Moneyball

moneyball

I am a big fan of Michael Lewis at this point.

The movie is based on a true story. But having read The Big Short, I think I will go back to this book. I think it will be a compelling read.

Brad Pitt is not the only great actor in this movie. Watch for Jonah Hill. I miss Phillip Seymour Hoffman immensely.

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The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine

The Big Short
Amazon

You want to read a scary story? How about what the events and moments that lead to “Too Big To Fail“?

Michael Lewis was in the finance game before he got out, right before Solomon Brothers failed in 1996. His other more famous career, i.e. writing, gave us the gift of compelling story telling, in this book four heroes with the opportunity of a lifetime: All the things that lead to the financial meltdown in 2008, where they have a chance to cash in big time. The scariest part? It’s all true, with all the details.

Don’t dismiss this as another boring finance world business book. Lewis put most of the complicated concepts in layman’s terms. When you’re done reading it, if you’re not angry, you need to check to see if you have a conscience.

BTW, this book is now a movie, slanted for a Christmas premiere:

A Walk in the Woods

Collider.com

Nice thing about expanding my social life is I get to watch new movies in a theater.

This movie has not adrenaline rush, no octane fueled action. Just a plain story about a writer famous in my eyes, Bill Bryson, venturing out on the Appalachian Trails, and discovered a few things in life.

Mind you, the book he wrote isn’t really the movie. Bill Bryson is very good at studying something he does not know, and describe to his readers, in laymen’s terms, what he learned. On that note, I highly recommend his book A Short History to Nearly Everything.

Margin Call

Credit: Rotten Tomatoes

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

This movie honestly do not need a star-studded cast. The directing is well executed. The story is so bizarre, overacting is going to kill the script. It is how normal and internalized every actor is in this movie that makes the story so chilling, a nightmare, which very unfortunately happened.

Lost on a red mini bus

Credit: Author via Facebook

I’m an old-fashioned girl who usually just read the classics such as Lord of the Rings or Legend of the Condor Heroes (射雕英雄傳), but this novel is really exceptional. It’s been a long time since I devour the readings and wanting to know the ending so badly.

The synopsis is of follows:

A guy decided to go home after karaoke night, and got on a popular mode of transportation in Hong Kong, a red van. At the last stop, he and his fellow passengers realized they are the only ones left in the city. People on the red van are about to find out what really happened to the rest of the city…

I was really into this web novel because I have not seen a well-organized storyline in years. I had little or no faith in what writers can do these days, and this author proved me wrong. The suspense and twists and turns are well done. The story is not just simply a “who done it?” scenario. The author managed to keep me at the edge of my seat all the way to the end, which is a rare gem these days.

I wish this novel can be translated, but it is not only written in Chinese, but in colloquial Cantonese, or more specifically, words that are mostly spoken by young Hong Kongers today. However, I believe the plot can be easily converted into an American version. The movie is getting a lot of buzz, with the only hope I have is that the director kept most of the important elements from the novel.

Watch this space for any news of new movie or novel versions.

Buddha’s Palms

credit: http://www.tpwang.net

Yeah, we’re getting to the weird territory of me watching really old movies.

Buddha’s Palms was made in 1960. The special effects are overlapped and exposed with the film, frame by frame. As cheesy as the movie looks in 2013, it is the most awesome special effects Hong Kong movie at the time. The amount of innovation and unlimited imagination can be seen on every frame of this film.

Don’t take my word for it. Watch it on johnmatthewtsang‘s playlist on YouTube.

The White Dragon

小白龍情海翻波 The White Dragon

From Wikipedia: An Achilles’ heel is a deadly weakness in spite of overall strength, that can actually or potentially lead to downfall.

Everybody has an Achilles’ heel. If you think there isn’t one for you, you just haven’t found it. That’s the translation I get for 死穴 when I typed it in Google Translate. I wanted to describe 死穴 as weakness, but that really is not strong enough of a translation. It really means a pressure point on the human body that can kill someone when it is attacked.

White Dragon’s (Cecilia Cheung) weakness is being in love with the Second Prince (Andy On). Chicken Feathers (Francis Ng) is a hired assassin out to kill the Second Prince. Hence, White Dragon was set out trying to find Chicken Feathers’ weakness and take him out.

