Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Four not fantastic. I'd rather watch a non-stick pan.

Fantastic Four.
Not a review.
Or Fantastic 4.
Or Fant4stic (pronounced Fan-four-stick).
Or Fantastic Four: The Reboot.
Or Fantastic Four 4
(Cos there were three other movies before this)

More like the Fantastic Flop actually.
Or the The Forlorn Four?
Or the Fantastically Forlorn?
Even the Fantastic Frog would be better.
It's not BAD. Just... not good.
Four out of ten for me.

Reed Richards was ok.
Better than the last one at least.
Sue Storm was pretty cute.
But she's no Jessica Alba.
And Human Torch?
Meh, Captain America did it better.

Hey, where are The Thing's pants?
And where did The Thing's, er, thing go?
Yes we know he's hard as a rock,
But he still needs a, you know, thing.
Or he'll go soft. Hur hur hur.

Don't get me started on Doom though.
And you turn him into THIS?
A wimpy tree-hugging hipster who gets drunk on power?

And what's with the whole flow of the movie?
Like, we spent FORTY FIVE MINUTES watching them science-ing around,
(Don't drink and drive your inter-dimensional portal, kids)
And then TIME JUMP! Hey, they've mastered their powers!
And then DOOM, and END.

But yeah... not even remotely fantastic.
At best, it's... ok.
Maybe even a so-so. Or a "Meh".
Just ... not fantastic.
I rather watch a non-stick pan.
Or at least the 2005 Fantastic Four.
At least that was fun.
And it had Jessica Alba.

Come back Jessica, we've missed you.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Ethan Hunt And Friends, Part Five

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.
Not a review.
Or Mission Impossible 5.
They're still making these things?
(Frankly, it stopped being Mission Impossible after the 2nd movie)
(And should be called Ethan Hunt And Friends)

Oklah, this was actually quite good.
I still prefer Ghost Protocol,
But this is probably the second best movie in the franchise.
It's got some great action,
And it's genuinely funny at times,
And some parts quite kan cheong also.

I can't believe Tom Cruise is still doing this.
He's what, 53 years old?
And he's still hanging on the planes,
Riding bikes at crazy speeds (without a helmet!)
And trying to hump girls half his age?

Simon Pegg!
He's got a lot more to do this time.
And his not so much of a doofus too.
Ok, he's still a bit of a dork, but not a doofus at least.
Hawkeye's a bit wasted though.

Oooh Rebecca Ferguson.
She's not the conventional hot spy girl, is she?
At least she can kick real ass.
And of course there's a bikini scene.
Cleavage rating 7.
(How long has it been since the last Cleavage Rating, huh?)

Mission Impossible?
More like Mission Difficult.
It can't be THAT impossible if they keep making these movies, huh?
What's impossible is how Rebecca Ferguson can look so good,
Even after all that running, biking, and fighting.
And how is it Tom Cruise still manages to keep doing all that shit?
Now THAT'S impossible.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The World's First Ant-Sized Movie Not-Review!

Not a Review.
Semut-Man, Semut-Man,
Does whatever an Avenger can,
CAn he shrink, from your sight?
Yes he can, he's Semut-Man,
Look out! Here comes the Semut -Man!

Marvel does it again!
Marvel is like, "Heeeerreee's ANT-MAN!"
He shrinks to the size of an ant!
He's super strong, like an ant!
And he's fun, fun, fun, fun!

Hank Pym! Peggy Carter! Howard Stark! Together at last!
Michael Douglas is a pretty good Hank Pym.
Scott Lang! Paul Rudd is pretty good too.
Funny enough, and can act drama drama also.
And he's really great as Ant-Man!

I like how it was essentially about two sets of father and daughters,
And how the whole Hank Pym backstory.
Keep an ear out for some references to other Marvel heroes!
And yeah, SHE is mentioned as well.
And Yellowjacket is just EVIL.
So evil you wish Hulk would show up and SQUASH HIM LIKE A BUG.

Don't watch this if you have entomophobia,
(That's the fear of insects, BTW)
You probably would freak out.
Because there are ANTS.
No shit, there a a LOT OF ANTS!

