Arrested Development on MSN

Why did MSN get buy the rights for internet broadcast of Arrested Development and not doing any marketing for it at all?

Watch Arrested Development on MSN!

Arrested Development, for those of you who haven’t seen it, is a wonderful American sitcom about a dysfunctional wealthy family facing financial problems (perhaps not the most sympathetic of situations right now). No canned laughter, Varicam filmed (for that movie-look), machine-gun-speed joke-injection and a relatively large cast sadly did not make it a popular success on Fox, though it won several Emmys and various other critical awards.

One of the best things I’ve watched over ever. Not quite burst-out-laughing funny like Fawlty Towers, perhaps, but more of an I-see-what-you-did-there-oh-its-so-clever funny.

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse is a singer from the UK who has entered the mainstream for her incredible talent and her various problems with eating and drugs. She seems to get thinner with every new MTV released, and I’m not certain it’s just direction. She’s been known to appear at performances and slur her way through, high or drunk. She’s been charged on possession of drugs in Norway. She has enough tatoos to put a sailor to shame. She’s cut herself. She’s married to a man with whom she shares her drug addiction. She’s only 24.

Can you blame the public for their interest? There’s an almost morbid anticipation of her death – in fact there’s a website promising an iPod Touch to the person who can predict when.

It’s Billie Holiday all over again. And she certainly has the voice for it.


Sometimes ABBA just don’t cut it.

Bad Rap

So when I was in France I remember seeing a lot of Michaël Youn–better known as Fatal Bazooka–on MTV, almost once every couple of songs or so. At the time, I thought it was rather strange that a middle-aged, slightly-overweight white French rapper could ever attain so much fame, until I paid somewhat more attention (MTV is more background-noise for me than actual entertainment) and I realized he was actually doing parodies. Par example, below is a clip of his music video for a rap called “J’aime trop ton boule”, which means “I love your ass too much”, which looks normal (if that is what can be said about our post-freedom-of-sexual-expression society) until about the second minute of the clip. (You don’t have to understand French to get the joke, it’s rather blatant.)

I guess it says something about the state of Rap that this guy actually gets primetime spots on MTV, and now there’s Schaffer the DarkLord (aka STD) on YouTube’s front page. This one’s called “The Rappist”, which sounds weirder than it looks.

Good for one laugh.

For some reason, along on the YouTube related links, together with some of STD’s comedy clips there are a lot of Turkish music videos attributed to (I’m thinking) another Schaffer The Darklord and his The Rappis Serdar Dansöz. No rapping in these, just a lot of the correct kind of boule. I think some Turkish fans are in for a surprise.

Ticking my life away watching Magic Gourds

After painting the room, I put up a blue Ikea clock. It’s one of those cheap Ikea products that cost $2 and looked like a bargain until I started using it.


(note pinkness of walls–the colour is more-or-less how the entire room is coloured)

It might sound strange, but the clock TICKS VERY LOUDLY. In the quietness of my room the only sound I hear is its ticking.

tick . tick . tick .

It really gets to me, possibly because I’ve watched too many horror movies where ticking clocks portent impending death. I’m sure I’ve also read a few books where the main characters go mad listening to clocks ticking.

… I think I need a little more drama in my life. This drab and dreary existence leaves me clutching at straws.

Also went to watch The Magic Gourd with HS, because she had free tickets. Perhaps I should have asked what the movie was about before I agreed to go, because it became apparent within the first 30 seconds of the movie that it was for very little children, possibly between the ages of 4-8. The animation (the titular character was animated) was rather poor by today’s standards, and according to the ending credits was done by some Chinese studio. I find it unbelievable that Disney would lend its name to something so sub-par (the animation was done by Hong Kong studio Centro Digital Pictures), but even more unbelievable is the fact that it managed to make a whole million within two weeks, proof that Chinese kids can’t possibly have access to that much pirated content.

Still, I was rather fascinated by it purely because it was a movie localised for the Chinese (clarify: China-Chinese) market. The children in the movie looked to be no more than 10 years of age, but when in school were solving mathematical problems involving radii calculation that were, even for me, a little tricky. Long division involving non-integer numbers were calculated in their heads and it seemed to be the norm that the answer to 36.098 / 0.17 could be provided within seconds.

