As the Movie plays, my sub-conscious mind keeps on drifting back and forth from the lyrics of this song called “The Piano Man” and … shuck! … now I know why.
“THE FAULT in OUR STARS” (2014) MOVIE REVIEW
Love is a many-splendored thing. Really.
It embodies parental love, buddy love and boy-and-girl love. Life is meaningless without any form of love. Unless you will it, we are not destined to exist in this world alone.
If you love a good cry, then “THE FAULT IN OUR STARS” is nicely crafted for you. No worries, no one would dare to say you are pathetic. Because you are not by yourself nursing your grief.
The TRUTH is, someone in my neighborhood whom I am acquainted with is suffering from terminal cancer as I pen this Review. No name, as he’s not a buddy but his affliction has brought me a step closer to the man and his lot.
Should I say that this Article is kind-of-a-tribute to him?
“THE FAULT IN OUR STARS” depicts the doomed romance of two cancer victims GUS (ANSEL ELGORT) and HAZEL (SHAILENE WOODLEY) who believe they are fated to meet, therefore they cling to each other for emotional support.
The film is set to tug at your heartstrings and stimulate your tear ducts.
It has been inspired by the 6th novel penned by author JOHN GREEN, which was published in January 2012.
In my own words I would rate this movie as “vivid, immediate, engaging and well worth seeing”.
It is directed by JOSH BOONE and he has helmed a beautiful production.
The tale is narrated by a 16 year old cancer patient named HAZEL (SHAILENE WOODLEY) who’s been coaxed by her dutiful parents to attend a social support group to “get her out of her shell”.
The inevitable happens. She meets and falls in love with a 17 -year old AUGUSTUS WALTER (ANSEL ELGORT) , an ex-basketball player and amputee.
This is where the “heartwarming process” starts in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Because of her cancer, HAZEL uses a portable oxygen tank to breathe comfortably. She tugs this with her, wherever she goes.
In one of the support meetings she meets GUS, the leading actor.
He’s there to lend moral support for their mutual friend, ISAAC (NAT WOLFF).
Isaac has a tumor in one eye that has been surgically removed, and now he has to have his other eye taken out as well.
GUS happily tells HAZEL that she resembles Natalie Portman and invites HAZEL to his house to watch one of Portman’s movies.
HAZEL reveals that she has thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs. GUS had osteosarcoma but is cured after he has his leg amputated.
The mood-and-tone is morbid, perhaps. But this is how the doomed romance blossoms.
“A heart-breaking flick, crisply written and made with brutal fascination. The acting is terrific.”
Both SHAILENE WOODLEY and ANSEL ELGORT share an affable onscreen chemistry and pitch in memorable performances.
To sum it all up, “THE FAULT IN OUR STARS” is powerful as much as it is unforgettable.
Don’t let the subject matter alarm you.
Loving someone deeply through severe sickness is always a task.
But no matter whatever the circumstances, screen leads GUS and HAZEL share a divine love for each other, often giving something of themselves in the process.
You will be reminded to take time to live life as you should and soak in the “moments”. Do not take people around us for granted.
Your loved ones cannot be around to root for you forever.
Like everything else, there’s no permanence to people and relationships.
“TRANSFORMERS: AGE of EXTINCTION” (2014) MOVIE REVIEW
This Reviewer cannot claim to be a loyal fan of the TRANSFORMERS franchise, but admittedly the special effects department of the current offering has technically, rendered a magnificent job.
The sizzling effects comes spectacularly alive …. thanks to director MICHAEL BAY, his scriptwriter EHREN KRUGER and his director-of-photography AMIR MOKRI who gloriously captured the robotic “fire-works” and deliver them to us in the realm of the IMAX 3D.
Millions of years ago, the Earth was traumatized by an extinction exercise by robots to do away with the human race.
A superior robotic element was using their technology to turn living organisms into ‘Transformium.’
Fast forward to present day and research group KSI may have uncovered metal dinosaur fossils in the Arctic.
Humanity has learnt a lesson and is now sparing no chances and is taking drastic measures against bad robots.
After the battle of Chicago four years ago, the Transformers are now the most wanted deadly aliens on the planet.
The US government is briskly hunting whatever left of the Transformers that had survived the massive kill.
Director MICHAEL BAY who initially left the franchise graciously returns, promising an exciting new package, roping in MARK WAHLBERG to play Cade Yeagar, and as well as lining new Transformers for his trademark explosive live action spectaculars.
The CIA black ops teams are cutting a swathe through Autobots and Decepticons with the help of a mysterious robotic assassin determined on capturing Optimus Prime, but he’s nowhere to be found.
That is until Cade Yeager (WAHLBERG), his daughter Tessa (NICOLA PELTZ) and Lucas (T.J. MILLER) discover an old husk of a mack truck that’s more than just a mere vehicle.
BAY enhances the action especially in scenes where robots fighting against humans in the thick of the fray.
