Monday, 30 January 2012

The Help (2011)


At a glance:
You is kind, you is smart and you is the fool who watched this craptacular con job on the back of its Oscars hype. If you're the type of tosser who thinks Slumdog Millionaire (2008) and Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire (2009) are wonderful eye-openin films, chances are you'll have heaps of praises for The Help (2011), yet another glossy melodrama that White America Hollywood endorses to feel better about itself, just like The Blind Side (2009). Do not be part of this cocksuckin collective. Give "magical negro" a Google today. This movie is about helpless black people who are empowered by white people - that's why they're tellin you it's the dog's bollocks.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Film director Tate Taylor's The Help (2011) isn't based on a true story and the neither is the eponymous 2009 Kathryn Stockett novel it's based on, although some maid tried to sue her for it. Both Taylor and Stockett are actually childhood friends - coprophiliacs, if bizarre plot elements are anythin to go by. Both book and movie are objectionable materials with outrageous or extraneous characters that trivialise race relations and human dignity. Make no mistake, it is fiction. Story is about a well-meanin white journo (Emma Stone) who published tell-all stories from maligned African-American home servants (hence the title) in 60s Jackson, Mississippi. It's the kind of prepackaged socio-political content that drags you through deplorable aspects of the human condition and then leave you with absolutely no room to draw your own conclusions. If not because of the admittedly all-round solid performances (especially Octavia Spencer, pic, from TV's Ugly Betty, playin a motor-mouthed maid), this movie wouldn't get half the attention it's been gettin.
Perennial wonderment:
Jessica Chastain (pic) reportedly put on 15 pounds for her role as ditzy, alabaster housewife Celia Foote, thanks to soymilk and ice-cream. How did it all go to just her boobs? It was apparently upped two cup sizes if you saw her in that red dress, unrecognisable from the girl we saw in The Debt (2010).
Reminds me of:
Stephen King horror movie Thinner (1996), the last time so much fuss is kicked up over a piece of pie.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Overrated, overlong, overdone. If it were more like Forrest Gump (1994) and didn't take itself so seriously, then perhaps not many would've opposed it so badly. Reverse racism is so borin. Go and fry yourself some chicken instead to feel better about life.★★1/2

Sunday, 29 January 2012

The Loved Ones (2009)

Robin McLeavy in a memorable turn as a jilted prom princess.
Daddy loves you.
At a glance:
A memorably graphic Aussie flick shot entirely in Victoria, Melbourne, about the horrors of turnin down the wrong girl for a prom date. Underpinned by strong themes of guilt and loss, the film title is significant but I won't ruin it for you. Do watch before meals. Hooray for depravity and brokenness. Hooray for FUBAR families.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Written and directed by a tryin filmmaker named Sean Bryne, the film does start slow and you iPhone punks might not have the patience to last out till the rewardin climax. You'll just have to take my word for it that it's not your average drill (lame pun intended).
Perennial wonderment:
Who is this Robin McLeavy? She plays Lola The Princess, the jilted prom date. Sure gave Kathy Bates a run for her money. Completely owned the movie and acted everyone out of sight. And who is this Jesse McNamee? What a body. She's in The Vow (2012) next, so let's see what she does in that.
Reminds me of:
Misery (1990) and Carrie (1976).
Jesse McNamee obliges with some skin in the R-rated movie.
You won't see that in The Vow (2012).
Most memorable line:
"You've got 10 seconds to go or Daddy's gonna nail it to the chair."
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Compact, effective, old-fashioned violent goodness.You'll learn to have more respect for that Bosch power drill lyin in your toolbox from now on. ★★★★
teardrop titted tattoo titted
What I would give for all the teardrop-titted women of the world.

Bonus material:
Fuicho. So art.

