Rabu, 12 Februari 2014

The Star eCentral: Movie Reviews

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The Star eCentral: Movie Reviews

3D 'Tarzan' movie in pre-production

Posted: 12 Feb 2014 04:05 AM PST

Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson and Christoph Waltz are part of cast of movie slated to be out in July 2016.

WARNER Bros. has officially started pre-production on a new live-action 3D Tarzan movie that will star Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson and two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz, the studio announced on Tuesday.

David Yates, who directed the last four Harry Potter blockbusters, will direct from a screenplay based on the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Jerry Weintraub (WB's Ocean's trilogy) will produce with David Barron and Alan Riche, while Peter Riche will also be involved in a producing capacity.

WB's domestic distribution president Dan Fellman also announced that Tarzan will hit US theatres on July 1, 2016.

Skarsgard will play the legendary title character who was orphaned as a baby and raised in the jungle before he returns to London. The Wolf Of Wall Street breakout Robbie will play Tarzan's love interest Jane Porter, as TheWrap first reported.

"We have assembled a phenomenal international cast to tell this extraordinary story. Warner Bros. has also enjoyed long and successful collaborations with both David Yates and Jerry Weintraub, and we look forward to seeing what they and the entire team have in store for this timeless tale," said Greg Silverman, president of creative development and worldwide production for Warner Bros.

"Tarzan has been an enduring and enigmatic figure in literature and cinema for more than a century. The adventures of a man who was torn between two worlds have entertained and intrigued people young and old, and we are excited to bring him to the screen for a new generation," said Sue Kroll, WB's president of worldwide marketing and international distribution.

"This is a perfect entry for the summer movie season corridor, with a terrific combination of action, adventure, romance and suspense that is sure to appeal to a broad audience," added Fellman.

"I am so pleased to be reuniting with the team at Warner Bros. on this thrilling project. David Yates and I are going to be using the best of today's technology in creating this new adventure, and we can't wait to get started," said Weintraub. – Reuters

Remembering Shirley Temple 1928-2014, child star who became diplomat

Posted: 11 Feb 2014 10:25 PM PST

From her beginnings as an adorable child star to her illustrious adult career as a US diplomat, we take a look back at Shirley Temple Black's celebrated life.

SHIRLEY Temple Black, who lifted America's spirits as a bright-eyed, dimpled child movie star during the Great Depression and forged a second career as a US diplomat, died late on Monday evening at the age of 85.

Black, who lured millions to the movies in the 1930s, "peacefully passed away" at her Woodside, California, home from natural causes, surrounded by her family and caregivers, her family said in a statement on Tuesday.

"We salute her for a life of remarkable achievements as an actor, as a diplomat, and most importantly as our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and adored wife of 55 years," the statement said.

As actress Shirley Temple, she was precocious, bouncy and adorable with a head of curly hair, tap-dancing through songs like On The Good Ship Lollipop.

As Ambassador Shirley Temple Black, she was soft-spoken and earnest in postings in Czechoslovakia and Ghana, out to disprove concerns that her previous career made her a diplomatic lightweight.

"I have no trouble being taken seriously as a woman and a diplomat here," Black said after her appointment as US ambassador to Ghana in 1974. "My only problems have been with Americans who, in the beginning, refused to believe I had grown up since my movies."

Tributes to Black streamed in on Tuesday following the news of her death.

Former US President George H.W. Bush, who appointed Black as ambassador to the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, said she excelled as both a child star and a diplomat.

"She captured the affections of millions around the world by her endearing performances on the silver screen as a young girl, but I also admired Shirley for her selfless service to our country later in her life," he said in a statement.

The Czech government praised Black, saying she became one of the symbols of the country's newly won freedom when she served as the US ambassador in Prague from 1989 until 1992.

"With her charm and openness, she greatly contributed to the renovation of an old friendship of our countries and nations," the Czech Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The entertainment world also mourned her death and turned to Twitter to express its sadness.

"Little Shirley Temple raised the spirits of a nation during the Great Depression. RIP," actress Mia Farrow tweeted.

Whoopi Goldberg referred to Black's signature song in her tribute to the former child star on Twitter. "The Good Ship Lollypop has sailed today with Shirley Temple aboard a true one of a kind," she wrote.

Actress Kristin Chenoweth praised Black as a "legendary child star and wonderful diplomat".

