Wednesday, November 30, 2011

10 Tahun Sebelum Merdeka [2007]

Director: Fahmi Reza
Cast: Lim Kean Chye, Yahya Nassim, Hashim Said, Zainuddin Andika, Majid Salleh
Genre: Documentary/History
Rating: General
Excerpt: "What makes it so compelling is the way it makes you think, as opposed to spoon-feeding history to you..."

This densely-packed thirty minute documentary produced, directed and edited by Human Rights and Student Power activist Fahmi Reza will take you back to the days leading up to October 20th, 1947, the day when the people of Malaya grouped together regardless of creed, colour and caste in a nationwide stand to fight for independence. Five former politicians who now live in obscurity recount their experiences, their resolution, how they lost to the powers-that-be and ultimately get blackened out of history books.

What to Expect
1. The other side of history
2. Engaging presentation
3. Kick-ass punk soundtrack
4. To wonder "What if?"
5. To dispel common myths about independence

What NOT to Expect
1. Heavy-handed preaching
2. Propaganda film
A masterpiece

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Misteri Jalan Lama [2011]

Director: Afdlin Shauki
Cast: Que Haidar, Hans Isaac, Ahmad Tarmimi Siregar, Vanidah Imran, Afdlin Shauki, Namron, Nasir Bilal Khan
Genre: Fantasy/Drama/Horror
Rating: General
Excerpt: "It took me a while to figure out what kind of movie it sought out to be, but half-way into it I forgot what I was watching..."

Two brothers who couldn't be any more different are brought together again in the event of their father's death. Indra (Hans Isaac), a rough-around-the-edges kind of guy with a gambling problem is entrusted with the task of sending his younger brother back to their hometown, a task that will grant him inheritance of their father's wealth. Meanwhile, his younger brother Ilya (Que Haidar) is going through some problems of his own; Haunted by visions and riddled with questions, he is about to discover that everything he thought he knew about his life is a lie.

What to Expect
1. A slow start
2. To squint throughout the movie
3. Cool creatures
4. Good production value
5. Not for the impatient

What NOT to Expect
1. A horror movie
2. The Lord of the Rings
3. Humour
If you have nothing better to see

Monday, November 28, 2011

5 Reasons Why Hogwarts is The Worst Place To Be

I can't recall exactly how many times, but I must have rambled on endlessly about how big a fan of Harry Potter I am. It's not just about the story, I get all sentimental when I remember those times when I would hide in one corner of my house and just immerse myself in the pages, not having to worry about people calling me via cellphones, poking me on Facebook or mentioning me on Twitter.

So yeah, Harry Potter was a huge part of my childhood and I have nothing but praises for it despite all its flaws. What are these flaws? Well, it just so happens that's exactly what I'm going to talk about today. You see, just like those of you who grew up with Harry, Ron and Hermione, I too fantasised about taking that train to Hogwarts and scream "To hell with Pythagoras, I'm learnin' magic!" all the way.

But that was me at fourteen. About a decade later I'm still the world's oldest fourteen-year-old, but only at heart. In my mind I can't help but be horrified when I look back on it, suddenly that trivial pursuit for straight A's didn't look too bad, because these are the things students at Hogwarts have to worry about every damn day.

So after you read this, I hope you will learn that even if you think that your school sucks because the food is bad, or the teachers are mean or whatever, bear in mind that there are those who are much, much worse off than you are.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fake Movie Plot #1: Twilight

Inspired by the hashtag on Twitter of the same name, I'd like to give my thanks to Feris Othman for creating it, which gave me the idea to start a new series of entries right here on Planet MamüVies. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the inaugural Fake Movie Plot!

