night - friend or foe? the scumbag brain is going into overdrive again, as is the tendency at this time of the day.
mentioned something to someone a matter of hours ago, and it remains to be seen whether this was the right option to take. fairly confused about the current state of affairs right now, but two things are clear: i give a shit, and i do not share. what i wouldn’t give to be tossing my coherent thoughts and concerns away at this very minute (ideally in a swirling haze of alcohol, loud music and kaleidoscopic lights) but of course the body rebels and as such, i’m trapped in my humble abode, with only my worries and conscience for company.
on another note, it’s a good thing that school has started. perhaps some distance and grounding will be good; rest and regeneration seems crucial at this point, ironic since the holidays just happened. (it’s been week one of school, four working days and three lesson blocks only, but it feels like summer break never existed)
off to bed, if i can sleep.
(for M Lifestyle)
One of the most lucrative and commercially lauded movie series, the Transformers saga has been incredibly well-received by consumers and critics alike. In my humble opinion, esteemed director Michael Bay has done admirably for the past four movies, keeping the average un-geeky Joe interested with fairly detailed storylines and unparalleled CGI effects.
The latest Transformers instalment is no different, delivering a good three hours of crowd-pleasing robot battle action, hot female lead close-ups and crisp comic one-liners. The show is a little lengthy though. While the plot was engaging, my goldfish attention span had me fidgeting after an hour and a half of being glued to my IMAX 3D seat.
One of the main draws of the film was the appearance of Grimlock and his crew of pure badassery, the Dinobots. As the name quite un-subtly suggests, the Dinobots are robots that can also transform into dinosaurs (bet you didn’t expect that one), and this is the first time they have appeared in the real-action movies. These behemoths are appropriately awe-inspiring, towering over Optimus Prime, and they save the day for the forces of good. Despite only appearing for about a half-hour in total screen time, the Dinobots are arguably one of the highlights of the show.
As I watched the movie, I (subconsciously) picked up on certain cinematic elements that that made me feel a range of things, from quite perplexed to incredibly weirded out. In retrospect, if my brain hadn’t gone into overdrive and picked out all of the below, my movie experience would have been significantly less complicated.
1. Blatant Product Placement.
Product placement is inevitable in movies. The Transformers quartet is, besides being a series of great shows, essentially a giant robotic cash cow, and various companies can profit from it. My issue isn’t with the existence of product placement; it’s with the painfully obvious attempts to get brand names right into the faces of the audience, to a point where the effect isn’t even congruent with reality any more. There was one distinct battle scene on some busy road somewhere, featuring a double-decker bus with the words ‘VICTORIA’S SECRET’ emblazoned all over its front. When said bus gets destroyed by a giant robot ploughing into it, the entire vehicle goes up in flames. After the conflagration, guess what? The entire back of the bus disintegrates, but the front remains intact. And the ‘VICTORIA’S SECRET’ words are untouched. Marketing teams everywhere, take note. VS has obviously risen to the top of the advertising game indeed, if they are able to invent a certain sort of paint or stick-on that cannot even be scratched, even by fire and metal debris. Maybe that’s the real secret of Victoria, who knows.
2. The Very Uncomfortable Father-Daughter Relationship Dynamic.
The first thing that one notices when the father (played by Mark Wahlberg) first makes his appearance in the movie is that he looks almost too young to be a father. The reverse happens when the daughter (Nicola Peltz) enters: she is mature beyond her years, both in character and appearance. It didn’t happen instantaneously, but the more the pair interacted, the more awkward I felt. Despite their obvious roles as father and daughter, was it possible that they were appearing more and more intimate than they were supposed to be? (I know right, I cringed as I was typing that too.) At the end of the movie, when they embraced and declared their love for each other, I was tempted to yell at the screen ‘No! Bad parenting! Hands off!’ It was honestly the most disconcerting interaction between a purported father-daughter pair that I ever saw in any movie at all.
