On the 2014 Malaysian movie, The Journey

The Journey - movie poster

The most talked-about Chinese New Year 2014 movie was The Journey, a local production from Astro Shaw, WooHoo Pictures and award-winning director Chiu (Keng Guan of “Great Day”).

“Very touching..”
“I cried all the way…”
“Heard many good things about it…”

I did too, so I made it a point to watch it in the cinema before it’s taken off.

The Journey is a heartwarming story about an old man’s quest to fulfill a life-long promise; to hand-deliver his daughter’s wedding invitation cards to his friends from primary school.

Or it could be: an old man’s bond with his daughter who came home from UK with a Caucasian fiance. They seek his blessing and acceptance, along which came a journey of self-discovery for all three.

Or maybe: a East meets West story of a future Caucasian son-in-law bonding with the Asian father of his bride-to-be, in a cross-country motorcycle road trip where they learned about the importance of family, heritage, traditions, expectations, forgiveness and acceptance.

The Journey - Benji and Guan

See, there are a few mini stories in the movie. While I enjoyed the overall production, I felt that there was a slight disconnect and some stories do not gel, nor given a proper ‘finish’. My colleague felt the same, but added that “haiya most movies are like that one what.”

OK lor.

That aside, I thought the locations and scenes were just beautiful. Movies like this remind people how gorgeous our country is; please cuti-cuti Malaysia more okay.

The use of mix languages, jumping from one language or dialect to another may be confusing to some. Mandarin, Hokkien, Cantonese, English, Malay, Tamil… But that’s how we Malaysians speak! Love it!

Main actor, Australian Ben Andrew Pfeiffer provides humour and eye candy throughout the movie. I enjoyed the chemistry between him and retiree Frankie Lee Sai Peng, the other main antagonist.

Hard to believe that Frankie Lee had no acting experience prior to this movie. It was also surreal – like watching my father and his can’t-move-a-mountain persona on the cinema screen. I know many people of my generation can relate to this.

Main actress Joanne Yew has nice big eyes. I wish she had better on-screen chemistry with her movie fiance. Or the bond with her father given more emphasis, with a satisfying turning point where both forgave and accepted each other. If there was one, I couldn’t feel it.

If you’ve not seen it, should you go watch it?

Yes, of course, absolutely.

With more yays than nays, you’ll have a wonderful time reminiscing your past. You’ll laugh, cry and reflect on your relationship with your family. If you’re bak kata pepatah ‘katak dibawah tempurung’, you’ll ooh-ahh at the beautiful scenes and landscapes that you wouldn’t believe were shot in Malaysia.

On an unpaid, not-an-advertorial side note, thank you Astro Shaw for taking a chance on something like this. RM4 million budget is no joke, I think it was well-spent and I look forward to more of your productions.

Watch The Journey‘s official trailer:

Some behind-the-scenes clips, really amazing cast and production:

See first-time actor Frankie flubbing his lines:

Review: Relationship Status

Relationship Status poster

I was at the premiere of RELATIONSHIP STATUS thanks to TGV. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie and I highly recommend it to my smart, intelligent readers πŸ˜‰

RELATIONSHIP STATUS is written and directed by Khairil M Bahar who also stars in it. It boasts several notable names: Gavin Yap, Davina Goh, Tony Eusoff, Daphne Iking, Baki Zainal, Ruzana Ibrahim, Alfred Loh, Shuba Jay, Benji Lim, Amanda Ang, Susan Lankester etc

In short, it’s a movie about relationships and how Facebook plays a role in fucking up affecting communication. Very relevant to the world today.

Good:

Good casting. They seem quite natural with each other, makes the whole movie very believable. I know it’s supposed to be a given in movies, right? But have you seen some of our local movies before? That’s why it’s something that I always mention when I talk about local productions. I like actors who know what they are doing, i.e. constant dialogue like in real life, instead of reading off a script then pause and wait a couple seconds before the 2nd actor responds. OMG THIS IS NOT ACTING SCHOOL OKAY, THIS IS THE REAL DEAL! /end rant. Happily in RELATIONSHIP STATUS this is not a problem. + Like.

Soundtrack. Absolutely fresh and rocking.

Storyline and script. Tight, smart, funny and witty, well-delivered by the cast who can pull it off, no problems. For comparison sake, Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa despite all its failures actually has a lot of smart, funny lines which unfortunately was lost on the actors who couldn’t bring them to life. Wasted.

Seasoned performances. Gavin Yap shines in his role in RS. Davina Goh just shines. Chemistry between them = win. Susan Lankester made me tear up… just a bit.

