Monday, October 6, 2014

DOG POUND: Behind the Bruises

Three years, five drafts and four editors later, my debut novel Dog Pound is finally available for purchase!

I'd love to share some behind the scenes stuff, but just in case you're only curious as to what the book is about, kindly read the synopsis below:

Azroy, a rising star in the underground boxing circuit, fights the battle of his life when his opponent dies in the ring under mysterious circumstances. Caught in a web of deceit, he begins to live on the run while he attempts to uncover what's really going on, But can he really win this fight, now that his opponent is the law?

Find out!

All right now, the good stuff. I should warn you that this is gonna be a long ride.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Lagenda Budak Setan 3 [2014]

"Director": Sharad Sharan
"Writer": Ahadiat Akashah & Jujur Prananto
Starring: Farid Kamil, Maya Karin, Bront Palarae, Ayu Raudhah, Iqram Dinzly, Lisa Surihani
Genre: Unintentional Comedy
Rating: General
Verdict: "Well, legendary..."

It starts out as a horror flick where Lisa Surihani sleepwalks her way through her scene, perhaps to foreshadow the fact that it's just dream sequence. Farid Kamil, who reprises his role as Ahadiat Akashah's Mary Sue character, wakes up from this terrible dream, but not before waking up yet again. His dream-within-a-dream turns out to be an even bigger foreshadowing as his reality is actually a much bigger nightmare; by the end of the film, Faridiat Akamilshah would have crossed paths with a coconut lady in labour, a CSI Mary Poppins character, an ex-lover with a psychotic husband, and an ex-psycho who's in love with his wife.

What to Expect
1. A proper ending to this legendary series
2. Trust Fund Babies
3. Notable phoned-in performance by Lisa Surihani
4. An actual budak setan
5. Confusing timeline
6. Claustrophobic camerawork
7. Mental illness galore!

What NOT to Expect
1. Logic
2. Common sense
3. Humour
4. Romance
5. Logic
6. Common sense
Your opinion about it will be influenced by how many friends you bring with you

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Mamak Cupcake [2014]

Director: Woo Ming Jin
Writer: M. Zulkifli
Starring: Shaheizy Sam, Siti Saleha, Faizal Ismail (FBI), Maria Farida, Natasha Hudson, Acappan
Genre: Comedy
Rating: General
Verdict: "All icing, low on sugar, and burnt on the underside..."

As heir to the family business, MJ (Shaheizy Sam) finds it hard to strike that balance between appeasing his widowed father, and nursing his secret wish of seeing his cupcakes enjoyed by many. But when he catches news of a national cupcake bake-off taking place real soon, he decides to enter because why the hell not.

What to Expect
1. An aptly colourful presentation
2. Inadequate world-building
3. Paper-thin characters
4. Uninspired script
5. Awkward editing

What NOT to Expect
1. Wit
2. Much comedy
Well-intentioned, but super dull.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Game of Thrones - 1995 Edition

This sure brings back memories of myself as a boy, sitting in front of the TV waiting for the likes of Spellbinder and Conan the Adventurer to start, and just forget about all the trivial things I had to do back then.

Ah, the '90s.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Transformers: Will It Ever End?

Say what you want about Transformers - I don't like 'em - but they are huge money-making machines.

See what I did there? But truly, the first three Transformers movies have a combined gross of $2.6+ billion, against a budget of $700+ million plus. Numbers-wise, it's all very impressive, and perhaps the question is already answered: will the series ever end? Probably not. Not any time soon, at least. Especially now that they've brought Dinobots into the picture.

Transformers. Made up of sharp things. Weapon is a sharp thing. Now rides something sharp too.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

5 Reasons Why These “Islamic” Movies/Shows Are Anything But

Being a Muslim myself, you’d think I’d be engaged more than usual whenever I watch these so-called “Islamic” movies/TV shows. Well, in a way, that’s true. I do feel more engaged than usual, but thus far it’s all for the wrong reasons; or rather, reasons not intended by the film.

Now, I will fully admit that I haven’t seen all of them, from as far back as Nur Kasih to 7 Petala Cinta. But I have seen the likes of 99 Kali Rindu, horror movies with supposedly Islamic undertones, and I’m very much familiar with the hit television series Tanah Kubur. All of these have a few things in common, and I find it disturbing that these are the things that pass as “Islamic” in our society.

Friday, May 30, 2014

CEO [2014]

Director: Razaisyam Rashid
Writer: Nazri M. Annuar
Starring: Remy Ishak, Beto Kusyairi, Anas Ridzuan, Cristina Suzanne, Deanna Yusoff, Jalaluddin Hassan
Genre: Comedy
Rating: General
Verdict: "Provides the kind of laughs that has been absent in local cinema for the past couple of years..."

Two guys, two different worlds, nothing in common. High up in a lavish office in a skyscraper, there's Adam (Remy Ishak) who's the CEO of his own architecture firm. Meanwhile, down on the street is Sufian Abas, book publisher accomplished slacker with a pizza delivery gig on the side. The two have no reason to cross paths, but when Adam is framed for corporate fraud, he winds up on the street and, in a twist of fate, Sufian takes his place. Only then they have one thing in common: neither of them know what's going on or what's at play here.

What to Expect
1. Laugh-out-loud comedy
2. Witty banter
3. Memorable characters
4. Also, great performances from everyone
5. Odd camerawork at times
6. Score's a tad overwhelming

What NOT to Expect
1. Cerekarama
2. (Much of) corporate espionage and political intrigue
3. Senario antics
4. I'm-your-father plot twist
Despite some technical oddities, CEO is easily one of this year's best

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bad Lip Reading

I laughed a little more than I should. These are very well-produced, and they have a bunch of 'em at their YouTube channel. Check it out. I just picked on Twilight because I could never get over how terrible they are, and I find it super amusing that you can poke fun at it this way too.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Bitter Red Pill to Swallow

Malaysians. Can't even watch a goddamn movie without making it a racial thing.

The good news is that as of April 30th, 2014, this post is no longer relevant. But for the few days when the National Film Development Corporation of Malaysia (FINAS) added a new column in their box-office page, it was the most eye-searing thing I saw all week. See if you can spot it.

No doubt sparked by the unexpected success of The Journey, audience and film-makers alike have been wondering what made it tick. I briefly touched on it some time ago, but those with the transcendental awareness of Buddha; in addition to having sharper eyes and ears than mine; quickly noted that The Journey is a Chinese-language movie made by a director who is of Chinese descent.

And they believe those are the reasons for its success. And because we're a shining example of tolerance and moderation, it makes sense to zero in on race upon the slightest "provocation"; or to react uncomfortably when "they" are doing well.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Apokalips X [2014]

Director: Mamat Khalid
Writer: Mamat Khalid
Starring: Farid Kamil, Jehan Miskin, Iqram Dizly, Adam AF, Peter Davis, Pekin Ibrahim, Zoe Tan, Vasanth, Miera Leyana
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: General
Verdict: "In typical Mamat Khalid fashion, it felt like he made things up as he went along..."

So the world ends. Might have been a movie about people in this post-apocalyptic part of the world struggling for control. I'm not so sure. But, urmm... Farid Kamil was cool in it. So were Jehan Miskin and Zoe Tan.

What to Expect
1. Unsuccessful attempt at an ensemble cast
2. Some really cool ideas
3. A world that looks lived-in
4. But inadequate worldbuilding
5. Some memorable performances
6. Contrived romantic subplot
7. Bizarre uses of jump cuts

What NOT to Expect
1. Coherent narrative
2. A clear sense of plot and pace
3. Rhythm, rhyme or reason to anything
I've forgotten most of it by now
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