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Sunday, December 30, 2007

My Grandmother's Love

Early in the morning of 29th of December 2007 at Ipoh, an elderly woman was attacked by two snatch thieves trying to take away her handbag. It happened only a few blocks away from her own house as she was returning from her daily gathering with friends.

There was a struggle.

The leather bag was ripped apart, revealing nothing inside. The two snatch thieves sped off in their motorbike, the woman fell facefirst onto the ground.

An Indian woman and her brother were nearby and they helped her up, the old woman's nose was already bleeding profusely and semi-conscious. Another woman recognized her and hurriedly, the trio brought the old woman back home to the son and daughter-in-law she is staying with.

That old woman was my grandmother.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Joe Wright's ATONEMENT

I didn't know what to expect from ATONEMENT. The film had received mostly glowing reviews and is one of the favourites to get a Best Picture nomination in next year's Oscars, but I had been worried that it would be another one of those stuffy and boring period romances filled with sheer pretentiousness and self-importance that would leave me wondering what all the fuss was about.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ten Things About Men and Women

1. SizeMen: Big things excite you.
Big bossoms, big curves, big cars, big money, big bodily appendages … and if I continue I would have men wanking to this post.
Women: Tiny things become you.
Fuelled by our intemperate desire to look thin, we either starve or surgically re-sculpture ours bodies. Hearing people associate us with thinness, even morbid remarks like, ‘You’re so thin … do you have cancer?’ fill our hearts with joy.

2. Sex
Men: You feel tired after ejaculation.
Seriously. Anyone care to explain this?! But if it’s too scientific, I’ll probably fall asleep so don’t bother.
Women: You feel tired … of having to pretend you had as much fun as he did.
What’s the deal? We CAN’T enjoy sex as much as men, our orgasm mailbox are emptier than men’s and complicated sex positions always involve us doing all the onerous work. =(

3. AppealMen: Boobs. Ass. Legs.
You find it socially acceptable to demand for big breasts but not at all to have your manhood crushed by girls who find that your penis doesn’t measure up.
Women: Personality. Face.
You find it socially acceptable to demand for adequately shaped and sized penis because they contribute almost completely to pleasure during sex while boobs play a 50% role.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My PC.com column gives some basic tips on digital filmmaking

A while ago, Erna asked me to write a column about digital filmmaking for the December 2007 issue of PC.com magazine.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Conversation on 'National Treasure: Book of Secrets' with Sebastian

National Treasure: Book of Secrets

The following review of NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS by Sebastian and I contains lots of spoilers.

Read it only if you have seen the film.

Or you can actually choose to read the review first and not wasting your time with the film.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

KURUS Production Diary - More production photos

We've finally completed the rough cut version of KURUS (English title: DAYS OF THE TURQUOISE SKY) last week. When and where will the film make its world premiere remains a mystery, it could be a foreign film festival we submitted the film to, or it could local TV channel NTV7 itself.

Whenever or whatever it is, I will keep everyone informed. You can read about the synopsis of the film I posted last month.

Now, more production photos:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Karei-naru Ichizoku (The Wealthy Family) 華麗なる一族

Karei-naru Ichizoku

So yeah, I just completed another Jdorama marathon, this time for the high-profile TBS show, Karei-naru Ichizoku 華麗なる一族. Which, I think, is made to commemorate the station's 55th anniversary.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I AM LEGEND starring Will Smith

I AM LEGEND poster

I AM LEGEND is NOT a film you've never seen before. While watching it, I am reminded of 28 DAYS LATER and 28 WEEKS LATER, or the more recent 30 DAYS OF NIGHT, and a bit of CASTAWAY (Will Smith DID cite Tom Hanks' performance as an influence). After all, the film IS about the last man on Earth facing vampires who were actually humans infected by virus.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

My mom has an iPhone!!

I was in the middle of my beauty nap just now when I was awakened by mom and dad's conversation. Mom was showing dad a 'new little gadget' where 'she can check emails from her Hotmail account' and 'also many other things'.

Umberto Eco - The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana

Compared to previous years, I don't think I've been able to read as much as before, some books took me months to finish (Neal Stephenson's CRYPTONOMICON, which I admired, but didn't think was as good as SNOW CRASH), while some took me only two or three days (David Mitchell's GHOSTWRITTEN, awesome book) or mere hours (Haruki Murakami's AFTER DARK, which I mentioned here).

So I felt some sense of accomplishment after actually completing Hemingway's SUN ALSO RISES and Umberto Eco's THE MYSTERIOUS FLAME OF QUEEN LOANA in consecutive days last week. (I was reading the latter first, but felt that it was too dense, so borrowed the lighter SUN ALSO RISES from Ming Jin to read instead)

(Note that this is not really a review, but more of me chronicling some thoughts while reading the book.)

The Mysterious Flame Of Queen Loana

THE MYSTERIOUS FLAME OF QUEEN LOANA is said to be Umberto Eco's last novel, and was the second novel I read from the Italian writer (THE NAME OF THE ROSE was my first).

Friday, December 14, 2007

A moment frozen forever in time.

