Sunday, March 15, 2020

HBO's Westworld Season 3 Is Sleeker But Still An Intriguing Reboot


"A new narrative awaits" teases one of the social media promotional tagline for HBO's WESTWORLD Season 3, and after watching screeners of 4 episodes for this review, Red Dot Diva agrees that the show feels like a reboot.

In the new season, creators and writers Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy (they are also the show's executive producers) have taken viewers out of the dystopian theme park into the real world, where android Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) has escaped to, after a bloody revolution in Season 2. Within the setting of future Los Angeles, with its glistening tall buildings, iconic palm trees and modernised ghettos, the show's storyline is less convoluted, has fewer time jumps, and is also more focused on corporations vs mankind.

This show of corporate greed and control is embodied in a new villain Serac (Vincent Cassel), a trillionaire all ready to pounce on and use the data collected by Delos through the Westworld theme park. His plans are constantly foiled by Dolores, who has an agenda of her own, and so, Serac asks the intelligent android Maeve (Thandie Newton) to find and kill her fellow theme park mate.

In fact, one of the early episodes that focused on Maeve's storyline is Red Dot Diva's favourite. Thandie Newton is a deft actor, and beautifully chews up her scenes depicting both human emotion and robotic efficiency.



Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Celebrate Hanami at Garden By The Bay's Sakura Matsuri 2020 - Residents get 50% discount on ticket prices


It is still possible to enjoy hanami (flower viewing), even though your travel plans has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You just need to head down to the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay for the Sakura Matsuri - Tale of the Peach Boy.

From now till 29 March, over 300 sakura (cherry blossom) and about 200 momo (peach blossom) trees transform part of the Flower Dome into a Japanese springtime landscape. With over 20 varieties of these blossoms are also set against the backdrop of red torii gates as well as a quaint teahouse.

By the way, tickets to the Flower Dome for Sakura Matsuri, Cloud Forest, Supertree Observatory and Floral Fantasy for Singapore residents are now at 50% discount! Children aged 3 to 12 years are also able to enter these locations for free during the March school holidays. So, this is a family outing and photo opportunity not to be missed!


WHERE FLOWERS NEVER STOP BLOOMING 

This special initiative by Gardens by the Bay aims to stand by local businesses and bring a measure of joy to Singapore residents who have had to cancel their trips to Japan because of COVID-19. From now till 15 March, Gardens by the Bay is offering 500 Singapore residents a chance to visit the Sakura Matsuri for free.

All you need to do is to share what your disrupted travel plans mean to you through the Garden's website. Not only do you get a chance to enter the floral display for free, this offer includes Pan Pacific Singapore's Fun-mily Escape package that has a weekend staycation for 2 adults and 2 children, plus a brunch at Keyaki Japanese restaurant! The entire deal is worth about SGD 798++.

That's not all. Visitors can also receive 30% off their bills at Pan Pacific hotel's Edge, Hai Tien Lo and Keyaki restaurants if they present the Flower Dome's ticket. This offer is redeemable until 30 June 2020.




Here are some are things to do when you are strolling along the Sakura Matsuri garden trail.


Monday, March 9, 2020

The Androids vs Humans Battle continues in HBO's Westworld Season 3, Premiering on March 16

It was such a thrill to be able to recognise locations from our Red Dot Island in the Season 3 trailer for HBO's Emmy® winning drama series WESTWORLD.

Hey, that drone shot is filmed at Marina One. Oooh, isn't that the National Gallery? And Oasia Hotel too? Awesome!

There will be more opportunities for fans to "spot the local landmarks" when the series returns on 16 March at 9 AM, same time as the U.S. telecast. The 8-episode season can be watched exclusively on HBO GO and HBO Asia on Starhub and Singtel TV.

In the last 2 seasons, WESTWORLD revealed a theme park in the future where androids, who were made to satisfy human's darkest desires, were becoming conscious. The battle between artificial life form and humans intensified in Season 2, with the oldest host in the theme park Dolores breaking free and entering into the real world.

Here is where Season 3 begins. In future Los Angeles (with many familiar Red Dot Island buildings and locations!), Dolores is still attempting to start her revolution against humans. Maeve, who was left as "dead" in Season 2's finale, is still in the theme park. She has been tasked by this season's Big Bad named Serac to hunt Dolores down and kill her.

