Sunday, 30th March '03

How to Be Good

The title of this particular entry comes from Nick Hornby's book of the same name. I don't want to get too philosophical, so I'll keep this short.

I guess it's a good time for me to be reading this, since I'm experiencing a "crossroads in my life" time now. The plot recounts Katie Carr's feelings as she finds herself falling into an affair (how DOES one do something like that) and question's her sudden departure from her "good self". She always thought of herself as a good person until this, and when her once crabby, lout of a husband, David, suddenly turns good, she is even more disturbed. David's good isn't just the "nice" kind of good, but the "take a homeless person into your home, donate a whole computer to the needy" kind of good. It gets to a point when David is ready to give away their freshly cooked meals to a shelter in favour of eating leftovers themselves.

Of course this makes me question what it means to be good. This is Hornby's intent, after all. And yet I haven't got any real answers. What defines the line between good and bad? I, for one, will not be taking a perfect stranger into my home anytime soon, sorry as I might feel for his/her circumstances. Yet I know this doesn't make me bad - it makes me human. But how far should I be trying? I'm not obliged to buy tissues from a blind old lady if the other person helping her evidently has salon-dyed hair, am I? They can jolly well work for their living.

And then there's the problem with just pure feeling. I can't help it if I dislike someone, or I'm nicer to some people than others. I don't owe them anything. But why would I feel bad about it? I can't be giving everyone my all, or I'll just burn out. Sometimes I'll feel guilty when I realize that I care more for my pet dog than a non-immediate family member. I might find I don't want to spend time caring for that family member, talking to him etc. I mean, I'll still try, but it doesn't come from the heart. And I feel like an evil person a la Channel 8 dramas.

So I'll thing I've got a rough guide to being good. For now, at least. If it doesn't make me lose sleep at night, I should be alright. I'll just pray for forgiveness on everything else. He has to understand. *casts a pleading look heavenwards*


en ying snapped a shot of life @ 01:56 pm
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]


Saturday, 15th March '03

Vanilla Coke

Quite a rave, this. I "rewarded my curiosity", as they say. I've never been one for strange variants of a tried and tested recipe - just look how Pepsi Blue turned out *retch* - but this one is worth a try. The advertisers aren't bluffing when they tout its "smooth taste of vanilla, refreshment of coke". Vanilla Coke is a divine hybrid of ice cream and coke and almost as satisfying as a frosty mug root beer float. It ranks right up there with KFC's crispy chicken as a good improvement on an original. Yum yum... *smacks lips*

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 05:41 pm
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]


Disney on Ice Jungle Adventures

One word. WOW. This was the best Disney on Ice I've seen since that Scrooge McDuck one that I watched in Primary School. And Limin and I had fantastic, ninth row seats!

I have to digress a little and comment on Singapore's terrible TERRIBLE attitude to show watching. Nevermind that latecomers waltz in like they own the place - they refuse to sit down. The lot in front of me kept switching positions till they were happy, which meant that everyone behind them trying to watch the show had to keep swaying like lalang plants in the wind. And then they insist on propping their babies on their shoulders so that they can have a better view, while everyone else behind continues swaying. Let me remind you that babies get free admission and everyone behind pays. And they see a need to keep up a running commentary even when the chracters are talking. Like "Look at that! It's Tarzan! He jumped! How good!". Hello, Captain Obvious.
Tarzan and Jane performing a lift

Boy, am I glad I got that off my chest. Other than that, it was a fantastic show. I can now happily add "get cast as a chorus member in Disney On Ice" to the list of things I must do before I turn 30. Amazing, but this is one time I can agree and rave together with Babs. Just let me land a double flip and I'll be all set. =) Great costumes, themes, sets and symbolism. The part where Simba's Dad got killed in a stampede was shown with just a huge piece of cloth and 5 skaters. And it still made me shiver. Beautiful.

It is a pity, though, that the actual skating was somewhat dismal at times. There was only ONE precious double axel (Tarzan I think) in the whole show, and Mowgli's and his girlfriend's double lutzs were horribly wrapped and crooked. But who am I to judge? I keep flutzing my own lutz. Wonder why they didn't subsitute flips - hardly anyone in the audience would have noticed, and they're so much easier. Tarzan and Jane, and Simba and Nala were great still... (Completely useless factoid: Limin kept drooling over Tarzen in his loincloth. But alright, hot bod would have been putting it mildly, especially when we were sitting so close.And it was so funny when Tarzan rescued Jane from *attention Ocomm boys* a treeful of BABOONS!!! *rotfl*) Both pairs had pretty good lifts but there was only one throw jump. Might have been a double loop (my memory fails me). Still, I have realized that nothing makes for better pair skating music than love ballads. From now on, "You'll Be In My Heart" and "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" will give me warm fuzzies.

The biggest crowd pleaser must have been Tarzan and Jane's Spanish rope climb. The lights went out and a single spotlight came on. And they did all the stunts with their skates on. At one point Jane's blade came within a hair's breath of Tarzan's head. I honestly thought she was going to brain him with her toepick! I can't quite describe it, but it's one of those things you'll actually have to watch to get the full effect.

