Month: November 2014

Stoke City vs. Liverpool 29/11/14

With Gerrard and Lovren dropped, I had a faint hope that Rodgers finally realised that they needed time out of the team and the limelight. But Johnson and Enrique were our fullbacks instead of Moreno and Manquillo, and this worried me. Plus, many of the players played the full 90mins against Ludogorets in Bulgaria, and ran themselves into the ground while Rodgers only made 1 substitution. I was also worried about fitness. Nevertheless, I decided to watch the match.

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Hard Boiled (Film)

Oh man.

I haven’t been watching any Asian films lately, and this was a return to the classics. It’s a cop story, which is damn popular in Hong Kong and China, and it’s not hard to see why.

Hard Boiled is really, really hardcore. The body count is insane. Sure, there are plenty of things I can find fault with it. Bullets are infinite, heroes are immortal, henchmen often miss, and things that shouldn’t stop bullets do when its convenient, like car doors and plaster walls, and don’t when it’s not. Also, flashy explosions galore. C4 does not create fire like that. Nor does shooting a shotgun at stuff.

But beyond the usual Hollywood-style dramatisation of gun fights and the shaky camera work, it’s a really gritty film that harks back to the simpler days, when CGI was nothing but a dream and special effects was a directorial skill. The shooting was non-stop, and it was a thrill from start to finish. And gosh, that first tea-house shoot-out. What a blast.

And the characters are pretty good too, if a bit bland. Some were clearly more developed and 3-dimensional than others, but this is a film that’s really just about the violence, and it doesn’t disappoint in that regard.

Given the recent happenings in Ferguson and other parts of USA, it feels a bit strange to be getting all excited and thrilled about a film where the police shoot at gangsters indiscriminately, often leading to civilian casualties. And even in the film, the main characters ended up shooting their own allies. It was never really touched upon, but it raises very pertinent questions.

To what extent should we allow the police to use deadly force against people? Is feeling threatened enough, as it is in the US? Or is a deadly assault necessary before the police react? Personally, I’m all for the latter, but I can see why the former is a safer option for the police. Given the ease at which the police shoot in USA though (especially that 12-year-old kid who was shot within 12s of the police arrival, after the caller had told the operator that he thought it was a fake gun, twice), it’s come to a point where the police are not protecting the citizens but themselves.

But enough social commentary. Hard Boiled is a classic. Violent and gritty, just the way I like my shows.

Jurassic World – Trailer

HELLO DINOSAURS!

I loved Jurassic Park, and Ioved dinosaurs. I think I still have a couple of dinosaur encyclopaedias in my room. Also, Chris Pratt in a serious role looks pretty good from the trailer. Never watched Zero Dark Thirty, which I believed he acted in and is also a serious film. But his star is really on the rise, and I think it won’t be long before he starts starring in Oscar-worthy films.

I really do like the serious turns comedic actors take. It shows their willingness to challenge their limits and widen their horizons. Jonah Hill did it with Moneyball, Steve Carell with Foxcatcher. Maybe we’ll see Mr. Star-Lord getting an Oscar nomination soon.

The F1 Season 2014

…and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, of course.

I had intended to study the entire day for my exam, but revision ended much earlier than expected. There was also a football game at the same time as the season-ending GP, but given Liverpool’s woes, I didn’t exactly want to watch a terrible performance and take a negative mood into my exams. So it was the Abu Dhabi GP that I watched, and it was a race full of drama and emotion.

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The New Cinderella Trailer Is Just Magical as You Might Imagine

Erm…okay. The cast is friggin’ strong, that’s for sure. Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter bring a LOT of star power to this live-action remake. And I do miss Mr. Robb Stark.

But I’m just not sure about this…probably good for kids to relive the fairy tales the older generation grew up with. Not so much for young adults.

TIME

Disney is revisiting the classic fairy tale of Cinderella, this time as a live-action film.

Though the studio found a box-office hit this summer by turning an old film, Sleeping Beauty, on its head in Maleficent, Cinderella won’t follow the same model. Based on the first trailer, the movie looks an awful lot like the cartoon version Disney made in 1950.

The movie’s potential lies in its all-star cast. Downton Abbey’s Lily James plays kind-hearted ingenue Cinderella. Cate Blanchett exudes evil as the wicked stepmother. And—in a change of pace for the usually grim actress—Helena Bonham Carter will play Cinderella’s fairy godmother. The filmmakers have even resurrected Game of Thrones’ Robb Stark (Richard Madden) to play the prince.

Cinderella hits theaters March 13.

[newsletter-parents]

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Most People Won’t Like Their Holiday Gifts, Survey Says

…and this is precisely why I dislike gift-giving. It feels more like a chore and a social pressure rather than actual sincerity, and I rather spend time with loved ones or just give money for whatever they want to buy. It’s more practical, and saves everyone time too.

TIME

When struggling to feign interest in that unwanted gift this holiday season, take solace in knowing that most Americans are in the exact same position.

Almost three-quarters of Americans probably won’t like the gift they receive this holiday season, according to a survey from the Japan-based online retailer Rakuten. More than a third of respondents said they will regift unwanted gifts, another 27% will donate it to charity, and 14% will sell it.

And yet Americans are still stressing over what to buy (in fact, 45% of respondents said they find the holiday season stressful). According to the survey, they will spend an average of 14 hours shopping for gifts.

“The holiday season is a time to spend with family and loved ones,” George Chang, senior vice president at Rakuten.com, said in a statement. “Yet, we all spend too much time worrying whether we have bought the perfect gifts.” Shopping…

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