Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko

Richard Kelly’s psychological thriller tells a fascinating story on a bright but troubled young man, who suffers from a mental illness. After narrowly escaping death by a falling jet engine, Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) experiences repeated visions of a six-foot tall rabbit named Frank.

The grotesque giant rabbit warns Donnie that the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. He then encourages Donnie to commit seemingly random acts of vandalism, including flooding his school and burning down Jim Cunningham’s (Patrick Swayze) house.

Donnie is an emotionally troubled teenager, who is trapped in a world where teachers, parents and other adults want to simplify everything into two extremes – fear and love, right and wrong, Republicans and Democrats.

Kelly has skilfully directed this movie by allowing the viewer to experience the insane and hallucinate visions from Donnie’s point of view. The director also makes great use with the 1980s soundtrack, in particular the scene when he pans the camera to each of the characters – Magnolia-style – to Tears For Fear’s Mad World. This indeed is a strange and troubled world we live in.

Donnie Darko has been described as a high school movie directed by David Lynch (made famous by Twin Peaks) with themes on time travel, love, sacrifice and existentialism. The movie presents paradoxes never fully explained and a cryptic storyline open to multiple interpretations. A modern cult classic, with exceptional performance from Jake Gyllenhaal and a breathtaking cinematography, creating a dreamlike atmosphere that sets the mood of the film.

Red Bull – gives you wins?

Red Bull Racing RB3

Finally! A 2007 Formula One car that looks great thanks to the renowned top F1 designer in this modern generation – Adrian Newey.

The new Red Bull Racing RB3 was unveiled at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya and you can see the obvious Newey design touches with its narrow, sweepingly curved nose and triple-deck, bowed front wing. In addition, the beautifully sculpted sidepods that tightly wrapped around the new Renault engine.

David Coulthard and Mark Webber will race the RB3 this season and I expect a strong performance from the team. Consistent top ten finishes and a chance for the overall win will do nicely.

As for lively, I quite like it. The stripes running on the surface of the car gives the illusion of going quickly. Hopefully it does so on the race track.



This is South Korean’s modern answer to an Elizabethan revenge tragedy. Full of insanely grand passions, bloodthirsty violence and dark comedy, it’s a sadistic masterpiece from the director of Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.

The film won the Grand Jury prize at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival with high praise from none other than Quentin Tarantino (the Pulp Fiction director was heading the jury). Oldboy can be described as a psychological thriller, utilizing many elements of film noir to examine the nature of sin and morality.

Korea actor Choi Min-sik stars as Dae-su, a skirt-chasing businessman with a wife and daughter. During a night out drinking, the police arrests Dae-su for being drunk and disorderly. His close friend, Joo-Hwan, bails him out. While Joo-Hwan is in a phone booth talking to Dae-su’s daughter (who is celebrating her birthday), an anonymous person kidnaps Dae-sa.

For the next 15 years, Dae-su is locked up in shabby little hotel room. He is kept in this ‘private prison’ without any contact from the outside world with only a TV set to keep him company. Over time, Dae-su manages to fill in several notebooks as a way of keeping himself sane but is puzzled by the reason why a person would imprison him like this. Dae-su also forced himself to train by shadow boxing, punching at the walls of his prison until thick calluses form on his knuckles.

During this period, he learns via the television set that he is accused of his wife’s murder and that his young daughter has been sent away to a foster family. Just as abruptly as he was captured, Dae-su is set free and vows to get his revenge.

Embarking on his quest to discover the person responsible for his imprisonment, Dae-su teams up with female sushi chef Mi-Do (Kang Hye-jung) – by impressing her in his ability to eat a live, wiggling octopus in one single go!

Later on, a man named Woo-jin (Yu Ji-tae) contacts Dae-su and claims to be the one who imprisoned him. He offers to play a game with Dae-su: Find out why all this has happened to him in the next five days or else Mi-Do dies. If Dae-su wins, then Woo-jin will kill himself.

Eventually Dae-su meets Woo-jin face-to-face, but this ends with a shocking and a bizarre twist of fate for the lead character.

Oldboy is a stylish but violent film from the creative genius of Chan-Wook Park. His vision in this revenge movie features many iconic scenes of blood and gore, in particular the perfectly-choreographed corridor fight sequence where Dae-su single-handedly takes on 20-odd guys that visually looks like a side-scrolling beat ‘em up video game.

Oldboy may not appeal to everyone’s taste, but it can be regarded as the best Korean film to date, with a fascinating story and beautiful cinematography. An Asian movie not to be missed!

