La La Land Review: Impressive!

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First of all, I know it’s a bit late to make a review on this movie, but what can I do? I just finished watching one of the greatest musical movies ever made in the history of Hollywood.

Here`s a short story why I finally gave it a go to watch this one;

Every year when the awards season is right around the corner, we always get the heads up on movies, actors, and actresses that get nominated for the awards. During this year`s awards season, La La Land gets great hype about being one of the top contenders to win many awards.

Since I am not such a huge fan of musical movies, I remember watching the trailer around September 2016 and thinking that I wouldn’t be interested in watching the movie.

Weeks passed by, I still insisted that I was not going to watch the movie, but then the movie started being the most talked about movie this year and sweeping award after award it got nominated for.

So, I decided to give the movie the benefit of my doubt.

Suprisingly, I enjoyed every single minute of the movie.

Right after the closing credits came up on the screen, it was my first time being in awe of great musical movie. I was impressed by everything that the movie had to offer. Great storyline, fantastic songs, entertaining dancing moves, so on.

The storyline is pretty simple yet unexpectedly moving, about this aspiring actress named Mia (Emma Stone) who has endlessly heartbreaking auditions and has big dream to be a big actress one day, meets the jazz pianist named Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) who also struggles with his dream to have his own jazz club. Both initially hate each other and start falling for each other as they share the same struggles as artists and big passion for their dreams. I think the message of this movie is something most people can relate to, even I can relate to it. Put aside the romance parts, to see what Mia and Sebastian have to go through in order to make their dreams come true is the true beauty that this movie has left in my heart.

The ending of the movie, to me, is pretty saddening though (SPOILER ALERT!) where they do not end up being a couple. 5 years later after achieving great success with each other`s dreams, where Sebastian finally has his own jazz club named Seb`s, as Mia suggested to him when they were still together, and Mia has become a well-known actress, Mia ends up marrying a guy whom she has a daughter with, while Sebastian is pretty damn hot single.

Now I know why this movie has been getting big buzz for being the best movie of the year, and I can`t agree more!

Even after getting home, I was still taken aback by how hard I fell for this movie. Scene after scene were still playing inside my head, let alone when the soundtracks started playing on my Apple music.

My two favorite scenes are the one with Mia and Sebastian dance together after they accidentally run into each other at a party, with a gorgeous purple-ish night view of LA. The other one is when they fight on their dinner date, when Sebastian surprises Mia with a dinner date at their home then they get into a fight where Mia questions his commitment with his new band and his real dream.

And the only thing that lacks in this movie, I think, where we don’t get to witness much of Mia`s piece of work with her acting skill in theatre, while the parts of Sebastian with his great talent as jazz pianist are shown a lot in the movie.

I just cant picture better actors to play the roles other than this hottest on-screen couple. I don’t think I would have the same vibe if it was Miles Teller and Emma Watson, who initially were set to star the movie, to play Sebastian and Mia roles. As much as I am happy to see Andrew Garfield with Emma Stone together, I wouldn’t complain at all if one day this perfect on-screen couple became a real one because their chemistry is that good in this movie or the previous movies they starred in together, but their performance is beyond stellar this time. At least to me.

But I think, the only person whom I have my biggest crush on is actually the man behind this great production, Damien Chazelle. His charisma and talents are the few factors that made me go watch this movie. His first movie that I remember watching is Whiplash, but I didn’t get the same excitement and great impression from the movie like La La Land gives me. The more I get to know him, the more blown away I become with this talented human being. With his background as a jazz drummer and his passion as a director, I just think he is super genius to be able to combine the thing he loves with the thing he is so passionate about and turn them into such a huge masterpiece.

With the huge success at 74th Golden Globes weeks ago where this movie swept every award it was nominated for, they broke new records for most Golden Globes won by a movie, surpassed One Flew Over the Cuckoo`s Nest and Midnight Express, let alone Damien Chazelle who marked new record as the youngest director who ever won Golden Globe for Best Director.

I am so psyched about the upcoming Academy Awards Nominations for this movie, I am just hoping it can once again surpass the previous records. If this movie can get 14 nominations, then it would be the 3rd movie to get that many nominations after All About Eve and Titanic, and what`s better is if they can win all the nominations, then they will, hands down, beat The Lord of The Rings ` records for the highest clean sweep with 11 Oscar wins, not to mention it will also beat West Side Story with 10 Oscar wins for musical movie.

I just cant wait!

But I was wrong….

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They said,

Time creates memory.

Pain, you should not be worried.

Mistakes happen, so do not be sorry.

 

You said,

Time and distance make us apart.

Its been eight years because you`ve done your math.

 

You said,

Do not make plans over uncertainty.

And your words have no ambiguity.

 

I said,

We can meet in Winchester.

But it`d better be in Shanghai Grand Theatre.

 

I said,

Its been ten years because you lost your count.

And no effort is all what you want.

 

We said,

Lets put it to an end.

Because there is nothing left to mend.

