JACK NEO : PRODUCER , FILM DIRECTOR, ENTREPRENEUR, TALENT MANAGER
Clock backward to Chinese New Year 2011.
My press colleagues and myself interviewed thespian JACK NEO on his come-back role in HOMECOMING. (笑着回家). It was reported that he had taken a hiatus then, due to stress burnout.
In this movie JACK NEO was at his cross-dressing best. He played a real “she” – as AH NIU’s mother. That was when I started to notice this versatile actor who self-challenged himself to take on the difficult role of a full-blown woman. And a hilarious one at that.
His screen character stole the thunder from the rest of the cast.
But “HOMECOMING” was directed by LEE THEAN- JEEN.
Fast forward to present day 11th July, 2014 (Friday) at the GENTING HIGHLANDS GALA PREMIERE.
Looking dapper in suit to meet the press, JACK NEO sits confidently opposite me for a tete-a- tete interview.
“Have you seen any of my movies?” he politely asks.
“Some,” I truthfully answered, without hesitation.
This scenario takes place in GENTING HIGHLANDS where the local film distributor MM2 ENTERTAINMENT graciously transports some of us ( Media) by private coach to the resort. It is a welcome respite, from a humid spell in Kuala Lumpur to a cool change of climate.
Anyway, back to JACK NEO. He is eager to share his shooting experience with THE LION MEN double features.
“There are cultural differences in style with the lion dance taught by various institutions. Different strokes for different folks. If only someone can connect all the regional schools and form a cohesion, a singular discipline, and develop it just like the art of kung fu.
Please pass this message around, JACK NEO implores.
At the heart of every lion dance, there is a soul within, waiting to be fortified and understood.
Pay attention and you can feel the pulse and see the beauty embedded with every drum roll.
For now, it’s the mixed lion dance. Hopefully the day will come when different schools can amalgamate to offer a singular art, just like kung- fu.
Every year actors come and go because fame is transient and memories are small in the entertainment scene. Audiences always want something new.
(JACK NEO wears several folios : Producer, Director, Entrepreneur and Talent Manager).
He enjoys ribbing, but is in fact a serious professional.
Over the years he had ridden the storm, and overcame business betrayals and setbacks, but he dauntlessly plodded on.
“Those were trying times of frustration, of course. But if you want to lift your head up high in this industry, rather than to living a mere existence, you’d need all the drama you can get.
I have never attempted slapsticks, not yet.
I take pride in directing my own brand of commercial comedy films with a moral to boot.”
But slapstick or otherwise, JACK NEO will never refuse a great script.
And good money in the offering as well, of course. (guffaws).
“I am after all, a businessman,” he trails off.
“The Lion Men: Ultimate Showdown” Movie Review
The entire team returns to continue where they left off in Part 2.
Shi Shen (Tosh Zhang) is seething with jealousy with Mikey. Especially after he discovers Mikey is secretly in love with his girlfriend Xiao Yu (Eva Cheng).
Aiming to win the lion dance championship title, Shi Shen spends every waking hour in strenuous training and neglects the emotional needs of Xiao Yu.
As the dance final approaches, Xiao Yu begs Shi Shen to withdraw from the competition, since he has injured himself in a sabotage attempt.
Her pleas has fallen on deaf years and she has to reckon with Shi Shen’s cocky attitude.
So no prizes for guessing who will eventually win the fair lady’s heart.
In all JACK NEO’s productions, you can expect a mixed bag of audience reaction, fan adulation and critical reception.
But his films have always boasted impressive box office returns.
And to NEO whose vision is “film making is a business”, this reality factor reigns supreme.
“You don’t like my films? Then don’t go! Despite whatever the worse critic may chide, I like to think I am laughing all my way to the bank with a box-office clout.
Action paves the way, not just sweet talk."
LION MEN2 is smartly written and superbly acted by a relatively unknown young cast from across the causeway. With JACK NEO at the helm, these guys may soon be household names.
Never undermine good talent. Just give it a break. And that is exactly what he is doing.
THE FILM DIRECTOR, THE CAST AND THE EAGER MM2 ENTERTAINMENT STAFF.
HIP HOP DANCE PERFORMANCE BY GUEST ARTISTES
COME ON, JUST SAY IT WITH PUNCHES!
THE GENTING INTERNATIONAL SHOWROOM IS A REAL BLAST!
IMPRESSIVE AUDIENCE AND PRESS TURNOUT.
BEFORE SHOWTIME, AT THE GENTING INTERNATIONAL SHOWROOM.
YOU HAPPY, I HAPPY, WE ARE ALL VERY HAPPY!
THIS ONE’S FOR KEEPS.
ALL SMILES… AFTER A TRULY ENJOYABLE GALA PERFORMANCE.
Ah, during late Autumn or Winter, this numbing feeling can be abysmal.
Shorter days, longer nights.
And the intense chill and frost bites blending well with the cheerless mood.
