Archives for August 2005

gol & gincu, a malaysian movie (revised)

I felt guilty after my initial ‘review’ was linked by a few blogs, including the official G&G site as a… erm proper review/ ulasan. I read and re-read it and felt bad because it seemed sparse, lack of depth; lack of many things in fact. When I first wrote it, I was trying to talk about the movie without giving away too much; I mean I personally hate to read reviews with spoilers, sometimes they defeat the purpose of going to the cinema, the ‘surprise-me’ element was totally gone. After all, I went to watch the movie without expectations; I didn’t even know much about the storyline. I feel that it’s the best way to watch ANY movie.

But the guilt feeling has been prevalent for a few days and I decided that it’s time to do something about it, this time with spoilers. And I’ll be a bit more honest and critical, my apologies if it offends.

The Storyline: Putri (Nur Fazura) is your typical college kid who seems to have everything going for her, until one day her boyfriend Eddy (Ashraf Sinclair) decides to dump her for a more independant and self-reliant girl. Determined to win back Eddy, Putri decides to play futsal – Eddy’s favourite sport, and prove to him that she is worthy to be part of his world. Along the way she meets Shasha (Sazzy Falak) the obligatory biatch who (surprise surprise) turns out to be Eddy’s new squeeze, Zie (Rafidah Abdullah) the futsal mentor-to-be and a host of other chicks who would later be part of the ‘Bukan Team Biasa’ futsal team, captained by Putri. This journey undertaken by Putri to win back a lost love turns out to be a path of self-discovery leading to new friends, renewed self-confidence and a new man.

The first thing that strikes me is the simplicity of the storyline. It reminds me of a few teen-movies offered by Hollywood, the most obvious being ‘Legally Blonde’. I read somewhere that the director Bernard Chauly makes no excuse for the seemingly fluffy plot, saying that it was meant to be a cross between ‘Legally Blonde’ and ‘Bend It Like Beckham’. I suppose in a lot of cases the more simple the storyline the better, some messages are best handed out that way. I’m sure we have all been subjected to one too many movies who try to ‘dizzy-fy’ us with complicated twists and turns and end up making a mess of the whole production.

The main message of the movie is fairly straightforward – the self-discovery of a growing up teenager in our society today. The movie is peppered with dialogues and anecdotes that most of us can relate to, some which we may have pushed aside or forgotten about. I particularly like the development of one of the girls whose boyfriend is very vocal about her appearance and in the end got what he deserves (well, not quite but at least that’s the end of the relationship for him). I have friends who were (and still are) in such relationships; personally I think it’s time that someone or something with the power to influence (such as movies etc) say it loud and clear that no, it’s not ok to be demeaned that way. And no, it’s not ok for girls to do it to their guys either.

Then there’s the other issue which I previously mentioned; illegal family lovin’. Jiji (Sharifah Amani, forever branded as the ‘Sepet’ girl) went through the episode which none of us hope would happen to any of our loved ones; or anyone for that matter. The way I felt it was portrayed in the movie was that if more people stood up for what’s right and wrong, the perpetrator would be cowered into taking a step back, however slight it may be. Not much was said in the movie about the affair (as in verbal lines but who knows the censor board’s stand on this!), but the fact that it is highlighted and acknowledged as a seriously wrecked problem is commendable.

Also much attention is given to the prejudice faced by females who is passionate about futsal. It’s undeniable that a lot of people especially chicks get into football because of ‘cute good looking footballers’, which puts a massive dent into the credibility of those who truly love the game. Same thing with futsal; female players get judged even before they touch the ball. I suppose in our society it will always be a problem so it’s a good thing that little things like this movie paints a positive picture of female athleticism.

Nur Fazura as Putri… it is not difficult to empathise with her character, even if we were never in her position in life and such. As for her portrayal, I suppose it was OK; not exceptionally outstanding nor shabby though I feel that she is easily outshone by Sazzy Falak.

I was really impressed by Sazzy Falak; I have never heard of her nor seen her in any shows but I thought that her performance was rich and full of nuance. She carried out her role very well but I thought it was a pity that her character was not given the chance to fully develop ala Selma Blair as Vivian Kensington in Legally Blonde.

Rafidah Abdullah (the scriptwriter of G&G and one of the 3R trio) was pleasant to watch; at the end of the movie I wanted to be her friend! Zie was very much the pillar of strength in the movie and I thought that Rafidah brought out the best of her character. Ida Nerina needs no introduction, she’s a natural. Melissa Maureen Rizal (the PONDS ad girl) as Putri’s best friend was sweet and supportive, you can’t go wrong with that. J the tomboy and the girl who was constantly brought down by her boyfriend, both roles were brought out strongly by the actresses. As for other actors and actresses, I thought that some of their performances were stiff and unnatural.

There were some things that were not explained even though they were given a fair amount of airtime. One as I said was Shasha, who during a heated argument with Zie said that even though they had been friends for a long time, “…. kau memang tak faham aku.” Near to the end of the movie, she was among those who admonished Jiji’s father, revealing a side to her that was never shown before. However there was no mention of what Zie ‘tak faham’ – it would have been nice to know; a broken family ke, a well-meaning but totally kiasu parent that urged her to further develop her competitiveness ke, etc.

