Category Archives: Entertainment

Rookie Lessons from Fantasy Premier League

Whilst I managed to perform considerably well in Facebook Citizen Sports Fantasy Football League for the past three seasons, I had to go back to the drawing board and sorta start afresh this season following Citizen Sport’s decision to merge with Yahoo! Football Fantasy, which I felt was a bit buggy.

So, following some other football kaki’s advise, I joined the more renowned Fantasy Premier League (FPL), supposedly the biggest fantasy football league in the WORLD..:-p

Anyway, with quite a number of differences in terms of point scoring and exciting elements like wildcard, I felt like a total rookie coming into FPL. I had already sensed it was gonna be quite a difficult fantasy season ahead and I was proven right because from the season kickoff, I had already started to make several uncharacteristic ‘rookie’ mistakes in the FPL.

As the season progresses, I hope to learn and adapt more to the FPL system so that I can improve on my standings. So, as for today’s blog, I thought it would be good for me to share some ‘rookie lessons’ learnt (so far!) from my first year playing in FPL. guess it would provide some good references to others in the same boat too…

1. There’s NO SHAME in taking a HIT (ie. minus 4 points for each additional trade in per GW). Unlike the previous fantasy league I was familiar with, FPL only gives ONE free transfer per week. Additional transfers will involve points deductions. After GW1 completed, it felt so awkward and sinful to make more than one transfer. It only came to my senses to make around 2 transfers after GW3. After all, most managers would also be forced to make similar number of transfers, so on the overall, the point deductions won’t matter so much.

2. Need to master the new Bonus Point System (BPS). Apparently FPL rewards best players of the match via BPS, where the top players gets an additional 3 points, second best scores 2 points and third best gets 1 point.  So far, I have to admit I have not done enough research to determine which kind of players would benefit best from the BPS, although on paper it would seem like the DEFENDERS would stand a better chance, with the assumption that there would be more 0-0 or 1-0, 2-0 scorelines in the defender’s favour.

3. Using the Wildcard (WC) wisely. When I first saw this exciting element in FPL, some thoughts came to my mind on the best times to use the WC – (i) during key double or triple GWs; (ii) when the team is badly struck with injuries; (iii) when the total points deducted from additional trades is like 16-20 points.. Anyway, I had already set my mind to use it during one of those double GWs where a top team would be playing twice, but I had to use this as early as GW 6 because of items (ii) and (iii) above. My decision was based on the fact that I didn’t have a complete team that I was ‘comfortable’ with, and although I was still consistently scoring above average every GW, I foresaw that I would be running into trouble shortly. Hope that using my WC this early into the season won’t come back to haunt me later.

I’m also learning that many managers also tend to use the WC quite early into the season to fine tune the template formation based on the early games into the season. This is quite common because the first three GWs is usually a trial and error phase where we would be studying the performers of the league.

4. Using the WC does NOT guarantee an immediate points harvest! How you should utilise the WC is to plan for the dividends to show up in the longer run. For example, when you use the WC, you would already know which players can or cannot play, so this will help you to save up on those precious free transfers in weeks to come.

5. Cannot see my friend’s team selections for the coming week. Something minor but of which I had to adapt to because the previous fantasy league that I played allowed me to peek at my friend’s selection, so I could re-strategize some pieces based on that. :-p

6.  There is NO specific opening or closing of window to perform player trades. Apparently, I could already start making transfers and pick my team as early as when the current GW is under way. This minor thing cost me some chances to make easy money in the early GWs. Sigh. Shall be more alert now that I know…:-D

Plenty to learn, yet plenty more GWs to play for! 😀

38 Tips to be a Successful Football Fantasy Manager! (Part 3 /3)

My final installment of my trilogy of 38 tips to be a successful Fantasy Football Manager….

25. Every year, your Fantasy League will try to be more innovative and introduce new parameters for scoring, eg. Shots on Target, or Bonus Saves. The tip here is to be well aware of these new parameters and choose the best players who can benefit from this.