So here's what I did for this entry; I watched the trailer with the sound on mute, and basically improvised a voiceover Whose Line Is It Anyway style, just to see if I could do improv comedy. Then I snagged some images off the internet just so I could smooth out the narration. I don't know if I did a good enough job, but that's kind of why I started with Twilight, you see. It's the easiest one to poke fun at!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

When 'Predator' Meets 'The Walking Dead'

Movie Title: The Darkest Hour
Release Date: December 29th, 2012 (Malaysia)
Director: Chris Gorak
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Rachael Taylor, Joel Kinnaman, Max Minghella

"So this is what you get when you cross The Walking Dead with Predator [1987]..." That was all I could think about when I saw this trailer the other day. The trailer which, by the way, I think just gave away everything about the movie. I'm not kidding, you'll see why in a minute. For now I'm gonna have to say I don't see any reason why I should be excited about this movie other than the fact that it looks to be a stylistic, decent thriller.

Well, maybe there's one more thing to be excited about this movie; it stars Emile Hirsch, who is like the younger version of Leonardo DiCaprio not only in terms of looks, but talents as well. So how about it? Why don't you have a look at the trailer and share your first impression about it in the 'Comments' section?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Puss in Boots [2011]

Director: Chris Miller
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris
Genre: Comedy/Adventure
Rating: General
Excerpt: "About as charming as Puss in Boots' big, bambi eyes, but at the same time nothing out of the ordinary..."

Famous outlaw and womaniser, Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) never thought he could want more than his usual petty thefts as well as scoring chicks (?) while he's at it. That is, until he arrives at a town where he learns of the legendary magic beans in the hands of two other outlaws, Jack and Jill (Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris), and his attempt to steal them is thwarted by a fellow thief who goes by the name of Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek). From there, he forges an uneasy alliance with her as well as someone else from his past, Humpty Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis).

What to Expect
1. A catnip of a movie for cat lovers
2. A proper parody movie
3. Plenty of funny moments

What Not to Expect
1. Plot hole-free (but that's why it's funny!)
2. Laugh out loud comedy

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Liam Neeson Wants To Do Stand-up Comedy

Anyone here a fan of British humour? Or more specifically of comedian Ricky Gervais's brand of humour? I for one think he's beyond fantastic both as a stand up comedian as well as a comedic actor, earlier this year he even showcased his ability to turn the usually a dry movie awards ceremony into a comedy roast. Ladies and gents, after The Office [2001-2003] and Extras [2005-2007], Ricky Gervais is at it again with a brand new television show called Life's Too Short.

If you're familiar with the works of Gervais and his frequent collaborator, Stephen Merchant, then you would already know what to expect. Although I must say that's not at all a bad thing because watching my favourite actors playing a parody of themselves never gets old. Check out this video if you have the time, it had me in stitches watching Liam Neeson parody his... Well, Liam Neeson persona; a no-nonsense character wanting to do stand up comedy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

5 Things That Just Won't Work In Real Life

It took me a while to get this one published. It was just one of those things, I got an idea for an article but then decide to shelve it for another day. That was three months ago. But then writing that piece on how to improve local cinemas reminded me of this, as I intended to include "give more artistic license to screenwriters" as part of the list, also as a response to idiots who thought Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa [2011] sucked because it was historically inaccurate. But then I decided that it warranted an entry of its own, so here it is.

If Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa was more 'historically accurate'...
Here's my stand on the matter, artistic license is a real thing, it is a big deal and it is totally unacceptable for you to deny it to a screenwriter. You would think that that's obvious, but you would also be surprised by how often people forget this.

So just to jog your memory, artistic license can be defined as taking liberties when it comes to accuracy may it be factual, historical or even grammatical (in the case of poetry). Examples include the usage of modern music in A Knight's Tale [2001], a modernised look at the relationship between Muslims and Christians in Kingdom of Heaven [2005], and others too numerous to mention.

In a nutshell...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bradley Cooper Looks Good In Those Boots

For most movie fans, the name 'Bradley Cooper' had long been a household name, but for plenty of people around these parts, they have only recently warmed up to him. So please hold on while I give myself a pat on the back for correctly predicting that he is going to be the newest addition to beefcake actors just like Hugh Jackman. Granted, it's not much of a prediction and leaning more towards the Captain Obvious territory, but just indulge me, will ya?

I have no life outside this blog.

