25 January, 2017

會看地圖的貓會看地圖的貓 by 海雪
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story in 2006 is not out of time today, especially the mainland / HK underline. Love the mixture of narrations, dialogues, monologues, letters, diaries patching up a clear story line. The use of written Chinese and Cantonese is appropriate. Personally, I do not like open ending story, hence one star less. Anyone in HK can relate to this lovely tale.

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Hello 2017!

It has been seven summers and winters since this blog was last updated. The spread of social media has pushed blogging somewhat out of the centre stage of one's life. Regular users of anobii and goodreads must have found it easy to keep track of their reading. Convenience breeds laziness. The habit of clicking LIKE and STARS has pushed away the need of saying something in a review. In January 2017 as the year of playful Monkey is about to give way to industrious Rooster, it is a good time to revive this blog where notes containing a few thoughts of books, movies and performances are shared. This time, though, the notes will be shorter and revealing more personal preference rather than long analysis. Consider this as an intellectual recovery process, one step at a time. Blogging and journaling are primarily healing tools of NotesTaker.

21 May, 2009

Angels and Demons

Everyone deserves a second chance.

Last time, I finished reading the Da Vinci Code before going to the cinema for the film and the movie experience was rather ordinary.

This time, I watched the movie first because all copies of the book in the libraries were gone and the waiting list was long. The effect: GREAT.

The movie does an excellent adaptation and gives the audience a thrilling theatre ride with clear plot and impressive footage.

Thirty minutes after coming out from the cinema on Sunday last, I went to the library and picked up my reserved copy. On Wednesday, finish reading the whole book. It was as if I was reading a similar adventure which started and ended with a greater magnitude. The movie shows a more down-to-earth version to make the whole thing look very convincing. I totally approve the dramatic change of the assassin -- this more 'politically-correct' adaptation allows more international audience to accept the movie and opens room for deeper reflection of the dark side of humanity. The preserved dialogues and speeches are coherent and to the point.

The book is wilder in terms of fantasy with even more twists and turns. One cannot help to marvel at the detailed research that has been reflected in the book. It is a miracle that a living author who is not old, can be both knowledgeable on such a vast varieties of subjects and skillful in the art of story-telling. I mentioned the short time in which I have finished the book as a testimony to the page-turning magic that the book carries, instead of my reading speed.Frankly speaking, it is not an easy reading at all due to the scientific terminology as well as history and arts. Knowing the key plot from the movie did not in any way compromise the surprises and joys in reading the book and did not make the reading a secondary experience at all.
So, a second visit to Italy seems inevitable. Don't go there without reading/watching this story (a second time)!

12 May, 2009

Trail of the Panda 熊貓回家路

Today is the 12th May, 2009 -- one year after the horrible earthquake at Sichuan. While we morned for the loss of lives and felt for those who have survived with broken hearts and limbs to be healed, we took the opportunity to view this very special film which, as promised, has taken us to a spectacular journey to the Panda reservoir before sending us home with warmth in our hearts and tears in my three-year old daughter's eyes who was totally captivated by the gripping plot, the lovable baby panda and the convincing performance of Harashima Daichi (原島大地). I guess the clever director must have guessed the possible sensation that the children audience would have and therefore help them to say goodbye at the end.

This film is not only about cute pandas and magnificent landscape. It is about doing the right things, and more importantly, testing the very notion of what is 'right'. Through out the film, assumptions are being overturned: man in harsh environment would fall short of compassion; mother-panda would not look after two cubes; science would give the right answer; a child would not know better; hunters would be bad guys; animals would need help from human -- it all turns out to be quite the other way round, especially in the case of the boy -- it is the baby-panda (the apparent victim) who helps the boy (the apparent rescuer) to speak again, to be 'in-touch' again, to use all his skills to find out about nature, to become a man, and to find a father. We are humbled by mother-nature and let's hope that we will stop hurting her because we are no match to her wrath.
Photos and video about the production:

More photos from the production team:

01 April, 2009

Tropical Storm in HK-Magazine

The world is getting smaller as people turn more 'correct' politically. What a pity!


I really hope when any press is carrying this report, the whole original text/full translation should be attached for the readers. It's so clear that he was teasing extreme Chinese Nationalists, using our beloved domestic helpers as a backdrop. We've got a wrong complainant here.

(As a registered user of HK Magazine online, I can no longer find that article. But it has been posted here:)


Or with some luck, click here for yahoo search result which contains the original layout plus more.

05 February, 2008

Sweeney Todd 魔街理髮師

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street


Watched on the 3rd Feb 2008 at UA Citigate, with Eric, Freeman & his wife.

Bloody, bloody, bloodily good. I got the chance of watching this film most unexpectedly on Sunday, and didn't have time to do any research beforehand. That's why my eyebrow was raised when I saw the Category III warning note that came with the tickets. The usher asked for my id card but was given a harsh talking to by Eric. In the rush, I said, 'Thank you for asking!' Of course I mean it :) Then when the film started with the characters singing, it's quite bizzare because, excuse my ignorance, I didn't know that it's an adaptation from a musical. So, I prepared myself for more shocks to come and was not dissapointed. Too much blood -- as expected in the numerous throat-slitting acts. However, the simple black, white and grey backdrop makes that bloody red standout and sends a chill down one's spine, as if the blood in one's body is also dripping away. This film is too gracefully set to be called a horror. When I saw the character of the mad woman first appear on the screen, there's a little question mark in my mind. Too bad I didn't pick it up as the story unfolded. In short, it is a film about revenge and the ultimate truth that revenge will get one no where. With dramatic twists & turns plus the overwhelming visual images, this message is surely hammered into audience's minds, who (myself at least) walk out of the cinema with their hearts pounding, and are thankful to notice that they're still alive and breathing.
As a musical, the songs are capturing, just that I miss Sir Tim Rice's lyrics. (Ok, that's an unfair comparison...)