New Releases Double Reviews: Jack Reacher & Django Unchained

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Thanks to Ted for these reviews as I was on vacation when the screenings took place.

Jack Reacher

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Tom Cruise continues his “comeback” on the big screen with another action thriller after the success of last year’s Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, this time he’s playing another super-spy type in Jack Reacher. It’s based on one of Lee Child’s popular series of novels, One Shot. The film starts out with a mysterious person who randomly shot and killed five people in a public place with a sniper rifle. With the recent tragedies in real life, this opening sequence was a bit eerie, so just a warning if you’re still too upset about what happened in Connecticut, I don’t recommend you go see this movie. Now the scene was well shot and staged and to me it didn’t glamorize the violence but I can definitely understand if someone can get upset when they see it. Later an ex-marine sniper named Barr (Joseph Sikora) was arrested for the crime and during an interrogation he asked the detective on the case Emerson (David Oyelowo) and district attorney Rodin (Richard Jenkins) to get him Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise).

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Director Werner Herzog as the Russian mobster known as ‘The Zec’

Emerson and Rodin decided to look up Reacher but couldn’t find anything on him. A few moments later Reacher showed up at their office and asked to see Barr. But Barr is in a coma because he got beat up badly by some other inmates while in custody. So Reacher met with Barr’s lawyer Helen (the gorgeous ex-Bond girl Rosamund Pike). Reacher told her that he’s there just to make sure Barr is behind bars because he believed Barr did the shooting, he and Barr had a history together back when they were in the army. But Helen convinced Reacher to help her investigate what really happened and as both of them dig deeper into the case, they got in trouble with some local thugs, Charlie (Jai Courtney aka John McClane Jr.) and his mysterious boss known as The Zec (the great director Werner Herzog).

Performance wise, I thought everyone did a good job. Especially Cruise who was in the command of the role. I’ve never read any of the books but I know some fans weren’t too thrilled that he was cast as Reacher. But I think many of them will find out that Cruise did well here.

The film is a straightforward procedural thriller; there aren’t any major surprises that will wow you. The humors are well-placed and they didn’t feel forced into each scene. The action sequences were pretty great, I’m so glad that the filmmakers decided to shoot action scenes where we can actually see them. Some directors tends to forget that when we go see action films, we want to SEE the action, not trying to figure what’s going on during a scene or get dizzy from it. Christopher McQuarrie who wrote and directed this film, did a tremendous job with his sharp dialogues and action sequences.

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The climatic shoot out was probably one of the most meticulous action scenes I’ve ever seen. The way he laid out each sequence and edited were quite astonishing to me. Then the mano-a-mano showdown between Reacher and Charlie was well staged and looked like a “real” fight between two grown men. Of course this being an action film, it needs a car chase scene and it was well done too. It reminded me of the chase scene from Bullit but I kind of wish it ended similar to that film, if you saw the trailer then you know how the chase ended. I thought it’s too cheesy and didn’t really make sense.

In the end I thought it was a well made action thriller that didn’t take itself too seriously and I like the fact it has that old school 70s thriller feel to it. I would definitely love to see more of Jack Reacher films in the future.

4 out of 5 reels

Django Unchained

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Having read the script last year and loved it, I was very excited to see this film. (Read my script review here.) Surprisingly the film is very close to the script, only a few scenes didn’t make it to the screen. Quentin Tarantino is obsessed with spaghetti westerns and he tends to pay homage to that genre in some of his films, particularly Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds. Well now he’s finally made a film that truly pays homage the genre but he also mix in another genre, blax-ploitation, mostly the slave related subject that were popular back in the 70s, the most popular film from the genre was called Mandingo. Anyone who likes 70s films as much as I do will probably have seen some of these films; even though they were considered “trashy” by most critics, I somehow enjoyed them. It also burrowed a lot of elements from Sergio Corbucci’s films, especially Django and The Great Silence; if you’ve seen either of those films, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The film opens with a “dentist” named Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) looking for a slave who can identify three fugitives for him. We then meet Django (Jamie Foxx) who said he knows these three fugitives, so Schultz decided to buy Django from his owners but they refused. Well, Schultz being an educated man tried to reason with these clowns but they still won’t budge. So he used his skills with a pistol to convince them. Django is freed and both of them set out to find the three fugitives. After they hunt down the fugitives, Schultz was quite impressed with Django skills so he asked if Django would like to be a bounty hunter like him and join him in the hunt. In return Shultz will help Django with anything he wants. Django agreed and said he wants to find his wife who’s been taken away from him. The first half of the films was about Schultz teaching Django how to become a good bounty hunter and sharp with a pistol.

