Saturday, 31 December 2011

Broken Embraces (2009) @ Los Abrazos Rotos

At a glance:
In Abrazos Rotos, blind Spanish scribe Mateo Blanco (Lluís Homar, older priest in La Mala Educación 2004) starts referrin to himself as Harry Caine after a tragic accident 14 years ago that changed his life forever. Through flashbacks, we learn that he wasn’t always blind, and that he was once in love with a beautifully arrestin woman he turned into an actress - Lena (Penélope Cruz) – but she was unfortunately involved with a powerful but jealous man named Ernesto Martel (José Luis Gómez).
Bad news on the doorstep:
Pedro Almodóvar's oeuvre reads like a catalogue of must-watch movies for any fan of modern European cinema, however it’s not surprisin that many critics who admire the Spanish maestro are now the same people who feel that he has not reinvented himself or offered anything refreshin in recent years. Los Abrazos Rotos is fuel to this fire of discontent. It’s surprising how Almodovar films still continue to warrant maximum attention (this one was in contention for the Palme d’Or at Cannes) when he once again cast his regulars (Penélope Cruz, Ángela Molina and Lola Dueñas among others) in yet another decidedly dark, rich, contextual drama with plenty of repressed emotions and various other unsavoury aspects of adult life related to damaged youth. Obviously it’s what he’s comfortable doin (and doin well at) but watchin an Almodovar film can turn into an exercise in tedium if this is all we’re gonna get.
Perennial wonderment:
It's a mazy exploration with themes of guilt, abandonment, envy and foiled ambition; and for once, the awkward English title Broken Embraces does mean somethin. However, while the movie largely works as a feature film, it is beset on all sides by a self-referential production that begs the question – are Almodóvar films really that great?
Reminds me of:
Volver (2006) and Talk To Her (2002).
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
The movie seems to ride off his magnificent presence and is held together by his powerful obsession with the technically gorgeous. There is rich detail and colour in every frame and the picture is backed by a suitably sombre music as well. As Cat Power’s Werewolf plays to underscore a scene about a doomed relationship (same song for Jessica Biel’s waxy strip sequence in Powder Blue, 2009), we can attest to Almodóvar’s absorbin brilliance in packagin his cast around neat little tales with wonderful layers. It’s just that a man so technically accomplished may need to do more than just being prolific and adequate if he were to really live up to what people expect from him as Spain’s best regarded filmmaker since Luis Buñuel.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Let Me In (2010)

At a glance:
Great news for anyone who has ever seen the fabulously seductive revisionist vampire flick Let The Right One In a.k.a. Låt Den Rätte Komma In (2008) – this is ONE Hollywood remake that we CAN approve of! Let Me In is in many ways the thinkin man’s R-rated vampire movie, dealin with the more desperate and tragic aspects of the folklore. As one famous reviewer wrote: “It’s not all fun, games and Team Edward”. Here, there’s a winsome combination of romance, drama and horror. It is what many would who have seen the Swedish original would call a tender, appropriate and most acceptable remake.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Can't think of any.
Perennial wonderment:
Why is it so hard to come across acceptable Hollywood remakes? In what must be a labour of love for writer-director Matt Reeves, Let Me In follows the Swedish modern classic closely in terms of texture and direction. All the important scenes are skillfully retained and we have two very able child actors in Kodi Smit-McPhee (Viggo Mortensen’s kid in 2009’s The Road and Eric Bana’s kid in 2007’s Romulus, My Father) and Chloë Grace Moretz (the foul-mouthed Hit-Girl from 2010’s Kick-Ass). Smit-McPhee looks very comfortable playin the frail, bullied boy who finds an unlikely friend in Moretz’ completely conflicted vampire character. There are intentionally restrained roles by Richard Jenkins as the vampire girl’s guardian and also Elias Koteas as a stern cop with many murder cases to solve.
Reminds me of:
Near Dark (1987).
Most memorable line:
"I don't really get cold."
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Polished and wonderfully scored, Let Me In is much more than just a spookfest and you’ll find rich themes of friendship, sacrifice and redemption – even sexual frustration and family dysfunction. Avoid readin more details about the movie from anywhere else. This definitely cut it as one of the most rewardin watches from 2010.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Songlap (2011)



