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Category: 2008

KV’s Picks for 2008

Quickie: Paramore is featured in CSI Las Vegas, Episode 9 of Season 9!

It’s that time of the year again! The time to reflect on the ups & downs & rights & lefts of the past 12 months, while looking forward to, & taking advantage of, the start of an incoming new year to make inconcrete resolutions in the hope of prematurely reducing our hopeless guilt. Well, this bloke here is immersed in a current mood to come up with completely biased lists to summon up the best of what the year has offered from the entertainment scene. Of course I’m no insider when it comes to the La-la Land industry, so do kindly receive this as something coming from an average everyday dude that just happens to enjoy indulging in movies, music, idiot-box-offerings, & of course (just like any other hot-blooded male species) mighty hot women. Let us not deprive ourselves further of this pleasure, let’s roll out my list of heavily-biased favourite picks from whatever I have seen, listened, enjoyed & been repulsed by for the year 2008.

FILM

Movies of the Year: The Dark Knight, Juno & Iron Man

Movies of the year

These 3 (in a particular order) sprang into mind without even the slightest of hesitation. The Dark Knight boasted a great cast performance & an even impossibly greater plot, Juno was the surprise of the year with its cleverly witty take on teenage pregnancy, & Iron Man was supremely satisfying.

Edge-of-your-seat Action Movie: Cloverfield

Action

Love it, or hate it. I don’t care how many people across the globe puked while watching this, because my 2 times in the cinema in the shaky hands of Hud were easily the most mind-blowing, cardiac-arrest-inducing, ball-busting sessions I had this year.

Romance Movie: Definitely, Maybe

Romance

With supremely hot gorgeous leading ladies & a darling Abigail Breslin, not even a wimpy Ryan Reynolds could dampen this sweet warm tale narrated with a clever twist.

Comedic Movies: Charlie Wilson’s War, Tropic Thunder & Be Kind Rewind

Comedy

Since I’ve already mentioned Juno in an earlier category, these 3 stood out most. Charlie Wilson’s War delighted in its light-heart political storyline enthused by hilarious dialogues, it was fun to see the stars making a fool of themselves in Tropic Thunder, & Be Kind Rewind was an amusingly heart-warming ride all the way.

Saddest Cry-your-heart-out Movie: Grace Is Gone

Sad

The performance of his life from John Cusack along with an impressive Shélan O’Keefe. This movie’s poignant beauty will stay with you for a long, long time.

Animation Movie: WALL-E

Animation

Unique, richly entertaining, touching & big-hearted, along with glorious detailed animations, WALL-E rises above the rest to end up as an animation masterpiece. Everybody together now, Eeevvveee-aaaahh.

Musical Movie: Once

Once

I quote: “Captures the rare chemistry & unforced artistry of two people finding music as well as personal harmony together & we are lucky enough to be there to watch it.” Couldn’t have summed this untraditional musical up better.

Most Over-hyped Movie: Twilight

Over-hyped

So-so movie with sizzling chemistry from the leads but horribly laughable special effects.

Most Under-rated Movie: Traitor

Under-rated

A well-paced & extremely complex thriller that leaves viewers with a subjective but realistic afterthought.

Biggest Disappointment Movie: The X-Files: I Want To Believe

Disappointment

The only positive thing about this anti-climatic pancit-ter is seeing Mulder & Scully together onscreen again, making us believe that their legacy (& only that) lives on.

Most Impressive Performance in a Movie: Amy Adams

Impressive

Adams was the perfect choice for Giselle in Enchanted, & gave her trademark cheerful, sunny, all-round performance that probably saved the entire movie. No easy feat to make a real-life Disney princess convincing!

Hottest Movie Chicks: Anne Hathaway (Agent 99, Get Smart), Camila Belle (Evolet, 10,000 BC) & Mila Kunis (Rachel Jansen, Forgetting Sarah Marshall)

122

A super-hot super-agent, blue eyes to kill, & a very sexy raspy voice.

Film Soundtrack: The Dark Knight, Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard

Soundtrack

Simply stunning, gloriously dark & really, quite spectacular.

Song from a Movie: “Falling Slowly” from Once, Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová

Falling Slowly

It was beautiful from the moment they sang in the movie first time, & for its simple melody with powerful raw emotion, it sure deserved the Oscar it won.

TELEVISION

Series of the Year: Bones

Series

Very enjoyable, & a great relief sometimes when you don’t have to strain your brain too much while watching a series. The strength lies in the chemistry & performance of the 2 leads, Booth & Brennan, as well as a very entertaining supporting cast.

Most Disappointing Series: Heroes Season 3

Jamban series

The story is going down the jamban, & almost every character (especially Suresh, Hiro & Claire) are getting seriously annoying.

Hottest TV Characters: Lily van der Woodsen (Gossip Girl) & Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Bones)

Lily & Bones

1 hot mama who is hotter than her hot daughter, & 1 hot female  forensic anthropologist who is obsessed with skeletal remains. Whoa.

MUSIC

Single of the Year: “That’s What You Get”, Paramore

Single

I can’t stop playing this song! Lo-o-ove it!

Album of the Year: Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends, Coldplay

Album

Some fresh & more muscular musical arrangements but still with a little of the old Coldplay shine soaring through those anthemic stadium-rock rhythms make this album an undisputed winner.

Video of the Year: “Hallelujah”, Paramore

Video

I told you this list was biased, *grin*. But seriously, this is the perfect Paramore video, furiously interweaving various live & behind-the-scenes clips of the band doing what they do best, performing live.

Surprising Hey-that’s-pretty-darn-good Songs: “Stay”, Estrella & “Gravity”, Sara Bareilles

Surprise!

Estrella deserves their radio success, “Stay” is catchy & simply brilliant (a big hurrah for local music!), & Bareilles’ vocals & musical astuteness shine through in that last track of her album.

Favourite Live Concerts on DVD: Hillsong Live – Saviour King, Avril Lavigne – Live from the Roxy Theatre, &  freaking anything from Paramore live

Live

Brooke Fraser is spectacular in Saviour King Live, Avril was surprisingly good in her subtle Roxy Theatre acoustic concert, & all I want for Christmas is The Final Riot! DVD from Paramore.

Favourite New Artists: Katy Perry & Kate Nash

New Artist

Katy Perry’s flair & confidence blazes through her sassy & feisty songs, while Kate Nash deserves her skyrocketing success for her exuberant & refreshing beats, charming melodies & that cockney accent.

Over-rated Artists: The Jonas Brothers

The Jonases

I can’t stand their vocals. Enough! I give up.

Most Played Songs on My iTunes: A tie between “Live Your Life”, T.I. feat. Rihanna & “Decode”, Paramore

Most Played

The official count recorded on iTunes is 48 each. Rihanna’s vocals give that extra oomph to “Live Your Life”, & Paramore, with incredibly outstanding vocals from Hayley, has written a soundtrack song that Twilight is unworthy of.

