Category Archives: Review

Thinking About Stars

After every big movie comes out in theatres there will always be sensationalist articles critiquing the movie, pulling on one or two loose strands in hopes that the entire fabric of reality comes undone. I read one for Godzilla when I came out and I’m ashamed to say that for a few minutes while reading it I actually began to dislike the  movie, and then I remembered how I felt while I watched the movie: awestruck. Of course the movie wasn’t perfect, but that didn’t stop me from liking it. These troll articles are clever in their use of controversial subject matter to over-hype something and make the worst out of it. They like to throw the feminist card in there to get people riled up, and when read out of context, or if you haven’t seen the movie yourself, it might even make a lot of sense. They will complain when there aren’t enough female leads in the movie, and when it does live up to the gender equality standard they will complain that the women weren’t “well written”. Even if these women were three-dimensional, emotional characters there will always be something wrong with them, something wrong with the way they were portrayed. As if they were the authority on writing women. Other tactics include insulting the naming tactics for the characters, poking gently at possible racism and using a director’s past work to undermine him. Some of it can be reasonable (doesn’t mean that it is), but most of it is exaggerated way out of proportion.

When it comes to critiques I much prefer this: 

So I watched Interstellar yesterday with a couple of friends, and I thought it was a great movie. I thought what they tried to achieve with the plot did not warrant harsh scrutiny in terms of science, because this was not a space documentary. This is a fictional movie, and it might that mean I don’t have standards when it come to movies, but all I was looking for from this movie was to be entertained, not to be educated. And I was. To be honest, the trailer did not intrigue me at all, so I was pleasantly surprised. I walked out of the movie really wanting to play Mass Effect. The plot twist at the end was corny and familiar, and glorified human capabilities. I had the same wariness for the trust that the universe places in humanity as I did when I watched The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)(which I did not like mainly for that reason), but that is understandable.

Of course when I read “The 7 biggest problems with Interstellar” I was immediately aware from past experiences that this was what I am going to coin as a “Troll Article”, which I guess could be classified under sensationalist journalism. It was not a real critique of the movie, it was shameless and desperate bashing. I was ready to write another post another article about how mad those posts make me, because apparently that is what this blog has become, but halfway through thinking about that I changed my mind. I realized that instead of watching the movie and never thinking about it again, this article impassioned me again into using my brain. Were the women poorly written? I didn’t think so, or at least I didn’t notice. Were there plot holes? Unfortunately. Did the dystopian world make sense? I didn’t see enough of it to form a conclusion, but it doesn’t matter because that’s not really what the movie is about. And ultimately, did I like the movie? Yes. It was intense, and I was stressed out through a lot of it, but I liked it. And I’m much more aware of my reasons for liking it now and can defend my position.

I’d like to say that this was a wonderful world where people look out for each other and Troll Articles are written to elicit critical thinking. That would be a glass-half-full type of assumption to make, and I’m not an optimist if I can help it. And even if these articles were written for that purpose there will always be people out there that will miss the point, unless clearly written out for them. I guess my point then, would be to think about troll articles even if they are infuriating. Like my rant last week, I had to actually stop and think about why the article was making me mad before I could put it into words and turn it into a post, and I didn’t write it in order to open the OP’s eyes. I didn’t want to change his mind, because I have come to understand that many people have closed their minds so firmly that they can’t even understand their own behaviour. I wrote it for my own benefit, to understand my own mind, and for the benefit for people who have kept their minds open, have yet to think about the issue.

So think about the issue.

-kwin

P.S. Interstellar 8.5/10

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Review: Divergent (Possible Spoilers!)

I don’t like complaining about something I know nothing about, and so in the light of a recent eye-opening top sellers list I’ve decided to see what the fuss was all about before I start bitching about it, which is obviously my favourite thing to do. Since I conveniently named the title after what I’m doing my review on I can’t troll you guys and pretend I’ve read 50 Shades of Grey, which I probably won’t ever read unless someone was paying me a life time salary to do it.

It seems like this Divergent book by Veronica Roth is a big deal recently. Now considering recent trends in “literature” it was very optimistic of me to think that perhaps that there would be a refreshing change in the reading preferences of today’s generation, but I’m not going to lie, I read the book in four hours and it was quite fun. And yes, there was a refreshing change in the main character, and instead of being the typical immature protagonist of teen series who wonders why anyone would like her and denies her obvious attraction to the love interest, she is quite honest with herself. Despite the fact that the love interest feels like the typical dark and brooding type of male character I found the romance quite well written, only it was so well written and took up so much of the book that I could not take the rest of the storyline seriously. Like Twilight, it felt like the rest of the plotline was written to propel the romance.

And that’s fine! I read it like it was a fan fiction of a teen age girl’s life, in which the circumstances are perfect for meeting that prince charming. It was fun, it wasn’t that frustrating, and it was grammatically correct. At the same time it felt like The Hunger Games all over again, except Katniss doesn’t have to choose between two people and she doesn’t delude herself into thinking that every single hint of romance is for another purpose because there is no way anyone could possibly love her (which by the way, is one of the most irritating things female protagonists do).

Instead of a dystopian novel that revolves around the importance of choice set in a parallel universe that strives for utopia, it is for all intents and purposes, a cute, fun romance. For anyone expecting anything else, you might be disappointed.

However, for those who are only expecting a romance throughout the series, you will also be disappointed, because it’s sequel is completely different. And the conclusion of Insurgent, if not corny, is extremely disappointing.

I should really find other books to read. I feel like it was disappointing only because I am not within the range of its target audience. Which means I should also stop looking for books to read from the top sellers shelf, because it is a terrible reflection of good reads in general.