At a glance:
At once, Songlap (corrupted Chinese-Malay origin, meanin "to steal" but more like "sweet to wallop/go all out/take everythin") is a stubbornly non-commercial but wonderfully accessible urban yarn, brought to you by Kami The Movie (2008) husband-wife team of Effendee Mazlan and Fariza Azlina Isahak. Continuin in the vein of broken adolescence, this gritty crime drama doesn't go to the in-universe extremes of neo-realism like Budak Kelantan (2008) but what it does do is serve up a refreshin and thoughtful morality struggle between embattled characters who are involved in an aspect of flesh trade particularly endemic to Asia - the sale of human babies. I've been eyein its official website for almost two years now and I feel thoroughly satisfied with its release. As our friend Fadli says over at Tontonfilem, this is what Anak Halal (2008) really should have been. This is the crisp but subtle narrative our friend Ajami has been cravin for all these years in a Malay movie. This is, in fact, the first and only Malay movie in 30 years that has engaged me to the point of tears!
Sara Ali at a promotion event for Songlap.
Bad news on the doorstep:
True to the wajib tayang paradox in Malaysia (a Malay movie granted this government-sanctioned status must be played at the largest hall of any cinema for two weeks with full shows every day, by law), I paid cash money and watched Songlap at GSC 1 Utama in a 326-seater hall with the total combined audience of only myself and two couples makin out behind me (possibly a pet dog too), as the rest of the cinemagoin population must be either busy buyin tickets to watch Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol for the third time (which sucks big balls, by the way) or at home waitin for some rempit to leak the download for KL Gangster 2. This is the price we pay for a society who knows only immediate gratification and no other depths of pleasure.
Perennial wonderment:
The true meaning of MILF.
Everyone knows Shaheizy Sam can act - but what will he do next? He's the only Malaysian actor in recent memory who can reinvent himself adequately for new roles, even if they are for banana peel MIG titles. One wonders what can the industry do for actors of his calibre. In Songlap, he plays a dodgy wheeler dealer with a gamblin habit and is always on the run, although he feels very responsible for his younger brother. This movie features decent turns from the other two leads - a suitably sweaty Syafie Naswip (Mukhsin, 2006) and a frightened Sara Ali (Klip 3GP, 2011). The rest of the cast include Berg Lee (boy this fella sure beefed up since appearin as that fishin village punk in The Elephant And The Sea!), Omar Abdullah, Rozie Rashid, Normah Damanhuri, Hasnul Rahmat, Fauzi Nawawi, Rashidi Ishak, Lisdawati, Eizlan Yusof, Eliza Wong and Nasir Jani.
Reminds me of:
My old office in Kelana Jaya, where a lot of the scenes were shot, since the production house Red Films is based there. There's even a scene in the now disused Saji mamak, a restaurant we used to haunt durin many a Friday long lunch.
I can't remember if I cried:
Fauzi Nawawi sexy time.
There's an emotional showdown between all three leads under the LRT tracks, a scene that the actors have themselves described as one of the biggest and most important. This scene, although not particularly powerhouse stuff by Shaheizy or Syafie, actually made my eyes tear. I don't think I've ever grown so attached to Malaysian characters within the frame of a film but one does end up rootin for them, wishin for their redemption, their escape at least. Geez I must have gone soft from rewatchin All About Ah Long (1989) the other day.
Most memorable line:
"Kalau menari boleh dapat 50 ribu, dah lama Dr. Rozmey belajar laa."
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Grippin, highly entertainin narrative. Keep your eyes and ears open. Many hints are dropped and subplots are told obliquely. Do watch this now before it goes offscreen.★★★★

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Transverse (2010) @ 2 Alam


At a glance:
Should anyone be thinkin of givin this a go, based on the incredible hype that surrounded its producer, Kedahan MLM con job entrepreneur Che Rozmey Che Din, the simplest recommendation this writer could offer would be to just buy the soundtrack. Why? It’s essentially an 86-minute music video of two songs by Amy Search and Ramli Sarip! The tracks are actually quite decent but the movie proper is such an outrageous insult to Malaysian cinema that the more we talk about it, the more embarrassin this review gets. Roundly rubbished by the Malaysian press at the 23rd Malaysian Film Festival at e@Curve where it first premiered, 2 Alam is a pointless attempt at didactic moral values in a pseudo-horror drama, plagued with poor production values together with a story and script that can be written (or commissioned to be written) only by that man Imran Ismail, the clown behind the ridiculous 2009 catastrophe Jalang (2009).
"Beli laaa, bang. Beli laaa..."
Bad news on the doorstep:
It's ALL bad news.
Perennial wonderment:
2 Alam probably shot itself in the foot when its producer boasted a target gross of RM 40 million at the Malaysian box office through self-paid ads in the papers, and then engaged in a futile standoff with the unforgivin Malaysian pressmen. With such substandard content, it is truly a wonder how this movie about the mysterious problems in burying a transsexual could even attempt such a feat through proper means. Bad actin, intrusive music and very poor lines are the first things one would notice about the film 15 minutes in. Truly a black mark on the actin CVs of Faizal Hussein, Aaron Aziz and even veteran Kuswadinata, 2 Alam is a regrettable effort that fails to showcase a credible, entertainin story at every front.
I can't remember if I cried:
When the bloody soundtrack started to loop. Also, when I read about how lead actor Aaron Aziz actually tried defendin the movie to the local press.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
The less said about this movie, the better. Not even

Monday, 26 December 2011

The New Daughter (2009)



At a glance:
Remember the little girl who played Ofelia in Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)? Or the little boy who played Angelina Jolie’s missin son in Changeling (2008)? Well, these children, together with a depressed-lookin Kevin Costner, one of the most recognisable American leadin men of yesteryears, now star in a forgotten movie that sits permanently in DVD bargain bins worldwide after a limited release Stateside.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Mix mutilated cats and burial mounds with a moody pre-pubescent teen girl and you’ll get this supernatural thriller. Its best intentions you will unfortunately find yourself forgettin as it drags past the 100-minute mark. Despite some classy shots and an impressive, successful and interestin production design, The New Daughter is cumbersomely overlong and conceptually underhit, relegatin itself to horror movie fans’ download lists and DVD curio catalogues by the last act.
Perennial wonderment:
How Kevin Costner went from bein the most in-demand male lead in Hollywood after Dances With Wolves (1990) and Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves (1991) to bein a bit-part actor and B-grade movie producer today.
Reminds me of:
Pet Sematary (1989), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), The Orphanage (2007) and Shelter (2010).
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Rated PG-13 Stateside but NC-16 in Singapore, the flick does however have some savin grace and will do the trick if you’re lookin for a horror movie to pass the time. Its psychosexual subtext and sequel-suggestin finale will largely be lost on regular cinema-goin audiences but complaints about The New Daughter will not trump its ticket admission price if you actually saw this on the big screen. On the DVD, try it at your own peril and keep your expectations low.


