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Archive for 07/08/2013


Raya falls on Friday

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in RA News


Opening hours for Petrol Stations during Raya


Click image to enlarge poster

Movie wrap for the Summer


Ok this is gonna be a massive movie review since I have pending reviews that I haven’t covered on my blog. I’m still contemplating if I should skip R.I.P.D and The Smurts 2 even though I know how bad they typically are (judgding from the trailers I saw) as well as the bad reviews they received from Rottentomatoes, a terrible 12% but at least both movies outscored Grown Ups 2. Then again, the people know what’s best as Grown Ups 2 paid off handsomely in the box office while R.I.P.D and The Smurfs 2 flopped big time in the US box office.

I was recently in Bangkok, Seattle and Singapore and I spent most of my hours catching movies here and there. Perhaps the most movie I was excited among the lot was catching Pacific Rim in IMAX 3D last July at Siam Paragon Cineplex, Bangkok. The most surprising of the lot, in this list of review, is Sharknado.. Yes, Sharknado that took the social media by storm because of its premise about sharks being in tornados… wokkayyy… But I salute the marketing team for making it the most talked about B-grade movie this year.

Ok let’s go in chronological order here in terms of the movies I caught ever since Despicable Me 2.

The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger. What happened to Disney? They haven’t been producing feel-good movies and I believe The Lone Ranger is a huge flop in terms of box office revenue. I love Wreck-It Ralph and Monsters University but they also have terrible line ups such as Brave, John Carter, Cars 2 and On Stranger Tides. Now even their new movie Planes is having a tough time pleasing the critics from Rottentomatoes and it’s currently sitting on 30% for Disney’s latest animation flick.

I saw the trailer for The Lone Ranger and I already foresee a huge flop. Johnny Depp playing the warrior Tonto is supposedly not the main lead but because of his status, it had all his name written on it despite Armie Hammer playing th actual Lone Ranger in the movie. The screenplay was woeful to begin with and I kinda felt restless halfway through the movie and to make things worse, it was a 2 and a half hours of torture *lol* The action sequences were OTT (over-the-top) and I don’t find Johnny Depp as hilarious as before. Has he exhausted all his talent and trying so hard to please the audience? The formula failed here and this is a big loss for Disney this year. Verdict: 6/10 Jess Ho 7.5 Rottentomatoes 28%

We caught the IMAX 3D for Pacific Rim

The 3D glasses were huge but effective

Pacific Rim. Holy crap!!! This is one solid movie and I’m loving it from the beginning to the end. I know some of my peers disagree with my rating but I guess it was just not the story and action but the overall experience I had, watching this on IMAX 3D. Seriously… If you have the chance, by all means watch this on IMAX 3D. This movie has style and if you were to compare it with Transformers movies, Pacific Rim win over them easily.

Don’t get me wrong as Pacific Rim does have its flaws here and there and notably it lacked some substance and depth that could have make this movie a classic. But like I said, the experience I had and I love Guillermo del Toro’s direction and style of the movie. You may have been familiar with his past movies Hellboy 1 & 2. I do hope they have a sequel for this. Too bad it didn’t perform that well in the box office. Oh, I also wished they had A-star actors which could have given more credibility to the movie. Michael Bay should take some pointers for the next Transformers movie 😀 Verdict: 8.5/10 Sophia 8.5 Rottentomatoes 71%


Turbo. It came to a point that my eyes and brain became to tired of animation. Maybe because Monsters University and Despicable Me 2 were still fresh in my head then and I would probably have more expectations on animation movies that are released after these two blockbusters (MU and DM2). I was actually entertained by Turbo but the only let down for me is the actual premise where the so-called snail named Turbo wanted to compete in the Grand Prix which was a pretty far-fetched plot if you ask me. This is an animation that will neither bore you nor make you go “wow”. Kids will definitely get the most out of it. For adults, it could be a 50/50 pay off. Verdict: 7/10 Aziimah 7 Rottentomatoes 64%


Trance. I almost caught this in Singapore back in March but I missed out. It’s a Danny Boyle movie and he’s one director I have so much respect for because he’s one of the reasons why I become so fixated to movies. You can tell if it’s a Danny Boyle movie and Trance had his footprints all over it. This movie may require your fullest concentration though. It reminded me when I watched Inception until I watched over and over again to really understood how the process work. So my advice is to take some time off, rent a blu-ray or DVD of Trance and watch it without being distracted with your phone or other distractions.