A few months later, Schultz found out where Django’s wife is being kept. She’s at a plantation known as Candieland which owns by Calvin Candie (Leo DiCaprio). So in order to rescue her, Schultz came up with a plan by pretending to be a rich German who’s interested in purchasing a Mandingo fighter and Django is his Mandingo expert. The rest of film took place at Calvin’s Candieland plantation.

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I thought the performances by the lead actors were great, especially Waltz and DiCaprio. Jamie Foxx surprised me, I was skeptical when he was cast in the title role but he did a good job. Apparently QT wrote the part specially for Will Smith but Smith turned him down, I was hoping QT would cast someone like Anthony Mackie or Idris Elba. Also, the cinematography by Robert Richardson was excellent, from the snowy landscape of Montana to the muddy streets of Mississippi, every shots looked spectacular. The action sequences were great, there’s a shootout scene that’s similar to the carnage scene in Kill Bill Vol. 1 where the Bride took down the Crazy 88s.

Now I’m going to talk about why I was very disappointed with this film. As mentioned earlier, I read the script (which I reviewed here) and loved it, but somehow the actual film just didn’t deliver in my opinion. It’s clear that QT really needed his long time editor the late Sally Menke to work on this film with him. I thought the first half of the film was sloppily-edited and just wasn’t coherent. The music selection was kind of odd too. I always love the music QT used in his films but when you hear a Tupac song during a shootout scene in this one, it sort of take you out of the film. Now I understand why QT cast a not so well known actress in the role of Broomhilda, Django’s wife, she hardly spoke in the film. She either screams, cries or look scare in each scene she appeared in.

This was one of the films I most looking forward to see this year and unfortunately it was a major disappointment to me. Now I plan to see it again soon since I saw it almost a month ago, so I might change my mind when I see it again. I’m not saying it’s a bad film, it just didn’t lived up to my expectations. I know that I might be in the minority since after the private screening, many people in the theater thought it was great. If you’re a huge QT fan, you might enjoy it. Just a warning though, the film is violent and very bloody. The N-word were uttered constantly by pretty much everyone in the film, so if you’re easily offended, I don’t recommend you go see this film.

In an interview, QT mentioned that he might release a longer extended cut of the film down the road. At one point his producer Harvey Weinstein tried to convince him to split the film into two parts like they did with Kill Bill but QT vetoed that idea. I assume he shot many scenes that were in the script but decided cut them out. I don’t know if a longer version will improve the movie, I mean most of the scenes left in the cutting room floor were probably just violent and rape scenes. I’m assuming here of course because those sequences were in the script.

2.5 out of 5 reels

– reviews by Ted S.


What are your thoughts on these films? Did they live up to your expectations?

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10 reasons The Hobbit is a worthwhile journey

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I saw The Hobbit twice already, the first time on an advanced screening before my vacation and the second time this past weekend. I enjoyed it both times, perhaps a bit more the second time around. Despite the 2 hrs 44 minutes running time, I find it to be thoroughly enjoyable. That’s not to say that I didn’t think the length was perfect, I think there are indeed some scenes that could’ve been edited out, especially some of the battle scenes. But no, I did not find it to be as problematic as critics made it out to be. It’s worth noting that I have NOT read the book so I have no complain about the extra scenes, either.

So here are ten reasons why I’m glad to be back to Middle Earth once again:

1. The world that Tolkien built... and the classic tale of good vs. evil. I think one of the main reasons I enjoyed this movie so much is that I LOVE this fantasy world, the story and its wisdom. There’s an underlying message of hope, courage and love that’s worth revisiting again and again. I’ve loved the characters in the Lord of the Rings, and I also feel a connection with the main characters of The Hobbit. (See #9)

2. The dazzling visuals … The technological wizardry enables us to experience the journey as if we’re actually there inside Bilbo’s house, or in the woods spying on Thorin & co. I saw this movie both times in the High Frame Rate (48Frames/Second) Digital 3D format (NOT the IMAX version) and I have no qualms about it. Yes it’s so crisp that it looks like watching a show on HDTV but after a while, your eyes adjust to it and I’ve come to appreciate the clarity of every little detail and the smoothness of the fast-moving action scenes. It’s such a meticulously-crafted universe, from the interior of Bilbo’s house in the Shire to the ever-so-ethereal Rivendell, which was as majestic as I had remembered it in LOTR.

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It’s obvious this movie is a labor of love for Peter Jackson and it shows. The sweeping cinematography is one to behold, it was a welcome return to the visually mesmerizing world of Middle Earth.

