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July 31, 2011

HANNA (2011)

When I first entered the cinema, I was expecting an action packed movie... What I got was more than that... It's definitely one of the best action movies this year...


THE STORY

Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) was raised by her father, Erik Heller (Eric Bana), to be a perfect killer... Living in isolation all this while, Hanna was never exposed to any modern marvels... Therefore, she longed so much to be free and to venture outside of the snowy forest of Finland... As Erik was convinced that Hanna was ready to carry out her mission, he gave Hanna a radio device that signaled his location to the CIA... As soon as Hanna flicked the switch, Erik was immediately hunted by a number of agents for the treason that he had committed... When the CIA force came to get him, all they found was Hanna... Thus, her journey to avenge her mother's death by killing Marissa Weigler (Cate Blanchett), a corrupt CIA agent, began... During her journey, Hanna later found out about her true identity and origin... 


THE AWESOMENESS


Cinematography

Each action sequence in this movie is like an awesome music video... The brilliant combination of sound and image made me jizz in my pants... Totally brilliant display of cinematography... The part I loved the most is when Hanna tried to escape from confinement after killing Weigler's double and also several guards... Besides that, the scene when Erik was surrounded and struck by federal agents at a train station was also very engaging because of the magnificent image play and editing... Another one is when Erik attacked Weigler at her house... Dang feisty... My choice of words doesn't do the movie justice... U really need to see it first to experience the overwhelming feeling of excitement I'm feeling... 


Music

Like I said before, some spectacular scenes in the movie appeared as if they were shot as music videos... The movie is like a compilation of pop techno music videos and I love it most because of that... All thanks to The Chemical Brothers for creating such cool music that went well with the movie sequences...


Saoirse Ronan

I never thought that the girl from the move The Lovely Bones would be so hardcore... In this movie, acting as Hanna, she was jumping, running, killing, slashing, crying through out the whole movie... Totally bad-ass... She reminded me of Hit Girl from the movie Kick Ass... Her shift from The Lovely Bones to Hanna kinda proves the world that she's no ordinary actress... She could take roles ranging from dramatic to action... Just like Angelina Jolie and Sarah Michelle Gellar... 


Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett

Besides Saoirse, Eric and Cate also delivered an astounding play in their own terms... I loved Eric not just because he's kinda hot for a guy, but also for his performance as an action actor... Whereas, I adored Cate for her wickedness and psychotic attributes that she portrayed as agent Weigler... 


Isaacs

Isaacs (Tom Hollander) was a memorable character for me mainly because of his whistling... A good mad villain always have a trait or habit that alerts the audience of his / her arrival... His whistling always got me excited for it marks the beginning of some of the action scene...


The Place Setting

This movie took me to places I never knew existed... Mainly because it took place mostly in Europe and I haven't seen much of Europe movies... The desert, the rivers, the culture... It appeared quite artistic sometimes... 
 

The Start and The Ending

The connection between the hunter and the deer... "I just missed your heart"... You'll know what I mean after u've seen the ending... 


ALL IN ALL

There's so many plus points in this movie that I don't even feel like writing the minus ones... Well, if I want to write it, I would kinda mention the typicality of the characters... 

All in all, Hanna's forte lies in its technical aspects (music and cinematography) and also its cast... Because of the excellent editing and camera works, the action scenes became more engaging and exciting... The music was like the whipped cream u put on the hazelnut hot chocolate... It added more flavor to the movie making it one of the best so far...


4 out of 5 stars...

The Hangover Part 2 (2011)

Finally, after waiting for so long, The Hangover Part II has finally arrived in Malaysian cinemas... From the trailers and spoilers, I think most have already known that the producers are still using the same formula and the same cast... Is it as entertaining as the first one? Here's my opinion...


