Search This Blog

Loading...

Thursday, January 31, 2008

I always win shampoos in lucky draws

Two nights ago, I went to this Happy event held at Cafe Libre with Erna and Suanie. Was an interesting experience cos I finally met Kimberlycun (the original inspiration for the CHINOFIER gadget that appeared in my latest short, From Bhol Le With Love) and KY in person after first knowing of their names and blogs for many years. And then to meet all these fellow Murdoch/KDU alumni, hah, small world.

And here's a photo of me winning a shampoo from the movie trivia. I ended up winning two shampoos that night, I'm happy to know that I don't have to shop for shampoos anymore.

Swifty and His Shampoo
Winning my first shampoo. Wonderful. Smashpop watches from behind.


More wacky photos by the wonderful photographer Louis (damn, dude, update your site) can be found in David's post. Personally, I think my photo is awesome. Any photos of me with the other shampoo?

Posting will resume to normal with Part 3 of my 'How I Made A Short Film With A Nokia N95' series or one of my many overdue film reviews.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Swifty Reviews 'Juno'

Juno poster


Now that the Oscar nominations have announced, I've been trying my best to catch all films nominated in the Best Picture category via all means since not all are screened in Malaysia.

Following are the five Best Picture nominees:

MICHAEL CLAYTON
ATONEMENT
JUNO
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
THERE WILL BE BLOOD

I saw Michael Clayton in Taiwan last September, and Atonement last month. And I managed to catch JUNO last week.

JUNO is the only comedy nominated in the category and it's always Oscar tradition over the years to nominate a well-received indie comedy (LOST IN TRANSLATION in 2003, SIDEWAYS in 2004, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE last year) even though the chances of them winning have always been slim.

I'll copy and paste the synopsis from the film, skip the following paragraph if you want to know as little about the film as possible.

Juno (Ellen Page) is a Mid-Western highschooler, who decides one day, out of boredom or curiosity, to have sex with her friend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera), a member of her school's track team. She likes him well enough, but isn't hung up on him. This one time encounter results in Juno's pregnancy. She and her best friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby) decide to take control of the situation by browsing for prospective adoptive parents in the local Pennysaver newspaper, and Juno settles on seemingly the perfect, affluent couple Mark (Jason Bateman) and Vanessa Loring (Jennifer Garner) who is desperate to have a child. Junos sensitive father (J.K. Simmons) and stepmother (Allison Janney) are very supportive of her and help Juno with her decision to give the baby up for adoption. Juno and her father check out Mark and Vanessa Loring to see if they are the right couple. As time moves closer to having the baby, Juno grows more into a woman, yet she is still a teenager with all the same problems and a few more.


Currently doing some damage in the US box-office (it's the only nominated film to make 100 million dollars) and starting to generate some accusations of being overhyped and overrated, many, including my friend Sebastian, have questioned whether Juno deserves the nominations for Best Picture, Best Director (for Jason Reitman), Best Actress (for Ellen Page) and Best Original Screenplay (for Diablo Cody)?

It's all subjective, many believe that a film like Zodiac and its director David Fincher would be more deserving of the Best Picture and Best Director nominations instead of Juno and director Jason Reitman, I won't argue with that since I think Zodiac is a great film, but I don't think Juno does not deserve these nominations.

Ellen Page and Michael Cera in JunoBeing 'merely' a crowd-pleasing comedy, a superficial assessment will immediately point out that JUNO is not profound enough, or 'deep' enough, or possess the supreme technical filmmaking craftsmanship to be in the running for 2007's finest film.

So it may not seem to have the timelessness of the other nominees (even Michael Clayton is regarded as a throwback to legal thrillers of the 70s despite its modern settings) For me, its hipness and humour show that the film is a product of our time, reflecting contemporary society and ideals, dealing with issues like teenage pregnancy, abortion, adoption and handling a marriage, among others. With all that said, it's really just a simple coming-of-age tale and a teenage romantic comedy.

In our discussion of the film, Sebastian had mentioned that in comparison to his debut film, THANK YOU FOR SMOKING, JUNO felt like a student film from Jason Reitman. It's not as slick-looking as THANK YOU FOR SMOKING, but that doesn't mean that by exercising more restraint or being more understated, the direction is bad.

"Just because it is more understated doesn't make it the best." was Sebastian's opinion of Jason Reitman's direction in JUNO. On the contrary, I find it more impressive that the director knew when to practice restraint and let the story and characters take centerstage, for me, it's really not about imposing a trademark director style just to prove one is an awesome director, but choosing the best methods to tell the story.

Performances from the cast were uniformly great, I don't think anyone is complaining about Ellen Page's BEST ACTRESS nomination as the wisecracking and quirky Juno Macguff. Characterization and character development just seem to be something often overlooked in films, JUNO is interesting to me because it made me change my perception and feelings towards a character within a brief running time of 96 minutes.

The character arcs are often authentic instead of feeling forced. I won't give too much away, but one character who seemed like wimpy and pathetic loser turned out to be such a nice and genuine person that one can't help but feel for him towards the end. One character is cool and likable, another one seems domineering and way too uptight, naturally the former seems much more appealing, yet certain plot developments reverse my perception of the two, and suddenly, I sympathize more with the latter than the former. A lesser film by a lesser director would have played on stereotypes or caricatural portrayals. Not in Juno. Yes, it's definitely good writing, but it IS the director's duty to transfer what was written on paper to the screen. It is a director's job to know when is too much, and when is too little. The great performances in JUNO happened because of his direction, not in spite of his direction.

So no, I don't think Jason Reitman's direction was too shabby here. Not any Tom, Dick and Harry could do what he did. (For example, one of my biggest gripes about the local film JARUM HALUS, by the first-time filmmaker Mark Tan, had been the inconsistent characterization of Christien New's Daniel Oh character, when a guy shifted from a sweet romantic noble dude to an abusive asshole in just one scene, I was unconvinced and ended up feeling that the supposed tragedy of that Othello adaptation has been diminished. But I'll leave that for another review, if I need to.)

Anyway, to me, JUNO worked because it's so funny, original and heartwarming. It's also surprisingly touching. Seriously can't think of a better ending for the film. I thought it lived up to its hype, matching my expectations, and sometimes even surpassing them.


JUNO trailer


BTW: It's interesting to see Michael Cera and Patrick Bateman in the same movie after the much-missed TV series ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT was cancelled. Though their characters never appeared in the same scene together. Here are some videos of them talking about JUNO, funny stuff. WATCH THEM ALL!











P. S. I think Jennifer Garner's performance in JUNO is her film career best... I rank it ahead of 13 GOING ON 30 and CATCH ME IF YOU CAN.

