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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.