The whole shrinking thing is very nicely done,
You really feel the scope and magnitude of it,
And even the fights were awesome!
And there's even an Avenger!
(I won't tell you which one)

It's probably the smallest of the Marvel movies so far,
But it's still pretty damn fun.
Oh, and there are TWO end-credit scenes.
So make sure you stay for that.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Book Review: The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye (Sonny Liew)

"Hey, when you reviewed the book, did you know that Charlie Chan is made-up?"

Sonny Liew asked me this question after he read my review of The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye.

Truth is, I didn't know. I read the book under the illusion that Charlie Chan IS a real person. Sonny and Epigram's marketing revolved around the assumption that Charlie Chan is real, so naturally, I didn't think too much about it, and I read that book under that assumption, without questioning or assuming otherwise.

Blame it on deadlines, Blame it on my own ignorance. Blame it on my own blurness. Heck, I remember thinking how similar Sonny's art was to Charlie Chan, without ever making the connection. DOH!

On hindsight, I probably should have Googled "Charlie Chan Hock Chye" to see if he was real before actually doing the review, but hey, deadlines, work, yadda yadda etc etc. Sonny told me I wasn't the only one who made that mistake, but hey, it's still annoying that I did anyway.

I also had another problem when reviewing the book, particularly in a national newspaper. I didn't really want to put the spotlight on the more fiery political issues raised in the book, so focusing on Charlie's story instead of the politics allowed me to write a more objective (maybe a little tame admittedly) review that gets the word out there about the book.

Anyway, later, Sonny asked me - if you had known beforehand that Charlie Chan was fake, would you have written the review differently? Well, the short answer is, YES. Don't get me wrong, my previous review still stands, as it was written under the assumption that Charlie Chan is real. But had I been aware enough to realise that he isn't, I would have focused a lot more on Sonny's storytelling techniques, the way he weaved his "interviews" into the story, the different art styles he used, and the way he managed to tell the story and history of Singapore (and in a way, Malaysia), through the eyes of a comic artist. It is a masterful book, one, I fear, I did not do enough justice to in my original review.

But anyway, it grated on me that I made such a glaring mistake. So, Sonny, just to answer your question, here's what I would have added to the review had I known Charlie Chan was all in your head, haha. My previous review still stands though, since I wrote it from a different perspective altogether, but here's what I would have added in as well.


Title: The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye
Writer/ Artist: Sonny Liew
Publisher: Epigram Books

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye is a biography showcasing the life and work of Chan Hock Chye, a pioneering but largely forgotten comics artist in Singapore. With a career spanning more than five decades, from pre-independent Singapore through its three Prime Ministers, Chan’s work reflects the changing political and economic environment in Singapore.

Containing Chan’s original illustrations, paintings and sketches, this is a groundbreaking work and labour of love aimed at recapturing the portrait of an artist, whose deep passion for comics and country is given a fitting tribute by award-winning comics artist Sonny Liew.

What I liked:

  • You can read my original review HERE for some of the other things I liked about the book. 
  • It's Singapore's history, seen through the eyes of a comic book artist. Whether it's Charlie Chan's POV or Sonny Liew's POV is beside the point, but this was a fascinating take on the subject nonetheless.
  • I still prefer the story of Charlie Chan over the actual story of Singapore though. I thought he was a fascinating character, and that Sonny really portrayed him pretty well (well enough that I thought he was real!).
  • It's a great history lesson, basically. If you wanted to know about the story of how Singapore was formed, and Malaysia's part in it, then this is like, one of the most entertaining ways to do so.
  • The way Sonny uses different art styles to illustrate Charlie's "work" really does add to the illusion that he is actually just "Presenting" the story of Charlie Chan.

What I didn't like

  • There really wasn't much I didn't like about the book, though I did think that some of political bits could have done with a bit more subtlety.
  • A few parts, especially the latter ones about the stationary company, were probably a bit TOO on the nose. No wonder the NAC didn't like it haha.
  • I also thought the book was a bit long and took a bit long to get to the point.

Where to get it:

Kinokuniya Suria KLCC. Last I heard they only had 30 copies of teh first edition left, but I think they might have gotten more already.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

8 Thoughts on The TGV Cinemas Family Friendly sessions

So, last weekend we took Baby Cheang to watch Minions under the TGV One Utama Family Friendly Session. I've wanted to go for this ever since I read about it, just to see how Baby Cheang would fare in the cinema.

