Monday, September 30, 2002

Visited The Esplanade: Theatres on the Bay yesterday during its open house. Though intially unimpressed despite all the hype in the media, I ended up liking the place quite a lot after seeing it "in the flesh", so to speak.

First, the design is actually pretty good. The durian-like roofs give it an air of grandeur, and make it distinctly Singaporean -- but whether the architects intended to create such an effect remains unknown. However, I think its location is a stroke of genius. Situated at Marina Bay with a panoramic view of the skyline and the sea, it certainly warrants comparison with that other seafront theatre, namely the Sydney Opera House.

The interior is tastefully decorated, but with the massive crowds squeezing past each other, I couldn't get a proper glimpse of the overall design. I did, however, get a look inside the concert hall, which has a seating capacity of 1,600, and suspiciously closely resembles the Royal Albert Hall -- from the pipe organ above the stage, to the domed ceiling ( but comes nowhere close in terms of class, of course ).
Acoustics-wise, the concert hall definitely has it. The 2 performances I attended were given by the MGSS choir and Budak Pantai. While the former lacked power, the latter blew me away with its hearty a capella renditions of "My Cherie Amour" ( a Stevie Wonders classic ), Richard Marx's "Right Here Waiting" and even "Ke Ren Lai" ( a famous children's ditty ). Their rich tenor and bass voices filled the hall and gave me goose pimples. Just imagine what it'll sound like with a full orchestra -- The London and New York Philharmonic orchestras will be gracing the stage come October, but sadly, tickets are all sold out.

Outside, there's a scenic Waterfront area with al fresco dining. The restaurants are mostly small and not very well-known. Prices will probably be around the higher ranges, so it'll be better to eat at One Fullerton ( located just 10-15 minutes' walk away ).

I still prefer the Singapore Indoor Stadium, which never fails to humble me with its size ( 10,000 seating capacity ). But The Esplanade will be a fabulous venue for musicals and classical performances. Hope the ticket prices will be more affordable though -- currently, top prices for the more popular concerts are $200 a head.

Next, did anyone read Life! today? Samuel Lee, one of the resident reporters, gave "Restless" 3 1/2 stars!?!?!?!?!?
There are, of course, a few reasons I can give for this erroneous review.
1) He has really weird taste.
2) He has a thing for Carol Tham and/or Jean Danker. ( What better way to get them interested than to say, "Hi, I'm so-and-so, the reporter who gave your show 3 1/2 stars."? )
3) He's one of the uncredited producers.
4) He was really drunk when he watched the pilot episode.

Last but not least, it's Matt Damon festival on cable in October, so stock up on blank video tapes and whip out your SCV catalogues. I don't have mine with me at the moment, so I can't give exact dates, but here're the movies which will be screened.

1) Good Will Hunting -- I had no idea this would be shown on cable, so I actually rented the DVD last week. No regrets, however. It's a brilliantly written film, with terrific performances by Damon and Robin Williams. I'll leave the story for you to find out, but make sure you're wide awake, as it's a talkie type of movie, and is loaded with gems, which is yet another reason for you to record it on tape for later repeat viewing(s). I certainly didn't appreciate it as much the first time I saw it, but last Friday, after sitting through it again, I have new-found admiration for Damon ( who penned most of the script, and at the tender age of 26 or 27 -- Ben Affleck admitted his main role was as typist ). Their work won them the Best Screenplay Oscars in 1998, and they definitely deserved them.
My favourite moments: Look out for a conversation about Ted Kazynski, aka The Unabomber, as well as a touching account of how Robin Williams' character met his wife ( the line "I gotta go see about a girl." has got to be one of the simplest yet most poignant declarations of love ever ).

2) The Talented Mr. Ripley -- This was shown on Channel i just last month, I believe, yet it will be screened again, this time on one of the SCV movie channels. Based on a novel by Patricia Highsmith, this is a tale about Tom Ripley, a nobody who unwittingly befriends the filthy rich Dickie Greenleaf ( matinee idol incarnate Jude Law ) and his equally wealthy girlfriend ( a lovely Gwyneth Paltrow ). When his newfound lifestyle is threatened, he proceeds to eliminate all who stand in his way, and assumes the identity of the person he most admires, with dire consequences.
Damon defies all expectations in his role as a homosexual serial killer, and manages to make your hair stand despite his boyish and rather nerdy looks. Watch out for the bathroom scene featuring Damon and Law. It's laced with sexual undertones, but it remains to be seen whether this will show up on local television -- cable or no cable ( they've banned "Sex and the City", after all ).