3. Martin Freeman as Bilbo … I’m so glad that PJ was set on casting Freeman, even to the point of reworking the entire shooting schedule (due to the BBC’s Sherlock‘s scheduling conflict) for the Hobbit films to accommodate him. I think his casting is integral to the success of the movie and his personal journey is a joy to watch. Freeman is exactly what I’d imagine the young Bilbo would be. His bumbling mannerism, the way he constantly doubts himself, and his lack of vanity are all what I love about this character. Freeman plays the heroic ‘everyman’ so perfectly, I absolutely can’t imagine anyone else in this role.


TheHobbit_Thorin4. Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield… I was thrilled when I first heard that one of my favorite Brits got a major role in The Hobbit! The English actor definitely has the right look (despite his 6’2″ stature) and sensibility as the Aragorn-like leader of the pack. As the son of the slain Dwarf king and heir of Erebor Kingdom, he’s naturally got a sullen demeanor and a fierce determination to take back his stolen homeland destroyed by Smaug the Dragon. Armitage’s got a mean (read: irresistible) glower which PJ made the most of throughout the movie. Even underneath all that beard and dwarf costume, he’s still so darn hunky. Oh and that deep voice! I sure hope there’s another singing sequence in the 2nd and 3rd movies ;)

5. The Lord of the Rings nostalgia … It’s a good thing that PJ came back to direct this movie as it’s got all the ingredients and the vibe I’ve come to appreciate about the LOTR franchise. I also LOVE seeing the characters from the trilogy reappearing here, Frodo, Lord Elrod, Saruman and especially Galadriel and Gandalf. I’ve missed seeing Cate Blanchett on screen so it was nice to see her even in her brief scenes. Ian McKellen is fantastic as usual as the wise Gandalf the Grey. His chemistry with Bilbo is especially heartfelt, Gandalf truly believes in him despite what Thorin thinks about having him around in their quest.

6. The riddle scene of Gollum and Bilbo … Easily the main highlight of the movie for me. Andy Serkis is such a mo-cap virtuoso and Gollum is even more life like than ever before. His bulging blue eyes are ever-so-expressive, it’s especially amusing when he’s frustrated trying to come up with an answer for a riddle. He’s terrifyingly creepy but yet you can’t help but feeling sorry for the poor soul when he lost his ‘precious’ one. An iconic character that never wears out its welcome.

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7. Howard Shore’s gorgeous music … it evokes the lush sound of LOTR and I love that it plays the same theme when certain scenes are revisited, such as when the ring shows up. But yet it’s got its own distinct theme that is unique for The Hobbit. The melody from the song played in Bilbo’s house you heard in the trailer is played throughout. It sounds so beautifully melancholic as a song, but it’s got a lively energy when played during some of the dynamic action scenes.

8. The merry band of dwarves (I purposely use the Tolkien spelling here)The Hobbit is decidedly more lighthearted than the LOTR trilogy, though it still carries a profound message of good vs evil. In the first viewing I felt that the introduction of the Dwarves and the huge dinner party at Bilbo’s house went on a bit too long. But on second viewing I actually enjoyed it a lot more. Their colorful personality offers a stark contrast to the reclusive Bilbo and their angst-y leader Thorin. Radagast the Brown, one of Gandalf’s fellow Wizards, is amusingly quirky as well.

9. “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth – Matthew 5:5

Galadriel: Mithrandir, why the halfling?

Gandalf: Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? That’s because I am afraid and it gives me courage.

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I LOVE Gandalf answer. Bilbo is not of noble breed, nor does he have certain superpowers, in fact, he’s chosen because of his small stature and humility. In the midst of superhero movies out there, it’s nice to see a ‘regular guy’ who does heroic deeds motivated by love and empathy for others. The initially-doubtful Bilbo finally comes into his own towards the end, realizing his worth and his place in the journey to the Lonely Mountain. His speech after he escaped Goblin Town is moving and inspiring, delivered so effortlessly by Freeman without even the slightest bit of trite.
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10. Movie escapism at its best…I went in expecting to be swept away in a world so unlike my own and live vicariously through Bilbo as he goes about on his adventure and that’s what I got. Yes some of the scenes are perhaps a bit too cartoon-ish, I mean we’re talking about these dwarves falling down a cavern as the bridge they’re on breaks into fragments, and once they fell hundreds of feet below, a 500+ pound goblin king falls on them. Yet they all survive perfectly with no major injury! I suppose we don’t know the exact genetic makeup of a dwarf so their bones could be a heck of a lot stronger than humans. What else would explain Thorin survival after being whacked by the giant pale Orc Azog with a big mace with spikes on them! It’s all part of the ‘fantasy’ bit folks, so I don’t see a point in nitpicking on that front.

