Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hello, World

Hello world, how you been?
Good to see you my old friend...

Besides it being a statement of rediscovering the beauty of life and the importance of your loved ones, it is also about rediscovering my old friend... my blog! Feels good to have a place to share my musings again =)

I've already declared my love for them before, but I guess I'll restate it here - Lady Antebellum does great country music! (Sorry, Taylor Swift, your music is good too, but more pop-ish).

I Run To You, Need You Now, American Honey... and now, Hello World. It just keeps getting better =)

Recently went to watch Rapunzel: A Tangled Tale. It's one of the best Disney (minus Pixar) has to offer in recent years. Speaking of which, will be changing back to my previous rating system after receiving some flak =x But anyhow, welcome back, cute popcorn man!

I give the film:

In the U.S., the film is entitled Tangled because it was trying to appeal to young boys, after the previous princess-titled release (Princess and the Frog) did not do as well as expected in the States. But over here in Singapore, the title Rapunzel is kept as it is, probably for easier identification with local audiences.

In anyways, Rapunzel is now officially Disney's 10th princess, after Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Ariel (Little Mermaid), Mulan, Pocahantas, Belle (Beauty and the Beast), Jasmine (Aladdin) and Tiana (Princess and the Frog).

One thing's for sure -- she's definitely the one with the longest hair.

Her story in this film starts before her birth, when the Queen's body is frail. The kingdom's guards managed to find a magical plant with healing powers for her; and after drinking the concoction, beautiful Rapunzel was safely born. Because of the plant, Rapunzel's golden locks possess the power to heal, and it was precisely this reason that an evil witch stole her from the palace, and locked her in a secret tower so that she can harness her power for immortality.

Lonely but not despaired, the teenage Rapunzel (voiced impeccably by singer/actress Mandy Moore) spends her days in her tower singing and painting with an adorable chameleon companion, Pascal, yearning for the day she can finally see the world.

One day, wanted bandit (not a prince) Flynn Rider (voiced by Chuck's Zachary Levi) stumbled upon the tower, and Rapunzel saw him as a perfect ticket out of her captive life. After successfully luring her Mother Gothel (voiced with menace by Broadway veteran Donna Murphy) out of the tower, Rapunzel escaped and they began a journey to see the lanterns that seem to appear in the sky every year on her birthday.

The CG animation here is top-notched and is bound to dazzle the eyes of kids and adults alike (thanks, partly, to executive producer John Lasseter, the master behind Pixar's Toy Story and Cars). Rapunzel's long, silky mane moves with ease and is easily the star of the show. Action pieces - especially one involving a gigantic dam - keeps the boys interested, and the catchy song and dance numbers (it's a Disney film) and budding romance is bound to thrill the females.

Keeping the heart of the Disney tradition alive, memorable side characters also fill the screen. One that stood out is the smart and police canine-like guard horse, Maximus, his non-verbal actions delightful and hilarious.

FINAL SAY: Pulsating with stunning visuals and timely humour, Rapunzel puts Disney animation back on the map.


is nEx! (at Serangoon interchange)
This is the biggest shopping mall in Singapore's north-east - and boy, does it live up to its hype in terms of size! Went to check it out on Saturday night and although it was not officially opened yet, I was darn excited with what I saw.

All that is important at nEx:

> Haato ice cream
> 30-cashier counter NTUC Xtra (24 hr) and Cold Storage
> Sanrio @ Isetan
> Yoguru
> Shaw Cinema
> Partyworld
> Din Tai Fung
> Broaster Chicken
> Wendy's
> Food Republic and Food Junction
> Starbucks

and our favourite...

Sogurt! =)
Yep, that delicious DIY fro-yo that charges by weight, and we had it at 10% off on Students' Discount! =)

Can't wait for it to officially open. No need go town loh!

Take care, peeps!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Revamp + Potter Movie Review

*rubs and squints eyes* Sept...em..ber..

Oh my gosh, my last post was on September the 8th? Really??!!??!!

As you can see, to mark my return to the blogosphere, I've decided to do a little revamp to rekindle my spirit of blogging.