Adverts in the SCV catalogues have indicated that other Damon films, namely "The Legend of Bagger Vance" and "All The Pretty Horses" will be screened in November/December, so get ready for more of the very delectable Matt. :)

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Here're my views on "Restless", that new TCS offering mentioned in an earlier entry.

It sucks! Just wanted to get that off my chest immediately. My God, does it suck!
The script isn't the problem, mind you, and my sympathy goes out to the poor writers, who try hard and haven't done badly.
The visuals aren't that great, but again I applaud the "cinematographer" ( though I don't think people in "show business" here deserve any sort of title ). The dark colours are quite interesting and atmospheric. Too bad they get marred by the cheesy "shock music" -- sudden surges in the creepy score at key moments, specifically aimed at making you jump in fright. I'm immune to this sort of tactics, so it had zero effect on me, yawn.

No no, what really really sucks is the acting -- Carol Tham's, in particular. Where the heck did the producers/director dig up this bimbo? Okay, she IS quite pretty, and her cutesy fragile features could earn viewers' empathy -- after all, most horror shows make use of children or beautiful females, presumably to make you feel protective towards these characters ( e.g. The Sixth Sense, The Exorcist, What Lies Beneath, The Others ). But in order for this to work, the lead has to be able to ACT. Tham, unfortunately, has abyssmal emoting skills. Her expressions are limited to three at most, her delivery of lines is so lacklustre you start to wonder if she needs to have her thyroid function checked, and her attempts at acting petrified are awfully forced and artificial. Jean Danker ( who plays her friend ) would definitely have done a much better job. Is it too late to change leads?

The actors playing the different ghosts don't fare better either. The little boy who showed up in the pilot episode talks exactly the same way as Tham, and one particular scene, in which the two of them were sitting next to each other having a conversation, was so dumb I started laughing. Not a good sign for a thriller.

The day after this disaster aired, I heard Perfect 10 DJs Glenn Ong and Rod Monteiro talking about it on the radio. Glenn raved about "The Practice" ( which I saw, and WOW! ), but when pressed by Rod to comment on "Restless", kept evading the question. Finally, he admitted how bad it is, and Rod answered, "So you got restless watching "Restless" eh?" What a bunch of clowns. :)

Verdict? Don't wast your precious time on this clunker. Why can't TCS just save their money and bring in more US TV shows instead of wasting it on stupid projects like this one?

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Next, a list of some upcoming TV shows which I think are really worth catching.

Now showing:

1) The Practice ( Tuesdays 10:30pm, Channel 5 ) - It's sometimes hard to imagine that David E. Kelley is capable of writing a show as fantastic as this, when he's also responsible for the ditz-fest known as "Ally McBeal". This new season promises more sensational cases and riveting courtroom drama, as well as a Hannibal Lecter-type killer. Seeing Dylan McDermott on the small screen again is always a good thing too. :)

2) Boston Public ( Tuesdays 11:30pm, Channel 5 ) - Okay, this one's not that high on my list, but it'll be interesting to see how the 2nd season progresses. Set in a high school swarming with troubled teens and stressed out teachers, it tends to over-dramatize situations, yet that's precisely what makes it so addictive. Here's a place where the students ridicule their principal on a public website, commit murder/suicide, get pregnant, or get scholarships.

3) Restless ( Tuesdays 10pm, Channel 5 ) - Touted as the female/Singaporean version of "The Sixth Sense", but will most likely disappoint, as all local English productions usually do. The protagonist looks useless, and so far I've only seen one expression on her face -- that of utter confusion ( it's supposed to pass for terror, I assume ). I'll watch the first couple of episodes for the heck of it, and post my opinions another time.

4) Survivor:Thailand ( Fridays 3pm and 10pm, Channel 5 ) - The review you may have read in the papers is right. This motley crew of Robinson Crusoe wannabes is definitely the most interesting bunch since the Survivor season set in the Australian outback. The pilot episode featured the novel concept of asking the 2 eldest participants to choose their team members, and was made even more unpredictable when the female senior citizen decided to gather all the old fogies into her fold. And within this first hour, I've already identified the heckler ( a long-haired bartender whose name I haven't memorized yet ), a female fire-fighter who pulled a Richard Hatch by stripping naked the first night, a cop who looks like Ricky Martin from certain angles, an Asian called Shi-Ann who calls herself a "she-devil" ( she'd better not shame Chinese all over the world by doing something stupid or disgusting ), a nasty pastor ( who got booted off, darn ), and porn-actor-turned-used-car-salesman Brian. I'm already hopelessly addicted. :)

Coming soon:

1) Scrubs (?October, Channel 5 )- Yet another medical drama, but I haven't done any research on it yet, so I'll post details as and when I find out.