As for Azog as the main villain in this film, I heard some people complain that he’s a ‘weak’ villain. Well naturally he would be if you compare him to Sauron and his evil watchful eye, but the pale Orc is just one of the evil ‘minions’ if you will, employed by the powerful dark force that Thorin & co. would eventually have to face.

All in all, it’s a wonderful start of an epic journey. I really care for the characters and the quest for them to take back their homeland. I was caught up in the adventures and for me and now I can’t wait for what happens next!


So what do you think of The Hobbit? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

A Tropical Holiday… and Movies I Watched During My Vacation

Hello everybody! Hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas break. It was nice to be home for Christmas, we purposely planned to avoid being at the airport during the holiday craze so coming back last Saturday was perfect timing for us. Thank the Lord that our trip went smoothly. Despite the long layovers, not a single flight was delayed and no major travel headache for us to complain about, so we were indeed very blessed.

AlwaysRoomForFamilyWe had a mellow Christmas eve, went to a joyful Christmas service at our local church. I love this year’s theme… There’s Always Room for Family… so true isn’t it? Since I just spent time with my family in my hometown, it definitely holds a special meaning for me. Afterwards we’re invited to dinner at a friend’s family home where we had a super-delicious-but-not-so-conventional Swedish-Indonesian cuisine :D

Baby it’s cold outside.
It’s quite a drastic 50+ degree swing from our tropical vacation. We went from 90-degree climate of Jakarta to about low 80s in Kauai to well, barely 15° F with a sub-zero windchill here. Brrrrrr!
Anyway, here are some pics from my two-part vacation to Jakarta and Kauai. Pardon the picture quality in Jakarta, I took all of them on my iPhone. The Kauai pics are the ones my hubby took with his digital SLR, so they’re definitely much better.
One of the highlights from my Jakarta trip is that I got to meet I’m super excited that I’ll be meeting up with some of my fellow Indo bloggers next week: Andina from Inspired Ground, Novia from Polychrome Interest, and FC contributor Cecilia! It was fun chatting with all of you ladies! I was especially thrilled to see Novia’s huge smile when she received the Mighty Boosh Special Edition DVD :D
From left: Novia, Cecilia, Andina and yours truly! Somehow Novia and I wore matching yellow to our meet-up, we must be kindred spirits!

From left: Novia, Cecilia, Andina and yours truly. Somehow Novia and I wore matching yellow to our meet-up, we must be kindred spirits!

For more pics and a complete recap from our Indo bloggers meet-up, do visit my friend Novia’s post.
The view from my hotel room... the sky is always hazy in Jakarta because of the polluted air :(

The view from my hotel room… the sky is always hazy in Jakarta because of the polluted air :(

Since we visited during monsoon season, it’s almost always overcast here but the temperature remains hot, around 90+ degrees every day. The relatively high winds did help cool things a bit but the torrential downpour wreck havoc on the already super-heavy traffic as flash floods pop up everywhere, especially in low-lying areas.

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From top left: Ivan & I at Ancol Beach City, the wooden boat we’re on, and various ‘macet’ (extreme traffic jam) views that constantly plague Jakarta.

A trip from point A to point B that would normally take 10-15 minutes would take 90-120 minutes, that’s on a normal weekday and NOT during rush hours. Just add at least an hour to your commute if it’s during AM or PM rush hour. My brother said that in Jakarta, there are only two congestion type: heavy or extreme traffic jam… so either you’re crawling at 5-10 mph or basically at a standstill for a good hour or so, barely moving an inch, whilst a throng of motorcycles zip by all around you. I really don’t know how people could endure that day after day.

Suffice to say, we didn’t get to visit too many places in our 6-day trip to Jakarta. Though it was fantastic to spend time with my family and eat my favorite food growing up, by the end of the week, we were ready for our real vacation to Kauai :D

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View from our resort in the Princeville area, the northern part of Kauai.

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Poi’pu Beach (on the south side of Kaua’i) … that’s me on the left taking a stroll on the gorgeous sandy beach

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Another view of Poi’pu Beach

The most magnificent rainbow at Waimea Canyon!

The most magnificent rainbow at Waimea Canyon!