The movie is about hypnotism and it was nicely executed on how Danny managed to draw the audience’s attention on his artistic approach on hypnosis. The show started off slowly and the pace just picked up halfway and great performance from lead actors James McAvoy and Rosario Dawson. Oh by the way, there is a scene or two that might just “awe” you in a split second or in our case, a few good seconds relating to a Dawson scene :p Boyle has delivered yet another masterful piece. Verdict: 8.5/10 Marul 9 EmmaGoodEgg 9 Rottentomatoes 69%

The Wolverine

Wolverine. This was way better than the first Wolverine. Script wise and action were better off too. I’m not really familiar with the director of the latest Wolverine movie but James Mangold has fine tuned what was missing in the first Wolverine movie. He made the audience engaged and kept it interesting until the very end which is tricky for a superhero movie. Hugh Jackman showed up his best as Logan/Wolverine and did you know that Hugh Jackman has appeared the most in his character as the Wolverine? That’s a pretty good stat and I’m glad he didn’t end up like Robert Downey Jr who is now earning big bucks for his demanding role as Tony Stark.

The Wolverine was sharp, witty, humourous with some interesting chemistry between Logan and Mariko, his short-term interest *lol* This movie kinda gave me back some faith in the Wolverine movie series and I do hope James Mangold will continue his work for Wolverine sequels. It already has come to a point that we are kind tired with superhero movies but this flick kinda pumped some freshness. The fight scenes weren’t as many but they were spot on when it mattered. The bullet train scene was one of the best scenes for me and it definitely puts a huge shame on the over-hyped Lone Ranger movie which invested poorly on the train action scene. The Wolverine has delivered indeed. Verdict: 8/10 Terence Han 8 Melati 8.5 Rottentomatoes 68%

Before Midnight

Before Midnight. It’s very rare that I love movies that are basically based on two characters, well most of the time, talking and interacting with each other about relationships and challenges. Yes, this is true in all relationship that we will go through challenges and how we grow out of it as a couple. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy were simply outstanding in this well-scripted movie and this is a good testament that we don’t need an overhyped rom-com antics to make a movie successful.

There are many metaphors and lessons that can be learned from the dialogue between the two and it made me want to explore further on each of the character. The highlight of the movie for me is definitely the conversation which takes up 95% of the movie *lol* Did you know this is the third instalment of the series, the first being Before Sunrise (1995) and the second, Before Sunset (2004). I know this is not shown in Brunei and I caught this in Seattle. I believe this is still showing in Singapore. I’m gonna order the trilogy of the “Before” and I wonder if there will be another sequel. Hmmm… Verdict: 8/10 Rottentomatoes 98%

3096 Days

3096 Days. Not for the faint-hearted this flick as it depicts a true story that took place in 1998 where a 10-year old Natascha Kampusch was kidnapped by the Austrian Wolfgang Priklopil who held her captive as a slave for 3096 days. It is such a depressing movie to go through but I believe that’s the intention of the director to make the movie more surreal so the audience could feel the pain that Natascha was going through for many years.

It was mentioned that not all the ordeals were told through the lens and if you wanted to learn more in depth about Natascha’s experience, there’s a book of the same title that gives a more tense account. I felt there were some parts that could have made it more rewarding to show the strengths and the resilience of Natascha. Then again, this is not an easy movie to produce for the eyes of the public. However, I salute her for having the courage to share her experiences and let’s hope her messages will touch and inspire others of her inner strength. It would have been interesting if the movie actually cover her life after escaping. Then again, that would have been an anti-climax ending. Verdict: 7/10

Pain & Gain

Pain & Gain. Hmmmm The Rock has been pretty busy this year with loads of movie being lined up for him. He’s been in four movies this year and all of them combined for a total of $1.3 billion worldwide for this year alone.. Amazing!! This is the reason why he’s one of the bankable wrestler/actor in Hollywood now. So he played a role of Paul Doyle in Pain & Gain based on a true story about a group of personal gym trainers who committed crime back in the 90s.

I didn’t know this was directed by Michael Bay and of course, the other lead actor was Mark Wahlberg who played Daniel Lugo. I would say that this falls under dark comedy and I felt some of the translation of the characters were half-baked and The Rock didn’t do justice for the role or maybe he was trying to hard to play such a role. I was surprised such account of what they did were based on a true story and what a complicated story it turned out to be as they only had one simple mission that turned sour. Did I gain anything out of the movie? No, Did I felt some pain? Maybe. Some will enjoy it, some will feel it’s an ok movie. I fall in the latter. Verdict: 6/10 Rottentomatoes 45%

Sharknado. Click image to watch Sharknado.

Sharknado. LOL, I don’t even know where to begin with this flick.. Sharknado, seriously??? I knew it was gonna be some lame ass movie but this movie seemed to bring lots of hype prior to its release. It’s a kind of movie that sets your mind to a no-brainer mode and just appreciate what these guy had to offer. Sometimes I wonder with Hollywood stars that lost the A-factor will resort to B-grade movies. For instance, Tara Reid (American Pie) and Ian Ziering (the classic Beverly Hills 90210) were the main casts for Sharknado and they needn’t need to act to their best as the premise says it all – a freak storm that carry man-eating sharks in LA. Wokkayyy..

So like I said this will be a hit or miss movie and there are simply so many flaws in the movie that I was laughing throughout the action scenes. I’m pretty sure this will be a hit on DVD or even the audience will be glued when it screens on HBO or Astro. I doubt it will be shown in the cinemas as it’s on limited release. However, this Syfy monster drama might just be your cup of tea. You can watch the whole movie on youtube. It’s super lame that you might just appreciate it for once. I can’t believe it scored pretty high on RT *lol*Verdict: 4/10 and 7/10 for some cheap thrill entertainment Rottentomatoes 91%

Grown Ups 2

Grown Ups 2. I missed the previous Adam Sandler’s movies. What has happen to him? Where is his old mojo? Grown Ups the movie was hilarious. The sequel was totally a disappointment. I dozed at some parts but maybe because I was still jet lag. Anyway, I won’t bother so much with Grown Ups 2 and I have lost faith in Adam Sandler. If he thinks that every movie that he is in will rake in $$$, his days are numbered. I hope they won’t make a third one. Oh, please… Verdict: 5/10 Rottentomatoes 7%

The Conjuring

The Conjuring. The most talked about horror movie this year. I watched this back in Seattle and it was good well-executed movie I have to admit. It’s never easy to bring freshness to a horror genre movie because we have seen it all and been through that process. We all are sucker for horror movies, right? But The Conjuring might just be the real deal here because of how it delivered the suspense and tension that we as the audience sought for whenever we watch a horror flick.

If you have seen the Exorcist, do expect a similar premise and I kinda preferred this movie overall because of its style the director managed to convey through horror and suspense. For once, I could sense that the audience were united as one, feeling terrified. Even postings on social media have been quite frequent on their experiences watching The Conjuring. I’m about to go for another round. Any, takers? Verdict: 8/10 Rottentomatoes 86%

Mr. Go

Mr. Go. I had reservations watching this because of the time constraint. But I’m glad I did before I flew back to Brunei. I’m also a sucker for Korean movies and Mr. Go was a great payoff. The only thing that didn’t register in my head is the fact of a gorilla, Mr. Go, playing baseball in the Korean League and he’s known for hitting home runs. Yeah, the idea might sound silly but I was more intrigued with the relationship between the 15 year old trainer and Mr. Go and put the gorilla’s sport agent in the mix, you have an interesting combo that was entertaining.

I hope to catch more Korean movies and sadly not much accessibility here in Brunei due to the cost involved. The movie Mr. Go is a definitely a crowd pleaser and it has a nice finale which I was pretty moved. Yea, I teared up a bit and excellent score too. Verdict: 8/10


jOBS. I like how the movie was spelt in this manner – jOBS. This is a movie that I might have high expectation on because I’m a big fan of the late Steve Jobs and he is my role model too. Ashton Kutcher had a big role in playing Jobs and I’m not quite sure if he pulled it off nicely. Have you seen Pirates of the Silicon Valley? I prefer that depiction of Jobs more than how Ashton portrayed as Jobs and that POSV had more emotional attachment to me.

jOBS had the potential to do more and I wish the direction could have been tighter. A good example of a biopic movie that I enjoyed over and over again was The Social Network. The pacing was great and it needn’t have to tell the whole timeline either to portray the character of Mark Zuckerberg. The script was slightly weak and the performances from the rest were just average. Despite the flaws, I still enjoyed the early journey of Jobs. You can listen to my podcast review of jOBS here and see what are your thoughts. Oh, I postponed my flight to Brunei to catch the sneaks with the media. Thanks Tiff and Fonzie for the opportunity 😀 Verdict: 7/10 Tiffany 7 Fonzie 7 Rottentomatoes 43%


A week left before donation cards closes


Many people – males and females – have already registered to volunteer to have their heads shaved to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer efforts in Brunei Darussalam, but the organizers would like to invite even more people to sign up and show their support for this cause.

The head-shaving activity will take place on 25th August during the upcoming ASEAN Year Consumer Fair which will be held on 21 – 25 August at the BRIDEX Hall in Jerudong. Participants will be shaved by hairdressers from IA Salon and will receive tokens of appreciation for their shows of support including a T-shirt which proudly states “ I did it!”

The charity event is organized by Consumer Fair organizer Sunlit Advertising Sdn Bhd, the Brunei Breast Cancer Support Group, and IA Salon.

Registration to participate in this significant event can be done at the Sunlit Advertising office in Beribi during office hours Monday to Friday until 12 August. Registration cards should be returned back to Sunlit Advertising office latest by 16th August. Anyone with a valid identity card or passport can sign up to collect donations through sponsorships to have their head shaved.

It’s happening in a few weeks’ time 😀

The sneak preview few weeks ago

Direct donations to the BBCSG can also be made now via the donation box located at the Sunlit Advertising office. The donation box will also be available during the Consumer Fair.

All funds raised from this charity head-shaving will be donated to the Brunei Breast Cancer Support Group towards buying educational tools to increase the public’s knowledge of breast cancer as well as to directly help breast cancer patients in Brunei Darussalam.

For those who wants to “Go Bald” on the spot, you are more than welcome to do so and perhaps there will be a registration process too before the shaving procedure and of course, you can also donate straightaway through the donation box. You won’t need the donation card then.

Sunlit Advertising would like to express its deep appreciation to those who have already registered to show support for the breast cancer cause through having their heads shaved, as well as of those who have generously donated via the donation box at the Sunlit Advertising office in Beribi.

Sunlit Advertising would also like to make aware to the public to be cautious in making donations to photocopied donation cards and fake collectors soliciting funds purportedly for this charity activity. For more information, please contact Sunlit Advertising at 2-453666.

For those who go bald, you will get this t-shirt

Don’t forget to return your donation cards latest by 16th August. You can still collect the donation card at Sunlit Advertising office until 12th August.




August 2013
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