The Day My Computer Stood Still…

30 November 2005
No, this isn’t a new movie from the maker of a classic movie "The Day the Earth Stood Still." In fact, it’s a story about my computer.

Yesterday, while I was working on the computer, the screen suddenly turned blank. At first, I thought my computer might be infected with a virus, which could hardly be possible because it was stand-alone without any network connection and I hadn’t use any external files. However, when I tried to re-start the computer, it was not possible. No matter how hard to try, the power switch seemed dead. I realized that it might possibly be a hardware failure or a short circuit. The latter case was what I feared most as it might destroy all the data I was working on…

I took the desktop to have it repaired as fast as I could. Fortunately, it’s just a power supply failure. My precious data is still intact. Anyway, this might be a sign for me to look for a new computer. Does anyone have any suggestion of the newest model?

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ผีเสื้อและดอกไม้ (Peesua lae dokmai) a.k.a. Butterfly and Flowers

26 November 2005
The story is set in the southern part of Thailand in the 1970’s. At the age of 13, a Muslim boy named Hujan decided to quit his elementary school at Primary 5 (5th grade level) and become an ice-cream peddler to earn some money to help his widowed laborer father and let his younger brother and sister have a chance to study. Even though he was the top of the class at school, he was so responsible as a big brother that he couldn’t stand seeing his father working alone. One day at the train station, he met a girl named Mimpi, his former classmate, who also left the school to assist her family business. She introduced Hujan to a friend who works as an illegal rice smuggler on the Thai-Malaysian border. Without choices as he needed more money for his family, Hujan got deeply involved with this illegal and dangerous work which was directly against his Islamic belief of being good…

This movie is based on the novel with the same name. In fact, the novel won the national book award in 1978 and was selected by the Toyota Foundation to be translated into Japanese in 1981. The movie was first released in Thailand in 1985 and won seven national movie awards including Best Pictures in the following year. As for the international release, the movie was recognized as the best feature film at Hawaii International Film Festival in 1986. The national committee of Thai culture also recommends this movie as one of hundred movies that Thai people should watch.

The story involving the hardship of children is always touching. There is no exception in this movie. Hujan’s good intention represents a child’s heart of gold. With chances and good guidance, he would grow up to be a good man who could contribute to his country regardless of what religious he believes in. In fact, children should be taken great care of like flowers in order for them to bloom beautifully.

In the middle of the current affair of southern unrest in Thailand, I highly recommend this movie to all. It’s showing not only a life in the southern part of Thailand, but also a sub-context of peace and good deeds of Islamic belief. If this movie was released now instead of 20 years ago, it might have been banned by the board of censorship because there are too many scenes of young actors smoking cigarettes. It’s funny to see how the concern of health has increased in the past decade while the life of the children in rural area of Thailand hardly gets any better. Isn’t it ironic?

For more information, please visit Five Stars Production official website.

Mariah Carey in American Music Awards 2005 (Revisited)

23 November 2005
The result for the 33rd Annual American Music Awards was out. Even though Mariah Carey led the nomination with 4 categories, she took home only one award for favorite soul/rhythm & blues female artist. Nevertheless, it clearly depicted Mariah’s career comeback as the biggest selling female artist of all time, a true diva.

Mariah opened the show with a glamorous performance of "Don’t Forget About Us." Although there were some technical difficulties at first, Mariah managed to take control of the stage and delivered a marvelous song at last. At the end, the crowd cheered and honored Mariah with a long standing ovation. The first award of the night was indeed presented to Mariah. Accepting the award, she changed her costume from the sparkling spaghetti-stripe dress into an elegant black dress.

Don’t forget to catch the delayed tape of the show in Thailand on Channel 7 tonight at 11.25 PM.

Mariah Carey in American Music Awards 2005

21 November 2005
The 33rd Annual American Music Awards will be held the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California on Tuesday, 22 November 2005 (Pacific Standard Time.) Mariah is confirmed to perform at the ceremony which would be telecasted live by ABC Television (in the states.) Mariah Carey led the nominees for American Music Awards with four nominations including :

Best Pop Album: The Emancipation of Mimi
Best Female Artist: Pop
Best R&B Album: The Emancipation of Mimi
Best Female Artist: R&B
 
For the second year the American Music Awards will include the T-Mobile Text In Award among its honors. T-Mobile USA subscribers can vote for Mariah (soul/R&B) via text messaging. Everyone else can also cast a ballot online at AmericanMusicAwards.com

As for fans in Thailand, we could catch delayed tape of the show from Channel 7 at 11.25 PM on Wednesday, 23 November 2005. Wow, I can’t hardly wait to watch Mariah’s performance.


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

17 November 2005

It’s great fun. No, I didn’t go to the Loy Kratong festival anywhere even though it’s the full moon of the 12th Thai lunar month tonight. In fact, I have just been back home from the sneak preview of the forth installment of Harry Potter on film at Grand EGV, Siam Discovery Center.

After the re-appearance of the Death Eater or the Dark Lord Voldemort’s servants at Quidditch World Cub, this year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter finds himself selected as a competitor in a dangerous multi-wizardry school competition called "The Triwizard Tournament." Dark and difficult times do certainly lie ahead of him (as stated in the tagline of this movie.)

All in all, the movie proved to be worth the wait for fans of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. The director and the scriptwriter did a great job in adapting the 734-page book into a 157-minute film with consistency. The theme and the main point of the story is preserved and told perfectly. However, almost all of the subplots, which are the charm of the book, were left out. Due to the time constrain, everything in the movie seems to progress too fast, providing too little clue for those who haven’t read the book before (which I doubt the number wouldn’t be high otherwise there would be more less-favorable reviews to come.) Anyway, visual effects and musical scores are top-notch. The climax is astonishingly stunning and sad, as all the readers of the book should have expected. As for the original cast, we have known them and loved them already. Even though the age of the young stars are  actually older than in the book, it’s still acceptable. Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter is as heroic as always. Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley is "bloody-hell" hilarious and, last but not least, Emma Watson as Hermione Granger is getting more and more gorgeous. The new cast for this movie could also live up with the expectation, giving that it’s not too high, especially the role of Cho Chang, Harry’s teenage love interest.

