JURNAL : Belasungkawa

Condolences to the family of Allahyarham Datuk Razali Ismail.
Being the former chairman of my organization, I got to know him quite personally.
He was a great man, down to earth, humble and known for his high-spirited speeches.
Always smiling, and very kind, he's an inspiration to us all.

You will be missed.

WEB : First Pic Of Johnny Depp as Mad Hatter

Not sure if it's real.. but johnny-depp.org posted this pic of Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter in Tim Burton’s Alice and Wonderland [3D] remake for Disney.

Kinda' excited about this one because AiW is one of my favourite novel to read when I was a kid. I always thought that Burton is the perfect man to direct an AiW movie, because of his strong visual style.

..but Depp sure looks a 'lil bit like Carrot Top, yes/no?

WEB : Watchmen Theatrical Trailer [HD]

... with dialogue.
... and background music by Muse - 'Take A Bow'.

WEB : The Seven Ladies of Nine

The cast of Rob Marshall's upcoming musical, Nine.

from left : Dame Judi Dench, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Sophia Loren, Fergie, Nicole Kidman, and Kate Hudson.

Plus Daniel Day Lewis.

Ok, I'm sold.

WEB : Watchmen New Character Posters

Warner Bros. have released six new character posters for WATCHMEN.
Check them out.

Watchmen Character Posters

FILM - Quantum Of Solace - The Bond Supremacy

Betrayed by Vesper, the woman he loved, 007 fights the urge to make his latest mission personal. Pursuing his determination to uncover the truth, Bond and M interrogate Mr White who reveals the organization which blackmailed Vesper is far more complex and dangerous than anyone had imagined. Forensic intelligence links Dominic Greene, a ruthless business man, to the mysterious organization. On a mission that leads him to Austria, Italy and South America, Bond discovers that Greene, conspiring to take total control of one of the world’s most important natural resources, is forging a deal with the exiled General Medrano. In a minefield of treachery, murder and deceit, Bond allies with old friends in a battle to uncover the truth. As he gets closer to finding the man responsible for the betrayal of Vesper, 007 must keep one step ahead of the CIA, the terrorists and even M, to unravel Greene’s sinister plan and stop his organization.


Followers of this blog, probably know I'm quite a fan of the Bond franchise. After the success of what probably is the most (commercially & critically) successful Bond movie, Casino Royale (CR), this one is a must-see for all Bond fanatics.

Quantum of Solace (QOS) picks up moments after the credits rolled at the end of CR so this is the first actual Bond sequel. So it was almost inevitable for this movie to be viewed with high hopes and expectations. But I'm trying very hard to watch QOS with a fresh look, taking into account that this movie has a different director with Marc Forster (Monster's Ball, Finding Neverland). But after the end credits rolled, I couldn't help but thinking that QOS is actually a footnote to CR and that there is more to the adventure of the so-called 'new' Bond.

The Action
I have to start off this review with the action sequences because, well.. QOS started with one. Almost a minute into the film, action fans will be treated to a high octane car chase through the streets of Siena in Tuscany, Italy. And that scene really sets the tone of the film, sort of a welcome note by Forster that says 'You want action, I'll give you action!'. Kudos for Forster and his action direction team for staging wonderful action sequences in this movie that involves cars, foot, bike, cars, boats and planes - you name it they got it.

Watching all those wonderful action sequences, I did get the deja-vu feeling of "..have I seen this before?''. It turns out that the editing and the second unit team of the 'Bourne' movies are also involved in QOS as well. So expect that kind of gritty, fast cut editing action in this one too. High marks for action and suspense.

While the action in QOS does up the ante from CR, here lies the problem for QOS storytelling. Sometimes I do get the feeling that the writers (Haggis and team) are set out this time to make an action-packed revenge movie and neglecting any plot points and character development. Viewers will be transported from one exotic locations to another (complete with Heroes-like titles), and jumped to another action sequences as the story goes, at times seems a little too fast-paced and forced. The film jumps around constantly, leaving you wondering what is happening. What's the deal with this SPECTRE-like secret organization called Quantum? What do they really want? Oil? Water control? World-domination, of course.

The originality and the smooth dialogue of CR are not present in QOS. Sometimes Bond looks like a mute vengeful assasin rather than a cunning British spy. I do understand that he's pissed and out for revenge, but.. this is James Bond. Without the humour, flirtation and sexiness, he's no different from any other character from any spy thriller (Bourne again?). This is not a movie about a sexy British spy but about an embittered killing machine who has lost the woman he loved and still doesn't know whether she actually betrayed him. It’s tough stuff — but a Bond in permanent emotional travail is a Bond oddly diminished. In my opinion, the film's grim and downbeat nature precludes either the sexiness or the humour that are part and parcel of Bond’s appeal.

