Monday, January 31, 2011


I created a Tumblr!

I don't know why but I think Tumblr is just awesome!

Do visit my Tumblr!

I'm doing a picture a day thing. I'm not much good at photography, but do check out the Tumblr!

Happy Holidays people!


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Tron: Legacy (2010)

Finally, I got to watch Tron: Legacy last Thursday! I have been excitingly anticipating this movie ever since they released the trailer! The visuals, graphics & Olivia Wilde (is a fan of her Thirteen from House MD) caught my eye and of course I have to admit I got to know Tron from Kingdom Hearts 2 as well. :D

And it was really what I expected to see, the stunning & dazzling visuals, the light cycles, the light trails, the awesome Grid, the vehicle, the disc wars, the race on the Grid, the device that turns into any vehicle like the light cycle (motorbike) & the plane and of course, a smokin' hot Olivia Wilde, and the awesome music soundtrack by Daft Punk. 

The Lightcycle.

I totally enjoyed Tron: Legacy, it was purely entertaining & I was definitely thrilled by it (though some might disagree, but WTF cares). I couldn't stop thinking about it after watching it! Everything in the movie is so COOL! Total nerdgasm/geekgasm. 

The only problem is the plot though, to be honest, there is too many holes and a little bit shallow. But the awesome visuals all overshadowed and covered up for it. 

The disc where everything a programme/user does or know is inside.

And i totally LOVE Olivia Wilde's character Quorra. She's like an innocent, hot, cute ninja. Her eyes, her piercing blue eyes especially. 

How cool is their outfit. It really does light up with a battery pack. 
A cute & adorable ninja warrior - Quorra. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year 2011!

Goodbye 2010.

Hello 2011!

May we all have an inspirational year! Lots more of eating, lots more of sleeping, lots more of drinking, lots more of playing, lots more of letting go of ourselves and going crazy, and lots more of studying, lots more of working, and lots more of growing up.

Lose yourself and have fun!

Happy New Year everybody!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Black Swan (2010)

Black Swan.

Certainly one of the top films in 2010.

Before I enthusiastically recommend this movie, be warned that Black Swan isn't really a mainstream movie and the genre of this film is not acceptable for everyone mainly because of the shocking, disturbing, raw and real moments presented unless you are a fan of psychological thrillers or a fan of the director Darren Aronofsky's (Requiem Of A Dream, Pi, The Fountain, and The Wrestler), or maybe you are adventurous enough or you simply love Natalie Portman & Mila Kunis.   

I was at lost for words and simply shocked the first time watching, and for the second time, I had a better grasp of it since the whole flow of the story is already in my head. And it was awesome! Now, where do I start?

Nina Sayers (played to perfection by Natalie Portman) is an innocent, beautiful, virginal ballerina whose sole purpose or motivation in life revolves only around ballet, ballet is everything she knows and nothing else. Her mind is fragile, weak, and pure just like a child but she is dedicated and strives for perfection in every dance move she makes. Nina doesn't have a single true friend, and being in the cut-throat business of the ballet world, all there is are rivals each vying to be the female lead one day in a play. She is supposedly raised single-handedly by her mother Erica (Barbara Hershey) and lives in seclusion in their apartment. Her room is like a cage with zero privacy and her mother, a failed ballerina constantly prying and fussing over her like an eagle/jailer, out of pure love but a suffocating one. Nina's room is also childlike, the walls painted in pink surrounded by stuffed toys and there is even a music box (with a ballerina figure) that plays her to sleep with the tune of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. This somehow indicates that Nina has a prolonged childhood and a repressed sexuality, a symbolism of lack of adulthood and maturity.

Nina is then picked by her ballet director, Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) to be the Swan Queen in his new "stripped down" and "visceral" version of Swan Lake. The Swan Queen however, requires the performer to embody a dual role, one the White Swan, the other the Black Swan. Nina exudes the obsessively perfect and weakly innocent White Swan gracefully because she is exactly like the White Swan but the Black Swan is invisible in her. She is continually stressed by Thomas that she cannot embody the provocative & sensual Black Swan because she is always frigid, uptight and not being able to letting go of herself.

This is when Nina starts to struggle to control and release her inner Black Swan, her world starts to shatter and fall apart bit by bit with bizzare delusions and she starts to develop a rash on her left shoulder. All things start to go haywire with weird delusions and it is also attacking her already fragile mind. Accompanying on this dark and twisted journey of her metamorphosis into the Black Swan are hallucinations, seeing faces/images of her herself everywhere, self-mutilation (peeling off the skin from her finger like it was a banana peel, cutting off her nails, scratching herself), discovering her sexuality (self-pleasuring & sexual fantasies), she bottles up the stress and finally bursting, all of it leading to a psychotic break and an ambiguous ending, a happy one/a sad one. Happy because she is finally able to free herself from all the constraints in her life and sad because she lost control of herself over the Black Swan. The ending is entirely up to the audience to decipher, you can choose to believe it or simply not, just like the ending in Inception.