MISC: locality references to Sid’s Pub, yay! No hardcore selling of sponsors’ products hahah. Thank you sponsors, I can’t tell you how friggin’ annoying it is to bulldoze your way into the storyline and making it all so unnatural *cough* Sumolah *cough*.

Bad:
– camera work. I’m too old for too non-required shaky
– camera angles. Feels like too much paparazzi-style
– because of the camera work, it feels more like a university project
– which I think is a shame because the storyline + script is potential max

That said, I’d love for you to go watch it, I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

I’d also love for it to do well though I foresee some problems with that. It’s a mostly English movie and the jokes are catered to urbanites. You’d also appreciate it more if you understood certain references e.g. H2G2. And we know that these people are the hardest to convince to go watch a local movie in the cinema based on previous blah experiences or impressions.

Still I hope for the best and I very much look forward to Khairil M Bahar’s next project.

RELATIONSHIP STATUS opens in selected TGV cinemas from today onwards. Check the TGV website for listings and showtimes.

Watch the full trailer:

Teohlogy: the word according to Patrick Teoh

Patrick Teoh's Teohlogy Patrick Teoh: 63, actor, husband, father, grandfather and generally misunderstood person is also now an author.

Okay lah, technically he is a ‘compiler’ as his new book TEOHLOGY: the word according to Patrick Teoh is a compilation of his works from the now-defunct Off The Edge (OTE) magazine.

12 months x 5 years = a lot of publishing-worthy material.

I met with Patrick recently and he kindly gave me a complimentary copy for review.

“You got write anything new for the book or not?” I asked.
“Got, the front introduction and the end conclusion lah.”

Off The Edge was a monthly print magazine from the same group as The Edge business weekly. Its focus was on culture, lifestyle and politics – stuff not usually covered by The Edge. Ran for 5 years, had some of the most insightful and funniest articles and commentaries I ever read (including riveting Q&A with the dreamy looking Kam Raslan).

All good things come to an end and OTE ceased publication in mid 2010. BFM interviewed its ex-editor Jason Tan and writer Azmi Sharom, click here to listen to/download the podcast.

Patrick’s column in OTE was his views and opinions on the affairs of all things Malaysia. People, politics, culture, behaviour, news, attitude… all also kena. I didn’t manage to follow all his pieces in OTE so I’m glad to have this compiled works.

But to be honest, it can be a bit overwhelming to read everything at one go. Or even more than a few pieces at one time, because it reminds you how things haven’t really changed since 5 years ago. Very depressing one.

Also it made me recall specific news/ incidents or our VIP foot-in-mouth situations, things that we were so angry and upset about so many years ago. Then now all silent and no follow up because… Malaysians including myself mudah lupa. Shy.

If you see the front part where they state the publishers’ details, book ISBN etc, you’ll see that this book is categorised under ‘RHETORIC’. Kind of ironic, bitter sweet, I’d say.

But it’s a good thing also. Once we settle into the ‘haiyah this is Malaysia, like that one lah. So long we ourselves survive, who cares about others or what’s happening…” then we’re no better than the those we often rail against.

So grab a copy of TEOHLOGY: the word according to Patrick Teoh, and find out about male bovine faeces that he cannot stand. I think it retails for less than RM40, available in major book stores.

Or why not go to the book launch tomorrow and meet the man himself? Have your copy signed, take photos etc. I’ll be there!! (err.. if it makes any difference….)

Date/ Time: 22 January, Saturday. 2pm till 3.30pm
Location: Popular Books, Ikano Power Centre, Mutiara Damansara

— — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I’m giving away a copy of TEOHLOGY: the word according to Patrick Teoh to one of my blog readers. Not my signed copy, but I will buy a brand new copy lah! Just leave a comment here telling me what you think of Patrick Teoh, or how much you love or don’t love him, or why you deserve a free copy of his book etc.

I’ll choose the best answer by Sunday 12pm and if possible, have your copy signed by the man himself. Comment away!

sell out! ($311.0u7!) – malaysian comedy

I was invited by McGarmott to the press screening of SELL OUT! last week. It is a movie written, directed, edited and produced by local boy Yeo Joon Han, won some awards, received massive love and accolades in Italy and opens in Malaysia at selected cinemas today.

Synopsis: Her name is Rafflesia Pong (Rafflesia=largest flower in the world, which reeks of animal carcass; Pong=stink). She’s a bottom-ranking arts show host who’s disillusioned with “those over-rated underachievers we call artists.” He’s Eric Tan (Eric=Eric, Tan=typical Chinese surname), a product designer who’s just about to learn that it doesn’t pay to be creative. They both work for FONY, a multinational conglomerate whose mission statement, copied from a Taiwanese company, is to be original. In the face of such pressure, will Eric and Rafflesia retain their artistic integrity or will they finally sell out to fame, fortune or some other nasty thing that also starts with “F”?