So anyway, how did you guys find him as a leading man? The first time I paid attention to the guy was in He's Just Not That Into You [2009], and I immediately took a liking to him, even though I did poke fun at him soon after. Sure, he doesn't seem like he's going to be one of those dramatic actors sweeping a bunch of Oscars. But all the same he's an entertaining enough movie star to be seen on screen and I got curious to see how he would fare if he's to play a leading role, which he did in Limitless [2011]. I have no complains whatsoever, the movie worked for what it sought out to do.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

5 Probable Ways to Improve Local Cinema (Aside From Buying Original)

This is not a public message urging you to flock the cinemas or buy non-pirated DVDs.

I wrote this entry in response to an email I received quite some time ago, which I will not reproduce here for privacy reasons. All I can tell you is that the message was brief, and I'm unsure if the sender was earnestly hopeful for me to say something groundbreaking, or he (or she) was simply irked by my review of KL Gangster [2011] or perhaps even Hantu Bonceng [2011], and wanted to push me off this high horse I'm riding on by trying to discredit me.

Either way, I think some people might have the wrong idea about me. I don't work in the film industry, even though I sure as hell would love to. I'm not affiliated with anyone in the industry, I never went to film school, and my experience in the process of film-making has yet to extend beyond a hurriedly-pieced together short film made for an assignment (written, shot and edited in under 3 hours), as well as being an extra in Afdlin Shauki's Papadom [2009].

I ended up focusing on the on-goings behind the scenes instead of trying to look like I'm acting...
So if I'm in a court right now, and the lawyer asks me if running a blog about movies qualify me as a film expert, my answer is a resounding "Of course not, dumbass..." But if you ask me offhandedly about my opinions on how local cinemas can be improved - before we can even have the chutzpah to claim that we can compete at the international level - this is what I would have to say;

Friday, November 18, 2011

Two Animated Features to Look Forward to!

#1 Pirates of the Claynimation

Movie Title: The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Release Date: April 26th, 2012 (Malaysia)
Director: Peter Lord
Starring: Hugh Grant, Salma Hayek, Jeremy Piven, Brian Blessed, Lenny Henry

Stop-motion animated features don't come very often, but whenever they do, they always leave a mark. Even when they end up being a commercial failure. But we all love them, don't we? There's something about characters made from Plasticine that appeals to the child within us, which I believe has a lot to do with Plasticine being the most popular toy we played with back in our kindergarten days. Ladies and gents, from Aardman Studios, I present to you another claynimation that has all the charm of their other works like Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run [2000].

#2 Theatrical trailer for Pixar's first fairy tale

Movie Title: Brave
Release Date: June 21st, 2012 (Malaysia)
Director: Mark Andrews
Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connoly, Emma Thompson, Kevin McKidd, Robbie Coltrane

Naturally, being a Pixar movie means this animated feature has been getting a lot of attention as the world is still reeling from the lackluster Cars 2 [2011], labelled by critics as "the first bad Pixar movie". As for me I didn't even bother to go see it, I didn't even love the first one. But enough about that, this one I'm quite excited about, even though it is looking like it's filling the mold of any other Disney Princess movie. But hey, it's not unheard of that Pixar can put a new twist to an old formula, as they have proven with The Incredibles [2004]. For now, let's not decide anything until we actually see it when it comes out.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Tale of Two Snow Whites

This may sound odd if it's the first time you're hearing about it, but indeed there are two different Snow White movies currently in the works, and they will see release within three months of each other. I made entries about them some time ago, one for each; There's that one being directed by Tarsem Singh and another one given the Joan of Arc treatment, both of which I'm looking forward to for different reasons. After months of waiting, trailers for both movies finally hit the internet, and the wait was definitely worth it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Seeking Justice [2011]

Director: Roger Donaldson
Cast: Nicolas Cage, January Jones, Guy Pearce, Harold Perrineau, Xander Berkeley
Genre: Thriller
Rating: Teen
Excerpt: "What you see is what you get, and you wouldn't know if that's a good or a bad thing until you see it..."

Nick Gerard (Nicolas Cage) lives pretty much an uneventful life. He is a happily married man who divides his time teaching at a school full of teenage delinquents during the day, and he plays chess with his best friend Jimmy (Harold Perrineau) at every other night. But then everything starts to change when a former convict assaults and rapes his wife Laura (January Jones) on her way back home from work. As Nick laments this tragedy that has befallen his wife, a mysterious man who goes by the name of Simon (Guy Pearce) approach him with an offer; Either follow the system and rely on the law for justice, or they can just take matters into their own hands and serve justice straight up.

