Gravity – Review

The standout movie of this season has GOT to be Gravity, and my eagle eyes scored me an early screening *for Singapore* at GV Vivocity.

HOLY. SH*T. This is a good movie. The trailer says it all really, and there are many twists and turns that keep you constantly on the edge of your seat. Whilst it is doubtful that actual space travel entails… whatever this movie entails, the movie takes the movie going experience and just smashes it into a whole other level.

3D had its coming out party with Avatar, but this movie, is 3D’s graduation. Everything about it is beautiful, there is genuinely not one moment where you would go. HA that’s CGI, or HA that’s greenscreen. Everything in this movie looks stunningly perfect. From the stunning vistas, to the deep dark emptiness of night, this movie HAS to be seen in 3D. It’s never overplayed, but serves to immerse you fully in its majesty and beauty.

The acting on this film is stellar. With a startlingly spartan cast of 3, Sandra Bullock spends most of this movie alone, cocooned in her spacesuit. She does however, bring it. The dark intensity of a lost soul. the fear and terror of losing everything in space. The desperate scramble to survive when it seems like everything is conspiring to kill you. Every moment of this movie is focused solely on Sandra Bullock’s character and she delivers every shot with perfect clarity and often painstakingly transparent vulnerability. George Clooney also brings a good performance, though he is basically playing the same guy from every movie he’s been in since… whenever. A character who I love. But is starting to get a little repetitive.

Almost every review of this movie has been glowing and mine will be the same. Alfonso Cuaron has destroyed every other space movie ever made with his gentle and stunningly compelling piece, to which I say, Bravo.

6/5 Stars. I cannot recommend this movie enough.

 

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A New Way to Sell your Phone

So it looks like Singapore has its very own new online mobile phone selling platform. The company called Bounce Mobile purports to add a price match component, quick transfers of funds as well as a courier pick up of the phone you intend on selling.

Based on a quick look at the website, the iPhone 5 32 gig is being bought at S$525 on Bounce Mobile, and as a matter of comparison, the price you can get on Mobilesquare is S$550. Whilst the Samsung Galaxy S3 is going at S$268 on Bounce, it is being bought at S$260 on Mobilesquare. All this really means is that this website brings an extra element of competition to the mobile phone selling and purchasing space, and it is still advisable to do your shopping around in order to know what is best for you and whether the convenience of receiving a direct transfer to your bank account as well as a courier service, is a benefit you find valuable to you.

iPhone 5s & 5c

This morning, Apple announced their newest iPhones and whilst this product has been leaked to the high heavens with almost every prediction being spot on.

The 5c is basically a cheap slightly improved version of the current iPhone 5 which is now discontinued.

The 5s comes with a new processor chip, supposedly better battery life and a much improved camera. Other new features include a thumbprint scanner for better security and a special processor that measures the movements of the phone, and other such data. Also significant is the transition to 64bit, which promises to make things even faster. All these announcements were anticipated and were pretty much predictable even without the massive leaks.

If you are a Singtel customer who wishes to renew his contract and get a new iPhone, the registration of interest page may be found http://www.singtel.com/iphoneroi

The Lengths We Go To – SQ’s Latest Ad Campaign

Singapore Airlines has launched their new ad campaigned entitled “The Lengths We Go To” which is intended to chronicle the great lengths that Singapore Airlines will go to ensure that their customers are comfortable and enjoying themselves on their flight. The first ad, found above, shows the airline going to get the best teas from the heart of China, and evokes an air of exotic beauty, and authenticity that is very rapidly going missing in this day and age of speed and clinical efficiency.

Personally, I believe that this ad will go some way to reinforce the impression that SIA is the airline of choice for luxury and the high end. However, the unfortunate reality is, that Singapore Airlines is facing tremendous competition from all fronts, from the Middle Eastern “new legacy” carriers, to European carriers that are rapidly raising up their standards, as well as a more tight fisted world where travelling in front is truly restricted to the upper crust. Nevertheless, as has always been true of SIA’s unique selling point, the hope is that there will always be some space for consumers who desire a higher quality product and are willing to pay more for the privilege of doing so.

I’ve also included the making of video below, it’s pretty cool actually to see how they came up with this campaign.

Continue reading “The Lengths We Go To – SQ’s Latest Ad Campaign”

Cook a Pot of Curry

So I watched Cook a Pot of Curry on the 14th of July, Alfian Sa’at’s new play presented at LaSalle’s theatre. It was a fascinating piece of theater. It is not a play in any sense of the word, there is no plot, merely a unifying theme, that of the immigrant in Singapore. Mr. Sa’at tackles various perspectives in this piece, with various actors and actresses playing various roles, espousing their unique takes and views on the immigration issue. Several stand-out performances are to be had, and it is a high energy and highly political piece, with uncomfortable truths exposed at several turns.

Ultimately, one might say however, as useful and interesting as this piece may be, Sa’at’s piece falls just that bit short. He is ultimately “conventional” in the sense that a lot of the views he tosses out in this piece aren’t exactly new or unheard of. They are presented luridly, and stylishly, but fail to challenge the viewer. A part of me wonders if this is because the piece only works if we were to trust the neutrality of the “selector” of these extracts, or if Mr. Sa’at is trying to reflect reality as best as he can. I cannot say I did not enjoy my time at the theatre nor had he failed to challenge me, but I do wish, he had taken some of these POV moments further, and challenged us further. Many of his more cutting commentaries were met with applause and laughter, when I felt they should have been met with silence, for the audience should feel shame, and guilt for letting themselves take these very serious problems so lightly.

