David Choi - A Definite Surprise!

"David who?" was the question that I asked when I was first told of David Choi. I am, 'shockingly', not an avid Youtube viewer so I was oblivious to all the famous Youtube personalities. Never heard of David until a friend mentioned him as a very good singer who did great covers, is involved in some videos of Wong Fu Productions AND he was coming to KL for a concert. And I thought, cool...but never really gave much thought about it after. 

Up until Wong Fu released one of their latest projects, that is this song:

And I was hooked! Really loved the concept of the video, and the music is oh so...cute, for lack of a better word! The lyrics really captured the essence of finding that someone and wanting to share everything with him/her. 

By that time, it was a little too late to catch his concert (silly old me...always missing out on good acts!) but I did manage to find a video on his time here at his website, and it looked like so fun! Wish I was there...=)

No point dwelling on the past I guess, so I went ahead and got both his albums (which you can also listen to on his website!) and I cannot stop listening ever since! 

David's first album is titled "Only You". Released back in 2008, it contains 14 of his original compositions. My first impression when I first listened to it was that his style is somewhat like Joshua Payne's second album (raw, very acoustic and intimate, probably cut in his own studio instead of a big studio) mixed with a little bit of Ryan Cabrera (love the guitar riffs and the tone of his songs).  

There is something about the lyrics of his songs...they are real, like it could also happen to you and me, and at some points, they really hit home with the feelings described as he sings about love, hurt, etc. Couple that with his uncanny ability to come up with some very catchy tunes and his smooth vocals, it is a joy to listen to!  Whether it be a fast-tempo, happy song or a melancholic song that reminisces about lost love, "Only You" is a great debut from this independent singer/songwriter.

Some of my favorites include "Always Hurt" (where he sings about not wanting to go through love again, because he always ended up getting hurt), "Won't Even Start" (his only single released from the album, which did quite well on iTunes and Youtube), "Heart" (about a man who appears to be cold, but actually yearns to be loved by the girl) and "Hold On" (an uplifting song that encourages us to hold on despite the hard times).

Reading about his biography on his website, it is intriguing to learn about how he started and the accolades that he won with his songwriting. Kudos to him for sticking it out as an independent artist and still bringing good music to the masses! 

His second album, "By My Side" is a step up from his debut album. While maintaining his style of (mostly) acoustic accompaniments, the album also feels a little bit more polished compared to the first album; not so raw and organic like his debut, but I still like the songs produced =) 

This time around, the instruments used in the songs really bring the feel of the song to life and take you back through memory lane. I really loved "By My Side", the titular single. While the video talks about making 'balloons' (sacrifices, promises) for that someone, the lyrics and music brings me back to happier times =) It's whimsical, cute, yet also quite meaningful when you listen to him sing about wanting someone by his side forever.

Other standouts from this album for me include "So Weightless" (LOVE the use of the xylophone-like instrument here! It really evokes the feeling of weightlessness and being amongst the clouds), "Deserve To Be" (quite a melancholic song about a guy telling the girl that she deserves much better than him) and "Amy Ave." (where he reminisces of the times he was back in his neighborhood as a child)

I couldn't stop listening to his albums when I was in Bali...the music is just perfect to listen to as you sit in the car driving by vast green fields, windows down, the wind is in your hair, breathing in fresh air and just...bask in the peacefulness, bliss and tranquility. I don't know...I guess with all the over-processed, too-much-bass-that-it-affects-your-heartbeat songs that we hear on the radio today it is a very welcome change to listen to songs that are just pleasing to the ears and go back to the basics. Sometimes the best things are the most simple ones, in my opinion...=)

So, if you're in the mood for something more simple, yet also having some substance in the music...give David Choi a listen. You won't be disappointed! I hear he's coming out with another album soon too, so I can't wait! *grins* 

Mr. Popper's Penguins

Remember the animated movie "Happy Feet"? How it caught the world by storm with its infectious songs and dance moves? Well, "Mr. Popper's Penguins" is nowhere like that...in a good way :) Alike in some things (they have the cutest -albeit CG - penguins!!!), but different as well (alliterations anyone?) this movie is a feel-good movie for families.

As you can see from the movie poster, it stars Jim Carrey as Tom Popper, a very successful realtor who so happens to 'inherit' 6 penguins from his father (who travelled a lot during his lifetime). Everything in Popper's life gets turned upside down when he tries to deal with the penguins only to find something else in his life being turned around too =) 

Jim Carrey as the titular character is amazing to watch. Granted, he doesn't play those silly characters like in "The Mask" or "Ace Ventura" but he's still got it with his comedic timing and uncanny expressions. Watch out for a scene where he tries to stop a press conference in 'slow motion'...hilarious! 

Dining with penguins...gives you a whole new perspective of unwelcome dining guests!

The other actors in the film are very commendable as well. Kudos goes out to Madeline Carroll and Maxwell Perry Cotton who play Janie and Billy Popper respectively...they get along very well with Jim Carrey and their relationship with the penguins is believable. However, my hat is off to Ophelia Lovibond (what a pretty name...'tis rare to hear that kind of a name these days!) who plays Pippi, the assistant to Mr. Popper. Her lines are delivered FLAWLESSLY, which is a really hard thing to do (in my opinion) especially  when her lines are almost all alliterations ("Procure a pertuberance, PRONTO!") and has to be delivered in motor-fast speed not unlike a tongue twister. Love it every time she goes on screen! 

