Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Review Of Russell Watson's Concert, 29th January 2011

... is posted at JustWatchLah.

Enjoy. :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Entry #3

I realize the titles are very unimaginative, but I'm on a roll here, so bear with me. :)

This week's Kevin Spacey photo is a publicity shot for yet another upcoming release, Margin Call.

The synopsis itself reeks of Wall Street 2 ( which sucks, by the way ). But I'm game to watch anything with Mr. Spacey in it, even if it's bad ( e.g. The Life Of David Gale ). But this, like Casino Jack, probably will not make it to local cinemas, so I'll have to rely on my Megavideo subscription once more.

And speaking of Megavideo, I need to find time to watch all the Oscar-nominated films within the next 4 weeks, before the actual awards ceremony. Am most excited about The King's Speech and The Kids Are All Right. Have already seen The Social Network, Inception and Toy Story 3. Won't be making any outright predictions, but am partial to The Social Network because Mr. Spacey's an executive producer. :)

A pity he wasn't nominated for his role in Casino Jack. Fans and critics have lauded his performance, but alas, the Academy isn't jumping on the wagon.

American Idol season 10 debuted last week, to much fanfare. Sadly, the formula remains the same, though with a slight shift away from the negative. No more Simon Cowell and his nasty comments. The new judges are generous with their compliments, but only Steven Tyler stands out with his unexpectedly bubbly sense of humour.

Jennifer Lopez can't be happy about being outshone. She tries so hard to be the mother hen, but Tyler's sincerity and kindness come through in simple acts. Tonight's episode featured a young man whose fiancee is wheelchair-bound and mentally handicapped after a tragic accident. The judges asked to meet her, but only Tyler gave her a hug, before hugging members of the contestant's family. Randy Jackson and Lopez kept their distance. C'mon, you're on national TV! Act a little!

Am currently halfway through Sex And The City 2. My mum LOVES the franchise, and despite really bad reviews of the movie sequel, we're both enjoying it immensely.
In fact, Abu Dhabi looks so magnificent that we're seriously contemplating a holiday there. We have Australian friends who jet there annually. Maybe we should meet up. :)
My only grouse is that the actresses have aged significantly since the last film, yet refuse to act appropriately. Sarah Jessica Parker's wrinkles make her attempts at being girlish practically laughable. Are you going to keep at it even when you turn 50?
Chris Noth - aka Mr. Big - however, looks fabulous. Went through a heavily-overweight phase, but has slimmed down tremendously, and flaunts it in a few shirtless scenes. Good for him!

Another guilty pleasure: The Secret, which I started reading a couple of days ago, out of curiosity. Granted, the premise itself is ludicrous. I mean, if everything in life were this easy, there'd be no poverty / famine / cancer / obesity, etc.

I tested it out this afternoon, concentrating REALLY hard on a climate change I desperately needed ( long story ). Didn't materialize. But the all-important final outcome, which I also pictured as vividly as I possibly could, did come true. So I don't know if The Secret is working in a roundabout way, because I haven't mastered it yet, or is it a load of bull, plain and simple?

Tested it again during my night shift, with mixed results. Wished for a VERY quiet call, but it was busy until about 4am, before slowing to a trickle. Nothing unusual, but then, we got a bonus in the form of a transitional year resident ( the equivalent of a house officer ), who's extra-numerary, so we ended up with 5 MOs instead of the daily 4.
The Secret's merry-go-round power in action yet again? Hmmm...

Writing efforts-wise, my new and completely secret blog hasn't quite taken off yet, but I know I must be patient, and am confident that with time, a breakthrough will materialize. Have been reading many other more well-known blogs, which awe and humble me. While many have complimented my skills with the written word, I know they are nothing compared to the world's biggest players.

But in an effort to push myself and take this seriously, I intend to enter an international writing contest and submit a couple of entries. Have been tossing around a few ideas, settled on the dominant themes and narrative arcs, but need quiet time to flesh them out properly.

Not easy at all!

Perhaps my mind will stop drawing a blank when I go on a week's break starting today.

Till next time...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Entry #2

One of my New Year resolutions for 2011 is to post a Kevin Spacey or Kevin Spacey-related picture with every post I make here.

This entry's selection: a poster for Casino Jack, a movie that is getting rave reviews and which has earned Mr. Spacey a Golden Globe nomination, but that will probably never see the light of day in local cinemas.

( And if you're wondering what The Social Network has to do with the Hollywood star, he executive-produced it. )

As expected, Mr. Spacey's been doing a whirlwind press tour promoting the new film. A few videos worth sharing:

1) His appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live a few weeks ago. Part 3 is especially enjoyable, because he does an impression which I've never seen before, but which is also 100% spot-on. ROFL :D

2) A super-hilarious interview with Conan O'Brien, where he does yet another impression I'm seeing for the first time.
( For the record, I think Conan is 10 times funnier than Jay Leno. :))

3) Just uploaded: a priceless exchange with Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report, aired this afternoon Singapore time. Who is Keyser Soze? *cue ominous music*

If you can, catch the 'live' telecast of the Golden Globes awards ceremony, to be shown on cable ( not sure about free-to-air TV ) this coming Monday from 9am onwards. I'll be post-call, and Mr. Spacey's confirmed to be presenting, so I'm not going to miss this for the world!