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The Hunger Games Review: brief version, no spoilers

I’m just wondering how director Gary Ross will salvage books two and three. The media attention the Hunger Hames gained prior to the movie would’ve made sense after the movie’s release, but there’s no telling how explosive the franchise will become now that the movie was not a flop.

4/5

But give me some time to make tea and ponder.

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YTF, Vancouver

Warning: long-ish post is long-ish.

I went to the YTF concert last night at the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts. The venue was really nice, bright, clean, new, but that’s not what you’re interested in now, is it?

If you’re slightly out of the loop with this whole YTF business, here’s a brief intro:

From left to right: Victor King (Kim), Andrew Garcia, D-Trix (Dominic Sandoval), Kevjumba (Kevin Wu), Chester See, JR Aquino, and Ryan Higa (a.k.a. Nigahiga). Many of them have been on TV shows such as American Idol, America’s Best Dance Crew, So You Think You Can Dance and The Amazing Race (I think I just named all of them …). YTF stands for Yesterday, Today, Forever (not Youtube Friends or Yellow Toed Frogs). For more information: Click me!

I went into the concert with little to no expectations. I knew that it would be a fun time, because YTF consists of such adorable, wonderful people, but I wasn’t sure how a concert with a group of such multi-talented people would work. I was lucky enough to have had friends that were willing to come along with me, being the only one I knew who really liked YTF, although at the same time I was worried that they might be disappointed. It was like showing friends a funny Youtube video, except this was more stressful because it was live and I couldn’t pause it and explain the jokes (which actually makes it worse … except I feel better …).

At events like this, there is always a group of people who I am extremely jealous of because they came dressed up in something extremely clever that I SHOULD’VE thought of, except I didn’t. Three people sitting smack-dab in the centre of the theatre were dressed up in BEST Crew gear, which was far sexier than showing too much skin. Unfortunately, the lighting was not very flattering for those fans (non-existent, in fact) and there’s a chance Rave couldn’t see them at all, which is too bad, because they deserved Platinum VIP passes just for that idea.

And speaking of BEST Crew, half of them were absent. That was the bad news: Kevin couldn’t make it to the first concert of YTF’s tour!! There was supposed to have been good news to follow that piece of bad news, except I wasn’t sure what it was. Maybe I was just too shocked that Kevin would be missing. Rave looked so lonely without Pong, even though Rave likes to pretend he doesn’t need Pong.

EDIT: It seems that Kevin was absent in San Jose as well, possibly because he’s sick D: hope he feels better soon!

The show started off fashionably late (I guess) with a dance-off between three Vancouver based crews, all of whom were very brave, and the last crew (DTS, was it?), being exceptionally talented won the dance-off.

I have to admit it was a weird feeling sitting in my seat seeing Ryan Higa walking on stage, so normal, so human, live, in 3D, breathing the same air as me, after only being able to see him through my computer screen for so long, and the same feeling followed with every member that came on to do their own little segments after.

Chester See (I might have the order wrong!):

1. Bromance (with Ryan Higa) (Original)

2. Goddamn You’re Beautiful (Original)

3. I’m Falling For You (Original)

How did this not manage to win over anyone’s heart?

Victor King: This dude was so smooth my friend, who didn’t know him previous to this, basically swooned as soon as he glided onto stage.

1. Fly Me To The Moon – Frank Sinatra (Cover)

+ dance

2. Through Thick and Thin (Original)

3. The Gentleman (Original, from The Victor King EP)

+ dance

featuring Amy Nguyen haha

Andrew Garcia (definitely don’t have the right order here I think…)

1. Somebody to Love – Justin Bieber (Cover)

2. Crazy (Original)

3. Dumb (Original)

It’s the first time he played it for an audience, so no vid, sorry!

D-Trix

Mimed dance segment:

This is only a part of his entire segment, which was hilarious.

And last but not least!

JR Aquino(Not sure about the order either … heh)

1. Handle with Care (Original)

2. Thinking About You – Frank Ocean (JRA Remake)
Dat falsetto.

3. By Chance (You & I)

He was surprised that his fans liked this song so much, but in all honesty you can’t not love this song if you listen to the lyrics.

And finally, to wrap up the show, how can there not be a Nice Guys performance?? The only sad thing about it was that Ryan had to rap Kevin’s part because Kevin wasn’t there. Sad face.

Almost 33 million views!

Yeah so halfway through my post I decided to sort of recreate the experience for anyone who managed to stumble across this post that didn’t get a chance to go to the YTF concert in Vancouver last night. I used mostly the original Youtube versions of every song because the fan videos that are out right now are really horrible quality, but they’re out there on Youtube, tagged with YTF, Vancouver etc. etc. if you want to check them out too. I didn’t record anything myself because I find holding up  camera dilutes my concert going experience a lot, and I try to commit everything to memory, even though its really poor. Fortunately I dragged my lazy ass to the computer when the songs were still fresh in my mind so I could remember all of them for you!

YTF was a source of inspiration before this concert, even though my area of interest is not so much in the performing arts. Their message is basically this: if you want to do something, you have the option to do it, and if you set your mind to it, you can become great. Dominic said at the end of the show, “If you have haters, then you’re doing something right” (or something to that effect). After the show I felt even more inspired to be able to see them live, because in the end you realize that they are people just like us. Even geniuses have to work hard to become someone.

Everyone in YTF was very natural and interacted with the crowd with great ease. It was definitely an honour to have been able to see them live, and even my friends who weren’t too familiar with them before the concert had a good time.

On top of that, it’s a beautiful day in Vancouver, with no clouds in the sky!

YTF hangovers are the best.

kwin

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