Brokeback Mountain

26 February 2006
Love could happen to everyone. That being said, there is no exception for two men to feel in love with each other even though it was considered as a taboo. In 1963, Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist first met when they were young cowboys. Both of them spent their summer together working as sheep herder and camp tender on Brokeback Mountain. Loneliness and sexual desire led to sodomy act. However, it didn’t stop there. Both of them realised that they had fallen in love with each other.

"Brokeback Mountain" is based on a shot story with the same name written by Anne Proulx, an author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel "The Shipping News." She proves herself to be a talented story-teller in terms of American human drama. A veteran Taiwanese director Ang Lee did a marvelous job in directing this forbidden love story. The tone of the story and the emotion of the main characters are wonderfully expressed with styles in this movie. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal delivered their finest performances to portray the difficult roles of Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist. It’s hard to feel in love and keep it as a secret. The scene when Ennis and Jack shouted at each other in frustration and ended up caressing each other is one of the most touching moment of the film with a memorable quote of "I wish I knew how to quit you." The expression is enough to convey how tragic their love was.

All in all, I was impressed with the movie. Even though homosexuality is still a hot issue of debate, I think it’s not a crime to love someone. Casting homophobia aside, the movie is a beautiful love story.

"If you can’t fix it, you’ve got to stand it."

5 Stars out of 5.
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เด็กหอ (Dek hor) a.k.a. Dorm

23 February 2006

Every dorm has a tale.
But this tale,
You will never forget.
Boarding school life has never been an enjoyable experience as you have to be far away from your home, be separated from your beloved parents and be surrounded by an unfamiliar environment. In this movie, there is no exception for Ton, a boy who was sent to boarding school in a middle of an academic year. Felling misery and abandoned, he befriended with a mysterious boy who stayed in the same dormitory with him. There is an unexpected price to pay to prove this true friendship…

Charlie Trairat, a young actor who starred a leading role in an critically acclaimed nostalgia Thai movie called "Fan Chan" two years ago, made his comeback as a leading actor in this movie to work with his familiar director, Songyos Sukmakanan – one of six co-directors from "Fan Chan." The director told a story from his own childhood experience of nine years in boarding school and added up some spices of horror to create this drama/thriller movie. Moreover, former superstar Jintara Sukkhaphat also joined the cast in the role of a dormitary mentor. In fact, this is a reunion of Jintara with Charlie who both stared in a movie "Karnlakrung Nueng Muea Chao Nee" ("Once Upon a Time … This Morning") a decade ago when Charlie was only one year old.

I dare say that it is a bad horror movie. However, the movie itself is good. At least, the director/writer delivered his good-will message through this movie. It’s just that the movie is wrongly promoted and misled movie-goers with scary teasers/trailers and TV spots. I don’t know if it’s intentional or not, but I am sure it would not meet expectation for most of the audiences. There are a few scary moments in the movie but once the plot is established, the movie transformed itself from a thriller to a drama with an easily predictable ending. The comic-relief in the movie seems to be too much. People around me laughed themselves like crazy many more times than screamed out loud. All in all, I enjoyed the movie, even though the ending is predictable, it’s unexpected to feel good after you watched a horror movie.

4 Stars out of 5 – This movie might bring back memories of those who used to be in the boarding school. You could somehow consider this movie as "Fan Chan" in disguise of a scary mask.

La Marche de L’Empereur (The Emperor’s Journey) a.k.a. March of the Penguins

18 February 2006
I guess it’s not too late to write about this intimidating and extremely beautifully shot documentary directed by veteran french scientist-become-documentarian Luc Jacquet. "The Emperor’s Journey" tells a story of the Emperor Penguins of Antarctica and their instinctive journey of love to give birth to a new life every year in the most hostile environment on the planet. The Penguins are mostly monogamous and could recognise each other by their voices. During the mating season that last more than half a year, the father and mother Penguins take turns to look after their eggs and walks to a far away sea to fetch the food. The birth of the baby Penguins and their survival is just an amazing miracle that continues the circle of the Emperor Penguins life.

The film has been painstakingly shot for over 5 years. The production crew did their best to produce one of the best animal documentaries I’ve ever seen. The director cleverly edited the footage and put a perfect script to the story. This is like the tag line of the movie: "In the harshest place on Earth, love finds a way."