2) Six Feet Under ( premieres October, SCV HBO Channel 60 ) - It's earned rave reviews in the US for its dark humour and portrayal of family dysfunction, so this is one I'm really looking forward to.

3) The Amazing Race 3 ( October, Channel 5 ) - The most gruelling obstacle course in reality TV, where 12 teams race around the world finding clues to their next destination. There's little time for rest, and the stress level's enough to kill you or make you really sick. However, it's yet another Jerry Bruckheimer production, and past countries featured include New Zealand, France, Africa, China and Australia. There's lots of human drama as well, 'cos this competition always brings out the worst in its contestants.

I shall end off with some hilarious lyrics from the song "Daddy Wasn't There", which is featured on the "Austin Powers:Goldmember" soundtrack, and brilliantly performed by Mike Myers.

"When I was first baptized/
When I was criticized/
When I was ostracized/
When I was jazzercised/
Steak and kidney pies/
One hour Martinized/
When I was cir-cum-cised/
Daddy wasn't there."
Here're reviews of some recent DVD releases I watched over the weekend.

1) Monsters, Inc - This is from Pixar, the talented team that brought us "Toy Story". This one again showcases their wonderful computer graphics, especially in the form of an Asian-looking toddler named Boo. However, I felt the storyline wasn't interesting enough, and lost some interest towards the end. Still, it's a good way to relax after a long day, and look out for Steve Buscemi who voices Randall, a really creepy chameleon-like monster.

2) Panic Room - A much awaited project from David Fincher, who helmed the shocking thriller "Se7en", and followed up with the terrific "Fight Club". "Panic Room" falls flat, though, with its simple plot and boring characters. Jodie Foster obviously worked out for the role, but the script sucks, and the villains are downright moronic at times. I had my finger on the fast-forward button for the last half hour, and didn't even miss a thing.

3) Queen of the Damned - Technically a B-grade horror flick, but surprisingly, it's the only one among the 3 that I actually enjoyed. This is the sequel to "Interview With The Vampire", which was based on the first book in the Vampire Chronicles series by Anne Rice, and released almost 10 years ago. It starred heavyweights Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas and then-unknown Kirsten Dunst, and made a pot of money. QOTD doesn't boast any major star power, but let me tell you, it's a lot more realistic as a vampire film than "Interview" ever will be.
This movie continues where the first left off. Lestat awakens from hibernation and rejoins the mortal world as a rock star, becoming an international sex symbol. Along the way, he unwittingly unleashes Akasha, the queen of the vampires, causing death and destruction in the process.
Lestat is played by Stuart Townsend, an actor whose work I've never seen, but who positively dazzles in his role. Possessing unbelievable cheekbones ( rivalled only by Orlando Bloom's, aka Legolas in the "Lord of the Rings" films ) and loads of attitude, he is very convincing as an ancient bloodsucker who's both fascinated with and bored by the humans who worship him. While Cruise sauntered around in wigs and frilly coats, Townsend struts about in tight leather pants with unbuttoned silk shirts in all-black ensembles. Combined with garishly pale facial makeup and bloodshot eyes, he beats Cruise hands down as the quintessential vampire, and even makes the latter look like a wimp.
Aaliyah does a nice job as Akasha, but I don't fancy her acting "technique" -- ie. slinking around and hissing her lines. She was a talented singer/dancer, but probably wouldn't have excelled as a thespian.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

This is the week I have 3 calls within 7 days. The one last Saturday was relatively quiet with a few spurts of activity - defibrillated a patient for the very first time, an experience I will never forget! It's Tuesday evening 8pm right now, and so far I've had 1 admission, woohoo! The night's still young, of course, but once you get through the first few hours with a track record like this, you count your blessings. :)

Just browsed the latest issue of the SMA News on the Internet, and would like to draw your attention to a piece written by my fellow Editorial Board member Terence Lim. He's penned a very candid article on life in the ER, and let me tell you very honestly - I really admire his guts! :) A most enjoyable read.

And now, back to my favourite topic - movies. I watched a terrific John Cusack film on cable last night called "Say Anything" ( Star Movies, Channel 58 ), and thought I'd make up a list of good JC movies you can try out if you're interested. In order of preference:

1) Say Anything - Yes! I like it that much! Cusack plays a high school graduate who takes a leap of faith and asks the top girl in his class out, before she embarks on a scholarship study programme in England. It's an early work by Cameron Crowe ( of "Almost Famous" and "Vanilla Sky" fame ), and sparkles with smart dialogue and on-screen chemistry between its 2 young stars ( the other being Ione Skye ). JC fills his character with emotional angst and a wonderful sweetness which is further enhanced by his angelic looks ( yes, Cusack was adorable as a teen :)). A very good date movie, especially if you're craving an intelligent love story.

2) Grosse Pointe Blank - This one's not well-known, but has Cusack in the role of a hitman who returns to his hometown for a high school reunion, meeting up with an old flame ( Minnie Driver ) in the process. A movie made watchable only by JC's presence, but also boosted by a nice comedic performance from Driver ( who's shown good comic timing in the Disney cartoon "Tarzan", as well as "Return To Me" and "Circle of Friends" ). Promises lots of good laughs.

3) Con Air - Cusack's only mainstream blockbuster, I believe, in which he shares the screen with the likes of Nicolas Cage and John Malkovich, playing a US Marshal out to re-capture a plane that has been hijacked by a group of hard-core criminals. He looks great here, and amazingly, manages to look believable despite his boyish features.

4) Pushing Tin - Here, he's an air traffic controller who's so neurotic you really start to worry about your own safety when you travel on planes ( you think Singaporeans are any different?! ). This is a hilarious take on the nasty goings-on in "the tower", and sees Cusack matching wits with Billy Bob Thornton, and sharing some intimate moments with Cate Blanchett ( excellent as a loud-mouthed, gaudily dressed wife ) and Angelina Jolie ( who never fails to heat up a screen ). It may seem to lose a bit of direction towards the end, but it's a good ride, nonetheless.

5) Being John Malkovich - A masterpiece all on its own, but not one of JC's best performances. The storyline's one of the most original ever -- Cusack discovers a hole in his office that leads directly into the mind of John Malkovich. My main peeve is his grungy look, which really doesn't seem necessary. But this is a guy who ultimately excels in kooky roles ( e.g. "High Fidelity" ), and never appears that comfortable as more conventional leading man characters ( e.g. "America's Sweethearts", "Serendipity").

One of the most deserving of an Oscar. He just needs the right role in the right film. I'm just waiting, 'cos I'm sure it'll happen someday.

Will be writing on more themes periodically. Coming up: Good horror flicks ( in October, in celebration of Halloween ), and perhaps some choice movies from Matt Damon.
If anyone has special requests, feel free to email me at Would be most happy to oblige - and get a few opinions as well. :)

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Just adding a note for anyone visiting this site after reading the SMA News.
The 2nd season for C.S.I. was recently shown over cable, and ended just last week -- unfortunately, my article was on the waiting list for a couple of months. :)
The pilot season is actually being screened at midnight every Wednesday over Channel 5. An unearthly hour, but considering its niche audience here in Singapore, it's understandable. I highly recommend recording it on the VCR for later viewing.

It's a busy day today. Will update again another time.

Sunday, September 08, 2002

Here's my review of The Bourne Identity, which I saw yesterday. I've included 2 versions - one with spoilers, and one without. Take your pick, but some of you may prefer to read about the details, as they help prepare you for certain scenes so you don't miss out on some really spiffy plot developments.

Review 1: Without spoilers

Easily the most famous of Robert Ludlum's spy thrillers, I vaguely recall a TV series based on it many years ago, starring Richard Chamberlain. So when I first heard of the big-screen version, featuring Matt Damon of all people, I wasn't very impressed -- Damon in an action flick? Errr....
But thanks to an aggressive marketing ploy by Universal / United International Pictures, I was practically brainwashed into going to the cinema. I've been endlessly inundated by trailers and making-of specials for the movie this past week, and was quite taken with the shots of Damon kickboxing -- sorry, I'm a sucker for such things. :)

Rest assured, though, 'cos you will not be disappointed! "The Bourne Identity" is an exceptional espionage film, in the tradition of old-fashioned classics like "The French Connection", yet reminiscent of the recent "Enemy of the State".

Damon plays a man who is mysteriously found floating in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea one stormy night, with no form of identification on him, and worse, no memory of who he is. However, he leaves himself various clues, and a trail leading to the name Jason Bourne. Along the way, Bourne discovers he is a wanted man, being hunted by the CIA as well as its enemies. What follows is a slam-bang action movie, made even more exhilarating by an intelligent storyline.

I'll leave details of the scenes in the review with spoilers, and take the opportunity in this one to wax lyrical about the cast and crew. :)

Doug Liman ( director )
A search on his past credits yielded only one film I know -- "Swingers" -- which is basically a buddy-road-trip film that starred Vince Vaughn a few years ago, and earned rave reviews but modest box office takings. A surprising discovery, especially after watching "The Bourne Identity". His expert direction makes it seem he's been doing this all his life, a la Ridley Scott. The director, in my opinion, is always the most important figure in any film, dictating everything from the mood to the pace and of course, the quality of the actors' performances. This guy's definitely made a big impact here. Let's hope he won't mess it up by making bad choices in the future.

John Powell ( composer )
A search on THIS guy coughed up the following: "Face/Off", "Rat Race", "Evolution", "Shrek" and "Antz", among other varied projects. While some movies are complemented by their soundtracks, this one's practically propelled by it, and listening to Powell's pumping tempos is almost as enjoyable as watching the action unfold. If you have time, sit back for a full blast of the excellent score after the credits start rolling. You won't regret it.

Franka Potente ( female protagonist )
Here's another one of those unknown actresses who suddenly lands a big role in a major Hollywood film despite so-so looks -- not unlike Thandie Newton from "Mission: Impossible 2". Luckily, Potente fares a lot better in the acting category, and does much more than parade around rolling her eyes or dressing skimpily ( the weather in "The Bourne Identity" is uniformly wet and cold, so everyone's wrapped up for most of the film ). She possesses a streetwise yet innocent charm that plays off Damon's paranoia extremely well. I thought the love scene was a tad forced, but the chemistry's there. We'll be seeing more of her in the years to come.

Matt Damon ( male protagonist )
I've left the best for last. :) In truth, Damon's always been in the back of my mind, and I first saw him in "The Rainmaker", the movie that made him a star. Since then, he's taken the road less travelled -- as his lifelong friend Ben Affleck went on to become a mainstream action hero, Damon's played everything from a genius ("Good Will Hunting") to a gay psychopathic killer ("The Talented Mr. Ripley") to a cowboy ("All The Pretty Horses") and a thief ("Ocean's Eleven").
Though often overshadowed by his more outgoing compatriot ( ie. Affleck ), Damon displayed his own intelligent wit and sexy charisma in an interview with Oprah Winfrey last year ( which I have on tape, ahem :)). Ben may be the hunk, but Matt's cute, AND a deep thinker.

So yes, I raised my eyebrows when I heard he'd been picked for the role of Jason Bourne, but after watching the movie, I guarantee you will agree he was made for it. Thanks to Hollywood magic and know-how, Damon's transformed into a veritable fighting machine, complete with bulging biceps, moves worthy of Jean Claude Van Damme's admiration, and the agility of a panther. He also adds a nice emotional tinge to his character, who's capable of killing without remorse, yet stops himself when morally confused.

An interview on the website ( search for "The Bourne Identity" ) mentioned the possibility of another installment for Jason Bourne, and Damon did say he wouldn't mind reprising the role. Wishful thinking? It doesn't hurt to hope. :)

Review 2: Spoilers included

Favourite scenes:
1) The car chase: Any doubts about the hardy little Mini should be laid to rest with this heart-stopping sequence through the congested, narrow streets of Paris.
2) The wall crawl: This one takes place during Bourne's daring escape from the American Embassy in Paris, and has him stealthily creeping along the outside wall while
all hell breaks loose within. I particularly liked this part 'cos I noticed that there was no background music ( possibly the only moment in the film where there's complete
silence ). So you have Damon slowly inching his way down, with nothing but the sound of his footsteps and maybe a gentle breeze blowing. Really cool.
3) The fight scenes: More drooling on my part, sorry. :) Damon demonstrates deft grace in his execution of karate/kickboxing moves. The nice sound effects add some
finesse as well. Say what you like, Ben Affleck probably won't look as convincing doing the same thing.
4) The hunt for the sniper: This occurs while Bourne is hiding out at a country house with Marie ( Potente ), and confronts an assassin sent to kill him. The tactics employed
by both killers are calculated and ingenious as each tries to flush the other out.

