Thursday, December 04, 2003

Today I Was Staring Down The Barrel Of A Gun And Shot At....

A Nutshell Review
Originally Posted On: 4 Dec 2003

a sharp sting was felt at my stomach. Before I knew it, blood splurted forcefully outwards, and I slumped to the ground... but of course I lived to post this article, obviously.

Welcome to MovieWorld 2003 Singapore, at Suntec City Hall 601.

Eric and myself were all set and ready to have a good time, but sadly, we were a bit disappointed by the setup of the exhibition.

Perhaps it's because we visited it on a weekday. Perhaps it's because there wasn't a lot of exhibitors. Perhaps it's because it was in the morning. Perhaps it was a lack of publicity. Probably a combination of all the above.

The exhibition hall was decked out with fibreglass models of Blues Brothers, Marilyn Monroe (in Seven Year Itch, complete with fan and the base to blow up the dress), Frankenstein, Dracula, Wyatt Earp, etc. You get the idea.

The lack of exhibitors (relevant ones... I mean, what's an intelligent building/room contractor doing there?) meant that we completed visiting each and every booth in less than 25 minutes.
We overheard an Indonesian telling some exhibitors, "I saw the ad in the local papers, was interested, flew here, and... and... that's it?"

However, the real fun kicked in when the Stunt Show started at noon. Guns, Stunts, Wire-Work Kung-fu Ninjas, the works. Various guns were fired (not at the audience), Fights with bottles smashed on heads, people being thrown around the floor and tables broken with glee, and throw in a cameo car crash for good measure. It was wicked fun watching all the stunt people performing in this show, save for that pesky bawling kid who can't stand violence. Grow up.

As Eric knew one of the stunt people, we were given an up close and personal look at how the entire show was rigged, from the explosives to the props used. The audience was also invited to have the (obviously prop) bottle smashed on themselves, or smash it against the stuntperson, and to have a go at the wire-work. (Eh Eric, they had like what, 10 persons to hoist you up? :P)

You can also volunteer yourself to be strapped to a small blood pack, and being shot at from 5 metres out. The guns are real, mind you, except that blanks, good timing and acting are used to bring out the movie magic of someone being shot. I volunteered for this one, and a small blood pack was strapped beneath the souvenir (freebie!) T-Shirt, at my chosen spot for it to spurt.

Some last words were said, and was told by the rigger (yeah, i was wired up, did I mention there was a small explosive in the blood pack too?) that if I wanna act and fall, to fall to the side. (I couldn't fall backwards as the "denotator" was placed above my butt, and falling forward will mean lotsa blood splashing all over my shirt). It was over in a flash, but the slight sting was still felt where the blood pack exploded (*ow?*)

Other "performances" included a mock-up film studio and a behind-the-scenes look at how a film scene is done, with audience participation. Animatronics (we missed this one) was also showcased, so is Animation, and movie make-up.

All in all, it was decent fun. If you would like to go, here are the details:

Movieworld 2003
Suntec City Hall 601
10am to 8pm daily (First set of perfomances will start from noon to about 2pm, the next set from 3pm onwards, so time your visit as the exhibition viewing will take you no more than 1 hour)
$6 will get you in (valid for the whole day)

Still admiring my bullet hole blood soaked T-shirt

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Social Engineering 2: The Matrix Revolutions (No Spoilers)

A Nutshell Review
Originally Posted On: 5th Nov 2003

What do you do when an opportunity is presented to you, to do something zany and different for a change? Will you take it? Or will you give it a pass?

I took it, hook, line and sinker, with 3 friends.

Just to recap for all you non movie fans out there, the Wachowski Bros announced a never before Zero Hour simultaneous release of the Matrix Revolutions, both on 35mm and IMAX formats, on 5th Nov 2003. In local time, it would be 2200hrs.

What do you do if you wanna lap up the moment?