Even more fascinating were the communist undertones throughout the movie–the little children had to work in teams of 5 in school, their individual scores for every subject contributing to the performance of the team. The main character’s team, staring forlornly at the pitiful numbers of stars awarded to them on the class scoreboard, berated him for being lazy and “pulling us all behind”. There were scenes of children bent over models of bridges in what was ostensibly a craft class, industriously toiling to produce the infrastructure of the future despite the lack of any authority figure, which in itself is almost surreal, because we know what would REALLY happen if children were left unsupervised in a room with any amount of glue, straws and mounting-board.

I couldn’t stop thinking of Mulan, because it was so disparate.


It’s past midnight and I should be asleep, but first I must make amends.

Oh, Royston, forgive me for ever doubting your genius! 15 may have been a disappointment but you truly are still the master!

I just came back from the gala premiere of Royston Tan’s 881. And it’s the best Singaporean movie I’ve watched ever!



If you don’t know what 881 is, it’s Singapore’s latest contribution to film (sponsored by the usual suspects), about the tragic tale of two Getai performers, roughing it out in the glamourous Singaporean 7th-month-stage-scene. Website’s tells it more literally than I do-in fact it is the most literal description of a movie I have ever read (sounds like it was written by an intern).

It’s Royston’s 3rd film, after 15 and Cut. I also think it’s the first time Royston’s been hobbled by Official sponsorship, which means political overtones are significantly tuned down. But in any case, Royston isn’t a political director (unlike that other Singaporean director you-know-who) and 881 isn’t a political film. 881 is about Art and culture and Singapore, and beautiful costumes. Many many beautiful costumes. Remember Moulin Rouge? I never thought Singapore could do anything like it, but with only S$100,000 (I thought it was excessive when the announcer said it, but now I realize it was really too little) somehow they came up with something that I would be proud to show to foreigners and proclaim – Look! Look! At the richness that is Singapore!

So when it comes out on National Day, I do recommend it. It truly is a movie that could only be done in Singapore. If anyone wants to watch it again, I’ll gladly come along. It’s good enough to watch more than once.

What I love about Royston is his blatant, unapologetic slamming of his Officially-Sponsored-Conditions. Within 5 minutes of the movie beginning, he brought out the requisite-minority-Malays, that blind guy who won the singing competition whom Mediacorp desperately wants to give screen-time to, and also tells us that hot-bod actor Qi Yu Wu is in the movie, but only because Mediacorp wanted him there (and also to sell some tickets). After showing us his restaints, he then proceeds to throw them aside (despite some sad pathetic attempts to fit their faces on-screen) and get down to some good story-telling, which I thought was brilliant and such a cool in-your-face act of defiance.

Perhaps he can be forgiven for doing things so similar to that-other director since Mediacorp was involved, but I felt Royston has managed it with much more subtlety and intelligence. Thank you, Royston, for giving future Literature and Theater Study students something with which even the dimmest will be able to extract pages and pages of underlying subtexts from!

If I have one gripe about the movie, its that Singapore is in painful need of good cinematographers. The camera was a little weak, I think, and it just didn’t manage to pull off some of the shots. The framing also looked a little awkward n some places, with faces cropped too large for comfort (might be my fault-I was sitting in the second row). I am also disgusted that in the website’s credits page the costume people weren’t mentioned. In this particular movie I think they outdid themselves and should have been given a nod of recognition.

I watched it with a bunch of HS’s friends, and sadly they weren’t Theatre Study graduates, so now I’m bursting with the need to analyse the story and decompose the parts. I’ll save it for when I buy the DVD and have watched it some more, though (because if you’ve watched the movie you have to buy the DVD). There are still some parts that I’m almost certain are loaded with significance, but I’m not sure of yet. Also, don’t want to spoil it for you.

** warning ** Royston, at the end, tries to outdo that-other-director with the sob scene. He pulls out every move in the book and I’m sure he wins if only because of devoted screen-time. Girls must bring tissues. Guys grit your teeth and hunker down, because it’s gonna be a tough one to sit out without at least a sniffle.