Recap: Before September ends
9 more days to go. Golden Jubilee Celebration of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s Accession to the Throne. Click image to enter the official website.
His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah ibni His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office in his capacity as Patron of the Golden Jubilee Celebration Advisory Committee; and His Royal Highness Prince Haji Sufri Bolkiah, member of the Golden Jubilee Celebration Advisory Committee during the full dress rehearsal last Sunday. Image courtesy of Infofoto.
Congratulations to Aziz Haru on his latest single and music video, “Jangan” and it’s currently No.1 in Brunei’s iTunes chart. More on Aziz soon.
Applications for the 2018 Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leaders Program are now open! A2ELP is a three month leadership program for social entrepreneurs from ASEAN and Australia. The program includes a ten-day intensive program in Melbourne and Sydney with workshops, networking events, field visits and cultural activities. Applications close 13 October 2017. Click image to read more.
Awesome deals from SugarBun. I managed to get a free meal by using my Baiduri Platinum Debit Card on Paywave. Terms and conditions apply.
The children were the VIPs during the medal award ceremony held by @kumondilligent
Congratulations Rhyanna on receiving a medal from Kumon and hope you enjoyed your birthday celebration 😀
The newly open T•K Restaurant and I love the food too. Serving seafood as well. Located at the same building as Thien-Thien Gadong.
The app for The Mall Cineplex is quite convenient now. I believe this is the first of its kind for Brunei to use barcode to enter the cinema. Kudos, Mall Cineplex on this feature.
Rafhanah Salleh’s thought of Kingsman: The Golden Circle. I believe even my peers felt the same way and so did I. Apparently one person loved it so much he watched it three times. My final verdict: 6.5/10
So the censorship board has enforced this ruling and cinema operators have been playing their best to not allow kids or children below 17 years to watch movies for matured audiences. This can be a bit tricky but it will be a culture that families will be accustomed to. I do agree with the ruling and it’s just a bit more of awareness and publicity for parents to be aware of the ruling of catching movies with children in the cinemas.
Epipeople Consultants had their first sneak at It’s A Grind at Citis Square. The responses have been great so far and more workshops to come in the near future.
Game On’s PS4 FIFA 17 Tournament will take place at The Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium from the 29th September to 1st October 2017. This tournament alone will be the BIGGEST prize pool in our eSports history, at over BND1,000 – all thanks to @battlepromms Will the current champion (Hanif Hamzah) successfully defend his title or will we be seeing a new champion for FIFA 17? We’ll find out together on 1st October 2017 during The Festival Hari Belia 2017. Image taken from ETA Games @ Cineplex.
Something I can’t wait – FIFA18 will be out this weekend while W2K18 will be sometime in October. Check out ETA Games for updates.
Nuriskandar was a bit sakai when he saw the new facelift of KFC at Giant, Rimba.
I saw this yesterday in the papers and I thought it was quite unnecessary since he was not involved in any business transaction as his role was purely a photographer. I know of some people who even have higher positions or even dealing with clients from that company and had left but never been published in this manner. What gives? I do support the paper but this one thing that I don’t support.
My favourite dish at Sate House – Chicken satay. Very tender and juicy 😀
For your information at Bang & Olufsen (Brunei).
Something I learnt as a speaker and an evaluator on stage. If I take things seriously, I can see my growth. Thankful for the people around me who have helped and supported me all these years.
Taken during our recording greetings for the #HMjubliemas few weeks ago. Catch us on RTB on our greetings to His Majesty the Sultan.
Brunei Film Blitz
Yang Amat Mulia Pengiran Anak Hajah Nurul Amal Munjiatul Athirah, Junior Producer at Origin Film, Wardi bin Haji Mohammad Ali, the Deputy Permanent Secretary (Tourism) at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT)and the Secretary of the Brunei Tourism Board, Siti Kamaluddin, co-founder of Origin Films and Din Kamaluddin, co-founder and producer of Origin Films during the press conference of Brunei Film Blitz at Progresif Headquarter
Wanna win cash prize for showcasing your talent? There are two categories – The Open Category for BND 5,000 and the 48 Hour Film Blitz for BND 10,000. The respective winners will also walked away with a camera.
