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My Short Films

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Swifty Reviews 'Initial D'.

Despite being an ardent anime follower, the whole Initial D craze didn't hit me a few years ago. I watched the first few episodes and the last few episodes for Initial D Stage 1 (there's seem to be a shitload of seasons...) and despite the horrendous character artwork, it IS an addictive anime, hohoho. Just that I couldn't convince myself to spend that much for the series.

So yeah, I went for the live-action version of Initial Day last night, despite it being directed by the directors of the Infernal Affairs trilogy, I wasn't looking forward to it cos...

1) I have no faith in Jay Chou's acting skills. And I didn't want to spend the entire movie staring at his pouting.

2) Hong Kong movies adapted from Japanese manga are usually VERY shitty. I have horrible memories of 'Let's Slam Dunk', a movie back in the early 90s which was based on Slam Dunk. What a horrible piece of crap.

I was wrong. Yes, it was obvious that Jay was a first-timer here when it came to acting, but there really wasn't any way for me to diss him at all. The guy simply DID NOT SUCK in the film. The role was tailor-made for him. I mean, all he had to do was play a guy who seemed to be half-asleep all the time except during racing. What impressed me most was that Jay Chou managed not to make the entire film seem like a vanity project desperate to make himself look good (something Andy Lau used to a lot during the early to mid 90s... and later, Ekin Cheng). He was a good sport, he didn't mind if his own image was being made fun of, and THAT I am impressed with.

He's helped by a solid supporting cast though. Chapman To is once again given the most memorable lines as the sidekick, Anthony Wong (damn, this man seems to appear in every single movie these days) is superb as usual as the dad. Kenny B is hilarious as the sidekick's dad. And many others.

The racing scenes ARE very very good. But what truly blew me away was the camera and the editing work, which, strangely, weren't noticed by the guy who went to see the movie with me. Quick cuts, still shots, it's difficult for me to describe them, but note to self: when I re-edit Forced Labour, this is what I'll do. I don't think everything is cool when MTV-style editing is used, but Forced Labour might just be perfect for this. Yeap.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Swifty Returns From The Premiere Of 'War of The World' And Reviews It.

Yeap! Managed to go to the national premiere (or was it worldwide?) premiere of Steven Spielberg's 'War of the Worlds', starring Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning.

So here are my thoughts, I just came back minutes earlier, so pardon me if I don't sound intelligible enough.

It's a spectacular film. It seriously is.

Technically, this is 'best' film of summer 2005. Yes, I enjoyed Revenge of The Sith a lot, but mostly due to lowered expectations, I enjoyed Batman Begins due to the fact that it was a SERIOUS comic book movie (it takes itself seriously like X-men and Spidey flicks, but not TOO seriously like The Hulk), I enjoyed Mr and Mrs Smith because it's a lighthearted film with really good action scenes. These three films made me leave the theater with a smile on my face.

But 'War of The Worlds' is different. It's not a feel-good 'YAY! LET'S KICK SOME ALIEN ASS' film like Independance Day, despite Tom Cruise being in it, there's not a true 'action hero' type person in it to fight the aliens, Tom Cruise merely plays a regular guy constantly running away from the indestructible aliens while trying to keep his children safe. Usually, in alien films, or disaster flicks, there tend to be an action hero jumping into the rescue, doing all kinds of superhuman feats to save the panicked masses, well, this film is completely told from the POV of a guy from the panicked masses.

What makes 'War of the Worlds' so special is that many scenes from it will stick with you long after you've seen it. And I don't really want to describe it as it will ruin the experience for you. I feel that 'War of the Worlds' is rather similar to Jurassic Park (the first one) in tone and feel, perhaps even darker. I thought I've seen everything with the number of disaster flicks I've seen, but 'War of the Worlds' is simply... visually stunning. That's all I can think of saying so far. It's hard to say whether it's more enjoyable and entertaining than Mr and Mrs Smith, Revenge of the Sith and Batman Begins (the three summer blockbusters I enjoyed most thus far), but I can definitely say that this is the most memorable one.

Props to Steven Spielberg. I definitely want a career like his.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Rejected by iFilm.com. Still considering upcoming film projects.

Just received an email from iFilm.com saying that 'Forced Labour' does not meet the requirements that can make them put up the short film on their site for free. Considering the insane quality of the stuff submitted to iFilm.com, I'm not that entirely surprised.

