Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief

Yikes, two months into the new year, and I've already broken my resolution (err...wish). LOL! Oh well, I'm hoping to rectify it real soon *crosses fingers*

Managed to do another review on the movie 'Valentine's Day', and watched 'Legion' also. Since it's been so late after 'Legion', I think I'll just sum it up in a few words: It wasn't as nice as it was hyped out to be, in my opinion. I think some of the best scenes were shown in the trailer itself (which is a bummer!); Paul Bettany was a great actor, but sadly underused in his character of the arch angel, Michael. There was no real story-line, and I find it real ironic that an angel knows what God needs and wants -____-" Hello? God is all-knowing??! Anyways, to put it bluntly, not something I'd recommend to watch in the cinemas. It's probably better to watch it at home.

'Valentine's Day' on the other hand, was SWELL!! My *ahem* official review here:
Great casting, good comedic elements to break up the overly sweet theme of the movie; not to mention all the hunky dudes cast (McDreamy, McSteamy from Grey's Anatomy, Ashton Kutcher, Bradley Cooper, Jamie Foxx, Topher Grace and Taylor Lautner...need I saw more? *wink*) In short, I can't rave more about the movie...go watch it!

Okay, okay...I babbled too much. This post is supposed to be about 'Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief'! Went to watch it last week with a bunch of good friends. Didn't quite meet what I thought it would be, but it wasn't as bad either.

My good friend mentioned that it was so much different from the book  version, so I guess I have to read it to see how different it was from the movie. But, looking at the movie alone, it wasn't half bad. Okay, it had some similarities with Harry Potter (3 students going out on an adventure, breaking many many rules as they go along; big bad fight at the climax of the movie; the 3 became best friends after that. Oh, not to mention the same director from the first two HP movies...heck, I even thought the musical score was similar too >.<")...and it kind of bugged me a little that Percy (played by Logan Lerman) is a Zac Efron lookalike (remake of High School Musical, anyone?), but other than that, not too bad.

The story is about Percy Jackson finding out he's a demigod (half mortal, half Greek God...apparently, Greek Gods like to come down to Earth every now and then to 'hook up' with mortals, but are not allowed to meet with their offspring. How convenient would that be, eh?) and someone has framed him for stealing Zeus' precious lightning bolt. So, he gets rescued by his good friend Grover (who turns out to be a mythical creature himself, and throws a whole dimension of WTF in your face in his revealing) to a place called Camp Half Breed...oops, I mean Camp Half-Blood (creative name, isn't it?) where Percy finds refuge and subsequently sets out to find who the heck stole Zeus' bloody bolt (not in their words, anyway). On their quest, they met up with many mythical beings, like the famous Medusa (played by Uma Thurman...I can see why they chose her for Medusa. GORGEOUS eyes!), Hydra, and Persephone...heck, even the Hell Hounds made an appearance!

The ending is quite predictable...don't want to spoil your fun on it *wink* But some of the effects were quite impressive, like the regrowing of the Hydra's heads. It is after all, directed by one of the HP series's directors, so one should expect no less =) Story-wise, it had a good plot...I just didn't like the climax and ending, which seems a bit too rushed compared to the way they slowly (and nicely) build up the events leading to the climax. Time constraint maybe. Casting was good; they threw in some famous names amidst the new leads...Pierce Brosnan, Kevin McKidd, Steve Coogan and Sean Bean did a great job with their characters, although I think I would prefer them to be do I say it? WEIRD. Maybe it's the dialogue or something, but it's very jarring to see Zeus and Hades as a Jesus lookalike and a faded out rockstar wannabe respectively. Trying too hard to make it more current for the masses, I guess...*shrugs*

All in all, it was kind of lame in some parts, but it also has its funny and cool venture would be that it's catered more for young adults (read: teenie boppers who have crushes on Zac Efron). So, if you have a 14-year-old sister, bring her to watch this one...I think she'll fall in love with Percy in no time flat. *wink* Let's just hope he doesn't pull a Daniel Radcliffe and does an 'Equus' production in the future too..

