29 Oct 2014

The Book of Life

What day is 31 October?

You may say that it is Halloween. However, it is also the start of a colourful holiday in Mexico. It starts on 31 Oct and ends on 2 Nov - The Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos).

The Day of the Dead is when people gather to pray for their dead family and friends. While the rest of the world pray to the dead in black and white, the Mexicans decided to throw in a lot of colours and make it a happy festival (not that I don't approve of).

I've been a fan of the Day of the Dead for a few years now. I just absolutely love the vibrant colours and the carnival-ish atmosphere even though I've never been to one before.

Even the altars are splashed with colours!

Anyway, since that you now know something about the Day of the Dead, let's skip to the movie.

A few students were taken a secret tour in a museum by a tour guide named Mary Beth (Christina Applegate). She tells them about the Book of Life, a book that contains every folklore in the world.

Directed by Jorge Gutierrez and produced by Aaron Berger, Brad Booker, Guillermo del Toro, and Carina Schulze, this particular story revolves around the Day of the Dead in a Mexican town, San Angel (pronounced 'Sahn Ahn-hel').

It all started when the two gods, La Muerte (Kate del Castillo) and Xibalba (Ron Perlman), who reigned over the Land of the Remembered (the one with the festivities and colours) and the Land of the Forgotten (the one with dark and typically what you expect from a place without sunlight and life) respectively, placed a bet on which one of two boys would marry a girl that they both love. If La Muerte wins, Xibalba will not meddle in mortal affairs but if Xibalba wins? They'll both exchange realms.


Manolo (Diego Luna), Joaqin (Channing Tatum, pronounced 'Hua-kin'), and Maria (Zoe Saldana) are best friends since childhood. However, Manolo and Joaqin love the same girl - Maria. Maria got sent away for being a free-spirited girl and did not return until a few years later, when she's grown into a beautiful young lady.

Manolo became a bullfighter and a hopeless romantic whilst Joaqin became a famous hero for being remarkably brave. However, Joaqin was secretly given the Medal of Eternal Life from Xibalba when Xibalba and La Muerte made the bet. Therefore, he couldn't get hurt and was practically immortal.

In order to win the bet, Xibalba tricked Manolo into finding Maria in the afterworld. To do that, Manolo had to die. Manolo found his family in the Land of the Remembered and ventured through the Land of the Forgotten to find La Muerte and to get back to San Angel, to Maria.

It is certainly a journey between life and death. There were quite a few touching scenes and the soundtrack? Lovely. Next to Frozen and Rio, this movie's soundtracks are on the top of my list! The songs really touched my heart and the scenes really hit the spot.

For an animated movie, even though most of the characters look very much like puppets, the movie is filled with colours and Mexican culture. It is also has that warm vibe. Compared to the horror films that are screening this Halloween season, this is more subtle and kids-friendly. Not to say that adults and teens should not watch this. This is suitable for all ages!

I've heard my friends talking about horror movies like Annabelle but I did not hear them talk about The Book of Life, which is in my opinion, more worth the money than Annabelle. Summing it all, The Book of Life is definitely an awesome animated movie.

Appreciation note for La Muerte: She is just so beautiful! Not only kind and loving but totally stunning and gorgeous. I think that my next art project will be of her. <3

Spoiler alert: Chuy turned a little creepy a few years later.

More posts coming up since I've finished my exams and was procrastinating and relaxing for the past week. I mean, a girl deserves some rest after sleeping for 2-5 hours in the exam week and had to finish 11 subjects / 23 papers in 7 days! Accomplishment unlocked!

-pics Googled-

5 Oct 2014

Taste MIGF 2014, Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre

There's nothing more spontaneous than going to a gourmet food festival at the spur of the moment (especially after you've booked movie tickets for another place).

This last-minute decision was made after mom's friend whatsapped her about the Taste MIGF 2014 event from the Malaysian International Gourmet Festival (MIGF) at the Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre. It was a two-day event (27 Sept - 28 Sept). Her friend knew that I was a foodie and recommended it to her. We've never been to a gourmet festival and we were like, hey, let's go check it out, since we have time before the movie.

I was not disappointed. No one was disappointed. Period.

The place was divided into two sections:

The outer hall was for free sampling, purchase of certain food items and also cooking equipment such as waffle makers and kitchen knives.

Some of the food we've sampled / bought..