Fact 1: one of the parent company of the local GV chain is Village Roadshow, which is also one of the production houses for the Matrix movies.
Fact 2: this will mean that given Zero Hour, the gala premiere will be at one of the GV theatres, for sure.
Fact 3: both formats out? Gotta be GV Grand definitely
Fact 4: Media will be there, so dress up to steal some thunder

Without getting into the back-story of the hoo-har my friends and I got into to get the tickets for the IMAX (we swore we must watch Revolutions on the IMAX, at Zero Hour, and luckily the local censors made it happen) I'll recount the entire fantastic evening that we had. It was unforgettable, it was memorable. One of those moments you share with good friends

It was decided we should go as Agent Smiths, for the following reasons:
1. It was the simplest costume
2. Unless you got the cash, how on earth are you gonna afford snakeskin leather overalls as Morpheus, or that tailor made suit with a skirt as Neo, forget about the vinyl clad Trinity - we ain't female :P
3. Zionites seem kinda underdressed
4. There can be only one of each character, but since we're going as a group, many Smiths made good sense. (It would be stupid if you dressed as Neo, and someone else does too, so, who's The One? :P)

Before "The Gig"
We were teasing the shoppers at Great World City with our walkarounds, in costume, in half costume, out of costume, etc. Preliminary photo opportunities was at McCafe, where I noticed some stares of disbelief. When we collected our tickets in costume, we were approached by one of the ground staff for the Movie Marathon, who was curious just exactly what the heck we're up to. Hey, we're fan boys! Never heard of rabid fans? She offered us the opportunity to speak to the media. Win-Win situation. Nice.

"The Gig"
After dinner, we geared up. Hung around the lobby, took some photos, and Channel 5 came along to ask for an interview. Staying in character, we had this air of indifference in our attitude. The interview was simple, with questions ranging on why we dressed up, and what our expectations for the movie were. Finally I suspect that they would prefer to get our soundbite at the end for their inhouse TV trailers (since Chan 5 is the official TV station for the movie). Again we were requested for another interview after the movie ended. Sweet. Too bad my efforts to get the name and number of our interviewer failed (don't say I didn't try!!)

Then Boon Teck saw me (Yo! Can't see you lah, cuz my shades had no degree, so was practically "blind" after 5 metres :P). So you can bug him for his cool pic with 3 Smiths :D And thanks for helping us take a pic with our photographer friend :) Mucho appreciated!

Next up, Channel News Asia and Channel 8 did a simultaneous interview (I don't even know how to say "Matrix" in mandarin, so I passed up this chance, go Pat go!). And guess what, Cheryl Fox up close and personal :D Interview questions were more or less similar to the Channel 5 one, but Ms Fox was all game and sporting when we requested to take a pic with her, and took 6(?) shots as our photographer had some minor technical problem with the camera. She was friendly, sporting and nice. 'Nuff said.

10 mins before our scheduled screening starts, she requested for us to do another short gig with her (Sure, why not!), but she lost her camera crew and had to look for them

7 mins before, she found her camera crew and asked me "where are the boys", to which I answered "in the boys room" :P

5 mins before, we were rehearsing our lines with her, all set and ready to do the soundbite for her. Took 3-4 takes before we got it right :)

Bid Cheryl goodnight and promised to email her the pics we took. At this moment some photographer (dunno from where) took another 3-4 shots of us. Hope he doesn't represent some some sleazy mag :P

Then it was off we go to our screening, GV gave us some freebies (probably we spiced up the evening at the theare?), redeemed our free combo set (we just settled for the coke, ain't cool for us to be munchin popcorn in character), and made our way for the IMAX theatre entrance....

... but not before noticing the presence of the ever smiling Kenneth Tan, GV managing director. Grabbed this photo opportunity in an instant, and with his name card, we can email him the photo....

and finally it was time to settle down for our big screen version of The End.

True enough, at the end of the screening some 2++hrs later, the Channel 5 crew were already waiting patiently for us to re-emerge from the theatre, to do our final bit of interview about the aftermath thoughts about the show, before we ended the night on a fantastic high.

It could never have been better than planned.

Thank you Wachowski Bros, Board of Film Censors, GV, Cheryl Fox, and most importantly, the Phoenix, without whom we can never capture these moments in print.

Thursday, February 27, 2003


Originally Posted On: 27th Feb 2003


Don't believe what you read in the papers.
I was reading the hoo-har about whether Chicago should be passed uncut as an R(A) or NC-16, and in the end it was to be a PG-rated movie, with CUTS!


When asked what the cuts are and whether it will spoil the show, I recall this dude saying that the audience won't even realise the cuts


Wonder if he actually saw the show after it was cut to PG. To cut out lyrics to songs in a musical is a SIN!

So what if the song was sung when a couple's making whoopie??

Damn, it totally spoils it :P
and the cuts, like all other cuts in cinematic history, are all crudely done.