Photos from KURUS Press Conference

I attended the press conference and screening of KURUS yesterday at the KL branch of Limkokwing University. Not much to say for now, just some photos to share.

Zamir and KURUS poster
16-year-old main actor Arshad Zamir and the KURUS film poster, KURUS is his first film role.

Director Woo Ming Jin and Zamir the main actor
Zamir with director Woo Ming Jin

Carmen being interviewed
Carmen Soo being interviewed

The director and the teenage cast of KURUS
Ming Jin and the teenage cast of KURUS. From left to right: Ahmad (who played Ali's best buddy Hassan), Zamir (who played Ali), Fadhirul (who played Eli the bully), Anis (who played Nora) and Iqa (who played Iqa, bullying partner of Eli)

Me and co-producer Aron, with teenage cast of KURUS
Co-producer Aron (in black, standing next to me) and I, with the KURUS teenage cast

Mislina and I
Mislina and I. Mislina is like, the Meryl Streeps of Malaysia

KURUS group photo
A group photo. First row in front, from left to right: Fadhirul, Ahmad, Ming Jin, Anis and Iqa. Second row, from left to right: Aron the co-producer and Limkokwing representative, Mislina, Zamir, me and Carmen

KURUS group photo 2
Second KURUS group photo... I don't know why I looked that weird.

One last photo after the KURUS screening
Last photo of the day before we went our separate paths. Aaron Chung the cinematographer, Isabel the film composer and Mislina's boyfriend are in this too.


Will probably try to put up more photos that weren't taken by my camera some other time.

Check out some other posts of KURUS:

KURUS Production Diary - English Title confirmed. Days of the Turquoise Sky
KURUS Production Diary - 'Carmen Soo Day 1'
KURUS Production Diary - 'Carmen Soo Day 2'
KURUS Production Diary - More production photos
KURUS Production Diary - Sleepless night of editing

There are more here.

Coming to NTV7 soon.


Monday, January 28, 2008

How I Made A Short Film With Nokia N95 (Part 2)

Part 1 is here.

14th of January, 2008. Arriving at the location of the shoot, which was the REACH PUBLISHING office, home of the PC.COM Magazine, I started surveying the office space, finding the appropriate place to shoot the video.

Not an easy task since it was still a normal work day for the REACH PUBLISHING employees.

"I'm going to be your one-woman crew." Erna announced, hauling a bag of props that I've asked her to buy for me. I examined the contents, ensuring everything I needed was there.

Two feathers? Check.

Fifteen lighters? Check.

Two flashlights?

Erna and I immediately headed towards the stationary store nearby to make our purchase.

Two flashlights? Check.

"Well, we have everything we need. Now we just need to get an actor to play our mad inventor." I said.

Aside from Darren, who knew he was going to play the victimized James Bond, no one had been chosen to act in the video.

"Make your pick." Erna gestured at everyone in the office.

"Hmmmm." I frowned, not knowing how to pick since I barely knew anyone in the office.

Not a single person there looked like an obvious megavillain. No one was bald, had pale skin, had a facial scar, had blood trickling out from an eye, had metallic teeth...

I sighed.

Erna pointed to a skinny, bespectacled guy sitting at the corner of the room, working quietly on his computer.

"You can try him. He's pretty articulate." She said.

And then she excused herself to attend a quick meeting with her publisher, leaving me alone to break the bad news to the skinny, bespectacled guy.

"Hey man," I said, interrupting the guy from his work. "You have any acting experience?"

"I doubt anyone in the office has any, besides Erna." The soft-spoken guy shook his head, while referring to Erna's long-ago appearance in Amir Muhammad's mockumentary BIG DURIAN, which Ming Jin the mentor shot.

Although having Erna as the mad inventor was a consideration, I needed the one-woman crew, so I had to break the bad news to the poor sod, whose name I later knew was Magessan.

"Well, man, I think I'll need your help with this. It's a simple skit, not much of a challenge, you just need to talk to the camera, the script is pretty simple." I said, trying to sound as convincing as possible, especially about the script part, which I didn't really write then.

Magessan was reluctant. "Isn't there anyone else you can ask?"

I was adamant. "Nope."

Magessan conceded defeat and agreed to act before returning to his work. Quickly I started scribbling on Erna's notepad (attempting to do the storyboard while writing the opening monologue of the first scene).

I was done when Erna came out of her publisher's office moments later.

And we started rehearsing Magessan by having him read the lines I had written just minutes earlier. A daunting task for him, but for the sake of his company, the first-time actor suffered all these in silence.

Once the publisher's office was empty, we headed into the room and began our shoot.

I brought both my camcorder and the Nokia N95 into the room, still haven't made chosen which to use for the shoot.

The more reliable camcorder that I used to make countless videos, including my video experiments like A BORING STORY and FORCED LABOUR?

Or the less reliable Nokia N95, which I've never touched until a couple of days earlier?

Using the camcorder would mean that I have to incorporate the Nokia N95 into the storyline.

Using the Nokia N95 would be quite an adventurous risk.

I picked the latter, and placed the mobile phone on my tripod, adjusting a good enough shot for Magessan's monologue.

"Hold on, what is my character's name?" Magessan asked, noticing the space I left at the end of the sentence 'I am Dr _____'

"Something that sounds, ah, stupid." I said. "Doctor White? Doctor Black? Doctor Yes? Aaaargh!"

"How about Doctor Boleh?" Erna suggested.

"Boleh. So he can say 'Doctor Boleh, boleh!' What an awful humourless pun! All right, we'll use it then!" I said. (Boleh means 'can' in Malay, as in 'I can do it', an irritatingly popular slogan in the nation is 'Malaysia, Boleh', which means 'Malaysia, Can!')

And so Dr Bhol Le was born at that very moment (though the exact spelling of Dr Bhol Le was never decided until days later, during postproduction).

After a few takes, Magessan got the monologue right.

I called for a break.

Magessan and Erna returned to their desks.

"All right, NOW I write the second scene!" I declared, attracting glances from others who finally realized that I was doing this whole thing on the fly.

Hurriedly, I wrote some lines for Dr Bhol Le where he introduced even more of his outlandish but ultimately useless inventions. The following would be things that ran through my mind while I was writing, this time I cease using the stream-of-consciousness literary device to sound less pretentious:

"Okay, we'll have an umbrella that can only be used indoors, um... and nuclear bomb lighters, which are nuclear bombs that look like lighters, and ah, solar-powered flashlights that can only be lit up by normal flashlights in the dark, then we'll also have the Chinofier, which was inspired by Justin's long-ago webcomic posted on my blog, a dastardly invention that transforms non-Chinese people into Chinese. In the webcomic, Kimberlycun was a Chinofied version of Reese Witherspoon, yes!"