The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus

I've managed to catch 'The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus' last week. It's really a pity to see that it hasn't generated that much buzz or excitement for people to watch it...I mean, it's only been about 2 weeks or so, and the cinemas are already limiting the number of showings! Not enough people coming to catch the last movie that Heath Ledger made before he passed, I presume...=( 

Still, the movie did cast an interesting light on the extent of our imaginations. The story basically talks about Dr Parnassus (Christopher Plummer, who made Captain Von Trapp super famous in 'The Sound Of Music'), an old monk that made bets with the Devil (played brilliantly by Tom Waits) and uses a magical mirror to bring people from all walks of life into their own imaginations. Along the way, Dr Parnassus and his troupe (consisting of his daughter, a boy called Anton, and a midget called Percy) chanced upon another curious character, Tony (Heath Ledger) and they all set upon a most bizzare and otherworldly journey that will either knock your socks off (if you get the whole bizzare thing) or knock you completely confused (if you're just too logical and all that jazz).

The cast were brilliant in the movie..Christopher Plummer definitely plays the old monk with great aplomb, balancing the drunken stupor that the character is almost always in and the wise, engaging storyteller of a man when the character is sober. But the one that steals the show would be Heath Ledger, who brought Tony to life with his little mannerisms and British accent that one can't really place. It's a little sad though to see when Tony changes faces (played by Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell) during the story. One would definitely be able to tell which parts were made after his death...but still, the other actors held their own and melded their interpretation of Tony with Heath's very well.

If you're not into the whole story (or you just don't understand it), just watch it for the visuals. The 'worlds' created by the characters' imaginations will surely leave you breathless. Think Tim Burton's 'Charlie and The Chocolate Factory' with a darker, more adult twist. Although looking really bizzare (I seem to be using this word a lot, but I think this is the most apt word for it. LOL!), surreal, and abstract-ish, the effects are awesome. I guess it's something to be seen in order to be believed *wink*

All in all, it's quite hard to place what the movie is all about (in my opinion), but the effects of the movie definitely is a crowd puller. If you DO go watch the movie, make sure you don't go for a late night showing (as the pace might render you sleepy) and don't worry if you don't 'get' the story at all...just sit back, relax and immerse yourself in the whole experience. *wink*


When I first viewed the trailer for Avatar on the TV in the beginning of the year (2009), the first thing that came to my mind was 'Oh...weird blue people fighting with large dinosaur-like birds against big spaceships and tanks! Animation!' Didn't really feel like watching the movie, until the second trailer came out, and then I waited in anticipation...the wait was so worth it! I watched both the normal and 3D versions of the movie, and I have to say both versions have its own unique (and breath-taking!) experience!

Don't want to go into the storyline as I'm sure most everyone knows what it's about, but I do want to rave about the stunning ethereal-like feel of Pandora! The creators certainly have gone all out to create beautiful, gorgeous looking trees, and jaw-dropping, knock-you-out-of-breath-the-first-time-you-lay-eyes-on-it scenery! Watching it twice never lessened that factor....all the colors, especially the luminescent glow on the trees at night were just..Wow. Makes me want to wish I lived in Pandora too! Heh! Definitely need to give mad props to the people working hard behind thescenes of Avatar...everything was simply superb, from all the detailingto the cinematography!

Pretty Eywa surrounding Jake...lovely!

The Na'vi were very impressive too, although I didn't quite get the blue skin and all...but after a while, you get used to it and appreciate how pretty they look too. Especially Neytiri (played by Zoe Saldana). LOVED Sam Worthington as Jake Sully! He brought a lot of emotion and vulnerability to the character, which we all sympathised with as he goes on bravely with his disability, and then triumphed together with him as he brought the Na'vi together against the humans. Definite swoon-worthy material as well...*wink*

The message behind the story was crystal clear in the movie, and I do love that quote which Jake tells the Holy Tree (which is so true of our world today):

"....there are no more greens, no more trees. They have killed their Mother (Nature)."

Watch the normal version to witness the spectacularity of the movie, but watch the 3D for different kind of experience. =) True, the 3D effects were not the usual 'throwing flying objects in your face' kind, but I really like the subtlety of it all. Watching the movie really felt like you were IN the middle of it all, standing behind the soldiers while they receive their briefing, watching the pilots from behind as they navigate the ships, or even running along the trees when Hometree got wiped out. Ooh, and not to mention being able to appreciate the more intricate details in the 3D movie compared to the normal version. Losing yourself in the movie has never been easier...and it also makes you gape at the cool technology that was made for the movie!

Detailing is even better in 3D!

All in all, I think this is one of the best movies and must watch of 2009...=) Here's to hoping that there would be more great movies like this from James Cameron, and maybe we won't have to wait another 12 years for it to bear fruit! LOL!