The changes are namely:

1) New blog header! Did it myself; the filmstrip border is to highlight my undying passion for movies, but why those two pictures, you might ask. Well, the balloons photo is about celebrating the colourful things in life, and the picture of the clouds is about the quiet, contemplative moments in life. I guess this blog strives to be a mixture of both =)

2) New search bar for blog. It's the first thing after the chatbox. Want to look for what I've blogged about a certain topic? Just type it in and it'll scour through my blog posts and dig them out for you. Go ahead, try it. Try "Harry Potter" and see what comes out =)

3) New movie rating system! Explained below. Read on =)

Gosh, I really miss blogging. About my favourite music videos, my favourite eats, my favourite places to go...

...and of course, those beloved movie reviews that probably take up 80% of wilsoniscurious. How I've missed my beloved popcorn men!

Do you miss them too? No? Okay. Moving on.

It's probably time to start finding a new rating system - time for a revamp! =)

Introducing my new range of movie ratings - from 0.5/5 to 5.0/5.

And I've got just the right movie to kick-start the reviewing again.

But before that, just a little trip back in time.

That link was last year's review of the 6th Harry Potter film. Guess what, the 7th one is out! Although, technically, it's really just version 7.1.



It's been close to a decade - that's 10 whole years - since the first Harry Potter movie was released and took the world by a big-freakin-Avatar-plus-Lord-of-the-Rings-epic-Jurrasic-Park storm.

Yes, nothing comes close. The Harry Potter movies, to-date, is the highest grossing film series of all time, with box-office receipts across the globe mounting to over US$5 Billion. If James Cameron plans Avatar to go on for another 4 or 5 films, it just might break this record, but truth is, Cameron is no J.K. Rowling, so I guess Potter wins.

Okay, I digress. But for those who've read my blog since the beginning of Life, Curious would know that I'm quite the Potter fan. I've even written one uber-long and intensely-documented post when I finished reading the last book (warning, though, that link contains spoilers).

Anyhow, a release of a Potter film is always considered a landmark in the movie industry. Not only for the movie studios who are delighted their cash cow is still milking the heck out of movie-goers, but for people who grow up with the series (yours truly), it is quite thrilling to witness how the magical world is translated onto the screen.

Of course, we are happy to reunite with our favourite cast members in the cinema - be it the lovable trio or sick favourites like Snape, Voldemort and Bellatrix; they never fail to excite, scare and move us like before.

Alright, time for the review, then.

HP7 part 1, as most of you might have heard, serves as a prelude to the concluding film which will be out mid of next year. But as a beginning, this is an extremely well-made entry into the Potter film franchise.

With an unsettling opening sequence, the brutal murder of a Hogwarts teacher at the start jolted the audience into realising that we are no longer watching the happy adventures of Harry Potter, but rather, "these are dark times" indeed. In fact, scenes involving Nagini the snake are especially terrifying - protect your young ones.

Harry, Hermione and Ron continue their quest to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes - cursed items that contain fragments of Lord Voldemort's soul - on their own. Being the 17-year-old angsty wizards and witch as they are, conflicts abound, and Ron even walked out on the pact at one point.

Incidentally, that scene displayed the fine acting abilities of the three young leads - especially Emma Watson's - as it carries hefty emotional performances which they pulled off nicely.

With hundreds of millions in profit, the film benefited from the big budget and delivered visually as well. The editing of fight scenes was taut and intense as characters flailed and dodged and sparks of spells flew in rousing exchange.

Most delicious, perhaps, is the ensemble of respected acting veterans. Ralph Fiennes, as usual, provides the right amount of menace as the cunning Voldemort, while Alan Rickman's Snape basically steals every (limited) scene he is in. Helena Bonham Carter's Bellatrix revels in her own insanity, and Imelda Staunton's Dolores Umbridge returns more piercing than before.

Director David Yates and long-time Potter screenwriter Steve Kloves are to be credited yet again, for successfully bringing to life the action that Rowling wrote on paper.

Besides the one gripe that the film does seem a little episodic and a bit aimless in the middle, the stunning cinematography as the trio Disapparates from location to location, and the well-choreographed action scenes more than make up for it.

Brush up on your Potter knowledge a little before watching this sprawling part 1 to the epic finale. It'll help. But other than that, sit back, cower in your seat and enjoy this thrilling serving of Potter, and patiently anticipate the final part 2 next year. Good things are worth the wait.

Wow, that was a long one.

Continue checking this space for more posts (hopefully)! =)

Shall end with a happy photo:
Yup, "Find Happiness Within" =)

Take care, people!