And voila, another few scenes written.

After shooting a scene or two with Magessan, Erna cut in:

"Hey, we have to hurry and do some scenes with our James Bond. He's heading off to a meeting at 5:30pm!"

I looked at my watch. It was 4pm then.

Swiftly we prepared to do the scenes with Darren and Magessan together. I burst into the room in dramatic fashion while Erna was practising with the two guys. Darren was in the midst of doing a fake but shrill-sounding laugh.

"All right, as you may know already, this scene is simple, our poor James Bond will find himself being tickle tortured by the sadistic Dr Bhol Le." I explained. "And James Bond will laugh within the inch of his life."

I paused and held up the two feathers Erna bought for me.

"But you don't have to worry about that. You're really going to get tickled."

"He's not ticklish." Magessan said. Darren nodded.

"WHAT? How could this be?" I exclaimed, the two feathers in my hand went limp immediately.

"I can fake it!" Darren said.

After spending most of the 23 years of my life being so ticklish, I was thrown off by the idea of someone not being ticklish, so I contemplated angstfully for a few moments. Without being able to impose method acting upon him, I may have to truly rely on the guy's acting.

"All right. Let's do it then." I said, making a mental note that if I were to do any more tickle torture scenes in the future, I would ask the subjects whether they were ticklish or not.

"Action!"

And thus, in my spoof of the infamous Casino Royale 'torture scene where a nude 007 got whacked in the balls', I had Dr Bhol Le tickle torturing James Bond with the two feathers of his Ultimate Tickle Torture Device (tm), and James Bond emitting a ghastly sounding, cringe-inducing laughter that rang throughout the office.

The shoot went on smoothly and ended earlier than expected (was expecting to pull an all-nighter, perhaps I underestimated my own efficiency, haha). Darren headed off to his meeting, I started packing.

I would spend an hour the next day shooting another quick scene, and also some brief reshoots, but the next and final part of my 'How I Made A Short Film With Nokia N95' series would be about the agony I had during the editing of the video.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Chewxy's WEB OF LIES Premiere Party

Currently typing this from my hotel in Singapore, hence the lack of updates. Arrived on Friday, returning today. Despite initial misgivings and the fact that I come here often, two nights in Singapore just ain't enough! (Nonetheless, I still managed to buy many books!)

A night before I went to Singapore, Chewxy threw a premiere party for his debut (live-action) short film, WEB OF LIES that he made last July before leaving for Australia. I'm still credited as the producer of this 25-minute short film despite the fact that I was only involved in its preproduction (helping Chewxy with his auditions and rehearsals). After that, I experienced some schedule clashing as preproduction of the telemovie CINTA TIGA SEGI (recently broadcasted on NTV7) started just when Chewxy and co begun their 3-day marathon shoot.

WEB OF LIES is a pseudo technogeek/noir film starring Sarah Low, Alfred Loh, cutie Grace, Shuba, 'PLEASE GIVE ME A JOB' reality show winner Justin Frances and a special cameo appearance by Suanie. Here's a trailer Chewxy cut for WEB OF LIES.


WEB OF LIES


The party itself was fun, meeting the cast and crew (basically a 2-men crew, with Chewxy doing everything, and Eunice as the make-up artist) of WEB OF LIES again after nearly half a year (among them all, Grace was the only one I met recently)


Suanie and I, eating. Photo from Chewxy's blog


WEB OF LIES, being a first-time work by a self-taught filmaker, obviously had its flaws (which I have addressed to Chewxy prior to the premiere), but the enthusiasm of those involved cannot be questioned. Their camaraderie brought back memories of my early video experiments A BORING STORY and FORCED LABOUR (watch them at the short films section), and made me lament a little that I wasn't involved in their shoot. And the most flattering thing I can say about it is that it may have prompted myself to do a film noir of my own (my upcoming CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY, which I'm still casting for) Chewxy's attempts to tackle a film noir reignited my years-long personal love for that genre, hence making me want to do it myself.

After the premiere of WEB OF LIES, Chewxy screened the N95-shot video that I made for the PC.com Magazine Awards Night, the newly titled FROM BHOL LE WITH LOVE, to some amused laughter.

When half of the party crowd had left Chewxy's house, we had a secret screening of KURUS from the screener DVD I had just acquired that night. I was bringing the DVD to Singapore, so I needed to ensure that everything's fine, besides, press screening is next Monday, I wanted to make sure there ain't any glitches in the film that we didn't spot during editing.

Everything was fine, and somehow, my friend Isabel's composition (I told her to reference Debussy's works) added a whole different layer to the film.

So yeap, definitely looking forward to tomorrow's press screening. Will keep you all updated with photos and stuff :D

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

RIP Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger
Heath Ledger (1979-2008)



When I woke up early this morning, I saw that my MSN window was flashing with Sebastian's message. (My laptop is placed on my bed beside me most of the time when I sleep)

Did you hear?

I was one of the first to read about the news on Cinematical.

Groggily, I typed 'yes', assuming that he was referring to the announcement of the Oscar nominations, but swiftly, I clicked on my Firefox live bookmark to see the Cinematical RSS feed.

And knew immediately that he was referring to Heath Ledger's sudden death, either of accidental overdose or suicide.

Definitely shocking. He was only 28, and he was to appear in one of the most anticipated summer films of 2008, THE DARK KNIGHT as the Joker. All of a sudden, THE DARK KNIGHT took on a whole different meaning, instead of being just another Hollywood blockbuster everyone wants to see, it also becomes possibly Heath Ledger's last film role.


Trailer of THE DARK KNIGHT


Just two days ago, when seeing another poster of THE DARK KNIGHT, I was telling my sister that "Man, never would I have imagined that The Joker would look THIS cool in a Batman film". I was one of the rare few who liked BATMAN RETURNS more than the first BATMAN, so I never really thought that Jack Nicholson's Joker was that big a deal, and I was definitely looking forward to Heath Ledger's interpretation of this iconic villain.

By now, his most acclaimed and well-known role was Ennis Del Mar in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (2005). When writing about the film two years ago, I mentioned this about Heath Ledger:
Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Williams deserved their Oscar nominations. But the person who surprised me (and probably almost everyone else) most was Heath Ledger. I've repeated this many times before, but I'll say it again, who has expected him to become Oscar material? Who has expected him to become such a great actor? Especially after watching 'A Knight's Tale'? I thought he would've been another Josh Harnett, or even worse, a Freddie Prinze Jr. I had thought that the highlight of this guy's career would be 'Ten Things I Hate About You' (don't get me wrong, I like that film a lot).



BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN


10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU (1999), Heath Ledger's first Hollywood film, was the first film that introduced me (any many others) to him. During the resurgent of teen movies in the 90s, I ranked 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU as one of my favourites, and back in my secondary school days, many who saw the film would always make references to the scene where Heath Ledger's character, Patrick, serenades Julie Stiles' character Kat with 'CAN'T TAKE MY EYES OFF YOU' at the school fields, with the help of the school band. Hell, that was our generation's 'John Cusack holding boom box over his head in Say Anything...' ultimate declaration of love. Sort of.


Heath Ledger sings CAN'T TAKE MY EYES OFF YOU in 10 Things I Hate About You


I didn't watch that many other pre-Brokeback Mountain films of his. A KNIGHT'S TALE was disappointing, so was THE PATRIOT, although it had more to do with the quality of those films and not really Heath Ledger's acting (I thought he and Jason Isaac's baddie were the best things in the horrible THE PATRIOT). I remember reading a Chinese film review of A KNIGHT'S TALE where the critic boldly predicted that it's unlikely the actor would ever get into the A-list.

As we all know, everything changed after BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. And even after BROKEBACK, I found myself actually enjoying the fluffy rom-com, CASANOVA (underrated!).

Do I feel depressed or sad? Not really. But dying so suddenly when he was starting to show so much potential for a lifetime of great performances, I do feel slightly melancholic.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How I Made A Short Film With Nokia N95 (Part 1)

This is a chronicle of the video I made for the PC.com Magazine Awards Night held last Friday at KL Tower.


The actual opening video, uploaded by Erna



9th of January. One Wednesday evening (shortly after meeting up with Dabido) Erna, editor of PC.com Magazine, called me on my cellphone, reminding me that the opening video I've promised to do for their Awards Night was due on the 18th.

Inwardly, I groaned.

It almost didn't seem like something worth doing.

When I was asked to help them do the video for the event last month, I was apprehensive.

To make the video, I had to adhere to numerous conditions like:

1) Must have a James Bond theme to coincide with the actual Awards Night.



2) The mobile phone, Nokia N95, must be involved, either as a prop, or be used to shoot the actual video.



3) There wouldn't really be enough pay to really hire a crew, or actors from outside. Renting professional filmmaking equipment would be out of the question as well.

4) I'll be using Erna's own colleagues in REACH PUBLISHING, who all have zero acting experiences, to act.

And this bothered me because of the following reasons:

1) I prefer to work with a good cinematographer for my film since I don't really know how to operate a film camera much. (My areas of interest for filmmaking had always been writing, producing, directing and editing, one guy just can't do that much!)

2) There had been some common misconception that I'm a one-man filmmaking crew, as much as I wish to be something like that, I've generally worked with at least a crew of 3 to 4 in my own short films.

3) There would be zero rehearsals.

4) It brings back horrible (but really fun) memories of my attempts to make my first two video experiments: A BORING STORY and FORCED LABOUR back in '04 and '05. Yeah, those were fun, but it would mean that I'm taking a step backwards!

Nonetheless, I took the challenge in the end because I was too prideful to back down from one (you seriously expect a guy who calls himself The 'Great' Swifty to NOT be prideful?), and I needed to do some warmups before embarking upon my next short, CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY.

With the deadline looming over me, I was seized by a slight sense of panic, and since I subscribe to the 'desperation leads to creativity' school of thought, I immediately took out a piece of paper and started listing out the scenes I wanted to do in the video.

The initial idea was to reenact the infamous Casino Royale torture scene (where Bond got whacked in the balls), but even that itself would be too much for something shot only with a N95 (I'm prideful, but I don't overrate my own abilities, I'm not a magician).

So it was back to the drawing board for me.

Sitting in my room, staring intensely at the N95, my mind scattered to many different directions at once, pondering WHAT can people shoot with a N95... and could involve James Bond.

The following paragraph will describe what my thought process was right. (Pardon my pretentious but inept attempt to use the stream-of-consciousness literary device.)

now that im limited to shooting only with a nokia n95 i have to shoot something that is best shot with a mobile phone and what is best shot with a mobile phone i have to dig deep into the film library of my mind and find something good but i cannot think of anything like that maybe i should think of popular Youtube videos that are short with mobile phones something like videoblogs and videoblogs are most popular if its funny or if it has a hot babe and all i have to do is find a beautiful actress to act in the film however im cannot even afford to hire one for this production so all i can do is aim for funny and if its a videoblog should it be a videoblog of james bond but that will be too boring and no one can imitate daniel craig nor pierce brosnan so i need a different angle like one of a bond supervillain that is funny like dr no but then i just reference dr evil because he is funnier so this is a video of a disenchanted inventor pissed off that pc.com awards overlooked him...

So I got my idea mere days before the actual shoot on the 14th of Jan.

I tried to write the screenplay.

No luck.

I frowned.

After compiling a short list of props I needed for the video to Erna (some lighters, two feathers, two flashlights... nothing complicated) and sending it to her for preparation, I went off to play Xenosaga 3 on my PS2.



Shion and KOS-MOS needed some leveling up.

The day of the shoot finally arrived.

Still haven't decided whether I would really use the Nokia N95 or my own lousy broken down camcorder for the shoot, I ended up bringing both to location.

TO BE CONTINUED...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Swifty Reviews 'Cloverfield'

_blank


Here we go, the first potential Hollywood blockbuster hit of 2008.

Cloverfield, thanks to viral marketing, and also having its intriguing trailer placed before last year's Transformers in US theaters, had swiftly became a much-anticipated film for many (myself included).

Of course, few days after it started screening (the film premieres at both Msia and US at the same time), reviews and word-of-mouth had been decidedly mixed. It's getting generally positive reviews at Rotten Tomatoes (78% now), Chewxy loved the crap out of it, sis and dad were disappointed ("this is only 10% as good as THE HOST", my sister declared after watching the film last night with dad).

The latter two were unprepared with what the film was really like, and I guess most complaints came from those who weren't aware that the film's really told solely from the point of view of a digital camera wielded (mostly) by this guy called Hud. The film is Hud's recordings of a gigantic monster's 7-hour attack on New York City that interrupted their blissful farewell party to his best friend.

So the film is unique in a sense that it sucks audiences right into the action, giving you the 'you are there' feeling that you generally get from Youtube or Facebook home videos or videoblogs. And it also helps that this film features a cast of unknown.

It's like Blair Witch Project meets Godzilla, or Youtube meets Godzilla, or whatever.