Sunday, 25 December 2011

Troll Hunter (2010) @ Trolljegeren

At a glance:
Not quite your run-of-the-studio adaptation of Three Billy Goats Gruff, Troll Hunter (native: Trolljegeren) is filmmaker André Øvredal’s idea of punctuatin Norwegian folklore with Blair Witch Project box office sensibilities to deliver a winsome monster movie that doubles as a “found footage” moc-doc masterpiece deservin of all the distribution attention it gets.We follow three Volga college teens who are shooting an assignment - host Thomas (Glenn Erland Tosterud), female sound recordist Johanna (Johanna Morck) and scaredy-cat cameraman Kalle (Tomas Alf Larsen, mostly offscreen but given a memorable character arc) as they happen to land themselves the chance of a lifetime - filmin a supposed bear poacher (Otto Jespersen) who turns out to be a modern day Van Helsing-type reluctant hero who spends his days annihilatin trolls that are being kept secret by the government.
Bad news on the doorstep:
It's not very classically dramatic and you don't get silly romantic subplots or heroic climaxes, if that's your idea of a good monster movie.
Perennial wonderment:
Why can't they come up with somethin new in the monster movies genre like how this film has done? The great thing about Troll Hunter is what a delightfully technical horror movie it is. Adequately underpinned by a biological context on how these trolls can exist and subsist, its persuasive style is further helped by some useful dry Scandinavian horror (“Hey what about Muslims? Can they sniff out Muslim blood just like Christian blood? I don’t know, let’s find out") and keeps us glued in-universe throughout. The suspenseful narrative here never takes a backseat and the CGI decisions cleverly avoids overdoin things to the point of losin the audience. The monsters (they come in different subspecies even) are woolly creations that start getting iffy in scenes where they appear in their entirety – but fortunately the backstory and also the traditional FX work (boiled fur soup resin, used for applyin troll scent) is diligent and solid.
Reminds me of:
Cloverfield (2008), Blair Witch Project (1999), The Mist (2007) and [REC] (2007).
Most memorable line:
"Do you think Michael Moore gave up after the first try?"
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
The day this film opened in the U.S. a horror movie website announced that American director Chris Columbus and his company 1492, along with CJ Entertainment & Media, had acquired remake rights. Watch this now in its native Norwegian (or English-dubbed, in some territories) before Hollywood messes it up.

Grace (2009)

Jordan Ladd
At a glance:
"Please, you don't understand.
She's special. She needs special food."
Jordan Ladd, the mildly sexy blonde you won't remember from movies like Cabin Fever (2002), Grindhouse (2007) and Hostel: Part II (2007) stars as an uneasy new mum in Grace (2009), a slick little horror flick produced by Hatchet (2006) director Adam Green. It's about this woman who gives birth to a stillborn but miraculously wills the baby back to life, unaware of the sick proceedings that follow. It really is quite classy I must say, and various themes of deviatin behaviour are explored, particularly those with maternal elements. Think jealous lesbians, overbearin post-menopausal mothers-in-law, lactatin fetishists and vegan apologist hypocrisy. This is wholesome R-rated stuff backed by some intense camerawork, even down to the filmin of food. 
Bad news on the doorstep:
If you've been only exposed to the traditional mould of horror movies, then you wouldn't give a cow's backside that this is a psychological thriller that studies motherhood anxiety, conventional midwifery and the catastrophic effects of nosy in-laws. You'd be only wantin to ask me if the baby is actually a zombie, or if the baby is Satan, or if the baby looks like Najib (since its a bloodsucker) or if the baby is only a dream, et cetera.
Perennial wonderment:
Do cats really reject soymilk?
Reminds me of:
Teeth (2007).
Watch out for:
Birthin scene. I guess givin birth to a dead child must qualify as one of the richest experiences a man can never have.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Some rather original ideas here you might like. Not for expectant mums, of course.★★★

