Monday, December 31, 2007

Mr Woodcock (2007)

John Farley (played by Seann William Scott), a successful young author of a best–selling self–help book about letting go of the past, violates his own advice when he returns to his hometown to receive the community's highest honour.

John learns that his widowed mother, Beverly, portrayed by Susan Sarandon, is engaged to be married to none other than Mr. Woodcock (Billy Bob Thornton), the gym teacher whose sadistic exploits were the bane of John's youth. Abetted by his nerdy old pal, Nedderman, John plots to break–up the relationship. But their well–laid plans go awry.

A forgettable, badly scripted film. I probably chuckled like twice, but overall, it is neither hilarious nor touching.

Rating: 1/5.

I Am Legend (2007)

Years after a plague kills most of humanity and transforms the rest into monsters, the sole survivor in New York City struggles valiantly to find a cure.

This is easily one of the most ridiculous films I had ever seen, and the most boring character played by Will Smith. Completely pointless and a wasted effort.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Works of Art

The living and dining area

The living room

The neat, white kitchen with an island in the middle. That's Tiffany light hanging above the island.

The dining area and kitchen

Pretty in white

Orchids and shelves

One of the chandeliers

The living room

The spacious kitchen and storage

These shots were captured at a friend's chic new apartment in the capital city of Malaysia. My friend designed the apartment herself. What do you think?

Friday, December 14, 2007

No Reservations (2007)

A synopsis from the official site of No Reservations:

Master chef Kate Armstrong (Academy Award winner Catherine Zeta–Jones) lives her life like she runs her kitchen at a trendy Manhattan eatery with a no–nonsense intensity that both captivates and intimidates everyone around her. Kate's perfectionist nature is put to the test when she "inherits" her nine–year–old niece Zoe (Abigail Breslin), while contending with a brash new sous–chef who joins her staff. High–spirited and freewheeling, Nick Palmer (Aaron Eckhart) couldn't be more different from Kate, yet the chemistry between them is undeniable. Rivalry becomes romance, but Kate will have to learn to express herself beyond the realm of her kitchen if she wants to connect with Zoe and find true happiness with Nick.

This is a remake of the German film Mostly Martha (2001). It has the potential of a great feel good love story, but unfortunately, is ordinary and predictable. It could have been a lot better with more depth of characters. The food looks good, though, and I love the official site.

Rating: 2/5.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

Woman. Warrior. Queen. That's Queen Elizabeth.

Reprising the roles they played in Elizabeth, Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush return for a gripping historical thriller laced with treachery and romance. Clive Owen plays Sir Walter Raleigh, a dashing seafarer and newfound temptation for Elizabeth.

Elizabeth: The Golden Age finds Queen Elizabeth I facing bloodlust for her throne and familial betrayal. Growing keenly aware of the changing religious and political tides of late 16th century Europe, Elizabeth finds her rule openly challenged by the Spanish King Philip II (Jordi Moll
a) with his powerful army and seadominating armada determined to restore England to Catholicism.

Read so much about this supposedly great, terrific film. I am not impressed.

Rating: 1/5.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Skincare for Sensitive Skin

Finding a skincare product or brand that suits your skin may be a lifelong quest, more so if you have sensitive skin. My facial skin is sensitive although the skin on the rest of my body isn't. The identified irritants are dust, dirt and cosmetics, particularly foundation, concealer and blusher. These irritants usually cause acne.

I am a big fan of toiletries, so I do spend a lot of time reading on skincare and bodycare sometimes as well as going toiletry shopping, more so than shopping for clothes. Used to buy monthly women's magazines for the useful articles and to keep myself updated on the latest skincare products in the market.

I have used a number of toiletry brands over the years, from cheap to steep
St. Ives, L'or
éal, Nivea, Boots, Johnson & Johnson, Lancôme, Origins and La Mer. Started using gentle, noncomodegenic (won't clog pores), alcoholfree, perfumefree, soapfree, waterbased products only even before discovering the condition of my facial skin. I remain a loyal customer of Simple ( and L'OCCITANE en Provence ( You don't want to know how much I splurged at L'OCCITANE!

A male friend recommended Eucerin, a medical/dermatological skincare brand, a few years ago, but I was doubtful then. Came across Eucerin again recently after a local female TV host who has eczema mentioned on screen that she started using Eucerin 3 years ago and had never looked back since.