As a side note, I remember watching back Titanic a few weeks ago when it was shown on TV...I have to admit, I never did liked Titanic's story. Never got why the girls cried like mad when Jack died and cringed at the 'I jump, you jump' line (I still do..LOL!). Still, it amazed me looking at the CG of the ship...watching it again showed very big disparity between the CG then and now. It's very clear (watching it now) which parts were CG and which were not, but during the time it was a big thing, and I do appreciate the work that went into recreating the Titanic...I just didn't like the Jack and Rose story (maybe Leo Dicaprio was too young at the time..LOL!) I wonder if I would say the same thing if I got the chance to watch Avatar again in another few years' of now, CG has never looked better! *grins*

Sherlock Holmes - "My Dear Watson..."

Something up-to-date first...haha! One of my New Year's wishes (I don't really like resolutions...I always end up NOT doing it properly, so there!) would be to update my blogs as quickly as possible so I don't lose my train of thought. =)

Watched this a couple of days ago with sis and some good friends...I have to admit, I have not read the books of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (though of course I have heard of Sherlock Holmes and his adventures), so I went in with no inkling of what to expect. Did it deliver? YES!!

The story was set way back in the time where London was dark, dingy and dirty...and expect the atmosphere of the movie to be just that. But it does the job of setting the tone of the movie - which shows the case that Holmes and Watson are working on - steeped in 'paranormal' activities. Lord Blackwood, a notorious bad guy, was caught by Holmes and Watson...and subsequently hanged (even being pronounced dead by Watson himself). Holmes became bored after that, lurking at home and conducting experiments on his poor dog (hillarious but at the same time sad for the dog!) when he found out mysterious things are happening and it appears that Blackwood is NOT dead! *gasp* Without giving too much away, Holmes and Watson set out to uncover the mystery...and succeeded in unravelling all the conundrums that Blackwood threw at them.

Swoon-worthy (and funny) Holmes in a brawl scene that's super cool!

What I love about the movie was the observations of Holmes in every situation. Yes, I know he's a detective, and hence he HAS to be observant...but the Holmes that Robert Downey Jr. portrayed was not just pompous and witty, he was quite sarcastic and funny as well. From what little I knew about the Holmes everybody loved...he was just a normal detective who relied on his in-depth knowledge and brilliant deduction methods to solve a case. THIS Holmes was that...and more! Not only he was involved heavily (up to the point of fighting with the baddies a la Jackie Chan style) but he does it with panache and brings it to a whole new level =)

One of my favorite quotes from the movie:

"Itis a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly onebegins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suitfacts."

How apt! Often times we like to come to conclusions before we even findenough evidence for it, or just twist facts to 'prophesies' so that itwould feel right! Scary, isn't it? But so true...=) Still, I digressed!

The camaraderie and banter between Holmes and Watson were awesome as well! Love Jude Law's interpretation of the obssessive note-taker that is Watson...he was definitely on par with Robert Downey Jr. and it shows (on-screen at least) that they are the bestest of friends! Rachel McAdams plays Irene Adler, the woman who apparently was the only one who could outwit and outsmart Holmes. Though she is super pretty in the movie, I can't help but think that the writers have underplayed Irene's cleverness. It's as though she was there because they need a love interest or some sort for Holmes. *sigh* Which is sad, coz from what I have read about Irene, she is definitely brilliant...what a movie it would be if she was given a fleshier (figuratively!) role in the movie instead of some damsel in distress (for a smart woman, you'd think she would be able to evade capture, but she got caught as bait for Holmes...twice. *smacks head*)

The pace of the movie was great though...the thought process of Holmes on how to defeat an opponent was a favorite of mine. And I do like how they left clues all over for the audience to try and figure out what happened. Loved the explanation in the end on how they uncovered the mysteries! So, if you love mysteries, action, or just Robert Downey Jr. go watch it! You won't be disappointed =)  Can't wait for the sequel (you know there'll be one! ;) ) as they will be bringing in Prof. Moriarty! Meanwhile, let me go and see if I can scrounge up those Holmes' novels to bring me up to speed...heh!

Birthday Celebration at Senjyu Sushi

Okay, this post was supposed to be way, WAY back in November >.<" Still, I don't want to waste the photos and so, here it is..heh!