SELL OUT ($311.0u7!) move screenshot 01
Jerrica Lai as Rafflesia Pong

Thoughts in no particular order. Note – some spoilers:

  • Aplenty references that may make sense to people who go for indie movies/ arts stuff and are generally perceived to be more cultured than me or you because they ‘get it’. It’s not a bad thing, can be rather funny IF you get it.
  • Jerrica Lai as Rafflesia Pong was the best thing that happened to the movie. I loved, loved, LOVED her acting from the beginning till the end.
  • Aplenty Malaysian jokes, or situations any Malaysians/ Singaporeans would immediately notice and smile (bashfully ‘cos we all did it before!). So we do have more in common than not, heh.
  • However I felt that most of those jokes were a couple scenes too long and needlessly repeated, e.g. two ladies fighting for cab, wrong person on the phone, Forgetful CEO and his “Don’t But Me!”, Eric’s explanation of why he talks the way he does, etc. Maybe audience not familiar with our jokes will appreciate the elaboration. For me, I felt like, okay we got it the first time round, let’s move on.
  • Peter Davis as Eric Tan was not very compelling. Nothing against him, he’s cute in a MTV VJ sort of way, and I understand that this is his first acting gig. A bit like Keanu Reeves in most of his acting gigs, heh.
  • I have always liked Kee Thuan Chye. Actually, him being in the movie was one of the reasons why I wanted to watch it. Of course the dude was good.
  • Hannah Lo = pretty. Character = bitchy. Acting = errr, can definitely improve.
  • Plot was a bit everywhere. I understood after a while, but it took some time.
  • Movie runs for 106 mins. It felt like 2 full hours because like I said, I found many parts to be draggy and unnecessary.
  • I didn’t appreciate the camera shaking around during the first half of the movie. Pissed me off and gave me a slight headache. Later I was informed as to why they made it so. Understood their reasons, but I still didn’t like it.

SELL OUT ($311.0u7!) move screenshot 02
Peter Davis as Eric Tan, Kee Thuan Chye as The Smoking CEO and Lim Teik Leong as The Forgetful CEO

  • I thought the spontaneous singing was all right. What’s this about people not appreciating semi-musicals? Sweeney Todd sucked ass okay πŸ˜› My only thought is that they must be inserted intelligently and there should be a gauge if it works to play half a song or the entire tune. Shorter if the vocals are not that awesome. Okay I know some people are going to bring up Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia! The Movie. I think that worked and I’ll tell you why – he was horrible, he knew he was horrible, but the songs were familiar and the scenes were animated and funny or unintentionally funny.
  • Must mention: one of my favourite scenes is why the old lady ended up nearly dying, heh. Brilliant. I like flashbacks done ala Family Guy. Trey Parker and Matt Stone would hate it though. Who gives a toss about them?
  • It’s funny that Yeo Joon Han (screenplay writer, director, editor, producer) is so self-deprecating, doesn’t take himself and what he does way too seriously (you know who you are, artsy directors who favour 10-second scenes of blue skies and coconut trees blowing in the mild breeze, bleargh!). You’ll understand why as you watch the movie.
  • The first screen shot I posted above with Rafflesia standing in front of a family – the scene came together brilliantly and I thought it was one of the funnier side-stories. The ‘family’ members were great.
  • There was a moment when the two CEOs were singing, then muted, then singing resumed. I liked the sequence.

In a summary, I find SELL OUT! the movie watch-able. Some draggy parts, perhaps more stringent editing work needed. Miles better than a lot of local movies (and actually, a lot of foreign ones), fresh direction in our local movie scene, brave move on the director’s part. I think you should go watch it and watch it fast at the cinemas. You know lah, Star Trek screening and all, our local cinemas tend not to screen local movies for a long time. Check out the brilliant trailer below!

Also blogged: Horng, ShaolinTiger, KY

suanie’s take on the nokia 5800 xpressmusic; got touch screen function one

I’ve been using a Nokia 5800 XpressMusic for about a month now, thanks to the kindness of David Lian and co. By writing this post, I eliminate all hope that you guys might forget that you loaned it to me. But for the mostly awesomeness of the phone, oh well…

Since I received the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic without a manual ( gee, thanks πŸ˜› ), it was a lot of self-discovery on various buttons, functions etc. My first obstacle came in the form of SIM card insertion. Next to the MicroSD slot is another slot for you to insert your SIM card. Well, mine got stuck. Couldn’t go in or come out. I really panicked until Gier helped me to remove the back cover, pushed it out then inserted it properly. Was I the only one who experienced this problem?

