July 29, 2008

《赤壁》 (2008)

Posted in Entertainment, Movie at 12:15 am by ryushin

All right… this post is long overdue >< So here it goes…

This is possibly the biggest chinese blockbuster of the year. It is a huge budget production, and lasting as long as it did, this is only part 1 of the movie. I had read both the romanticised novel and the historical annals of the Three Kingdoms, so I just really wanted to watch this to see where it stands. But the foggiest of memories and the fact that it was so long ago meant that I might not recall the events of each account (so pardon me if there are wrong info here).

First, general comments about the movie. It is not shabby, but could definitely be much better. (I dun wanna comment much on 林志玲 except that, it is… unnatural) Plot-wise, major details are kept largely in accordance to history, but there are others that were really off. Those were major elements in the story, but I know as a matter of keeping the entire story a closed loop from the start of the film to the end of wherever part 2 will end, it is neccessary to perhaps be less rigid on these points. On a sidenote, the film do not exactly glorify anyone, which is a nice touch. If anything, the emphasis is on 周瑜, which is nice. Historically, this man is one of the most talented individuals in the era.

Now for my picking the film apart, muahahaha. In the film, 2 generals, 蔡瑁 & 张允, surrendered to 曹操 after the battle at changban. Actually, they surrenderred before that, and it was a catalyst in 刘备 fleeing south to changban (because he was denied entry at xiang yang).

As for the battle of changban, 关羽 was never there. But in the film, he was making an awesome solo effort. Hahaha… But I realised it had to be there if part2 is to have something in it. This is because something which took place friggin’ long ago couldn’t be placed in the show, like 曹操 giving him the prized horse, 赤兔马 and also not blocking his attempt to return to 刘备. 赵云 was godlike in the novel. He killed at least 1 general, and escaped from being pursued and encircled by at least 5 other generals in his rescue of 刘禅. But all he walloped in the film seems to be normal infantries… Also, 刘禅 was not emphatically thrown to the ground by 刘备, an act displaying the value of 赵云 over his own son. (I would have loved to see that… but the film did not have to account for how 刘禅 would eventually turn out to be such an incompetant retarded fool.) Also, think 张飞 did not employ such a shrewd tactics like the reflective shield. Rather, what happened (in the novel) was him guarding the bridge to buy time allowing the civilians to escape. He roared so fiercely that one of 曹操’s general died of heart attack. (That would have been hilarious)

Now, moving onto 曹操. He had never met 小乔 at the point in the film. It was a petty reason to go to war… indeed… The real purpose was conquest of china. He had the imperial seal, and the emperor in his hands. Once loyal to the late Han Dynasty, crumbling state and constant bickerings of the feudal warlords made him see himself as the chosen one to reunite china.

Next! 诸葛亮. This person, as most people might know, is the single most intelligent person in the era, he who by virtue of his sheer strategic and political brillance, made the forces of 刘备 into a mighty one. He is smart in the history, but he is almost godlike in the novel. In fact, when 周瑜 is the supreme commander of the allied forces in history, the novel made 诸葛亮 steal the limelight in the battle. As for the film, I dunno yet! The important part have not featured, the actual battle of 赤壁 itself and the amazing display of 诸葛亮 in 2 preparatory events. That might not cover the entire duration of part2 me thinks, so perhaps they will feature the chase along 华容道 as well, hehe 😀 Oh yea, another thing, the 八卦阵 employed by 诸葛亮 in the film did not surface until much later, ironically, used against the forces of 孙权 (if I remember correctly).

One thing that should not be in the show though will be the intense rivalry between the 2 geniuses, 诸葛亮 & 周瑜 (novel), since there needs to be a proper closure to the show, and the antagonist here is 曹操. Though I would have loved to see 诸葛亮 thrice provoke 周瑜, leading to the eventual death of 周瑜 who had previously sustained an arrow wound. (Haha… 周瑜 did receive a wound in the film… hmm…) History wise, the 2 geniuses never even met before! Think 诸葛亮 was busy with the idea of swiftly securing Jing province after the predicted victory of the allied forces. (So that the 3 lords 曹操, 刘备 & 孙权 has a tripartite base of power that kept each in check)

Few other things stood out. 1 is the location called 赤壁, which is really flawed! Because I think the battle was named thus as a result of a wall of fire 😀 The actual location of the battle is also hotly debated, so there isn’t a fortress called 赤壁. But I guess the show had to take that, otherwise it would be hard to reference a location without a name isn’t it? Finally, when 曹操 repeatedly exclaimed why he never had such courageous and powerful generals after seeing 关羽, 张飞 & 赵云, I felt sad for the top generals that were supposed to be on his side. He was like shaming them! Figures like 曹纯, 曹仁, 曹真, 典韦, 李典, 庞德, 夏侯惇, 夏侯渊, 许褚, 徐晃, 乐进, 于禁, 张郃, 张辽. Look, that many… 曹操 doesn’t have a lack of talents.