It was a birthday celebration for my Mom...she's big on healthy food, and so the best option would be Japanese food =) Mom loves sashimi, and since I had some great discount coupons for Senjyu (and we haven't been there before), we went ahead with it.

Located at e@Curve in Mutiara Damansara, Senjyu Sushi was quite a small-ish restaurant situated just beside the ever popular McDonald's. Walking in, we noticed there were not many staff around and thought 'Oh's going to be a long wait!' but we were shown to the biggest and best table (in my opinion) in the restaurant shortly after...heh! 

The interior decor of the place...loved the purple lanterns! 

And there were rows upon rows of green bottles on display in the shelves above, so it was way cool!

Simple set up of the table

Looking at the menu, the prices were exorbitant! Thank goodness we had the coupons (and since it was our Mom's birthday anyways), so my sisters and I took quite a few liberties in ordering...hehehe! We thought since there were not enough staff going around and quite a number of customers were around, we would have to wait VERY long (since we placed quite a big order!), but it wasn't so! Food was served relatively fast, which was awesome!

My cold green tea..not bad! Not too watery or too thick :)

First order (by Mom): Avocado salad with shrimp roe and crab meat. It was lovely! Cool, crisp vegetables topped with slivers of avocado! And it was tossed with a vinaigrette that was super yummy! Mom can't quite place what it was in the vinaigrette (and she's a good cook!) but needless to say, it got polished off quite fast!

Soft shelled crab tempura...quite nice, especially after lemon juice was squeezed over it!


Can't really remember which sushi this was, but it was quite forgettable...nothing much to shout about. Still, it got finished off. LOL!

Wagyu beef! One of our favourites....thin slices of beef served along with a small cooking 'stove' in which we do a light BBQ with it. Dipped in their soy sauce, it was SCRUMPTIOUS! :D

The stove that came with the beef...with a piece of lard for 'oil'!

Caviar and roe sushi....need I say more? ;)

Another version of the caviar sushi...

Octopus of Mom's favorites! She likes the baby octopuses for some reason..haha!

The little tub of wasabi...too cute to pass up for a photo!

Can't remember what is the name of the drink, but it was a nice fizzy soda with some cordial and bits of fruit in it...Rachel loved this!

Can't remember the Japanese name for this, but it's something like jellyfish or something to the extent. Not as nice as we expected :( 

A GINORMOUS scallop for my came with it's own little 'stove' and was boiling when it arrived. Heh! Very pricey, but Mom felt that it wasn't that nice. *gasp* Oh well...

The sashimi!! Some of it were nice, but we all felt that they were sliced too thick...if they were sliced thinner, it wouldn't have been hard to swallow. LOL!

Their signature dish, the Dragon Maki! Yummy sushi of mango,soft-shelled crab and some prawns wrapped in VERY thin slivers of's delicious! Only thing is that to enjoy it in its entirety, you'd need to eat it all in one bite, and the sushi size sure is not small...*sigh* But I think I'd rather look ugly and enjoy the food than try to look dainty eating it...hahaha!

Mango sushi...another favourite! Who would have thought that mango goes very well with sushi, right?!

Noodles in a citrus-y sauce...also very yummy! :D

Then it was time for dessert...Viv ordered this, but it tasted rather weird! If I remember correctly, it's something like grape jelly wrapped around some liquor. NOT a good combination. Ugh.

Mochi (black sesame) was surprisingly good, considering all we know of black sesame was in savoury food :D 

Coconut ice-cream in a coconut shell...haha! But still, very sweet and creamy :) 

And my favourite one of all...lavender ice-cream! Love the purple color, and it was quite creamy and not overwhelming with the lavender taste. Lovely!

When we got home, we got cake too...:D This was a trans-fat free orange chiffon with meringue frosting. What a great end to a nice day! Hope you enjoyed your birthday, Mom!

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

The opening credits already got me thinking, ' cliched!' and hoping fervently that the rest of the movie would not turn out to be something like the newer Star Wars installments: full of corny and cringe-worthy dialogue. I did not get my wish (kind of)...