Fried frozen durian (RM5 for 2) which was CRAZY nice. I love how it is crispy on the outside but cold and fragrant inside. Some people may not like the smell of durian but to durian lovers, it's awesome. I've not had durian for quite some time as I've developed a durian-phobia for having too many durians when I was young (is it even remotely possible for a durian lover to have a phobia for this fruit?) but these fried frozen durians.. wow.

We also sampled some sausages which are 100% meat and they are chewy and juicy. Thumbs up!

Also, some French macarons (well, we bought them but I've forgotten the pricing). The French macarons are, well, macaron-ish. These macarons are not too sweet and the price was affordable (we've once spent RM24 on two macarons from Belgium and whilst it was tastier than the normal ones, it was just too pricey!)

Other food items include Belgium waffles, froyo, fresh Australian cow milk, healthy food, red velvet cake, and cupcakes.

And the inner hall.. Well, it was pretty much heaven on Earth (mainly because we had to purchase RM5 coupons named Gourmet Dollars to sample the gourmet food, or else it'd be simply heavenly).
Food coupons were sold for RM50 per booklet, comprising ten RM5 coupons.

You can find all kinds of food here! Oriental, Western, local... it's like a mini world of posh food. The participating restaurants are from various hotels and classy restaurants. Forgive me if I get the names wrong, gourmet dish names are definitely not my forte. I'll just write whatever is on the plate if you dont mind.

Food items range from 1-3 coupons (RM5-RM15)

Foie Gras (goose liver, if you are unfamiliar with that term)

Garoupa with a little chilli and beans on the left and escargot on the right. According to mom, the escargot was not that awesome as she prefers those at The Ship.

Broiled Salmon. Was OK, definitely something new. A little dry for me though.

Random coffee beans. I love the lighting, therefore it stays on the post.

I just had the nerves to buy something with "cappucino", "egg", and "truffles" in it. There really is a hard-boiled egg inside! Oh my. The creamy thing was *gulp* something new and I didn't really quite like it but it tastes OK when you have it together with the egg. Strange, huh.

Apparently, it's an ice-cream made from cheese? According to the friendly staff there, it is. *gasps* It doesn't have much of the cheese taste though. More like, milky taste.

Something mango (?) Sorry. I was too busy eating to notice the name. The arrangement doesnt seem much but it was quite nice.

Last but not least, my favourite for the evening - Valrhona Chocolate thingy with ice-cream.
Valrhona has got to be one of the top 3 of my chocolate list (1st being Godiva and 3rd being Lindt). I love their dark chocolate but I'd usually go for the 75% as I find it suitable for my taste.

Oh wait. It's the place from my birthday dinner this year!

For more upcoming events like this, try the Taste MIGF website.

Guess I'd have to improve on my lighting and stuff and take more photos in this kind of lighting. Tips, anyone?

P.S. I've wanted to post this for a few days now but I was really busy with revision and stuff since my exams are coming soon (and then I'll have to choose a university, oh well that's for later..)

The Maze Runner.

Finally watched the much-anticipated The Maze Runner last week after the Taste MIGF 2014 event.

It was like what I expected - good.

I've wanted to read the series since I first saw the trailer for the movie (I'm a book person and well, I don't have to wait so long for the sequels). The idea behind this series from James Dashner  really had my attention. It's fresh, it's new, it's full of action! It's like a whole new world to explore. I love that about books and movies.

Directed by Wes Ball, The Maze Runner is the first installment of the series. Obviously, there's a huge maze in the movie, with the name being The Maze Runner. The plot? A boy is sent to the Glade, surrounded by a labyrinth maze every month. They could not remember a thing that had happened, nor anything else, save for their names. It happens that they were in a supposed experiment that they had no memory of.
WICKED, the organisation which lead the experiment, did not even have a second thought about letting loose mechanical animals which could (and proven to have the ability to) kill human beings effortlessly. These, are the Grievers.

Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) is this month's boy. He was sent to the Glade and curiosity got the better of him. He got intrigued by the huge maze.

Somehow, he ended up being a Runner, someone who runs around the maze in the day time to memorise the nooks and crannies of the maze (for the record, the maze changes every night and apparently, no one survived a night in the maze until Thomas and Minho, whom we will come back to later). In the end, they finally found a way out of the labyrinth and well, they found that things were not as they seem to be..

Ah, yes. Minho. My sister still screams at the mere mention of his name. Minho, the leader of the runners, is played by a Korean guy named Ki Hung Lee. He captivated numerous friends of mine, even guys. He's a laid-back kind of guy and maybe they find his coolness attractive. Anyway, he has more fans than the main protagonist who is played by Dylan O'Brien (whom I had a fancy for since The Internship hahah). Fangirls, fangirls everywhere.

