Over The Hedge: review

So being an animated film (read: cartoon), how good did I expect it to be? To be honest, I had no idea at all. Given that it’s been a long time since I last watched things like these on the big screen (IIRC the last one was the Corpse Bride), and I’m not exactly crazy about this sort of movie, if you must know.

My experience yesterday was pretty much spoilt by the families that filled the theater though, and more notably the seats around us. Middle-aged ladies calling around like they were at home, kids laughing and adding their own effects, geez.

So, back to the main thing: Over The Hedge is a light-hearted production that brings a smile to your face. However, the various antics of the characters as they launch raids into human homes are merely a quick flashover of sequences, which is a pity IMO. The bulk of the movie is centered around the development of RJ’s relationship with the other characters, with the climax of the movie starting when they plan their final food-gathering assault. RJ returning to save his friends and abandoning his former calculating self seems to be the main moral of the story: family is all that matters.

It’s not too outstanding as animated films go, so watch it if you just want something mindless to laugh at on a weekday.

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Click for large image. (This is not working out, I can’t show full length strips anymore!)

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X-Men III: The Last Stand: review

Caught X-III at Tiong Bahru’s GV just now w/ Andrew, Adri & LH, and the theatre seems to have been built a little better than the other GV branches. For one, I could slouch and still get an unobstructed view of the movie, so that’s a big plus point from a slacker like me. One major turnoff’s the increased advertisement time though; it’s officially twenty minutes.

This movie’s been receiving a lot of publicity as well, second only to the Da Vinci Code. Add the fact that I haven’t been too impressed with the X-Men movies so far, and I was really bored before the movie started.

This time round I have to admit, the conclusion to the trilogy is pretty solid. The film makes me wonder where the scriptwriter got his ideas from though, since the plot totally deviates from the comic’s storyline. Not too bad though, I must say. And the effects are good, which is part of the mainstay for an action flick like this. In addition, quite a few of the main cast die in the process, which adds further points: no Hollywood all-the-good-guys-live-through ending!

I love tragedies : )

The camera work was pretty good in the first minute or so, as it made you focus on the important bits: the Grey surname on the letterbox, panning on to the impeccable shine of the car, and the two men who got out.

That was about as far as it went though; the appeal factor for the rest of the movie was more to the non-stop action and effects rather than anything else. The cast was decent this time round, though I lament the lack of characters represented: where the hell was Gambit! Most of the fights were carried off by Wolverine, Storm, the Beast, Shadowcat and Iceman this time round; Angel was flying around being eyecandy, Rogue and Cyclops were practically nonexistent.

I liked Wolverine‘s quips, very reminiscient of his character as always. Hugh Jackman’s really good in his role; a pity he lacks the raspy snarl that I’ve always thought Logan to have.

And there was one scene where the young Angel was trying to sever his growing wings, now that was slightly gross. Imagine using sawtoothed implements (he had an entire drawerful of them, sick) to hack off a part of your body; no wonder the kid was sobbing in the bathroom as he tried to chop ’em off. It brings out the desperation in his character to be normal though, quite a good touch.

Conclusion: I was quite impressed with the show, despite my initial misgivings and the short running time (it’s listed as being 104 minutes in the GV site).

One minor incident that happened during the movie was Adri someone using her toes to paw at my leg as if it were a “scratching post”, as LH so aptly put it. I was too engrossed watching to even turn away and tell her off, so I ended up being the objection of mutilation for almost fifteen minutes before she stopped, bah.

Do watch it! (On a weekday that is.)

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This is something I’ve been putting off for a long time; snaps of the M:I:3 souvenir given at the preview the other time. Like I said, a calculator with a pen inside.

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Addendum:

– This thingy called the Combimouse looks like the lovechild of a mouse and a keyboard, but will the consumer market love it? Let’s wait and see.

– Woah, Seagate’s acquiring Maxtor? Good thing, ‘cus I’ve never had a good impression of Maxtor stuff.