A moment frozen forever in time

The 'comic strip' above comes from a scene in my short film, GIRL DISCONNECTED. The lines of dialogue between the two characters, Wiler (played by Justin, yes, guestblogger Justin) and Maya (played by Sarah Corbyn) never actually ended up in the final version of the film even though we shot the scene with the actors saying them. Thus the scene was more open-ended.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jet Li is really good in Peter Chan's THE WARLORDS 投名状

Peter Chan Ho-Sun is one of the Hong Kong directors I rather admire. Many of his works in the 90s are considered classics today, namely COMRADES: ALMOST A LOVE STORY and HE'S A WOMAN, SHE'S A MAN and his 1993 time-travelling film that starred two Tony Leungs, HE AIN'T HEAVY, HE'S MY FATHER. Being one of the co-founders of the UNITED FILMMAKERS ORGANIZATION (UFO), he's also responsible for many of the finest commercially and critically successful Hong Kong films in the 90s as producer.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

H2 ~ Kimi to itahibi 君といた日々(J-Dorama)

I'm still addicted to Japanese TV dorama. The latest marathon I had was 2005's H2~KIMI TO ITAHIBI, a baseball-themed romance adapted from the classic manga by Mitsuru Adachi.

Monday, December 10, 2007

CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY! My first screenplay in 18 months.

After completing my new short film screenplay, CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY yesterday, I realized in quiet horror that it is actually my first screenplay in 18 MONTHS. It's unbelievable that the last time I've ever completed a script (that's GIRL DISCONNECTED) was that long ago!

My writer's block had lasted fairly long. What caused this drought? Did I run out of ideas? Or was I merely demotivated? To take THAT LONG to actually write a script for a short film is a little sad.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

THE GOLDEN COMPASS film adaptation

screenshot from The Golden Compass

Earlier this year, THE GOLDEN COMPASS was one of my most anticipated movies, I've in fact waited for it ever since the film was first announced years ago. I read the book when I was 12, and the rest of the trilogy when I was 20. I can say that Philip Pullman's HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy is one of my favourite fantasy trilogies of all-time.

But as the film's release date got nearer, it started getting horrible reviews, averaging a measly 43% at Rotten Tomatoes, and then Sebastian told me last night that it sucked. Maybe because of them, I ended up entering the cinemas this morning with zero expectations, fantasy films of the past two years hadn't been that good anyway. ERAGON and STARDUST were stinkers.

I don't remember the GOLDEN COMPASS book (I bought mine in UK, so it was called NORTHERN LIGHTS instead. Just like 'HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE' vs 'HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE', UK and US have different titles for the book) since I read it eleven years ago, so I could only remember certain scenes vaguely.

Which is a good thing, since I can watch the film with fresh eyes, without the burden of subconsciously comparing it to its source material.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Chris Marker's La Jetée is awesome!

La Jetée is a short film from the French New Wave by Chris Marker. It's a sci-fi film told entirely via voiceover narration and consists only of still photos. I watched it on DVD earlier this evening with Ming Jin and was definitely mesmerized and inspired.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

BEOWULF is okay, but I miss Robert Zemeckis' live-action films

Angelina Jolie in Beowulf

BEOWULF is a marginally entertaining film. Not as mindblowingly awesome as I hoped, nor as mindnumbingly shitty as I feared. The well-timed Austinpowersism (the term comes from Roger Ebert, which means "putting things in the foreground to keep you from seeing the family jewels") is funny.

But I don't think my life will be any different whether I've seen the film or not.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Miki Nakatani's tour-de-force performance in Memories of Matsuko 嫌われ松子の一生

Memories of Matsuko poster

I just finished watching MEMORIES OF MATSUKO on DVD earlier this morning (was prompted to do it after reading Grady Hendrix's gripes about the film's lack of US distribution).

And all I can say is...

Attending the 25th Torino Film Festival!

This is the filmmaker Woo Ming Jin, guest blogging for swifty. I just returned from the Torino Film Festival in Turin, Italy where my film 'THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA' was in the competition lineup, or as the festival calls it the 'Torino 25', since this is the festival's 25th yr, but its first under the Italian director Nanni Moretti, a director whose films i'd watch when i was a film student and who won the Palme d'Or in Cannes some years back.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Mad Detective 神探

Lau Ching Wan in Mad Detective

In MAD DETECTIVE, the second film I saw yesterday, my director hero, Johnnie To reunites with co-director Wai Ka Fai and Lau Ching Wan in a cop thriller that sort of revisits genre conventions and previous Johnnie To/ Milkyway Image films.

This film has some of the 'missing gun' plot we saw in PTU (2003), and a quirky misunderstood tragic hero who sees things that others cannot see like RUNNING ON KARMA (2003), insane shootouts in a room of mirrors like THE LONGEST NITE (1998), and some nihilism of the ELECTION films (2005 and 2006). But instead of feeling that the filmmakers were recycling their tricks ala John Woo, the original concept is executed so flawlessly that it's totally mindblowing and compelling to watch.

More visual wizardry from Julie Taymor in ACROSS THE UNIVERSE (the soundtrack's good too)

Seriously, this will not be a very in-depth film review. My lack of familiarity with all Beatles' songs meant that I can only enjoy and judge the film as any other musicals when watching ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. The emotional depth of which Beatles song being used in the film is mostly lost to me, I think.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

KURUS Production Diary - Sleepless night of editing

29th of November. I have reached the fourth day of post-production for the film, KURUS. The past three days were spent on editing its rough cut, while today's spent on subtitling. I can only work on this until tomorrow afternoon, then I'll have to submit this film to the Rotterdam Film Festival.


