Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Back from hibernating... :P

Went to attend Uncle George's daughter, Valerie's wedding at the Sheraton Subang last week. How come I always gotta attend the wedding ceremony of my dad's friend's daughter/son/cousin/whoever is having it? Most of the time I don't even know 99.9% of the guests, go there sit down like some idiot only...I normally go to weddings for the free food anyway (actually not so free lah when you count the ang pau money...)

But the wedding was definitely one of the most expensive I ever attended. Some datuks came, and also other corporate big shots who I probably have no idea who they are...but I almost laughed when this waitress came in holding a dish on her hand while being carried on one of those Dragon Chairs not unlike those used by ancient emperors. :P

Talk about exaggeration.


But let's talk movies.

Watched a coupla movie on TV for the past 2 weeks. Here's the short reviews and some thoughts:

The Island
This Michael Bay movie actually has some interlect in it! Starts off promisingly with some interesting views and themes touching on propaganda, cloning ehtics and repression, along with some cool futuristic lifestyle, but the second half of the movie reverts back to typical Bay-esque action sequences, and only the highway chase stands out. Characterization is so-so with only Steve Buscemi being memorable (the only time I cared was when he got killed off). Great for the first hour, and getting sillier and dissapointing towards the ending. Favourite line: "Just because you wanna eat a burger doesn't mean you gotta meet the cow."
Bottomline: 3 out of 5

Berlari Ke Langit
Watched on ASTRO Kirana with mom and dad. Very, very slow pacing tale about a guy who finds true love in his younger brother's school teacher. The second act's plot is a liitle silly, and when coupled with the arty cinematography and dialogue, make it even sillier. Checked it out just because it's got Rosyam Nor as the lead. The movie may be slow, but the guy's got charisma.
Bottomline: 3 out of 5

Also on Kirana. Korean film about the hijacking of a train by a terrorist. The ads on TV looks interesting...until you see the actual movie. The action is always dragged by the typical Korean mushy love angle that doesn't lead anywhere coz' the leads are just so boring. The hero's good looking, the girl's quite cute, but the villain is the scene stealer. Some action scenes are good, some are plain ridiculous (2 guys in suit taking out the entire 40-strong SWAT team). Should've checked out Project X, but the schedules always clashed with my time.
Bottomline: 2.5 out of 5

I Not Stupid 2
Very, very entertaning Singaporean satire on the education system and parenthood in general. I missed the original, but this sequel stands on its own. The actors, child and teens and adults all do a good job of portraying their characters, their interaction and dialogue very real, and I was overwhelmed with tears during 3 different touching scenes. The jokes are only understood if you're a Malaysian or Singaporean (but films like this never get made in Bolehland because of the "sensitivity" and the jokes that "hurt the racial harmony" and the satire directed towards teachers). The last 20 minutes of the movie does get dramatic and a bit silly (the martial arts champion), but there's a brilliant black comedy moment when a father figure dies and I shouldn't, but burst out loud laughing. The preceding scene was filled with sadness and melancholy, but cut to the next scene and hysteria ensues. You'll know it when you see it. I cannot recall another movie with this instance of a perfect dark comic moment.
Bottomline: 4.5 out of 5

Donnie Darko
Been wanting to watch this coz' of word of mouth and its cult status on the net. Didn't thought they'd show this on 8TV. Not since the Matrix trilogy have I been so confused by a movie's inherently confusing world and plotline created by the director. Jake Gylenhaal was good, Frank the rabbit was creepy (that mask...ugh...), and the atmosphere was filled with "doom". But the ending was like, WTF?! I had to go online for explanations, and pretty much find the time travelling aspect rather original. Wanted to check out the official site (littered with puzzles and clues), but haven't done so.
Bottomline: 4 out of 5

The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou
Low-key comedy from Wes Anderson, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson. It has the usual Anderson trademarks: long shots, subtle jokes perfectly delivered by Murray, parody (check out the pirate invasion and the rescue mission sequence, damn funny). The undersea animals were obviously CG, but quite inventive...and that jaguar shark was cool. But the biggest surprise is Willem Defoe, who is so bloody funny as the jealous Klaus, I just can't imagine him anymore as Norman Osbourne without chuckling.
Bottomline: 3.5 out of 5

Guess Who
Pretty good reinterpretation of that 60s classic that starred Sidney Poitier. The leads have chemistry, and the racial jokes are, well...adequate. Do check it out for a good laugh and for Bernie Mac's performance. Favourite line: "You haven't apologize to your wife?" "Save us your metrosexual bullshit, will you?"
Bottomline: 3 out of 5

The Hitchiker's Guide To The Galaxy
Pretty decent film with a lot of outrageous, wacky and warped sense of Brit humour. Only appreciated you have some familiarity with the book. I know I didn't when half the time I don't get it. But the fly swatter on the face when there's an original thought or idea is a pretty spot-on satire. Slartibartfast, hahaha......
Bottomline: 3 out of 5

My Date With Drew
Was flipping the channels when this documentary-reality TV mash up on STAR Movies caught my attention. This filmmaker Brian Herzlinger wants to use his prize money won from a gameshow, and a videocamera bought from a store with a 30 day return policy, to film his attempt to get a date with Drew Barrymore by hooking up and talking with people who are close to the star using 6 Degrees of Separation. And he's only got 30 days to do it before returning the
videocam. The "movie" remains interesting enough, and the hero itself is likeable and underdog enough for me to root for him. Will he succeed? Read the title. Oh yeah, now I know what the Movie Trailer Guy looks like. (He the background voice of almost every movie trailer)
Bottomline: 4 out of 5

The Skeleton Key
Creepy and atmospheric suspense mystery centering on the practice of hoodoo (not voodoo). Kate Hudson is hot, Peter Saarsgard's southern accent is a bit funny, Gena Rowlands is menacing, and John Hurt says only one line in the entire film. Pacing is slow but remains intriguing, and the twist ending is one of the best in a long time (I haven't been shocked since Saw), and is one of those rare times where the puzzles all come together clearly in your mind
when it is revealed.
Bottomline: 3.5 out of 5


Ho Yuhang's Rain Dogs is finally showing in GSC cinemas after receiving praises in film festivals around the world. Read some mixed reviews on it, but dunno if got time to go check it out...Diva Popular looks like a pretty good satire too (Erma Fatima directs, it's gotta be good).

I say man, bring more local indie productions to the cinemas lah...and loosen up the censorship rules lah!!! Malaysia should stop producing those crappy Senario and Erra Fazira love story movies...and look towards the indie scene for quality films that are truly worthy of international showings.


oh yeah, and I finally received my academic transcript from the folks at LJMU. Ngam-ngam got a 70.8 mean mark to attain a first class honours degree. Whew! They even attached a congrats card with signatures from all the lecturers that taught us. But how come no Dr. Janvier's signature?

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