26. In the event that you are CHASING a leader in your league, try to use DIFFERENT players from the ones your leader has. I know it sounds like a risk but if you are trailing in points, you can never catch up if the majority of players you have are the same.

27. In every season, there is bound to be a ‘template line-up’ formed after around 10-15 GWs. Template line-ups refer to the typical formation and players that have performed well to-date so much so that the majority of fantasy managers would have also picked in their team. The trick here is to quickly improve your salary cap and achieve the template line-up as soon as you can. For those still confused, try to recall last season when after GW10 or so, the popular line-up became one that was littered with players playing in the ‘hole’ like the midfield template of Cazorla, Michu, Bale, Feillani and Mata.

28. In your selections, try to pick some star players from mid level teams. In the long run, this could turn out better than the oft rotated stars of big teams. For example, many managers stayed clear of Man City’s star-studded midfield last season because Mancini tended to frequently rotate his midfield.

29. Plan for 2-3 GWs ahead, whilst keeping in sight upcoming games for the coming 5-6 weeks. If planned properly, you’d notice you’d have strong players to rotate to suit every upcoming GW. :-)

30.If you are trailing in your league, especially whilst chasing the leading pack….DON”T GIVE UP! The entire season lasts 38GWs….that is a very, very LONG time. Accurate selections of captains or a hattrick here or there could see you collect many points in a flash!

31. Always remember to MOVE your bench pieces too…they do make a difference! Although you are well aware of the automatic substitution based on player position, moving bench players to your preferred priorities would help in teh event that some of your subs are injured and you’d want your best sub to come on instead.

32. Especially in pre-season, keep an eye out for unknown (and golden) prospects! Keep abreast of other leagues and read, read, read on player bios, form, etc. to identify these gems. For example, by following the Primera Liga in the seasons leading to last year, Michu and Cazorla had already caught my eyes, so it was a no-brainer for me to snap them up the moment they crossed over to the BPL.

33. As mentioned above, it’s always good to do additional research on player bios, character, temperament (yellow card prone?), past statistics, etc. before buying a player. This is especially true at the beginning of the season when everyone wants to start off well! :-)

34. Anticipate a players game time. For example, if Man Utd has a mid-week match and Kagawa was rested in the mid-week match (eg. League Cup, Europe matches, etc.), there is a bigger possibility of Kagawa starting in the BPL match over the weekend!eg. run out in mid week game usually means starting 11 in weekend BPL

35. Always scan the upcoming GW and ROTATE your squad to face weaker teams. There is a higher risk of allowing your star-studded squad of primarily Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal players to remain as they are then the next GW fixtures sees Man Utd vs Arsenal and Chelsea vs Man City! Reduce this risk and use your other fringe players so that some of your stars are benched in exchange for example, your mid-level Kevin Nolan (WHU) playing at home against QPR…

36. No idea who else to buy or improve your squad? Don’t be shy…go ahead and pry on other teams to see who they are buying and their positioning strategies! There’s even a filter in the Stats area to show you which player in which position is the most popular purchase to date!

37. If you are playing in a league (friendly or unfriendly..:-p), it is always good to check out your competitors team and formation too. This will help you to plan your upcoming trades too. For example, if you are leading the pack, you;d want your team to have more or less the same players as yours! And if you are trailing, you’d want to know which players you need to improve your team so that you have a chance of catching up!

38. RAP. My final tip is to remember that in fantasy football manager, all you need to do is RAP. You need to start off by doing some Research – on players, teams, form, injuries, suspensions, etc…. Analyse the current scenario, upcoming fixtures…and Plan your next course of action…which players to buy…when to buy….when are DGWs coming up, etc.

But above all, HAVE FUN!

All the best in the upcoming BPL season!

38 Tips to be a Successful Football Fantasy Manager! (Part 2 /3)

Continuing my trilogy of tips to help you become a better fantasy football manager…

13. Be aware that the Africa Cup of Nations is one tournament that will totally affect your fantasy team, particularly if you have loaded it with a big African contingent. Typically taking place around early Jan till mid Feb, my advise is to slowly offload your African-based players by the end of December. Also you are encouraged to keep abreast of the news of players involved in the tournament. If you are lucky, some of your African-based players may be omitted from their national squad!