THE STORY

The "wolfpack" had gathered once more to celebrate Stu's (Ed Helms) wedding with beautiful Lauren (Jamie Chung) in Thailand! Lauren has a younger brother, Teddy (Mason Lee), who is academically brilliant and their parents' pride and joy... Like last time, they all accidentally got wasted and went crazy... However, this time, they're not doing it in Vegas and the one missing was not Doug (Justin Bartha)... This time, their adventure took place in Bangkok and the missing gang was Teddy...


THE REVIEW

While watching this movie, one must remind him/herself that this is an R rated comedy... Which means, it doesn't really matter if the characters are too cartoonish or the plot doesn't make sense... What matters is that u have fun laughing at the slapsticks and jokes... I know that some people tend to be all serious and analyze the movie like it's serious and all... As a result, they won't have as much laughs as other people who could care less...

Hell, even the producers are not taking it seriously... As evidence, take a look at the plot! They just cut and paste the whole thing onto Bangkok... 
The fact that they used the same formula doesn't quite effect me negatively though... In fact, it intrigued me more... It gave me a sense of familiarity and it excited me to see the same scene from Part 1 is repeated in Part 2... For example, the roof top scene when Phil was on the phone... When I saw it, I was like, "Hey, it's the same like last time!"... Another example was when they first woke up in the morning and realized that something's wrong... It was epic...


The funniest cast would certainly be Zach Galifianakis who played the weirdo Alan... One mean freaky stare from him was enough to win laughs from the audience... I cracked up the most when he cried after Chow (Ken Jeong) died... Certainly, one of the strengths lies on the cast... Bradley Cooper is the right choice to play Phil who was quite a leader and the most calm headed... Well, at times, he kinda lost it, but he always came up with plans and ideas... Stu, as usual, though seemed like the most decent among all three, always managed to surprise not only everyone else but also himself by doing unimaginable things while being totally wasted...



I must comment on the pace though... In Part 1, the movie moved at just the right pace and it worked so well... Part 2 however seemed a bit rushed... It's like they didn't embrace each scene long enough... This is kinda typical for sequels... The producers often feel that they have to do better for the second one and put so much into it and kinda mess it up... 


ALL IN ALL

As a conclusion, I think this movie is the best R rated comedy of all time... Though some elements seemed exaggerated (which is typical for comedies), most parts still seemed logical enough... Like I said before, don't spend too much time analyzing the movie... Just put away your thinking cap, eat your popcorn and laugh at the funny jokes...


3 out of 5 stars...


Captain America : The First Avenger (2011)

With the screening of Captain America : The First Avenger, the list of superheroes is now complete and fans worldwide are now anticipating the release of the long awaited superhero guild movie - THE AVENGERS - which is schedule to be out in mid 2012... 

One by one, comic book superheroes are now being appreciated more - not only by comic book fans but also movie nerds and even "normal" people... This is because of the current trend of transforming them into real life action movies... So, does Captain America stand as tall as The Dark Knight and other overwhelming superhero movies? This is my opinion...


THE STORY

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), a skinny and little man desired to be recruited as a soldier for World War II... However, because of his weak physical appearance and bad health condition, he never made the cut... That was until he had been given a chance to be in a military scientific project of breeding an army of super soldiers by Dr Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci) because of his noble and kind nature... The result of the experiment was tremendous granting Rogers with superhuman strength and healing ability... Though at first, Rogers was prohibited to join the war, he proved himself worthy when he saved quite a number of soldiers being held captive by Johann Schmidt (Hugo Weaving) of Hydra... Schmidt, who was also a super soldier created by Dr Abraham, dreamed of destroying the world including his superior, Hitler, with the mysterious power cube he obtained in Norway... Knowing his plan, Rogers vowed to stop him and end the war with his own bare hands... 


THE AWESOME STUFF

The Little Steve Rogers

In case you don't know, the producers never used a body double to play the skinny Steve Rogers... It was Chris Evans all along... They used massive amount of computer generated image (CGI) to shrink Evans' body and head which required a lot of work and details... It's like when u used Photoshop to shrink your fat belly to make yourself look skinnier in pictures (which is rather pathetic)... Though, editing a picture is easy... Editing a movie is not... Kudos to the CGI team for making it so flawless... 