Saturday, 24 December 2011

I Wish I Had A Wife (2001) @ 나도 아내가 있었으면 좋겠다

Nude Adult CamsAt a glance:
Park Heung-sik's I Wish I Had A Wife 나도 아내가 있었으면 좋겠다 is the worst Korean movie experience a man can get. Forget the wife, you’d sooner wish you had a life – instead of havin to spend time and money watchin this. While its advantages are few and far between, the problems abound shamelessly. Revolvin around a bank teller with serious personality issues, our man goes on a subdued panic attack after he realises the undeniable emptiness in his borin white-collar workin life gives him nobody to call when he is stuck on a subway train for an hour. Amazin then – he concludes that he needs a wife. Our hero-with-a-calculator Bong-soo (Sul Kyoung-gu) goes on a 100-minute meanderin moan about his solitude. His ponderings are so secular, self-indulgent and ridiculous that it becomes shockin to see somethin so uninterestin go up on screen for a feature-length movie. True to Korean cinema clichés (read: everythin is more important than it really is), there are hardly any movie messages to note when Mr. Need-A-Wife hunts his bride far and wide, illogically ignorin the cute school teacher who fancies him. This mouse of a woman, Won-Ju (Jeon Do-yeon), is so terribly cute, one is in danger of bleedin pumpkin pies from one’s ears whenever she graces the screen.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Peppered with Bong-soo’s random magic tricks (he can poke an invisible hole through a 1000-won note!) and other miscellaneous fillers like CCTV footage of what bored people do at the ATM booth, I Wish I Had A Wife has but one savin grace as defence - the awkward courtship between the lead pair is quirky enough to be screen-worthy at times because it is more realistic than the picture-perfect Hollywood plot devices we are used to. Is this enough for you to watch it?
Perennial wonderment:
One suspects that this is actually an ill-advised direct and unaltered adaptation from some writer’s own experience. This movie is too quiet without being poignant, too random without bein artsy, and perhaps too ‘real’ to make a movie out of. Even if you pardon the soppy music score, askin an audience to sit through a low-key drama about one man’s wife-hunt with so little reward is truly selfish on the filmmakers’ part.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
It refused to be a ‘good’ bad movie when it could – and worse, to end when it should. You couldn’t leave the cinema seat faster. 1/2


Friday, 23 December 2011

Inside (2007) @ À l'Intérieur

Inside À l'Intérieur sex Alysson Paradis Béatrice Dalle exploitation François-Régis Marchasson Jean-Baptiste Tabourin Julien Maury murder Nathalie Roussel Tahar Rahim
Béatrice Dalle sticks it in.
At a glance:
Inside (2007) or its native French À l'Intérieur is definitely not for the faint-hearted, especially those expectin a baby. It's like an all-out mother of all horrors, designed to resuscitate the numbest, most jaded fans of the genre who had resorted to watchin the Twilight movies in their boredom. Without givin anythin away, it's a movie about a mysterious intruder (Béatrice Dalle, pic) who terrorises an expectant mum (Alysson Paradis) in her home, with some pretty graphic violence thrown in for good measure.Free Live Adult Cams
Bad news on the doorstep:
Inside À l'Intérieur sex Alysson Paradis Béatrice Dalle exploitation François-Régis Marchasson Jean-Baptiste Tabourin Julien Maury murder Nathalie Roussel Tahar Rahim toilet
Scarier than a Malaysian public toilet, for once.
While the traditional FX are surprisingly top-notch (the blood oozes off from the screen with gratuitous confidence), I do feel it did go overboard towards the end, where it started to get a bit silly and comical. I'm not sure it's a rewardin watch either. I just know it's a horror movie that is shot with the express intention to make you squirm. I even believe they went through 50 different pairs of scissors just to decide on the instrument that will project the most fear by sheer sight.
Perennial wonderment:
What is the best formula to make blood for shootin movies? How come some movies have horribly laughable diluted sirap while other similarly budgeted movies have better stuff?
Inside À l'Intérieur sex Alysson Paradis Béatrice Dalle exploitation François-Régis Marchasson Jean-Baptiste Tabourin Julien Maury murder Nathalie Roussel Tahar Rahim Twilight
"You complete me."
Reminds me of:
That other movie with Béatrice Dalle, Trouble Every Day (2001). I can't remember a damned thing about it now except that pervo Vincent Gallo is in it too. I also recall Darah (2009), that Indonesian bloodbath where the set is perpetually soaked in blood, pretty much like Inside.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Well, it did make me anticipate the next sick scene just as soon as one is over. ★★Free Live Adult Cams

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Gomorrah (2008)

At a glance:
It's not every day you watch a movie that turned one author's exposé into an international blockbuster and got him permanent police escort by the Italian government, effectively walkin around with a fat price tag on his head. That's Roberto Saviano, the man who wrote the tell-all 2006 book with the same name, about the Naples-based criminal organisation most know as the Camorra. You can see why these mobsters want him shot - the book sold more than two million copies in Italy alone reportedly and got translated and published in more than 40 countries. That's not somethin you want the world to know if you're an organisation with a worse reputation than those other gun-totin folks in Sicily who got more Hollywood screen time. The frightenin details in Matteo Garrone's unglamourous direction and Maurizio Braucci's unflinchin screen treatment are already evident in an openin scene set in a tannin shop - you never know when they come at you, you just know that they will. This pretty much sets the tone for the documentary-like feature. We follow a few characters around and have a privileged inside look at how the Camorra affects their lives.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Stayin as far away as possible from the lionisation and glorification of gangsters, Gomorra (in Italian) isn't The Godfather (1972) or Scarface (1983) which is ironically referenced in a scene where two young wannabe mobsters mimic Al Pacino in the de Palma classic) but more like an even gritter Eastern Promises (2007) without the stylish dialogue and A-list stars. Gomorrah distinguishes itself by focusin on gang activity instead of gangsters. Highlights include the illegal toxic waste industry (Carmine Paternoster as a young grad who unassumingly works for a ruthless contractor played by Toni Servillo) and the illegal immigrant issue (Salvatore Cantalupo as a skilled tailor who accepts a job trainin Chinese workers). The best developed story is that of Don Ciro (Gianfelice Imparato) a reluctant go-between who visits families of jailed or dead gangsters to distribute cash. This one exceptionally brings forward themes of desperation but generally all the stories convey the inescapability of normal people from the long arms of the Camorra and their criminal network.
Perennial wonderment:
If my Neapolitan friend Marina will ever quit her pharmaceutical career and enter into an international cocaine-in-mozzarella drug ring with me.
Reminds me of:
Marina's cousin, who told me that they love Chinese people in Napoli because we're easy target for anythin.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Four stars. Gomorrah is Italy's submission to the 2008 Oscars for Best Foreign Language Pic and was a Palme d'Or nominee at Cannes. It's dead serious and ought to be appreciated as such, especially when you know the man who brought this story out into the open is unlikely to ever lead a normal life. A true thinkin man's gangster flick, it will end as suddenly as it started and get you wishin there was more to see, despite already clockin in two hours and 17 minutes.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

