Friday, March 30, 2007

Defending THE DEPARTED makes me a mindless Hollywood drone?

**Warning: This post contains spoilers for THE DEPARTED and INFERNAL AFFAIRS**

My recent involvement in a new production, coupled with my month-long addiction to Final Fantasy 12 made me too busy to actually post much here. I know some occasional film reviews and a once-in-a-blue-moon videoblog entry, peppered with one or two of Justin's 'too bored to blog' posts in the past month hadn't really make this blog that interesting. So I intend to write something I've been feeling rather strongly about in the past week.

The kind of hate THE DEPARTED had generated from hardcore INFERNAL AFFAIRS fans since its victory at last month's Academy Awards had started to irk me. But then, their reactions towards THE DEPARTED ever since Brad Pitt bought the remake rights years ago hadn't been exactly exemplary. And I've always believed that everyone's been waiting for a chance to rip the movie apart, to nitpick at the smallest things, to throw rationality and objectivity in the wind and condemn those ignorant gwailos for defiling our much-beloved yellow culture.

Monday, March 26, 2007

VIDEO: Malaysian Shorts (March 2007 Edition)

Just as I've mentioned here, my short film, Girl Disconnected, was one of the 10 short films screened at this year's first edition of MALAYSIAN SHORTS, held in HELP Institute. Once again, I was the only person representing the film. Unsurprising, considering that I'm the only one of the three Malaysians involved in the production who is still in the country. (Assistant director Yun Chin had gone back to Perth to finish her studies), the other, my actress, Grace the Rabbit Fairy, had seemingly disappeared in the past few weeks. Couldn't reach her via email, blog comments and Friendster messages. Worrying.)

All short films shown there were of high quality, and they were pretty different from one another. Don't really feel like reviewing them one by one, since I feel somewhat... wrong to review other films in a screening which my short film is part of.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Yasmin Ahmad's heartwarming and wonderfully-acted 'Mukhsin'

Mukhsin poster

Saw yesterday with Kannan Thiagarajan (director of the telemovie I'm working on as assistant director... to make things simpler, he's my current boss) and award-winning filmmaker Woo Ming Jin. Sorry, I just need to name drop :D MUKHSIN is the latest movie of Malaysian filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad's semi-autobiographical series that feature the character Orked. Basically, what she's doing now is rather similar to what Francois Truffaut did back then with the Antoine Doinel character. However, while Antoine Doinel was played only by the actor Jean-Pierre Léaud, from a child in 400 BLOWS to an adult on the verge of middle age in LOVE ON THE RUN, Orked, who was played by Sharifah Amani in the first two films, is played by Sharifah Aryana (Sharifah Amani's younger sister) this time. And this movie is about young 10-year-old Orked's prepubescent first romance during her school holidays with Mukhsin, a boy two years older than her.

(Quick recap to the uninitiated:

Took an assistant director job for a television movie

This blog has slowed down considerably since those days when I could put up at least an entry or two a day. I don't even have the time to put up any vlog entries lately, the last one being a video of me playing the piano during my birthday.

There are numerous things I should be doing here, like finally putting the videos of my Indian vacation together (editing is actually a really time-consuming process, since I'm too much of a perfectionist to put unedited footages online for your viewing), reviewing the last two films I saw, Half Nelson and Mukhsin, and most of all, my time in Malaysian Shorts during monday night, when Girl Disconnected was screened.

The fact is, I've taken an assistant director job more than two weeks ago for a television movie meant for NTV7's Festival slot (basically, it's a program where local independent filmmakers are paid to make their projects to be aired on TV). The screenwriter and director of this telemovie is Kannan Thiagarajan (HEYA!!!!). I'm keeping the plot of the movie under wraps. All I can let you know is that it's a slow-burning thriller that takes place at the idyllic beaches of Port Dickson.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

'Dreamgirls', Jennifer Hudson's performance (singing and acting) had people cheering in the theater

Dreamgirls poster

Second of the three movies I saw in Singapore.

Wanted to see DREAMGIRLS for a long time due to its pre-Oscar hype, and the furore over its lack of Best Picture nomination, and then Jennifer Hudson's victory (was also intrigued by Eddie Murphy's much-lauded dramatic performance).

Monday, March 19, 2007

Ranking each segment of Paris Je t'Aime (Paris, I Love You)

Tom Tywker's segment in Paris Je T'aime

Paris Je t'Aime is an omnibus film where 18 (originally 20) directors from around the world were asked to make short films that serve as a love letter to Paris, the City of Lights and Romance.

Over the past few months, my friend, the lovely Krystle Chow of theCicak had told me repeatedly about how awesome this film is. I could only sigh in resignation, valiantly trying to shake away the overwhelming feeling of envy I had for her. After all, she saw the film in a film festival, the film was only traveling in international festival circuits, and then shown in limited screens (just arthouse theaters). It seemed highly unlikely that I would get the DVD of this film over here in Malaysia. (if I were still in Perth, there might be a slight chance that this would be available at the Murdoch University library someday, unfortunately, I'm not in Perth anymore)

Yet it was actually screening in Singapore! So, knowing that this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance, I immediately bought the ticket and dashed into the cinema (thank you, Orchard Cineleisure!), I could barely contain my excitement.

