Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Social Network (2010)

Director: David Fincher (1)

Cast: Jessie Eisenberg (2), Andrew Garfield (3), Justin Timberlake (4), Armie Hammer (5), Rooney Mara (6), Malese Jow (7), and Wallace Langham (8)

My favourite dialogue - 
Mark Zuckerberg: I went to my friend for the money because that's who I wanted to be partners with. Eduardo was the president of the Harvard Investors Association, and he was also my best friend.
Lawyer: Your best friend is suing you for six hundred million dollars. Mark Zuckerberg: (sarcastically) I didn't know that, tell me more.

Which is more important? Money or friendship? That to me is the heart of the film. Yes, The Social Network is a film about Facebook and its founders, whether it is fact or fiction is not as important to me as what I take away from watching this film. 

It isn't easy to start a business. And I believe that it is even harder to maintain a business with a friend or family member. When money comes between a relationship, everything gets muddled up. Emotions run high. Now when it comes to business, emotions and irrational behaviour should be left outside the office, but when you are working with someone who affects you emotionally, it becomes very difficult to be rational and impartial. Well I am not a businesswoman, and I don't know much about being one. And I'm not saying you shouldn't start a business with a family member or friend. I'm just saying that if you want to do so, you have to know where to draw the line and make things very clear from the beginning.

Friendships are very important to me. I have few very close and good friends, and those that I have, the people that have stuck with me throughout the years, I treasure what I have with them dearly. And what made me sad when I watched The Social Network, was because I was witness to the events that caused the failure or breaking down of a friendship. Although I never saw what Mark Zuckerberg's friendship with Eduardo Saverin was like prior to the film, the actors' expression during the discussions at the lawyer's office told me what made both of them hurt the most. It wasn't about the money. It was about how they ended up hurting each other and ruining their friendship. This brings to mind the phrase "money is the root of all evil". I don't know if in real life this is what happened or whether they are still friends now, but I wish they were. I wish that the characters in the film and in real life have put the past behind them and remained friends. 

Have you ever lost a friend this way? Because of money? Or because of a business venture gone wrong? It hurts doesn't it? To realise that to that person who cares less about the friendship, you are just a pawn on a chess board. Someone they needed at the point in time, and not someone that cared if you were upset, or hurt, or slighted. 

I had The Social Network on my to-watch list for ages now. I only just watched it today because of Andrew Garfield. I recently watched him in The Amazing Spider-Man and I was curious to see him in something else besides his Spider-Man tights and mask. His performance in this film was pretty impressive. I could feel his pain and could feel how hurt he was to find out how his friend played him out. 

The other person who impressed me was Jesse Eisenberg. His Mark Zuckerberg gave me an insight to a man who hurt because he was hurting. A man who was complicated and just wanted to be accepted for who he is and to be understood. And sadly, his jealousy made him turn his back on the only friend who accepted him for who he is and understood him. While I started out thinking his character was a jerk, by the end of the film, I just saw a man who regretted his actions but found that it was too late to make things right (with both Eduardo and Erica). 

When I watched the film, I was also pleasantly surprised to see two of my favourite television actors amongst the cast of The Social Network - Wallace Langham and Malese Jow. Although they only had bit parts in the film, I was still happy to see them nonetheless. 

The film isn't just about friendship of course. It also shares a story of how Facebook's origin. And I always love an origin story. Its amazing isn't it. To discover the origins of how something came about. Is it fact or fiction? Maybe one day there'll be another film to tell another version of the rise and founding of the social network that is Facebook. But at the moment, if the events in The Social Network is indeed true, its amazing, isn't it? How Facebook changed all our lives, well most people's lives. It may not be a great life-changing moment. But it has changed us and has a great impact on many people's lives. To quote the character of Marylin Delpy, "Bosnia. They don't have roads but they have Facebook." It tells me how a person's life can change with just one idea. One great idea, put into action. 

The film was a little slow and it took a while to get the style of the film and understand what was going on at first. Its a stew. It plants a seed in your head then lets you wrap your head around the story and the theme. It doesn't tell you what you should look out for. Instead it makes you form your own conclusions and asks you to think about what its trying to say. And in my opinion, this film is about friendship and the loss of friendship. It is not how successful we end up being, its about how we get to where we want to go. 

(1) Director David Fincher directed films like Ailen 3 (1992), Seven (1995), Fight Club (1999), Panic Room (2002), Zodiac (2007), The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (2008), and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011). 