– New food review on Handle Bar posted up at the food blog, go check it out : )

– Made an adjustment in the blog layout; the top two posts now display in full instead of excerpt. There people, happy now? No more clicks needed to read the entire post! The bad thing’s 800×600 no longer looks normal, heh.

Signing up for the gym?

This topic’s been hanging around my mind for quite awhile, mainly because I’m seeing people sign up for gym memberships: California Fitness, Planet Fitness, Fitness First, blah blah you name it.

So I’ve been thinking, what are the important things you should consider before joining? Here’s a few of ’em.

1. Time commitment.
Can you take out the time to visit the gym at least twice a week regularly? Twice is minimal, thrice is good. If not, forget it.

2. Gym location
Proximity to either the workplace or the home is a must. If not, forget it. If you live in the west, you work in the west and your gym’s in the city area, chances are you won’t be going there too often. Laziness is inherent in humans after all.

3. Purpose of signing up
Are you signing up to hit the weights, or for the classes? Once again, think! If you’re not going for the classes, it might be worthwhile to look for a cheaper gym.

4. Discipline
The last, but most important factor.

If you’re telling yourself to signup for the gym simply because the classes make the fees a good bargain, the discipline factor comes in. Will you be attending the classes on a frequent basis?

Mental discipline: can you hold yourself to it and faithfully continue the gym sessions throughout your membership?

And yes, I’m gonna say this again. If not, forget it.

Food for thought I hope : )

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Saw this watch on this month’s FHM, and I’m hooked : ) YOS405, hrmmm slurps. Looks great doesn’t it? It’s been so long since I’ve seen a watch that actually appeals to me. A detailed look over at the Swatch e-store.

And I was so desperate to find out what the hell it was, I went straight to Swatch‘s website and took a screenshot of the thing. The darn site’s in Flash, couldn’t save any pictures at all -.-|||

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The vocal lesson for this week comprised of bubbling, LEI-ing and NEI-ing our way through the scales yet again. It seems weird, but I had trouble keeping my chest motion to a minimum when doing the scales when it wasn’t so tough last week. It’s not simple to still the chest while singing and using the abdomen though, kinda feels like a juggling act. I gotta practise more, geez.

The teacher pointed out all the hard knots of muscle in our jaw areas, and we were supposed to dutifully massage them in our own time until they came loose. This would have the effect of putting less stress on the tongue; more pain to come blah.

And the TV’s all ready now, along with the player and microphones! We should be able to try them out next week : )

And I’ve got to work harder on my projection. ARGH. Long road with no end to it.

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Addendum:

Ah 9 writes about Razor Ramon HG, the Hard Gay dude who goes “Okayyyy!“, “Hooooo!” or “Say say say!” Absolutely funny shows, you should go watch them ;p

L’Arc En Ciel‘s New World MV is kewl, although the song isn’t outstanding; merely very reminiscient of their style.

– This is ridiculous; people getting their arses sued left and right because they spotted and proved obvious flaws in computer systems?

The Da Vinci Code: review

I’m quite sure a hell lot of people have caught this movie by the time I write this, judging from the hype that’s surrounding this flick. That, and the minor inconvenient fact that almost every friggin’ cinema are screening the same few shows; it’s not like you have a choice heh.

In fact, I had to book the bloody tickets online to make sure I could get three adjoining seats. And the cinema was full last night, could you believe that? It’s a late Monday screening geez, and the show ended past midnight. It makes you wonder why some people would gladly fork out the cash to sit at the front row, get neck cramps and lose sleep when they’ve got to work tomorrow.

On to the movie anyway. I’d already lowered my opinion of the movie, so it wasn’t that bad. In fact, it greatly exceeded my expectations (not that hard a thing to do, since I had like zero expectations). It manages to capture the feel of the book, and the CG effects were well done IMO; not too flashy, not too overdone. The movie was taken at most of the actual spots, so you can pretty much count on authenticity. The movie managed to bore me out in the first half though, and so I nodded off for a bit before the interesting part started. (Apparently I wasn’t alone, since S and ahlong did the same.)