14. In the BPL, one of the more kan-cheong periods is during the Christmas-New Year madness. With all teams required to play like 5-6 matches within a 2 week stretch, it is something pretty stressful in reality football, and very much so too in fantasy football! During these periods, take note that the trading windows open and close at a very fast and furiious rate. Sometimes even as tight as 24 hours…miss these quick trades and you could easily lose pace in the fantasy league standings…

15. I would encourage you to ALWAYS make trades during every GW. There is a rare chance that your lineup is good enough for consecutive GWs. There will always exist a a chance for a trade to strengthen some position or to make a quick buck at the trades. The only exception here is when you are planning some 4-5 weeks ahead for a Double/Triple GW and you factor in additional trades you may need then… :-)

16. Don’t pack your fantasy team with too many players of the same team. Too risky, I reckon….unless it is for a double GW, of course…

17. It may be actually quite fun to have a Target dream team line-up at the start of the season and slowly work your way through the GWs to achieve it.

18. One of the more oft forgotten stat is the VAL of the player. This simple stat gives very valuable info to monitor all the players so that you’d know when the best trade can be made. for example, after a particular GW, you have no clue as to which player actually ‘performed’ well. All you need to do is just to filter the VAL list and look at which players are fast approaching the 1.0 mark. Player that have a fast rising VAL would surely increase their price too!

19. Always be on the lookout for players who are nearing an automatic suspension (accumulating 5 yellow cards). An overlook here may see you fielding a crock player in your line-up…

20. I know it may sound morbid, but try to make it a habit to check up on player injuries every other day, especially after each GW. Info like this goes a long way in determining which player to be used in the starting line-up or sold immediately!

21. There are plenty of resources out there to help you experience the complete action of fantasy football. Some of my favourite sites for Fantasy Football news and updates are Skysports and Fantasy Football Scout. My suggestion would be to follow them on Twitter to get the current updates, or to visit their website regularly…

22. All football matches are NOT played over weekends only. Be alert with those niggling mid week matches like the  Capital One Club, UCL matches, FA Cup matches, etc.

23. Be familiar with team formations. One of the ‘revolutions’ of last season was the ‘ man in the hole’ position. In other words, the position of an attacking midfielder who would play behind two strikers in a typical 4-3-1-2 formation. Last season, several ‘man-in-the hole’ players excelled to great effect, like Feillani, Kagawa, Mata and Cazorla.

24. Look out for “misplaced gems’. With so many players involved in the BPL, it is fairly common for some players to be wrongly identified in their positions. For example, some players who are naturally strikers could be seen as tagged as a mid-fielder. Buying these gems would be great because they can offer you more points at a (possibly) cheaper rate..

Stay tuned for Part 3/3 coming soon!

 

38 Tips to be a Successful Football Fantasy Manager! (Part 1/3)

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Before barreling straight into my blog for today, I think it would only be fair if I started off with a disclaimer that despite the catchy title of the blog, I am NOT a fantasy football expert! Honest! :-)

I started my addiction with Fantasy Football only three years ago with 100% football fanatic enthusiasm and absolutely 0% knowledge of how to play the game. Many people do say that football fantasy management is really a whole lot of luck and accurate predictions. However, over the course of three years of managing football fantasy teams, I would clearly beg to differ. Whilst luck does play a role in managing your fantasy team over the course of the entire season, the management point of the team also plays a big factor. I should know because I have never been really good at predicting matches, but yet I seem to be doing pretty OK in this fantasy football management business. Another proof is that many people that do well in these Football Fantasy games are the SAME people who would do well every other year! Thus, I don’t think it’s very likely that these same people happened to be just as lucky and good at predicting matches every other season, right? :-p

So, in three years of managing Football Fantasy teams of the BPL under the Citizen Sports Fantasy League on Facebook, I have continually and steadily improved myself from 1,764 points; global rank 1,341 (2011) to 1,773 points; global rank 789 (2012) and finally 2,329 points; global rank 218 (2013). Three years of playing this game has taught me many tips and tricks of the trade which I felt I should share with everyone leading up to the upcoming new BPL season next month!

