Novels and movies

In the midst of my thesis correction process, I’ve been reading and watching movies (because it’s Oscars season!) to fill in the gaps in between when I’ve nothing better to do. That’s what you call an introvert’s life. I’m not exactly anti-social but at my age, at this point in my life, with my current situation where the only friends you have are the ones from the university (I’m talking post-grads) and they’re also busy with their research etc., it’s hard to go out and have fun together. But luckily I do have a friend who I hang out with quite often for dinners and gym so that makes me less introvert than I already am XD

Anyways, I’m just gonna touch a bit on the few books and movies I’ve watched lately because well, they’re worth discussing I guess.

ROOM
by Emma Donoghue

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One of the best I’ve read so far, this year, which isn’t much yet but I think it’s gonna last quite long with me, this one.

It’s something you just have to experience by yourself. The less you know about the story, the better so I’m seriously trying not to spoil anything which is very tough because this is the type of story where you can’t really talk about without giving away things. But I’ll try anyway to persuade whoever reading this post to watch the movie, at least! If books aren’t your thing, but if you’re a book lover, then I’m pretty sure this novel will leave you in awe.

I started with watching the movie only because I saw people recommending it and created quite a buzz recently. Before that, I had absolutely no idea what this is about. Watched the trailer (hm, on hindsight, maybe it’s better to skip the trailer if you don’t want to be spoiled), and so I had some inkling about what to expect but what I didn’t expect is how powerful the theme is and by the end of the movie, it lingers around in my mind and I just kept thinking about it. It’s thought-provoking and yes, it made me tear up several times. But don’t get me wrong, it’s not really a melodrama and it doesn’t feel forced, the situation just presented itself and moved me on many levels. It’s definitely not cheesy either which I’m thankful for.

Reasons why this is a must watch/must read:
1. Two very strong characters that carry the entire plot
– There are only Ma and Jack. They live in a room, which is actually a shed in a backyard and the kid is convinced/trained by her Ma that the Room is their entire world. Jack is born in the Room. So all his life, he’s been in there and never stepped outside. Whatever’s outside the Room is not real and in Jack’s words, they’re considered things on TV. Normally it’d be tough for an entire movie to be so focused on just a character or two (in this case) but the way they execute this is brilliant. I end up being so engrossed and invested in these two characters and I care for them.

2. Fantastic cast
– Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay are amazing. The kid especially and his acting is on par with even the famous grown up actors that if he’s actually eligible for being a nominee in Best Actor category, I’d put my vote for him. This little kid is just incredible! It doesn’t even feel like he’s acting, it feels very real and natural. Acting as Ma, Brie is equally stunning. Basically, this combo is great and not to be missed.

3. Directing/cinematography/OST
– I can’t think of a flaw with this movie/novel to be honest, it’s one of those rare movies where I just love every bit of it. The director is good at capturing the main characters’ perception, point of view and their facial expressions. This movie/novel is entirely in the kid’s point of view so that’s really something new and unique.

4 nominations for Oscars, each and everyone well deserved, including Best Picture. I sincerely hope Brie Larson will bring home that Best Actress (she already won Golden Globe so if that’s any indication, she’s considered the frontrunner). Too bad Jacob Tremblay doesn’t fit any category for the award but he got Best Young Actor in the recent Critics’ Choice Awards but I feel like he deserves more recognition for his work in Room. The movie’s slightly underrated perhaps because of the initial limited release and indie vibe but trust me, give this movie a try, drop everything you planned and WATCH THIS NOW.

Some memorable quotes:

Ma: You’re gonna love it.
Jack: What?
Ma: The world.

Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.

Ma: I’m not a good enough Ma.
Jack: But you’re Ma.

Give me back my tears T_T

 

SPOTLIGHT

2B89064B00000578-0-image-a-25_1440115471750This is based on a true story and quite shocking. I didn’t know anything about this event until I watched the movie (I’m pretty ignorant about world issues, I admit).

The cast is filled with big names and sometimes, some movies just fail to deliver and their talents are wasted but not in this case. Everyone’s utilized in the right amount and they give such an earnest performance. I like them all. Although I think Mark Ruffalo deserves the Best Actor nominee, I actually enjoyed Liev Schreiber and Michael Keaton the most here. Maybe I just like their characters more than Mark’s so it’s not really about their performances. Like I said, great overall acting and Rachel McAdams is not underused either or overused.

I also like the way they film this. No unnecessary scenes or cuts. Every scene serves its purpose and no cheesy lines. Things get toned down too with a very good sense of realism. Considering this is a pretty touchy subject and based on a real event about how the Spotlight team uncovered the shocking child sex abuse by members of Church in Boston, they approach it very well. I feel this is one of those movies that needs to be shown all over the world and people need to watch it for awareness and such.

