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Yasmin Ahmad begins ‘Muallaf’ June 6, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Local Filmmakers, Malaysian Movies, Muallaf, Yasmin Ahmad.
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I’ve been a little lazy on updating lately, plus some problems from some asinine groups of people. Here’s a little piece on Yasmin Ahmad‘s upcoming film : ‘Muallaf’. Read the blog, it has some entries on the actors and the crew she’s working with, and the location of the shoot. Plus her way of linking  director Ho Yuhang to the great Katherine Hepburn.

When I spoke to the Sharifah sisters early this year, they pointed out to me the next star of the family. Here’s a pic of her, Sharifah Aleysha, on the right, with her sister Sharifah Amani:

Sharifah Amani & Sharifah Aleysha
Sharifah Amani & Sharifah Aleysha

And because I’m such a lazy person today, I’m going to do some cut-and-paste from Yasmin’s blog for the synopsis of ‘Muallaf’ :

“20-year old Rohani and her 14-year old sister Rohana are two Malay girls on the run from their wealthy, abusive father. Finding refuge in a smaller town, their secret little world collides with that of Robert Ng, a 30-year old Catholic school teacher. The young man finds himself irresistibly drawn towards the sisters, and the extraordinary courage with which they face adversity, in a relationship that inevitably forces Robert to confront a haunting memory of his own troubled childhood. In this story of lost souls who find comfort in each other, friendship opens the window to forgiveness and a reconciliation with the past.Source

Sounds like a fascinating tale, and one that only Yasmin could pull off. Here’s to hoping it tops ‘Mukhsin‘ when it comes out. (The Drowmage lifts another glass of water – no alcohol, mind you)

What Were You Doing on ‘The 20th Day Of September’? June 6, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Amir Muhammad, Drowmage's Philosophy, Local Filmmakers, Malaysian Movies, The 20th Day of September.
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Amir Muhammad’s doing it again. He’s getting set to ruffle more feathers in the stoid set of society lions, and numerous other groups with a new film, this time about the day the phrase reformasi (reformation) was uttered not by a selected few, but by thousands in this country.

Check out the blog : http://20september.blogspot.com . It consists of a compilation of interviews done with a number of people who were watching, passing by, or part of the event that day. Mighty interesting stuff, and real informative too. Who says you don’t learn anything reading blogs?

No matter what people say, you have to totally respect Amir. I remember meeting him once at a screening of Fat Bidin‘s Look-East film, and asked him about the ban on his film ‘Village People Radio Show‘. He wasn’t too thrilled about the ban, but was going to re-appeal. In the meantime, Singapore was kind enough to not give two cents about banning a film that their brothers across the causeway had made noise over, so Amir was looking forward to the day the film opened there.

(I saw stills and a few clips of the interviews done for ‘Village People Radio Show‘. Just like any other documentary, stories from the survivors’ perspective. Nothing to ‘corrupt’ the young minds of this country today, I must say – so why the fuss?)

Back to the original topic  – does anyone really remember the 20th of September in 1998? I sure as hell don’t. I was only 18 then, and if I’m not mistaken, was getting ready to be utterly pissed drunk and smashed at a friend’s birthday celebration that night.

Years later, when I think back, I realize that the reason I didn’t remember what happened to the country was because I was afraid. Back then, if you even so much as uttered a word about what had happened – you wouldn’t know if the person around you was for the issue, or against it.

I remember a close friend of mine, Edzral, who months later came back from Uni (somewhere in Kelantan or Terengganu) for the holidays, and told me how he had joined the Youth group of Keadilan in the Uni.

I flatly told him that I valued our friendship more than anything else in the world – and told him that we would both keep our opinions of the whole issue to ourselves and never bring it up in a conversation ever.

Not because I was for or against what had happened (and neither am I even taking sides now, preferring to not give a damn). But because I didn’t want him getting arrested (it was a very sensitive time then), or me getting into trouble for discussing such things.

Now that times have changed, and with the wide use of the Internet; people have changed too. Sometimes not for the better, but at least, with a more open-mind.

