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….

PET SEMATARY (FILM REVIEW)

Stephen King’s IT reboot was a phenomenal success. So it’s only natural for directors Kevin Kolsh and Dennis Widmyer to feel a little pressured when resurrecting PET SEMATARY – arguably one of Stephen King’s darkest titles. On top of box office and fan expectations, Kolsh-Widmyer has the difficult task of keeping the film fresh, as…

TIM BURTON AND HIS FILM PALETTE

Think of Tim Burton, and a dark monochromatic world comes to mind. But the stylistic director isn’t as boring as you think. From Sleepy Hollow’s grim world to Dumbo’s warm tones, I look at how Burton’s palette has changed over the years. Read about his choices here: http://bit.ly/2FA7RR2 Which movie palette was your favourite and…

PEELE’S PRINT STEERS US TO POTENTIAL PERFECTION

Jordan Peele floored everyone with his sleeper hit Get Out in 2017. It was a riveting piece of satirical horror that seared its message like a brand on flesh. Playing once again with complexity, symbols, and deep archetypal nuance, Peele’s upcoming piece Us will no doubt be another memorable experience. Read about why Us will…

ARCTIC (FILM REVIEW)

Filled with more snow than script, Joe Penna’s Arctic strips the survival film genre to its bare essentials, but bolstering that skeleton with a rich performance from its main character. Danish Mads Mikkelsen gives his all in his role as Overgard, a pilot stranded in the arctic region after a crash. Presumably. I say that…

FLYING FOR THE FESTIVE

It’s not just the where… the when is an equally important factor to consider for your next holiday. Festivals are a great showcase of a country’s culture – East or West – so time your schedule just right and you’ll witness the essence of their human legacy. If you’re still shopping for inspiration for 2019,…

FIVE FEET APART (FILM REVIEW)

It’s an almost unshakeable formula – a doomed romance featuring a character with a chronic disease is sure to turn the taps on. So, I guess if having one character doomed to die makes viewers bawl, imagine two! In the line of terminal romance tear-fests like A Walk to Remember, Midnight Sun, and (most similarly)…

ASIA’S GOT TALENT SEASON 3 – GETTING THAT GOLDEN BUZZ

Talent platforms make for huge entertainment, and Asia’s Got Talent seems to have struck gold with the region. AXN’s programme hits its stride with their third season of Asia’s Got Talent, with returning judges David Foster, Anggun, and Jay Park. With the amount of entries signing up, it’s also clear that the impact of the…

EXTREME JOB (FILM REVIEW)

It felt like somebody’s birthday party. Plus there’s fried chicken. Between the snacks crackling and the people chuckling, the atmosphere at the premiere was buzzing with cheer. I haven’t witnessed such an easy sense of mirth at a screening for years now, no doubt helped by the continuous rain of laughter at the antics onscreen….