(2) Jessie Eisenberg has acted in films like Aventureland (2009), Zombieland (2009), To Rome With Love (2012) and Now You See Me (2013). He also voiced the lead character of Blue in Rio (2011)

(3) Andrew Garfield has acted in films like Lion For Lambs (2007), Boy A (2007), The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus (2009), Red Riding (2009), Never Let Me Go (2010), and The Amazing Spider-Man (2012). He also played Biff Loman on Broadway's Death Of A Salesman (2012).

(4) Justin Timberlake started out in the New Mickey Mouse Club then sang with the boyband N’Sync. He has since gone solo and has acted in films like In Time (2011), Bad Teacher (2011), and Friends With Benefits (2011). He has also done voice work for films like Shrek The Third (2007) and Yogi Bear (2010).

(5) Armie Hammer has acted in film J. Edgar (2011) and Mirror Mirror (2012).

(6) Rooney Mara has acted in films like A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010) and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011). 

(7) Malese Jow has acted in as the vampire Anna in the television series The Vampire Diaries (2010-2011).

(8) Wallace Langham has acted as David Hodges, one of the lab guys on the television series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2003-Present). He also acted in the films like Daddy Day Care (2003) and Little Miss Sunshine (2008).

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… The Social Network makes me sad because it reminds me of friends I lost along the way. But it also reminds me that I should treasure the friends I do have and to appreciate them for sticking around, for understanding me, and for accepting me for who I am. (3 of 5)

* Movie Poster from Wikipedia

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Love on Set

I recently saw a photo gallery put up on Famous that featured Hollywood stars who fell in love on set (unfortunately the link is broken) and it got me thinking about how people meet and fall in love. In all honesty, my first response is, "How else do you think Hollywood celebrities meet that special someone, fall in love and live happily ever after (or not)?"

I am classified under the category of common folk. I have had a normal life. I studied in school for a mandatory 10 years then went on to college, then university (twice). In between I've worked in part time jobs and even kick started a career in media at MediaCorp Channel 5.

Working in the entertainment industry has helped shed some light on how hectic and fast paced the industry actually is. When I was studying in school, we were told and knew that Television or Film production is tedious, time consuming, and only possible through the hard work of a team of individuals. However, the extent of that was only clear to me when I started to actually work in the industry.

Television is a well-oiled machine. Television stations churn out programs regularly according to schedule and that schedule is a very tight one. A drama production would take about 3 months of filming and that's excluding post and pre-production depending on the length of the series. With such a grueling schedule, I barely have time to rest, much less have the time to meet friends. My friends and family have always been very understanding of my tired face and listless manner when I do manage to squeeze some time to catch up with them. Considering the fact that even friends and family have to wait in line to meet up with me, time and opportunities to meet someone new or special at a social outing is even more scarce.

It isn't just the behind the scenes crew that have such crazy work schedules, so do the actors and actresses who work with us. If we work hard to prep the "stage", so to speak, they work hard getting ready to be on that stage and in front of the cameras. It's always work, work, and more work. So when would celebrities have the time to meet someone who could be the love of their life besides on set or at premieres and working social events?

Love blossoms when two people spend quality time together and get to know each other well. When celebrities work together, they spend a lot of time together. Especially if they need to act as if they were in love at work, romance might spill over into real life and they might actually fall in love. Of course, one cannot and should not generalise and claim that celebrities can only find love on a set or a working event. However, the chances of love blossoming on set or is higher than meeting someone through friends or family.

Now this theory needs a little revision when applying it to local celebrities. In Singapore, our celebrities are contracted under companies who act as managers and agents and since there really is only one major Television broadcasting station which is what our local entertainment really entails. As such, local celebrities don't necessarily need to act as lovers on set to fall in love. In fact, some celebrities fall in love but never act as a couple on screen until after they've become a couple off screen. For example, Chen Li Ping and Rayson Tan have never acted as a couple on screen prior to meeting and falling in love, while Fann Wong and Christopher Lee have acted alongside each other as a couple multiple times and fell in love in the process (and not immediately might I add).

There are also some celebrities who go out of their way to not date someone within the entertainment circle. They already have to spend so much time at work they don't want their personal lives entangled with work as well. And at the end of the day, acting and being a person adored and looked up to by the masses is a celebrity's job. And like us common folk, if we haven't already found Mr or Miss Right before we start our working life, chances are that special someone would either be from working with the person or introduced at work events or through colleagues.

So next time you read the news about a celebrity couple getting together or breaking up, cut them some slack; they're just normal human beings, with unique high-profile jobs, falling in and out of love.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Snow White And The Huntsman (2012)

Director: Rupert Sanders (1)

Cast: Charlize Theron (2), Kristen Stewart (3), Chris Hemsworth (4), Sam Claflin (5), Lily Cole (6)

My favourite quote - "I used to hate her. But now I feel only sorrow." 

