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Friday, May 30, 2008

THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA Showing at Cathay Cineleisure on 21/8/2008!

Heya all, after winning a couple of cool awards at important film festivals last year, THE ELEPHANT AND THE SEA, directed by Woo Ming Jin, will be screening EXCLUSIVELY at CATHAY CINELEISURE MALL on the 21st of August, 2008 (You can read about Ming Jin the Mentor's blog post about his adventures at the 25th Torino Film Festival where the film became the first Malaysia film in history to win itself a Special Jury Award at the festival! Or you can read about what I did at the Elephant and the Sea screening at the Santiago Film Festival in Chile last August)

I hopped aboard as the co-producer of the film after joining GREENLIGHT PICTURES last year, and was involved mainly in the postproduction of the project, and securing its Malaysian theatrical release (countless visits at the Censorship Board in Putrajaya)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Quick thoughts on the Spring 2008 Japanese doramas I'm watching now

Since scoring myself a free television last month, I've been watching the Japanese doramas every night even though there aren't subtitles and I struggle at most times to understand the language. But hey, thanks to the fact that the performances in most doramas are really... 'expressive', I can just read their faces and body language and deduce what's going on.

So, here are some brief thoughts on the doramas that have been airing the past few weeks. (I'll borrow the synopses from Tokyograph's Spring J-dorama preview)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon 三國之見龍卸甲 starring Andy Lau and Maggie Q

I remember THREE KINGDOMS: RESURRECTION OF THE DRAGON solely for one reason. It was the one film that was going to screen in Malaysia on the week I left for Japan. Thanks to my departure, I was deprived from my much-wanted Maggie Q dose. I also remember watching the trailer just before the laughably bad (but still laughable) AN EMPRESS AND THE WARRIORS, and realized later that the trailer itself was better than AN EMPRESS AND THE WARRIORS.

Preparing for New Japanese-language Production.

I mentioned last Sunday that reading through Kawabata Yasunari's Palm of the Hand Stories had given me inspiration for a new short film, and I was going to meet up with fellow film student Maiko to brainstorm some ideas.

Everything went on smoothly then and I managed to write the first draft of the script. It's shorter than anything else I've written, but only because of its lack of dialogue. The film's most likely going to be around ten minutes long. And it still doesn't have a title.

I've just returned from another production meeting with Maiko, earlier in the afternoon and things are starting to fall into place. The film can be done with the financial backing and assistance of the university, but Maiko has to submit the proposal and script (translated into Japanese) by end of the month.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Film adaptation of LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA

I actually watched this nearly a month ago (during the same span of days when I watched Strawberry Shortcakes and Funuke, Show Some Love Your Losers!, quality stuff) I was so appalled by the film then that I decided I really have nothing to say about it.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, the second Narnia film

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Finally went to Shibuya to see THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN. It's the second film I went to the cinema for in Japan, and the first Hollywood film I saw here.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I dreamt that Manchester United lost and thought it was real.

I follow football news casually (the NBA is still my thing), so yesterday morning, I woke up to check the livescore of the European Cup finals. Game had reached overtime, but still a draw between Man U and Chelsea. As I stared at the live updates, I somehow fell asleep again without noticing and saw vividly that the score had become 2-1 after Michael Ballack scored one more and was named as Man of the Match (huh?).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I was on The New Straits Times! And...

The New Straits Times had an article about the BMW Shorties yesterday (21st of May). They credited Lesly (and my absence) correctly.

Chicken Rice Mystery, Lesly and Kimmy on New Straits Times

Great article. Check it out here.

Some really good quotes too.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

[VIDEO] All-you-can-eat 'shabu-shabu' with Ai and Iyo at Shibuya

All-you-can-eat 'shabu-shabu' with Ai and Iyo at Shibuya

This video was shot on the 8th of May, during the last day of Golden Week. I was at Shibuya to have an awesome all-you-can-eat 'shabu-shabu' with two old friends of mine, Ai and Iyo (whom I knew back from my Murdoch days in Perth). I've met Ai the week I came to Tokyo, but I haven't seen Iyo for more than two years, so seeing her again was a joy.

Unlike most of my previous videos, this one isn't tampered with much, no hardcore editing, nor background music. Just diegetic sound, gives you guys a better 'you are there' feeling of Shibuya.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I'm on Utusan Malaysia!! But...

Yes! Utusan Malaysia has an article about last Thursday's BMW Shorties.

But, they thought Lesly The Cinematographer was me after he went to the gala premiere to collect the award on my behalf!!!!

Chicken Rice Mystery mentioned in Utusan Malaysia article, but guy in photo was Lesly, not me!

Nope, I definitely did NOT fly back from Tokyo last Thursday to attend the gala premiere or underwent plastic surgery in Japan.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Addicted to UN HOMME ET UNE FEMME Theme Music

I've heard this music a couple of times, I've even had A MAN AND A WOMAN in one of my Lisa Ono French CDs, but I found myself in the past few days getting rather addicted to the really well-known theme music from Claude Lelouche's UN HOMME ET UNE FEMME (A MAN AND A WOMAN, it won the Grand Prix at 1966's Cannes Film Fest and Oscar for Best Foreign Film, you can read about it in this entry at the 100 Films blog), composed by Francis Lai.

Especially after watching this beautifully shot scene.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Kawabata Gave New Ideas For Next Short Film Project

2 hours from now, I'll be heading off to a brainstorming session with a fellow film student, Maiko. I seek Maiko's help because she has really refined tastes in film and literature and had also done Japanese literature for her degree.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Just got the news from my dad after he came back from the BMW Shorties Gala Premiere. CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY had received two awards! A Best Acting award for Kimmy as The Mom Who Sucks At Cooking, and an Honourable Mention from the jury as well!