Most Annoying Replays on Radio: “Soulja Boy”, Crank Dat & “Bubbly”, Colbie Caillat

I don't wanna hear this crap again

All those damned “Ohhhhhh!”s from “Soulja Boy” just make me wanna crash my car, & frankly, anything from the ridiculously sugary Caillat is getting on my nerves.

& FINALLY…

Women of the Year: Hayley Nichole Williams & Zooey Claire Deschanel

Hayley & Zooey

Yes, I made up this last category for pointless fun. Let’s face it, it is Hayley’s awesome vocals & her bubbly & energetic personality (oh, her flaming hair too) that give Paramore that extra edge, making her an awesome lead vocalist without completely overshadowing her band-mates, instead sharing with them excellent musical & onstage chemistry. Zooey, whom I love for her endearing deadpan onscreen acting & slightly eccentric fashion sense, continues to display her soaring talent through the debut album of She & Him, lending her distinctively charming voice as one half of the duo, that same voice some of us fell in love with in the movie Elf. & really, could you resist those pair of eyes?

Thus come to an end this list, that really serves to please the author himself only, & the year 2008, which began with our former Health Minister ejaculating in humping in a DVD & ending with our Prime Minister announcing his  scheduled premature ejection retirement from the government of this country in 2009. Cheery new year everyone!

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Blimey, A Tag!

Pak polis dah beli Lancer Evo so they can catch up with criminals. Now they can be bribed faster than you can say “Settle berape?”!

What the heck, I’m responding to a tag! Courtesy of Emo. Actually, I did not plan to publish this, but then this sucker who calls himself Joshua dared to me do it, so here it is. Breaking the habit indeed. People, this is a temporary departure from what is normally expected of KV’s standards, so I hope you’d all forgive me. Bullshit ahead; you have been warned.

1. How old are you?
Agak-agak around 22 years, 10 months & 20 days old.

2. Are you single?
Nay, am plural.

3. In what age do you think you’ll get married?
Hm. Before my billions of Michael Phelps’es start reducing I hope.

4. Do you think you’ll be marrying the person you are with now?
When I was a kid, I was with Beauty from Beauty & the Beast. 10 years ago I was with Liv Tyler. 5 years back I was with Jessica Alba, while juggling affairs with Avril Lavigne & Kristin Kreuk. A year ago I was with Hayley Williams, until I met & had a fling with Mila Kunis. I’m back with Hayley, but does it look like I’m gonna marry the person I am with now when I don’t even know who I will be with tomorrow?

5. If not, who do you want to marry?
Hayley Williams. Just to see the look on Joshua’s face.

6. Do you want a garden/beach or traditional wedding?
Bitch wed…I mean beach wedding. Wait a sec. The beaches here stink. Garden. Definitely garden!

7. Your ideal motive?
To make love. No wait, just the love. Big difference eh?

8. Where do you plan to go on a honeymoon?
Paris…Switz…& anywhere else she wants to go.

9. How many guests do you think you will invite?
Jessica, Jessica, Avril, Liv, Mila, Jennifer, Jennifer, Keira…a couple more perhaps.

10. Do you want an extravagant or simple wedding?
A wedding is never simple, even when it’s meant to be one.

11. Do you want the traditional vows or something you’d make up on your own?
Of course something I’d crap on my own!

12. How many layers of cake do you want?
There’s cake? Can’t I have a big-ass Cinnabon or Roti Boy instead…

13. Do you prefer having your reception at a hotel or simple place?
The hotel is going to be for what’s gonna happen after the wedding…at night.

14. When do you want to get married, morning or evening?
The eve to the ning.

15. You’d rather have your reception outdoors or indoors?
Tengoklah forecast hujan ke tak…

16. Do you like a grand entrance for your groom?
Uh, I’d be more concerned about the fact that I’m marrying a groom.

17. Name the song/tune you’d want to play in your wedding.
The entire soundtrack of “Pride & Prejudice” by Dario Marianelli. & special vocal performances by Hayley herself, & guest appearances by Mindy Smith, Brooke Fraser & Lisa Hannigan.

18. Are u a morning person or a night person?
I am Kevin by day & Wong Loug Sung by night!

19. Do you want a solemn ceremony or a light one?
Light & sweet.

20. Describe your ideal husband/wife.
Her last name should be Williams & her first name should be Hayley.

21. Do you prefer fine dining or just the normal fork&spoon/knife?
Fine dining also requires fork, spoon & knife.

22. Champagne or red wine?
Everything. On the rocks.

23. Honeymoon right after the wedding or days after the wedding?
Up to her loh…

24. Money or household items?
Depends. If anyone wants to get me a 70-inch plasma flatscreen & a Bose sound system, feel free to do so.

25. Who will pay for the bills?
Hah! This one ah, you ask the chicks, they sure say share share la, but everyone knows what will really happen!

26. Are you ready for a married life?
I’m afraid of that disease Russell Peters mentioned; Onegina.

27. Do you think you will still be a virgin until you get married?
Hey, someone told me no one is a virgin coz life f**ks us up!

28. Will you always be true to your wife/husband?
Wife slash husband? A wife can’t be a husband at the same time, especially in bed.

29. How many kids would you like to have?
Wait I ask. Angelina, how many more kids would you want?

30. A new house for a newly wed or an old one?
An old…Victorian mansion in Europe…

31. What kind of cuisine would you like for your wedding?
When it comes to food, she da boss.

32. Will you record your honeymoon in a CD or DVD?
Have you not learned anything from the Pamela Anderson-Tommy Lee episode? Oh wait, you’re not talking about that kinda honeymoon…

33. Whose wedding plan would you like to know next?
Joshua, now that I’ve taken Hayley. What’s your plan B? Wahahahhaa, sucker.

This is what happens when I’ve stayed too long in Mentakab during holidays…

Chemistry!

Heyo, it has been some time since I actually reviewed anything in particular. Anyway, I was just watching the latest episode of Bones on my laptop, & during this particular tender moment between the 2 leads the thought of writing about “Chemistry!” blazed through my ears into my brain. By chemistry, I mean that invisible but sizzling spark & connection (be it love or hate) between characters in any ways on the big screen or the idiot box that we just love to watch & tune into week by week, that unmistakable but inexplainable force that just seems to be ever present between 2 or more characters in a show (or any other similar presentation) that blows off light bulbs, sends tingling sensations down your spine, warms your heart to bits & at times, will “menaikkan your bulu roma”, sometimes becoming the only reason to watch the show. So, armed with plenty of time back at home during these holidays, here is a round-up of my favourites for on-screen chemistry from the top of my head, coming from whatever that I have watched & come across so far, in any random aspects & categories (not just romantically or sexually-lah).

:: Noah Calhoun & Allie Hamilton from The Notebook ::

Ryan Gosling & Rachel McAdams

Noah & Allie

The 2nd couple that flew into mind (after the X-Files leads), Gosling & McAdams (who became real lovebirds later, then broke-up) brought Noah & Allie’s magnificent story to life in the most moving of ways. McAdams in particular gave Allie that extra burst of enigmatic energy & spunk, & together with Noah’s average-Joe-with-a-big-heart, became the leads of easily 1 of the most heartwarming, gushy, cheesy & beautiful romance story ever brought to the big screen. Tissues, please.