I could have done a better job (by leaving all scenes intact :P)

Anyway back to the movie, what can i say, it probably would stand a pretty good chance at the Oscars. Richard Gere's tap dance was cool, Renee Zellweger was sweet, though i thought at times she looked damn thin, Caterine Zeta Jones just steals the stage because she looks so big size now :P
as compared to her curvier Entrapment days :D

Hope to see a revival of musicals on the big screen.


Originally Posted On: 27th Feb 2003

This is the first of a series of Marvel comic heroes coming onto the silver screen this year, before Bryan Singer's X2 and Lee Ang's The Incredible Hulk (another Jennifer... Connelly,.... WHOA!)

To compare it to last year's Spider-man will not be fair, because Daredevil is essentially a dark character, and i'm glad they stuck to it.

There are complains that the movie is at times incoherent, but hey, it's based on a comic book! Sit back, relax and enjoy the show as if it's the first time u picked up a Daredevil comic and enjoying it for what it's worth.

Ben Affleck once mentioned that he won't don any tights unless it's a Daredevil movie, and guess what, he's right! He looks the part as the Man Without Fear, the strong jawline and all, and as blind lawyer Matt Murdock. Guess he made Daredevil his own.

Jennifer Gardner's Elektra looks as beautiful as she is lethal, but too bad, we're given little screentime where she is Elektra with her twin Sais. But nonetheless her initial meeting with Matt is really, really cool!

Kingpin, in case you didn't know, is not the white character he is in the comic books, but heck, doesn't bother me a bit.

And someone tell Bullseye to stock up on his ammo before he even attempts to take out Daredevil :P

All in all, the action is sometimes too fast and dark (hey, it's a dark movie :P), but the SFX for the devil's unique capability is really well done. The introductory background to the Daredevil lore and build up is excellent, though the ending i felt was a little too rushed. Fan boys will lap up all the cameos and name-mentioning of people like Kirby, Quesada, et al.

All in all, I suppose Marvel got it right this time with the movies. Awaiting X2 and Incredible Hulk to see if Marvel can do a hattrick with its movies this year.

Have Faith.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

Catch Me If You Can

Originally Posted On: 9th Feb 2003

The minute the animated credits rolled in the beginning, I knew Speilberg hit the jackpot. It sets up everything nicely about the 60s films or films made about the 60s, with all the 2D animation and jazzy acommpanying music, which in itself will tell you the story in a nutshell

That alone was worth your admission ticket. Trust me.

Leo DiCaprio is Frank William Abagnale Jr, currently the best in the anti-fraud business. It takes a thief to nab a thief, so that pretty much sums up the trials, tribulations and the beginnings of a teenager whose life is being on the run from the law, while being an airplane co-pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer.

Playing a supporting role as the Fed agent after Frank is Tom Hanks, who plays this role as serious as he can get. When asked by colleagues to lighten up, he tells a joke that goes
"Knock, Knock"
"Who's There"
"Go Fuck Yourself"

And who can discount the brilliant role of Frank Abagnale Sr, played by Christopher Walken? He da man! And yes, he certainly has tried hard to be the second mouse.

A particular scene that i liked featured the va-va-vroooooom Jennifer Garner (from TV's Alias, and as Electra in the upcoming Daredevil movie) as a high class call-girl, who prostitutes herself to Frank Jr for $1000. Frank my man, ever the conman, although he has smaller denominations of those fake cheques, produces one for $1400, and Jenny returned $400 cold cash to him. WOOOOOOOO! Nothing like getting laid and getting paid, lol!!

On a more serious note, this film highlights to you the concept of "Social Engineering". Don't know what it is? Type it in Google and scan through some of the fine articles written on this subject. You'll be surprised how easy it is to be Frank in real life as well.

Disclaimer: I didn't ask you to con, ok? :P

Thursday, February 06, 2003

Shanghai Knights

Originally Posted On: 6th Feb 2003

OK, I'll mention not of the bland storyline, not of the kung-fu action (Jackie Chan seems to be a tad slower these days don't you think?), not of the infamous ooh-la-la licking scene where a sultry Fann licks Owen.

