Iron Man 3: More man than armour.

Even though the Mandarin turned out to be some crocked up stage actor in the final episode of the Tony Stark trilogy, I quite enjoyed the ride. Marvel has consistently done an excellent job on the Iron Man movie franchise, and this movie is no exception.

What I really liked about the film was the fact that there was less glitzy visuals on the invincible armoured flying suits, and a sizeable chunk of screen time devoted to the man behind the suit. The Iron Man suits are shown to have their flaws, and are torn apart one after another in the closing segment.

This movie also did a good job on telling a story about relationships; about cause and effect, and the fragility of Stark. Whilst everyone sees him as being invincible behind the suit, the man is haunted, sleepless and suffering. That being said, the movie did not push the emotions too hard. After all, we are watching Iron Man.

Spoiler upcoming, so stop here if you have not watched the flick.


Stark has his shrapnel fragments removed from his body in the end, the arc reactor gets removed and ends up being tossed into the ocean.

Is this the end of Iron Man? Not really. I’m pretty sure Iron Man Extremis is coming right up in the next Iron Man movie. In the meantime, the trilogy closes with Stark as himself, and Iron Man out of the picture. The ending sequence (post-credits) with Bruce Banner acting as resident shrink though, that was a little awkward. It reminds me of the shawarma clip after the Avengers movie heh.

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Review: You Are The Apple of My Eye (那些年, 我们一起追的女孩)

Kicking this off with one sentence: rave reviews from countless peers.

So.

I finally got my hands on it (thanks to Stan and Randy), and spent the evening watching it with the family.

《那些年,我们一起追的女孩》

一个充满少年青涩恋情的故事。校园时期的初恋片段,总让人勾起从前的回忆。看着两人一天一天的笑着,一点一点的吵着。恋情,在无忧无虑的日子里默默萌芽。浪漫的追求,羞涩的约会。爱情最美好,最完美的时期,就是在两人暗恋着,未肯定对方爱意的日子里。

电影里素描的平行宇宙,让人想起过去的种种问题,种种的可能。在从前,因犹豫而错过的遗憾。另一个世界的我,是否鼓起当时的勇气,坦然面对而改变,而获得另一种幸福,另一种人生?

科幻这东西,实在奇妙。Only the wings of one’s imagination, can ever govern the limits of one’s mind in flight.

反而,本人其实比较喜欢胡夏所唱着的电影主题曲:《那些年》。 人,曲,词 – 完美的结合,完全符合电影想带出的味道。

也许,是自己对片子期望太高。电影结束过后,有那么一点失望。对我而言,片尾当然是个现实世界中必然的结局。到了最后,只能坐着。抱着心酸与无奈的祝福,望着爱人跟别人走上红地毯。只是多了那一点点冲动,让憋了多年的情感爆发。既然是故事,为何不把平行宇宙的因素融合,把结局变得更加完美一些?

If only.

Movies: 风云 2 (Storm Warriors)

So yes, despite all the negative feedback I caught this last night at Crown. Andddd here we go, the beginning of a stream of criticism:

  • 步惊云’s 三霸剑之剑流云: 5 star effort, excellent! His other moves were crap.
  • 步惊云’s 悲痛莫名 looked like a huge ball of water, rather than the sea of slashes that represented the sorrow of the swordsman’s emotions.
  • 无名’s 悲痛莫名 was learnt by 步惊云 at a very young age; what the hell was that about learning it instantly in the movie?
  • Why is 无名 wearing armor? 万剑归宗 felt like a stupid hail of swords z; declasse.
  • 聂风入魔 = Twilight-mode eyes? No blood red devil mode x-ray vision eye? And more importantly: why did he have both eyes in this movie, he was supposed to have only ONE!
  • There was an attempt to follow the canon plot, which told of 聂风 turning into the 麒麟魔, as evidenced by the scales on his body. Not very well explained though, and I doubt the average audience would have realised it.
  • 聂风的风神腿在哪了! He was using fists almost 90% of the time, sigh. Given that fight choreography with kicks on a non-martial artist is extremely tough, but I was sort of looking forward to this bit. 聂风 was so good, he could wield his 雪饮刀 with his feet, as illustrated in the comic with the move 踏雪寻梅. In the movie, we have him brawling like a street fighter.
  • 第一邪王 is no longer the 阴阳 dude who is a half black/white fellow with a male and female arm.
  • 第一邪王 magically knows 绝无神’s weak spot, wow. Magic!
  • 第二梦 has a barely visible deformity on her face, and turns into a pretty chick. Come ON.
  • 第三猪王’s 创刀 is never mentioned in this movie, and neither is his teaching to 聂风. Instead, he becomes this dude who wields a staff. A STAFF wth.
  • 楚楚 knows 武功! Amazing.
  • 绝无神 takes time off the gym, and slims down in this movie. No longer the hulking conqueror.

Anyway, it is tough work adapting a comic to the big screen and I never had any expectations of this being an awesome piece of work, so it’s a watch-and-forget kind of thing for me.

