Tuesday, December 14, 2010

FILM REVIEW: Megamind



There are two animation giants in Hollywood at the moment. Pixar and Dreamworks. They are always unfairly compared with one another. I consider Pixar to be my religion, and Dreamworks, my guilty pleasure. Dreamworks never tries to be like Pixar, and it shouldn't. I love it how it is.


From past offerings such as Kung Fu Panda and How To Train Your Dragon, Dreamworks has consistently given us colourful goody bags of fun - with a lot of heart. They are movies that are unpretentious and exist solely for pure entertainment, and I love them for it. Megamind is no exception, although I would have to say it did catch me off guard from time to time.


The film opens with a backstory of how Megamind developed his villainous ways, justifying his life mission to defeat his nemesis Metro Man. But this fight between good and evil abruptly ceases leaving Megamind to contemplate his place in the world. It's an introduction to existentialism for young children. Hooray for Dreamworks.




What I enjoyed most about the movie was that it presented itself as being formulaic, then out of nowhere it rewrites the formula - this happened two or three times from what I remember. I'm not ashamed to admit I was surprised many times in the duration of this wonderfully made film. The director perfectly balances the obligated sentimentality, alongside the gags and the thrilling action set pieces.




The only criticism I have for the film is that it feels like a spin-off. Some of the smaller characters feel like they've been recycled from another movie and it lacks the epic nature of something like Kung Fu Panda, so I would not be expecting a sequel to this one.


Despite that, Megamind is joyous, fun, and laugh-out-loud funny. The 3D was very well done too, and I recommend seeing it in that format. Usually 3D just works in animation, and it works extremely well here. If you live in the southern hemisphere, this is a great summer flick. It's the perfect movie to just sit back and enjoy the air-conditioned confines of a movie theatre with a box of popcorn on one hand and a choctop on the other. Oh, and take the kids too.


Image Credits: 1, 2, 3

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My first Criterions (thank you Barnes and Noble)


The end of year Barnes and Noble Criterion sale has passed and I have in my hot little hands my first ever Criterions. I have a couple others coming very soon (next week, fingers crossed). I've already talked about Criterions in a previous post, but for those who don't know, they are a film distribution company that restores important classic and contemporary films and jam-packing them with supplements which adds so much to the experience of the film. I have to say, Criterion is unmatched in terms of quality. No detail is overlooked. Every single edition is beautifully package and they instantly become the centerpiece of any DVD collection. Now, enough drooling over Criterion, let's talk about what I have so far:

The Ingmar Bergman trilogy examining the silence of God (Through a Glass Darkly, Winter Light and The Silence). Very heavy and emotionally exhausting. I'm still trying to appreciate Bergman's films, but honestly, they've all been disappointing. Granted, I've only seen this trilogy and I saw The Virgin Spring last week at the Chauvel. I'm going to have to wait until I see Wild Strawberries at Cinemathque on Monday before I decide whether I should hop on the Bergman Bandwagon. I have to say every element of his films are perfect - the photography, the acting, the music, the mood are all brilliant and I always feel I'm in the hands of a director who knows what he's doing. However, there's something about his films, I cannot quite put my finger on it, but I find them excruciatingly dull, and at times, cliched. I've started to re-watch the films and fortunately, I've found that they have improved so much more on a second viewing. 


The Criterions are excellent. Beautiful covers, well-written essays and the box set also comes with a fourth DVD called Ingmar Bergman Makes a Movie, this is a five-part documentary on the making of Winter Light and it is fascinating. 

I also have the Adventures of Antoine Doinel box set, which includes four films: The 400 Blows, Stolen Kisses, Bed and Board, Love on the Run and also includes the short Antoine and Colette. As expected, it is packed with special features (oops, sorry they call them "supplements") that provide context for the films as well as include interesting interviews with Truffaut and his collaborators. It also contains a booklet with various essays and notes. The covers look amazing as well as you can see here:


The last one is The Last Emperor and this is a four disc set. One contains the film, one the television series and the other two supplements. I'm still going through this DVD but the film is exquisite, a tad melodramatic/Asian soap opera in some parts, but still a brilliant film.


I cannot wait until I receive the other three, I'm already counting down the days.

Note: All photographs were taken by yours truly. I would appreciate it if you inform me if you intend to use any of it. See my contacts for details. Thanks.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Finally out of high school

I had my formal, also known as a prom. Got my first ever suit. Yay. Did not realise how difficult it was finding the perfect fit, plus, there were so many different styles and fit, the whole thing just gave me a headache.


High school is over, can't wait to get out in the big world.





Suit, shirt and pants from Jack London. Shoes and tie from Calvin Klein. Frames from Tom Ford.

Note: All photographs were taken by yours truly. I would appreciate it if you inform me if you intend to use any of it. See my contacts for details. Thanks

Friday, December 10, 2010

Denim on Denim.






