Sunday, December 21, 2014

Gone Girl

These thoughts came to me around 3.30 this morning. I am not sure why and how, but I had the urge to write about them instantly. But I didn't because sleepiness took over and I thought that maybe if I don't remember it when I wake up, it's probably not worth blabbing about.

But I still remembered.

I am talking about my feelings for Gone Girl, not the book, but the movie directed by one of my favourite directors, David Fincher. It stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as the doomed Dunne couple. If you have read the book, you would say that it's better than the film. I have heard this several times, but cannot really attest, as I have not finished it and went straight to see the movie version. So I will not touch how the film seemed to hurried everything and packed most of the story in two hours (or depending on which version you have seen).

Initially the movie got cancelled for release in Malaysia, due to its graphic and sexual contents. According to Twentieth Century Fox, the film's distributor, in a response to a question posted in their Facebook account, Gone Girl was "taken out of the release plan here (Malaysia) due to the excessive censor cuts required, which significantly affect the movie experience." It came as a big surprise however on the last week of November, when they announced that they are finally showing an 'International Cut' meaning there was a 'way around' showing the significant moments in the film without (too much) cuts as one would have expected. Still, a supposed better version  came out online on Friday, before the movie hit local cinemas.

Although I initially wanted to watch the movie on big screen, it was a good thing I did because I was terribly disappointed. Fincher and I have gone a long way. From the Fight Club, to Se7en (so awesome!), my favouriteSocial Network and also Girl with Dragon Tattoo, which were both adapted from books. I had high expectations for Gone Girl. Firstly, because it had an all-star cast, 2/3 of my dream team (Fincher with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross), and everyone was buzzing about the movie. I even threw a small fit when they did not show it in Malaysia at first because I have waited for it.

But I guess despite the good reviews and high ratings, the film still felt lacking. In the beginning, it was long and dragging and it reached its high point when they finally showed Amy (Rosamund Pike was so good, I think she was the saving grace of the movie), then towards the end it felt flat. Ben Affleck did not at all move me, even during the confessional part. I did not feel any sympathy when he lost his wife, or mad when we learned he cheated. The character was a little undeveloped. Affleck is not a bad actor - he got me on the edge of my seat when I watched Argo, but he did not shine in the movie the way Pike or Neil Patrick Harris did. If he did not play the lead character, his appearance to me was forgettable - even his penis and ass (which were much talked about) were, too.

So when I learned that the movie and Affleck got snubbed in this year's Golden Globes, I thought it was another injustice. But then again, the movie proved that they did not deserve to be on the list. Let's see if it gets nominated in the Academy Awards. 

Maybe this is me coming from too much hope to disappointment. A lot of people might disagree with me. I don't know. I'd like to know what you think.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

For Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift, the country-pop-rock songstress who just recently released her new album, 1989. I admit I was very excited to listen to this album, amongst all the ones she released, because it's a shift from the usual Swift - it's purely pop, not the guitar driven country music, but more of synth and drums with late '80s, early '90s feel. It's a refreshing album, whose references to a lost love is still evident in the songs (but lesser, I think!), but in a catchier, less sappy tunes we are so used to hearing from her.

I am a new listener, and now a new fan. Some would hate her for being so transparent, especially with her music, but this is what makes her admirable. She's maybe oversharing, but in today's age, who is not? The only difference is we live in filters, in sugar coating, meanwhile she tells it as it is, while under the limelight. I have never followed her career so intently. To be honest I just started truly liking her with her 2012 album, Red, where we can already sense a hint of change in her direction. If you call yourself a fan and have not sensed that, how did that happen? 

Now going back to her 1989, which is named so after her birth year, I have seen people reacting how different this new release sounds and that they miss the old Taylor Swift. But what do we want her to do? Get stuck for not being herself? Reading her notes on the album, as well as the various interviews she has given, Swift said the change was something she has always wanted to do and if she doesn't do it, she might forever regret not even trying. 

A lot of artists have tried experimenting with their career, there is of course Madonna, the queen of pop and re-invention, as the most evident example, among others. While Mad's is a success story, there are some whose career went into oblivion, never ever had a chance to recover, because they risked the change. Maybe they did it wrong? Maybe the success of the change hit them so hard, they wasted the opportunity? We would not know. But regardless if it was a great feat or a doom, isn't taking a risk the very same thing that should drive all of us? The only successful people I know have pushed boundaries and dared to reach heights as compared to their play-it-safe contemporaries. There might be a chance for us to fail, but we will never know what will happen if we won't push for it. 

The point is, why are we limiting ourselves to what is expected? Not because it has worked over and over, it does not mean we need to get stuck. For that, I admire Taylor Swift for the path she has decided to cross. I love the new album. It's worth the risk. 

***

After listening to the album for three straight days (okay, mostly when I wake up and get home from work and while writing this blog), I recommend the tracks Welcome to New York, Style, and Out of the Woods

Enjoy, 1989!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

About A Boy

Lately, all I have been talking about are: 
a. How I struggle with sadness
b. How homesick I am
c. How I spend my lonesome weekends watching movies (today I had three since I woke up at 9 am)
d. How hard it is to be alone

I have been meaning to post a week-before birthday blog to vent out my frustrations and how hard it is to be alone in another country with the shit going on around me lately, but I decided why not talk about something that makes me happy for a change. 