It just rained briefly before this picture was taken and we were about to leave. Fortunately I overheard a girl yelling loudly about a rainbow so we promptly went back to the Lookout area. Lo and behold, the most spectacular rainbow suddenly appeared in the canyon. The rainbow was so vivid that all the photos we took looked like they’ve been Photoshoped! We saw a few more rainbows on the way back, in fact, I think we saw at least one every single day!

Various shots of Molokaa Beach, a secluded beach we got to during our Kauai Photo Tour

Various shots of Moloa’a Beach, a picturesque secluded beach in the north shore we went to during our Kauai Photo Tour

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A wild white cat kept us company at Moloa’a Beach

The serene Anini beach in the North Shore near our hotel. It actually rained just a few minutes after we took this picture so we had to run to our car!

The serene Anini Beach in the North Shore near our hotel.

It’s a pretty windy day as you can see. It actually rained on Anini Beach just a few minutes after we took this picture so we had to run to our car! It rains quite a bit in Kauai in the Winter months, but fortunately it was mostly passing rain, so we could just wait it out for a few minutes and it’d be sunny again :D

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Not sure which beach this was. Ivan and I sort of stumbled upon it from the Marriott Kauai Lagoons Golf Course in Lihu’e

Last but certainly not least… on our last day in Kaua’i, we took the helicopter tour to Jurassic Park Falls. The chopper ride was really smooth and we got an amazing view of the entire island from above, like this view of the majestic Napa’li Coast…

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Can’t get over how blue the ocean was from above…

More views of Napa'li Coast from the helicopter

More views of the mystical Napa’li Coast from the helicopter…

The only way to get to the pristine beach above is through a rocky Kalalau Trail, an 11-mile of arduous hike that includes a very narrow paths over cliffs that are hundreds of feet high!

We went with Island Helicopters as they’re the only chopper company that has the permit to land on the island. So here it is… the crème de la crème of our trip…

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Ivan and I at the base of the Manawaiopuna Falls (aka the Jurassic Park Falls) in the Hanapepe Valley

The chopper landed just a few hundred yards from the 360-foot Falls. It’s a bit of a movie geek moment when they played the glorious Jurassic Park theme as the chopper descended down onto the island… I literally got goosebumps! The pilot told us that only three years ago Island Helicopters was able to purchase the permit to land there, which took about five years to obtain. He showed us the remains of the concrete slab where the Helipad from the first Jurassic Park movie was used. Apparently it was destroyed by Hurricane Iniki in 1992, the biggest tropical storm that hit the island. According to this article, several storm scenes in the 1993 movie are actual footage of Iniki.

So that’s my vacation recap… hope you enjoyed the pics :D

Movies watched during my vacation

Pretty much the only time I had to watch movies was during my long flights to and from Minneapolis. I watched a total of four movies and one documentary just on our 15+ flying hours to Jakarta!

  • Bringing Up Baby
    Cute rom-com with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn. I’ve got the worst headphones ever, I could barely hear a thing! The movie itself is not bad, kinda silly and absurd but enjoyable.
  • Pride & Prejudice (rewatch)
    l was in the mood for something romantic so this was a perfect choice. I still think Keira is too pretty as Lizzy Bennett but she was all right. At least the chemistry between her and Matthew MacFadyen was right, I especially love the proposal scene. Hence it’s one of my favorite movie rain-scenes!
  • The Dark Knight Rises (rewatch)
    I never made it to a second cinema viewing of this one so I couldn’t help but watch it on the plane. The giant plot holes I mentioned in my review still made me laugh, but darn it’s still one heck of a superhero flick! 
  • InBrugesPosterIn Bruges
    I’ve been curious about this movie for so long I’m glad I finally saw it! My hubby actually saw it right after I did and I couldn’t help peeking at some of the scenes again. LOVE this film! The acting is top notch, full of witty dialog, plus the scenery is so gorgeous. It could practically doubles as a tourism video for the capital of Belgium. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson have an effortless chemistry together, and man that final scene packs a punch! Ralph Fiennes has quite a memorable supporting turn as well. I definitely should rent Seven Psychopaths, the latest from writer/director Martin McDonagh.
  • This Means War
    Every time I came across this one on Netflix my hubby always scoffed about it so I figure I’ll just watch it on the plane when I came across it, for one reason only and that is Tom Hardy ;) The preposterous level is off the charts and Reese Witherspoon is hardly believable as a girl these two guys would fight to the death over, but still it was fun watching the charismatic Hardy and Chris Pine bantering. Not a bad rental, even better when it’s free!
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  • National Geographic TV show Megastructures on Dubai’s Burj Khalifa
    You can watch this one on Youtube, it’s quite fascinating even if you’re not an architecture buff.