Long story short, right now, she's way too young, and was fidgeting the whole time, climbing the seats, and calling out to the other kids to play. She did sit down to watch the show a few times, but only for a minute or so, then started getting restless again.

Anyway, the TGV Cinemas Family Friendly sessions are designed exclusively for parents with babies and kids. To make it more comfortable for the kids, the cinema volume is lowered and the lights are dimmed, not turned off completely. There are also diaper changing tables and dustbins inside the cinema hall for parents’ convenience.

They also had a set of "House Rules":

- Kids are allowed to ask "WHY".
- Kids can scream and shout, and let it all out.
- Kids can make new friends.
- Kids are allowed to move around.
- Proceed to the toilet for anything wetter than tears.

Apparently, the sessions are available in TGV Cinemas 1 Utama every weekend at 11am. Tickets are priced at RM20 each, and the sessions are only available at TGV One Utama. You can click HERE for more information.

Overall, I thought it was a brilliant idea to have a session just for kids. And they even had pre-movie activities where families could take pictures with the Minions (we missed that though), and goodie bags as well. I even got free movie passes because it was Father's Day! Whee!

Anyway, here are some of my thoughts about the whole thing:

1) Kids are alright
Now, I usually hate it when parents bring their kids to the cinema, but this time, the entire cinema was full of kids, and I brought mine as well, so I guess that's ok haha. I have never seen so many kids in the cinema in my life. They were crying, screaming, and running around. Parents were walking up and down the stairs carrying or chasing their kids, and if it wasn't for the fact that this was MEANT to be a session for kids, I would have been really really pissed off. But since it was, and I had MY kid with me too, it seemed ok.

2) The parents are alright too
I lost count of the number of times I exchanged knowing and exasperated looks at the other parents. It was like a kinship - we were all on the same boat, we knew what each other was going through, and we didn't give each other crap about it.

3) Softer audio
The softer audio was essential. I never realised how loud the usual movie audio until LL pointed it out to me. In the beginning, during the ads the sound was way too loud, and some of the younger kids were closing their ears. And surprisingly, when they turned the volume down later, you could still hear the movie clearly, even with all the kids screaming and crying. It makes you wonder just how loud the actual volume is, and whether it's safe for adults, let alone kids.

4) Brighter lights
It was a big help that at least it wasn't completely dark in the cinema. Baby Cheang got to explore a bit, and when I had to carry her around, at least I could see where I was going.

5) Baby changing stations
While we didn't use them, it was nice of TGV to provide baby changing tables in the cinemas. Though it might have been a better idea to have a separate room altogether. Yes, yes, I know the House Rules say to "Proceed to the toilet for anything wetter than tears", but there was no clear sign saying DO NOT CHANGE DIRTY DIAPERS HERE anywhere around the tables, so people will probably still do so, which, could turn out to be rather unpleasant for the cinema goers (and the cleaning staff).

6) Round and round and round
Ok, this has nothing to do with the Family Friendly session, but damn, that Wheels On The Bus song really does get around and around, doesn't it? As I was walking up and down the stairs trying to keep Baby Cheang entertained, I heard at least three parents singing that song to their kids to sooth them.

7) What goes on seats?
A lot of bums, that's what. The seats are just the normal cinema seats, and since the kids, especially the smaller ones, are gonna be crawling around the place and seats, I WAS a bit concerned about exactly how clean those seats were. Maybe it would be nice if TGV could sanitise the seats first, or at least provide clean cushion covers or something?

8) A place to play
Let's face it. Most small children aren't going to be sitting still for the ENTIRE two hours of a movie. It would be nice if there was a little play area for the kids to play in as well.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

4 ways the Jem trailer completely misses the point

So, the new trailer for the Jem And The Holograms live-action movie was released a few weeks ago.

And here it is:

It’s showtime, Synergy! Or is it?

The online response to the trailer has been more of outrage than outrageous, with most fans seemingly upset that the movie doesn't seem to bear any resemblance to the 80’s cartoon at all. And I can't say I disagree, because I'm a fan of the cartoon as well (only because it used to be shown before Transformers and M.A.S.K.).

