Sunday, September 20, 2009

Entertainment Updates

Professional discussions have permanently moved to Singapore MD - check out a debate about the new residency programme being rolled out by MOH.

As the local haze gives me allergic rhinitis and the humidity makes me itch, I seek refuge in my DVDs and television.

Finished Season 1 of Gossip Girl in less than a week, and greatly enjoyed it! Episode 17 stood out with its endless plot twists. I actually went, "WTF?!" when Serena Van der Woodsen made a shocking revelation. Now that hasn't happened in a long time. Thumbs up to the scriptwriters! :)

Was very saddened by Patrick Swayze's passing. He may not have received much news coverage, since he isn't exactly considered part of the A-list anymore, but this actor starred in many films which impacted me significantly during my formative years: The Outsiders, Ghost, and a truly underrated whammy of a thriller called Point Break ( co-starring a super-gorgeous Keanu Reeves ).

Still, Dirty Dancing will always remain a top favourite. His portrayal of Johnny Castle helped make this a cult classic, and watching the DVD the other night transported me back to my pubescent years, when I discovered a whole new world that includes, ahem, hormones. :)

Also bought a discounted DVD for Valkyrie, despite swearing never to pay for anything starring Tom Cruise after reading Andrew Morton's damning biography a few years ago.
I'm trying to convince myself that it's worth it just because of director Bryan Singer, who helmed the first X-Men movie, revived the Superman franchise, and helped catapult the great Kevin Spacey to Oscar-winning fame in The Usual Suspects.
Despite earning bad reviews, I found myself enjoying this action-thriller, which is well-paced and boasts a terrific cast.
Only complaint: the mish-mash of American and British accents, with no attempt by the principal actors to even feign a German twang. It's not as if Cruise can't do a foreign tongue - look at Far And Away. Tsk tsk!

Another WWII film is Defiance, with Daniel Craig, Liev Schreiber and Jamie Bell playing Russian brothers who set up a camp that protected 1200 Jews from annihilation by the Nazis. The outstanding cast is shortchanged by director Edward Zwick, who fails to keep things interesting and loses the viewer ( i.e. me ) somewhere at the halfway mark.
Craig looks amazing though - haunted but very handsome, if that makes any sense.
However, Schindler's List wins hands down. No-one can beat Steven Spielberg at what he does best.

Am beginning to favour British actors over American ones, especially after catching Duplicity on the flight back from Sydney. A very fun romp through the industrial spy landscape with Julia Roberts and a dapper Clive Owen, who hasn't ever looked this good!

Other hot English thespians: Jude Law, Hugh Dancy, Hugh Grant, James McAvoy, Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman, Ralph Fiennes, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Gossip Girl's Ed Westwick. ( This list isn't exhaustive. )

The Hollywood version of the BBC series State Of Play literally put me to sleep en route to Sydney. Maybe I was already burnt out from work, but it definitely pales in comparison to the TV show, which was a thrilling whodunnit populated by loads of quirky characters and boasted much stronger acting skills.
Russell Crowe is pudgy and grungy, while Ben Affleck is wimpy and whiny. Choosing to focus on the female journalist ( played by pretty but soft Rachel McAdams ) irked me immensely, since the original TV character has a more secondary role. Jason Bateman was a hoot as the flamboyant Dominic Foy though.

Watched Doubt yesterday evening. Good, but didn't live up to the hype, at least in my opinion. Meryl Streep is unbelievably fabulous, as always, and she's expertly supported by Phillip Seymour Hoffman ( whom I've been a fan of since his Scent Of A Woman days ) and Amy Adams ( utilizing her huge eyes to great effect ). Guess I was hoping for an explosive ending after the nail-biting buildup, which failed to materialize. Tough translating a stage play to the big screen.

Had enough? There's more. :)

Another Krisworld film I saw: The Soloist, with Robert Downey, Jr. and Jamie Foxx. Heard great things, but was disappointed. Starts off nicely, then sort of degenerates into melodramatic cliches halfway through. A pity, considering my huge appreciation for all things Downey, Jr., and the fact that it's directed by Joe Wright ( who did such wonderful interpretations of Pride & Prejudice and Atonement ). What happened?

Speaking of happened, I finally sat through M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening on cable, and still can't believe I managed to stay awake. It was soooo bad, from the acting to the dialogue to the execution of the whole film. Started to feel really sorry for Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel after the first half hour. Bet they signed the contracts without reading the script first - you know how secretive Shyamalan can be. This guy is losing his touch, big-time.

The Jay Leno Show began airing on Universal Channel 99 on Tuesday. I've watched a few episodes, and dig both the familiar and newer aspects of the programme. There's the usual opening stand-up routine, celebrity interviews, Jay-walking and Headlines segments. But he's managed to attract huge stars this past week ( Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Oprah, Jerry Seinfeld, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Rihanna, Robin Williams, etc. ), and did a hilarious bit with Cruise and Diaz, asking them 10 questions each ranging from safe to embarrassing topics. Quite a hoot!

I also watch Conan O'Brien from time to time - started off a bit shakily, but seems to have gained a comfortable momentum. He did a side-splitting spoof of a South American TV soap opera, speaking fluent Spanish and donning a ridiculously bushy moustache. Funny!

A few things to look forward to: Season 3 of Dexter, starting Monday 21 September on FoxCrime Channel 86. More blood - yes!

Ghost Hunters Season ??? returns to StarWorld Wednesday nights after being derailed by I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! these past few months. Lots of cool footage of investigators having their collars yanked by spirits - unnerving!

And yes, I have time left over to read books / magazines, do chores, write reports, play piano for church service, go out with friends and family, among other things.

It helps when you're not in a relationship. :D

Have a few days off this coming week. Hope to take a look at Ion Orchard now that everyone else in Singapore has been there.

Also counting down the days till my next trip overseas, in about a month's time. Dolphins and whales this time round, woohoo!

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