Thursday, 28 February 2013

Oscar Nominated Film III: Lincoln

It pays to read up on the history of events before entering the cinema so that you would appreciate the movie better. The movie concentrated on how Lincoln managed to secure the votes for the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution so as to abolish slavery in America.  I had a good introduction on this topic, though I would like to know the various characters better.  It is difficult however, given the length of the movie.  Maybe a TV series would be better.  In addition to securing the votes, we saw Lincoln's relationship with his wife (they lost a child) and also his son who was eager to serve.  Too many side events, so taxing on Lincoln, and audience were so busy following the various subplots.

The cast is great.  Daniel Day Lewis deserves the Oscar (though Denzel Washington is also deserving, well...) Sally Field is equally great as Lincoln's wife, I thought she acted better than Anne Hathaway.... but Sally already had 2 Oscars.  Tommy Lee Jones, though, reminded me of his other grouchy roles.  The other ensemble cast was impressive too.

Overall, I would recommend this movie, more for the good acting rather than the plot.  Somehow, the movie did not move me that much.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Chinese New Year - River Hong Bao 2013

The Lunar New Year is coming to an end.    And for the last bog on this topic, I would write about the River Hong Bao held at the Floating Platform next to the Esplanade. The picture on the left showed the entrance to the event.

One of the key exhibits at the event would be the 12 zodiacs.  Being Year of the Snake, the biggest statue was dedicated to it.

River Hong Bao is an annual event celebrating the Lunar New Year.  Besides the static display, there would be performances and also food stalls.   Photo showed the performing stage but I did not catch the performance.

And of course, the biggest attraction would be the God of Fortune.

This year, Lee Foundation sponsored a mural on fishes.  In Chinese, nian nian you yu, literarlly means "every year has fish", which sounds like "every year has abundance".  In Mandarin, "fish" has the same pronounciation as "surplus" or "abundance".

While we have abundance of fishes, the pandas seemed to be under nourished.

River Hong Bao has been held many years and it seemed to need a break through.  I felt that the food stalls need to be present in a more creative way, as part of the visitors' experience.  In addition to the main presentation stage, there could be secondary stages or roving performers to create more interaction and excitement.  Here's to next year's event.

Oscar Nominated Film II - Flight

The main attraction of this movie would be Denzel Washington, who was nominated for best actor in 2013 Academy Award.  He gave a great performance as an airline pilot Whip high on drugs and drinks, but managed to save the lives of 102 passengers and crews during an emergency.  The movie could have explored more on the dilemma between convicting someone who was unfit for duty and how the same person steered the plane to safety.  The movie also did not dwell much into the relationship between Whip and another junkie Nicole, played by Kelly Reilly.  Having said that, this is still an enjoyable movie, with good acting and of course, the memorable flight diaster scene.  Recommended.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Oscars Nominated Films

The Oscar ceremony is coming.  I have yet to see some of the major films, and missed a few.  Nevertheless, it is a good recap of what I have seen over the past months.

Amour:   A moving story about an old couple coping with life, in particular when the wife is suffering from dementia.  A bit depressing though.  Good performances from the 2 leads: Jean Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva.  I like the pace of the film.  Maybe Best Foreign Film?

Silver Linings Playbook.  A simple story well told.  A good cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro and Jacki Weaver.  Jennifer Lawrence really stood out. Best actress?

Life of Pi.  The adventure with the Tiger seemed a bit long, and I hope that the adult Pi could have more screen time.  The philosophical part of the journey was not fully exploited.  The visuals are beautiful even in 2D. 

Les Miserables.  Mentioned in earlier blog.  A good adaption, but the stage version is still better.  Anne Hathaway is impressive as Fantine.

Wreck It Ralph.  The bad guy character in the arcade game wants to be good.  Entertaining.  Nominated in animation feature.  Saw the other entries on planes etc, but not much impression.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  The movie was 20 minutes too long and it seemed like a British television show.  Hopefully momentum would pick up for part 2 and 3.  Nominated for technical awards.

Skyfall.  A decent movie, but still think Casino Royale is better in terms of Daniel Craig's Bond.  Nominated for best song (sung by Adele) and other technical awards. 

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Theatre Review: 12 Angry Men, Nine Years Theatre

The 2013 Huayi Festival got off to a good start with local company Nine Years Theatre's Twelve Angry Men.  The play, written by Reginald Rose, was staged in Mandarin.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

The Crucible, Toy Factory Productions Ltd

Arthur Miller's The Crucible was based on the witchhunt trials that happened in Massachusetts.  And of course, the play mirrored the McCarthyism in the US during the 1950s.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Raffles' Letters: Intrigues behind the Founding of Singapore

The exhibition Raffles' Letters: Intrigues behind the Founding of Singapore reveals important insights into the Founding of Singapore in 1819 through 20 letters written by Sir Stamford Raffles.  Thirteen of the letters are made available by The Bute Collection at Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute, Scotland. These letters originated from the private papers of Francis Rawdon-Hastings, 1st Marquess of Hastings, who supported Raffles’s efforts to establish a new British settlement in the East Indies, which eventually led to the founding of Singapore in 1819.  (source: NLB)

This exhibition's theme was interesting.  I did however find that the presentation was too wordy.  Maybe some diagrams or more visual presentations could help in the appreciation of this exhibition.   The organiser could also place some chairs or sofas for visitors to rest as there were many exhibits. 

The organiser came up with a guide book which was informative and I found it more user-friendly than the exhibition itself.  Nonetheless, this is an important exhbition.  Exhibition ends 28 Feb 2013.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Re-opening of Thye Moh Chan Cake House

In 2011, Thye Moh Chan Cake House announced the closure due to the owner not able to attract people to work there.  (see earlier post Farewell to Thye Moh Chan Cake House)

Bread Talk has since bought over the shop and now it has opened a branch at Chinatown Point.

Going by the crowd on a weekend, the shop seemed to be doing well.  Let's hope this brandname would carry on for more years to come.

Madama Butterfly by Singapore Lyric Opera

After 7 years, Singapore Lyric Opera staged Madama Butterfly at the Espalande Theatre.  The role of Cio-Cio-San was sung by Mako Nishimoto, her second time as reprising her role as Madama Butterfly.  She did a good job in this production, in particular the second and third act where we could feel her emotions.