Enchanted poster

Back in Sunday, I had a choice between ENCHANTED and HITMAN, and I chose the former instead. A normal angstful hot-blooded male would've gone for the latter, since ENCHANTED seems more like a Disney chick flick for little girls. But hey, while I don't usually let film critics sway my film choices, I still feel that watching the 93% ENCHANTED would be a much better bet than the 11% HITMAN, which seemed to have a long history of problems during its production.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Married For A Quarter Of A Century

28th of November, today's the 25th Wedding Anniversary of my parents. As usual, they will celebrate this in a low-key manner with relatively little fanfare tonight. This year, like every year, will be a nice little family dinner. Well darn, let's hope we'll throw something bigger during the 50th Anniversary.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hooray, I have a cameo role in a NTV7 telemovie

KERAMAT, a telemovie directed by Kannan Thiagarajan that I was involved in back in April will be aired tonight on NTV7 at the ungodly hour of 10:45pm.

If you want to see me in my first screen acting role as the boss of a car repair center, please don't miss my cameo appearance during the first 15 minutes of the film and laugh at my god-awful Malay-speaking skills! (I'm dressed in a grey T-shirt)

Recent Pusan Film Festival award-winning filmmaker Liew Seng Tat and documentary filmmaker/ SURF Magazine writer Zan Azlee also have cameos in this film.

... I served as assistant director for the film too.

KURUS Production Diary - 'Carmen Soo Day 2'

By the time I was writing this post, I've already completed the shoot for KURUS (24th of November, one day ahead of schedule) and gone home. I'm going to start work on the editing rather soon.

Before I move on, here are more photos from 'Carmen Soo Day 1' (20th of Nov) that was taken with a digital SLR:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

KURUS Production Diary - 'Carmen Soo Day 1'

(Sorry about the lack of updates in the past few days, am usually too tired to do anything with the blog when in the middle of a production shoot, tried to write this post two days ago but always ended up falling asleep halfway through it)

Carmen Soo didn't confirm her attachment to the KURUS film as Miss Carol until three days before the shoot. Miss Carol is an English teacher in protagonist Ali's class, and also the object of Ali's crush.

Due to her tight schedule, we can only have her for two days of the shoot. And when working out a shooting schedule for the film, we came to dub these 2 days the 'Carmen Soo days', meaning that we had to quickly push ourselves to finish her scenes. No easy feat, considering her scenes were rather complex to shoot.

Just a few photos of the first Carmen Soo day (20/11/07):

Sunday, November 18, 2007

17th of November. Mom's Birthday. A Memorable Day!

Mom's Birthday. 17th of November

17th of November is my mother's birthday. I haven't celebrated birthday with her for three years since my days in Perth. As the KURUS shoot had begun on the 16th, and I'm now living at Ming Jin's place (it makes traveling to Semenyih easier), I'd expected this year to be no different, and that the streak would extend to four years.

I received a SMS from my sister asking me to drop by for a surprise party on the night of my mom's birthday cos' she had bought mom a cake.

So I did, taking the long 45-min train ride home from Bangi, dropping a line saying that I want to have dinner to celebrate mom's birthday. The train ride was made bearable thanks to the company of Mislina (yes, the actress Mislina Mustapha, she has a major role in KURUS. plays Mukhsin's aunt in MUKHSIN, and plays Ayu's mom in FLOWER IN THE POCKET. Awesome actress!)

My little sister completely engineered and masterminded this surprise party for mom, she went off to buy the birthday cake with dad a day earlier, and then ensured that everyone who were to visit my mom would not bring any birthday cakes.

I don't think I've done anything similar all these years. For me, I remembered giving presents, flowers, dinner, but not doing something as simple as buying a birthday cake in secret and then take it out for my mom, singing loudly 'HAPPY BIRTHDAY'.

Maybe all these years during my absence, my sister had been doing all these. Or maybe this was the first time she had done it. I didn't ask. There was no need to.

First time, fourth time, it doesn't really matter. It was a wonderful night.

Because we had 'guests'.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Annoyed By Ex-High Schoolmates Who Work In The Same Industry (Part 2)

This is the continuation of what I chronicled in my last post where an ex-schoolmate who works in a website owned by a mega media corporation had earned my ire.

I am now 3 hours away from the shooting of KURUS (English title: DAYS OF THE TURQUOISE SKY), we have employed the services of a wonderful actress whose name I shall not divulge (for now) but she was nice enough to agree to appear in the film just a day after finishing a rather exhausting musical. Being the vindictive bastard I was, I called my ex-schoolmate shortly after the confirmation of her participation yesterday (yes, she confirmed her participation 3 days before the shoot begins!) because I initially requested for people of his team to cover the KURUS shoot if possible (to do a 'making of' project), and he asked me to call him only if she is truly attached to the project.

Conversation below (I don't think there's any need to point out who is who) It's originally in Mandarin, and happened in rapid pace:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Annoyed By Ex-High Schoolmates Who Work In The Same Industry

(The 'industry' referred in the title is the media industry, which includes film, tv, new media etc.)

