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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Introducing 'Girl Disconnected'

The title of my upcoming film project is Girl Disconnected. I came up with the concept and story during last semester's screenwriting class, then wrote the final screenplay few weeks ago when I was in Malaysia for the mid-year break.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Swifty: After chatting online for three weeks, Hayley (Ellen Page), a (supposedly) 14 year old chick, meets up with Jeff (Patrick Wilson), a charming and articulate photographer in his thirties. Suspecting he's a pedophile, she follows him home, attempting to expose him (heh heh heh, expose, heh heh heh). Much psychological torture occurs. A game of cat and mouse begins, with the mouse constantly winning, and winning, and winning... reminding you of those Road Runner cartoons.

You, Me and Dupree

After the My Super Ex-Girlfriend horror, I walked dazedly into another hall, hoping that I wouldn't have the bad luck of seeing two bad films in a row. Unconsciously, I was also doing a Wilson brothers double bill (MY SUPER EX-GF had Luke Wilson, this one stars Owen Wilson)

Thankfully, my sense of judgement may have been affected badly by the last film, so I ended up enjoying this instead. But then, I was with a much more lively audience, where people actually laughed and guffawed through the scenes.

This film stars Matt Dillon and Kate Hudson as newlyweds Carl and Molly Peterson, whose lives are turned upside down when the best man, Randy Dupree (Owen Wilson) moves in as a houseguest. Being the type of guy who 'doesn't live to work, but work to live', and despite accidentally setting the house on fire while reenacting a scene from Last Tango In Paris, Dupree slowly gains acceptance from the initially disapproving Molly... but not Carl, who starts getting jealous as he suspects something going on between Dupree and Molly, which also adds to the frustration he has towards his evil father-in-law (Michael Douglas in a non-heroic role!), who wants him to follow his wife's surname, or get a vasectomy.

No, the film doesn't have much of a story, but at least the it's funny, and that's just what I'm looking for in a comedy. (I really don't have such highbrow tastes, really) Owen Wilson can already be funny just by being, well, himself. But the film would've have worked if Kate Hudson and most especially Matt Dillon (who plays the straight serious guy) hadn't been that funny. I mean, man, I can't even remember seeing Matt Dillon in a comedy since There's Something About Mary (now, THAT is a comedy CLASSIC!), and hell, he was the best thing in Crash!

Thoughts on 'Star Wreck: In The Pirkinning', The Most Popular Finnish Film Of All Time

I downloaded a little 2005 Finnish film called 'Star Wreck: The Pirkinning' yesterday and watched it just now after reading Lainie's recommendation (interestingly, her site is starting to become a daily read for me these days).

My Super Ex-Girlfriend

My Super Ex-Girlfriend has an interesting sounding concept, it's almost like Superman Returns with a twist, imagine Superman actually being PISSED about Lois having a fiance and a son, then decides to make her life a living hell.

That's kinda what I've expected My Super Ex-Girlfriend to be kinda like. A film that pokes fun of the usual conventions you see in the superhero genre, unfortunately, no, it doesn't do it that much. The film is pretty horrible.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Screenshots Of Vertical Distance

It's unsurprising that more and more, readers of this site are forgetting, or are even aware that I'm a writer filmmaker due to the, er, lack of films I've done. Unlike other prolific Malaysian filmmakers like Yasmin Ahmad or Amir Muhammad, two of the short films I did for fun in the past two years, A Boring Story and Forced Labour, were uploaded and viewable only on Youtube, and being short films made only for fun while I was experimenting with various filmmaking techniques (prior to actually taking a filmmaking course like I am doing now), they weren't award-winning material that indie film fans in my own country would fall heads over heels in love with, or land me in the press, or being included in anyone's favourite Malaysian indie filmmaker discussion. I am obscure, underground, still in hiding, still practicising my craft before unleashing it to public.

But anyway, just for the sake of reminding everyone that I'm a filmmaker, I'm posting up screenshots of my last short film, Vertical Distance, which I wrote and directed last semester as a school assignment, and was pretty well-received during its screening in university. Due to the fact that I haven't actually reclaim the rights for the film, I can't really upload it anywhere, or submit it to film festivals, so all you can do is just check out the screenshots (click them for more details... though not that much details were provided).

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Pirates of The Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest

I walked in the cinema yesterday, initially planning to see My Super Ex-Girlfriend since it's the newest release (premiering in both Australia and US at the same time), and also because it's the kind of film no one else would bother going with me. But I ended up seeing Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest (which was the kind of film someone would bother going with me) because I thought, well, since I'm in Australia, and tickets are more expensive, I might as well get something that's worth the price. (more explosions, more special effects etc.)

Friday, July 21, 2006

What Danny Lim Has To Say About Swifty's 18? Meme

I've returned to Perth.

The responses to the Danny Lim's 18? Meme started couple of days ago were very encouraging, as numerous bloggers have taken the opportunity to voice what they have to think about the documentary short and the possible factors that may have contributed to this (THANK YOU VERY MUCH!). Hope this will continue!