Tadaaa......let's hear it for the performing penguins!

As the other 'stars' of the show, the animated penguins are cute too. When they first appear on screen, it is a little too obvious that it's an animated animal, but as the movie progresses it's not hard to fall in love with the cute penguins and their funny characteristics...Captain, Lovey, Bitey, Stinky, Loudy and Nimrod will probably make the kids beg their parents for a pet penguin!

"Mr. Popper's Penguins" got mixed reviews from critics...sure, it has a predictable storyline (as with all family movies...what can one do to reinvent the genre?) and of course there is the nonsensical feel to some of the scenes. But if you look past all that, this movie can garner quite a few laughs (or at least some giggles) which is a good thing, in my opinion. In this day and age, we all could use a little laughter to lighten up the world! *wink*

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Ah yes, the most anticipated movie of 2011 is finally here...with (somewhat) new characters, a storyline that still doesn't make much sense and kick-ass CG effects! Personally, I'm not really a huge fan of the franchise, but I do watch the movies for the special effects....they are AMAZEBALLS! (as a friend would put it)

Everybody is just waiting to see if Michael Bay will screw up this last installment since "Transformers 2" kinda bombed (yes, even I thought that...the effects were still great but the other aspects just fell short =\ ). And if you've read the other reviews, you've probably known the answer to the question of whether did Bay redeem himself. When the audience cheers at the sight of a character thought dead, or claps at the end of the movie...you'll know it's a "HELL YEAH"!

The movie started rather strongly with a flashback to the 60's, when Man first walked on the moon. Some pretty clever camera work and video editing makes the footage rather believable as we look at Neil Armstrong's 'actual' top secret mission on the moon. See if you can spot which ones have been doctored *wink*

From then on, it was all systems go (no pun intended) as we get bombarded with action scenes left, right and center. One can really tell that no expenses were spared for these scenes...from the chase scenes to the blowing up and destruction of buildings, everything is executed rather flawlessly. This time around, the details on the robots are much more intricate...up until at certain parts I could tell that the robots are superimposed onto the scene. Don't get me wrong, I still think they look great, but there were certain parts not unlike Peter Jackson's "King Kong" where you can really tell what is CG and what isn't. Thank goodness it was only some parts (or maybe because I was scrutinizing it too much, trying to see if I can spot where the CG starts and ends. LOL!)

Sentinel Prime...the new baddie. Voiced by Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock in the old Star Trek films!!)

Storyline-wise, there is nothing much to say....the action scenes more than make up for the story, which drags a little (I almost fell asleep at parts, can you believe it??!) but suffice to say the Decepticons are out to make Earth their new planet, but instead of using their own resources, they deceived the Autobots (Decepticons' deception...wahahahaha! Sorry, I'm on a roll with puns here!) into getting their own way, and as such the Autobots are banished from Earth. With no big giant robots to help us, will we ever survive this?? Fear not as we have...

Shia Lebouf! *hears crickets chirping* Honestly, I don't see why his character has to be there. As if he's not useless enough, the writers try to fit him into every scene of the movie....which is super annoying! Then again, there are some other new characters which are kind of quirky and hilarious. They bring out the fun in the movie. For one, we have Patrick Dempsey (aka Dr. McDreamy in "Grey's Anatomy") playing a bad guy role(!!!) It's hard to look at his face and imagine him being capable of helping the Decepticons...not a good thing, but it's hilarious to watch nonetheless! Then we have John Turturro playing the ever-funny-but-lovable Agent Seymour Simmons...his wisecracks are legendary! 

Bumblebee! My niece's favourite Autobot...love the yellow Camaro he turns into!

Need I mention the stars of the show? The voices of the Autobots and Decepticons are spot on...I like how the characters (especially the new ones...look out for the Wreckers!) are suited to the voices. Even the characteristics are cool...watch the Wrecker robot with a 'pot belly'! 

Carly Spencer...love of Sam Witwicky's life. *barfs*

Hmm....yes, the other 'pull' for people (or should I say guys) to throng to the cinemas. Rosie Huntington-Whitely (OMG...what a mouthful for a name!) is definitely a looker. Who wouldn't look when you've got someone like THAT walking around in skimpy outfits and caressing the contours of an expensive car? When she first appeared on screen, audible gasps abound in the cinema *rolls eyes* Oh well, what can I say? I'm jealous of the girl. LOL! Then again, which normal, SANE girl would run around the city (amidst rubble and debris no less!) in heels that are 6 inches high AND still be able to outrun those Decepticon robots? Let's not also forget how perfectly clean and coiffed said girl could be after everything is over...yup, definitely the girl of a man's dreams!

Aside from all the oohs and ahhs about how hot Carly is, the movie is pretty rocking! I didn't catch it in 3D but I'd definitely want to catch it again in 3D...those close ups and slow motion action scenes with bolts flying around definitely scream 3-effin'-D! I just need someone to go with...anyone?