Friday, July 1, 2011

“FOREVER” 我愛你愛你愛你 SINGAPORE Movie Review. When “I DO, I DO” is just another FOUR-WORD-PHRASE.


“FOREVER” the SINGAPORE movie is laced with rich doses of sugar coatings.

This is good.

But you have to dig in, scrape, to uncover the finer pieces.

First, the name.

“FOREVER” will always be a long term commitment word. Is it not?

我愛你愛你愛你 (ai ni, ai ni, ai ni) has that steady melodic rhythm: I love you, love you, I love you …..

Surely, the combined results will be one of true love.

It is a bonus and this theme strides you down the path of “I do”.

This is when you start to hear the wedding bells chime.

Think of the 60s song THE WEDDING” sung by JULIE ROGERS.

“You by my side that’s how I see us,

I close my eyes and I can see us,

We’re on the way to say “I do”.

My sweetest dreams have all come true.”

WEE LI LIN, the Singapore movie director said in a recent interview in Kuala Lumpur that she did the casting one year ahead of the shooting.

So she had plenty of time on her hands to digest and digress her actors.

She auditioned and sieved through the myriad of hopefuls and singled out the then relatively unknown JOANNA DONG to be the female lead.

Bravado to a smart choice for not assailing us with another of those regular TV drama actresses.

Along the line the film director discovered that JOANNA DONG has a melodious voice, hence she gets to sing the title song.

JOANNA is a soulful singer.

With a voice like hers and her vivid performance in the feature, she will surely astound in future projects.

But good things come with flaws too.

In seeking the male lead the film director met up with the Agent of Taiwanese actor MO TZU YI in Singapore

and as the timing and remuneration package were perfect, hey presto, we have this male doll on our lap.

I mean, who have really heard of MO TZU YI?

He’s an up-and-coming screen and stage actor in TAIWAN and the closest thing he could have succeeded in building a brand name was in that TAIWANESE independent film “A PLACE OF ONE’S OWN.”

MO was superb there in the role of a down-on-his-luck singer who succumbed to suicide in that movie. But that was that.

Now, let’s touch on the “pairings”.

MO may be a mesmerizing actor to boot if he selects his roles well, but he is very much a pretty boy kiddo in appearance.

Now, you pair a matured looking lady against a bubbly faced child of the loom and what would you get?

An unusual bonding, a chemistry that does little to spice up the sparks of JOANNA DONG and MO TZU YI.

MO looks like he can pass as a sweet boy from a boy band whilst JOANNA for odd reasons, is unintentionally (?) styled like a youngish auntie/older sister in FOREVER.

Beautiful boys are fine toppings. They don’t justify the roles, mostly.

So when JOANNA and MO hug and look cooey, you simply cannot feel the faintest of chemistry nor the simulated “feel” of love.

Rather you cringe uncomfortably with this unintended humor that is brought about by the odd pairing.

JOANNA DONG the unwitting lovelorn lass now becomes the sleazy stalker of this cherubic “kid”.

How funny can you get?

We could have liked JOANNA DONG better if she had been bonded with a screen hunk, someone who has the adult look.

Here’s the given synopsis:

Joey (Joanna Dong) plays a consultant at the Wedding Education Department (W.E.D).

This organization matches singles in Singapore through classes, tea dances and screenings of staged wedding videos.

After Joey stars in a video with music teacher Gin (Mo Tzu Yi)—“Groomie” to her “Bridey”—she starts to lose her grip on reality, believing that she is Gin’s fiancée.

She pursues Gin, hilariously at first, and psychotically later, ignoring the fact the he’s engaged to Cecilia (Sarah Ng Li-Wen).

A merry-go-round ensues.

Bordering along the outline of art house and commercial buff, “FOREVER” might work better with discarding the surreal part to embrace the emotive.

The main protagonists are just too “cold” in demeanor, in the way the dialogue is crafted and the scenes are depicted.

Whilst we are aware that the characters are dramatizing, we do not feel for them, nor root for them.

A RENOWNED SINGAPORE FILM MAKER made an indirect remark pertaining this movie. He made his point lucid and clear.

“What is disturbing are recent titles like ‘Forever’, ‘Perfect Rivals’ and ‘The Ultimate Winner’. These are by relative new filmmakers who should have worked with and listened to the more experienced producers. These titles set us back, give local movies a strange name, and they are products which will generate a no-confidence vote to investors, industry watchers, movie critics and most importantly, movie audiences.”

Something makes sound sense here, but to each his own.

Box office returns definitely and ultimately speak volumes, in terms of audience participation and appreciation.

Is film making an act of self-indulgence or a commercial exercise?

WEE LI LIN is a young, gifted film maker with lots of room to excel.

She has the creative guts and will definitely get better, film upon film.

Let us support her move and cheer her on.

Her past works were heartwarming and wonderfully inspiring to say the least.

But in this case, hand me her debut feature GONE SHOPPING anytime.

I did enjoy that one a lot more.

I am now dribbling the ball over to your court.


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