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“Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny” Review (18PL)- Only for the Fans. Heavy swearing involved. March 16, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Movie Reviews, Movies, Tenacious D Movie.
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If you’re NOT a huge fan of Tenacious D, or Jack Black for that matter, and have an aversion to cursing – don’t bother reading this post. In fact, I’m going to rate this review as 18PL – just for the language and well… language. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Most people, when they think of rock music, instantly associate satanism, sex, booze and getting high with the rockers. “Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny” does nothing to counter that, and in fact, endorses that belief in ways that will stun you beyond logic.

The movie stars Jack Black and Kyle Gass, which make up the band Tenacious D. In the beginning of the movie, we see a young version of JB, played by a very Jack-Black-like Troy Gentile, being punished by his father (played by Meat Loaf) for his ‘satanic music’ ways. Or he was getting his ass whooped for saying ‘fuck’ in his entire song at the supper table. In any case, JB prays to a poster of Dio’s lead singer, Ronnie James Dio – who suddenly comes to life in front of him and tells him to search for his destiny in Hollywood. And off he goes, and the movie brings us to the current time, when the now older J.B. (Jack Black) finds his way to Hollywood and eventually meets KG (Kyle Gass), who becomes his ‘trainer’ and ‘master’ in the ways of rock.

They enter an open mic night to win some money to pay the rent, and with their one lone fan – the pizza guy Lee (played by Jason Reed) – proceed to rock out. However, JB is told by the host that they need better material to win the open mic night the next time. When JB and KG try to come up with new songs, in frustration JB notices that all the successful rock musicians in the magazines had one thing in common – a pick with a strange design. The realization brings them to the Guitar Store, where they meet the Guitar Store Dude, and learn about the pick which was forged from the Devil’s tooth, which is now in the Rock and Roll Museum in Sacramento.

From that point on, the movie becomes infused with tons of rock music, weed smoking, a car-chase, and the usual Jack Black humour. They finally make their way to the Open Mic show, and in a heated argument, manage to break the pick, which gets picked up by the Devil. The two challenge the Devil to a ‘rock-off’ , in which if they win, the Devil goes back to Hell and pays their rent. But if they lose, the Devil gets to take KG back to Hell as his ‘bitch’. Scary odds.

For the Drowmage, the movie is funny. Not because it’s a funny hit movie, mind you, but because it’s just so wrong on so many damn levels. If you’re ever listened to the group’s first album of the same name, especially “Wonderboy” or “Fuck Her Gently”, you’ll get this movie. It’s the thought of these two, pot-bellied, disgusting looking asses running around on stage with an ego that would overpower Narcissus himself, yet bringing such an incredible fusion to rock, metal, and old-age opera. And when you hear KG tell JB that he needs to do one cock push-up (you heard me right) a day, it’s so fucking wrong that it’s funny.

As usual, Ben Stiller makes a cameo here (you’ll see him in the music video for their song “Tribute“) as the Guitar Store Dude. Also, look out for Dave Grohl, from the Foo Fighters, reprising his role as Devil in the movie – just as he did in “Tribute”. Plus, there’s a tribute to a scene from “A Clockwork Orange” in the first part of the movie.

There isn’t any incredible acting here, nor is it an well-written script. But it’s an adventure through the minds of these two jack-asses, best taken when you’re seriously in need of cheering up. You’ll laugh. You’ll snicker. Heck, you may even chuckle with glee at some of the scenes (and I mean, really graphic scenes), and the lame-ass jokes might even seem better with beer. Start getting your copy at Amazon.com.

Oh, and don’t do drugs, or eat strange mushrooms in the forest when you’re hungry. You might get way high, dream of a Strawberry River, and fall off a tree, just like JB did.