And Putri’s recurring dreams about being caught in a scoring match between her and Shasha. The last dream scene showed a bicycle ‘guarding’ Putri’s net, Shasha scoring the goal that felled the bicycle, then… nothing. I know lah that the bicycle could mean Putri’s new man being on her side for he prominently rides a bicycle in the movie, but a bit not smooth lah the sequence.

IMHO the sponsored products plugging were a tad too much. If I were to make a comparison, I would say ‘Minority Report’ plugged certain brands quite well – essential but in the background. In G&G they seemed like blatant advertisements at times. Of course it’s necessary to plug the sponsors, being a low-budget movie and all, but sometimes the extra air time could have gone to further developing the characters or story.

All in all, ‘Gol & Gincu’ is well worth the watch. Despite it being a light-hearted flick, it gave me quite a few things to think about, mostly regarding Malaysian movies, youth culture and highlighting social problems.

I think that for a long time, many Malaysian movies will be compared to ‘Sepet’. It may or may not be fair, but the truth is that ‘Sepet’ broke a lot of boundaries and made Malaysians take further interest in our local productions. It seems to be that Malaysians, regardless of race will watch a Malaysian movie, as long as it is honest and relatable to all of us. G&G is not far from that but may alienate certain groups of audience as it could be deemed as ‘too modern’ or only applicable to the ‘rich college type’. Well that is young Malaysians today for you. You can choose to either close one eye and pretend that everything is hanky-dory, or try to understand and play an active role in our changing society.

Also, do you think that ‘Sepet’ may have paved the way for more indie film makers to revert mainstream? I don’t think it’s a bad idea at all, it just means better exposure especially if the offering is good. You do have to agree that a lot of our local mainstream movies are not very… up to standard, I don’t think I need to spell things out lah. Thailand and Singapore make pretty good home-grown movies, there is no reason why Malaysia cannot achieve the same level. I’m just wondering if it’s the powers-that-be (snip snip snip) that is holding us back, the influence of less-than-competent people wielding big guns to monopoly the mainstream media (no names) or what? I read that there are many independent Malaysian film makers who are making it big overseas but not very well-known in our own shores. Why is that so yah? Is it the recurring notion that you can only make it big back home if you made it big in other countries?

Thoughts thoughts thoughts, more things to ponder upon. I’ll be taking more interest in our local film industry, that’s for sure. For now, enjoy ‘Gol & Gincu’.

gol & gincu, a malaysian movie

Gol & Gincu: Adakah cinta satu permainan? Translated it means “Goal & Lipstick : Is love a game?”, which doesn’t really come out as catchy and dreamy as it does in the current Malay title. I mean, not like my translation power is very the keng but that should give you an idea that the movie in general is pretty much light-hearted teen fun. Overall, a feel good chick-flick.

Gol & Gincu movie preview ticket

Putri (Nur Fazura), a mad-about-fashion college kid is dumped by her futsal-crazy boyfriend Eddy (Ashraf Sinclair) for a more independant and self-reliant girl. She decides to win back Eddy by proving to him that she too can embrace futsal like Madonna to Kabbalah. Along the way she meets Shasha (Sazzy Falak) the obligatory biatch, Zie (Rafidah Abdullah) the kind-hearted doesn’t-hold-a-grudge nice gal who offers to coach Putri in futsal, and a host of other chicks who would later be part of the ‘Bukan Team Biasa’ futsal team, captained by Putri. Somewhere along the plot Putri grows up, which means a whole journey of self-discovery that I do not really need to spell out.

Halfway through typing the above paragraph, I realised that the main storyline is uncannily similar to that of ‘Legally Blonde’. Turns out that I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Predictable as it is, there are a couple of side stories regarding issues that I feel are good exposures, such as illegal family lovin’ and boyfriends who treat their girlfriends so crap that they should be shot then thoroughly mutilated beyond the point of recognition. But overall I thought the movie casts a positive light on our youth – sometimes we can really think for ourselves! And while I am not a major futsal fan, I sympathise with the all too familiar difficulties faced by females who truly love the sport.

Goodies: Good soundtrack, Ida Nerina, Rafidah Abdullah, Sazzy Falak, female empowerment, good cinematography (I’m not an expert but I can appreciate good angles), certain realistic diversification of characters, the message of the movie.

Overkill: Sponsored products plugging, lengthy unnecessary scenes mostly brought upon by sponsored products plugging and massive MTV culture influence if you know what I mean.

(By the way I was more than shocked to see two familiar faces in the movie, Dominique and Shee Teng! Hehehe even though they are ka lei fei, no one NO ONE can miss Dom’s blonde hair!!! …. and Shee Teng just told me that Danial and Tong Teck were also in the movie, though I couldn’t recognise them. OMGWTF!!! Batu Pahat taking over the world issit?!?)

