Plot summary here
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Plot summary here
Friday, December 18, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Directed by Lars Von Trier
A nameless couple, He (Willem Dafoe) and She (Charlotte Gainsbourg) retreat to a cabin in the woods to grieve the loss of their young son. After falling from a window, while the couple have sex in the other room.
This film caused controversy when it screened in Cannes. People boo-ed the film, while others passionately applauded it. Where I sit, I still don't know. And I don't think I'll ever know.
This is a very difficult film to digest, I was almost in physical pain the whole way through. It played like an arthouse horror film. But it's the kind of horror that I've never experienced before, and one that I hopefully will not experience again. It's like a demon that sits on your shoulders and takes away all the happiness and hope inside of you. Or like a dementor from Harry Potter, you know, the creepy hooded monsters that suck all the joy right out of you.
But I have to admit that Lars von Trier is one heck of a talented auteur. The images he creates are so beautiful it could potentially make your heart stop. But the reason for your heart stopping might not just come from the beauty of the image but also the horror of which it represents.
If "Antichrist" was a person, it would be the popular, bitchy one at school. The one that everybody worships but secretly hate. They're beautiful but so utterly nasty and vile.
Trier has mastered the technical aspects of filmmaking but I find him so frustratingly immature. In the press conference after the screening of the film in Cannes, when the journalists direct a question at him, he answers it either with a joke, an incomplete answer or he seeks help from the actors sitting beside him. And for a filmmaker who just created a film with such heavy subject matter and who is unable to justify the reasons and the purpose of the film makes me wonder if he really did place a lot of thought towards the work or if he just made it to create a reaction.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
You're not familiar with the music, it's the first time you've heard it, but something about it draws you to it, sucking you in like a vortex. Every thought and action ceases, and for that brief moment, you realise beauty.
The moment after, when you get your consciousness back, you realise that it's not the melody, or the beat, but the voice. The organic musical instrument, the voice, triggers something primal within you.
Very few musicians have the voice possessing the ability to stir me. A few I can think of in my head are Bjork, Roisin Murphy, and Ella Fitzgerald. But the most recent one who I've only started listening to is Regina Spektor.
Her song 'Hero' is just beautiful, I love how its so repetitive, as if she's trying to embed the message of the song upon us, and us not really listening. I love the playful bvvvvv after "open wide here comes original sin" like how a child gives up after they tire of explaining something.
'Samson' is incredibly heartbreaking and it highlights a kind of love that is simple and basic, something that we gradually lose over time in all our relationships.
'Eet' is very left off-centre, very unusual and produces a question mark, everytime it is played. But it is still just as beautiful.
Everyone has different preferences to the kind of voice that we want to hear. Soo, which musicians, thinking just about their voice, have an emotional and/or personal hold over you?
Monday, December 7, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Directed by Louie Psihoyos
My favourite documentary from last year was Up The Yangtze, a poignant film detailing the lives of the many Chinese people affected by the rapid change of their homeland. It's a beautiful mix of modern and old China and it almost brought me to tears. Like Up The Yangtze, The Cove addressed one of the most significant issues facing the the world today. Not global warming, or terrorism but marine life, emphasising on the annual dolphin slaughter in the Japanese town of Taiji. A group of filmmakers and activists infiltrate the aforementioned town (who falsely claim themself as "dolphin-loving") to expose the shocking truth of the whaling industry, who kill thousands of dolphins and whales each year.
I became deply affected by the film, which is strange seeing as I'm not the biggest fan of dolphins out there (UPDATE: I am now). It pulls you in and takes you on a journey that you're glad you have seen, because now you can start the change.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
NOTE: NOT IN PARTICULAR ORDER
#10: Turkish Delight/Hot Chocolate scene in Narnia.
I would never have tried turkish delight if it wasn't for this scene. It looked so perfect and delicious.
Even in CGI, the food in this movie is so mouth-watering. I actually like to eat dinner while watching this movie as it makes any food taste better.
#8: No Reservations
I couldn't wait to get out of the theatre when I saw this film. Because my stomach was grumbling like crazy. It was borderline culinary pornography.