Did I mention that my 200GB external harddrive died on me few days ago? Yeah, I'm kinda pissed. When I get back to Malaysia, I'll definitely reedit 'Forced Labour' into something with a tighter pacing. It'll probably become around half the length of what 'Forced Labour' is now. (18 minutes...) In the end, the new version of 'Forced Labour' will probably be more appropriate to be submitted to competitions, exhibitions and film festivals. Of course, the original, longer version can still be kept as a 'Special Edition'. But even if it is regarded as a 'Special Edition', I might not regard it as a definitive version.

Going back to Malaysia isn't exactly my original plan, but I do intend to make a very short, intimate project when I'm there. It's going to be something that requires not more than two people, and there is a possibility that it might use still photos throughout the entire film, instead of video itself. In the end, it might just be Flash Animation. It really depends on whether I want to make a Flash thingie, or another short film.

This one's going to be a subtle, understated romance. But I'm still playing around with the idea. Found a possible actress, just need to discuss with her on how to work this out.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I don't get Jean-Luc Godard's 1962 Classic, 'My Life To Live'.

Here's something you people should know about me first. I watch art films. While most people I know in Malaysia tend to diss Wong Kar Wai for making films no one understand about, I find it very alarming because I can pretty much understand what the hell the guy's been doing... although I rarely enjoy his stuff. I find him too pretentious. Seriously, if some things can be presented in a more straightforward manner, just do so.

I'm also a fan of Shunji Iwai, director of Love Letter (which, after I've rewatched again few nights ago, remains my all-time favourite Japanese film), All About Lily Chou-Chou and Swallowtail Butterfly. His works can be considered arty as well, but Love Letter, to me, is good art, not highbrow art, not pretentious 'WHOOHOO! LOOK, I WANT YOU HIGHBROW PEOPLE TO DO ACADEMIC ESSAYS ABOUT MY MASTERPIECE!' art. Unfortunately, I don't like his subsequent works that much due to the fact that they are slightly pretentious and mildly mindfucking. That said, I am still very impressed by All About Lily Chou-Chou. What a beautiful-looking film!

The first Godard film I've ever watched was his sci-fi flick 'Alphaville' (I think I watched it a week ago), which is very stylish and impressive despite its rather languid pace (very languid... for a supposed thriller), more impressive when I learnt that he did everything with a shoestring budget, and the entire thing was shot in modern-day Paris (well 'modern-day' back in 1965 anyway).

So, naturally, I was looking forward to his other 'classic' flick from 1962, My Life To Live. Yeah, I've just watched it. It was supposed to be 82 minutes long, but it sure as hell felt three times longer than that. The entire film is about some nice-looking chick becoming a prostitute for no reason at all, and then, er, well, that's it. Oh, and she had a philosophical discussion with some old guy in a restaurant. How utterly deep.

Now, I'm fine with a story with minimal plot and character-driven. Kinda like Truffaut's 1959 classic '400 Blows', which is touted as one of the most important films in the French 'new wave' during the late 50's. It's mostly about you seeing things happening to a character, everything's totally realistic and all, without any dramatic bullshit. However, the difference when watching '400 Blows' and 'My Life To Live' is this. Here are my thoughts while watching these two.

'400 Blows'
Me: Whoa, this kid is messing up his own life!

'My Life To Live'
Me: Huh? Why did she have to become a prostitute? Huh? What's going on? Eh? I'm so totally lost! Goddamn! Somebody shoot me!

... seriously, if a film like 'My Life To Live' can be considered a classic, I think I am capable of doing something similar. I've just went to numerous websites, looking through various articles, essays and reviews about this film, and I kinda felt that everyone had... 'overanalyzed' the damned film.

Sheesh, if people are that damned impressed with this kinda stuff, I'll toss in philosophical discussions in my next film (in fact, the film can focus ENTIRELY on ONE philosophical discussion) and prepare to accept the numerous awards I'll win from festivals.

I don't think of myself as a non-artistic person, but maybe I'm just not 'highbrow' enough for this. I had to watch my 'Trainspotting' DVD after 'My Life To Live' to cleanse myself of the anger that consumed me.

Now, 'Trainspotting' IS an awesome film. (... watched it for the very first time) But that's another story.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Swifty Reviews 'Batman Begins'.