However, the brilliance is not only on the impressive CGI effects, but it also lies on Evans' acting... Seriously, I was more engaged to see the skinny Rogers from Brooklyn rather than buffed up Captain America... Because of his attributes, I found myself rooting for him in terms of getting recognition as a soldier and also winning his love interest, Agent Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell)... I think most would agree that the first one hour of the movie is the best...



The Classic Feel

Though the movie is about the development of science and modern weapons, the movie managed to make me feel like I'm watching a classic movie... The costumes, the setting, the lines... it was like watching an old war movie... or maybe it's just me...



THE NOT SO AWESOME STUFF


The Development of Other Characters

This movie is all about Captain America... and I mean it literally... I feel that the producers focused too much on Rogers that they forgot to elaborate other characters... Hugo Weaving who played Johann Schmidt a.k.a The Red Skull is a brilliant actor and he introduced his character in a fairly good manner... However, the producers gave him so little to work with resulting him being quite forgettable... The same goes to characters Peggy and Colonel Phillips (Tommy Lee Jones)... Despite being the love interest, Peggy got a small role in developing Captain America into a strong willed hero... Even without Peggy's help, Captain America would manage to become the great hero that he was... Colonel Phillips, though also falls in the same case, is more memorable compared to those mentioned earlier because he got all the best lines in this movie... 


The Pace

The first one hour of the movie was perfect... However, the second hour seemed so rushed... From the moment Captain America went into war until the end, the pace was too fast... I guess that's why most complained that the climatic action sequence was not that engaging... which I agreed... Most of the action scenes were turned into montages and that destroyed the element of suspense and excitement... I wished that they would make the movie longer so that at least one battle scene is elaborated... I would love to see Captain America showed off his motorcycle more... 


ALL IN ALL

This movie relied too much on Rogers or Evans... However, it's not a bad thing since Evans managed to deliver quite a performance especially when he was playing skinny Rogers... Similar to other origin movies, Captain America : The First Avenger gave focus on the development of the main character and casted aside other elements such as brilliant action sequence and other characters' development... As a result, like I said before, the first one hour of the movie was rather brilliant while the rest of it seemed so rushed...


3 out of 5 stars...


Anyway, for those who were too lazy to wait for the extra clip after the end credit, u missed watching the trailer to the upcoming THE AVENGERS movie... I was too lazy to watch it too but I managed to catch it at Youtube where an audience managed to record it with his camera... I wanted to show it to u guys but the video has been taken down due to copyright issues... Try to search for it at Youtube... I'm sure many would have illegally recorded it...


Anyway, here's the list of cast that u would see in the The Avengers

Captain America (Chris Evan)

Thor (Chris Hemsworth)

Iron Man / Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)

Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)

Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D (Samuel L. Jackson)

Natasha Romanoff of S.H.I.E.L.D (Scarlett Johannson)

Maria Hill of S.H.I.E.L.D (Cobie Smulders)

Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner)

Loki (Tom Hiddleston)


July 26, 2011

Religious Views

Pretty often I hear people saying they don't want to commit something sinful because they are afraid that it will add up to their total sins and because they are afraid of hell... Or some people say they want to do something good because they want "pahala" and go to heaven...

I've been thinking about it for quite some time and in my opinion, it's kinda wrong... I remember one of my Ustazahs said that we should not be do something because we want "pahala" or we don't want to be sinful but instead, everything we do we must do it solely because of Allah... It is Allah who we must fear and not hell... It is Allah who we must worship and not His heaven and all that it has to offer... 

However, how can we worship Him when we cannot see Him and His powers? That question seems to be quite popular among those who dare to think and not just follow blindly to religious teachings... I too sometimes ask the same question... because it is in most of us, modern day dwellers, to need to see anything first in order to believe it... 

After I've done some pondering, I've arrived to a conclusion that I won't get anything from just pondering... Research is necessary in discovering anything including religious insights... So, how can I research it? Something in my heart told me that I should start with the holly Quran... From the learning of religious subjects in school, I sort of conclude that the al-Quran should have all the answers that I look for... 

