Archive for November, 2008


Same Old, Same Old – Oldboy Reborn

November 29, 2008

oldboy1_500One of the most interesting bit of news to have come out from Hollywood in recent times is that Hollywood has finally, totally, and utterly confirmed a remake ‘Oldboy’, a manga that initially spawned a Korean film by the same name.

This has actually been rumoured to be the case for a while, and it’s no wonder: the point of reference when people here the word ‘Oldboy’ in this context tends to be of Park Chan-wook’s masterpiece, rather than the original source material. As such, news of its Western remake has been met with a fair amount of people raising their arms together in despair, and say, “Not again!”

For those not in the know, ‘Oldboy’ is tells the story of a man who, without warning, was one day taken away from his family, and is locked inside a hotel room for 15 years without knowing what’s going on. Eventually, he was released, with less than a week to find out why. Sounds simple enough, but the trick lies in the storytelling, which, in my personal opinion, is as good as any movie I’ve seen. “A powerful film not because of what it depicts,” claimed Roger Ebert, “but because of the depths of the human heart which it strips bare.” Read the rest of this entry ?


Now You See It… – My Magic

November 28, 2008


Warning: What I am about to divulge is not for everyone. Well, that’s not entirely true, so let me take a deeper breath and rephrase that. I am about to divulge that Eric Khoo’s latest effort, ‘My Magic’, is not for everyone. It is not for the younglings (even though one of the main character is a young little Indian fella), it is not for the pregnant or the elderly, and it is most certainly not for the ones who hang out on the beach until 4am talking about life, love, the universe, and explaining to a Swiss guy about our oil price policies (“YOU GUYS HAVE YOUR OWN OIL AND YOU JACKED IT UP 40%?!!).Far more importantly, should you not fall into the categories outlined above, you should still be aware that this film is not suitable for a morning screening. For, despite its name, it is not really something.

Actually, I have to admit that as my alarm went off ten minutes before the screening, I had doubts as to whether I should bother waking up. Sleep would have been more pleasant, I momentarily thought. And then I quickly thought to myself, “This is ‘My Magic’.” Read the rest of this entry ?


KLIFFhanger – Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival 2008

November 24, 2008

kliff07-01Can you believe it? Another year has gone past and before you know it, the 2nd edition of the Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival (cleverly shortened to KLIFF) is upon us. I know that it’s on some time at the end of the year, but the actual festival kinda crept up on my like a creepy crawly I didn’t know about hanging down from its almost-invisible web on the bottom of my roommate’s top bunk bed.

Did that make sense?

But that’s not a bad thing. At least it wasn’t one of the creepy crawly bugs that was all over one of the characters from ‘A Scanner Darkly’, which I saw recently. Now that is a scary scene; I felt an inclination to stop it and go for a quick shower quicker than a stone drop off the edge of the KLIFF (see what I did there? :)). Read the rest of this entry ?


Best Film I Saw In Pusan – Parking

November 20, 2008
parking_posterExpectation can be a dangerous thing, but even though I know that, sometimes it just can’t be helped. OK, so let’s make that a lot of times, then. Generally speaking, there are times when things do slip in under the radar, and you do leave the cinema feeling, “That was nice.” You realise that perhaps it would not have been the same had it been a movie that one had known plenty of beforehand.

Other times, however, there are films that turned out great. ‘The Dark Knight’ may not have really deserved it’s #1 spot on that much (the best of all time? Really?), but it certainly matched my lofty expectations after the first film. But let’s not dilly dally and get straight to the point. I’ve been waiting to watch ‘Parking’ ever since I trawled through the Cannes website half a year ago, so there’s no need to crank the pressure psi up even further. There is, however, a need to tell you this: what a great film it was. Read the rest of this entry ?


It Did Happen! – Blind Pig Who Wants To Fly

November 17, 2008

shapeimage_1I don’t know how much ‘Blind Pig Who Wants To Fly’ cost its makers. It doesn’t seem to be a particularly complex production, in terms of the production design and artistic direction. I don’t know how much the director, Edwin, gets from this film, nor do I know the amount of financial remuneration that the respective cast and crew members get to take home after the final ‘WRAP!’ of the final film. I don’t know how much money the producer put in eventually, taking into account the marketing costs of the film, or even how much money it will make. I can, however, make a very good and estimated guess, that a big amount of the production costs towards the rights to use one song. More specifically, Stevie Wonder will wake up one morning to find plenty of Indonesian rupiah notes lined up in his pockets for Edwin’s constant usage of ‘I Just Called To Say I Love You’.

Mind you, perhaps that’s not the most accurate of descriptions. Given that the film is also well-supported by the Hubert Bals Fund Award (at times, I can’t help but run it through my mind as Hubert’s Balls…), I suppose we could also say that Mr Wonder also made quite a fair amount of Dutch guilders along the way. Read the rest of this entry ?


Shoot ‘Em Up – Death Race

November 2, 2008

When I was younger, I used to play a particular game on the PC called ‘Hi-Octane’. I didn’t much about computers then, let alone its games, and ‘Hi-Octane’ is a simple enough game to describe: you race with other cars around the track, and try to shoot and blow them up at the same time. Quite how enjoyable it was for me as an 11 year-old might be cause for some concern for my child psychiatrist of a mother. Then again, she was the one who bought the computer to begin with, and the game just happened to be bundled along with it. I suppose we could make a slight argument that it was partly her fault. That, and the fact that the other game, ‘Magic Carpet’, was so infuriatingly difficult to play I didn’t even bother beyond the first level.

It might appear to be an interesting place to start a review of a film made in 2008, but it is the memory that popped in my head the most as I watched ‘Death Race’. That, and how glad I was to be watching such a mindless movie. Why? Read the rest of this entry ?


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