The imitation game

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I honestly love this film so much after watching it, and it’s not even because this is my favorite era to live in. Besides the era, it’s also one of my favourite genres—war. Well, these are just one of the bonus reasons!

5/5.

I can’t believe I took so long just to watch The Imitation Game. I was made aware of the existence of this film in 2015, yet only came to watch it this year. I remembered it was nominated for numerous Oscars, and Benedict Cumberbatch too, who plays Alan Turing.

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Yet another wildly arrogant, highly intellectual character who isn’t fit for human company. A particular detective, a surgeon…this time a mathematician. Oh, Benedict…

And also. This character doesn’t eat too!!! Always so engrossed in his work hahha. Sherlock doesn’t eat as well. And why is that these characters he plays always have trouble communicating with others?!?!?! ALL of these characters are narcissistic too. The similar pattern in the characters are so amusing

Oh and this is also my first Keira Knightly film!
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I think I was too busy noticing the differences between Alan Turing and Sherlock (both characters which Benedict played) throughout the film! But I can see why my friends love this film though. It’s suspenseful, but knowing that it’s a true story also breaks me a little, because of the lack of recognition Alan received. Breaking Enigma was his heart and soul, yet sadly, he’s one of the heroes that didn’t live to see his own glory. I would die really if I were put in his shoes, imagine pouring your heart and soul into a project that is only meant to be kept secret in the end and knowing all the peace that is out there which cannot be enjoyed without your work. Knowing that you have the ability to control other people’s fate, yet cannot breathe a word about it until you hit your grave.

I also especially love the love story between him and Joan Elisabeth. I thought it was just a cheesy love story added in a subplot, but turns out it’s a true story too! My favourite scene was when Alan proposed to her hahha. And the last scene when she was comforting him really broke my heart.

“Sometimes its the very people who no one imagines anything of who do the things no one can imagine.”

 

Patrick Melrose Review

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Hi guys! Haven’t been chatting in this space for quite some time now. I’m finally done with the semester and assignments, and I’ve had the time to just catch up with some books and movies! I just plan to spend this weekend chilling. My newfound love to films and fiction material is crazy. More to getting drunk in books and movies, haha.

Enough about personal life!

I just want to talk about a TV series I’ve just finished today. It’s a TV series about a dark show skewering the drug-addled, abusive upper classes. Patrick Melrose is a 5-episode TV series played by Benedict Cumberbatch, which is just about a man seeking journey from brokenness to redemption.

It starts off featuring the main character, Patrick, who grows up with the horrors of a twisted, abusive father and an alcoholic mother who seems powerless and isn’t there to help him at times. To put it simply, it is really just a heart-wrenching story about what the implications of a broken home does to a child. A child haunted by his past. The poison dripping down from generation to generation. To see how these things can crush a child and affect his growth is almost unbearable to watch. I’m not usually a fan of childhood trauma storylines, but I got into this one because Benedict Cumberbatch plays the grown-up, damaged Patrick Melrose, 5/5 stars with fucking amazing acting. The hallucinations, the seizures from drug withdrawals, the sudden bursts of anger….it was so amazing that I was angry the series was so short, why are Benedict’s dramas always so short??!??!

The first two episodes I watched last month, in the middle of my school’s hell week period, and ugh, the themes were really dark and heavy. Drugs, alcohol, sexual abuse, infidelity, drinking, smoking…the amount of cigs Cumberbatch smoked in the series is enough to give him lung cancer man. He swears every 5 minutes too. The amount of immorality there is astonishing, the brokenness apparent, but yet this series managed a good balance between light-heartedness and heaviness. I don’t know how they did it, but they managed to sneak a dose of wit and humour beneath the dark themes to make it somehow bearable for the audience. Even though there are sexual abuse and stuff, it’s implied, but not shown with actual explicit, graphic scenes, so don’t worry. But even so, the storyline alone is enough to make it horrifying to watch.