Happy for you, Kimmy!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ted Mahsun Writes About CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY

Shooting at a coffeeshop

Noted book reviewer and Swiftybuddy Ted Mahsun had posted about CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY.

Combining elements of noir and several bits of comedy, which to me is very reminiscent of Chow Sing Chi's work in the Nineties, Chicken Rice Mystery is about a boy whose mother used to make really good chicken rice, a dish that everyone in the family remembers with great fondness.

Hitoshi Yazaki's sublime 'Strawberry Shortcakes ストロベリーショートケイクス'

Strawberry Shortcakes ストロベリーショートケイクス

Watching Strawberry Shortcakes two weeks ago, I was reminded of some independent films from the current Malaysian New Wave, albeit not shot on MiniDV, has (slightly) higher production values, and with actual sex scenes. The visited themes (loneliness, emotional paralysis, ennui etc), the stylistic choices (sparingly-used music, use of meticulously-composed wide shots, languid pacing, multiple plots and central characters), the gritty realism and atmosphere.

Tokyo was portrayed in a manner I've seldom seen in J-doramas and studio films, still beautiful, but lonelier and harsher. After going through a series of Japanese films where its characters are portrayed in a much more exaggerated manner, behaving like live-action version of anime characters (I watched this right after I finished last year's megahit HERO, starring Takuya Kimura), Strawberry Shortcakes felt like a breath of a fresh air.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Welcome Party For New Film Students

Two days ago (well, three, since it's already past midnight) I screened CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY to fellow film students of Waseda University. It was an all-day private screening for all film students doing their Masters to display their works.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

China President Hu Jintao Visited My University. Big-Scale "Free Tibet!" Rally.

I was finding a place to have lunch in the afternoon when I saw that the main entrance of the university was packed with people with banners, and members of the media, and the police. Apparently, China's president, was coming over to Waseda University. I was mildly surprised because, while I heard of his arrival to Tokyo on TV last night and heard of his possible Waseda visit, I didn't know he was coming to Waseda today.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Suanie Talks About Chicken Rice Mystery. Seb's Lil' Bro Reviews BMW Shorties' 10 Finalists

Now that it’s over, I can say this with a straight face: FROM EXPERIENCE (ahem ;) ) acting isn’t easy. There’s the nerves and it gets in the way of trying to remember your lines along with the facial expressions and body gestures that go along with them. I guess it shouldn’t be a problem for professional actors. But you know the cliché of women being able to juggle a few things at one time? Well, I don’t fit into that.
Suanie, would had turned in an awards-worthy cameo in my film, CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY, recounts her experience during the shoot. Fun stuff.

Suanie undergoing make-up
Suanie undergoing make-up for CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY

(The very loving and supportive Chris Tock had also plugged Suanie and Chicken Rice Mystery two weeks ago.)

Now, less on Chicken Rice Mystery and more on the 9 other BMW SHORTIES finalists. Caleb, little brother of my friend Sebastian had taken his time to watch all ten shortlisted films on BMW SHORTIES and posted his thoughts on each and every one of them. Check them out.

Chicken Rice Mystery by Edmund Yeo
Very Malaysian with the hodgepodge of chinese dialects in it. Reminds me of home. Plot-wise, well, the ending is in one ways or another expected, as in you can ALMOST guess what is going to happen but not sure how. A child's take on his mom's one of mystery chicken rice dish.
The plot keeps you guessing continuously but can't exactly place your finger on it til the end where all is revealed and you go 'cheh, should have seen that coming'. A child's take on his mom's mystery one-off delicious chicken rice dish.


Once again, CHICKEN RICE MYSTERY can be viewed at the BMW Shorties website.

Monday, May 05, 2008

TOKYO TOWER AND CHIBA: Two Videos I Shot In Tokyo

Photos of that particular visit can be found at my Visiting Tokyo Tower post.

Me and the rest of the people in Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower At Night 2

Not the best of videos, most of the stuff I shot there weren't exactly that stunning to begin with. I blame it on my old broken-down camcorder, haha. On the other hand, said old broken-down camcorder still amazes me sometimes, like the 800x zoom, I have no idea it could zoom in so far!

Anyway, if you missed out the video I uploaded before the Tokyo Tower one, here's the Malaysian Gathering At Chiba video:

Sunday, May 04, 2008

THE STAR's special mention of Chicken Rice Mystery and Me

It seems that today's THE STAR had another write-up on BMW SHORTIES, and I got a special mention...

The other 9 finalists of BMW Shorties 2008

... as the only guy who wasn't in the photo with the other 9 finalists. *sigh*

Check out Da Huang PIctures' Online Shop

The folks at DA HUANG PICTURES have set up an online shop, so you can now buy their much-talked-about festival hits and watch it at the comfort of your own living room.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Shaolin Girl 少林少女

Shaolin Girl

After 3 weeks of Japanese language classes, I decided to put my newly-acquired language skills to test by going to the cinema for the first time since arriving at Tokyo. My original plan was to see IRON MAN, but since it isn't going to come out in Japan until September, I can only pick a Japanese film to watch (all other Hollywood fare were stuff that came out during the end of 2007, the newer stuff showing now are SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES and 10 000 B.C...)

I picked a film which I knew wouldn't really be too much of a challenge to understand despite my lack of Japanese language skills: