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The Star eCentral: Movie Buzz

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The Star eCentral: Movie Buzz

Patrick Teoh plays contract killer

Posted: 05 Mar 2014 08:00 AM PST

The actor and radio personality on his role in the new movie Take Me To Dinner.

ACTOR and prominent radio personality Patrick Teoh revealed that he had been ragging long-time friend Gavin Yap for ... well, a long time to bring his film ideas to life. When asked what took Yap so long to come up with a feature film, he gave one simple reason with his trademark deadpan delivery: "Because he's a lazy b*stard."

"Both of us have been talking about making this movie for about five, six years now," Teoh said in an interview in Petaling Jaya recently. "It's a matter of timing. He finally had the time do sit down and do it last year. He said if he didn't do it then, then it will probably never happen. He called me up and asked if I wanted to do it and I said 'let's go'." Actor and theatre director Yap will make his feature film debut with Take Me To Dinner, a drama starring Teoh and Susan Lankester. The film tells the story of Edward, an ageing contract killer contemplating retirement.

"My character Edward starts to think about his life. He is estranged from his child because of his work and he lost his marriage. Then he realises that he doesn't want to do the work anymore. So he accepts one more contract and thinks that would be it," said Teoh.

Problems arise when Edward unexpectedly falls in love with his last contract.

"He falls in love with his contract, a woman (played by Lankester). Because of that, he decides to pull out from the deal that he initially agreed to, which is to kill the woman."

But it's not easy for Edward to get out of the contract.

"Among the 'contractors', it's a terrible thing to do when you pull out from a contract. When that happens, to protect the interest of others in the profession, the contractors have to kill Edward," he explained.

Another problem for Edward is that he can't get out of his job alive.

"It's also in the contractors' code that nobody can quit, and if anyone decides to do so, the others have to kill that person in order to protect their secrets."

He added: "So Edward calls his friends – a group of contractors – and says, 'I'm going to have my dinner now.' It's a code for his friends to take him to his last supper."

Edward's group of contractor friends are played by theatre regulars Thor Kah Hoong, U-En Ng, Ben Tan and Michael Chen. Teoh stressed that his character is not the typical Hollywood depiction of an assassin.

'As a writer and director, Gavin (Yap) is very weird. Which is one of the reasons I like to work with him,' says Teoh.

'As a writer and director, Gavin (Yap) is very weird. Which is one of the reasons I like to work with him,' says Teoh.

"To say that I play an assassin might give the audience the impression that Take Me To Dinner is an action-packed film with Chow Yun-Fat rolling around going bang bang bang. If you pay my character enough, he will either kill somebody for you or break his arms. He is actually a gangster."

Take Me To Dinner was shot in a period of 12 days at various locations in Kuala Lumpur.

"To say it was shot on a low budget is an overstatement. It was actually shot with no budget at all. Everybody worked on the film as a project of passion. Nobody was getting paid."

Whether or not he eventually gets paid, Teoh said it doesn't matter. He simply relished the opportunity to work with Yap again.

"As a writer and director, Gavin is very weird. Which is one of the reasons I like to work with him. Take Me To Dinner could have easily become a very commercial blood and gore kind of film. But Gavin's ideas are sometimes quite dark and different. I like it."

It also helps that Teoh has a passion for acting.

"You do it for the love of the craft. If the script is very appealing, then you would do it without considering how much you're getting paid for it. Still, you do hope that the story you tell will be able to touch the audiences' hearts and put bums on seats in cinemas."

The radio deejay also shared what song he thinks best describes Take Me To Dinner: "The Sound Of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel."

 Take Me To Dinner opens in selected GSC cinemas on March 13.

In praise of a strong Bond

Posted: 05 Mar 2014 08:00 AM PST

George Lazenby lacks the swagger of Sean Connery, but this 1969 black sheep is possibly the best 007 film ever.

ON Her Majesty's Secret Service (OHMSS) had a lot to live up to. As far as the entire world was concerned, Sean Connery was James Bond. And here was some impostor – worse, an impostor from the colonies, George Lazenby, whom nobody had heard of – waltzing in to take his place. It wasn't right. It wouldn't do. To rub everyone's noses in it even further, OHMSS deliberately stuck closely to the book, which meant no audience-pleasing whizz-bang gadgets. And what's with the bummer of an ending? No wonder the film only took half the amount of You Only Live Twice at the box office.

And yet, I will fight anyone who dares to tell me that they don't like OHMSS. Because they are flat out wrong. In the 45 years since it was released, it stands out as one of the best 007 films ever. Possibly even the best. It has the best soundtrack. It pushes the character into difficult new places. And that ending: that's not just a great James Bond ending, it's probably in the top 10 film endings of all time.

