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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

Edmund Pervensie had always been one of my favourite literary characters during my childhood. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that we share the same name, but when I first read the Narnia books back when I was 12, I was always annoyed by the entire 'goody-two-shoe'/ holier-than-thou/ sanctimonious attitude adopted by most of the protagonists. Aslan and the two elder Pervensie children had always been flat and lifeless, but Edmund was different, like normal humans, he possessed personal desires, dark emotions and such, obviously, I could relate more to him than to the others.

So, almost a decade had passed, and he, along with Aslan (of course), remained the only characters I could remember from Narnia. 'Edmund The Traitor', 'Edmund The Backstabbing Bastard' were the names I fondly remember him as. After all, if I were surrounded by annoyingly holy and patronizing siblings like he did, I would be pissed too.

I'm Malaysia's Very First Video Blogger?

Well, the very first Malaysian guy with video blog to add himself onto the Vlogmap anyway. However, when I went off to check the map again just moments ago, it seems that there's this other Malaysian video blog too. I'm not... unique anymore. Ah well.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Peter Jackson's KING KONG

Saw King Kong yesterday on Christmas. I agree with Roger Ebert's review (and most other US critics'). This film is pretty great.


After making two consecutive big-budget martial arts flicks, the wonderful 'Hero' and the crappy 'House of Thousand Daggers', Zhang Yimou returns to making a simplistic and low-budget drama starring veteran Japanese actor, Takakura Ken.

I saw this film in Shanghai on the 22nd of December, the day of its release. And I think it's going to flop badly in the box-office... considering the fact that MY DAD AND I WERE THE ONLY ONES SEEING THIS FILM IN THE CINEMA!


Remember Jumanji? I remembered liking it when I saw it ten years ago. I even had the laser disc (that was before the time of DVDs) and watched it numerous times. Never failed to like it. Robin Williams and Bonnie Hunt were funny. And Kirsten Dunst was, well, young.

And Jumanji was the sole reason I went to see Zathura (both were based on books by the same author, and I believe Zathura was supposedly an unrelated sequel). All right, it did get some solid reviews at Rotten Tomatoes too.

Summary? Two bickering siblings find a board game at the basement of their house while their dad (Tim Robbins) is out for work. Then when they start playing, their entire freaking house is launched sent into space, and they meet scary aliens, killer robots and mysterious stranded astronauts. Things can only revert to normal if they can finish the board game, but can they put aside their differences and do so?

This is a decent and simple film. Just imagine Jumanji in space, but less complications and subplots, or probably less budget too. Basically, the film's centered around the relationship between the two brothers, and the child actors did pretty well in here, with the continuous argument and their intense rivalry. I won't really bother watching it twice (like I did with Jumanji, but then, I might have liked Jumanji that much due to my age back then), but it does have a nice little twist in the end.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Photos Of China's Stunning Scenery! (Part 1)

First of all, Edrei, Char, thanks for guestblogging for me during my absence. My shoes are hard to fill, and no mere mortal can do it easily, but both of you have done an, ah, admirable job. Guestblogger Justin's been busy too, as you can see from his last entry.

Anyway, no, I'm not going into detail about what truly occurred during the last two weeks in China, I have filmed them all and will attempt to edit (shitloads of) videos for my video blog entries, I mean, let's face it, I'm sure everyone's more interested in seeing my transform the entire vacation into a narrative video/music video than to have me droning on and on about what happened to me via written word.

Therefore, what I'm going to do now is merely upload the photos I've taken (mostly digitally manipulated to make up for the shortcomings of my own digital camera) throughout the entire trip (yes, basically, I had a camcorder in one hand, and a generic camera in another, which made mountain climbing more ardous for myself).

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Obscure Cynical-Idealist reviews Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell in Swifty's absence

Now that the Great Swifty has briefly left the midst of our blogosphere, it is my duty to follow after the Great Kamigoroshi's footsteps and guestblog on the Great Swifty's online abode.

Oh, but who am I to speaketh on the gloriously beautiful pages of this blog?

I, am none other than the ever humble fencetop lover, the one who has gladly sunk into obscurity in search of inner peace, the one and only Cynical-Idealist.

Okay, flowery language aside, I'm not here to spam this blog and whore mine, although my link is up there just in case no one remembers me. I've come to sing praises of a book.

I've just finished reading Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke's first ever novel and currently a well-acclaimed bestseller. I've had such a delightful time reading it that I've decided to kickstart my guestblogging here by reviewing this book.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


This is the first Hong Kong musical in almost three decades, and is the country's Oscar representative. The four main cast members are from four different countries, Jacky Cheung (HK), Takeshi Kaneshiro (Taiwan, although you can put Japan in there if you want to), Zhou Xun (China), and Jin Ji Hee (Korea).

Sunday, December 04, 2005

'Perhaps Love' Film Premiere

'Perhaps Love' is the first HK musical in almost thirty years (maybe more), and stars HK musical icon, Jackie Cheung, Taiwanese superstar Takeshi Kaneshiro (the guy in House of Flying Daggers and Chungking Express), rising Chinese actress Zhou Xun (the chick in Balzac and the Chinese Seamstress and Xiu Xiu) and Korean TV star Jin Ji Hee.

It all began when my dad received an invitation from Astro (Malaysia's satellite TV company) to attend the premiere few days ago.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


I tend to enjoy the Harry Potter films more than my little sister does, probably because I don't expect an entirely faithful adaptation of the books. I regard the films as completely separate entities from the books, in fact, I even totally DISREGARD the existences of the book when I'm watching the films. And that's why I usually compare the Harry Potter films with EACH OTHER instead of with the books.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I completed NaNoWriMo!

So yeah, I managed to hit 50k words today. I went into a writing spree yesterday which resulted in me doing about 5000-6000 words. I'm rather satisfied, but it merely means that I can breathe easy now and attempt to finish what I've written at my own pace (the story's incomplete, and the last few parts were rushed jobs, I intend to insert scenes between what I've written to flesh things out more).

I will see whether I intend to serialize my story online, while I think it's reasonably good and rather unconventional (despite having a hybrid fantasy/sci-fi settings, this tale is more like a love story/social commentary/coming-of-age tale than a generic 'hero goes on a quest to save the world from the almighty lord of evil' story), I have to ensure that it is as presentable as possible for my readers. So yeah, stay tuned.

So, is there a celebration of sorts for Malaysian Nano-ers?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

NaNoWriMo Deadline Beckons, I'm Slightly Anxious.

I am near 45 000. Will make the one final push towards hitting 50 000 tomorrow. The reason why I worked slower than I've expected was because of the perfectionist within who wanted the work to be perfect when I hit 50 000, but I guess it's impossible to do so considering how many shit I had to juggle throughout the entire month of November, like...

1) Final assignments for my Shakespeare and Pop Literature class.
2) Final exams for Pop Literature
3) Preparation to return from Perth to Malaysia
4) ... the 'Sellout Week'
5) Playing host to a Japanese friend, Maiko, who came to Malaysia with me.
6) The Italian film festival

Not that I'm whining, but seriously, if I had only had to work on half of the things mentioned above, I could've probably finished my NaNoWriMo in around two weeks. Random notes of the day.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Bumper Book of Completely Useless Japanese Inventions

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It's not often that I feel a book is important enough to give it above-the-line review status. Some of my favorite novels of recent times didn't make it, so I couldn't think of what else would. But that was before I read The Bumper Book of unUseless Japanese Inventions.


嗨!大家好!我姓杨名叫毅恒。笔名是Eliar Swiftfire或者是Swifty。我并不清楚如何翻译自己的笔名,所以还是叫我扬大人吧,如果觉得不好意思的话,您可以叫我恒恒,听起来瞒亲切的!


Monday, November 14, 2005


Hello, my name is Michael Peterson, and I was invited to guestblog here at "The Great Swifty Speaketh," because Justin and Swifty have both sold out, making them irrelevant in the internet community. Because on the internet, we value things that are INDY. If you didn"t like them before they were cool, then your opinion is without merit! Only conforming to Ape Law will let you live amongst the tribe! I have been brought in to save this site from its Timberlake-lovin" self. "Bring me 50 cc"s of Patchwork," Swifty said, and I was rushed in on a makeshift crash cart, still in my bath robe.

See, I am still INDY. I have known Justin since long before he was cool – he was, in fact, a slack-jawed convenience store employee who walked amongst the internet unwashed, like Christ in his early years. What"s more, you know for a fact that I am truly INDY because I shun the love of women. Right, Indy Rock Pete?

