If We Were A Season (2017): Follows the first love between childhood friends Hae-Rim (Chae Soo-Bin) and Ki-Seok (Jang Dong-Yoon).

My rating: 3/5 stars (★)

I think many KBS Drama Special have great content and plot, including If We Were A Season. Initially tried to watch this because Chae Soo Bin is in it, and I found out that it is one hell of a cute drama! Since it is a drama special, it only has one episode.

The plot is a cliche, high school friends who are childhood friends falling in love with each other in secret, but never admitted it. It's fresh seeing how dumb silly and impulsive Jang Dong Yoon's character is after being used to his serious attitude in School 2017. Ki-Seok seems to always be around whenever Hae-Rim needs him, or sometimes, even when she didn't need him. He's a very gentle person, though he always hide it by trying to bicker with her. It was painfully obvious how much he cares for her.

As for Hae-Rim, I absolutely love her character! A badass girl that is fine to be on her own. I like how feisty she is when she's around Ki-Seok, she never hesitated to kick his ass even once. The kind of friendship that I love to see in dramas. And of course, a cliche high school love story is not complete without a third person. Come in Dong-Kyung (played by B1A4's Jinyoung), a new student from Seoul, who immediately fell for Hae-Rim's charms. He's a very straightforward person, and even though I think that's a good thing, he made things awkward too.

Despite the cliche plot, I did enjoy watching it. It can be due to the fact that I love most of the cast in this drama, or it can possibly be because I have watched too much heavy and emotional films lately that all I need now is something light. So yes, if you feel like watching something light, If We Were A Season is definitely a nice one. I have to be honest that I don't understand the reason why Hae-Rim denies her feelings, but I'm glad how the ending turned out. Their story has not ended yet 💗

Till next time ♡ Love, Maira

Tombiruo: Penunggu Rimba (2017): Tombiruo is a troubled young man, deformed, dutiful and burdened with powers that do not bend to his will. The tragic death of his father causes Tombiruo to seek revenge and punish those responsible.

My rating: 4/5 stars (★)

 Tombiruo: Penunggu Rimba is a film adapted by a novel with the same title, written by Ramlee Awang Murshid in 1998. It was released during early October this year and managed to get high ratings from its viewers, especially from readers of Ramlee Awang Murshid’s novels. Directed by Seth Larney, Tombiruo: Penunggu Rimba is a story of man with a deformed face who lives in the forest with his father. He has to wear a mask to hide his face, and he was cursed with a power that he cannot control when anger consumes him. The death of his father causes him to become overwhelmed with rage and vengeance.

I have not read the novel by Ramlee Awang Murshid, so my review will be solely based on the film itself. On a scale from zero to five, I would give Tombiruo: Penunggu Rimba a four, simply because I love most of the elements displayed in the film, but there are parts that seem a little bit off. Ejim, or known as Tombiruo by the locals who believed him to be a spirit that takes care of the forest, is portrayed by Zul Ariffin. Even without the need to show his face throughout the film, Zul Ariffin managed to bring alive Ejim’s character greatly, further proving the impressive skills as an actor. Not to be missed, Farid Kamil as Amiruddin and Nabila Huda as Wan Suraya, whose characters played large roles in shaping Tombiruo: Penunggu Rimba as a good film. 

Family and greed are two of the main themes being focused on in the film. Through Tombiruo: Penunggu Rimba, audience can clearly see that the loss of a family brings a lot of sorrow to a person; Ejim lost his father, while Amiruddin lost his wife and father-in-law. Both of them lost their family due to a murder tragedy, causing both to be consumed with the need to have revenge. While Wan Suraya is caught up with the need to find a scoop as a journalist, she ends up caught between the mess that surrounds Ejim and Amiruddin. Her curiousity and bravery are definitely admired by me, thought at some point I feel like she should have just stayed quiet. The element of greed can be felt during the second half of the film, when the audience is slowly being exposed to the real culprit.

Tombiruo: Penunggu Rimba took place in Sabah, thus it shows a lot of dialogues in the Coastal Kadazan dialect. For someone who rarely hears dialects from East Malaysia, it is absolutely interesting to listen to. The film also exposes that some of the people living there still believe in spirits of the forest, and their beliefs should not be taken advantage of.

