Thursday, May 31, 2007

[French Film Festival Malaysia 2007] Hors De Prix (Priceless)

Poster of Hors De Prix (Priceless) starring Gad Almaleh and Audrey Tautou


Hors De Prix is the second film I saw from the GSC French Film Festival, after the heart-wrenching La Mome (La Vie en Rose). I've always wanted to catch this film since reading Sebastian's rave review on his blog last month, besides, it's already not much of a secret that I'm a sucker for romantic comedies anyway. So, after getting Sebastian's confirmation that it's a good date movie (as long as the female companion does not feel insecure and tiny about the fact that the pretty Audrey Tautou's boobs are always threatening to pop out from the fashionable dresses she's wearing in the film), I invited a lovely lady friend to see the movie with me.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

R. I. P. Izumi Sakai (Zard)

Updated (September 2, 2012): Zard is a pop group. And Izumi Sakai was its lead vocalist and leader. I always referred to her as Zard because to me, she WAS Zard. But I decide to revise this blog post so that I can try to separate the Sakai the person, from the group.

I was pretty shocked when I read about singer-songwriter Izumi Sakai's death on today's newspapers.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

[French Film Festival Malaysia 2007] La Mome' (or La Vie en Rose)

Poster of La Mome (La Vie en Rose)


Just came back from seeing LA MOME (LA VIE EN ROSE is the US title) with my dad at the French Film Festival in GSC 1-Utama.

(I'll refer this film as LA MOME in this entry.)

Monday, May 28, 2007

In Defense Of Film Critics...?


"Filmmakers need an audience, that's for certain. but do filmmakers need film critics? hmmm... i wonder. One thing for sure, filmmakers have absolutely no use for self-proclaimed film experts or film pontificators."
The above quote is a post by filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad (Sepet, Gubra, Mukhsin) two days ago at the Malaysian Cinema mailing list, during a discussion (it's ironic that the whole thing was sparked by a short film of a new member I introduced the mailing list to) two days ago. Which started to make me... think.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A NIGHTMARISH Acting Audition... Method Acting is bad?

Alfred Hitchcock hates method acting
Alfred Hitchcock hates method acting


I'm currently helping out with a short film.

(There are also other job offers I'm still pondering, my Sin Chew Daily interview seems to have its benefits :D)

The director and I had an audition yesterday trying to find the right actors and actresses for the four primary roles of his film, and we were meant to meet up with two actresses and an actor.

(For the sake of protecting everyone's identities, I'm not going to divulge real names)

It was a nightmare.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End

Jack Sparrow and his lady friends


Just came back from the My.fm-organized preview of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (I'll refer it as POTC3 in this review) with my dad.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Rum of Heartsdales. Hot!

Rum of Heartsdales

"I ride boys like a motorcycle."
-Rum

There's an interview about her and her sister here.


Blue Gate Crossing 藍色大門, Beautiful Taiwanese Film!

Blue Gate Crossing

"Maybe someday, a year later, or maybe three, if you start liking boys, you must tell me. Don't laugh, I'm serious."

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Maids for hire



Nude Fun

Do note here that I will charge an iniquitous sum of RM800 per hour and if you fail to abide, my mop will be going up a part of your body.

I will dress in ANYTHING except a chicken costume because I am there to look provocative and sexy, not like I recently knocked my head.

You will not get a refund if you find the aforementioned maid lacking in the breast department.

You will keep that dissatisfaction to yourself.

If you want to place an order, contact me at 012-of-course-this-is-a-joke-do-you-take-me-for-an-idiot or e-mail Swifty (he is my pimp! Oops. Did I say that out loud?) for further details.

Note: Hey Swifty, how come when I post photos, it is clickable but when you post it is not? Teach me how to do that!

VIDEO: Celebrating Mother's Day 2007

I'm a week late, but here's a video of my family celebrating Mother's Day last Sunday at this awesome seafood restaurant.

Had two guests with us that day: Auntie Tai, a family friend, who had to celebrate with us cos' her kids were in UK, and my cousin Fung Ming, who had to celebrate with us cos' her parents were in her hometown Ipoh.


Swifty's family, celebrating Mother's Day 2007


So, how did you guys celebrate Mother's Day?

Related links:
My Top 10 Great Mother-Child Movies

VIDEO: Weekend In Ipoh Part 1: Day And Night In Ipoh

(note: the cousin Hing Yip in this video is cousin Fung Ming's younger brother)

VIDEO: Weekend In Ipoh Part 2: Unlocking My Mother's Past


Saturday, May 19, 2007

I LOVE Asobi Seksu!



One album I've been listening to a lot in the past week is Asobi Seksu's CITRUS. Asobi Seksu's a shoegazing rock band based in New York, their lead vocalist is Yuki Chikudate, who said in an interview with Pitchfork that one of the creepiest fan experiences for her was when she was surrounded by a bunch of hardcore otaku who called her Asobi and talked to her about anime. The band name, Asobi Seksu meant 'play sex' 'fun sex' 'playful sex' or something like that in Japanese.

What a coincidence that both Justin and I have been getting pretty into female Japanese singers named Yuki these days, just that his Yuki is in Japan while mine's in US.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Nada So So 涙そうそう is really a tearjerker (with a great ending song)

Nada So so, starring Satoshi Tsumabuki and Masami Nagasawa


Updated (18/5/2007): Added music video of the 'Nada So So' song's Chinese version by Joi Chua.

NADA SO SO (TEARS FOR YOU) is directed by Nobuhiro Doi, whose previous film is the highly popular IMA AI NI YUKIMASU. Like that film (which, to me, really isn't as good as its vastly superior TV dorama series), NADA SO SO belongs to the 'Pure/ Innocent Love' (Jun-ai) genre, but different in a sense that it focuses more on sibling love than romantic love. Though obviously, it's still as much as a weepy tearjerker as the other films of this genre.

Just look at the poster above. Can something like that NOT be emo?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Melbourne Portable Film Festival + The Most Discouraging Post Office Worker Ever.

I received an email last Wednesday from the Portable Film Festival in Melbourne, Australia, inviting me to submit my short film, GIRL DISCONNECTED to the festival for competition. Needless to say, I was absolutely elated.

After all, this happened just one day after my Sin Chew Daily newspaper interview was published, and that this was also the very time I've ever been invited to submit my works to a foreign film festival. It was stated in the email that a member of their (the Portable Film Fest) research team found GIRL DISCONNECTED (I wonder how, the member's Malaysian? My film wasn't shown anywhere in Australia outside my own uni... very mysterious) and that's why they wanted me to submit it to the fest.

So, immediately I burnt a copy of GD and put it into an envelope, deadline's on the 30th of May, I couldn't afford to miss it. I headed to the post-office to send my stuff to Melbourne.

And had the misfortune to meet the most discouraging and pessimistic post office employee ever.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day Special: Top 10 Great Mother - Child Films

In order to celebrate Mother's Day, I'm listing out my personal top 10 films about mother-child relationships that I like.

(Compiling a list of good films about mother and child relationships just seem so much harder than those about father and son...)

Cinema Paradiso. Original vs New Version



**Mild spoiler warning for both versions of Cinema Paradiso**

Was watching the director's cut version of Cinema Paradiso (called the 'New Version') on DVD with my dad a few nights ago. Now already regarded as a classic, I've definitely heard of this 1988 Italian film (made in 1988, released internationally in 1990... I think) for a really long time, but never really had the opportunity to find either the chance, or the mood to watch it even though my dad has the DVD of the original for years.

Dad managed to borrow the Cinema Paradiso: New Version DVD from his friend, which he hadn't seen, so we watched it together. Father and son watching a nice coming-of-age story of a boy and his friendship with a father figure, awesome.

To the uninitiated, film's about a famous film director who returns home to a Sicilian village for the first time after almost 30 years to attend a funeral of Alfredo, an old friend. He reminisces about his childhood at the Cinema Paradiso where Alfredo, the projectionist, first brought about his love of films. He is also reminded of his lost teenage love, Elena, whom he had to leave before he left for Rome.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A discussion on the most beautiful languages in the world (...and the ugliest)

A MSN conversation:

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

What Tsai Ming-Liang Said To Me



I met Tsai Ming-Liang at the Sin Chew Daily headquarters last night. Born and raised in Kuching, Malaysia, he is one of the most celebrated 'Second New Wave' directors of Taiwanese cinema, his films are often compared with the works of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Francois Truffaut, Robert Bresson and Michaelangelo Antonioni.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

”我要努力实现导演梦“ (I will work hard to fulfill my dreams of directing) - Interview On Sin Chew Daily

My interview with Sin Chew Daily, Malaysia's leading Chinese newspaper, just came out today. I was truly surprised, and amazed to see that I was on the cover of the Sin Chew Plus section, I'm truly amazed, and humbled, by this.