Wasn't originally planning to go for a movie today since my very last exam paper is tomorrow, but ended up going. So here's my thoughts about 'Batman Begins'.

I've never been much of a Batman fan, my favourite comic superhero being Spider-man (Spider-man 2 remains my all-time favourite superhero movie, not the really overrated original Batman film by Tim Burton). Back in my comic-collecting days (something I stopped doing, alas, due to the increasingly ridiculous prices of American comics. Which is usually more than RM10, twice the price of a manga despite being half its length), I prefer collecting X-Men comics more than Batman ones.

However, the last graphic novels I bought were Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns miniseries, which are so wondrously awesome that it reinforces the fact that Batman IS the coolest DC hero, not Superman. When it was announced that a new Batman film is to be made to 'relaunch' the Batman series (which was murdered by the horrendous Batman & Robin), I was hoping to see them do an adaptation of Dark Knight Returns instead.

Wouldn't it be cooler if we get to see a bitter middle-aged Batman taking matters in his own hands and beating the crap out of Superman when the latter tries to get in his way? Wouldn't it be cooler to see a middle-aged Batman declaring WAR on the baddies while recruiting members of the Justice League to aid him?

Alas, the new Batman film turned out to be an 'origins' story which is in the vein of Spider-man 1, but minus the child-like wonder and exuberance. Even so, I do think it is pretty necessary to do thus. In the last four Batman films, it is common knowledge that the villains are quite in fact the main stars of the films while Batman was usually bland and boring compared to his opponents. It was almost difficult to relate to Batman since he's always almost indestructible and invincible.

'Batman Begins' is different as it allows us to know the person behind the mask a bit more. What sort of person is Bruce Wayne? How much was he affected by the murders of his parents? Why did he become Batman? Why is he fighting the bad guys? Who is he protecting? I never really knew Batman's motivations in the previous movies, all I knew was that he seemed intent in beating the villains because, well, because they were villains.

In 'Batman Begins', we get to see a man trying to maintain multiple different personalities during circumstances. He's Batman who fights crime, but without the mask, he's Bruce Wayne the billionaire playboy. Even so, the latter is just a 'mask' too to prevent people from ever figuring out that he was Batman. The spotlight was fixed upon Bruce Wayne and Batman in this film, not the villains, and we are reminded that Bruce Wayne/Batman is pretty much a PERSON with motivations behind his actions.

That are various subplots going on in the film, Wayne Enterprise being ran by greedy corporate bastards, Gotham City being controlled by evil mafia bastards, mentally imbalanced thugs being experimented upon by crazy bastard doctors, the Gotham police force being overran by corrupted police bastards. Basically, there are TONS of bastards crawling around in Gotham City (and Gotham City is beautiful city in this film, both realistic and noirish at the same time, very unlike the dark fantasy-ish city you see in the predecessors) and that is why Batman is given much to deal with in this film, not just some flamboyant ultimate bad guy who wants to destroy the city for no apparent reason at all.

Now, don't get me wrong, 'Batman Begins' is far from perfect, the quick cuts used in the action scenes are pretty jarring, even though they are rather explosive and exciting. The car chase scene felt much longer than necessary. The weirdest thing is, I long to see more of Bruce Wayne scenes than Batman scenes, something I never felt before in previous Batman films. I guess this has to do with Christian Bale's fine acting.

He is surrounded by a strong supporting cast though. Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy (as Scarecrow) and Morgan Freeman are most memorable for me. But Tom Wilkinson, Gary Oldman and Liam Neeson are solid too. Katie Holmes got dissed a lot in this film, but given her limited role, I doubt even the finest A-list actress could do much with it.

In the end, this is the most realistic and believable Batman film I've ever seen and I won't mind if it has a sequel. Hope that the sequel is based on Knight Fall though. Knight Fall is about Batman getting crippled in a fight against a masked big guy called Bane (who appeared in Batman and Robin as Poison Ivy's dumb minion... what a travesty) and having to make another person take over as Batman, turned out that his chosen successor is blood-crazed and insane, so Bruce Wayne, after recovering, had to confront the new Batman and fight him. Dramatic stuff.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Some Random Conversation He Had With Some Random Guy At Some Street.