So a good portion of the movie involves White Dragon trying to figure out how to take out Chicken Feathers. She tried. And tried. Then this happened while she tried to stab him in the back:

White Dragon kissMeanwhile, Chicken Feathers has all these “Aw…” moments in the movie. Man tou (饅頭) is too hard? I’ll buy you softer ones. You just don’t like Man tou? I’ll make you Xiao Lung Bao (小籠包). What do I want to see if I ever get my eyesight back? I want to look at you.

There was nothing wrong with White Dragon’s original intention to marry the Second Prince. Her wish represents a simpler time, that was every little girl’s dream. The progression of her moving towards Chicken Feathers represented her growing up, looking past Chicken Feathers’ blindness and learned to love him for who he is.

We also finally learned what really is Chicken Feathers’ Achilles Heel near the end of the film:

鳳:盲佬,你畀我廢左武功架,點解你…
White Dragon: Didn’t I take away your powers? How come…
雞:我根本冇死穴。
Chicken Feathers: I don’t have a weakness.
鳳:冇死穴?
White Dragon: No weaknesses?
鳳:識左你咪我既死穴囉。
Chicken Feathers: Knowing (Loving) you is my weakness.

The movie is under the category of romantic comedy. I loved the romance between White Dragon and Chicken Feathers. The comedy really sucked. Yes, it sucked! The movie only got a cheap laugh out of me during the groin kicking part. The word puns were thrown together at random, for example, Chicken Feathers is a long shot word pun for Salvatore Ferragamo. Cecilia Cheung and Andy On did not convince me with the budding romance between the Second Prince and White Dragon’s pagan identity Black Phoenix. Thank goodness Francis Ng stepped in and made the romance between Chicken Feathers and White Dragon convincing. My guess is, this is one of the films Francis was talking about in one of his interviews, where he stated he may have received poorly written scripts, but never any poorly written characters.

My advice: Just fast forward the comedy that tried too hard, and go straight to the romance.

張國榮 Leslie Cheung

I am in speed writing mode right now, because I’m afraid I’d go blind crying.

Leslie, along with Anita, are in a separate class of multi-talented, multiple threats at movie and music awards type of artists. Sorry, George Clooney, being an Oscar triple threat is not awesome enough.

I didn’t believe it when the Internet was spreading news of Leslie’s death.  It was April 1st! It was the beginning of a hostile relationship between the press and the artists. Anything that kind of look newsworthy will be printed as long as it sells, fact checking are for wussies. I was angry enough to torch up a newspaper office when the news of his death was printed on special edition. I believed it was someone’s really sick joke, to this day, I really wished it is just a really sick joke.

Imagine the overwhelming feeling of grief when Reply 1994 decided that Hoon’s (Na Jung’s biological older brother) date of death was April 1st. The moment Na Jung’s narration mentioned about how someone is playing a sick joke and laughing in the dark, I lost it.

In reference to Reply 1994, here’s the full video of “Just like back then…”

Blind Detective

Blind Detective

To appreciate how awesome this dynamic duo is, you have to watch this: Needing You... This:

Love on a diet

And this:

Yesterday once more

The three previous movies are awesome, but…as much as I’ve been in love with Andy Lau since I was 5, I didn’t think of him as a serious actor until Infernal Affairs. Having said that, I think Blind Detective is the more polished film of the four for the Lau, Cheng and To (director) trio. I have no doubts with Sammi Cheng as an actress, it has something to do with she works well with most directors, but performs especially well with director Johnnie To. Andy has played a blind person many times in many films, but none like this one. He really surprises me this time as the titled blinded detective. He spent time doing his homework to get the little details of how a visually impaired person would live for this film. The moment that really hits me was when Johnston decided to touch Ka Tung’s face to see how she looks.

This movie also features many acting greats taking on different roles of psychotic serial killers. The two actors to watch, though, are Bonnie Wong, who played Minnie’s psychotic grandma, and Phillip Keung, the crazy serial killers with all the missing girls on his rap sheet.