A Horrible Way To Die (2010)



At a glance:
Without givin anythin away, in case you actually want to torture yourself with this rubbish, the synopsis reads: An escaped murderer is in pursuit of his ex-girlfriend, who has fled to start a new life in a small town.
Bad news on the doorstep:
This was a horrible way to watch a movie - endurin 80 minutes of intentionally shaky and out-of-focus moody mystery fare just to get to the last five minutes, where the twist is served. It's the kind of movie appeal that pivots on that one single twist but unlike, say The Usual Suspects (1995) where the rest of the movie is pretty interestin as well, A Horrible Way To Die is far from. The cast, especially the decent female lead Amy Seimetz, tries her hardest but this screenplay just can't hack it.
Perennial wonderment:
Surely a movie with such a title can give us at least a *new* way of dyin, like the Final Destination films? Borin stuff.
Reminds me of:
The paint on my uncle's garage wall and how it dried.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
One and a half star. Do avoid this, fellas.

Daughters Of Darkness (1971) @ Les Lèvres Rouges

At a glance:
Before there were horror-comedies like Lesbian Vampire Killers (2009), there were classy European vampire erotica like Harry Kumel's Daughters of Darkness (1971). What's there to say - it's a vampire movie in English, it's got three gorgeous female leads and it's shot with laborious ambition, as if to say "we're goin to make this shot as difficult as possible so that you know how bleedin good we are". Legendary sex icon Delphine Seyrig (pic, foreground) is particularly engrossin as the Hungarian killer Countess Elizabeth Báthory, a sort of decadent high society milf with the most hypnotic and disarmin voice I've ever heard on film. The elegant murderess manipulates newlywed couple Stefan (John Karlen) and Valerie (Danielle Ouimet) with the help of her lesbo pet Ilona (Andrea Rau) with some interestin underpinnin feminist themes throughout. It's not very obvious but it's the sort of movie that illustrates the need for blowjobs to be given when due, lest we suffer the wrath of murderous sexual frustration.
Bad news on the doorstep:
It gets better as it wears on but you might want the first half to go a little faster.
Perennial wonderment:
Why have they not made a movie in which the vampire suddenly dies from accidentally eatin bak kut teh with garlic.
Reminds me of:
Jess Franco's Vampyros Lesbos (1971).
Watch out for:
A rather unexpected crash 'n burn death sequence at the end, brought about by daylight exposure. I guess this is how they did it before they could use special effects like in Interview With The Vampire (1994).  
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Three stars for its three leads. You'll like it if you like moody stuff.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Murder 2 (2011)

At a glance:
Sequel only in name, Bhatt family product Murder 2 has little to do with the Emraan Hashmi and Mallika Sherawat starrer sevens years ago in 2004. While that one was said to be lifted off Hollywood’s Unfaithful (2002), this one is said to be loosely-based on South Korea’s The Chaser (2008) and there is truth in this, comin from a reviewer who has now coincidentally seen both movies. Dabblin with some Christian elements just like the Seoul thriller, Murder 2 is an unabashed showcase of Emraan Hashmi’s (pic) broodin good looks and the bodily delight of the Ceylonese beauty queen that is Jacqueline Fernandez (pic), packaged within a story that will remind you of gory thrillers like Seven (1995) and Hannibal (2001). She is more of a looker than Bipasha Basu (whom she replaced as the lead) but she’ll have to improve her dancin as she accepts more roles. Both leads do quietly well and carry the movie along its charged, superficial eroticism.
Bad news on the doorstep:
While admittedly dark and entirely humourless, Murder 2 is lackin in any real depth and reflection – but as a Bollywood entertainer in the thriller genre, it does what it says on the tin, thanks to the deranged villain character played by Prashant Narayanan. This performance, though and not particularly original, is mildly compellin, and provides some semblance of substance to the otherwise MTV proceedings in Goa.
Perennial wonderment:
Are Bollywood sex sirens shaven?
Reminds me of:
The grindhouse feel of watchin the midnight show alone at TGV Capsquare, Kuala Lumpur.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Two and a half for the effort. The soundtrack is solid fare that has more endurance than the movie proper and will win fans. Watch out for Yana Gupta in a special appearance in the openin track, Aa Zara, somethin so sexy that apparently they couldn't use it for TV promo.

Womb (2010)

What if your mum is literally, technically and unapologetically - a milf?
At a glance:
As the youngest actor ever to play the doctor on British TV's Doctor Who, the slightly unnatural-lookin Matt Smith finds himself suitably and disturbingly cast as Thomas, a genetic clone who is borne by a mother of whom was also his lover!

Say whattt? Let's do this again.