How come I don't have any chocolate shops around my area that is as good as the one in this film??
#6: Mad Men Lunch Scene
I don't know why but this scene made me crave for a sandwich real bad. It's one of the early episodes in season one where Peggy was bought lunch from the cart and the sandwich was wrapped in waxpaper. It looked so tasty.
#5: Pulp Fiction. The Big Kahuna Burger
I don't think I need to explain this. This scene made everyone crave for a cheese burger and had me frantically search for a place that sold Big Kahunas.
#4: Super Size Me
Ok, I know this documentary's intentions were to put people off McDonalds. Unfortunately it did the opposite to me. I ran out of the house and bought myself a Big Mac.
#3: Sex and the City Magnolia bakery scene or any SATC epsiode
This scene made everyone crave for cupcakes, so much so that the actual bakery has become immensely popular. Why are they always eating in this show? And they're always at some fancy New York restaurant. It's not fair.
Miss Turnbull's chocolate box, chocolate cake scene and TV dinner scene
#1: Hell's Kitchen
Everytime they mention the word risotto, I panic.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
True Blood is sexy, delicious and twisted. I can't get enough of it and the writers always end each episode with a cliffhanger so you're always hungry for more. I almost ignored this show completely, dismissing it as another vampire show that's taking advantage of Twilight's success. But it's the opposite. It is like Twilight but for adults. It's Twilight with a brain.
Mad Men the show that satisfies my nostalgic craving. Incredibly well written, Mad Men is fast becoming one of my favourite shows on TV. The characters are interesting, the narrative almost perfect and it's visually stunning. It deserves all awards that are coming its way.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
"You can see the ending from a mile away!!" a critic once complained.
Seriously. How do people do this. There's something seriously wrong with me because no matter what I do, whenever I try to foretell a story's ending, using hints and clues from the scenes that precede it, I always get it wrong. Except for Slumdog Millionaire but that doesn't count.
Even while watching a movie that shows a plethora of cliches, I still tell myself, that maybe, just maybe this movie will be different? I have faith that it will not end the way it should. That it will break the formula, subvert the genre, turn it on its head. So when I predict the plot my mind usually thinks up the most ridiculous conclusion.
90 percent of the time I'm wrong and can't help feeling guilty for my incompetence to play psychic, but still I cling on to the Hope.
The Hope that the writers of this movie or tv show or whatever will think that "hmmm we should do something different. Make them think this way, then boom hit them with a plot twist. They'll never predict this!"
This has only happened to me a few times, when my ridiculous conclusion is correct and other people are impressed by the ending that they "could have never predicted".
But unfortunately most of the time my prediction is wrong, and it means the movie sucks.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Everyone loves to read a negative review, I know I do.
So I've put together a bunch of films that I truly despise and unleash the Anton Ego within.
Contrived to the point of absurdity. Okay, I can live with the fact that every question in the gameshow was related to a significant event in his life, but to take it further and have the questions asked chronologically, in sync with how his story unfolds. Contrived, contrived, contrived!
And it stuck to this formula throughout the entire movie. It was so unbelievably predictable, it was almost painful.
In a couple years, people will question what possessed them to actually enjoy and highly praise this movie. I believed the film's success is a reflection of the current state of the world. Economic recession. Rags to riches story. BOOM. Feel good movie of the year.
The other problem I had with the film was the lack of chemistry between the two leads, Jamal and Latika. I'm referring to the older ones of course (I thought the young actors' performances were the closest I can get to authenticity). I hated them together. I was with them intially when they were still young but as they got older, I just got bored. I was actually hoping that they would not be together. The actors were so bad and why would a boy who grew up in the slums all of a sudden acquire perfect English language skills with an accent to match?
My other problem was that they such heavy subject matter to deal with that it grounded the film to harsh, cold reality. But then aspects of unreality and "fairy-taleness" were weaved into the film which then creates this annoying contradiction (suspend reality, go back to reality. Repeat).
I don't really loathe the movie, I just think it did not live up to the hype and I found that the recognition it received was not well deserved. It's a very flawed film.
I'm a very big supporter of small films that make it (and win) against the big dogs. I'm usually in full support of the underdog, but in this case, I just did not find myself enjoying the film or find it worthy of its accolades.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
These are such a breath of fresh air from boring, uninspiring multiplexes that conquer even the smallest of towns. Nothing beats the experience of watching a film inside a place with a history. I love that old-Hollywood feel and my local old deco cinema, the majestic Randwick Ritz, is definitely one of my favourite places to go to see a movie. It's also usually much cheaper than the multiplex.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
I love the way he constructs them, he describes things in a way that alter your perspective, not only towards the thing that he's describing but also towards the idea of how things should be described.
I wouldn't call this a page turner, since it took me a long time to finish. But it's one of those rare books that you try to relish every single word, and in some magical way, make me as a reader feel scared to end up in the last page. I don't want it to end.
I'm not talking about the overall narrative, I actually wanted that to come to a close, but I don't want the experience to come to an end.
The characters are drawn so well that you as the reader feel like God and understand who these people really are in a level that no other human being can ever know another. McEwan gives you a very transparent view into the innermost corners of these characters' minds and it's such a pleasure to have read this incredible novel.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Now, I'm going to give examples of how to actually attract the audience instead of repelling them. Here is a run-down of recently released posters that are so well designed, it convinced me that I need to see this movie. A wonderful fusion of art and advertisement.
Funny Games U.S.
Draws you in like a moth to a flame
Simple, yet bold.
The Girlfriend Experience
The art of graphic design, maximised
Disturbingly alluring, eye-catching and well executed
Great composition. Beautiful typography.
Clever arrangement of the title
Creepy. I was obsessed with this movie because of this poster (if only the movie lived up to its marketing).
Clean yet striking
Thank You For Smoking
Monday, June 8, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Atonement by Ian McEwan. Considered to be a masterpiece (the novel, not the film)
The Road by Cormac McCarthy (this book is so frickin hard to get, all the copies in the libraries I've been to have them all loaned out)
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. At least I have faces to put on for the characters already, thank God for films.
Push by Sapphire (is this a pseudonym? I love people identified with only one name)
Monday, June 1, 2009
The Moleskine was a blank canvas for my art, an empty page to fill my stories in and a surface where thoughts are transferred from my mind. They're slightly more expensive than the average notebook, which gives you more reason to treasure it but it's definitely well worth the cost.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I viewed this film in a massive G-Max Cinema. Wall to wall, ceiling to roof screen. I was thankful for that, as this film is a visual delight. Bright and colourful without being tacky or overpowering *cough Speed Racer cough*. This is one of the movies of the year that must be seen on the big screen.
The movie follows Po (Jack Black), a lazy and always hungry panda who secretly wishes to become a kung fu master one day but is forced to help his father (strangely, a bird) run the family noodle shop. A kung fu master, Oogway (Randall Duk Kim) has a premonition that Tai Lung (Ian McShane) is going to escape prison and threaten their village. Oogway chooses the Chosen One and who could that be other than the unlikely Po. Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) trains him along with the Furious Five to help defend the village and ultimately defeat Tai Lung and in turn prove that a kung fu master can come from just about anyone.
The storyline I thought was predictable at times but nonetheless carries the audience seamlessly through the end. The animation was spectacular and special praise to the fantastic choreography that created the insanely exciting fight scenes. People were clapping and cheering all the way through the film. And they should. Mostly funny but needed a tiny bit of tweaking to give some of the dialogue a bit more wit but with that aside this is great entertainment and is a definite must see. With a few tweaks here and there, I think DreamWorks Animation can finally reach the elusive bar of Pixar perfection. Not only visual wise but also, hopefully, in storytelling.
THE GIRL WHO LEAPT THROUGH TIME (2006) Studio Ghibli
I fell in love with Japanese anime ever since I viewed Howl's Moving Castle then later on, Spirited Away. I was moved by their spectacular imagery, beautifully drawn characters and the sheer capacity of imagination that oozes from these films. The girl who leapt through time was no exception.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
The only one that I can think of that comes close is Roisin Muprhy, also daring in her music and her fashion statements but what she doesn't have is Bjork's ethereal, celestic and almost alien persona. I just love her.