 

Minda

Bali: The Beauty of The Island of Gods

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Some of my close friends know that Bali has been my second home for almost a year now. Since my first solo travelling last year to this city, it feels like I never get bored of coming back to this Island of Gods.

I have found back myself here after many turmoils that had happened last year. I have experienced things that to some extent are undescribeable. My initial plan was to actually experience whats so called ‘self-discovery’ or ‘healing process’ or ‘self-fulfilling journey’ or some other terms that others may call. I was just curious about why this Island has attracted so many soul searchers around the world to just make this city simply their sanctuary, to find peace and tranquility. So, when the turmoils hit my life, I decided to give it a go. Then, I mesmerized.

On this post, I would like to share with all of you some of my favourite places during my time in this island, either I have explored them myself or with my friends:

  1. Bali Silent Retreat

I feel like a match made in heaven with this place. Its just like fate has brought us together. This place was an eye-opening experience to things that I never thought I could have ever done before.

When I booked my first solo trip here, I really had no idea what I signed up for myself, turned out this place has become everything to me; the experience that I am so excited about to share with as many people as possible, the place that introduced me to yoga and meditation for the first time, the place where I have met lots of amazing and wonderful souls, and on top of that this place has shown me what a true happiness is all about.

I came back to Jakarta knowing that I had to put my happiness above everything else, which led me to have quit my job now.

I came back to Jakarta knowing that each and everyone whom I had met there just left some footprints in my heart. One soul that has taught me the meaning of little happiness, one soul that has taught me that everyone has their own battle and the least thing you can do is judge less, and one soul that has taught me that it is okay to not be okay because sometimes living this life isn’t about who is the best but who is the kindest, because at the end of the day, love conquers everything. So, what is more important than love itself?

As what this place is called, during your stay here, you are required to be in complete silence day in and day out, because the sprit of being at this place is to make you get connected with yourself all over again, well at least that’s what has worked for me.

I remember asking some friends what brought them to this place which I found interesting, which also makes me realize how funny this life works, how someone`s story becomes new thing you treasure in your life;

  1. A Dutch woman slept next to my bed came to this place as it was her birthday gift from her closest friends, and we clicked right away the minute I said hi to her. On our last day, she wrote a very encouraging letter for me expressing how grateful she is for having talked to me, but little did she know, she is the one who has changed my life on so many levels. I cant recall whether or not I let her know about this.
  2. An Italian lady came to this place as part of her journey travelling the world. She quit the job after she thought she had saved enough money to afford her trip and she had been travelling for 7 months when I met her.
  3. The Half Dutch-Half Indonesian guy, who suffered aneurysm which caused him to be half blind, was on his journey to track down his family history. His mother happens to be an Indonesian woman and has a house somewhere in Malang, but before he got to be in Malang, he decided to explore some other parts of Indonesia, which led him to be in Bali. We spent a day together in Seminyak and I got to help him get to Malang by bus, which he had some trouble communicating with local people beforehand because of the language barrier.
  4. I met The Irish Trio who were so funny, talkative, and a bit hard to be in complete silence because they kept whispering to each other in an area where they were not allowed to talk, and made them a bit grumpy when people threw them a ‘shut up’ look. But I had fun with them! In the midst of cricket and gecko sound, we had to share beers on New Year`s Eve after one of them sneaked out to buy some Bintangs.

I got to do my first yoga and meditation sessions here (not to mention my first experience doing walking meditation). They have this octagon tent where yoga and meditation sessions take place, they also have a labyrinth for walking meditation.

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The octagon tent (photo credit: http://www.balisilentretreat.com)

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The Labyrinth (photo credit: http://www.balisilentretreat.com)

Main lodge where you can do anything but talk. The view from the main lodge is stunning, with 360 degree view of mountains and paddy fields.

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Main lodge area (photo credit: http://www.balisilentretreat.com)

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Main lodge area (photo credit: http://www.balisilentretreat.com)

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I tried to capture the view from main lodge using my polaroid camera

I also got to be a complete vegan during my stay here. Whats great about their dish is the ingredients of their dishes are fresh from their own garden. And before I came here, I had read reviews from some guests saying that the food is to die for, AND ITS TRUE!

Also, not to mention their staff that are super helpful and friendly. They welcome you like a new family member.

I have fallen so much in love with this place and I have left my heart there!

  1. Kubu Bali Baik

For those of you who are so eager to experience the greatest creature of nature that Ubud has to offer. Look no further!

This villa gives you the view to die for!

The first time I got to this place, I was the only guest since this villa is a brand new one.

Great stay and amazing hospitality!

I also got to know the owner himself personally and he is such a kind-hearted guy.

This place is still on top of my short escape list, since I get anything that I expect from ubud at this place. I`ll let the picture do all the talking, I guess.

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View from my room (photo credit: Natalia Wy)

  1. Nusa Lembongan

My first ever snorkeling experience in the middle of gigantic sea of Nusa Lembongan.

I still found it very surreal that I got to have my first underwater experience. The thing that I only used to watch on television, I got to experience them myself. And life beneath the water is stunningly breathtaking.