Needless to say, I needed to feed my curiosity. Logged on to and spent a great deal of time reading about our skin and skincare. I must say, of all the skincare websites I had visited over the years, I was most impressed with Eucerin's. It is by far the most informative. After learning that the brand has over 100 years of experience in dermatological skincare, I was convinced. I recalled a dermatologist friend mentioning Eucerin in a conversation.

I am careful with purchasing a new skincare product especially as I had chickenpox recently. Ran out of my L'OCCITANE en Provence's Almond Apple Velvet Concentrate, a moisturiser. As L'OCCITANE products aren't available in my hometown, I bought Eucerin's Hydro
Protect Hydrating & Protecting Fluid SPF15 with AGR and pure vitamin E. Started using it 14 days after the onset of my chickenpox and I am pleased with the results so far. It does its job well without leaving a hole in my pocket. Felt the difference in less than 48 hours and my skin had never looked better since the chickenpox. Can't wait for the spots to disappear soon! Thank you, Eucerin.

Other good brands for sensitive skin are Eubos ( and Sebamed (, but I am happy with Eucerin. I can foresee that I will turn into a loyal customer soon.

Now, I must point out that I am not paid to write this entry. Merely sharing my experience in my quest for a suitable skincare as this is a subject close to my heart.

What about you? What skincare or bodycare brands do you use? Do share. I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Stardust (2007)

This is a fantasy film based on a novel by Neil Gaiman. In a countryside town named Wall bordering on a magical land called Stormhold, a young man makes a promise to his beloved that he will retrieve a fallen star by venturing into the magical realm.

Cast include Charlie Cox, Claire Danes, Robert De Niro, Peter O'Toole, David Kelly, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sienna Miller, Rupert Everett, Nathaniel Parker, Mark Heap and Sir Ian McKellen as the narrator.

Good special effects, but not quite magical. Robert De Niro is hilarious as Captain Shakespeare, a flamboyant cross–dresser, who travels on a flying pirate ship. Charlie Cox does well as Tristan Thorne, the young hero, and so does Michelle Pfeiffer as Lamia the witch, but I think they could have casted a better actor to play the star, Yvaine, rather than Claire Danes.

Rating: 2/5.

Monday, October 29, 2007

North Country (2005)

Based on the case Jenson versus Eveleth Taconite Co., brought by Lois Jenson, Charlize Theron stars as Josey Aimes, a female worker at a mining company who is sexually harassed and leads a class–action lawsuit against her employer for failing to protect her and other female employees.

I wasn't moved with Titanic, but this film did move me. I wish there were more on
thejob scenes, though.

Rating: 2/5.

Red Dragon (2002)

A retired FBI agent with psychological gifts is assigned to help track down "The Tooth Fairy", a mysterious serial killer; aiding him is his imprisoned, arch–nemesis Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter.

I wonder if Ralph Fiennes secured Tom Marvolo Riddle a.k.a Lord Voldemort's role in the Harry Potter films due to his performance in this film. He looks creepy as Francis Dolarhyde and Edward Norton looks weird as a blonde. Sir Anthony Hopkins reprises his role as Hannibal Lecter.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Next (2007)

Academy Award® winner Nicholas 'Cage' Coppola stars as Cris 'Frank Cadillac' Johnson, a Las Vegas magician who can see into the future. He is pursued by FBI agents seeking to use his abilities to prevent a nuclear terrorist attack. Co–starring Academy Award® nominee Julianne Moore and Jessica Biel.

Written by Gary Oldman and Jonathan Hensleigh, the film has a few twists and is entertaining to a certain extent, but (spoiler alert!) has an abrupt ending. There is no clear explanation for some of the plot elements; the main one being the motivation of the terrorists. Julianne Moore gave a strong performance as tough cookie, don't–mess–with–me Agent Callie Ferris.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Identity (2003)

Strangers from all walks of life: a limo driver (John Cusack) escorting an 80's movie star (Rebecca de Mornay), parents with a young son, a cop (Ray Liotta) transporting a convict (Jake Busey), a prostitute (Amanda Peet), newlyweds (Clea Duvall and William Lee Scott) are caught up in a nasty rainstorm, stuck at a motel in desolate Nevada, run by a nervous manager (John Hawkes). Soon they realise they may be at the motel for another reason when they're being killed off one by one. As tensions flare and fingers are pointed, they have to get to the bottom of why they're there. Meanwhile in an undisclosed location, a psychiatrist is trying to prove the innocence of a man accused of murder in an eleventh hour trial. Directed by James Mangold from Girl, Interrupted.