Saturday, November 12, 2005

NaNoWriMo Progress Report (Day 12) Trying YET ANOTHER Fantasy Name Generator.

17000 words. So I did 2000 words after the last progress report. Things were getting talky, thus I changed the rhythm. Writing action scenes are harder for me compared to dialogue.

Also, the usual elven generator I use was down, thus I had to surf around to find another. Ended up finding THIS instead. Where you can type in your name and get your name of some Middle-Earth races (hobbits, elves, humans, dwarves and wizards) in return. A particular elven maiden is named after a particular much-talked about blogger.

Anyway, excerpts:

Yet the rats were getting closer, only meters away from the immobile sorceress. The knight stepped forward, his sword drawn, attempting to shield the rodents from her even though he knew it would be futile. Silently he whispered the prayer of the Zeltanian knights, and the blade upon his sword glowed white in response.

“Step aside, you dolt!” The sorceress shouted.

Despite his confusion, Erik did what she said, and she, with a loud sharp command, placed both of her hands upon the ground. Intricate runes of magic flared into life upon its surface, moving and spreading by themselves and towards the all-engulfing darkness and the stone walls of buildings around them. Pulsating silvery-white light of pure brilliance sliced through the sea of rats, bursting into explosions that sent dozens of tiny charred carcasses into the air. Rivers of light streaking through the sea of darkness.

Friday, November 11, 2005

NaNoWriMo Progress Report (Day 10) I'm in 'WRITING' Mode, Not 'FILMMAKING' Mode.

Hit 15000 words. I wrote 2000 words since my last progress report. I would have written more, but my time was spent on the previous entry, some grocery shopping, and watching some performances from people in my Shakespeare class.

Never in my life have I felt unexcited about preparing to shoot a film, yet this is how I feel now. For the very first time in my life.

I will be shooting my Hindi film tomorrow, and I can't say that I'm enthusiastic about it. Usually when I'm hit by inspiration to do something creative, I would rather do it as soon as possible because I am more motivated to do so, and I can expend all my energies upon it. Unfortunately, like Aisyalam, this Hindi project has been delayed too much that I cannot find the fire I had when I first develop my ideas for both film projects.

It's simple, I am currently in 'writing' mode, not 'filmmaking', I'm incapable of being in both modes simultaneously. Both are methods of telling stories, and for me, I prefer focusing my energies upon one particular story to ensure that it is perfect. That is why even if I am a writer myself, I prefer to have Guestblogger Justin doing the screenwriting for me so that I can just concentrate upon the filmmaking instead.

NanoWriMo has started, I have spent the last few days in full 'writing' mode. I have immersed myself so thoroughly into the world and characters of the novel I'm writing now that I have fallen head over heels in love with them. To be wrestled away from it now to work on my film is like the unwelcome arrival of a spurned lover appearing to win my affections again.

Anyway, here are the excerpts.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

NaNoWriMo Progress Report (Day 9)

13000+ words. I've written 3000+ words today, Everything is starting to flow pretty well, once I can maintain this speed, I'll do fine. I would've actually written more if I hadn't gone to Fremantle for a break. However, I managed to finish Akutagawa Prize (highest literary honour in Japan) winner 'Snakes and Earrings' by Hitomi Kanehara while I was hanging out at the bookshop there, it was short read, think it took me less than an hour (I posted her photo in this entry). You may choose to Google her if you want to, I'm not putting up my book review until next month's edition of my Monthly Book Reviews.

Here are the excerpts.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

In Defense of Fanfiction: Guestblogger Justin Goes Robin Hobbnobbing

If you had of asked me on a given day whether I'd one day end up passionately defending fanfiction, I would have given you a strange look. I don't read any of the stuff anymore, and my own endeavors in the field ceased long ago. And yet, I found myself reading Robin Hobb's rant (Swifty: The rant was taken down sometime after this entry was posted) with growing outrage, not just because I disagreed with Hobb's sentiments, but because I COULDN'T BELIEVE that a published author of some repute could hold opinions so closed-minded, reactionary, and ridiculous. The outrage, though, stemmed not so much from this as from the idea that Hobb's opinions, through her position as an eminent fantasy author, could actually discourage young writers from practicing fanfiction, and thus, exercising their creativity. Therefore, SOMETHING MUST BE DONE. THIS SHIT CANNOT STAND.

NanoWriMo Progress Report (Day 8)

I've past the 10 000 mark. Meaning that I have written nearly 4000 words since last night's progress report. I was stuck for a while, having difficulty rediscovering my rhythm, but once I did, it just went pretty smoothly. Some dialogue between characters have sorta elevate my novel beyond conventional fantasy bindings, I think.

On the other hand, I found this site which keeps track on the largest message boards and forums in the world. Rankings were done based on the amount of posts, but you can also view them based on the amount of members. Forum administrators might have to use the top-ranking message forums as a measuring stick. It might not be entirely accurate, and I'm sure some major forums aren't listed, but it's worth a look.

Now, some excerpts.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

NanoWriMo Progress Report (Day 7)

After working on my Shakespeare assignment for days and submitting it (the lecturer seemingly loved it) I am now returning my attention to Nano-ing. Unfortunately, the three day break had broken my rhythm, and I found myself having more and more doubts while writing today's part. It's not actually writer's block, more like myself questioning whether what I'm write is really good enough, or is it going to suck?

I did write a little. I have 6345 words now, meaning that I've added nearly 800+ words from before. But I am still 8000 words behind. Which is kinda bad. Think I'll need to have some caffiene-aided writing sessions.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Parallels Between Terminator 3 And William Gibson's Neuromancer

An essay written for my Popular Literature, Sci-fi & Cyberculture class last week. Still busy working on my Shakespeare assignment, so you gotta make do with this.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

NaNoWriMo Progress Report (Day 4)


He plunged his hand into the pregnant woman's stomach, ripping out the fetus, squirming and oozing with blood. Laughing sadistically, he tossed the fetus into a cooking pot and started cooking.

It was going to be a fine night indeed.

The woman let loose a high-pitched scream, crumbling onto the floor like a rag doll, her stomach a gaping hole. Annoyed by her, he picked up a sledge hammer and bashed her head repeatedly until it was reduced to nothing more than a bloody pulp. Laughing in amusement, he licked the bits of brains and skulls off his hammer.

Junichiro Tanizaki - Naomi

Naomi by Junichiro Tanazaki
Description from amazon.com: Naomi is the first English translation of Tanizaki's first important novel (originally serialized in Japanese in 1924-25). It is a subtle adaptation to a Japanese setting of the basic story in Maugham's Of Human Bondage . Joji, the narrator, finds Naomi, a girl half his age, working in a cafe. He takes her to live with him, tries to groom her (with English and music lessons), indulges her whims, encourages her ``Western'' ways, and eventually marries her. She becomes a torment to him, but he is so obsessed with her that he tolerates even her infidelities as long as she will stay with him. The recurrent theme in Tanizaki's novels of the danger in sexual fascination may here represent a self-criticism of his youthful preoccupation with things.

Friday, November 04, 2005

NanoWriMo Progress Report (Day 3) Trying a Fantasy name generator

I managed to write 2200+ words, which brings my total to 5636, I'm still almost 400 short. I realized that many NanoWriMo writers from Malaysia are writing fantasy stuff, which is quite a surprise considering that just eight years ago, when I was form 1, my oral presentation about the fantasy genre was scoffed at, with most people being amused, or awed by my good looks, than really listening to what I said. Guess Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings have helped many in jumping onto the fantasy bandwagon.

Well, for me, coming up with names is always the hardest thing to do whilst writing fantasy, thus I use the Fantasy Name Generator. Great thingie to abuse. Hah!

More excerpts from what I've written thus far.

Eliar applauded when the man finished his poem by intoning the numerous ‘x’s, (twenty-three of them, Eliar counted) unfortunately, he was the only person clapping his hands. The other patrons were barely paying any attention. Lloyd was busy drinking his beer, while the other two, a young couple, were busy flirting and giggling.

“Seriously, I can never understand his poems.” Lloyd whispered.

“I don’t either.” Eliar agreed.

Thanking Sanford graciously for giving him a small bag of gold coins, Justinius got off from the table he was standing on and moved over to sit near Lloyd and Eliar.

“Ah. Eliar Swiftfire, I didn’t expect to see you here. What do you think of my poem?” Justinius asked, grinning.

“It’s great.” Eliar nodded while desperately finding words to praise the poem, but finding himself at a loss for words. He KNEW he was a MIGHTY wizard, but not a wordsmith nor a poet, so he could only settle for something simpler. “It’s really deep and stuff. Totally cultured, man.”

“Aye.” Lloyd added nonchalantly before ordering another mug of beer.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

NanoWriMo Progress Report (Day 2)

3400 words written. 600 short from my target. As you can see by now, I'm targeting 2000 a day. I'm rather disappointed.

This story I'm writing now was meant to be a bridge between my unfinished novel and my Blogathon story (check my August archives, for crap's sake), a pseudo-prequel to the former and a pseudo-sequel to the latter, however, to really do that can be pretty restricting, My Blogathon story good enough as a standalone, leaving everything else to my readers' imaginations, while my unfinished novel is a product of my teenage fantasies, and writing style, so it is not good enough for me to use it now. Elements can be borrowed, but I can't based everything on it. What I write now HAS TO BE a standalone.

This means that I'm not working with a preexisting template, and without proper worldbuilding and planning. And also, in a way, creative collaboration fucked up my own vision, because I didn't really have any idea what was it that I was trying to write back then, an epic storyline about WHAT??? I had to frequently compromise some of the stuff I wanted with my partner (and he had to suffer the same fate as well). It was all bits and pieces of his ideas, and then mine. I was unable to reach the 4000 mark last night because I was so confused with the main plot that I had to visit Justin and try to spill out my original plan to him. Not because I wanted reassurance, but more like I wanted to articulate my ideas. It was something I used to do with my little sister in the past. Not being the type of person who keeps a note for stuff, this is my own method of remembering story ideas.

And this kinda brings me to an amusing incident with Kyels last night, when I sent her what I've written for NanoWriMo thus far, and immediately within five seconds, she told me it was 'cool!' and 'it has a cool storyline'. My jaw almost dropped open. I guess due to the fact that Kyels herself wasn't really into creative writing, she didn't really grasp the concept of me sending the story to her. And thus when I said "I need a reader!", it became more like I was seeking reassurance for what I've written.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

NanoWriMo Progress (Day 1)

2122 words thus far. Two seemingly unrelated plot threads that take place in a world that is a fusion of fantasy and science fiction, where my imagination is boundless. It always sucks that so many fantasy writers out there allow themselves to be restrained by D&D rubbish, and not go further than that. And seriously, there are too many Pratchett wannabes out there whose smug and condescending prose style annoy more than amuse, but then, I was even worse than a Pratchett wannabe (since I've only read ONE Discworld book, and Good Omens, which he did with Neil Gaiman), I was a Pratchett wannabe wannabe whilst writing fanfics.

I was a fan of such writing, but when every Tom, Dick and Harry and their moms and grandmothers started praising praising Pratchett as if he were a god, not to say emulating his writing style as well, it was impossible for me not to feel mildly annoyed. It's not as if Discworld's the only fantasy series out there anyway.

Some excerpts of what I've written.

The sorceress muttered and groaned in her sleep. Despite his annoyance, Erik remained silent, carefully searching for an inn. She was heavier than he had expected, and he was soon bathed in sweat, panting and gasping for air. Above him, flocks of dragons flew past, accompanied by dozens of witches in brooms, laughing and singing.

“Damn. Another one of those illegal races again.” A man nearby grunted, looking up into the sky. “Can’t even get a good night’s sleep these days because of them.”

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Joining NanoWriMo, here's what I'm going to write

And thus, I ended up joining NanoWriMo. Why? Because there is a story that has been floating in my mind for eight years and I intend to use this as motivation to finish it, or at least make something out of it. I'm not getting any younger (a strange phrase from a guy who's only 21), and if I let this wait anymore, I'm afraid I will outgrow this story, and all the efforts I've put in preparing it will be for naught.

What do I plan to write? Sorry, gotta keep this under wraps, let's just say that it's linked to this unfinished novel of mine and my Blogathon Story (go check out the August archives). It's a risky thing to do since I have a Shakespeare final assignment due next Monday, and also a take home exam for Popular Literature and Sci-Fi due on the 24th of November.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

My SPEED mailing list is dead, I guess. Long live the SPEED mailing list.

The age of mailing list is over, message boards and forums are perhaps the best way to build a community these days. Or is it?


Despite being in Australia for almost a year and a half, I have yet to see an Australian film in the cinemas (but then, I haven't seen a Malaysian film in the cinemas at all throughout my entire life...). The fact is, hell, Hoyts (what it is in Australia is what TGV or Golden Screen are in Malaysia) don't bloody show Australian films much, just Hollywood. Well, there were some lame-looking comedies, and a Delta Goodren film during the first half of the year, but that's it. I could've seen the Delta Goodrem film if her goddamn duet with Brian McFadden hadn't made me hate her so utterly.

Anyway, I decided to remedy this drought of mine by checking out the newspapers, finding places where I can see a damn Aussie film. And voila! Turned out that there's actually a cinema at Fremantle which is hidden at the corner thus never really grabbed my attention throughout the thousands of times I've walked past it.

One Australian film I was looking out for was 'Little Fish', which isn't related to Tim Burton's 'Big Fish', but has Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving in it as recovering drug addicts. Galadriel and Elrond as recovering drug addicts, perfect.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Zen Mind Rape, Bitch!

zen mind rape

zen mind rape 2

zen mind rape 3

zen mind rape 4

Many thanks to Sonic Youth and Ludwig Wittgenstein (who is too dead to know about the existence of this blog).

Hitomi Kanehara and Risa Wataya. Young, pretty Japanese novelists.

This afternoon, while I was hanging out in a bookshop (New Edition Bookshop in Fremantle), killing time, I stumbled upon a book called 'Snakes And Earrings' by some chick called Hitomi Kanehara, which, according to the cover, was awarded the Akutagawa Prize in 2004... Japan's highest literary prize. I picked it up cos' it was thin, and I knew I could just finish reading the last two chapters easily. But looking at the back of the book, I gasped when I saw the author photo. The author was a YOUNG CHICK! And not a bad-looking one either. The blurb said that she was 21 when she received the award, and further research when I returned to my flat revealed that she, and this other gal, Risa Wataya, are currently the youngest Akutagawa Prize winners EVER.

Image hosted by TinyPic.comImage hosted by TinyPic.com

The left one is Kanehara, the right one is Wataya. Kanehara is a year older than I am, Wataya is a month older than I am. Both are yummy. Of course, when I read through the first chapter and last two chapters of 'Snakes and Earrings', I wasn't really blown away. Meditation on angst + minimalist + loneliness + solitude from the detached perspective of an emotionally stunted and confused young woman. Perhaps not my kind of thing.

Hm. But then, seeing how simplistic the entire novel was, I'm inspired to join NanoWriMo myself, after all, I could churn out 10000 words in one day (or 12 hours, to be more precise, since the other 12 was my partner posting up her pictures and illustrations) for the novel I wrote during Blogathon, 50000 wouldn't really be THAT hard. Right?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

NIGHT WATCH (Nochnoy dozor)

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'Night Watch' (Nochnoy dozor) is a Russian film, and it's much different from any of the other Russian films I've seen... oh wait, the only other Russian film I've ever seen was Russian Ark, which broke records as the entire film, 90+ minutes of it was filmed with ONE TAKE. The first film of a planned trilogy, this is a Gothic fantasy/action movie with vampires from opposing sides beating and killing the shit out of each other (okay, not really, one is supposed to be keeping tabs on the other like police), and was the top-grossing Russian film of all time when it was released last year (the record is broken by another film not too long ago). So yes, I've already heard a lot about this film long before it came out.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Chairman Mao Explains It All.

Chairman Mao explains it all
Chairman Mao explains it all 2
Chairman Mao explains it all 3
Chairman Mao explains it all 4
Chairman Mao explains it all 5
Chairman Mao explains it all 6
Chairman Mao explains it all 7

Special thanks to Mao Zedong, Lenin and Chiang Kai Shek, who are too dead to know about the existence of this blog.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Vlog: Hanging out with Kenny Sia

Updated (24/9/2006): Shifted the video to Youtube.com

Unlike most of my other vlog entries, this one will have a bit more words in it. So yeah, two nights ago, I was approached by Cynthia via MSN about a meeting up with Kenny Sia, who is currently one of the most famous Malaysian bloggers with thousands of hits a day and dozens of media coverage and such. So, I dragged Guestblogger Justin along for the thingie.