Of course, that wasn't all. Two days later, returning from Singapore, I managed to get myself a copy of the DVD when I was in Johor. I was shocked (I don't expect many casual Malaysian DVD buyers would give a damn about the film... although to be fair, not many are aware of its existence).

Anyway, I highly recommend this film. Being an anthology film, it's obviously pretty uneven, some not that amazing, but some are pretty mind-blowing, it's like sitting through a short film festival, kinda brings back memories of Sony Tropfest. Ahhh...

Anyway, I'll rank the segments based on my own preferences. (Put up some of the segments that were uploaded on Youtube by some people, go watch it before it's taken down)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Girl Disconnected Screening At Malaysian Shorts, March 2007 Edition.

Wiler (played by Justin) Reaching For Maya (Sarah Corbyn)

I'm back from Singapore!

My short film, Girl Disconnected had been chosen for screening at the March 2007 edition of Malaysian Shorts!

DATE: 19th of March, 2007
TIME: 8pm


I'll be there for the Q & A session, although if I really get the chance to speak, I'll try not to babble as much as I did during last month's Filmmakers' Anonymous 2 (I was, ah, both excited and nervous at the same time then, being its Malaysian premiere and all, you see).

For the whole line-up of that night, I'll copy and paste directly from Amir Muhammad's message I got from the Malaysian Cinema mailing list.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Utterly Bored with Everything - Resigning from Blogging?

I apologize for the relative lack of updates recently. I think the interview with Quentin S. Crisp contained all of my thoughts on everything; consequently I've been content to leave it at that. And, moving to Japan has taken up most of my time.

'Bridge To Terabithia' is misunderstood (thanks to its misleading marketing campaign)

The misleading Bridge To Terabithia poster

I am awed by the marketing tactics used for Bridge To Terabithia.

The trailer (which didn't really impressed me that much, frankly) made this seem as if it's a fluffy adventure fantasy film where two kids went into some fantastical magical world, encountering all kinds of wonders, getting into battles to save this land. And then, lots of emphasis about this film being from the producers of Narnia.

To my horror, this film is FAR from what it is advertised to be.

The Pursuit of Happyness

Poster of The Pursuit of Happyness

When the credits of The Pursuit of Happyness started rolling, everyone in the cinema begun applauding.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

NTV7 The Breakfast Show is good for health

In order to thank me for that Playboy bunny I sent him for his birthday, Swifty has allowed me to publicize my TV appearance on his blog!

Well, this is my first TV appearance so I suppose you can watch it just to see me embarass myself. But hey, at least I embarassed myself on national TV!=.

-_- That just sounds so wrong.

Date: Monday, March 12
Time: I'll arrive in the studio at 8.30am, so it will probably start at 9am or later.
Channel : NTV7
Duration: 10 minutes
Venue: Television
Dress code: Pyjamas, or nothing at all (hey, you don't call it Breakfast Show for nothing)

And Swifty, please, please, please help me record this. I know asking a movie director to record an insignificant TV appearance is a little too much, but then I'll just send you another Playboy bunny to repay you back lor okay? Or maybe one of those people watching the TV naked...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

300 is a film of sheer manliness

300 poster

Just came back from seeing 300, which is based on Frank Miller's graphic novel that I haven't read.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

VIDEO: Happy Birthday To Me! Swifty Plays The Piano

On 6th of March, 1984. I was born.

Happy birthday to me. I love you all.

Decided to film myself playing the piano (yes, I used to play the piano) just because I wanted to do something I've never done before during my birthday.

Prefer the J-dorama version of Ima, Ai ni Yukimasu いま会いにゆきます over the film version

I've recently fallen in love with Mimura.

And I think it had to do with the Japanese dorama, Ima Ai ni Yukimasu.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Screenshots of my short film, Girl Disconnected, on The Malay Mail!

On today's Malay Mail:

ROCKY BALBOA could be my favourite Rocky sequel (behind ROCKY 4)

Rocky Balboa punches Mason Dixon

Rocky Balboa, believe it or not, was a major childhood hero of mine, him, along with Spider-man, Raphael of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (the one turtle who seemed to rebel against everything the other three seemed to believe blindly in), and maybe er... Son Gohan of Dragon Ball Z (a person constantly living in his father's shadow). Even as a child, I related more to the underdogs, the rebels, or the social outcasts, and in some ways, these childhood heroes, with profound influence upon me as a child, shaped me into becoming what I am now.


Friday, March 02, 2007

Thoughts on Oscars 2007

Right, I'm a couple of days late, sorry about the lack of updates. I've been busy playing Final Fantasy 12 like a possessed madman, weeping like a Taiwanesehousewife while watching the dorama version of Ima ai ni yukimasu and falling asleep on the sofa trying to reignite my artistic fire, thus I hadn't had the time to post that much, hence asking my sister to post a few more of her kiddie pictures as distraction.

One reason why I didn't come up with my Oscar predictions this year is, well, I didn't manage to watch most of the nominated films, and even though I know whom the hot favourites were, I felt that it would be pointless if my predictions were same as everyone else's. No chance for me to predict some based on my own gut feelings (although for a while, I started thinking that maybe Little Miss Sunshine would actually take it all, instead of my earlier pick, The Departed based on its momentum).