Ever since I got here in Malaysia, I have never really considered dating. I had someone who I constantly run to for eight months, so what's the point? It was not even a romantic one, but it was the steadiest relationship I had, because it was not a commitment. And then it had to end because people move on with their lives. It was the best and it was the worst. And weeks after that I was devastated. I am not even exaggerating. 

And then I decided why not swim in the ocean of (lonely) hearts. There I was, 25, actually meeting strangers with potential for romantic inclination for the first time. I admit, it was fun in the beginning. I met one who was really interesting, but the rest were I don't know, disappointing. The system became tiring. And all the times spent did not even amount to anything. Most conversations I had were empty and shallow. It made me doubt why I even did it. But then if I didn't, how would I know how it goes? Maybe I attract the wrong kind of people? Maybe I only go after one type? Maybe I expect too much?

But you know, it took me a while to realise that I did not even have to search and scramble in the crowd of strangers. The haze-filled Kuala Lumpur couldn't even make it less clear and not even the bumper-to-bumper city jam can slow down how fast my heart beats. (God, cheesy comparison to my KL environment, but whatever)

I have never been in a relationship for a long time and this feels like it's the first time again. You know, it's always like that when you're getting into one. It's scary, it's exciting, it's crazy. But I think that it's time to settle, for now, just to make sure that one part of my life is not going haywire - because truth be told, he makes me sane and he makes me feel. And when I feel like giving up and think about how bad things have been going my way, he is my assurance that everything is fine and will be alright. Being where I am now is not easy and heck I don't think it will ever be. But I am grateful that one (or two) time that I needed a (broad) shoulder to cry on, he was always there... Like how he would be there when I celebrated small personal feats even before this whole thing happened. 

It's still a work in progress as it is relatively new. There are things yet to be discovered, different cultures to embrace, spicy food to get used to, distance to close, and stuff to work out. But right now, I am happy how his snooty, discerning taste in music mashes so well with my pop tunes. 

Oh shit, this post is brought to you by Sam Smith's Spotify playlist. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Jitters

A month from now, I will be celebrating my 26th birthday. I am not sure if I look forward to it or I dread that I'm already on the other half of my twenties. That would be a few Saturdays from now, in which I do not really intend to celebrate having realised that I have to save up for so many things.

It's also my second birthday away from Manila. I do not think it would make much difference if I were there or here, because no matter where I am, my plans would probably be the same either place. This year, it's most likely a celebration in the comforts of our hand-me-down sofa, a notch higher from mattresses of October 2013. Hopefully with weather as cool and gloomy as today. I will be very excited to be spending a few hours online. Like my usual weekends, only with more interaction because everyone seems to remember anyone on their birthday and forget them for the rest of the year, thanks to Facebook birthday notifications (sad or not?). 

But to be really honest, it's on my birthday that I feel more alone than the rest of the other day in the year. Sure, I have company to make the happiest birthday, but it's not the same. I should have known better that it would be harder in the first few years the moment I decide to pack my bags and go. It's not just my birthday that I missed celebrating, I missed my Mom's, brother's, dog's and everyone else's back home. I hope they feel the same on my birthday, but who knows. And probably, a part of me dread the idea of my birthday (aside from getting old and not having done anything significant, which I will talk about next time for more self loathing airtime) because it's going to be a normal weekend or like any other day, just fleeting.

Oh well. It's still a month from now as I said. Maybe this is just a rambling on a cold, Saturday evening.

Monday, September 15, 2014

And So It Began

Let me just say that I don't like missing on anything, especially if I know my closest friends are talking about it. Like this  movie, Begin Again, for example. Not sure why I didn't watch it here in Malaysia. Anyway, was it shown here?

Okay, like TFiOS, I have only seen it this weekend. Out of curiosity, I searched for a copy online, in the hopes of finally watching it. And I did. And you know what, good thing a. I woke up early to have so much time and b. I have so much time to download it and I remembered I wanted to watch it.

It starred Mark Ruffalo, Kiera Knightley, and Adam Levine (in a role not too far from his American Horror Story acting debut (?), as a dick~). The movie is feel good, musical rom-com/ drama. Something perfect to watch when you're alone and needs some cheering up. Well, it was not really a cheery movie - because it started with heartbreak, job loss, misery, what not and it built up its story in the middle and eventually to their own ever afters... And there was singing. A lot of singing. 

Good thing the songs were not pop-ish. Not that I hate pop, but you know that would be cheesy. Except one song with a remix, everything else was fine. I am actually playing the songs kind of~ over and over this weekend. But Spotify ruins the moment playing random pop songs in between the real songs. GAIS SERIOUSLY, I like pop song, but don't you hate it when Spotify decides to be an ass, all sappy then BOOM KEISHA. Anyway, I also liked that last part of the movie does not seem to have closure. That all characters (except probably Mark Ruffalo's) had open ended endings (oops, spoiler?). 

I now see the fuss about the movie. It's typical, scaled to a grander proportion, yes. A guy broke a girl's heart. She got even and that makes it quite relatable. The heartache, the losses, the gains, the feeling of just being free. Also, don't you just want to be around the city, singing like you don't care. I would do that. Please give me a band. 


PS. Oh My God, Kiera Knightley's character's fashion style is ZOMG.