The film starts off as a classic "whodunnit", then flips and twists many times.

Rating: 2/5.

Four (2002)

Set in 1884 Sudan, this adaptation from the A.E.W. Mason novel tells the story of a British officer who resigns from his post just before battle and subsequently receives four white feathers from his friends and fiancee as symbols of what they believe to be his cowardice. Little do they know he's actually going undercover and plans to redeem his honour. Starring Heath Ledger, Kate Hudson, Djimon Hounsou and Wes Bentley.

Slow, draggy, dark lighting. To sum up it all in one word: boring! Djimon Hounsou stood out in this film, though.

Rating: 1/5.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

A sequel to The Bourne Supremacy and the third film of the Bourne Trilogy, Matt Damon reprises his role as amnesiac, trained CIA assassin Jason Bourne.

Bourne is once again brought out of hiding, this time inadvertently by London-based journalist Simon Ross (Paddy Considine), trying to unveil Operation Blackbriar, an upgrade to Operation Treadstone, in a series of newspaper columns. Bourne sets up a meeting with Ross and realises instantly they're being scanned. Information from Ross stirs a new set of memories, and Bourne must finally, ultimately, uncover his dark past whilst dodging CIA's best efforts in eradicating him. Bourne has been on the run for 3 years and this time, it ends.

The best action film I watched this year. A neatly crafted plot, good mixture of action and suspense, and fine closure. Enjoyed the chasing and fighting scenes in Tangier. Don't miss it!

Rating: 3/5.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Apocalypto (2006)

Opening quote: "A great civilisation is not conquered from without until it is destroyed from within.” — W. Durant

Set in the Mayan civilisation, a peaceful tribe is brutally attacked by warriors on the rulers' command seeking human beings and slaves as sacrifices for their gods. Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood), a young man captured for sacrifice, flees to avoid his fate.

The fighting scenes and massacre are pretty graphic, although not as disturbing as the torture in The Passion of the Christ. I would like to think that the glimpses this film provides of Mayan civilisation are in meticulous detail, although I expected to see more and less of the boring 'running through the forest' scenes. The scenes of captured villagers running around in blue body paint reminds me of William Wallace in Braveheart. Gibson casted actors with little or no experience at all, but they are quite good. The whole film is in an ancient Mayan language (with easy–to–follow English subtitles), which lends an air of authenticity to the happenings.

Rating: 2/5.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Shooter (2007)

Based on the novel, Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter, this is a story of a former Marine scout marksman, Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg), who is coaxed back into action after learning of a plot to kill the US President. Ultimately double–crossed and framed for the attempt, he goes on the run to track the real killer and find out who exactly set him up, and why. Co–stars include Danny Glover, Ned Beatty and Michael Peña (Babel, Million Dollar Baby).

It has been a while since I saw a good action film. The last ones were Casino Royale, The Bourne series and The Italian Job (remake). This one makes the cut as well, but I wouldn't say it's as equally good as The Bourne series. Mark Wahlberg is a fine actor. I wonder if he could perform in a romantic comedy?

Rating: 2.5/5.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

A struggling salesman, Chris Gardner (Will Smith) takes custody of his son, Christopher (Jaden Christopher Syre Smith) as he's poised to begin a life–changing professional endeavour.

Based on a true story. Inspiring. The message is simple: never give up, keep trying until you achieve your dream. The spelling mistake in the title ('happyness' instead of 'happiness') is deliberate. You'll understand why when you watch the film.

Rating: 2/5.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Walk The Line (2005)

A story about the life of Johnny Cash, from his younger days to becoming a country music legend.

I'm not really into biography/memoirs, and not a Johnny Cash fan. Only watched it because Reese Witherspoon won an Oscar for Best Actress for her portrayal of June Carter, who toured with Cash and finally married him. Reese and Joaquin Phoenix prove themselves to be able singers. I enjoyed Joaquin's solid performance in Ladder 49, which is one of my favourite films.

Rating: 1.5/5.

The Omen (2006)

A remake of the 1976 horror classic, The Omen. An American diplomat realised that his son may be the son of the devil.