Nokia XpressMusic 5800
KY’s photos of the Nokia XpressMusic 5800

Love/ Like/ Learned to love or like:

  • The 3.2″ display screen, and the 640Γƒβ€”360 resolution screen. I love them big!
  • The nifty, slim, light-weight design. Actually the phone looks rather cool
  • Responsive and rather intuitive touch screen. At first I used the stylus for I have fat fingers. But after getting used to it, I use only the tip of my nails
  • Significantly longer battery life than my Nokia N95 or N82
  • I have 14 short cuts to assorted apps and functions on the main display. Damn best
  • The stereo speakers are quite fantastic. Impressed a lot of people
  • 640×360 pixels resolution = 16:9 display ratio = damn clear videos + stereo speakers = damn awesome
  • Loudspeaker option available after dialling someone. Seems like a small thing, but you won’t appreciate it until you don’t have it. On my Nokia N95 and N82, the loudspeaker option is only available AFTER that someone answers the phone
  • The lock/unlock switch on the side of the phone. Very convenient. Also very funny when someone tries to look for the unlock button, and I’ve to show them how it’s done, and they go, “OOoooooohhh”
  • I look damn cool tapping away at the phone

Taken using the Nokia XpressMusic 5800 01
KY and Wingz comparing phones. Taken using the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, with flash

Dislike/ Not impressed/ Meh:

  • No speed dialling option. If you opt for the contacts bar display, you can only enter 4 contacts. Not enough for me lor so I reverted to the shortcuts bar display. I need all 9 speed dials, including #1 for voice mail
  • Short cut to Menu display is not available via touch screen; have to press the middle button
  • Have yet to locate the ‘quick alarm’ option which I love. Not there?
  • Maybe I am not made for QWERTY on phones. So I don’t really like, heh
  • One too many steps to bring out the dialler display, especially if you are looking at e.g. your text messages, and someone calls you, and you need to input some numbers on the dialler
  • This model is still new, so the few applications I use have yet to release a version for it. E.g. eBuddy and Twibble. Gmail for mobile screws up too, so I have to use the browser
  • The ‘Sent Messages’ display don’t have a ‘Delete’ option. Either click to open each sent message to delete one by one, or mark all to delete all (which I don’t want). A bit sien
  • The 3.2 megapixel camera is meh. But then I’m spoiled by the N82 awesome camera phone
  • Touch screen = fingerprint smudges = have to constantly wipe

Taken using the Nokia XpressMusic 5800 02
Gier’s new bicycle. Taken using the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, without flash

Random notes:

  • It took me less than a week to get used to the touch screen function.
  • If I don’t reply your text messages, it’s because they are not that important it takes me longer than usual to type a message, so sometimes I’m lazy to reply my messages. If it’s very important, you would have called me/ I will call you back
  • I’ve never liked the ‘auto-rotate screen’ function, so doesn’t matter to me
  • This is a straight-to-the point touch screen phone. No whatever multi-touch the iPhone fanbois keep crowing about. From what I gathered, much cheaper also. XpressMusic edition mah (though running on S60 5th edition)

Overall: I like it, I want one, some stuff takes getting used to, I’m sure there will be firmware updates to fix some issues, please please please please fix the speed dial thing, that’s all.

The Nokia 5800 XpressMusic will be launched in Malaysia on the 9th of January, 2009. The launch party will be at the Pavilion KL, from 7 till 11 pm. There will be performances by a few Nokia IAC acts. Do check out the Facebook event if you are interested in attending, and maybe I’ll see you there πŸ™‚

Okay David, now you can go back to forgetting that I have the phone, kthxbai.

chris blake – wave

In one of Sashi’s blog posts, he included a video and called it “Biggest Regrets” . I followed all the necessary links, and found out that it was a proper music video for a Chris Blake song, titled ‘Someone Else’.

Clicked on link, clicked on link, clicked on link. Landed on Chris Blake’s MySpace. Listened to ‘Someone Else’ on repeat for the rest of the day. Told random people about it. Clicked on link, got to his CDBaby page. Clickety click, thought it over for a long while, clickety click, made payment etc. Now I own a legit copy of Chris Blake’s second album, Wave πŸ˜‰

Chris Blake Wave
Well, I chose the ‘no plastic cover’ option

In a nutshell, I find his voice rather husky; perhaps not as soothing as Jack Johnson’s (then again, not many people are) but no less relaxing to listen to. Someone reviewed this album on-line (can’t locate the link now, sorry) and said this, “The lyrics are simple, straightforward, and sweet as are the melodies and harmonies.” I couldn’t agree more.