This was announced by Wardi bin Haji Mohammad Ali, the Deputy Permanent Secretary (Tourism) at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT)and the Secretary of the Brunei Tourism Board and Siti Kamaluddin, the founder of Origin Artistic Management at Progresif Headquarters last weekend.
The event known as Brunei Film Blitz will be finale for the Brunei December Festival 2017 and it will be held on 29th to 31st December 2017. The three day event includes a screening of shortlisted films, master classes with industry professionals, a 48-hour Film Blitz and an awards night.
So let’s go in-depth with the categories: the open category is where film makers can submit their films of any genre (fiction, documentary or animation). It must be shot in Brunei Darussalam and the entry can be of length below 12 minutes duration inclusive of titles and credits. You can send in your older clips but short films made before 2016 will not be accepted. You can send in as many short films as possible. Of course, the more the merrier. The first prize will be BND 5,000 prize and a camera.
As for the 48-hour Film Blitz, it’s new of its kind film competition. The challenge comes when the participants were only given 48 hours to create a short movie. The other catch is that the participants will be given a “secret ingredient” that has to be included in their films. The grand winner of this category will win BND 10,000 and a camera.
The interesting thing is that both categories are open to all walks of life – meaning it’s open to Bruneians, Permanent Residents and everyone, and I mean, everyone, be it tourist. The condition is simple. Just make sure the videos/films are shot in Brunei Darussalam to be eligible. This also means all film makers in Brunei can partake in this contest. Don’t be shy 😀
On Friday 29th September, Origin will host a workshop with industry professionals. For your info, the juries for the competition will be international film makers and sponsors.
Wardi was very excited that this event will help to spur the creativity among the locals and at the same time, showcasing what Brunei Darussalam has to offer. He also hopes tourists will join in the contest. Siti Kamaluddin wants the entries to be creative and open, unearthing their talents in film making in Brunei context. So you can even talk about things like ambuyat, durian, kampung ayer, simply anything.
Registration is already open and you can download the form here and then submit to Origin Artistic Management, Unit 7 BT Complex, Jalan Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa BE2513, Brunei Darussalam.
You can also follow @bruneifilmblitz on instagram for updates.
Review of Spiderman and The War for the Planet of the Apes
The Popcorn Panel
Review of Spiderman:Homecoming and The War of the Planet of the Apes with special guest Nabil Kadir
The Mummy – the review
The Mummy, one of the test bed for the Dark Universe
The Mummy. Days of Brendan Fraser are gone. I grew tired of The Mummy series especially the third instalment. Now with fresher take, coming from Alex Kurtzman’s direction and A-list actor Tom Cruise and even promising trailers, the audience expects a better outing from this blockbuster. I shared the same sentiment and hoped to be entertained at least. So here goes.
The Good. I would be lying if I said there are many good points. There isn’t much to boast about or something of interest on Tom Cruise’s latest outing. The first quarter was perhaps the best part or the most interesting part of the film. Everything else nosedived from there. Oh except when Russell Crowe’s character came on. I was more interested in him than the actual Mummy.
The only redeeming factor is that there might be a sequel considering, judging from the ending of the movie. It was also a brave move for Universal to create another entity Dark Universe and the first being The Mummy. Who knows they might be other spin-offs. Does it look promising? So far it has covered its cost especially from overseas revenue while it performed under expectations in the US box office.
The Bad and The Ugly. Now where do I start? The acting were forgettable and it was a waste of talent especially for Tom Cruise. The chemistry with his co-stars didnt’ bring much to the plate either. I can’t feel the connection and their affections (or the lack of it) were poorly projected. These are just some of the problems.