If you were in the shoes of Snow White, would you be able forgive someone like Ravenna? Someone who murdered your father, imprisoned you, and made your people suffer. 

When Kirsten Stewart's Snow White was first seen on screen as an adult, she we see her reciting the Our Father. I was really surprised. But it lead me to think about the act of forgiveness, which is one of the messages in the film. 

In truth, the film has few lines that really struck a chord with me to really be called my favourite. However, the lines "I used to hate her. But now I feel only sorrow." did resonate with me and made me think about the theme of forgiveness. 

I have always said that I can forgive someone who has hurt me, but I will never forget that the person has hurt me. On top of that I will find it hard to trust that person again. What about you are you the forgive and forget type? 

The theme of forgiveness is evident in the film through the backstory of both Snow White and Eric the Huntsman. When it came to the climatic battle between Ravenna and Snow White, I half expected her to throw down her sword and say "Kill me and spare the others" and memories of my Sunday bible class came rushing into my mind. It made me think back to a teaching that "if someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also".

Although I enjoyed most parts of the film, I found myself wondering when the film would get to the good parts. I think the film did a great job at establishing the world in this version of the Snow White story. However, I think that some parts of the film were really too draggy. I think what I enjoyed about the film were mostly separate scenes that were not always significant to the plot. 


The scene where Snow White connects and calms the troll down. I loved the way Kirsten Stewart played that scene. And kudos to the graphics guys. The troll made me feel as if there were an actor playing the role in a skin tight green suit, modeling for the 3D graphics guys. 

The scene where Chris Hemsworth's Eric cheekily says to Snow White "So you're back from the dead and instigating the masses. You look very fetching in mail." That tickled me to no end. I liked that few overtly affectionate words passed between Eric and Snow White. That you could sense and feel their affections for one another grow without much physical intimacy. Another scene that showed this very well was when Eric first realised Snow White isn't dead. Chris Hemsworth's surprise and feelings/affection for Snow White was very plain for all to see. I believe his performance said it all as to how his Eric felt about Snow White. And when Snow White was crowned queen, the way she was looking around for Eric and her reaction when she see him speaks volumes. 

When we first meet Charlize Theron's Ravenna, her performance was captivating! Snow White's father wasn't the only one seduced by her beauty, I was enthralled by Charlize Theron's performance. In fact, all the scenes with her made me sit up and pay attention.


While I wouldn't say the Snow White And The Huntsman to be an awesome film, I would dare say that some parts of the film I absolutely love and throughly enjoyed. The concept of the warrior princess and the vanquishing of the damsel-in-distress type females in such fairytales or myths are not new. Keira Knightly was a warrior Guinevere in Antoine Fuqua's King Arthur (2004) as well. But I liked that Kirsten Stewart's Snow White managed to strike a balance between the victim and the warrior princess. She matured from a frightened young woman to become the warrior princess that allowed her to defeat the evil queen. The process may have been long-drawn, but she got there eventually. And even at the end, she did not revel in the queen's demise, but felt sorrow for what she had to do. 

Now Charlize Theron is an amazing actress, and in the film, what some call over-the-top and overly exaggerated acting, I call an award-winning performance. I saw her pain and understood her scorn for men. She was an evil character that I pitied rather than hated to the core. In truth, I think she stole everyone's thunder in this film. And you can't fault Kirsten Stewart for that outcome, because Charlize Theron just nailed her role perfectly. 

Chris Hemsworth's performance improves with each role and film I see him in. His Eric's suffering and self-loath is well-played by Chris Hemsworth. I almost can believe the chemistry between him and Kirsten Stewart. Through no fault of the two actors, who I think are good actors on their own. I don't think they have absolutely no chemistry. But I think theirs is a romance that is blossoming rather than the typical Disney-style full-blown Romeo and Juliet type romances. By the end of the film, I still walk away hoping they would finally kiss or fall head over heels with each other. So Chris Hemsworth and Kirsten Stewart must have done something right. 

Kirsten Stewart. I think she is still in my mind Bella Swan, and this hinders my ability to see her performance in Snow White And The Huntsman on its own. She nails some of the scenes in the film spot on. However, the scene where she tries to rally her people was kinda painful to watch. 

All the action in the film is great although the final battle was at some point pure confusion. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the world that Snow White And The Huntsman created and look forward to an expansion to the world created by the film. But for now, I will remember that if Snow White can forgive such an evil stepmother like Ravenna, then I can forgive the trespasses that has been done unto me. 

(1) This is director Rupert Sanders' first feature film. 

