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...)

04 February, 2008

宮崎 駿 Hayao Miyazaki


Kiki's Delivery Service

Majo no Takkyubin

Watched in late Jan 08 at home with David, mother & lucille.

這是我第一次看這部作品。當琦琦從遠處看見了她將要定居的城市時,我的雙眼不禁亮了起來:那美麗的海島和熟悉的小鎮風光,不正是我去年在歐洲留下的足跡嗎?宮崎 駿 把最迷人的歐陸風情都盡收畫中,每一幕都是賞心樂事。當然,故事帶出了傳統與科技的無型角力,雖然並沒有否定科技發展,但是在時代的洪流下,無論是老奶奶的心意或小女巫的法力,似乎都随着人情日漸轉淡,還好能靠大自然洗涤心靈,在看以萬能的科技發生意外時,那個破舊的烤爐和那不可思議的魔法,還是能助世人一把。 但願更多的人能繼承傳統的薪火,一起修行吧!


My Neighbour Totoro

Tonari no Totoro

Watched: many times since Jan 08 at home upon the request of lucille.

在上海書城以超值的價格買了一套收錄了六部宮崎 駿作品的DVD。本來以為有普通話配音,一播放才知道是原裝日語配音,加上中文字幕;結果第一次和女兒看的時侯,便充當了現場配音員。誰知道她十分喜歡看,隨後的一個星期,每天都要看一遍。其中一幕說姊姊駡妹妹不懂事,妹妹哭了,女兒便轉過頭來認真地對我說:「妹妹是對的!」平常不喜歡看日本動畫的婆婆,雖然覺得片子吵耳,也忍不住說:「寶寶簡直就是那個妹妹的化身!」電視台經常重播這一部電影,我卻不曾從頭到尾地看過一遍,引以為憾,如今卻因為女兒的固執,看了好幾遍,說明了人、事、物的緣聚緣散自有其一套,凡人能做的就是惜緣。


Neko no ongaeshi

The Cat Returns

Watched in either Dec 07 or Jan 08, on TV, at home, with David, mother and lucille.

雖然宮崎 駿只是監製,也是相當親切的一部作品。男爵猫的優雅和故事中少女的天真,正好說明了成長的難關要靠師友的啓蒙、鼓勵,也要靠自身的努力,坦然面對自己真實的本性,才能保得住一顆赤子之心。少女年幼時的魚餅之恩,少年時的奮身相救,種下的善因,無意中換來了一段奇遇,助其突破成長困惑,肯定了真我的可貴:當天的施恩人,成了今天的受恩者,既巧且妙也!看着身旁不懂裝懂的小女兒,和已不再是兒童的弟弟,但願他們日後也留得住絲絲純真,面對像故事中那老國王貓般自以為是的惡人,也能看穿對方可悲之處,一笑置之。

06 January, 2008


Night. Lent by a well-read colleague.

ISBN: 0374500010

As printed on the cover, 'a small book with terrifying power'. And as another reader at aNobii.com put it, 'everyone should read it'.

The only consolation of reading about the Jewish experience in WWII is that there are survivors who live to tell us the truth -- every human being has the duty to vow not to let similar event happen again, ever. However, read the current news: in the tribal killing in Kenya, a mother of two managed to escape from the window of the locked church when it's being burned down, only to witness her little daughter being hurled back into the flame by someone. It happened only last week. Shame on us, the so called human race who tried to present ourselves to be any better than the wild beasts who kill only for survival. We're all capable of doing the most abhorrent or the most noble acts. But when the occasion calls for, it is often too easy to slip to the wrong side. When will we ever learn? Oh when?