Black, born on April 23, 1928, started her entertainment career in the early 1930s and was famous by age six. She became a national institution, and her raging popularity spawned look-alike dolls, dresses and dozens of other Shirley Temple novelties as she became one of the first stars to enjoy the fruits of the growing marketing mentality.

A photo taken on June 26, 1937, shows US film star Shirley Temple arriving at the premiere of the film Wee Willie Winkie in Hollywood. During 1934-38, the actress appeared in more than 20 feature films and was consistently the top US movie star. – AFP/HO/ACME

Black was three when her mother put her in dance school, where a talent scout spotted her and got her in Baby Burlesk, a series of short movies with child actors spoofing adult movies.

Movie studio executives took notice. In 1934 she appeared in the film Stand Up And Cheer! and her song and dance number in Baby Take A Bow stole the show. Other movies in that year included Little Miss Marker and Bright Eyes – which featured On The Good Ship Lollipop – and in 1935 she received a special Oscar for her "outstanding contribution to screen entertainment".

She made some 40 feature films, including The Little Colonel, Poor Little Rich Girl, Heidi and Rebecca Of Sunnybrook Farm in 10 years, starring with big-name actors like Randolph Scott, Lionel Barrymore and Jimmy Durante.

She was a superstar before the term was invented. Black said she was about eight when adoring crowds shouting their love for her made her realise she was famous.

"I wondered why," she recalled. "I asked my mother, and she said, 'Because your films make them happy.'"

She was such a moneymaker that her mother – who would always tell her "Sparkle, Shirley!" before she appeared before an audience – and studio officials shaved a year off her age to maintain her child image.

Her child career came to an end at age 12. She tried a few roles as a teenager – including opposite future US President Ronald Reagan in That Hagen Girl – but retired from the screen in 1949 at age 21.

The Screen Actors Guild gave her its 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award. In her acceptance speech posted on the group's website, she said: "I have one piece of advice for those of you who want to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award: Start early!"

In 1998, she was a Kennedy Centre honouree, one of a select few to receive the annual award.

Shirley Temple Black backstage after receiving the Screen Actors Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award at the 12th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California, on Jan 29, 2006. The award recognised her years not only as a child star, but as a diplomat and humanitarian. – Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

Politics and diplomacy

Temple was only 17 in 1945 when she married for the first time to John Agar, who would eventually appear with her in two movies. Their five-year marriage produced a daughter.

In 1950, she wed Charles Black. Their marriage lasted until his death in 2005, and they had two children.

Black's interest in politics was sparked in the early 1950s when her husband was called back into the Navy to work in Washington.

She did volunteer work for the Republican Party while trying to make a comeback with two short-lived TV series, Shirley Temple's Storybook in 1959 and The Shirley Temple Theatre a year later.

Seven years after that, she ran unsuccessfully for Congress in California but stayed in politics, helping raise more than US$2mil for US President Richard Nixon's 1972 re-election campaign.

She was later named to the US delegation to the United Nations and found that her childhood popularity was an asset in her new career.

"Having been a film star can be very helpful on an international basis," Black once said. "Many people consider me an old friend."

Sometimes the public found it hard to accept her in diplomatic roles. But in 1989 she pointed out her 20 years in public service were more than the 19 she spent in Hollywood.

In 1974, US President Gerald Ford appointed Black ambassador to Ghana. Two years later, he made her chief of protocol. For the next decade she trained newly appointed ambassadors at the request of the State Department.

In 1989, President George H.W. Bush made Black ambassador to Prague – a sensitive Eastern European post normally reserved for career diplomats. Black had been in Prague in 1968, representing a group fighting multiple sclerosis at a conference, when Soviet-bloc tanks entered to crush an era of liberalisation known as the Prague Spring.

Czech President Gustav Husak did not seem daunted by the prospect of a US ambassador who had witnessed the invasion. He told her that he had been a fan of "Shirleyka".

In 1972, Black was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy. She publicly discussed her surgery to educate women about the disease.

Black is survived by her children, Susan, Charlie Jr, and Lori; her granddaughter Teresa; and her great-granddaughters Lily and Emma, the family statement said. It said private funeral arrangements were pending. – Reuters

Five directors for one 'Cuak' of a movie

Posted: 11 Feb 2014 08:00 AM PST

Five directors, one movie. That's how Cuak weaves the romantic tapestry.

IS she the one, or should you run? This is the story of Adam who suffers from a bad case of wedding jitters. In fact, he experiences more than a fair bit of nervousness before his marriage to Brenda. It all goes to pieces moments at the couple's akad nikah (solemnisation) ceremony.

With meddlesome friends, insane in-laws, a suspicious stepbrother and unresolved ex-girlfriend issues, it's no wonder the quirky Adam has second thoughts about his marriage.

That's the gist of the movie Cuak, a cleverly stitched film that features five directors pulling together and weaving the frantic tale of Adam, played by the animated Ghafir Akbar. His love interest – the headstrong and confident Brenda – is played by the multi-talented Dawn Cheong.

Apart from romance, Cuak, which roughly translates into "second thoughts", is also filled with action, mystery and drama.

Cuak features the works of five local directors: (from left) Lim Benji, Shamaine Othman, Khairil M Bahar, Tony Pietra Arjuna and Manesh Nesaratnam.

Cuak features the works of five local directors: (from left) Lim Benji, Shamaine Othman, Khairil M Bahar, Tony Pietra Arjuna and Manesh Nesaratnam.

"This film is really an experiment. The idea behind Cuak has been in my mind since 2005. It is about getting very different directors together to tell one story. It's not an anthology of short films, this is one story," said Michael Chen, 31, the movie's producer.

Cuak is a one-of-a-kind movie, indeed. It's basically five young local directors – Manesh Nesaratnam, Tony Pietra Arjuna, Khairil M Bahar, Shamaine Othman and Lim Benji – on board to take viewers through five different film genres in one movie sitting. The movie was produced by Garang Indie Pictures, the independent arm of Garang Pictures.

"It's not your standard comedy or love story, it's a whole mix of different genres," he added.

Cuak, as the producer proudly mentions, centres on the collaborative approach.

"This approach seems to be working best for indie-feel efforts lately such as the recent Kolumpo and can be seen as far back as Pete Teo's 15Malaysia.

"Not only are we including several directors, but the actors, scripting and execution with the shooting of a single narrative has brought together quite a diverse bunch of artists to work together."

Brenda's paranoid father (Patrick Teoh) with his eccentric fortune teller (Kuah Jenhan) in Manesh Nesaratnam's Consent.

But not to worry, Chen assures you that the all five segments will be put together to make one seamless narrative.

"To an audience member, I'm hoping that you won't even realise that the genres have changed. I'm hoping that you'll just watch it and you'll be engaged with the story," said Chen.

Chen also added that Cuak will resonate with all Malaysians – young and old.

"It's the same reason why you love watching the late filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad's movies. People will watch her films and they're like, 'Yeah, that's my story.'"

Khairil also pointed out that Cuak has characters Malaysians would recognise.

"It comes from a very honest place and the characters are people you recognise – they talk like people you know and sound like people you know. I can see people reacting to it because they relate to it. I love that people will comment that the lead is insensitive or the female lead gets angry a lot, because they're not perfect people," he said.

Khairil gives an example of his opening scene: "It is very Malaysian because the characters speak in multiple languages in the same sentence. Even if I subtitle it, it will not make sense to somebody who does not speak Malay."

Here's the five stories, as told by their respective directors, in Cuak to bring homegrown spark to this year's Valentine's Day at the cinemas.

Meet the in-laws

Any impending marriage will sooner or later involve a visit to the in-laws.

Adam discovers how much of a test a visit to the in-laws is, after he meets Brenda's nymphomaniac aunt (Bernie Chan), penny-pinching mother (Dong Chae Lian) and paranoid father (Patrick Teoh) with his eccentric fortune teller (Kuah Jenhan).

Director of the segment, Manesh Nesaratnam, shot the whole segment in a studio and made the room from scratch.

"I wanted to do a bit of an absurdist, dark comedy. The visuals of Sherlock (television series) and some of Tim Burton's work is something I wanted to try out in my own piece. I've never done anything like this, so it was really like an experiment," said Manesh.

When asked what was his inspiration behind his segment, the 33-year-old filmmaker revealed that meeting your future in-laws to ask for consent to marry their daughter is a terrifying experience for any guy.

"I just wanted to play with this idea of meeting your crazy in-laws. There are superstitious parents, money-conscious parents, parents who are worried if you're going to take care of their daughter and if you're going to be faithful. So, I exaggerated on all these characteristics and that is why I have such crazy characters in my piece," said Manesh.