HemingwayGellhornOn the way to Honolulu, I also saw the HBO TV movie Hemingway & Gellhorn starring Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman. It focuses on the tumultuous affair of the renowned writer and the war correspondent. I thought it was a decent film, and I think Owen captured the boisterous, untamable nature of Hemingway. He may be a great writer but boy, I wouldn’t ever want to be married to someone like that. Apparently their romance is the inspiration for his book For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Later this week I’ll have reviews of The Hobbit & Playing For Keeps, and also guest reviews of Jack Reacher and Django Unchained, courtesy of my pal Ted S.


So what have you been watching the past week, folks?

The Christmas List Blogathon

Hello everyone! I’m back!

Actually I’ve been back since last Saturday but sooo exhausted from our hectic trip and the long layovers so I really had no energy to blog. I did manage to update the layout a bit as my theme got an upgrade to a wider format so I did a little bit of that. Hope you like it :D

Well, I was doing my rounds around my friends’ blogs when I came across the Christmas list at Sati’s blog which was apparently started by Diana at Aziza’s Picks. Inspired by the gift-giving tradition of the season, she thought about what she would buy for her fellow bloggers. What a nice idea! I actually don’t come from a culture where gift-giving is a must for Christmas, but I couldn’t help but take part in this as I believe it’s just as rewarding–if not more so—to give than to receive.

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Therefore, if time/location/money is no issue, this is what I wish I could give ten of my blog friends. Following Sati’s cue, my list also has a bit of fantasy mixed in (I’m sure the recipient don’t mind if it doesn’t come nicely wrapped underneath the Christmas tree) ;)

First I’d like to start with my contributor Ted Saydavalong. I hope he hasn’t got ‘em already but I’d love to ship him the Lawrence of Arabia 50th Anniversary Limited Collector’s Edition Blu-ray. Surely it would look spectacular in his home cinema (hopefully he’d invite me, he..he..)

  • Sati – An open ticket to the next Hobbit film premiere where she’ll be personally escorted by the Elven King Thranduil himself (aka Lee Pace).
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  • Novroz – I know she’s still over the moon watching the Mighty Boosh Special Edition DVD, so this Noel Fielding t-shirt might put her over the edge, ahah. She might never want to take ‘em off!
  • Andina – My fellow Indo blogger loves soundtracks so I’d love to get her the CDs of Life of Pi and Intouchables that she just featured recently.

  • UnforgivenPosterMichael – Since he just listed his top ten Westerns list, I’d love to ship him the Blu-ray for each of those fine selection.

  • Terrence – Now for our TV star amongst us, I’d love to surprise T with a special guest appearance from his beloved Avenger, Black Widow for his Take 2 with Terrence show. Perhaps Scarlett Johansson could drop by around the time Avengers sequel is released ;)

  • Fernando A young man of discriminating taste, perhaps a Pedro Almodóvar marathon is in order? This Viva Pedro collection should fit nicely under the Christmas tree.

  • Mark – I know he’d rather be at home in Glasgow than anywhere else (who could blame him?) but perhaps a pair of tickets to New York City in April to attend the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival might entice him to take a little American vacation? Who knows he might rub elbows with his hero, the film fest founder Robert De Niro.
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  • Paula For an elegant woman with a penchant for classic movies… I’d love to ship her just about every Cary Grant DVD Box Set I could find on TCM, such as this one.

  • Castor – For my fellow Minnesotan blogger who’s been working tirelessly all year long, I just want to somehow give him a month off from work so he could watch movies every single day. I’ll throw in some movie tickets as well to sweeten the deal :D

  • Josh – For the Oscar expert amongst us, I wish I could somehow score him a ticket to the upcoming Academy Award ceremony on February 24 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood!

So MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone! God’s blessings to you all.

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Gone on holiday…

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You probably already noticed from my lack of activity on Twitter and around the blogosphere. Well, in a few hours, my hubby and I will be on the plane to Jakarta for a whole week, and by next weekend, we’ll be jetting off to Kauai. Perfect timing as snow showers are in the forecast for Minnesota this weekend! :D

So if you don’t see me on Twitter or commenting on your blog, then you’ll know why. FlixChatter will go dark for a couple of weeks though I may share some pics via Twitter. Though I won’t be blogging, I’m super excited that I’ll be meeting up with some of my fellow Indo bloggers next week: Andina from Inspired Ground, Novia from Polychrome Interest, and FC contributor Cecilia!

Aloha everyone! Happy Holidays and God bless!

Five for the Fifth: End of the Year Edition

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Hello folks, welcome to the very last edition of 2012 Five for the Fifth!!