How have the last 10 days been otherwise?

Aside from the usual work hassles - the MOs are regressing and require more hand-holding with each passing day, how ridiculous is that - I've been pushing myself to write a lot more than I used to, and devouring writing resource materials with gusto.

I've also set up yet another blog, at a site that's famous for offering book and movie deals to writers who manage to distinguish themselves from the pack.

My first entry a week ago was very well-received, considering I'm a newbie, and I've been bitten by the writing bug in a major way, drawing inspiration from readers' comments and tips from established and successful writers in the magazines and books I'm now poring through.

Just wish I could've started all this 10 years ago. Life could've been very different!

To friends who've asked, I'm sorry I can't direct you to the new blog, because I need complete anonymity in order to let go of my inhibitions.

I may, however, consider revealing this blog to the frequent visitor from Google headquarters, if s/he drops me an email. I am not joking. :)

So please forgive me if the posts on It's A Zoo Out There aren't as effusive as they once were. I have a finite amount of energy, and this needs to be diverted elsewhere, at least for the time being.

Wish me luck, and have a great weekend!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Entry #1

Through some cruel twist of fate, I started feeling under the weather on the first day of 2011. Since then, my symptoms have developed into a full-blown upper respiratory tract infection, but at least without a fever or significant lethargy.

Still, it's a pretty crappy way to start the new year.

For my inaugural 2011 post, I've chosen The Social Network, which I just watched over the weekend ( couldn't find the time to go to the cineplex ).

Having read all the rave reviews and noted its increasing number of major awards wins, I was apprehensive - I always am, when personal expectations threaten to overshadow a film's actual merit.

However, I am happy to report that I enjoyed every second of the movie, despite the many debates out there over just how accurate a depiction it is.

Mark Zuckerberg is portrayed as a major douchebag, and Napster founder Sean Parker as a party animal who also causes a rift between Zuckerberg and his loyal best friend, Eduardo Saverin.

While based on a book by Ben Mezrich ( who also wrote the novel that spawned the film, 21 ), it is a one-sided account reaped from interviews given by Saverin, +/- transcripts of depositions given by the various parties ( I haven't read it, so I'm guessing here ).

As such, I'm pretty certain there's a large amount of liberty being taken, resulting in a biased view of the truth.

So I watched The Social Network with some degree of skepticism, and have no idea what to believe. But I suspect the majority of movie audiences accept what's portrayed on-screen, and can't imagine what effect this has had on Zuckerberg ( one upside: he was crowned Time magazine's Person Of The Year for 2010; not bad for a so-called douchebag :)).

Does the film live up to the hype? Definitely. I'm a long-time fan of David Fincher's work ( Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac ), and he does an excellent job here, coaxing breakout performances from the actors and juggling the different storylines adeptly.

Kevin Spacey said during his interview in Singapore last month, that The Social Network is one of those unique films that doesn't feature explosions or sex, and yet manages to engage moviegoers through a great script and cast.

The two elements certainly complement each other beautifully. Jesse Eisenberg may not be stretching his capabilities that much ( he played another talkative, fidgety nerd in Zombieland ), but he does amp things up a notch, making those lawsuit depositions crackle with tension.

Kudos for casting a relative unknown in a role that was made for him. However, I do wonder if Shia LaBeouf might have been a better choice - less sulky-faced, hence more likeable. Plus, Shia's a few years younger than Jesse.

Andrew Garfield is someone to watch, especially after clinching the Spider-man lead as Tobey Maguire retires. Beside being extremely good-looking ( love that hair! ), he's got some serious acting chops to boot. Look out for a scene where Saverin confronts Zuckerberg at the Facebook office, in front of Sean Parker. Absolutely superb!

Armie Hammer, who plays the privileged Winklevoss twins, also shines. It helps that he has the right background ( grandson of a wealthy oil tycoon ). He walks with a swagger, speaks with a crisp accent, and has the cocky attitude down pat. Let's just hope he doesn't get pigeonholed into similar parts for the rest of his career.

As for Justin Timberlake, I've never been a big fan of his, be it music- or acting-wise. His turn as Parker is fun, but nothing to really gush about. I honestly think he should just stick to singing and dancing.

Aaron Sorkin's screenplay is the first I've truly appreciated, having watched A Few Good Men, The American President and a few episodes of The West Wing. I can't make any comparisons with the actual book ( 'cos I haven't read it ), but he deserves an Oscar for churning out a script that incorporates so many different facets of the Facebook phenomenon, transforming a relatively dry subject into the Superbowl.

The one-liners come fast and furious. Harvard undergrads are portrayed as ruthless go-getters and snooty elitists ( true to a certain degree, no doubt ).

The most refreshing bit, though, is being able to watch a film that features highly intelligent young people talking up a storm and doing things that end up changing the world. College life isn't just about getting drunk and getting laid. Sometimes, staying in your dorm room typing in computer codes is way cooler.

Crossing my fingers that it will win the Best Picture Oscar. Hope Kevin Spacey will deliver a speech! :)