:: Tony Stark & Pepper Potts from Iron Man ::

Robert Downey Jr. & Gwyneth Paltrow

Tony & Pepper

This was the only thing Iron Man had that was missing from all other superhero movies – serious sexual tension & chemistry between the hero & the female lead. Everyone knows how well Downey Jr. fitted into Stark’s shoes, & boy did Paltrow look mighty fine as Stark’s most trusted aide. Every scene having these 2 together gave me serious goose bumps, from Pepper welcoming Stark back at the air base, to the ever endearing “heart”-replacement scene.

:: Danny Ocean & Rusty Ryan from Ocean’s 11, 12 & 13 ::

George Clooney & Brad Pitt

Danny & Rusty

Clooney has great charisma, Pitt is smooth all the way. They finish each other’s lines, know each other’s thoughts & moves, & their banters were extremely smart & witty. But what’s best is both did not try to hog all the glory; resulting in both being very slick leads without taking away the entire “Ocean’s” ensemble feel of the movie. Suffice to say these 2 are the coolest duo in the list. Man that laughing scene in Ocean’s Twelve still leaves me in stitches.

:: Bella Swan & Edward Cullen from Twilight ::

Kristen Stewart & Robert Pattinson

Bella & Edward

I probably added this because I just watched the movie recently, which was so-so & rather bland (but with some excruciatingly horrible special effects & camera work), but seriously I could not deny the burning blaze Bella & Edward had for each other. Nothing better but to pair an awkward quiet teen (played perfectly by the most expressionless actress ever, Kristen Stewart) & a very beautiful male “vegetarian” vampire (Pattinson was brilliant by the way) together for a little romancing, eh?

:: Kale & Ronnie from Disturbia ::

Shia LaBeouf & Aaron Yoo

Kale & Ronnie

I do not know why these 2 dudes came to mind, but when I recalled why Disturbia was such an entertaining thriller, 1 of the main factors I reasoned out was the hilarious antics & friendship of Kale & Ronnie (what a great comedic turn from Yoo!). Pop in a hot chick in between & tadaaa~, the movie went on to become a surprise hit.

:: Michael Clayton & Karen Crowder from Michael Clayton ::

George Clooney & Tilda Swinton

Michael & Karen

Damn was this Oscar-winning film a thriller. Clooney is excellent as a “fixer” & Swinton gave an intensely edgy performance as a desperate corporate attorney, & it was satisfyingly stunning to watch how Clooney verbally walloped Swinton’s ass in that final climatic scene.

:: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley & Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter movies ::

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint & Emma Watson

Potter

Say whatever you want about the Potter movies, it does not change the fact that the 3 leads have done an amazing job in bringing Harry, Ron & Hermione to life. We love to see them together, & we’ve seen them grow from kiddie cuties to mature blokes & a hottie (& a much more convincing & improving Radcliffe). Comparing especially to the irritating Narnia kids, this trio certainly are a joy to watch.

:: Fox Mulder & Dana Scully from The X-Files ::

David Duchovny & Gillian Anderson

Mulder & Scully

Do I even need to elaborate? We all knew this was going to be included in every “on-screen chemistry” list, & deservingly, Mulder & Scully is the mother of all couples in a TV series, ever & ever & ever & ever after, & a perfect example of a believer against a skeptic. Romantic or platonic? We all know, but I guess the truth is still out there. & yeah, seeing Mulder & Scully together again was the only positive thing out of the dull latest movie, The X-Files: I Want To Believe.

:: Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan & Seeley Booth from Bones ::

Emily Deschanel & David Boreanaz

Bones & Booth

The best since Mulder-Scully & my favourite duo at the moment, this is another classic example of 2 clashing egos having a ridiculously strong sexual tension & electrifying chemistry. Deschanel is extremely convincing as the lonely & cynical anthropologist, & pairing her with the comedic & charming Booth made this otherwise-quite-generic crime series 1 of my most loved series. & the 2 certainly are getting more & more comfortable with each other…more please! Oh, the rest of the cast are not too bad either, especially the brilliant & quirky squints in Zack & Hodgins.

:: Blair Waldorf & Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl ::

Leighton Meester & Ed Westwick

Chuck & Blair

For many of the women (& men too), Chuck Bass is the only reason why Gossip Girl is worth watching. & really, could we ever get enough of the slick & manipulative games Blair & Chuck play, whether on others or on each other? We know they love each other, & the sexual attraction between them is scorching hot. Oh yes, we know we love them too.

:: Lorelai & Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls ::

Lauren Graham & Alexis Bledel

Gilmores

They are the perfect mother-daughter team, the mother the lively bubbly one & the daughter the more mature & often rational one. These 2 were inseparable, Bledel & Graham even looked dazzlingly alike! So what if this was a chick film, I’m still having a hard time getting over the anguish felt over the ending of this series. No more bullet-speed interchanges of dialogues, witty & sarcastic banter, no more Friday night dinners…

:: Clark Kent & Lana Lang from Smallville Season 1-3 ::

Tom Welling & Kristin Kreuk

Clark & Lana

I’ve stopped regularly watching Smallville at Season 4 (despite a refreshing introduction of a voluptuous Erica Durance as Lois Lane). Frankly Smallville always had ridiculous plots, but who could resist the intense love & chemistry of Clark & the gorgeous Lana in the first few seasons? Disappointingly Lana has morphed into a horrible character in the later seasons, & though now Clark & Lois have some real spark going on, the glowing & unspoken love Clark & Lana had in Season 1 & 2 remained most memorable.

:: Jack Shepard & Kate Austen from Lost ::

Matthew Fox & Evangeline Lilly

Jack & Kate

Though these 2 started off really well, this is another case of “will they bloody ever get together?”. It is however saddening to see Kate turning from the hottest criminal fugitive ever to a rather confused slut, but still, these two look really good together, & still sends sparks flying whenever they gaze into each other’s eyes.

:: Ephram Brown & Amy Abbott from Everwood ::

Gregory Smith & Emily VanCamp

Amy & Ephram

The intense drama between Ephram & his dad aside, we watched in agony as Ephram & Amy dwelled through all the ups & downs before finally ending up together in the season finale. The odd but beguilingly sweet connection that Ephram & Amy shared made this series even more poignant & beautiful than it already was. Everybody together now – aawwwwwww~.

:: Liz Parker & Max Evans from Roswell ::

Shiri Appleby & Jason Behr

Liz & Max

Liz Parker was by far 1 of the sweetest & most endearing female characters ever in any TV series back then, & Jason Behr put his expressionless & monotonous personality to full use to play a lovesick alien stranded on Earth. Don’t worry, despite the human-alien circumstances, there was a happy ending after all.

:: Hayley Williams & Josh Farro from Paramore ::

Hayley & Josh

Okay okay I just slipped this in at the very end because I’m experiencing a Paramore-mania at the moment, but damn, this two write good music together, sound really good together, & if that’s not enough, they even look good together on stage leading the rest of the band! Josh’s quiet demeanor & silent focus on his guitars is really quite the perfect match to Hayley’s bursting energy & edgy personality. Definitely my favourite musical pair-up since the now-separated Avril Lavigne-Evan Taubenfeld & Amy Lee-Ben Moody. The fans love to see them get together too, check out the many fantasy-love sites about them online.