A couple of weeks ago, I managed to run into two people from my former high school during separate occasions, one works now in a New Media company, the other works in a video-sharing site owned by a huge corporation that owns a couple of television channels. I'm not going to name names.

Through a stroke of coincidence, I was suddenly contacted by both for similar reasons, they were asking for both my short films and Greenlight Pictures' (which are Ming Jin's). The former to provide mobile phones as a platform to exhibit these short films, the latter to offer the website he's working on as a platform to exhibit these short films.

So I had an appointment with the one who works in the new media company at Starbucks.

... and was subjected to wait for nearly 45 minutes before she arrived, something that would have annoyed me less if she weren't the one who chose the appointment time. I sat and waited, nearly emptying my ice-blended mocha, taking the opportunity to start writing notes for a short film I intend to work on.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

KURUS Production Diary - English Title Confirmed. DAYS OF THE TURQUOISE SKY

Photos taken at Semenyih from the second location scouting last week, it's the same pond from this entry, but this time, I use an actual camera instead of my mobile phone for photographing:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Saturday, November 10, 2007

VIDEO: CONTROVERSY! Wiping butt with Malay textbook and censored little puppy in 'Flower In The Pocket'

While watching Seng Tat's Flower In The Pocket at its press screening on Wednesday, what stood out to me were two censored scenes in the film.

Friday, November 09, 2007

In The Middle Of The Road, A Taxi Driver Died.

I just had dinner with Dad and Uncle Dan, dad's classmate who had just returned briefly from San Franciso. After dinner, we had to send Uncle Dan home.

On our way to Cheras, while waiting for the traffic light, I saw a motorcyclist walking towards a taxi in the middle of the road.

The traffic light had turned green, the other cars were moving slowly, but the taxi didn't move from its place.

"Hey, bro, wake up!" The motorcyclist yelled in Malay.

The taxi driver, a middle-aged Indian man, didn't react. His eyes were closed, his mouth agape and his head slumped forward.

The motorcyclist shook the driver's shoulder, still yelling, but to no avail.

Is he unconscious or dead? Uncle Dan and dad looked with concern.

But the cars never stopped moving, and gradually, the motorcyclist, the taxi driver and the taxi were left behind, disappearing from my sight and into the night.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Liew Seng Tat's Flower In The Pocket 口袋里的花

Flower In the Pocket poster

I have posted about Seng Tat's victory for FLOWER IN THE POCKET at the PUSAN FILM FESTIVAL last month, and I finally got to catch the film at its press screening yesterday. It's hard to review a film properly when you know the filmmaker personally, lauding it too much will make it seem as if you're being nice to a friend, dissing it will mean that you are self-consciously trying to avoid the former.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Tokyo Friends: The Movie starring Ai Otsuka and Eita

Tokyo Friends: The Movie poster

TOKYO FRIENDS: THE MOVIE is best enjoyed by two groups of people:

In The Train, The Man In A Wheelchair

After an entire day spent on another production meeting, I and a friend of mine took the KTM commuter train home.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

KURUS Production Diary - What Is This Film About?

Had the first major production meeting for my upcoming project, KURUS at Starbucks in The Curve yesterday.

Much had occurred with the production while I was away in Taiwan for a week. Lim Kok Wing University had offered their assistance by providing us some crew members, most invaluable of all, a line producer, Joanne Soong, to help out with the location hunting and the like (definitely makes my job much easier now!). We have also secured the services of Aaron Chung (click his name to read Hassan Muthalib's glowing article about him at Criticine.com) for cinematographer. And Kannan (director of March's telemovie I served as assistant director for) had jumped onboard too, maybe as the sound guy, I think.

(Ming Jin, Joanna, Aaron, Kannan and I were the ones present at the meeting)

Casted the lead role, acquired most of the locations, Mentor Ming Jing had completed the script as well.

KURUS is supposedly a telemovie made for NTV7, its original premise was like Karate Kid meets Million Dollar Baby meets Rocky meets whatever teenage coming-of-age tale you've seen. An often bullied skinny boy decided to learn boxing from a cleaner lady just so he could dish out some punishment upon his tormentors. Cleaner lady was a disgraced former female boxing champion!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Bullet and Brain 神枪手与智多星

Bullet and Brain, starring Francis Ng, Anthony Wong and Eric Tsang

I just came back from seeing this Hong Kong movie, which opened in Malaysia today, two weeks before its scheduled release in its own country. I have NOT heard of this movie at all until I saw its contest on Star Newspaper this morning.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Acting Auditions Are Guilt Trips!

(Note: this post has nothing to do with the Takashi Miike movie, Audition)

I've held a few auditions for several occasions, from my own short films last year (VERTICAL DISTANCE and GIRL DISCONNECTED) to the two tv movie productions I'm involved in this year, I find auditions rather exciting but sometimes frustrating.

Last Day In Taipei. Tried the Stinky Tofu!

It's my last night in Taipei, will be taking the morning flight back to Malaysia in a couple of hours.

