METAMORPHOSIS (FILM REVIEW)

South Korea is really gunning for their own Exorcist hit. From TV titles like The Guest (2018) to movies like The Priests (2015), The Wailing (2016), House of the Disappeared (2017), and most recently, The Divine Fury (2019) and Netflix’s, Svaha: The Sixth Finger (2019), it seems that the priest protagonist remains as enigmatic as…

REVENGE OF THE PONTIANAK OR DENDAM PONTIANAK (FILM REVIEW)

Probably one of the most enigmatic and popular supernatural entity in this region, the pontianak is to Southeast Asia what Sadako is to Japan.  Based on popular mythology, she is the ghost of a woman who died pregnant or during childbirth, and boy is she angry! Appearing as a beautiful woman to lure victims to…

SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK (FILM REVIEW)

“Why she so curious?” “I thought she returned the book?” “Why they return to the house?” To a movie reviewer, nothing is scarier than a viewer who needs to verbalise her mind. And to the teenage girl in question, the answer to all of your question is: Because this is a movie, so just watch…

ENCOUNTER ALL THE SHADES OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA

If you self-drive or love coach tours, Western Australia’s routes will give you a bang for your buck. All along the coast and inland, you will find a smattering of sights to keep you engaged along the route. The colours stood out clearly for me in my mind’s eye, so I wrote out these itineraries…

THE WAYS YOU CAN FROLIC IN FIJI

It’s true that Fiji isn’t the most accessible place, even if you live in the nearest countries of Australia, New Zealand or Papua New Guinea. But isn’t that the case for anywhere that’s really out of this world? Fiji may be most widely known for that bottled water, but ditch that plastic and go to…

A BIGGER SPLASH (FILM REVIEW)

If Call Me By Your Name is remembered by the peach, then A Bigger Splash will be remembered for its pool. The oasis in the sunny island of Pantelleria bears silent witness to the mansion’s going-on, which runs from tension (both of the aggresive and sexual sort) to therepeutic retreat. Acted out by a quartet…

BINDING SOULS (FILM REVIEW)

I used to study in a pre-war school, and so as you might guess, the grounds were filled with stories. The fact that actual riots and war heroes were part of its history made it all the more compelling. So haunted school plots have a particular relevance to me, especially when they involve unspoken topics,…

FAMILY FESTIVAL FUN – SEE 23 OF THE WORLD’S BEST

With kids in tow or the elderly involved, it’s not easy for the average family to design a holiday that will please everyone. That’s where festivals come in. Festivals are amazing showcases of a country’s culture, often bringing everything to one spot. Food, fun, cheer, and plenty of activities for the young and old, they…

LOOKING UP (FILM REVIEW)

There’s no punches pulled here – Looking Up is a China-made film, replete with pride-stirring messages that can be seen as gentle nostalgia or shameless propaganda. If you can set that all aside, there’s a couple of universal themes here at play which might be of more interest. Ma Fei (Bai Yu) is one of…

THE -30 SIBERIAN FAIRYTALE

Friends know I love the cold. My ideal climate range is 0-20 degrees celsius, where I could sit out and be forced to down a cup of hot beverage quickly before it turns cold, and then hop around with a scalded tongue. Yeah I’m weird that way. But weird goes easier when you’re rewarded by…

THE DEAD DON’T DIE (FILM REVIEW)

Let’s be clear here: You’ll either love this movie for all its cleverness (because you’re that savvy zombie genre fan – especially for Romero – and geeks out at inside references), or you’ll be like the rest of us – a little bored and cheated. To say The Dead Don’t Die is indulgent is about…

MAKE IT COUNT – 7 SOUVENIRS THAT REALLY REPRESENT RUSSIA

Put those magnets down and back away slowly. As much as it’s tempting to get your souvenirs in one fell swoop at a gift shop, giving some thought to them can be a rewarding investment. Not only does it make you attach specific memories to each piece you select, but the stories and cultural references…

REDISCOVERING BALI

The legendary island promises a mystical adventure of self-awakening, but the reality greeting travellers is usually more crowded beaches and overpriced restaurants. So can we ever find the Bali that once was? The answer, is yes. The busy throngs at Kuta is still largely contained there, with some spillage to Seminyak. Canggu is fast becoming…

HOW TO HAVE A LOCAL BREAKFAST IN TAIPEI

Without a doubt, breakfast is the most important meal when travelling in Taiwan – and we’re not talking about the hotel buffets please! Getting up and heading straight to any soy milk joint in Taipei means a hearty affair of savoury food and bustling affairs conducted without regards for the nosy tourist. Which is great,…

ANNABELLE COMES HOME (FILM REVIEW)

Slowly but surely, James Wan is building and reinforcing his horror legacy. Since the success of The Conjuring, the skillful director has extended his universe significantly, even crossing over to areas which we wouldn’t have expected. (Aquaman and Shazam!) It goes to show the pop culture appeal and power of his creations, and leading the…