Gol & Gincu premiere - Jaime, Jeff Ooi, Suanie

For a first feature film, it’s definitely more than a commendable effort by director Bernard Chauly. Actually I do not know who he or she is, but good job and I MEAN IT!!! Hehehe… I am not very ‘in’, you see… and am still trying to recover from the shock and utter happiness from standing within 1 metre vicinity of my long-time idol, Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir. RAWRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!

Would I recommend this movie? YEAP! It opens tomorrow so go watch it at a cinema – don’t be too kiam siap and look for Uncle Ho because Uncle Ho will turn around and slap you silly for not supporting our growing film industry.

Many thanks to Daniel Tang of Addaudio Studios for the tix and TV Smith for the invite.

Related links:
Official site for “Gol & Gincu”
Review by Jeff Ooi
Review by Midnight Lily
Review by Jaime

happy birthday, singapore!

As you may know, I hail from Batu Pahat, Johor which is about 1.5 hours from Singapore (by car).

I was a TV addict, but believe it or not, I never seldom watch Malaysian TV until I was around 20 years old (I watched old P. Ramlee movies on M’sian TV). And that was because I had no choice – once you go past Muar, it’s highly difficult to receive Singapore channels on TV. My family, friends and I grew up on Channel 8’s 7-8 pm and 9 – 10 pm series and when I could understand English a little better, I was hooked on Channel 5. Until today I still miss it for the variety of programmes, but 8TV is doing a good job filling the void.

Zoe Tay, 8 Days, Vernetta Lopez, the rise-halt-rise of Fann Wong, Jack Neo and Moses Lim, Liang Popo, Ang Mo Kio, Sentosa, Kumar, Najip Ali and his talk show, 3-room HDB flats with a small playground at every other block, Russell Lee, too underage to enter a pub at Boat Quay, too underaged to visit my grandmother in the hospital ward, Yakult (it was only recently brought into Malaysia), Ah Meng, my first circus experience are among those little things that I remember.

Heck, I can even sing the Singapore’s national anthem better than some Singaporeans ๐Ÿ˜‰

Then I grew up, moved to KL and lost touch with Singapore. In 2003 I re-visited this tiny island that is reaping all of Malaysia’s good qi from our Titiwangsa Range, only to be…

I mean, WTF!!!

But that visit in 2003 was also my first time seeing the famous merlion. I told my Singaporean friend and guide Pinky that I wanted to do the tourist things and she delivered.

I had a few firsts in Singapore as well. My first Hoegaarden, and my first Paulaner.

Suanie drinks Paulaner in Singapore

When I said before that Singaporeans queue up and wait for their turn, I was referring to a gay club somewhere in Tanjung Pagar, which was opposite a place where Jaime and I were having supper.

Club around Tanjung Pagar in Singapore

The queue went ALL THE WAY to the other side of the building! It looked really fun, but we were too tired to go clubbing that night, plus the idea of waiting in THAT line was exhausting enough.

There is a lot of bad blood between Malaysians and Singaporeans for a variety of reasons. They say this, we say that, they do that, we do this… politics, leaders, water, culture, media, education, exposure, history influence etc etc etc. There won’t be an end to this love-hate relationship of ours anytime soon. When all is said and done, I personally believe that there is a lot they can learn from us, and a lot that we can learn from them. Oh well ๐Ÿ™‚ (Edit: that sounds a bit offhand, doesn’t it? We’ll leave the point-to-point differences for later.)

Happy birthday, Singapore ๐Ÿ™‚

The Singapore flag

blogathon: the day after

Yo, wassup?

Today I ate McDonalds chicken burger
Today I drank lots of Coke and water
Today I have a lot of work to do.
Today I still see a cloud of haze.

Today I cannot write many many things because I am all blogged out. On Saturday I woke up at 8 a.m., went to work, rushed to Amcorp Mall with Jaime, came back, started the blogathon, bla bla bla and finally couldn’t take it anymore and fell asleep at 6 p.m. on Sunday. Keng or not?

By the way if you think you are having a bad Monday, check this out.

Blogathon 2005 - The Star news clipping

What’s wrong with it, you ask? After all it’s free publicity for our blogathon effort at and I am STILL complaining? Bloody hell, I should be bloody thankful, count my blessings, thank my lucky stars etc etc that we have it ‘easy’ bla bla yadda la di da la (well, some people do think so, sorry to disappoint y’all but organising/management etc was way far from easy ๐Ÿ™‚ )

Shut it, I AM thankful for the free publicity. But when you are a single girl looking for a date, it doesn’t help that the whole nation now thinks you have teeth like these:

Blogathon 2005 - The Star newspaper

I think it’s fated that I die lonely, ugly, desperate, single and fat. Goodbye cruel world.

As for the blogathon, you can still sign up as a sponsor and pledge to our campaign. Of course, now you would have to really donate the amount you pledged, seeing we successfully completed the blogathon. Sponsorships remain open until Tuesday – that is tomorrow, so as Gwen Stefani would say, WAT’CHA WAITING FOR?!?

Go check out our archives at kthxbai.