Mariah Carey – Merry Christmas [DualDisc]

30 October 2005
The album was originally released in 1994 (11 years ago.) This year on October 25th, it was re-released in a new format – DualDisc, which is a double-sided disc containing regular CD on one side and an enchanted DVD on the other side. Mariah’s legendary Christmas album is definitely worth the treat. The song "All I Want for Christmas Is You," which Mariah herself  wrote for this album, has been very popular and could be considered as a classic Christmas song. Everyone might have heard of the song in many different versions, as it has been covered by Shania Twain and Samantha Mumba. The song was also featured in the film "Love Actually" by Olivia Olson.

Aside from fully loaded DVD, there is a special treat for fans from Mariah in this re-release album. Mariah had recorded a new version of the song "Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town" and it’s called the "Anniversary Mix." In the DVD, we are able to see a beautiful claymation music video of this new version of the song.

Here are the track listings of this album:

Disc: 1 [CD]
1. Silent Night
2. All I Want for Christmas Is You
3. O Holy Night
4. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
5. Miss You Most (At Christmas Time)
6. Joy to the World
7. Jesus Born on This Day
8. Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town
9. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing/Gloria (In Excelsis Deo)
10. Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child
11. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
12. Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town [Anniversary Mix]

Disc: 2 [DVD]
1. Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town [Anniversary Mix] [Video]
2. All I Want for Christmas Is You [Video]
3. Miss You Most (At Christmas Time) [Video]
4. All I Want for Christmas Is You [J.D. Remix: Animated] [Video]
5. Joy to the World [Celebration Mix] [Video]
6. O Holy Night [Video]
7. All I Want for Christmas Is You [Black & White Version] [Video]
8. Joy to the World [Live at St. John the Devine] [Video]
9. Silent Night [PCM Stereo]
10. All I Want for Christmas Is You [PCM Stereo]
11. O Holy Night [PCM Stereo]
12. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) [PCM Stereo]
13. Miss You Most (At Christmas Time) [PCM Stereo]
14. Joy to the World [PCM Stereo]
15. Jesus Born on This Day [PCM Stereo]
16. Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town [PCM Stereo]
17. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing/Gloria (In Excelsis Deo) [PCM Stereo]
18. Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child [PCM Stereo]
19. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen [PCM Stereo]
20. Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town [Anniversary Mix] [PCM Stereo]

Wow, I am sure this year’s Christmas spirit will be even higher with Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas album. Don’t you agree?
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Brobdingnagian DVD Boxset

28 October 2005
I have just come across some unusually huge DVD boxsets at amazon.com. Well, the box of the DVDs themselves might be enormous, but the number of discs in each DVD set is even greater. I think it’s the most number of discs per boxset I have ever heard of. I am talking about "Buffy the Vampire Slayer – The Chosen Collection" which contains a grand total of 40 DVD discs in one boxset, 39 of which are all 144 episodes of the series from its first to its seventh and final season, while another bonus disc contains special features such as casts & crews interviews and other Buffy-related documentaries created especially for the collection. The boxset will be released on November 15, 2005 in the states with the suggested retail price of $199.98. That’s about $5 per disc which is a real bargain for DVD in the USA. You could even get it cheaper by pre-ordering the set from amazon.com at $169.99. Click for more detail.

Another super colossal boxset with an equal number of discs to "Buffy’s" is no other than the legendary sit-com "Friends – The One with All Ten Seasons." Packed with all episodes from all 10 seasons of the series, the set will be released in a limited edition collector’s box. It will also be on sale on November 15, 2005 in the states with the suggested retail price of $299.98. You could save more by pre-ordering it from amazon.com at $199.99. Click for more detail.

There is also another gigantic boxset to be released. It’s "Sex and the City – The Complete Series (Collector’s Giftset)" which contains less but still high number of 20 DVD discs: the complete series (season 1 – season 6) on 19 discs plus a bonus disc. This item will be released on November 1, 2005 in the states with more expensive suggested retail price of $299.95. You may pre-order it at amazon.com now to get a discounted price of $194.97. Click for more detail.

I am sure there would be more monstrous DVD boxset to be released in the future. It might seem unfair for those fans of the series who have already bought each seasons DVD boxset when it came out. It’s just another marketing strategy. For those who own the individual season boxset, don’t sweat or swear with things you couldn’t control. You have to think on the brighter side that you had a chance to enjoy your favorite show much longer before those who haven’t owned the set yet.

{proof}

27 October 2005

The biggest risk in life is not taking one.

There is a thin line between genius and insanity. This is a story of a daughter of a genius mathematician who passed away with mental disorder and left behind a legacy of his achievement to her. She had to dropped out from school to personally take care of her unstable father. Once he passed away, she still couldn’t get on with her life. Her only fear is that she might possess the same brilliant ability like her father as well as a tendency towards insanity…

The movie is based on the Pulitzer Prize novel by David Auburn. Formerly, the novel was adapted by the author to be a great stage play, which won the Tony Awards. Now, the author also agreed to adapt his own work into a movie screenplay by himself. The story is indeed well-paced and deep. The dialogue is sharp and clever. The style of the stage-play is being kept throughout the film. You could see a long shot in one location with a long conversation like the stage-play.The film is well edited as the sequence of the scenes is presented with a style.

If that isn’t interesting enough, take a look at the cast line-up. You could see Academy Awards winner Anthony Hopkins and Gwyneth Paltrow starring together for the first time in this movie. Their performances are superb. Please note that Gwyneth Paltrow used to act in the same leading role on stage in London’s West End. Thus, it’s no doubt why she could play so well in this movie. The movie also starred Jake Gyllenhaal (from "The Day After Tomorrow") and Hope Davis.

PS. I don’t know how the writer could come up with a song called "i" which the musicians stand still in silence and do nothing for 3 minutes. You have to go watching this movie and find out the reason for it by yourself. It was funny but true, indeed!

PS.2 Thanks to popcornmag for free movie ticket.

5 stars out of 5 – recommend not only to mathematics lovers but also to everyone.


Diary 2006: Pets in Sa Pathum Palace

26 October 2005
This is a great gift idea for the coming Christmas and New Year festival. Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has released her newest book in diary format entitled "Pets in Sa Pathum Palace," featuring pictures of all 21 dogs raised by the Princess in her palace. The Princess also hand-wrote the captions of all pictures and included some comments and tidbits of not only her dogs but also other animals living in the Palace, such as cats, ducks, geese, snakes and even millipedes.

The diary is launched just in time to welcome the year 2006 which is the Chinese Year of Dog. I am sure it would become one of the best-selling books for the end of this year. I myself have reserved a copy of the book at Nai-in book store.

Are TV Characters’ Salaries Realistic?

25 October 2005

I came across this article on the other day at MSN Careers. The author tried to point out how unrealistic TV characters’ salaries compare with their lifestyles. A clear example is shown from an extravagant lifestyle of Carrie Bradshaw (a character from the famous HBO series "Sex and the City") who has a job as a sex columnist in a New York City newspaper. Her glamorous lifestyle is by no means possible for a median annual salary of about $57,000 for a journalist with 10 years of experience in real-life. Even a person like Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston’s famous character from "Friends,") who serves coffee in the neighborhood coffee-shop, could pay for a rent on an enormous New York apartment and has some money left to spend on her shopping. That’s impossible but it’s TV show. Almost all of TV characters seem to lead a wonderful life. At least, they always look good.

Read the full article by clicking here.


Flightplan

24 October 2005
Judie Foster is back in her new  psychological thriller movie called "Flightplan." On the opening week, the movie was at the top of the US box-office and remained there for 2 consecutive weeks.

After the death of her husband, Kyle Pratt (played by Jodie Foster) traveled with her 6-year-old daughter from Berlin to New York by a new model airplane, which was actually designed by herself as a former airline aeronautical engineer. Once the plane took off and flied at 28000 feet above sea-level, Pratt took a nap only to wake up and see that her daughter’s disappeared. The crew members and passengers even denied that they have never seen a girl traveling with her. How could that be possible? What’s the reason behind this?

Judie has yet again delivered her superb performance in this movie. I could feel the tension out of the screen.  The movie might be a bit boring in the first half an hour when it’s trying to establish a story and mother-daughter’s relation. However, once the daughter’s gone missing, the pace of the movie is fast and exciting. Although there are some weak spots in the story-line here and there with numerous illogical remarks, the movie could keep my attention on the action and mystery of the missing girl. At the climax of the story, everything becomes clear. However, you need to set your reasoning facilities aside or you might feel like being cheated by the script of the movie. Subjectively, there is only a point in the script which irritated me. It’s the racism issue on the plane which I decided to ignore and enjoy the film. Well, it’s the movie anyway. Thus, don’t expect it to be real. If you are fans of Jodie Foster or like thriller/suspense movie, you must not miss this movie.

4 stars out of 5, didn’t I mention that Jodie Foster is back? That’s enough for the reason to go watching this movie.

Babí léto a.k.a. Autumn Spring

20 October 2005

I haven’t watched much of Czech films, only happen to come across a few from some film festivals which I couldn’t even remember the name of the movie. I guess most of Thai movie-goers in general might be in the same situation. In fact, as far as I know, there have never been a Czech film screening commercially in Thailand. Thus, the screening of this movie at house movie theater in Bangkok could be considered as a milestone for Czech film in Thailand.

"Babí léto" is a bittersweet comedy/drama about an elderly man named Fanda who refuses to admit that he is old. He and his closed friend, Ed, always go around pulling pranks and doing tricks (and, most of the time, getting into troubles.) He lives a life as if he was a child trapped in an old body at the age of 76. Fanda’s wife is at the other end of the spectrum. She seriously concerns of saving money for her husband’s and her own funeral. She even prepares the invitation to their funeral in advance. It’s just interesting enough to see what would become of Fanda’s relationships with everyone around him.

The ensemble of the cast is tremendously superb. Czech veteran actor, Vlastimil Brodský, perfectly portraits his role of Fanda. In fact, the screenplay of this movie is written with him as Fanda in the writer’s mind, thus the role of Fanda is meant especially for him. Stella Zázvorková, as Fanda’s wife, and Stanislav Zindulka, as Ed, also deliver their great performances. It’s no doubt that all three stars have won the prestigious Czech Lions (Czech’s top movie awards) in the category of Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor for this movie in the year 2002. The movie also snatched the Best Screenplay award from the Czech Lions which it’s truly deserved.

The story-line is well developed. The audience could actually feel Fanda’s young and childish attitude to live a life and resist death. As the story goes to its climax, we would get to know him well enough to see him as one of our relatives. The unpredictable ending is heart-warming, especially the last scene… No, I wouldn’t reveal that. You have to go and watch it by yourself and you would appreciate the meaning of life and love. I am certain about that.

4 and a half Stars out of 5 – recommend for those who are bored with main-stream Hollywood movies and plot-out-of-the-box Thai movies. Half a star has been deducted because of a technically incomplete subtitle (both Thai and English subtitle was gone from the screen for a couple of times) at the screening, not the 5-star-deserve movie itself.

Trivia from imdb.com: The Czech title translates as "Indian Summer" in English, but that due to American titles already having the same name, the distributor decided to release it as "Autumn Spring" in English North America.

PS. Thanks to popcornmag for providing me a free ticket to Press screening of this movie on 19 October 2005.