(2) Charlize Theron has acted in films like That Thing You Do! (1996), Mighty Joe Young (1998), Sweet November (2001), The Italian Job (2003), Monster (2003), North Country (2005), Æon Flux (2005), Hancock (2008), and Prometheus (2012)

(3) Kirsten Stewart has acted in films like Panic Room (2002), Catch That Kid (2004), Zathura (2005), In The Land Of Women (2007), The Cake Eaters (2007), Into The Wild (2007), Jumper (2008), Twilight (2008), Adventureland (2009), The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), The Runaways (2010), The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010), The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (2011), and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (2012).

(4) Chris Hemsworth has acted in films like Star Trek (2009), Thor (2011), The Avengers (2012), Red Dawn (2012), and Thor 2 (2013)

(5) Sam Claflin has acted in film Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011).

(6) Lily Cole has acted in films like St. Trinians (2007) and Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009).

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… Snow White And The Huntsman is a film that I would still buy on Blu Ray for the behind the scenes features and the 'making of' extras from the film. I would watch it more than once or twice or three times, but I wouldn't rank this film as one of my top 20 favourites. I do however love the performance by Charlize Theron, Kirsten Stewart and Chris Hemsworth, and that is why I'd watch it again and again. In the meantime, think about the act of forgiveness and forgive the parts of this film that disappointed you and focus on the good in the film. (3 of 5)

* Movie Poster from Wikipedia

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Monday, June 18, 2012

She's The Man (2006)

Director: Andy Fickman (1)

Cast: Amanda Bynes (2), Channing Tatum (3), Vinnie Jones (4), Amanda Crew (5), Robert Hoffman (6)

My favourite quote - "Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." 

My full name is Monica Alexia Goh Li Li. And these are just a few nicknames my friends (who are also my colleagues) have given me: Manly Monica, Monly Manica, Monica Gor Gor (Gor Gor means older brother in Mandarin), Lily G, Alex Gor Gor, Hamburglar, Go Li. Quite a number of the nicknames above have something to do with the word 'man'. You see, they all think I'm very manly. And according to them, in my office, where there a number of pretty manly guys, I'm ranked the second most manly person there. Second only to my big boss. 

I don't know if I should be happy or distressed by the fact that I'm a woman, and my friends/colleagues see me more as a man than a woman. What has this got to do with the film She's The Man you ask? Well, firstly, the phrase 'She's the man' is something my friends/colleagues would probably use to describe me. Secondly, it brings to mind the fact that some women can do the same things men can do. That is the gist of what I love about the film. 

Even if a woman is manly or does a manly sport doesn't mean she's not a woman at heart or that she cannot do something a man can do. Outwardly, a woman can be as strong as any man or have mannerisms like a man, but that doesn't mean she doesn't want to be treated well and as an equal to the men she dates. Likewise, it doesn't mean that if you're a man, that you are not sensitive or shy as Channing Tatum's Duke is. Some men can be so manly on the field or in their careers yet be so sensitive and considerate regarding their partners. And some woman can be so outwardly manly yet need and crave to be well treated and respected by their partners. 

I think what women now want is to be respected for what they can do in their careers yet still be pampered and taken care of by their man. Yes, women want the best of both worlds. I want that. Call me greedy all you want, but hey, that's the truth. Not all women are like me of course, but I'm speaking for myself. 

I love watching She's The Man because of the plot and its themes, but also because of its comedic timing, the talented cast, and the allusions to Shakespeare's Twelfth Night littered in the film. I used to study Shakespeare at school, and though I cannot say I fully understand all his plays, I do enjoy watching modernised versions of his plays. Among all the modernised Shakespearean plays made to film, I love She's The Man, Get Over It and 10 Things I Hate About You the most. Romeo and Juliet is the skeleton of SO MANY films, its hard to like everything. Although Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet is not a fully modernised version, since they spoke in Shakespearean English, it is my favourite modernised version of Romeo and Juliet so far.

She's The Man also has a great cast, and my favourite being Amanda Bynes who plays the lead Viola Hastings. It is also in this film that made me sit up and notice Amanda Crew. The next time I saw her in film was the film adaptation of Charlie St Cloud. But first, back to Amanda Bynes. I think she's an amazing actress, I recently re-watched her performance in Easy A and heard her singing in the film adaptation of Hairspray. I think she has great comedic timing and I think she managed to be exaggerated (as the role calls for) but not give an over-the-top cringe-worthy kind of performance. 

This film also made me notice Channing Tatum. I can't remember which I saw first, She's The Man or Step Up, but either way, I think he did a great job in this film. He portrayed the jock-type personality extremely well, but I did not expect to enjoy his softer and more sensitive moments he shares with Viola in the film, but I did. And I totally did not think he would be funny at all but he was so funny in the few scenes where he had to be comedic. The rest of the cast, including the coach of Illyria played by Vinnie Jones (he actually plays football and is a retired footballer) was fantastic. 