I think it’s so powerful because it’s a story about a man living in his past, and in order to walk out of his past, no one can help him except himself. I especially enjoy stories about good character development so I would say this is a top pick. Patrick was trying very hard and seeking some sort of salvation, and his recovering journey is just so accurately portrayed.

“Sometimes, those who deserve the most blame also deserve the most compassion.”

Besides talking about brokenness and redemption, it also talks about forgiveness and compassion. To forgive is to let go of his past. There are a lot of funeral scenes in the show, haha, and this tingling feeling of seeking…closure. The end of a chapter. Beginning of a new one. Things like that, all done in 5 episodes.

“poison dripping down from generation to generation”— to see Patrick treat his children poorly because of his own brokenness passed on from his dad, is quite crazy to watch because of the highly personal experience for me. The broken husband, shouting and nagging wife, and deeply troubled children. Child overhears the mum shouting at the dad, exposing all his dad’s faults, which leads to an utter disrespect and despise for the dad.

I don’t really wish to air any family dirty laundry here on my blog but I grew up in this type of family: where my mum constantly points out my dad’s flaws in front of me by shouting and nagging. I never consciously knew it had such an effect on me until I started watching Patrick Melrose. All too familiar, that I found my mum such a turn-off that I promised myself I would never take on the role of a shouting or nagging wife when I grow up. I wouldn’t say I disrespect my dad, I will still honour him and respect him, but I admit it was pretty hard looking up to him as a father figure with awe and admiration. I had wanted more than anything to be a daddy’s girl.

BRILLANT, BRILLANT, SHOW.

Not to mention the amazing cinematography and the colours used! Goshhh I love the aesthetics. Cumberbatch also got a few sex scenes in this show! He usually plays asexual, highly intellectual, gay, arrogant characters so this is a bit different hhahha.

 

 

Violet Evergarden

“A letter can sometimes be short and sweet and still express important feelings.”

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Just finished watching Violet Evergarden. I seldom watch anime nowadays, but I strongly recommend this one not only because it is short, but it is also very pure, light and empathetic. A good one if you feel like you need to get in touch with your human emotions a bit. It’s about the aftermath of war. It’s about empathy. It’s also about a lost love never coming back. The animation was also very nicely done! Although the anime is not set in Japan, it still made me miss Japan very much!!

When Celia recommended it to me, she said, “I think you can relate to ep 10.” At first, I found the starting parts a bit boring, and then ep 8 is where it gets interesting. By ep 9, I already started bawling my eyes out and cried from ep 9-11, three episodes in a row. Omg ep 10 was so sad………felt like ripping my heart out. I had to pause the video halfway because I needed the toilet. then on the way up, and I collapsed to my knees on the stairs and cried so badly you have no idea.

“It helped me realize how special it is to receive a letter.”

“it’s painful for me to see that you only view yourself as a tool”

“-Who is the letter to? -Someone very far away.”

I love how this series cover death, war, kinship, romance, and everything all at once. I love how the notion of letter writing and its value sort of ties everything together. I loved writing letters when I was young. I still love it now. I loved receiving letters as much as I love writing them. I wrote lots of letters to many different people before. I never got a reply. I also never knew how it made them feel. I can only hope it was a good letter, that they felt positive feelings for me. Some of the people whom I wrote letters to still left me disappointed in the end. That made me feel like my letters were useless, that they were discarded, and sometimes, I still doubt the value of letters, although I would love to believe in it.

Due to these insecurities, I never wrote again.

Even if I did, I was careful who I addressed it to.

Violet Evergarden made me feel good because it restored my faith in letters. It believes in the magic of letters. “There is no such thing as a letter that doesn’t deserve to be delivered.” A letter concludes things. It washes out regret. Imagine a person dying, and did not get to say his last words or see his loved ones before he dies? Maybe because the world we live in is so broken, so chaotic, so sinful—that we need letters to help us romanticise things and make endings beautiful, even if it’s a bad ending.

