Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

Merantau – the next Ong Bak

May 11, 2009

The trailer for a new Indonesian silat movie, Merantau – sure to achieve a cult following in the US and Europe.  It’s worth watching all the way to the end, for a pretty chase sequence amongst rooftops.


UPenn campus in Transformers 2 trailer

May 1, 2009

A lot of recognizable UPenn landmarks in the new and awesome trailer for Michael Bay’s destructionfest.  Apparently Spielberg has told Michael Bay that it might be his best film ever.

Another DiaS’pura review

April 16, 2009

Boo Junfeng, one of the panelists from DiaS’pura 2:

The screening of my films happened after lunch. I was quite pleased with the crowd that came. I have always made my shorts with the Singaporean audience in mind. To be able to show them one after another to a room full of overseas Singaporeans who (probably) miss home, did bring that notion of connecting with Singaporeans to another level for me. I was quite happy to be able to bring with me the different locales that were featured in the films.

There was a general sense of displacement from the people I managed to speak with at the event. Perhaps it is inherent in times like these that people question who they are and what they want to do with their lives. As Mr Brown put it during the discussion: a recession is good for the soul. People on the fast track in their careers suddenly see a less-defined way ahead and start questioning what they’ve been doing. It is very heartening to know that there are those who have turned their attention to other things that are important in life. Perhaps it is a good time for arts and culture to thrive.

From CNA: Hollywood firm acquires rights to Singapore comic book series

March 25, 2009

From CNA: A Singaporean comic series about futuristic slave racers (sounds like Death Race meets Transformers) has been snapped up by New Regency and Radical Pictures:

And while the concept and storyline of “Freedom Formula” has a global appeal, the creator of the series said it is actually a story that is inspired by unique aspects of life in Singapore.

“For example, it’s set in a literal city state and the whole concept is Formula One-style, racing-style exosuits that race all around the city. And I’m sure all that sounds very familiar,” said Shern.

DiaS’pura II film panel – preview

March 20, 2009

Since DiaS’pura II (“DSP”) is round the corner, I thought I might share my thoughts on what to look out for at the speaker series at DSP:

The film panel

The filmmakers coming to speak are all accomplished filmmakers who have achieved a certain level of recognition in Singapore.  I follow blogs about the Singaporean film scene on a regular basis, and these filmmakers have all been featured in interviews, exposes and discussions multiple times.  See below for some interesting (by my standards) links regarding these filmmakers.

  • Michael Wang’s interview after a screening of “Carrot Cake Conversations”:
  • Boo Junfeng’s showreel:
  • Eva Tang’s blog – you can see the number of festivals her films have screen at.
  • Li-Anne Huang’s “Singapore Girl” – you can catch a preview on her website.
  • And the moderator of the panel himself, mrbrown, who needs no introduction to Singaporeans.  He is the brains behind the Mai Hum remix of the Blackeyed Peas’ “My Humps”:

BTW, DiaS’pura is still eagerly seeking donations/sponsorships!!!  Please click on the Donate button on their website.

Jerry Ee turns himself in…

March 19, 2009

Jerry Ee, the ex-staff member of Cortina Watch who is allegedly the mastermind behind the largest heist in Singapore history, surrendered himself to the Singapore embassy in Bangkok some time last week.  He is apparently home in Singapore now, in the custody of the Singapore police.  Read more here.

This whole episode had the makings of a potential Hollywood blockbuster:

Disgruntled employee, down on his luck in life (divorce, separation from daughter, etc.), orchestrates the biggest heist in Singapore history ($8mm) from a busy luxury watch outlet in the middle of town on Christmas day (while the world is in the throes of the worst economic downturn since WWII).  He goes into hiding because the Interpol is on his trail.  Bereft of family, friends and a good night’s sleep, he eventually surrenders himself to the authorities.