'New Moon' is based on the second book of the same name in the Twilight Saga series...basically, you get the "girl gets the (vampire) boy of her dreams for the first 10 minutes, girl gets a paper cut and subsequently attacked by a bunch a hungry vampires, boy feels absolutely guilty and leaves girl, girl gets so depressed she gets nightmares and becomes an adrenaline junkie to create hallucinations of boy, girl finds a best friend in a new (werewolf) boy, boy falls in love with girl, something drastic happens and boy (vampire) thinks girl is dead, boy goes to kill himself and girl goes to his rescue, boy realizes his folly and promises never to leave girl again' story. *takes deep breath*

Although I'm a big, BIG fan of the Twilight series, I have to admit 'New Moon' is not one of my favourites in the series...mainly because it's so morose and dry. All Bella ever does is mope about three quarters of the book. But still, I guess every love story has to have its lows right? And without this book, one would not get to know more about Jacob, who is one of the central focus in the book.

What about the movie? I'm quite happy that the director and screenwriters stick quite close to the books...even adapting some of the minor (but very nice) details in the book, which I liked. However, there were also some liberties (I feel) that they took to try and make things more 'interesting' or dramatic, but that kind of takes things into the 'corny, cringe-worthy' the image of Bella and Edward running about in the woods, dressed in the fashion of supposedly posh English fashion. In SLOW MOTION??!! *shakes head*

Still, effects-wise, it's definitely a step up from the first movie...I'm guessing because they got a bigger budget, and it's great to see it put to (quite) good use. My favourite would be when the boys of the Quileute tribe transform...quite effortless and 'realistic'.

The cast did quite a good job too...Taylor Lautner definitely stood out as Jacob Black, giving Robert Pattinson (playing Edward Cullen) a run for his money. All his hard work buffing himself up for the movie definitely paid off, especially when he takes off his shirt to wipe off some blood on Bella! (another corny moment, but most of the audience went 'OOOOHHH!' when he did it, so...meh.) And it stays off too for most of the movie! *wink* Let's also not mention the eye candy that the other Quileute boys offered with their (also) buff and six-packed half naked bodies...heh!  

Robert Pattinson is still a pretty boy, but I kind of get the feeling that the make up artists loved white too much that they piled on an inch thick of it on Edward...I mean, is it even possible that Edward is EVEN paler compared to Twilight?? Less is DEFINITELY more, people! The effects of Bella 'seeing' Edward as she goes through an adrenaline rush is quite nice, but weird at the same time too...I think the subtler way in the book of Bella only hearing him seems to have a better impact, but I guess since most people came to watch Robert anyways, it wouldn't do to have him only to appear in the first and last 10 minutes of the show...*rolls eyes*

Kristen Stewart did a great job in the role of Bella, although I wish she would drop the 'words are so hard to come out of my mouth it hurts' characteristic that she brings to Bella. I don't know...I never really imagined Bella to be THAT awkward, or to even stutter half the time. She's clumsy, sure, but it doesn't mean she have to almost force herself to talk right? If Kristen loses that little bit of annoying (sometimes to the point of irritation) act for Bella, she would be just perfect.

The casting for the Volturi was very cool...Michael Sheen did a great job as Aro, and the characters of Felix and Demetri were quite good, but my favourite Volturi character had to be Dakota Fanning as Jane. She was spot on, playing the most powerful 'soldier' in the Volturi...and I think she should stick with the red contacts. She looked very cool in them! hehe! It'll be great to see her in the coming movies...*grins*

All in all, it was quite a satisfactory movie...definitely a notch up from Twilight, and a must watch for Twi-hards! Even if you're not, watch it for the nice effects and the eye candy of the cast (especially the Quileute boys...and Jacob Black! *wink*). But also be prepared to be smothered with some really corny dialogue and 'sweet-until-you-get-sick' moments peppered throughout the movie! 

2012 (The Movie)

Oops, forgot to write this ages ago...*sheepish grin*

(Warning: Spoilers for movie ahead!)

I got to watch this movie last Friday, and I'm a little torn..LOL! 

For those not in the know (for which I have to say, WHAT??!! It's one of the most anticipated movies this year!), 2012 is about the fulfillment of the 'prophecy' by various parties (Mayan, I-Ching, Nostradamus) that the world would come to an end by December 20, 2012 (20/12/2012...get it?). That's not all though...this movie also shows a John Cusack as Jackson Curtis, a down-and-out writer who is having a hard time connecting with his wife and kids...during the world's end, we see him and his family go through disaster after disaster, trying to stay alive. AND, to top it all off, the Government is in it (when is the Government never 'in it', eh?) and there's a 'big thing' brewing behind all of this by which humanity tries to survive this.

The CG and disaster effects were just SUPER cool (I mean, come many movies can you see destruction at this level? From the White House, Tibet, and even the Vatican Church!). The director and the effects team sure did a bang-up job in imagining out what would actually happen if our Earth were to 'self-destruct'! Cool scenes include the mega tsunamis and the moving of the Earth's tectonic plates (giant earthquakes, big craters in every part of the get the picture!). Definitely need to watch it in the cinema to appreciate the vastness and catastrophic proportions!

Not too sure about their scientific terms though...although I have a science background, but I never did study Physics or Geology. The actors seem to be quite convincing, but apparently some others didn't buy it...*shrugs* Still, we all came to watch a movie, and not to critic it's accurate-ness right? heh! 

Storyline-wise, it's quite a typical 'estranged family that doesn't get along eventually comes back together stronger than ever in the face of adversity' story. I get that a Hollywood movie HAS to have some sort of plot to move it along, but some of the 'coincidences' or 'luck is in favour of Jackson' scenes are so comical, it's sad...I mean, how in the world did the guy manage to crawl out of an SUV falling into a giant crater of boiling lava? And to drive through massive earthquakes USING A LIMOSINE (with flying stunts and all) is quite...weird, to say the least. And let's not mention all the other situations where everyone escaped by the skin of their teeth every. Single. Time. (flying between falling two buildings, anyone?) But then, without them surviving till the end, there wouldn't be a story now, would it?

Still, I think it's really cool that we get to see first-hand (sort of...we never really know if this will happen EXACTLY like this until the day comes, right? *wink*) how the Earth comes to an end without getting killed ourselves. heh! So, if you're looking for a movie with lots of destruction and mayhem, 2012 is the movie for you! Just sit back, relax and gape at the awesome-ness of how it can all fall apart in just a short time =)

P/S: As a little side-note, you might want to make sure you empty your bladder before going into the cinema. It's a pretty darn long movie, and I mean REALLY long! (think Lord Of The Rings movie + 20 minutes!) By the time it's over, I felt like I'm about to 'burst'...haha!

Unforgettable Royal Charity Concert Relived!

Phantom Of The Opera Medley:

Jessica Lee performing Cinema Paradiso:

Sean Ghazi - Bridge Over Troubled Water:

Sean Ghazi - Semalam:

Sean Ghazi - Ku Impikan Bintang:

 Sean Ghazi & Estee Pook - The Prayer:

My Sister's Keeper

Just watched this yesterday at home. Quite a beautiful movie =)

I've actually read the novel (by Jodi Picoult) way, WAY back before the movie was made. It was the first novel of Jodi Picoult that I picked up, and ever since then she became one of my favourite authors. She definitely knows how to combine court drama, life, love, and difficult issues into one compelling and thought-provoking book. Go get her books and you'll know what I mean *wink*

The story is about Anna (played by Abigail Breslin), an 11-year-old girl who was conceived through scientific means because her parents need a perfect match donor to help with her elder sister's illnesses. Kate is terminally ill, and needs a lot of blood, granulocytes, etc etc to cope. The story begins with Anna approaching a famous lawyer (Alec Baldwin) to sue her parents for her rights to her own body, or as they call it in legal terms, medical emancipation. You see, she feels that she has not been asked whether if she WANTED to do all the donation, especially when it comes to her own organs. The story goes through the different eyes of the characters in the movie; from the mother (Cameron Diaz), father, brother and Kate (Sofia Vassilieva) and how they deal with this, including the effects of Kate's illness on the family.

Although this movie was based on the book, it was definitely altered to fit Hollywood's style...quite a big chunk of it was left out (especially the crucial court scenes, where I feel they kept the suspense and intensity in the book) and they altered quite a bit on the premise of the story. Don't want to give away too much, but once you've read the book and watched the movie, you'll get what I mean.

Abigail Breslin was brilliant as Anna. She portrayed Anna just about the way I imagined her to be, smart, witty and loves her family so much it ached. Sofia Vassilieva was great as well...I really admire her courage to play a very sick girl (and shave her head bald too). But maybe it's just me having a weird thought; although Kate was supposed to be sick, she still somehow managed to look beautiful...bald head, pale face and all (well, in the beginning of the show anyways). And, when she gets a boyfriend in a hospital (portrayed by Thomas Dekker...too cute of a boy, even bald-headed), it just makes me feel so envious. Heck, even sick girls get to get a boy in their life...what's wrong with me? I guess I'm looking too much into this. PMS maybe..LOL! Just goes to show how skewed the world is (or in my mind anyways): pretty people almost always are on top. I digress..

