Khamis, 16 Januari 2014

The Star eCentral: Movie Buzz

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The Star eCentral: Movie Buzz

Love lost

Posted: 15 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

Pierre Andre's latest film focuses on the idea of forsaken romance.

DIRECTOR Pierre Andre had The Notebook in mind when he came up with the script for Muka Surat Cinta. As a fan of love stories, the idea of forsaken love has always intrigued the actor-turned-director.

Muka Surat Cinta tells the story of married couple Putra (played by Mikael Andre) and Luna (Nina Iskandar). Despite Luna's best efforts to make their marriage work, Putra feels that things are going nowhere. Luna also faces another challenge in Nurul (Atikah Suhaime), a girl who has a crush on Putra and will stop at nothing to win his heart.

"In Muka Surat Cinta, I want to focus on the message that we're always searching for love. It's something I want to explore with the audience, that perhaps the person you're looking for is just right in front of you," said Pierre, 28, during a phone interview.

Later, Putra comes across a secondhand book and becomes obsessed with it. In the book, there is a love quote written by its previous owner.

"Putra finds a quote that really moves him in a novel terpakai. The journey begins when he goes on a search to find the person who wrote the quote."

Pierre had initially written the script for Muka Surat Cinta as an independent short film. And instead of Muka Surat Cinta, the original title was Perempuan Muka Surat Tujuh.

"When I pitched the script to (production company) Metrowealth, they asked me to expand the story to make it more suitable for a mainstream audience. I didn't make a lot of changes to the original script. I think the only major change was the film title."

The film also sees Pierre collaborating with his younger brother Mikael. Previously, the two worked together on the horror film Highland Tower.

"Sometimes, it's quite hard because he's young and there is a lot for him to learn. Still, I'm really glad that he got to embody the part really well."

Pierre described his forlorn hero Putra as "the strong, silent type". "There are some things that Putra struggles to say. Eventually, he learns that sometimes, you can convey more by not even saying anything at all." n Muka Surat Cinta opens nationwide on Jan 16.

Muscling his way back in

Posted: 15 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

With two Hercules movies out this year, we look back at the legendary hero's screen appearances over the years.

HERCULES battles Hercules this year, with Kellan Lutz playing the demigod in Renny Harlin's now-in-theatres The Legend Of Hercules and Dwayne Johnson taking on the Greek hero in Brett Ratner's Hercules: The Thracian Wars, based on the Radical Comics miniseries, on July 25.

Of course, Hercules – the Roman name for the Greek hero Heracles – has been immortalised on film for more than 50 years, with similar characters hitting the screen since silent-movie days.

In one guise or another, he's fought ancient-world despots and sorcerers, mythological beasts and the attractions of femmes fatale. He's ridden chariots into battle, horses through treacherous passes and ships to high adventure – often on budgets that wouldn't pay for a minute of Clash Of The Titans.

Yet, whether accomplishing the 12 Labours or leading villagers into rebellion, whether fighting anachronistically in the gladiatorial arena or voyaging with the Argonauts, Hercules on-screen is a hero for the ages. Or at least for the past several decades.

Steve Reeves

"If you want something visual/that's not too abysmal/We could take in an old Steve Reeves movie." So sang the pansexual Dr Frank N Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, alluding to the campy appeal of Hercules (1958) and Hercules Unchained (1959), starring bodybuilder Reeves. The 1947 Mr America and 1950 Mr Universe became a gay icon playing the bare-chested hero in these two Italian-made epics, each released in the United States a year after their European debuts.

The Incredible Herc - Lou Ferrigno traded his torn purple pants for a belt and loincloth to play Hercules in two low-budget sword-and-sandal flicks.

Lou Ferrigno have played Hercules in the past.

In the former, Hercules joins the Argonauts to retrieve the Golden Fleece, and wins the love of Princess Iole (Sylva Koscina). In the latter, he is mystically mesmerised by Omphale, Queen of Lydia (Sylvia Lopez), but eventually regains his memory and saves his captive wife.

Reeves would go on to do a slew of such mythological mishmashes, playing Goliath in Goliath And The Barbarians (1959), Phillipides in The Giant Of Marathon (1959), Aeneas in The Trojan Horse (1961) and Romulus in Duel Of The Titans (1961), among others. But it was his Herculean labours that launched a fantasy-epic subgenre colloquially called ...

Hercules, the Disney version (voiced by Tate Donovan).

Hercules, the Disney version (voiced by Tate Donovan).

Sword-and-sandal films

After the Hercules movies became hits, Italian studios and American distributors released more follow-up films than Hercules had Labours.

Called "sword-and-sandal" or "peplum" films – after the short tunics/overskirts men wore in them – dozens of such films battled it out at the US box office into the mid-1960s. At least 19 starred Hercules, played variously by bodybuilders including Mickey Hargitay, Reg Park, Mission: Impossible's Peter Lupus (credited as Rock Stevens) and Kirk Morris (nee Adriano Bellini).

Like Godzilla in that era's giant-monster movies, Hercules sometimes teamed with others of his ilk, such as Samson, Goliath, Ursus and Italy's homegrown Hercules, Maciste. In fact, a few Hercules movies actually starred one of those interchangeable others – and were retitled and dubbed here to star Herc.

Hercules And The Black Pirate (1963) was the Samson movie Sansone contro il corsaro nero, for instance, while Hercules And The Masked Rider (1964) was the Goliath picture Golia e il cavaliere mascherato.