One of the most distinctive features of the city, to me, is the unbearable odour of stinky tofu emitted from their many stalls around Taipei. They smell like a combination of sewers and rotting carcasses, I cannot help but feel all puked up whenever I walk past one of these stalls.

However, being my last day in the country, I wanted to go home and tell everyone that I'm gutsy enough to try out the infamous stinky tofu, so I decided gather my courage and try one at a roadside stall:

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Trying understand Tsui Hark's career arc

Dad had finally finished his conference, so he could finally join us (that's me + mom + Uncle Beau) on our Taipei exploration.

First place of the day we went to was the Guanghua Market, which is Taipei's equivalent of Low Yat Plaza or the Digital Mall (or Japan's Akihabara)

KURUS Production Diary - Photos from Semenyih

Four photos I took with my mobile phone when I was location hunting with Ming Jin the Mentor at Semenyih for our upcoming production KURUS (I posted about the problems I faced with casting the main role few days ago). It was the day before I flew off to Taiwan.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Taipei Film House, Ding Tai Feng and street vendors of Taipei

I tried out the Tonkatsu Burger in McDonald's for lunch for one reason:

It's pork.

We don't have pork burgers in Malaysia.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Raohe Street Night Market

I'm in Taipei right now. Arrived just a few hours earlier. Came with my parents. Dad was supposedly going to have a meeting regarding some music publishing stuff, so he has two of his colleagues with him, so mom decided to tag along, and since mom tagged along, I decided to tag along as well, and since I tagged along, my uncle (mom's cousin) decided to tag along too, so now we have six people going to Taipei together.

Reached Taipei around seven in the evening, wasn't too impressed by the airport as it didn't look that different from the last time I visited... 11 years ago (I've never actually been to the country, but had stopped by at the airport during several occasions for transit). After checking in at the Donghwa Hotel, we decided to go for food. One of the receptionists (who bore a slight resemblance to Elva Hsiao) recommended the Raohe Street night Market just a few blocks away from the hotel, and that's where we went.

The place looks really beautiful at night, and reminds me of Petaling Street (which is also one of those places which looks much better at night compared to the day).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Film adaptation of STARDUST, my favourite Neil Gaiman book

Charlie Cox and Sienna Miller in Stardust

I saw Stardust in Perth last month and had long wanted to review it, but never had the time. While I like some of Gaiman's works, Justin and I had been rather outspoken about our problem with Neil Gaiman. I never understood the fuss about AMERICAN GODS, I found it underwhelming and paled in comparison with his earlier works, STARDUST and NEVERWHERE and even the short stories he wrote in SMOKES AND MIRRORS (won't be bringing the graphic novels into the fray).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

KURUS Production Diary - The Quest To Find A Skinny Malay Boy

The next production I'm going to get involved in will be another telemovie for NTV7 called KURUS. Borrowed the DA HUANG office last Friday to organize an audition. Was casting the three main roles, the skinny protagonist (the title character, a Malay boy), his plump comic relief sidekick (can be a boy of any races) and a Hermione Granger-like girl (can be a girl of any races).

Many turned up for the audition, the youngest was 12, the oldest was 22, half of them accompanied by parents, and almost all of them were girls (in fact, only two were males but neither skinny nor plump nor look the age of 15). So, while we had a pool of actresses to choose from, the other two main male roles remained a problem.

Fueled by desperation (and the lack of time, I'm flying off to Taiwan tomorrow), I decided to ask people I know whether they know any skinny 15-year-old Malay kids that we can cast for the protagonist last night. The first person I asked was my cousin, who had just finished his PMR (and bears an uncanny resemblance to me, albeit more rotund, look at photo below!)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Brothers 兄弟 starring Eason Chan, Andy Lau, Michael Miu Kiu Wai

Poster of Brothers starring TVB's Four Tigers

The generically-titled 'BROTHERS' is a reunion for four of TVB Five Tigers (five of the most popular TV actors in Hong Kong during the 80s): Andy Lau, Michael Miu Kiu Wai, Felix Wong Yat Wah and Kent Tong Chun-Yip

Produced by Andy Lau's Focus Pictures (same one who brought us Ho Yuhang's Rain Dogs), BROTHERS is a triad film about brotherhood and honour, which is just like the hundreds of other Hong Kong triad films out there, it doesn't help that director Derek Chiu takes a laidback, craftsman-like manner to make this film, taking a seat back and relying solely on the charisma of the actors.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Triangle 铁三角 by Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam and Johnnie To

Triangle poster

TRIANGLE is a wet dream come true for HK film purists. Three iconic Hong Kong directors, Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam and Johnnie To, working together on a film. They have known each other since their TVB days 30 years ago, and the idea of a story being handed to a director to develop and film separately came from Tsui Hark.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Liew Seng Tat's 'Flower In The Pocket' Won 2 Awards At Pusan International Film Festival

(Blog post no. 999. Look out for the next one, I'm announcing a contest.)

Liew Seng Tat, in a photo taken by Tan Chui Mui

I'm a couple of days late, but gonna post this:

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

'Dear Frankie' made me weep like a little girl.

Pardon my lack of updates these days, been busy setting up casting sessions for an upcoming film, while working on submitting mentor Woo Ming Jin's film, The Elephant and The Sea to the local censorship board (some re-editing for the film had also been done, coupled with some new background music composed by yours truly), and I also had this new addiction for ENTOURAGE (watched the first two seasons) and HEROES (watched the first 8 episodes). Ah well, just your usual producer stuff.