To those who’ve never missed a single FFtF post, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for making this my most popular blog series!

As is customary for this monthly feature, I get to post five random news item/observation/poster, etc. and then turn it over to you to share your take on that given topic. You can see the previous five-for-the-fifth posts here.

1. Well, it’s only three weeks away to 2013. I think it’s been quite a year for movies, hasn’t it? I mean we’ve got major blockbusters for super lucrative franchises – The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, Skyfall AND The Hobbit all in the same year! Yes, it’s a big year for Twi-hards as well but for the rest of us, aren’t you glad the franchise is [almost] over? All together now: free at last!! :D

Thanks to TCFF though, I’ve also got a chance to view some awesome indie movies as well, which balance things out nicely. I will do my Top 10 of 2012 at the end of the month, but I think Argo, Skyfall and The Sapphires might make my list.

So my first question is: What’s YOUR top five favorite films of the year (so far)?

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2. Ok, 2012 is barely over and I’m already looking forward to June 14, 2013! Yep, that’s the US release date for Man of Steel. If you’re on Twitter on Monday, most likely you’ve seen it but just in case you haven’t. Behold…

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‘Oooh lookie here, sexy Henry in handcuffs!!’ ;) Ehm, sorry, now that we get that out of the way. Most people were baffled as to ‘why is Supes a villain?’ and just the general logic [or lack thereof] that you can’t technically confine Supes with all his mighty powers behind bars, that is unless the prison is made of kryptonite of course. But judging from the look of Supes’ expression, looks like it’s a voluntary decision on his part to be led by the military convoy. I kind of like the departure from tradition, in fact, Chris Nolan and Zack Snyder seems to be set on defying tradition even from the costume alone. As EMPIRE mag says, “…a little originality is good for the soul.”

So what do you think of the teaser poster, folks? Thoughts about this reboot so far?

3. It’s been a while since I blog about Rufus Sewell, one of my favorite hunky Brits. But I want to let you know on his Sundance Channel two-part miniseries Restless he’s currently starring in, along with Hayley Atwell, Charlotte Rampling and Michael Gambon.

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Adapted from William Boyd‘s spy novels that Boyd himself is adapting, it’s set during the early days of World War II and follows a Russian spy who tries to infiltrate the British Secret Service with the goal of influencing U.S. power brokers and swinging American public opinion in favor of fighting the Nazis.

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Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery plays Ruth Gilmartin, who, in 1976, visits her mother Sally (Rampling), and is handed a diary recounting her colorful past. Turns out mom was actually born Eva Delectorskaya (Atwell), having emigrated from Russia to France. In the wake of her brother’s death in 1939, she’s recruited by British agent Lucas Romer (Sewell) to spy for the U.K. on the eve of World War II. (per Variety) Judging from the picture above, there’s likely some smoldering romance involved as well. Check out the awesome extended preview/featurette below with the ensemble cast:


The premise sounds intriguing and I like the look of this miniseries. Plus the cast is excellent! Rufus and Hayley certainly look fabulous in period costumes.

The first part of the miniseries begins this Friday at 9P E/P on the Sundance Channel. Can’t wait to see this one when it’s available to rent!

Well, what do you think of the trailer? Would you watch this one if you have the Sundance Channel?

4. Well, one of the biggest movie of 2012 has just come out in Blu-ray. Some of you might already pre-order The Dark Knight Rises and even seen it all over again a few times by now? :D Well I might get a copy too but not in a hurry to do so. One thing that I find amusing lately is the emergence of these Honest Trailers by the Screen Junkies (the trailers are made by Break Media digital company. You’ve likely seen their parodies of popular movies like Hunger Games, Prometheus, Avengers and my favorite of all, Twilight on YouTube. Well, Nolan’s final Batman trilogy no exception, check out their latest work below. As you probably guess, these honest trailers do have plot spoilers on them, but really, if you haven’t seen this movie by now, you probably aren’t that interested in Nolan’s Batman movies in the first place.

These guys definitely don’t pull any punches on their parody, but y’know what, it addresses a lot of the questions I had with the movie I wrote in my review. No matter though, this movie is obviously flak-proof anyway as the Blu-rays are likely going off the shelves as we speak.

How many honest trailers have you seen and which one(s) do you like best?