 

SOUTHPAW

 

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Jake Gyllenhaal is one of the best actors out there. His movies may not be blockbusters and such, but I mean, just watch Nightcrawler (he’s absolutely fantastic there!) and Prisoners. I have yet to watch Enemy though. Oh yeah, back on topic, Southpaw can be quite cliché – world famous boxer lost his purpose after a terrible tragedy, then the usual downward spiral and forced to pick himself up again for his loved one. So yes, not something we’ve never watched. But I still enjoyed this movie a lot, at times, hard to watch too because I care a lot for his character and I root for him. The effort he puts in for his role here is also laudable. Just look at those muscles! He nailed the character which makes him realistic and I feel what he feels. Perhaps the only weak part in all this is 50 cent (but okay, I forgive him because he’s not exactly actor material and his character doesn’t play a huge role). Forest Whittaker is a great addition to this movie and I like all his scenes with Jake.

THE REVENANT

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Can this guy just win a goddamn Oscar already?! Seriously, I can’t for the life of me decipher why he hasn’t been given one yet!

Now, I can’t say I enjoy The Revenant a lot because of the nature of the movie. I mean, I love gritty and grueling thrillers etc, all the dark stuffs, but the problem with this movie is, it feels lacking in the plot. It’s basically about this guy who seeks revenge after his son was killed. But I feel like there needs to be something more about it, that can pull me further into the character but it never happened to me, for some weird reason.

But anyways, the movie’s the frontrunner and most likely will win Best Picture, if it does, come Oscar night, I won’t be surprised but I’m actually rooting for Mad Max Fury Road. But the directing for The Revenant is great, detailed and director Alejandro is definitely not fooling around. He makes the actors suffer and go through these grueling experiences and so it translates very well, very surreal on-screen. I just feel really cold the entire time watching this lol. If there’s a scene which really stuck with me for quite some time, it’d be the Bear Fight scene. That was just AWESOME and INTENSE! I normally don’t squirm even in horror movies or bloody gory stuffs, but that scene made me want to look away for several times. The Bear should be nominated for something XD Leo DiCaprio is set to win Best Actor for this. I just can’t see it another way. The other actors in other movies haven’t impressed me as much Leo in here and I truly think he deserves one for this. He’s got so few lines and most of them aren’t even in English (it’s some kind of native language) so most of the time, whatever he’s feeling, it has to come from his facial expressions and body languages which are on point. I’m rooting for him to get that Oscar, but there’s a buzz going on that he’s got one competition, that is Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl). Again, if Golden Globe is any indication, I hope it’s a lock for Leo.

CAROL
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All I can sum up from this is how pretty and beautiful this entire movie looks. So yes, directing is very good but what a surprise when it doesn’t land a nomination for Best Picture or Best Director in the Oscars. Utterly puzzling.

As for the story, it’s set in the 1950s where love between same gender is considered taboo and frowned upon so here, we have two characters who (literally) fell in love the minute they set eyes on each other. It’s told from Rooney Mara’s point of view but at times, jumps to focus on Cate’s side. It’s based on a novel too (haven’t read it and not planning to). There’s something about Cate Blanchett’s character that I can’t really get into and I find myself preferring Rooney here. Maybe because Cate just basically looks detached and aloof in a way that makes you feel there’s a gap there (which I think is intentional considering her background being a socialite and all) while Rooney’s character is more normal and easier to relate to. Both of their performances are without a doubt, great but to say that I enjoy the movie a lot would be a lie. I’ve nothing against the theme but maybe I was just, expecting more. So in the end, it’s lacking something for me (same problem with The Revenant).

However, the cinematography is spectacular for this movie, if anything, watch it for that lolz. They pay special attention to details like the red lipsticks, nail polish and such, with colors that pop out. Set designs and costumes fit the 1950s era too. There’s also something that makes me confused for a bit here. You see, after watching this movie, I realized that Rooney Mara actually plays a bigger role and it makes me think she’s the Leading Actress or at least, co-leading actress with Cate but they sort of switched it up for the nominations. So Rooney ends up with Best Supporting Actress while Cate is up for Best Actress. Perhaps they think there’s higher chance of them winning that way since Cate is obviously the bigger name. But I’d say I actually enjoy Rooney more. Either way, watch this only with high quality so the superb cinematography can really be showcased to its fullest. Oh should I also mention the director seems to love shooting through glasses or windows (shops and cars), it’s so obvious! But I like it because it gives a sense that the character’s somewhat separated in their own world from the rest, a sort of isolation, coupled with this loneliness.

