E.B. has dreams of becoming a drummer and leaves for Hollywood. He befriends Fred O’Hare (James Marsden), who accidentally hits him with his car and they help each other to fulfill their dreams in life.

Well, I was quite reluctant to watch this initially because I didn’t watch those Alvin and the Chipmunks movies and they share the same director. But every animated feature has one character that will appeal to you and then there’s I-cannot-control-my-body-from-grooving-to-music Phil! This chick is completely into music! He’s so cute! I LOL-ed when he couldn’t control himself from dancing when he was directing the other chicks on the Easter sleigh. Everything quote-worthy of Phil can be found in this video:

Carlos steals the scene whenever he starts to scheme, like plotting a coup d’état. Both Carlos and Phil are voiced by the talented Hank Azaria! E.B. is adorable too – he does those puppy, or in this case, bunny eyes that make him irresistible to anyone. Plus, it’s the first time seeing James Marsden in such an immature role – he does lots of jumping, screaming and even singing.

Stay till the end of the credits for an extra clip!

“BECAUSE I HAVE A VOICE!”

THE KING’S SPEECH (2010)
– 5 out of 5 stars

King George VI: If I am King, where is my power? Can I declare war? Form a government? Levy a tax? No! And yet I am the seat of all authority because they think that when I speak, I speak for them. But I can’t speak.

The King’s Speech is a biopic on Prince Albert, Duke of York (Colin Firth) who later becomes King George VI after the death of his father, King George V, and the abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII. King George VI, who has suffered from a speech impediment all his life, meets Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an Australian speech therapist, whose unorthodox and controversial methods of treatment put them off to a rough start. Eventually, the two of them form an unbreakable bond as Logue serves as a friend and part-time psychiatrist over the course of treatment. With the country at the brink of war and in need of a leader, King George VI would go on to overcome his stammer and deliver a radio-address that will inspire his people and unite them in battle.

Lionel Logue: I believe sucking smoke into your lungs will kill you.
King George VI: My physicians say it relaxes the throat.
Lionel Logue: They’re idiots.
King George VI: They’ve all been knighted.
Lionel Logue: Makes it official then.

I think it’s safe to say I was blown away by The King’s Speech. When it started with Prince Albert’s speech at Wembley Stadium, my eyes watered because you can see and feel how hard he tries to utter those words but it just wouldn’t come out. It was heartbreaking. The mood lightened up when Prince Albert meets Logue, whose unconventional methods (blasting classical music, jaw relaxing, rolling on the floor, singing and swearing among others) improves his condition. They soon become friends and confidants, which proves helpful as Logue helps find the root of Prince Albert’s stammer.

Lionel Logue: Do you know the “f” word?
King George VI: F-f-f-fornication.

One of my favourite scenes involves Logue provokes Prince Albert to start swearing, since his anger helps to fuel smooth enunciation, and the result is excellent. It also spreads a little to the titular speech at the end, when Logue mouths some swear words to ease the flow of speech.

Lionel Logue: Forget everything else… and just say it to me.

Both Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush delivered truly brilliant performances. You can literally feel the frustration and desperation of Prince Albert each time he tries to speak. Whereas, the character of Lionel Logue is animated and quirky without being over the top. I liked those scenes whenever both of them appear onscreen together. Meanwhile, there were a few Harry Potter alumni in the cast: Helena Bonham Carter as Elizabeth, wife of Prince Albert aka Bellatrix Lestrange; Michael Gambon as King George V aka Dumbledore and Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill aka Peter Pettigrew/Scabbers.

King George VI: ‘Cos you’re b-bloody well paid to listen.
Lionel Logue: Bertie, I’m not a geisha girl.

Go watch it!

As at time of post, Colin Firth won Best Actor at the 17th Screen Actors Guild Awards and 68th Golden Globe Awards among others and the movie leads with 12 nominations at the 83rd Academy Awards.

NO ONE AND EVERYONE

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2009)
– 4.5 out of 5 stars

Watched this and I think it’s so good, it makes me want to read the Millennium Trilogy rightaway.

An investigative journalist, Mikael Blomkvist, is offered an assignment from Henrik Vanger, the former CEO of Vanger Enterprises, to look into the mystery of the disappearance of his beloved niece, Harriet Vanger, 40 years ago. A comprehensive investigation into Mikael’s personal and professional history was carried out before Vanger decided to engage his help. The investigation was handled by Lisbeth Salander, a private investigator/hacker. Mikael accepts the assignment and moves to Hedeby. As he delves deeper into the case, he injects life into the cold case and has a shot at solving it with the help of Lisbeth.

At 152 minutes long, this is one of the longest films I’ve seen but I do not regret it. It is much better than splitting up the film into two parts and show them half a year apart. You can literally feel the adrenaline build up when Mikael discovers new leads into the old case.

The most shocking scenes would involve Lisbeth and her guardian because the guardian is simply sick in the head. I really wondered how he became a guardian. OMG Lisbeth had to limp home after that?! I suppose those are the parts that deserve the R21 rating. The photos from the news clippings aren’t for the weak-hearted because they are every bit of grotesque imagery. Lisbeth may be a very tough and intense woman but somehow, she’s still subjected to such anti-feminist treatment. But her retaliation was nicely done. Mystery-wise, it is very thrilling. Considering that it’s a 40-year-old case, you have to consider the fact that technology isn’t as advanced; photos are captured on film, records are not kept, sorted or could have been destroyed and most of the people involved may have passed away. Thus, Mikael and Lisbeth really did a good job through good and thorough research and having a keen eye for detail. Especially Lisbeth who could really hack into files and discover old news clippings that could be related to the case. If you read your fair share of thrillers, you could even guess who’s the perpetrator towards the end of the movie.

Mark your calendars because the two sequels open in Singapore on:
September 16, 2010 – The Girl Who Played With Fire
October 21, 2010 – The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest

MAKE A STAND

CLASH OF THE TITANS (2010)
– 3 and a half out of 5 stars 

So, I caught Clash Of The Titans on its opening day – April 1, 2010 – and I thought its trailers were much better.

This is a remake of the 1981 film of the same name and follows the adventures of Perseus, a demigod raised as a fisherman. The people of Argos have stopped praying to the Gods and are relying on their King instead, who have declared war against the Gods when they destroyed the statue of Zeus. Hades (God of the Underworld) arrives and kills the soldiers involved and demand that they sacrifice their daughter, Andromeda, or the Kraken will be released in 10 days.

Perseus, whose family was killed by Hades, leads a group of soldiers from Argo, to try to defeat the Kraken. Guided by Io, his spiritual guide, they set off to seek the Stygian Witches who will tell them how to defeat the Kraken – a supposedly impossible task of getting the head of Medusa. Along the way, they meet with obstacles like Calibos, giant scorpions (a truly heart-in-mouth moment) while coming across Pegasus, the Djinn and of course, Medusa.

It’s very action-packed and you can feel the adrenaline each time the soldiers and Perseus are being attacked. Especially the scorpions! They are HUGE. But at 106 minutes, it doesn’t feel long enough to be an epic and it felt sort of rushed at the ending. Sam Worthington is quite hot and I think some of us will be quite tempted to catch him in an upskirt moment because there are just (almost) so many of them. Gemma Arterton (Io) and Alexa Davalos (Andromeda) are very pretty! Anyway, I caught it in 2D (instead of 3D) because I’ve heard the 3D was only so-so because the movie was filmed in 2D and the conversion (to 3D) was done later.