Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sydney - Dubai - Munich

Isn't it amazing how you can fly out of Sydney in the morning, arrive in Munich at night, and still log 21 hours of flying time; not including the 3-hour transit time in Dubai? Ah, the wonders of time zones.

This is the first time I'm flying with Emirates, and I'm quite impressed with their planes. The seats come with widescreen displays. They're touchscreen, too. Great selection of movies, TV shows, documentaries, audio CDs, and games. You can watch any movie from the start any time. There's an AC outlet, USB port, and an Ethernet port. When it's time to sleep, the whole cabin goes dark, and the (fake) stars come out.

With a whole day (and night) to kill, I started watching movies. Lots of them.

Death Note 2: The Last Name
In the first Death Note, Light (Kira) sacrificed his girlfriend in order to escape L's suspicion. This time, he got a new partner, Misa. She's so enamoured with him that she volunteers to do his dirty deeds. With much scheming, Light finally finds out L's full name. He writes it down in the Death Note, and L drops dead. Amazingly, L later comes back to life to confront Light. Turns out that L has already written his own name in the Death Note beforehand, indicating how he'll die and when. When someone is already "dead", they can't be killed again, so Light's later entry didn't have any effect. With this ultimate sacrifice, L manages to expose Light as Kira in front of everyone. Game over.

Amarufi: Megami no hôshû
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Fuji TV presents Amarufi: Megami no hôshû. Shot in Rome and the coastal town of Amalfi, the film has enough big stars to guarantee a blockbuster. Didn't work for me though. As with most movies shot on foreign locations, this one tends to be dragging and feature too much of the local landmarks, which distracts the audience from the plot. To give the movie a brooding feel, most of the scenes are quite dark. Another complaint is the single mom's character. She's always panicking and not following instructions, I would've dumped her if I was the inspector. Some of the climax scenes are a bit unbelievable. The bumbling mom pulling off a last-minute double-cross (with a gun)? An international gang of volunteers successfully barging their way into a private Sarah Brightman concert for the President and Ambassador? Come on.

When this Japanese movie first came out, it was shown on 428 screens, seen by a million people in its opening weekend, and earned more that 1.2 billion yen. I watched it on the plane and switched to another movie after half an hour or so. Am I missing something or what? How is this supposed to be good? Maybe the manga series from which this movie is adapted from is very popular? First part of the movie is mostly character introduction and development. It shows a bunch of high school kids messing around, and looking for recruits for their baseball team. All the guys are just trying to act cool. The acting was so over-the-top, it really turned me off.

From the makes of Spy Kids, another over-the-top movie. At least it's in English, so I can understand it better. The movie is chopped up into a series of shorts, hence the title. Movie is about a boy who discovers a wishing rock. He makes a crazy wish. Through the magic of computer animation, it comes true. He discovers his wish is not too good, so tries to fix it with another wish, which makes things worse. The wishing rock gets passed on from person to person, resulting in crazier and crazier scenarios. In the last scene, the superintelligent baby gives a sermon to everyone for their petty wishes, so they get rid of it. Happy endings for everyone.

Ashes of Time Redux
Said to be Wong Kar Wai's most underappreciated work, I now see why. The movie has no plot. Lots of big-name stars like Leslie Cheung, Brigitte Lin, Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, and Jacky Cheung, but the movie makes no sense whatsoever. Heck, the characters came from Jin Yong's The Legend of the Condor Heroes, but the plot has nothing to do with the book. Maybe if I'm in a philosophical mood, I'll revisit the movie again, but not when I'm on a plane feeling sleepy.

Arrived at Munich airport around 8:15pm. The baggages come and go, more flights come and go. No sign of my luggage. By 9:30pm, I had to accept that it's lost, so I filed a Property Irregularity Report with baggage services. Good thing I had gloves, a scarf, and a jacket in my backpack. Bought a train ticket to the city and a weekly pass for tomorrow and left. At Ostbahnhof, everybody started getting off, so I followed them. Now I've been to the Munich central train station before, and it doesn't look like this. Was there a major renovation work in the past few years? No one seems to know where Marsstrasse is, even though I know it's only a few hundred meters away. Braving the cold winter night, (no snow in sight though), I stepped out of the station and walked around looking for my hotel. This is definitely not the central station. Got back inside the station and sought help from a group of policemen standing around. One word: Hauptbanhof. Not Ostbahnhof. By the time I get to Ostbahnhof and to my hotel, it's already 11pm. And guess what, reception's closed. Had to ring some bell and get checked in.

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