This review will focus on the gags. Yup, you got me. The gags, without which, the film will never be the same:

1. The (mis)pronounciation of Chon Wang as John Wayne (ok, this is carried over from the first film)
2. How Roy creates Sherlock Holmes!
3. How the aspiring police inspector-writer happened to be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and how he got knighted!
4. How Roy unwittingly gave away his creation Sherlock Holmes to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (haha!)
5. Charlie Chaplin appears in the show! (yeah, he's the kid you see in the trailers!) Now you know where he got his inspiration from!
6. Wonder what happened to Jack the Ripper? Fann has the answer!
7. Automobiles are a weird invention, Roy? However, nothing much can be said of your investments in zeppelins :P
8. Moving pictures present a good investment opportunity

And yes, stay on after the film ends. The outtakes, as usual, are always hilarious.

The Animatrix: The 2nd Renaissance Part 1

Originally Posted On: 6th Feb 2003

What do you do to when your fans impatiently wait for the next 2 installments of your wildly successful movie?

You tell stories. Short stories. Make them animated. Explain the details of the mumbos and the jumbos, or what happened and will happen. Draw inspiration from the source of your movies.

So the Wachowski Brothers present, in anime (Japanese Animation), short animated stories, a total of 9 of them, showcasing the world of the Matrix as we know it, or do we?

The first installment of The Animatrix is out. Titled The 2nd Renaissance Part 1, it offers a glimpse as to the beginnings of the conflict between man and machine, and possibly give us a peek into how the Matrix was created.

Will not spoil the clip for you by recounting the 9 minute narrative, but some interesting points to take note and discuss:

1. The Zion Archives look like some kind of Zen-Buddha like inspired circuitry. Wonder if we will get to see this in the movie sequels
2. Area of conflict again is middle east, where 01 is formed by the machines and becomes an economic powerhouse. Middle East these days are too close for comfort.
3. There was one scene where a robot stood in front of a tank. Reminiscene of Tiananmen.
4. Violence. No doubt it's animated, but it's violent. Check out the scene where a woman's head gets smashed by a robot gone berserk, and another which looked like a rape scene, but turned out to be a destruction of a "female" robot in progress.

I sat a little uneasy watching the way the robot rebellion was crushed by the humans. Perhaps it's because i was watching these events unfold at hindsight, that these robots will one day stage a successful uprising and make Duracells out of humans :D And in a way, you kinda feel for the bots to teach us humans a lesson.

That having said, at times the short film looked like your usual humans vs others (robots, as in Terminator movies, or mutants, as in X-Men movies).

But let us not judge these series too soon, as the other episodes are yet to be released. There will be more gems revealed, that I'm sure.

Looking forward to Part 2 of Renaissance where we just might see the creation of The Matrix.

P.S. This review has only showed you the door, you have to walk through it yourself.

Monday, January 20, 2003

8 Mile

Originally Posted On: 20th Jan 2003

Jimmy "Rabbit" Smith is a mighty good rapper
and a mighty good rapper was he
but he got stage fright
and he clammed up so tight
that he walked off at the speed of light

If you're into rap culture, this movie is for you. But comparisons of these kinda movies where you have low / no confidence prodigies going through trials and tribulations to emerge as champions at the finals of competitions may sound a bit ordinary.

But in this show, Eminem rulez!

What's so NC-16? The language which is used. Every word that comes out of anybody's mouth is F, or colourful variations of F, and every hand sign involves the middle finger. Can't take it? Don't watch it you wuss! (The teenage couple sitting beside me regretted watching the show, the gal couldn't stand the cussin and the humpin, while the guy probably thought this was a date movie and could bring across some warped message / hints to his girlfried, LOL!!!)

Brittany Murphy.....wooooo! All dolled up now (compared to her sickly Don't Say A Word), hubba hubba hubba. Too bad she plays your typical bad girl who have no qualms about making out in factories or studios with different guys (yeah, she bonked with someone else other than Rabbit)

Check out the finale where Rabbit goes one on one against the bad dudes, confidence and bad mo-fo attitude ablazing! Nothing can stop him, and that showdown alone is worth the price of your ticket.

My only gripe is that Eminem should've rapped more, and the ending at the Rap Finals is kinda anti-climatic, though you can see shades of Slim Shady coming onto screen and kickin serious rappin @$$!

Lap it up, and Lose yourself in the music, the moment you own it....

Full Frontal

Originally Posted On: 20th Jan 2003

2 words: It SUCKS!

Ok, so sue me, perhaps i don't know how to appreciate this film, so if you do, write a comment will ya?

So what's so NC-16 about Full Frontal?
1. There's this ONE blurred out humpin scene
2. David Duchovy's less than 10 minute screentime with only a sheet / towel covering his hugely erected dick. And I mean HUGE (maybe fake, but who cares?)
3. Him asking for a handjob, and boasting he can cum in 30 seconds (actually 40 seconds, so says the narrative)
4. Him dying in his bed with one hand on his willy and a plastic bag over his head, probably some masochistic self-gratification which we don't see

This movie starts off as a movie within a movie, called Rendezvous. For the next 1/2 hour, you're left wondering WTF is this movie all about.

Simple. Basically just telling you stories behind those characters leading up to their attending a director's (Gus, played by Duchonvy, less than 10 mins screen time mind you) birthday party.

Characters include a black actor (Blair Underwood), a white actress (Julia Roberts), a HR vice president of some company, her sister who's going to meet some guy whom she knew from IRC, that guy from the IRC who didn't really tell her frankly who he was (some art director rather than a painter), a stage actor, and many others you probably won't give a shit about.

However, the only saving grace was David Fincher and Brad Pitt playing themselves. Watch out for Fincher's spoof of his own directing style (the endless reshoots of even simple scenes involving only 1 spoken line).

Although the movie is draggy, stay on during the end credits where you get to see some contrived behind the scenes shots, as well as a Brad Pitt "Easter Egg" scene right at the end.

That is if you still have the patience to torture yourself through it all. A lot of people in my screening left halfway through the show, and those who forced themselves to sit through the ending because they paid $8.50 darted out of the theatre once the credits start rolling.

Don't watch, unless you really think you can pretend to understand the show.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Hero (Ying Xiong)

Originally Posted On: 15th Jan 2003

Not goin to spoil the movie for you, but damn, history aint gonna be screwed up in the movie, and unless you are CLUELESS, Qin Shi Huang of course will remain alive and well at the end of the movie

So, wassup, you might add


The way the narrative was delivered.
We are given 3 different perspectives

1. The Lie, as told by Nameless (Jet Li). Shot in red (and i mean red, including everyone's wardrobe), and with themes like anger, lust, jealousy, revenge

2. The Rebuttal, as Qin Shi Huang didn't really buy into Nameless' story, Shot in blue (and i mean blue, including everyone's wardrobe), with themes like love and loss

3. The Truth, as revealed in
Flashbacks, shot in green (and i mean green, including, everybody altogether now.... everyone's wardrobe), with themes like love, hate and self-actualisation
Current Time, shot in white (and i mean white, yeah, no prizes now, almost everyone's wardrobe - Nameless was in black :P ) and which nicely wraps up the ending revealing the outcome of each assassin.

Watch it, but do not compare to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon as it is like comparing apples with oranges. If you think CTHD's flying kung fu is too far fetched, wait till you get a load of this movie's, especially the duel between Nameless and Broken Sword (Tony Leung) in some lake.

Oh, man, Zhang Ziyi still looks babelicious :P even though she's only a supporting actress here :P Stunning in red, as it gets ripped apart by Broken Sword :P Oh yeah baby, hearing her moans can make any red-blooded male go on a high (pun intended!!) :P

One gripe though, the soundtrack sounds suspiciously similar to certain tunes from CTHD, did Tan Dun rip off himself? :P

Thursday, January 02, 2003

Gangs Of New York

Originally Posted On: 2nd Jan 2003

I guess the one thing on everyone's mind about the show, just what is so NC about the NC-16 rating that is slapped on this movie currently screening in local theatres

Your search is over, here are the answers:
1. The bloody opening gang fight, which one suspects has been snipped at some points ever so carefully by the censors
2. There is a nightclub scene which has prostitutes baring their chests
3. In that scene they smoke opium
4. Sorry guys, you do not see Ms Diaz exposed ala Halle Berry in NC-16 Swordfish

Ok, now to the movie proper, just 4 words: Daniel Day-Lewis Rocks. If you think that is 3 words, you're just being petty. The first 10 minutes of raw gang power's the best thing in the show, other than that... sad to say, there ain't no more of an all out gang war despite the rebuilding of The Dead Rabbits. The plot is choppy at times, probably because the show had to be cut down to a more butt-tolerable length of 169mins.

The Good
Leo Di Caprio's Amsterdam resurrects The Dead Rabbits. Hmm... that good? :P

The Bad
Daniel "Bill The Butcher" Day-Lewis' moustache is bad @ss!

The Ugly
Yup, lotsa ugly extras in the show :P

What are you waiting for, move your butt and hit the theatres, now! now! NOW!
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