So, in the end, ten people went. Cynthia, Cynthia's bf Kian (who kindly drove us to the cafe), Kenny, Nadia, Nadia's bf Bruce, Eunice, Jackson, Lena (who kindly drove us home, and has a secret, scariest thing is, she actually lived a couple of houses away from mine years ago before she moved away. A long lost neighbour!) and us. I had feared that this would be a 'bloggers meeting' where everyone would be talking about, er, blogging (kinda like attending a Trekkie gathering). Thankfully, my fears were unfounded. It was a decent meeting, with me straying away once the subject shifted to controversial Singapore celebrity blogger Xia Xue. (a better recap of the discussion can be found in Nadia's entry)

Unfortunately, just moments ago, when I saw Kenny's entry regarding this meeting, there was a photo of me that made me look SO HIDEOUSLY FAT that I almost wanted to gouge out my own eyeballs and crush them with my bare foot:

WHAT THE HELL?????????

How could I look like THIS just two days ago whilst guestblogging for Minishorts and become SOOOOOOO ridiculously bloated after that?

... and think that I actually PHOTOSHOP my own photos into making myself look skinny. Damn, I haven't seen myself look so freakishly obese ever since I came to Perth last year and lost 20+kg (yes, that's 40+ pounds). Oh well, at least I didn't look that bad in Cynthia's entry.

EDITED (31/10/2005): The video should be of higher quality than before as I've changed it from .mov to .mp4. Probably loads faster too.

Video 1: The Great Swifty And Guestblogger Justin Meet Kenny Sia

I'm rather satisfied with this video, since it featured some camera and editing techniques that I intend to use on my Hindi short film, and my experiment actually worked (referring to the scene where Justin and I were hunting for an ATM machine).

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Finding Meaning In Films

I had a rather lengthy MSN conversation with an aspiring filmmaker friend, Sebastian about my personal disdain when people start asking me about the 'moral' or the 'meaning' of a film, which I forgot to save... unfortunately. Take my own Forced Labour for example, I had to put up with people asking me 'hey! i've just watched it! sooo... what's the moral of the story? what's the msg?'.

Friday, October 21, 2005

My Friend Is A Reincarnation Of Xu Zhimo

I was exposed to the famous Chinese poet, Xu Zhimo early last year, and one of the eeriest thing about him is his striking resemblance to my friend (whose name is not really Alan Wong as mentioned in yesterday's post, in fact, he's Alex Yuen, he who worked with me on my novel years ago, but please don't let him know that his photos are being used on my blog).

Now, look at Alex's face in the comic.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Chubby Cheeks contest

(Updated: 23rd of October, 2005): This entry is actually posted on the day Malaysia's first lady, Datin Paduka Seri Endon Mahmood passed away after a four-year battle with breast cancer. The nation is in mourning, once again remembering the cold sting of mortality and the unpredictability of death's touch. My parents have asked me to write something related to this sad event, but I declined, believing firmly that everything kind to say about her has been said or written already by the media and and many Malaysian bloggers. If I have intended to say something kind about her, I would come off sounding too insincere as my knowledge about her is entirely too limited.

I have already alluded to the Datin's passing with the title of this entry. The following web comic, which may soon become a recurring theme on my blog, was pretty an attempt to 'cheer' the nation up. At a time of mourning, when sadness and gloom pervaded the air, a moment of laughter, brief it may be, can only be the best remedy for everything. That is all I have to say.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

MUST LOVE DOGS starring Diane Lane and John Cusack

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I am secretly a sucker for romantic comedies, although, come to think of it, it's really not THAT MUCH of a secret anymore these days. They are usually harmless fun, generic and cliched they may be. Of course, some good ones are really good, I still love the likes of When Harry Met Sally, Jerry Maguire, Sleepless In Seattle, My Sassy Gal (which is definitely THE ultimate Korean rom-com, EVER), the list goes on and on, which I don't want to continue sharing with you all since I still have a manly, macho reputation to protect.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Joss Whedon's SERENITY

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I saw this film on Monday, which is six days ago, and I should've reviewed this if I've not been so busy dealing with the issues plaguing the production of my short films, and also the two assignments I have to work simultaneously on for my Shakespeare class (a Titus Andronicus oral presentation and a Midsummer Night's Dream critical review). Look at the entries during the past week and you'll understand what I mean.

Serenity is by Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy and Angel, both TV series I like. However, I am sceptical about this when I heard about this movie few months ago because:

Friday, October 14, 2005

Both Aisyalam and Hindi Short Film Projects Have Been Postponed. I'm stressed out.

One adversity after another.

The last few days have been exhausting and stressful. My oral presentation for Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus and critical review for Midsummer Night's Review may have been completed yesterday, and my attention shifted upon the film projects, particularly the Hindi sci-fi short film (as Aisyalam is officially postponed).

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Aisyalam Project Is Jinxed.

Never, when I made Forced Labour, did I have to face such adversity. As I've mentioned few days ago, I lost my actor for Hang Tuah (one of the two main guys), thus jeopardizing the fate of this ambitious sci-fi project.

I acted quick, and immediately contacted Johan's (my other main guy) sister's boyfriend to replace Abu, the original actor for Hang Tuah. On Monday night, he sounded interested, thus I sent an email to him immediately. No reply from him, so I waited until Tuesday, no reply either. Yesterday, I finally called him to speak to him in person (it was stressful, since I was at the same time working on an oral presentation on Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus, and an essay on Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream). Guy seemed unsure, told me to wait as he would return to me. Another night went past.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Almost lost my eyesight. I Now Appreciates The World More.

I woke up at 8:45am today, by the sound of my insanely loud ringtone of my mobile phone that doubles as my alarm clock. There will be a flat walthrough today, which is carried occasionally to ensure that students have kept their flats clean enough. I had to wake up and mop the floor.

Drowsily, I reached for the table next to my bed, trying to get my glasses... until I realized that it wasn't there. Opening my eyes in confusion, I started looking blindly for my glasses. It was all in vain because of my weak eyesight, well, not entirely THAT weak, just that all I see without glasses, is a blurry haze, where I can still see the shapes and forms, but not its details.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Preparing To Shoot Hindi Flick This Weekend.

While I'm still uncertain of the fate of Aisyalam, my upcoming ambitious sci-fi flick in Malay. Its spinoff might endure a much kinder fate.

The Hindi translation of my short film (the side project I mentioned here) is done. Will most probably begin shooting this weekend, as it is only going to be a couple of minutes long, the whole thing will probably be completed within days, I hope.

Lost my Hang Tuah. 'Aisyalam' Project Might Be In Development Hell.

It happened so quickly.

Abu is a friend of Johan's (my Hang Jebat), he was supposed to play Hang Tuah in my Aisyalam (in case you've missed my early entries, it's my upcoming short film which is based on a famous Malay folklore, but with sci-fi and noirish settings). He's rather big, bearded and seemed suited for the role of Hang Tuah. I first met him when he was doing this short film with a friend of mine, and then I met him again when he went to Johan's flat to play Tekken 4. Being quite a big guy, he left an impression. And when Aisyalam was developed, I was more than eager to ask him to play the role of Hang Tuah.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Trasharama A-go-go Film Festival

The Trasharama A-go-go is a short film festival held over here in Australia which showcases, according to its site, 'the cream of Australian Horror, Sci-fi, Bad Taste Comedies, Dodgymentaries, Sick Animations, B-grade Schlock and other Filmic Disasterpieces!!'. Basically, really low-budget B-movies, or even Z-movies.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

An aborted fantasy novel project

No, this isn't an entry about world domination. This is more about a dream I had ever since I was 13, a dream that had lasted until today. Eight years ago, when I was 13, the very first day when Internet was installed in my home, I immediately came up with the name Eliar Swiftfire (!!!!) to join a role-playing chatroom.

Friday, October 07, 2005

I intend to make a Hindi short film

The production of my upcoming Malay-language sci-fi epic, Aisyalam, will most likely be postponed to next year as the end of the semester is near, and everyone will be too busy to get involved in such a massive project.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Just came back from '40-Year-Old Virgin' with Justin. This is one of my most-anticipated movies especially after seeing the raving reviews it had been getting (84% in the Tomatometer of Rotten Tomatoes) and the unexpected domestic box-office success (101 million thus far, very good considering that this is Steve Carrell's first leading role in a film), and no, it doesn't disappoint.

