Monthly Archives: February 2014

Film Review: Cold Eyes

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Title: Cold Eyes (Gam Si Ja Deul)
Director: Ui Seok Jo & Byung Seo Kim
Language: Korean (subtitled)

Review:
Before I write my review, I would like to apologise that I could not write the name of the actresses and actors involved in this film. Not that they are so mysterious, but I don’t really know how true that is because even IMDB couldn’t list the full cast and crew. However, I hope the title of the film, and the directors name would be enough for you to be able to find the film if you would like to watch it.

This is one of my favourite film genres. A bit of crime, a bit of psychology. A considerably minimum amount of slapstick comedy and sex scenes, if any. I couldn’t express how enjoyable watching this film was for me, although I was thousand feet above the ground sitting next to a stranger who couldn’t sit still, while I was having a cold feet and bloated tum, and repeatedly thrown from my seat because of really bad turbulence . There.

The story was about a girl who has a good memory (I couldn’t say that she has a photographic memory because in the film it wasn’t mentioned further). She was then recruited by the Korean special police squad to help solving difficult cases. One of the cases was a series of robberies that orchestrated by a criminal genius. That is the interesting premise. I am not going to say anything more about the story because I don’t want to end up spoiling it to anyone.

I couldn’t remember any outstanding actor or actress in this film, it seems that all of them act only averagely. I think they are saved by the story writing, although it is said that it was the korean remake/rip-off of a Hong Kong film “Eyes in the Sky”. If you have watched Eyes in The Sky, please let me know if it was true, because many disagree with this.

Would I recommend this film to my friends? Of course I would. Although, I am quite aware that not all of my friends like this kind of film (because the complication of the plot gives them headache, and the actors are not pretty boys like those in the romantic comedy drama), but I would still recommend this to them as an eye opener. That asian film could be good and high quality.

That’s from me.

 

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The Couch

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It’s been awkward.

Yes. Awkward was one of the best words I could use to describe the dynamics of the house lately.

I have to be honest. Living in the same house after months of living separated is not easy at all. I did not have time to adapt, I did not have time to settle. I am sleep deprived and I could not stay in bed as long as I would expect myself to do. And, sleeping in the couch feels so much comfier than sleeping in the warm bedroom, under warm blanket, with him. It feels that there were so much more space for me to sleep in the sofa than sharing a queen size bed with someone that I love.

I flinched when he poked me when he was talking to me. I shuddered when he try to be romantic. I don’t feel as if I am being in a normal situation. As if he is now trying too hard to please me, or tip toeing around just to make sure of my comfort. Of course in a way it is nice, but it makes me feel like a guest in his house.

I of course has raised this concern up to him and he knew this. But it is not something that could change overnight.

I don’t know how to make myself feel home in this house. I don’t know how to get my control of things around this place. I don’t like confronting him over and over again over something that he is used to do, like how he would wash the dishes or where he would store his clothes. Should I change what has been going on in this house over decades. How could I do that?

He couldn’t understand this concern, of course. He said that he doesn’t have a massive attachment to this house and whatever happened in this house, but I know that it was only half truth. He couldn’t manage to throw away all those chipped plates that I have been meaning to chuck away since ages ago, and we still have some rusty pans and pots, and tons of expired stuffs in the larder. How could I believe that he is not a hoarder?

The situation, of course makes me a little bit stressed out. I am in the middle of wedding preparation and this is not yet solved. Am I doing the right thing right now? I really hope so 😦

 

Letters From Home: Don’t Stop Writing

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Hey, you know what?

I have received one of the most heart warming letter that I have received for my whole blogging life. I would not post the whole letter in this blog, because there are so many personal things in the letter, but I will tell you the story and why the letter was very important for me.

Few weeks ago, out of boredom I set up a Goodreads account (feel free to add me or to see my book list). From one and many ways, I ended up knowing that one of my old friends has an account there as well. She was a friend of mine when I was studying in high school and was kind of close. It is the kind of closeness an introvert could understand, you know? We don’t really speak that much, but when we talk it is THE important stuff.

I was not surprised that she was there. I know that she was an avid reader and she did read a lot, even more than I did when we were in high school. She was one of the regular in the library.

Some times after that, she sent me a message on Facebook. How bizarre, I thought. I never expected her to initiate a contact with me, mainly because there was nothing big in my life (I can understand that some people start contacting me after I got engaged, because there are something to talk about). But then again, it is something that only introverts could fathom. So I was quite happy to reply to her message.

A short message became a long elaborate story about how time has passed us by. Maybe she packed her good 10 years (since we graduated high school until now), into words. She did it very well, of course, as she was, and is an excellent writer herself. I think it is also good for her to be able to let it out of her system what she wanted to say but could not because of the situation she’s been through. I am quite proud to be someone that shared her story *smug*

In between her stories she also told me that she read my blog. Oh how that has given me the fluttering feeling inside my tummy. I almost forgot about that thrill that has push me to keep writing and improve my writing skill. And she reminded me.

She reminded me why I write. She reminded me that even if I couldn’t change the world with my writing, I could deliver something which is important to few people who read my work. She reminded me the joy of writing, and the pride of an author when she told me about my years writing a short love story in the class for my classmates to read. And I have to admit, I miss it.

In the end of the letter she asked me a favour. She asked me not to stop writing.

My first thought was: why the hell I want to stop writing? I love writing. But then I realised that “love writing” is not the same with “keep writing”. I have been lazy. I haven’t improved since ages ago. My vocabulary stuck in the intermediate level. My grammar is messy. And the worst of all is the realisation that I have not finished a single story since 2007. It’s been seven years.

I think I forgot to thank her for what she has done, and for her beautiful letter. I hope she is still reading my blog so I could thank her in public, so that people would know how important her letter was for me. How it has encouraged me to try again, and to write better than her 😉

Okay…

Now, gleeks could start playing the “don’t stop believing” tune, but please let me get out from this room first…

Cheers…

Film Review: The Great Gatsby

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Title: The Great Gatsby
Director: Baz Luhrman
Language: English
Casts: Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Amitabh Bacchan

Review:
I have read the book, and loved it. I have to admit that I did have a high expectation when I watched the film. Would it be as dark as the book? Would it be as depressing as the book? Maybe this is the first time I expected to be depressed after watching a film. And, have I been successfully depressed after watching the Great Gatsby? Well, I have to say that I have not. But would that mean that this film has failed me? Certainly not.

Let me explain.

I really think that the director has exposed something else that I couldn’t catch while I was reading the book. It is the kind of prewar American lifestyle that I couldn’t quite grasp from the words Mr. Fitzgerald has been using to describe the background of the story. Of course it did not bother me at the moment I was reading the book, but when I watched the film, I realised of vital that was for understanding the whole story.

While the book itself was written with a lot of big words, the film was pretty much straight forward. It explained a lot that I don’t understand while reading the book. Which is good. In a way.

I am not sure though why Tobey Maguire was chosen as one of the main characters in this film. I am not sure of his quality to be able to portray such an important role in a classic story like this. However, I should say that it was not bad at all. I might even say that I am quite impressed that he could get out of his spidey suite. Oh goodie.

DiCaprio? Oh he is as hot as always. I think he is a kind of ‘wine man’. You know? Like a wine, getting better quality when they are get older and more mature. Or you can say cheese… but telling someone that they are like cheeses doesn’t sound much like a compliment, does it? His acting skill of course has improved since Titanic, and although he was portraying a very soppy guy, he still looked steamy as ever.

That’s my personal judgement…

I couldn’t say much about storyline. It was a great story itself. I think it is awesome that the director and especially the story writer could bring a classic to a big screen without screwing it up. Really it’s not easy. So kudos for them too.

Would I recommend this to my friends? I would, actually…. However, I think they need to read the book first. That’s my own suggestion though, because most people wouldn’t bother to read if they have seen the film. So, I would rather them to read the book first, and then enjoy the film without making me feel guilty for recommending this awesome film to them.

Happy watching…

Valentine’s Day

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Are you celebrating Valentine’s Day?

I know it is a bit weird to be asked, especially it is not REALLY a big holiday to be celebrated. You know, it is more of a Hallmark Holiday, where there has to be something to celebrate so that the retailer could make money by selling chocolate, cards, and flowers. But of course, this is not the day for being cynical, and grumpy, but still I should admit that I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day, whether it is a religious holiday or a hallmark one.

It might sound weird, or maybe for some people it could sound a little bit ungrateful as I do have someone to celebrate this valentine day with. I am no longer in a long distance relationship. D o h.

But how important it is to celebrate this?

First of all, this is not even my own culture. 14th of February 2014 is cap go meh day. The 15th day after the lunar new year, and at the same time, the end of the spring festival. Why don’t I just celebrate that? Why don’t I make a sticky rice cake with spicy pork filling, wrapped in a pandan leaves to celebrate something that is a part of me, instead of doing the chocolate and flower things?

How important to celebrate Valentine’s day?

To celebrate your love to your partner? To show them that you love them? We have 365 days a year, 366 in the leap year. During that time, you can show them love everyday. And if you really really really had to pick up a very special day, there are birthdays and anniversaries, and if you want a special day which is shared with millions of people in the world (can you see how oxymoron that is?) then you have new years, any religious holidays that are celebrated in your country, and Sundays!! Don’t forget Sundays, and Saturdays… Weekends are the best!