I know I said finally just now, but FINALLY, I expect major impacts by these people in part2: 黄盖, 庞统, aside from the other big names already shown in part1.

July 25, 2008

Excel Challenge

Posted in General at 2:19 pm by ryushin

What started off as a casual remark of whether something can possibly be done in Microsoft Excel became a challenge I had to undertake. The question is… can a list of permutations of 4 digits be generated? It later evolved to, what if it is not 4 digits, but more? I had no programming background, so obviously I’m not gonna touch the macros. So I can only make do with the functions Excel contained.

And it came out, the product. Limited it was, because of the simple functions available. I can only permute 2 up to 8 digits. And the output will only be unique if all 8 digits are unique. Functional digits range from 0 to 9. And because its using idiotic functions, the need to fill up thousands upon thousands of cells meant that the file is a whooping 65.2MB huge.

I HAVE NO LIFE !!! Well… at least I now prove to myself just how far Excel can go with basic functions, something I didn’t think possible…

July 23, 2008

The Dark Knight (2008)

Posted in Entertainment, Movie at 10:08 pm by ryushin

Well well well, here I am, talking to you about possibly the best superhero flick on the big screen this year. In fact, could it have been the best thus far? Perhaps, and even for many years to come. The impact was, can I use the word, EXPLOSIVE. You know what, the worst thing ever was that I almost didn’t catch this movie. But the marketing was viral, the Ledger hype just didn’t go away, and everyone else was saying twas is a good movie. I just had to watch it myself, and man… it never disappoints. Most people should have seen the standard poster for the movie already, so I didn’t want to use that. Something else, stood out, something so sinister I cannot stand to call it a living entity. Yes, that is right… The Joker, the finest touches to an already brilliant show. Let us mourn in memory of Heath Ledger, who completely stole the show…

Some spoilers ahead… so read at your own erm… risk.

Let me start with the cast. Christian Bale ain’t a bad man for Batman. In fact, I like how he varied his voice in the costumed form. It was like a totally new persona, a different role he played, a role he cannot escape from to keep the streets of Gotham safe. But you can sense it, the loneliness deep inside, the glimpses of despair tugging at your heart like strings on a marionette. He just wants to spend the rest of his happy days with the love of his life, and being a caped crusader does not give him that freedom. The internal conflict is just one of the brilliant elements in the show.

To top it off, Batman has an arsenal of nifty gadgets at his disposal, including the impressive Batmobile. Sometimes I think it is easy to forget that Bruce Wayne is just another normal human, like you and me, devoid of any supernatural powers that define most other superheroes. It is interesting to see just how much he can do with sharp wits, acute tactical awareness, honed martial combat skills, and restricted technology.

Now, another hugely appreciable character is that of Two-Face. But this one is kind of elevated due to the strong story elements around him. What, my friend, is fairness? Is a toss of the coin the final semblance of equality? Can a person create his own luck? Perhaps, perhaps… I believe sometimes it can be done, but does our feeble human minds truly know what paths we are treading, and when we step beyond a door that will never bulge again? The only way forward could be deeper and deeper into the tunnel, with your flickering flame of hope struggling to stay aglow. Harvey Dent is a prime example. A pinnacle of justice, potential dawn of a triumphant era of peace for all Gotham. BUT… it only took a little twist. Oh… the frailty of the human mind, how cruel when the white knight falls from grace, into the deepest pit of hell when his vision and judgments are clouded by vengeance and anguish.

I know you have been waiting for this… like finally (Pretend you do). Time for The Joker. Aside from some themes in the show, what made Joker stood out was his menacing acts of defiance. He abhors law and order, but seems to have a disregard for pure chaos. Sounds like an oxymoron? Haha… but you can see it, and I saw. He embraces planned chaos, and chaotic order. His acts, so disturbing, so sadistic, at times I wonder why the show didn’t warrant a higher classification rating to shut out younger audiences. Oh well, at least they can marvel at his acting in this role, just… brilliant. The expression, the way he uses the lips and his tongue, the little hand motions, and most importantly, the sinister laughter that just sticks in my head. He brings the character to a dimension rarely seen before in villains. He just makes them look like, well… jokers.

Adding on, The Joker goes beyond the spectrum of insanity. Call what you want of this psychotic freak, but he is out to prove a point, a perturbing point that unsettle nerves. Corruption is perhaps, a thinnest veil of line between twin ends of morality. And to this end, I hold my hands up. He wins. Depending on how you see it, people are all corrupted, just how much, and in what ways. Batman is in fact, an outlaw too. Perhaps not yet to the extent of a contempt for law, but here is a masked vigilante exacting his own sense of justice.

