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 :P 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 has a 2009 photo calendar, thanks to pixart

Dominic from Pixart wrote to ask if I’d be interested to ‘test drive’ their new product — the Pixart Photo Calendar. I said yes, partly because I fondly remember Pixart as being one of the first Malaysian companies to approach local bloggers to review their products. Also because the two pocketbooks that I received from Pixart the first time round have proved their worthiness around the house — whenever my sister misses the not-so-fat version of me, she’d take them out and reminisce.

Getting a Pixart Photo Calendar has been a rather straightforward process. You’ll need to download a software to create your calendar, which is available to both PC and MAC users. The head cracking part for me was the photo selection process; I have too many to choose from!

PixArt Photo Calendar - software
The process of creating my calendar involved a lot of photo-aligning

A few days after uploading my order, I received a parcel from Pixart containing my Photo Calendar.

PixArt Photo Calender - Suanie's calendar cover
The narcissistic cover

For some reason, I’d glanced through the product page too quickly and thought that it was a propped-up calendar. Turns out, it’s a hang-up calendar. Uh, I’m sure there are proper terms for that. But no matter, I already found a place in my office for my calendar, which gained positive ‘wows’ from my sister and Ryan.

PixArt Photo Calender - January 2009
January 2009, with some of my favourite photos of a younger Ryan

PixArt Photo Calender - March 2009
March 2009. Fun times in Singapore!

PixArt Photo Calender - August 2009
August 2009. Dedicated to one of my best friends ;)

I also placed photos of people on their birthdays so I won’t forget.

PixArt Photo Calender - September birthday reminders
My sisters and I were born in September

Nifty, eh? Thanks Dominic, I really like it :)

You can get your own personalised Pixart Photo Calendar at the Pixart website. Prices start at RM65 for a 12-month calendar; you can add additional pages up till December 2010 if you want at additional prices.

At the moment they are having an introductory offer — a 12-month calendar available for only RM50. The offer ends 31st January 2009, so I guess you’d better get a move on :)

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 :P ), 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 640×360 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 :)

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 ;)

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.

the dark knight premiere

Well, my Batman haiku contest was a smash hit; at least I think so anyway.

Thanks to Nokia (M) (and Text100 (M) of course ;) Libby I love you), I had a ticket for myself and 6 very beautiful and lucky readers to watch The Dark Knight yesterday evening at the GSC Signature cinema.

6?! WTF? Heh, well, initially I had two. Then I received another 2. Then at the very last minute I received another 2. If you didn’t win, well there were a LOT of good entries :) I think the best one was submitted by Sashi:

Fog covers the night
As she tucks herself in bed
The clown prince cackles

Screams kill the silence
The world holds its breath, as the
dark knight is summoned

She is saved, but just
The bat and the joker in battle
Blood will spill tonight.

Unfortunately I was being kiamsiap and was giving the tickets out in singles and Sashi didn’t want to go by himself. On hindsight I should have given him the two last minute tickets, but it slipped my mind. Sorry love. I got him to pick 2 winners though, and he chose Heng Woon and Tiffany. Heng Woon’s entry made me LOL so hard, I have to post it here:

batman is so cool
with robin oh them lovefools
brokeback mountain 2

The rest were Zewt, Izad, PY and Amelia. Was more than lovely to finally meet Zewt and Izad in person after stalking their blogs for ages.

.::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::.

At the entrance where I posed with the two Jokers.

Suanie with Jokers
Me with Heng Woon and Bob! Click for a larger version

I thought Bob or Ringo was going to clinch the contest, until we saw KlubbKidd in his splendiferous Joker outfit (complete with a Joker card!). Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to snap a photo, but I’m sure they will be floating around soon.

.::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::.

I am still taking in the movie. Didn’t watch Batman Begins (too much talking, I was in a foul mood and couldn’t stand the yakety yak but yes someday I shall watch the entire movie) but I LOVED The Prestige. Uh, so my thoughts, eyeris-style:

- Maggie Gyllenhaal was a bit blah
- Unfortunately Christian Bale was also a bit blah though less blah than Morgan Freeman, and it pains me to say that because I think the world of his acting (in other movies). Well I guess he’s rather limited in this role in this particular Batman movie, and he did his best considering the limitations. But that’s just me lah.
- Gary Oldman FTW! Michael Caine for the second win!
- Hahaha Edison Chen wtf!
- Woah, that batpod is too awesome for words… it can do *that*!
- After watching Hellboy2 and Wanted last weekend, I think TDK is a real movie. Hellboy2 left me a bit empty because a lot of things were just so abrupt (love the director though) and I hate the kind of ending in Wanted. TDK reminds me of the good old days of movies – proper beginning, proper plot, proper ending. You’ll have to be on the same wavelength as me to understand this, even if you disagree.
- There are some movies you can’t miss on the big screen. TDK is one of them. Sex & The City, The Happening and X-Files are not.
- It was a long movie. 2.5 hours not including trailers and ads. I only realised this after my bladder nearly ruptured at the end credits.
- That was why I did not see the tribute/ credit to Heath at the end of the movie. Because you know, trying to save my bladder…
- I don’t know what to make of Aaron Eckhart’s character.
- Overall TDK was a great, badass movie. Loved it x1000. The buzz surrounding it for months was more than justified.
- Heath Ledger IS The Joker. Not saying this just because he’s dead (because some dead people become more (in)famous after, uhm, their deaths) but because…

You’ll have to watch it to find out. Words fail me when it comes to his brilliance.

Then you’ll agree with me, perhaps more fluently than my lame attempt at being coherent.

I wasn’t really trying.