Friday, 27 January 2012

The Viral Factor (2012) @ 逆战

How come Liu Kai Chi always plays a crippled loser?
At a glance:
Dante Lam continues to make ambitious but underwhelmin movies while cuttin corners and keepin the Chinese action-junkies placated for the Dragon New Year. Hazmat hocus-pocus, RNA mumbo-jumbo, Nicholas Tse jumpin off KTM buildin, Jay Chou dodgin RPGs in Jordan, joke policemen runnin around KL Sentral speakin textbook full Malay with Chinese accents, CGI explosions whenever possible, emo downtime whenever possible, everyone speakin to each other in five different languages. Yeah, that sorta thing. 
Bad news on the doorstep:
All of the above. And oh, Jay Chou's two-tone face of stone.
Gay Chou in army gear.
Perennial wonderment:
How many movies have you seen Liu Kai Chi play a crippled loser? And oh, how many of you know about Carl Ng, the Eurasian model-actor who has appeared in so many different kinds of Hollywood, European and Hong Kong films throughout his colourful career?
Reminds me of:
Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh doin that helicopter and bike scene in KL for Police Story 3: Supercop (1992).
I can't remember if I cried:
When I giggled too hard as me mate Bob asked me in the cinema, how does a curly long blonde Nicholas Tse sneak in and out of so many police stations in KL unnoticed, wearin a fluorescent Hawaiian shirt?
Most memorable line:
Chopper 1, please follow Chopper 2 and Chopper 3 because we have lost contact with Chopper 4. Or somethin like that. Hilarious. The height of Malaysian police tactical radio communication.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Two stars, one for each hour of toilin. US$ 17mil of Albert Yeung money flushed down the annals of meaningful cinema. Jackie Chan, please come back. Dante Lam, please revisit Beast Stalker (2008) and Stool Pigeon (2010).
Trailer for the curious:

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Reykjavík-Rotterdam (2008)

At a glance:
You'd probably never come across this one, unless you were seekin it out. Reykjavík-Rotterdam (2008) is the original movie that spawned that Hollywood remake starrin Mark Wahlberg, Contraband (2012). It's apparently the largest movie that was ever done in Iceland and stars a who's who of Iceland's finest, if only we bloody knew who those are. What we do know is that Baltasar Kormákur, the main actor in this movie, later returned as director for the Hollywood flick. The title basically refers to the plot - a smugglin run between two ports.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Lilja Nótt Þórarinsdóttir
Dammit I ain't seen me an Icelandic film for more than 10 years since 101 Reykjavík (2000) and this turned out pretty forgettable. Cineastes who seek out Óskar Jónasson's original hopin to catch a superior film will end up fairly disappointed - it's simpler, shorter and not much more fun. Mark Wahlberg had to drag himself through psychotic criminals and killer high seas for more than two hours but Baltasar Kormákur wraps it all up under 88 minutes. Make no mistake, it's definitely a remake - but it is unclear if one was expanded from the other or if deleted elements from the original were simply restored in the remake. The main difference is that Reykjavík-Rotterdam is about smugglin alcohol and Contraband goes for funny money. However, everythin else is similar, down to Kate Beckinsale's anonymous blonde role bein copied from Lilja Nótt Þórarinsdóttir's uneventful turn.
Perennial wonderment:

If Contraband was gonna be rated R anyway, why not throw in some titties? This Icelandic flick has got some trademark dry Scandinavian humour but sorely needed some grunge and spunk.
Reminds me of:

Leadin man Baltasar Kormákur (pic) reminds me of Bollywood badboy Emraan Hashmi. 
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Two and half. They sent it as Iceland's Oscars 2010 submission for Best Foreign Language Pic anyway. 
Trailer for the curious:


Thursday, 19 January 2012

Auto Focus (2002)

Bone Town
At a glance:
Memorable improvised biopic about sex addict TV actor Bob Crane, star of the American 60s hit comedy series Hogan's Heroes. Movie starts off cheerfully enough with Bob (played by Greg Kinnear) leadin a healthy, successful life then he met and made friends with a video technician (Willem Dafoe) who would form a sexploitative relationship with him as they became obsessed with filmin themselves boinkin women and keepin records of their conquests.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Some will say it's offbeat, uninspirin and trivial. It can be rather depressin due to the gloomy texture of the film in the last act or so and I wouldn't recommend it to viewers lookin for a feel-good film. This is a film about a man who destroyed himself and did not have the chance for redemption.
Perennial wonderment:
Why has Greg Kinnear never gone to the next level of Hollywood stardom? I've always felt that Greg Kinnear is an under-rated actor who really deserves more roles in Hollywood A-List movies. He has an amazin intensity to him which permeates and ebbs well with the flow of this film. His portrayal of Bob Crane here is impressive and there are many scenes where the bleakness of his life just spoke through his eyes, behind those 70s tinted glasses.
No white shirt ever looked better on a woman
since Alex Menesis in Auto Focus (2012).
Watch out for:
Willem Defoe playin Crane's sex-crazed sidekick. He's always done well with twisted, destructive characters, hasn't he? However I must confess that the only reason why I first bought this film was to catch a glimpse of the adorably dirty Maria Bello (Coyote Ugly fame) as Crane's on-set lover and later wife.
I can't remember if I cried:
As this is not a thriller by any account I will tell you that Bob Crane met an unexpected end at the hands of a an unknown murderer in his room as he was sleepin and this remains one of Hollywood's most perseverin unsolved homicides. Did some readin and it appears that the events that are shown on the film are mostly improvisational and that Crane's second family had dismissed it altogether. In any case, Paul Schraeder (writer of Taxi Driver and director of Affliction and Raging Bull) has made a very interestin account on his life here.

Most memorable line:
A day without sex is a day wasted.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Great that it wasn't overdone. Love the bits of video entertainment history. Useful sleaze. ★★★1/2
Trailer for the curious:

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Uninhabited (2010)

Free Lifetime Porn!At a glance:
I'm now sat at the airport lounge waitin to board a flight to Phuket and I'd just like to share with you this - I've watched me a lot of annoyin island movies in my time e.g. A Perfect Getaway (2009) but this Aussie product has got to be the very worst, although we can concede it wasn't easy to film, especially on a shoestrin budget. Look away now if you don't want me to save you the grief - it's about the ghost of a girl who worked in a turtle cannin factory and died from steppin on a stonefish or somethin, as written on the official website.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Geraldine Hakewill
Penned and directed by Bill Bennett (the guy was inspired by a ghost story told to him), it features two very uncharismatic leads in Geraldine Hakewill and Henry James (pic) who play holidayin young lovers in a seemingly deserted island. Already I insist no thriller or mystery movie has a right to go 15 minutes in without droppin a single hint on what's astir but worse, these two larks don't say or do anythin camera-worthy for the longest time! During one of the many meaningless lethargic conversations they were havin, I wondered if it would've been more entertainin if a huge fluorescent sea monster came and swallowed them whole. Fin. Total runtime 15 minutes.
Perennial wonderment:
What happens when sand enters the vagina durin sex on the beach?
Reminds me of:
Pulau Besar, Malacca.You can read all about the spooky island online (explodin machinery, missin people etc) but I suspect much of the literature has been removed because the authorities are still tryin to develop the place. I'd like to go back there one day and see whether the misfortunes my family had on our worst holiday ever was indeed a one-off.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
For Geraldine Hakewill's knockers, 1/2 They kept my imagination goin as the movie dragged itself to the finish line.
Trailer for the curious:

Bonus material:
The original grave. 

Friday, 13 January 2012

Dirty Pretty Things (2002)

At a glance:
Not sure if it inspired the UK band of the same name but Stephen Frears' Dirty Pretty Things (2002) has got to be one of the most enjoyable and durable entertainers that England has ever produced for the international cinema tourist, although you don't read of many wantin cult classic status for it. Steven Knight's Oscar-nominated written work is about "the people you do not see, the ones who drive your cabs, clean your rooms and suck your cocks". Welcome to a London that seriously needs some cleanin up. Welcome to kidney-for-passport programmes, abusive sweatshop owners, oily budget hotel bosses, immigration tough guys and gum-chewin prostitutes with expensive manicures.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Like a foreigner's fable, some may be put off by its decidedly colourful cast - a drunken Russian doorman (Zlatko Burić), a strugglin Nigerian taxi driver-cum-doctor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a kind-hearted whore of Caribbean descent (Sophie Okonedo), a quirky Chinaman who works at the hospital morgue (Benedict Wong) and a timid Turkish cleaner girl played by Audrey Tautou in her first English-speakin role. The film is necessarily dark because of its morbid theme (literally even, as it's mostly shot at night) and you wouldn't like this if you were expectin some glossy thriller starrin Tautou (pic).
Perennial wonderment:
Can anyone tell me if that herb or shrub that Okwe chews to stay awake and work two shifts?
Reminds me of:
My England days, a time when I could've easily been any one of these characters.
Watch out for:
Well I won't spoil it for you but there's one scene where Okwe's expertise in diagnosin STDs just got in demand. Wait for it!
Most memorable line:
The black whore was so surprised that Senay (Tautou) was still a virgin and exclaimed "Christ!" to which the girl, being Turkish and therefore Moslem, calmly said "No, Mohammed". What a laugh!
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Four stars for a subtle crime drama with a little bit of everythin. It's like watchin the Third World in London.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Birthday Girl (2001)

