Wednesday, April 29, 2015

HELIOS 《赤道》Movie Review









Synopsis

Helios, a most wanted criminal in the global radar, has stolen the South Korean military’s latest mass destruction weapon: a handheld nuclear device DC8 and 16 uranium spheres. An underground trading of the stolen weapon is due to take place in Hong Kong.




Chinese envoy Song An, Hong Kong’s Counter Terrorism Response Unit Chief Inspector Lee Yin-ming and South Korean weapon expert Choi Min Ho are all gathered in Hong Kong on a mission to recover the weapon. Physics professor Siu Chi-yan joins the team as consultant.



Beneath the shared goal of recovering the weapon, the three regions’ representatives are all armed with hidden agendas. Choi not only has to capture Helios and recover the weapon but needs to prevent the leaking of national classified information. Song has China’s interests in mind. And on top of resolving the unit’s biggest crisis since its conception, Lee and Siu have to grapple with the tension between the two countries.



Although the Hong Kong police manage to capture Helios’s assistant and recover the weapon, a diplomatic dispute between China and South Korea on who owns the confiscated nuclear device is unleashed. Meanwhile, Helios pops up in Macau, determined to reclaim the weapon and avenge his earlier defeat.



In the final showdown, no one is safe from the danger and conspiracies that lurk underneath.



Directors and Casts


Produced by Media Asia and helmed by award-winning directors Longman Leung and Sunny Luk of Cold War fame, Helios is an action extravaganza of terrorists and international espionage. In Helios, top Asian law enforcement personnel gather in Hong Kong to track down the nuclear device stolen by a most-wanted criminal called Helios. Turned into the most dangerous city overnight, Hong Kong is on the verge of exploding.

A star-studded cast from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea—including Jacky Cheung, Nick Cheung, Zhang Zhen, Wang Xueqi, Ji Jin-hee and Choi Siwon—assemble for a battle of acting skills, topped off with swooping performances by up-and-coming actresses Janice Man, Feng Wenjuan and Yoon Ji Ni. Helios is set to dizzy the global audience with its captivating story and eye-popping visuals.

Presented by: Media Asia Films

Genre: Crime thriller

Produced by: Catherine Kwan

Directed by: Longman Leung, Sunny Luk

Screenplay by: Sunny Luk, Longman Leung



Review

If you love action packed movie, this Hong Kong movie will glue you to your seat for the whole duration of the movie. The much awaited movie had been teasing me with many trailers for the past weeks. Finally, I get to sit down to watch this movie during the special preview.


The movie storyline extend across countries such as South Korea, China and Hong Kong. The stolen nuclear device from South Korea reaches Hong Kong and the three countries government agencies have different views and agenda when recovering the nuclear device and pursuit of Helios. Car chases were all part of the movie action package. There is no lack of “mole” planted in government agencies in the storyline. It seems like Hong Kong audience love the idea of  “mole” in the most of the Hong Kong blockbuster movies.  



Who exactly is Helios ? It came as a surprise and there is no lack of twists and turns in the movie storyline. At the end of the show, we think we know who is Helios and we were brought to the land of the rising sun, Japan. More excitements will be happening in the next instalment of Helios. It seems likely that the next Helios storyline will focus on Japan. 



Looking forward to the next Helios movie. Thanks to Clover films for the special preview.


I will rate this movie at 4 / 5. 





List of Trailers


International Trailer


Making of Helios Part 1 : Storyline


Making of Helios Part 2 : Weapons


 Making of Helios Part 3 :Jacky Cheung 


Making of Helios Part 4 : Nick Cheung


Making of Helios Part 5 : Strategy


Making of Helios Part 6 : Shawn Yue


Making of Helios Part 7 : Choi Siwon


Helios Theme Song



Jacky Cheung x Choi Siwon Studio Recording 
HELIOS 《赤道》 MV




Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Murmur Of The Hearts 《念念》 Movie Review




Review

I am glad that I manage to catch this movie on the big screen even though it was not during the special preview. Thanks to Clover Films for sending me two complimentary tickets which I watch together with my wife. Usually in my movie review, I would review and rate it at the end of my blog. This time, it will be quite different as I cannot wait to give my review and rating. It was the best movie that I have watch so far in 2015. 



My rating was exceptionally high at 4.5 / 5. The reason for such high rating was the art direction, the emotion that you are able to relate to your own life while watch this movie and the engaging story telling process provided by the famous 61 years old director, Sylvia Chang. The Murmur of the Hearts was the opening movie of this year Hong Kong International Film Festival. 




Concentration

I did not fully read the synopsis of this movie before I sat on the comfy seat waiting for the movie to start. Someone told me that this was going to be a slow movie which I do agree especially at the beginning. To fully enjoy this movie, you will need to concentrate. I did that and I fully appreciate the movie with open hands.

Introduction

It was about three young people and how they deal with their early childhood memories. Two of them were siblings, brother, Nan and sister, Mei while the third person, Hsieng was the boyfriend of the Mei.  The brother worked as a travel guide, the sister, an artist while his boyfriend, a boxer.

Mother Story Telling - Mermaid and Angels

The mother of the siblings used to tell stories of mermaid and angels to the brother and sister. As in one of the scene where the brother visited his mother in his dream, the mother relates to him that the stories told to her children were created on the spot and continue endlessly. I was able to relate to my own experience as I did that to my two children when they were young.





Childhood Memories

The parents of the siblings were separated due to differences in views. The daughter , Mei followed the mother to Taipei while the son, Nan continued his life at the Green island with his father. Early childhood memories tend to be long term memories. They resided in our mind throughout our whole life. If these memories are unpleasant ones, they will continue to affect them emotionally throughout their lives. Both the siblings have troubling emotion and they suffer due to no closure to their early childhood incident.  



The Father

There was not much information about the father except for one scene when he received the news about his ex-wife passed away due to childbirth, he started to burn his ex-wife and daughter belongings. I believe he felt there was no more hope of them returning back to him. It was at this moment, he told his filial son, Nan to stop helping him with the cooking and advised him to study hard for his future. Somehow he understood what his ex-wife wanted for their children, which is to leave this rural island so that the children will enjoy a better future.



Art Direction

The opening scene allows us to have a glimpse of the old houses in Taipei with a contrasting background of modern mighty Taipei 101 building. It was an artful scene where Mei faces the vast build-up area of Taipei. There were also a number of scenes showing the mother, Lee Sinjie李心洁 swimming and dancing underwater. There were also scenes of mermaid appearing with her tail . Somehow the movie tried to connect the mother with the mermaid. Has the mother turned into a mermaid?



Dreams

Due to non-closure of the siblings childhood family incidents, their fear and psychological state of mind naturally prolong into their adult life. Dreams became a form of closure for the three young people. The boxer, Hsiang hope of becoming an Olympic boxer  was prematurely interrupted by his eye injury. His father appeared in his dream when they were at the pier fishing. This allows Hsiang to have his last conversation with his father which bring closure for him. As audience, we thought that the boxer and his father reunited but it was only a dream. In the case of the artist, Mei, her fear of childbirth was affected by the scene of her mother having her childbirth. Her mother died during the childbirth. As mentioned earlier, Nan met his mother as a stranger. He was well treated and his mother shared some of her thoughts with him. As for myself, my mother passed away in 1998. For almost 2 years after her passing, it was a difficult time for me. The closure came in a form of a dream. I dreamt that she went for a long overseas holiday in a faraway place. It was only then; I felt at ease of her passing.



Connection

This is the most powerful element in the movie. There were two incidents of connections between the siblings. A middle age bartender met both of the siblings at different locations. At the subway, Mei's sketch flew onto the rail but was mysteriously pick-up by the bartender. In another scene, the same bartender met his brother, Nan, at his bar. Was it a coincidence that both the brother and sister met the same bartender? I would certainly think that the bartender is the initial connection between siblings.

The second connection came when the Nan unknowingly met his niece who dropped her story book. He helped to pick the book up for his niece. The story book served as a powerful connection. As he read the book, he found the story in the book to be very similar to the story told by his mother. Upon closer examination, he realised that it was written by his sister, Mei. Finally, he reunited with his sister. My eyes were filled with tears.



The third connection was some sort of closure for Mei when she met the ex-lover of her mother.




Conclusion

The movie centred on childhood memories, regrets, family ties, love and hope and the love of a mother. The well-known director, Sylvia Chang spend many months editing away many dialogue scenes so that there will more space for the audience to think and form their own thoughts. Being able to relate to individual experience from the movie, the movie provides a channel for mental participation from the audience. At the end of the movie, besides watching a good movie, we also brought back our own memories of our loved ones.
Directed by Sylvia Chang张艾嘉, starring Joseph Chang张孝全 , Isabella Leong梁洛施 , Lawrence Ko柯宇纶, and Lee Sinjie李心洁 , the movie opened in cinemas on 23rd April 2015.

Catch it before it ends.



Synopsis
Nan and Mei are brothers and sisters growing up on the beautiful Green Island, off the shore of the port city of Taitung in Taiwan, and often to their mother’s fairytales of mermaids and angels. But soon their parents separated. Four-year-old Mei goes to Taipei with her mother, while seven-year-old Nan stays on Green Island with his father.
Nan grows up to become a local tour guide on Green Island. Although he misses his mother and sister, he’s never had the courage to look for them. A few years after moving to Taipei, Mei’s mother dies in childbirth, and Mei moves to Ryukyu and grows up with her mother’s family. She returns to Taipei as a young woman, teaches art to young children and struggles to become an artist, painting to express her feelings and regrets. Mei’s boyfriend, Hsiang, is a boxer with his own ghosts to battle. The expectation and memories of his dead father pushes him to become a prize fighter, if only his eye problem does not get in the way.
When Mei finds out that she is pregnant with Hsiang’s child, memories of an unhappy childhood return to haunt her. For Hsiang, a boxing match that gets out of control makes it painfully clear that he would never qualify for the Olympics. Whereas Nan, after confronting his father’s death and now living a seemingly solitary and quiet life, decides to go look for his sister. As the three young people struggle to come to terms with themselves, the “angels” in Nan and Mei’s mother’s fairytales come to give guidance and bring a ray of light into their lives. Magical encounters make them realize that there is always another side to any story, and that one day, they will find inner peace and joy in their hearts.

Trailer :


Taiwan review :



Actor and Director Interview


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Samsung launches SUHD TVs and Audio Products






Leading the industry of UHD ( Ultra High Definition ) TVs, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, delivered the latest line-up of SUHD TVs, provide a premium choice for consumers in the ever competitive world of UHD TVs.



Samsung still have not decided on the name “S” position right in front of the word UHD. But the “S” gives a comforting meaning of the word Premium. It is the top end of the Samsung TVs which focus on both picture quality and stylish design.





Besides the new SUHD TVs, Samsung also launched its latest range of UHD TVs and audio products.




Unmatched Picture Quality

With the innovative nano-crystal technology and intelligent SUHD re-mastering picture quality engine, Samsung is able to achieve highest colour purity and light efficiency not seen in today UHD TVs. The technology provides wide range of colours and provide viewers with 64 times more colour expression than conventional TVs. It also uses environmentally-friendly technology to deliver high energy efficiency and reliability.



Improved Curved Designs



Build on the popular 2014 Curved designed, the SUHD TV JS9500 features a chamfer bezel design that adds more depth to the TV screen.

New Open-Source Platform for Web

New platform Tizen shape and support web standards for TV app development. Tizen allows more intuitive UI and better integrated entertainment experience.

Introducing SUHD TVs JS9500 and JS9000

Here are the key points for these SUHD TVs

  1.      Featuring Peak Illuminator and Precision Black allow clearer picture watching even on brightly lit room.
  2.      Tizen platform allow outstanding multi-tasking capabilities.
  3.      Seamless Octa-Core processor.
  4.         Smart Remote Control for voice and touch command
  5.       Elegant stylish design to suit stunning modern day home interior.
  6.         Received 8 awards at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES)



Pricing of SUHD TV at authorised dealers

JS9500 SUHD TV 65 inches = $7,900

JS9500 SUHD TV 78 inches = $17,999

JS9500 SUHD TV 88 inches = available soon

Other UHD and curved UHD TVs launched in various sizes from 40 inches to 78 inches such as JU7500 for curved UHD and JU7000 for non curved UHD TVs.

Audio Products Launched



The TVs will need good quality sound production with Samsung newly audio such as the impressive Omni-Directional 360 Audio, Flat Soundbar and the Samsung Curved Soundbar to surround Users’ senses just like the curved TVs which fully engage the users’ viewing sensation.

Conclusion

As one of the leading technology provider for consumer products, Samsung brings excitements to consumers in her wide range of consumer products including the SUHD TVs. Products are getting smarter and provides relatively easy to use UI for quick and intuitive operation. Employing a total of 307,000 staff across 84 countries with an annual sales of US$196 billion, it is indeed a successful company. We shall look forward to Samsung for more innovative technology in the coming future.



Wednesday, April 22, 2015

EZ-Link Launches EZ-Charms and EZ-Link Rewards Scheme with Perx



The first EZ-Charm design featured Hello Kitty, should bring much excitement to Hello Kitty fans in Singapore. Singapore largest issuer of CEPAS-compliant cards, EZ-Link finally launched EZ-Charms, a trinket that breaks through the conventional ez-link card design. At the same time, EZ-Link Rewards Scheme with Perx, was also launched. The EZ-Charms function exactly the same way as the existing ez-link cards. They can be used on buses, trains, taxis, for shopping and dining and topped up at all ez-link card channels.





It was a reasonably big event. Many people were present at the launch. EZ-Link card is something that we would find in everyone wallet and handbag. It is the basic card for our public transportation. Of course, the card can be use for shopping as well. Now there is more reason to use it for shopping payment since we will be rewarded handsomely with Perx points. More merchants will be added into the current lists of merchant participating in this EZ-Link Reward Scheme.

Speakers and Emcee







Nicholas Lee Tat Meng, CEO, EZ-Link Pte Ltd



Nicholas joined LTA in early 1997 as a system engineer. In 2000, he was assigned to manage the island-wide implementation of ez-link card worth SGD 300 million. In 2011, he was appointed CEO of EZ-Link to lead the company to greater growth.

“Our aim is to push through boundaries to make every tap with ez-link a rewarding and fun experience. The launch of EZ-Charms is significant as it represents a breakthrough in technical limitations and opens up many new possibilities for fashionable products in the future. On the other hand, with the new EZ-Link Rewards Scheme with Perx, ez-link users will be rewarded for something they do every day – taking trains and buses,” said Mr. Nicholas Lee, Chief Executive Officer, EZ-Link Pte Ltd.

Anna Gong, CEO of Maiplay Pte Ltd, parent company of Perx



“Our partnership with EZ-Link demonstrates Perx’s ability to deliver value and enhanced customer experience to more than just merchants across Asia. This transit rewards program with EZ-Link enables Perx to expand our network and user base by offering a unique digital and fun experience to all ez-link card members. Through the Perx mobile app, EZ-Link will be able to provide their transit riders attractive rewards just for riding the MRT and buses. This is the beginning of a number of meaningful projects to come with EZ-Link and we are excited to be on this innovative journey together.”

For better understanding: of the following :-

(1)    Availability Hello Kitty EZ-Charms, take a look at the diagram below.





(2)    EZ-LINK Rewards Scheme with Perx



(3)    Rewards Redemption Table



As an introductory offer, card holders who sign up for the EZ-Link Rewards Scheme with Perx and accumulate 2,500 points by 20 July 2015 will stand a chance to win Tigerair air tickets to Maldives, Hong Kong, Chiang Mai, Langkawi or Taipei. And in an exclusive reward for Perx users, the first 1,000 members to accumulate 5,000 points can get to redeem the limited edition Blue Hello Kitty EZ-Charm.

At the launch, to commemorate the recognition of the ez-link card as one of the SG50 icons chosen to mark the nation’s 50th birthday, EZ-Link also unveiled an exclusive SG50 ez-link card, which features a number of SG50 icons, all in one card design. This new card design is available at all TransitLink Ticket Offices at the usual ez-link card price of S$12 including S$7 stored value.





To find out more, please visit www.ezlink.com.sg or follow EZ-Link’s Facebook (www.facebook.com/myezlink), Instagram (www.instagram.com/ezlinksg) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/ezlinksg) pages. 

To learn more about Perx please visit www.getperx.com, or follow Perx on Facebook (www.facebook.com/getperx), Twitter (www.twitter.com/getperx), and Instagram (www.instagram.com/getperx) pages.  

For any enquiries related to Perx, please contact successhelp@getperx.com.

Here is the video of the event launch. 









Sunday, April 19, 2015

Satay in a Cup on a fast lane


Traditionally, satay has always been served on a plate. We need to wait patiently for the satay to be  BBQ. Only then, we will enjoy a satisfying roasted marinated meat with friends and family.

The company, Satay Cup introduces their satay at the first outlet in Food Republic, Parkway Parade. Still the same satay with lots of sweet aroma of marinated spices but cooks using high heat induction cooker. It is smoke-free. You do not get your satay burned using the traditional method of BBQ. In my opinion, it is healthier without the burns. The satay does not contain MSG, preservatives and has no fillers.



I was on assignment as their official photographer for the opening of the first Satay Cup outlet. I volunteer to blog for them. When I received my cup of satay, I could smell the aroma of peanut coming from the satay sauce. That already got my digestive engine revving at full gear. A generous serving of 5 sticks in a cup affectionately known as A CUP while the 10 sticks goes for the name B CUP.



There are 4 flavours of satay namely Chicken, Beef, Mutton and Veggie. Traditionally, there is no veggie satay but it will benefit those who are vegetarian and wanted to try satay on a vegetarian diet. Or it can also appeal to the majority of customers who eat everything in the Satay Cup’s menu. All the satay is made from fresh ingredients and uses more than 10 herbs and spices. That is why you still get the flavours even they are cooked in this special cooker.



According to the outlet owner, Danny, the satay can be cook in 2 minutes. Traditional cooking method may take about 15 to 20 minutes. This shortened the waiting time and it is going to change the way we consume and have a better perception on satay consumption. It is a fast, simple and convenient.



I personally have tried the chicken satay. It tastes good. The meat is tender. Whether you are going to buy it as a snack or a meal, it will be part of Singapore traditional food with a much lesser waiting time. 



The first outlet is located at

#B1-K1, Food Republic, Parkway Parade ( Opposite Guardian Pharamacy )

Website : www.sataycup.com



Here is a video of the opening of the outlet on the 15 April 2015. 


More photos