If you were to ask me, I’d certainly say that”THE PURGE” stands out as a low budget Hollywood Home Invasion movie.
It was shot at a precise USD 3 million without any frills.
I’d certainly think so, as it went on to steal the thunder as a commercial low-key box office shocker, recouping almost 10 times more the invested amount.
It’s needless to say that plans are now underway for a sequel.
Headlined by the one time Hollywood brat ETHAN HAWKE, this unexpected victory has spurred Blumhouse Productions and Universal Pictures to announce that “THE PURGE 2″ would be coming your way, any time soon.
The futuristic thriller depicts a new American society where the government has sanctioned “THE PURGE”, a 12-hour period in which all crimes are legalised. During this time, you can shoot anybody, false friends and relatives who have betrayed you.
ETHAN HAWKE and LENA HEADEY play a husband and wife team whose family is held hostage for harboring the target of a murderous syndicate.
The film director who is also the writer JAMES DeMARCO performed his best with the allocated shooting budget.
He is able to tax commendable performances from the principal cast, but it is the psychotic villian played by RHYS WAKEFIELD that stands out admirably.
The ANIMATION bug has gotten into us in such a big way now, judging by the myriad offerings of ANIMATION films this season.
Technology changes, the CGI fever catches on and is deemed to be around for awhile.
I am not big on ANIMATION features but this one certainly begs to be different.
”PLANES” is a breezy animation feature linked to PIXAR.
Now, the ANIMATION industry acknowledges PIXAR as an award winning brand.
As of June 2013, PIXAR has already surpassed a record of fourteen films, all released under the WALT DISNEY PICTURES belt.
The company produced its first feature-length film TOY STORY in 1995. This film won an Academy Award and was further nominated for three others. It set a benchmark for competitors to emulate.
For PIXAR, they are standing proud with other noteworthy accomplishments such as TOY STORY 2, FINDING NEMO, THE INCREDIBLES, CARS, WALL-E, CARS 2, RED, among others.
Now comes Disney’s ‘Planes’, an action-packed 3D animated comedy adventure featuring Dusty (voice of Dane Cook), a plane with lofty aspirations of competing as a high-flying air racer.
The snag is, Dusty’s not exactly built for racing – as he happens to be afraid of heights. So he turns to a seasoned naval aviator for help, in order to qualify as a competitor in the race circuit.
The protagonist is Dusty (voiced by Dane Cook), a small crop-dusting aircraft whose fear of heights are at odds with his dreams of competing in the Wings Around the Globe rally.
With support from a merry gang such as mentor Skipper Riley (Stacy Keach), forklift Dottie (Teri Hatcher) and glamorous Pan-Asian champion Ishani (Bollywood superstar Priyanka Chopra), he’s able to enter the competition.
The film’s overriding message is “dream hard, work hard, because nothing comes from nothing.”
“PLANES” may not be a shining gem among previous animation films, but it sure is hilarious and outrageous.
The crazy characters in this raucous comedy are a chockfull of heartwarming fun.
Dazzling colors, brilliant visuals.
It’s witty and entertaining and a blast from start to finish.
He, coincidentally, sits as the Founder and President of the Hong Kong Professional Baseball Academy (HKPBA)
To those who know him, he’s the affable JACKIE CHOW.
Now, let’s hear his story.
“I dig baseball since I was 10. Baseball shows what teamwork, camaraderie and fighting spirit are all about. From baseball I learn about how to cope with failures, about how not to make excuses in life…”
Though time has flown since the last interview we shared a few years ago, in October 2009.
How did you first step into the world of show business? Are there any memorable first jobs?
I was actually a baseball player and part-time model before I started out. I was cast by Scud to make the first baseball movie in Hong Kong, called “City Without Baseball”. It was a tremendous opportunity and a memorable experience for me, especially as the other actors in the movie were also fellow baseball players. It just goes to show that you never know when opportunity comes a knocking! It was the first chance I had to work with a full film production team – and that was a real eye-opener.
Actors sometimes have to tackle difficult or complex roles. Which was the most challenging character you’ve had to portray? And which was the most satisfying?
How important or useful is the Director’s insight when you are playing these intricate roles?
In the film “Raw Data”, I played the role of a lecturer battling sex addiction. There were not many lines, so we had to improvise a lot on set, and focus on our characters and expressions. My role was a bit complex – the character had a good educational background and career, yet he was driven insane by his own lust.
There was one scene that we shot in the lecture hall of a real university. I was told to give a talk to a university class, but nobody in the class knew I was an actor except for the film crew! I was introduced as Dr. Wong and I had to give an improvised 30 min talk plus Q&A! That was a real challenge, and I was quite nervous at first. But I soon warmed to the idea of being a lecturer in the class, and I couldn’t stop talking and interacting with the students. That was really exhilarating and fun – and not as difficult as I first imagined it to be!
As an actor, what kind of roles do you like to take on? Is there a genre, such as in action or comedy, that you are most interested in?
I like any role that offers an interesting perspective or that has a good background story. As an actor, my job is to give my best to the production. If I have to choose I would like to act in some conspiracy drama, action, or even dark comedy. Of course, romantic date movies are also very nice. I’m not picky actually.
You are probably best known for your role in Permanent Residence, where you shared an onscreen kiss with one of the leads. What was it like and how did you prepare for the role?
Actually the kissing scene was not very hard to do compared to the bed scene! I just try to understand the character, what he is thinking or feeling in any situation, and then do what he is going to do in that situation.
You have worked quite extensively with the director Scud, who is known to have high demands on his acting cast. What is it like working with him and how do you cope with any unusual or difficult requests?
Scud is a very talented person, he has unique ideas in his film. I think working with him is a process of learning rather than a job. Most of the roles in his movies require a great passion to the art instead of a business sense of acting. He is the kind of director who is willing to share his time with the actors, crew and staff. Luckily. He always makes sure everyone understands the message, theme and atmosphere that he wants for the film.
Aside from your movies with Scud, what other significant roles have you played? Anything on television?
I focus my acting on film most of the time, and I have done plenty of independent productions both local and overseas. A recent short film required that I fly out to Malaysia for around two weeks. It is called “Every Breath You Fake”, and I play the role of a man struggling with his sexuality and a strained relationship with his neglected girlfriend. Keep a look out for that, it will be out anytime soon!
I haven’t actually done anything on television, but I’m sure it will be a good chance for me to get more exposure. There’s always a first time for everything.
Do you see yourself developing a career on mainstream television – like in a drama series?
I haven’t really thought about that, but I’m always prepared to take any opportunity that comes along the way. Television has always been a good platform for actors to develop their careers. Many of the best film stars like Andy Lau, Tony Leung and Chow Yuen Fat all started out in television, so I am definitely open to the idea of branching out in that direction!
What would your dream role be? And which actors or director (aside from Scud) would you like to work with in the future for this role?
I still don’t have a clear picture of my dream role yet. I can only say that my goal is to go for something crazy or challenging – something that will be memorable to both viewers and myself. Seriously, Quentin Tarantino’s style would be something I will really dare to try, and ideally, if Chow Yuen Fat also takes part, that will really make my day too good to be true.
You are also a singer and composer? How would you describe your voice and what kind of songs do you like to sing? Will we be expecting an album release anytime soon?
Acting or singing – is there a particular direction you wish to take in terms of your career?
I’ve recently established my 4-man Band by the name of FAME.
Jackie (Vocal), Ki-Fung (Guitar), River (Bass) MaTT(Drums)
Soulful Pop rock will be our focus, our compositions drawn upon aspects of love and angst derived from personal experiences.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
My goal in the industry is not just to be a performer, I would like to take time to focus on the creative and production side of it as well. For the next five years I will focus my work on the screen and stage to sharpen my tools before I move on.
I sing to release my soul (chuckles) and I compose lyrics to express my pent-up feelings.
Let’s just say that I am too happy with my current lifestyle to warranty a committed relationship.
I love this world despite the turmoils, I love my job, I love my family and myself.
A trifle belated, still it’s better late than never.
This Reviewer has gone on an overseas assignment, gotten back now and rushed this short piece.
Its’ a literary obligation.
No, “THE CONJURING” is not a great film even though it’s directed by the much hyped director of spooks JAMES WAN, who also helmed INSIDIOUS and SAW.
Neither will it be classified as a lack-lustre one.
It all depends on how you relate to the plot.
First, the synopsis:
Based on a true story, “THE CONJURING” expounds the creepy tale of how world-renowned paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, were called upon to help a family terrorized by an ominous presence in a secluded farmhouse.
Forced to confront a powerful demonic entity, the Warrens find themselves caught in the most terrifying case of their lives.
You will be treated with loads of unspoken silences and sudden jolts that will unnerve you as the suspense is prolonged amid eerie tracking shots.
There’s nothing new about haunted houses, wandering spirits and annoying exorcisms.
We see them over and over again, in different contortions and shapes, the apparitions crawling menacingly at us, with glassy eyes.
The load rests on the film director and JAMES WAN has proven it again that his spooky treatment of the haunted house is lifting this predictable movie many leaps above the average ghost haunting genre.
“The Conjuring” is an entertaining film to boot. Scary?
For fans of JAMES WAN’s creepy offerings, the answer is yes.
It’s as good as you can get. Director JAMES WAN is back in top form to scare the creep out of you.
To horror skeptics, a lot is left to be seen, much less verified.
Answer: He never argues and he’s always happy to see you.
WHY I SHOPPED ONLINE FOR A BROWN POODLE.
SHOPPING ONLINE FOR PETS?
You will be swarmed with numerous offers from all kinds of breeders, but this type of service depends largely on reliability and trust.
If you have not met the breeder, would you entrust him with your deposit?
And if you do not pay a deposit, how can the breeder be sure you will buy?
A lot would depend on your gut feel.
Well, I have decided to give this idea a go.
You either lose your deposit … or then again, you might gain a new-found friend.
It is not really my ideal cup of tea, but I recently googled for dogs and saw an Online Advertisement put up by a Malaysian breeder called EDDIE SIEW.
Quoting him, in his own words, “I am selling toy poodles, Malteses, Pomeranians and Schnauzer puppies, only quality ones.”
I met up with EDDIE SIEW who is in his 20s and he looks like a young version of the ex-Singapore Media Corp actor called Sean Say.
He is cordial, dishing out practical tips on how to house-train pups.
I paid him an earnest deposit upon request and EDDIE promised to make delivery of the pup I ordered which is a brown male poodle about 2 over months old on 1st August, 2013 at 10 pm in my neighbourhood.
The interaction has been amiable because EDDIE is likeable.
The rest remains to be seen after the delivery of male poodle pup on 1st August.
I shall chart the progress of this transaction and the said brown poodle online, from time to time.