Main cast members Evan Rachel Wood (Dolores), Emmy® winner Thandie Newton (Maeve), Ed Harris (Man in Black), Jeffrey Wright (Bernard), Tessa Thompson (Charlotte), Luke Hemsworth (Stubbs), and Rodrigo Santoro (Hector Escaton) return to WESTWORLD Season 3.

The series, created for television by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, will have brand new characters in this season. They are played by Aaron Paul (Caleb), Vincent Cassel (Serac), Lena Waithe (Ash), Scott Mescudi (Francis), Marshawn Lynch (Giggles), John Gallagher Jr. (Liam), Michael Ealy (Jake) and Tommy Flanagan (Conells).

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Warner TV Asia Celebrates International Women's Day with Women of Wonder


Happy International Women's Day!

To celebrate this occasion, Warner TV Asia is showcasing kick-ass female superheroes and heroines whose personal journeys aim to empower women all over the world.




WOMEN OF WONDER MOVIE SPECIALS

For the month of March, Warner TV Asia is running a WOMEN OF WONDER movie special every Sunday night at 9 PM. Each movie selected shines the spotlight on the beauty and strength of feminine power.

Kicking off on 8 March, on International Women's Day itself, is the scintillating hit movie “WONDER WOMAN”. As Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), the Amazon Princess from Themyscira leaps into our screens with optimism and her unique brand of fierceness. Her adventures takes her from London to the horrifying World War I battlefield in Belgium, in a bid to save humanity and stop the god Ares from creating more chaos.

The other movies on the list are rather odd, to be honest. They are “300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE” (there are the badass Queen Gorgo and enigmatic Artemesia though),  “CATWOMAN” (sadly, not a great movie despite the famous character) and “MAN OF STEEL”. Yes, the last movie is about Superman, but in Red Dot Diva's opinion, one of the best parts of the film was a Lois Lane, who was intelligent, proactive and who actually did some actual investigating as a journalist.

To enjoy these movies in March, tune into Warner TV on Starhub Channel 515 and Singtel Channel 306.

That's not all. For weekly boosts of feminine power, so that you can get pepped up to deal with the challenges of being female, check out these TV series with engaging, relatable DC female superheoes.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Celebrity Photographer Allan Amato Kickstarts A Comic Called PUNCH


Photographer Allan Amato, who has captured stunning portraits of celebrities and personalities that include Stan Lee, Danny Trejo, Kevin Smith and Alicia Witt, is now ready to share his venture into writing with a comic book entitled PUNCH.

Red Dot Diva got to know about Allan Amato a number of years ago because she is a huge David Mack fan. David Mack, award-winning artist and creator of the best selling graphic novel KABUKI has worked with his friend Allan for a few projects like The Alchemy of Collaboration, where he would enhance Allan's photos with his brushwork, effectively turning the prints into unique mixed media collage.

Allan Amato shared that the writing of PUNCH took 4 years in the making, with patient mentorship from comic book writer, Grant Morrison. He is now ready to bring the project to life together with artist Jonathan Marks Barravechia, who has hand drawn the panels in the comic.

PUNCH is a supernatural tale about the life altering path taken by a Catholic priest called The Drifter after he had committed an unforgivable sin. He stumbles into a seedy bar where God (aka The Derelict) and the Devil (aka The Deceiver) battle for this soul. God  brings on his infernal Virtues and the Hounds of Heaven, while the Devil calls on the Seven Deadly Sins to the brawl.

In addition to the core creative time hard at work on the graphic novel, other fantastic well-known artists are also contributing to the project, like cover art or splash pages. These artists include Bill Sienkiewicz, David Mack, Jason Shawn Alexander, Jim Mahfood, Satine Phoenix, Satine Phoenix, Jaw Cooper and Stephanie Inagaki.

What is interesting is how Allan Amato has also visualised and cast actors for the characters in his graphic novel. For instance, Thomas Jane is the Drifter, and Ricky Whittle (Shadow Moon of Starz's “AMERICAN GODS” as The Deceiver.

With the help of Kickstarter, the project has already been fully funded for 48 pages. However, stretch goals are still running. If these are reached, the book will have extra goodies and expand beyond the current number of pages for those who pledge for the Hardcover or Limited Edition versions.

Check out for more info about PUNCH at http://inconvenientguide.com, and pledge for one of the Kickstarter levels in order to get a copy!


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