The interview focused mostly on my determination to chase my dreams, my filmmaking misadventures, and a bit about my short film, GIRL DISCONNECTED.

Check out my interview on Sin Chew Daily's website. It's in Chinese though.

I'll just translate some quotes from myself.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Two Teaser Clips From GIRL DISCONNECTED

Production Photo 19 - Maya Enjoying The Sunset


Working with me is NOT a privilege.

It's more like a punishment to most. Justin himself can tell you how many takes I would go for just to get a simple shot right. A production shoot with me can be really tedious and frustrating since I'm, er, a perfectionist.

But also, for the sake of reassuring everyone that I'm REALLY a filmmaker and not just some shallow lecherous hack who was only capitalizing on some opportunity to ogle at babes in an event which MIGHT enforce the objectification of women (initially, I was named as the judge without receiving a personal mail from the organizer) like some people do ;-), I shall share with you extended scenes from my last film, GIRL DISCONNECTED, just for a glimpse of, well, my filmmaking style. Enjoy.

Friday, May 04, 2007

James Lee's 'Things We Do When We Fall In Love 当我们同在一起'



This happened last week when I was at the press screening of THINGS WE DO WHEN WE FALL IN LOVE:

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

VIDEO: Filmmakers Anonymous 3


Filmmakers Anonymous 3


On the 27th of April, I went to FILMMAKERS ANONYMOUS 3 with Chewxy, just hours after attending the James Lee press conference (check out my vlog entry of the press conference if you haven't already).

2 months have passed since the previous session of FILMMAKERS ANONYMOUS, in which my short, GIRL DISCONNECTED, had its Malaysian premiere, (check out my videoblog entry of FA2 if you haven't already as well) I was absolutely eager to check out the list of short films available this time.

The following were the list of short films screened on that night (taken from Filmmakers Anonymous's official site)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

HIKARU GENJI 光ゲンジ



HIKARU GENJI

Spider-Man 3 is not that bad (if viewed with irony)

Spider-man 3 poster


Like most people, this is my most-anticipated film of the year, so I was absolutely excited when it turned out that I've gotten tickets to Hitz.fm's sneak preview of Spider-Man 3 just a day before its nationwide release (Spidey 3 is premiering in Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and numerous other Asian countries on the 1st of May whilst people of USA can only catch the film on the 4th of May, YESSSSSS!!!).

I've long placed SPIDER-MAN 2 high up the pedestal as my favourite superhero movie of all time, because everything about it appealed to me, the humour, the action, the character drama, the romance, everything clicked so well that there was nothing I could complain about the film at all.

SPIDER-MAN 2 had pushed the bar so high that, since then, every single big-budget superhero movie that came out, with the exception of BATMAN BEGINS, seemed just like kiddie movies. Mindless popcorn entertainment that may satisfy only hardcore comic book fans. X-MEN 3 was entertaining for its major explosions (but nothing much), SUPERMAN RETURNS was so overwhelming in its sheer seriousness (and its attempt to make Supes suffer from girl problems like Spidey) that it left a bad taste in my mouth some time after I saw it, GHOST RIDER was rubbish, FANTASTIC FOUR was amusing sometimes (but only because I was in a good mood when watching it, and Jessica Alba convinced me that the film ain't that bad).

SPIDER-MAN 2 is near perfection, and represents, to me, commercial filmmaking at its best, when the artsy fartsy poser types start speaking haughtily about their disdain for Hollywood films, I point at SPIDER-MAN 2, I said that a film like that impresses me much more as some self-indulgent incoherent rubbish that packages itself as 'high art'.

And because of that, I never expected SPIDER-MAN 3 to surpass its predecessor, I'd be happy enough if the drop of standard isn't dramatic, and that it can still be nearly as good as SPIDER-MAN 2. Hearing that there would be three villains in the film had worried me initially, making me fear that the film would end up becoming something like BATMAN AND ROBIN, crushing under the weight of the numerous characters and subplots it needed to juggle.