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Watching instead of Reading

Still have a swollen/infected eye but I can read again–it was difficult/painful for a couple of days but the upside is, I watched more shows in the past week than I have in a long, long time!

Wall-E Expectations: very very very high. Impressions:  very good

Several people told me it’s a ‘great’ ‘must see’ & ‘fantastic’ so I went in with high expectations, maybe too high…

…so naturally I had problems: Where’s the power source for Wall-E… he’s been living off scavenged batteries all this time? & power supply on Axiom? Why send EVA to look for plant life–shouldn’t she have been programmed to detect oxygen/water/contaminant levels/cyanobacteria?
And where did all those babies on board come from if the humans couldn’t–

“Suspension of belief!” I was told fiercely.

Okay. Okay.

Actually. I liked a LOT of stuff here. Anybody remember the first (I think) Pixar film–Adventures of Andre & Wally-B? Wall-E was like a nice look back to Wally-B.
And I liked the linking details–the WALL-As cleaning up Axiom while WALL-Es cleaned up Earth.

And I loved the inside references/tributes–no way these happened by chance–like the Autopilot on Axiom coming across like HAL from 2001 (same single red eye. Same ‘programmed with more info than humans will do what’s best for humans whether they like it or not’. & in case you still don’t get it–listen to the soundtrack!!!)

I loved the obese pilot’s first steps being taken to Space Odyssey music.
And there were great touches like the pilots in the wall portraits getting larger & larger–could have sworn I saw Obama & McCain up there but won’t swear to that.

& I think I saw Wall-E whack into Sputnik up when he zooms up–again, can’t swear to that.

But I will swear Wall-E was watching stuff off an ipod & charges up to the Mac warm up tune. (well if Wall-E = Adam, he needs ‘Apple’ to connect him with Eva/Eve right?)

& I liked the captain laboriously re-learning the meaning of words & them extrapolating the consequences of humans getting everything we need supplied to us by machines–they aren’t the drones any more, we are!

So okay, yes. Even this grouchy nitpicker liked it.

Boom Expectations: High. Impressions: Fairly Good

I heard ‘Boom’ (SRT) was good & I liked Jean Tay’s previous ‘Everything But The Brain’ so yes, I expected good stuff.

And I liked the premise–en bloc pressures–personal vs profit.Lovely touch having the corpse (who pointedly notes he is not a ghost. Great staging & great acting-in-confined-space by Zachary Ho). I also liked the use of local dialect, characters automatically switching to mother tongue which sounded very natural. The civil servants backing up Jeremiah-the-corpse-shifter (Chua EnLai totally convincing there) had some hilarious & only too believable scenes. The estate agents & en bloc wagonites were all beautifully done.

But–I was uncomfortable with how good the English was the rest of the time… the characters either spoke street patois or perfect English perfectly enunciated. That felt a bit jarring.

And I didn’t understand some things–like if Jeremiah hears corpses, why he’s 1) only hearing this corpse 2) only spending time worrying about this corpse.

I’d have liked more made of the contrast–like how a corpse can be relocated without his consent but the live woman apparently can’t… till you realise at the end that she can.

And I was surprised how little being whacked by his father & chained to the fig tree seems to have marked Boon’s feelings about the old house. The abuse anecdote is trotted out and then nothing much follows from it.

Would have liked a more ‘closure’ type ending (have a weakness for sappy conclusions!) like having the corpse disinterred first… he finds that now he is out of the ground he is free to wander as a ‘ghost’ & returns to look for his wife & the fig tree–only to find them gone & his wife in the mean time, having learned who he is finally accepting he’s dead & going to his funeral plot to find the foundations of a new building being put in.

The Painted Skin Expectations: none. Impressions: Fun

I went to see this because it’s based on the old Chinese story and yes–because my eye hurt too much to read/write. But I had great fun.

Captain Wang rescues a Xiao Wei, a beautiful woman, a demon aka fox spirit in human form. She lies that she is daughter of an allied clan who have all been slain & is taken under the care of Wang’s wife Pei Rong (Vicky Zhao looking gorgeous, dignified, vulnerable–imho much much more appealing  than Zhou Xun). The fox demon falls for Captain Wang & tries to seduce him. She’s assisted by another demon–chameleon spirit this time, XiaoYi, who is in loved with her & feeds the her human hearts which she has to devour to keep her beauty… so there are unexplained deaths all over the city & Captain Wang has to increase patrols… so far so good.