A woman (enigmatic dark Euro beauty Eva Green from
The Dreamers in 2003 that you might remember chattin up Daniel Craig in Casino Royale) loses her boyfriend and in anguish decides to give birth to her dead beloved via clonin technology.
Talk about a horror movie for couples!
Bad news on the doorstep:

You'll never believe the paragraph you're about to read if you've seen the trailer but
without givin too much away, Womb is probably more accessible than what you thought it was, if you were thinkin it were some mental masturbatory arthouse fare. Despite comin from a Hungarian filmmaker whose body of work seems largely despondent and experimental, Benedek Fliegauf's Womb is a thematically strong love story that discusses the ethics of clonin with frightenin coherence and stylish quaintness. In fact, it's so very stylish that you don't even need to get any of it to enjoy the movie. But will you believe me?

Perennial wonderment:
Eva Green (pic) is achingly gorgeous, isn't she? Her unconventional good looks are useful for this movie, considerin the aesthetical difficulties that accompany the movie's logic and progression.
 
Reminds me of:
Cold, cold English days. Cold, cold English nights.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?

Those lookin for substance beyond the picturesque German island where this was shot will find Womb a technically accomplished and highly rewardin watch that is rich in cold nuance. This isn't a comedy like Creator (1985) where Peter O'Toole was tryin to clone his dead wife but if you enjoyed the quiet dystopia in movies like Mark Romanek's recent Never Let Me Go, then there's a good chance you'll love this horror movie from a biosexual filmmaker. In many ways, it's devastatingly romantic.★★★★★

Monday, 19 December 2011

Conan The Barbarian (2011)

Conan Barbarian Jason Momoa Marcus Nispel Rachel Nichols Rose McGowan Saïd Taghmaoui sex Stephen Lang Malek Nor City Harvest Church scandal
At a glance:
Conan Barbarian Jason Momoa Marcus Nispel Rachel Nichols Rose McGowan Saïd Taghmaoui sex Stephen Lang Malek Nor City Harvest Church scandal
Rose McGowan plays Marique.
Featurin a relatively unknown cast of pro bodybuilders, the camp classic Conan The Barbarian was released in 1982 and launched the actin career of a certain Arnold Schwarzenegger into international superstardom. Today, Robert Howard's celebrated Cimmerian character lives again through TV's Baywatch Hawaii star Jason Momoa - though the result is Texas Chainsaw Massacre director Marcus Nispel's unfortunate mix of sword-and-sandals with obscene gore - all in the name of violent cinematic fun. They do look pretty damned good though. For those not fascinated by Momoa's carefully chiselled naked butt in the bedroom scenes, the eye candies are Rachel Nichols, pic (Amityville Horror, 2005) and Rose McGowan (Grindhouse, 2007) but they don't do too much. The whole movie has a 'drunken tavern' production design with muddy floorboards and topless barmaids aplenty - and somewhere in between those two you'll find the formidable French actor Saïd Taghmaoui (La Haine, 1995) starrin as an afterthought of a bandit - a testament to how unnecessary this movie really is and how hard it is to get cast in the decent role these days.
Bad news on the doorstep:

Conan Barbarian Jason Momoa Marcus Nispel Rachel Nichols Rose McGowan Saïd Taghmaoui sex Stephen Lang Malek Nor City Harvest Church scandal
"Kill me now. I don't wanna be in this movie."
When it comes to blood, other barbarians are happy to spill but Conan splashes. Rated R Stateside and 18/M18 in Malaysia and Singapore respectively, Conan The Barbarian does more than what it says on the tin if you're lookin to catch some barbarous acts of violence in voluminous gratuity. The story, unrelated to earlier films, follows Conan as a child who grows up hell-bent on findin the evil warlord (Stephen Lang from Avatar) who killed his father (Ron Perlman, Hellboy) and annihilated his entire village in search of a mythical artefact. It is not difficult to agree with the online consensus that this 2011 reupdate lacks heart - as can be felt most jarringly in scenes of emotional downtime with grand music - all failin to resonate with the audience. In short, it's hard to care for the characters no matter how good they look.
Perennial wonderment:
Conan Barbarian Jason Momoa Marcus Nispel Rachel Nichols Rose McGowan Saïd Taghmaoui sex Stephen Lang Malek Nor City Harvest Church scandal
"If I touch you there..."
Hard to tell Momoa from the Baywatch days of Jason Ioane and his pearly whites. He's very committed to the role and nothin like the hunky young lifeguard we remember - but at least he has found a suitable job since apparently receivin 140 stitches on his scarred face in a 2008 bar brawl involvin beer glass. There seems to be blood and violence at every turn when it comes to Conan, eh? Well, Cimmerian or not, check yourself for hepatitis after the show.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Dozed off at the Singaporean premiere plenty of times.
★★
Bonus material:

Conan Barbarian Jason Momoa Marcus Nispel Rachel Nichols Rose McGowan Saïd Taghmaoui sex Stephen Lang Malek Nor City Harvest Church scandal photo picture
Live WebcamsAll the natives are happily topless on set. Barbarians, really.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Sleeping Beauty (2011)