Shall I continue? What is more interesting is the trailer. It reminds me of how I was duped by Transformers trailers and ended up too disappointed watching them movies. I know I will still watch the upcoming Transformers: The Last Knight and ending up with the same feeling. Same goes to The Mummy. The Rottentomatoes rating of 17% is one of the worst rating for a summer release of 2017.
The action scenes were subpar and it was nothing so wow about it. It was best suited for am HBO viewing back at home. I wonder why the high costs and the result of the movie doesn’t really reflect on the producer’s spending. Hmmmm… The Mummy even tried harder in the fun factor department. The jokes were flat at times.
The worst part for me is the direction of The Mummy or maybe the loss of direction. The movie has no identity as it has no idea what it wants to be. I don’t even know what Tom Cruise wants to be or what he wanted to be portrayed as. It’s very hard to recommend this movie if you haven’t caught this.
The interesting character I wished had more screen time in The Mummy
Pranika gave a solid 5 stars…. out of 10 :p
What others have to say about The Mummy
Makes me appreciate how good Brendan Fraser’s The Mummy was then
Summer movies, how have they fared?
Summer movies have been promising and some below expectations. Currently Del Goh and I are in the hunt for bragging rights for the Summer Wager (Box office summer hits). So what we did was ranking our prediction on 10 summer movies. Good movies doesn’t really translate to dollars and cents especially in Hollywood. It’s always fun to play around with predictions on summer movies.
Last year, I won the wager and looks like I might edge him again this time round. Our wager was that my pick of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 will fare better than Wonder Woman in the US Box Office. GOTG Vol 2 opened at USD 146 million and currently standing at USD 355 million after 6 weeks. Del Goh’s prediction for Wonder Woman, it opened at USD 100 million last weekend and slightly behind GOTG Vol 2. Unless it has stronger legs this week and the following week, Wonder Woman can stand a fair chance in toppling GOTG’s numbers. Right now I’m optimistic with my wager and you owe me another Blu-ray title, Del (for now).
1) Guardians of the Galaxy. Vol. 2
2) Despicable Me 3
3) Spider-Man: Homecoming
4) War of the Planet of the Apes
5) Wonder Woman
6) Transformers: The Last Knight
7) Cars 3
8) The Mummy
9) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Del Goh’s Prediction
1) Wonder Woman
2) Spider-man: Homecoming
3) War of the Planet of the Apes
4) Guardians of the Galaxy. Vol. 2
5) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
6) Despicable Me 3
8) Alien: Convenant
9) Cars 3
10) The Mummy
Quick movie summary:
Gal Gadot shines as Wonder Woman
Our verdicts on Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman. Ah, the overhyped superhero movie. After many harsh reviews from Wonder Woman’s counterpart (Suicide Squad 25%, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 29%), it’s such a surprise that Woman Woman scored over 90% on rotten tomatoes. Even higher than Guardians of the Galaxy Volume.2 (81%) *Impressive* So does it really translate to my overall experience? Definitely a resounding YES.. It was a run ride and I didn’t know it was running at 2 hours 20 mins. Well, it was definitely a better pay off than the same duration by Batman V Superman (too much cheese).
Many reasons why to catch Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman – her complexion, her charm, her physique (ok, ok, it’s fasting time). You get the whole gist. She does have flaws in her acting but the chemistry between Gal Gadot and her partner in crime Chris Pine (as Steve Trevor) really made up for it. This is what missing in other Superhero movies and it was a nice touch to have in Wonder Woman. Good job by Patty Jenkins, a female director who only has two films under her belt, the other being Monsters. The film delivers great action sequences and well executed humour. Wonder Woman casts many charm to the audience. Am I panting for more? Maybe not to that extent.