She's The Man may not be liked by everyone, but I love it because it speaks to me. After all, in the words of Viola Hastings' friend Paul - "Just remember, inside every girl, there's a boy. That came out wrong, but you know what I mean." It's a film about remembering to be just the way you are, because those who love you for who you are are the ones who matter. And, just go for what you want!

(1) Director Andy Fickman has directed films like Race To Witch Mountain (2009), You Again (2010), and Parental Guidance (2012).

(2) Amanda Bynes has acted in films like Big Fat Liar (2002), What A Girl Wants (2003), Lovewrecked (2005), Hairspray (2007), Sydney White (2007), and Easy A (2010). She is well-known for playing the lead role, Holly Tyler in the televisions series What I Like About You (2002-2006).

(3) Channing Tatum has acted in films like Coach Carter (2005), Step Up (2006), Stop-Loss (2006), Fighting (2009), Public Enemies (2009), G.I. Joe: The Rise Of The Cobra (2009), Dear John (2010), The Vow (2012), 21 Jump Street (2012), Magic Mike (2012), and G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013).

(4) Vinnie Jones has acted in films like Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels (1998), Gone In 60 Seconds (2000), Swordfish (2001), Eurotrip (2004), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), Year One (2009), and Smokin' Aces 2: Assassins' Ball (2010)

(5) Amanda Crew has acted in films like Final Destination 3 (2006), Sex Drive (2008), The Break-Up Artist (2009), Charlie St Cloud (2010), and Sisters & Brothers (2011).

(6) Robert Hoffman has acted in films like Coach Carter (2005), Step Up 2: The Streets (2008), and Aliens In The Attic (2009).

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… She's The Man will not just make you LOL, it will also remind you to just be yourself and go for what you want. Nothing is impossible, as long as you work hard to achieve what you set out to achieve. (4.8 of 5)

* Movie Poster from Wikipedia

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

That Thing You Do! (1996)

Writer and Director: Tom Hanks (1)

Cast: Tom Everett Scott (2), Liv Tyler (3), Charlize Theron (4), Ethan Embry (5), Tom Hanks, and Alex Rocco (6)

My favourite quote - "Ain't no way to keep a band together. Bands come and go. You got to keep on playin', no matter with who." 

I love watching a film over and over again because each time you watch a film, you notice something different and affects you in a different way. Watching That Thing You Do! again for the umpteenth time, I caught a few details that brought a smile to my face. 

When The Wonders were going on television, I noticed all the little backstage details I never used to in the past. Probably because now I am so used to stuff like that at work that when I see it in a film, it screams and jumps out at me. We got a glimpse of the television production going on and it reminds me of why I love my job. When the director said to his crew that the "supers" were coming up I actually know what they mean now. In the past, I never noticed that line because I wasn't aware of what it meant. Everything about that live television debut of The Wonders was so surreal. It was like I was watching myself at work, except it wasn't actually my production. Kudos to the crew on making the film so realistic. (Click here to see the part with The Wonders' performance on television)

The costumes and the set was amazing! I really felt like I was living in those days, watching the television live show on my brand new colour TV. I never really paid attention to the character or the actress who played Tina too. No, I'm not saying that Charlize Theron wasn't good in the role, just that the role was so small and really a minor plot in the entire story. Looking at her performance now, she really captured the ditzy blonde personality really well.

Jazz! It dawned on me that this film is probably the reason why I started liking jazz. I like the emotion in jazz music and how it makes me feel. Jazz makes me feel like I could enjoy the music and forget all my troubles. 

One other thing that really got to me was the fact that the film felt so real that I actually walked out of the cinema thinking this film was based on a true story. Yes! I believed that this was true for a while before realising it wasn't at all based on fact! When I went on Google to find out more about The Wonders, all I could find was about the band in the film. I think the ending where there were snippets of information given about what happened to each of the band members helped fuel that belief for a while. I like it. I like closure and knowing what happened to my favorite characters, even those I don't like, and even if they're fictional. 

Now, let's get down to the why. Why I love this film and the quote I mentioned. Simply put, I love it because it reminds me to stick to my passions. It reminds me to keep on writing, no matter with who. I also love it cos of the great characters in the film. I love watching how each character interacts with the other band members and how each character react differently to the situations they face. Working in a team is like playing in a band, each person has a specific role and no one should be more important than the other. Yes there should be a leader, but everyone needs to work together harmoniously for a band or a team to succeed in their endeavors. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

13 Going On 30 (2004)

Director: Gary Winick (1)

Cast: Jennifer Garner (2), Judy Greer (3), Mark Ruffalo (4)

My favourite quote - "You can't just turn back time." 

