Sunday, May 2, 2021

Get A Taste of Museum of Ice Cream Singapore - Pop-up at Design Orchard (30 April to 27 May 2021)

Curious about how the Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC) will look like when it opens at Dempsey in August 2021? Here's your chance!

The attraction has set up a pop-up retail showcase at Design Orchard from 30 April to 27 May 2021, 10:30 AM to 8 PM daily, and admission is free!

The pink California oasis theme of the pop-up space is a sneak peek of one of the 14 installations in the museum. A pretty pink beach hut and rows of similarly coloured ‘palm trees’ offer a few moments of candy coloured dreams, and an opportunity for selfie lovers. (Hint: there is also a mini surprise if you peek into the window of the beach hut. Go check it out for yourself!)

A small range of MOIC-themed merchandise that include unicorn plushies, bubblegum-hued notebooks, and merlion ice cream cone pins, can be purchased there. There are also limited edition collaborations with other designers or companies, like the Kydra activewear and the fruity pink beer infused with raspberry and pink guava concocted by local craft brewer Brewlander.

Red Dot Diva thinks that the most practical merchandise is the MOIC branded tote bag. At first glance, the design seems simple, but when you peek inside, there is a cute ice cream sprinkle motif within. The bag can be used both ways, with the ice cream sprinkles on the outside. However, the tote is rather pricey and will cost you SGD 30, but it is almost like buy one bag get one free.

But let's get to the main reason for checking out a pop-up MOIC - the ice cream!

In collaboration with The Ice Cream & Cookie Co, three locally-inspired ice cream flavours are available at the retail showcase - the lilac-coloured Taro Milk Tea, the Malty Boba that fuses Horlicks and BBT, and the pink Lychee Bandung. Each small tub costs SGD 6. The friendly perky #TeamMOIC guides at the ice cream booth are a sweet bonus!

Red Dot Diva decided on the Lychee Bandung ice cream, because bandung is one of her favourite flavours. To enjoy your novelty ice cream, head up to the L3 rooftop, which has also been transformed into a pink California beach. Either hang out at balcony to enjoy the view of the Grange x Orchard Road junction, or grab a seat and immerse yourself amongst the many pink ‘palm trees’. It doesn't take that much to pretend you are in an oasis. The weather here is already scorching hot these days!

Oh, but what about the Lychee Bandung ice cream, you ask? It was light in taste, with a clear hint of tangy lychee and a dash of raspberry together with the typical rose notes of bandung. Red Dot Diva thought the bandung flavoured ice-cream by McDonald's had a stronger authentic taste, but the MOIC x The Ice Cream & Cookie Co fusion was a refreshing relief in sweltering weather.

Judging by the pop-up retail space, MOIC looks like it is going to be a fun, cheerful venue to spend a couple of hours in. Instagram lovers is totally going to go pink with joy at the experiential attraction.

If you missed out on the advance reservations for the preview in August, the museum has opened up more spots for September dates. Don't miss out again this time round!

Friday, April 30, 2021

Calls on Apple TV+ Is A Suspenseful Binge-worthy Audio Drama

Think of binge-worthy shows, and you might never have imagined an audio drama to be one of these. As highly visual creatures, we tend to focus on colours or dramatic action through imagery.

With CALLS, currently available on the streaming service Apple TV+, audiences are transported back to the days of radio drama. In each of the 9 episodes, you feel like an eavesdropper to intimate conversations, and what you hear is even creepier than what might see. Your wild imagination tends to take over, adding to the weird visceral experience of this horror-scifi audio series.

Fede Álvarez, the director of Apple TV+'s English version, employs minimal but highly effective graphics. As the conversations play out, they are accompanied by lines, bubbles or waves depicting the mood of the dialogues. The visual cues also helping the audiences to orient themselves by depicting the connections between the parties involved.

CALLS is an adaptation of a French audio show of the same name by Timothée Hochet. The suspenseful French series was first aired on Canal+ in December 2017, and the third season was recently released in December 2020.

The show also employs the fantastic voice acting skills of a star-studded cast that includes Pedro Pascal, Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Rosario Dawson, Jennifer Tilly, Judy Greer and Nick Jonas. In the light of the situation with Covid-19 when most film productions have halted, CALLS is an unconventional way to continue bringing compelling stories to audiences around the world.

The first episode about a long distance relationship, and teasingly entitled “THE END”, sets up the mystery about a strange supernatural occurrence. The next couple of conversations seem unconnected to each other, but as you listen to more nailbiting episodes, it becomes clear that something apocalyptic is happening to the universe. And it is terrifying.

