Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Pitches Are Back With a Bang

1. Title : Pitch Perfect 2
2. Release date : 16 May 2015 (United States), 14 May 2015 (Malaysia)
3. Director : Jason Moore
4. Starring : 
Anna Kendrick
Skylar Astin
Rebel Wilson
Brittany Snow
Ester Dean
Hana Mae Lee
Alexis Knapp
Hailee Steinfeld
Chrissie Fit
5. Official Website: Pitch Perfect

I don’t think many people actually expected there would be a sequel when Pitch Perfect was in the cinema in 2012. But it was a hit and now we have the sequel with Pitch Perfect 2. They are now a 3-times national champion until they have a problem with their performance that they are in the verge of being disbanded. Unless they win the international acapella competition. This sequel seems to be better than the first one, with better choice of songs, realistic conflicts, and better humour of course, especially from Fat Amy. However, some characters deserve more screen time that I feel they are almost ignored and just there to complete the team. Most of the Bellas now are graduating and with the availability of a newcomer, Emily, there is a possibility that there will be a third sequel.

Rating: 7.5/10

Friday, May 8, 2015

A Slamming Start

1. Title : Banting
2. Release date : 7 May 2015 (Malaysia)
3. Director :  M.Raihan Halim
4. Starring : 
Izyan Mellyna
Mastura Ahmad 
Fauzie Laily 
Jimmy Taenaka 
Osman Zailani 
Adlina Adil 
Gloria Tan 
Joanne-Marie Sim 
Syaza Qistina
Ashley Chan
5. Official Website: Banting Film

What is your belief? Why do you do what you are doing right now? Are you a flight or fight type of person? These are some of the questions asked in this movie. Yasmin (Izyan Mellyna) has always wanted to join wrestling but her mother has been that one stumbling block for her, forbidding her to join wrestling. Determined, she wants to prove that she can do not just what other women can do, but even better. The story serves us the conflicts between wanting to do what we want to do or doing what others want us to do. Some scenes can be a bit cheesy and predictable but overall we are presented with a fresh perspective with someone wearing a hijab being in a wrestling ring. Considering that it has been decades since the last Singaporean Malay language movie, this is one movie that deserves to be the one that propels the resurgence of more Malay language movies. With a movie like this, I am optimistic that more high quality movies will be produced.

Rating: 7/10

Sunday, January 25, 2015

'Birdman' Flies In The Highest Sky

1. Title : Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
2. Release date : 17 October 2014 (United States), 22 January 2015 (Malaysia)
3. Director : Alejandro Gonzalez Inaritu
4. Starring : 
Michael Keaton
Edward Norton
Naomi Watts
Zach Galifianakis
Emma Stone
5. Official Website: Birdman

LEGENDARY. OUTSTANDING. EXTRAORDINARY. Michael Keaton's performance is so good that I hope he clones himself 10,000 times, distributes them to many actors out there, and says, "You wanna be an actor, kid? Here, train with my clone." Every moviegoer should watch ‘Birdman’ at least a hundred times before they die. It has eccentric characters (thanks to its equally-amazing supporting actors), conflicting emotions, and real-life references that will keep you locked on your seat for a very long time. This is a really powerful thespian art portrayed by extremely talented thespian masters - I can never get enough of it!

Rating: 9.4/10

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

'Gone Girl' Will Never Die

1. Title : Gone Girl
2. Release date : 3 October 2014 (United States), 11 December 2014 (Malaysia)
3. Director : David Fincher
4. Starring : 
Rosamund Pike
Ben Affleck
Tyler Perry
Carrie Coon
Kim Dickens
Neil Patrick Harris
7. Official Website: Gone Girl

Captivating, infuriating (in a very good way) and mind-blowing. This is definitely the movie that every adult needs to watch. 'Do not believe in everything you see' was the message 'Gone Girl' wanted to say, but boy, did it give you more than that! The art of marital damnation and back-to-back deceptions in this masterpiece will make the viewers want to throw up (again, in a very good way - if that exists), as if they were corkscrewing their life in ways they had never intended. Survive the pace, and you will be gobsmacked and damned to eternal satisfaction.

