Saturday, September 29, 2007

'Lust, Caution 色,戒' (The heavily censored version)

Lust, Caution is Ang Lee's first Chinese-language film since 2000's Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Some locations of the film were shot at Penang and Ipoh in Malaysia. The film's gotten quite a bit of attention over here ever since its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival earlier this month, where it won the Golden Lion. Of course, the attention wasn't on it winning one of the film industry's most prestigious awards, but on the graphic sex scenes, a fact that Ang Lee himself hadn't been really happy about.

While adamant not to make any cuts for the film's US release (it will be rated NC-17). Longtime Ang Lee collaborator and Focus CEO James Schamus, who co-wrote the screenplay, said he is accepting the rating "without protest". "When we screened the final cut of this film, we knew we weren't going to change a frame," he said. "Every moment up on that screen works and is an integral part of the emotional arc of the characters. The MPAA has screened the film now and made its decision, and we're comfortable with that."

Friday, September 28, 2007


I was very interested in watching the local film HIDDEN SUMMER IN MY HEART when it was at the theaters last month. I was intrigued by its trailer, and I was curious to see what these new filmmakers Felix Tan (the director) and co. could come up with. The film is from Lim Kok Wing University's newly set-up Film and Television Academy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Conversation on 'Bourne Ultimatum' With Erna

My guest reviewer for Bourne Ultimatum is Erna Mahyuni, actress, theater practitioner and editor-in-chief of the best-selling magazine. You can check out her Bourne Ultimatum review too if you want.

Judd Apatow's KNOCKED UP

Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up

I loved 40-Year-Old Virgin, so when I found out about director Judd Apatow's follow-up, Knocked Up, all those months ago, I was already stoked.

Then the positive reviews started coming in, and the film became one of the best-reviewed wide releases of the year.

Even more anticipation from me.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Chillin' in Perth

I'm currently in Perth. Just had my graduation ceremony three nights ago (on the 17th). It's my second graduation ceremony, so it wasn't as exciting as my first one (held last March), on the other hand, I am rather looking forward to have two photos of me in robes hanging on my bedroom wall, and two have two certificates as well.

Seen quite a number of movies that I haven't had the chance to review because my laptop got fried two weeks ago. So I'll just list them all out as a reminder for films I've seen but haven't had the chance to review:

  • Knocked Up

  • 881: The Papaya Sisters

  • Away From Her

  • ... a Hong Kong film starring Alex Fong Lik Sun which title I cannot remember (will find out later)

  • Bourne Ultimatum

  • Hairspray

Might go and see Superbad or Stardust later tonight.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

It's My Little Sister's Birthday. Say Happy Birthday To Her!

My sister, Sandra Yeo, is 18 today.

Everything that needs to be said about her is in this post. (I posted that for my little sister during her birthday last year, even Dawn Yang left a comment)

My li'l sis looked like this when she was a bit more than 2 weeks old.

KL Rhythm (A Love Letter To Kuala Lumpur) - An Abandoned Short Film Project

Photo by Stuck in Customs

Two months ago, I posted about RED BEAN SOUP, an abandoned short film project of mine. And from the ashes of the discarded idea, I pieced together another story called KL RHYTHM.

KL Rhythm, as you can see from its title, was another urban story. I wanted to romanticize the city of Kuala Lumpur like Woody Allen did with New York City, yet infuse it with colourful MTV-style hyper-realism like one would see from the works of Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie) and Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run and the short film, True).

It was definitely a notch above the melodramatic silly weepie RED BEAN SOUP, but still not the follow-up for GIRL DISCONNECTED I had in mind. Since the chances of me actually making this short film will be rather low, I'm posting the treatment of KL Rhythm here instead.

(note: The film is meant to be in Mandarin)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Conversation on 'Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone ヱヴァンゲリヲン新劇場版:序' with Justin

A MSN conversation between Justin and I about Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone, the first of the new tetralogy of Evangelion films called The Rebuild of Evangelion.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Chile (Part 9): Visiting Pablo Neruda's Last House - Isla Negra

Isla Negra, house of Pablo neruda
Photo by Bracani.....Antonio

Note: It's better for you to read
before you start reading this entry:

'The heavy rain of the south falls over Isla Negra'

The heavy rain of the south falls over Isla Negra
like a solitary drop transparent and weighty:
the sea opens its cool leaves to receive it:
the earth learns the wet fate of the glass.

My soul, grant me in your kisses the briny
water of these months, the honey of the region,
the fragrance moistened by the sky’s thousand lips,
the sacred patience of the sea in winter.

Something calls us: all the doors open by themselves,
the water tells a great story to the window-panes,
the sky extends down to touch the roots,

and like this the day weaves and unweaves its celestial net
with time, salt, murmurs, growth, pathways,
a woman, a man, and winter on the Earth.
- Pablo Neruda

22nd of August, 2007. Day 9. One more night left in Chile.

After visiting Pablo Neruda's house, La Sebastiana, at the beautiful city of Valparaiso the day before, I found out that there was still one more Neruda house that I haven't visited.

Isla Negra. (read Isla Negra's history)

His favourite house.

The place where he and his wife, Mathilde Urrutia, were buried.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Short film I produced, 'Blue Roof', world premiering at 12th Pusan International Film Festival

This is rather funny.

I was at the TWITCH last night reading about the Pusan International Film Festival's special focus on the New Malaysian Cinema. This special program, called Three Colours Of New Malaysian Cinema, will feature 6 feature films and 3 short films.

Looking through the list of films in the line-up, I paused when I saw the title of one short film, BLUE ROOF. I was surprised by the short film's inclusion in the list and wondered whether it was a mistake. I went to sleep with lots of questions floating in my mind.