Since  there are 38 gameweeks in every BPL season, I thought it would be best if I shared 38 tips – one for every GameWeek! – in a three part series! Have fun and enjoy!

1. There is no need for a proper formation in your Fantasy Team. For example, you could easily enlist THREE leftbacks in as your Defenders without worry that your centreback position is exposed. :-)

2. Always seek to buy players who can get you points at the Fantasy level; and not players who can perform in real life football. For example, players like Scott Parker and Dembele are excellent players with fantastic influence for their teams. Unfortunately, they offer very little in terms on points return.

3. Don’t fall into the trap of buying great players for all 15 slots of your team. Commit to a preferred formation and work around it. For example, if your preferred default is a 3-5-2, focus on strengthening your starting 11 with emphasis on your midfield.

4. The key every GameWeek (GW) is to earn points and increase budget at the same time. Thus, weekly target is to achieve at least one of these.

5. Set a personal GW target of total points to hit every week. If you are playing the FB version, the average target should be around 50 pts/week.

6. Buy low, Sell high. Very simple principal to remember but not so easy to carry out.  Always try to BUY early (ie when the trading is open) if you know the player’s value will increase. For example, if Benteke, valued at $10M scored a hattrick in GW 3, chances are high that his value may soar towards $11 way before GW4 as soon as the trading window opens. Similarly, try to SELL quickly if the player on your roster has a high chance for going down in value, ie. red-carded, long-term injury, sold off to other leagues, etc.

7. Start to love numbers and make full use of system statistics offering invaluable data on players who scores the most goals, provides most assists, etc. Familiarise yourself with sorting these data to obtain best info required on who to buy next!

8. Always have this mentality that you are creating a fantasy team for EACH GW, and NOT for the ENTIRE SEASON! Many people fall into this trap of wanting to form the best team possible for the entire season. Definitely not possible. Form a fantasy team that is flexible enough for you to customise and tweak to deliver high points for you for each GW.

9. Make sure you draft in 15 players…that can play. Many people tend to have a solid starting 11 but deadwood bench. Always fill your ENTIRE roster with players who can PLAY, preferably players who play regular first team football in real-life too!

10. I noticed that for many seasons, picking the right captain for each GW is critically the key to a successful fantasy football season. Whilst there are no secret formulas in selecting your captain, my best tip is to choose your captain based on Form>Home Ground>vs Weaker Opponent

11. Don’t be too emotional over the team you support. For example, if you support Chelsea, don’t stack your fantasy roster with Chelsea players. Similarly, if you have much hatred for Liverpool, you don’t need to line up or stack up players on your roster that would be facing Liverpool for that one GW. It’s suicide. For example, although I devotedly support Manchester United, there are quite a number of GWs that I have a roster without any Man U players!

12. Be alert and plan for double GWs. Double GWs are bonus weeks where certain teams play TWICE or sometimes even THRICE! Always plan ahead and keep these GWs on the horizon so that you can deploy as many players as you can from teams playing in these double GWs. Failure to take advantage of these GWs would result in a great big gap of points from those who played their cards right here.

 

Stay tuned for Part TWO!

 

 

10 Life Lessons I Learnt from Monsters University

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1. Friendships are formed in universities. Great friendships are developed through doing many, many things together…even after university life!

2. An influential figure we meet in our early childhood will have a major impact on the path we choose in the future.

3. Be careful when giving out advice. Sometimes, we could be helping our competitors…

4. We don’t need a graduate degree to be successful. However, a LOT of hard work does help…

5. All of our friends are wired differently and blessed with their own special gifts or talents, no matter how weird they may look…

6. Teamwork always triumphs in the end!

7. It’s not cool to cheat.

8. Never underestimate or embarrass your competitors. Humiliation is a great source of inspiration to come back fighting stronger!

