I discovered a lot of K-pop the last few months. From 13-member boy bands to 9-member *adorable* girl-groups, I’ve been to hooked to some of their catchy tunes, well-produced videos with often great choreography.
And now, this track, SHINee’s latest single from their new album is no. 1 in my mp3 playlist. And no. 2, and no. 3….
…. actually I haven’t listened to anything else since I saw this video day before yesterday. Since then it’s already cracked a million views and continues to rack up thousands of views by the minute. It’s a thumpin’ track!
I have no idea why the song is named after Thor‘s evil brother and yes, when I saw the fashion and the WTF hairstyles… I did go “wuuuhhh?”. But who cares, none of that would matter when the music and choreography is just pure awesome!
As we came out of the tunnel, to ourright was our next stop.
Infinity Tower: The tallest twisting building in the world
Oncewe took a left and got on to “The Walk,” I pretty much knew why people throng to this place. It’s essentially Dubai’s ‘Exhibition Road’ (a once very popular stretch in Bahrain where traffic moves slowly and people, well, come to show off — among other things).
The Walk is part of Jumeirah Group’s massive property by Jumeirah beach. Lined along the stretch are shops, restaurants, hotels and the Jumeirah residences.
The Sofitel Hotel, Jumeirah
We finally managed to get a parking spot and while there were the usual luxury brands, given this is Dubai, one really needs something too rare to really stand out from the crowd.
And whoever was the owner of this Batmobile-esque Mercedes McLaren SLR, surely had it!
Freakin’ sweet. A supercar indeed!
Jumeirah Beach Residences
The (not so great) beach
After watching the sun set, we went back to the parking lot.
Before you ask... yes, petrol is cheap out here
Since it was time sunset prayer, Azhad and Jassim made their way to the prayer hall like good muslims, while I waited out looking at the slow moving traffic.
After prayers, we moved on.
Passing through Jumeirah Residences
Big elevators for big people and their big cars (not Azhad)
Jassim told me that we needed to crossed over to the other side as he wanted to show me something. I didn’t really know what or why but I figured it would be more buildings.
It was buildings alright…. but I never expected this!
Panorama consisting of 7 shots
I really wasn’t expecting a sight like this in, of all the places, Dubai. I was looking forward to seeing all this when I go to Singapore in September and in Hong Kong next year, but in the middle of a freaking desert? Wow.
Now I get what Dubai Marina is all about. It’s like the guys at Emaar Properties (the same folks behind Burj Khalifa) visited Marina Bay in Singapore and Hong Kong’s Kowloon Bay and went: “Hmmm, very bretty… very nice… we like… we want also.* ”
And then came back, spent a few billion, dug out a lot of sand and half a decade later — voila!
The steps we came down from (Jumeirah residences in the background)
Azhad talking away
Private yachts can be rented for cruise parties
We went up to take a walk across the bridge
We crossed the bridge road over to the other side
After being mighty impressed with the world’s largest man-made marina, we headed back to ‘show-off boulevard’.
Back at the The Walk
We set off into town and made our way to the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, the venue for tonight’s David Guetta’s concert.
Kinda looks like New York's Chrysler building -- but of course Dubai had to out-do NY, so they made two!
The Rotana Tower Hotel
Upon reaching the venue, we figured we still had some time to enter so we decided to do dinner. Jassim parked his car near Emirates Towers and we made our way to Nando’s.
They have these 'space stations' (a.k.a Metro stations) all over the place
Trying to take photos while on the travelator
The trains have no driver by the way -- it's all automatic
What I ate at Nando's
Me and Jassim had a good meal, Azhad didn’t … and wanted to get home quick!
So after seeing our friend off at the metro, me and Jassim went back to the car to get ready for ‘the party’.
Emirates Towers in the distance
And there she is in the distance
After finding a parking spot, we walked towards to the concert hall where there were a lot of guys with heavily waxed hair and girls with heavily waxed skins.
And boy were we glad we bought our tickets well in advance! The show was sold out and many were around seeking extra tickets. We got in around 11pm where an opening DJ was was warming up the crowd.
The man himself didn’t hit the stage until 1am. And just when he was about to… disappointment. My Nokia E72 with the 5 mega-pixel camera dies out on me. All I’m left with is my mom’s basic 2mpx Nokia and even that was low on battery.
Sorry, but these grainy photos are all I have. (Some are from my friend Jassim’s iPhone)
This is when he hit the stage
Grainy photos won’t do the concert justice, so just watch this if you want to know what the atmosphere was like:
To sum in up in one word: AWESOME! This was one of the best concerts I have been to. The crowd was insane! Over 10,000 people packed into one massive hall. And I would so pay to see David Guetta live again!
David Guetta left the stage exactly at 3am, the time when all of Dubai has to shut off it’s loud music and stop the sale of liqour.
The tired crowd making their way out of the exhibition center
The (very) long queue for taxis
By the time we reached the car, our legs were tired as hell! This was one packed-evening/night/dawn. I saw a lot, ate a lot and danced a lot.
When news broke that director Christopher Nolan wouldn’t be immediately working on a sequel to the incredible ‘The Dark Knight‘ (2008), movie blogs speculated ‘what next then?’
Then in 2009, Warner Bros. made it official — Christopher Nolan’s next project would Inception — a concept he’s had for nearly a decade. Nolan never got the budget to realize his ‘dream project’ back then, but when ‘The Dark Knight’ became the second highest grossing movie of all time, getting funds now didn’t seem like an issue. Leonardo DiCaprio signed up and filming began in Paris with Ellen Page. From the behind-the-scenes photos I saw last year, it looked like a plain thriller to me. Then the first trailer hit. I was intrigued.
Then the new trailers came out this year.
Now I was blown away! Inception soon became the summer movie I was looking forward to the most (especially after a rinse-repeat ‘Iron Man 2′ and the just plain disappointing ‘Prince of Persia’).
The TV promos in India made it look as though Inception was an out-right CGI action movie — and judging by a few annoying audience members, you could tell they felt misled. I could sum up Inception simply using one liners like: “A thinking man’s action movie” or draw comparisons to the Matrix films with all it’s jacking into one’s mind shenanigans. But Inception is more than that.
For one, it’s got a great cast. No, Christian Bale isn’t in it, but other Dark Knight alumni are, namely Michael Caine and Cilian Murphy. Then you have Leo, who hasn’t done a bad movie since ‘The Beach’. French actress and Oscar winner Marion Cotillard along with Ellen Page make up the female cast.
I won’t go into what Inception is about, because the whole reason why I was so intrigued by the film was despite the brilliant visuals, I still didn’t have a clear idea as to what the basic plot of the movie was.
So as the movie began, it began quite slow. Lots of chatter about “the architect” (a la The Matrix trilogy — but not as annoying), back-and-forth on entering someone else’s dreams to extract clues, Leo’s back story involving his wife (Marion Cotillard)… let’s just say the first half doesn’t suck you in right away.
The scene where Ellen Page and Leo DiCaprio are at Parisian cafe when the world around them just starts exploding seemed like a blatant excuse for pretty visuals, despite making go “wow!” (it also reminded me of Sony’s BRAVIAads) .
But once the second half kicks in, you’re hooked. The plot thickens, the visuals only get better and the action picks up pace. Towards the end of it, you may still be confused, but not once did I lose interest in the film.
I'm going to buy the Blu-Ray just to find out how they shot these sequences
People are already calling Inception the best movie of the year so far. Some had high expectations and were left disappointed. I wouldn’t call it either.
Whatever it may be — you have to watch Inception! You won’t see anything like it this year. Even the CGI. Remember watching The Matrix for the first time? The first time they did the whole slow motion, bullet time sequences? Well, Inception‘s special effects USP (‘unique selling proposition’ for those not into trade-talk) is it’s world-bending sequences.
I may have to watch Inception again to fill some of the loopholes in the plot I *think* I didn’t get — but at least it made me want to watch it again. It’s that intriguing!
Christopher Nolan is on a roll, no doubt. After a good Batman Begins (2005) and The Prestige (2006), Nolan pretty won me over (& every geek worldwide) with The Dark Knight. He really is a genius. Writer, original screenplays, producing, and of course directing. His Academy Award is surely on it’s way, it’s only time.
After the promotional tours, Nolan will now return to working on the next Batman film, due out in 2012. Until then, Inception will rake in the big bucks and win him many more accolades throughout the year.
You maybe confused by *my* take on Inception too, wondering why I’m showering praise on Christopher Nolan despite not understanding it fully myself. I mean, look at the screens from movie I intentionally used for this post. Try and figure out how they all fit. You won’t, unless you watch the film.
Regardless of whether you understand Inception the first time you watch it, my advice is, just sit through it. The ending alone will make you applaud the man who wrote and directed this film. Trust me.
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 (for now… a few years later and many repeat watches as a cult classic, it may change to a 4/5)