Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I really should chart these little episodes. Have a strong suspicion they're becoming more frequent in recent years.

So much to talk about, so little time...

First, the easy stuff.

Impressions of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Actually watched this on Jan 31st, but had no opportunity to review it ( such is the sad state of my hectic life ).

In short, I loved it! By far the boldest, and probably the best, effort from Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, though the songs aren't exactly my cup of tea.

Despite the unwieldy plot and gore factor, this unconventional film has one vital saving grace -- the incomparable Depp, of course.

Clad in ghoulish makeup and effortlessly spewing dialogue in a British twang ( Jack Sparrow speaks the same way, come to think of it ), he impresses most in 2 areas -- (1) singing, and (2) scaring the wits out of movie audiences ( well, me for one ).

He possesses a very decent tenor voice, and demonstrates an intuitive touch in his song delivery, emoting spectacularly in every piece. The high notes are especially enjoyable. Bravo, Johnny!

The frightening bits aren't your typical jump-out-of-your-skin scenarios. Rather, they make you cringe and hold your breath ( or perhaps gasp, depending on the individual ). All that spurting blood wasn't a pretty sight. I may be immune to gore in a hospital setting, but seeing the vicious throat-slitting act itself is something I found difficult to stomach, hence the frequent episodes of averted gazes or covering of eyes during violent scenes. ( I'm still traumatized by Jurassic Park, which featured a poor cow being devoured by velociraptors -- remember that? Brrr. )

However, I still recommend this to anyone who's game for a good movie, 'cos that's what it is. I can't guarantee that you'll like it as much as I did ( or like it at all, for that matter ). But you definitely shouldn't miss it.

Memorable line: Depp's sneery "At last, my arm is complete again." as he lovingly caresses his trusty razor.

Last but not least, LOVE the poster slogan: Never forget. Never forgive.

Ahh, I couldn't agree more. :)

Digital Cable Rocks!

The recent upgrade has proven to be a wise move. My mind is officially boggled. :D

Just a sampling:

Foxcrime - features reruns of all 3 CSI series, from Season 1 onwards, every night of the week; also has reruns of Law & Order; I absolutely love Born To Kill ( Saturdays 11pm ), which showcases a serial killer every week ( recent profiles include Ivan Milat [ murdered hitchhikers in Australia ], Frederick and Rosemary West [ House of Horrors in Gloucester ] and Dr. Harold Shipman [ the quintessential Dr. Death ] ). Fantastic stuff!

Crime and Investigation Network - growing on me slowly, with shows like The Unexplained / Infamous Murders. A recent episode discussed cannibalism through the centuries, and featured serial killers like Ed Gein, Andrei Chikatilo and Jeffrey Dahmer, as well as the Guangxi province in China ( which practised its own barbaric form of human consumption during the Cultural Revolution *shudder* ).

I just love informative tidbits like these, haha. :)

Turner Classics channel - screens old gems from musicals ( Singing In The Rain, An American In Paris ) to thrillers ( Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Picture of Dorian Gray ). You get to see the stars of yesteryear in action ( Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman, Gene Kelly, Katharine Hepburn, James Stewart, just to name a few ), and honestly speaking, most of these classics trump current films by a mile in terms of content, style and acting. Now if only they'd show something with Sir Laurence Olivier in it, or every single Alfred Hitchcock movie known to Man.

MGM Classics - Another terrific channel to rave about. Features more recent shows ( 1970s onwards ) spanning the spectrum from thrillers to romantic comedies to action-adventures. I especially enjoy the John Hughes classics from the '80s ( starring Molly Ringwald, Andrew McCarthy and James Spader ), and experienced a jolt of nostalgia watching Untamed Heart last week ( a lovelorn Christian Slater wooing the perky Marisa Tomei -- super-sappy fare, but very moving :)).
Today, there's a 1970 version of Wuthering Heights with a youthful Timothy Dalton in it. I saw him in Jane Eyre once ( he played Mr. Rochester ) -- broke my heart, that one.