HOW TO SLEEP TRENDY IN HONG KONG ON A BUDGET

The city of Hong Kong is renowned for their sky-high real estate, and this means that those documentaries of their poorer boxed-up citizens may sometimes become a reality for budget travelers, but thankfully only temporarily. A quick search will find “hotels” in the price range of SGD$100s to be either non-descript, terribly small, remotely located…

CHIANG MAI IS HOME TO THE WORLD’S DREAMIEST LIGHT-UP

Even though the environmental repercussions are being debated, and solutions to the impact being investigated, there’s no denying the spectacle that the Yee Peng Festival in Chiang Mai accords. Thousands of paper lanterns float into the sky, an illuminated glowing cloud, and with the more widely-known Loy Krathong following the festival days, seeing candles drifting…

WHEN JUST VISITING JAIPUR

Visiting just one city in India sounds like an impossible decision to make if one had limited time, but if you had to, Jaipur stands as one of travellers’ top choices. The Pink City has old-world charm in spades, and a reputation that has been catapulted thanks to its ‘gram-able facades. As you wander about,…

PARASITE (FILM REVIEW)

There’s a “landscape rock” gift that gets featured early in the Parasite that sits very nicely as a metaphor for the film. It’s a harbinger of prosperity as much as a burdensome weight; physically, an elegant decoration that can also turn deadly. It never changes its state and doesn’t presume to be anything but a…

DEATH WHISPER (FILM REVIEW)

Well, someone’s a big fan of the Korean Whispering Corridors. From the rotating Hangeul characters during the opening credits to the gift of the actual film DVD to a student on campus, DEATH WHISPER makes no qualms about where it takes inspiration from. This remake by Awi Suryadi bears many references to the original in…

HERE BE DRAGONS AND BEACHES

It’s an unlikely combination. Flores means flowers and yet there are dragons crawling about the beaches of this peninsula island in Indonesia. There’s adventure to be found – and yes, you can go dragon spotting – but Flores Island is probably best know for it’s colourful landscape. From pink beaches to multi-hued craters, the remote…

SADAKO (FILM REVIEW)

No matter how little of a horror fan you are, you would most likely have heard of the 1998 japanese classic The Ring. Not only did it launch a new era of stylistic horror, many aspects of the movies were repeated in titles to come in one form or another. You can’t deny that impressionable…

A NIGHT AT JEWEL CHANGI – EXPERIENCING YOTELAIR

Staycations aren’t something I do very often given that a trip is so much more worth the moolah. But when YotelAir opened up a micro-hotel in the new Jewel Changi, that caught my attention. I figured this was more than just a staycation, but also an overnight experience at our latest mall-park hybrid destination that…

GRETA (FILM REVIEW)

In the vein of psycho-stalker thrillers like Fatal Attraction, Single White Female, and Misery, Neil Jordan directs Ray Wright’s script of a tale of obsession set in the bustling streets of New York. Frances (Chloë Grace Moretz) is the city newbie, getting adjusted to the lifestyle after the passing of her mum. Spotting an abandoned…

HONG KONG DISNEYLAND MEANS BUSINESS

While we often see Disneyland as a childhood dream destination, business incentive groups are finding new use in the theme park. Hong Kong Disneyland has big plans to harness this interest, and recognising their Disney and Marvel IP as key draws, the focus is now on year-on-year thematic projects and a third Marvel attraction to…

MATA BATIN 2 (FILM REVIEW)

Director Rocky Soraya is back with chapter two of his Mata Batin film series, and for those that enjoyed his first outing, you’ll find more of the same in this episode. This means big sets, big houses, and big acting, along with a crazy soundtrack that refuses to die. You can probably already tell I’m…

SORRY TO BOTHER YOU (FILM REVIEW)

If today’s excessive politically-correct climate has got you bothered, then SORRY TO BOTHER YOU is a perfect balm for the weary soul. Riveting performances by LeKeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson pushes this dark comedy into places it should go – a dry, hard-hitting piece on white privilege amongst many other things. It is so self-aware…

FIRST FACETS AT JEWEL CHANGI

280 shops. 10 floors. 1 shining crown jewel. Linking Terminals one to three at Changi Airport, the world watches as the glittering Jewel Changi officially opens to the public today. It’s a lush multi-use complex – equal parts urban retail and park, with snaking trails to explore, and shopping finds to discover. Of the lot,…

THAT MAGIC CROWN: ERIC CHIEN IS WINNER OF ASIA’S GOT TALENT SEASON 3

With his colourful chocolate and Rubik’s cube routine, Eric Chien has garnered himself the title of grand winner for Asia’s Got Talent Season 3. This is the first time a Taiwanese has won the show, and the visibly moved Eric could hardly hold back his tears when the announcement was made. Check out his winning…

ASIA’S GOT TALENT (SEASON 3): THE FINALS

The auditions of Asia’s Got Talent Season 3 has revealed the extent of our region’s undiscovered talents. And picking nine out of the thousands of hopefuls, was no easy task. Even when the semi-finalists were picked, it was difficult to rally behind an act, only because so many of them were so entertaining to watch….