In order to research the al-Quran, I need to understand the writings... Since I'm not familiar with the Arab language, the best way to learn about the al-Quran is by reading the translation... Luckily, the Quran has been translated into many languages including Malay and English...

I haven't begun to search for the translated version of the al-Quran and therefore I cannot elaborate fully on the thing that has been questioned earlier... but from what I remembered, the al-Quran is one of the proof that Allah is the ultimate creator because of what has been written in it is relevant to scientific findings... We all know that the Quran existed since billions of years ago when science was still underdeveloped... However, there is a verse in the Holly Book telling us in detail about the creation of babies in mothers' womb... From the combination of seeds from both male and female, a clump of blood is formed and then the limbs started to grow... Well, something like that... There's no way a person from billions of years ago can write such thing as there was no scientist at that time to prove it... That verse alone is amazing enough as a proof that the al-Quran is so great... and some verses even predict the future as far as I could remember...

Sometimes I wished that Allah would give me a great and magnificent miracle in order for me to be a firmer believer... Maybe He could give a small peek on how hell looks like... but then I often take it back because I'm afraid that I won't be able to take it... I remembered an ustazah telling me that Allah once revealed Himself to a mountain... The mountain got destroyed immediately because it couldn't handle it... Allah is too great... Allah maha besar

One small miracle happened to me once though... I was at a cyber cafe when it suddenly rained cats and dogs... I was still in school at that time and my house was very far from the place... I didn't want to wait because if I could remember correctly, I hadn't perform Zuhur prayer at that time and Asar was about to come... So, I raised up my hands and pray... "Ya Allah, hentikanlah hujan ini agar dapatku pulang segera untuk menunaikan solat..."... The rain stopped immediately... I was speechless... I reached home safely, without a single drop of rain ever hit me... As soon as I got home, it started to pour again...

Yeah, maybe some may say that it's just a coincidence... but it did give quite an impact on me...

Recently, I've been reading a blog written by an atheist... http://k0ks3nw4i.blogspot.com/... From the way he presented his writings, I can guess that he's quite a thinker and intelligent... He claimed that he had read the Quran and analyzed it in a very sarcastic manner... I wanted to diss him off because it seems like he's disrespecting the contents of the Holly Book... but when I clicked the comment button, I couldn't write anything because I have no facts to prove him wrong... Without facts, like in any trial in a court of order, I shall not win... I was a bit ashamed of myself for being such a bad Muslim... I was hoping that there's someone out there to at least debate with him... Someone who's truly knowledgeable on the teachings of Islam and the Holly Quran...

This guy doesn't just take a jab on Islam but he also delivered some cheap shots to other religions also like Christians, Hindu and Buddhism... Actually I don't really mind that he expressed his disbelief... I just feel offended that he does it with a joking kind of tone... It's as if he's making fun of my religion... 

However, it's good to read about what others think about our religion as it makes us think deeper on our beliefs... This will strengthen the desire to submerge ourselves deeper into religious matters and explore our religion further... Like what I'm doing right now... I feel like going to some ustaz or ustazah and ask him / her about this matter of belief and disbelief... I hope someone can give me the answers...

I used to cry before I sleep, being afraid that I would wake up being wrapped in kapan... but now, I have been neglecting my duties as a Muslim... I hope that Allah can give me some hidayah so that I would be able to bring myself on the right path again...





I'm not that well-versed with religious matters and still learning to be... So, if I wrote something wrong, please correct me by leaving some comments...

July 23, 2011

Being Home





I haven't been home for so long, my neighbors barely recognized me anymore... For example, as u can see above, it took quite some time for one of my neighbors, Iskandar (bukan nama sebenar), to figure out who the hell am I... and he's not the only one...

Currently, I'm at Terengganu and this is my first time being at home after 5 or 6 months... The last time I went back was during this year's Chinese New Year... Not much has change except the government has finally finished widening the roads to my hometown and I noticed a few "1 Malaysia" monuments had been placed in front of a few houses...