PlayStation 3 European release dated and priced

Sony PlayStation 3

Sony has finally reveal the much awaited European launch date and price for the PlayStation 3. The next generation console will be available on March 23rd with a nice price tag of £425(!)

Yes, four hundred and twenty-five pounds… This console has become the most expensive and at that price; you can purchase both the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox 360.

So will I get one? Hard to say as I would like to buy one but the cost of owning the most powerful and advance video game machine (featuring that CELL processor and Blu-ray player) is simply ridiculous. In addition, I will need to purchase a brand new High Definition television to play this on, as a standard TV won’t do any justice for the photo-realistic visuals.

As for the launch games, there are around 30 titles on offer with the likes of MotorStorm, Formula One Championship Edition, Tekken: Dark Resurrection, flOw and Virtua Tennis 3.

So what’s my decision? To buy one on launch day or wait six to nine months later featuring better games and possibly a price drop? Or should I avoid the trouble of owning the PlayStation 3 and go for Xbox 360, which has the awesome Gears of War and fantastic Dead Rising?

Whatever the outcome, I should start saving up now…

Renault’s F1 new look

Renault F1 R27

French manufacturer Renault have unveiled their new lively for the R27 chassis. The new Formula One car will carry the orange and white corporate colours of Dutch financial firm ING, replacing the previous Mild Seven light blue.

Personally, the overall look on this car is hideous. I thought the old Winfield-sponsored Williams back in 1998-99 was horrible, but this is even worst.

Despite that I am exciting to see the driver pairing of Heikki Kovalainen and Giancarlo Fisichella this year. Kovalainen in particular, as the Finn is competing in his first season of Formula One racing (as a replacement over the outgoing champion, Fernando Alonso).

Team leader and Formula One’s most experienced driver Giancarlo Fisichella has said recently that he will be aiming for the ultimate prize – to become world champion. But during today’s Amsterdam launch, the Italian has admitted that this season could be ‘tough’.

I really hope the R27 is successful on the track, so that the team can win another championship double. And yet, I wished the Renault graphic designers could have done a better job than that livery…

Loeb’s fourth WRC win in Monte Carlo

Loeb Monte Carlo Rally 2007

World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb took his fourth Monte Carlo Rally win with a fine performance in the new Citroën C4 rally car.

The Frenchman finished the four-day rally event with a comfortable lead over his team-mate Dani Sordo, as Citroën marked their return to the World Rally Championship with a one-two finish.

This is an impressive achievement when you consider that Loeb is still nursing a broken right arm…

Finland’s Marcus Grönholm could only manage third and he hopes that the next event – the Swedish Rally in two weeks time – could signal the start of his title fight back.

Jack Bauer is back!

Jack Bauer

The highly anticipated new series of ‘real-time’ drama 24 returns this Sunday with a special two-hour season premiere.

It has already caused some controversy when it was shown in America last week due to its dramatic plot revolving around Muslims fundamentalists. But the show producers and the star of 24 himself, Kiefer Sutherland have stressed the point that television viewers should not assume all Muslims are terrorists, even though the show is portraying them as part of the story.

Despite this, I’m looking forward to the new season with great enthusiasm.

For those who missed out on Jack’s previous five days, let’s recap on the past five seasons.

Day 1:
A terrorist group plotting to kill presidential candidate David Palmer kidnaps Jack Bauer’s wife and daughter. Jack saves the future president and his daughter Kim but suffers the agony of losing Teri when his former lover Nina Myers shot her in the chest.

Day 2:
Set around 18 months after the first season. Jack is dealing with the death of his wife, Teri Bauer, and the estrangement of his daughter. Jack is no longer working for CTU, but when the White House receives intelligence that a nuclear bomb will be detonated in Los Angeles over the course of the day, Jack springs into action. Saves the day in the final hour and re-connects with Kim.

Day 3:
To maintain cover infiltrating the Salazar drug family, Jack becomes addictive to heroin. He has a new partner named Chase Edmonds, who had a relationship with Kim, much to the knowledge of Jack… Chase loses his arm in a way to prevent the deadly virus expose to all the citizens in Los Angeles and yet again Jack is the hero.

Day 4:
Jack Bauer has a new job. After being fired by CTU, he now works as a senior advisor to Secretary of Defence James Heller. Jack also found a new love in his life in the form of his boss’s daughter, Audrey Raines. But an impending hostage crisis, concerning Heller, leaves Jack’s new life in shambles. So, it’s back to CTU and back to stopping some terrorists… As the day drew to a close, a secret Chinese Consulate mission goes wrong, setting up serious consequences for Jack… Fakes his own death to avoid being detective and walks away from CTU.