KV is listening to Paramore’s “Decode” from the Twilight soundtrack on iTunes.

Rays of Sun, Days of Fun…

The July 04 Unity initiative continued, this time in the splendor of UTP’s mother nature, images from under the sun…

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Well, sometimes it is best to just let the pictures do the talking… =)

Let’s Go for a Walk; of Unity…

When I first stepped into this university, I thought I was in for hell.

The dudes & dudettes in my July 2004 (0704) batch proved me wrong.

Nobody told me there were chicks in an engineering university!

The food in UTP is crap, & the only time you can find us all in this café is when they are not serving flies…sorry, food.

& the cellphone reception in some areas here sucks balls, so we make do with what we have.

In UTP, the splendor of nature is always close to us.

So we always give back to Mother Nature, whether individually…

…or in a collaborative effort.

Close proximity between male & female is widely prohibited here…

But really, why the hell should we care?

While men learn to jump ahead of the curve…

The women strive with pose…uh, I mean poise.

But no matter how absurd some of the things we do…

Or the different engineering courses we are in, we still bond with one another in some ways…

& at the end of the day, we blend in together, naturally.

We love to check out asses…

& we are damn proud of our own asses.

Some of us never seem to gain weight…

While the rest of us, including yours truly, never seemed more prosperous.

Everyday we ascend the stairs towards lecture halls in hope of gaining a step closer to preparing ourselves for working life…

…pointing ourselves in the right direction…

…hoping to find our place in this big world.

We learn to work together as a team in pursuit of excellence…

& sometimes, it comes down to our very own selves.

It matters not our different levels of background, for there is a place for everyone.

& it’s often each one of us, the people, that make everything a little more unforgettable, memorable…

You may hate the place, but hey, you gotta love the people.

~.~.~.~.~.~

KV gives full credit to the pioneers of the entire July 04 Unity concept & movement, the photographers & the candid/skodeng photographers during the walkabout, & of course, all you July 04 UTPians, for giving KV something not only to pour words upon, but to cherish for decades to come.

The Avril Awesomeness: Live in KL

My happy ending arrived after all.

After the absurd occurrences leading up to this event that included some of Malaysia’s most idiotic circumsized dickheads (forgive the pun) & a dead-undead car, 29th August could not have come soon enough. Finally, the day I’ve been waiting, since the delightful tunes of “Complicated” first knocked on my ears 6 years back, is here. The Avril awesomeness has landed.

Yea, & that other thing, Merdeka.

Part I: The Wait & the Shit Before…

It was a wonderful feeling, going to Stadium Merdeka on a Merdeka weekend, but not to celebrate the country’s backwards growth in 51 years of independence. Joshua, Chris, Chee Fai & I arrived at the stadium at approximately 4.45pm, before cramming in the queue for the RM338 Red Zone entrance under the intense heat & sun light. Hotlink & Maxis were having massive promotions & advertisements, while Belinda C with the 8TV crew were going around acting cute & interviewing people with pink ties or pink shirts. Oh, despite the reported protests, we spotted nothing of that nature, only the armies of FRU personnel & vehicles as well as the police patrolling the area.

Observing the “no camera or recording devices” warning, we stuffed our digi cams in our crotch zone, the waistline of our jeans being the fastener & of course our own trusted P as base support. The doors of the stadium opened at 7.30pm, & with us already sweating & exhausted from the lining-up-under-sun, added with digicams securely positioned in such a way that they gave the impression that we each had a massive erection, it was no easy task to run towards the stage to get a strategic location. In the end, we all got ourselves the best spot possible, center & a row away from the gates that separated our Red Zone & the VIP box.

Wait a minute, the VIP box? To our horror, we discovered that the RM338 Red Zone wasn’t as close to the stage as we hoped, thanks to the enormous space nearest to the stage dedicated to undeserving VIPs. The VIP box, situated in what usually was the mosh pit area for standard rock concerts, not only took over the entire area directly in front of the stage, it was filled with chairs! What the fark are chairs doing right in front of an Avril Lavigne stage?! Galaxy, you moron organizers. To make matters worse for us, as the VIPs slowly arrived & landed their colossal butts in assigned seats, we, the die-hard fans who forked out for the most expensive ticket we could get our hands on, observed in complete agony that some of the VIPs consisted of apek uncles, uninterested Datuks & Datins, & overdressed Ah Lians & Ah Bengs who didn’t even seem to know who Avril was.

The situation worsened when, after soaking ourselves under the intense sun for so long, rain started to fall just after we entered into the stadium. Then the organizers started handing out colourful garbage plastic bags that were designed as rain coats for all of us to wear. Great, we were already going through two contrastingly extreme weathers, & we found ourselves barricaded behind a box full of very important asses, now we looked like multi-coloured thrash. After playing a set of annoyingly repetitive Avril clips & advertisements, the lights finally dimmed at 9pm, but not for Avril. Instead a Michael-Jackson-wannabe dude hopped out & performed Maroon 5’s “This Love”, complete with some photostated MJ moves. I had no idea why he was the opening act, nor did I know or care who the hell he actually was, but it felt something like Colbie Caillat opening for Metallica. I was the first to shout “WE WANT AVRIL!” after the dude finished the last lines of “This Love”. Thankfully, the dude relieved us of our misery as he left after that one song.

Part II: The Awesomeness Arrives…

I’m telling you, the wait was pure anguish. Legs were sore, & it did not help that Joshua kept complaining like a girl about his back pain. But everything was forgotten (& almost forgiven) when the band finally stepped out & churned out a warming up session, before finally kicking off the tunes of “Girlfriend”. At 9.15pm, with the crowd completely exploding in joy, Avril Lavigne Whibley emerged & skipped out onto the stage.

Right at that moment, I was almost shocked in disbelief, overwhelmed with a strange concoction of confused feelings that included me wanting to shout in joy, cry & die at the same time, very much unable to grasp the fact that I am actually watching the petite Avril, the Avril Joshua & I worshipped in high school, in person. But just as she hit the first chorus, I finally regained awareness & before long, supported by my poorly weakening knees & ankles, I was jumping like a 5-year-old starstruck maniac along to the “Hey hey you you!”s.

