Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wanted: A Review

As aliendoc would say: AWESOME!!! :)

I don't think I can do justice to how much I truly enjoyed this film, but I'm going to ramble for the next few paragraphs in an effort to flesh it out for those of you who're actually interested.





Do you like this photo I posted? It's the first time I've seen it, and thought it looked a lot cooler than most of the conventional publicity campaign pics. Who would've expected a tiny, scrawny Scot who looks 5 years younger than his true age to make a convincing ( and very sexy ) action hero?

If you haven't done any homework on the movie, let me just mention a few tidbits:

1) it's loosely based on a comic mini-series by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones

2) I say "loosely based" because while the film depicts lead character Wesley Gibson as a good guy, the real Wesley on paper is pretty much an evil a**hole. The Fraternity is a villanous organization, and Wesley unleashes his inner demons in full force upon initiation into this diabolical society.

For example, he uses stray pedestrians for shooting practice; he has racist and misogynistic tendencies; he kills everyone he's ever had a grudge against; he looks like Eminem.

3) James McAvoy was cast as Wesley before the commercial release of The Last King Of Scotland. He did 3 auditions, didn't get a call for 6 months, then finally received the news that he'd snagged the role. Co-star Angelina Jolie admits in an Entertainment Weekly interview that her interest was indeed piqued upon learning about McAvoy's connection to the project, but I can't be sure whether she agreed to come on board because of him.

4) An interview with Wanted creators Millar and Jones on YouTube mentions how faithful the movie is - cinematography-wise at least. Apparently, the motion picture's more exciting scenes are almost exact replicas of the comic version, and many parts of the dialogue are reproduced verbatim.

Yes, that's how obsessed I've been these past few weeks. :)

As for the film itself, all hail Timur Bekmambetov, the brash director of this crazy flick. He easily transfers his skills at flipping large moving objects from the Night / Day Watch franchise, this time experimenting with hot little sports cars and giant locomotives.

He's got quite the eye for inventive camera angles and eye-popping action sequences. Just a few bits worth mentioning include:

1) The utterly insane early scene, which begins with Fox ( Jolie ) making first contact with Wesley in a supermarket, then escalates into a full-blown shootout / car chase, culminating in a spectacular somersault of the chilli-red sports car Jolie has commandeered, hurling it over several police patrol cars before crashing sideways into a commuter bus.

2) The exhilarating training sessions on top of Chicago's L trains, as Fox gracefully slides into the tight space between the trains' roofs and the tunnel ceilings overhead. Later, Wesley's new-found skills enable him to leap off the trains onto bridges, before sprinting across the latter to land back on the trains again. Yow.

3) The derailing scene, which features a giant locomotive careening off a viaduct into a gorge which looks more like an abyss. Never mind the thousands of innocent lives lost - the assassins have a more important agenda at hand, dammit!

I admit the overall premise contains its share of hokey-ness, but it fails to irritate the way The Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions did. At most, you have to contend with a textiles factory, The Loom Of Fate and some binary code messages, and a rather weird / dumb idea about strapping little bombs to rats.

That aside, we move on to the actors' performances - in particular, those of Jolie and McAvoy.

Special mention goes to Morgan Freeman, who is always a welcome addition to any cast, but who's sorely underutilized here.

Jolie has never looked more beautiful, and the role of Fox fits her like a glove. I can imagine all the pools of drool that must've been left by male moviegoers after each screening. She slithers like a cat, wields her guns like a veteran hitman, is the epitome of feminine wiles, able to convey volumes with the slightest twitch of her mouth and the smallest arch of her perfect eyebrows.

All these effusive compliments coming from me - a straight woman. I can only hazard a guess as to what's going through the minds of millions of men all over the world as they watch her strut her stuff.

McAvoy, on the other hand, blows me away yet again. For the record, he has toppled Shia LaBeouf from the #3 position on my all-time favourite actors list ( the 3rd spot is usually up for grabs, while #1's Kevin Spacey and #2's John Cusack are tough to beat ). This is a guy who has done children's fantasy fare ( The Chronicles Of Narnia ), English romances ( Becoming Jane, Atonement ) and gritty drama ( The Last King Of Scotland ). It's beginning to look like he can do just about anything, now that he's conquered the last frontier in the movie business: the summer action blockbuster.