At a glance:
This is a quiet but memorable British item that may have had no relevance today if not for it bein on Nicole Kidman's CV. Ben Chaplin (pic) is unassumin bank clerk John who lived a rather mundane, loveless life in St Alban before decidin to get himself a Russian mail order bride one fine day. The gorgeous Nadia (Nicole Kidman, pic) arrives only for him to discover that she doesn't speak any English. While waitin for the agency to get back to him on the matter, things turn out quite alright as they both struggle to communicate with each other in a clumsily romantic way. Nadia is extremely obedient and docile and we see how hard she tries to make John happy, especially as she indulges him in his sexual fantasies. John is very pleased with her and begins to fall for her quiet charm. Just as the plot looks headed for fairytale fluff, enter Nadia's two friends Yuri and Alexei (played by Mathieu Kassovitz and the omnipresent Vincent Cassel) to unsettle the mood. Somethin is definitely amiss and we begin to suspect that Nadia is not all as she seems.
Bad news on the doorstep:
If you don't find Nicole Kidman one of the most compellin female actresses in the world, chances are you will find this one a bit predictable and cliched. Despite a solid script, the stars do have to drive it.
Watch out for:
The giraffe jokes and some kinky Kidman scenes.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Neat little three-star romantic thriller with generous touches of wry humour. Chaplin is convincin as the inhibited John and it's easy to sympathise with his character. Kidman's role is humanised in a realistic way without being overly sentimental. There's a beautifully strange chemistry between them and I should think the audience get coaxed into wantin their relationship to work. This is a movie that doesn't take itself too seriously, with no real profound messages to impart. The value lies in its fluid, unpretentious story-tellin and adorably lazy texture. My chief complaint about this movie would be its slightly overly-sweet closin but I take nothin away from a generally well-made film.
Trailer for the curious:



Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Contraband (2012)


At a glance:
Okay, here's the first movie I've seen in 2012 and if you didn't know it, January is the month for the big studios to dump their rubbish. Baltasar Kormákur's direction isn't exactly Oceans Fourteen and if you've seen the trailer, you know there's no slick and suave in this here heist movie, despite two very sexy saleable mainstream leads in Mark Wahlberg and Kate Beckinsale. Contraband (2012) is apparently a Hollywood remake of an Icelandic film starrin the director himself, called Reykjavík-Rotterdam (2009). I'll confirm for you the extent to which this is true once I'm done watchin that.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Doubt UIP managed to flog this out too much across Malaysia - the two-minute trailer they cut feels like 20 and the title of the movie is regrettably inaccessible to most here, save maybe kretek smokers and the fat bastards down at Customs. There are no cool one-liners, no bazooka explosions, no caped superhero with own theme song. Marky Mark ain't dodgin bullets like in Max Payne (2008) and Beckinsale doesn't appear in a tight latex corset (though she will next week when Underworld: Awakening opens). The appeal is limited to heist movie fans - and by this I mean boys who might actually be takin notes on the A-Zs of smugglin funny money.
Giovanni Ribisi
Perennial wonderment:
If the jobless man I watched this with will end up bein slightly too enamoured with this film and start developin grand illusions of the criminal kind. He enjoyed it very much and wanted to alert another mate about the film - a bloke who works in logistics. O my days, this sounds like another heist script already.
Reminds me of:
Gone In Sixty Seconds (2000) and The Town (2010).
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Three and a half for bein much better than you would expect from somethin as low-key as this. Solid supportin cast and a neat finish. You'll like the music too.
Trailer for the curious:


Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Slave (2009)

in-car blowjob ramadhan festival GANAS
"Bareback in the hatchback, Sam?"
At a glance:
There's no good reason nor real chance that you'll come across this regrettable British bore bonanza, unless you were lookin to see more of Natassia Malthe's CV. I watched Slave (2009) on the strength of just that.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Star of the upcomin Malaysian epic Vikingdom (2012) by KRU Films, I got myself on this movie because I've never actually seen much of the D.O.A. Dead Or Alive (2006) and BloodRayne beauty. I just know she's got some exotic looks (pic) and appears quite often as a sex object in B-grade horrors. The movie, as it turns out, is a badly-edited, poorly-scripted crime flick, directed by the fella behind the despicable football flick Goal! The Dream Begins (2005). We're talkin about a contrived plot that involves a confused Russian pimp who pretends to be a Moslem Arab pimp bent on lecturin his victims on the holiness of Ramadhan while gettin blowjobs from skinny drugged birds on a yacht. There are other painfully predictable characters - mostly fat English expat gangsters in Spain with colourful ugly shirts.
Perennial wonderment:
How can anyone say anythin about Natassia Malthe bein Malaysian when all she's ever had to do with Malaysia (prior to Vikingdom) was a six-hour stopover to shoot a shampoo ad. Her mum was from Kota Kinabalu and that's it. She's Norwegian!
Reminds me of:
Sexy Beast (2000) but that was a good movie.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Wotta bore, unless you could just fast forward to the exploitation bits. Jog on.
nice fuck panties MALTHE VIKINGDOM
Trailer for the curious:

Bonus material:
"Did you just make fun of my bald spot?! Did you?!"

Monday, 9 January 2012

If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle (2010) @ Eu Când Vreau Să Fluier, Fluier


At a glance:
Originally a theatre play, this is a Romanian drama set in a borstal, starrin mostly non-pros and rookies to achieve that documentary feel. First time actor George Piştereanu (pic) plays Silviu, an incarcerated youth with a few days left to his sentence, who discovers that his estranged whore of a mother has returned and is now tryin to take his little brother away. He tries to figure out how to stop this, while befriendin a sympathetic female social worker (Ada Condeescu).
Bad news on the doorstep:
Overrated and lethargic, over 20 stagnant shades of hand-held grey. Florin Şerban sure got a lot of backin for this, didn't he? I mean, he had access to real cons and yet managed only several scenes of prison horseplay. Nothin insightful here. Wasted opportunity. One cannot feel the desperation of its characters. Even the premises were borin.
Florin Şerban
Perennial wonderment:
Can we get more upliftin stuff out of the old Communist bloc?
Reminds me of:
The greyness of Lilja 4-Ever (2002) but that was a good film.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
I watched this on the strength of its fierce title but I can't say this was very good at all. Plenty of potential here but the intensity and climax is compromised by its decidedly experimental execution. Simply not compellin enough.


Sunday, 1 January 2012

Wake Wood (2011)

"Help! I don't wanna be another child star with an anonymous adult career!"
At a glance:
This is a Swedish-Irish project filmed in Övreby and Donegal that will whet the appetite of any Pet Sematary (1989) fan who wanted The New Daughter (2009) done in the vein of The Wicker Man (1973) with a bit of the bovine horror from Isolation (2005). Yes, it's definitely worth a look, if only because it is Hammer Films' first feature release in over 30 years - bringin life to the old English studio that gave us movies like The Curse Of Frankenstein (1957) and Dracula (1958). The classical bio-resurrection horror formula is revisited by producer Brendan McCarthy who wrote a rather uneven script and screenplay together with director David Keating - though this is amply made up by the excellent production values, includin the quiet star appeal of decidedly Irish leads Eva Birthistle (Ae Fond Kiss, 2004) and Aidan Gillen (Blitz, 2001) not to mention a very familiar face in Timothy Spall (Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter films).
The ubiquitous Timothy Spall
Bad news on the doorstep:
The little girl (Ella Connoly) is somewhat miscast but her yellow raincoat is perhaps a nod to the red one worn by the little girl in the 1973 classic Don't Look Now so we'll just overlook that.
Perennial wonderment:
Why aren't there more supernatural horror like these? The best thing about Wake Wood is the texture and quaintness of the set, especially when you have a look at the grisly traditional FX employed to depict the supernatural elements of nature. Wake Wood does well in bein totally devoid of the sudden-loud-noise horror that we've come to expect these days and is one of the more memorable returns to chillin ritualistic paganism since Lord Summerisle last  held a fire torch in 1973's The Wicker Man.
Watch out for:
Muddy scenes of human resurrection.
Reminds me of lemang.
"Shit. I knew we should've just adopted."
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?
Wake Wood (2011) obliges with a strong finish that comes with a twist for post-movie conversation fodder and perhaps we can all agree with the director who wrote in the production notes that "everything that happens is their fault but as an audience we go along with all the mistakes they make because we know we would do the exact same thing in their place".★★★1/2