So, I rise up my glass (of water, sadly I don’t try to get intoxicated anymore) to Amir for constantly trying to bring the truth to his films,  and for always pushing the limits. There are few local filmmakers out there who can safely attest to the fact that they are not governed by the sensitivities of the Censorship board, but bound by their art.

So, Jasdevism, when’s your turn?

Here’s some interesting bits I dug out – what does the 20th of September mean to other people outside Malaysia?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_20

Wiki has an paragraph about that special day in Malaysia :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysian_politics

Expanding the Den : Movies and other rants June 2, 2007

Posted by drowmage in Drowmage's rants, Fantastic Four 2, Malaysian Movies, Movie Reviews, Movies, Ocean's 13, Pirates 3, Random Thoughts, Shrek The Third, Sumolah.
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Things have been a little crazy lately, so I’ll summarize the list of movies I’ve watched and the list of things to look forward to :-

1) Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End

Fun, yet a little draggy. As much as I love watching the half-pissed Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and his many stroke of good luck save the day, there’s only so much I can watch without wondering how much longer they plan to drag the story in order to make the movie worth the 10 bucks you fork over. Had goosebumps at a particularly horrifying scene between Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) and Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) that reminded me of ‘The-Beach-Scene-in-Grease-With-Waves-Crashing-On-the-Rocks-and-Bad-Lame-Music-in-the-Background”. Watching Topher Grace trying to be Venom was less traumatic. Or Chow Yun Fatt acting as a Singaporean pirate, before Singapore was Singapore.

2) Sumolah

You’ve met the people. You’ve had a connection with them over similar hobbies. And, you want to like their movies. Yet, when you go through the show with a lot of cringing moments, raised eyebrows, and slaps on the head at the most obtuse moments – that’s when you ask yourself, do you care more about being nice or being honest? In short, the movie sucked. It could have been, and should have been better – yet it was filled from beginning to end with blatant advertising of products by the main sponsors for the film, Ogawa and Celcom. I sure as hell ain’t going to use any of those two products ever again. I want to rant more, but out of respect (and that I pretty much covered about 40% of how I felt was wrong in my published review), I won’t. Unless you ask me nicely. With chocolates. Go read Suanie’s review, she pretty much covered what I’m whining about.

Movies to look forward to this month :

1) Shrek the Third (or Shrek 3, depending on how your country’s marketing it)

The lovable green ogre is back, this time caught up in yet another adventure to get the rightful king onto the throne of Far Far Away; or else the kingdom gets a green, mean, farting machine as a king (Shrek). Sounds easy, except that the evil fairytale characters have joined forces to conquer the kingdom under the leadership of Prince Charming. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but caught up on a load of clips from the film in YouTube. I’ve decided not to write a review for this movie, seeing as I’m a major Shrek fan, and no amount of bad script could move me to say blasphemous things about the green ogre. It’s almost similar to the bond Star Wars nerds have with last two awful Star Wars movies.

2) Ocean’s 13

Two words to make this film the must-see of the summer. AL PACINO. The Godfather himself joins the franchise as the baddie, and you can almost feel the sparks fly off the screen watching the trailer. Catch it here : http://oceans13.warnerbros.com/

3) Fantastic Four : Rise of the Silver Surfer

Not to sound obscene or anything, but the thing that sells this franchise is Jessica Alba. Seriously. Even girls think she’s hot. Yes, and of course the Silver Surfer – that’s another thing to see on the screen instead of just absorbing it from the comics. Of course the story gets warped in the film; instead of being the good guy, the Surfer is the baddie here, but let’s hope they stick to the real story and give us a nice twist in the end.

—————————————————————————————

In other news, I’m expanding the Den a bit. Someone asked me a few weeks back, why was my blog all about movies and music? Point taken. Very good point, indeed. So, I’ve decided if and when, I’ll talk fantasy in this blog – all about the drows, the elves and the wonders of sorcery. I may even have time to conjure up a good spell for forgetfulness, if I remember it.

Quote of the Week : “Tree-shagging pixies”. Courtesy of Agreal, Demon Hero.

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