Part III: Anything But Ordinary…

Okay, I will try to push aside my over-biased opinions & the complete euphoria of seeing my highschool idol live, while trying to rationalize the performance. TOO SHORT would be the first two words that come into mind, as she rocked 17 songs in total in 1 hour & 15 minutes. The good thing is we felt it was too quick simply because we were having the time of our lives. Avril’s singing was flawless, & the band was excellent but knew their place well, which was to back & support Avril. Musically however, the overall sound came out as imbalanced, with the bass drum swallowing everything up & the lead guitar barely noticeable. I probably expected too much, since this was after all a big-ass open-air concert. I was most excited to see Jim McGorman who was on rhythm guitar; he was most popular for being part of the house band for Rock Star: Supernova, while Steve Fekete was the latest lead guitarist, replacing Devin Bronson (& before that, Evan Taubenfeld). There was no doubt who the real star was that night, & the crowd lapped up every one of Avril’s antics. Avril looked as hot as ever, even with curly hair (though deep down, I might have preferred to see the classic straight-hair), but what I did not expect was how bloody adorable she actually was! With the cheekiest grins & smiles flashed all the time, she pranced & skipped around like the happiest being in the world. Gone are the emo-days of “Let Go” & “Under My Skin”. As she performed most of the songs from her latest album (which I do not quite approve of, because it made the concert too pop-ish), I was quite dissatisfied with the meager number of tracks chosen from the 1st two albums. We sang our hearts out to favourites like “My Happy Ending”, “I’m With You”, “Complicated”, & “When You’re Gone”, but songs that she skipped like “Tomorrow”, “Nobody’s Home”, “Nobody’s Fool” & “Mobile” were sorely missed. One thing about singing along to Avril’s songs is that her pitch certainly doesn’t suit the male normal pitch range; we either had to scream really high (& completely off tune) or really low (with reduced volume).

Part IV: The Best Damn Moments, & Some Not-So…

Here comes my favourite part, the most memorable moments of the concert. I think I’ve already mentioned how incredibly hot she was that night. But my favourite moment (something all 4 of us agreed on) has to be when a pink baby grand piano was brought out, & Avril played & sang her heart out to a stripped-down version of When You’re Gone” on it. With the spotlight focusing only on her & the piano, it was the single most beautiful moment of the night. The momentum was continued when right after that, she launched into the melancholic “Innocence”, & then performed the next few songs (“Losing Grip” &“Hot”) with her pink sparkling acoustic guitar, backed by 2 other acoustic guitars. That chain of stripped-down acoustic performances was by far the best agenda of the night. Following in a close second was how she sent us all to the point of complete orgasm when she playfully conducted the crowd to a scream-silent-scream sequence. When she raised her arms, we all screamed madly, & when she lowered her arms, we had to keep silent. Of course remaining silent at some points was impossible, to which she mischievously put her knuckles on the sides of her waist in mock displeasure. The whole sequence finally ended when she raised her arms high up, shaking her hands, soaking in the complete glory of our ecstasy. The smile on her face at the moment – priceless; she was so damn cute I could have died a happy man right there right then. Finally, Avril playing the drums while singing “Runaway”, that was a real gem.

Despite that, her interaction with the audience was kept to a minimum, which I largely suspect is due to the unresponsive VIPs sitting their fat asses down right in front of the stage. She also skipped all the swear & bad words in her songs, but WE sure as hell didn’t. I remember how loud the crowd barked “SHIT” during the “All the SHIT that you do” line in “My Happy Ending”. I swear I saw Avril almost grinning in glee. I also got a strange feeling that Avril gave a very controlled performance. She minimized the screams & energetic jumps, resorting to mostly skipping & prancing around the stage instead. The same pair of jeans (with the skull on her right knee) was worn throughout the night, only changing her tops (the last red hooded sweater was kick-ass!), & at one point we noticed how she sort of tugged down her top. Go figure. The flow of the arrangement was not the best at times; I especially found the break-dance routine by her back-up dancers (twice!) to be awkwardly irksome, & I feel the Lil’ Mama remix of Girlfriend” has to be axed from her track list.

“Sk8er Boi” was appropriately selected as her last encore song, & I jumped like the ground was on fire to the tune. Agonizingly, she did not stay long for goodbyes, only giving us a quick wave & a thank you before disappearing backstage, concluding the first stop of her The Best Damn Asian Tour at 10.30pm. Josh & I stared in disbelief, that just like that, our Avril came & left. We screamed our lungs out for her to come back, but she never reappeared.

Part V: The Shit that Happened…

Avril was awesome; there is no doubt about that. There were however some really bad bits that night (that had nothing to do with her). Between organizers Galaxy & Hotlink, I damn whoever who structured the crowd zone arrangement to hell for what was possibly the worse standing & seating arrangement in recent eons. The seated VIP box is a complete embarrassment & fiasco, & it prevented us, the die-hard fans, from fully soaking in the experience. As if that wasn’t enough, the VIPs didn’t even seem enthusiastic, & were already standing up to leave even before Sk8er Boi” ended! Fark all of you man. Joshua was observing the apek tua who was sitting at the left side in the VIP area, & noticed how the stupid apek tua was so unresponsive & just sat crossed-arms throughout the entire concert! Unbelievable shit, we were so angry at this particular apek tua that the only way we could ever forgive him is if he actually died of heart attack, thus explaining why he was so impassive. I do pity those who bought the free-standing RM268 & RM168 ticks, since we in the RM338 zone were already feeling disappointed with our location.

Another thing we 4 guys experienced that night was this creature thingy called BWBs, or Bitch With Boobs. Now before you girls get all angry about this, I’m not referring to women, I’m referring a specific breed that night who, from behind, tried their very best in “boobing” their way through the crowd to get as front as possible. As the 4 of us were among those nearest to the front, Joshua, who was nearest to me, was among the first to experience “boobing”. Let me try to explain to you how “boobing” works. A BWB would first try to force one boob in between the people in front of her by thrusting forward her chest. Being the gentlemen we usually were, we would of course try to avoid the poking boob, & just as we did that, before we even realized it, a second boob will appear, following swiftly the first boob. & just as the pair of boobs have gained access to the next level, the entire body of the BWB would of course follow. The procedure would then be repeated from row to row until finally the BWB reaches the front. Of course, a particular BWB failed in her quest as Chee Fai, who was a being a complete non-gentleman at the RIGHT time, elbowed her boobs backwards.

Part VI: The Aftermath…

Oh…guess who I finally met after the concert?

Angel, now our Miss Malaysia Tourism Metropolitan 2008, haha, it’s been a long time, as always. Gel was actually still contemplating whether to come to the concert till the day itself, apalah; until I had to bug her to come. But it came not as a surprise that Avril indeed does reunite some of us that were ardent friends during our teenage years, which was another wonder to marvel at that night. Also, it was an endearing sight to see some kids who came dressed in self-drawn Avril t-shirts.

After all, on that night, Avril came & gave me something to remember & cherish for the rest of my life. Though not musically her best (as compared to her awesome acoustic performance in the Roxy Theatre), & despite the lingering thought of how it could have been better, her fantastic performance still left us all with a rapturous sense of exhilaration, a dream fulfilled, & of course, incredibly sore knees & ankles.

Heck, I’m already missing her.

Avril Lavigne sang:
1. Girlfriend
2. I Can Do Better
3. Complicated
4. My Happy Ending
5. I’m With You
6. I Always Get What I Want
7. When You’re Gone
8. Innocence
9. Hot
10. Losing Grip
11. Everything Back But You
12. Runaway
13. The Best Damn Thing
14. I Don’t Have To Try
15. He Wasn’t
Encore:
16. Girlfriend (Remix)
17. Sk8er Boi

The Car that Died…then Wouldn’t Die

We’ve all heard of cars that failed to start. But have you heard of a car that could not turn off?

This is the 11-year-old “Hero” that has served my family faithfully & well. It has been through some turbulent times (but never critical), & has always came up on top, thanks to the intensive care my family, & now myself, always showered generously (& appropriately) upon it. Its ownership was partially handed over to yours truly only late last year, mainly to ferry himself around during his internship stint (working in Mercedes-Benz doesn’t mean a company car comes along with the package!), & now, to accompany the youngest Wong son when back in university.

Despite being extremely attentive to its condition, needs, & always keeping it as clean as possible, today was the first time my Proton Hero failed on me. The signs were there days before, when the alarm rang out from nowhere. Then, the car battery died. My roommate (Edwin) & I decided to purchase a new one & changed it ourselves. Since both of us did our internship with German companies, we were too big-headed or egoistic to let some mechanic change the battery for us.

The next sequence of events proved we were merely idiotic assholes.

Upon fasting on the new battery & respective terminals under a heavy downpour of rain, I savoured the sound of the engine rev as I turned the key in the ignition. Easy, job done. Or so we thought. As I turned off the ignition…the engine kept running. I was flabbergasted in disbelief, while the more idiotic Edwin didn’t believe that I had already turned the key to off. I pulled out the key…& remarkably the engine remained humming, almost mockingly. Wow, I mean, wtf?!. Ed & I stared at each other, pondering how completely idiotic we looked. Waliao, blazing knickers…now I can actually just drive the car around without the key in the ignition. What a bloody awesome accomplishment. Now I can stop the car in the most unceremoniously un-macho-est of ways, by keeping in 1st gear & releasing the clutch, thus leaving the car to jerk forward & die off like it just got humped in the ass by a certain someone who won the Permatang Pauh seat.

It wasn’t long before we ended back at the mechanic shop, my car being driven without the key in the ignition, bringing a whole new meaning to the term “keyless entry”. Damn gaya man, wished Top Gear could have seen this. Oh, how stupid I must have sounded when trying to explain this miracle to the mechanic: “Boss, my car just now can’t start right. Uh…now it can’t stop.”

Unable to identify the source of the problem after checking through the alternator, starter, fuse box & relay box, the shop contacted an Ah Beng Wire-man from a nearby shop. The Ah Beng came & raped…I mean, stripped down my car interior to bits, checking every single wire & socket for any possible cross-contact that led to the car draining the battery continuously all the time. After a thorough process of perogolan, he finally hit jackpot.

Ah Beng: “Ahhhh. Neh! It’s the hehcartlaitsweet.”
KV : “Huh? What ah?”
Ah Beng: “The hehcartaitsweet. Hehcart!”
KV : “Heh-what (the f**k)?”
Ah Beng : “Nehhh, the hehcartlait ah. Below the ehkonsweet.”
KV : “Oh. Hazard light switch.”

The Ah Beng charged me a significantly high price for the replacement of that damned component, but I was desperate, & I need my Hero back so I could get my ass to KL for Avril. Good thing it was nothing serious in the end, & the Hero lives to serve another day. Today however, will forever be remembered as the day my Wira died, then got resurrected, & then mutated into an automotive immortal for a couple of hours.

So the next time your car suddenly became an immortal, it might just be the hehcartlaitsweet.

Avril is (Still) Too Hot for Malaysia

UPDATE: “Show will go on for rock star Avril on Aug 29” – The Star Online, August 23rd.

PETALING JAYA: Canadian rock star Avril Lavigne will be performing in Kuala Lumpur after all. The final decision, after a week of uncertainty, was made at a meeting of senior officials from the Unity, Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry yesterday. The organiser, Galaxy Group, obtained its permit last evening to stage the concert at Stadium Merdeka on Aug 29, sources said. Avril’s concert here – the launch pad of her Asian dates – made headlines across the world after the Federal Territory PAS Youth told the ministry and the Kuala Lumpur Mayor to ban the event. The wing had argued that Avril’s concert is “too punk and rock for Malaysian youth especially so during Merdeka month.” Since then, many have criticised the wing’s move and decisions were purportedly made on the status of the show and its date. Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal had earlier said the application to hold the concert had to be studied, as they did not want it to coincide with the Merdeka period and the tahlil religious programme on Aug 29. Shafie had also denied that the ministry’s earlier decision to call off the concert was in response to PAS Youth’s call for the ban.

Oh, the morons we have that govern our country. The clowns finally found the light that was shining out of their assholes. Screw them all. Avril, you are totally owning. Blow the skirts off our wussy government, & PAS youth, who all think with their damn penises (& think they control all OUR penises). Show these idiots what independence really means, & that music is not controlled by some idealistic political movement. It’s time to bring on the fun, & rock on.

Kevin is currently salivating at Avril Lavigne’s acoustic concert at the Roxy Theatre.

~.~.~.~.~.~

Bless Pak Lah’s hairy balls.

From YAHOO! News: KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysia on Tuesday canceled a concert by Canadian rock singer Avril Lavigne, saying it may taint the Muslim-majority country’s independence day celebrations after the Islamic opposition slammed her show as being “too sexy.” The Arts, Culture and Heritage Ministry said it had decided not to permit Lavigne’s show because it was unsuitable to Malaysian culture and could not be held on August 29, two days ahead of independence day.

“It is not timely. It’s not in the good spirit of our National Day. If we go ahead with the concert, it is contrary to what we are preparing for,” said Shukran Ibrahim, a senior official from the culture ministry’s department that vets all foreign artists.

The decision came after the youth wing of a fundamentalist opposition party, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, called for the show’s cancellation. Kamarulzaman Mohamed, a party youth official, told The Associated Press on Monday that Lavigne’s show was “considered too sexy for us” and would promote the wrong values just before independence day.

What. The. Fart. Ma. Chi. Bung.

This really takes the cake. How dare you bastards take away every Sk8er Boi’s high school dream. Do you know how long I waited to see Avril live in person?! Okay, so what if I’m not a fan of her post-marriage 3rd album, I was hopelessly devoted head over heels for her first two albums. This is the first time I’m forking an investment of over 300 bucks for a concert ticket, and you go and fart her away just like that?

The unholy ticket to sexiness

Let me tell you assholes something, it’s an indescribable honour that a foreign artist, someone even of Avril’s stature, would actually consider putting damned Malaysia on their tour’s schedule. Have you not learned shit? First Beyonce ditched us. Then Christina Aguilera. You know what, I actually believed for a second that Malaysia was heading for a good year ahead when artists like Switchfoot, Daughtry, Colbie Caillat dropped by, or hey, even that Digby free showcase was a good sign. Then this pile of cow dung landed.

“It is considered too sexy for us…It’s not good for viewers in Malaysia. We don’t want our people, our teenagers, influenced by their performance. We want clean artists, artists that are good role models.” – Kamarulzaman Mohamed.

Excuse my ass, Avril Lavigne – too sexy? Never in any of our teenage-horny-hormonal-years have we ever associated Avril with the word sexy. Oh sorry, I forgot I was listening & speaking to the holiest monk on planet Earth.