He's a tiny, boyishly handsome chap, but carries the role of Wesley very competently thanks to his superior acting skills. Like Tobey Maguire's turn as Spider-man, McAvoy's gradual transformation from downtrodden geek to confident killer is convincing and compelling. There're touches of comedy - Wesley's penchant for apologizing evolves hilariously from mousey intonations to mocking farewells; his attempt at getting Fox to move aside by pointing a gun at her deteriorates into groveling as she stands her ground and looks amused; and.. one of my favourite scenes has Wesley shooting the wings off the flies, but not before desperately pleading his case before Sloan ( Freeman ).

While the supporting cast and director are strong, it is ultimately McAvoy's charm which carries the film and makes an otherwise cheesy storyline that much easier to swallow. His American accent is flawless, his chemistry with fellow actors electric, his agility a wonderful sight to behold.

My only complaint is that he looks very scrappy here. If you want to know just how gorgeous he can be, Atonement and Becoming Jane are must-sees.

I just hope Wanted will be available as an in-flight movie come September when I go on holiday ( I may just put it on repeat spins for 10 hours, heh ).

In any case, I WANT THE DVD.

Starter For 10

I ordered this from Amazon together with Becoming Jane ( which, by the way, doesn't seem to be available for sale locally, but why bother when Amazon offers a better version with much more bonus material? ), and absolutely love it!

This British gem of a comedy has Sam Mendes and Tom Hanks among the list of producers, and though it doesn't exactly beat American coming-of-age classics like Say Anything ( John Cusack's most memorable role to date ), Ferris Bueller's Day Off ( an adorable Matthew Broderick ) or The Breakfast Club ( Brat Packers rule! ), it is a decent, heartwarming effort, with a few little twists to keep things interesting.

As always, McAvoy is endearing as hapless and naive Brian Jackson, a Bristol University newbie whose affections are lavished on the wrong girl, leading to the usual complications. While the script and supporting cast are run-of-the-mill stuff, McAvoy shines like a lighthouse beacon on a foggy night, infusing an otherwise straightforward character with layers of emotional complexity, the same way John Cusack made Lloyd Dobler one of the most beloved slackers in movie history.

Memorable scenes from Starter For 10:

1) his first attempt at smoking pot, followed by a foiled attempt to seduce Alice

2) his late-night encounter with Alice's parents in the kitchen while he's indulging an attack of the "munchies"

3) a little jig he does in a courtyard while Rebecca observes from a window

I can't wait for his next project, The Last Station. He stars alongside a very accomplished cast of veterans ( Plummer, Mirren, Giamatti ), not to mention his wife, Anne-Marie Duff ( who is, interestingly, 8 years his senior ). I'm sure he'll do extremely well in this.

Angels And Demons

Some of you may remember my trip to Italy in 2005, during which I joined the official A&D tour run by the Dark Rome company. The tour has been getting a lot of press recently, in large part because of the film shoot which has experienced some glitches ( the Vatican is NOT happy with Dan Brown ). The fact that the Catholic Church has imposed bans on the cast and crew shooting in at least 2 key locations has made me treasure my trip even more, since my mom and I went to all the churches mentioned in the novel, and even met the tour company's director, Simone Gozzi, who's mentioned in many of the articles. I wasn't 100% certain at first, but a quick check with my journal showed that we had indeed met him - a very lucky coincidence as he happened to be waiting for another group that same morning to bring them on a premium tour ( in a cushy Mercedes limo ). I remember him as a tall, lanky young man with brown hair and a very warm, friendly disposition. He walked right up to us and shook our hands even though we told him we were with a different group ( we took a mini-van, but it was loads of fun 'cos the 7-8 of us got along so well ). It's a little surreal to read about him in connection with such a huge movie. :)

Right then, that's enough from me for now. Have a good week ahead.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More Wanted Clips!

I'm just going to continue this until I see the movie this weekend. :) just became partners with Fandango, so there's a slight change in format. If you can't view the videos, go to Tools at the top of your browser window, click on Internet Options, choose Privacy and set it to Low or Medium Low, Apply then Ok.

If that doesn't work, go to Internet Options again, click General and Delete all cookies.

Close the browser window and open a new one.

If THAT doesn't help, try downloading the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.

The reason I'm telling you all this is so you can enjoy fistfuls of additional videos which are now available on this site.

The link for Wanted is here.