Those monuments are hideous but I admire the people's patriotism... At least they made an effort to build them... So, by now, u can guess which side are we rooting on for the next general election... Though my dad has beard like Osama, he prefers blue rather than green...

Anyway, I went home by bus, like usual... The person who was sitting next to me on the bus was quite annoying... Through out the journey, the 6 hours journey, he never seemed to be in a comfortable position... He kept on stretching his legs, adjusting the seat, turning left and right, looking around for other empty seats, turning the air cond on and off, putting on and off his jacket and making "tchh!" and "grrr" sound... Dude, if you wanna be extremely comfortable, just buy a first class flight ticket... 

Well, being at home is just great... The thing I love the most about it is I got to eat mom's cooking... She made Gulai Ikan Tongkol yesterday... I wept while eating it... Every bite was like heaven... I love ikan tongkol... Mom's cooking is the best indeed... I've tried a few ikan tongkol dishes around Melaka and they never tasted the same... 
 

Besides that, I also got to watch TV! It's been ages since I watched TV for more than six hours or more straight... I love it... I love lying on the couch and watch MTV and some of my favorite documentaries like Dirty Jobs and Mythbusters... 
 

However, being at home is not all awesome... After a few days, I feel bored already... Most of my friends here are currently at other states like Perak and Pahang, pursuing their careers... Even if they were here, I don't think I'll go out... because I'm anti-social... and lazy... unless they come to my house and pick me up and we go lepak-lepak minum kopi...

You know what they say, all good things got to end... I'm going back to Melaka tonight... I know, it was short... but I got a job in Melaka... This time, I'm hoping that the person sitting next to me is pleasant...

July 21, 2011

The Bond Between Educators and Learners

Last Friday, my fellow colleagues and I attended a workshop called "Bengkel Pemantapan Kerjaya" where there were a few talks on ethics, pedagogy, professionalism and other work related stuff... However, in this post, I'm not gonna highlight anything on the talks because I wasn't really paying attention to them... Just kidding, I was paying attention and some of the things presented I found as useful... but here, I want to share a bit of my observation of some of my colleagues on the talks...

The first talk was delivered by the Rector of UiTM Melaka, Dato' Mizan... When Dato' was talking, I could see that most of the lecturers seemed uninterested... There were a few smiles but they faded away minutes later... No one seemed to be able to maintain attention for more than 10 minutes... 

A different case happened during the second and third talk... Both speakers for the talks are from the Education Faculty of UiTM Shah Alam... As soon as they started talking, I could see that most of my colleagues who studied in Shah Alam lightened up and paid full attention to both talks... I understood that both speakers were their former lecturers and both were awesome to them...

For me, this somehow proved something quite significant for teaching and learning... It made me think about how the close bond between the lecturers and their students can motivate the students to pay more attention to the lecturers' teachings / lessons...

Well, if you really think about it, this thing kinda makes sense... Just imagine if your lecturer is a person who never smiles, always gets angry for no particular reasons and quite distant from his / her students... Would you feel motivated to go to his / her class? I don't think so...

In comparison, if the lecturer is always smiling, friendly and charming, I'm sure that all of you would gladly come to each class without strong resentment... It would help a lot if the lecturer is handsome or beautiful...

Lecturers and teachers should be more friendly to the students because it will bring positive effects on teaching and learning... 

It actually works both ways... a lecturer would also be motivated to come to class and teach if the students are friendly and respectful... I love teaching, but whenever my students are disrespectful by coming in to class late, I feel a bit demotivated to go on with my lessons... I'm sure most lecturers feel the same way... 

A positive and friendly learning environment should bring great impact on the development of students' learning as it motivates them to be more attentive in class... If you are interested on this topic, maybe you could do a few researches on affective filters and learning motivation... 

Therefore, if you feel that you are a little harsh and unfriendly to your students or your lecturers, maybe you could change a bit and be friendlier... There's no harm in that right?