The following is an email exchange between filmmaker Danny Lim and I yesterday, just so some of you will know what the filmmaker of this documentary himself has to say about the meme.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Evaluating The Babes of Studio Ghibli Films (Part 2)

Continuing my MUCH OVERDUE (and probably underappreciated *sob*) contribution for the Miyazaki Fest.

Go to Part 1 to read my evaluations of the female characters in Nausicaa and Laputa: Castle in the Sky.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ywenna and Rhapsody

During the production of my last short film, Vertical Distance in May (interested? Read about me beginning to shoot the film, then some photos of me and my beautiful crew shooting the film, and about me beginning to understand Wong Kar Wai's methods more and more duringduring postproduction of the film), I was burdened with the fact that I don't really have any actual songwriters to do the composing for me, and I because I wanted to open myself the possibilities of submitting my short film to contests, viewings and festivals once I can acquire the rights for it end of the year from university, I couldn't use copyrighted music.

Ultimately, I gathered my music for my soundtrack from three sources, one was CCmixter.org, a place featuring Creative Commons-protected music (which I use for my recent vlog entries), one was from the flutist Arshi Tope (I was fortunate enough to see her putting up a performance in Perth city while I was shooting some scenes by myself), and then, where else but the paradise for sexual predators wonderful place for friends, Myspace?

While searching for Malaysian jazz musicians (needed something like that for the opening and closing of the short film), I stumbled upon Rhapsody, a piano and vocal musical duo whose (from their Myspace profile) 'catchy poppish tunes have jazz overtones, with Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald, Jamie Cullum, Alicia Keys and Antonio Carlos Jobim among their musical influences'. Yeah, after sampling their tracks, I nodded with satisfaction, added them as my friend and messaged the duo, Ywenna (the composer and pianist) and Nicole (vocalist and lyricist) for permission to use their songs for Vertical Distance. To my relief, they said yes.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Danny Lim's "dangerous" documentary, 18?

A few of you might have read from the news recently about the veto-ing of Danny Lim's 2004 documentary 18? at the Seoul Film Festival. If you haven't, here's an excerpt from The Sun's article:

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Evaluating The Babes of Studio Ghibli Films (Part 1)

Sometime in late April, Walter of Quiet Bubble announced his intention to call for a Hayao Miyazaki blog-a-thon, which I had initially wanted to participate, until I had to suddenly take over the production of my last short film Vertical Distance (originally just the screenwriter, I ended up directing the damned thing). As I had to work on my own film for weeks, I had to miss Quiet Bubble's actual Miyazaki Fest when film blogs around the world were writing articles dedicated to the legendary Japanese director.

I first discovered Hayao Miyazaki back in 1992 when I was eight. Laputa: Castle In The Sky was the first film I've ever watched by him, and until this very day, it occupies a special place in my heart, it's unlikely that anything can supplant its position as my all-time favourite Miyazaki/Ghibli film. Laputa: Castle In The Sky definitely changed my life then, I spent four consecutive nights watching and rewatching it, too blown away by its flawlessness and greatness. Since then, I collected every single other film Miyazaki did after he formed Studio Ghibli (most of his pre-Ghibli works are too obscure for me to find, though I do own a considerable amount of them as well). He is a part of my life, through the years, from a child til today, where I have embarked upon a filmmaking path of my own.

This entry could've been a nostalgic look at the list of Miyazaki films I've seen that helped shape and redefine my beliefs and views in life, of how I grew to love Porco Rosso, of my personal indifference towards My Neighbour Totoro, of my unexplainable affection towards Kiki's Delivery Service, or my mild sense of disappointment with Howl's Moving Castle. It could even be detailed articles or reviews of these movies, where I attempt to articulate my readings and interpretations of them.

However, this isn't such an entry.

Re-cycle 鬼域 by the Pang brothers

Angelica Lee Sinje in Re-cycleRe-cycle (鬼域) marks the reunion of the Pang Brothers (Oxide and Danny Pang) and Malaysia's own Angelica Lee Sinje since their 2002 breakthrough hit The Eye.

There had been numerous accusations against the Pang Brothers for constantly flogging the dead horse because their collaborative efforts after The Eye consist solely of, well, sequels to The Eye that are of varying qualities (The Eye 2 and The Eye 10, both I didn't see). But these two guys are really pretty good at what they do, and that's building tension, adding suspense, creating an ominous atmosphere, and well, wringing an effective performance from Lee Sinje.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Of course Zidane's headbutt becomes a massive internet phenomenon

Mark my words, this incident will inspire a tidal wave of mashup videos similar to what the 'Bus Uncle' clip (read the Wiki entry about the incident here) did few months ago. Already, there are mashup videos in Youtube like this and this (the latter video's kinda gross) in Youtube. So expect to see many variations of this incident, possibly an 'epic version', a Brokeback Mountain version, an orchestra version, a fake prequel with dubbed voices, etc etc. We are living in an age where everyone can be creative, and anything they create can be distributed around easily over the Internet.