There're elements of The Matrix, I notice. And James McAvoy shows off his flair for comedy, action and drama to great effect. The action sequences are bloody cool. What else can you expect from the maestro who directed Night Watch ( though I didn't really like that film, I do admit it boasts some innovative artistry )?

And -- an interview with McAvoy on his role available on YouTube.

Only 3 more days to go...

Ooh, awesome trailer of Hellboy 2. Let's hope it opens the same day as the USA ( July 11th ). I'm a huge Guillermo del Toro fan!

And Heath Ledger's almost unrecognizable in his demanding role as The Joker in The Dark Knight. A premature death indeed.

Also, I'd like to recommend Dexter, a gory but irreverent TV series which will never see the light of day on local television ( Season 2 is currently being shown on Digital cable's Foxcrime channel ) because it's so violent and borderline sick even I am occasionally disturbed by it, heh.

But the plotlines are challenging, the script consistently exceptional, the acting and cast rapport superb, the twists thrilling beyond description.

Last but not least, a most interesting meeting with the medical team covering the F1 race took place yesterday. While I've been sitting on the fence excitement-wise these past few months, I admit to looking forward to the event come September -- partly because of the role I've been assigned.
I thank you for your vote of confidence! :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Counting Down...

Yes, more rambling about Wanted. Feel free to skip this if you're not interested.

I haven't been so excited about a movie since probably the LOTR trilogy.

The trailers look solid ( official website at this link, featuring a subtly different trailer ), and the stars are totally hot. ( James McAvoy developed pectorals all of a sudden, but I like him better scrawny. :))

Just rewatched The Last King Of Scotland the other night ( till 2am, as per my new habit heh ). It was excellent the first time I caught it 1-2 years ago, but this time, with my newfound appreciation of James McAvoy, it was unbelievable.

You can view some short clips from the film here. If you want to see McAvoy in emoting mode, go to the one titled I Have To Go Home Now. ( If the order gets mixed up - it's happening to me right now - look for the opening line from Forest Whitaker, which is "What is all this about your going home?". )

Granted, Whitaker is fantastic here, and completely deserving of his Oscar, but the story is told from Dr. Nicholas Garrigan's perspective, and McAvoy is present in every single scene. His transformation from a carefree young med school graduate to disillusioned personal physician / advisor is riveting. He matches Whitaker at every step, which is no mean feat considering the differences in height, physical appearance and personalities.

A Few More Reviews

A delayed one about The Darjeeling Limited, which I really REALLY love. Despite what the critics and box office say.

If you enjoy films like The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou ( those of you who've even heard of the latter deserve a pat on the back ), you will definitely want to catch Darjeeling.

I'll leave you to read the plot for yourself. It's a pretty short film ( 90 minutes or so ), but offers a hearty mix of comedy, tragedy, sex, love, death, drug-highs, Indian rituals, a funeral, and other assorted little goodies.

The main reason the whole formula works lies, of course, with its 3 stars - Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman. This marks the first time they're collaborating on the big screen, and the chemistry is explosive. They make you honestly believe they're blood relatives - it's amazing!

The clip titled The Whitman Brothers ( go to Multimedia ) gives a nice overview of the siblings' dynamics. My favourite is, hands down, Adrien Brody, who plays freaked-out father-to-be middle brother Peter to perfection. There're many clues to pick up on throughout the film - e.g. Owen's character, Francis, has a habit of ordering for his brothers and asking them to raise their hands if they want something; you'll find out why in the last 15 minutes, when they meet the person they've been desperately searching for.

The clip He Escaped is especially hilarious. You can't tell from the bit offered on this site, 'cos the buildup isn't included in its entirety, but in the movie itself, I laughed my guts out. :)

Digital cable recently screened a version of Pride & Prejudice which I've been longing to see for many years now - i.e. the one starring Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson. The result was rather... interesting.

Perhaps it stems from the fact that I last watched this when I was in junior college. I still remember many of the scenes word for word, but it intrigued me that I now prefer the updated Keira Knightley-Matthew MacFadyen remake much more. I can give the following reasons for this: (1) Knightley is feisty compared to the tremulous Garson ( who started to grate on my nerves after a while ), (2) the actors in the original are a little too old for their roles ( the characters are described as in their early to mid-20s in the novel ), (3) the remake is in vivid colour while the other is in black and white, (4) the women's costumes in the early version are quite hideous if you think about it, and (5) the script for the remake is a lot more faithful to the book ( though some scenes have been altered liberally ).