Debris flying, towering infernos and what-have-you rising above the boom crash mayhem will keep the audience enraptured, clamoring for more.
On a gentle note: the bad robots can be exterminated by humans; they are not invincible.
Strategic scenes are shot in HONG KONG and CHINA to cash in on the colossal Chinese market.
CHINA with a populace of 1,390 billion people is a ready-to-be-tapped cash cow.
And naturally, dollars make the earth goes round.
Take note of the fun bits here:
In order to please the China market, you get weak appearances from celebrated China artistes like actress Li Bingbing (李冰冰) and singer/actor Han Geng (韓庚).
Why, you ask. These artistes look intimidated, milling around their white brothers.
Actress BING BING is merely a piece of disposable decorum uttering dumb lines.
Yes, she does appear in key scenes, holding her fort admirably.
She kicks ass and speeds precariously on a motorcycle to save her boss. Other than that, there’s nothing heroic out of the norm.
Actor HAN GENG gets to utter one silly exclamation.
And as for China boxing champion ZOU SHIMING (鄒市明), he gets to flex his boxing prowess for just a few minutes of glory.
Other Chinese actors, such as The Bund’s <上海灘> actor RAY LUI (呂良偉) are mere well-paid “extras” hoping for a Hollywood break.
The second half of the film reeks like one “long-winded product commercial.”
The audience is treated to a neatly arranged loop of advertisements showcasing product categories from egg white powder and mineral spring water to cars and jewels. Provided you exercise your power of vision carefully.
And the list rattles on ….
This is another MICHAEL BAY brand for his international fans and for them, a MICHAEL BAY movie is a must-see, as the magic never fails to ignite, and the provision is always riveting and fiercely moving.
The film director continues to drum up ways to make robotic shape-shifting look realistic on 3D.
Shooting in Hong Kong and China provide a battlefield to cash in on the franchise’s second most lucrative market. A win-win situation, isn't it?
Smart move. Right.
Do check this one out.
RATING: 3.5 out of 5.
Local Distributor: United International Pictures (UIP)
At the outset, the stills from”THE ROVER” appear to be a mash-up of brooding expressions on the leads. What gives?
You can see latent anger, feel the angst and observe these two actors (totally with contrasting personalities) blazing the dare-devil track of a dangerous road trip in the sprawling outback of Australia.
You have to hand to GUY PEARCE for being such a stirring actor.
He is spot-on for his portrayal of ERIC the loner. He has vengeful intents on his mind and will stop at nothing to retrieve his prized possession, a vehicle who has been unceremoniously snatched from him under his very nose in a “daylight robbery”.
You can scream foul that the scorching sun is driving everybody nuts . While ERIC is all roar, he is still very much vulnerable.
ROBERT PATTINSON is excellent as he tackles on the challenging role of REY.
He totally sheds his pretty boy image to play a dim-witted survivor who’s being dragged into this dangerous game of cat-and-mouse.
His screen character requires him to display a multi-layered personae of helplessness in this emotionally charged and gritty feature.
It’s “two thumbs up” for ROBERT PATTINSON.
He excels as REY proving that there’s indeed, a future for him, after his post-Twilight days.
Let’s roll out the film synopsis:
We are led to a desolate world, a pitiful and a futile patch of the Australian Outback 10 years after a Western economic collapse.
We see survivors roaming like post-apocalyptic zombies, scrambling over a broken society’s scraps and will kill for a teeny bit of these. It’s that bad.
Yeah, life is cheap.
And it is amid all this furore that an embittered loner Eric (PEARCE) travels the desolate towns of the outback for no apparent reasons.
When a gang of thieves steals his car they leave behind a wounded Rey (PATTINSON) in their wake.
Forcing Rey to help track the gang, Eric will go to any lengths to take back his only prized possession. The single-minded purpose of retrieving forms the crux of this jagged movie.
DAVID MICHOD wrote the film based on a plot he crafted with JOEY EDGERTON, a gifted actor in his own right.
MICHOD’s name may not ring a bell, but his debut film, “Animal Kingdom,” was one of 2010′s great successes.
This second venture, though very different, affirms him as an impressive filmmaker with a talent for creating distinctive worlds.
The film director demonstrates to us his own bleak world of darkness. The imagery is stunningly awesome.
We pay homage to all that’s doom and gloom.
It’s one cheerless disposition that grips you in a forsaken world of demented surprises.
The plot is tirelessly twisted and disturbing, so much that it gets under your skin.
Despite an intentionally arty plot, strong performances from the leads pave the way from start to end.
This Reviewer tries to be a follower of Japanese movies many years ago. You cannot say he has succeeded, given the dearth of Japanese imports these days.
Good Japanese projects ooze a certain amount of charm that will mesmerize you, liken to the craze affecting addictive followers of the Korean cinema. The cultural reality is different.
“THE BLACK BUTLER” is a fine example of a manga story plucked from the Japanese comic world.