As for myself, after watching the film this morning, I was definitely entertained, although it is fairly predictable. This is an uncompromising film which CAN be disorienting to people not used to its 'in-your-face' style filmmaking, but seriously, I appreciate the fact that this film is trying something different. I mean, if you're seriously expecting this to be a nice, properly edited conventional monster film, you'll be disappointed, but you can get tons of these elsewhere.

THE HOST this ain't (and I recommend THE HOST to anyone, monster fan or no), but one thing that bothers me about the praises heaped upon this film is that J. J. Abrams may have gotten far too much credit for this film. Yes, one has appreciate the creator of LOST and ALIAS for lending his starpower and famous name to back the project, but... er, why isn't DIRECTOR MATT REEVES getting any love? Even if J. J. Abrams had as much involvement in the creative process as Judd Apatow does with his produced works, I still find it saddening that Abrams is the one who gets the 'genius' tag by fans of this film, and not Matt Reeves.

Kinda reminds me of the time when lots of people were giving credit to Tarantino for Sin City and not Robert Rodriguez... when all Tarantino did was direct one scene. WTF?

As for Cloverfield, it's an interesting experience, but not a film I'll watch twice, seriously. Just watch it without letting the hype get to you.

What do you guys think of the film?

(This is random, but after watching this, I seriously want to watch DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTEFLY, anyone who knows anything about this film will know what I'm talking about.)

Read an interview with director Matt Reeves on io9, my new favourite blog. (io9 also said that Cloverfield is really all about 9/11)



Saturday, January 19, 2008

First Time At KL Tower In 10 Years To Attend the 8th PC.com Product Awards Night

The last time I visited KL Tower was nearly 10 years ago, for my 14th birthday. Dinner with family and my best fat buddy. We dined at the revolving restaurant, it was a magical night for the atmosphere and joy, but because the food weren't spectacular, I never really thought of going back. So I didn't.

It never occurred to me that it had already been ten years since I was there until I stepped foot into the KL Tower yesterday evening (it's 1:36am when I'm typing this now). I was invited by Erna to the 8th PC.com Awards Night after helping the magazine do the opening video for their event (which I mentioned about when explaining my recent lack of updates). And hell, I was just as excited as any tourist, or maybe my excitement stemmed from the fact that my video was going to premiere there, in front of a few hundred people, some of them were important bigwigs from the tech industry.

I was accompanied by my cute buddy, Grace (who acted as the Rabbit Fairy in my short film, GIRL DISCONNECTED and also appeared as Albert's Daughter in the ending of the telemovie CINTA TIGA SEGI that was aired last Sunday, she's a busy, highly in-demand actress now). She had never been to KL Tower, so she was heck excited too.

So the following are photos we took of each other before we took the lift up to the revolving restaurant, where the awards night was held.

Grace, before going to the top of KL Tower
Grace, before going to the top of KL Tower

Me, before going to the top of KL Tower
Me, before going to the top of KL Tower


Then we went to the top of KL Tower and waited for the event to start. Grace told me she saw Yasmin Ahmad in the restroom, I froze, wondering why was she invited too.

Moments later, a very striking (and familiar-looking) woman walked in and spoke to Erna, and then left. Grace pointed at the woman who had just left and told me she was talking about her.

"Hm." I reacted.

elaine daly

The woman turned out to be Elaine Daly, actress and Miss Malaysia Universe 2004, emcee for the night. And no, I still don't understand how Grace could mix her up with Yasmin.

The event finally started.

8th PC.com Awards Night in KL Tower


And my video (which I can also consider as a new short film) was shown in three screens instead of one!

To have my video shown in an event like as lavish as this, the Oscars for the Malaysian tech industry, was a remarkable experience. And I felt relieved when I heard people laughing really loudly at the right parts, and even the really deadpan parts which I didn't expect to generate any laughter from.

I was definitely happy with the loud applause when the video ended. Just a week ago, I hadn't expected myself to actually make a short film that's marginally presentable when it was supposedly going to be shot entirely with a Nokia N95, and I hadn't really met any of the actors until the actual day of the shoot. Not having rehearsals and a good cinematographer for a film had always been personal no-nos for me.

Grace and I left the event relatively early. The night really belonged to the tech players, after all. Although we did enjoy our time there, and the food, haha.

Grace and I at the Awards Night


Took some photos before we left KL Tower.



Grace and I. 8th PC.com Awards Night in KL Tower

Before I left the Awards Night


I wonder whether it'll take another ten years for me to return to KL Tower?

As for the opening video, I'll be doing some minor editing so it can work as a standalone short, and yes, I'm most likely posting it up on Youtube. Look out for it, I might even write about my thoughts of the swift production of the video (3 days, two days of shoot, 1 day of editing), in which The Great Swifty was truly swift indeed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Making the opening video for PC.com Awards Night

Sorry for the lack of updates.

Been making the opening video for this Friday's PC.COM Magazine Awards Night. Shot it on Monday and Tuesday and in the midst of editing it.

Posting will resume to normal when I think I'm free enough. And I might post the video on Youtube if it's a hit.

For now, just wish me luck.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

[OPEN THREAD] Cinta Tiga Segi telemovie

CINTA TIGA SEGI poster 2


Open thread for the telemovie, CINTA TIGA SEGI (NTV7, 10:45pm, Sunday, 13/1/2008). Leave your comments, complaints, compliments, questions below.

Why Watch tonight's CINTA TIGA SEGI: One third of it went to major international film festivals. You view it for free.

One of the three segments of tonight's telemovie, CINTA TIGA SEGI, was extracted and turned into a short film called BLUE ROOF (which I've mentioned before).

BLUE ROOF had its world premiere at last year's PUSAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, the largest film festival in Asia, and will also be showing at the ROTTERDAM INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL end of this month. (... along with a couple of film festivals that I will announce in the near future)

Aside from that, the short film will screen at the Malaysian Shorts in HELP UNIVERSITY on the 21st of January.



However, CINTA TIGA SEGI will provide a definite, conclusive ending for BLUE ROOF that wasn't available in the actual short film. So even if you've seen the short film, you STILL need to catch this film, tonight on NTV7, 10:45pm.

Oh, and no, we won't be uploading BLUE ROOF onto Youtube. Not a good film to watch on a teeny weeny computer screen.

Friday, January 11, 2008

I Acted In This Sunday's NTV7 Telemovie CINTA TIGA SEGI. Watch it!

Although I call myself the Great Swifty and claim that I have a legion of imaginary female fans, I'm really a modest man, so I didn't really mention this earlier.

But yes, aside from working behind-the-scenes, I do have a role in the telemovie, CINTA TIGA SEGI, as Mr. Yee, a sadistic asshole of an apartment tenant giving one of our protagonists a hard time.

You thought Tony Leung's Mr Yee in LUST, CAUTION was evil? Wait til you see MY Mr. Yee, in which I was given the challenge to convey my character's sadism and his multilayered with mere facial expressions and subtle actions instead of spoken words (Mr. Yee is so cold that he barely speaks)

Although I won't appear until the 43-minute mark.... and won't appear again after the 44-minute mark, I'm sure it's another step forward in fulfilling my budding dreams of becoming an actor. Hell, I even fattened up for the role, talk about dedication, baby.

My subtle performance was patterned after the great and highly underrated Mr. Steven Seagal.

(View the CINTA TIGA SEGI film trailers here and here.)

Steven Seagal Emotion Chart

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Awesome Photo Stills from CINTA TIGA SEGI, An Important TV Event In Malaysia!

CINTA TIGA SEGI poster 1
Another CINTA TIGA SEGI poster, this time featuring Ira (Isma Husein)

Ira and origami
Ira (Isma Husein) and her origami

Ira and kaleidoscope
Ira (Isma Husein) looking into the kaleidoscope

Ira and Johan
Ira (Isma Husein) and Johan (Gambit Saifullah)

Cousins Ira and Sasha
Cousins Ira (Isma Husein) and Sasha (Dania Karnain)

Ira contemplates
Ira (Isma Husein) contemplates

Lena tries to write
Lena (Juliana Ibrahim) tries to write

Lena and little bunny
Lena (Juliana Ibrahim) and a little bunny

Lena, Chel and little bunnies
Lena (Juliana Ibrahim), Chel (Chelsia Ng) and little bunnies

Lena suffers from writer's block
Lena (Juliana Ibrahim) suffers from writer's block

Lena and Adam try the upside-down Spidey kiss
Lena (Juliana Ibrahim) and Adam (Razif Hashim) try the upside-down Spidey kiss


Despite how awesome these stills are, they don't do justice to the film itself.

So, remember, don't miss this important television event! CINTA TIGA SEGI will premiere exclusively on NTV7 this Sunday (13th of Jan, 2008).

Once again, you can view the film trailers here and here.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Why Watch NTV7 At 10:45pm This Sunday?

A major TV event.

CINTA TIGA SEGI poster 2


CINTA TIGA SEGI trailer 1


CINTA TIGA SEGI trailer 2


CINTA TIGA SEGI ('Love Triangle' in Malaysia) is about three intertwining stories of love that take place in an apartment complex:

Two cousins, Ira (Isma Husein) and Sasha (Dania Karnian) stalking and fighting over the same boy (Gambit Saifullah, 'CINTA'), a case of mistaken identity and hilarity.

A love-starved, animal-loving screenwriter Lina (Juliana Ibrahim, 'GUBRA', 'JARUM HALUS') suffering from writer's block that prevents her from finishing her masterpiece.

A lonely security guard Albert (Chew Kin Wah, '1957: HATI MALAYA', 'SALON') whose unique pleasure is to enjoy the view of the world on the blue roof of the apartment, until he had to catch a burglar...

Airing exclusively on NTV7 at 10:45, Sunday, 13th of January 2008. Don't miss this wonderful cinematic experience that you can enjoy at the comfort of your own living room!

Look out for more CINTA TIGA SEGI posts throughout the week.

Yes, I had a hand in co-producing and editing the film, so you MUST watch this.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Goodbye, Zhao Lao Shi

I was at the Ipoh Specialist Centre visiting my grandmother (still recovering from the injury she suffered after an attack by snatch thieves) last night when I received a surprise phone call from an old classmate bearing bad news.

My Standard 2 primary school teacher, Madam Chow Fee Lan, had passed away on the 4th of January. She was 64.

I misheard her name when he called, thinking it was someone else, and then I felt a little confused, and had to call him again so that he could repeat what he said to me.

When the news was confirmed, I felt a twinge of sorrow and regret in my heart.

Calmly, I broke the news to my parents and my little sister.

Over the years, when I hear the passing of someone I knew, I would find myself sifting into my own memories, seeking images of this person. They are usually fragmented. Moments spent or conversations exchanged, or the last time I met this person.

I did the same with Madam Chow, whom, in all my life, I've referred to fondly as 'Zhao Lao Shi' 赵老师 ('Teacher Chow' in Chinese).

She was one of the two most influential schoolteachers I ever had during my childhood. My mother had jokingly called Madam Chow my 'godmother', because that's really what she was when I went through primary school, like a fairy godmother.

The funny thing is, she was officially my class teacher for only half a year. After that, she was called off for a special teacher's course, and we ended up with a substitute teacher. Yet my memories of her extended far beyond the classrooms of Standard 2, because I also had tuition classes at her place (along with the old classmate who brought me the sad news) for two years.

And up until the later years of primary school, whenever my parents were gone overseas (which happened often), Madam Chow was the one who carpooled me to school. Even after she had finished her duties as both my teacher and tutor. Perhaps once a teacher, forever a teacher, regardless of whether the student has graduated or not.

Obviously, memories of this period of my life are starting to fade, but I remember having meals at her house, befriending both of Madam Chow's children (who were cool back then, even though they were a decade or more older than I am), watching a Dragon Ball Z movie with her son and talking about the NBA (I was already a fan at the age of 8-9), or borrowing Spider-man comics from them.

I remember often talking about my own problems (arguments with classmates, deteriorating exam grades, pressure faced as a school prefect etc.) with Madam Chow in the car, and she would listen. I can't say that she had the answer for everything because that would be unrealistic, but by listening to me, and by talking about the stuff with me, I don't think I could've asked for anything more invaluable than that.

My primary school life was filled with joy, and it ended with me surprisingly getting straight A's for my UPSR (a national exam taken by all Standard 6 students before finishing primary school). So it ended with a bang, like a fairy tale. Much more flawless compared to my roller coaster-like secondary school life.

I cannot remember precisely the last time I met Madam Chow. I was in secondary school, mom and I paid her a visit so I could give her a Teacher's Day gift. It may've been one of my last two years in high school. My visit was brief, we chatted only for a while before I left with mom.

And thus my regret:

After finishing high school, and entering college, and then flying off to complete my degree in Perth , I never saw her again.

Many times, over these years, I would entertain, briefly, the notion of visiting her, even as recently as last year. Just so I could tell her about my filmmaking exploits, or maybe to bring her copies of my magazine and newspaper interviews. I've hoped that I could give her something to be proud about. Yet the notion would disappear just as abruptly as it came. Perhaps I took things for granted, so many things to busy myself with, I overlooked and underestimated the importance of visiting a dear teacher from primary school.