Last but not least, there's Pushing Daisies, a TV show I've been dying ( pardon the pun ) to see since reading rave reviews about it on the Internet. The pilot episode was so insanely bizarre I was utterly bewitched. The leads, Lee Pace and Anna Friel, are adorable together, and Chi McBride expertly provides the realism such a whimsical tale needs.

I find Lee Pace very cute, by the way. Tall, lanky, awkwardly handsome, and wonderfully lovable in this complex role.

SingFest 2008

I'm going for one reason only - Jason Mraz on Day 2.

Thank you, aliendoc, for the tip! Would've missed this tidbit for sure if you hadn't told me.

Some Privacy Desired

Have been ignoring my other blog for a while now, but there's no better time to jumpstart it again, to pen some of my frustrations away from the prying eyes of my usual readers.

Sorry, I need this one just for myself.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Lessons Learnt

Never be surprised when someone you think you know well blindsides you.

Trust no-one. ( except maybe your parents )

Hard work is easily overlooked.

It is with a heavy heart that I make this decision, yet it must be made. I am profoundly disappointed, and deeply hurt. And yet, I probably saw this coming sometime ago, just that I chose to ignore it.

Oh well, it leaves me more time to devote to other pursuits. Am most grateful for this blog, where I will always be able to express myself freely through writing.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sleepless In Singapore


I've recently developed a bad habit - that of sitting on my bed in the dark, past midnight till who knows when, watching DVDs and YouTube clips on my laptop.

I put the blame completely on James McAvoy, whose performance in Becoming Jane is the main reason I'm doing this.

In my last entry, I failed to share information about what I consider the best scene in the film. You can watch it on YouTube via this link.

To provide a bit of background for those who haven't already seen the movie, this little interlude occurs around the 35th minute, soon after Jane and Tom have established their mutual dislike for, but also reluctant attraction to, each other.

Jane stumbles upon Tom in his aunt's library, and the rest -- you can see for yourself.

May I just point out a few things worth appreciating in this most delighful sequence: McAvoy looks rakishly handsome, he has a wonderful voice and accent for reading aloud, he displays an easy cheekiness and oozes sex appeal, and his chemistry with Anne Hathaway is absolutely mesmerizing.

Watch closely: how he almost caresses each word of the passage he's reading, then stops and teases Jane with a cliffhanger, only to fluster her with the climactic ending, fixing her with an intense stare and an amused half-smile. Then, as she strides off, he reverses in the other direction, matching her step for step, before meeting her on the other side of the bookshelf, admonishing her then teasing her yet again.
The whole exchange is perfectly timed, the body language superb, and McAvoy's facial expressions varying beautifully between unfathomable and playful.
The whole thing lasts only 3 minutes, but crams so much into that short period, and never fails to bring a huge grin to my face.

However, the DVD offers a much higher resolution compared to YouTube -- in the former, the colour is vibrant, and McAvoy's blue eyes practically light up the screen.

Just make sure to wear earphones so you can hear everything - and I mean everything, including the ticking grandfather clock and McAvoy's sniffles - as clearly as possible.

Don't think I've seen anything like this since Laurence Olivier's performance in Pride And Prejudice, where Mr. Darcy first makes his affections known to Miss Bennet, only to be rebuffed. I watched that one countless times on my VHS many years ago, but the tape conked out after too many replays, so I think I'm going to order the DVD from Amazon sometime in the near future.

Check out the trailers for Wanted. Looks like a must-see!

And... this priceless interview with fellow Scotsman, Craig Ferguson. The 5:40 mark promises a side-splitting joke! :D

Ok then, enough rambling from me. :)

Sunday, June 08, 2008


I don't want this entry to be a depressing one.

He was 10 years and 9 months old when he passed, but brought us endless joy and was the sweetest soul throughout his entire life.

His last few days were difficult, but it was a choice we had to make, despite our immense reluctance to part with him.

I miss him terribly, but alas, life must go on, and I can only console myself with fond memories -- and numerous photographs -- of him growing up ( then growing old ).

The first 3 days following his departure were the toughest, but I shall not dwell on them, because it forms only a tiny part of an otherwise happy existence.

Farewell, beloved friend and faithful companion. I'm certain we will meet again someday.