Nice touches:
1) The bathroom scene: Bourne washing Marie's hair is innocuous yet rife with sexual tension. You'd have to be dead not to feel it.
2) Afterthoughts: This one's a short list of smart things Bourne does throughout the course of the movie, so you can pick up on them.
a) In the American Embassy, as the alarm is sounded, Bourne calmly walks through the corridors, then suddenly yanks a framed picture off the wall. This is actually a floor plan showing the exits, and helps him navigate his way to an escape route.
b) Again in the Embassy, after whacking a guard, he doubles back to grab his headset, so he can tune in to the other guards' conversations and find out where they've positioned themselves.
c) Just before the car chase, Bourne is seen carefully scrutinizing a road map. I completely missed this one, and only realized it when my friend told me about it. Bourne has a photographic memory, so although the Mini seems to be aimlessly weaving through traffic, this guy actually knows exactly where he's going.
d) At the country house, Bourne creates an explosion, using the thick smoke as a cover as he runs up the slope to where the other killer is parked. Once up there, he shoots at a flock of birds in the long grass, so they make a ruckus and distract the sniper while Bourne uses the opportunity to move around without being discovered.
e) A humourous segment: In an attempt to obtain a hotel bill, Bourne devises a complicated plan, only to be caught offguard by Marie's straightforward method -- that of just walking up to the concierge and asking for it.

I'm just waiting for the DVD release, so I can add it to my collection. :)

Monday, September 02, 2002

Heard over Power 98 ( a local radio station ): Don't buy shampoo, buy real poo!
Just a cheesy joke to jumpstart your Monday. :)

Sunday, September 01, 2002

Latest DVD reviews:

i am sam - Sean Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dakota Fanning
An unapologetic tear-jerker, it features Penn as a mentally challenged man who raises his young daughter on his own, only to later fight social services to retain custody. Pfeiffer plays the hotshot lawyer who helps him, and Fanning the daughter in question.
I don't remember this movie doing well at the box office, so the only reason I rented this is because Michelle Pfeiffer is in it. Looking more luminously beautiful with each passing year, she's gorgeous in this film, and excels in her role of a hypocritical attorney who gradually learns to laugh and love again after her encounter with Penn.
A well-directed effort with a thoughtful and touching script, it is further lifted by Penn's admirable portrayal of a person with the mental capacity of a 7-year-old, and a lifetime obsession with the Beatles and Dr. Seuss. Considering his reputations for being a bad boy and the ex-husband of Madonna, it's a stretch which he executes perfectly.
Watch out for Fanning as the precocious daughter who changes the lives of all those around her. A real find with loads of talent - much of which is still untapped, I predict - she is what I would call 'the female equivalent of Haley Joel Osment'.

In The Bedroom - Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson, Marisa Tomei, Nick Stahl
This film has won many awards, but honestly speaking, I was quite disappointed. A young man ( Stahl ) gets involved with a married young woman ( Tomei ) who's in the middle of a bitter divorce. His parents ( Spacek and Wilkinson ) tolerate it only because they're convinced he'll outgrow it, and also because he's going away to college. A tragic turn of events occurs, however, resulting in the young man's death. And thus the story begins, as we watch the once-warm relationship between his devastated parents slowly unravel.
An "indie" film, it is no doubt a good effort by director Todd Field. He draws nice performances from all his cast members, most notably Wilkinson who, with his burly teddy-bear build, soft, kind face and mild-mannered demeanour, breaks our hearts as he transforms from a blissfully happy man to one who sobs in private and skips lunch because he no longer has a son to eat with.
The pace of the movie, though, leaves much to be desired. Certain scenes are a little unnecessary and slow the story down. My attention wavered towards the last one-third, even with my relatively high threshold for "slow-burners". Verdict? Not too bad, but a little overrated, I think.

Update on Josh Groban:
He will be appearing in a tribute concert for America come September 11th, which will most likely be broadcast over cable - channel and time still pending. For those of you who are wondering what I've been raving about these past few months, this is a good chance for you to finally see him in action. Rumour has it he's been picked to sing the national anthem - a rendition of which may be found on his website ( click on "Watch" for a sampling ). He's also mentioned he's coming to Asia for a promotional tour later this year, so if you become a Grobanite ( like me! ), you're in for a real treat. Stay tuned...

The forum page for Sensory magazine is now up and running. I'm the movies/musicals SIG leader, and have already posted in the Movies and Travel groups. Do drop by when you're free. Public access is currently available, but not for long.