4 stars out of 5 – recommend to all Harry Potter’s fans and spectators who still wonder why Harry Potter’s franchising is so lovable.

For more information, please visit the official website at http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/gobletoffire/ or http://harrypotter.th.warnerbros.com/gobletoffire/


NANA

14 November 2005

It’s not peculiar in Japan to make a movie from a popular manga (Japanese comic book) as it at least guarantees audiences to be those fans of the manga. "NANA" the movie is based on the manga with the same name written by Ai Yazawa. It’s a story of two girls with the same name called "NANA" who met each other by chance on the train to Tokyo. Even though they share the same name and have the same age of 20, their personalities are so different that it could be said to be on the other sides of the spectrum. One is a punk singer with short black hair and cool tattoo on her arm who usually dresses in black punk outfits, while the other is a sweet and cute girl with long black hair who usually dresses in white fluffy style. Chances play trick on them as both end up sharing the same room (number 707) on the 7th floor of the apartment with the rent of 70,000 yen per month. Well, you may wonder why I put on so many details regarding the number. If you know Japanese language, you might get the catch here that "NANA," the name of two main characters of this story, means "seven" and it’s after all their magical number which brought them together. The story in the movie follows exactly from the original manga as we could see through the lives of both "NANA" their dreams, happiness, despair and above all their friendship.

The movie is well edited and well paced that you could understand the story smoothly even though you haven’t read the manga before. Flashbacks and voiceovers play an important role in the story development. As the leading characters of the movie, Mika Nakashima and Aoi Miyazaki perfectly portray the role of the punk "NANA" and the sweet "NANA," respectively. The other ensemble of the cast also fit rightly in the movie. The script and setting in the movie seem to come out directly from the manga. The music, which couldn’t be presented in the manga version, comes to live in the movie and it rocks! Being a veteran singer, Mika Nakashima represents the punk "NANA" and sings the song that suits the movie perfectly.

For the note, the movie ends at the point where the manga ends at volume 5. Fans of manga expect the movie to have a sequel as the story hasn’t yet ended in the manga. To date, there are 13 volumes of manga released in Japan and volume 14 is set to come out in January 2006.

5 stars out of 5 – recommend to not only manga lovers but also general audiences who expect to share a dream with "NANA."

For more information, please visit the official movie website at http://www.nana-movie.com/


เด็กโต๋ (Dek Toh) a.k.a. Innocence

11 November 2005

"In a moment before they must grow up and move on, a childhood is a world still filled with hopes and dreams, a world still filled with innocence."

Thai name of this documentary film might raise some eyebrows with the question of what the movie is actually all about. Some might relate the word with a Thai teenager slang like "Dek Naew" (which refers to cool guys & gals.) In fact, this movie simply tells a true story of teachers and students at "Ban Mae Toh" school in Sameang district, Chaing Mai province of northern Thailand. The school offers compulsory education from Primary 1 (1st grade level) to Mattayom 3 (9th grade level) for hill tribe students whose houses are some hundred kilometers away from the school. Thus, the principal, who came to this district 20 years ago, decided to provide an accommodation including dormitory and three meals per day for those students who are in need. In this 100-minutes documentary which was shot over one-year time, the everyday life of both teachers and students are shown from the moment they wake up till the time they go to bed. We’ll have a chance to follow especially a group of Mattayom 3 students from the beginning of the first semester till the graduation ceremony. One of the most highlight moment in the movie might be a field trip to the ocean for these hilltribe students, who have never seen the sea before in their life. Before you even realize, you might find yourself so close to these children that you could actually feel their happiness, hope, hardship and despair through this film.

This documentary is co-produced and co-directed by Nisa "Nok" Kongsri, a former veteran advertisement director, and Areeya "Pop" Chumsai, a former Thailand beauty queen, and it’s the first movie making experience for both of them. They prove to be a powerful team to produce this marvelous documentary. Without a script and setting, the movie follows the theme set by Areeya 5 years ago when she first met with the principal of Ban Mae Toh school and his students at the beach. As astonishing as it could be, the excitement of the children who saw the sea for the first time in their life captivated her and she determined to share this moment with everyone through a movie as it could perfectly describe the feeling of these children, at least it’s better than a book or a photograph could do. This is certainly true. In the movie, the scene which these young girls and boys running as fast as they could towards the sea with their cries of joy is rejuvenating, full of excitement and natural. The movie would definitely cleanse your soul and make you feel younger and hopeful like those hill tribe children.

For the notes, the movie is an official selection for the 10th Pusan International Film Festival and the third Bangkok World Film Festival. There will be a limited free screening sessions at Lido Multiplex 2 theater on the weekend of 19-20 November 2005. You don’t have to pay for the tickets but the directors encourage those who feel touched by the story to donate some money for Bann Mae Toh school. The donation box will be provided at the venue. All donations to the school for food and scholarship funds for these children can also be made through the Bangkok Bank, Sameang branch under the account name of "Ban Mae Toh Education Fund," the saving account number: 544-011992-2.

5 stars out of 5 – recommend to everyone, it’s real life.

PS. Thanks to deknang.com and popcornmag online for providing me a free ticket to Press screening of this movie at Scala theater on 10 November 2005.

For more information of the film, please visit the official web site at pig-o’-nine media: <http://www.pigonine.com>