3. Asian stereotyping.
It’s a known fact that Asians really don’t feature much in Hollywood films, and often, the token Asian presence in a show is probably going to be based on the perception of a Westerner. I was pleasantly surprised when I watched Age of Extinction, however, because the main fight scene took place in the iconic Chinese city of Hong Kong, with Asian people galore. I was quite astounded, however, and more than a little amused, when I realised that out of the two Chinese characters that featured for more than five seconds (the pretty manager lady and the male passer-by), both of them were masters of Chinese martial arts and could kick butt without breaking a sweat. I mean, wow, talk about playing to typecast perceptions of Chinese people! I’m not offended, no, but for your information, not all of us have been trained in mystical kung-fu mojo in a Shaolin temple atop a mountain, thank you very much. Maybe Hollywood should consider hiring some real Asian Asians, in order to develop a less narrow image of us in the movies.
Despite all the above, however, Transformers is undoubtedly a crowd favourite, and this movie does do the intended: awe and enchant with spectacular special effects, and give viewers a feel-good show that ends on a relatively high note. Go catch it! (And try to disregard all the things I just highlight so you can focus on the good stuff.)
(written under M Lifestyle)
Last Friday, I caught the highly-anticipated tearjerker The Fault in Our Stars. Halfway through the movie, the amount of muted sobs became so distractingly obvious it drew my attention away from the movie. Imagine this: on my right, a pair of older ladies brought in an entire tissue box to mop up the vast amount of tears that they were so clearly prepared to shed. They weren’t the only emotional ones; the sheer volume and regularity of sniffs coming from all over the cinema could give the Dolby Digital surround sound advertisement a serious run for its money.
An unspoken stigma has existed since time immemorial about the nature of tears. Due to gender roles in society, it is perceived as okay for women to be in touch with their emotions, while men are usually typecast as being strong and silent: crying, for guys, is simply not done. It’s a peculiar dilemma, really; who is to say whether it is okay for men to show emotion or not, except men themselves? We’re often berated as insensitive stooges, and yet we aren’t allowed to cultivate or even reveal the existence of our emotional sides. Ever.
There is a method to this madness, however. At the turn of the decade, fresh new lifestyle concepts have surfaced, like the SNAG, or Sensitive New Age Guy. Gone are the days of the caveman stereotype, where the most articulating a guy is allowed to do is point and grunt. It is now apparently trendy and advisable for a male to be in touch with his emotions, surprise surprise, and areas of lifestyle that used to be strictly female-only have become commonplace for dudes as well. Personal grooming is an actual thing that is done by males (because looking like Chewbacca is no longer sexy apparently), and people no longer gasp in shock when you mention the existence of paternity leave. So it should come as no surprise that a guy shedding a tear (or a bucket of them) is no longer taboo, but instead taken as a sign of emotional openness and maturity of feelings.
Now I don’t fancy myself as the strong, silent type – I do read heart-gripping novels in private (well less private now, I suppose), and I’m not the sort to shy away from expressing my feelings when I want to, but there is one thing. I don’t cry. This isn’t something I consciously restrict myself about: books and movies simply don’t rock my world with enough intensity. And before all you sensitive new age humans embark on a witch-hunt to make me cry, let me explicitly state that it is okay to cry!
Crying, usually perceived as a sign of weakness, is in fact, not. It takes a brave person to cry. Crying means that one is able to acknowledge one’s feelings, and come face to face with things that affect us strongly and deeply, regardless of gender. As a guy, being able to cry also means taking a metaphorical hammer to the stereotype of emotionless and stoic manliness, and saying that yes, everyone feels strongly about something at some point in life. And if it happens in movies, that just stands testament to the realness of the actors and the skill of the director, yes? (Of course I’m not telling you to weep tragically every time someone sneezes or falls asleep, although if that’s your thing then please go right ahead)
In a nutshell, to the gentlemen out there, it is perfectly fine shedding tears when the need arises. You’ll feel better after, and it is the catalyst for one to transform into the SNAG that is so desired by plenty of ladies out there. In the meantime, I’ll just continue on the quest to unlock my own floodgates (although if the Fault in Our Stars didn’t manage, it’s gonna take a heavyweight to do the job, I’m guessing). Happy weeping!
Recently I started an editorial internship with M Lifestyle Magazine, under Majority Media. It was a long time, and it took a huge amount of effort (and an equal amount of waiting) but I finally managed to find a writing job at a magazine, and therefore my holiday is no longer going to be a waste of time.
fucking worried about my back. please let it eventually heal completely, and please let me regain my full mobility. the constant discomfort and limited movement is making me grumpy, distracted and despondent. i want to dance again ):