I liked the way the movie portrayed the story...even though the movie was so different from the book, I liked the way we get to see the different situations through the characters' eyes. And it was really heart-breaking too to watch a good family torn apart because of an illness. You'd definitely need lots of tissue to watch this movie.

Unforgettable Concert Indeed...

Managed to score tickets to the Konsert Amal Diraja (Royal Charity Concert Gala) that was held at KLCC's Plenary Hall yesterday. The concert was organized by the Alzheimer's Disease Foundation Malaysia (ADFM) to raise funds for the foundation. And oh my, was it some concert!

I went with my sister again, and we reached just about in the nick of time. Went to collect the tickets according to instructions from the SMS I received, but ended up being tossed from one counter to the other...>.<" Thank goodness in the end, we managed to get the tickets, and off we went to watch the concert. Seats were again quite far off, but it's to be expected (the tickets were priced from RM100 to RM1200, can you imagine??!)

The concert that night was attended by some royalties as well, but they were 'fashionably late' as usual. Sometimes I wonder if our 'tidak apa' attitude was because of the examples set by leaders....since they can be late, it shouldn't be a big deal if WE'RE late right? We're not VVIPs like them...*sigh* Vicious cycle. Anyways, I digressed...

The theme for the night - Unforgettable!

The orchestra...a 66-piece one at that too! The orchestra was named the KL International Festival Orchestra, and yet I think about 90% of the musicians are not Malaysian. (Go figure) Conductor for the night was Maestro Eugene Pook, a Malaysian conductor based in New York. 

They played songs from Phantom of The Opera to start off the night...lovely medley of All I Ask Of You, Phantom Of The Opera, Music Of The Night and Think Of Me, to name just a few. I loved the lush, full sound of the strings and trumpets, but somehow it was kind of marred by the weak sounds of a drum middle of it. >.<" It contrasted a lot with the full sound of the orchestra, but thankfully it's only certain parts of the medley. I still enjoyed it loads though!

Next were a couple of songs with a solo violinist, Ms. Jessica Lee from the US. One of it was the beautiful 'Cinema Paradiso'! It was breathtaking watching her play...even from my distance, the way she moved and swayed with the music was so inspiring! I wish I could play and emote like that, but music skills are kind of sad. LOLL!

After that, there were a few numbers by multilingual singer, Ms. Estee Pook. I didn't manage to get good enough photos of her (I blame the distance and my not-so-good camera. LOL!), but she had a great voice. She sang the Frank Sinatra song, "New York, New York" and a Chinese number. Okay, I'm no great singer, but I can't help hearing her Malaysian/Chinese accent when she sings "New York, New York" kind of grates a little, but she more than made up for it with her strong voice. (Psst...I wonder if it's a coincidence that the artiste and the conductor share the same surname!)

During the intermission, my sis and I managed to snag better seats since there weren't many people up at the top tier seats...heh! This was much better *grins*

After playing a medley of the famous John Williams' songs (including theme songs from Star Wars, Super Man, and Indiana Jones), in walked Sean Ghazi! Sorry, the photo was too far away...but he was superb! I actually have not heard him sing before, but I've heard of him and his achievements in the local scene.

Sean sang songs from P. Ramlee, a couple of cover songs like "Bridge Over Troubled Water" as well as songs from his album, "Semalam". I think my favourite song from him would be the song "Semalam"...written by him and a co-writer, it was a song harking back to the days of old beautifully blended with contemporary styles of today. Couple that with his nice theatrical voice, his funny banter with the audience and (quite) slick dance moves, it's a joy to watch and listen =) Oh, and it also helped that he cut quite a dashing figure in his suit *wink*

After Sean, there was another surprise guest: Datuk Rahzam Hashim (I hope I got the spelling right!), a corporate figure who serenaded us with a few swing-y was a really pleasant surprise to see a corporate figure who knows how to have fun, and doing it so well! 


