Wednesday, February 27, 2013

3 Most Obvious Things About Movies That Local Audience Apparently Still Doesn't Get

They don't need my pity. But there are times when I can't help feeling sorry for our industry.

While some are content and just go with the flow, there are others who wish to elevate our industry to new heights. Or at the very least, the heights where our industry used to be back in the P. Ramlee era. I can't say that the movie-going culture has dwindled (nor would I know), because people still flock the cinemas. But more often than not, it's movies like Transformers, Skyfall [2012] and The Avengers [2012] that they'll shell out money for.

Nothing wrong with that at all, that goes without saying. You go ahead and see whatever movie you want to see. All I'm saying is, local movies have relatively little drawing power in comparison with Hollywood films, and not without a good reason. I too, would rather sit through American Gangster [2007] for the umpteenth time than give another one of those Pailang movies an hour of my time. The problem is not always as simple as local producers not wanting to branch out.

Last night was Raja Lawak finale, ah? Good. Can you write me a script and send it in tomorrow?
You see, the amount of restriction and scrutiny imposed upon our industry is so great, it's like storming Omaha Beach. In short, they expect our film-makers to produce world-class products with one hand tied behind their backs. Today, however, I don't want to talk about people who sit in offices telling us Malaysians what we can't watch, what we can't do, say and hear.

Today, I just want to talk about three things that our audiences have to get over, before we can even dream about "memartabatkan industri seni".

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Rock Oo [2013]

Director: Mamat Khalid
Starring: Que Haidar, Khir Rahman, Sofi Jikan, Pekin Ibrahim, Azmi Black
Genre: Drama/Comedy
Rating: General
Verdict: "While the visuals are strong, it's highly unlikely for 'Rock Oo' to garner Mamat Khalid some new fans..."

Some years after the events that took place in the first Rock movie, rock band Rimba Bara is now in their mid-career slump when their guitar player quits the band, and their lead singer Zul Kapan (Sofi Jikan) decides to front another band. The two remaining members, bassist Jijo (Khir Rahman) and drummer Black (Azmi Black) figure that their fifteen minutes are over and have given up on their rock n' roll dreams. But everything changes when Amy Mat Piah (Que Haidar), an enthusiastic-but-subpar vocalist offers his services to the band.

What to Expect
1. A heartfelt tribute to the good ol' days
2. A sequel that stands on its own two feet
3. Strong visuals
4. Memorable performances
5. A Mamat Khalid movie

What NOT to Expect
1. A fleeting pace
As a movie, it didn't do it for me. But its cultural significance shouldn't be overlooked

Thursday, February 21, 2013

"Sound City", a Docu by Dave Grohl

I don't know if it's apparent that music (rock music in particular) comes after movies on my What I Love list. I know it does in real life, but probably not here.

Perhaps now it will be? Photo courtesy of Raja "Apak" Faisal's Instagram
Granted, the two kinda complement each other even before the time when technology made it possible. But hey, you folks are smart. You know what I'm talking about. So imagine my excitement when I heard that Dave Grohl, formerly the drummer of the era-defining band, Nirvana, who now fronts another successful rock band, Foo Fighters. I'm not really a fan of either one, but I'm not one to nitpick so long as the guitars are loud.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Minimalist P. Ramlee Movie Posters by Fasyali Fadzly

Anyone else a fan of minimalist movie posters? Oftentimes I find them to be better than the actual posters, because of that artistic element to them, and how little they care about who's starring in it. Almost like a visual poetry of the film's logline. One example;

Seriously, if you have a couple a minutes to spare, check out the posters in the three links above. They're oh so cool. I even tried my hand in making one for the short film, Lightbulb, using what little skill I obtained before dropping out from a creative multimedia course I did a while back. What I'd like to showcase today, however, are these really cool minimalist P. Ramlee movie posters made by the Fasyali Fadzly.

I bet you'll instantly recognise them. That's how well-made they are. Dragon, I want more!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Last Stand [2013]

Director: Kim Jee-woon
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Luiz Guzman, Eduardo Noriega, Forest Whitaker, Peter Stormare, Jaimie Alexander, Johnny Knoxville
Genre: Action/Comedy
Rating: Teen (gun violence, blood)
Verdict: "Not as straightforward as one might think..."

In an idyllic border town called Sommerton in Arizona, Sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) enjoys the tiny pleasures his retirement from the LAPD could offer him, his days coloured by his deputies and the residents of Sommerton. However, he receives a grim wake up call when FBI Agent John Bannister (Forest Whitaker) informs him about the fugitive drug lord Gabriel Cortez (Eduardo Noriega) coming his way in a powerful sports car, with his band of militia clearing the path for him. The FBI has exhausted all of its available resources, it's now up to Sheriff Owens and his deputies to prevent this most wanted criminal from escaping to Mexico.

What to Expect
1. A treat for action movie fans
2. Surprisingly well-written
3. Schwarzenegger still has it
4. To sidestep many of the genre's most off-putting cliches
5. A nice blend of the old and the new

What NOT to Expect
1. A Schwarzenegger one-man show
2. The Expendables
3. The Michael Bay brand of brainless action
Easily one of the best 2013 has to offer thus far

Sunday, February 3, 2013

"Gila Baby"; a Road/Action/Comedy Hybrid. I Think.

I'm not at liberty to discuss much of what I know about it, but this project from Grand Brilliance caught my interest out of everything else in their "coming soon" catalogue. Don't get me wrong, they got some promising (and varied) stuff coming our way, and Gila Baby probably wouldn't even see the light of day until much later this year. Or maybe even next year, as it is still in the early stages of production. Little more than a week, if I'm not mistaken.

What I can share with you are the things already made public.

NOT the actual teaser poster. I slapped this together because I needed at least one photo...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Now This is Just Plain False Advertising

Just to prepare you on what's to come.

If you've seen Prince of the City, you'll find that to be one hell of a punchline. Either Julian Cheah is that vain, or he's being charmingly self-deprecating.

Thanks to an anonymous tip in my review of the craptastic Prince of the City [2012], it was pointed out to me that an American distributor actually pieced together a different trailer for its international release, as reported on its official Facebook page. I'm assuming that this is because the original trailer was so universally-loathed, they decided to fork out another 50 bucks so a first-year film school student can show 'em how to cut a trailer (citation needed).

Go on, have a looksie. I'll wait. By the way, I wonder if they re-edited the whole movie as well. Or at least clean it up a little, 'cause the version I saw was a mess!

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