Anyway, I watched 'Dear Frankie' on DVD yesterday. It's about a 9-year-old deaf boy, Frankie (Jack McElhone), who writes letters to his absent father all the time, but the letters he received from the father are actually make-believe letters written by his mother Lizzie (Emily Mortimer), telling the boy his adventures as a sailor in exotic lands on the ship HMS ACCRA (a name invented by Lizzie).

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Conversation on 'Brave Story ブレイブ・ストーリー' with DMJ


It's rare to have a Japanese animated film shown in local theaters, not a single Ghibli film had ever gotten theatrical distribution in Malaysia, yet this year, I was surprised to see not one, but TWO anime films screened in theaters, the first one being a Doraemon movie (Nobita's Dinosaur 2007 or something like that) and BRAVE STORY.

I'm reviewing this film with DMJ because she's an anime specialist. I said specialist, because she is self-aware, cynical, witty and intellectual enough NOT to be a mere constantly squealing anime otaku fangirl.

HOWEVER, our exchange contains MAJOR SPOILERS and is better read if you have already seen the film and is interested to jump into a discussion with us.

Otherwise, if you want more conventional, spoiler-less reviews, you should check out A Nutshell Review's... review, Saffron Star's review or SHTUFF: Anime Blogage's review

All I can say is that it's a visually amazing animated film that sucks you right into its fantasy world, but is plagued with a weak storyline and underdeveloped characters and subplots. Enjoyable, but not mindblowing.

Friday, October 12, 2007


The one semi-cool scene in Resident Evil 3, where Milla Jovovich was burning infected crows and shit
The one semi-cool scene in Resident Evil 3, where Milla Jovovich was burning infected crows and shit

The Resident Evil films are an important part of video game adaptation history. It is the first and only trilogy of live-action films based on video games (disregarding spin-offs and straight-to-DVD sequels) so far. We haven't had a Tomb Raider 3, yet we have the privilege to endure a third Resident Evil film.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Goodbye old laptop. Hello new laptop.

My old laptop died early last month. It happened in an afternoon without warning. Just the sounds of clicking and whirring from the insides, and everything froze, the LCD screen went black.

I never understood what happened. The motherboard got fried, along with other things inside. Repairing it would cost nearly as much as buying a new laptop, so I made a painful decision. She was put down.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Detective C+侦探 by the Pang brothers

When I saw 'THE DETECTIVE' (Chinese title of the film translates as C+ Detective, a Cantonese wordplay for 'Private Detective') the newest film from the Pang Brothers two nights ago, my immediate thought was that Chewxy would have benefited a lot from watching it if this film had came out before he did his debut short film.

Returning to the filmmakers' roots, THE DETECTIVE is set entirely in Thailand, and the film begins with a Thai song. The story is simple, like an old-fashioned film noir, a nearsighted private detective Tam (Aaron Kwok) is visited by an acquaintance, Fat Dragon, one morning, who seeks his help in finding a woman named Sum (Fat Dragon claims that the woman is trying to kill him). So Tam takes this seemingly innocuous case that becomes increasingly complex as it goes on, especially when each lead he gets will bring him to a dead body.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Happy Birthday to ME

First off thanks to everyone who wished me Happy Birthday in the last post from Swifty. It was truly an amazing night involving handcuffs, baked goods, and far too much liquor. I am now officially an old man of 23.

The Sarah Connor Chronicles Pilot! Me luv Terminators!

Terminator 2 is one of my favourite action films of all-time, until this day, I don't think it had aged. The film IS. A. TIMELESS. CLASSIC!

The first Terminator, due to its low-budget, understandably didn't age very well, but it still has some good parts. But man, Terminator 2! So many awesome action set pieces balanced with great character moments that blockbusters these days are incapable of doing. Hell, I have to say that for me, Terminator 2 is THE ultimate James Cameron movie! (... you weren't expecting me to pick TITANIC, were you?)

I enjoyed Terminator 3 too, it knows that it'll never top Terminator 2, so it became a bit more self-referential and comedic, and seeing Arnold getting his butt whupped by a skinny chick in a toilet was just too funny. However, one thing that made Terminator 3 good was its nice 'twist' ending, where wimpy John Connor will finally assume his destined role as the leader of humanity after failing to stop the nuclear war. Without the redemptive ending, the movie would've sucked a lot!!!

One thing that bothered me was Sarah Connor's death in Terminator 3 (it happened before the events of the film). The idea of having the heroic Sarah Connor lose the fight against leukemia despite being able to survive and invincible cyborg like T-1000 is kinda sad. WHY????? (true story is that Linda Hamilton doesn't want to do T3 cos' she thought the script sucked)

When a Terminator series called The Sarah Connor Chronicles was announced last year, I felt a mixture of excitement and worry. Excitement because I'm a Terminator fan, worry because I fear the TV series would belong to the land of suckness, and it's just another stupid attempt to cash in on a venerable franchise.

My 'LUST, CAUTION' review quoted on Taipei Times!