I hope to come back here again sometime in the future, if only I have mastered my diving skill because truth to be told, my swimming skill is almost next to zero.

The great thing was that even though I am not that good at swimming, I didn’t drown at all. Well, thanks to the great tour guides and life jacket for sure!

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  1. Pandawa Beach

We stopped by at this place for a while. There is nothing much I can tell you about this place since some buildings are still under construction.

When I got to this place, the memory of me visiting Dreamland 9 years ago just crossed my mind, because the place is almost the exact same thing.

Its super stunning though.

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Extra photos from the hotel in Nusa Dua where we stayed in our last visit.

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Sofitel Nusa Dua Bali (photo credit: Natalia Wy)

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Nusa Dua Bali (photo credit: Natalia Wy; Model: S. Yvette Pramono)

Just so you know, I am NOT this crazy talented photographer nor am I a model with this killer body, so I`ll let you know the person behind all these great photos and the person captured on the photos.

Photo Credit            : Natalia Wy

Model                         : S. Yvette Pramono

PS: Go follow them on their IG (@natalia_wy and @yvesme), they have great posts and are very very talented. Don’t forget to follow mine for sure @mindahuang!

Minda

 

‘Gifted’ Movie Review

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Let me be a movie clairvoyant this time. I am not a movie expert nor am I a movie journalist. I write this review just out of my excitement about Chris Evans` upcoming movie. Its called ‘Gifted’.

The minute I finished watching this movie trailer, I became so excited instantly to write one or two things about this one.

Here are some things I know so far:

  1. This movie is about an uncle raising his niece whose mother died (cause of death: still unknown). His niece happens to be a prodigy child who is a genius at math.
  2. Marc Webb directs this movie. For those of you who have not known who he is yet, he is the guy that brought you the delightful rom-com of (500) Days of Summer.
  3. Given the fact that (500) Days of Summer is still one of my favourite movies of all time, I also have my high hopes with ‘Gifted’.
  4. I am never disappointed in Chris Evans everytime he plays any roles in drama movies, including the one that he directed himself (Before We Go).
  5. One unimportant information, I think this is the movie that made him meet his current girlfriend now. One heart is definitely broken!

Anyway, lets see how good this movie can turn out to be. Hey, sometimes you can never go wrong with family themed drama, I guess.

I hope I am not wrong this time, since I was quite wrong with my previous review about ‘Fathers and Daughters” which I ranked average (as in 3/5) after watching the movie although IMDB gave 7.1/10 for this movie.

Watching movies is like tasting food to me. My review is not always spot on and would probably be different with others.

Any comments are welcomed.

Enjoy!

Fun-tastic Beasts Review

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As a huge fan of Harry Potter series, I surprisingly quite enjoyed the movie, giving the fact that I am actually not an animal person, so watching this movie gave me a bit of heebie jeebies, especially the part where Newt introduces his magical creatures. I was still excited to enjoy this movie though as it feels like I was drawn back into my wizarding world that used to exist when the Harry Potter era was still happening.

The story of this movie is about a British wizard named Newt Scamander (played by Eddie Redmayne) who travels to New York City with his vintage suitcase contained lots of magical and wonderful creatures that he has collected from his journey around the world. The minute he arrives in NYC, he accidentally switches his suitcase with a baker/No-Maj (American term for Muggle) named Jacob Kowalski. Shocked by what Jacob finds inside the suitcase, he accidentally releases some of the creatures. And that`s where the journey begins, with him being alongside Newt to re-catch the creatures back into Newt`s magical suitcase. The story becomes more intriguing with both of them have to deal with people from MACUSA (The Magical Congress of the United States of America) and a battle with a rare yet horrifying creature named Obscurus.

I remembered my feeling as the movie was about to start, it was like I was so ready to be back to those old good days where being Hogwarts student was probably every child`s dream; with the magic wand, incredibly astonishing spells, and the ability of every witch to make everything seem posibble with just one wave of magic wand.

What made me more excited is the presence of Eddie Redmayne as the main actor. To me, he never fails to potray any character, like literally any character. My judgement would probably be a biased one since I love Eddie`s quirkiness in all of his movies.

One more thing that I am so pleased about this movie is the fact that the main actors and actresses who take part in this movie are the famous ones. Remember the first movie of Harry Potter where the main actors and actresses were purposely infamous people. A lot has changed with this one, I guess.

David Yates is once again back to directing this movie, with his experience to have directed couple of Harry Potter movies before.

One supporting actor that grabs my attention is Ezra Miller. His first movie that I watched was Trainwreck and The Stanford Prison Experiment (TSPE) afterwards. Though he also appeared on The Perks of Being A Wallflower, I haven’t watched the movie yet. Honestly, I was quite in an awe with his acting in TSPE where he plays as one of the students who is under an experiment conducted by a Standford psychology professor, the experiment itself is about testing the hypothesis that the personality traits of prisoners and guards are the chief cause of abusive behavior between them (Wikipedia).

I honestly cant wait for his next movies, to see if he could actually be the next big star. Who knows?

I would give this movie 4/5.