17th of June, 2004. Friday. Was at Perth city, buying a small cake for someone's birthday. Despite buying merely a small slice of cheese cake, accompanied by two small chocolate muffins, I was given a large box because they ran out of small boxes. Holding the box with both of my hands, I trudged through the busy streets of Perth... and ran into some random bearded guy. I was concentrating mostly on trying to balance the box perfectly so that everything in it could be presentable at night. Our conversation went like this:

Random Bearded Guy (RBG): Excuse me, are you interested in meeting God?
Me: Hmm? (looking straight ahead, and then at the box, too afraid to mess things up)
RBG: God. Father of Jesus.
Me: Nope.
RBG: Do you have another religion?
Me: Yeap.
RBG: Do you know that if you don't have Jesus Christ in your heart, you will suffer after you die?
Me: All right.
RBG: Your die will be a painful one.
Me: Okay.
RBG: Think about what I said.
Me: Sure.

And the RBG walked off whilst I continued my perilously journey of trying to bring the tiny cheesecake back in good shape.

The next day, after finishing my Advertising and Marketing Law exams, I went back to Perth city to do some shopping with a friend. I was sitting on the bench, minding my own business, reading the latest Forbes magazine, waiting for my friend to finally make her decision on what to buy. And all of a sudden, I heard a familiar voice again.

"Excuse me, are you interested in meeting God?"

Turning away from my magazine to look at RBG, I pointed at him excitedly.

Me: Hey! Aren't you the guy from yesterday?
RBG: We have already spoken yesterday. Goodbye then. (hurries off)
Me: Hmmm.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Swifty Reviews 'Mr And Mrs Smith'.

Exams have begun! I think I'll do pretty well in International Marketing. Two more to go!

And I'm not going to be evicted from the Student Village anymore! Awesome, I'll have a home next semester. This problem's been plaguing me for the last few weeks. Just came back from the cinemas, so I'll review the latest film I've seen.

Mr And Mrs Smith

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People have feared that this is going to be the 'Gigli' of 2005, because the headlines-grabbing Angelina Jolie-Brad Pitt relationship brings back memories of Bennifer. Well, in the end, the movie grossed 50 million over its first weekend, and made way more money than Gigli did in its entire theatrical run, so everything's fine.

The trailer says it all. Mr and Mrs Smith have been married for 5-6 years (He says that it's five, she says that it's six), and they are pretty bored with their domestic lives. However, they are both assassins, and they've been hiding this from each other successfully throughout their marriage until they were finally sent to kill each other. Dum dum dum.

So, is this a good film? Yeah, I think it's a pretty damned good and entertaining film, with some of the most amazing action scenes I've ever seen in quite a while. And when I see a director like Doug Liman (who also did the marvellous Bourne Identity), I feel that John Woo is becoming increasingly obsolete. Whatever the famous HK director could do back then, anyone could do now, or even make it better.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie DO have chemistry, and are convincing as a married couple. Despite the fact that this film has generated many negative reviews, the sizzling chemistry of the two main stars is something most agreed upon. There's really not much for me to talk about in this film as it has a rather simplistic plot, like how the two protagonists revive the sparks of their marriage after the discovery of each other's secrets, but the elaborate action scenes and chase scenes are really something to marvel upon, seriously.

So, if you're looking to have a good time in the cinemas with a fun film that has a nice dash of humour, romance and action? Mr and Mrs Smith is your film.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Injustices Of My University Life.

Imagine this:

You're a university student, and this is the final semester of your course. You have been studying pretty hard to ensure the fact that you can graduate in time. Now, there's this girl (whom I will refer only as Miss O as I don't like to name names much), an acquaintance you knew back in your college in Malaysia, who had just came to Perth during the beginning of this semester, who isn't really pretty, in fact, she resembles a weasel, but that is not the point. What she likes to do is to hassle you weekly, begging and pleading for you to lend her the notes you have done for your Marketing Law subject, and better, she begs and pleads for the answers of the tutorial questions because, for reasons that can never be comprehended, she seems perfectly incapable of doing her homework without relying on you.

You have a major flaw, and that is, you never seem to know how to say NO. Sure, she makes outrageous requests, but how can you say no? Well, if you do so, you'll end up having her talking behind your back, and also, since she is your classmate for another unit, things will be really awkward, and you'll probably feel that it's way too difficult to handle these as you are not strong enough, nor have a 'don't give a damn' attitude.