If you've never seen OHMSS, you should watch it. If you've seen it before, you should watch it again. And if you don't like it, I'm serious about fighting you.

Bond (George Lazenby) allowed himself one moment to be human when he married Tracey Draco (Diana Rigg), and paid the price for it -- a price hardly acknowledged later in the series.

Bond (George Lazenby) allowed himself one moment to be human when he married Tracey Draco (Diana Rigg), and paid the price for it – a price hardly acknowledged later in the series.

By George!

First things first: We need to talk about George. Lazenby isn't Connery. He lacks the swagger, the element of constant danger that his predecessor (and successor, since he returned to the role for Diamonds Are Forever) made his own. His voice is a bit all over the place. It doesn't help that he spends a huge portion of the film pretending to be a bespectacled, milquetoast man called Hilary Bray, nor that he was partially dubbed by English actor and writer, George Baker.

But what Lazenby does have, when he's allowed, is brute strength. Less slender than Connery, he is better equipped for stunt work, like in the pre-title sequence where he basically bodyslams a baddie into a tent. His awkwardness, too, ends up being his major strength. None of the other Bond actors could do vulnerability very well but, whether intentionally or not, Lazenby is an open sore. He's ruffled more easily, caught out more. He even displays palpable fear at one point.

And, of course, it helps that his Bond girl is Diana Rigg. Although she didn't have an awful lot to live up to – all previous Bond girls were more or less content to stand there and blink in bikinis – she's almost 007's equal here. She's spiky and uninterested, and initially uses him more than he does her. So, when tenderness between them grows, it's tangible. Not permanent – an hour into the film, he's in bed with someone else – but it's easily the most committed relationship we've seen him in.

All the time in the world

Not to bang on about it too much, but the final few moments of OHMSS are what sent the whole thing into the stratosphere. After defeating Blofeld, Bond rolls around in the snow with a St Bernard for a moment or two. Then, almost immediately afterwards, he's married. Diana Rigg cries with happiness. They cut the cake. Moneypenny's heartbroken, but puts on a brave face. They drive away to embark on their honeymoon. They discuss the family they're going to have. It's the first ending to a James Bond film that isn't just sex as a cathartic reaction to death. For once, maybe for the first time ever, he's actually content.

And then she dies.

That's how the film ends: with James Bond sobbing and cradling his murdered wife, refusing to believe that she's really gone.

It's a sucker punch, and there isn't a single trace of redemption, no matter how hard you look. There are no quips, no raised eyebrows; just the stark image of a bullet hole in a windscreen. Bond had allowed himself to be human, and he paid the price.


1. Then, of course, the whole thing was forgotten. As soon as OHMSS ended, Bond would only get increasingly campy. The loss Bond felt at the end of this film wouldn't be referenced in any meaningful way until Licence To Kill, and then only as particularly oblique subtext. What a wasted opportunity.

2. That's unless you count For Your Eyes Only, in which Bond lays flowers at Tracy's grave before dropping Blofeld down a chimney in what's quite clearly the most abysmal five minutes of the entire Bond franchise.

3. And don't forget that this is the film with the Gumbold office safecracking scene, possibly the most suspenseful in the series, even if it does come to nothing and 007 spends much of it gurning at boobs.

4. Also: Louis Armstrong's musical contribution of We Have All The Time In The World. That really can't be overstated enough, can it?

5. One aspect where I will agree with the OHMSS haters – the opening James Bond theme. It's rejigged here, and it sounds like a kitten trying to eat a stylophone. Horrible.

6. And fine, you might have a point about all the callbacks. The address to camera at the start. The whistled Goldfinger theme. This wasn't just a horrible portent of things to come, it actively ground away at the film's morose heart. – Guardian News & Media

Delving into Xerxes

Posted: 05 Mar 2014 08:00 AM PST

Rodrigo Santoro on playing the Persian God-King in '300: Rise Of An Empire'.

IN 300: Rise Of An Empire, Rodrigo Santoro plays the role of Persian God-King Xerxes. While in reality, eight years have passed since 300 was released, in the film the audience finds out exactly what happens to Xerxes after 300 ends.

In an interview with SFX magazine, the 38-year-old Brazilian says: "I'm not 20 any more, so it's a little different. I remember having to watch the scene in the first one – right after the 300 are dead and Xerxes has just had a spear cut his face – and thinking, 'Oh my god ... I have to connect right after that battle. How do I do it?' It's the same character, but what can I do to make it fresh for myself?"

It helped that the film delves into his character's past, revealing how the mortal Persian turns into a gigantic tyrant. "We get to know a little about how and why Xerxes becomes the God King."

Related story:

300: Rise Of An Empires takes to the high seas


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