Maybe that’s why I’ve always wanted to write letters. When watching, I suddenly remembered the letters I’ve sent to Celia, to Jenn, to some of my other friends. I knew these letters has impacted them in a good way (because they told me about it). I have forgotten about it before, and instead just believed in those lies the bad experiences told me. I won’t now. I love writing. I will never stop writing. I will not let the bad experiences quench my thirst for letter writing.

It pains me to see you in pain. It pains me to see you paralyzed with fear, it pains me to see you struggle, to know that when you close your eyes, darkness envelopes around you. We live in a broken world. It would not take me very much to know that you are in pain. There is no such thing as a letter that doesn’t deserve to be delivered. I hope that one day, mine would be delivered too.

 

Think Different.

Week 1 of the term break has gone fairly well. Unlike the previous spring break, where it was filled with exciting events everyday, this semester was more hectic, with more work, less motivation to have fun (personally) and a wave of homesickness sweeping over me every now and then. Life has gone stale.

Yesterday I came back from internship feeling so tired that I just wanted to sit on my bed and do nothing for the rest of the night.

I became a movie trash bag and took up so many books and movies for the last week: Unbroken, The Series of Unfortunate Events, Braveheart, The Grand Budapest Hotel. I went to May & Ian’s place the other day and their house was like a DVD paradise—countless DVD filled the shelves from top to bottom, I was so struck on the spot you have no idea. What a film buff! They let me take two DVDs home: I grabbed Sherlock Holmes Season 2 and the Grand Budapest Hotel, which I finished watching today.

The Grand Budapest Hotel was very impressive, and funny, too. I am thankful for it because it’s such a light-hearted comedy, and what a great way to end the night. I am always thankful and appreciative of good content, especially when in this one, the production design is so impressive! Everything from the colour scheme, the graphics, the typography, the elaborate set (which is so detailed I can’t imagine the amount of attention and thought put into it)…ALL of them appealed to my creative eye.

Beautiful craftsmanship. Beautiful execution. Amazing soundtrack. To say that it is nice would be an understatement.

The whole movie was very much like a storybook, with its story being told in parts and divided into chapters and stuff. It is told with a narration, and the lines are written in such flowery language hahaha. Certainly very special!

After the end of the show, my housemate and I began a very long conversation about books and movies. Through that, I discovered that she has covered lots of books and movies before—from the whole Disney collection to most of the movies…while I, in contrast, do have lots to catch up on. I won’t even say what I have not watched here cos it’s embarrassing ahhaha. At the same time..to think of how many movies and TV series she watched…how much time did it take her?? Holy shit, that must take up a whole lot of time in our lifetime. What if we added them all up? What if we didn’t use that time to watch movies, what other things could we have accomplished? (not saying that my housemate didn’t accomplish anything but aiyah you get the idea, it is the scary part of realising how much time u spent just watching content)

But then I began to think deeper about how I am spending my time, and how I am living my life. I don’t know if I am thinking too much but I will put my thoughts down here and hopefully, I can phrase them into words. For a first, I think I mentioned before that I do have a list of movies to watch. I guess how I viewed this list, was like a to-do list, and I feel satisfied when I check the movies off. I understand that it is a leisure activity, but it does not take long for me to fall into the trap of gaining fulfillment from this and I began to treat it like homework, and I have this urgency and rush to finish it (even though my main priority is still school work, not to worry).

When I was talking to my housemate, she introduced me to many movies—and I also realized there are many popular movies that I have missed out on: Narnia, Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Doctor Strange. I have never watched a single Marvel movie in my life and I have also never watched a single Korean drama in my life (apart from those screened on the TV). Then as I was talking to her I slowly felt the burden of adding these movies to my list (currently have 23 movies on my list), and I got scared. I got scared because I feel like I have to watch them, but at the same time, I don’t want to add to my ‘workload’. It’s kind of ironic really if you get what I mean.