Bond & Co
Daniel Craig performance is solid as a lean, mean killing machine. He's looking set to continue to redefine 007 for the modern era. It doesn't help that the script requires him to tone down his charm and be pissed al the time, but I can see him outshining some previous Bonds when the time comes. His performance in QOS reminded me of Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights - cold and heartless. But Dalton doesn't fit the Bond persona he's creating with the cheesy plot of Living Daylights. Eon productions got wrong back then and have got so very right this time around: if you're going to reinvent Bond, reinvent everything. Don't just fit a serious actor into a traditionally campy plot - make sure the entire world that Bond inhabits fits a more realistic take on the character.

Mathieu Almaric is decent as the enigmatic environmentalist Mr. Greene (enviromentalist, Greene - Geddit?) although I wished he had more banter with Bond especially during the final scene. He kinda looked like a bad-teethed version of Roman Polanski though.

Returning from CR, Giancarlo Giannini as Mathis is very good, providing a little bit human character in his brief scenes with Bond. Jeffrey Wright also return as CIA agent Felix Leiter; the coolest cat of them all, although he could use a little more screen time in the future.

Bond Girls
I'm not sure if Camille (Olga Kurylenko) is fitting to be called a Bond-girl simply because she doesn't connect at all with Bond. It seems that her own agenda back story (which is obvious right from the beginning) potrayed her as a supporting cast rather than a classic Bond girl. Gemma Arterton fits the bills more rightly, as Agent Fields (wait for the end credits to catch her real name), a throwback to the classic Bond girl right down to the manner of her demise on screen. (black-Goldfinger?). I felt there's more connection and chemistry between Bond and Fields although very brief.

The real Bond girl this time, is probably M, played ever so convincingly by Judi Dench. M have more screen time than ever in QOS, finally showing what might in fact be a kind of mother figure, never quite giving up on her favourite son’s persistent capacity to do the wrong thing by killing those he should be bringing in for questioning. Dench is magnetic, projecting the kind of charisma that only she and Helen Mirren could (both of them, GILF in my book, there I said it!)

Bond Theme Song
It's a Bond film - you have to talk about the theme song. As much as I loved Jack White and Alicia Keys, the theme song is rather forgettable. There's no chemistry at all in what supposed to be a rock-soul duet (first time duet in any Bond film). 'Another Way To Die' simply just - died. To think that Amy Winehouse nearly got the nod for doing the theme song, imagine what could have been..

Quantum of Solace isn't as good as Casino Royale: the smart elegance of Craig's Bond debut has been toned down in favour of action and grit. But Daniel Craig powers this movie; he carries the film. As a big budget action thriller, QOS pass with flying colours. I had a very enjoyable time watching it, explosions and all. But this time around the biggest hurdle is the script, which is working against Bond every step of the way, making victims of character and plot.

But I do have a feeling that QOS is actually a promise of more things to come. In the next Bond picture this 21st-century spy will gain greater access to his own character strengths. And we will eventually see Bond enjoying himself more. But right now, let Bond settle his score - he's in anger management.

WEB : Watchmen Featurette - Girls Kick Ass


Journey / Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) - The Greatest Music Video Ever.

Journey - Separate Ways

I love Journey. There's no 2-way about it, I just freakin' love 'em. The song above is probably one of their best song, and definitely my all-time favourite (.. I even made it as my ringtone).

The music video - now that's something else. It's the epitome of 80's rock music videos. The one that defines it. Everything good and awesomely bad things that you can think of an 80's music videos are all present here. This video definitely rules the freakin' universe!

If you need a reason to watch it, I'll give you one. Heck, I'll give you 12! :
  1. Air guitar, bass, drums AND keyboards at the beginning of the video. Plus points for the keyboard player for making nasty rock faces.
  2. Steve Perry's giving constant orgasmic face while singing.
  3. Steve Perry's awesome mullet.
  4. Tight high-waisted jeans.
  5. 80's trademark group camera-mugging shot at 01:15.
  6. Keyboard on the wall at 01:34. Awesome!
  7. Chick with leather skirt and big hair at 02:05.
  8. The location - looks like an abandoned IKEA factory.
  9. The solo drum fill at 02:36.
  10. 80's trademark group head-turning shot at 02:52.
  11. Headless Steinberger's bass guitar at 03:15. Cool!
  12. Unnecessary slow-mo sequence at 03:37.
And for those reasons my friends, this music video is quite possibly the most rockin', awesome, spectacular, greatest music video in the history of all living things. If you don't like the video, or Journey's music for that matter, than you should go fuck yourself. Simple as that.