Red Dot Diva could feel her hair stand up at the back of her neck while listening to a few of these episodes. The middle ones are particularly chilling, especially the one that involves a Mom. (Mothers can be scary, OK??!)

Seriously. Talk about heebie-jeebies. And the fear!

The curiousity is also what will keep you clicking on to the next episode till the end. Each episode is about 15 minutes without the credits, so it would take you only about 2.5 hours to get through the entire series.

Warning though - after watching CALLS, you might feel very wary about taking your next phone call.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Artscience Museum Hosts May The 4th 2021 Celebration on 1 & 2 May

Missed celebrating with your fellow Star Wars geeks on May the 4th last year because of the pandemic? Here's your chance to make up for all that pent-up energy and get ready to nab tickets for STAR WAS DAY at ArtScience Museum on 1 and 2 May (Sat and Sun).

Admission for the event is free or charge. However, as social distancing measures are still in force, limited tickets will be available. Fans would have to pre-book their slots to visit the museum. The booking link will be available on 26 April morning.

This year's May the 4th celebration is organised by #MAYTHE4THSG & Friends and supported by Pico Pro. The team has planned out a fun-filled schedule for the weekend, with family-friend activities like film screenings, photo opportunities, toy displays and more!

Check out the summary of the programme lineup below. The program schedule is essentially the same for both days except for the film screenings:

Digital Fan Art Projection
10 AM - 9 PM at Curiosity Gallery, L4
Featuring digital projections of artworks by Jon Chan and photography group, Plastic Singapore.

Star Wars Toys Display
10 AM – 1 PM, 3 PM - 6 PM, 7 PM - 8.40 PM at Rainbow Room, Basement 2
Each slot allows entry for 15 minutes.
This is for the toy lovers, with awesome displays of Star Wars toys produced from 1977 – present! Presented by Singapore Vintage Star Wars Collecting Fan Club and Suhaimi’s Gulliver’s Chronicles.

Film Screening – Season of the Force
Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy (2004) - 151 min, PG
10.30 AM - 1.30 PM at Expression Gallery, Level 4
This film documents the making of the original Star Wars trilogy: Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983), and their impact on popular culture.

Photo Opportunity with Star Wars characters
11 AM - 11.45 AM, 12.30 PM - 1.15 PM, 4 PM – 4.45 PM, 5.30 PM – 6.15PM at Oculus, Level 1
Each slot allows entry for 15 minutes. This session will be cancelled in the event of wet weather.
It's time to get your selfies with your favourite Star Wars characters! Supported by the 501st Legion Singapore Garrison, Cathar Base Singapura - Rebel Legion & Kranak Clan - Mandalorian Mercs Singapore

Film Screening – Season of the Force
Elstree 1976 (2015) by Jon Spira - 97 minutes, PG
1.30 PM – 3.15 PM at Expression Gallery, Level 4
In 1976, during the hottest summer on record, Star Wars: A New Hope was shot in suburban North London. Nobody involved had any idea how big the film would become. Yet, for the extras and actors who played aliens, storm troopers, rebels and even Darth Vader – faces hidden beneath rubber masks, plastic helmets or heavy prosthetics – these seemingly insignificant jobs would go on to change their lives forever.

Demonstration – Toy Photography by Sunny Ang
4 PM – 5 PM at Expression Gallery, Level 4
Toy photographer Sunny Ang's style is witty and eye-catching. He also has a penchant for practical effects, and uses very inventive props. Learn how to take photos of your favourite Star Wars toys with tips from Sunny Ang during this session. 

Film Screening – Season of the Force
THX 1138 (Director's Cut) by George Lucas - 88 minutes, M18 (Sexual Scenes and Nudity)
7 PM – 8.45 PM at Expression Gallery, Level 4
Pre-recorded, pre-screening introduction by Jedd Jong
A chilling exploration of the future is also a compelling examination of the present in George Lucas’ THX 1138, starring Robert Duvall as a man whose mind and body are controlled by the government. THX makes a harrowing attempt to escape from a world where thoughts are controlled, freedom is an impossibility and love is the ultimate crime. Developed from his student film Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB, Lucas' directorial debut has been cited as a key to understanding Star Wars and explores themes and motifs that seem almost universal to his work.

Digital Fan Art Projection
10 AM - 9 PM at Curiosity Gallery, L4
Featuring digital projections of artworks by Jon Chan and photography group, Plastic Singapore.