5. Ok, my last question is not exactly movie-related but you are free to make it so if you like. Well, I’ll be off to my two-week vacation on Friday. I don’t usually go on vacation during the holiday season but our schedule just works out that way this year. I haven’t been in any major vacation in over a year, but I’ve been blessed with a lot of memorable one in my lifetime. I think my favorite one is a tossup between the trip to Italy and the UK a few years back. I’m more of a city girl so I love exploring the enchanting cities like Rome, Florence and London that’s so full of history and full of life.

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I still dream to go to Scotland, Australia and Eastern Europe (especially Prague), hopefully one of them would happen in the near future.

So my last question to you is, what’s your most memorable vacation you’ve ever had? I’d also love to hear about your dream vacation :D



Well, that’s it for the last 2012 edition of Five for the Fifth, folks. There’ll be more coming next year for sure!

Now, please pick a question out of the five above or better yet, do ‘em all! :D

Aloha! Hawaii on my mind… what’s your fave movie(s) set in America’s tropical paradise?

Happy Monday, everybody! Well, as I mentioned on my monthly roundup, I’ll be off for a two-week vacation to my hometown Jakarta and then Hawaii on our way back to Minnesota. So in less than two weeks, I’ll be arriving in Hawaii, Kauai to be specific. This will be my second time in Hawaii as I went to Honolulu when I was about 13 with my family, but my first time on Kauai island.

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Anini Beach – the closest beach to our resort

It’s no surprise that America’s tropical paradise has been a popular spot for the movies and TV shows. I grew up watching Tom Selleck in his indecently short shorts in Magnum P.I. and I think my brothers like watching the original Hawaii Five-O. I quite like the current remake on CBS as well though I haven’t been watching it much lately (I’m horrible with keeping up w/ TV shows!)

FromHeretoEternityAs far as movies go, there seems to be a ton of films set in Hawaii. The busy Hawaii Film Office calls the islands ‘Hollywood’s Tropical Backlot.’ Perhaps the generous production tax credit makes it a welcoming place for filming, on top of the welcoming climate and spectacular locations of course. From classics like From Here to Eternity, Blue Hawaii, and Tora! Tora! Tora! to contemporary ones like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Punch Drunk Love, Pearl Harbor and Oscar-nominated The Descendants, there have been some popular films set on the islands. Even some of the non-CGI scenes of Avatar were shot in Hawaii. As this site pointed out, the two leads of the movie actually filmed some scenes on location in order to “… give them all a taste of how the scenes would feel if they were being shot in a real rain forest.”

JurassicParkFallsJust on Kauai alone, there are a dozen movies set on the fourth largest island on the archipelago (per gohawaii.com). Of course the most notable one being Jurassic Park (though the theme park was filmed in the family-owned Kualoa Ranch in Oahu island). I can’t wait to take the helicopter ride to Manawaiopuna Falls, or the Jurassic Park Falls as it’s become known for. The breathtaking 360-foot high falls is in my list of memorable waterfalls in the movies I made almost exactly a year ago. I need to rewatch that movie one of these days, it’s one of my fave movies of the 90s and surely on my top 10 from Spielberg.

My top three movies set in Hawaii (of the ones I have seen so far) would include Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, and The Descendants. Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor would make my worst, ahah.


So now your turn. What are your top three movies set in Hawaii?

Monthly Roundup: November Movie Watching Recap

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Bye November! Wow, just a month left of 2012.
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Wow, almost an entire year has gone by. I feel like November flew by especially fast, perhaps because it’s a pretty busy one, what with Thanksgiving and I’m also preparing for my 2-week vacation to my home country Indonesia and Hawaii coming up in a week. So a lot of shopping for family members, etc. and also researching for our trip. As a blogger I also hit a couple of milestones this month: FlixChatter hitting its 1000th post in early November and I’ve finally got advanced screening privileges courtesy of Allied Marketing Group as I’m now on their Press List. Wahoo!

Well, here are some of the posts you might’ve missed from November:

Well, what did I manage to watch this month?

The month following TCFF where I watched the most movies in a month all year, this is actually the slowest month in terms of cinema trip. I’ve only gone to the cinema to see Skyfall and an advanced screening of Hitchcock, that’s it!

Movies I haven’t seen before:

My hubby and I also have been catching up on some TV shows: BBC’s Sherlock Season 2, Once Upon a Time and Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome

Re-watch:

Overall it’s been kind of a slow month for movie-watching and December perhaps won’t be much better either with our two-weeks vacation. I do have a few advanced screenings of movies I’ve been hugely anticipating, it’s just the reviews will come after my vacation at the end of the month.

Favorite November Movie:

Kinda hard to beat this one… it’s always nice when the one movie you highly anticipated did not disappoint!

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So, what movies did you get to see last month and which one is your favorite?