Two things The Joker said stuck in my mind. “Why so serious?” You know, it defines his character, the embodiment of freedom and glee. Yes… he is always wearing a smile on his face, or a sadistic grin if you ask me. And finally, the most thought-provoking issue in the show to me. A chilling message The Joker said in the face of Batman… “You… complete me.” Dunno how much thoughts do people put into this, but let me just put this together with the analogy of Two-Face and his two sides of the coin. You know, there is always a positive and negative side to things. The woe here is, the existence of Batman, with his lofty sense of morals and justice, is the catalyst for the entity called The Joker.

Do not hesitate if you have not watch this movie. Packed with tons of action, dark philosophical musings and strong casts, this is a blockbuster not to be missed. A most phenomenal outlook on life. If you prefer to ignore the darker themes, just chill and enjoy the movie too. Why so serious?

July 22, 2008

The Big Plan

Posted in General, University at 6:16 pm by ryushin

Had to go to school on Monday to pay my membership fees for BGS, and decided that leaving home for that alone was kinda stupid. The fact that it was the deadline didn’t help, so what was I to do, even though I was burnt. Yes, so the next alternative is to heck care and just stay out. I found the highest collared shirt I have, a fanciful one which was meant to be worn upright so as to minimize neck exposure. And so, Jiahao had BIG plans, to tackle 2 blockbusters in 1 day. Why not? So tada! We watched The Dark Knight & Red Cliff. The semi-reviews will come, but not today… not today..

There are more important stuffs today, the bigger plan, the timetable for the upcoming semester. Yes… I don’t friggin’ know what modules to take, way too many choices, and I miss the pre-allocation given to us. The price of flexibility comes at the cost of togetherness. Its not easy… not easy… because acquaintances want to be together you see, me included. I do not want to spend more arduous long hellish hours alone trying to understand stuffs half-asleep.

Hmm, but I’m not gonna list my shortlist here. Lets just keep it a little more, low-profile, shall we? But I can say, 4 modules are “almost” guaranteed. So people… HELP!

July 20, 2008

Sunburnt

Posted in General at 10:11 pm by ryushin

Woohoo… Didn’t apply enuf sunscreen in certain parts. And now I look like a friggin’ retard. Those of you who are part of the thing already know, and those of you who are not, don’t ask. Long day indeed… Oh yea those of you webslingers, I will remember! It was, erm… salty. Anyway, we looked into the feedbacks. It’s gonna be more smashing.

On other news, I stopped my temp job already. Finally some time for me to chill. Wanna watch Chi Bi & Dark Knight. Mehz.

July 11, 2008

Hunt For Spicy Food

Posted in General at 8:48 pm by ryushin

Hmm, today went to Tiong Bahru Plaza with Peihuang, Fransisca & Jenny for lunch. We looked at the directory for some time, and settled on Beppu Menkan Japanese Noodle Restaurant. Well, because I heard from Jiahao about the chilli rating over there. I settled on a Teriyaki Chicken Ramen with 8 chilli rating. Lolz…

I can definitely feel the spice, and it is spicier than the Volcano Ramen at Ajisen. But then again, I still didn’t need to drink. Wahaha… dunno why, I am admiring myself as one of the endangered breeds in our tiny nation left. One day I must try out the famous spicy buffalo wings at ermz, wherever it is. But I need to gather enough chilli gods in my circle of friends. Until then…

July 7, 2008

Hancock (2008)

Posted in Entertainment, Movie at 10:25 pm by ryushin

What happens when a hero is misunderstood? What happens when a hero cannot express himself? What happens when a hero is trapped in his own solitary mental prison?

Here is your typical anti-hero, Hancock, whose latest choice of residence happens to be Los Angeles. John Hancock doesn’t know his history, but he possesses vast superpowers, which he used to save many lives in the city. The catch is, the manner of his actions never fail to cause widespread property damage, and he exacts his own version of justice, which can be warped and twisted. He has this habit of threatening to shove people’s head up the ass of other people, and man… when it did really happen, it was kinda hilarious. His style of entrance and exit is often, unwelcoming as well, leaving behind debris and destruction.

On this fateful day it happened again. He saved the life of a public relations consultant. While he could have done it another way, his method caused an entire train to be derailed and stopped dead in its tracks, with some carriages toppling. Not a very nice outcome eh? And so this PR guy attempted to change Hancock’s public image for the better.

The beginning of the film had much promise, but it started to taper off towards the end, coupled with some twists which were really uncalled for. It also seems rather rushed at the end. Either that, or I had a niggling feeling that it jumped around too fast. It ended up being just another superhero movie. It wasn’t too bland though, the idea was there, the inner complexity of the superhero, but the transition wasn’t very smooth. On other notes, there are a few comedic moments in the show which really tickled my bones. To that, GOOD JOB!

One gripe I have is some minor details that were really unaccounted for, which you can call illogicality. I’m sure the seasoned pros will be able to come up with more than I noticed, so I didn’t bother to list down any. I won’t highly recommend, nor dissuade anyone from this movie. Its worth lie in the eyes of the beholder.

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