"I also played with the idea of a man having to go through a series of tests. Adam had to go through an exterminator test. In the script, Adam had to kill a flying cockroach, a river rat and a lizard," he said with a laugh.

"It¿s not your standard comedy or love story, it¿s a whole mix of different genres," says Michael Chen, the producer of the movie 'Cuak'.

'It's not your standard comedy or love story, it's a whole mix of different genres,' says Michael Chen, the producer of the movie.

The half-brother

Director Tony Pietra Arjuna chose to film his segment noir style, told from Adam's half-brother Mikail's (Tony Eusoff) point of view.

The story shows how Mikail, an emotionally unstable customs agent, instantly distrusts Brenda and believes that she will betray Adam the way Mikail's ex-lover betrayed him.

"While the plot is still grounded in the two main characters, which are Adam and Brenda, essentially in my segment, Mikail is the protagonist. But not a favourable one," said Pietra.

"It's basically told from Mikail's point of view. Mikail has marriage issues due to his deep rooted emotional problems, especially where women are concerned. He has never trusted women and has always been betrayed by them. And he feels that his brother is setting himself up for the same fate," explained the 35-year-old.

Pietra reveals that Mikail's character has what psychologists call "borderline personality disorder".

"What I'm hoping is that when people watch this, they have a better understanding of what this condition entails. Find out a little bit more about their problem, don't cast them out or treat them like a plague," he said.

The bachelor party

Creative director Khairil M Bahar, 33, envisioned his segment to be about a bunch of friends talking.

Adam (Ghafir Akbar) and his best friends hang out and play pool at his bachelor party in Khairil M Bahar's segment titled 'The Bachelor Party'.

Adam (Ghafir Akbar) and his best friends hang out and play pool at his bachelor party in Khairil N Bahar's swinging The Bachelor Party.

"I've always been a fan of dialogue with the camera moving constantly. I like those situations where you have a bunch of buddies talking and there are no lies between them," said Khairil, citing American filmmaker/producer Kevin Smith (Clerks, Mallrats, Dogma) as one of his inspirations.

Khairil's segment talks about the seeds of doubt planted in Adam's head at his bachelor party by his friends as they share their opinions on how much things change when you get married.

In many ways, he drew experience from his own life when filming his segment.

"I would always hang out and play pool with a friend of mine, but after he got married we stopped doing that."

"It's totally understandable, we both haven't got the time to do that anymore. But that was kind of the impetus for my segment," said Khairil.

Mikail (Tony Eusoff), Adam's half-brother, instantly distrusts Brenda and believes that she will betray Adam the way Mikail's ex-lover betrayed him. Still from Tony Pietra Arjuna's Issues.

The ex-girlfriend

Director Lim Benji's segment is filmed in the found footage genre, where we learn that before Adam was Brenda's fiance, he was the boyfriend of Brenda's housemate Nurul (Ani Juliana Ibrahim).

The found footage segment shows Adam documenting a surprise date he had planned for Nurul. Through this blast from the past, we discover how Adam treated relationships in the past.

Filmmaker Lim Benji's The Ex piece sees Adam (Ghafir Akbar) and Nurul (Ani Juliana Ibrahim) in flashback mode.

Lim said that he got the idea for his segment after having dinner with his dad.

"I was actually texting an old flame of mine while we were eating and my dad asked me who I was texting. I told him who it was and how there isn't anything going on anymore, and he said: "She has a younger sister right? Never mind! Older sister cannot tackle, you tackle the younger sister!"

"And so the first draft of the script essentially told the story of how Adam was initially going out with Brenda's older sister. But as I had more discussions with my writer, Priya Kulasagaran, the script evolved to Adam's ex being Brenda's roommate rather than sister," said the 29-year-old director.

The couple

Cuak is Shamaine Othman's first directing gig, and her segment is the most naturalistic in comparison with the others. The audience is brought into the couple's personal space and we see how they function in the relationship.

"My style of writing is that I write what I know. I've been in relationships where everything was going fine and then one day you have a discussion or argument which throws everything off balance," the 30-year-old director. When writing the script for her segment, Shamaine looked at life around her to find inspiration.

"I chose conversion as the topic of the fight because I was in a relationship where the guy would have to convert if he wanted to marry me," she said "The subject of conversion is close to me because I am the product of mixed parentage so it's very much part of my life," added Shamaine.

> Cuak opens at cinemas nationwide on Feb 14.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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