Resident Evil: Vendetta. I didn’t catch Resident Evil: The Final Chapter as I rather wait for the blu-ray edition. However, I contemplated to catch this animated version as I grew up playing RE games while being entertained by their in-game movies. The animation is just superb and crisp in detail. Sometimes it’s just feel so real. Was I entertained like playing RE on Playstation? Yes, I was. From start till the end. The acting was a little putting but I didn’t care as much since it’s an animation. I would say this is more of a value to catch than Milla Jovich’s RE. Makes me want to play my old RE games. Speaking of RE games, which is your favourite RE game on Playstation?
One of the summer box office flops
Baywatch. Eeeer, I came out watching this hit remake, feeling meeehh. What’s there to love about this? Hot chicks aren’t enough to gain my interest. I was more into the comedic side of Dwayne Johnson and Zach Efron. Their chemistry is a hit and miss but more of the latter. The jokes are flat at times and the only character that can pull off the charm is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and maybe the Ronnie character. Sometimes I wished the producers just shelved this project. After the major flop in the US box office (and also my prediction), I doubt there will be a sequel for this mediocre remake. This is a no-brainer movie and I expected a lot. Even The Rock’s charm can’t save it. The score on Rotten Tomatoes is even harsher than my rating. Oh well. Let’s hope he redeems himself in Jumanji, his next movie. Well, he did superbly in Fate of the Furious.
Summer movie wager
After a year of hiatus, I’m back again. Hopefully to work closely with Progresif for my movie reviews. This should be exciting 😀 For now, enjoy my episode on the summer wager between Del Goh and I on who will win the box office summer movies of 2017.
We all enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 So did you too?
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
The Good. So many to love about Volume 2 and I love the fact that they used Volume 2 to indicate as a sequel instead of labelling it Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Neat indeed. I totally was immersed with the visuals. This was quite comparable to Dr. Strange when comparing visuals but GOTG2 was perhaps more spectacular. Maybe more refined especially when it comes to the battle scenes in space. Maybe even better than some of the Star Wars battle scenes in space.
The biggest draw for me is the humour they infested in the sequel. If you ask me, this is the funniest superhero movie after Deadpool. This is also one reason why Deadpool was so popular despite its R-rating – the humour was on point and well executed. The same can be said of GOTG2. Ironically enough, Draxx stole the limelight here and of course, who would not forget about Baby Groot.
Iron Man and a few Marvel sequels have been mediocre. However, this can’t be said for GOTG2. I won’t say it was better than the first but man, it surely know how to make it fun and engaging at the same time. A nice blend of classic music and action set pieces. The new characters were introduced effectively. Emotionally I was satisfied especially in the end (no spoilers). Definitely different from the other Marvel Cinematic Universe movies you have seen. Now I’m very geared up for the upcoming Thor.
The Bad. It doesn’t have the same intensity as the first. That sense of urgency was lacking. The storyline was just above average and I thought it was predictable as well. It also seemed that the audience were more entertained by certain characters such as Drax and Baby Groot. They were enough to distract us from a you-can-do-better plot.
With the light-hearted, happy-go-lucky feeling tone to the movie, it will tough for GOTG series to blend into a darker tone for the next installment. On the topic of humour and jokes, some didn’t land quite well and I knew they were expecting laughs from us. Then again, these are just minor flaws that can be easily excused. The one-liners were sharper and funnier in the first in my opinions.
The Ugly. I was hoping for a better and more ruthless villain. Well, there’s not much of the ugly side. I was entertained from start to finish. Perhaps, another second viewing?
Verdict: A sequel that won’t disappoint but I expected more. Rating: Rano 8/10 Sandy 9/10 Pranika 9/10 Jidun 8.5/10
Which was your favourite character for GOTG2?
The Fate of the Furious – Review
The 8th instalment: The Fate of the Furious
The Good. There are many good points to enjoy about The Fate of the Furious, it’s 8th instalment of The Fast and The Furious. One thing for sure are the stars of the show and the trailer has hinted that John Statham will be combining forces with the FF gang. Why FF series are so popular because it resonates to the audience with one specific theme – “We are family”. Hence, you are bound to see family bonds between the non-biological related characters and their chemistry on screen seems to bring an emotional connection to the audience. I was already sold after Fast and the Furious 4 when the main characters united and the momentum never stopped since then.