Rating: 9/10

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Sweet Love of Cappadoccia

1. Title : Manisnya Cinta di Cappadoccia
2. Release date : 11 December 2014 (Malaysia)
3. Director : Bernard Chauly
4. Starring : 
Nur Fazura
Shaheizy Sam
Faizal Hussein
Rafidah Abdullah
Lisa Surihani

7. Official Facebook Page : Manisnya Cinta di Cappadoccia

Flashy and colourful, the trademark of Bernard Chauly are still existent in his latest movie though this time, the movie not only focuses on romance but also the topic of death and how women are treated. Fazura delivers natural and very believable performance though Shaheizy Sam should have toned it down a notch in trying to be a romantic guy. The script is clever too. Though the topic is much heavier than his previous movies, it justifies the change as it delivers better and more encapsulating outcome; romance, conflicts, sadness, comedy all into one.

Rating: 7.5/10

Monday, December 8, 2014


We are going to save the world! (or at the very least, the Malaysian cinema)
Imagine yourself driving with your family on the MRR2. The traffic is sluggish and you wonder why.

You ask, "It is 11 a.m, why are we still stuck in a traffic jam? People have already gone to work!"
Your mother replies, "There must be an accident somewhere ahead."
Seconds later, your sister adds, "Perhaps there is a car that broke down or something."
Then your five-year-old nephew says, "Because it is raining!" (even though it is not)

This is what we call an 'assumption'. It will not make the traffic go away.

37 minutes later, you manage to find the reason why the traffic is moving slowly. There is, indeed, an accident on the opposite side of the road. It is not even in your direction, but people in front of you are driving slowly just to see what is going on. So you are affected. You have to drive slowly as well.

This is what we call a 'consequence'. Sometimes you caused it, sometimes you did not.

Since you have no other choices but to drive slowly too, you and your family take a look (just to kill some time). The accident involves a car and a motorcycle.

You say, "The car must have tried to switch lanes without using the indicator light."
Your mother argues, "No, probably the motorcyclist was too fast. They always are."
Your sister does not agree. She says, "Look, there is a hole on that road. That could've caused it!"
Your five-year nephew is too young to understand and say anything.

This is what we call another 'assumption'. It will never solve anything.

You are already late.
You hate it and start fuming.
You try to find another way.
You cannot.
You start cursing and saying stuff that will not help.

"If only we took a different road!"
"I told you to use the DUKE highway. If we used the DUKE highway, we could've avoided this traffic."
"If I knew this was going to happen, I would've taken the DUKE!"

This is what we call the 'what ifs'. They do not solve anything, too.

Now try to remember all the things that you have seen in LHD ('Lelaki Harapan Dunia') and think carefully.

------ SPOILER ALERT (for those who have not watched the movie) ------

The conflicts faced by the villagers were all started by / dealt with assumptions.

The 'America Haunted House' was started by an assumption.
The 'touched by the devil' bruises were concluded by an assumption.
The 'Oily Man' scare was caused by an assumption.
The 'missing camel' panic was dealt with an assumption.
The 'missing 94k' question was answered by an assumption.
The 'Solomon-my-friend' treatment was given based on an assumption.

The noise will chase the 'thing' away!
Assumptions were everywhere and none of the conflicts was solved. The movie ended with no solution. The viewers were left hanging with questions. Perhaps they all left the cinema with assumptions on what will happen to the characters later. Even better, perhaps they all left with 'what if' questions;

"What if Pak Awang didn't pretend to be the oily-man?"
"What if Pak Awang didn't move the house in the first place?"
"What if the girl with the bruises was hiding something - that her boyfriend was the reason?"
"What if the camel wasn't gone?"
"What if Wan didn't see Solomon?"

What if... the Oily Man was gay?
Now, I am not sure if this is what Liew Seng Tat wanted to portray (if he didn't - then forgive me), but LHD is everything about Malaysians, especially the Malays. This movie is one of the closest films to Malaysians that I have ever seen.

Did he mock the Malays? He had to be wrong first, but he was not.
Did he insult the Muslims? He did nothing that could even remotely compare to what I have seen in other so-called Malay/Islamic movies.