E! Entertainment - loads and loads of fluffy Hollywood gossip. But you'll be surprised at how much general knowledge you may accrue from this. They've got some decent shows on the movers and shakers of the world ( and their glamourous offspring ).

HBO Signature / Hits / Family - they've got completely different programmes lined up, and I spent the whole of last week getting stuck on Pride & Prejudice ( the remake with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen ). I couldn't pry my eyes away each time it came on ( and it aired every night for a week ). Bad time management. Bad, bad, bad...

I haven't even had time to check out the other channels yet ( i.e. NatGeo Adventure, extra Discovery channels ).

So the morale of this story is: get digital cable! :)

Here's an interesting recommendation:

One Man Star Wars Trilogy with Charles Ross

I first heard about this from a fellow colleague who saw the show in NYC a few years ago. He assures me it's funny and worth catching, so I've booked my tickets.

I have great faith in one-man comedy acts from the West. A good example is Rainer Hersch, who performed at the Jubilee Hall maybe 4-5 years ago, and made me laugh so hard I literally cried. It was so bloody cathartic. I need another session like that so I won't have to see a psychiatrist.

So How Was Your Valentine's Day?

I am a non-believer where Feb 14th is concerned. Ask my ex and he'll tell you I detest soppy gifts like flowers and chocolates.

But being a non-believer doesn't mean I lack a romantic core. My recent obsession with Pride & Prejudice made me realize what a pathetic wimp I am where aspects of love are concerned. True, a Jane Austen classic is hardly applicable in this day and age. But I am totally susceptible to the charms of tall, good-looking, eloquent and beautiful-mannered British gentlemen ( or American / European, I'm not picky :)).

And I repeat: Singaporean men need to brush up on their chivalry!

And Speaking Of The Locals...

Recall reading a few Straits Times articles / Forum letters about ugly Singaporeans this month ( what's new eh? ).

What can I say -- travelling extensively will surely open your eyes to the utter disgrace of our fellow countrymen and women. ( Though I can confidently state that the males are a lot worse than the females. )

To cite a recent example, the North Americans took me completely by surprise during my vacation ( even in LA and Manhattan ). Drivers let pedestrians cross even when it's the former's right of way. The men almost always open doors for women ( including strangers ), and the public toilets are spotless ( Americans routinely drag their carriers / strollers into the stalls without a second thought -- try doing that in Singapore, yuck ).

But nobody can beat the Japanese. I love the people so much I want to go back ASAP. :)

And Now For The Health Matters

In short:

1) A recent dialogue session with a high-ranking ministry official was deeply depressing. Sorry I can't tell you more.

2) The Straits Times article on ER overcrowding was, thankfully, quite forgiving, though not as helpful as we'd hoped. The Health Minister's closing comment about emergency cases being "attended to immediately... don't worry" was quite distressing, to say the least.

3) Kena a major arrow ( the biggest so far in my career ), which essentially means the next 12 months of my life will be hellish. More weight loss, yay. But hopefully this will herald a bigger year-end bonus. :)

4) Had another dose of the Administrative Firewall during a meeting last week. I don't want to blame anyone, so let's just blame the system, shall we?

5) The problematic MO I mentioned previously chose to do medical administration, but was thrown in the ER instead. Like I said, it's the system, stupid.

Ooh, Flight Of Ideas :)

That last line links to my closing topic for this entry: the 2008 U.S. Presidential race.

I've been following it closely, but couldn't find time to post anything.

To cut it short, I'm rooting for Hillary Clinton ( not just because she's a woman, but because she comes across as a lot smarter and level-headed than Obama, who sometimes gets carried away by his emotions and talks in annoying circles ).

After the George W. Bush re-election fiasco of 2004, let's hope John McCain will suffer a clear-cut defeat this year.

Till next time...

No comments: