“When You Forgive, You Love.”

Into the Wild
Director: Sean Penn
Writers: Jon Krakauer (book)/Sean Penn (screenplay)
Release Date: 21 September 2007 (USA)
Genre: Adventure / Drama

With movies like “Eastern Promises” and “3:10 to Yuma”, this movie season has been a huge disappointment. Until yesterday, finally here is one that moved me.

I read Krakauer’s book and wasn’t that impressed. When Gui suggested we go see this I was a little surprised. She said it has received many good reviews. I trusted her judgment. and I was not disappointed.

Sean Penn did an amazing job, he gave the story a soul that i couldn’t grasp when i was reading the book. Maybe that’s what a movie director has to do, to find a way of telling a story such that it became plausible. To Make audience become empathetic of the main character, to see the world through his/her eyes and be moved by it.

Quotes that I love from the movie:

“When you forgive, you love. When you love, God’s light shines on you.”

“Happiness is real only when shared.”

This is a story well told and a movie beautifully executed.
Sean Penn waited 12 years to get Chris’ parent’s permission to make this film. He originally wanted DiCaprio to be the lead. Now he settled for a new face, Emile Hirsch, who is a complete DiCaprio lookalike.

Well done, Mr. Sean Penn.

The music was unique and carefully chosen. Gui is having ear-trouble this week, every time the music sounded, she put her hand on her ear to block the loudness. It made me more acutely aware of each piece of music in the film, more than i usually would in a movie. I quite like the music, too.

-Review from NYT: Mother Nature’s Restless Sons

~~~~~~~Update: 10/2/2007
Re-read “Into the Wild” the book. Confirmed that all the facts in the movie were also in the book, except the rafting down Colorado River part (Sean Penn made that one up). The movie picked up the facts that would connect the dots and produce a good story. The book spent way too much energy on disputing all sorts of “mis-information” and diluted the power of the story, as a result, the book has more opinions than stories. Conclusion: Sean Penn is a far better story teller than John Krakauer.


The first Michelin 2 star restaurant i’ve ever been to.

Manresa Restaurant

320 Village Ln
Los Gatos, CA 95030
(408) 354-4330

We all ordered the “seasonal and spontaneous” tasting menu. The servers served them in synchronized motion. Two plates for the ladies, all landed in front of us at the same moment, then the other three for the gentlemen. We washed down the full 15 courses with one bottle of champagne and one bottle of Rhine wine (Chateauneuf-du-Pape, from Domaine Vienux Telegraphe). Even the portion looked tiny, we were surprisingly full by the time deserts started to show up. It lasted four and half hours (5:30-10pm), probably the longest meal i’ve ever sat through (weddings excluded).


I’m definitely coming back, and willing to pay out of my own pocket.

More photos here…

shuttle ride

On shuttle.
on the left of the highway, the remainder of sunset dyed the sky golden, with twin peaks and the tv broadcast tower’s silhouette in the front.
on the right of the highway is the bay, and the mountains of east bay fading into the dusk, lights sparkling at the foot of the mountain, around the dark blue bay like a necklace. then it is the big round golden moon rising.

Lovingly Crafted Savagery, for what?

Last weekend we watched two movies in a row, both seemed to fall into the same category: lovingly crafted, with impressive actings, and a heavy dose of violence, all ruined with a pointless story.

Both set of actings are superbly memorable, one from Christian Bale in “3:10 to Yuma” and another from Viggo Mortsen in “Eastern Promises”. Both failed to become a great movie because the director failed them. One with a pointless ending, lousy story. Another with a director who was too blood-thirsty that he forgot what he was trying to convey.

Both are fantastic shows that leave audience heart cold, unmoved, unsympathetic of the characters.


Dug out “A History of Violence” and watched it again, just to confirm I wasn’t mistaken. David Cronenberg did a much better job there, maybe cuz he really minimized the violent scene as much as he could. And audiences appreciate that. In “Eastern Promises”, he was obviously much more interested in the Russian prisoner’s tattoos and graphic killing than to tell a good story or to give us an interesting character to watch.

Anthony Lane wrote a review of “Eastern Promises”, Space Cases. Most of the times, we find that Anthony Lane’s review is fun to read but not always reliable. But this time. I’m, sadly, in violent agreement with him.

Dug out the blockbuster “Transformers” from the summer, and watched it tonight. What a fun movie! 🙂 A lot more enjoyable than the two movies combined from last weekend.

Tomorrow, onto “In the Valley of Elah”. Will we be disappointed again? fingers crossed…

Cronenberg & Mortensen on FreshAir, NPR. September 13, 2007
Soldiers, “In the Valley of Elah.” by David Denby , The New Yorker, September 24, 2007