And Now, Back To Our Usual Transmission

It's the last stretch of a short leave period -- an annual ritual which coincides with my birthday ( previous attempts to work through this important week resulted in severe depression, hence my decision to take this course of action ).

This year's short holiday, so to speak, has been more memorable than most. Perhaps partly due to my cat's recent passing. Or perhaps those DVDs I rented also had some effect.

Here's a list of what I've watched in the last 5 days alone:

Stardust - recommended highly by a fellow A&E colleague. Started a little shakily, but picked up momentum at the halfway mark, and kept me enthralled till the end. Robert de Niro does an outstanding job as a ferocious captain with a secret -- watch for a scene of him "dressed up" in his private quarters, doing a "dance number". Had me in stitches! :D
Charlie Cox, who plays the male lead, blossoms beautifully from a naive young boy to a full-fledged hero. Doesn't hurt that he's also quite gorgeous, especially with those long locks. :)
The rest of the cast doesn't really make an impression, but I'm sure any viewer will be able to find something enjoyable to latch onto.

Michael Clayton - a tad overrated, based on all the rave reviews I've been reading ( not to mention those Oscar noms and a win for Tilda Swinton ). It's intelligent enough, I suppose, and I do like George Clooney very very much. But it lacks the punch of, say, Erin Brockovich. And it definitely doesn't even come close to another whistleblowing-themed film, i.e. The Insider.
No harm watching this if you've got some time to burn. Otherwise, just wait for cable to air it.

I Am Legend - again, I don't fully comprehend its box-office success on the opening weekend. But hey, it stars Will Smith, so maybe it isn't so crazy after all.
The premise is interesting enough -- apocalyptic incidents usually are -- but the execution fails at the mid-point, and starts deteriorating in the 3rd quarter.
However, I found the scene where Smith's character has to euthanize his pet German Shepherd, Samantha, absolutely heart-wrenching.
I much prefer his other sci-fi work -- I, Robot -- which was much more exciting and thought-provoking. Plus, Shia LaBeouf played his sidekick in that film. Two for one, people. :)

Eastern Promises - I LOVE this film! Reuniting one of my favourite actors, the extremely talented yet underrated Viggo Mortensen, with director David Cronenberg ( who, before his partnership with Mortensen, churned out quite a few disturbing projects ), this quiet yet riveting thriller boasts exceptional performances from Viggo and his leading lady, the lovely and tremulous Naomi Watts.

I thoroughly enjoyed A History Of Violence ( the preceding Cronenberg-Mortensen masterpiece ), and Eastern Promises shares quite a few similarities with the former ( will let you find those out for yourself ). The main difference: the Russian accents, done to perfection by our leading man.

The fight scene in the sauna will have you biting your nails and gaping in awe at Viggo's unbelievably buff physique ( he turns 50 this year ).

I, for one, have always been captivated by his soft-spoken demeanour, whether he's playing a warrior king ( Aragorn in LOTR ), a fortune-hunting con man ( A Perfect Murder ), a sex addict in rehab ( 28 Days ), a horse whisperer ( sort of, in Hidalgo ) or a supposedly ordinary small-town figure with a dark past ( A History Of Violence ). He's an artist where exuding sexuality and menace while standing completely still is concerned. But he flexed some serious romantic chops in LOTR -- wish he'd do more of such roles! :)

In short, watch this movie. You won't regret it.

Silk - I rented this only because of Keira Knightley, who's become one of my favourite actresses in recent months, thanks to my growing appreciation for her spirited portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice.
This period piece boasts lush cinematography and the requisite epic tragic love story elements. Knightley and leading man Michael Pitt also do competent jobs emoting ( Pitt, by the way, looks surprisingly tasty in costume, as opposed to his juvenile aura in Murder By Numbers -- didn't help that he was completely overshadowed by the much more good-looking and cheeky Ryan Gosling ).
Everything starts to unravel in the last half hour, but on the whole, I found the experience rather enlightening.

Becoming Jane - I watched this twice in 2 days. Why? Because of James McAvoy, who's the latest addition to my list of Top 10 fave actors ( who include Kevin Spacey, John Cusack and Shia LaBeouf in the #1, #2 and #3 spots respectively, followed by - in no particular order - George Clooney, Keanu Reeves, Johnny Depp, Hugh Grant, Edward Norton and Viggo Mortensen ). Notice how none of them is blonde? :)

Recounting a true romance between Jane Austen and Irish hothead Tom LeFroy, it is a more subdued version of Pride & Prejudice ( nothing can beat that! ), but is just as affecting, thanks in large part to a nuanced performance from female lead Anne Hathaway ( though a bit too pretty for the role ) and a heartbreaking delivery from McAvoy.

While Matthew MacFadyen as Mr. Darcy in P&P was tall and intimidating, McAvoy's LeFroy is much more tortured, which more than makes up for his short stature. I first spotted him in The Last King Of Scotland ( which I feel remains his best work to date ), and have also caught him in The Chronicles Of Narnia ( he's the faun ) and Atonement ( forgot to review that months ago, sorry ). His star is definitely rising rapidly, and for good reason.

His performance as LeFroy surpasses everything else I've seen thus far, except for King Of Scotland ( he's really excellent in that one - catch it on cable June 22nd ). Here, he manages to switch effortlessly between callous scoundrel, arrogant snob, lovestruck suitor and tormented lover. An astounding feat for one so young ( he's 28 ).

Watch for: (1) the 2-3 seconds where he exuberantly slides down the staircase railing as he races to receive Jane at the door of his uncle's home,
(2) a BEAUTIFUL blink-or-you'll-miss-it sequence where he catches Jane by surprise at a ball, flashing her a warm yet mischievous smile as they twirl around each other, (3) a scene at the lake at night, where Jane kisses him for the first time and he professes his love for her, (4) an encounter in the woods, where he passionately denounces his uncle's plans for his future, enfolding Jane in an embrace and convincing her to elope with him, and (5) a truly remarkable moment in a tavern, where Jane changes her mind and LeFroy looks as if he will go mad.

Having seen Atonement ( which received high praise despite being a lot more subtle in its pathos ), I personally think Becoming Jane deserves more attention from critics and McAvoy fans.

I CAN'T WAIT to see him shooting guns with Angelina Jolie in the upcoming Wanted! ( I've got my free movie tickets ready and waiting. :))

Check out this wonderful website for more info and photos.

Take That: Beautiful World Live - for the record, I initially hated their studio recording, which was released in late 2006. However, I saw bits of the concert DVD being played at Takashimaya's Gramophone outlet a few months ago, and decided to purchase it a couple of weeks ago on a whim.
I'm happy to report that the Take That guys ( minus original 5th member, Robbie Williams ) have still got it -- the vocal chops, the slick dance moves, the firm bods, the rapport with the crowd, and tonnes of charisma.
Of course, the eye-popping stage sets, visual effects and gorgeous backup dancers help a lot with the aesthetic aspects of the show. Some bits were marvelously well done -- e.g. Could It Be Magic, which featured a rotating central stage and some cool acrobatics; and Never Forget, which superimposed 'live' action with some nifty animation -- while others excelled on musical interpretation alone: Everything Changes, redone in an acoustic adult-contemporary riff; Back For Good, which got the entire stadium roaring karaoke style; Rule The World, the love theme from Stardust, done perfectly.
Their new songs from the Beautiful World album feature prominently as well, from Reach Out, Patience and Beautiful World, to Shine ( my personal fave ), Wooden Boat and I'd Wait For Life. Everything just sounds phenomenal 'live', something I found quite interesting since I thought their comeback CD was bland and weak.

Just goes to show how wrong I was. Highly recommended for TT fans - or anyone who'd like a taste of great British pop at its best.

Josh Groban: Awake 'Live' - this one's not too bad either, mostly because Josh's exquisite voice is back after faltering badly on his sophomore Live At The Greek recording. While he sounded tired and strained on the latter, he's made a complete turnaround on the former, belting out demanding melodies with aplomb, never losing a breath or missing a note. He also does some nifty drum- and piano-playing.

So it's back to the grind tomorrow. While I would've preferred extending my leave a little, I have to save it for September, when I'll be overseas for a couple of weeks ( destination to be revealed after I return ), then using the rest of the month for the F1 race's medical field team training.

No, I am NOT an F1 fan. But I did read a fascinating article in Time magazine recently, which described some cool scientific concepts about how a race car beats it competition. $300 million to build a winner? Such extravagance doesn't sit well with me.

Reviews of The Darjeeling Limited and Pushing Daisies will be posted in my next entry -- in short, they're both fabulous!