IS CYPRUS THE NEW GREECE?

There’s nothing quite like Greece of course. In fact, there’s never any real replacement for one particular country when you get down to the details. That said – if one is asking for a little twist from the (currently) Instagram hotspot, without loosing that formula or sun, sand, sea and stunning history, then Cyprus is…

DETENTION (FILM REVIEW)

Wrapping a terrifying story around a true period of human horror, Detention is a layered tale that’s heavy on scares, but also dripping ripe with messaging. Touching on the political scene in Taiwan in the 1960s, it unfolds in the White Terror period, which was an era of martial law in the country that lasted…

RACE START – HOW COMPETITION MAKES A DESTINATION COMPELLING

Every competition and race comes with a clash. Thankfully, it’s more of energy and excitement than anything negative. From World Cups to the Olympics, sports have pulled fans to events across the world and will continue to do so. While big brands such as the above, along with others like Formula One and Wimbledon, continue…

KNIVES OUT (FILM REVIEW)

There’s a certain appeal to whodunnit movies that always keeps the audiences coming. One would hazard it’s due to our inherent curious nature, as well as an intrinsic engagement of our own sleuthing skills that keeps us addicted. It is this successful formula that has birthed a few renowned genre writers – such as Sir…

SIGNATURE EVENTS TO WITNESS IN 2019 AND 2020

Every season its mood, every country its character. Festivals are often the pinnacle of expression for both, teeming with plenty of culture and activity. Some of these might have been around for centuries, while others are sparks that exploded into wonder, but each of these events have become iconic to these destinations, and sometimes even…

WET SEASON (FILM REVIEW)

Treading the line between artistic integrity and commercial viability is never easy – especially so in our tiny isle of Singapore. With Wet Season, Anthony Chen establishes his quiet finesse in creating films that strikes a chord with the audience, but bags critical mention and awards to boot. Chen’s sophomore feature has recently picked up…

GLAMPING IN THE MOUNTAINS: DHARAMSHALA’S CAMP LUNGTA

The Himachal Pradesh region is often chosen for its adventure – both into the natural and spiritual realms, and the mountainous area with its otherworldly beauty, is believably straddling between the realms. Dharamshala is best known to be the location where the Dalai Lama has chosen for his official residence, and unsurprisingly, has made the…

ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP (FILM REVIEW)

Sequels have it hard. Zombieland raked in commercial and critical success for taking the audience off-guard in a period of zombie titles, so what can Zombieland: Double Tap bring to the table? The answer is – plenty. The franchise capitalises on three things: astute witticisms, irreverent self-awareness and unabashed caricultures. With that, the sequel has…

THE REAL STORY OF THE KILL TEAM

It’s often said to be a necessary evil, but that can just as easily be a marketing spiel. War is war. For nation, for justice, for religion, for power, for greed, for land…. the actual reasons for war goes on, hiding behind a nobler banner. The Kill Team is a film directed by Dan Krauss,…

COUNTDOWN (FILM REVIEW)

There’s nothing terribly unpredictable about this – but that might not be a bad thing at all. Like Scream, Final Destination and any franchise with over 5 chapters, formulaic horror has an appeal of its own. Countdown has nothing of a reputation to bank on, but it follows a proven model and manages to get…

THE CURRENT WAR (FILM REVIEW)

If you’ve read up a little bit about this project, then you’ll know that this was one of Weinstein’s last work before his entire film career and company collapsed from the sexual allegations. The Current War, with its polished production and high-profile casting premiered to a small (and unimpressed) crowd at Toronto International Film Festival…

BEYOND THE LITTLE MERMAID

It’s one of my all-time favourites – the originally dark story of the sacrificial mermaid may have had significant impact on my love life, but that’s a story for another day. Because of this, Copenhagen‘s iconic statue has always been a beacon for me when it comes to sights to see. It may not be…

A WINNING FORMULA: THE SINGAPORE NIGHT GRAND PRIX

With last year’s Crazy Rich Asians pulling the spotlight on Singapore as a luxurious haven for the elite, much travel plans must have been fixated on a calendar event – the Singapore Grand Prix. Now in it’s 12th year, the racing event that once was notorious locally for its disruption to traffic, is now viewed…

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 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,…