Be prepared for a number of reflective entries throughout the year. You see, I'm turning 30 this November. 

Early this year, it hit me, I am turning 30 this year... but not yet. I'm ain't 30 yet, not until the morning of 20th November 2012. But honestly what difference does a few months do? I have to face the facts. I'm 29 going on 30. 

This film still makes me cry when the 30 year old Jenna Rink loses the 30 year old Matt Flamhaff for good. And that's also when he says two lines that resonates with me. "You can't just turn back time."  and "You don't always get the dream house, but you get awfully close."

Let's talk about the first quote - "You can't just turn back time." This is a fact. But its my favourite quote in the film because of its context.

Do you have any regrets in your life? Mistakes you made in the past that you wish you didn't make? When Jennifer Garner's Jenna Rink asked her mother what she would change in her life if she could have a do-over, her mother told her that she wouldn't change anything and that even though she made a lot of mistakes she doesn't regret making any of them, because if she hadn't have made those mistakes, she wouldn't know how to make things right. Until some genius invents a time machine, we have to remember that you can't just turn back time. So we must always remember that, and to live in the present. We can reflect on the past to improve ourselves, and plan for the future, but we must never forget to live in the now. What's the point of looking forward or to the past when the present is what we should be focused on?

I have made mistakes, I wish I could turn back time sometimes. However, no use harping on something I can't change. Best to not waste any more time and work on the now, so that another 30 years later, I won't look back at my life and wish that things were different.

Don't get me wrong. I don't hate my life. I know if I had done a few things differently, if I had the wisdom and advantage of knowing how my life would have turned out, I might do something different too at 13. However, this is my life. This is now. There are many things I want out of my life that hasn't yet been accomplished. So I best get on it. Maybe I can accomplish it by the time I turn 30 in November. Most likely not, but you never know.

Now, the other quote "You don't always get the dream house, but you get awfully close." Well, I like it but I don't like it. Confusing? Let me explain. This quote makes me feel like I should settle for something less. Which is why I don't really like it very much. But! It also reminds me that sometimes, though we aim high, we might not get everything we ever dream of and we can't just keep pining for something that might never be in our reach. Now I like this quote precisely because it reminds me that I shouldn't settle for less than everything I want. And each time you get awfully close to that dream house, you're just a short way off from THE dream house. Is this reverse psychology at work here? Its like the trying to hit the bulls eye on the archery target board. You keep trying and trying, figuring out what you did wrongly or differently to give you this undesired outcome. And you keep working on it to until you hit the bulls eye. Every time you missed the 'X', you shouldn't give up on trying to hit it over and over again.

I've been meaning to re-watch 13 Going On 30 since January this year because I am going on 30 soon. So now, I've checked that off my list. And I'm glad I've finally gotten down to making this blog a regular feature in my life. Once this gets off and becomes more stable, I will focus on my other blog - a travel blog (click here if you wanna check it out, its still pretty empty unfortunately)

Now this film made me sit up and notice Mark Ruffalo and Judy Greer. And although I've watched Judy Greer's performance in The Wedding Planner before 13 Going on 30, this film really sealed the deal for me when it comes to her acting. Judy Greer often plays the same type of woman on screen, sometimes sweet, mostly bitchy. But she really pulls it off time and again. I realised I am always drawn to quirky characters. (Think Zooey Deschanel and Krysten Ritter in Confessions Of A Shopaholic). And as for Mark Ruffalo, he may not be the drop dead gorgeous type of leading actor, he has a certain charisma and subtle attractiveness that draws me to him.

Jennifer Garner as Jenna Rink. She hit this one right out of the park! I loved her in this film. She was funny, vulnerable, sexy, and adorable all at once and she lights up the screen whenever she's in a scene. I totally bought into whatever her character was going through and I loved watching Jennifer Garner's Jenna Rink go through the changes, finally growing up and turning into the wonderful woman she always had in her to be. And I think this is why I love this film. Because if Jenna Rink can become a better person and figure out what she really wants and needs before its too late, so can I. And so can you. 

(1) Director Gary Winick has directed films like Charlotte's Web (2006), Bride Wars (2009), and Letters To Juliet (2010). 

