Showing posts from January, 2012

The Descendants

Entered the cinema with high expectations (and slight trepidation...the over-rated "Sideways" still fresh in my mind) for Alexander Payne's multi-nominated, much lauded and accoladed movie and unfortunately it reminded me too much of "Sideways". A very American, slow paced movie about a dysfunctional family getting back to normalcy after a tragedy, mixed in with some side plot of conservation and adultery-mystery. It was watchable with a few genuine chuckles, but many times I wished I could take a remote out and press fast-forward. The script was quite distinctively written by more than one person. Payne was too much tell rather than show, and too explicit when he should be implicit. The "authentic" Hawaiian soundtrack was seriously awful and distracting; I was flashbacking to "Lost". George Clooney was fine, funny at times, but he did not reach greatness or awesomeness. The brightest spark was Shailene Woodley - she has potential. If you l…

Giselle by Paris Opera Ballet

A simple Romantic love story that was beautifully told through ballet and orchestra. The esteemed Ballet de l'Opera national de Paris presented a gorgeous version of this French Classic (my second viewing since watching it at the Met, 2004). The étoiles - Mathieu Ganio & Clairemarie Osta - were great together, dancing in synchronicity and complementing each other in the two pas de deux (?pas de deuces or pases de deux) in Act 2, particularly in the second one where it wad so sadly choreographed. She was ethereal and graceful, and he was strong and focused. Unfortunately, I think she stumbled a bit more with some moments of unstable form, such that it seemed the male Étoile had the more technically-challenging role. The SLO orchestra were also commendable in their playing of the score and nothing beats a live orchestra accompaniment. A great step forward for world-class art in Singapore.


Only ate here because of the new AMEX-Palate tie-in: 50% off a la carte menu. Unfortunately, the food was not impressive. The main criticism was that all the meat tasted similar. They all had the same marinate, and although this was to be expected for a BBQ meal, it would have stood out more if the meats had different marinates or they were such exceptional quality that no marinates are required and one only experience the true flavour of the meat. Especially so when the price one pays is not exactly cheap (if without discount). The wagyu tongue with leeks and salt, and rosu were passable, the karubi and pork belly were good. The kajiki was alright after grilling it (but needed more seasoning). The mushroom mix was quite generous, and the surprise standout was the sweet potato, which you don't often get to order at such establishments. Grilling the roots gave it a nice, crunchy caramelised layer and taste. The garlic fried rice was too salty (too much shoyu). Lastly, no water!!! O…

My Week With Marilyn

At the end of the movie, you come out of it with a question: "Who is Marilyn Monroe?". Michelle Williams turns in a finely tuned, complex performance of the enigma that is Marilyn. Williams brings out the vulnerability, coyness, child-like naiveté and mixes in with the femme fatale, bimbo, and borderline/narcissistic personality. She deserves her expected Oscar nomination, but a win? Her acting can be a bit too distracting to the character she tries to portray. What growth she had since the days of "Dawson Creek". The movie itself by Simon Curtis though, as described by a character, is just a light, fluffy dramedy. Not a serious contender in the Best Picture race. Kenneth Branagh is outstanding and may get a nom for Best Supporting Actor. Judi Dench, Julia Ormond, and a very un-Herminone Emily Watson (hopefully, Williams can be a positive role model for her to blossom into a character actress) rounds out the cast. One thing I really liked abour the show is the beau…

War Horse

A new Spielbergian epic classic is born! Fantastic, beautiful direction with a rousing epic storyline that brings you from the back lands of an English farm to the trenches of war, from the French field of hope to barren cemetery of No Man's Land. An equine love story that unabashedly aims to make your eyes moist and heart cheer on for the most unlikely journey a horse can ever make. Jeremy Irvine has a stunning debut and his acting-naïveté is brilliant in bringing out the heart of the story. Nonetheless, all the cast which includes Loki's Tom Hiddleston, Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch and Emily Watson, are just there to support Joey, the eponymous horse. Spielberg's direction is top notch here; a master film-maker and storyteller that knows absolutely how to draw out the suspense and tension, tug at the heartstrings without being overly cheesy, immerse you into the chaos and tragedy of war, but yet also illuminates the ability of love to exist no matter what. He is o…

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo [Digital]

David Fincher's version of the first book in the Millennium Trilogy is an exciting, very well directed, fairly faithful adaptation, but it lacked the intensity, emotional rawness as depicted in books and the Swedish version. That said, the opening sequence was damn, bloody good! Totally set the mood! However, the film as a whole ended up being a tad Hollywoodified. Rooney Mara is a totally different kinda Lisabeth compared to Noomi Rapace, and unfortunately, Mara's version lacked the coldness and ferocity in Rapace's brilliant portrayal of the borderline sociopathic as described by Larson. Daniel Craig, on the other hand, was an aptly suitable Blomkvist, albeit a more asexual version. Christopher Plummer was again brilliant as the enigmatic patriach. Excellent atmospheric soundtrack by the same duo that won last year's Oscars for Fincher's "The Social Network". The music was cold, bleak and totally riveting. They need more coffee, smoking and sex! <SPO…