9. Dream BIG.

10. Touching and changing lives is always key to living a wonderful and meaningful life ahead!

What did YOU learn from Monsters University? 😀

Reel Review: Iron Man 3

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In a summer filled with so many explosive blockbusters, there are several movies that everyone has penciled in to watch…one of which has got to be Iron Man 3. I guess it was very highly anticipated not only because the Iron Man movie franchise was perhaps the most successful superhero franchise of Marvel movies, it is also a sort of first follow-up movie in the aftermath from The Avengers.

The third installment starts off rather philosophically with Tony Stark bemoaning how we sometimes create our own demons. We are taken on a flashback to 1999 where we are introduced to a bio scientist Maya Hansen, who is doing some research on Extremis, which is some formula with regenerative properties. They also have a brief encounter with Aldrich Killian, who offers both Stark and Hansen to join his company – Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM). Stark dismisses the offer and inadvertently embarrasses Killian as well.

In the present, a very restless Stark is seen performing more research and tinkering on his Iron Man suits – latest being Mark 42 (!!!…if my memory is correct, we only saw Mark 7 in The Avengers!!!). Obviously still shaken from his near-death experience as seen in The Avengers, it is clear that all is not well with his relationship with Pepper too. We are quickly introduced to a series of frightening Al-Qaeda-ish threats and boastings on TV from a sinister terrorist known only as The Mandarin. This villain and his organisation called The Ten Rings has been responsible for a series of unexplainable bombings, which may be related to the Extremis, all over the country.

When one of such bombings leaves Stark’s security chief, Happy (seriously!) very badly injured, Stark takes it rather personally by issuing a live threat on TV to The Mandarin, as well as giving him an open invitation by giving out his home address. The Mandarin responds very quickly when Stark’s home becomes a direct target of the Mandarin’s attack helicopters. This incident drives Stark to relentlessly pursue The Mandarin and bring him down.

It may sound like a rather simple storyline of a superhero bringing down a terrorist to justice but along the journey, we are offered a glimpse of Stark’s inner battles and discovering more about the man inside the Iron Man Suit.

Personally, I didn’t quite enjoy IM3 as much as I did with the very first IM1 although it was probably better than the thoroughly disappointing IM2….which brings a lesson that sometimes we do not need VVIP villains like Whiplash or The Mandarin to make a good movie. I still remember Iron Man’s adversary in IM1 was only the Iron Monger, yet other elements within that movie connected well to make it fantastic.

In summary, these are some of the key points which I liked and didn’t like about IM3:

What I Liked:

1. Trauma caused by events in The Avengers gave it  some satisfactory link and continuity with the on-going Marvel cinemaverse.

2. More action from Pepper! 😀

3. The very villainous twists throughout the movie. Always enjoy movies that surprises me! :-)

What I Disliked:

1. Personally I felt every single scene with Stark and some kid in a small town didn’t work. The dialogue felt really awkward and very artificial. The tried and tested superhero-kid chemistry usually works but in IM3, it was probably one of the weaker sub-plots.

2. Entire movie was pretty humourless. Read: dull. Perhaps the director was trying to create and maintain that tension throughout the movie but to me, a comic book movie should at the end of the day also have some erm, comic elements too!

3. Movie tries to be too philosophical and dark, focusing on Stark’s human self and lesser on the armor….very similar to what Christopher Nolan did with The Dark Knight Rises masterpiece. Unfortunately, whilst Nolan successfully built the momentum of his Batman version over a trilogy, IM3 failed to stir that gripping aspect and idea in this film.

4. Iron Patriot. Almost pointless and role-less in this movie. I could actually feel the pain everytime he appears. Almost like watching a cheap side-kick prancing around. Sigh.

5. Casting. Apart from Ben Kingsley (superbly casted as The Mandarin), everyone else didn’t really look comfortable on set at all. Hmmmm.

