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Shophouse styles, Emerald Hill Road, Singapore

Ed Hu, 2005

Random Highlights of 2005 Even though my mom and step-dad have lived in there since 1993, I finally made my first visit to Singapore for Thanksgiving. Everything they say about the place is true—genuinely efficient, clean, safe, easy to get around, and outstanding food (and inexpensive, to boot!). And it is hot and humid as advertised, even in November. Life is simple and convenient and I now understand why they’ve found it so hard to move back to the States. My Annual Favorite Movies of the Year List While there was a lot of schlock put out there, it was still a very good year in film watching, much of it coming in the last month or so. In alpha order, here are my favorite film experiences of the year, so far:

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Batman Begins—Moody and dark, the best Batman yet! Love Christian Bale’s Batman.

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Brokeback Mountain—Ang Lee’s highly anticipated film is haunting and beautiful and lives up to the hype. It’s not about “gay cowboys”—it’s a potent and shattering love story. Great performances all around, but Ledger is truly amazing...who knew?

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Capote—Astonishing performance by Phillip Seymour Hoffman. What more needs to be said?

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Crash—Intense, captivating and intelligent film highlighting the collision of race and class in LA with outstanding performances that really pack a wallop.

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Everything Is Illuminated—Quirky, funny and ultimately touching road movie/folk tale with an oddly bespectacled Elijah Wood, multi-generational characters named Alex and a dog named Sammy Davis Jr. Jr. A pleasant surprise that stays with you.

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire—The best and darkest Potter yet, focusing on the “human” aspects rather than spectacle (though there’s plenty of that too), with spot-on portrayal of the emotional roller-coaster of adolescence.

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Kiss Kiss Bang Bang—This post-modern noir is one of the most entertaining (and surprisingly funny) films of the year; who cares if the plot doesn’t always make sense; just go along for the ride. Loved it.

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March of the Penguins and Mad Hot Ballroom—Loveable penguins and dancing little kids! Hooray for documentaries!

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Munich—Spielberg at his uncompromising best.

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Mysterious Skin—Greg Araki’s most mature pic about two Little Leaguers and their divergent life paths after being abused. Challenging, brutal and fearless, yet tender and touching. Joseph GordonLevitt is a true revelation!

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Syriana—Ambitious, cynical, Traffic-like, complex geopolitical jigsaw puzzle of a movie that requires every ounce of concentration to watch. But it’s worth it.

Others that struck my fancy this year that deserve mention: Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit , King Kong (a little long, but WOW, what a Kong), Good Night, and Good Luck, The Constant Gardener, Jarhead (the critics got it wrong), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (love the Depp-Burton collaborations). Films I’m still anxious to catch: Walk the Line, TransAmerica, Match Point, Breakfast on Pluto, The Squid and the Whale, among others. Most overrated: A History of Violence (it was good, but I think the hype did it in for me). OK, that’s enough rambling for now. Drop me a line at ehu@hw.com and if you find yourself in LA, please come visit!

2005 Holiday Card  

Annual holiday card and movie list

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