SLeeping Beauty Emily Browning seks melayu 3gp tetek besar fairy tale full frontal Jane Campion Julia Leigh R21 Rachael Blake altantuya young teen girls pink nipple barely legal piano pussy deviantart dark knight joker labia SLEEPING BEAUTY anwar ibrahim liwat seksi shah alam masjid surau puaka main pantat
At a glance:
Remember that very watchable little girl in Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events (2004)? Well Emily Browning (pic) grew up and became the pale beauty that is Babydoll in Sucker Punch (2011). Now she appears as the titular muse in Sleeping Beauty (2011), a polished but very confusin WTF debut from Aussie writer-director Julia Leigh, though it seems to be fiercely endorsed by The Piano (1993) veteran Jane Campion who calls it everythin from sensuous, complex and unafraid to a fascinating piece of contemporary existential cinema. The story is about uni student Lucy, who looks like she's twelve but spends half the film in her glorious, pinkest bits in full view despite workin five jobs, gettin sucked into a perverse world of dirty old men entertainment under the pretext of waitressin e.g. havin to match her lipstick colour to her labia. I know. WTF, right?
SLeeping Beauty Emily Browning seks melayu 3gp tetek besar fairy tale full frontal Jane Campion Julia Leigh R21 Rachael Blake altantuya young teen girls pink nipple barely legal piano pussy deviantart dark knight joker labia SLEEPING BEAUTY anwar ibrahim liwat seksi shah alam masjid surau puaka main pantat
Bad news on the doorstep:
Yes, WTF must indeed be the commonest acronym to exclaim just a third into the film, wherever you may be watchin it. There's a lot of fairytale references planted about but seriously, it's a rather tiresome piece of static craphouse cinema if you asked me.

Perennial wonderment:
Does Emily Browning herself understand what the film is all about or is it all a load of bollocks printed on the production notes? Apparently she was made to study Charlotte Gainsbourg's performance in Lars von Trier's Antichrist (2009) for this performance, so I'm even more convinced that it's farthouse fare just like that one.
SLeeping Beauty Emily Browning seks melayu 3gp tetek besar fairy tale full frontal Jane Campion Julia Leigh R21 Rachael Blake altantuya young teen girls pink nipple barely legal piano pussy deviantart dark knight joker labia SLEEPING BEAUTY anwar ibrahim liwat seksi shah alam masjid surau puaka main pantatReminds me of:
Gradiva (2006) and Eyes Wide Shut (1999).
My hands were clenched in fists of rage:
When the end credits rolled and I realised I really should've resisted lookin this up after a Disney employee I know rubbished it on Facebook. The visuals are too strong and I gave in.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
for high production values. Wannabe European schmaltz at its finest. Might I suggest you watch Tokyo Decadence (1992) instead, for a movie that has somethin to say.
Trailer for the curious:

Winter's Bone (2010)

At a glance:
Sparse and muted but oddly compellin, R-rated indie gem Winter's Bone was up for four Oscar nods includin Best Pic; and deserved all the distributor attention it got, if only because it's the least watched and probably the cheapest of the 10 nominees to shoot. Who would have thought that a US$ 2 million movie could turn so many heads? Critics have likened this to another Sundance winner, 2008's Frozen River. Here, we follow Down To The Bone director Debra Granik through the Missouri Ozark backwoods of crime writer Daniel Woodrell's 2006 book, where 17-year-old Ree Dolly deals with a sick mother, starvin siblings and a missin father - while buyin time before her home is repossessed. It's a morality tale about the white underclass and the underground drug trade, underpinned by some remarkable performances from a completely committed cast. In the lead, a young, classically-untrained Jennifer Lawrence (The Burning Plain, 2008) puts in a turn so apt and convincin, she got nominated by the Academy for Best Actress. Her star-makin role as an almost dislikeable teenager is mature and smoothly underhit. Joinin the restrained brilliance is John Hawkes (Me And You And Everyone We Know, 2005) who was himself endorsed here under Best Supporting for his role as the menacin uncle Teardrop, a conflicted man with a superb character arc. Other turns include Garret Dillahunt as a stiff local sheriff and a feisty Dale Dickey as the town matriarch.
Bad news on the doorstep:

Findin an adult without the attention span of housefly to watch it with.
Perennial wonderment:

If Jennifer Lawrence will find work consistently. Since appearin in X-Men: First Class (2011) as Raven / Mystique, I can't see her bein listed in anythin big, except The Hunger Games (2012). We need to see more of her.

Reminds me of:

Terribly Happy (2008) and Shotgun Stories (2007)
Most memorable line:
Never ask for what oughtta be offered.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Perhaps the climax smacked too much of a fable and lacked a more memorable and dramatic reward for viewers but Winter's Bone definitely delivers - that is, if you didn't base your expectations on its completely inappropriate B-grade horror movie poster (at least in my region). It may well be the only film in recent times that is genuinely worth watchin because some people thought it was Oscar-worthy. You'll like the music, too.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Pusher III (2005)

At a glance:
Pusher III is a somewhat muted culmination to the celebrated cult trilogy, focusin on a particularly menacin kingpin from the first two movies - baldin Serbian old-timer Milo, played by accomplished Croat actor Zlatko Burić, pic (doorman in Dirty Pretty Things and also went on to appear in that disaster movie 2012). We follow him through the course of just one day in his life, as he tries very hard to stay off dope while keepin ahead of some dodgy Albanians, Turks, Poles etc and bein the chef for his daughter's birthday party.
Bad news on the doorstep:
It's been more than five years and fans of the series are still waitin for more from writer-director Nicolas Winding Refn but all we've got is a 2010 Hindi rip-off with the same name. You would've thought that since he has had some successful British and Hollywood projects e.g. Bronson and Drive he would start work on Pusher IV as soon as he can. There's good DVD money here and too many characters left unexplored. Please make Pusher IV in my lifetime, Nicolas!
Reminds me of:
Milo's harrowin attempts to stay clean and do right throughout the story are so realistic that any person who has ever been addicted to anythin, can relate to them. There are little nuggets of humanity in him, a sort of criminal determinism that defines him, yet the very next moment he goes about doin the cruelest things with frightenin ease. Milo's character struggle is like any criminal's - the irremediable belief that they are all unfortunate victims of circumstance. Milo's allure however, is that because he doesn't apologise for or try to justify his actions one bit, we begin to see the beauty of believin him.

Watch out for:
The reappearance of Milo's trusty henchman Radovan (Slavko Labovic) in the last third of the film, where the most grisly acts of criminal dismemberment get committed to your memory for life.

Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Four stars for a truly satisfyin watch. You feel lucky to be a middle class wanker readin blogs like this one in your free time instead of bein mixed up with the characters in Pusher III.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Pusher II (2004)

At a glance:
A standalone sequel but best watched with the '96 original, Pusher II and Pusher III are nevertheless projects that were done because director Nicolas Winding Refn reportedly needed to bail his foreclosin production company back out into the black after runnin into debt. Thank goodness the man went back on his word not to touch the cult classic because the product is definitely top notch, expandin on the characters shown in the first film. Pusher II focuses on Tonny (Mads Mikkelsen, left) the seasonal loser so desperately eager to impress his disappointed dad (Leif Sylvester) and overturn his catalogue of lifelong fuckups that he ends up spirallin further down the abyss of self-destruction instead. It's not as intense as the first film but by golly it is a magnificently depressin one with wonderfully built themes of family dysfunction, drugs, responsibility and friendship.
Bad news on the doorstep: 
 I'm a big fan. I can't think of bad things to say about this very studied trilogy, except maybe I think not every female in this movie needed to be a prostitute.
Watch out for:
A particularly heart-warmin and suitably underhit scene in which Tonny discovers how his mother is doin.

Most memorable line:
"Dude, I just got this new girl in the house, right? A really nice, little cunt. Then last night, I was doing her doggy-style in the bathtub, right? Then suddenly, she slipped in the foam and smacked her teeth on the edge - four teeth out her mouth. Must have hurt like shit, dude. But don't worry, it's only her baby teeth."
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Mads Mikkelsen is a very good actor and you can go swimmin in the depth of his actin. Just like the first film, you know it's a great movie when you start carin for people as irredeemable as these.★★★★


Thursday, 15 December 2011

Pusher (1996)

The BEST eCigarette
At a glance:

If you ever knew a drug dealer, then Pusher is an exercise in déjà vu of great nihilistic pleasure. All grit and grain with no glamour, embattled filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn (writer and director of films like Valhalla Rising and Bronson) made this outstandingly powerful film about a week in life of a drug dealer that went on to spawn two sequels. It's a pressure cooker of a movie that delivers some remarkable resonance, as we follow Copenhagen crime through the eyes of Kim Bodnia's character Frank (foreground), a disenchanted pusher who has to deal with his best mate Tonny (Mads Mikkelsen, background) and prostitute girlfriend Vic (Laura Drasbæk), not to mention the Serb kingpin Milo played by Zlatko Buric and his burly henchman Radovan (Slavko Labovic). It's the smilin gangsters that get you shivering; and that's where Pusher hits all the right notes, despite bein hand-held and unintentionally underlit presumably due to budget constraints.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Somehow didn't go down the annals of cult cinema like how La Haine (1995) did. Sure launched some Danish careers though.
Perennial wonderment:

Can Mads Mikkelsen fight as good as he looks?
Watch out for:

Scary scenes involving Serbian sociopaths and Danish dealers who seriously don't like being a few kroner short.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?

Four stars. It's moment after moment of dog-eat-dog and how a form of friendship actually does exist in the most perverse of situations. If you were ever in financial desperation, watch this movie as your glimmer of hope.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Disappearance Of Alice Creed (2009)

Finally we get an eyeful of Gemma's gems.
At a glance:
Bond girl and Persian princess Gemma Arterton stars as the titular kidnappee for this mildly intriguin British thriller in which only three people appear - the other two bein her balaclava bandit captors (Martin Compston and Eddie Marsan). Yes, we finally see Gemma's gems after Daniel Craig and Jake Gyllenhaal got to. The trio play out to a surprisin stand-off as we discover that the ransom won't come as easy as expected. Elements include guns, panties, handcuffs and soundproofed rooms.
"Never ever play with your food again, son."
Bad news on the doorstep:
Startin strong but finishin very weakly indeed, debutant director J. Blakeson (he wrote the 2009 sequel for The Descent) served up one twist too many and didn't keep it tight enough, with some character decisions lettin it all disintegrate into credibility tedium. Don't wanna give away any spoilers here but as the movie wears on, I got less excited.
Perennial wonderment:

Play time!
Why do I find myself drawn to movies with titles like The Haunting Of Molly Hartley (2008), The Possession Of Emma Evans (2010) etc. ?
Reminds me of:
Buried (2010) and Hard Candy (2005).
Watch out for:
A reasonably unexpected WTF love scene along the way. O my days.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?

A valid but problematic effort. To see more of Arterton, she's in the upcomin
Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013) playin opposite Jeremy Renner as the fairytale siblings.
★★1/2
Bonus material:

Did you know that this exquisite creature was born with extra fingers?