 

Plot:

Acting:

Script:

Pace/Flow:

OVERALL:

Football Fantasy: 2013 Recap

FF Final Score 2013 v2

Woo Hoo! the 2013 BPL Season has come to an end and so has the Football Fantasy season…

..and guess what?…I’m lucky enough to be the champion manager amongst my friends again…successfully defending it for the third year in the row liao…hehe…Anyway, what was more important is my improvement in the overall score and also global ranking as illustrated below:

2013: 2,329 points; rank 218 (0%) *

Comparison: 2011:  1,764 points; rank 1,341 (0.2%); 2012: 1,773 points; rank 789 (0.1%)

* of course it is worth noting that scoring parameters of  FF under Citizen Sports (Yahoo/Facebook) has changed considerably this year, thus making everyone’s scores bulge significantly. :-p The total number of games counted into this year’s totals were only 37 Gameweeks, due to a big boo-boo that they developers screwed up before GW1. So based on 37 GWs, I ended up with a weekly average score was 62.9 pts/GW. Other than that, my high and low points, as well as scoring spread is summarised here:

Highest GW: 107.0 pts (GW 28); Lowest: 31.5 pts (GW 10)

Scoring Spread: >100 pts (EXCELLENT) (2X); 80-100 pts (9X); 60-79 pts (9X); 40-59 pts (16X); <40 pts (BADDD) (3X)

In terms of team value, new rules regarding the introduction of a 28-day vesting period and also the ability to carry forward unused transfers certainly curbed the ability of most players to increase their team value by many, many folds as per previous seasons. For example, in 2013, I only managed to increase my team value by $12.5M from the start of the campaign to a total of $162.5M at the end of the season. In comparison, I finished with $172.8M in the 2012 season…

At the end of it all, I guess I have to be quite satisfied, although I am quite disappointed I couldn’t break into the top 100 despite flirting with it a few times throughout the campaign. I have to remind myself that based on last season’s scores, my modest target was actually only to break into the top 500 this year. And…with that box checked, I am boldly giving myself a target to break into the top 200 next year…:-D

Some lessons I can take forward to a better season next year:

1. Need to capitalise more on those Double/Triple Gameweeks. Strangely, unlike previous seasons, I was not able to score big here in the 2013 season. Sigh. Probably need to do more research and better prep for available trades.

2. Stick with RVP. Should have stuck with No. 20 throughout the season. The thing was, before he came in, SAF would frequently rotate his frontline, with Rooney the only constant, making it quite difficult to predict or even consider buying a ManUtd striker for your FF team. Should have seen No. 20 as SAF’s preferred and constant striker throughout the season. Sigh.

3. Improve GK pairing. For most parts of the season, I fared quite well with Jussi and Begovic alternating with each other with great effect. However dips in form and injuries forced me to mash it up towards the final quarter of the season, finally ending up calamitously with Fabianzki (injured) and Guzan (porous D). I was not able to improve this because of my limited trades week after week, which I preferred to improve in other positions. Sigh. Before, I didn’t really see the need to invest much in the GK position. This season is teaching me to NOT forget this area too..

Did YOU have a good football fantasy season? :-)

 

Reel Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

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Star Trek Into Darkness is absolutely BRILLIANT. In fact, the brilliance already started more than a year ago when director JJ Abrams initiated his deceptive cloaking technology and shrouded the main villain in total mystery or erm…darkness. Heh. For months Trek fans and other people were simply adding on to the hype of identifying who Benedict Cumberbatch would be portraying. I saw this magic work with my own eyes when the identity of the villain was finally revealed, the entire cinema hall was filed with loud “Gasps” of shock and surprise!

When the Star Trek movie reboot in 2009 was so successful, many people (including myself) were anxiously waiting…not so much as to see what was the next adventure for the rebooted Kirk and his Enterprise, but also with question marks of how JJ Abrams could top his superb 2009 effort. Like a Vulcan would truthfully tell you…..Into Darkness did it!

The pace of Into Darkness is one frenetic ride that doesn’t let up right from the opening sequence, where Kirk and his crew try to save an entire planet from an erupting volcano, whilst managing to incorporate a chase in the jungles ala Indiana Jones, Enterprise hiding under the ocean and the suspenseful rescue mission of Spock from the volcano! What I loved about this 10-minute hook was that it beautifully illustrates the importance of the much revered Prime Directive to everyone.

The movie then seamlessly shifts to our mysterious villain, John Harrison, an agent of Starfleet, who calculatively plots a horrific bombing act in London and thus, officially declaring war on Starfleet. This solo act of terrorism sparks a manhunt at Starfleet’s highest level to apprehend this ‘one-man weapon of mass destruction’ which leads Kirk and his crew all the way to a deserted area of the Klingon homeworld, Qo’noS, which sets up some really good drama and action sets involving Klingons (yay!). The plot gets a little more complicated after that when John finally reveals his motives and real identity (YAY!). Suddenly the initial (and simple) ‘revenge’ episode plot is spiraled into something much, much bigger, which eventually threatens Earth itself!

One area with much improvement over the first installment was the chemistry between Chris Pine’s Kirk and Zachary Quinto’s Spock, which was simply amazing. Their banter, insults and friendship is the type of space ‘bromance’ that lifts Into Darkness above the ‘ordinary flick’ level. Throw in the deadpan expressions, insults and colourful metaphors (eg. Jim, you don’t rob a bank when the getaway car has a flat tire..) from Karl Urban’s ‘Bones’ McCoy and this movie just comes to life with its witty dialogue.

“Brilliant…with the numerous plot twists like a Bajoran wormhole, dialogue as sharp as the Kahless blade, pacing as fast as Warp Factor 10, action sequences as explosive as an unstable warp core and bright, colourful character chemistry like Dilithium Crystals…”

Visually, Into Darkness is a feast for the eyes. The special effects of the Enterprise emerging from the ocean in the opening sequence, the fight scenes in space and all the destruction scenes were truly unbelievable and really sensational to marvel at! The action sequences would be another key highlight of the movie. Hand-to-hand combat, starship dogfights, space diving-slalom, gunfights, etc. Phew. As I said before, probably the only time the audience got to take a rest and move away from the edge of the seat was during the opening title sequence bit. Heh.

I also liked how the character of John Harrison was developed. Personally, I thought he was somewhat of an anti-villian-type where there were times in the movie that we could actually feel for him and there were times where we would really despise him. I have to admit there were times that I felt as though John was playing with our minds as well…. manipulating us to cheer for him too, perhaps? Hmmmm. That being said, Benedict Cumberbatch was perfectly cast here as his voice, height and facial intensity makes this mysterious villain very, very menacing indeed.

Another thing that JJ Abrams did well in Star Trek 2009, which he also replicated in Into Darkness was the lace the movie with ‘easter eggs’ of Trek lore – be it the type of costumes, the classic one-liners, references to future trek, etc. – which I feel would really connect well with all Trek fans. Yes! Tribbles are in this movie too! (Yay!) Last but not least, there were quite a number of welcomed twists in the plot that makes Into Darkness a truly rollicking space ride indeed!

If I could think of anything negative about the movie, it would be the lack of balanced character development amongst all main crew, with Sulu and Uhura getting pretty limited screen time this time around. Surprisingly Scotty had quite a big share of the limelight, and he did so with much comic relief. Ha. But I guess this is only natural considering the focus of the entire film very much centered on the explosive Kirk-John’s hero-villain stand-off. Another gripe is our local censors, which managed to snipped off certain parts of the movie which everyone had already seen in the trailers?!! C’mon!! There are also some very minor plotholes (eg. slowness of news after London bombing, etc.) which were not glaring enough to wreck the movie’s awesomeness. :-)

To sign off my review, I think I could summarise this movie as a magnificent Star Trek mesh up…with the numerous plot twists like a Bajoran wormhole, dialogue as sharp as the Kahless blade, pacing as fast as Warp Factor 10, action sequences as explosive as an unstable warp core and bright, colourful character chemistry like Dilithium Crystals…Into Darkness is certainly worth every single latinum you have to pay for to see it!

 

Plot:

Acting:

Script:

Pace/Flow:

OVERALL:

 

You may also want to read my other blog postings leading up to Into Darkness:

My Star Trek 2009 review!