The Drowmage Rates this as :Stars 3.5

 

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“Sumolah” Release Delayed March 9, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Journalism, Movies, Sumolah.
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According to Afldin’s blog, the movie “Sumolah” has been delayed, due to some intricacies in the Wajib Tayang policy’s internal workings. (Wajib tayang, which is translated to ‘compulsory screening‘, is a policy set by FINAS where two local films are allowed to be released in cinemas per month, with a two-week gap between their release dates.)

Hence, we’re going to have to hold our breathe a little longer, till May 10th or 17th(the date has yet to be confirmed, though I sure hope it doesn’t clash with “Spiderman 3”!).

More updates to come – so keep an eye out on this spot!

Sumolah Movie Poster

On “New Shoes” and “Rehab” March 9, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Music, Music Videos, Random Thoughts, YouTube.
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In case you were wondering, no, I didn’t get new shoes, and neither was I in rehab. I’m talking about music today.
I was sitting in the car yesterday, going through my shopping list before picking up some groceries, when I heard a darn catchy tune on the radio (I forget which station). Did a little Googling – and found the singer of the song, and darn me if he doesn’t look cute, although a little stoned. The singer is Paolo Nutini, and the song – “New Shoes”:


(you might want to turn up the volume, the sound isn’t good in this video)

So who is this Paolo Nutini? He’s a Scottish 20 year old singer, whom U.S. Rolling Stone named one of the “10 Artists To Watch 2006.” Check out his website for more info.

I also found out he did a cover version of Amy Winehouse‘s “Rehab”. I couldn’t find a music video of the cover version by Nutini on the web, but the nearest is a slide version. (Click on the link to check it out on YouTube).

So I’ll leave you with Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab”, the live version instead of the music video, because she actually sounds better live (or maybe as rumours say, better when she’s high?). It’s the blues weekend baby!


Notice these singers really don’t sound like they look – they’ve got this sort of deep, unique voice? Although Amy Winehouse does remind me of Fran Drescher (both vocally and visually):

Or maybe a really stoned, heavily painted version of Drescher….

“….they tried to make me go to rehab… but I said no.. no.. no…” 

Spiderman 3 – Venom Tidbits, Trailer and Other Assortments March 8, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Movies, Spiderman 3, YouTube.
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Just found some yummy pics of the upcoming “Spiderman 3” movie, at “Pink is the New Blog“. Here’s a tidbit of it :


Photo source: Pink is the New Blog

Are you drooling yet?!?
Apparently it’s the production image for the movie.

Here’s the poster we’ve been seeing all over the news and trailers :

Photo source: RottenTomatoes.com

It’s a bit of a shame though. I know the new Venom costume looks cool and all of that, but still, here’s what I remember growing up with :

Venom in Wiki
Photo source: Wikipedia

Half of me is looking forward to the movie; but the Spidey fan side of me is skeptic. The past movies haven’t exactly followed the timeline of Spidey’s life – I mean, where’s Gwen Stacy, the Black Widow, and all the villains? Plus, the Goblin saga is more complicated that what’s on the silver screen, and the Sandman character in the comics differ from the movie version.
Having 3 villains in “Spiderman 3”- Sandman, Green Goblin, and Venom – just seems so cluttered; perhaps the thought of losing Tobey after the third Spidey movie was so traumatizing that they just had to squeezed all the villains into one last possible movie to milk us of our cash? We’ll see what happens in May. It looks like they’re sticking to the correct storyline for Venom’s – albeit a few loose strands (pardon the pun).

Here’s a tour of where the costumes, special effects equipments and weapons are kept, found at the movie blog.

And now I leave you with a video found on YouTube, showing clips from the movie and the trailer – plus some commentaries from the stars. (Look out for Sam Raimi – it’s been ages since the days of Xena and Hercules, but dang, doesn’t he look like his brother, “Joxer“?)

For more info on “Spiderman 3”, visit Sony’s website. Remember to disable your pop-up blocker for this.