No matter how great a film is, there will definitely be a flaw in it. All in all, I do enjoy watching Tombiruo: Penunggu Rimba, but I feel that Ejim’s power is a little bit too over the top. Especially during the second half of the film, when Ejim saves Wan Suraya from an explosion, even though he falls unconscious after so, there seems to be no wounds or burn marks. I feel that the part is rather unrealistic. But even so, it did not make the movie bad since it is only a small fraction of the whole story. I may be a little oblivious, but the twist at the climax of the story, when Ejim and Amiruddin’s connection is revealed, I may have been very surprised. I cannot find the relation at first, how both men are connected, so when the truth is revealed, I appreciated it a lot.

I will definitely recommend Tombiruo: Penunggu Rimba to everyone, especially if you enjoy action films. This film combines the element of action and the traditional belief of local Malaysians, which I feel should be shown a lot more in future films.

P.S: This review was written on 09/12/2017 for a subject in uni.

Till next time ♡ Love, Maira

Pengabdi Setan (2017): After dying from a strange illness that she suffered for 3 years, a mother returns home to pick up her children.

My rating: 4/5 stars (★)

Pengabdi Setan, or also known as Satan’s Slave as its English title, is the latest horror film directed by Joko Anwar. It is a remake of a film with the same title, Pengabdi Setan (1980). I have not watched the original film, but the new film managed to appeal to me as a horror enthusiast. Released at the end of September in Indonesia, it gained attention of many and said to be a great work by most of the audience.

Pengabdi Setan tells about a family of seven, living in distress because of the ill mother. The four siblings live under the care of their old grandmother and hardworking father, doing their best to survive the poverty. When the mother dies, their hopes of the mother resting peacefully and them leading a better life crushed when horrific events start to unfold inside the very house they grew up in.

Unlike the original film, Pengabdi Setan (2017) is said to have a different number of characters and main themes. Originally only consisting of two siblings (Rita and Tomi), Joko Anwar’s version of the film added two younger siblings, making them to become four (Rini, Tony, Bondi and Ian). Rini, portrayed by Tara Basro, is a responsible eldest sister that cares a lot about the wellbeing of her family. Tony, the second child, is played by Endy Arfian. In contrast to his sister for always being skeptical towards the satanic cult, Tony openly accepts that something sinister is going on inside their house after the death of their mother, Mawarni, who is played by Ayu Laksmi.

Bront Palarae, a Malaysian actor, took the role as Bapak (Father). His character seems cold, but in reality, he is very caring towards his family. Bondi (Nasar Annuz) and Ian (M. Adhiyat) are the younger siblings, often seen playing together. Ian’s character is mute, making his character very endearing. Elly D. Luthan plays the character of Nenek (Grandmother). Even though her character is rather sickly and only sits on a wheelchair, the character plays an important role towards the end. The tight-knit family managed to portray a great family bond, and it is one of the greatest qualities shown in the film, despite the frightful events being thrown into their direction.

Other than the bond of family, Pengabdi Setan (2017) also focuses on the issue of neglecting religion. When Ibu (Mother) died, she is buried in the Islamic way. But when the Ustad (Arswendi Nasution) that helps with the burial of Ibu, Bapak reveals that even though the family professes the religion of Islam, they do not pray. The Ustad says nothing more, but it proves that one of the reasons the family are disturbed by the sinister events is due to their ignorance on religion. The way the family is raised seems to be following the lifestyle of the western people, which I think is a good point because that is exactly what is happening in reality. Many have started to neglect religion in order to fit in with the current trend.

The story is definitely well-directed. Seeing the trailer at first, I have expected to be served with a clichéd storyline, but I am more than glad to say there is more than it is deemed to be. The suspense managed to bring me to the edge of my seat, and the twist at the end was satisfying. I am still at shock as to what happened to one of the siblings, I wish all of them can stay together until the end with their father. Despite my appreciation towards the well-directed plot and cast, there are several scenes that I dislike too. For instance, when the dead bodies started attacking the household, I almost cringed out loud. It was a little bit too much, making it seemed like a zombie movie instead of a ghost and demonic one. The scene where Ustad was attacked looked ridiculous too, as if the scriptwriter just want him to be out of the way.

On a scale from zero to five, I would give this film a four because I feel like it has enough “juice” of being a great horror film, with twists that you do not see coming, especially if you have not watched the original version. I definitely recommend Pengabdi Setan (2017) to all horror film enthusiasts, particularly if you enjoy the Asian ones. The ending still leaves me confused, but I am sure it will contribute well to the sequel of the film that is being talked about and planned to be filmed or released sometime next year. I am absolutely signing up for the sequel!

P.S: This review was written on 09/12/2017 for a subject in uni.

Till next time ♡ Love, Maira

Badang: A male college student is often bullied by friends because of his gentle nature but actually has extraordinary power. His mother died due to being hit by a criminals who came to ask money for protection. With his extraordinary power, the young man was looking for a mastermind in charge of his mother's death.

My rating: 0.1/5 stars (★)

Badang is the latest Malaysian superhero film directed by Datuk Profesor Dr. A. Razak Mohaideen, set to be released in February 2018. I was given the privilege to watch the premier of the film during the FiTA’s KaryaOne Week in Dewan Agung Tuanku Canselor, UiTM Shah Alam. I had expected a film that will surpass the standard of previous superhero films, but I am regretful to say that the whole plot is unreasonably cliché.

In my opinion, a superhero film’s main genre should be action. Romance is acceptable, if it is only a side story from the main events circulating the plot. Badang’s genre seems to centre around drama instead, and romance plays a large part in the whole film. Realistically, I do not think that a superhero should even need a typical costume anymore. The fact that Fasha Sandha’s character suddenly offered to make a suit for Badang seems absurd. Furthermore, the element of comedy is overdone, making it difficult to take any parts of the film seriously. The CGI and the visual effects are fairly acceptable, taking into account that they were made solely by Yusry Abdul Hamid from KRU.

I do appreciate the fact that Badang’s power is rather unique, but as we get further into the story, his power starts to lose its shine too. The origin of his power seems to be ridiculous; both his parents cut off bamboos and out of nowhere, they were given a son with special powers. The writer of the story may be trying to blend a traditional legend such as “Anak Buluh Betong” into the film, but it fell flat. The parents neither did anything noble to receive a child from a forest spirit nor paid a price after receiving one. It makes the story to be look nonprofessional, as if the writer and director did not do enough research to produce a superhero film.

The casts did an “okay” job, but all of those were drowned because of the script. The script was unforgivably cringe-worthy, particularly on the supposedly “romantic” scenes. The pace of the relationship bloomed between Aliff Syukri’s and Fasha Sandha’s characters were too fast, making it irrelevant.

On a scale from zero to ten, I would give this film a two. I think that the plot can be improvised to become more unique and non-cliché. Malaysian directors should refrain from focusing too much on creating romance films. A film can be marvellous even without the element of romance in it. The amount of comedy should also be toned down to allow more seriousness in a film. Our country needs to escape the mentality that extreme comedies are needed to make the film become “fun”.

P.S: I swear the costume was the worst. I'm sorry to whoever that designed it, but please, just stop. I could not even put up the poster in this post, it made me cringe just thinking about it.

P.P.S: This review was written on 21/12/2017 for a subject in uni. I tried my best to be "academic" enough and not to write trashy reviews even though I was absolutely disappointed with this film.

Till next time ♡ Love, Maira
First post after four months! And also my first post in 2018! I hope it's not too late to wish you guys a Happy New Year ♡ How's your new year's resolutions going?

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After many years, my family finally managed to go on a vacation (a short but definitely memorable!) just the five of us—me, my parents and my sisters. We are so used to only go to places when dad has some work to do, so it feels nice to have him around as we strolled around Cameron Highlands. The last time I went to Cameron Highlands was four years ago, and though it was a great memory, it was somehow ruined when my camera was stolen. So, this year, I was pretty much determined to make the best memories in Cameron Highlands, because I absolutely loved it there.

The very first thing that we did after arriving in Cameron Highlands was of course: eat! We had our early lunch in 200 Seeds Cafe (Abang Strawberry), a restaurant + strawberry farm at Taman Sedia, a Malay village off Tanah Rata town center. The main specialty of the restaurant is Nasi Lemak Strawberry, which was the main reason we had our meal there. Their signature Sambal Strawberry is unique, and it definitely have a wonderful taste (and their rendang is scrumptious too!). If you're a fan of Nasi Lemak and strawberries (who aren't?), you should definitely try eating here. 