Then the demon hunter, Xia Beng shows up–she’s a feisty girl and this is where echoes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer started bouncing in my head. Qi Yu Wu as the chameleon demon even looks a little like Spike & of course XiaoWei would be his mad Drusilla…

And Donnie Yen as Captain Pang, one time suitor of Pei Rong turns up too & links up with the Demon slayer, moody & secretive like Angel skilled in Chinese martial arts…

Yes, there’s a happy ending. No, nothing really scary here–neither spooky nor bone crunching painful, which was all very well for me.

I liked little details like valet parking horses & the same horse used in lieu of a deposit at the inn.

All in all, fun if you’re in the mood. More about love, the deceptiveness of beauty & how these prompt us to rash decisions whether we’re human or demon.

Mamma Mia. Expectations: Low. Impressions: Meryl Streep is awesome!

Yes I went to see it–I mean, Meryl Streep… of course I went.

And there was this segment I really loved where Meryl Streep, Julie Walters & Christine Baranski dance down winding stone pathways to the jetty singing & dancing, spontaneously collecting women villagers along the way and all these women of all ages and all shapes & sizes looked like they were having a great time with the great music–like a Dove advertisement set to music. That felt really wonderful.

It was a little strange hearing Pierce Brosnan sing ‘SOS’ with a Brit accent but okay…

The youngsters sections I frankly found boring–okay, I am getting old I am getting old I am getting old–

But I loved Meryl Streep here–loved the way she can run up crumbling stone steps in heels & loved the way she & her old girl group camped up Super Trouper… what’s so crazy is the very same costumes would probably have looked great back in ABBA’s heyday and now look fantastically retro OTT.

I managed to suspend belief (& rest my eyes during the kiddie scenes) and–Meryl Streep is great in this show. So are Julie Walters & Christine Baranski.

You have to be in the right mood but if you are, it’s great.

Born Again (dvd ordered from US) Expectations:based on good write up, paid US $50. Impressions: Wow, but–

This blew me away.

Markie Hancock was brought up Evangelical & grew up lesbian. There were so many echoes though from a world away… like how she repeatedly accepted Christ & died to herself–when she was 4 years old, when she was 8 years old, when she was 12 years old–I lived through all that too. Each time feeling totally committed, desperate to be a true Christian, trying to use will power to generate enough conviction to make myself belong to the ‘saved’ camp…

Here she lays it all out so clearly–for her it was a choice between losing her family&religion (single unit) & losing herself. She chose to stay true to herself.

No judgements are passed here. Her parents & brothers speak for themselves & we see their POVs presented clearly & without mockery.

Her struggle to evolve an identity is real & honest. Her family is obviously a loving, caring, nurturing one–their only drawback seems to be that after succeeding in producing an intelligent, loving, honest human adult they realise what they really wanted was an intelligent, loving, honest child–of God & of themselves.

And it’s a strong positive film–somehow just watching & registering all this on film suggests we are all learning & evolving (even as several characters refuse to consider even the possibility) new ways of seeing & being.

But I think there is a distinction between being religious & being born again. There is the religion that binds you to ‘who is not with me is against me’ but there is also the ‘who is not against me is for me’ & that side of religion isn’t represented. Perhaps from the POV of a former Evangelical it’s an all or nothing thing.

I would dearly love to see what Markie Hancock does next.

I would love her to explore other religions–& how gay people live with religion.

I’m thinking of passing this to FCC for a screening-&-discussion. At this stage it seems to be a call to atheism. But I don’t think this is the end of things. I hope not!


7 Responses

  1. haha–I’m sure I heard you… heard quite a few!

  2. i love wall-e… turned into one of those annoying people after the movie, constantly cooing




  3. hi weicong–I don’t know how to reach you! your link goes to a webpage…

  4. Hi Ovidia, the plush toy wasn’t intentionally made to be sad. The focus really is on the concept of plushies as comfort objects in our moments of misery. Hope to hear from you soon!

  5. thanks T–yes, I know they said tt but without grids/dishes (at least I didn’t see any) I’m guessing photovoltaics. though PV is very very low maintenance–700 years without battery/chassis change?
    (yes, yes I’m nitpicking)

    hi Weicong, I’ll get in touch, thanks. Why a sad plush toy?

  6. Hi Ovidia,

    I would like to invite you to participate in an exhibition we’re organising in December at BooksActually, called The Saddest Place on Earth. This exhibition is an independent showcase where we try to get authors, songwriters, screenwriters and other creatives whom we feel could tell a good story to collaborate in a plush toy we’ve designed.

    I would really appreciate it if you could contact me so I can send you more visuals and information in the form of a PDF.

    Thanks a lot!

  7. wall-e runs on solar power. it was frequently referenced to.

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