Anyway, here are four reasons why director Jon M. Chu seems to be completely missing the point with his live-action take on the beloved 80's cartoon:

1) It’s Jem only in name

In the cartoon: Jerrica Benton is an adult record executive who leads a secret life as Jem, the superstar frontwoman of The Holograms. Jerrica has a holographic computer called Synergy that can project a holograms that turns Jerrica into Jem when she touches her earrings and says “Showtime, synergy!”.

In the movie: From what I can see from the trailer, this is the story: an average teenager writes song, which is uploaded online, which leads to her becoming a rock star who has to conceal her identity. She is then convinced to forsake her bandmate and go solo by the evil recording company, but soon realises that it was wrong and reconciles with them in the end.
Sorry Mr Chu, that’s not Jem. That’s a Hannah Montana/Dreamgirls ripoff.

2) It’s hardly outrageous

In the cartoon: Among the adventures Jem and gang get up to include Kimbra switching places with an Egyptian princess, the Misfits stealing Jem’s earrings while in China, and going to exotic places like Venice, Europe, Honolulu, and er… Colorado.

In the trailer: It doesn’t look like Jem’s going out of America. Sorry, but that is truly outrageous.

3) They missed the Misfits

In the cartoon: The Misfits are the Anti-Jem, the rival band always causing havoc for Jem and the Holograms. They’ve stolen Jem’s earrings, stolen their music, and in Season Three, even staged a hostile takeover of Jerrica’s company while she was gone and forced the remaining Holograms to join the Misfits to form a supergroup. Now THAT’S evil.

In the trailer: Wait, what do you mean there are no Misfits? Face it, without The Misfits, Jem And The Holograms would just be a bunch of glam-pop singers running around singing, and worrying about boys. Which kind of sounds like Chu’s movie, actually.

4) They even got the catchphrase wrong.

In the cartoon: Jerrica says “Showtime, Synergy” everytime she wants to transform into Jem. It’s a command directed at Synergy, her holographic computer, who then projects a hologram over her, turning her into Jem.

In the trailer: Jerrica touches her earring and says “Showtime synergy” without any energy, like a management trainee practicing his corporate jargon before a big presentation. Sorry, Mr Chu, we’re not feeling any synergy with your movie here.

Anyway, here's the original theme song for the TV show, just so you can erase the memory of that sorry excuse of a Jem live-action adaptation:

Monday, 18 May 2015


I'm a HUGE fan of the Minions (I could care less about Gru), and am super excited about the upcoming Minions movie. So excited that I'm gonna just let you watch the trailer to get you excited as well.

altogether now... YAKITORI!!!!!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Mad Max makes Fast And Furious look like a Hot Wheels commercial.

Mad Max: Fury Road
Not a review.
Mad to the max.
Bonkers brilliant.
Insanely awesome.
Makes Fast And Furious look like a Hot Wheels commercial.


Where do I start,
This movie puts pedal to the metal from the start,
From the very first scene, it's GO GO GO GO GO,
And it never lets up.
It's action, action, punk rock action all the way.

If I have another daughter, I wanna name her Furiosa.
Because Charlize Theron's Furiosa is BADASS.
Tom Hardy? Meh.
His Max not very Mad also.
But Furiosa was FURIOUS.
This should have been called TOO FAST TOO FURIOSA.

And damn, the AWESOME CARS, the TRUCKS, the BIKES.
I would LOVE a model of that War Rig.
And Immortan Joe's Gigahorse.
And the Ripsaw! It's one with the tank threads.
And the People Eater's Mercedes limo truck.
And that truck with that punk rock guitarist out front jamming war anthems!

Didn't watch the first Mad Max movies?
It doesn't take much to get into this one.
You don't even need to know there were Mad Max movies in the 80s.
Heck, the only thing I remember form those movies,
Was Tina Turner's "We Don't Need Another Hero".

So yeah, go watch Mad Max.
Because it's the best car-related movie this year.
It makes Fast And Furious look lame.
This one has (mostly) practical effects and stunts, babeh,
None of that CGI shit (much)
And none of that hip-hop crap either.