Tom Hanks plays a decent Langdon, although Audrey Tatou fails to shine in this movie. Perhaps the character just wasn’t suited to her, a slight disappointment since I’ve been impressed by most of her movies so far. Despite all that, she still looks great anyway, bleh.

Like all adaptations, the plot has been severely compressed, and all purists would definitely start ranting over this part. Quite a bit of the details are not talked about, but simply shown, so you have to keep your eyes open if you want to take in the whole lot. The part about the second cryptex was removed, but that wasn’t too big a stumbling block in the plot anyway.

The importance of the symbology was downplayed in the show, there were still a lot of things glossed over in the movie, like the significance of the ritual that Sophie glimpsed upon in her youth.

One thing I wasn’t too satisfied with was the ending sequence, where Langdon knelt in reverence to the tomb. The feeling wasn’t really captured, and it looked like he was gingerly kneeling down in expectation rather than the awe he was supposed to feel.

Overall, I’d say it wasn’t too bad a job.. BUT. It could definitely be a whole lot better, considering all the hype generated by the book. A weekday ticket to this, just to see the book come to life.

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In the shithapperns life of yours truly, my bike got stolen last night. I’m definitely not too happy about this, since I’d only bought the bugger less than a year ago, and it’s been a smooth ride. This must be the most expensive movie ticket of my life, geez. This sucks.

I’d taken this originally (clarification: at another location, not where my bike was stolen) to highlight the part about no parking for bicycles, but it’s turned out to be the last snap of my bike instead.

So if any of you see something that looks like the pic above, feel free to walk right up to the cyclist, drag him off the bike and punch his teeth out, since there’s no conceivable way another Raleigh bike could look the same (I’d modified the decals on the body).

Pissed.

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Addendum:

Acuvue‘s having this offer where you sign up online and receive a $20 discount. Good if you’re into disposable dailies.

Jamie Cullum‘s coming to Singapore in June, incase you don’t know. Buy his concert tickets if you’re a fan! : )

– From The Joy of Tech! comes a new set of the Commandments; funny ;p

The Big Walk

I’m not really sure how many people I know would be insane enough to actually join the Big Walk, since exercising seems to be something of a nono among them. It seemed to be fun though, and going by my “if you haven’t tried it, you’d better do” philosophy, I signed up for the darn thing a few weeks ago.

Crawling out of bed early in the bloody morning, reaching the stadium only to find like thousands of people already there was a bit of a “whaddafcuk?” Then again, I’d already realised that on the MRT trip. (More than a third of the commuters had running shoes and the TNP Big Walk tee.)

Looking at the sea of people, it felt like the JP Morgan run all over again. Actually, it was worse that that. I was actually slightly thankful that I was alone, else it would’ve been insane if I had to pull someone along with me in that stifling crowd. Primary school kids, happy families and couples holding hands, hardcore photogs with their huge-ass SLRs, single ladies strolling along with oversized dogs, it looked like all sorts of people were along for the event. It certainly felt good to be part of it. It’ll be something fun to do if you had your own family, something like a social bonding activity? Definitely something I’ll encourage my family to go for, since it’s little things like this that enhance the cohesion.

It’s at times like these that I feel torn between two places.

I would’ve loved to have a camera handy and be able to snap all the interesting things that happened today. Like the two ladies who panicked when their dogs started chewing each other up. Or the costumed stilt walkers who were hanging around the place. And the hardcore walkers who were almost an hour ahead of me, sweating gallons but firmly keeping in pace. The official photographers in yellow, who were oddly snapping two miniature model figures on the ground instead of the people walking by. The relaxed looks on some people’s faces, you could really see them enjoying themselves. It would’ve been something if I could capture the mood of the place.