Like most other reviews have said, this is a very good-hearted raunchy sex comedy, with lines and scenes that cracked me up so much that I had tears running down my cheeks towards the end of the film, but none of them I will reveal here because it is better for you to find them out yourselves.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Are We TRULY HONEST When Judging Artistic Works?

This will be a serious entry. So before going into it, I'm wishing Guestblogger Justin, Blogathon partner Lune and longtime net (occasionally real-life) pal, Aik 'Egg' Tiong a very happy belated birthday. The first two are now 21, the latter is now 20.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Wallace And Gromit: Curse Of The Were-Rabbit

I had spent the last 20 minutes writing a rather lengthy review of 'Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit', but Blogger fucked up again, and I lost everything.

So I shall summarize what I wrote in that review.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Sky High

Sky High is a story about Will Stronghold, the son of the two greatest superheroes in the world, going to an elite school responsibile for molding the superpowers of gifted teenagers... unfortunately, he doesn't have any superpowers at all. The whole angle of whether he will ever get his powers or not would have been very interesting and suspenseful if it weren't for that stupid theatrical trailer that revealed too much. Besides, Sky High, being a Disney film, is too fluffy and harmless, when it could have been a much edgier and grittier (read: MUCH COOLER!) film.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Planning A Sci-Fi Version Of The Hang Tuah/Hang Jebat Story

Didn't exactly want to reveal too much about the plot of my latest short film, but anyone who had seen my musings couple of days before Merdeka about the Hang Tuah vs Hang Jebat story, and my hinting that my upcoming film will be a sci-fi retelling of a 'Malay folklore' obviously has figured out that I am reworking the Hang Tuah vs Hang Jebat story, but with the spotlight more upon the antihero Hang Jebat than Hang Tuah himself.

Due to budget constraints, I attempt to make this more like a sci-fi film from the 1960s (thus it is black and white), than the current special effects heavy (I have neither the resources nor the manpower to do this) sci-fi blockbuster. It will also be very noirish, like a Humphrey Bogart movie. After all, to have a movie like this, and being completely in Malay, would make it rather unique.

The screenshots featured in yesterday's entry are actually of Hang Jebat's. And once again, due to lack of resources and others, instead of utilizing special effects, I will be using the most old-school methods of filmmaking. So yeah, I'm using miniatures. Who knows? The final product may end up like something made by Ed Wood.

There will be lots of twists and surprises in my short film that I do not intend to reveal here. But if I can pull this off, I think it will be one of the most unique projects ever. Hah!

Almost Got ARRESTED While Filming!

Shooting for my untitled Malay-language 1960s-style old school sci-fi project has begun. Justin and I, along with our main actor Johan, made our way to Perth city to film a simple scene which involves Johan's character waiting for a train at the train station, and then standing alone by himself while being in the train.

It was, of course, filmed at the central train station, which, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful places in the city.

Unfortunately, while filming, we were interrupted by a middle-aged security guard.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children (better than Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within)

I have just finished watching FF7:AC seconds ago, and I feel compelled to write a review IMMEDIATELY. Because, quite seriously, I've been BLOWN AWAY.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Ayumi Hamasaki Poetry

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So I've been getting into this poetry shit more and more lately. Started when I decided to write a poem for my girlfriend on our anniversary and, upon looking at the result, decided it was formally a little better than it had to be, not just the unstructured sentimental crap I was expecting I'd put out. I'd been intimidated into not even trying for too long by the disastrous rubbish I put out in my teens, not to mention the intimidation produced by by genuine poets who had a better grasp of meter, villanelle forms, etc. That, and Dan Schneider's fierce but accurate criticisms of anyone and everyone.
But I realized that if I didn't worry about whether what came out was going to be crap or not, things got a lot easier. This approach is what eventually led to the Xiaxue poem. I saw Xiaxue towering in my mind as a colossal figure, so in order to assess the impact of this, I decided I needed to go for the most overblown classical metaphors and phrasings possible. Even the abca rhyme scheme allowed for the delayed release of the buildup of long lines. It was self-consciously ridiculous excess, and while the resultant poem wasn't what I'd call great, I will say that motivating its production was probably the most important thing Xiaxue will accomplish in her life.

Pitching my Hang Jebat/ Hang Tuah sci-fi film to an actress

More of my filmmaking activities will be chronicled now. Especially the making of my upcoming short film.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Bridget Jones' Diary Is Serious Literature.

Wrote this for my Popular Literature class.

Learning To Direct Actors

In order to prepare for my next short film, I've secretly sneaked into my university's Screen Production 2 Lectures to spy on the arts of filmmaking which I can steal for future endeavours. Wasn't much last week, just some stuff about the rise of Interactive Entertainment. Which is something I MIGHT play with. (creating an interactive vides for my short film?) But today's seminar was totally freaking useful beyond belief.

While making Forced Labour, I realized that my biggest flaw may have been my inability to direct dialogue, or even to direct actors properly, since I don't have formal training in directing people, and my many attempts to direct a play back then was repeatedly foiled by my high school. In fact, here's how I direct my actors in Forced Labour.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

West Side Story: Homosexual Space Opera at its Finest

Some of the best speculative fiction has achieved its impact by creating a world identical to our own except for a single noticeable difference, be it absence or presence. What courses might society have taken if, for example, we could read minds? Or had lost the Second World War? Or had just recently intersected with an alien civilization?

West Side Story falls into this tradition: it posits a dystopian America in which menacing street gangs control New York, and violence (both physical and emotional) and repressed homosexual attraction are sublimated into spontaneous, flamboyant eruptions of singing and dancing.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Utada Hikaru vs Mishima Yukio: Haru No Yuki ONEGAI

So the other day I was looking for videos to download when I came upon this new Hikaru Utada single "Be My Last." Needless to say I downloaded it without thinking. Upon first playing it, well...Acoustic Utada is something I never would have expected. Putting on this single fresh from the download, I was expecting either pulsing urban dance beats or a gentle ballad tinged with Japanese percussion and spacy echoes. Instead, over a quiet guitar backdrop, Hikaru poured forth a strange, wavering ululation that eventually segued into a melancholy chorus. "Be My Last" is a strange choice for a single, not particularly catchy and somewhat downbeat - the melismatic portions are also overdone ("whooahahaaaahwhooooaahaaaaaaah" my girlfriend mimiced, not at all impressed). All in all, it seemed like one of the weaker songs she's yet done. Looking for more info, I found the following notice:

"Be My Last (Movie "Haru no Yuki" Main Theme) [CD+DVD]/ Hikaru Utada"

Wait. A fucking. Minute.

Taka: The Greatest Reviewer of All Time (J-MADNESS)

Taka is from Tokyo, Japan, and he likes to post reviews in English on Amazon.com. Utilizing his formidable command of the English language (which he modestly refers to as "poor" but which could more accurately be described as "poetic"), Taka doesn't want to just jerk-off about whatever passes through his CD player: no, he's on a motherfucking mission to expand your closed-off tastes. In that he does shit I could have done (i.e. promoting Namie Amuro and X-Japan) he's a success, but no one, myself included, possesses the kind of mastery of diction that EVERY ONE of his reviews displays. Every single item he has recommended is on my "to get" list. Without further ado, here are some choice quotes from Taka's reviews, so you can understand for yourself just why you'll never be as cool as he is. Quotes in bold indicate times when I about lost my shit.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Imagine being in a plane and sitting next to you is a guy who arranges high-profile assassinations, and that his latest assignment can only be completed if you agree to help him make a phone call to the hotel you work in (you're a hotel desk manager) so that you can assign his target to a room he knows. Failure to comply will immediately result in your father's death.

Therefore, you are exchanging one life for another. The life of someone you love for someone you don't really know, but are you capable of doing this? Or are you going to outthink the guy sitting next to you? If you are, how are you going to do that when he is sitting just next to you, watching you the whole time?

Why Alex Yong is Cooler than God.

Justin: In case the title didn't make it abundantly clear, this entry's sole purpose is to introduce THE WORLD to the greatness that is ALEX YONG. Before we get this show on the road, I'll hand the mic over to Swifty for some background material.

Swifty: I am not worthy.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Our Problem with NEIL GAIMAN


I've sure I've lost half of you already just with the title, but before I go any further let me just get one thing out of the way: I think The Sandman is one of the greatest comics of all time, and I have no problem with it in terms of its execution: artwork, writing, and thematic depth and unity. I couldn't recommend it more.