You might have hummed along with the classic hit called STREETS OF LONDON.
Eons ago, I discovered this tearful song that never fails to instil an absolute sense of tingling foreboding in me.
There’s this old world charm about the lyrics that’d probably touch a zillion souls.
Something about life and loneliness entwined, of poverty, reminding us to treasure whatever material wealth we may have now, no matter how frugal we should be, to count our blessings.
In this forlorn world, there’ll many who are deprived of company, warmth and food, if we look hard enough.
The STREETS OF LONDON is a song with a soul, beckoning you to incite healing in this cold, dreary world ….
Let me run the meaningful lyrics for you here:
Have you seen the old man
In the closed-down market
Kicking up the paper,
with his worn out shoes?
In his eyes you see no pride
Hand held loosely at his side
Yesterday’s paper telling yesterday’s news
Chorus: So how can you tell me you’re lonely,
And say for you that the sun don’t shine?
Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London
I’ll show you something to make you change your mind
Have you seen the old girl
Who walks the streets of London
Dirt in her hair and her clothes in rags?
She’s no time for talking,
She just keeps right on walking
Carrying her home in two carrier bags.
In the all night cafe
At a quarter past eleven,
Same old man is sitting there on his own
Looking at the world
Over the rim of his tea-cup,
Each tea lasts an hour
Then he wanders home alone
Have you seen the old man
Outside the Seaman’s Mission
Memory fading with the medal ribbons that he wears
In our winter city,
The rain cries a little pity
For one more forgotten hero
And a world that doesn’t care
POVERTY doesn’t just exist in third world countries, it’s rampant everywhere..
Due to the escalating costs of living, lack of goverment support sometimes, and a poor job market, the current global crunch, many are finding it even harder to support themselves & their families – circumstances forcing them to become homeless or live out on the streets.
And not just the men and women, but also CHILDRENand the DISABLED.
We are going through a global recession now.
Go easy on the bank credit and live within your means.
Save money for a rainy day.
You never know when the storm will come.
Get wise, be prepared.
Prevention is better than cure.
Life’s full of unexpected surprises that will come aknocking when you least expect them.
Smile, render a kind deed.
If each of us does one part to cheer this trouble world and maintain the harmony, then the entire planet would be a joyous place to live in.
Let’s borrow a line from the evergreen MY FAIR LADYmusical -
“DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES” (2014) MOVIE REVIEW
In context and form, the latest "APES" installment is one helluva of a great film to boot, for its human and beast elements.
You can sense and feel the input of blood and tears indulged by the cast and crew members in a joint-effort to harness artistic perfection for this movie.
Unfortunately, the media presentation was shown in the standard cinematic format.
Had the press members been treated to the 3D version, it would have been so much more gripping.
It is an absolute wonderment to appraise the menacing apes fighting for dear life in the battlefield to protect their fort against the human mercenaries with machine guns.
“DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES” is a well-detailed remarkable film. It is not just a work of art, as much as it is entertaining.
This is a ground breaking project packaged with brilliant visual effects by the post production department, capturing and intensifying every emotional delivery.
Apes, like humans, have profound feelings, both good and bad.
Most scenes are emo-sensitively charged to keep the audience enraptured.
Film director MATT REEVES has successfully given us a top-notched entertainment.
The Nutshell content:
A nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar (brilliantly voiced by ANDY SERKIS) find their jungle existence threatened by a band of human survivors who caused the destructive “simian flu” virus to be unleashed a decade earlier.
While mankind has suffered as a result, and most people died over the past decade, the apes on the other hand have flourished. They now reside in the forests north of San Francisco, an ape city surrounded by lush woods and waterfalls.
Then out of the blue a small gang of human survivors appear to disrupt the peace.
Initially the humans and apes agree to an interim peace, but this truce is short-lived, as both sides will not compromise.
Now all hell break lose for both humans and beasts in a challenge to determine who’s the Earth’s dominant power.
Aside the heartbreaking vocal performance of SERKIS that forms the crux of the plot, the rest of the ensemble cast specially JASON CLARKE (as Malcolm), GARY OLDMAN and KERI RUSSELL deliver powerful performances.
It is amazing for us to enjoy a sadistic scene (for example) of an angry ape riding into a storm of bullets with a machine gun toting in each hand. Both we love the massacre.
The imagery of the apes is painstakingly rendered to give facial expressions heart and soul.
You can be brought to tears when you feel the power of love as you witness tender moments shared with CAESAR and his injured wife CORNELIA (JUDY GREER).
The dynamic between the screen characters CAESAR (ape) and MALCOLM (hero) is obvious.
The two share a common goal, as Malcolm is also trying to protect his family (a son, Kodi Smit-McPhee, wife, Keri Russell) and his people.
The desired truce comes from a shared understanding that they are working and sharing the same vision — for family, for community, for the future.
It’s a fascinating film, staged with passion and skill that stands as one of the best of the year.