The set pieces were pretty good and maybe to an extent, mind-blowing. Why I say to an extent? Because majority of the sequences are OTT (over-the-top). Then again, the producers of FF somehow brainwashed us along the series that FF movies are no-brainer entertainment and treat it as a popcorn (level) movie. Yes, most of the scenes defy logic and physics but we as the audience will still be glued to the screen despite these known factors. My favourite scene will be in the city where cars are being hacked and have minds of their own. Awesome!! I wonder what’s next? Space travel? Who knows…
The Bad. The big thing that ticked me is Dom’s character (Vin Diesel) when he turned rogue and turn his back on his “family”. This is no spoiler as it was clearly stated in the trailers. I was more upset on the motive of his decision to turn rogue. I just felt that it wasn’t that convincing to begin with. I just found it “bleeeh”. Then again, most of the plot of FF8 doesn’t really made sense but we still enjoyed it nonetheless. I would have given the movie extra points if the producers fixed some loop holes in this flawed movie.
The OTT sequences may be bearable but also to an extent. The final act of the movie raised my eyebrows and this reminds me of espionage movies such as James Bond series. It has come to that level that the protagonists are tough to die and give what the fans/audience want – a happier ending. I would say that FF8 was slightly below the rating of FF7 (which I would watch again and again). Will I watch FF8 the second time? Maybe yes, maybe no. Oh yea, the movie is more than 2 hours long and it’s a bit unnecessary.
The Ugly. I’m surprised that this franchise is able to stretch to this level of success, releasing its 8th movie. No other movie franchise has reached this milestone apart from the Harry Potter series. FF franchise is a cash cow business model. The FF7 made around USD 1.5 billion in ticket sales. That’s a ridiculous amount of money. Now, why do I put this in the “ugly” side? Because producers of FF franchise will begin to produce more FF movies (FF9 in 2019 and FF10 in 2021) and I can tell you that there are running low on ideas. I just hope it doesn’t go down to the level of Michael Bay’s Transformers (Just beyond ridiculous and yet we still watch them *lol*).
Verdict: We have come to an era where over-the-top action can be accepted (when comes to Fast & Furious franchise). Slightly underwhelming than FF7 while FF5 is still the best among the lot. I still enjoyed FF8 honestly but they are running out of ideas.The Fate of the Furious also scored the lowest since FF5 with 64% on Rottentomatoes.
Ghost in the Shell – Review
Ghost in the shell. I’ve never seen the anime or even read the graphic novel to be honest. So my expectations were never that high to begin with. However, when I listened to those who are familiar with the anime (Ghost in the Shell), most of them were underwhelmed with the movie adaptation.
The obvious hoo-ha about the anime is the casting of Scarlett Johansson as the lead, Major. as many labelled the movie as being whitewashed. Social media were getting on the studio’s faces as they rallied against the idea of Scarlett playing the cyborg Major. For me, it’s an okay move and it didn’t affect my judgment. Furthermore, Scarlett is one of my favourite actor since Lost in Translation.
Now what do I think about the overall movie experience? I have to say this is one tricky anime to adapt to the big screen. I was impressed with some of the action sequences but I wasn’t overwhelmed. Let’s just say that the producers were playing it safe to begin with and there was nothing new or spectacular that I will remember about Ghost in the Shell. Yea, there wasn’t any ground breaking scenes that will make you go “awwwww…” I was only impressed to an extent and more drawn to the visuals than anything else.
There were definitely some plot holes and the exposition could have been tighter and well explained. There were some unnecessary scenes which didn’t really add anything to the movie. Scarlett was suited for the role if you ask me but she wasn’t good enough to save the show to my expectations.