Update: “Spiderman 3” gets released in Malaysia on May 3rd, a day before the U.S. Release date of May 4th. Why? Apparently Sony might be pushing for the Asian market, but according to Variety.com, Japan gets the world premier on April 16th and the release date for the 3rd Spidey flick on May 1st. Also, the Japanese Golden Week starts on the April 29th (one week of holiday, imagine that), and probably to avoid clashing with the other summer blockbusters – “Pirates of the Caribbean 3” and “Shrek 3“. Feeling spoiled for choice? Better book your tickets a week in advance – I know I’m going to catch all three!

Update 25/04/2007: I’m such a lazy-ass for not updating this. Malaysia gets to watch Spidey 3 in cinemas on 1st May, along with a bunch of other countries. After some shifting around, U.S. gets a swing at the movie on 30th April. Click here for my review on the web crawler’s third film.

“Mukhsin” Review – An Easy, Simple Tale March 7, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Movie Reviews, Movies, Mukhsin.
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Review:

“Everyone has a first love story to tell.” This is the tagline to Yasmin Ahmad’s latest offering, “Mukhsin“, and couldn’t be closer to the essence of the film. It’s a movie a lot of people would relate to, not just about the young blossoming romance between the two characters, but just the other supporting characters in the film.

Just a brief synopsis regarding the movie: Orked (Sharifah Aryana), at a tender age of ten, finds a new friend in the twelve-year-old Mukhsin (Mohd. Syafie) , who has just moved into the neighbourhood. The friendship starts off a little rocky at first, but as the days pass, they spend more and more time together. A small misunderstanding results in them not speaking to each other – until Mukhsin moves away.

It’s as simple as that. There are supporting stories to the main tale, revolving around Orked’s slightly eccentric family, and their neighbour’s roving husband, to Mukhsin’s parents. But although all these seem to add more depth to the film, bringing an relaxed, easy-feeling when you’re watching it, the film doesn’t stray away from the original theme very often.

It’s nice to – for once – not have to psycho-analyze a film. The synopsis for “Mukhsin” sounds similar to “My Girl” (starring Macauly Culkin); but instead of the Western references, has been given a Malaysian flavour with its scenic kampung lifestyle and lovable ethnic characters. Where else would you find a film where a young Malay girl is shown as a student in a Chinese school, speaking and writing the language fluently? It’s a break away from normal local film, where filmmakers have constantly segregated the culture and races into their ethnic groups, bringing a sense of stereotype. Yasmin breaks away from that, as was seen in “Sepet”, “Gubra” and now “Mukhsin”.

The cinematography isn’t anything fancy, nor are there stunning special effects. And why not? What grips you more would be the chemistry between the characters – the way Orked and her mother (played by Sharifah Aleya) interact with one another; the relationship between Orked and her father. Orked isn’t a typical girl either; who gets bored with the typical girlish games and opts for playing sports with the boys instead – choosing her cat over dolls. Pink would be so proud (referring to the lyrics for “Stupid Girls”).

Look out for cameos from Sharifah Amani and Ng Choo Seong, in a scene which brings hints of a happy ending for “Sepet”, and local indie filmmaker Ho Yuhang, whose back is the only thing the audience sees, but his voice is recognizable instantly.

The music also plays a part in the film, especially when a French ballad, “Ne Me Quitte Pas” (Don’t Leave Me), sung by Nina Simone, was playing in a background as Orked’s parents are dancing happily; and the next scene which showed a sad Mukhsin standing outside the house watching them was simply heartbreaking. In contrast, the theme song, “Hujan” (Rain), which was written by Yasmin’s father, was played with a cheery, light tune, not unlike the feel of the film.

But, as the title of this review shows – it’s a simple tale. It’s nothing new, compared to numerous films from other countries, and it’s not something you would call a breakthrough in films. But although it’s an age-old formula in film, it doesn’t fall flat. It’s a film we would all relate to – we’ll laugh at the familiar jokes, we’ll wonder at the beautiful countryside scenery, and we’ll cry at the tender moments. It’s like a tapestry, woven together into a creation just short of a masterpiece, but still beautiful enough to be admired, to be revelled at.