5 Stars out of 5 – Recommend to all. This real life struggling is not only educational but also encouraging.

Walk the Line

15 February 2006
The movie tells a true story of Johnny Cash, an American country music legend, from his childhood and family tragedy to his raise of fame and his initiative concert tours around the states with his band and an adorable music star June Carter with whom he later got married. Life is not always easy. Johnny Cash had to suffer with family problem which leaded to his drug addiction. It’s interesting to see how he got through all these problems with love and support from June Carter, the love of his life.

The movie is based on two books called "The Man in Black" and "Cash: An Autobiography," written by Johnny Cash himself. Johnny Cash and June Carter had also helped supervising the production of this movie before they both passed away in 2003. Joaquin Phoenix perfectly portrayed Johnny Cash in this movie with Reese Witherspoon as June Carter. Both of them actually recorded all the songs with their own voices and performed all the live concert  in the movie by themselves.

Earlier this year, "Walk the Line" won three Golden Globes awards for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for Joaquin Phoenix and Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for Reese Witherspoon. After watching the movie, I have to say that I totally agreed that the movie deserved the awards. Not only because it tells an inspiring life and love story of a romantic music couple but also because the production of the movie is spectacular; the sets and costume designs in the movie suited the story perfectly. The lead actor and actress are well casted. Joaquin Phoenix’s performance is powerful and brilliant. Reese Witherspoon also delivered her best performance. She seemed to be the light that shines through the movie as the true story of June Carter who shines over Johnny Cash’s life.

5 Stars out of 5 – highly recommend to all, especially a couple to enjoy the movie together in the month of love.

Thailand’s Rose Postage Stamp 2006

11 February 2006
It’s the time of a year again to celebrate the month of love. This year, like last year, Thailand Post has issued the "Rose" postage stamp in the vertical shape. The rose featured in this year stamp is "Chulalongkorn" rose, a hybrid between a European rose and a Chinese rose. The rose was named after His Majesty the King Chulalongkorn (King Rama V) by the Royal consort, Her Highness Princes Jao Dara Rasamee in remembrance of her Royal husband. In fact, H.H. Princess Jao Dara Rasamee had her own experimental farm in Dara Pirom Palace in Mae Rim district, Chaingmai province. One of her favorite species of rose is this beautiful "Chulalongkorn" rose which has a long straight stem with a big dark pink flower and a strong sweet fragrance. Thus, the "Chulalongkorn" rose stamp is a perfect love memorabilia.

P.S. You could check out the specification of this stamp at Sunny’s Diary @ Blogger.com

Mariah Carey in New Intel Ad

10 February 2006
The new television campaign of Intel Centrino Duo technology in the states was launched on Wednesday night during the Grammy Awards presentation on CBS network. In this 30-second spot, we could see a man wearing headphones and working on his laptop in the library. Suddenly, Mariah Carey appeared on his lap and sang a song "Mine Again" with her incredible voice. The ad is trying to tell us that "With the new Centrino Duo, your digital entertainment really comes to life." If this were true, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy a new laptop with Intel Centrino Duo technology. At least, I would be able to have Mariah sat on my lap and sung a song for me.

P.S. Even though Mariah Carey used to star in the TV commercial spot before in Japan, this is her first time to be featured in TV ad in the states.

Mariah Carey and the 48th Annual GRAMMY® Awards – the Result

9 February 2006
The results were out and Mariah Carey won 3 Grammy Awards out of 8 nominations. Even though she didn’t won the three major awards (Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Album of the Year,) her performance of a medley of "We Belong Together" and "Fly Like A Bird" with Hezekiah Walker & The Love Fellowship Choir on the stage was incredibly fantastic and received a well-deserved standing ovation. Anyway, I felt sorry for Mariah that all the awards she won were announced in the pre-telecast ceremony and she didn’t receive any awards during the live broadcast so we didn’t even have a chance to watch Mariah’s awards acceptance speech. Well, looking on the brighter side, just being able to watch Mariah’s performance at the live telecast is enough.
Mariah won in the following categories:

Best Contemporary R&B Album
# Mariah Carey – The Emancipation of Mimi

Best R&B Song
# Mariah Carey – "We Belong Together"
J. Austin, M. Carey, J. Dupri & M. Seal

Best Female R&B Vocal Performance
# Mariah Carey – "We Belong Together"
Mariah lost in the following categories:

Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance
# Aretha Franklin – "A House Is Not a Home"

Best Pop Vocal Performance – Female
# Kelly Clarkson – "Since U Been Gone"

Song of the Year
# U2 – "Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own."

Record of the Year
# Green Day – "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"

Album of the Year
# U2 – "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb"