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Loss of the Cat June 6, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Drowmage's Philosophy.
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Loga, the vocalist for Malaysian music group “Alleycats” has passed on.

May his soul rest in peace, and condolences to his family, especially his kids. At that age, between adulthood and childhood – losing a father is one of the worst things in the world, as I’ve experienced; so although I don’t know you, I share your pain.

My brothers all knew Loga (Penang being the small island that it is!); so I’m sure they have their own condolences to send.

Read up the feature about Loga today : http://star-ecentral.com/news/story.asp?file=/2007/6/6/music/17939924&sec=music

Jeff Ooi has some nice clips from Youtube on his blog and links to other articles:



What Were You Doing on ‘The 20th Day Of September’? June 6, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Amir Muhammad, Drowmage's Philosophy, Local Filmmakers, Malaysian Movies, The 20th Day of September.
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Amir Muhammad’s doing it again. He’s getting set to ruffle more feathers in the stoid set of society lions, and numerous other groups with a new film, this time about the day the phrase reformasi (reformation) was uttered not by a selected few, but by thousands in this country.

Check out the blog : http://20september.blogspot.com . It consists of a compilation of interviews done with a number of people who were watching, passing by, or part of the event that day. Mighty interesting stuff, and real informative too. Who says you don’t learn anything reading blogs?

No matter what people say, you have to totally respect Amir. I remember meeting him once at a screening of Fat Bidin‘s Look-East film, and asked him about the ban on his film ‘Village People Radio Show‘. He wasn’t too thrilled about the ban, but was going to re-appeal. In the meantime, Singapore was kind enough to not give two cents about banning a film that their brothers across the causeway had made noise over, so Amir was looking forward to the day the film opened there.

(I saw stills and a few clips of the interviews done for ‘Village People Radio Show‘. Just like any other documentary, stories from the survivors’ perspective. Nothing to ‘corrupt’ the young minds of this country today, I must say – so why the fuss?)

Back to the original topic  – does anyone really remember the 20th of September in 1998? I sure as hell don’t. I was only 18 then, and if I’m not mistaken, was getting ready to be utterly pissed drunk and smashed at a friend’s birthday celebration that night.

Years later, when I think back, I realize that the reason I didn’t remember what happened to the country was because I was afraid. Back then, if you even so much as uttered a word about what had happened – you wouldn’t know if the person around you was for the issue, or against it.

I remember a close friend of mine, Edzral, who months later came back from Uni (somewhere in Kelantan or Terengganu) for the holidays, and told me how he had joined the Youth group of Keadilan in the Uni.

I flatly told him that I valued our friendship more than anything else in the world – and told him that we would both keep our opinions of the whole issue to ourselves and never bring it up in a conversation ever.

Not because I was for or against what had happened (and neither am I even taking sides now, preferring to not give a damn). But because I didn’t want him getting arrested (it was a very sensitive time then), or me getting into trouble for discussing such things.

Now that times have changed, and with the wide use of the Internet; people have changed too. Sometimes not for the better, but at least, with a more open-mind.

So, I rise up my glass (of water, sadly I don’t try to get intoxicated anymore) to Amir for constantly trying to bring the truth to his films,  and for always pushing the limits. There are few local filmmakers out there who can safely attest to the fact that they are not governed by the sensitivities of the Censorship board, but bound by their art.

So, Jasdevism, when’s your turn?

Here’s some interesting bits I dug out – what does the 20th of September mean to other people outside Malaysia?


Wiki has an paragraph about that special day in Malaysia :


Expanding the Den : Movies and other rants June 2, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Drowmage's rants, Fantastic Four 2, Malaysian Movies, Movie Reviews, Movies, Ocean's 13, Pirates 3, Random Thoughts, Shrek The Third, Sumolah.
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Things have been a little crazy lately, so I’ll summarize the list of movies I’ve watched and the list of things to look forward to :-

1) Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End

Fun, yet a little draggy. As much as I love watching the half-pissed Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and his many stroke of good luck save the day, there’s only so much I can watch without wondering how much longer they plan to drag the story in order to make the movie worth the 10 bucks you fork over. Had goosebumps at a particularly horrifying scene between Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) that reminded me of ‘The-Beach-Scene-in-Grease-With-Waves-Crashing-On-the-Rocks-and-Bad-Lame-Music-in-the-Background”. Watching Topher Grace trying to be Venom was less traumatic. Or Chow Yun Fatt acting as a Singaporean pirate, before Singapore was Singapore.

2) Sumolah

You’ve met the people. You’ve had a connection with them over similar hobbies. And, you want to like their movies. Yet, when you go through the show with a lot of cringing moments, raised eyebrows, and slaps on the head at the most obtuse moments – that’s when you ask yourself, do you care more about being nice or being honest? In short, the movie sucked. It could have been, and should have been better – yet it was filled from beginning to end with blatant advertising of products by the main sponsors for the film, Ogawa and Celcom. I sure as hell ain’t going to use any of those two products ever again. I want to rant more, but out of respect (and that I pretty much covered about 40% of how I felt was wrong in my published review), I won’t. Unless you ask me nicely. With chocolates. Go read Suanie’s review, she pretty much covered what I’m whining about.

Movies to look forward to this month :

1) Shrek the Third (or Shrek 3, depending on how your country’s marketing it)

The lovable green ogre is back, this time caught up in yet another adventure to get the rightful king onto the throne of Far Far Away; or else the kingdom gets a green, mean, farting machine as a king (Shrek). Sounds easy, except that the evil fairytale characters have joined forces to conquer the kingdom under the leadership of Prince Charming. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but caught up on a load of clips from the film in YouTube. I’ve decided not to write a review for this movie, seeing as I’m a major Shrek fan, and no amount of bad script could move me to say blasphemous things about the green ogre. It’s almost similar to the bond Star Wars nerds have with last two awful Star Wars movies.

2) Ocean’s 13

Two words to make this film the must-see of the summer. AL PACINO. The Godfather himself joins the franchise as the baddie, and you can almost feel the sparks fly off the screen watching the trailer. Catch it here : http://oceans13.warnerbros.com/

3) Fantastic Four : Rise of the Silver Surfer

Not to sound obscene or anything, but the thing that sells this franchise is Jessica Alba. Seriously. Even girls think she’s hot. Yes, and of course the Silver Surfer – that’s another thing to see on the screen instead of just absorbing it from the comics. Of course the story gets warped in the film; instead of being the good guy, the Surfer is the baddie here, but let’s hope they stick to the real story and give us a nice twist in the end.


In other news, I’m expanding the Den a bit. Someone asked me a few weeks back, why was my blog all about movies and music? Point taken. Very good point, indeed. So, I’ve decided if and when, I’ll talk fantasy in this blog – all about the drows, the elves and the wonders of sorcery. I may even have time to conjure up a good spell for forgetfulness, if I remember it.

Quote of the Week : “Tree-shagging pixies”. Courtesy of Agreal, Demon Hero.

My England Damn Powderfull leh… May 18, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Drowmage's Philosophy, Random Thoughts.

No, I haven’t gone mad and forgotten how to write proper English. The title is a tribute to all those who graduated from places like the U.S., Australia, and England, but can’t speak a damn word of English.

Had a good laugh at this post by a man who’s apparently only 62% Evil.

Since moving to the city, I’ve learnt a whole new range of lingo. Apparently all the so-called graduates I’ve encountered seem to be good at butchering the English language. Here are some examples:

Situation A: Requesting that the customer repeat himself.
Normal terminology used: “Pardon Me?”
Real-Life Encounter: Hold orn, arhhhh…..

Situation B: Thanking someone.
Normal terminology used: “Thank you”
Real-Life Encounter: Wer’cum (a shortened version of ‘Welcome’, said with a heavy Chinese accent)

Situation C : Requesting for someone to move aside as you maneuver through the shopping complex.
Normal terminology used: “Excuse me.” (in a polite manner)
Real-Life Encounter: ‘X-KIUS!! (must be said in loud annoying voice.)

I’m curious to know … how did they graduate from those universities in the first place?? Their Eng-rand* is damn powderfull**…..


This Post has no Title. May 18, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Drowmage's rants, Random Thoughts.
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Been feeling down lately, what with bad paymasters for my freelance work, lousy rules, and feeling like a third-class citizen scrounging for scraps and being given stuff no one wants to do anyway.

That and missing my old salary….

Suddenly writing for a living ain’t that fun anymore. Where’s the passion now? It’s been beaten out of me by ……

Tales from a Call Centre #1: Liar Liar, Pants on Fire May 10, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Drowmage's Philosophy, Drowmage's rants, Tales from a Call Centre.

I’ve recently come to a realization that all call centres are full of liars. They’ll lie about when you’ll get your delivery, they’ll lie about the price of the stuff you’re getting, they’ll lie about why you keep getting blue screen on your system – heck they’ll lie just to get you off the phone so that they can log off 5 minutes before their shift ends.

I left the a really good sales job in a call centre because of the very same lying crap. We had a special promotion that fine week for Item X, which could be delivered within a week. With Christmas looming round the corner – the customers were going ape-nuts over the promotion, and clogging up our phone lines trying to place their orders.

I took a call from a guy somewhere in Australia, who didn’t want Item X, but something else – let’s call it Item A – which needed more than a week for delivery. However, Aussie guy wanted it in a week.

“Anything you can do to get it to me sooner? It’s for my son for Christmas,” he asked.

“No, I’m really sorry sir. I can get it to you after Christmas.”

“Are you sure? Can’t you do anything?”

“I can try, but it wouldn’t be fair if I promised you delivery before Christmas, and you don’t get it by then. Would it be alright if we could deliver it after?”

The guy thought for a bit, and made a decision. “I’ll have to cancel the order then.”

I could have made quite a bit from that one sale; IF I LIED.

But I didn’t. “Would you like to reconsider that?”

“No, thanks. I’ll have to go to Harvey Normans’ instead.”

So, I lost a customer, who went to pick up a sub-par item instead to make his kid happy.

My trainer asked me what happened. I told him.

“Why didn’t you just sell it to him anyway?” trainer – let’s call him Stripey, based on his wardrobe – questioned me.

“Er… because he’s going to get hell pissed when he gets the shipment waayyyy after Christmas….” I countered. “Then he’ll call, screaming for blood…”
You’ll never guess what he said to me next.

“If he calls, just put him through to Customer Service then. They’ll handle him, and you still get the sale.”

Biggest wtf moment ever. (There’s more, but I think I need to create a separate blog just for that). How do you justify lying and letting someone else clean up your mess, just for a damn sale?

So, 2 months later, I high-tailed out of there (why two months, you may ask? Because I needed to find another job first, of course) to a different state, and took a Hell Desk job.

But that’s a different story, for a different day.

“28 Weeks Later” Review – Beneath the Blood and Gore, An Excellent Film Awaits May 7, 2007

Posted by drowmage in 28 Weeks Later, Movie Reviews, Movies.
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British films are cool. So far, from the ones I’ve watched – there’s no happy ending, no stereotyped characters, and everyone’s a bastard no matter what. Today, I watched “28 Weeks Later”, the sequel to the cult film “28 Days Later”, which was apparently inspired by the cult classic “Dawn of the Dead”. But it’s not a zombie movie, it’s way more than that. Here’s the review :

To be honest, I’ve never caught the first movie, “28 Days Later”. With that, I assumed that this film was a zombie movie – something along the lines of classic zombie flicks like “Night of the Living Dead” and “Dawn of the Dead” (both the 1978 film and its 2004 remake). However it turned out to be a variant version of films like “Outbreak” and “Resident Evil” – yet tastefully done to keep you on the edge of your seat.

In the first movie, an outbreak of the “Rage” virus leads to a near-deserted London. Once infected by the virus, the victims slowly succumb to it and become mindless, with the virus driving them into a murderous rage; tearing, biting and ripping anything that lives. In the sequel, it no longer takes that long for the virus to affect a person – but in a matter of seconds from being infected, the victim becomes the murderer.

In the opening credits of “28 Weeks Later”, there is a brief explanation on what has happened between the first movie and the second. The first wave of the infected victims, termed as the ‘Infected’, had died from starvation. A NATO force, led by the United States, had clamped down on London, and quarantined the city; cleaning up the mess. Weeks later, the quarantine was lifted on the Isle of Dogs, and a new city was being rebuilt. Refugees and survivors returning to England were placed here.

When siblings Tammy (Imogen Poots) and Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton) return to London after the city was declared safe, they are reunited with their father, Don (Robert Carlyle). Don, however, tells the children that their mother, Alice (Catherine McCormack) had fallen victim to an attack from the ‘Infected’ – only the three of them are left of their family. Feeling guilty for not even having a picture of his mother to remember her by, Andy convinces Tammy to sneak out of the ‘Green Zone’ – the heavily guarded section of London – and back to their home to pick up a few momentos. To their shock, they find Alice still alive, and unaffected by the virus.

However, their mother was indeed bitten and infected; and although her body was immune to the virus – this made her a carrier. Unknowingly, Alice is brought back to the ‘Green Zone’, where a doctor, Scarlet (Rose Byrne) finds out that she may carry the antibody to fight the virus – but General Stone (Idris Elba), in charge of securing London’s safety; wants Alice killed to avoid further infection. In the midst of all this, Don sneaks into the medical facility to see Alice. Soon after, through a series of events, the virus begins to spread once again – plunging the city once again in chaos.

This was definitely NOT a zombie movie – not just by resisting the usual formula to define a zombie. The ‘Infected’ did not sluggishly drag themselves across the floor; instead, they attacked and ravaged with inhuman speed – like the mindless aliens from the “Aliens” movies; and they didn’t die first before turning into the ‘Infected’, but were instantly transformed after getting infected by the virus – hence disputing the term “The Living Dead”.

Newcomers Mackintosh Muggleton and Imogen Poots did a reasonably good job as the two children stuck and surrounded by the murderous ‘Infected’; without over-acting or seeming wooden. More numbed by shock and loss than anything else, their characters gave the film a different dimension to look at (after all, we’ve grown bored with seeing couples as the main characters of such films). Robert Carlyle (“Full Monty”, “Trainspotting”) has always been an excellent actor, and again he shines in this film. Without giving away too many spoilers, let’s just say that you can feel his pain, rage, and sadness in this film.

Although “28 Days Later” was directed by Danny Boyle (“Sunshine”), he chose to be the executive producer for the sequel, and the director’s chair was given to critically-acclaimed Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (“Intacto”). Juan Carlos’ style is different here from other horror/gore flicks, moving away from a clean, ‘arranged’ Hollywood look and feel, giving it an almost dreary look and hopeless feel to the film, as if this is what the future entails for all. The character build-up was lacking in the film, however – yet it serves to enhance it rather than to turn it into a bore fest.

The film has its fair share of blood and gore – though there’s more blood most of the time. Most of the scenes were obviously shot using a digital hand-held camcorder, giving the impression of frenzy and panic as the ‘Infected’ jumped on their victims – almost bringing you into the film. The usual shock tactics are used here to create suspense and make you jump right out of your seat – the quiet, eerie silent build-up before the action happens; dark, gloomy underground passages; and viewing the characters through night-vision goggles – and seem to keep you engrossed in the movie without cheapening it.

The more impressive scenes are the aerial shots and wide-view look of a completely deserted London city. Known to be one of the busiest cities in the world, it is almost disturbing to see a handful of people walking down the deserted streets – in broad daylight. Even more disturbing is scene from the helicopter – not a single car can be seen on the London Bridge or any of the roads – leading you to wonder at either the impressive digital technology, or the citizens from using these roads during the filming.

Beneath the layers of gore and blood however, the message is clear. During the Dark Ages, pestilence and plague were destroyed by quarantining towns full of people and burning them to the ground. In the wake of the recent SARS outbreak and the bird flu virus in Asia, the question still remains; how far can a country go before resorting to the final decision of exterminating all living folk, just to destroy something that can be seen only under a microscope? Would mankind still stand by his arrogance that he alone is superior, as is seen in the film when the General arrogantly assures Scarlet that there is no further infection?

The film is entertaining, with a number of unexpected scenes, leading you to ponder on the possibilities of the third movie just before the closing credits – and the subliminal messages hidden beneath the spatters of blood.

