Do go to www.imaginarylands.com

Made of Honor

I remember it well. When Patrick Dempsey stepped into the interview room, neatly dressed in a black, smart casual suit, it was as if the air was suddenly electrified. I was supposed to interview Dempsey for the movie Enchanted, but all I could think about as he approached the table was, “OMG, he’s going to sit next to me!! Squee!!!”

It took a lot of iron will for me to be professional and not to melt into a puddle of goo when he smiled and greeted us journos, but Lord, he was so close, you know?

That’s Patrick Dempsey’s “it” factor, the effect he has on the ladies, no matter how rational we pride ourselves to be. Little wonder that he’s branching out into the romantic comedy/drama category. Girls wanna see more of that side of him. And movie moguls know that he has it in him to pull in the female demographic.

His recent offering, Made of Honor (or Honour, as it’s spelt in Malaysia), fits the bill, but is it any good? Here’s my review from the paper:

I am uncomfortable with movies where the main goal of the protagonist is to snatch away the bride/bridegroom. It just seems so … rude. But for Patrick Dempsey? Well, I’ll bend my standards a little.

McDreamy is a playboy with a gorgeous best friend. But like all men (just kidding!), he doesn’t see what a gem he has until the said gem goes to Scotland and snags herself a blue-blooded Scotsman with several castles and a fortune under his belt. So Tom Bailey says yes to Claire’s emasculating request to make him her maid of honour and flies to Scotland to win her heart.

Can the power and charisma of Mr McDreamy make this movie a surefire hit? Yes and no. Yes, because legions of females will see the movie despite what I say, and no, because, well, this movie is simply too formulaic to offer the viewer anything challenging.

Made of Honour is the cookie cutter chic flick that fulfils a woman’s fantasy on how they’d love to be wooed by Patrick Dempsey. To an extent it succeeds – who doesn’t want Dempsey to pursue you on horseback? And there are laughs to make the ride enjoyable enough (though some of them are a trite forced). But it’s just so ordinary, so fluffy when it should be filling. You keep wishing for the sweeping emotions generated by The Notebook or the fun-loving hilarity of the earlier Dempsey hit, Enchanted.

In the end, it’s a so-so flick that does its job well enough. But I’m sure Dempsey will return in another charming guise, hoping to woo another celluloid beauty. Let’s hope the next one will be better than this.

Well, my review may seem a tad harsh (you’ve not seen harsh yet!), but the thing is, it doesn’t matter. Because according to Box Office Mojo, Made of Honour earned a respectable $85mil worldwide. So, despite tepid reviews, the McDreamy magic is still chugging on.

jodi.jpgDo you know what really attracted me to Jodi Picoult’s works the first time?

The book’s fonts.

Yes, not exactly the most logical thing, but I loved the edtions by Washington Square Press.  The books are so nicely packaged, the fonts just the right size and type, the book just the perfect size and thickness. So I gravitated towards the books, picked one up as if it was some delicate toy and read the back covers.

Of course, like many other Picoult readers, I was then attracted to the dilemmas the characters suffered. Salem Falls was my first book – and I really felt for the character.

“Salem Falls is the one place where the character doesn’t get his come uppance, because he couldn’t because of the end of it,” Picoult told me over the phone in early May. Boy, did I feel the same. I stamped my feet towards the end, sniffing, “No fair!”

She talks quite a bit about religion too, and it’s pretty obvious where her political leanings lie:

Keeping Faith is about religion and spirituality and the differences between them. It also examines how religion and politics never were separate in America.”

She speaks about how Americans are thought of as a “wildly religious group”, and about the rise of a Christian evangelical group that seem to preach the gospel but endorse causes that seem so contrary to its message, such as the death penalty.

“And in addition to that they (evangelicals) are working very hard to make sure that the politicians elected to run the country are also people of faith – their faith.

“Just because someone endorses something different from your own beliefs, it might not just be as valid – and I think it’s a dangerous place to be for the country.”

Then she talks at length about the Barack Obama, and how he had to be shown that he goes to church, but then his minister starts saying racially biased comments but all of a sudden he has to distance themselves.
“Its ridiculous the machinations politicians have to go through to get the right demographic vote.”

I thought the same too, wondering why it’s so important that Barack has to tell Americans that he’s not a Muslim but a Christian over and over again on TV.

But enough of that – here’s my newspaper article about Jodi, Pursuing Perfection where she talks about how she started on her writing path, her future novels and ghost hunting.

<– New York comes to a standstill when word goes out that the city is out of coffee.

Damn. Eyeris stole the headline of my post right out of my mind. Next time must type faster! If you’re wondering what in the world the headline means, it just means this: 85% of it is good.

With M.Night Shyamalan movies, the less you know about it before you watch it the better. When word circulated that it’s about “global warming”, I thought, “What the eff does it have to do with green house gasses?”

Well, it does make sense now. Especially since I did watch something about said phenomena. Oh yes sirree bub, it is true what they can do … but uhm, I’m going ahead of myself.

Since I’m probably one of 1% who liked Lady in the Water, the question, “Is M.Night Shyamalan going to bounce back with this one?” doesn’t really apply to me. But I will say, “Sure. He’s not going to be hot pockets like before, but he’s going to be out of the dog house for a bit.”

Night has always been a superb storyteller and master at building up suspense. And boy is the suspense nail-biting. It’s a movie for our post-9-11 world (what, that again? Yes, unfortunately and fortunately), and there is an eerie scene that will remind you about the events that happened before the towers collapsed.

Ack, I’m saying too much already.

It wasn’t devastatingly apocalyptic like The Mist was though. My lawd, that movie’s last scenes gutted me. I was screaming along with Thomas Jane! You want to watch a slit-your-wrist-after-watching-it end-of-the-world flick? Go for that one.

This one? Well, you seelah …

But yes, this one is a crowd-pleaser. None of that experimental shit (to 99% of viewers at least) that happened in Lady in the Water. Less narcisstic too. Thank God. Does Night make an appearance like he did with all his movies?

Well, let’s just say it’s a blink and miss it scene. LOL. Just read the credits carefully, dudes.

Rating: 3.5


I heart John Cusack. So, naturally I’m incredibly biased towards the man. Besides my other favourite paramour Robert Downey Jr, Cusack just acts a storm. I simply like everything he’s done (Grosse Pointe Blank being my absolute favourite next to 1408), so when I saw Grace is Gone at my local, uh, supplier, I got it without a second thought.

Cusack plays Stanley Phillips, a sombre, serious man whose wife is serving in Iraq. He is a dedicated worker at work, and a strict but responsible father at home. He hangs on to the hope that his wife Grace will return. But she doesn’t.

In a tense and emotional scene which just highlighted Cusack’s acting ability, Stanley is told about his wife’s demise, and you can see the myriad of emotions that crosses his face. He waits for his two daughters to return, and when they do, he sits them down … and just can’t tell them.

Instead he takes them on a sudden and long road trip to a theme park in Florida, wondering all the way when and how he can tell them about their mother.

Cusack usually plays the sarcastic but adorable guy with a hidden, troubled core. His turn as Stanley – who is as far away from his usual roles as George Bush is to Barack Obama – was simply impressive. I remember thinking in the first ten minutes of the film: Hey. I don’t really like this dad. He’s such a drag. And I usually love Cusack’s characters from the get go!

But it’s thanks to Cusack’s skill that we end up caring for the stodgy and stern Republican (as the movie pointedly tells us). Cusack is the most emotive I’ve seen him, and in a heart-rending scene where he collapses on a bed and finally weeps, I sniffed and wiped away tears as he wept alone, safe from the eyes of his family, who depend on him to be unshakeable.

The movie is a small, simple movie about grief and a father’s journey to finally connect with his daughters. Thanks to Cusack, you can’t tear your eyes away from it.

Rating: 4 stars


Woke up late today. Watched a couple of TV episodes. Choked down barely edible breakfast. At 2pm, stumbled out of the apartment, half starved, to the gym. At the gym after an unhealthy lunch, while chugging on unenthusiastically on a elliptical trainer, I saw on CNN this headline: “Life cut short”. And a series of pictures of a blonde dude. Oh, some celebrity died.

I couldn’t see who it was; I squinted – I was a good 3m away from the screen – then the picture of The Joker from The Dark Knight flashed on the screen and I nearly fell off the machine. What?? Heath Ledger dead???

According to the BBC:

Hollywood actor Heath Ledger has been found dead at his home in Manhattan.

“He was found unconscious at the apartment and pronounced dead,” the New York Police Department said, adding that pills were found near the body.

Police are reportedly investigating if the Australian actor – nominated for an Oscar for Brokeback Mountain – died of an overdose of prescription pills.

I still have a hard time believing that it happened. I felt very sad too because Ledger was about to make it really, really big thanks to his awesome performance as The Joker in the Dark Knight trailer. He was already big, but after The Dark Knight, he was  going to be box office material. The news about drugs being involved really took me by surprise because we didn’t hear anything about drug use in his life.

It’s going to be so, so strange to watch The Dark Knight during the summer season, knowing that Ledger is no longer around … it will be like watching a ghost onscreen ….

Goodbye Heath … you were gone far too soon.😦

The news clip about his death:


Yes, I saw Cloverfield.

I’m still not sure how to react. I’m stunned. Flumoxxed. Weirded out. Well. How do I put it? It was certainly different.

But never fear. I will not spoil you with anything. In fact, Cloverfield is the kind of film where the less you know, the better it is.


One thing. It’s such a 9/11 allusion. No wonder some New Yorkers are not amused.

Boooom. Crash!! Remember: monster is more important than everything else. 

Yes, Eyeris is right – just throw in a couple of unknown actors and a monster and you get instant hit. Of course, be sure to conduct an extremely successful viral campaign first.

But seriously, directors should stop thinking that hand-held, shaky cam cinematography is cool. It’s not. 

But still, if it’s not shaky cam then it’s a different kind of movie. U know. Godzilla comes to mind.

Cos watching Cloverfield is an experience. How you feel after the experience is something else.


I think it’s the kind of movie that will polarise people. That’s for sure.

Another early thought. Spoiler free.

Proper review coming on Thursday. Until then, cross your fingers.