I got a phone call from Ming Jin the following afternoon, confirming with me what had happened.

Well, folks, it seems that BLUE ROOF a short film I had a hand in producing and editing with Greenlight Pictues before I went to Chile will be having its world premiere at the 12th Pusan International Film Festival in Korea!

You see, this film was submitted to the Pusan International Film Fest by Ming Jin while I was in Chile, hence my confusion. Amusing that I would find out about all these in another website!

Malaysia Boleh, baby!

Synopsis of the film:

Albert's unique pleasure in his routine as a security guard is to enjoy the view of the world on the blue roof of the apartment. But one day, a burglar slips away and he gets fired.

A screenshot of Blue Roof, a short film produced by Greenlight Pictures

Nice looking film, no?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Guey Lun Mei elevated Jay Chou's 'Secret 不能说的秘密'

Poster from Jay Chou's SECRET 不能说的秘密

My feelings for Jay Chou had often been rather weird. Back in 2005, in a post which was really meant to diss Taiwanese pop singer Jolin Chai, I lamented the state of Chinese pop and took some swipes at Jay's tendency to mumble through his songs.

Yet I have always been rather kind towards his film endeavours. I conceded that he 'did not suck' at Initial D and was a good enough sport to let others make fun of his image. I even admitted that he was decent in Curse of the Golden Flowers and that I would take his acting over F4's anytime.

So when his directorial debut, SECRET, was announced, he definitely did not earn any contemptuous sneer or eyeball-rolling from me like I normally would do when I hear news of a singer turned actor attempting to direct a film. In fact, I was a little excited, when I heard that the film's female lead is Guey Lun Mei.

Ratatouille is a great Pixar film

Remy and Linguini in Ratatouille

Ratatouille is about a rat, Remy, from the French countryside who wants to be a chef. He goes to a French restaurant opened by his cooking hero, Auguste Gusteau, only to realize that the place is in shambles after the chef's death. His successor, Skinner, is more interested in making a quick profit by selling mass-produced microwave food under Gusteau's name.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Top Posts of August 2007

Here are the top 10 most-viewed posts in August, 2007.

Chile (Part 8): Visiting Pablo Neruda's Second House - La Sebastiana In Valparaiso

Photo by OMGEsteban

Note: It's better for you to read
before you start reading this entry:

21st of August, 2007, Day 8.

The Santiago International Film Festival (SANFIC) had ended the night before.

One by one, the guests left. Hu Shu, and Marina (the Argentinean producer who went to Neruda's house with me days earlier), taking the same bus to the airport.

And then, the Canadian filmmaker, Scott, who philosophized with me the meaning of filmmaking and film festivals under the starry sky. He left too.

I bade them all adieu.

Hu Shu had warned me that one would be lonely if he remained after the end of a film festival, he had to say goodbye to all, and then find something to do by himself. That was the fate I ended up with after extending my stay in Chile.

Two days earlier, Hu Shu had gone off to the fabled Valparaiso, Chile's most important seaport and 'Cultural Capital', the place Pablo Neruda called the 'Ocean's Sweetheart'. So beautiful and steeped with cultural and historical importance that the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. He came back at night and told me that I had to go there no matter what. He also added that one of Pablo Neruda's houses was there too.

To go to Valparaiso, one would have to take a 2-hour bus ride. I was initially reluctant to do that. Traveling so far in a foreign place? What happens if I cannot return to Santiago in time? Do I have to incur more expenses by spending a night in Valparaiso?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Chile (Part 7): Seafood Scam and Glamourous Awards Ceremony

Note: It's better for you to read
before you start reading this entry:

20th of August, 2007. Last day of the Santiago International Film Festival.

After days of working on extending my stay in Chile, things were finally finalized, and I would leave on the 23rd instead. Of course, all these didn't happen that easily, there were still some frustration involved, like the Grand Hyatt Hotel sending me off to another wild goose's chase at the LAN CHILE office, only to have them, tell me again, with visible annoyances in their faces, that they couldn't do anything for me, and that I should be speaking to the Malaysian Airlines office (I would later find out from these people that there was actually a Malaysian Airlines office in Santiago!!!!)

But with that out of the way, I decided to go do some sightseeing and shopping with Hu Shu (that's the Chinese director of I WANT TO DANCE, my first meeting with him chronicled in Swifty in Chile (Part 3)) since I missed out some places the day before, and Hu Shu was about to leave Chile the following day.

First place we went to was the La Moneda Presidential Palace, a place recommended by my Spanish tutors.

NO RESERVATIONS starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart

Poster of No Reservations, directed by Scott Hicks, starring Catherine Zeta Jones and Aaron Eckhart

If, prior to my trip to Chile (still being chronicled in my ongoing series of very poetic blog posts), you tell me that the film I would see during my last day in the country is NO RESERVATIONS, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart and Abigail Breslin, I would have laughed. Hard.

Why would I watch a Hollywood rom-com? When I could've gone for something that would never be shown in Malaysia? Like a Latin American movie?

Well, that's because the (mostly) Spanish-language Latin American films shown in the multiplexes in Santiago do NOT have English subtitles. Not only that, but numerous Hollywood films have been dubbed to Spanish as well, notably those that I wanted to see.

Shocked by these revelations, I asked the nice ticket-selling lady whether there were ANY Hollywood movie in theaters that is in English. She marked a couple of films, one was Transformers, one was Die Hard 4, and the last one was No Reservations, since I have already seen the other two films, I had no choice but to see No Reservations.