It isn't a bad film, but it nearly pales in comparison to the original. I remember feeling disturbed after watching the original many years back. Liev Schreiber is a fine actor, but he's no Gregory Peck. The musical score in the remake doesn't sound as bone–chilling as the original. The dreams that the lead characters had carry creepy images without any sound effects. Still, the remake isn't 'evil' enough unlike the original.

Some interesting facts about the making of The Omen as published on and Omen (2006).

Curse (1976)

In 2005 a documentary entitled "The Curse of The Omen" was shown on British television. The production of The Omen was plagued with a series of incidents which some members of the crew attributed to the operation of a curse. They wondered if these events were due to supernatural forces trying to prevent the filming of the movie. Instances include the following:
  • Scriptwriter David Seltzer's plane was struck by lightning.
  • Star Gregory Peck, in a separate incident, had his plane struck by lightning.
  • Richard Donner's hotel was bombed by the Provisional IRA.
  • Gregory Peck cancelled his reservation on a flight. The plane he had originally chartered crashed, killing all on board (a group of Japanese businessmen).
  • A warden at the safari park used in the "crazy baboon" scene was attacked and killed by a lion the day after the crew left.
  • Rottweilers hired for the film attacked their trainers.
  • On the first day of shooting, the principal members of the crew got in a head-on car crash.
Curse (2006)
  • In a strange event, Pete Postlethwaite (Father Brennan) not only lost his brother while he was filming the movie, but before he passed, his brother was in a card game in which he drew three sixes. Postlethwaite is reluctant to put together a connection, but adds "I think things like that do happen and it's just sometimes we're not sensitised enough to see the problem."
Other facts
  • Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles had earlier starred together in a contemporary update of Shakespeare's Hamlet. They play brother and sister in Hamlet, and husband and wife in The Omen, ironically, their characters in both films die and die in the same fashion. Both of Schreiber's characters are shot dead, and both of Stiles' characters die from a form of suffocation.
  • David Thawlis who plays the photojournalist, Keith Jennings, also plays Professor Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter series, along with Sir Michael Gambon, who plays Bugenhagen in this film, and Professor Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter.

Rating: 2.5/5.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Perfect Stranger (2007)

A journalist, Rowena Price (Halle Berry) goes undercover to investigate the unsolved murder of one of her childhood friends. Co–stars include Bruce Willis, Giovanni Ribisi and Gary Dourdan (Warrick Brown of CSI).

A complete waste of time. I wonder why did they bother to make this film in the first place? You won't even remember watching this after like, a month. Glad I didn't waste my money by paying for a movie ticket. Can't wait for The Bourne Ultimatum!

Rating: 1/5.

Die Hard 4: Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) takes on an internet–based terrorist organisation who is systematically shutting down the United States.

Watched this on DVD. I'm not a fan of Bruce Willis, but it seems like he's still the man, although the action and suspense have worn off after three Die Hard films.

Rating: 2/5.

The Last Time (2006)

A salesman, Ted (Michael Keaton) rediscovers a lust for life after falling for Belisa (Amber Valetta), the fiancée of his new business partner, Jamie (Brendan Fraser), a Midwest transplant finding his footing in New York City.

Another major flop. Enough said.

Rating: 0.5/5.

Must Love Dogs (2005)

I have extra time to spare, so am indulging in a movie marathon again. Watched 4 movies on DVD in less than 2 days, and I've got more to catch.

In Must Love Dogs, Sarah Nolan (Diane Lane), a divorced pre–school teacher who has sworn off dating after her bad break–up, finds her family pushing her back into the dating world. Her sister places a personal ad for her, declaring that anyone answering it "must love dogs", despite the fact that Sarah doesn't own a dog herself. When someone intriguing responds to the ad, she decides to borrow her brother's dog, Mother Theresa, and plunge in.

The film benefits from having a talented cast inclusive of John Cusack, Christopher Plummer and Dermot Mulroney, but it has flaws and lacks that warm feeling when you watch a romantic comedy unlike The Holiday starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black.

Rating: 2/5.

Call Me Irresponsible (Michael Bublé)

Love this new CD album from Micheal Steven Bublé. I can't get Everything out of my head! After watching the video clip featuring Whoopi Goldberg and Sting, and listening to the song on TV for a few weeks, I just had to get it. It's jazz meets swing meets broadway meets pop. Bublé wrote 2 new songs, Everything and Lost. There's a duet with Boyz II Men. There are some renewed tracks such as Me and Mrs Jones, Wonderful Tonight, Always On My Mind and Love.

Rating: 3/5.