23 September 2011

The Tree of Life [Digital]

Terrence Malick's 2011 Palm d'Or opus is a bloody damn brilliant, beautiful, tragically poetic piece of art. Starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, this year's ubiquitous Jessica Chastain and the universe in general, this film will not appeal to the masses, but once you get past the first interlude, the film shines!!! So much emotional depth in so little words. All credit goes to Malick. Amazingly beautiful imageries with fabulous shots and cinematography. Also, excellent acting from Jessica and particularly the young cast, which was very important in bringing out the emotional core of the show (side: just watched True Blood, and when Fiona Shaw appeared I flashed to Marnie!! Hahaha). The film itself is a thematic examination on the meaning of life (and death), purpose of religion (vs creationism), family, loss and the eternal question of "Why do bad things happen to good people?". Alexandre Desplat scored the film as a beautiful accompaniment to the gorgeous cinescape, his lush haunting violins and the classical pieces are befitting the sombre mood of the show. Do go watch in Digital if possible! The interlude effects are gorgeous!!!! Note: Jack O'Brian = J.O.B. = Job = you know, the one with Book :)

18 September 2011

Don Quixote [Mariinsky Ballet & Orchestra, St. Petersburg]

World class Russian ballet finally comes to Singapore! A live orchestra absolutely makes the difference, compared to many other ballets that have been staged here!! The Mariinsky ballet delivered a wonderfully entertaining, slyly humorous, visually sumptuous and aurally delectable performance. Gorgeous sets that knew they are second fiddles to the colourful costumes, tutus and dancers! An energetic first act infused with EspaƱol flavour; followed by a slightly comparatively underwhelming second act with a captivating classical scene; and ended with a thrilling Grand Pas (de deux) which was slightly marred by some fumbles by Valeria Martynyuk. Nonetheless, both she and Vladimir Shklyarov were amazing, and brought Kitri's fiery, flirtatious nature and Basilio's cheeky youthful vigour to the stage. Technically, they are not the BEST ballet dancers out there in the world, but still way way better than many others!! And one of the best to grace our shore. What a show!!!

9 September 2011

Contagion [IMAX]

The latest in a long line of end-of-the-world, "Outbreak"-esque, medical thriller. This time round, the number of Oscars flooding this movie certainly give it some serious credibility. Steven Soderbergh and Scott Burns created a smart, intellectual, darkly satirical movie that was tautly paced, except for the rushed ending. A more "realistic", factual portrayal of pandemic outbreaks with modern inflections and leanings, with less action-packed, race-against-time scenario than the usual Hollywood types. Although some contrived scenes were not unexpected, but there was a sly nod to the "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" somewhere within. The first fifteen minutes was intense and highly charged. The cast was brilliant all round with all the stories converging appropriately, but unfortunately, because of the many story lines, some were left hanging in favour of the A plot. Oscar winners Kate Winslet and Gwyneth Paltrow shone with their limited screen time, while Marion Cotillard did her best with what was written for her. The guys gave strong, but no standout performances amongst them. The score by Cliff Martinez was very electronica and quite apt to convey Soderbergh's direction. Our boy, Chin Han as he is credited here, is really going places huh...IMAX not necessary.

Interesting read: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/749482?src=mp&spon=17

Stephen King's Doctor Sleep

This was unexpectedly good. It was not Oscar-winning good, but it was a thoroughly entertaining horror-thriller. Kudos to writer/director...