Star Wars Toys Display
10 AM – 1 PM, 3 PM - 6 PM, 7 PM - 8.40 PM at Rainbow Room, Basement 2
Each slot allows entry for 15 minutes.
This is for the toy lovers, with awesome displays of Star Wars toys produced from 1977 – present! Presented by Singapore Vintage Star Wars Collecting Fan Club and Suhaimi’s Gulliver’s Chronicles.

Film Screening – Season of the Force
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
10.30 AM – 12.30 PM at Expression Gallery, Level 4
The movie that started it all. A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, a young boy named Luke Skywalker is swept up in an adventure when he meets a secretive Jedi Master Ben Kenobi, hotshot pilot Han Solo and his pal Wookiee Chewbacca, and droids C-3PO and R2-D2. Their mission: To rescue Princess Leia from the hands of the oppressive Empire. They will soon discover that the Dark Side, especially in the form of the Sith Lord Darth Vader, is not to be messed with.

Photo Opportunity with Star Wars characters
11 AM - 11.45 AM, 12.30 PM - 1.15 PM, 4 PM – 4.45 PM, 5.30 PM – 6.15PM at Oculus, Level 1
Each slot allows entry for 15 minutes. This session will be cancelled in the event of wet weather.
Have your photo taken with your favourite Star Wars characters! Supported by the 501st Legion Singapore Garrison, Cathar Base Singapura - Rebel Legion & Kranak Clan - Mandalorian Mercs Singapore

Demonstration – Digital Art by Jon Chan
1.30 PM – 3 PM at Expression Gallery, Level 4
Artist and illustrator Jon Chan takes participants on a journey of creating digital art using digital drawing tools.

Film Screening – Season of the Force
The Hidden Fortress (1958) by Akira Kurosawa
- 139 minutes, PG
4 PM – 6.30 PM at Expression Gallery, Level 4
Pre-recorded, pre-screening introduction by Jedd Jong
The Hidden Fortress, a Japanese movie by master director Akira Kurosawa, is acknowledged to be a major inspiration for the foundation of George Lucas' Star Wars universe. The film also stars the extraordinary and charismatic Toshiro Mifune as General Makabe Rokurota, who has to escort Princess Yuki (Misa Uehara) and her clan's royal treasure back to her homeland. During their dangerous journey, they are accompanied by two bumbling peasants Tahei (Minoru Chiaki), and Mataschichi (Kamatari Fujiwara), who also has an eye on the Princess' gold.

In addition to the onsite events, there will be a virtual segment focused on local Star Wars collectors, Derek Ho and Phelan Kuek. The following online videos will be available for viewing on 29 April and 5 May!

Collector’s Tour with Derek Ho
Launch date: 29 April
A rare inside look into what goes behind making a Star Wars toy by Derek Ho, who developed a strong interest in the toy manufacturing process and enjoys collecting prototypes and sample artworks from the various stages of toy production. Link coming soon!

Collector’s Tour with Phelan Kuek
Launch date: 4 May
A self-professed “typical” engineer, Phelan Kuek is anything but! Sit back and let Phelan take you through his immaculate displays and vast collection of LEGO Star Wars toys.

Don't miss out on taking that hyperspace jump into ArtScience Museum on 1 & 2 May!

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Phantom on the Scan #1 Is An Atmospheric Start To A Creepy Paranormal Tale

Writer Cullen Bunn and artist Mark Torres, co-creators of the chilling horror series “COLD SPOTS”, have teamed up again with another supernatural tale with AfterShock Comics. Their new series called “PHANTOM ON THE SCAN” was launched last week, and the first issue offers intriguing teasers about how the story is going to unfold in the next week books.

Lead character Matthew Jordan began manifesting his psychic powers through a child spectre, after a comet fell to earth 20 years ago. Every time he uses his abilities, he feels his life force being drained away.

Matt learns that he is not the only one experiencing this phenomenon, and gathers together a group of psychics with an objective to save themselves from certain death. However, when one of them dies horribly during their first meeting, they discover something even more sinister is out to get them.

Unlike many other genres, the extra-spookiness in horror stories come from the silences in between - what is unsaid versus what's being said. Cullen Bunn is a master in that aspect, providing the story with momentum as well as an interesting narrative without being verbose. When paired with Mark Torres beautifully disturbing artwork and magnetising choice of colour spectrum, “PHANTOM ON THE SCAN” is an elegant read, in spite of the unexpected gory scenes.

The lettering by Dave Sharpe is also worthy of mention, providing the scariest moments in this issue with loads of shock factor. To ramp up the eerie ambience, Red Dot Diva recommends that you put on a bonus original soundtrack composed and performed by Mark Torres, that comes together with the book.

In the last few pages, some hints are given about a secretive organisation that plays a part in all of these weirdness, providing readers a motivation to find out what's in store for the nervous group of psychics. “PHANTOM ON THE SCAN” #2 is scheduled to be out in stores on May 19.

Are you aching for a chance to discuss about “PHANTOM ON THE SCAN” #1? If you have questions about the comic book series, you can ask artist Mark Torres during “PHANTOM HOUR”, a Facebook livestream hosted by Red Dot Diva, on 24 April (Sat) at 1 PM SGT (+8 GMT).

Chill out with us at a virtual campfire as we discuss about the making of “PHANTOM ON THE SCAN”, the horror genre, music, and life in general!

RSVP at the Facebook Event Page to get a reminder for “PHANTOM HOUR”!

Monday, April 12, 2021

Ticket Reservation for Singapore's Museum of Ice Cream at Dempsey Is Available Now!

The Museum of Ice Cream will be opening at a 60,000 square foot space in Dempsey this August 2021. Limited tickets are available for reservation right now!

The wildly popular New York-based interactive attraction dedicated to the joy and power of ice cream, is getting ready for the Red Dot Island edition. This is the first venue for the museum that is located outside of the USA.

Get your ice-cream loving soul ready to experience about 14 colourful installations, including a “Dragon Playground” that consists of a massive sprinkle pool. And of course, there will be actual ice cream that you can slurp on! During a guide 60-90 minute experience by the museum's performers, five kinds of ice cream will be available for visitors to enjoy.

Here's a peek as to what the photo-worthy Museum of Ice Cream NYC looks like. By all accounts, the exuberant, bubble-gum pink aesthetic will be replicated in the local version. It looks like a haven for selfie lovers!

You can now make your reservations to visit Museum of Ice Cream through their website at Tickets are priced from SGD 38 per pax, for a group of four or more. If you are heading there alone, a ticket will cost SGD 42.

The museum will be opening in stages, so do note that the current reservations is for Phase 1. 

The Museum of Ice Cream looks like a fun, joyous place to immersive yourself in for awhile. It is definitely on Red Dot Diva's list of places to visit!

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Columbia Pictures' Aquaverse Theme Park in Thailand Set To Open in October 2021

With overseas travel plans stalled for more than a year, people are understandably craving to get on a plane and out of this island for a change of scenery. Well, here is a motivation to save more travel money and head to Thailand, when things improve concerning the current pandemic and travel bubbles are established.

Set to open from October 2021, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Amazon Falls have collaborated to develop Columbia Picture's first theme and water park at Bangsaray, a seaside town located 20 minutes from Pattaya and 90 minutes from Bangkok. The new tourist destination, set within a 14-acre area, is called “Columbia Pictures’ Aquaverse”.

There will be exciting, state-of-the-art rides, live shows, interactive props and themed restaurants featuring favourite characters from Columbia Pictures' movies like Ghostbusters, Men in Black and Hotel Transylvania, that will cater to visitors of all ages. And of course, the opportunity to buy those specially curated merchandise to add to your collection.

A total of 8 highly immersive theme zones have been planned for the park so far. Here is the list of the fun stuff you can look forward to!

* Men in Black Thrill Rides – This is Aquaverse's mega thrill zone with hair-raising water coaster rides, of which one of them has a 12-meter free-fall ride that sends you swooshing right down a MIB Wormhole.

* Ghostbusters Supernatural Experience – A water coaster sends you into the Ghostbusters portal and passes by spooky ghost traps. Or if you dare, step into the world’s first and only fully-enclosed water dome called The Ghostbusters Orb in a family raft ride.

* Bad Boys Raceway – Bad boys, whatcha want? A hardcore chase, of course! Rev it up on the new outdoor go-kart tracks and vroom, vroom vroom! through the neon-lit street of Miami.

* Jumanji Jungle Adventure – Head into the jungle at Jaguar Mountain and escape from Mandrills as you ride a series of water slides with weightlessness and one mega drop before you are sent wildly plunging into a splash pool.

* Hotel Transylvania Kid-Friendly Zone – Join your favourite monsters for a vacation and be ready to get soaking wet because this zone is the largest within the theme park, featuring over 100 water features, splash buckets, water rockets and more! 

* Surf’s Up in Surfer’s Paradise – Surf's up, dude! It's time to show off your epic moves on the high waves - thanks to the park's dual Flowrider! WHOAAAA.

* Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Swallow Falls River Adventure – Love those Foodimals from the animated movie? Cruise along a lazy river and meet these weird hybrid creatures made by the Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator, or FLDSMDFR for short.

* VIVO Wave Pool – This relaxing giant wave pool inspired by an upcoming animated musical, is also a venue for staged live shows and events.

Red Dot Diva is glad that Hollywood appears to be putting some attention to the South-East Asian region in recent years. We have been ignored for so long, so Aquaverse looks like a groundbreaking step forward. 

After lockdowns and restricted travel, it is also nice to look forward to having some fun and frivolity. Keep a look out for more news about the exciting travel hot spot at Aquaverse Water & Theme Park's website -!

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Godzilla vs. Kong - A Monster Flick That Is Pure Escapism

Let's admit it. When one goes to watch a movie called “GODZILLA vs. KONG”, one should not be expecting much other than a massive showdown between two alpha titans.

It does not matter if you are Team Godzilla or Team Kong. The payoff for having the two monsters get into a loud, messy fisticuff is quite a thrill.

The CGI is great for some parts, and generic for most of it. However, it is the camera work that takes you on a visceral ride while Godzilla and Kong engage in their smash and bash. For a few seconds, you are up close and personal with Kong as his eye stares right into a space-age travel pod, or you are placed in the middle of the melee, as your line of sight swerving around angry monsters in the heart of central Hong Kong. It seems that director Adam Wingard had tailor-made the scenes for an amusement park ride.

As for the plot, er... what plot? The paper-thin narrative is as bland as steamed broccoli even though there are capable actors like Alexander Skarsgård as Nathan Lind, a researcher about something called Hollow Earth, and Rebecca Hall as the Kong Whisperer, Dr. Ilene Andrews. Kyle Chandler and Millie Bobby Brown return in this franchise instalment as father and daughter, Monarch scientist Dr. Mark Russell and Madison Russell respectively. There is also Brian Tyree Henry as Bernie, a manic investigator about kaijus, whose podcasts capture the attention of Madison, and Julian Dennison as Madison's good friend Josh Valentine, who turns out to be the MVP of the movie.

Adding to the frantic monster rumble is an organisation called Apex, owned by an egoistical villain named Walter Simmons (Demián Bichir). Walter wants to take credit for saving the world from Godzilla, and he has a plan in mind. His actions have antagonised the atomic breath-spewing King of Monsters from his ocean home, and after leaving mankind in peace for about 5 years, Godzilla blasts a surprise attack on Apex base at Pensacola, Florida.

Nathan Lind and Dr. Ilene team up to get Kong back to his ancestral home in the mystical Hollow Earth, where there is supposed to be an energy source powerful enough to protect the world from Godzilla. The movie is definitely skewed toward the giant ape, allowing him several scenes with human-like gestures like yawning or subtle changes in eye expressions. As a side quest, Team Madison, Bernie and Josh are in a hurry to find the source of King G's sudden aggressive behaviour.

The humans in “GODZILLA vs. KONG” are mostly relegated to a lot of nonsensical dialogue and superfluous scenes that are absent of genuine emotion. The exceptions are the lovely quiet interactions between Jia (Kaylee Hottle), Dr. Ilene's adopted deaf daughter, and Kong, who has taken to the girl and has learned how to communicate with her through sign language. (By the way, Red Dot Diva thinks Kaylee is just soooooo adorable!) Plus, the collateral damage caused by the massive monster battles is just insane! Do we know how many people have perished in Hong Kong? Where are the governments in all of these?

The lack of consideration for human kind is so insane, that it takes little effort to suspend all disbelief, and just go with the punches. After all, there are kaijus thrashing one another on screen!

Without giving too much away for those who have managed to avoid spoilers up till now, the third act brings another player (thanks to Apex) into a dazzling battle of the behemoths, which provides the audience an opportunity to root for Godzilla for a change.

GODZILLA vs. KONG” is 1 hour and 53 minutes of pure escapism, and an enjoyable tribute to both beloved iconic creatures who each have their own massive fanbase. It is also far more spectacular than its predecessor “GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS” (2019). No wonder it has achieved Number 1 in the local box office for two weeks in a row. The film has raked in over USD 150 million in box office takings worldwide, making this one of the biggest box office hits during a pandemic.

The movie teases some interesting ideas about the Hollow Earth and its other nasty creatures, Kong's awesome weapon, and the possibility that Godzilla and Kong may meet up again. Hopefully, in the next movie (if there is one), the writers will be able to infuse better characterisation, dialogue and motivation for the humans, which will take the Monsterverse to a whole 'nother level!