Her music videos rank in my list as one of the best made, artisitically and it almost looks like it belongs in some sort of contemporary museum. The one below with the song "All Is Full Of Love" is just stunning, check it out.
But I'm planning to watch Angels and Demons and Star Trek with friends in the next week. Yay.
Oh about Star Trek. I'm not the biggest fan of sci-fi films (I don't like Star Wars) and I've always thought that Star Trek was, well, too weird for me, and boring. But it's been getting great reviews, the trailer looks ok and with the creative input of J.J. Abrams, I'm giving this film a chance. But I will not become a Trekkie. I have enough obsessions already.
Also, I've been watching a few reality shows on youtube. I'm still obsessed with ANTM and no sign of that diminishing. I'm also starting to hate Tyra Banks now. If you watch the earlier seasons and compare her behaviour with current ones, you'll know what I'm talking about. Is fame making her head big?
Also, I've been watching Survivor intros on the tube and had just come to the realisation of how awesome the soundtrack is. You know what I'm talking about, that ethnic chanting song that plays. I want it on my iPod but unfortunately I'm not finding it on limewire.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
#10: Where the wild things are
I've never read the book but the trailer looks fantastic. After Pan's Labyrinth, I'm all in for storybook tale movies with a dark twist. Plus Spike Jonze is directing, who am I to resist?
I just recently re-watched Sacha Baron Cohen's previous film, Borat and it reminded me how groundbreaking this comedian really is. Daring, risky and shocking. In a good way. His name alone will secure a seat for me in the theatre and judging from the trailer, it's going to be hilarious.
Do yourself a favour and see this on the big screen. Comedies like Borat are best seen with a group of people in a dimly lit room. Trust me.#8: Up
The yearly Pixar release is always going to make it to my anticipated films list of any year. You don't understand how much of a fan I am of Pixar. I love their work and I love what they do with their movies. They're the only ones who seem to be able to produce movies that are artistic masterpieces but at the same time make it marketable to mainstream audiences. They don't seem to fail and I don't see why they're going to fail with this next one. A sure-to-be instant hit.
According to test screenings at a certain film festival (forgot what it was called. BNAT-? i think. Google it), Up seems to be receiving a positive buzz even in its rough version.
Oh and did I mention that it's being screened on 3D? CAN'T WAIT!
#7: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
I'm not usually a big fan of action films. This is because in most films, I see the same car chase sequence over and over again, with few variations. So most of the time I just get bored with it. But there's something about Michael Bay films that make me jittery on my seat. I love films that are pushing their over-the-topness, without actually going full blown OTT.
Transformers was one of these films. I have never been so ecstatic in a movie theatre, ever. I was practically high on adrenaline. Hopefully, this does not fall short of it predecessor.
#6: Angels and Demons
Yes, I read the book. Kept me awake at night for about a week, I couldn't stop reading it. When I finally forced myself to turn off the lights and go to bed, I just stared at the book in the dark, and it teased me. Then I would give in and start reading it again. Now imagine that kind of willingness to see (or read) a story progress and have that translated on screen. BOOM. You have Angels and Demons.
#5: Inglorious Basterds (no it's not a typo, that's just how Tarantino likes it spelt)Tarantino. Enough said. No, I'm not a pretentious fan. He's just a bloody fantastic filmmaker.
#4: Julie and Julia
Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. Those two names alone will have me rushing down to the theatre. Oh. It's a film about cooking. Perfect. I have this thing with films and shows about food. You know, movies like No Reservation and Ratatouille. TV shows like Hell's Kitchen and Masterchef. There's something so delicious about them. I actually like eating dinner while watching them, it's weirdly satisfying.
#3: The Fantastic Mr Fox
Another movie movie adapted from a beloved novel. And with big names attached to it like Cate Blanchett, George Clooney and Bill Murray. No, this movie must not be skipped.
#2: Shutter Island
Independent and sci-fi usually don't go hand in hand when you're talking about films. But apparently this succeeds spectacularly. The new Sam Rockwell film screened in various film festivals, including Tribeca and is generating quite a buzz. Can't wait until it's released theatrically.