Which brings me to my next train of thought. What is the purpose of watching movies? How does it enrich my life? How would it help me, ultimately, in pursuing my goal of living a life with calling and vision and achieving things instead of just mindless entertainment? Sure, we love being entertained, we love being happy, but I don’t want to lead a meaningless life, and if any aspect of my life doesn’t contribute to that meaning, I am wasting my time, and I don’t wish to waste a single second of my time here on Earth. It sounds radical but I understand in order to succeed in a common world when everyone’s common, I need to have a radical mindset.

They do inspire us, for one. That’s a valid point. Inspire me to get my design inspiration. Inspire me to live out values, to change my perspective.
Two: They help us live through stories that we will never get to live through in our lifetime.
Three: They make us more understanding and empathetic individuals by stepping into the shoes of another.
Four: The power of storytelling. We take in stories so that we can tell ours when the time is to come.
Five: They romanticise what can’t be romanticised in real life. They present a utopia, an idealistic version of the world I hope to live in. (EG. even if it was a bad ending, a movie always have some kind of conclusion, whilst in real life we can just be hanging there)

I guess I just have it at that. I’ll update this if I can think of more. Now, it seems like my life has peaked last year and is coming to a plateau. Everyday’s routine is just work, and if I’m free, I’ll grab a book or two, or watch a movie. Book, movie, work, sleep. Repeat.

What’s all this meaninglessness? I know the rest of the world lives like that too. Book, movie, work, sleep, or maybe go out with friends. Why am I hustling with the rest of the world? Why do we act as if we have a lot of time on our hands when in fact, life is just a mist? Can I continue living my life like ‘book, movie, work, sleep’ when I know my time on earth is limited???

Ugh. When can I start acting on my dreams, on my destiny, tapping on the greatest strength within me? And the bigger question is: how do I do it?

Braveheart

“Yes! Fight and you may die. Run and you will live at least a while. And dying in your bed many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance, to come back here as young men and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom!”

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I wonder if anyone realizes that freedom comes at a very high cost.

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Murron. My favorite character in the whole movie – “I can see her strength in you.”

Hear my Battle cry

Gosh, it has already been a week since I came back to Singapore. I only have two weekends here in my lovely hometown before I fly back! Not only does time seem to move especially fast here, but things seem to change really quickly too. The beginning of February has been nothing but surprises at every corner. I am bombarded and hit everyday with fresh, different feelings from different friends, people and familiar places. I’ve also realised that I am adulting in about two months’ time. I will be twenty one. My mind can’t seem to wrap itself around how fast we are all growing, but at least there’s a comfort that living in Sydney has helped me grow (emotionally and mentally) to become the mature person I want to be.

Adulting also sheds light at the fact that our parents are growing old as we are growing up day by day. This time back, I realized my parents, especially my mum, has aged a lot. I haven’t seen her in six months and she changed so much…..seeing her like this breaks my heart. I feel bad for my parents who have to work so hard just to fund my education. I’ve always struggled with the thought of them working hard while I enjoy life. Sometimes I wish I didn’t go ahead to pursue a better education because it wouldn’t burden them so much. But an education is an investment too and I cannot be stuck in this cycle.

“We are not prepared for the adulthood where we have to watch our parents grow old” 

I am no longer a teen. My friends, one by one, are slowly turning legal. I’ve met countless friends within the past one week—Yeeyen, Julia, Celia—and I saw many of them in a different light as compared to before. I’d like to think of them as resilient, wiser, more mature. I started truly thanking God for such friends and then I realize how blessed I am, how much I can learn from them. I am not sure if they’ve changed or I’ve changed that cause me to see those positive traits in them. Maybe their inner beauty is already there all along, and that I’ve failed to see it, but now that I’ve seen it clearer because I’ve changed. I’ve learned to appreciate what is true beauty in my friends instead of judging them by their outward circumstances.

I just hope my friends live life joyfully and healthily. They deserve more than anything in this world.