Some of my favourite tracks:
(which you can listen to at his MySpace or on CDBaby)

The first track Phantom Love is a slightly guitar-heavy, can be a bit commercial rock-ish. The nearest similar song I can think of now is Chris Cornell’s You Know My Name. Maybe some of the guitar stuff they did in Audioslave. But lyrics-wise, not as dark lah. Following that is Party On The Last Iceberg, a song about environmental concerns. At first I thought that this song was damn weird. Like some robotic chant that is terribly annoying and stupid. After a while (4 hours, maybe?) it grew on me and now I really like it. Well, when I first heard Coldplay’s Speed of Sound, I hated it with a vengeance. Then I saw the light.

Trains and Blow Away have a distinctive 90s feel to them, sort of fit right in with Blues Travelers. Don’t know why, but I always feel like listening to Howie Day’s Collide after ‘Trains’. Mean It Now, a beautiful harmonisation with these simple yet poignant lyrics, “Ah the perfect embrace, but let me see your face, and the crease above your brow, that says you really mean it now”. You can imagine the scene in your mind.

I guess the #1 crowd pleaser is Someone Else. “Goodbye, she said to me.. so how was I to know she didn’t want to go… I stepped aside so she could leave… never thinking if I held her then, she’d never leave again…”. Brought a scene from the movie ‘The Parent Trap‘ to my mind, when the divorced couple rehashed the past:

Nick: Why did you leave?
Elizabeth: Why didn’t you come after me?
Nick: I didn’t know you wanted me to.

I know a couple of people I can dedicate the song to! Hah!

There’s also this number in the album, How Journey Saved My Life. I can’t make sense of it, not being a Journey fan/ didn’t grow up in that era. Steve Perry is a big thing? Har? It’s like telling fans of those pseudo rock band wannabes with band members wearing way too much eyeliner that they should appreciate Jakob Dylan. Well okay, maybe not exactly the same. Anyway that’s the only song I skip in the entire album.

Well, that’s it. Not much of a review, I know. Who really cares? Just wanted to get the word out that I have this CD and I love it. And to prove a point to the movie and recording industry (yes, here’s me waggling my finger at you giants and moguls, pass me another delusional pill) that people do part ways with their money, but only if the products don’t suck. So stfu about piracy being your biggest headache; you have bigger problems than that.

ratatouille a.k.a. the rat movie = awesome!

Suddenly I realised that I have been using the word ‘awesome’ in almost every part of my life. How awesome it is that such an awesome word is created to express the joy of someone or something that is totally awesome? Baffles me too.

Anyway this is going to be a very short one. Last Thursday, we were invited to a screening of Ratatouille; hosted by Intel to celebrate the 1st anniversary of Intel Core Microarchitecture. Quite a nifty idea — the premise of the movie that something so small could do something so great. I thought the introduced connection was smart πŸ™‚

Ratatouille

By the way I’ve been calling it ‘the rat movie’, because I can’t spell ‘ratatouille’ without looking up the dictionary. I know how to pronounce it though, since it’s splattered all over the promotional posters. But since I can’t spell it without making some extra effort, I’m not gonna, so when I have to type it out, I’ll just refer it as ‘the rat movie’.

Basically, the plot lifted from IMDB.com:

Remy is a young rat in the French countryside who arrives in Paris, only to find out that his cooking idol is dead. When he makes an unusual alliance with a restaurant’s new garbage boy, the culinary and personal adventures begin despite Remy’s family’s skepticism and the rat-hating world of humans.

So here’s my verdict:

Animation: Pixar outdid itself again… AWESOME!
Voice talent: Bunch of unknowns who are often always better than famous type celebs… AWESOME!
Storyline: Your typical family relationships, some humorous parts here and there… AWESOME!
Everything about the rat movie: AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME!!!!

My thanks to Intel for the tickets (nice cake by the way, too bad we never did get to sample it πŸ˜‰ ) because I HEART HEART HEART the rat movie! I am getting my entire family to go watch it, and will get a copy on DVD for Ryan as soon as humanly possible. Hopefully that will get him off the CARS phase because to be honest, I am pretty sick of CARS by now.

Mini update: 0_0 I got sent a photo of the cake… see how awesome it is πŸ˜€ Actually not a good idea for me to be looking at cakes now… kempunan.

The Intel Core2 cake

The rat movie is my current favourite.. until we get to watch Bourne Ultimatum. Fuck Rush Hour 3, go watch the rat movie!