Out of the 8 nominees for Best Picture, I’ve only watched 6 so far – Room, Bridge of Spies, Mad Max Fury Road, Spotlight, The Revenant and The Martian. So I’m just missing Brooklyn and The Big Short so far. I’ve heard good things about Brooklyn and curious why everyone seems to be praising Saoirse Ronan‘s performance. People are also thinking Brie’s biggest competition might come from her + Cate Blanchett. I’m crossing fingers for Brie, I know I shouldn’t be quick to judge since I haven’t even watched Brooklyn but Room did things to me and Brie is brilliant there. I’m biased XD The Big Short doesn’t sound very interesting to me so far so that’s why I’ve been putting it on hold till now but I will force myself to watch just for the sake of it.

SUFFRAGETTE

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See, I watched Never Let Me Go just a couple of weeks ago because they’re doing an adaptation of it in Japanese drama this season and I realized I haven’t watched the movie. So after I did, I was mesmerized by Carey Mulligan’s acting that I searched for some of her other works and the most recent are Far From the Madding Crowd and Suffragette. Based on true events, this movie tells the story of women in 1912 who fight for their rights in voting. To be honest, I didn’t even know women weren’t allowed to vote back in those days and it only came about because these people actually fought for it. Guess I took for granted about a lot things.

Carey Mulligan is truly amazing in this. I literally wondered aloud why isn’t she even nominated for this?! There’s so much going on here for her character, it reminds me of Southpaw’s Jake Gyllenhaal. I like the development of her character in this (not gonna spoil anything major). The way how she doesn’t seem interested at all about the rising but still useless protest by the fellow Suffragette members then for some reason, she gets embroiled by it but still insists that she’s not a member. Then slowly, there’s a series of awakening moments where she starts to realize there is meaning to the fight and why it’s necessary. So she transforms from being an onlooker to a real activist. The whole atmosphere is depressing and it really feels like all their efforts amount to nothing, which is frustrating. If there’s a gripe I have to mention, I have a slight problem with how the group becomes more violent towards the end. I know and understand that it can be very infuriating when you protest peacefully and negotiates with the government countless times but get flatly ignored. So the line ‘Deeds not words’ becomes somewhat a motto for them to gain attention so by the time they turn to violent acts like blowing up things, including a minister’s house (yes, it’s empty and so it’s harmless to people) but this action is something I can’t fully agree with, why? Because it reminds me of terrorism. Though it doesn’t equal to ‘terrorism’ back in the days as how it would now at this era, but still, I just can’t agree with any act of violence to get something. So that’s really the only problem I have with the movie but the rest is superb and enthralling. Meryl Streep barely appeared but left quite an impression as she plays the real Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of Sufragette. There’s also this shockingly sad part where Emily Davison died. You can still watch the real footage of how she stepped into the tracks and slammed by the King’s horse. The entire movie is utterly heartbreaking and you may call it feminist, but I think any kind of uprising for the sake of our future generation and fight for what’s right, is something that needs to be shown.

Favorite quotes:
You want me to respect the law? Then make the law respectable.
I would rather be a rebel than a slave.
What are you gonna do? Lock us all up? We’re in every home, we’re half the human race, you can’t stop us all.
Dear Inspector Steed. I thought about your offer, and I have to say no. You see, I am a suffragette after all. You told me no one listens to girls like me. Well I can’t have that anymore. All my life, I’ve been respectful, done what men told me. I know better now. I’m worth no more, no less than you. Mrs. Pankhurst said, “If it’s right for men to fight for their freedom, then it’s right for women to fight for theirs.” If the law says I can’t see my son, I will fight to change that law. We’re both foot soldiers, in our own way. Both fighting for our cause. I won’t betray mine. Will you betray yours? If you thought I would, you were wrong about me. Yours sincerely, Maud Watts.

 

 

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Family came over to the city for a few days last week so I spent some time with them. We visited Aquaria KLCC to let my nephew see water creatures etc…

Before that, we had dinner at the new ramen shop at Midvalley. It’s non-halal and the price is quite expensive but the service and food are not bad.

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I ordered this tonkatsu ramen. The pork chop were really good but watch out for calories lolz…

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My sis ordered this type which I forgot the name but it was even yummier.

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Love the jellyfish station the most.

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These baby jellyfish are so tiny!

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Have been searching for these Japanese ice-creams since one of my favorite actresses are doing the CM for it.
Morinaga MOW ice-cream

They don’t have Vanilla anymore so I got these instead. Very rich flavor.

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It’s been raining every day here, always in the afternoon till evening and sometimes, whole night. I don’t hate rain. Love them actually because living in a tropical country, it can get very hot during the day so rains seem like a blessing to me.

Claimed my free drink yesterday during a very sudden and heavy rain.