Review: Philip Pullman – His Dark Materials trilogy (aka The Golden Compass novels)

[Golden Compass] – nicksheldon on Flickr, 13 Oct ’07.

There was this 40% discount voucher from Borders I had awhile ago, so it was put to good use. The entire box set of His Dark Materials trilogy was selling at $39.90, which was quite a steal. Throw in the added discount, and the final price came to what a single book usually cost: approximately $23. And yes, trilogy = three books.

Having watched The Golden Compass where the characters in the movie were seemingly fascinated by the mysterious Dust, I was pretty sure the books (as usual) had alot more to offer on fleshing out the storyline.

[Northern Lights aka The Golden Compass] – Lara Wannabe on Flickr.

The first book aka The Northern Lights was a little dry (I dozed off while reading it!), but warmed up after the first half, and the pace gradually quickened with the subsequent books (The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass), leading to a miserable ending. I must say, the story is an endless tragedy with people dying all the time. It’s a good thing there’s only three books, so the reader’s not inclined to be that attached emotionally to the characters (unlike Harry Potter!).

[The Subtle Knife] – Fenners1984 on Flickr.

All in all, it’s a pretty good read but the chase ends all too soon. The pieces of the story come together in a manner which is quite unexpected; Philip Pullman (that’s the author) does a good job. That being said, I’m not too certain how the movie plot’s going to progress though; there is already a distinct divergence from the book in this aspect. We’ll wait and see.

I’m starting on Matthew Reilly in the meantime, Ice Station is proving to be a nonstop ride so far. And yes, I think I’m gonna be buying the rest of his books as well, hmm.

And incase you were wondering why I left the cover of the final book out:

[The Amber Spyglass] – Mince on Flickr.

Here you go.

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Addendum:
Let Us Keep On Dreaming of a Better World – now this is my idea of a perfect world! (via funtasticus)

10 Things You Can Do to Cheer Yourself Up (via dumblittleman)

Gundam00 continues to prove itself enthralling, climaxing at episode 21 with Lockon‘s sacrifice to save gayboy Tieria. NOOOO LOCKON DON’T DIE!

– Bored at work? Give Bored At Work a go then.

The Pacific filmshoot

[filmshoot] – V’s Flickr, 02 Feb ’08.

There’s an upcoming TV series (titled: The Pacific) which is a sequel to Band of Brothers, and part of the filming was done at Flinders Street in Melbourne, right beside my apartment building yesterday.

Flinders Street was closed off for the day, and we took the chance to snap away: here’s some of the stuff we took. It’s not exactly everyday that you see Flinders Street being closed off, and cars, trams and even people from the 1950s materialise from the wonders of filmmaking.


Positively vintage.



One of the takes in progress.

I was taking the photos from upstairs initially, but decided to try a ground level view later.


The view wasn’t too good: big crowd, too manyheads. I’m not exactly ten feet tall or something.


Solution: mounted my camera on the fully extended tripod, set a 2s timer. Held it by the bottom joints of the tripod heh.


Here’s a big one.


The tram driver looking dapper in his uniform.

We thought that there would be only a day shoot, but it turned out that there were night scenes as well. So.. we went for a second round, albeit from different positions this time round.


This was still from a top view; you can see that the scene has changed.


A bigger one.



All waiting for the take to start.


The cameraman. This was taken at ISO800 due to the poor lighting, so the graininess is pretty obvious.


Banner #1: Come on Australians, Fill The Liberty Loans


Banner #2: “A Foolish Spender is a Traitor”: Buy $10 National Savings Bonds or War Savings Certificates


Preparation.


Sandbags being piled up at the windows of the train station.


This one was taken with a flash, so it’s slightly clearer.


This says Melbourne City Council.

We saw endless retakes of the same scenes, and watching everything is really interesting; it feels like an enormous jigsaw puzzle coming together. Everyone has a part to play, and the enormous amount of logistics and co-ordination required is staggering. Unlike the finished product, the filming is actually very, very boring on the actors and everyone else. Even the extras were tired of standing around after awhile.

Well, this is yet another of those things I probably won’t see back home. Here’s a video clip I uploaded of the take:

Related links:
– Photographs from doigal on Flickr from another angle; Icy Cream cart and the general scene.
– Photographs from brewz on Flickr; checkout his set On location – The Pacific. There’s also links to his videos for the day shoot on the page.

A long long road (and the return of Hemingway!)

[THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD] – Edward Dullard. on Flickr, 13 Oct ’07.

(V‘s leaving for Melbourne tonight, and she got a bump up to business class!)

I like to call this serendipity. On yet another night of endless clicking around for new articles to feed on, I came across lawrencecheok.com aka A Long Long Road. Recognising it as the name of an SAF officer from my NS unit, I took a closer look and what do you know, it was him.

I’ve since added him on Facebook as well, and took a couple of hours out reading his articles. His blog’s really impressive, I must say.