5 Thoughts on Into Darkness Teaser

5 Possible Villains of Into Darkness

Star Trek Quotes for Everyday Use

10 Things to do while waiting for Into Darkness

Football Fantasy: Q3 Report Card

Phew. 30 gameweeks down with 8 more to go. With the Fantasy Football calendar taking a 2-week rest with international games on the horizon, it is a great time indeed to reflect on my fantasy football management achievement so far.

Since GW 21, things have been sailing pretty smoothly in the 3rd quarter of the season. From the point collection standpoint, I managed to bump it up to 1,786.5pts, averaging 66.8pts/GW in the third quarter span. Disregarding GW 24th’s pathetic 37 point collection, the key stretch for me was the torrid GW 25-28 stretch where I exponentially amassed points of 64.5, 76, 81 and finally culminating in my career-high 107 point in GW 28.

Key factors that helped me during this period was the consistent form of (shockingly) Liverpool’s dynamic duo Gerrard/Suarez coupled with lucky captaincy picks on Bale, Rooney, etc. I also successfully off-loaded RVP at the right time because he is still struggling to find his scoring touch (till now!)

In terms of money, I only managed to add another 2.2M to the kitty, making my current team value at 160.5M. In all fairness to the new system FF came up with, this is still consistent with the fact that after Q2, we can’t expect to increase our salary cap much already. :-(

All this adds up to a global rank of 101, which is quite satisfying considering I had what I thought to be two ‘below-par’ performances in GW29-30 with hauls of 43 pts and 50.5 pts respectively. Surprisingly, I observed that my global rank dipped only 6 places following those two GWs. I guess this phenomena is an indication that I would have achieved what is termed ‘template-line-up’ as with the majority of the players.

I reckon for the final quarter, I could either choose to play safe and opt for the standard tried-and-tested 5-man midfield, which would more or less guarantee my global rankings won’t increase of drop so drastically…OR opt to rick breaking up the midfield 5 and push for a higher global rank.

Starting from GW 31, you may have noticed that I have decided to take the risk and go for the riskier 3-4-3 formation, which is less stable but promises higher returns provided the strikers score…

Planning ahead in Q4 also tells me that the battle for points would be crucially decided between GWs 32-35 where all managers would have to do well to plan and navigate their teams through various gameweeks with no-games and double games. There are also many uncertainties with some top clubs like Chelsea who’s schedule could still be well disrupted by Cup competitions.

Anyway, that’s the Q3 report to-date….here’s me pushing forward into the final 8GWs with confidence! 😀

 

10 Things to Fill Your Waiting Time for Star Trek Into Darkness

If you are just like me – itching in anticipation of the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness, you’d probably be searching for useful things to do whilst waiting for the movie to open, huh? Or perhaps that’s just me..heh.

Anyway, if you DO fall into that category, then you’re in luck because today, I offer 10 best ways to fill your time whilst waiting for Star Trek Into Darkness to open…

1. Scour your attic/basement/racks for your Star Trek movie collection and immerse yourself in a non-stop Star Trek movie marathon…. OK, you are allowed to skip some of the odd-numbered editions too..:-p

2. Brush up on your Klingon language. This online Klingon Translator and Dictionary might help…

3. Continue to put in additional hours of research to try to identify the main villain of Into Darkness.. I have already tried to do so but I think I would probably be very well far off the mark!

4. Continue to practice and incorporating Star Trek lingo into your everyday life…

5. Re-visit your Star Trek book collection and re-read some of your favourites!

6. Sign up on online Trek forums and have meaningful discourse with other Trekkies.

7. Challenge yourself to some essential Trek trivia. One of my most highly recommended books is this:

Image Credits

8. Load yourself with critical Star Trek knowledge by extensively studying the most comprehensive wiki site for all Star Trek info – Memory Alpha

9. Download the unique Star Trek Into Darkness app on your iOS/Android devices to get the latest on the movie!

10. Repeatedly stare and gawk at this awesome ‘motion poster’ teaser of Into Darkness:


Motion Poster Credits