Didn't know anything about this until Sebastian left me a comment at my 'LUST, CAUTION' review. Wow, my review got quoted by Taipei Times.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Monday, October 01, 2007

Mogwai - Hunted by a Freak

In this Mogwai video, CGI-animated animals are thrown off a building and die. That's all. I find it strangely satisfying and beautiful. It would have been rubbish with a different song, one that tried to 'play it up', but the somber music contrasts well with the visual style. Every time I watch a 3D animated film I usually imagine the annoying pseudo-cartoons dying in some way, so this was a huge relief. This is how they should all be killed: dispassionately, dropped from a great height, soundtracked by Mogwai. There's a great moment where it looks like a turtle is going to be saved, only to be immediately run over by a car. And another one where two animals try unsuccessfully to embrace in midair.

'Nana 2' needed Aoi Miyazaki

Watched NANA 2 during my flight home from Perth last week. I liked the first NANA a lot, the 2005 Japanese box-office champ was consistently entertaining and featured a powerhouse performance from Nakashima Mika (til this day, I tell everyone that I prophesized her superstardom when I first heard her 'HELPLESS RAIN' in 2001) as the gothic punk rocker Nana. And there was good chemistry between her and 'the other Nana' (Hachi) played by Miyazaki Aoi, so despite the film seemingly not resolving anything much (it was obviously leaving lots of room for a sequel) and I could never really buy into Nana's romance with Ren (Ren's too bland and boring for Nana), the first Nana film still managed to make me feel satisfied.

Satisfied enough to not ask for a sequel because it had a good enough open-ended ending.

I should have treated Nana 2 as some straight-to-DVD Disney sequels and disregard its existence, because, with the overhaul of cast members (three major characters are played by new cast members... including Hachi), I figured that the cast change thing will feel more like SPEED 2 and not DARK KNIGHT. Miyazaki Aoi had made Hachi her role, infusing the characer with such (sickeningly irresistible?) cuteness that replacing Miyazaki Aoi with Yui Ichikawa is like replacing Keanu Reeves with Jason Patric, it's not going to make the fans cheer like replacing Katie Holmes with Maggie Gyllenhaal in the upcoming Batman film!

Despite knowing that the film's been both a commercial and critical disappointment, curiosity got the better of me, and I chose to watch the film.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

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

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

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

Friday, September 28, 2007


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

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Conversation on 'Bourne Ultimatum' With Erna

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

Judd Apatow's KNOCKED UP

Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up

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

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

Even more anticipation from me.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Chillin' in Perth

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

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

  • Knocked Up

  • 881: The Papaya Sisters

  • Away From Her

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

  • Bourne Ultimatum

  • Hairspray

Might go and see Superbad or Stardust later tonight.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

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

My sister, Sandra Yeo, is 18 today.

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

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

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

Photo by Stuck in Customs

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 09, 2007

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

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

Saturday, September 08, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isla Negra. (read Isla Negra's history)

His favourite house.

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

Friday, September 07, 2007

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

This is rather funny.

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

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

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

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

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

Malaysia Boleh, baby!

Synopsis of the film:

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

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

Nice looking film, no?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

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

Poster from Jay Chou's SECRET 不能说的秘密

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

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

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

Ratatouille is a great Pixar film

Remy and Linguini in Ratatouille

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

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Top Posts of August 2007

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

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

Photo by OMGEsteban

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

21st of August, 2007, Day 8.

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

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

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

I bade them all adieu.

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

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

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

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Saturday, September 01, 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

NO RESERVATIONS starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Chile (Part 6): Rediscovering Santiago And The Meaning of Film Festivals

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

19th of August. It was still Day 6.

A moment stretched to infinity ended with a postcard written in two Spanish lines. And then a line in Chinese, its meaning forever a mystery to its recipient, in contrary to the layers of meaning intended by the writer himself.

A smile of surprise and gratitude, a swift peck in the cheek, a warm embrace, traces of those left me as I left the hotel and embarked upon a solo tour to PLAZA DE ARMAS, the main square of Santiago. If I had only a day left in the city, I thought I would see as many sights of the city as I could, drinking its images, framing them into memory, just so I could lessen the remorse I would return with.

After a twenty minute ride in the commuter train, I emerged from the metro station of Plaza De Armas, confronted by the sight of a massive structure.

An ancient cathedral which I would know later as the Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral.

Immediately, I snapped photos.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Chile (Part 4): THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA screening at SANFIC

Note: It's better for you to read
Swifty in Chile (Part 1)
Swifty in Chile (Part 2)
Swifty in Chile (Part 3)
before you start reading this entry:

Day 4. 17th of August, 2007.

2 hours away from the screening of 'The Elephant and The Sea'.

I sat in the Guest Office, surfing the Net. Finally got the chance to update my blog with two consecutive posts about my first two days in Chile. It was 2pm (2am in Malaysia), some people on my MSN list were online.

I wasn't nervous, just excited. So excited that I needed to vent, needed to come in terms with the act that I was representing Malaysian cinema like an ambassador of sorts, to be present when many of the Latin American audiences will be watching a Malaysian film for the very first time in their lives.

Me, of all people, speaking to audiences half a world away about Malaysian cinema and filmmaking?

Felt like a dream.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sifow - Love Spell


Second album.

Love Spell.

