Jumaat, 22 November 2013

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Hungry for more


Fans just can't get enough of Jennifer Lawrence and there are plenty of reasons why.

THERE is just something honest and grounded about Jennifer Lawrence which comes through every time she is captured on camera – be it for interviews or when she's playing a role.

In articles written about the actress, words like humble, playful, normal and funny are used to describe her. These are usually accompanied by praises on her unencumbered acting style and relaxed personality on film sets from those who have worked with her including directors Jodie Foster, David O. Russell and Francis Lawrence (no relation) as well as fellow actors Bradley Cooper and Sam Claflin.

In short, she's just easy to like. This would explain why even when she took an embarrassing tumble on her way to receive the best actress Oscar in a beautiful Dior dress earlier this year, Lawrence received a standing ovation from her peers.

Jennifer Lawrence with her The Hunger Games: Catching Fire co-stars - Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth - with director Francis Lawrence. Deemed Hollywood¿s ¿normal¿ girl, Lawrence¿s accessible personality contributes to her demand. ¿It¿s refreshing,¿ said Hemsworth of the actress¿s disposition. ¿She¿s not trying to be anything she¿s not and she¿s got one of the biggest hearts of anyone I¿ve ever met.¿ - AP

Lawrence with co-stars – (from left) Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth – and director Francis Lawrence.

But in a true J.Law style, she started her acceptance speech by addressing what just happened. "Thank you. You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell. And that's really embarrassing," she said humbly.

Her resolute kindness also came to the fore last week when the 23-year-old moved security barriers (at the red carpet for the London premiere of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) so that she could hug a crying, wheelchair-bound fan.

Armed with a quip for every occasion and a candid outlook on life, Lawrence is undoubtedly the current Hollywood darling. Well, not surprisingly, she is also the box office darling; besides working on indie films (Russell's Silver Lining Playbooks and American Hustle), Lawrence is involved in two major franchises (The Hunger Games and X-Men).

With one Oscar nomination (for 2010 Winter's Bone) and one win (for Silver Linings Playbooks) under her belt, Lawrence now commands a whopping US$10mil (RM32mil) salary per movie – that would be her take home pay for playing a teen heroine in Catching Fire. Consider this: Lawrence was only paid US$500,000 (RM1.6mil) for 2012's The Hunger Games.

In the second instalment of the film based on Suzanne Collins' bestseller, Lawrence's character – 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen – returns to her district after winning the 74th Annual Hunger Games.

But this victory is bittersweet for Katniss who wants to go back to how things were before she became a tribute (what participants in Hunger Games are called) and ultimately the winner.

Unfortunately, she finds herself pushed into the spotlight as she makes her Victors' Tour with fellow winner, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson).

To make matters worse, President Snow (Donald Sutherland) cooks up a new twist for the 75th Hunger Games, also known as the 3rd Quarter Quell – pitting all the previous victors, two from each district, in a more challenging gladiatorial game.

Actress Jennifer Lawrence stumbles as she walks on stage to accept the award for best actress in a leading role for

Lawrence stumbles as she walks on stage to accept her Oscar.

In an interview transcript provided by the film distributor, Nusantara Edaran Filem, Lawrence spills what it's like to revisit the character for the second time: "It was kind of weird to go back because I had this idea when I first signed on to the franchise that it would get boring playing the same character. I've never done that – I've always played a brand new character. Katniss is the same character, but in completely new circumstances."

She adds: "The stakes are different for her this time. In the first movie, she was a hesitant hero who really just wanted to save her family, but now she has a bigger weight on her shoulders. She feels a responsibility to all these people who are depending on her and yet, she is struggling with that, because it isn't at all what she signed up for."

Similar to how her character is forced into the limelight and her every move documented for the viewing pleasure of the people of Panem, Lawrence is faced with papparazzi problem since her rise to fame.

In an interview with Vogue, she is quoted: "I teeter on seeming ungrateful when I talk about this, but I'm kind of going through a meltdown about it lately. All of a sudden the entire world feels entitled to know everything about me, including what I'm doing on my weekends when I'm spending time with my nephew. And I don't have the right to say, 'I'm with my family.'

"If I were just your average 23-year-old girl, and I called the police to say that there were strange men sleeping on my lawn and following me to Starbucks, they would leap into action. But because I am a famous person, well, sorry, ma'am, there's nothing we can do. It makes no sense."

The unwanted attention by photographers continued when she was filming Catching Fire in Atlanta and Hawaii in the United States.

Although Lawrence jokes that it's difficult being stressed in Hawaii – echoed by her co-star Claflin: "There's something about Hawaii where you step off the plane and you feel really chill." – the presence of paparazzi did cause some problems for the actress.

Lawrence complains: "When you're working, it's distracting. And when you're not working, it's annoying."

Even if the world is curious to know everything about her – for example, when she was reunited with ex-boyfriend Nicholas Hoult, it made major headlines, Lawrence is happy to be doing what she loves.

The loss of privacy is a small price to pay. "I haven't really stopped working, which has been exhausting, but also a blessing because I don't have time to think about it."

> The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens in cinemas nationwide today.

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Journey to the dark side


A gangster tale that's both believable and emotional, Kisah Paling Gengster will pleasantly surprise you.