“Hold on hold on, what if I sang the Merdeka song during my concert? Or your Jalur Gemilang? Could I come then? I promise I won’t do a ‘I-wanna-be-your-girlfriend’ on any Malaysian guy!”

& not in the good spirit of National Day? So putting the concert just before Merdeka will make us less patriotic? You know what, choosing Azizul over Chong Wei to be the flag bearer for Malaysia in Beijing, now THAT’s bloody unpatriotic. We are not dumb enough to believe the reasons you gave us, we KNOW the real reason behind that choice okay. In the end? Chong Wei gave us a silver, and symbolically kissed the Malaysian flag logo on his T-shirt repeatedly after the semifinal win over Lee Hyun-Il, while Azizul finished last in his event. So yea, fark you.

“Tanggaaaalll tiga puluh satuuuuuuuu. Bulan lapan, lima puluh tujuuuuhhhhh…”

First you wanna ban Faizal Tahir’s nipples. Then you tried to ban the boobs of Ella & Mas Idayu, followed swiftly by the ban of a local rock band singer’s boxers. Oh yea, now you wanna further make Malaysia a complete international mockery in front of the entire world to gleefully see. What, the global humiliation that our ex-Information Minister heaped on our country when he spluttered his attempt at the English language live on Al-Jazeera after the Bersih protest; that wasn’t enough?

“Next, I’m gonna sing an acoustic remix titled Hey Hey You You Negara ku ku…”

Several female artists including Gwen Stefani and the Pussycat Dolls have run into trouble in Malaysia, which requires all performers to be covered from knees to chest and refrain from jumping, shouting, hugging and kissing on stage.

Jumping? Shouting? Hahahahahaha, even Sesame Street had performers and puppets jumping! What a complete joke! I’m sorry, oh PAS Youth muffinheads, that you actually believed us Malaysians to be as easily “influenced”, naive & stupid like yourselves. I personally feel sorry that you actually think us to be as low as you. Kudos once again, Malaysia, for being able to push the limits of narrow-mindedness, both on the local & international stage. Indeed, with this kind of INTELLECTUAL mindfulness, we are SO on track to being a fully-developed country by year 2020. Our country is so going to the dogs.

Next time they’re gonna ban Hayley for having “rambut terlalu oren” when Paramore decides to drop by, if they ever do. Or even ban Jennifer Lopez for “having an enormous arse”, or Mariah Carey for her healthily sculptured fruits, or Justin Timberlake for his “sexyback”, or Timbaland for wearing singlets that inappropriately show his big-ass abs, & his bulu ketiak. That’s when I’ll be moving, period. For now, instead of looking forward in full anticipation to August 29th, here I am flopped down on my chair in despair, wondering how it would ever feel like when Avril sings “Hey hey you you, I want to be your girlfriend” to me…

The Dark Knight…

“You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

If you’d asked me how The Dark Knight was right after any of the 2 times I went to see it in the cinema, I would only have 1 word for you: “Whoa…”

Finally, everything you’ve heard, everything you’ve hoped for, is here…is true. This is Batman like never before.

I’m telling you, Christopher Nolan of Memento just can’t do no wrong at the moment. His Batman Begins was already very much the definitive Batman movie, so with such impossible expectations & anticipation from the entire globe for this second installment, what does he do? He blows us all away with some exceptionally sublime & original directing. The Dark Knight not only surpasses every of our over-hyped expectations, it is the mother of all superhero movies.

“Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

Where do I even bloody start? Nolan once again pushes the limits of the superhero realm to be as realistic as possible. It does not get any closer than this. The storyline is gritty, complex & darker than ever, & the action scenes are spectacularly gripping. So many things were happening at once, with such a stunning plot that was so well-executed; I almost forgot to breathe. Not contemplated with that, Nolan even had a few turns & surprises along the way, just to completely knock the socks of us all. It was perfect, making The Joker the logic response to the Batman, & make no mistake, despite the fabulous & shocking Harvey Two-Face story (Nolan’s interpretation of how Dent became Two-Face was both original & more realistic), the face-off (direct or indirect) between Batman & the Joker throughout the entire 152 minutes is the real deal, making The Dark Knight chaotically beautiful & a complete glorious anarchy of a movie. Gotham City was brought to life in a much more vibrant way, allowing us to explore an alternate yet recognizable reality, & boy were Batman’s slender kevlar & gadgets cool this time. I absolutely loved how the Batpod was actually ejected out of the self-destructing Tumbler! & oh, Batman can turn his head now, lol! The one-liners of the script were well-structured & affecting, capturing our collective anxiety over the resurgent politics of hope.

“Let me get this straight. You think that your employer, one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the world, is spending his nights running around the city beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands. And your plan is to blackmail this person? Good luck.”

A lot has been said about the late Heath Ledger’s The Joker, so what can I say anymore? He was spectacular. Completely overturning & overwhelming Jack Nicholson’s version, Ledger comes up with a psychopathic terrorist version that not only scares the balls off you, but is strangely captivating &…funny. He balances the Joker’s sadistic nature with an enigmatic sense of wit, making his last complete performance an Oscar-deserving one. Who could ever forget the Joker’s scenes such as the disappearing pencil magic trick, his perfect Joker laugh, the lip-licking, the delayed hospital bombing scene, & lines like “very poor choice of words”, “you complete me” & “wanna know how I got my scars?”. Oh yes, Ledger sure was mind-blowing, & most importantly, The Joker was a worthy & mighty foe to Batman, in a more psychological way. Nolan does extremely well in structuring & prioritizing, pushing aside how the Joker schemes & plots his terrorism acts, instead concentrating on the bigger picture of how The Joker plotted the downfall of Gotham through the city’s white knight, Harvey Dent.

“The night is darkest just before the dawn. And I promise you, the dawn is coming.”

But, truth be told, no one was overshadowed. The cast was astonishing, yet again. Christian Bale was imperiously suave as Bruce Wayne, & as Batman was pushed to the limit, even losing his cool during the interrogation scene with Joker. Michael Caine returns as Alfred, & though he had lesser screen time, his interaction with Wayne was still as engaging & hilarious as ever. The same goes to Morgan Freeman, who seems to be appearing in every movie these days. I was most impressed however with Gary Oldman, who turned in an outstanding performance as Lt.-turned-Commissioner Gordon, justified by a much bigger role this time around. Most surprising of all was Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent. I was not too excited when Eckhart got the role of Harvey Two-Face, but wow, he sure amazed me with his performance as the fallen hero of Gotham. The only disappointment for me from the casting & the entire movie in fact, is Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Rachel Dawes. Despite her being an improvement over Katie Holmes, I just can’t help but prefer someone like Rachel Weisz, Jennifer Connelly or heck even Rachel McAdams to play Dawes, especially since Dawes was a central role to the origins of Two-Face.

“See, I’m not a monster…I’m just ahead of the curve.”