What to Expect
1. A decent thriller
2. Not really minding Nicolas Cage in the main role
3. Almost predictable, but not quite
4. Decent cuts (Malaysia)
5. Credible debate about the justice system
6. Genuine suspenseful moments

What NOT to Expect
1. A plot twist that will make you gasp
2. An ambiguous Good vs. Evil movie
Good enough for what it was. No less, no more.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How Will James Mangold's Version of 'Wolverine' Differ?

Earlier this year when I was jittery from anticipating the movie X-Men: First Class [2011], I mentioned in passing (in the comments section) how director Darren Aronofsky was attached to the new Wolverine project. I didn't dedicate an entry on that because there was pretty much nothing to go on about. Fast forward to today, and I got disappointed to learn that Aronofsky will no longer have anything to do with this second Wolverine spin-off.

That is, until I saw who's replacing him, and how he's planning to approach the story. The man is James Mangold, a director who ended up being in my radar after the release of Walk the Line [2005], after which I backtracked his works and discovered that I have actually seen quite a few of his movies. There's Cop Land [1997], Kate & Leopold [2001] and Identity [2003], although I find none of them to be memorable (except for 3:10 to Yuma [2007], of course). But the most important thing to take away from this is the fact that the dude is not a one-trick pony.

One-trick pony. *Giggles*... Because he directed a cowboy movie, get it? Never mind.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hey Censorship Board, What the Fuck, Man?! (a.k.a. 5 Stupidest Assumptions the Censorship Board Make About Us)

You would think that I'm used to it by now, growing up in this country and all. But I'm not, even though I took comfort in knowing that they have became a little more lenient as of late, as evidenced by movies like Conan the Barbarian and In Time, to name a few. There were still a lot of censorship, sure. And they were all crudely made.

But still it didn't disrupt the movie watching experience to the point where it's just insulting, and you wouldn't feel like you'd get better value for your money if you had just tear the RM10 note in half. That is, until I went to the premiere of Immortals, barely a week ago. It would appear that I don't get to retain my right to complain since I got to see the movie for free. But that doesn't mean I was any less frustrated than those of you who had to pay.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Don't Say Anything, Just Watch It...

A while back I made a couple of entries that focused on fight scenes and action sequences. Some were very badass and visually-pleasing, others were just nonsense. This would be an addition to the latter.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Can Gina Carano Hold Her Own?

Movie Title: Haywire
Release Date: January 26th, 2012 (Malaysia)
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Gina Carano, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum

I recognised the face in a split second, as any fan of Mixed Martial Arts would. That lady you're going to see in the trailer is actually a legitimate ass-kicker in real life too and her name is Gina Carano. But it took me by surprise that she is starring in an action movie, even though it really shouldn't since the men of MMA have been doing the same thing. I guess the women's division is a lot to be desired, I have forgotten to pay it any attention.

Well, surely there will be a surge in attention now that Haywire is coming next January. Ladies and gents, brace yourself to see Jason Bourne with a vagina.

What surprised me even more was the amount of familiar faces starring in this movie, you could almost feel like it's Ocean's Fourteen. Not that it would be a coincidence since the movie is directed by Steven Soderbergh, which begs the question, can Gina Carano hold her own? Time will tell.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Immortals [2011]

Director: Tarsem
Cast: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, Freida Pinto, Stephen Dorff, Luke Evans, John Hurt
Genre: Mythology/Fantasy/Epic
Rating: Adult
Excerpt: "It's bleak, unapologetic, violent, and many other things a movie about Greek mythology should be..."

Bitter and filled with rage at the gods, King Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) declares war on the gods and humans alike. He embarks on a quest to find the legendary weapon forged by Ares, the god of war himself, a weapon called the Epirus Bow. Bound by the divine law, the gods can only stand by and watch as the world beneath them gets consumed by chaos. But all is not lost, for the Olympians have chosen for themselves a champion amongst the humans, a peasant who goes by the name of Theseus (Henry Cavill). Although he doesn't know it yet, Theseus is the key to the survival of the world as they know it.