The Drowmage Rates this as :  Stars 4

28 Weeks Later Poster

Malaysian CLEO’s 50 Most Eligible Bachelors May 4, 2007

Posted by drowmage in OMFG.
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Malaysia’s finest… as chosen by the masses (or a really small group of people) :


Hot or not?



“Spiderman 3” Review – Too Many Stories, Spoil the Film April 25, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Movie Reviews, Movies, Spiderman 3.

I’m back from a preview of “Spiderman 3”; after going through a hassling traffic jam, and reached home only to find out my electricity had been switched off for some road works – with no advance notice. After arguing with the chaps for a bit, managed to rush out my preview for the new “Spiderman 3″…. albeit a few minutes late. Here’s the blog version, different from my published one apart from the synopsis (for professional reasons, of course):

Review : Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), now having gone through what we’ve seen in “Spiderman” 1 & 2 movies respectively, is living the life of a dream. He has a beautiful girlfriend by his side. As Spiderman, he is revered by the city as a hero for fighting crime and saving people’s lives daily. Although he still stays in a dodgy little apartment, and still has that freelance photography job at the Daily Bugle, he’s a happy man.

However, problems soon arise, when Parker finds himself caught up in his fame as Spiderman, that he begins to revel in it at the cost of his love, Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst). One morning, he wakes up to find himself in a new black suit, and discovers that an alien-like symbiote has merged itself into his suit, creating the new look; flashier, stronger – yet, darker, in a sense – Spiderman. Parker soon exhibits a darker personality, and begins to change; not just as his alter-ego, but as an individual – pushing Mary Jane to the brink.

In the midst of all this, Parker is dogged by more problems. Word is out that the real man responsible for the death of Parker’s uncle, Ben, is Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church), who has just escaped from prison and is now loose on the streets. Digging deep into his darker side, Parker goes after Flint for more than just revenge, but to exterminate him; only to find that the ex-convict has somehow become The Sandman.

More chaos occurs when Harry Osborn (James Franco) takes up the mantle of his father as the new Green Goblin. Out for revenge for his father’s death, which he believed was caused by Spiderman, Harry pursues Parker at every turn of the corner – creating havoc, and pushing Parker into finally embracing his darker side.

At the losing end, Parker must find a way to destroy his enemies, and sever his link to the alien symbiote – but ends up creating a new enemy when the symbiote lands on Eddie Brock (Topher Grace), the new guy at the Daily Bugle who is out to replace Parker as Spiderman’s photographer; thus creating Venom – and who’s hatred for Spiderman runs deep.

The beginning credits of the film showed freeze frame snippets from “”Spiderman” 1 & 2, creating a little background history for the viewers before delving into the third movie.

Stan Lee makes a cameo, as he’s done in the past two Spidey movies, and has a good line this time. Topher Grace acts like his character, Eric Foreman, in the “70s show”. Rather wooden. And as much as I would like to believe that he has embraced the Venom character, he sounds odd when talking, like his mouth is full of teeth. Oh wait. They are.

Thomas Hayden Church was good here, showing the anguish the character needed, to convince me why he turned to crime, and how he became the Sandman later on. However, James Franco didn’t do much to convince me that he’s angry enough to want to kill Spiderman, but came off sounding like just another spoiled, rich brat who’s throwing temper tantrums.

Tobey Maguire’s looking a bit puffy here, probably having put on some weight recently from fatherhood. He gets to flex some acting chops, by not being a goody-two shoes all the time in “Spiderman 3”, but also as the bad-ass version of Peter Parker. The scenes after his transformation into the bad side, or , in homage to “Star Wars”; the ‘dark’ side – are funny, especially when you see the normally well-mannered, staid Peter Parker suddenly filled with the groove, checking out the ladies, and smoothly standing up to the dreaded J. Jonah Jameson.

Regrettably, Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane looks haggard, drained, and quite aneroxic here; and although you know better – you’d find yourself rooting for the character of Gwen Stacy who seems to be more alive than the red-headed skeleton pining after Parker. However, the Gwen Stacy character is more of a tool to be used by Parker in the movie, rather than the cause of internal conflicts and the object of desire as it was in the comics.