And this is a damning habit of mine, constantly so busy looking towards the future, or concern myself with the present, that I tend to trivialize my past. And in the end, while I still hold on to some strands of my primary school life (some of my closest friends are people I know from back then), everything else became mere memories.

The fact is, the process of excavating my memories of Madam Chow occurred only when I'm writing this post. As I moved into each paragraph, a remember a little more about her, and the feeling of melancholy gradually grows. And somehow, I realize my childhood isn't as colourless as I've thought. Yet there is nothing I can do, what has happened cannot be undone. As I was in Ipoh, I've missed the funeral, and also my opportunity to pay her my last respects.

So the only way for me to really crystallize everything I can remember of Madam Chow for now, of the everlasting impact she had in my life since I was a primary school student, her role as my teacher, tutor, friend, mother figure, 'godmother' etc. Everything will come in the form of this blog post because I don't know what else I can do. Once again I rely upon my writing, and feel relieved that I can write adequately enough to articulate how I feel and think.

And right now, for me, it's a feeling of regret that lingers.

Rest in peace, Zhao Lao Shi.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Casting For 'CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY' Begins

Knew that I have to kick things into gear as soon as possible if I really wanted my new short film, CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY to happen, so I've begun my attempts of casting.

Made a phone call to Nikki of Da Huang last night pleading for help to spread the news about the casting, and then posted a notice at Kakiseni.com and the Malaysian Cinema mailing list this morning. Here's the notice:

Heya, doing a casting for a (mostly) mandarin-language short film.
It's a family comedy presented like a detective film involving a
child investigating a tragic mystery.

Here are the bigger roles I'm casting for (they speak Mandarin):

MOM: Main role. In her 30s. Pretty, mysterious and manipulative, but
can be silly and klutzy too (in front of husband). A career woman who
sucks at cooking, but has a secret that her son wants to investigate.

DAD: In his 30s. Happy-go-lucky guy. White-collar worker. Remains
loving and coaxing even though he had suffer his wife's horrible food
every night for 12 years. Hangs out with son a lot. Comic relief.


Following are some smaller roles i'm casting for as well (they appear
in interview/interrogation scenes):

1ST UNCLE: Mom's elder brother. Can be in 40s. Macho but sensitive.
Speaks Chinese dialect.

2ND UNCLE: Mom's younger brother. In his 30s. Nerdy and cultured,
speaks English... or tries to.

3RD 'AUNTIE': A beautiful woman with a secret. Late 20s, early 30s.


If interested, please email me your photo and resume, then we can
arrange a screen test. Otherwise, you can also just email me for enquiry.

Intend to shoot the film on late Jan/ early Feb. Shooting will last
2-3 days. Locations are mostly at Paramount Garden, PJ.

Thanks and looking forward to hear from you.

So yeah, if you're interested in acting in this film, and happen to fit the criteria above, please email me your resume.

I already have someone in mind for the child protagonist's role. (Hint: A local independent film he's in is showing at the cinemas right now) Hope I can get his help, though for now, I'm more worried with casting the roles mentioned above.

Also in the midst of seeking services from musicians to appear in the film.

The screenplay isn't entirely complete. I still want to fix the last few scenes of the film. Hadn't made much progress. Argh. Writing endings isn't one of my strong points. Will continue my attempts to crack the damned thing. Perhaps It's my turn to watch some noir films.

Going back to Ipoh again tomorrow to visit grandma (in stable condition, but suffers from even more memory loss, sometimes can't recognize my uncles)

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Discussing the "Gone Baby Gone" Ending

Gone Baby Gone


GONE BABY GONE is Ben Affleck's directorial debut.

As an actor, his career decisions have left many shaking heads in disapproval. Until this very day, the mere mention of PEARL HARBOUR would make me grimace in disgust, and I still have frustrating high school memories of classmates and schoolmates telling me that 'the film wasn't so bad, hee hee hee', or Sebastian claiming that Pearl Harbor would have been nominated for Best Pic Oscar if it weren't for 9/11. I wanted to scream "AAAAAAAARGH! WHAT'S SO [EXPLETIVE CENSORED] GOOD ABOUT THE [EXPLETIVE CENSORED] FILM? ARE YOU [EXPLETIVE CENSORED] KIDDING THE [EXPLETIVE CENSORED] OUT OF ME?", but I was much mellower then, so I merely suffered from teenage angst, nothing more.

Since Pearl Harbor, the list of films Ben Affleck had appeared in weren't that much better. DAREDEVIL? PAYCHECK? JERSEY GIRL?

Personally, CHANGING LANES was his only decent post-PEARL HARBOUR film. I haven't seen SUM OF ALL FEARS, nor GIGLI or HOLLYWOODLAND or SURVIVING CHRISTMAS, I heard HOLLYWOODLAND was respectable, but the cons outweight the pros, thus I still hold on to my belief that he's better as an ensemble player than a lead actor (nice cameos at SMOKING' ACES and CLERKS 2).

So I was intrigued when GONE BABY GONE started getting all those positive reviews after its release (93% on Rotten Tomatoes), while Amy Ryan had been winning one Best Supporting Actress award after another.

The film is based on a novel by Dennis Lehane (who also wrote MYSTIC RIVER), and stars Ben's little bro, Casey Affleck (most people will probably recognize from the Ocean films).

I don't think I can say anything that hasn't been said before about the film. It's good, well-acted (it has a strong cast, aside from Amy Ryan's critically-acclaimed performance as the trailer-trash neglectful mom, we also have Ed Harris and Morgan Freeman, and Ben Affleck made a wise move of getting locals to act in the film, to give increase its authenticity, it's a little something most Malaysian indie filmmakers often do) and has enough twists and turns in the plot to surprise me, and the haunting ending is what elevated the film to another level.

Here's one of the plot summaries from IMDB:
Dorchester, one of the toughest neighborhoods in all of Boston, is no place for the weak or innocent. Its a territory defined by hard heads and even harder luck, its streets littered with broken families, hearts, dreams. When one of its own, a 4-year-old girl, goes missing, private investigators Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and Angela Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan) don't want the case. But after pleas from the child's aunt, they open an investigation that will ultimately risk everything -- their relationship, their sanity, and even their lives -- to find a little girl-lost.


I usually like detective films (hell, my next short film's gonna be one), and Casey Affleck's Patrick Kenzie is an unconventional private eye different from the hard-boiled ones like Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe often seen in film noirs. The guy looks younger than his actual age (31), someone even insulted him by telling him to go back to his 'Harry Potter book', but he can still be pretty badass when forced by circumstances (a bar scene earlier in the film will show that).