After the concert ended, I noticed a counter selling Sean Ghazi's albums, so I went to grab a copy...only to see a few minutes later:
The performers of the night signing autographs! The queue wasn't a long one, so I jumped in also, clutching my program...*grins* Seated here from the front was Ms. Estee Pook, Ms. Jessica Lee and Sean (standing). They were later joined by Maestro Eugene Pook, whom I managed to talk to and congratulate him on his great conducting *grins* He was really nice...saying thank you to everyone =)

Ms. Jessica Lee...she was really sweet. =)

And Sean Ghazi...who knew he's already 40 years old right? He SO doesn't look his age! He was really nice too...asking fans for their names before personalizing it with his autograph =) I asked for a photo, and he acted sad when I said I wanted to take a photo of him alone...LOL! But he jovially posed for one *grins*

After taking a photo of him, someone offered to take a photo of us together, so in a spur (or maybe a silly) moment, I said yes. Result? Eep! Ignore the fugly person next to Sean...hahaha! Thinking back on it, I think I must have flummoxed Sean by acting like such groupie. LOLL!

After getting both our programs signed, my sis and I headed back to Suria KLCC (where we parked the car) through the park and by gosh, I didn't want to pass up the chance to take this was SOOO pretty at night!

My 'stash' of the night...signed program book, ticket stubs and album! *grins*

Yes, I've had my 'head in the clouds' for a's not every day we meet someone famous, right? But I'm really glad that there's someone who will always be my biggest fan...someone who will love me regardless of how I look or how crappy I felt every other day; his handsome face, ever-jovial personality and waggy tail whenever he sees me: Scottie. *grins* This little happy piece of reality I will always treasure =)

Stay tuned for videos! Yes, I managed to snag some videos too...hehehe!

The Jiwang Queen Reigns Supreme!

I recently got invites to Mia Palencia's new album launch at Wisma Bentley Auditorium on 13th November. Naturally, I was excited because I've heard Mia before when she was in the group Double Take...she has an amazing voice! Breezy and sweet, yet she can also belt out big notes too! Her new album is called 'Songs From The Jiwang Kingdom' and she was showcasing songs from that plus some songs from her first solo album 'Finding My Way'.

I went with my sister, and we reached our seat numbers (which was the last row from the stage...*sigh* Oh well, we came for the music, no?) and headed out for dinner first before going in.

The view from our seats...SOOO far!! Thank goodness for zoom in cameras...LOL!

Another view of the auditorium...the setting was nice! Looks quite posh, and acoustics were VERY good...and I liked the wood paneling on the sides (I think those helped with the acoustics or something...I seem to notice these kind of panelings at concert halls. =P)

The lady of the hour! The showcase started late, but Mia was very nice and apologized for starting late...very true her words: "...true to Malaysian style, we all have to start with a delay..." LOL!

Mia with her band and Jun (far left) - her collaborator in her new album. I was really interested in the band member playing the 'drum beats' on the right...I don't know what's it called, but it gives a nice sound to give the songs a lift in beats...soft and gentle for the tender moments in song, but can also bring a nice bass-y beat for more uptempo songs!

Mia with a friend who plays cool violin!

And another friend who played a whole song with just the bass! It was quite funny at the beginning when he asked Mia, "Jazz ah?" and Mia replied with, "Yes yes, Jazz" LOLLL!

All in all, it was definitely a cool night! Mia not only kept everyone entertained with her breezy voice, but she was quite a showman as well...always having a funny remark on her songs, cracking jokes about her shiny hat ("Low budget ma...I have to DIY, throw some light!") or poking fun at her friends who joined her on stage *grins*

From the title of the album, I thought it would be something 'emo' because when the word 'Jiwang' comes to mind, images of sad rock love songs spring up...LOLLL! But as Mia aptly puts it in her album, "Jiwang is not a single emotion, but a web of many. If you have ever stood at the edge of the great ocean, looking out to the horizon, your toes buried in the sand, the water washing gently over your feet, and felt small, significant, grateful, blessed...humbled and proud all at the same time, then you know what I mean." Yes, Mia, I definitely know what you mean after listening to your tracks...*grins*

Her songs always have a great melody and meaningful lyrics...some are great to listen to in the middle of the night whenever you are pondering, or on your way to a destination - looking as the road and trees passing by. =) Some are great to have a good laugh over, like Poor Mary which has a little moral story cleverly infused with a very famous nursery rhyme! Definitely get this album if you like listening to Jazz or 'quiet music', as Mia puts it. :) 

And here, I enclose some videos from the showcase to let you have a taste of why Mia, the Jiwang queen, reigns supreme...enjoy! *grins*