That being said...

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Farewell, Comic Fiesta

People of the Comic Fiesta Forum,

On April 2004, when I first resigned from the committee of Comic Fiesta, I was too distraught to elaborate on why I had to leave. I left with a heavy heart. I didn't leave in good terms, and yes, being human, I was unable to keep my mouth shut, and I did tell some people what indeed happened that drove me to resignation, and what I said cast some parties into a negative light (which, I regret to say, wasn't entirely unintentional). It wasn't exactly the most honorable thing to do, but I am not flawless, despite my narcissism and massive ego.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Tim Burton's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

Many people have hopped into the Johnny Depp bandwagon since 'Pirates of the Caribbean', and thanks to Johnny Depp bandwagoning, 'Charlie and The Chocolate Factory' became one of the most hotly-anticipated films on summer, even among those who didn't even know about the existence of those Roald Dahl books.

Oh, the things I had to deal with in an anime message board!

It`s funny, actually, how your past can always return to haunt you. Despite me trying my best to sever all contacts from the people of that anime club I once served as a committee member, I received private forum messages from one of the guys responsible for my resignation from the committee. The guy is Raywing, who got into a very ugly flame war with me prior to my resignation. It all had to do with the fact that we both had massive egos. Seriously.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Paul Auster's IN THE COUNTRY OF LAST THINGS, William Gibson's NEUROMANCER, Sue Grafton's A IS FOR ALIBI and Kate Atkinson's NOT THE END OF THE WORLD

Yes, I read a lot. Yes, I used to be a fairly fast reader. Devouring one book after another. But things have changed, busy with my filmmaking endeavours, I can only read a rare book a week, and mostly for the Popular Literature and Science Fiction unit I'm doing now.

I'm still fucking pissed that my previous attempt of posting my reviews of the four books I've finished reading disappeared just like this. Poof! 'Blog can't be found' eh? Fuck you, Blogger, fucking you fucking piece of shit for fucking making my fucking post disappear like this, you fucking shit fuckwit. I'm more fucking pissed that the string of profanities I used will be useless except for venting my frustration. If Blogger were a person, I would fucking bash it to a bloody pulp with a fucking spiked baseball bat, if Blogger were a pregnant woman, I would insanely plunged my hand deep into her belly and rip out the fetus.

So, I'm attempting this again. But unlike before, I won't be posting book covers of them. If you are that interested, just click the freaking title and you'll get to view its info on amazon.com yourself.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

A GOOD WOMAN starring Helen Hunt, Scarlett Johansson and Tom Wilkinson

I NEED to put Scarlett Johannson on the subject title even though her role in this film is arguably smaller than Helen Hunt's (who plays the title role) because most Malaysians have jumped into the Scarlett bandwagon recently thanks to 'The Island', which flopped in the US but did surprisingly good business overseas.

I was at Perth City, doing some location scouting for my next film before I was gripped by boredom and gave in to my temptation to see a movie at the cinemas. Not Red Eye or Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, mind you, cos' they are too expensive, I was at this small cinema which plays older films, and arthouse films with tickets half the price of your usual multiplexes.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Hey Fandom, Up Yours!

It's not often that I feel so in sympathy with one of Swifty's posts that I feel it calls for an immediate followup on essentially the same theme. However, the last one calls for it.
I've never had much tolerance for "fans" of anything. This isn't to imply that I've never been so overawed by something that I haven't sung its praises in exorbitant, losing-your-shit-like-a-schoolgirl-with-her-first-period fashion. Far from it; in fact I'd distrust someone who never confessed to being blown away (see: people who think they can write but have never read anything, people who want to make films but only watch Hollywood). However, I've never seen the point of identifying yourself so strongly with any one artwork or belief, cause or culture. Simply put: it's reductive. Say someone says they're a furry. Well, what the hell else are they - a Republican? How can anybody tell, there's no way to see the forest for the fursuits.

Just to break it down more, here are some "fandoms" which particularly raise my ire:

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Intend to do a Malay-language lo-fi sci-fi film.

Yeap, spent the past few days developing ideas for my next project, and have finally done so today. It's confirmed, my next film will be a black and white, LOW BUDGET sci-fi film in MALAY. (I would've done a French film, or an Aramaic film, but I am too patriotic)

Won't reveal too much of the storyline, but Jean-Luc Goddard's 1965 sci-fi classic Alphaville (a film he shot in modern-day Paris with a shoestring budget) and some famous Malaysian folklore will be the main inspiration for this one. Once again, will attempt to send this to film festivals around the world once it's done.

Actually, how many Malaysian sci-fi movies have been done before? I can only remember this XXray thingie I watched when I was a kid which had this invisible guy and some woman in an alien spaceship. Tried running a search for this on Google, no luck.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Historical Events That Happened On 31st August. The Reliability Of History Books.

And thus, National Day has arrived. To Malaysians, 31st of August is a day of joyous celebration and display of bandwagoning patriotism. Celebrate of what? Independence? Independence from what? The Brits?

Ironically, a day of joy in Malaysia happens to be a day of sorrow of our former rulers as 31st of August also marks the day of Princess Diana's death eight years ago. The birth of a nation, the passing of the princess of hearts, both on the same day.

Curious to know what other historical events have happened on this day, I went to Wikipedia to seek answers. And here are the more interesting ones:

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

What Will Happen If Malaysian Independence Was Never Achieved?

A thought-provoking conversation left me curious, and perhaps an idea for an alternative reality novel or a movie.

Monday, August 29, 2005

My desired film adaptation of the Hang Tuah vs Hang Jebat folklore

Two days away from National Day, I shall join the patriotism bandwagon keep with the flow and make the entries of the next few days Malaysian-centered even though I am in foreign soil.

I've always wanted to make a Hang Tuah movie because they are accessible to Malaysian audiences. After all, anyone who didn't forget about their secondary education can definitely remember this guy, and the release of high-profile Puteri Gunung Ledang last year helped too (though by how much, I don't know). So yeah, the most effective method for me to sell out is to make a movie about this famous folk hero. To those who are unaware of Hang Tuah, here's his info from Wikipedia.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

This is my 'Malaysian Dilemma'

National Day is drawing near (31st of August), so it's obvious that the lovefest for Malaysia is going strong in the blogosphere. Definitely the best moment to display your inner patriot, aye? Many people have been blogging about social problems faced in our country recently, really big, heavy, major stuff that involve politicians, the trends of the nation and the mentality of people nationwide.

I am still at Perth, so I've not been following the Malaysian news that much. (over here in Australia, people are more concerned with er, Corby) So what can I say about Malaysia to display my sheer patriotism? Join the bandwagon and diss Xiaxue for dissing KL? Oh puh-lease, I don't even consider her important enough to be bothered by her opinions.

So I shall tell you a tale of what happened to me not too long ago.

Fantasy-genre bandwagoners...

It's funny how many people are reading fantasy books these days. Who should we thank? Harry Potter? Or Frodo Baggins? Whenever I was at a bookshop back in Malaysia, I see a group of people gathering before the Lord of the Rings books, explaining the history of elves and dwarves, then exchanging insults in Elvish.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The brilliance of Yasunari Kawabata

At first glance, Yasunari Kawabata wouldn't seem to fit the conventions of a Nobel-prize winning author. He doesn't overreach for big themes, he doesn't make grand pronouncements about the human condition or the inevitability of war and discrimination; and his prose style (at least in English translation - I've tried reading the original Japanese and it ain't easy) is lucid and free of fancy diction. None of his books are intimidating, plus-sized tomes crammed with psyche-penetrating monologues and dissections of the spirit - far from it, in fact: you could read most of them in a day, or a couple of hours if you're fast. There are few large, decisive gestures: Kawabata's characters don't embrace life so much as stand outside of it looking vaguely perplexed and distant.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

T.M. Umar's "avant-garde" tale of revisiting Malaysian Independence through time-traveling

On Thursday, August 25th, 2005, Edmund Yeo sent me T.M. Umar's script-story "The 50's Project" with the intention that I would edit and/or critique it. I set to the task with aplomb, only to find that the text consisted of nothing but implausible dialogue in the service of some kind of time-travel plot to discover the origins of Malaysia. There was nothing of narrative or grammatical interest. Faced with my assignment yet unable to continue reading, the only thing I could do was apply William S. Burroughs' cut-up technique to the text, interspersed with any random observations that Umar's subliterate nonsense prompted in me. The results are as follows. T.M. Umar's text is represented in regular font. My comments are represented in bold. The original text is presented mostly in excerpts, as to inflict its full length on readers would be an unpardonable offense.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Amusing incident while watching Pang Ho Cheung's AV

AV stands for adult video, which is pornography. AV is also the name of a HK film this year by Edmond Pang, who is part of the HK New Wave responsible for such wonderful black comedies like 'You Shoot I Shoot' (about professional killers trying to film their tasks for the entertainment of their clients) and 'Men Suddenly In Black' (adulterous husbands trying to cheat on their wives, filmed like a slick suspense triad/cop thriller, with the husbands being the gangsters and the wives being the cops).

