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

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Why Do You Make Movies? (or Film Criticism 101 For Film-makers)

I don't know how it's like everywhere else because I can only speak from experience, but over here, a film fan apparently deserves to be slammed by film-makers for not liking a movie. Of course, this doesn't extend to every Malaysian film-maker out there, but there are quite a few who seem to think that way, and they can be pretty vocal about it too.

But I'm not here to point fingers. I'm just speaking generally. And also, I'd like to ask, "Why do you make movies?"

#1 For money?

If you do, no one can (or should) fault you for this. But if you do it for money and money alone, I gotta say there are easier (and less risky) ways to get rich. Showbiz is tough, often times due to bullshit reasons that I might have talked about a couple of times in the past, and I'm not a huge fan of repeating myself.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Take Me To Dinner [2014]

Director: Gavin Yap
Writer: Gavin Yap
Starring: Patrick Teoh, Susan Lankester, Thor Kah Hoong, Ben Tan, U-En Ng, Michael Chen, Jia-Wei Loo, Chew Kin Wah
Genre: Drama
Rating: General
Verdict: "Will entertain regular patrons of KLPac, but the rest of us might find the incessant monologues taxing to sit through..."

Edward (Patrick Teoh) is an aging contract killer who decides that he has had enough of this life, and would like to leave the business for good. He strikes a friendship with a woman named Jennifer (Susan Lankester), with whom he tries to make a meaningful connection in the days leading up to his retirement dinner, where he will be retiring more than just his career.

What to Expect
1. Practically a play
2. Solid performance from Teoh and Lankester
3. A clever script, but-
4. Tons of monologues
5. Anglophile supporting characters

What NOT to Expect
1. Jason Bourne
If there's nothing better to see that day

Saturday, March 8, 2014

5 Coolest Movie Trailers (In Recent Memory)

You know, whenever we talk about movie trailers, there's always the question of whether or not we are overblowing their importance, especially here in Malaysia; where posters and trailers are - more often than not - just there to fulfill some sort of a requirement, as opposed to what they are: powerful marketing equipment.

You'd think that this only applies to films that are funded through questionable means. But half the time, even movies made with earnestness end up looking like nobody gives a crap about the end product. The former can't be helped since the people behind them are in it for the wrong reasons, but people in the latter are actually interested in show business and in the industry, so it pains me to see how they squander their resources sometimes.

It's not exactly a mystery to me how it keeps happening. I've made hypotheses in the past, and to sum it up here: we just don't have that many things to play with. Until changes or improvements are made within LPF and Finas; and the way our creative workforce gets treated; don't expect things to get better any time soon. If that sounds very bleak of me, I'll have you know that I believe change is coming.

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