Another thing I have to mention were the VULTURES. Limin and I were laughing ourselves silly when they started to sing boyband songs... *chuckle* It _is_ true, Disney On Ice caters to everyone...

All in all, great show! I'm so going again next year... Beauty and the Beast! Anyone coming?

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 04:35 pm
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]


Thursday, 13th March '03

Gossip

This one is a definate rave. No question about it. Yet, I don't know many people I could recommend it to. I think Audrey and Maureen from ELDDS would like it for it's intelligent script, pretty credible acting and - if nothing else - general gloominess of it all. Errm... Tzo, you should see this one too. *tantalizing voice* It's JAMES MARSDEN... *grin* Yup, him of the criminally good looks.

Hmmm. I'm beginning to realize how hard it is to rave about a film that no one reading this has watched. And without giving away the twists and the ending. Well, in a quick summary, three journalism students Derrick Webb (Marsden), Jones (Lena Headey) and Travis (Norman Reedus) start a rumour that Naomi (Kate Hudson) and Beau (Joshua Jackson) did the unmentionable. Naomi, then drunk and paranoid, suspects date rape and Beau is arrested. Eventually we discover Derrick and Naomi were once together and he used her as a subject in revenge. *the plot thickens* Naomi had accused him of the same thing and ruined his life. In a huge twist, Jones, Travis et al lose faith in Derrick and a VERY elaborate sting has him admitting to his past sins. If this sounds interesting to you, check out a more detailed summary and probably much more articulate review, here.

What I really liked about the movie were the very subtle hints, images and symbols they scattered all round. Things like how

* Images of eyes flashed around Beau and Naomi to hint they were being watched.
* Derrick hovered over the unconcious Naomi after Beau left, his face completely unreadable.
* Derrick's last name was "Webb", refering to the web of lies he finally got caught up in.
* Travis' and Jones' mouth were digitally pixeled out of the picture on their couch cover. Does this reflect Derrick's "mouth" being the unltimate one in control?
* Travis' installation art taking form as the movie progessed, finally showing Naomi's torn visage being shot at with bullets of words that came from Jones' mouth
* Derrick slaming down Jones' hands on the floor, showing just a hint of violence and making the audience question if he wasn't quite Mr Gentle Lover.
* Each time Derrick lied he passed around a glass of alcohol as some kind of miracle emotional salve / bottled courage. Something like "Here, drink this, forget all your doubts, believe me."
* Derrick told Naomi that when she had believed he raped her once, she had not realized that "both times it was [him]". Cf point two: some will believe he really did rape her again since he was effectively alone with her. I prefer the fancier interpretation that the second time he raped her with his words.

Acting was great from all the cast and deliberately directed to confuse... I loved the way I honestly could not decide if Derrick was a hero or villian right down to the last ten minutes. And even at the end i felt just a tad sorry for him. I never thought Marsden was a serious actor till I saw this. There was this one moment when he was caught in a lie and turned around with this "I'm screwed" face. Having watched this on DVD was also good because I got to see a cut scene where he called his parents for help and they turned him away. It was eventually cut, ironically, because it was too well-acted and the director thought Derrick would gain too much sympathy. Good call. I reckon a lot of girls would then be crying when he met his sorry end, and no, we don't want that. (Just a random point. This movie very slowly but surely brings its points across. It does not preach or make its "evil" too pronouced, but still it makes its audience grow increasingly uncomfortable as the plot unfolds, without even knowing why. It has taps in on the essence of the dark, terrifying side of gossip and the malice that drives it, by reminding the audience that it is, inextricably, part of us. Very Lord of the Flies, I know.)

While most of the major acting fell on Marsden, IMHO the entire cast was brilliant. Each was completely believable in his / her role, and I still marvel at how American Headey sounds. Another point to watch for is the use of camera angles in this film (the trio trooping down Derrick's stairs, Jones in the library) and certain scenes which capture how the world can just revolve around gossip. I particularly like the one in which Jones interviews a friend of Naomi's and the rest of the college students whiz all around. The "mouths" scene is amusing too.

I did enjoy this film, enough to watch it twice back to back! The second time I watched the Director Davis Guggenheim / Jimmy Marsden commentary and I wasn't bored at all. I just wish it hadn't had so much male-female "action". *sigh* At 18 I'm still young enough to feel uncomfortable, haha. But I guess it was required to set the mood of the piece. Also (another benefit of watching the DVD) I was quite amused at how many takes it requires just to get a make out scene right. Or how Marsden could not enjoy his one kissing scene for trying to remember his lines and blocking. Or how a scored ceramic pot Marsden was supposed to hit Jackson with crumbled to dust with the force of the swing, and before contact was made. Again, haha. =0)

So. I think I've raved enough about this movie... go catch it if you can. On DVD, if you like this sort of hear-behind-the-scenes-stuff-and-break-down-the-whole-movie-like-it's-a-friggin'-literature-text thing. *gets dreamy* One day I will work on a movie as smart as this. I'll even be the clapper, I don't care!

en ying snapped a shot of life @ 01:29 pm
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]