Animated Hercules

In Walt Disney's Hercules (1997), its title character voiced by Tate Donovan, the young demigod must become "a true hero" in order to join his brethren on Mount Olympus.

Trained by the satyr Phil (Danny DeVito), vexed by the evil Hades (James Woods, who steals the show) and beloved by the conflicted Megara (Susan Egan), he battles the Titans, a hydra and other menaces – and even has time to belt out a few songs.

Facepalm moments

The Three Stooges Meet Hercules (1962). So you don't believe Moe, Larry and Curly-Joe time-travelled to ancient Ithaca to help Hercules (Canadian bodybuilder Samuel "Samson" Burke) depose an evil king? Why, I oughtta ...!

Hercules Against The Moon Men (1964). This Mystery Science Theater 3000 staple actually stars the Italian hero Maciste (Sergio Ciani, aka Alan Steel), dubbed and retitled here to star Herc. Whatever his name, he battles alien invaders in ancient Greece. Talk about Chariots Of The Gods.

Hercules In New York (1969). Billed as Arnold Strong, a 22-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger in his first film teams up with a pretzel vendor, rides a chariot through Times Square, buys lunch at the Automat and gets his voice dubbed by another actor.

The Incredible Herc

In between The Incredible Hulk TV series and TV movies, the two-time Mr Universe Lou Ferrigno starred in the 1983 Italian picture Hercules and its 1985 sequel, The Adventures Of Hercules.

Sorbo the Lean

Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (syndicated TV, 1995-1999) was a Hercules for the millennial generation. The hero as portrayed by Kevin Sorbo was lean and green, not a bacchanalian bodybuilder, and as concerned about social equality and the preservation of Mother Earth as he was about protecting villagers from monsters and capricious gods.

With his most frequent sidekick, Iolaus (Michael Hurst), he often encountered the warrior princes Xena (Lucy Lawless), who would spin off into her own syndicated hit. Leading up to Sorbo's series were five 1994 TV movies – all co-starring Anthony Quinn, by Zeus! — Newsday/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Struck by suicides

Posted: 15 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

Two of action actor Collin Chou's sisters killed themselves while he was working on The Four 2.

DURING the filming of an emotional family scene in the new period action-fantasy The Four 2, Taiwanese actor Collin Chou was worried he would break down.

The 46-year-old says that shortly before he was scheduled to film a heart-rending fall-out scene with his screen sister, who is played by Chinese actress Liu Yifei, tragedy struck his own family in real life.

"My youngest sister had depression and committed suicide," he says solemnly in Mandarin over the telephone from Beijing where he was doing promotions for the film.

"I did have worries that I wouldn't be able to go through with that scene, but I am an actor and I still have to do my job."

The film is a follow-up to 2012's The Four, about a quartet of crime fighters with superhero-like abilities. Chou plays Iron Hands, a man who has strong arms and is adept at metalwork.

Throughout the filming of the sequel, the actor kept his troubles to himself.

Things got worse on the homefront. After he finished filming and the movie was in post-production, his second youngest sister also committed suicide because of depression.

Says the actor frankly: "Between the two incidents, there were about six months where I just had to go about my work as professionally as I could.

"Moviegoers want to see your performance on screen, not see you lay out all your personal issues. So I just did my job, even though it was really very tough to bear."

Chou, who has eight brothers and two other sisters, adds: "Maybe depression runs in the family. I try not to think too much about these things. I still have to go about my life."

The movie's director Gordon Chan describes Chou as "admirable" for remaining professional in the face of personal tragedy.

Chan, 54, recalls: "He did not tell anyone about what he was facing, and revealed it to the rest of us only at the press conference recently. The only thing I noticed was that he was extremely quiet that day, but otherwise, everything went on as normal.

"This sounds terrible now that we know what happened, but I had been so happy at the time because he acted out the scene with so much emotion. He nailed the scene."

At the aforementioned press conference – held in Beijing in November – Liu, 26, was reportedly so moved by Chou's revelation that she jumped up to hug him.

Tearing up, she reportedly told him: "Even though you lost two sisters, you have also gained one from now on, and that is me."

Asked about it, Chou readily admits that he sees her as a sister.

"She's very approachable and a sweet girl-next-door. Over the years of working with her, I've also seen how she has matured and grown. She is a really wonderful person," he says.

In a way, he also played big brother to the rest of the cast, which includes Ronald Cheng, Deng Chao and Anthony Wong – he "took care of them" by making coffee for them every day.

He says in a decidedly lighter tone: "I like to brew a big pot of coffee and it would be very selfish of me if I didn't share it with the others."

The actor, who is married to former Hong Kong beauty queen Wanda Jessica Yung, 47, with whom he has two sons, is a martial artist who debuted in show business at the age of 18 in the film Promising Young Boy (1987), produced by action star Sammo Hung.

He subsequently joined Hung's stunt team and has since appeared in supporting roles in numerous action flicks, including Kung Fu Cult Master (1993), The Bodyguard From Beijing (1994) and War Of The Under World (1996).

He got his Hollywood break in 2003 in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions as Seraph, guardian angel of the Oracle. Three years later, he also had a role in the action film DOA: Dead Or Alive (2006), adapted from the video game.

He says he is open to taking on Hollywood films again, but with a caveat.

"For Western films, I won't accept any roles that insult the Chinese and will avoid them like I've always had." – The Straits Times, Singapore/Asia News Network

> The Four 2 opens in cinemas nationwide today.


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