Now all we need is to find out that he also did capoeira as a hobby.  Then we can insert the mandatory heist/dance sequence:

Annie Hall – the original romcom

February 26, 2009
via BBC

(picture from Guardian)

In his blog, screenwriter compares Annie Hall with the romcoms of today, and explains how Woody Allen created a relatable character in Alvy Singer, in spite of his neuroses:

Anyway, yes, Alvy Singer is the protagonist of Annie Hall. And yes, what he wants is “the eggs,” but he doesn’t really understand that until the end of the movie (and I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that Allen didn’t know that until he was done editing the movie). The reason Annie Hall feels so lived-in, so detailed, so real, is because there was a whole hour’s worth of other material in there, a whole tapestry of narrative, that got cut out. The result is that the characters seem to have rich inner lives that continue after the scene is done. Annie Hall is, nominally, about Alvy’s failed love affair with Annie, but because of all the details about Alvy’s life and career, all the odd little neuroses and flashes of magic realism, it seems to be more about “love itself,” re-defined for a new, more self-aware generation.

Shinjuku Incident website is up!

February 26, 2009


The Shinjuku Incident, starring Jackie Chan in a non-Kungfu-sidekick role, finally has a website up and running!  Here’s a synopsis of the film, which IMHO, gives away too much of the plot:

The foreign migrant communities in Tokyo live shadowy lives. The Japanese neither acknowledge nor welcome them. They are shunned by the mainstream society, hounded by the yakuza, and go about their days under fear of being discovered and repatriated.

It is an alien world for Steelhead – an honest, hardworking tractor repairman. Steelhead had decided to take the perilous journey to Tokyo after he lost contact with his girlfriend, who had arrived in the city earlier.

Trying to exist in the underbelly of Tokyo long enough to find Xiu Xiu, Steelhead has come to realize the migrants had to stand united if they wanted to go about their lives without fear of oppression by not only the Japanese underworld but also gangs formed by foreigner.

In his search of a decent living, Steelhead unwittingly finds himself pit against the Japanese yakuza. Ironically, he also discovers that Xiu Xiu has adopted a Japanese identity and married Eguchi, an ambitious up and coming yakuza chief.

Steelhead wins the respect of his friends by establishing a base for them and forms an uneasy alliance with Eguchi. When he helps Eguchi dispose of a rival, he is given the control of Shinjuku’s night establishments. But, uninterested in living a gangster’s life, Steelhead finds a new love and takes the chance to start a tractor repair business outside Tokyo. However, his peace is shortlived when word gets to him that his former compatriots were now being used by Eguchi to front the yakuza’s drug business.

Steelhead feels responsible for this turn of events and feels obligated to bring Eguchi down. He also has to bear in mind that if he goes after Eguchi, he would be destroying the newfound life of the woman he once loved. In any case, can one simple migrant take on the yakuza alone?

Edmund Chen Zhicai in Street Fighter: Legend of Chun Li!

February 23, 2009

While cringing at the big pile of suck that the new Street Fighter movie appears to be, I saw one video that sealed it as a MUST-watch, and no, it’s not Kirsten Kreuk in a Chun Li outfit – it’s Singapore’s very own Tom Cruise, Edmund Chen Zhicai!  Check him out in this fight scene where he pulls out all the stops to protect his young daughter, Chun Li (a child actress resembling Kreuk), from the evil clutches of M. Bison (Michael Clarke Duncan).  Most impressive is Chen’s inventive use of the steel fridge and an unpopped champagne bottle to defend himself!  Video here – watch it before they pull the clips offline.  The movie is generating some serious criticism from the internets, but I will catch it just to support another Singaporean actor making it in Hollywood.  What a great year for Singaporean actors – first Chin Han in The Dark Knight, and now Edmund Chen kicking Michael Clarke Duncan’s ass!  Some screenshots:

Wall Street Fighter 4 video from Hong Kong

February 19, 2009

A funny video by an Asian American comedy sketch group based in HK called CBFresh, doing something really relevant (er financial crisis and the release of Street Fighter 4 – perhaps the two most important events in the news now?).

Interesting to see that someone is trying to bring a G4-style lifestyle program to Asia.  CBFresh website here.