TED – What A Naughty, Naughty Teddy Bear

Finally, TED has arrived in Singapore.  I have been anticipating this film for ages.  Courtesy of omy.sg, Cynthia and I had a real good laugh watching TED in a preview screening session.  What’s there not to love about Ted the teddy bear who talks bad, takes drug, and gets drunk?  It’s hilarious.

Think on it, this film could have gone wrong in so many different ways.  Two grownups and a talking teddy bear living in our modern day society?  Miraculously, this film pulls through as something ‘believable’.  Thirty years ago, a boy made a wish for a teddy bear as a Christmas present.  That wish came true.  Later on, he made another wish that the bear would be able to talk.  Lo and behold, because magic could exist, we have a living and breathing teddy bear becoming the little boy’s new best friend.  The teddy bear has become headline news.  Alas, like all things in life, novelty wears off.  Thirty years later, no one cares for a talking teddy bear.  Life moves on.

The story then begins with the little boy John now grown up (Mark Wahlberg) and so is Ted.  John has fallen in love with Lori (Mila Kunis).  But will a man who still hangs out with his teddy bear be able to truly love another person?  Well, that is where the drama begins.

TED is a joy to watch, all credit to two ingredients.  First, the teddy bear on the big screen does look realistic and appears to interact with the actors well.  Remember Star Wars I when Jedi Liam Neeson couldn’t see eye-to-eye with Jar Jar Binks?  Ted the teddy bear seems very much alive in the movie.  Second, the script coming out from Ted’s mouth is hilarious.  At some parts of the film, the scriptwriter has established a pattern so well that the audience would laugh even before the line is out.

Fun stuff aside, TED is a heartwarming film.  There are some tearing moments.  Above all, the chemistry between Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis is convincing.

TED is about changes in life that upset the status quo.  It is a story of growing up and learning to live with someone new.  On a separate note, watching TED reminds me of a novel written by Clifford Chase called Winkie.  In that book, the story begins with Winkie the teddy bear arrested for terrorism because he happens to be at the wrong place in the wrong time.  That book too is hilarious, more so in a dark comedy’s way.  I think I may pick up Winkie when I have the bandwidth to do some reading.

Salmon Fishing In The Yemen – Good Humor, With An Enlightening Spirit Within

I overheard in the radio one evening that Emily Blunt has rejected quite a few movie proposals lately including Captain America.  Yet she has decided to take on Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.  Emily is a great actress.  So I was curious.  Why salmon fishing?  When omy.sg offers two movie preview choices, subconsciously I picked this one.  I am happy that I did.

This movie begins with an unusual business proposal to set up salmon fishing in Yemen.  At the same time, there are some conflicts happening in the Middle East and the UK government is desperately looking for some good news to orchestrate.  When an government official played by Kristin Thomas catches wind of this rather bizarre business idea, she immediately lends her support on this matter.  It is funny that she cares not about the salmon, but the potential political gain.  Emily Blunt plays an investment consultant while Ewan McGregor plays a subject matter expert in fishing.  It is Harriet Chatwode-Talbot versus Dr. Jones.  I chuckled at the pronunciation of the names spoken so many times with a British accent throughout the movie.  The interaction between Emily and Ewan is light and playful.  Kristin as a supporting role is quite honestly a gem to this casting.  Such good actors, they are.  I smiled and chuckled.  The story does get a bit more serious towards the end.  All in all, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is full of humor and original ideas.  Great acting, with a witty script.  If British romance comedy is your cup of tea, this film is not to be missed.

On a more serious note, for those who are not familiar with the world map, Yemen is somewhere in the Middle East.  To create a fishing area in a desert area seems absurd.  Comparing fishing to religion also seems absurd (among many other things in the movie).  But with an open heart though, both activities require patience and faith, and a hope that something good may happen.  To think deeper, the storyteller tries to tell us that love comes from hope which requires patience and faith.  This movie transforms the simple act of fishing into something bigger, embracing lovers and a community alike.

If not for my blogger friend JoV, I would not have known that Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is originally written as a novel.  Do drop by her website and check out her book review.  She highly recommends the book.  I have this belief that when the story is good, the movie is often good too.  I have not read the book so I do not know how well this book is being adapted.  In the movie, the shifting in the relationship dynamic seems a bit abrupt to me.  I may need JoV to verify for me.  I suspect it is because the movie may not have the luxury of time in the development of a love story.  Other than that, the rest of the movie flows nicely, from beginning to end.

Friends With Benefits – Mila Is Adorable

I don’t think it has anything to do with aging (I hope).  It was a pretty hectic week at work.  In some instances, you can almost measure how overloaded one is by observing the number of mistakes one begins to make.  I read the showtime of 17:30 as 7.30pm, which was obviously wrong.  Saturday traffic near Orchard area was horrendous.  We have so many cars in town.  Perhaps all we need is a second Orchard area to split the crowd.  This weekend, we are confined to our areas nearby.  Japanese sushi and sake on a Friday night, Nonya food on a Saturday afternoon and a home-cooked cod fish meal for dinner, takeaway Yong Tau Foo for lunch after Sunday Mass and yet another home-cooked meal for dinner.  All within the proximity of our home.

Back to our previous weekend, by the time we reached the cinema, we were 10 minutes late (actually, we were 2 hours and 10 minutes late).  Cynthia was starving and TK was not feeling 100% either.  So, in retrospect, it was a blessing in disguise.  We had a relaxing dinner and the cinema was kind enough to print another set of tickets for us.  Same movie, same time, but on the next day.

“Friends With Benefits” is so much better than “No Strings Attached“.  Some parts of “Friends” are a bit uncomfortable to watch.  But not as bad as “Strings”.  I do not know many celebrities who publicly admit that they play World of Warcraft.  Mila Kunis has played WoW once upon a time.  That is a good enough reason for me to be her fan.  For most part of the movie, she is irresistibly adorable.  It is the dialog and the way she carries it more than anything else.  As for Justin Timberlake, I did not have high expectation on his acting ability.  There seems to be chemistry between the two on screen.  That too is good enough for me.

Movies like these often have little takeaways.  The story seems to conclude that with girls, it is not just sex, however casual the relationship is.  I thought that we have well passed the era of sexual stereotype after all these years.

Crazy, Stupid, Love – Finding Your Manhood

Cynthia was pretty hyped up about “Crazy, Stupid, Love”.  TK went along with the romance comedy wagon.  I am a huge fan of romance comedy films.  Except, I think, “Crazy, Stupid, Love” is more like a drama of romance than a comedy.  Most bits are rather real, rather sad.  The 40-year-old virgin (now close to 50) Steve’s wife Julianne wants a divorce because she has an affair with someone at work.  Meanwhile, his 13 years old son is having a crush with his babysitter.  The babysitter in turn has a crash on an older man.  In a bar, Steve meets Ryan Gosling – a womanizer who has a look and a body to die for.  No wonder Cynthia loves this movie so much!  In return, Cynthia gives me Emma Stone, which in my opinion, I am not sure why millions of viewers are falling on their kneels over her.  OK, she is quite seductive.  Kind of cute.  Not quite my type.  In this movie, she loves someone who is not ready to settle down.  Out of nowhere, we have a crazy teacher played by Marisa Tomei whom I wish she could find a better role for her age.  In my heart, Tomei is forever frozen and immortalized in “Untamed Heart (1993)”.  It is one of my favorite movies that I wish to remember her of.

“Crazy, Stupid, Love” is light and entertaining.  It mashes the love stories of all these goodhearted people into one.  If there is one take home message, it is about the importance of finding and holding onto your manhood no matter how old you are.

Johnny English Reborn – This Man Still Has It!

Eight years have passed since we last watched the English comedian Rowan Atkinson played as a secret agent in the 2003 film “Johnny English”.  I am a big fan of his comedy work as “Mr. Bean”.  Comedy does not need to be vulgar or obscene like some do.  I remember how much I enjoyed watching his 2003 film when we finally got to hear him spoke.  In this sequel – “Johnny English Reborn” – Atkinson continues to play a secret agent role.  There is no Natalie Imbruglia and the sushi bar.  Instead, we have the 27 years old ex-Bond girl Rosamund Pike as Johnny English’s new love interest.  Well, sort of.  And Gillian Anderson with a new English accent as the MI7 Head.  There is a world to save.  And England again sends her very best – Johnny English.

“Johnny English Reborn” is funny, in its unique way.  There are some quality comedy works within.  Plot-wise, it is predictable.  Joke material-wise, it is also predictable.  Those who enjoy the good old Johnny English will be at home with this “reborn” edition.  Consider Atkinson’s age at 56, I am amazed by some of the physical agility he exhibits in this movie.  Perhaps due to my racial background, I am not particularly fond of Asians being portrayed as the bad guys.  Having said that, “Johnny English Reborn” is entertaining, not mentally demanding.  Yes, this man still has it.