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Went to Sushi Zanmai for a quick simple dinner.

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Bought some pastry for today.

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I went to IOI Mall today because Madame Waffle has this two-days promotion to celebrate their anniversary. They’re selling their original and matcha flavored waffles RM1 each (original price RM6). One person is limited to 3 pieces. Great deal, if you ask me. Plus, I’ve always wanted to try but refrained because it’s kinda pricey. So this is a good opportunity.

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Tried Milkcow for the first time too. Not bad, gonna try the other assortments soon.

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I’m still alive! I haven’t been updating this blog much because…well life. I’ve been busy with thesis correction (though that’s more like spasms which comes once in a while with lots of waiting involved, I’ve been keeping myself busy with subbing projects too). I love Japanese dramas and only starting to get involved in subbing around October this year. Currently working on 2 dramas and it’s a really taxing process. I dare not even count the hours I poured into it. But I like doing it since I want more people to watch shows that I like (hehe).

Anyways, I don’t take much pictures anymore nowadays but recently I’ve been browsing some of my favorite photography blogs again and I think I will get onto it soon, only if there’s anything interesting to be taken really.

My favourite brand for root beer and ginger beer. I need to find cartons of these.

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Tried this new drink from Strongbow. I couldn’t really take the original version but this is yummy! That tinge of sweetness makes everything better!

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Made use of my Starbucks card recently.
They usually don’t get my name right and it becomes my sister’s.

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But when they do…it feels good.
This new seasonal Christmas Panettone frap is so good! Butter cookie taste but not too sweet, just nice. Since I got a free Starbucks drink offer, I’m gonna get this again soon. The only downside is, this particular drink is really pricey.

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My usual order from Starbucks though are Matcha Latte (hot), hot chocolate, Jave Chip frap and occasionally these seasonal offers. I should try the Iced Matcha soon.

A friend recommended this. Need to eat this in moderation because fear of cavity.

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Had an accident two months ago when I lost my phone. So I had to buy a new one.

Then, due to my carelessness…I left it at a shop and I thought it was gone forever but luckily, when we went back to the shop, it was returned in good condition. So lucky!

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But during that period of time when I haven’t found my phone, I dug my old Samsung with the cracked screen to use. I didn’t realize S3 was so tiny! Most phones are gigantic now. My new Sony is with a friend at the moment so I will take the picture later with them side by side just to compare. Anyways, this samsung still proves to be useful in times of emergency xD

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Just a random picture on the way to the town.

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Siren manga 「サイレーン」

It took about 5 days for the manga I ordered from Kinokuniya to arrive. This is the first time I ordered anything and so I thought the service is actually quite convenient, easy and fast. All you have to do is go to the counter at the Japanese section (or any other section depending on the items you wanted), and tell them or show them a picture of the item/book. That was what I did.

They’ll ask you to fill a form, your name, phone number and really, that’s it!

So today I got a message from them that the items I ordered arrived. I was thinking whether to go today or wait till tomorrow. Couldn’t wait so I went this evening. But I did learn a lesson. Never ever go to the city at rush hour. I should’ve known better. I got stuck in the jam (I drove) for an hour plus before I reached home. Usually, it’d just take about 35 mins.

But anyways, so happy!

Got the last 3 volumes of the manga I wanted. The first 4 are available online for reading. I still need to save some money so I decided to get Vol 2, 3 and 4 in the future.

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The first volume was an old one so it didn’t come with the new cover slip. I was hoping the new ones will come with the drama promotion slips and they did!

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The final Volume 7 is the thickest and no wonder it costs a little bit more than the rest too.

I will be indulging myself with these for the whole week I guess lolz…the drama itself hasn’t even started. Another 10 days. I don’t mind spoiling myself with the plot since if I read the original material, when I watch the drama later, I can go “Oh, I recognize this scene! Oh they used the same lines as in the manga!”

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Kinokuniya haul

Made a short trip to Kinokuniya KLCC just now. After I finished Sharp Objects, I’m yearning for something new so did a little survey and bought two new novels.

Kimberly McCreight – Where They Found Her
Celeste Ng – Everything I Never Told You

I first read Kimberly’s debut novel, Reconstructing Amelia and that was really good. So I’m hoping her second work will do as well (reviews are favorable).

DSC06934I also got a grammar workbook for N3.

The manga is Siren by Yamazaki Sayaka. One of the fall dramas is adapting it so I’m just intrigued. I saw some of it online but I think I’m gonna collect all 7 volumes. At least it’s finished and not too many volumes (which can be very expensive). Kinokuniya only has the first 3 volumes in stock. So I ordered the last 3 volumes. Apparently, they’ll reach in a week’s time. I hope the new ones will come with the drama’s slip.

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