If I were to say entertaining, yes. If I were to say, wasteful, yes and no. This is a good popcorn movie with plentiful of potential. The audience are getting smarter and more demanding. So I hope future producers will think twice if they were to do a sci-fi movie and such. Even more demanding if it’s based on the popular anime or graphic novel.
I doubt Ghost in the Shell will get a sequel after the flop in the opening weekend. The movie costs more than USD 200 million dollars due to high production cost and delays. The opening only made less than USD 20 million in the US which is off their expected target and so far only USD 60 million was earned worldwide and I believe it won’t even make USD 200 million worldwide.
Having said all the woes they are facing especially by Paramount, I still enjoyed Ghost in the Shell.
Beauty and the Beast – Review
Beauty and The Beast stealing the show as thousands flocked in the catch the over-hyped film. Yes, it came to that stage for a certain reason
It has been a while since I actually do a review on my blog on my movie updates and reviews. I’m still over the moon with La La Land, a movie I caught four times (3 in the cinema, 1 in Royal Brunei in-flight entertainment). This would be technically my first movie review of the year in my blog and god knows why it has to Beauty and The Beast.
Perhaps, the reason being that Beauty and The Beast has been gaining many tractions in Brunei and our neighbouring country Malaysia. Now we know how it felt when Deadpool was banned and not in Malaysia. Speaking of Deadpool, I still don’t get it why it was banned in the first place when John Wick movie (shown in February) had more extreme violent content as compared to the R-rated superhero movie.
Anyway, back to Beauty and The Beast, I quite enjoy the live-action remake to an extent. I had my expectations slightly lower because it’s never easy to pull off an already impressive animation of Beauty and The Beast.
Here are the pluses: Emma Watson shines in patches of the 2 hour film. She can pull off the looks of Belle and she’s already an icon in the Hollywood scene. The musical were impressive from start to finish. It does relive the moments of when I was a teenager. This is the perhaps the strength of the latest Disney movie.
The producer also gave much respect to the original story with some additional plot which are unnecessary. Having said that, they did, however, include elements that fill in the gaps which explained certain scenes in the original Beauty and The Beast animation. That was a nice touch and gives more closure to the audience.
The visuals were stunning, a forte expected from Disney. I love how the other supporting casts made it more memorable and not relying too much on the main characters. I was touched by the final act and it was more of a saviour than anything else. A great effort by Bill Condon the director.
We all had fun catching Beauty and The Beast yesterday. An average verdict of 7.5 from all of us. Angela loved it that she danced after the show.
What I thought was lacking: Don’t get me wrong. I’m still impressed with the Beast character but I couldn’t feel the chemistry between Belle and her boyfriend *eseeh* I just feel that something’s amiss but I don’t know what it is. Maybe Emma didn’t use to her great potential or maybe she’s not right for the role. Either one but man, she’s still a hottie (biased).
They were some pacing issues but not a big deal. I did nap for a bit in the middle. Yes, I was tired and didn’t have enough sleep. Then again, it was an after lunch movie.
Luke Evans as Gaston was good but not as great as the one in the animation. Again, I can’t help it but compare because I really love the classic animation. Oh yeah, Emma Watson is an okay singer and I wish Bill Condon would have casted a more eloquent singer with commendable acting skills. There are a few from the defunct Glee TV series that you can refer to. Okay, I wasn’t being serious but yea, Emma may have the looks but lacks in the vocal department.
Overall, I still adore the live action remake. It’s entertaining from start to finish. The casts could have done more justice but the musical scenes were the saviour to my liking. Yes, the original had a more emotional impact and I believe a few of my friends shared the same sentiments.
The scores on Rotten Tomatoes weren’t that high as compared to Cinderella (83%). The original animation of Beauty and The Beast scored a high 93%.
Amazing opening weekend for Beauty and the Beast. It even beat Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opening weekend. This movie is bound to make a few hundred millions and even break the billion mark worldwide.