Posts Tagged ‘Film’

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.


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.

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:

Dias’pura II

February 17, 2009

5 reasons to attend DiaS’pura II:

  1. Film screenings by the filmmakers – we really wanted to do this at the first DiaS’pura, but were unable to do so due to time/logistics constraints
  2. Singaporean food – nothing can beat homefood!
  3. Mambo afterparty – another institution.  Would love to mix my mambo tunes if I could
  4. Sing, City! is back!
  5. You get to throw tomatoes at Huntsman Hall and blame it for the financial crisis

/Film on Slumdog: Poverty Porn?

January 25, 2009

Slumdog has attracted even more attention since its GG award and its premiere in India.  /Film dissects the criticisms of the depiction of India as a stereotypical slum-ridden, sleazy, child-prostituting, gang-infested cesspool of a country.

Despite these critiques, many are upbeat on the film’s financial prospects in India, with director Shekhar Kapur saying that “what’s most important is that Slumdog is the most successful Indian film ever.” Even Sengupta believes that Indians will see the film to see how they are viewed by Westerners. “There is still a fascination with seeing how we are perceived by white Westerners,” said Sengupta. “It’s a kind of voyeurism.”

Where things get complicated is in the film’s depiction of a rags-to-riches story that happens to be set in India, a locale that has its own rich culture, but also a history of very specific types of portrayals in American pop culture. Slumdog, the critics seem to be saying, propogates a sensationalistic, stereotypical, and inaccurate depiction of India that lowers that country’s stature in the eyes of the world. Again, my perspective on this is that this film does the same thing that any artistic work accomplishes while using its setting to great effect.

Foreign Film Distribution

January 20, 2009

Not sure where NYT gets this information from, an anecdote from a distributor or some hard data, but this article states that Video On Demand is a viable alternative for film distribution:

Video-on-demand still accounts for a tiny fraction of revenue for new feature films. But it is already changing marketplace dynamics, especially for movies that had little or no chance of attracting interest from a theatrical distributor like Focus Features or Fox Searchlight.

For one thing, foreign films, while considered box-office poison by many conventional distributors, have been viable, if not exactly hot, on video screens.

Upcoming: John Rabe / Shinjuku Incident

January 20, 2009

Two movies that I’m looking forward to, both Sino-other country co-productions.

“The Shinjuku Incident” is a thriller starring Jackie Chan in a non-kungfu/non-Asian-sidekick role.  China/Japan co-production.  The trailer was leaked recently, and it looks good (in Chinese/Japanese):

“John Rabe”, the film about the man dubbed as the “Oskar Schindler of Nanking”, has already won awards in Germany.  A China-Germany co-production.  The star of the film was also in The Lives of Others, another German movie that won major awards two years ago.  Trailer (in German):