And most noticeable was during the entire length of the film, Mukhsin never mentions to Orked about how he feels, letting such moments pass by him like a leaf in the wind.

But it’s still enjoyable, nevertheless, and brings a feeling of warmth, like a hot cup of Milo when you’re feeling hungry, or a hot bowl of chicken soup when you’re sick in bed with flu. “Mukhsin” may not blow you away, but it’ll definitely stir up some old, heartwarming memories in that closet of your soul.

The Drowmage rates this as : Stars 4

Other Drowmage News : Meeting the Cast of “Mukhsin”

Meeting the Cast of “Mukhsin” March 7, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Events, Journalism, Malaysian Movies, Movies, Mukhsin, Photos.
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When I first heard about the movie months back, after having to write an article about the film, I thought, “Well, here’s a chance for me to finally catch a movie by the great Yasmin Ahmad”. After all, everyone who’s a fan of indie films here has watched “Sepet” and “Gubra“, and has had tons to say about the films.

So I went for the press screening of the movie @ GSC (Golden Screen Cinemas) in Midvalley, last week. You’ll see how much of an effect bloggers have now, with a special registration table put aside for media, and bloggers. Now, isn’t that just fracking awesome?!?

Bloggers Registration
Bloggers ONLY

However, I went to this side :
Press Registration
Media/Press Peeps

It’s funny how you meet what I’d like to call “Celebrity Bloggers”. You’ve read their blogs over the past years. You’ve heard so much about them, and it’s so darn exciting when you finally see them in person. I saw the famous TV Smith at the registration, and caught a glimpse of Suan, whose blogs I enjoy reading. I think I saw sultanmuzaffar as well. Of course, more exciting was seeing Yasmin Ahmad in person.

After the movie (in which I will put up my review in the next postThe Drowmage’s review here), we had the press conference. I took some awesome pictures, and had fun. The Noob (whom I had to keep telling what questions to ask – I mean, really, is this the quality of journalists our universities are churning out these days? I shudder for the future..) kept wanting to leave, and I had to shove her in the direction of all the stars there. That’s probably the only downside of the press conference.

I caught up with the glamorous Ning Baizura, who went around with her own camera to take photos of the young star Sharifah Aryana. Ning’s got a new movie this year, called “Diva”. Ning was kind enough to let take a pix of her, and a second one when the first shot was spoiled by some nugget walking between the camera and her.

Ning Baizura
Glamorous Ning

Casually spoke to Sharifah Amani (who was also in “Mukhsin”) for a bit about her next movie “Muallaf”, and took a shot of her and Sharifah Aleysha, the next rising star in the family of actresses:

Amani & Aleysha
Sharifah Amani & Sharifah Aleysha

Amani : In the next movie is me, and this one (points at Aleysha).
Drowmage : How about the other 2 sisters (referring Aleya and Aryana)?
Amani :
The other 2 no need lah… what for?
Drowmage : Family movie mar

One of the young stars, who acts as Orked’s playmates in the movie. I’m naming her the “Shirley Temple of Malaysia” – she sounds and looks so much like the child legend (well, the local version anyway)!

The next Shirley Temple?
The Malaysian Shirley Temple?

Some pics from the event:

Cast Pix
“Mukhsin” Cast Pix

Cast Pix 2
The Drowmage corners a pix from the cast members leaving the stage…

Mukhsin/ Mohd Syafie
Mukhsin… er, Mohd Syafie, looking sheepishly at all the cameras being pointed at him.

Yasmin Ahmad
Yasmin Ahmad, laughing at a comment from another actress. I prefer this pix of her looking happy compared to the dry, sober ones I keep seeing online.

The Actress Family
(L to R : Aryana, Fatimah, Amani, Aleysha. Aleya was stuck at work that day.)