Yes. Up till this point, Nina is suspected to be suffering from a certain mental health disorder. However, IMO, it is not entirely because of her high stress levels to wanting to succeed in portraying the Black Swan but it is also the influence of several key supporting characters in the movie.

For example, the mother, simply because of her domineering character (she always wear black clothes) towards Nina, and even the mother has signs of being mentally unstable, she has suppressed Nina's sexuality and even prolonged her childhood therefore Nina essentially stops growing up. It is showed that her mother still tucks her into bed, winds up her music box and even undresses her and all of these actions are downright odd and weird, especially when Nina is definitely capable of taking care of herself. Their mother daughter relationship is evidently an unhealthy one. However, it is also the mother that first realizes that the stress has taken its toll on Nina and recognizes the penchant for Nina's self-destructiveness and even tries to stop her from performing the Swan Queen even though it is what she truly desires for herself which she channels her ambition through Nina.

Hot much? It gets even hotter afterwards. 

And then there is the sexually aggressive ballet director, Thomas, who serves to tempt Nina by seducing her with the intentions of bringing out her inner dark side, without realizing that it would eventually lead to Nina's downfall.

Last but not least, Nina's personality breakdown is further complicated by Mila Kunis's character Lily, who is the most important factor in releasing the Black Swan out from Nina. Lily is the exact opposite of Nina, she is relaxed, carefree, outgoing, fun and happy, and more importantly she leads a normal life unlike Nina who is more socially awkward. Lily is able to personify the Black Swan perfectly, something which Nina isn't able to imitate, therefore she becomes jealous of Lily and subconsciously wants to become like her. Nina begins to have delusions about Lily, a sexual encounter specifically (no nudity involved and it is actually her having "fun" all by herself) and is convinced that Lily is after her lead role. But it is somewhat her transition into the Black Swan, a coming-of-age process, when she starts defying her mother, embracing her darker side but also being on the verge of a psychotic break as her hallucinations become wilder even becoming self-destructive. The line between reality and hallucinations become fuzzier and fuzzier. Lily becomes the overwhelming force to drive Nina into discovering her darker counterpart, driving her into the edge of insanity where everything is never as it seems.

All of the 3 characters seem to contribute to Nina's own increasing paranoia and also of her ailing mental health, ultimately leading to her downfall.

The film is gorgeously shot. The story is arresting and constantly engaging. It uses numerous close-ups of the characters exposing every small, intricate details on their faces, a twitch in the mouth, a simple glance of the eye, and also the beautifully choreographed ballet dance sequences. Close-ups are especially more focused on Natalie Portman's Nina, where her expressions of suffering, repression or simply being not comfortable in her own skin is all clearly etched in her facial features. Also, there are various symbolisms used in the movie, like, for example, duality, some shots in the scene show black & white and in the first half Nina always wears white but changes to black after that. I love how Nina is literally turned into a swan, the red eyes, her webbed feet, goosebumps or rather feathers coming out from her hands, and Nina pulling a feather out from her rash on her shoulder. It was certainly crazy, but awesome.

Black Swan is a beautiful disturbing masterpiece. It is intriguing, dark, intense, one that is so filled of suspense it leaves tight-gripping marks on your arms/hands, and it has a little bit of horror too. There are several shocking, distressing moments in the film that literally makes your jaw drop to the floor and feeling frightened for Nina instead of being frightened of her.

It is one hell of an emotional roller coaster ride, slowly building up pace and toying with your feelings all leading to the unexpected climax, where Nina is able to portray the Black Swan so perfectly but at the same time sacrificing her sanity/life for art, in which it ended with her saying, "I felt it. I felt perfect. I was perfect." Finally she reached her goal of perfection and we saw a changed expression of Nina, so relaxed, passionate and sensual, happy for the first time and enjoying her moments on stage.

Nevertheless, without all the superb acting, this film would be practically pointless. Natalie Portman has to be praised of course, for her outstanding performance as Nina in a role she has never taken before. The innocence and fragility of Nina is captured so well, the way she speaks, moves, or when she tilts her head and smiles with embarrassment by a simple question "Do you have a boyfriend?" posed by Thomas. The look of uncertainty in her face and when her mental health went spiraling downwards, her fear is just enough to make you fear for her. When she finally gets rid of her innocence, pureness and transformed into the Black Swan, it would definitely take your breathe away, that performance of hers dancing the Black Swan routine and turning in the swan. It was just very thrilling to watch.