(2) Jennifer Garner has acted in films like Pearl Harbour (2001), Catch Me If You Can (2002), Daredevil (2003), Elektra (2005), Catch And Release (2006), The Kingdom (2007), Juno (2007), Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past (2009), Valentine's Day (2010), Arthur (2011), and The Odd Life Of Timothy Green (2012)

(3) Judy Greer has acted in films like Three Kings (1999), What Women Want (2000), The Wedding Planner (2001)Adaptation (2002), The Village (2004), Elizabethtown (2005), American Dreamz (2006), 27 Dresses (2008), Love Happens (2009), Marmaduke (2010), Love & Other Drugs (2010), The Descendants (2011), and Playing For Keeps (2012). She has also voiced the character of Cheryl Tunt in the television series Archer (2009-2013). She has also guest starred in television series like Arrested Development, CSI: Miami, My Name Is Earl, Two And A Half Men, Californication, ER, House, Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and Royal Pains.

(4) Mark Ruffalo has acted in films like View From The Top (2003), Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004), Collateral (2004), Just Like Heaven (2005), Rumour Has It (2005), Zodiac (2007), The Brothers Bloom (2008), Where The Wild Things Are (2009),  Shutter Island (2010), Date Night (2010), The Kids Are Alright (2010), Margaret (2011), and The Avengers (2012)

The Eclectic Reviewer says… I'm turning 30. This is reason enough why this film is a hit with me. But I think that the film appeals to everyone of all ages because it reminds you that its not too late to make changes in your life. Its never too late to fix what's broken in your life. Even if you don't have some magic wishing dust to help you along, you can still go up to people you've hurt before and say you're sorry. You still can make up for the nasty things you've done to people who love and care about you. If you're sincere, and show them the better person you've become, they might never forget what wrongs you did, but they can forgive you for it. (4.5 of 5)

Movie Poster from Wikipedia

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Friday, June 1, 2012

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

Director: David Frankel (1)

Cast: Meryl Streep (2), Anne Hathway (3), Emily Blunt (4), Stanley Tucci (5), Adrian Grenier (6), Simon Baker (7)

My favourite dialogue - 

Andrea: She hates me Nigel.
Nigel: And that's my problem because... Oh wait. No, it's not my problem.
Andrea: I don't know what else I can do because if I do something right, it's unacknowledged. She doesn't even say thank you. But if I do something wrong, she is vicious.
Nigel: So quit.
Andrea: What?
Nigel: Quit.
Andrea: Quit?
Nigel: I can get another girl to take your job in five minutes. One who really wants it.
Andrea: No, I don't want to quit. That's not fair. But, I, you know, I'm just saying that I would just like a little credit for the fact that I'm killing myself trying. 
Nigel: Andy, be serious. You are not trying. You are whining. What is it that you want me to say to you huh? Do you want me to say, "Poor you. Miranda's picking on you. Poor you. Poor Andy"? Hmm? Wake up, six. She's just doing her job. Don't you know that you are working at the place that published some of the greatest artists of the century? Halston, Lagerfeld, de la Renta. And what they did, what they created was greater than art because you live your life in it. Well, not you, obviously, but some people. You think this is just a magazine, hmm? This is not just a magazine. This is a shining beacon of hope for... oh, I don't know... let's say a young boy growing up in Rhode Island with six brothers pretending to go to soccer practice when he was really going to sewing class and reading Runway under the covers at night with a flashlight. You have no idea how many legends have walked these halls. And what's worse, you don't care. Because this place, where so many people would die to work, you only deign to work. And you want to know why she doesn't kiss you on the forehead and give you a gold star on your homework at the end of the day. Wake up sweetheart. 

You know something is very wrong in your life when work takes precedence over your cat's well being. The cat or animal lovers would agree with what I just said, but those who don't think much of animals or pets will think I'm crazy.

My cat was really sick yesterday and I had to bring him to the vet. After some blood tests, the vet was very concerned as said they will do more tests to check if my cat has leukemia or diabetes as well. Then they asked me if I could bring my cat in the next day for an ultra sound. My response: "I can't. I have to work tomorrow."

If my cat were human, concerned citizens would berate me and scream neglect and call child protective services. Now, you may argue this: "It's just a cat!" Well, my cat has been a part of my family for 8 long years, he is not an it, he is a living and breathing being that I love no matter how troublesome he is going to be when he gets older and weaker.

This situation brings me to this movie The Devil Wears Prada. How busy and stressed out does one have to be before realising that something is wrong with your priorities? With Anne Hathaway's character Andrea Sachs, she gives up so much for the job that it starts to change her without her even realising it. Are you like that as well? Do we put so much focus on working and earning our keep that we neglect the things that truly matter? Like love, family, friends, and integrity?

Sometimes we don't see how much we've changed because of our jobs, but when we do finally realise the truth, the important thing is what you will do about it. Andrea chose to walk away when she can. Me, the verdict's still out, I am not sure if I can or if I want to walk away. I don't think I am at the extreme end yet, but when I do get there, I hope I will be able to screech to a halt and do the right thing for myself.