Plus, look how cute the pink rice are!

Next, of course, a must for anyone who visits Cameron Highlands: Strawberry farm! Since we've already eaten strawberries earlier, we didn't go strawberry picking. We're gonna have more strawberry meals later anyway, so we opted it. 

We just strolled around the farm (a.k.a me and my sisters running around taking pictures like hyper kids) and enjoyed the view of strawberries and flowers and plants.

I love these tiny flowers so much, they're so pretty ♡

Cabbages! Or salad? Not really an avid fan of vegetables (whoops) but look how beautiful the colours are. So fresh!

Everything on this table is strawberry related ♡ They're absolutely delicious, especially the strawberry yoghurt. The scones are wonderful too and they just melt in your mouth marvelously when eaten with the strawberry jam. Anything strawberry will always make me happy!

Another reason that I love anything strawberry is of course the colour. Don't you agree that pink is a sweet colour? 

Again, more loves towards tiny flowers ♡

It's cute to see that Dad keeps hiding between the flower bushes and then making Mum take pictures of him while she was busy trying to take more flower pictures. This was just a few days before their 35th year anniversary ♡ 

Hydrangeas are one of my favourite flowers, they look so pretty when there's a lot of them.

How unique is this flower, right? It reminds me a lot of candy canes though.

And of course, roses are absolutely wonderful.

Once again, I bought more succulents for myself! (As of now, one is already dead, while another one is dying /sobs/) I'm hoping they'll stay alive for a long time ♡

Second day! We decided to visit a tea farm, and we went to Bharat Cameron Valley Tea House. It's a good choice if you want to spend time leisurely drinking teas, but not so much of a good choice if you want to explore a tea farm. You can only walk around a small portion of the farm (around several hundred metres only), the rest are not open to visitors as it may be dangerous too since the slopes are quite steep. 

If you want to explore around a tea farm, it's better to choose BOH Tea Plantation. And make sure to wear comfy shoes and clothes. The soil can be wet and you may slip, so always be careful!

I love the green view so much!

Does this remind you of Alice in Wonderland? I certainly did! It was so exciting to find this humongous cup of tea, I almost took one home. Sadly, the price are way over my budget. I know I'm not supposed to be playing around with things that I don't intend to buy, especially fragile things, but I couldn't help it. 

The last place we visited before heading home was the Cameron Lavender Garden. This was actually the only place that have an entrance fee, which is RM10 per person. We tried to keep the budget as low as possible for the places we went for this trip, all the other places we visited were free of charge.

Lavenders are so soothing to look at. A part of me wished I could just jump over the fence and lay down on the bed of lavenders, they looked so tempting.

I think boots are a cute replacement of flower pots! If I had a garden, I wouldn't mind getting a few cute boots to plants flowers in them.

I was not familiar with the English name of this plant (Chenille plant), but in Malay, we call this Pokok Ekor Kucing. I think it's an adorable plant, and somehow the flower (?) reminds me of caterpillars (ulat bulu).

More pretty tiny flowers!

These four pictures of the sweet tiny red flowers are taken while I was teaching Mum on how to take good pictures of flowers. Considering that I'm just using my phone to take these, I think I did a decent job. They're my favourite pictures from this trip!

Spot the prettiest flower ;)

I love daisies so much too, I wish I can plant them around my house.

Being surrounded by these beautiful pink flowers are one of the best moments ♡

One of my goals during this trip was to get myself a daisy, and I end up buying six of them ♡ How could I not when they look absolutely gorgeous?

The specialty of this place: lavender ice-cream! We ate the strawberry ice-cream too, and it tasted wonderful, but the lavender ice-cream... I guess it's not what we prefer? It was quite a hassle to finish the lavender ice-cream, but if you do visit this place, do order one and try! Who knows that maybe the lavender ice-cream is the right choice of ice-cream for you ;)

Oh well, so that's the end of my short trip to Cameron Highlands with my family. I experienced a lot during my time there, and they were all great memories. I'll look forward to travel to a new place soon so that I can share more with you guys!

Till next time ♡ Love, Aishah Humaira'


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