It was released about a week ago; I just went to Shibuya and bought it.

I know I said I'd given up reviewing music, but what the hell.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Chile (Part 3): Hu Shu goes missing before his I WANT TO DANCE screening

(Go to Swifty in Chile (Part 1) or Swifty in Chile (Part 2))

16th of August, 2007.

A van came at 11:45am and brought me to the Hoyts La Reina multiplex were the WORK IN PROGRESS event was held. I saw the New Yorker director Jay Frisk and his wife, Veronica (whom I mentioned in the first entry) waiting outside the cineplex, I approached them and they looked sympathetic, the news of my screening's cancellation the night before had spread to even the festival invitees.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Chile (Part 2): THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA screening got canceled!

(Originally written: 17th of August, 2007)

Go read Swifty in Chile (Part 1) if you haven't.

'The Elephant and the Sea', the film I represent as producer, was to be screened at 8:30pm, during my second day in Santiago, Chile. The strange sense of loneliness described at the end of the previous entry was decimated by absolutely delicious breakfast.

I needed to go online before that. And the only way to do so was to bring my laptop to the SANFIC Guest Office.

Chile (Part 1): Arriving at the Santiago International Film Festival, meeting Leonor Varela!

me and Leonor Varela
With Chilean actress Leonor Varela, of Blade 2 and Arrested Development fame

(Originally written: 16th of August, 2007)

I am currently a film producer in the production company, GREENLIGHT PICTURES. I was invited to the Santiago International Film Festival (SANFIC) nearly two months ago, as the producer of the local film 'THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA' directed by Woo Ming Jin. THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA is going to compete under the International Competition against eight other films from different countries.

Monday, August 13, 2007

RUSH HOUR 3 is not the best film in the series

Rush Hour 3 poster

This is what my sister had to say about RUSH HOUR 3 after we saw it yesterday morning:

"That's it? The climax didn't even feel like a climax at all!"

Thursday, August 09, 2007

'Vertical Distance' Screened at Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival 2007

The Cast and Crew of Vertical Distance

the Cast and Crew of Vertical Distance + Justin, May 2006

My short film, VERTICAL DISTANCE, was just shown at the Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival 2007, under their 'LIGHT OF ASIA' programme. The festival was held at Yogyakarta from the 29th of July to the 2nd of August, and my short film was screened on the 30th of July and 1st of August.

Have to say that I'm tremendously honoured to be part of this new and exciting film festival. VERTICAL DISTANCE is the first of the two short films I made last year (the other being GIRL DISCONNECTED) and was my first attempt in filmmaking WITH A CREW (it was an all-female crew, I felt like Bill Murray in Charlie's Angels) It was also the first short film I've written by myself.

The film, to me, is important in a sense that it helped me discover my own filmmaking voice, I guess, which helped me embark upon something much more ambitious like GIRL DISCONNECTED (a film that would never have existed without VERTICAL DISTANCE).

VERTICAL DISTANCE can be viewed here.


screenshot from the Simpsons movie

I actually saw this more than a week ago, but haven't had a chance to review it due to this TV movie production I'm involved in.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Flash Point 导火线

Donnie Yen in Flash Point

I didn't have high hopes for Flash Point when I first saw its trailer months ago (when I went to see the French rom-com, Hors de Prix). The lady friend I was with was more excited about it than I was.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

R.I.P. Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni

Legendary filmmakers Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni had just passed away on the same day. Ingmar was 89, Antonioni was 94.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Oh! Mikey

Oh! Mikey is the best thing to come out of Japanese comedy in years. Check this one:

It's SO much funnier if you've actually been to a hostess bar/kyabakura and know what they're talking about.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Invisible Target 男兒本色

poster of Invisible Target

Director Benny Chan Muk-Sing is sort of like the Michael Bay of Hong Kong cinema. I don't mean this as an insult, but he's really the go-to guy for big-budget HK actioners with explosions and crazy stunts. Most of the time, when it comes to action scenes, he seldom disappoints.

Nice article about my dad on The Star newspaper

Two days ago, just like every other mornings, I was having breakfast with my parents. As usual, I was flipping through The Star while eating. My daily newspaper reading routine is like the following:

1) Start with The Star. Begin from the Sports section, then to the international news section, before checking out the headlines, and then finally reading Section 2, which would usually cover the entertainment articles.

2) Throw The Star aside, pick up the entertainment section of Sin Chew Daily, a Chinese paper to read the latest celebrity gossip.

3) Put that entertainment section of Sin Chew Daily aside, and check out the entertainment section in China Press, another Chinese paper for things left out by Sin Chew.

But anyway, I was reading through the entertainment sections of The Star before something caught my eye. My dad's name. And also, a hideous photo of his that was taken probably during the late 80s or early 90s.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Serious Literary Fiction about Idols

I need help.

I am writing a serious literary work about idols and wota.

Someone please tell me suggestions for things they want to see in this.

This is not a joke, I am a published author.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Kind Old Man At The Train Station

(Photo by Nighthawk Photoworks)

Two nights ago, after finishing a shoot, I went to a KTM train station to take a train home.

It was nine thirty and the ticket counter was closed, so I could only buy my tickets through either one of the two ticket vending machines.