The film's wonderful fashions and glamorous setting makes it very easy on the eyes. But that is just the outer layer of the film. The inner message is what hits home for me. That we all need to slow down and reflect on our lives and what is truly important in our lives.

The Devil Wears Prada hit a home run with the casting of the film and was blessed with a fantastic group of actors and actresses that made the movie truly amazing. It was this film that I noticed the lovely Emily Blunt who blew me away as the Emily Carlton. Meryl Streep was awesome as always and was able to make me empathise with her character, Miranda Priestly, despite her manipulative and demanding ways. Stanley Tucci and Anne Hathaway blew me away in the roles they played in the film. And even Adrian Grenier and Simon Baker who both only had minor roles in the film caught my eye with the portrayal of their characters.

Now I've argued that we should focus on the things that are truly important in our lives, like family and friends, love and relationships, I think that this film also asks your this fundamental question - How much do you love your job?

Sometimes when the going gets tough at the place where I work now, I repeat this to myself: "I love my job! I love my job! I love my job!" And I do, of course sometimes I hate it and whine about the workload, and all the other crap. But most days, I love my job. I love to write, and the fact that I do get to write almost every other day, in the industry that I love - really, what more can I ask for? If you want to get far in something you're passionate about, then you just got to suck it up and work your butt off! Nothing comes easily. Where you end up at is entirely up to you. (Read: Star Trek - "Spock, you are fully capable of deciding your own destiny. The question you face is - which path will you choose. This is something only you can decide")

So ask yourself this question. Do you love your job? To what lengths will you go to achieve what you set out to achieve? Are you Emily Carlton or Andrea Sachs? Once you've figured out which character you are from The Devil Wears Prada, then you know what to do next.

That's all...

(1) Director David Frankel has directed films like Marley & Me (2008) and The Big Year (2011).

(2) Meryl Streep has acted in films like Sophie's Choice (1982), Out Of Africa (1985), Death Becomes Her (1992), Music Of The Heart (1999), Adaptation (2002), The Hours (2002), The Manchurian Candidate (2004), Mamma Mia! (2008), Julie & Julia (2009), It's Complicated (2009), The Iron Lady (2011), and Hairspray (2007)

(3) Anne Hathaway has acted in films like The Princess Diaries (2001), The Other Side Of Heaven (2001), Nicholas Nickleby (2002), Ella Enchanted (2004), The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004), Havoc (2005), Brokeback Mountain (2005), Becoming Jane (2007), Get Smart (2008), Rachel Getting Married (2008), Bride Wars (2009), Valentine's Day (2010), Alice In Wonderland (2010), Love And Other Drugs (2010), One Day (2011), The Dark Knight Rises (2012), and Les Misérables (2012). She's also voiced the characters of Red Puckett in the animation Hoodwinked! (2005), and Jewel in Rio (2011).

(4) Emily Blunt has acted in films like The Jane Austen Book Club (2007), Dan In Real Life (2007), Charlie Wilson's War (2007), Sunshine Cleaning (2008), The Young Victoria (2009), The Wolfman (2010), Gulliver's Travels (2010), the Adjustment Bureau (2011),  The Muppets (2011), Salmon Fishing In The Yemen (2012), The Five-Year Engagement (2012), and Looper (2012). She has also voiced the character of Juliet in Gnomeo & Juliet (2010).

(5) Stanley Tucci has acted in films like The Pelican Brief (1993), A Life Less Ordinary (1997), A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999), America's Sweetheart (2001), Road To Perdition (2002), Maid In Manhatten (2002), The Core (2003), The Terminal (2004), Shall We Dance? (2004), Lucky Number Slevin (2006), Julie & Julia (2009), The Lovely Bones (2009), Easy A (2010), Burlesque (2010), Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), and The Hunger Games (2012). He's also voiced characters like Herb Copperbottom in Robots (2005), The Senator in Space Chimps (2008), and Boldo in The Tale Of Despereaux (2008)

(6) Adrian Grenier has acted in films like Drive Me Crazy (1999), Hart's War (2002), and Anything Else (2003). However, he is well known for his role as Vincent Chase in the television series Entourage (2004-2011).

(7) Simon Baker has acted in films like L.A. Confidential (1997), Something New (2006), Women In Trouble (2009), and Margin Call (2011). He is well known for his role as Patrick Jane in The Mentalist (2008-present).

The Eclectic Reviewer thinks… The Devil Wear Prada doesn't let the beautiful outfits and the glamourous setting detract from the heart of the story - Passion and Priorities. This is a film that will get you thinking about what you really want out of your life and your career. (4.5 of 5)

Movie Poster from Wikipedia

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