Update: The Drowmage’s review of Mukhsin

From a Fast-Paced Weekend to a Dull Monday March 5, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Events, Technical Theatre.
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It’s been a very exciting weekend for the Drowmage… but unfortunately – all good things must come to an end. Went for a theatre set design + costume design workshop, organized by the Japan Foundation in KL and KLPAC (KL Performing Arts Centre). Learnt lots of new things – including the fact that sometimes in life; you don’t get all the free time you want to create things, and most things have deadlines whether you like it or not. Made new friends, learnt new things about set design – but more importantly, learnt more about what I wanted out of life.

The workshop was conducted by 2 Japanese set designers; Sugiyama Itaru & Hatano Kazue. Kazue-san spoke good English – but Itaru-san needed a translator to explain his more detailed concepts – and we all soon got accustomed to listening to him spout an explanation in Japanese and the translator to explain it in English.

The nice thing about the workshop was that although it was full of people from all sorts of theatrical background, such as set designers, costume designers, drama teachers and even a filmmaker; the workshop brought everyone to the same beginner’s level with its Japanese concept. We learnt the concept of a theatre’s “Space” and how it was combined with the costumes (we were told to forget about fashion, but about the character we were trying to create. The costume, in essence, WAS the character, and was not meant to be an accessory to the character.) Everyone had fun, and there were tons of laughs when we were trying to create costumes and draw some of our sketches, yet even sadness, when we were listening to our coursemates’ more personal experiences which inspired some of the sketches.

I wish I could say I had tons of pics, but I didn’t bring my trusty old tourist camera to the course until the final day itself. The best pic of all? The group photo.

Group Pix

Itaru-san (3rd from Left, Front Row) & Kazue-san (middle, 2nd row) were our trainers from Japan.

Before I left, I thanked each of the trainers. Itaru-san, in slightly broken English, told me that I was good, and had a lot of good ideas….. probably one of the best compliments I have had in months! Kazue-san was cool and calm – she kinda reminds me of Anna Wintour from Vogue magazine with her hair-do.

The lousy part of the workshop? The place has expensive food… the Drowmage feels broke after a weekend of eating there. 2nd lousy part? The people who got picked (yes, you have to go through a selection process, not just send in a form and turn up on the day itself happily), came for the Friday evening portion – and didn’t bother to appear for the rest of the workshop on Saturday and Sunday. Their spots could have been given to those who really gave a damn about learning something new, but didn’t get selected. If you say that you thought we were going to be building sets; well, that’s why there was a fracking programme given to you via email in the first place. (I swear, there was an androgynous-looking creature that came for one day, who actually rolled his/her eyes at me when he/she walked past me on the first day. What did I do wrong? Breathe?)

Well, back to work. It’s another dull Monday, and I feel like I haven’t slept in days.

REAL Singers don’t need American Idol… March 2, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Drowmage's Philosophy, Music, Music Videos, YouTube.
2 comments

“American Idol” has degenerated into a popularity contest – ever since the year Carrie Underwood actually won. I don’t even want to watch it anymore.

I did some free-surfing in YouTube and found this gem of a song, sung by a beautiful voice belonging to Katie Melua. Never heard of her, but I was enchanted by the song, and mesmerized by the music video… the concept of ‘face-off’ is tastefully done here..

The song is called “I Cried For You”

Check out her website : Katie Melua

See, real singers don’t need American Idol to know they’re good; they just are good.

Hurrah to Jennifer Hudson for winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress! I watched”Dreamgirls” and it was obvious she owned the whole movie – Beyonce (who’s become more of an entertainer, not a singer lately – I miss Destiny’s Child) was definitely on the poster to lend some ‘star-power’. Beyonce fans – don’t throw something at me just yet! and go watch “Dreamgirls”, and listen out for the song “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”. Jennifer Holliday owned that song on Broadway; and now Hudson owns it on the silver screen.