Interstellar (2014).

interstellar3So I caught this movie almost two whole weeks ago, but I am only getting down to it now because:

  1. Working in a gallery really zaps my time and energy (from being bored).
  2. Haven’t gone near my computer for the past week at all for long periods of time.
  3. Personal ups and downs that made me spend more brain energy on churning out poetry than reviewing stuff.

Anyway, dubbed the “newer and better” Gravity of 2014, Interstellar plays around with the concept of time/space continuum, how the world might end as well as the boons and banes of science research.

Following the journey of Cooper and a group of explorers that left behind their family and lives to save the human kind from extinction, viewers get sucked into a story of love, loss and of course, hope throughout this (close to) three hour movie.

Probably the only movie that has such gorgeous visuals on screen most of the time that plot holes as gigantic as the black hole itself can be forgiven.

(I am really fond of how Nolan makes everything so beautiful on screen – lighting, texture and framing. I lost count of the number of times the scenery left me breathless.)

Besides star-gazing and enjoying the many landscape shots of the world, my favourite part was definitely when all the little hints and clues fell into place for the beautiful (though predictable) ending or the mystery of the “ghost”. I am just a sucker for stories that wrap up most loose ends nicely and brings about a more positive future for the beginning of the end.

Though after going through so many reviews about this movie, I must agree that the plot was not fantastic. It offers a lot of questions and many things for the audience to think about but there is nothing concrete or substantial to really hold on to. A pity, really.

But Interstellar is definitely one movie that made me cry like my tears were rain and my emotions were an ocean. I felt very deeply for all the relationships presented and the multiple push-and-pull scenarios life created for them. It is about the human condition and even though it was very much predictable, it was realistic enough for me.

It would definitely be good if the next Nolan movie looks good and feels good. That would be the perfect movie experience. But in the mean time, I guess Interstellar will do.

This is a movie that I can watch again and again and again. If anyone is going to ask me how I visualise heaven, I will just say the galaxies portrayed in Nolan’s movie. Because it is that gorgeous.


Oculus (2014).

Oculus-Movie-PosterHonestly, I did not find it the least bit horrifying. But I was glad that it was not a typical horror movie that simply had nonsensical scary moments planted here and there just to get a few screams from the audience and your adrenaline rushing.

Banking on a relatively strong storyline and more sinister than gore, the movie is based on two siblings that decide to dig up the supernatural force that caused their family tragedy ten years ago and to try and destroy it once and for all.

Though I did feel like the story went a little too slowly for certain moments, especially the beginning, the overall storyline was wrapped up nicely with clever parallels between the past and the present.

The movie’s direction was more towards the exploration of perspectives, the idea of what is real and what is an illusion. That was fine by me since it made the visuals more interesting and it made me stay alert to catch the hints and come up with my own sequence of events for what really happened. That made it engaging for me and I was able to follow the action throughout.

Another thing I really liked will be the subtlety of it all – from the presentation of the supernatural force to the hurt it inflicts onto the various parties and the action that follows after. You know, most horror films does things like flying spirits and sharp teeth and victims having missing body parts, which make things really over done and pretty lame. But Oculus embraced the details and the precision of actions and moments.

The dad’s fingers. The mum’s caesarean scar. Kaylie’s face. Tim’s hand.

I also really appreciated the appearance of the supernatural force – her normality accessorised with slightly cracked skin, mirror-covered eyes, a mocking smile and just a slight tilt of the head.

Oh, I just love it.

But beyond just horror, this movie told me a sad tale of a family that fell apart and was meant to remain broken ever since the start of the mirror’s existence. I mean, even while the mirror was gone, it left such a haunting impression on the children that Kaylie (the daughter) painstakingly located it just to bring it back to destroy it. Without a physical presence, the mirror went on to destroy their lives and controlled them.

And the ending was just painful for me. It was a sense of feeling alone – the kind of loneliness you feel when no one believes your version of the truth – and the people that know are not there. I admit that I cried a little and thinking about it, this movie had the same effect on me as Mama, which is a horror show I caught last year.

So what’s real and which memories did happen? Or is everything simply in your mind, where the ghosts really live?

Well, guess no one will really know.

As The Light Goes Out (2013).

As-the-Light-Goes-Out-2014-1It is a rare sight to see me walk into a cinema to watch a Mandarin movie instead of an English one. Personally, I think I am more aware of what is going on and showing on the big screens for English movies because of my interests and the pages I follow on my social media accounts.

So I am glad that gave me a pair of tickets to catch As The Light Goes Out at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard last Monday. I mean, it is great to be in touch with my mother tongue again!

Generally, this movie is a tribute to all firefighters and the storyline revolves around five different men and their relationship with each other while ambition, priorities and major decisions come into play. It is about trust, brotherhood and sacrifice.

I was not sure what to expect when I entered the cinema but I left with new found respect for all the people in the public service sector and was really touched by the movie. Having gained new perspectives and thoughts from the movie, I was rather shocked at myself for never wondering about them right from the start. Then it struck me how little it occurs to me to think about these people that put their lives on the line for us on a daily basis and appreciate them. It is shameful, really.

So I am happy that the movie gave me a good insight to the life of a firefighter – the way they live life, their feelings and thoughts that haunt them occasionally and the possible reactions from their family to their job. In the media, I usually only hear about the heroic acts or photographs of the men saving lives and smiling for the camera after everything is over. I would barely encounter stories of grief, fear or even anger. But they are people and they are more than their jobs. They are everyday heroes with worries of losing their lovers, fighting for that promotion and the duty of bringing their kid to school.

Besides the insight and sentiment behind the making of the entire movie, I quite liked the way the filming was done – angles used, lighting, slowing down of certain moments and other technicalities. It made some moments linger for longer and that made those moments stay in my mind longer. If I close my eyes, I can still see the emotions on the actors’ face, the cigarette smoke in the air and the stillness of that memory. It was a very strong image and sent a very strong message with it. It will definitely be something I will be remembering for a long time.

But of course, the actors especially Nicholas Tse did a good job and helped the message reach the audience. It was refreshing to see him in this role, since I usually see him in action films or in villainous roles. His character was one of the more quiet ones but his emotions could be seen through his little gestures and his gaze. It was a quiet but strong performance. I liked it.

Anyway, I will end off by telling you that this movie is out January 2 in Singapore!





Aftershock (2013).

Thanks to Singapore Film Society, I got myself a pair of tickets to the premiere of Aftershock last Monday night.

Directed by Nicolas Lopez, it was about a group of five being stuck in Chile when an earthquake struck, which caused a prison to collapse and surviving prisoners to break free.

Before I watched the movie, I expected a typical movie with loads of guns, crazy sound effects and a lot blood. I am not afraid of gore and I appreciate my horror movies. How bad can this be right?

But I walked out of the cinema feeling scared, sad and small. And learnt that I cannot bear watching the ugly side of human nature.

With scenes of intended hurt being inflicted on another helpless being, I started crying while trying to make the sick feeling in me go away.

I honestly wanted to walk out of the cinema halfway through because of the burning, rape and suffering of the characters. With such tragedy, it really did not help that the tormentors were usually never hurt by the natural disasters while the victims ended up injured most times.

The impact the movie left me was intense and I felt pain. Pain for the wounds and disgust at how cruel my own species can be to another of the same kind.

I guess reading about it and crying over YouTube videos about very real issues never hit me this hard.

With that said, I think the movie succeeded in telling its message, despite poor character development and plot progression.

That the only thing more frightening than Mother Nature, is human nature itself.