The above quote came from my Salute to Zidane entry two days ago. It's incredible that my prophecy is fulfilled almost instantly, and Zidane's headbutt has totally become an internet phenomenon. Insanely creative animated GIFs, parody videos are already spreading around like wildfire across cyberspace. Yep, this incident has invaded pop culture around the world, much more so than Italy's supposed glory and victory it had attained during the World Cup.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

'Trio And A Bed', Malaysia's First Chinese Interactive and Integrated Media Programme

Being placed under house arrest is an excruciating experience for a wandering artist like me. Due to the fact that my house is under renovation, I had to stay at home and help look after the place while parents and little sister aren't around. By being chained, my brilliant bursts of creativity are hindered, thus my output in this blog became sporadic.

Besides going through endless marathons of Hong Kong dramas, I have been surfing the net aimlessly, and sifting through the newspapers. I have wireless connection had home, so I'm usually doing all three at once: listening to HK dramas (during the draggy bits), surfing the net on my laptop and then reading The Star, and the entertainment sections of Chinese papers, China Press and Sinchew Jit Poh.

Carmen Soo, Anabelle Kong and Amber Chia in Trio and a Bed

One piece of news that attracted my attention most recently is the soon-to-be released Trio and a Bed, which, according to The Star today, is Malaysia's very first Chinese interactive and integrated media programme, it's also referred to as an idol drama by the Sin Chew and China Press. Starring Miss Astro Chinese International 2005 winner Annabelle Kong (whom I've unfortunately never heard of until my recent return to Malaysia), Amber Chia and Carmen Soo, each episode is around 5 minutes, can be viewed not only on television, but 3G mobiles and the Internet (I wouldn't have cared until I read the latter).

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I salute you, Zinedine Zidane

No, I'm not really a football fan. Hell, I can even go through life without watching a single game of football. The English Premiere League, loved by all football fans in South East Asia, bore the crap out of me. But for social reasons, I tend to follow the results just so I won't be left out during conversations. Things changed after moving to Perth for my studies two years ago since Australians are just as indifferent towards football as I am (their obsession is the Australian Football RocLeague, and no, their football is NOT soccer), I didn't even have to make an effort to know what's going on at all, thus being completely oblivious to whatever's been happening throughout the world of football, hell, I didn't even know that Ronaldino had been crowned FIFA player of the year in the past two years.

(In case you're wondering, I'm a NBA fan since I was 9, when Michael Jordan got his third championship)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Welcome to Dongmakgol

Welcome to Dongmakgol

Welcome to Dongmakgol was South Korea's 2005 representative for the Oscar's Best Foreign Film at the 2006 Oscars. It also became the fourth top-grossing film of all time in Korea. However, I barely knew anything about it when I first popped it into my DVD player a couple of nights ago, remembering only vaguely a raving review from Lovehkfilm.com. All I've wanted was some quick laughs, and from the quirky-looking film poster (I thought the girl was riding on a mecha), this seemed to be one. I was pleasantly surprised when the film ended up delivering much more than just laughter, it's actually pretty good.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I'll Call You 得閒飲茶

I'll Call You, directed by Lam Tze Chung, starring Alex Fong, produced by Andy Lau

It's unfortunate that I couldn't write my review for this Hong Kong film much earlier because by the time you are reading this, its theatrical run in Malaysia has most likely ended. And this unheralded romantic comedy will most likely languish within the pits of obscurity, not getting the kind of attention it deserved. No choice, two of my aunties were here, along with my tiny cousins. So hadn't had the time to write anything in the past few days.

This romantic comedy, I'll Call You, is part of Andy Lau's Focus: First Cuts project, launched last year aimed at producing six features films shot on high definition. The First Cuts project involves filmmakers from China, Hong Kong, Malaysia (whose representative is Ho Yuhang, whom I met last year, along with fellow filmmakers James Lee and Tan Chui Mui, whose Chinese blog is here, at a seminar organized by local Chinese paper Sin Chew Jit Poh), Singapore and Taiwan. I'll Call You is Hong Kong's representative, and it's written and directed by Lam Tze Chung. If I'm not wrong, this is his directorial debut. If you are not familiar with his name, well, he's the fat guy in Shaolin Soccer (the one who levitates) and Kungfu Hustle (Stephen Chow's sidekick). Long before he was spotted by Stephen Chow, Lam Tze Chung was hired by Hong Kong's TVB to be their screenwriter at the tender age of 18!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Superman Returns

The flood of positive reviews that surfaced on the Internet few weeks before the release of Superman Returns (along with its killer trailers) heightened my already lofty expectations for the film. I mean, let's face it, with praises from Ain't It Cool News, Variety, Hollywood Reporter and many other well-known sources, how bad can this film be?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Video: Catholic High School's 50th Anniversary Carnival

Catholic High School was my high school. It just had a carnival on the 1st of July to celebrate its 50th anniversary. My little sister, who studies there, had volunteered to aid the Counseling Club in tending their food stall. Hence my family and I had to go there to lend us our moral support.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Video: Kyoko's Birthday Party

Kyoko is yet another friend of mine from Japan (you should notice by now that I have an endless amount of Japanese chick friends) that I got to know this year, and this is yet another birthday party video I shot. Her birthday party was held on the 3rd of June, and if you've actually bothered watching any of my party videos, you might notice that I tend to make each of them look as different from another as possible.