Day 5:
Jack is living under a new alias, as Frank Flynn, and working on various oil rigs and refineries throughout America. Meanwhile, an unknown figure orders the assassination of the four people who know Jack is alive – Tony Almeida, Michelle Dessler, Chloe O’Brian and former President David Palmer – to frame him. He returns to LA to clear his name when a hostage situation erupts. But it is only a diversion by collaboration of conspirators and Russian separatists to obtain 20 canisters of Sentox VX nerve gas. Jack attempts to search for the remaining canisters and expose treachery that goes deep within the White House.

And now it’s Day 6. What will happen to Jack Bauer? Can he survive another 24 hours of non-stop action featuring conspiracies and terrorists plot? Then catch the new series of the Emmy award-winning drama on January 21st.

See all the preview trailers here

Oruchuban Ebichu


How come an innocent-looking anime featuring a cute little hamster contains so much violence, innuendo and explicit sexual scenes? Well, this is Oruchuban Ebichu, an anime based on a manga comic by Risa Ito. The adult themed show is produced by the same company responsible for Neon Genesis Evangelion (Gainax), with the talented Hideaki Anno in the director’s chair.

The leading character is Ebichu, a sweet-looking hamster that can talk and is obsessed with cheese. Ebichu tries her best as a housekeeper for her owner, who is a single 25-year-old office lady who desperately wants to get married. Unfortunately, her boyfriend is a useless layabout (his name in the show is Kaishounachi, which is quite literally, “useless”) who’s not very good at anything, especially where it counts…

In most of the episodes, Ebichu suffers the occasional beatings from her owner despite the hamster’s endless praise and compliments. However, such abuse is usually caused by Ebichu’s almost disturbing lack of tact or propriety, often embarrassing her master in front of other people.

Ebichu is a complete opposite of Hamtaro, a popular children’s anime featuring a hamster in more wholesome adventures. The stories in Ebichu are more violent with raunchy scenes.

The episodes itself are rather short – broken up as two parts with an appealing theme tune as the show’s signature. The voice acting is excellent and if you feel lost with references to the Japanese culture don’t worry, as there are subtitles to help you understand – which includes slang words!

I would highly recommend this series to anyone who isn’t afraid with adult oriented content and humour.

Mischief. Mayhem. Soap.

Fight Club

“The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club. The second rule…”

Sorry to interrupt you Tyler, but I do want to talk about Fight Club. David Fincher’s post-modernist film tackles the everyday life with a new twist and outlook.

Even though the film was a box office disappointment when it was first released back in 1999, a cult following soon emerged due to the DVD’s popularity upon release.

Critics and film audiences had a change of heart and Fight Club became one of the most profitable films on the digital format.

But what’s so special about Fight Club? Some think that it’s all about the extreme violence. But it actual fact, the movie has a deep methodical meaning – in the way we live and consume in this bleak society. Fight Club questions reality itself and the movie provides the viewer with a series of thought provoking situations.

Edward Norton plays the Narrator who provides his own experience by living through a dull and repetitive life. He suffers from insomnia and attends group counselling for illnesses and conditions he doesn’t have.

His life gets turned around when he meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) during a business trip. The two start an underground “fight club,” which became a secret society that continually grows, even though its members are not supposed to talk about it… Fight Club allows members to feel alive by triggering primal emotions not usually tested in modern life. The powerless feel powerful once again.

Rock star Meat Loaf has an interesting role as Bob, a big man with testicular cancer and hormonal problems. Actress Helena Bonham Carter is superb as Marla Singer, a screwed-up hanger-on who also attends group counselling simply for the human connection.

Director David Fincher’s vision based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk is featured very strongly here. The use of CGI and dark humour creates a visually stylish look to the movie. The performances from all the leading actors are excellent, especially Edward Norton playing a white collared worker dissatisfied with his life.

Fight Club may still offend some people with its graphical violence, but as a movie it tells a fascinating story on the issue of commercialism and the lifestyle we choose to be.

Elisha Cuthbert on-set and wet

Elisha Cuthbert - My Sassy Girl

Here are the latest on-set photographs of Elisha Cuthbert filming in cold New York City for an upcoming romantic comedy film My Sassy Girl – an American remake of a classic Korean movie.

These particular images remind me of that famous scene in The Girl Next Door, one of Elisha’s successful films so far.

I wonder if Kim Bauer will make an appearance in the new sixth series of 24 playing Jack’s troublesome daughter?