But if I did that, I certainly wouldn’t have had the experience of finishing the 10km like I did today. The agonised feel of every step, to catch up with the guy infront. Mental stamina to hold on, keep walking and not slow down. Feeling the sweat rush out in a flood, and the kick of adrenaline. To keep going, overtaking, progressing.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Well, at least now I know how competitive walking feels like heh. Not as strenuous on the lungs, but your legs definitely have to be in darn good shape if you wanna make a decent timing. It’s at times like this that you realise why competitive walkers walk with that exaggerated swing of the hips and the arms. It looks screwy, but after a bit of experimentation.. I belatedly realised that that was actually the most efficient (and probably most comfortable) way to walk.

No pics during the walk, since I was too busy just trying to stick to my pace. So I hung around after the run and took a few of the place, hmm. Not too fantastic but that’s all I got ;p

For some weird reason, my back muscles’re aching more than my legs hrmmm. Does walking put a bigger strain on the back than on the legs? Even my butt muscles’re aching, argh. I think it’s my body’s way of punishing me for playing bball right after the walk, geez.

Maybe I’ll join the Men’s Open category next year : )

Sidenote: There’s the runway cycling event at Paya Lebar Airbase next weekend, and the Osim triathlon in July but I doubt I’ll be going for either. The runway cycling feels a little moronic, since it’ll be another crazy jam and I absolutely hate jams when I’m cycling. Cycling on a runway just doesn’t appeal to me. I’ll definitely be lacking in training for the triathlon, so I can skip that one as well.

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Addendum:

Cheryl writes a good one about why whiners aren’t restricted to a single sex.

Captnj‘s post on protein intake for Singaporean food types; this is something worth noting for people who work out.

Big Walk aftermath

So I went for the TNP Big Walk this morning, walked my legs off (because I was pacing this fellow who was in the Open Veteran category), and still went for bball after that. If I’m not crazy, I’m certainly the next thing to it ;p

Well, I think I’m paying for it now heh; I’m having this shitty headache that’s throbbing away while I’m at the office. More to come when I’ve uploaded the crap pics from my HP for the walk.

How the hell you sit on a planter?

Taken at the walkway between Marina Square/Millenia Walk. WTF do they mean by “do not sit on planter?”

Did they mean “do not sit on plants” (which sounds highly illogical, since no one in their right mind would sit on those bloody things)
or did they literally mean sitting on the planters i.e. the guys who planted the plants? There weren’t any of them fellows waiting to be sat on though, the last time I checked.

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This is the monster of a cake that appeared mysteriously at the office one day. I volunteered to be the official labrat and yes, it looks like crap, tastes like crap.

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Sleep today was definitely on the short side, since there was this idiot downstairs who thought he was a badass biker or something and kept on revving his bloody engine for nearly ten minutes. .. now if only I had a grand piano or something, I would’ve hurled it right out the window like they did in the cartoons, just to shut the bugger up.

Third vocal lesson, scales once again and I screwed up on that part ;p Seems like my lips weren’t too co-operative just now and malfunctioned. Four of us today, so the lesson became an hour and a half instead of the usual hour. Singing 黄品源’s 最爱你的人是我, definitely not a song I’d sung before but I think I didn’t do too badly, ‘cept the fact that I sing my lyrics in snatches instead of a constant flow. Sometimes it’s hard to expect progress on every lesson, but that’s something I’m aiming for.

And to top things off for the day, I’m typing with a dull headache for company. This sucks.

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Addendum:

– Now you know what the hell you’re paying for when you buy a licensed copy of Windoze XP: the EULA in readable human terms.

– Warner Bros is gonna be using Bittorrent to allow downloads of their movies? Of course, you’re still gonna have to pay.

– Check out this Flash site on some lake dubbed 天使的眼泪i.e. Tears of the Angel. Real impressive photos, argh. Now if only I can cough up enough moolah for a new cam.. – link courtesy Ellen.