What made my favourite superhero’s big screen movie even better were Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard. While Batman Begins’ scores were majestic, they were quite incomplete. This time, Zimmer’s heavy influences throughout the main themes are much more powerful, gloriously dark & thrilling. The Joker’s theme starts off the soundtrack album, & it was experimental, complex, & bloody brilliant. James Newton Howard’s contribution is more distinct this time with the Harvey Dent theme. All in all, a fantastic film score that enhances the film’s strength by a complete mile.

“You thought we could be decent men in an indecent world. But you were wrong; the world is cruel, and the only morality in a cruel world is chance.”

I can say without doubt, that The Dark Knight not only kicks every other summer movie’s ass (yes, even Iron Man), it is well on it’s way to being the mammoth movie of 2008. It is currently #1 in IMDb’s Top 250 list & certified bloody 95% fresh in Rotten Tomatoes. It’s orgasmic to see my favourite superhero being brought to the big screen the way Nolan does it. Oh yes, The Dark Knight was a triumphant masterpiece. I left the cinema, twice, in full awe & respect for Nolan’s genius intelligence, a thunderous applause for the cinematography as well as the casts’ performance, & a tinge of sadness for a great talent tragically curtailed.

“Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now…and so we’ll hunt him, because he can take it. Because he’s not a hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector…a dark knight.”

Oh by the way, if you are looking for something different, please do try Once.

It’s a very independent, low-budget love story that is completely honest, sincere & charming. Revolving around a guy named Guy (Glen Hansard of The Frames) & a girl named Girl (Marketa Irglova) who both share the love for music, the film is not like any other musical, featuring some of the finest indie music for some time. However, be prepared to cringe at what is possibly the world’s most bashed-up acoustic guitar that ever survived & remained playable.

Saying Good Byes…

Hoi! Stop blaming PETRONAS & start asking what the hell the Government has always been doing with the billions Petronas has given to the country!

& so the harrowing 32-week internship comes to an end.

As the last weeks overwhelmed yours truly so much, working his ass off till late hours while at the same time rushing to prepare the many paperwork, reports & the big final presentation for his university, anyone would have guessed that come the last day, it would have been like a huge relief for him that work life is coming to an end & now the author can look forward to returning to…um, Tronoh…wait a minute, did I just say look forward?

Even on the very last day of internship, I was rushing to finish up work, having such a short time to make the rounds to Level 48 and 49 of TM Tower to say my good byes to everyone. I didn’t even have time to join the other interns that were brought up to the helipad on the final day. But then, as the dust settled at about 8-9pm, & after my long talk with my supervisor cum Senior Manager, as I sat down to pack my things in my cubicle, preparing to type my good bye e-mails to those closest, it hit me how much the people in MBM have affected me & my life. Without going into details & much melancholic recollections, I am just utterly lucky & grateful to have encountered people like all my department members, the “aunties” in Level 49, & the girls; Anida, Pey Wen, Liz, Michelle (as well as motherly ex-Smart Theng Theng). Makes you think that sometimes perhaps even if the work kicks your nuts real hard, it’s the people that really make work life go past bearable into memorable. Kinda applies to UTP too ain’t it? It was also hilarious how during my farewell lunch, almost all of my division members fit into our very own 10-seater Vito van to go to lunch, with my German VP & my Senior Manager being made to sit at the rear seat!

As I leave all these wonderful people behind in hope that paths will intertwine some day, she has finally returned from overseas. & that, my friends, is a very good reason to smile.

~~*~~

Okay, so Hancock sort of bombed at the 2nd part of the movie. Not even the rather funny jokes in the 1st half or Will Smith’s quite impressive one-man-show could save this from being a mangled cock-crap with even poorer CGI. Wanted was stylish & Jolie was looking old but bloody delicious, but still…bending the bullet a full 360 degrees in a small confined hall? That aside, the whole car scene takes the cake. Hellboy II: The Golden Army was a whole bunch of entertainment as Guillermo del Toro gleefully unleashes waves of all kinds of monsters in full unstoppable glory. There’s really nothing to complain about; Selma Blair’s hair was ultra-hot, Hellboy really got to kick-ass & got some nice face-bashing himself, & behind-the-mask master Doug Jones shone through Abe Sapiens, the Angel of Death & the Chamberlain. It’s no classic (who the fark cares?), but it’s Hellboy, & I loved it.

But it was among all these continuing onslaught of summer blockbusters that I came across something entirely unexpected. On the night of my final day of internship, as I sat down at my computer desk late at night fully drained & feeling the effects of a 8-month training, scrolling through my massive movies collection wanting to click on something stupidly funny (in the line of Superbad or Harold & Kumar) to get my mind off everything, I found myself double-clicking instead on Grace Is Gone.

I didn’t know anything about the movie aside from the fact that John Cusack was in it, & I read about that somewhere a while ago. Initially thinking I was probably gonna end up just browsing through it anyway, I instead found myself still stuck to the same position on my seat 1.5 hours later, with tears welling up in my eyes. Oh yea, this so-called manly big chump almost cried like a bloody big-ass baby. ALMOST, okay?

At the heart of this story is John Cusack’s Stanley Phillips, an average Joe daddy trying to find the appropriate means & moment to tell his 2 young daughters about the demise of their mother, while himself fighting to cope with the reality of the death of his wife. Struggling & unable to face the moment of telling his older fast-maturing 12-year-old daughter, Heidi (a remarkable Shelan O’Keefe) & 8-year-old Dawn (Gracie Bednarczyk) that their mother died in battle in Iraq, he takes them on a trip to Enchanted Gardens theme park. A incredibly sad movie that barely mentions the Iraq war or even Stanley’s soldier wife (she does not even have a scene), the whole story focuses on Stanley & his two daughters, & in the bigger picture, how the Iraq war affects concerned loved ones. Remarkably subtle & not obviously dramatic, the many poignant moments shared between Stanley with Heidi & Dawn throughout the journey to Enchanted Gardens builds up to the big-time tear-jerking moment when Stanley finally finds the voice to speak the painful words to his daughters. Grace Is Gone has no plot twists or spoilers; we know that the inherent pain of tragic loss is coming, & it becomes even more painful for us as that emotional core is dangled in front of us for 1.5 hours.

The storyline hinges on the magnificent performance by the cast. John Cusack gives the performance of a lifetime as a restrained father struggling to cope & to take care of his 2 daughters. Cusack’s Stanley hardly gets to show his true thoughts & feelings, as he sole duty & responsibility goes to his daughters. Shelan O’Keefe does more than holding her own opposite Cusack, almost outshining Cusack as she goes through a period of self-discovery with her dad throughout the journey to Enchanted Gardens, while Gracie Bednarczyk’s Dawn injects effervescence to counter the heartrending drama circulating the movie. & surprise surprise, Clint Eastwood composed the plain but touching music score.

Grace Is Gone does not force any political stance on the Iraq war, just a look at humanity, at how we might deal with the tragic loss of life, & reflect on the effects of war. It is simple yet effective, subtle yet beautifully poignant, sensitively low-key but packs a huge emotional wallop, & it will stay on with you after the end of it all.

July 17th, the Dark Knight cometh. Are you ready?

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