It is crafted for the manga lovers.
Manga are comics created in Japan using the Japanese language, conforming to a lifestyle developed by Japan in the late 19th century.
In Japan, manga is a powerful element, a rage, a culture. Japanese of all ages read manga, the medium of which embodies a broad range of genres such as action, adventure, romance, sports and a whole lot more.
Let’s run over “THE BLACK BUTLER” 黑执事” Synopsis
The year is 2020.
Mummified corpses of murdered dignitaries are strewn all over the world.
A tarot card is the only clue left at every crime scene to tentalize the police.
The overall mood is grim signaling that the globe is in total chaos.
We start with Kiyoharu who is the young head of the Genpo noble family who runs a colossal toy manufacturing enterprise.
Kiyoharu also doubles up as a secret watchdog for the Queen, a confidential service that his family has provided for generations.
The Queen instructs Kiyoharu to resolve the case of the mummification incidents.
The operation is spearheaded by his arrogant butler, Sebastian, who is cold and ruthless and is in fact a living demon.
Kiyoharu is in fact a female who has been hiding his true female identity since his parents’ tragic death 10 years earlier.
In return for pledging his undying support, Sebastian is promised his master’s soul after Kiyoharu has avenged the murder of his parents.
Who is the mastermind behind the serial mummification deaths?
Will Kiyoharu finally apprehend his parents’ murderers?
You have to watch the movie for the answers.
Directors Kentaro Otani and Keiichi Sato maintain the right mood and tone of the manga occult-themed style.
From the set ambience to the actors, everything is done to amplify the action.
Sebastian’s fight scenes are well choreographed. The movie is deliciously demented as everything is not played nice, fair or easy.
If you enjoy the theme of manga, then the film is crafted for you.
THE KIASU CAST with female Film Director LAW GWO YUNN (extreme left).
“WE SWEAR THAT WE ARE NOT KIASU!”
“COME ON, LET’s SUPPORT this KIASU MOTIVATIONAL PROGRAM!”
“WHO’s THE REAL KIASU? YOU TELL US.”
“IT’S NOT THAT I AM KIASU, BUT MY MUM MUST NOT KNOW ABOUT OUR ROMANCE.”
“HEY BROTHERS, LET’S CELEBRATE KIASU-ISM.”
“KIASU! Hurrah …KIASU! I am PROUD of YOU, son!”
“KIASU” (2014) 做你愛做的事
There are surely some films you’d love to loathe and forget when you walk out of the cinema floor.
Fortunately “KIASU” isn’t one of these.
It’s a real blast and is able to swear by its own mettle.
“KIASU” marks the directorial debut of Malaysian born, Taipei-based female director called LAW GWO YUNN who has amassed an impressive folio : doubling as Art Director as well as being a Production Designer for independent films .
Naturally there’ll be a time when YUNN is tired of playing second fiddle and this film proves she’s capable of whistling her own tune.
“KIASU” is two-thumbs up!
The ensemble cast comprises of an Asian potpourri：
Shiou Jie Kai (Taiwan), Cai Huang Ru (Taiwan), Pu Xue Liang (Taiwan), Henry Thia (Singapore) and CHU MI MI (Malaysian based in Hong Kong).
So you’ll bound to hear a “rojak” splattering of Taiwanese Mandarin and Malaysian Mandarin. Hilarious mix.
The rest of the artistes are mostly up-and-coming talents checking out mainstream acting, supported by helpful veterans.
There are two sides of the plot:
The primary side takes us through the day-to-day grind of the working dentist.
In this segment focus only on the principal dentist De Ming played by SHIOU JIE KAI.
The poor soul is bored with his work, is lonesome and hopes for a change.
The secondary plot traces a mother-and-son reunion.
SHIOU’s domineering mother is called Margaret (CHU MI MI), a”kiasu” woman who’s recently divorced and only sees things her way.
She is practically unbelievable, she bullies her son and she squirms with fright when she discovers him dating a pretty call-center agent Delia (SOYA TSAI). There’s no way she is going to lose her son to another woman. But first, anger issues between mother and son must be resolved.
Love can change a person, but mum will not amend her “kiasu” ways.
Go watch this funny film that will make you roar and brighten your day.
It is vivid, immediate and entertaining.
RATING: 3 out of 5
Local Distributor: MM2 ENTERTAINMENT
(2) “KIASU” PRESS CONFERENCE on 3rd June, 2014
All Conference Photos taken by TI CHIN HAN
“WELCOME TO KIASU LAND …”
“WE SHOT THE MOVIE IN KUALA LUMPUR AND WE ARE GLAD TO BE BACK …”
But why is funny man HENRY THIA looking so glum?
VERY KIASU BUT HAPPY, HAPPY.
THE LEAD ACTOR REMINDS us:
“WE have TOILED hard for this MOVIE. So please don’t forget to support our SUPER DUPER project, please?”