Creative works that made me want to LIVE

It has come to my attention, mostly through the previous post, that Eliar Swiftfire has been suffering from the ever-traumatic post-creative depression. Being familiar with this myself, I have decided to alleviate the condition by posting a list of all the creative works that have ever made me want to LIVE. Seeing as I'm a pretty negative guy, it's taken a while to get this much. If any of disagree with any of this you probably have bad taste (kidding), but prove me wrong by posting your own shit in reply.

A wave of melancholy...

The wave of melancholy that assaulted me since I've finished my short film, 'Forced Labour', continues.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

After Sending My Short Film To Tokyo, I Suffer From Painful Post-Creativity Depression.

Post-creativity depression is a painful feeling. You feel empty and depressed because you've finally completed something you've been working on for ages. I had this feeling when I finished the first version of Forced Labour almost four months ago. And that lasted for almost a week.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

What Nationality is my film?

Okay, I've pretty much finished editing my short film, 'Forced Labour', the only thing giving me fits now is the end credits. Having some problems as I realized that most of the characters (in fact, all but one) are nameless, so how the hell are audiences going to know if I put the names of the characters (yeah, they have names in the script) next to the names of my cast members?

Or perhaps I'll just stick with a simple 'Featuring', and then followed by names of my cast members? Decisions, decisions.

Have to get this done as soon as possible so that I can send it to this Internet film festival in Japan, followed by numerous other film festivals I can think of. However, there has been something that's been bothering me for quite a while.

Which country is my short film representing?

Is it a Malaysian film? Or is it an Australian film?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

My Very First Acting Audition

It was a quarter past two, Swifty wandered down the empty corridors of the Education and Humanities building in his university, searching for 'TELEVISION Studio B', the place where the audition was going to be held. He was not nervous, even though this was the very first audition he had been to.

Sunday, August 14, 2005


It has been two weeks since I last saw a movie at the cinemas, two long weeks devoid of movies, leaving my soul hungry and empty. My soul craves for movies, and without movies, it withers.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Yes, I'm STILL A Filmmaker. Check out New Screenshots Of FORCED LABOUR

Yes, I'm still editing my last short film, Forced Labour, which was originally finished 3 months ago, but due to my Wong Kar Wai-ness, I totally remade the thing from scratch again while adding a new scene. I'll show two screenshots of the main characters, and er, someone bleeding.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Console RPGs I Completed Throughout The Past Decade (1994-2005). (Part 3)

Now that Blogathon is over, it's time to continue this before the list that resides in my mind slowly fades away.

So yes, let's continue from the Playstation RPG I've completed, it's quite a huge list considering how many years I had it:

Saturday, August 06, 2005

A COTTAGE AT THE END OF TIME (a novella written in 24 hours)

30th of June, 2012

Almost 7 years ago, my friend Yuan-Yue and I participated in Blogathon 2005. A charity event where bloggers were to post (at least) two entries every hour in a span of 24 hours. (which means that by the end of the day, 48 entries should have been posted on the blog. A significant feat during the pre-Facebook, pre-Twitter era)

Both Yuan-Yue and I turned 21 that year, we aimed to do something ambitious.

Each hour she would come up with an illustration in a blog entry and 30 minutes later, I would post an entry with writings based on her drawings.

I ended up writing a novella that had some fabulist, fantastical elements, but at its core, it was really a tale of lost love. (A theme that would characterize many of my film works in subsequent years.) I named the novella "A COTTAGE AT THE END OF TIME", a few chapters were guest-written by former guestblogger and current published author Justin Isis. This novella existed before I actually became a filmmaker.

I left all my Blogathon entries on this blog for many years, until I recently realized that all of Yuan-Yue's wondrous illustrations had disappeared with the image servers hosting her stuff.

Thankfully, I've long kept the entire novella in PDF format, so I've decided to upload the PDF here instead so that you can read the stories and view Yuan-Yue's works in a more convenient manner.

Hope you'll enjoy this.

A COTTAGE AT THE END OF TIME by Edmund Yeo with illustrations from Chin Yuan-Yue

Blogathon Is Just 10 Hours Away. (BTW: Ligers exist!)

Right. It's 11am over here at Perth (which has no time difference with Malaysia and Singapore). Blogathon is just 10 hours away from now. Beginning at 9pm, Lune will strike her first blow with an artwork, and I will counter with a piece of writing. If you want to see us pooling both of our talents to create something extraordinary, remember to come here tonight and hurl insults at us! Oh, and cheer us on as well.

I have tried getting as much rest as possible, but the usual 7-hour sleep is enough for me. Probably gonna take a nap later to conserve more energies.

I do not worry too much about my personal stamina since I HAVE endured that before whenever I was rushing through assignments. However, the internet connection on my flat MIGHT be my downfall. I am mildly worried. Hm. But there's nothing Swifty can't solve. So yeah, I think this will be the last entry I'm posting before Blogathon.

Oh, and to those who have seen the film, Napoleon Dynamite, do you know that ligers really do exist (Google it)? Of course, they are bred through human intervention, and one of them is being displayed at a zoo in South Carolina. Usually, they are bigger than either a tiger and a lion, in fact, a liger is the largest cat in the world. Ah. The joys of using Wikipedia.

Friday, August 05, 2005

A Tragic Tale Of A Guy Who Was Hospitalized After Self-Circumcision

Some people are so stupid that you'll end up feeling sorry for them, and thus giving you a sense of awkwardness when you are forced into a conversation with them. How would you deal with people like that when you know that they are infinitely dumb? Personally, I tend to ignore them, because their stupidity annoy me so greatly that I fear that by continuing my interaction with them will inflate my already massive ego even further because I get to witness a being of such stupidity, so inferior to my incredible intelligence that I feel even more awed by my personal greatness.

Book Aid International is the charity I choose for Blogathon

This is wonderful. I have received an email from Madeleine of Book Aid yesterday after telling them about our campaign. Here's her email.

Lune making her first ever guest appearance in this blog

It does make your head feel lighter to be a guest on someone else's blog. It's as if I'm one of those Backstreet men, or Tom Cruise doing a heart to heart with Oprah, with the exception of tears or monkey antics, but I wouldn't be so sure after that long 24 hours on a drawing sprint. I might even rival Tom's vulgar outburst, shed some tears of joy, trash my room. Who knows? The excitement is buzzing in blogland, and I am estatic to be part of it. It's just one of those crazy things that one has to do before turning 21 (in Eliar's case, he's already reached the big two one, so that doesn't count).

Thursday, August 04, 2005

CRASH by Paul Haggis

For reasons I cannot comprehend, I have fallen in love with the feeling of wandering by myself in the city late at night, when the streets are almost empty, and all the shops are closed. In the distance, Northbridge, also the place where the tiny Chinatown is situated, comes alive with its colourful pubs and their patrons. The newsstand remain opened, but empty without customers, a place for me to buy the latest issues of Inside Film (a magazine for filmmakers), Empire (a film magazine) and Electronic Gaming Monthly (video game magazine).

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The finest writers are those who read a lot

Oh well, the last movie I saw was 'Crash', I'll write a review about that soon, also, I'll attempt to continue that feature about the console RPGs I've completed thus far (which is a much arduous task than originally envisioned).

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Found a partner-in-crime for Blogathon!

Yes, I have decided to participate in Blogathon as well, and I've dragged a partner to suffer through this with me. The charity organization we want to blog for will be Book Aid because both of us love reading, and we feel that more people around the world should be given the chance to read as well. According to the Blogathon website, 'Book Aid International works in partnership with organisations in developing countries to support local initiatives in literacy, education, training and publishing. We provide relevant books and information to those in greatest need–to enable people to realise their potential and contribute to the development of their communities.'

