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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.