Other Gladers include:

Aml Ameen as Alby, the former leader of the Gladers, who was the first to reach the Glades and was there for 3 years.

Blake Cooper as Chuck, Thomas' chummy buddy at the Glades.

Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt, Alby's second in command (and I love that British accent).

Extra Large Movie Poster Image for The Maze Runner

Will Poulter as Gally, one of the antagonists in the movie, who's quite a bully.

Kaya Scodelario as Teresa, the last Glader and also the first female Glader, who formerly worked with WICKED.

The movie is a teeny tiny bit gruesome and the Grievers dont exactly look like rainbow unicorns. My brother had to cling on my mom at some point. But he's 9, so you could do better if you're older than 9.

The suspense is so annoying! I havnt read the book but I will before the second installment screens next year. It is a must. I absolutely love this.

-images Googled-

24 Sep 2014

A Walk Among The Tombstones (a little ranting included)

Due a promise to my sister,  I watched A Walk Among The Tombstones starring Liam Neeson last Thursday, alone (instead of the long-anticipated The Maze Runner). She hasn't had a chance to watch The Maze Runner so I had to wait for her.. but hey, I'm not complaining. It's Liam Neeson kicking asses.

I went there with a bunch of friends but they wanted to watch The Maze Runner so I paid for another movie just to honour my promise (and of course to watch Liam Neeson in action).


Directed by Scott Frank, this movie is based on a Lawrence Block novel of the same name. Liam Neeson stars as an ex-cop, Matthew Scudder. He quitted after he shot a girl dead, in a drunk condition. He then freelances as a private investigator who helps people, getting favours in return.


A drug trafficker, Kenny Kristo (Dan Stevens), hires Matt to track down his wife's abductors. His wife was brutally kidnapped and murdered. It appears that this is not the first case. Instead, there are psychotic serial killers about. These abductors / psycho killers (David Harbour as Ray and Eric Nelsen as Howie) methodically stalks their victims and kidnaps them. The kidnapped victims never return home, even though the ransom money was paid. So, basically it's about drug traffickers' wives getting kidnapped (and mutilated) by two sadistic killers. Matt was being helped by TJ (Brian Bradley) and Kenny's brother, Peter (Boyd Holbrook).

One of the movies I've watched starring Liam Neeson was Taken and its sequel, Taken 2. I love how he sounded when he spoke calmly to his daughter's kidnapper then: "I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want ... I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you." This was one of his more famous quote. A Walk In The Tombstone also had something along the line. It's like he could talk his way out of every dangerous situation. Remarks like "Maybe I don't care if you shoot me or maybe there's a rifle pointed at your head." made my day.

In my view, this movie is pretty good because it highlights some issues such as people being careless about their own safety nowadays (like greeting two guys in a creepy-looking van outside your house). I mean, yes, being friendly is not a crime but society nowadays... people are willing to do about just anything for money and to accomplish their goals.
Another one is about alcoholics and druggies. There's a few scenes about alcohol and drugs (what with the victims being drug lords' wife and kids). Sure, there are scenes of people drinking and also of people taking drugs but there are also scenes of a therapy group, sharing their accomplishments and their stories. And astonishingly, some of the rules that they use to keep them away from their addictions apply to our daily lives too.

Of course, there are quite a lot of violent scenes here and there (it's rated 18PL in Malaysia, idk.. they like cutting scenes very much.)
The scariest part? It was a Thursday afternoon, without many people in the cinema hall. And my row was practically empty when the lights went off. Annabelle's trailer screened when I was starting to enjoy myself. I'm not a huge fan of horror movies, however, thrillers I could withstand.. I was so desperate. No one to whisper to, no one to cling to. Ugh.

More and more patrons came into the cinema hall after that. There was an auntie and her daughter on my left and a couple on my right. These people gave me quite a bad impression though. The auntie kept speaking loudly to her daughter even though the movie is playing. The girl on my right was fidgeting and even removed her shoes and put her feet on the seat in front of her. I'm OK with people removing their shoes during movies as long as they are not stinky but putting your feet on the back of the seat in front of you is really not advisable. Do these people even care about the other patrons? I guess not. Another thing that I couldn't stand in cinemas is babies crying. Seriously, why do you bring a baby into the frickin cinema..
Well, these are just my personal opinions. If I have offended you in any way, you have my apologies even though I do not agree with you.

So, till the next time! Hopefully, I get to watch the movie that I've been wanting to watch this weekend.

-pics Googled-

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