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Filmmaking Dilemma, Suggestions needed

Right. This is a complicated little situation. I made a short film last semester, from February until May called 'Forced Labour' with the intention of submitting it to film festivals and the like. Now, the first version I edited during the end of April (early May) was 18 minute long, which is way TOO long for a short film with such a simple story, besides, more than half of this is dedicated to the fighting scenes, which feature characters not originally in the script.

Realizing that the fighting scenes are way too long, and take too much attention away from the main plot and the theme. I decided to re-edit the whole damned thing (I've already mentioned that few weeks ago, actually). And re-edit, or remade the film I did, snipping it down to nearly a third of its original length (ideally, this new short film will be between 5-6 minutes, I think), lots of scenes were sped up, most of the fighting scenes were removed, and the characters not originally in the script did not make it past this version either (thus any scene with them in it are gone).

The results thus far had been stellar, and it's totally something that can be sent to film festivals (if they look past the fact that I'm using a cheap-ass camera, and that the film's sooooo low budget). I've reached near the ending, all I have to do is reshoot one more scene with my main actress and things will be completely done.

Now, I feel pretty guilty that the five characters didn't make it past the final cut, and wanted to make it up to them by including them in the credits. For example, I shall do what the Farrelly brothers did with 'Me, Myself and Irene', and inform viewers that 'some characters and scenes were removed due to time constraints', and then show snippets of scenes featuring these characters and then give them credit.

Wonderful solution, right?

HOWEVER, this is best used for a jolly little comedy... what if the ending of my short film is meant to be pretty dark and angsty (bittersweet, kinda), and I try to toss that in during the credits? Wouldn't that mess things up?

So, what do you guys think? Any suggestions? It was suggested to me that I shall put them in the 'Special Thanks' section during the credits, which is something I will most likely do.

Console RPGs I Completed Throughout The Past Decade (1994-2005). (Part 2)

I was rewarded with a Sony Playstation in 1996 (I was 12 then) due my flawless results for the UPSR (a government exam you have to take in Malaysia during the end of primary/elementary school), and thus my long love affair with it began.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Console RPGs I Completed Throughout The Past Decade (1994-2005). (Part 1)

I have wanted to write this since early last year, when it was exactly a decade since I started playing console RPGs (role-playing games, to the uninitiated), but I decided to let the year went by first so that my list of completed RPGs in 2004 can be complete as well. Note that this feature is only for console RPGs, and not the PC ones (or I'll have to elaborate on the months and months I've spent on Morrowind, my god). For Part 1, I shall focus only on the 1994-1996 period, when I was only 10-12, and was just starting to play console RPGs. Young and idealistic, it was this very period where I fell in love with console RPGs.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Nora Ephron's BEWITCHED

I went off to see Bewitched last night, which was based on an old TV series of the same name.

I've never watched a single episode of the Bewitched TV series, I'm not even sure whether reruns of Bewitched were shown in Malaysia before or not. But from what I know, Bewitched is about some normal guy marrying a witch, and goofiness ensues during their married life.

Monday, July 25, 2005

SEPET by Yasmin Ahmad, an important film in the Malaysian New Wave

One of the movies I heard most of when I returned to Malaysia had, strangely, been a local film, which is something unheard of considering that at this time of the year, summer Hollywood blockbusters are the ones that rule the box-office. This local film is Yasmin Ahmad's 'Sepet' which had been making waves at some foreign film festivals, and became quite a subject of discussion among Malaysians, not just the Malays, but also many of the Chinese I know. Finally got to watch it during my flight from Malaysia to Perth.

'Sepet' depicts an interracial romance between a Chinese guy and a Malay gal. And being an interracial romance, it obviously shows the complications involved in interracial romance, like the clashing of cultures, the condemnation of narrow-minded friends, the inability of acceptance by parents. Can true love transcend all these barriers?

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Michael Bay's THE ISLAND

In the not-too-distant future, the world had became so polluted that many of its surviving inhabitants have to stay in a facility monitored by kindly scientists and doctors, and all of these inhabitants with weird names, Lincoln Six-Echo(McGregor) and Jordan Two-Delta (Johansson), are waiting to go to 'The Island', said to be the only uncontaminated spot on the planet.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

PREMONITION 予言 by Tsurata Norio

I haven't heard anything about this Japanese film until I went to the cineplexes today. Saw the poster when dad called and asked me to buy the tickets for tonight's show and immediately had my reservations.

"Oh god, not another Japanese horror flick." I whined, seeing the creepy pale-faced bald guy on the poster.

Of course, dad maintained that it wasn't a horror flick, thus I bought the tickets in the end.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Re-editing and revamping 'Forced Labour', figuring my next project

I've mentioned numerous times that I was going to re-edit 'Forced Labour', the short film I made earlier this year due to the fact that I wasn't entirely happy with its end result.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Can Local Malaysian Stars Become Internationally Famous?

I've originally wanted to post more of my wonderful haiku I wrote yesterday but since I ain't using my comp, I'll just bring up another topic for discussion. Building upon an entry I wrote last week regarding the problems of the local film industry heard in the seminar, I now wonder wistfully how can our movies reach the international stage.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Turning my story, Snow Kiss, into a webcomic!

I've spoken to this young girl, Kat-Chan, from Comic Fiesta Forum and she's possibly going to collaborate with me next year into turning one of my works, Snow Kiss, into a webcomic, which is something I've wanted to do for ages.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Just to clarify some things from my previous entry

Whoa, I didn't know that Sebastian actually posted the link to my previous entry on famed director, Yasmin Ahmad's blog. And therefore, I would like to take the opportunity to reply to hdoong, a person who took the time to make a rather sensible and thought-provoking response to my entry.

The following is from him:

The Malaysian Chinese Filmmaking Scene And Its Many Many Obstacles.

EDIT: I didn't specifically pointed out that I was ranting about the Malaysian Chinese filmmaking scene when I first posted it, and not exactly the Malaysian filmmaking scene in general. So yeah, remember, I was ranting more about the Malaysian Chinese filmmaking scene.

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Yup, went to this Q & A session at a film academy today with my dad, and I had the fortune to meet James Lee (top photo), a famous local independant filmmaker who is considered as one of the pioneers of the current Malaysian independant filmmaking movement, and Chan Jin Quan (that's what his name sounds like in Mandarin, I'm not too sure what his actual English name is, bottom pic), a veteran TV actor who had been around from the glory days of Chinese Malaysian television to its fall, and he had managed to stay tough and continued the career he had loved... despite this, he looks really young though.

The local Malaysian filmmaking scene is being discussed today, the industry, the regular cinemagoers, the numerous obstacles and restrictions preventing filmmakers from succeeding, many things, therefore, I'll try to speak out about the numerous things that caught my attention today. There had been many issues in our local film industry that makes aspiring filmmaker like me want to stay overseas instead of here, because I knew that there are more opportunities in, say, Australia, than here. So, enough talk, here are the crucial flaws of our system that leaves me rather apprehensive about pursuing my passion here.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Coping With My Retirement From Fanfiction, Future Plans For Both Writing And Filmmaking.

I am still utterly blown away by the fact that I've finished a fanfic I've spent three years working upon. Post-creativity depression is sure to settle in soon, but I seriously doubt it. Yes, although I'm done with Slam Dunk: Inside Stuff, this is just the beginning. From now on, I will attempt to promote it like I've never before, I'll attempt to make it accessible from anywhere. I'll make sure its URL will be on any anime fanfiction site, search engines and everything else. (insanely active forums are perfect for this)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Retiring From Fanfiction,

Oh my god! OH MY GOD! I've just finished writing the Slam Dunk: Inside Stuff epilogue! This is nuts! This is insane! I so totally didn't expect this to happen that easily! So soon!

Special thanks to Yuan-Yue for helping me out with the very last line in that chapter. I will upload it soon, once I've done my acknowledgements and stuff.

My fanfiction career is finally over. I'm speechless.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Live-action adaptation of INITIAL D

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

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Steven Spielberg's WAR OF THE WORLDS

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

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


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

Monday, June 20, 2005

Some Random Conversation With Some Random Guy At Some Street.

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

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


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

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Injustices Of My University Life.

Imagine this:

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

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


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

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

So, here are my reviews for the two films.


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

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

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

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

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

Now, for the second film...


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

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

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