I certainly have the utmost respect for both Natalie Portman & Mila Kunis for the gruelling months they had to train for the ballet scenes and massively losing weight and injuring themselves, especially Portman where she dislocated her ribs and even had a concussion as she knocked her head. I mean, both of them have such small & thin frames, they got even smaller in the movie, especially for Portman.

Speaking of Mila Kunis, this is a breakthrough adult role for her, (loved her in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and the voice of Meg in Family Guy), and honestly she is very hot especially in the making out scene with Natalie Portman, it's wicked. She is just able to pull off the sexy, sensual, hot and outgoing Lily without being overshadowed by Portman's brilliant performance, though there is not much depth in her character compared to Nina.

Also, both Barbara Hershey & Vincent Cassel played perfectly as the mother and the controlling ballet director. The mother was really creepy and eerie and overbearing. Winona Ryder also made an appearance as Beth, the forced to retire veteran ballet dancer, and her character is somewhat of how Nina would turn out to be in the future.

One more thing to mention is the sound and music effects. I could not help but notice the emphasis of the music and sounds in the movie! It adds to the suspense and thrill of the film! The music background is mainly from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake and it is hauntingly beautiful. It takes you swirling along with the ups and downs of the story, and also the added laughter sounds and whispers, even the toe cracking, gasping and heavy breathing makes the whole film even more exciting.

Black Swan sucks you into its world from the very beginning of the ballet scene, it feeds your imagination, overwhelming your sense, the movie is not to say without flaws, but it is so wonderful that it covers the mistakes, and it indeeds leave you feeling exhilarated and mind-blowing.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Europe :: Switzerland & Germany :: Day 2 (06/09/2010)

Feeling fresh and excited after a good night's sleep in the comfortable hotel room of ours, we woke up early in the morning rejuvenated. We then took a walk after breakfast to a beautiful lake just opposite of our hotel where the lake's backdrop was a huge mountain. It was definitely picturesque. The weather in Lucerne, Switzerland was chilly and much colder compared to the other countries we went later on, and the surrounding environment was definitely much more breathtaking and beautiful in Switzerland.

The hotel we stayed in for a night - Hotel Europe.

This is the lake.

Because of their good weather, you can see stunning flowers everywhere!

There was a beautiful garden with various types of colourful flowers.

After Lucerne, Switzerland, we headed to the famous Rhinefalls, the largest plain waterfalls in Europe. Initially, I thought the waterfall would be tall, with strong waters gushing out from a cliff, but Rhinefalls is actually a really broad-looking waterfall! It is somewhat like a mini Niagara Falls. 

It was very sunny, and i couldn't really get the shot i want because as you can see, the right side of the waterfall seems overexposed simply because there were mists coming from the strong waters.

The Worth Castle.

After Switzerland, we continued our journey to Germany, where we were heading to the countryside of Black Forest into a town called Titisee which is renowned for its cuckoo clocks. 

The countryside of Switzerland. It was such an amazing view comprising of green pastures and farmhouses.

We finally arrived at Titisee, this is the restaurant we had our lunch at. 

and our lunch was?

Pork knuckles and German sausages. The pork knuckles tasted fairly alright, it was a little bit hard, but the sausages were delicious but i love the French fries! 

The dessert was of course a piece of Black Forest cake with some rum added. There was a sampling of iced wine as well! and it became my favourite wine afterwards. 

This is the shop where they sell their famous cuckoo clocks and old-timer clocks. 

There were numerous types of cuckoo clocks, each with its own unique design.

This is Lake Titisee.

Part of the town of Titisee. 

Bought these chocolates when we stopped at a petrol station. 
I forgot to mention about the public toilets in Europe along the highways or in petrol stations. You actually need to pay to use the toilet (just need to slot the coins into a machine) and the resit can be used to buy drinks/foods in the shop! Somehow it's like a rebate/coupon. :D

We only stayed a short while in Titisee, as we needed to travel to Heidelberg, another part of Germany. Heidelberg is somewhat like a dreamy fairy tale city and it's a popular tourist destination due to its romantic and picturesque cityscape's character including the Heidelberg Castle and the Baroque style Old Town. 

Look at all the fabulous cottage-like houses!

These 2 little adorable mice is located just next to the monkey's statue and it is said to be the  creator's signature.

The bridge monkey just next to the Old Bridge. 

It is said if you touch the monkey's head it will bring you wisdom and intelligence.

This is a sign just next to the monkey saying, "Why are you looking at me? There are plenty more of monkeys in Heidelberg." 

This is the Heidelberg Castle.

This is the fort at the end of the Old Bridge.

River Neckar.

The streets at the Old Town.

Hotel Ritter.

The chocolates in Heidelberg. As I said, Heidelberg is known to be a romantic place as last time students used to buy chocolates for each other to profess their love. 

The Chinese restaurant we had our dinner at. 

Interesting sign, but i don't know what it means! :D

Next day: Germany & Holland Day 3