  • A simplistic blog layout, coupled with a writing style that’s easily understood,
  • and diagrams to further illustrate the case in point. And it looks like self-drawn diagrams at that.
  • Focused issues on every post (unlike mine which ramble on and on randomly) i.e. self-improvement, financial management and relationship-building tips that I feel are really helpful to the average guy out there.

So I’ll really recommend giving his blog a go; do check it out : )

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Finally took the time to fix my old Hemingway theme; previously there was a stupid error which prevented the blogroll from being displayed previously, which looked like this:

“WordPress database error: [Unknown column ‘cat_1′ in ‘order clause’]

SELECT * FROM wp_categories WHERE cat_ID > 0 AND link_count > 0 ORDER BY cat_1 ASC

And I did a bit of Googling, and here’s the fix:

Go to hemingway/blocks/blogroll.php

Change the code inside, from:

get_links_list(1, ‘<h2>’, ‘</h2>’);

to:

get_links_list();

Well, it doesn’t sort the blogroll in the order you like, but at least it’s displayed in alphabetical order. Thanks to Andrew’s comment at 4u Style for working this out!

*I still can’t use widgets with Hemingway though, since the dynamic sidebar (or bottom bar in this case) isn’t coded into the .php file yet. We’ll leave that for anther day.

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Here’s a teaser trailer of A Man Once Superman, which stars Jeon Ji-Hyun 😀 Woot! – via Iz Reloaded

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Addendum:
– The Cableyoyo from Bluelounge is an interesting device that winds up your messy (and usually tangled) wires neatly.

A simple solution to an everyday problem.

– This has been around for quite awhile, but the Optimus Prime iPod is way cool. (It’s a pity I don’t have an iPod in the first place.) Soundwave looks good, but loses out to Prime heh. – via autoblog

White is cool : )

– General knowledge article, on why Australia doesn’t have unlimited usage plans for their internet. Pretty enlightening, and makes sense as well. – via MacTalk

– Take a look at The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard. It’s a 20 minute video that talks about the process of consumer goods, from production to disposal. It may be a little long, but offers food for thought on how twisted our lives have become, and the overwhelming obsession to shop, shop and shop that’s dominating our lives. Are we actually helping our environment by our mindless and nonstop purchases?

Do you actually need that new dress, or that pair of sneakers? Or how about that new 80GB MP3 player? I don’t know about you guys, but it’s definitely made me think twice about buying things that I don’t need.

Off to the zoo! – Werribee Open Range Zoo

[toy zebra] – V’s Flickr, 18 Aug ’07.

Credits goes to YT for bugging motivating me to blog heh. Well, I’m gonna *start* off this post tonight and we’ll see how long it takes ;p – 11 Sep. ( Note the date of publishing for this post :X )

*end of blurp

I didn’t even realise there was a zoo around until I read about this trip being organised by my university’s photography club. And since it didn’t really cost that much, I got two tickets to the Werribee Open Range Zoo trip. Yet another weekend outing! : )

Alot of the pictures came out totally crap though, so you’ll have to excuse the lack of pictures on this post heh.


At the entrance, carrying the pastries for refreshment.



Well, we had a refreshment break before starting on the zoo proper. Tasty stuff, as good as it looked.


And of course, some people were already starting on the picture snapping.


I certainly wasn’t an exception, hmmmm.


Took a few pics of these meerkats before we hopped onto the bus; cute little buggers.


We got onto the bus after that; pretty interesting design. One side of the bus is opened up for the passengers to get on to, and closes up totally after that. Allows for easy boarding and alighting : )

The bus goes on a route around the zoo, with the driver-tour guide giving a running commentary on the animals we saw. Probably too dangerous for us to walk around, not to mention too far.


I believe this one’s the American bison.


Picture of a bison, and ooo bison fur.


Camel, lounging in the sun. No suntan unfortunately ;p


Here’s how the bus looks like, from the front.


Apparently things that do not move make better pictures i.e. this tree.


Or this.


Or even this.


Zebras grazing idly.


More zebras.


Apparently they’re all facing different directions so as to keep a lookout for danger.


Rhinoceros, looking stoned. Must have been a long night.

We got off the bus after that, and had a chance to walk around some of the enclosures on our own.


V walking in front.



Beautiful flowers along the way; macro shots are always good.


This was the only halfway decent shot I got of the cheetah; the rest of them were totally fcuked up thanks to the speed of movement.


And this butt shot of course.

We headed back after that, taking a look a the souvenir shop. (That’s where I got the zebra toy in the post header.)

And a fellow member of MPC, Colin took a shot of V to prove how good a 30mm lens (IIRC) was. I thought the picture’s really, really good so here it is.

Nothing much to show after that ;p


A final picture to round off the trip! – picture courtesy of Chandra.

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Everyone should watch this lol, my bro and I went nuts laughing when we watched this movie.

“And thennnnnnnnnn?” – Dude, Where’s My Car?

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Super Mario Frustration aka Super Mario Forever: insanely challenging levels, watch this video and laugh your guts out at the commentary. – link courtesy of NZ.

Part 2 and part 3 as well.

The SNES emulator can be downloaded as well; have a go at it! *Download the file jnes.rar.