"There is a whitewashed, idealised version of childhood that is popular in movies. It has the kids sitting neatly in their chairs, talking with some adult, in a sarcastic, overly sophisticated but polite way – a concoction that bears no resemblance to an actual kid."
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 2:05 PM
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
This is the Age Of Lazy. We want our information quick and easy. It used to be that we go to the library if we want to look up something. But thanks to the Internet, the purveyor of laziness, everything's just a click away. No, mailing a handwritten letter takes just too much time. An email takes just seconds. An encyclopaedia is just too bulky, and we'd have to get up off our asses to get it off the shelf. No, Wikipedia is so much more convenient, no matter that the information there may not be 100% accurate.
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 12:00 PM
Thursday, September 17, 2009
A string of diappointments, after the excellent Toy Story 1 and 2. American animated films, in general, are overly talky, eschewing the importance and beauty of silence. When animated films in other languages - My Neighbour Totoro, for instance - are dubbed for Stateside, extra dialogue is added into scenes originally silent. Wall-E came close to finally silencing the noise, at least in its first half. The terribly overrated Ratatouille was unbearable in its sonic assault.
This time, Pixar has displayed incredible restraint, letting crucial scenes play out in silence, allowing gestures to do the talking. A critical plot point happens with the protagonist silently flipping through the pages of a scrapbook. A revelatory page, and a familiar gesture, and we understand the implications of it all.
But the most interesting thing about Up, is its striking irony. This is a kids' movie about what it means to be a kid, yet the lead character is a 78-year-old man. Many have taken the story to be about growing old. In part, it is, but more pertinent is that it's about staying young. It's about not losing the child in us, the child who dares to dream the impossible, like flying a house using thousands of helium-filled balloons. The child who sits on the kerb enjoying an ice-cream with his friend and playing childish games like "red and blue cars." Life is one big adventure, because that's the only way we will survive it.
With its wildly imaginative collection of a flying house, talking dogs, technicolour birds and such, it's as if Pixar has made a movie about itself.
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 8:43 PM
Saturday, September 12, 2009
This piece of news came earlier this week. The Host 2, the sequel to Bong Joon-ho's family drama/actioner, is now a Korea-Singapore co-production. And somewhere in there is the name Kelvin Tong; he's the joint producer.
Now, name a film that Tong has directed that is of unquestionable quality. Difficult, isn't it? Perhaps he will do better as producer this time. Who knows?
Now, if you noticed, I called The Host a "family drama." Because that's really what it is. Compared to the entire runtime of the movie, the appearance of the monster is brief. But judging from this quote:
... someone obviously thinks it's a monster movie in all conventional sense. And that's pretty troubling.
Producer and Chungeorahm Film's chief executive, Mr Choi Yong-Bae, said he is confident that Host 2 will become "the best Asian creature movie ever."
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 3:51 PM
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
If we currently have the Malaysian tag team of Woo Ming Jin and Edmund Yeo competing in Venice, then it's a triple threat at the Toronto International Film Festival - Tsai Ming-liang, Chris Chong and Ho Yuhang.
“I think of the film as a moving painting imprinted on celluloid,” said the director, who spent three years studying the paintings at the Louvre. “It is Tsai trying to find a new expression for the art in his head.”
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 12:23 PM
Monday, September 7, 2009
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 1:25 PM
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Truly, a reason to rejoice. I've had my MGM Special Edition for some years now. While that edition is fairly good but with little extras, this two-disc Criterion edition should be a great transfer, and it's chockful of extra features - including a commentary track by Colombo himself!
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 9:44 PM
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Haven't had such a disturbing experience in the cinema in a long time. Orphan's premise isn't new - family adopts child who is not quite there - but it does have a rather original take on the idea. It's always frightening to see such fatalistic downward spiral, helplessly witnessing someone heading towards inevitable doom or self-destruction. It's part of what makes this film so scary, and the pacing is remarkable.
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 8:45 AM
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
No way out. Surrounded by enemies. Relinquishing all hopes, they walk out and down the steps to defeat, ready to face whatever was out there. For one, it is madness. For the other, it is a flurry of arrows.
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 9:01 AM
Sunday, August 30, 2009
This is what happens when you make lavish claims about your upcoming film. Ridiculous comparisons now abound between James Cameron's 3D extravaganza Avatar and the animated flop Delgo. That Movie Line article holds no water at all. What they claim to be "7 Eeriest Parallels" between the two films seem to be in a hundred other films too. Need we, for a moment, revisit that YouTube comparison between the trailers of Tim Burton's Batman and The Dark Knight? That comparison - same refuse, different garbage bag.
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 3:19 AM
Saturday, August 29, 2009
"Some people are born to sit by a river ... some get struck by lightning ... some have an ear for music ... some are artists ... some swim ... some know buttons ... some know Shakespeare ... some are mothers ... and some people ... dance."
My favourite movie of last year. Life is one big, curious case.
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 12:49 AM
Friday, August 28, 2009
I'd forgotten how scary this movie really is. A story about the environment, the follies of man in trying to control nature, most of all, a cautionary tale about arrogance. The best, most moving scene for me is at the dinner table, where Jon Voight's character breaks down.
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 9:57 AM
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 6:52 PM
Saturday, May 9, 2009
First of all, Sell Out! is currently going through its opening weekend. Personally, and I think a lot of other people, filmmakers and cinemagoers alike, would agree, I feel that Sell Out! is a good, refreshing change for the industry and worth the support. Otherwise, I don't know how long we would have to wait before another film like this will come our way and give us an opportunity for change.