But my opinion is clearly in the minority. Cook a Pot of Curry is a fascinating work of art, deserving of the attention of any Singaporean at all concerned about the issues and problems faced by our country’s growing population, and the closely linked issue of immigrants in our midst.

A traumatising Customer Service Experience @ W Singapore

Those of you who know me, know that I’m usually quite a genial guy. In fact, I would go so far as to say I go out of the way to make sure people are not overly inconvenienced by me. As far as possible, when it comes to hotels, I try to be the ideal hotel guest, y’know leave the room is a nice state, not scatter alcohol all over, or throw a TV out the window that sorta thing. But this past experience at the W Singapore – Sentosa Cove over the weekend has been thoroughly traumatising.

Let me begin by saying that other than this particular experience, I had a really really good time there, and that had this not happened, I might have very well written a glowing review of the hotel. I would definitely want to go back to have breakfast there, if I’m ever in the neighbourhood. So on that front I genuinely have no hard feelings, and it is all things considered a perfectly fine hotel. But what happened was just so far beyond the pale that I cannot help but write about this.

It happened on the morning of 9th December, Michelle and I had gone out to Zoukout and got back late. We were in bed sleeping when I heard a noise, Michelle was sound asleep, and I was awoken by a rustle, and I said “Hello?”. A voice came that said something about soap. I was completely out of it and didn’t know what to say in response when the door shut again. But this weighed heavily on my mind for a long time. I wasn’t sure if it was a dream, an intruder, or what not. It was only when I woke up in the morning and told Michelle about it, that I felt that it must have been someone bringing down some soap to the room.

The sun came up and it was morning proper so we went to have breakfast, and after speaking to Michelle about it, we realised that we really should inform the staff about this so I called the so-called Whatever/Whenever line.

The member of staff that picked up the phone did not give a shit.

It was shocking to be honest to be on the other side of the phone talking to someone who was so completely uncaring and not willing to give a crap about my issue.  It was a complete turn around from the 4 other times I called the line, asking for pillows, and for other such bits and bobs, when people were pleasant and completely obliging. I would have thought that as customer service, a distressing issue like, someone randomly entering your room would take precedence over… a pillow but hey, who am I, to say. At that point in time I was quite unfazed, because frankly the reality of the situation had not really sunk in. Maybe I was just too shocked to realise.

So we packed our bags and went to check out. The first thing I said to the guy at check out was the explanation of the issue. And from the look on his face, I could immediately tell that he didn’t know what to do about it. He said that he would let his manager know and that he would get back to us. I told him over and over that I would like a proper response to the issue and he just didn’t seem to get how weird, and unsavory this was.

Now at this point, I should refer back to my opening paragraph, I try at all times to be a model guest. My belief is that if I’m a great guest to you, you would be more inclined to give me great service. But somehow, it didn’t seem to be clear, to anyone at any point what a terrible experience it was to have someone randomly enter my room. Amongst other scary possibilities, what if something was stolen, or if I hadn’t woke up or Michelle was alone? There are so many possibilities of what could have happened, and I am not exaggerating when I say that this could very well be a massive security issue and liability to a hotel if members of staff could just wander into guests’ rooms! Some have said that I should not have paid. I am beginning to wonder myself, if I should have kicked up a MASSIVE fuss as well. Because that would at least have solicited some sort of reaction, but that is not the way I wanted to resolve things. 

Later that day, the explanation did come from the hotel, and it was some explanation that some guest had allegedly come to reception, purported to be my mother? or possibly Michelle, and asked for toiletries to be sent to the room. And that if no one was in, that they should enter and leave it on the desk. Which, I take to be plausible. But must discount completely.

In the first place, My mom was sleeping soundly on the mainland. This booking was made in her name for me, and she was nowhere near Sentosa at the time. And Michelle did not at any time leave the room, so why bring them into the picture. It is obvious that it was someone else who got the room number wrong! Why not just accept that or suggest that to me, rather than give me some cock and bull story that I know is wrong, that insults my intelligence and worst of all, brings in other people who were simply not involved, and leads me to question why their names were even brought up in the first place. And in the second place, let’s assume they got it wrong. Because that is what it is. Is it REALLY so hard to simply apologise?

Having said all that, in fairness, I must thank @queenofejungle on Twitter, who DM’d me a really sincere and heartfelt apology. She really did try to assuage me later on. But this is not just in my hands anymore. Michelle’s mother was livid when she heard, and was quite cross with me for not demanding more action whilst at the hotel. And I don’t blame her, would you feel safe letting your daughter go somewhere where people can just walk in on you whilst you’re sleeping?

So dear reader? What do you think? I’ve tried to be as objective as possible here. Is it too much to ask for a simple apology, rather than some BS about other people’s problems and other people’s faults? I’m not asking for a lot, I don’t think, but merely someone to actually take some damn responsibility for their actions!