In spite of that, there must always be limitations... Lecturers and students must maintain professionalism and avoid personal conflicts... Some people tend to say that we cannot avoid fate... "Kalau dah jodoh, nak buat macammana?"... Yeah, it's true... but it doesn't mean you can just throw yourself into the arms of fate and don't resist a bit... Like I said before, TRY to avoid it... Keep your distance and have more self control... Remember that every action has consequences... 


July 13, 2011

Motorcycle Helmet

While riding my motorcycle, sometimes I forgot that I was wearing a helmet, so whenever I felt itchy, I would scratch the top of the helmet instead of my head... It looked stupid... and I giggled...

Besides that, sometimes I also forgot that my helmet has a visor... So whenever I wanted to eat or drink something, I would shove the food or drink onto the visor... 


Once, I tried to eat a Mars chocolate bar while stopping at a red light... I incidentally shove the chocolate bar onto my visor and the chocolate coating stained the visor... A Chinese girl who was driving a Suzuki Swift saw what happened... she giggled...

I also spilled Coke on my jeans once because I shoved the bottle onto the visor... 

Whenever I'm riding my motorcycle, bugs always hit the visor of my helmet... Those bugs just fly directly onto my visor and SPLATTT!!

This morning a dragonfly flew straight onto the visor... It's like watching a 3D movie... May you rest in peace mister dragonfly... I didn't kill u on purpose...

Anyway, I'm glad that my helmet has a visor... Just imagine if I didn't have a visor and the dragonfly was a big ass hornet... The collision could hurt my eyes or any part of my face...

Besides bugs, the visor protects me from raindrops, twigs of decoration trees at the roadsides, and pebbles from lorries that are carrying a load of sand... Travelling at 60 - 80 km/h, even a collision with a single raindrop could hurt... Just imagine how bad it would be if a small pebble hit my face... One pebble is enough to shattered a car's windshield... and face is not that solid...

The visor also helps me see better while on the road since wind and dust wont be interfering with my eyesight...

Therefore, if you wanna buy a helmet, make sure it's equipped with a visor... Safety first... Ingatlah orang yang tersayang... Sayangi muka dan mata anda...

Below are some of the coolest helmet designs...











July 9, 2011

Vroom

Vroom Vroom~

I love riding motorcycles... I got to feel the breezy wind on my face, slip between other vehicles to avoid traffic, and feel the adrenaline whenever I'm speeding while taking a dangerous corner... Though I'm always careful, there are a few challenges that I have to endure as a fellow motorcyclist...


For instance, the rain... As you all know, unlike other vehicles, motorcycles don't have roofs... Therefore, unless a motorcyclist wear a raincoat, it is unavoidable for him/her to get totally wet whenever it rains while he/she is riding... It is very dangerous to ride motorcycles in the rain because the road would be really slippery and our visions would be limited...

Besides that, I also have to worry about colliding with or encountering certain animals such as birds and snakes... Yes, snakes... There have been a few times already when I almost hit a snake while riding... A cobra almost bit my leg... I was happily riding my motorcycle to work when suddenly I saw a cobra at the side of the road... I tried to avoid it, but it got its head up and appeared to be in attacking mode... Just when I passed by it, it delivered a strike... Luckily, it missed my leg... I also have to avoid hitting flying birds... Just imagine hitting a bird at high speed... It must hurt real bad...


I hate vehicles that let out too much smoke... By the time I reached work, I would wished I could spray some Febreeze all over my clothes to get rid of the smell... 

If I'm not careful, strong wind can throw me off balance while riding... 

Bad road condition can also be a challenge... If the road has sand or gravels on it, I would have to be careful because those two lower the level of friction between the tires... That's why motorcyclists sometimes fell from their motorcycle while taking a turn at sandy roads... 


Besides all that, I also have to watch out for stupid drivers... I don't understand why is it so hard for some people to give signals when they want to go to the side or turn...


July 5, 2011

Wordless




















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