What to Expect
1. To love it, or hate it
2. Poetry in motion
3. A simple storyline
4. Tarsem's distinctive visual style
5. Badass gods
6. Merciless cuts by the Censorship Board (Malaysia)

What NOT to Expect
1. A faithful adaptation of the Greek mythology in general
2. An action movie approach to the story
3. Character development
A masterpiece in its own merits. (At least for me)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Cousin Vinny [1992]

Director: Jonathan Lynn
Cast: Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei ♥, Ralph Macchio, Mitchell Whitfield, Fred Gwynne, Lane Smith
Genre: Comedy/Courtroom drama
Rating: General
Excerpt: "One of the few movies where almost every scene is memorable..."

Bill Gambini (Ralph Macchio) and Stan Rothenstein (Mitchell Whitfield) are two friends from New York driving through Alabama for a holiday. Upon stopping at a convenience store, Bill picks up a can of tuna but forgets to pay for it, for which they are stopped by the local authorities for shoplifting. Or so they thought. Unbeknownst to them, the store clerk is shot dead soon after the two take their leave, and there are eyewitnesses who claim to have seen them commit the crime. Bill calls home, desperate to get a good attorney to defend them, and he is delighted to learn that there is a practicing attorney in his family, his cousin Vinny (Joe Pesci).

What to Expect
1. A laugh-out-loud comedy movie
2. Joe Pesci flexing his comedic muscles really well
3. Bombshell Marisa Tomei ♥
4. Memorable characters

What NOT to Expect
1. Filler scenes
2. To feel the time passing by
A masterpiece.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

FIXI #8: Zombijaya

I don't know if it's ironic, a curse or just plain coincidence, but it would appear that the last time I had trouble getting online, and going through cabin fever as a result from it, it was also around the same time I got my hands on the first three FIXI books. Well guess what, about two days after I got my hands on the latest book from FIXI called Zombijaya, something happened to my modem and once again, I got disconnected from the rest of the world.

Yea yea I know what you're thinking. "Why not just go outside? Embrace reality for once, Mamü!" Well, taking a page from Inception [2010], the internet is now my reality, and I'm sure it's the same with you lot, so spare me the judgemental looks, will ya? But it would appear that my time out wasn't altogether a bad thing. I got some things done, and that includes the time well spent reading Adib Zaini's Zombijaya.

Not pictured are MJ Woo, who came up with the premise, and the illustrator, Ho Sui-Jon...

My Apologies, Friends...

*sigh* There are very few things in the whole world that can piss me off, and my internet breaking down is one of them. I don't know what it is, but there was something wrong with my modem the very night I set out to do some scheduled posts for this blog, only to realise that I only managed to do that one entry on The Walking Dead before my internet went completely dead for one whole week. My apologies, dear friends.

Now I know how the Emperor felt when Luke blew up the Death Star...
But hey, I'm back now and I have a lot of catching up to do. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

'The Walking Dead' It May Be, But Braindead It Isn't

Very very rarely I commit myself to watching television series (not counting sitcoms), but I have in the past got hooked to watching shows like Prison Break [2005-2009] and My Name Is Earl [2005-2009]. Currently the super awesome Game of Thrones [2011-] is on my list, as well as Burn Notice [2007-?], two television series I'd be willing to go through seasons after seasons. I'm a little late, but I have now added The Walking Dead [2010-] to the list.

I have been aware of it since the show was announced, but I don't know why I didn't bat an eyelid to it. I guess it's because like I said, I don't put too much stock into television series. What drew me to it was seeing a behind-the-scenes featurette of the second season on FOX. Or to be more specific, seeing the name Gale Anne Hurd in the credits. So I proceeded with giving it a chance, with the first episode of the second season being the first I've seen of The Walking Dead.

I must say, it was a bit of a mistake because what I saw was kind of a spoiler to the first season. But in my defense I didn't think I was going to gobble it all up.

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