And you ended up giving in to this, and allow this to happen for a couple of weeks.

Mid-term test (not exactly a mid-term test, considering that it is held during the second last week of the semester) was coming, and you had been studying insanely hard for this, treating this as a Final Exam. Hours and hours you spend, in the library.

After the results were out, you got a 27 out of 38, not exactly really satisfying, but at least an improvement from the previous test. Now, you see Miss O, and asked what she got for her results. Miss O, giggling giddily, told you that she got 33 out of 38. Impressive, you gasped, you were stupefied, you asked how did she manage that?

She blushed, and giggled once more, telling you that she didn't know, everything was just a fluke.

You saw another friend, the hapless boyfriend of your excessively sensitive flatmate, and asked for his results as well. Guy grinned and told you. He got better results than you did, even though he was never known to excel academically throughout the years you knew him back in Malaysia.

Once again, you couldn't disguise your surprise, and marveled at his impressive results. However, this chap is a rather honest chap, and he begins whispering to you what really happened, and asked you to promise not to tell anyone this.

Apparently, this chap and Miss O, along with a few others you know from your Malaysian college had actually gotten their hands on the questions few days prior to the test. It all had to do with the network they establish with their friends back in good old Malaysia, who all seem to have the privilege to access all these confidential info due to a lecturer who worries too much about the results of her students. They have already known what was coming out for the test, they knew which part of the textbook to focus on, what kinds of questions to look for, and perhaps, a couple of questions have been leaked out unintentionally by the lecturer back in the Malaysian college.

You are furious. Your hardwork, your hours spent on studying were all for naught. People who put in not even a QUARTER of your effort are easily scoring higher than you do, and gaining the affections of the tutors and lecturers. Conscience? What conscience? You are nothing but a tool used by the likes of Miss O. Despite your efforts in helping her, THIS is what she does by repaying you. To work behind your back, acquiring useful information for the test and not telling you a single word.

There is nothing you can do. Expose her? Complain against school authorities? You are just weeks away from graduation, what can you do? In the end, you resigned to your fate and looked for this surrogate little brother-type friend of yours, whispering your plight to him during dinner.

This surrogate little brother-type friend, however, is a more vengeful person, his hatred and disdain for these people he knew back in his Malaysian college were one of his greatest source of angst and anger after his rather upbeat high school life. He decides to put all these onto his blog. And yes, the aforementioned blog is the blog you are currently reading.

Imagine the kind of shit that happened to my friend happening to you. When I look at people like Miss O, and the other blokes who had to use deception and trickery to pass their tests, to work through their semesters, to gain their degrees, I realize that they are what they are.

Trash.

And being the trash they are, they belong to the trashcans, not the university.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Getting my degree in marketing soon

I have a love-hate relationship with marketing ever since I took the course after high school 3 years ago. I have NO passion for marketing, compared to the likes of filmmaking and writing. I think I would've been a much happier person if I've studied something like films, multimedia or mass communication. Yet practicality ruled, and I became a business student instead, knowing that the knowledge gain from the course, dry and boring it will be, might be useful for me in the future.

And marketing is what I've been doing a lot. Plugging my site, plugging my short films... it's all about creating awareness for the masses. And to know how to do so, you must look for the right people to talk to, the right places to go, the right time to do so and the right thing to say. Effective marketing it is. To take advantage of all kinds of opportunities presented to me.

Satisfying myself is one thing, but I feel more fulfilling if those are shared with others as well.

Five more days and my final exams will begin. If nothing goes wrong, this will be the very last semester where I'm taking marketing units. Next semester, I'll be finishing up my literature units instead. Being a marketing student may be dry, boring, and lack the fun that can only be enjoyed if I were a film, multimedia or mass comm student, but I think I might kinda miss it.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Swifty Reviews 'The Longest Yard' and 'A Lot Like Love'

As I've mentioned in my previous entry, I was planning to go for a rom-com today, 'A Lot Like Love' cos' I figure that 'The Longest Yard' would be funner to see with other people.

However, when I reached the cinema, 'The Longest Yard' was just about to start while 'A Lot Like Love' had started for ten minutes, so I went for the former. After finishing it, I figured that 'Bah, I can just sneak into 'A Lot Like Love' without anyone noticing and save myself the $6.50'... and that's what I did. Hah, I think I might start doing this in the future, for the sake of ahem, saving more money.

So, here are my reviews for the two films.

THE LONGEST YARD

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Adam Sandler's latest film. I always felt that Adam Sandler's films are pretty solid, despite the mauling he usually gets from critics (Little Nicky is the only Adam Sandler flick I haven't seen though), and '50 First Dates' is a romantic comedy I enjoyed immensely last year (I think it was in my top ten of 2004). And Chris Rock's in it too! With this comedic duo, things would be really funny, right?

To my surprise, this is a more serious film than I've originally expected. Yeah, there are some funny scenes, but overall, this is not a laughfest, especially when a major character actually dies in the film. Whoa.

'The Longest Yard' is about a former NFL star (Sandler) who got thrown into jail after wrecking his girlfriend's car, and when in prison, he has to assemble a team to play against the guards in a game where they were 'fixed' to lose. So it's another one of those generic underdog films where you get to see a bunch of likable misfits facing impossible odds to achieve glory... well, I happen to be a sucker for such films, so yeah, I enjoyed it.

There are cameo roles of WWE wrestlers like Stone Cold Steve Austin and Kevin Nash (both as the evil guards), and Goldberg (as a player in Sandler's team, his role in the movie is way more likable than his wrestling persona). And the wrestlers, technically being 'actors' for years, did pretty well in the film. Nash turned out to be really, really funny. Guy seems to have acting skills not seen during his days as a wrestler in WCW and WWE. Ah man, I would've liked seeing Austin and Goldberg's characters facing off in the film, unfortunately, that didn't happen cos' Austin's character seemed to focus more on tormenting Nelly (guy was okay in his role too).

So yeah, if you're into Adam Sandler films and underdog type films, go ahead and check this out. Won't really waste your time. It's entertaining, just don't expect anything more than this.

Now, for the second film...

A LOT LIKE LOVE

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This romantic comedy stars Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet as the protagonists, Oliver and Emily, and follows their relationship in a span of 7 years where they spend most of the time navigating between the line of friendship and romance. There are numerous chance encounter and abrupt separation throughout the film.

All in all, despite its attempt to be more mature and serious than most of its peers, it's still a pretty unremarkable romantic comedy that failed to grip me that much emotionally, but one thing it succeed was to make me relate to Ashton Kutcher's character. An idealistic young man who chose to concentrate on establishing a career and put aside his desire to get romantically-involved. That's pretty much the story of my life right now.

'A Lot Like Love' is a rather forgettable film (I can't remember a single line from the film now, even though I've just finished seeing it few hours ago) with a weak script, but Ashton Kutcher deserves more credit for this. (in my opinion, the guy has more range than what Orlando Bloom is showing thus far) Ditto with Amanda Peet. I guess both are decent actors, just that they were given very boring and pointless characters to deal with. I don't really recommend this unless you are desperate for some romantic comedy, even so, I think Ashton's earlier feature this year 'Guess Who?' is more entertaining than this one.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Swifty Muses About His Soon-to-be Concluded Fanfiction Career.

"I love watching romantic films alone by myself. They make me feel... empty." - Eliar Swiftfire


Holy crap, I've finished writing the final subsection of Slam Dunk: Inside Stuff Episode 22 in two freaking nights. I'm really surprised by how quick I got to finish this, and how simple it ended up becoming since this was supposed to be the most ambitious chapter of them all. Ah well.

So, this means that there's only the epilogue left for me to write. And once Slam Dunk: Inside Stuff is done, I will finally be able to do what I've actually set out to do when I started this fanfic nearly three years ago: to retire from fanfiction. When I finished writing that chapter last night, I had this weird tingling feeling within me. And I tried scanning through the chapter over and over again, wondering whether they are any necessary changes that have to be made.

But in the end, I guess there's really no way for me to change it anymore. Another step towards the end of my fanfic career has been taken, and this step is swifter than I've imagined.

It took me four months to finally update my previous chapter, I didn't expect to do a follow-up in slightly more than a month, and that was pretty much what I did.

And epilogue to tie up all loose ends will be attempted after my final exams (probably when I return to Malaysia), and since that will be the very last fanfic chapter I'm going to write in my life, I'm going to make sure that I'm leaving with a bang. Although I think having Slam Dunk: Inside Stuff as my swansong is pretty much a wondrous achievement.

