Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I've been neglecting my 2011 resolution to post Kevin Spacey pictures for every blog entry, so it's about time I restarted.

Eagerly awaiting my tickets for Richard III! Costing me a small fortune ( requested 2 shows and good seats ), but heck, I don't intend to buy an iPhone or iPad, and this is way better than any gadget. :)

And speaking of the iPad, I think some people are really going overboard with their obsessions. I mean, bringing it to a hair salon? One young woman sitting next to me was fiddling with her iPad while getting her hair styled. Then gave up when she couldn't get any wi-fi. Big joke.

I always have my novel / magazine within easy reach. Already own 2 laptops ( non-Apple products, and proud of it ). More than enough for me.

2 more Michael Fassbender films worth mentioning.

Fish Tank's a small British indie movie which swept quite a few awards not too long ago, but probably isn't available in Singapore, so I'm extremely grateful for the Internet.

Without giving away too much of the plot, it's sort of a coming-of-age tale, involving a teenage girl with mum issues, whose life is forever altered by her relationship with mum's boyfriend.

You can interprete that any way you want. There is absolutely no possibility of predicting what's going to happen next, and my own mother - who usually doesn't appreciate "indies" - was riveted for 2 hours.

Strong performances all around, but of course, MF is yet again exceptionally watchable in his role as "mum's boyfriend", oozing sex appeal, cheekiness and paternal concern in equal amounts.

This is one of those productions where dialogue is intermittently sparse, and imagery conveys the story effectively. Lots of interesting characters and surprising moments, with a pivotal scene that IMHO came out of nowhere causing quite a jolt!

What I love most about Fish Tank: there's no clear delineation between good and bad. Sure, everybody has their individual flaws and make mistakes, but the viewer actually understands the motivation behind their actions, and may not necessarily condemn them for it.

To make more sense of what I'm saying, just watch the movie. It's excellent!

Another excellent MF film is Hunger, also a British "indie", tracing the last 6 weeks of Irish Republican Army member Bobby Sands' hunger strike ( he eventually died, by the way ).

This is not for the squeamish. Its depiction of prison life is harsh, with the actors fully committed to their roles, i.e. full frontal nudity - lots of it.

Again, there're scenes with little or no dialogue, illustrating the mundane moments of incarceration. But when the tension spikes - e.g. bath times, believe it or not - the violence is positively harrowing.

This photo of Fassbender is one of the reasons he shot up to #2 on my favourite actors list. He is astounding as Sands, and I only wish the segment documenting his emaciation could've been a tad longer. After all, MF starved himself for the sake of his craft.

I'm also very impressed with a lengthy scene - no camera cutaway, mind you - between Sands and a Catholic priest who visits him in prison. I think it lasts about 20 minutes, and the conversation is practically non-stop. It's like watching a stage play unfold. The Oscars really overlooked this gem.

Now, I'm eagerly anticipating MF's next project - A Dangerous Method, playing Carl Jung opposite Viggo Mortensen's Sigmund Freud.

May not come to local theatres, but never mind. There's always Megavideo. :)

Something else I recommend: The Kennedys TV series, starring Greg Kinnear, Barry Pepper, Tom Wilkinson and Katie Holmes.

Got it from the Net, after it aired in the U.S. in April this year. Only 8 episodes, jam-packed with information, boasting stellar turns from Kinnear, Pepper and Wilkinson as Jack, Bobby and Joe Kennedy, respectively.

Holmes has always struck me as a bland actress, and remains true to form here. Casting her as Jacqueline Kennedy wasn't a good decision, but at least she doesn't annoy me as much as she usually does ( e.g. Batman Begins, yech ).

That aside, Kinnear deserves much praise for his distinguished portrayal. There're so many different elements to the story, which covers everything from the Kennedy family's tragic history and JFK's less-than-ethical election campaign, to his tumultuous White House term ( Bay Of Pigs, Cuban missile crisis, racism in the South ), a marriage troubled by numerous affairs, and his battle with painkiller addiction.

My mother was especially delighted with the show, being a walking encyclopaedia where Kennedy trivia is concerned. She was practically on cloud nine when a certain juicy nugget of information - that she read in a memoir - was included in a key scene. Hats off to you, mum! :)

A few minor complaints: 8 episodes are insufficient when covering such massive ground; too little about Marilyn Monroe's involvement with both Kennedy brothers; the other Kennedy siblings are completely ignored; skimming over both assassinations.

The last 2 episodes feel terribly rushed, but at least the first 6 are terrific.

And may I add that Kinnear and Pepper have never looked better. :)

Can't wait to see the Music Of Andrew Lloyd Webber concert at the Marina Bay Sands Grand Theatre. Promises to be a great evening!

Also booked tickets to Rain, the Beatles tribute extravaganza, which I initially considered watching on Broadway.
Contrary to what was suggested in the press, this is NOT the Broadway cast. Might be the guys who tour internationally, and may not be as top-notch as the group in New York, but I'm okay with it. Don't have that much time in NY anyway...

... because I booked tickets to yet another musical, Catch Me If You Can, woohoo!

This makes it the 3rd one I'm watching, and mum says, "Enough! We may be jetlagged!"

But actually, based on previous experience, we suffer jet lag only after returning to Singapore. I was bouncing off the walls when we arrived in the U.S. Even went for a 3-hour walk around L.A. :)

The countdown to our trip has begun. No major disasters please!

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