However, as I have promises that I am not going to be cynical, I would wish you a very happy romantic Valentine’s day. Hope you score big tonight 😉

A Little Bit of Update

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I am so sorry that I haven’t been updating this blog for ages. I am sorry for myself really, because one of my new year resolution is to be active again in writing my blog :(.

Anyway, I am back in Norwich.

Does it mean that my visa has been approved after the longest 12 weeks of my life? Yes. So few days before the Lunar New Year, I have got an email informing me that my passport has arrived at Plaza ASIA. That was where the visa application centre was. So I book a flight, took my passport back (with a bit of over dramatic moment during the collection), and back to Solo to report the good news to everybody. Then decided when I would fly back to the UK.

After the Chinese New Year, of course.

That’s a bit of bittersweet though. It is nice of course that the waiting is over and now I can move on to the next plan (getting married >_<) but that also means that it would be the last time I would receive that shiny red envelope from my uncles and aunties TT__TT. So yeah, in that respect, I might not too happy about that.

This time, I chose Qatar Airlines to take me to Heathrow Airport, I could make a review about the flight and the service, I might not… let’s see whether I am in the mood or not. Anyway, I arrived safely, and remembered right there and then how I hate the cold wet weather in this goddamn place. Mind you, we are having this extreme climate everywhere anyway, even Indonesia was having a bad weather all weeks.

Mr. Fix-it picked me up at the bus station in Norwich. I arrived after almost 20 hours journey, feeling cold and awkward. Mind you I have not met this guy I am going to marry in almost half a year. Of course I am feeling a bit awkward, but we are getting there… again.

Few days ago I went for a Police Registration, because my visa said that I have to have one. Not a problem. But when I met the police officer, a very nice and friendly one, he said that I did not have to register whatsoever because I am an Indonesian, and was born in Indonesia. How weird… I have send a message to the border agency if it was a mistake and told them that it was the police officer who said so, they haven’t replied. If I haven’t heard from them by tomorrow lunchtime, Mr. Fix-It will… well… fix it.

***

This afternoon, we went to the city to meet the wedding registrar. Mr. Fix-It took a day off so we could go there together. The building was old, and we met a lot of old people, even the registrar was old. She was nice though.

Basically we needed to report to her and told her that our wedding date might change because my family might not be able to get their visa in time 😦 that is sad because I really like the original date we have chosen earlier. But I really want my family to be there when it happens. Maybe a little bit of moral support?

Other news?

I am missing my dogs.

I really am.

My sisters sent me some pictures of Chika and I wanted to go home straight away. Funny that I have never had this kind of home-sicky feeling before, but now… It worries me a little…

Film Review: Tenggelamnya Kapal Van Der Wijck

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Title: Tenggelamnya Kapal Van Der Wijck
Director: Sunil Soraya
Language: Bahasa (no sub)
Casts: Herjunot Ali, Reza Rahardian, Pevita Pearce

Review:
This film was adapted from an Indonesian’s classic literature by Buya Hamka, with the same title. Since the book itself was quite popular, it promised the audience with a good plot, and a very deep cultural settings of Indonesia in the 1930’s, and what was promised have been delivered properly to the audience. But is this a good film?
I beg to differ.
Apart from the brilliant characterisation of Zainuddin and Aziz, I think Pevita Pearce as Nurhayati is a little bit weak (especially compared to her two co-actors). I don’t mind with a very theatrical and overdramatised dialogues in the film, but I think it is not for everybody, for example, the noisy guy sitting in front of me in the cinema he couldn’t help laughing for the dialogue was too theatrical for common people.
I kind of understand the purpose though. In holywood, dialogues from films which were adapted from classic literatures such as Oliver Twist has been made in Old English. However most of the audience understand that it was the Old English accent. I think the director wanted to do the same, but too bad not many people understand that they were using the Old Melayu accent in this film to emphasise the classic value of this film.
Maybe next time, they can modernise the adaptation like what holywood has done to The Christmas Carol, so it would be easier for the majority of Indonesian people to accept and understand the concept.
Many complained for the lighting and cinematography. I think the director wanted it to look and feel old, so we can get the feel. It don’t feel to disturbed with that since it did not affect me that much.
However what disturbed me a lot is the musical score. It is really disturbing. I am not a fan of Nidji, but that’s not the reason why suddenly the vocalist’s voice becomes so annoying during the film show. It was not well orchestrated, it was played in the wrong time with the wrong volume, and just wrong. I think the story is better without it. I suspected that they use Nidji as the selling point, but meh… I said.

Would I recommend this film to anyone? Yes for sure, but please bear in mind that I have told you that the musical scoring is very annoying…
I would like to counter the annoying haters who keep saying that there is no correlation between the title and the plot. Yes there is, and the title is not spoiling anything, that’s as far as I could say.

Cheers