There were too many stories squashed into this film. The final result : the main story was messed up, with some parts too short, and some parts too long and dragging you along. After a while, it gets a bit tiring to know that you can sort of predict what’s going to happen before every scene. Don’t get me wrong. The movie (some parts) were still exciting, sometimes gripping, yet, predictable.

One gripe : Spidey landing in front of the U.S. Flag, however – that was a big groan. Enough with the patriotism already – this is an international movie, with an international audience. We need a flag for Earth, and wave that around for every movie now.

In one of the final fight scenes, with heavy irony, the news reporter says “Could this be the end of Spiderman?” which almost seems prophetic. Three’s a lucky number at this stage, and I don’t see how much more excited one can get with the fourth instalment of “Spiderman”. Maybe it’s time to make a choice, just like the theme of this movie. There’s no such thing as having no choice – you can choose to do what’s right, or what’s wrong – but there’s always a choice. To end it, while the feeling is high.

No review can do justice to the film, even though the film ain’t that great. There’s just TOO MUCH to talk about, and I feel like I’ve skipped a whole saga with 2 reviews. Go watch it, but, with an open mind, and no major expectations.

Drowmage Rates this Movie as : 3 Stars

The Drowmage’s Top Ten List : Cinema Etiquettes For the Movie-Goer April 10, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Drowmage's Philosophy, Drowmage's rants, Drowmage's Top Ten List.
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Eons ago, our ancestors were nothing more than barbarians, walking with their simian brothers across the dense forest. However, as time passed, they learned to use their cognitive abilities and communication skills, evolving into a species which was considered more supreme than those which had existed for millions of years on this revolving sphere of gas, rock and water.

As societies began to form, and man created rules and social etiquettes to distinguish himself from the lower dregs of society, he considered himself to be a civil being, worthy of a higher station in life.

Yet, fast forward all of that to the year 2007, we haven’t changed much from our ape-like brethren. People drive like they have something stuffed up their rear end (the body, not the car), and create the boundaries between race, religion and even gender, for reasons of power than anything else.

But I digress…

Here’s a top ten list of cinema etiquettes which every movie-goer should have:

1. Don’t talk during a movie. EVER. Nobody forked out money to hear you give away the entire plot in your know-it-all voice, so shut your yap.

2. Don’t grope, kiss, fondle, and all the sick things couples do during a movie. Get a damn room, and if you can’t afford one, chances are that you’re under-aged. You know what that means.

3. Don’t bring in your smelly lunch, covered in six different sauces of undistinguishable origins, and smothered in garlic. Even a hotdog is pushing the limit. I don’t want to smell your food just as the Spartans fight for their glory with blood.

4. Don’t kick my chair. I know how to kick back, possibly aiming for your head.

5. Don’t answer your phone. Heck, don’t even switch it on – because the bright lights from your fancy gadget shining in my damn eyes everytime you flip it open to check for a message from your be-yotch might be the last thing you see.

6. Don’t be late. When you buy your ticket, look at the time stated there. An 11 o’clock show doesn’t mean you walk in at half past 11, saunter down the aisle in the dark looking for your seat and blocking everyone else’s view. Don’t go giving me that whole “Malaysian time” crap; have some common sense.

7. Don’t bring your kids under the age of 3. Hell, don’t bring them if you can’t keep them from screaming on the top of their voices. And what kind of parent brings their kids to watch an 18PL rating “Children of Men” anyway? You enjoy them laughing when people’s heads get shot? Freak.

8. Don’t snore. Don’t fall sleep. If you couldn’t keep your eyes opened for the movie, you shouldn’t have paid for the ticket. Movie reviews exist to tell you whether the movie sucked or not.

9. Don’t keep waving your plastic bag around as you try to dig into it for the last few chips that fell in there – the damn thing makes noise. I’m missing crucial moments here, and that don’t make me a happy person.

And last but not least, (you know who you are) :

10.Don’t ask me questions during the movie. I have no idea why that man shot the other guy, or why the girl appears in two places at once. Do I look like a damn psychic?

Watching a movie in the cinema is a sacrilegious experience and each scene brings you into the story, so having interruptions and nuisances in between can make a very, very, agitated movie-goer.

Next up : Cinema etiquettes for the cinema workers