The little girl's disappearance may have been caused by the negligence of her alcoholic mother, Helene (Amy Ryan), and one can argue that she relishes the media circus she had turned her missing daughter's case into, getting the 15-minute-fame she craves, like the guests of a Jerry Springer show she likes watching.

The characters are all pretty vivid and realistic, aside from the two protagonists, there aren't really any good guys or bad guys, just shades of grey, thus making the case even more complicated. I think because Ben Affleck himself is an actor, he gets to communicate effectively with his own cast, wringing out good performances from all of them.

But as I said before, what I like most about the film is its great morally ambiguous ending. It's the type of ending that sparks debates and not one that can be easily dismissed.

Ben Affleck should stick more to directing than acting :D

Anyway, this post isn't really a review, and more an attempt to discuss the ending. So if you intend to watch the film, don't go any further.

If you don't intend to check out the film, you can read on.

Gone Baby Gone trailer
** WARNING!! GONE BABY GONE SPOILERS ** After finding the girl and her kidnapper, Patrick was faced with a moral dilemma at the end of the film. The kidnapper and his wife genuinely want to shower the little girl with love, and the little girl looks happy with them. The little girl's mother, on the other hand, is neglectful and alcoholic. Should he report the the cops, so the kidnapper is arrested, and the girl returned to her real mother? Or should he just turn away, knowing that the kidnapper will do his best to give the girl a happy life? Patrick sided with the law, because no matter what, the little girl was indeed kidnapped from her real mother. Consequences were painful, he breaks up with Angie, and returns the girl to her mother. But the girl's mother remains the same. Alcoholic and neglectful, leaving a 4-year-old girl alone at home while she goes off for a date. It's unlikely the mother would treat her own daughter as well as the kidnappers would have. So did Patrick make the wrong choice? Should he opt to pretend that he didn't see anything and turn away from the kidnapper? I asked myself the same question after the film and I'm just not so sure. Regardless of intentions, the kidnapper did break the law, masterminded a conspiracy to attempt murder etc etc. I myself actually lean more towards what Patrick did in the film. The last shot is open to interpretation: Patrick and little girl Amanda are left at home while Helene goes off for a date. Did he damn Amanda's existence by doing what was lawfully right? Of course, he could still fill in to do what Helene, the real mother, was incapable of doing by actually choosing to look after the girl. (in the ending, he was only doing it for one night, but hey, we won't know what will happen after that) Hope anyone else who had seen it can join the discussion.

20 Most Popular SWIFTY, WRITING Keywords

Pardon the lack of updates. Been tweaking my blog (I figured out a way to stop it from looking like crap on Internet Explorer) and making some plans for my upcoming short film.

For the time being, check out the twenty most popular Swifty, Writing keywords in 2007 (based on Google Analytics)

1) dawn yang
2) twins mission
3) dawn yang boyfriend
4) swifty
5) ayumi hamasaki secret
6) quizzies
7) utada hikaru divorce
8) izumi sakai
9) jolin chai
10) confession of pain
11) koda kumi black cherry
12) dawn yeo
13) poem explanations
14) xialanxue
15) yuriko koike
16) most beautiful language
17) curse of the golden dragon
18) girl disconnected
19) koda kumi
20) caroline lufkin

My observations:


Dawn Yang reigns supreme
- By occupying number 1, 3 and 12, Dawn Yang's presence in this blog is still pretty strong, and reinforces her reign as the unofficial mascot here. In fact, Lots of people wanted to find out about her 'boyfriend'. *sigh* Dawn and I, we were great together, but we've broken up long ago, it was a messy breakup, she couldn't stand my snoring nor my megalomania. Despite her constant sobbing, it really wasn't her fault, it's really about me.

- Lots of people searching for Twins Mission. I'm not sure whether it's for the horribe HK film, or is it also a title for a lesbian porno. Otherwise, I remain baffled by their sheer popularity...

- Maybe this blog DOES need some guestwriters willing to write Jpop reviews considering the popularity of Jpop-related searches. Anyone interested?

- 'curse of the golden dragon' is a popular typo for 'curse of the golden flower'.

- I'm surprised that my own little-seen short film, Girl Disconnected, is ranked in the top 20.

- I'm mortified that 'edmund yeo' is ranked number 40.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

10 Most-viewed SWIFTY, WRITING Posts of 2007

Happy new year, you all. Here are the top ten most-viewed posts of 2007.

1) 10 Things To Do After A Break-Up (PS I Hate You list)

May Zhee
May Zhee's advice to heartbroken people recovering from a break-up is popular among heartbroken people Googling on how to recover from a break-up.


2) R. I. P. Loga of Alleycats

the late Loga of Alleycats
Loga was a member of a legendary Malaysian pop band, Alleycats. My father was the band's producer, so I still have some childhood memories of him and the band.


3) Koda Kumi - Black Cherry
Koda Kumi Black Cherry
Justin thought Koda Kumi's Black Cherry was merely okay. Die-hard Koda Kumi disagreed.


4) Swifty Reviews 'Twins Mission 雙子神偷'

Twins Mission
I shat on one of the worst films of the year.


5) Swifty Reviews 'Bridge To Terabithia'

Bridge To Terabithia
Underrated film that left many people outraged by its misleading ad campaign. It's really a coming-of-age drama with some imaginary fantasy sequences, and not a fantasy action-adventure as depicted in trailers.


6) Swifty Reviews 'Mr. Bean's Holiday'


Whether the entire film is good is debatable. But the film-within-a-film directed, written, produced, composed and acted by Carson Clay (William Defoe) was awesome.


7) R. I. P. Izumi Sakai AKA Zard


The latest comment in this post demanded more investigations on the death of the late Jpop queen who ruled the 90s.


8) What Is The Most Beautiful Language? And The Ugliest?

Gunter Grass the Nazi
A candid MSN conversation between Justin and I discussing the most beautiful and ugliest languages in the world. Oh, Gunter Grass got dissed for being a Nazi too.


9) Crystal Kay - Call Me Miss


Justin made hardcore Crystal Kay fans cry because he compared the songs of the Jpop singer with Neptunes and Timbaland's. The fact that the album review was a flattering one was overlooked.


10) Swifty Reviews 'Paris Je t'Aime (Paris, I Love You)'


I ranked the segments of the anthology in order of preference, also embedded some that were uploaded on Youtube, like Tom Tykwer's FAUBOURG SAINT-DENIS, starring Natalie Portman (pic above).
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Short film and video works