An Unexpected Stay At Singapore

Travel never quite goes to plan. I should be in Auckland about now but instead I’m just about to leave my hotel room at Singapore Airport. I missed my connecting flight by thirty minutes and had to wait twelve hours for the next one.

The upside is that I got a few hours of sleep in a real bed and a long hot shower. The downside is that my only change of clothes is in my hold luggage that I don’t have access to.

So now I have a new “Hard Rock Café Singapore” t-shirt and a day’s growth of beard. Add in the leather jacket,  boots and a not-quite-clean-enough jeans and I look more like a backpacker than a consultant.

The hotel is in the airport so I saw nothing of Singapore other than towers in the distance. The humidity is as bad as advertised. I’m impressed by how friendly and energetic the people are. English is widely spoken here. It provides a fascinating mix of the familiar and the exotic. I think I’d like to come back.

Anyway, on my flight to Singapore I indulged my inner video junkie and watched all the movies that my wife would probably pass on.

Here’s what I remember

“How To Train Your Dragon”: great animated feature about courage and difference and the

need to understand why we do what we do – or perhaps it’s an extended metaphor for the way the always-hungry beast of global capitalism pushes us to exploit one another for its benefit and can only be countered when we recognise our similarities and collaborate for our mutual benefit. – Nah maybe that’s a stretch too far – did I mention it has dragons and Vikings in it with some ultra-cool animation?

Worst movie of 2011 so far“The Green Hornet”: Don’t bother. Almost made it as a wry gay comedy but the acting sucks, the script stinks and the special effects are hinky.

“The Mechanic”: stylish assassin-for-hire movie, lovingly shot, strong performances from our stoic assassin-in-search-of-his-heart (Jason Statham) and his I-may-be-a-self-destructive-violent-guy-with-no-impluse-control-but-I-look-cool protégé (Ben Foster), great action sequences and a compact functional script. In the end though it lacks the depth it seems to be seeking, never quite managing to penetrate its own veneer of cool.

“The Tourist”: another lovingly shot movie – the people and the scenery are beautiful and shown to their best advantage. The plot needs a strong helping of suspension of disbelief to move it along. Johnny Depp is impeccable, creating yet another version of himself. It made me want to visit Venice again, preferably on the kind of budget that will turn any town into the Magic Kingdom version of the world that this film presents.

Time to leave to get my next plane.

OK, I’m about to get to Auckland. I’ve done just enough work to get by. I’m looking forward to a shower and a shave. I’m not looking forward to looking for my luggage (I don’t have a good feeling about that) or picking up my rental car, mastering the satnav and finding my hotel.

I did watch one more movie that I commend to you (what can I say, I really am a video junkie)

“The Next Three Days”: Russell Crowe gives a strong performance as a man planning to break his wife out of jail after she is convicted of murder. I was surprised and pleased to see that this film really engages with the emotional impact of the situation and how Crowe’s character has to change to live with the decisions he feels compelled to make. This is a clever movie, with good action sequences and great acting that punches above its weight in terms of emotional impact

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