All this while, I've been supporting and publicising good Malaysian films in the hope that our industry can change for the better. South Korea's mainstream cinema got a boost after Shiri smashed box-office records years ago, and look where they are today, internationally recognised for their mainstream films. Taiwan recently got its own boost with Cape No. 7, not a great film but a really entertaining, feel-good movie that drew audiences in droves.So far, we've not had anything like that in Malaysian cinema. We had high hopes for Puteri Gunung Ledang some years ago, but that was not the Great Change we had hoped for both in box-office and artistic terms.
And now comes along a really good crowd-pleaser, and what happens? Some cinemas can't be arsed to promote it. It's no surprise, really, because the general consensus among cinema operators would be that Wolverine and Star Trek would make more money, and therefore should be given priority and more visibility.But this is our own cinema, our own film. If we do not give it a chance now, when would be a good time? Personally, I think Sell Out! presents probably the best opportunity for a booster shot to the arm of our industry. If we miss out on this one, it will take some years before the next one will appear.
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 12:58 PM
Sunday, April 26, 2009
This blog has been deathly quiet of late. Apologies, but it's been a whirlwind of a month at the day job, while preparing for a week-long trip to the Singapore International Film Festival. It was nice to be back at the SIFF after missing it for so many years, although the festival isn't quite the same anymore. I did feel a certain lack of excitement now, and the programming in the last, maybe two, years had been less exciting too. After all, this was the festival where I saw my first Kurosawa Kiyoshi film (Kairo) and first met Tsai Ming-liang. If anything, this year's edition, the first post-Philip Cheah festival, seems a little more nationalistic, what with a plethora of Singapore films making their world premieres and sorts, and the Singapore Film Awards.
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 9:27 PM
Thursday, March 19, 2009
- I should have written about this last week, but I guess it's never too late. Gone Shopping is showing now at GSC, and it's probably the best Singapore film I've seen in a long time. It's endlessly entertaining, even touching in some parts and has quite something to say about the Lion City's urban culture. If you haven't already seen it, I urge you to.
- There's a MacGyver movie in the making. Are we excited or what?
- A poster of Where The Wild Things Are is available now. View it here at Twitch. It looks mighty fine.
- Those who know me probably won't believe this, but rest assured April 1 is still some ways away, so trust me, this is real: I like the Transformers 2 "leaked" trailer, even though I didn't think much of the first trailer. Now I'm interested to see it.
- Lastly, check out the official trailer for musical comedy Sell Out!, directed by Yeo Joon Han. The film will be screening at the Singapore International Film Festival on April 21, so get your tickets now. Otherwise, you'll have to wait till probably May to see it on these shores.
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 11:26 PM
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
Since there's been a recent barrage of blog posts which are mainly complaints about cinemagoers behaving badly, like so, I thought I'd join in and relate some bad experiences of my own. Here goes:
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 2:20 AM
Saturday, March 7, 2009
If adapting a graphic novel were as easy as copying every detail in every frame of the book, with characters mouthing the exact words from the speech bubbles, then anyone can be a great director. Yes, including Zack Snyder. I only have one question for Snyder, which I think he won't be able to answer convincingly: What did HE bring to the film adaptation of Watchmen?
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 11:46 PM
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
In that interview in the previous entry, Alan Moore basically expressed what I've long been frustrated with, that is the extent to which CGI is being used in movies. It's true that there are movies that wouldn't have been possible without the advent of computer graphics, but I think the usage of CGI has become increasingly reckless and less thoughtful.
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 11:46 AM
In a last minute decision, I decided not to see the Watchmen movie at all. Nope, I would like to preserve the good memories of a good "graphic novel" and no sublimely stupid filmmaker is going to ruin those for me. Like I've said before, I find something very wrong with the slick and "cool" look of the characters, costumes and overall film. And the fact that Zack "Fucking" Snyder seems to think the best way to adapt a comicbook is to copy every frame and every visual detail. That, to me, is just fucking stupid.
When we did meet—which was mainly just because I thought it would be really good fun to meet Terry Gilliam, and so it proved—Mr. Gilliam did ask me how I would go about translating Watchmen into a film, and I said to him, "If anybody had asked me, Terry, I would have advised them not to." I think Terry is an intelligent man and came to that conclusion himself.
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 12:02 AM
Monday, March 2, 2009
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 11:57 PM
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
This blog may seem to be falling into neglect. But worry not, it's the result of systematic laziness of the blogger. Well, not laziness alone, but that coupled with a few other matters that take up all available brain cells and leaving none for the pleasure of blogging.
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 10:54 PM
Sunday, February 8, 2009
If you've noticed, The Storyboard Daily, that other blog of Asian film news that I started recently, has been pretty dead. (Not that many would have noticed anyway, sigh.) Well, I've decided to shut it down.
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 5:42 PM
Monday, February 2, 2009
Transformers was Michael Bay's ultimate boys' toys fantasy movie - cars, robots, weapons, and yes, a hot chick. Everything in the movie is a collectible that begs to be bought at the merchandise store, even whatshername.
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 1:51 AM
Sunday, February 1, 2009
"I think it's one of those things where I pull my hair up, shave the sides, and I definitely need a tan," he said of the transformation he'll go through to look more like Sokka. "It's one of those things where, hopefully, the audience will suspend disbelief a little bit."
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 2:11 PM
I'd love to say it's been a long time coming; unfortunately the reason for the demise of Kaiju Shakedown isn't what I wish it were.
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 12:19 AM
Saturday, January 31, 2009
I'm a hardened cynic, or so I'm told. And I didn't have any interest whatsoever in seeing Spanish horror flick [REC]. Especially after the artistically famished Cloverfield. Yes, the main reason that put me off seeing [REC] is the YouTube-influenced shaky cam.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
In the next couple days, I'm off to somewhere and won't be online.
Posted by Allan Koay 郭少樺 at 12:04 AM