LHD had no sexy and/or sex scenes.
LHD had no vulgar words in its dialogues.
LHD had nothing sensitive in it. (not to me, at least)

Was the Qurban scene exaggerated? Yes.
So were the ustazs in typical Malay horror movies.
So were the cultures in most Malay dramas (forced marriage, jealousy, cheating, stealing, killing etc.)
If LHD was insulting Islam and should be banned, then all Malay movies in Malaysia should receive the same (or worse) punishment too.

Liew Seng Tat did nothing to offend the Malays or the Muslims in this country.
He was only guilty for being right.

This is totally a Malaysian movie.
This is totally a Malay movie.

He was only guilty for being a Chinese director who was able to understand deeply our Malay/Muslim cultures and portray them successfully in a movie.

Let us admit it, he was not wrong. We all live our life based on assumptions and what ifs.
In my opinion, instead of banning this movie, we should save it in the National Archives of Malaysia.

Who is with me?

Stupidity is the root of all bad things. Not the house.
Read our review on 'Lelaki Harapan Dunia' at

Thursday, December 4, 2014

"Lelaki Harapan Dunia" Movie Review

1. Title : Lelaki Harapan Dunia aka Men Who Saved the World
2. Release date : 27 November 2014 (Malaysia)
3. Director : Liew Seng Tat
4. Starring : 
Wan Hanafi Su
Harun Salim Bachik
Sofi Jikan
Jalil Hamid

Azhan Rani
7. Official Facebook Page : Lelaki Harapan Dunia

The basis of the movie is simple enough. An old man, Pak Awang (Wan Hanafi Su) wants to marry off his daughter and for that to happen, he needs his old house which is in the middle of the dense jungle to be taken to his village not too far away so that his city daughter will not have to live in the jungle. But that sets the tone to which the direction of this movie takes place, with the chaos ensuing due to mishaps that happened.

So what makes this movie special?

The cinematography is good, but nothing to shout about. The acting was good, but they are not particularly outstanding, apart from Wan Hanafi Su who delivered a very convincing performance, from being someone who is ecstatic in having his daughter married to being someone who is distraught of being accused as the cause of the adversity that happens in the village thus being estranged from the rest of the villagers. The other characters did not have a proper development, which is a let-down knowing that many of them are actually good actors.

So, again, what makes this movie special?

It must be the storyline of the movie itself. To understand the movie, we must be able to relate the things that happened in the movie to what is currently happening around us; one is on our political surroundings and the other is our superstitious beliefs. A politician who comes to a village to give a contribution while being escorted by loud, dangerous, motorcyclists who are very obnoxious really reminds you of what we can easily see when a politician comes to town. This is an attempt to say that the politician does not mind that he is being associated with a menace though he is actually supposed to be having a "clean" image himself. Not only that, the scene when the people of the village were already tired waiting for the politician to come really says something about our Malaysian culture which has not respect of time and actually being punctual for events. But the cherry on top for me must be the scene when a mock cheque was being handed out by the politician and there is a logo that says "Ungkit Bank" which is clearly understood of our politicians' nature who like to keep on reminding us the contribution that they have made to us. There are many more scenes that poke fun at how people in power in Malaysia actually work and if you do understand them, you would laugh at how true they can be.

Another aspect of the movie is the superstitious beliefs of the villagers. They believe that an oily-man is terrorizing the village, raping the virgin when it is all a complete misunderstanding. This misunderstanding leads them to accuse Pak Awang to be the cause of the bad things that are happening in the village. More accusations led to Pak Awang having a mental breakdown as he believed he is innocent. These accusations try to deliver the point that many of us simply believe whatever that is told of us, even when it is a complete sham from people who try to profit from our altercations, and this leads to those who are innocent taking the brunt of the madness.

Undoubtedly, this is a satire that is laced with comedy. However, not many people will be able to understand that unless they are actually in the know to what is happening within Malaysia itself. Which is when we consider the opinions of the critique who are not Malaysians, they would only be able to see it as it is, a comedy that is bias against women, homosexuals and immigrants. But being a Malaysian, who can understand what the director is trying to portray here, can easily see the appeal of this movie. A strong enough appeal that makes me wanting to watch it over and over again.

Rating: 7/10.

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