Shirt from Roger David, Shorts from Kenji, Shoes from Converse, Silver watch from Speedo, Purple watch from Adidas, Frames from Tom Ford


Note: All photographs were taken by yours truly. I would appreciate it if you inform me if you intend to use any of it. See my contacts for details. Thanks

Friday, December 3, 2010

Finding your signature scent(s)


When a nose is treated with a fragrance, the smell triggers certain memories and emotions. It bypasses logic and goes straight to feeling. This is probably why when somebody is greeted with a familiar scent, most likely, it will either give them butterflies in their stomach, or, make it turn - depending on who they associate with that scent. Fragrances, perfumes and colognes wield the power of the "flashback".

This is why it is so important to find that "signature" scent. The objective is to leave the same impression to people, and not confuse them by having a whole bunch of different perfumes. It is best to pick a handful of fragrances - one for each occasion - and stick by them for...well, the rest of your life. Yes, I know that sounds like a marriage right? But then, you can always disown a fragrance if you don't quite like it at first, and keep looking until you find your perfect match. Which is what most people do nowadays anyway. Yup, I'm also referring to marriage.

For me personally, I have five "signature" scents:

1) Everyday, go-to guy
2) Summer/Day/Outdoor
3) Night out/Clubbing/Party 
4) Work/School 
5) Winter/Nighttime/Romantic 

The first one, the everyday signature scent, must be versatile. It must be appropriate for all occasions and be well suited for all four seasons. This is the one I pick up when I'm unsure of which one to use. Think of this as the reliable one. For me, my everday, go-to guy is L'eau D'Issey pour homme by Issey Miyake. It's quite hard to describe the scent, but it's sweet and fruity with a touch of Asian influence - kind of like a fragrant green tea with florals. Yet it also has hints of spiciness that also gives it warmth. So it's perfect for either the cooler or hotter months. It is also, I would say, an approachable scent. It draws people and it is very inviting. I've used this when out clubbing, at the beach, at work, or just going out for lunch or dinner and it worked on all instances. 


The second in the list is the summer, day, outdoor. This one has to last you - rain, shine, wind or sweat. It must also be able to project really well because it's quite harder to pick up on fragrances when outside. It must also be very light, airy and fresh. My pick is Versace Eau Fraiche. It meets every requirement I've mentioned, it's got longevity, it projects really well and it smells very clean and fresh. 


The third is the fragrance you pick up when going to a very social setting. This fragrance must have strength and presence without being too off-putting. It must also have a sense of fun and approachability, with a hint of sensuality. I use Paco Rabanne One Million for this as it leaves a very strong impression and is quite seductive as it has warmth. But it's also sweet. Very sweet. When I smell this I think of caramel and spices with a slight tinge of metallic and I guess, an 'urban', modern feel to it. To be honest, when I first smelt this, I wasn't fond of it. It smelled, for lack of a better word, very douchey. It smells like what people who wear Ed Hardy would use. It's very Jersey Shore-ish. But as it dries down, it changes quite dramatically and I fell in love with it. It has a sense of control without being too in control, and it gives off a beat of energy, kind of like music.


Now, for work and school, you'd want to choose a fragrance that is safe, but not boring. Something that is inoffensive and discreet. I use Prada Infusion D'Homme. This fragrance is perfect for work or school. It has a subtle scent but it has presence and will definitely leave a positive impression on people. The scent sticks very close to the skin, it doesn't have an aura, or a "scent bubble", it's more like a veil of perfume. It doesn't project very well, but that's why it's perfect in a work/school setting. People will not be repelled by this. The scent is initially very soapy, and some people don't like that because when they think of a soap scent, they think of something generic. But the beauty with this fragrance is that is has a complexity to it that adds a touch of elegance. This is an incredibly refined and classy fragrance. It may smell "soapy" but think of an expensive soap you won't see in grocery stores, only boutiques. I imagine of morning showers and a crisp, freshly laundered and just-ironed white shirt. This would probably be Donald Draper's signature scent. 


Now for the final one. The nighttime/winter/romantic perfume. This one has to be dark, seductive and mysterious. I chose aptly named The Dreamer by Versace. This literally smells like stars. It's very strong at first. I pick up a punch of something minty, something menthol. But then it dries down into this "starry" scent (running out of adjectives here!) But it's definitely unique and indescribable and a guaranteed "flashback" inducer.


So these are just some ideas to get you started with. But shop around, get samples, and try it on your skin and leave it on for a couple of hours before deciding. I don't recommend blind-buying online as scents are very subjective so it will be hard to know what you want unless you smell it for yourself.

Also a final word of advice. Don't put on too much. For really strong fragrances two to three squirts would be adequate, while for the more subtle ones four or five is plenty. Don't overdo it, please. Also know where in your body to put it on. The best is in your pulse points as these are the warmest areas and therefore will allow for maximum projection. I usually put them either on my wrists or the insides of my elbows (what's the proper name for that area? Where you get your blood drawn?) Also the pulse point on the neck is a good place and sometimes I get a little bit on my finger from my wrists and dab behind my ear. 


Note: All photographs were taken by yours truly. I would appreciate it if you inform me if you intend to use any of it. See my contacts for details. Thanks

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