 

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Finally completed watching this movie, Hacksaw Ridge by Mel Gibson. I love watching war movies because it showcases the very essence of humanity—what interesting things people would do at the event of life vs death. And usually, these interesting things are all kinds of inspirational, harrowing, selfless or evil.

Lots of people cried during this movie but surprisingly, I didn’t shed a tear. It was a movie I have put off long enough to watch because I know it’s so nice, I want to watch it properly and do it justice but couldn’t find the time to. Even though I didn’t cry, it doesn’t make the movie less good. I wish there’ll never be war in this world. I wish there’s peace wherever we go and lives won’t be lost in the face of the cruel reality of war.

Best quote in the movie, “I would say anyone is wrong to try to compromise somebody’s conviction…when you own a conviction, that is not a joke. That’s what you are.” I loved it because it resonates with me so much and because I have been tempted and assaulted to compromise before. My convictions have been challenged, put to the test. I felt threatened and offended. It’s not easy.

The thing is I didn’t realize this movie was directed by Mel Gibson, the same director who directed Braveheart! I haven’t watched Braveheart yet but I am shocked. Mel Gibson is a director I really love and since he’s famous for action films, it’s no doubt that it’s good. And another interesting fact is that it’s based off a true story! I am so encouraged because of this fact—every Christian should definitely watch Hacksaw ridge! It is truly a movie to think about suffering for Christ, being radical in a world like this (where everyone fits in), and the miracles God can work through our lives to inspire and help others. Not say if you’re a Christian in NS you should surrender your guns la but rather you can also think about God’s will for you and what it means to you in your personal situation.

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First they Killed my Father was deeply emotional for me. Unlike Hacksaw ridge, I bawled my eyes out for this one: maybe because there are children and family involved. What a soft spot I have for kinship!!!

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I watched this one in the airplane. I heard the book was good too but never really knew how loyal the movie was to the book. This true story, directed by Angelina Jolie had definitely changed my perception of child soldiers. I’ve always had a soft spot for children in third-world countries ever since I went to Myanmar for mission trips, and Cambodian children are always a group I wanted to reach out to. Seeing them work so hard and the harsh reality in the face of war pains me…I am also shocked at the amount of resilience a five-year-old can have. I am always confident in how people would behave in the face of adversity, how adversity can push people to their limits and make them do things they couldn’t imagine themselves doing. Things that they thought they never had the strength to. Things adults thought children never had the capacity to comprehend.

Very very good movie.

Life Is Beautiful

2am- just finished watching Life is beautiful with my housemate. This is my first movie in quite a while. For the past month, I hadn’t been watching any movie though I’ve made a long list of war movies to watch. Finally settled down with my house to watch today.

Life Is Beautiful is a story about a father’s sacrifice in a Nazi concentration camp. This story is set in Italy, in World War II— I didn’t know it was a foreign language film! Italian sounded so beautiful…there’s a thing about foreign language films that really get to me.

Anyway, this is a very good movie and I highly recommend it. In just 1 hour and 56 minutes, this film has captured my heart and did a great job of telling a tale in such a short time. I was surprised because the Holocaust is a especially dark and complicated context to base a film on, yet Life Is Beautiful could tie it in with COMEDY, and still tie it in so nicely. Something different, and they managed to make the film deeply harrowing amidst the jokes and quirky side of the film. One of my favourite parts is that it gives me room to imagine and think about what Guido is actually feeling under the surface, under his jokes and him putting up a comical and brave front for his son.

I guess they named it “Life Is Beautiful” because they wanted to portray the bright side of the Holocaust, and although certain negative critics stated that happiness and Holocause don’t go together, it is definitely interesting to present war from this angle. It is not easy because World War II is always seen for what it is—sad, depressing, and cruel. When you look at it from this angle, I can understand why some people don’t like how this movie portrays war as child’s play.

Nonetheless, it was truly a beautiful tale. By the end of the film, my housemate was super emotional. The last scene- Giosuè screaming “we won!” “we won, we won!” brought tears to our eyes—we knew their victory comes with a great sacrifice.