It's been a long six years (my fanfic writing career, I mean), but I'm more excited with what I'll be able to write after saying my farewells to fanfics.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Swifty Reviews 'Crying For Love, In The Center Of The World'.

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Watched Crying For Love, In The Center Of The World 世界の中心で、愛をさけぶ couple of nights ago with family. I have heard many good things about it, like how this film how successful this film is in Japan last year and how it became a pop-culture phenomenom. Also, director Yukisada Isao's previous feature, GO was pretty incredible.

So, yes, based on the plot, this movie SHOULD reek of melodrama and manipulative tear-jerking you see all the time in Korean dramas. You know, the ones where the girl suffers from terminal illness, and how her poor boyfriend has to cope with this, and how their pure and strong love triumphs over everything in the very end.

However, I think this is pretty much a Japanese filmmaker's answer to such generic Korean melodramas, by showing that a sentimental and tragic romance can be presented just as effectively without use of overwhelmingly overbearning pop songs, or crazy slow-mo close-ups of the protagonists whilst they are grimacing in pain, and spouting cliched and cheesy lines that defy description blah blah. (*cough*WinterSonata*cough*)

The story's about a 30-something man, Sakutaro) who returns home one day and realizes that his fiancee, Ritsuko, has left abruptly after the listening to an old cassette tape addressed to Saku and hearing a young girl's voice. Saku begins having memories of his past.

And then, the film shifts focus to 17 years ago, in 1986, where we get to observe a budding romance between Saku and his classmate, Aki, back when they were in high school. Besides getting into various misadventures, the young couple often record messages for each other on cassette tapes and exchange them in school. And modern-day Saku spends most of the film listening to these old tapes from Aki as he relives this long-forgotten romance. Of course, the question is whether he can find Ritsuko as well.

So, the film intercuts between scenes of adult Saku looking for Ritsuko, and the Saku/Aki storyline that slowly spirals into tragedy. The ending is quite predictable, but it's the journey there that's rather unexpected. Paced like a thriller, making use of stylish camera tricks and such, it's a gripping film. Some memorable and deep dialogue, some great acting (especially from Masumi Nagasawa as Aki, who started out so quirky and fun, that you might end up not being able to bear seeing her suffer that much in pain), some powerfully vivid scenes.

It's a fine movie, albeit a wee bit too lengthy. Instead of trying hard to tug at my heartstrings, all it did was to show me the unfolding of a tragedy, which is a good thing. And it kinda reminds me of the HK flick from the early 90s starring Lau Ching Wan and Anita Yuen, C'est La Vie, Mon Cherie. It doesn't exactly blow me away as I've expected, neither does it leave me a lasting impression that makes me want to watch it again, but if you are into this kind of stuff, just give it a go.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I just saw REVENGE OF THE SITH for the 3rd time...

Family (parents+little sis+grandmother) came to Perth to visit me, so didn't really have much time to go online.

Can't believe I saw Star Wars 3 for the third time two nights ago. Went to the cinemas with dad and little sis, they were going to see SW3, I was planning to see Madagascar... only to realize that it ain't actually showing. The other choice I had was Wedding Date, soooooo, I had to choose between some B-list chick flick, or Star Wars 3 for the third time... I ended up going for the latter.

(The only movies I've bothered to see three times in the cinemas in recent memories were the first two Lord of the Rings movies. But the third viewings came during the LoTR Marathon I went through for the premiere of Return of the King, and the third viewing of the Fellowship of the Ring's extended version in the cinema came after I've watched it NUMEROUS TIMES on DVD)

Still a fine flick (especially after the Mace Windu vs Palpatine fight). Though the question my dad asked after the movie ended is same like what I've been discussing with some of my friends after seeing the film during the two previous times.

"How did he sever both the legs AND an arm with one swing?"

Attempted to write something in Chinese two nights ago, let a friend of mine proof-read it for me just now. I might put it up on my site sometime soon. But hopefully after someone has turned it into a short flash animation or something.

On a funnier note, my little sister told me that she found out her IQ was around 120 after taking this IQ test, so I told her that she was less than average because the 'average IQ for everyone is 150). Poor girl ended up believing that she had a less-than-average IQ for the next few days.
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