WHEN you've got eight or nine gangster-themed Malaysian movies already released in cinemas in 2013 alone, it's probably not wrong to say that the market for Malaysian gangster films is kind of saturated at the moment. With overkill being a real danger to Kisah Paling Gengster, the latest in the genre to strut into town, what does star Shaheizy Sam – who has himself starred in other gangster flicks like Kongsi and 8 Jam – think makes this one special?

"It has to be the storyline, which I think is great," said Shaheizy, who plays paramedic Remy in the film. "It's a character-driven movie, and I like the fact that the storytelling is more nuanced and not so single-layered."

In the film, Remy starts out as a shy, honest and innocent individual who slowly gets sucked into the violent and dark world of gangsterism because of an act of kindness on his part.

Director Brando Lee said he conceived the role with Shaheizy in mind and developed the character according to Shaheizy's style of acting. Spending approximately four months to write the screenplay with co-writer Alfie Palermo, Lee believed that going back to basics and having a really strong story would make this movie stand out among the crowd, especially with the current gangster film craze and the seemingly endless news items involving gangsters and shootings that have seen the whole country taking an even more intense interest in the issue of gangsterism.

Taking inspiration from Korean films like Old Boy and modern Hollywood classics like Michael Mann's Heat and The Godfather films, Lee said Kisah Paling Gengster initially started life more as an action-comedy, but gradually changed shape into the heavier terrain of the gangster drama as the writing process progressed. There are still sprinklings of comedy here and there to lighten things up – how can you not have those when Epy Raja Lawak has a supporting role as Remy's best friend Jimmy? Still, this is one of the rare examples of a local film that faithfully and successfully follows the form and structure of a classic genre, resulting in an effort that may be familiar in terms of storyline, yet doesn't lack emotional impact.

People often say that power corrupts, and watching Remy's descent from being a sweet-natured innocent into the depths of violence and power, made more convincing by Shaheizy's absolutely committed performance, was quite a pleasant surprise for this writer. In fact, believability is definitely this film's strong suit as the majority of the characters do look authentic, as do the locations.

Supporting players like Wan Hanafi Su as godfather Ayah Megat, Zul Suphian as Ringo, Wawa Zainal as Remy's sweetheart Rina, Mikail Andre as nemesis Romeo and Fyza Kadir as Ayah Megat's daughter Sofea all gave suitably believable performances devoid of fake and exaggerated posing.

Even the shootouts and gun battles, usually a huge bone of contention for this writer when it comes to local films, are quite realistically staged and presented.

Having handled various weapons on his trips overseas, Lee explained that he more or less served as technical advisor as well when it came to the correct way of handling weapons, often showing the actors how to hold and position the weapons in order not to hurt themselves when firing them.

More impressive are the fight scenes, which, as Shaheizy rightly pointed out, are more "raw" and seem less choreographed than most films of this ilk. A particular standout is the scene where Remy "loses it" in a hand-to-hand fight against three gangsters who have been making trouble at a place under Ayah Megat's protection, eloquently showing Remy's first few baby steps on his plunge into darkness instead of explaining it through dialogue.

With film supposedly being a more visual medium, wherein it's more important to show than to tell, it is gratifying to see a local production with more than a few examples of visually eloquent, meaningful moments like this. And all without sacrificing the entertainment factor which is the reason why most people pay to watch a movie.

The Bahasa Malaysia title may hint at another kind of film, but don't let this dissuade you because it is at heart an old-fashioned gangster tale, one which never gets old – that of innocence corrupted.

Emily Blunt to star in thriller based on bestselling book


Film is to be adapted from Rosamund Lupton's 'Sister'.

EMILY Blunt (pic) is attached to star in the psychological thriller Sister, which Kevin McCormick (Gangster Squad) is developing under his Langley Park banner, TheWrap has learned.

StudioCanal is financing development of the project, which is based on Rosamund Lupton's bestselling novel Sister. The project is near and dear to Blunt, whose own sister, literary agent Felicity Blunt, represents the book, which has sold more than one million copies worldwide.

The London-based mystery follows Beatrice (Blunt) as she investigates the death of her younger sister Tess, whose passing is ruled a suicide by police. Convinced that her sister was murdered, Beatrice sets out to uncover the strange events leading up to Tess' death, though she may pay a terrible price for the truth.

Rory Koslow will oversee the project for Langley Park, which is currently searching for a writer to adapt Lupton's novel.

Blunt has spent most of 2013 on movie sets, filming the female lead opposite Tom Cruise in Doug Liman's futuristic action movie Edge Of Tomorrow, as well as the role of the Baker's Wife opposite James Corden in Disney's Into The Woods. Those movies are scheduled for release next year on June 6 and Christmas Day respectively.

Langley Park is currently developing an adaptation of Robert Kolker's true crime book Lost Girls, a Boston Strangler movie with Casey Affleck attached to star and an adaptation of Jo Nesbo's novel The Son, which, like Sister, features a protagonist questioning the suicide of a family member.

Blunt was last seen wielding a shotgun in Looper and is no stranger to movies about siblings, having starred in Your Sister's Sister. – Reuters

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