November 27, 2006

This is the REAL Bond!

After watching 20 Bond movies back-to-back for the last 2 weeks on Astro, I'm kinda glad that director Martin Campbell has decided to give 'Casino Royale' a breath of fresh air.

Everything, from the gun barrel intro to the title credit sequence are different. The new Bond wears T-shirt and khakis instead of a suit. No MoneyPenny. No Q and his gadgets. And sadly, Bond does not get the girl in the end!

However, a lot of people will agree that this is the best Bond movie ever. The action is raw, hard-hitting and realistic. And not to mention Daniel Craig is surprisingly a good actor and has definitely take on his role very well.

My only complain is that the villain was killed off too easily and some questions were left unanswered.

By the way, Sony seems to have a good time advertising their products any chance they get, from the Sony-Ericsson phines to the Vaio laptops.

November 22, 2006

Remember Get Smart?

Steve Carell (40 Year Old Virgin, The Office) will star as bumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart in Warner Brothers’ upcoming movie Get Smart, a remake of the 1960s TV series, which starred Don Adams, Variety reported. His sidekick Agent 99 will be played by Anne Hathaway (who was originally played by Barbara Feldon).

Warner has been trying for several years to make a film of the spy spoof, created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry. Peter Segal, whose credits include The Longest Yard, 50 First Dates and Nutty Professor II, will direct.

November 20, 2006

The Covenant

I think Renny Harlin is one of the most underrated director in Hollywood. His success came after he directed Die Hard 2 and subsequently Cliffhanger but soon faded to oblivion when his last few movies flopped at the box office. Harlin's Deep Blue Sea is my favorite creature movie of all times and Cutthroat Island was a great swashbuckling flick (long before Depp and Bloom took to the seas).

I had high hopes for Harlin's latest flick The Covenant which is based on the graphic novel by Aron Coleite. I was disappointed because it was not as action-packed as Harlin's previous movies.

The story is about 4 young men, better known as Sons of Ipswich, who possesses supernatural powers passed down from their ancestors. When the body of a dead student is discovered, their secrets begin to unravel and threaten to break the covenant of silence that has protected their families for hundreds of years.

The build-up was slow and the first half of the movie focuses too much on character development rather than on thrills and suspense. The plot had everything going for guys, sexy chicks, witchcraft, supernatural powers, rock music, cool effects....but somehow the end result didn't quite work out. Don't get me's not a bad film, but it's not great either.

Bond trivia

In conjunction with the opening of James Bond's latest movie, here's some trivia that might interest you:
  • Sean Connery was NOT the first actor to play James Bond. It was Barry Nelson. He played "Jimmy" Bond opposite bad guy Peter Lorre in an excruciating adaptation of "Casino Royale" for a 1954 episode of TV's "Climax!"
  • Ian Fleming based James Bond on Dr. John Dee, the first British secret agent.
  • Fleming picked the name James Bond because he was looking for a "flat, quiet" name. James Bond was the author of a book Fleming was reading, "Birds of the West Indies."
  • The first Bond movie, Dr. No, was made for just under a million dollars.
  • Ursula Andress' voice in Dr. No was not her own. It was dubbed by Monica Van der Syl.
  • Dr. No was titled License to Kill in Italy.
  • In James Bond movies, the armorer who supplies Bond with all his gadgets, is referred to as Q. The Q stands for "Quartermaster."
  • Desmond Llewellyn, who played gadget-master Q, appeared in 17 Bond films.
  • In the novel upon which Goldfinger was based, the character of Pussy Galore is a lesbian.
  • Tom Jones recorded the Thunderball theme, and fainted after singing the sustained high note at the song's climax.
  • The longest James Bond film was On Her Majesty's Secret Service, at 140 minutes.
  • George Lazenby, who starred in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, was the only one who played James Bond once.
  • Smirnoff is the brand of vodka used in all of James Bond's martinis.
  • The first 007 movie in which Bond kisses Moneypenny was On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
  • The evil organization Bond is often pitted against is SPECTRE. It stands for SPecial Executive for Counter Intelligence Terrorism Revenge Extortion.
  • Another nefarious enemy of Bond is an organization called SMERSH. It's a Russian acronym for SMERt SHpionam, meaning "Death to Spies."
  • The Man With The Golden Gun was the first James Bond film to be shown at the Kremlin.
  • Moonraker is the only Roger Moore Bond film where he does not draw his Walther PPK.
  • Roger Moore's contract demanded that he be provided an unlimited supply of hand-rolled Monte Cristo cigars.
  • Steven Spielberg was in discussions to direct For Your Eyes Only when George Lucas offered him the opportunity to direct Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • Steven Seagal was the martial arts instructor for Never Say Never Again.
  • The practice of using a disclaimer in movies stating "no animals were mistreated during production" got its start in Never Say Never Again. The disclaimer was the result of controversy over a horse jumping off a cliff in the film.
  • The villain in A View to a Kill, Max Zorin, was originally going to be played by David Bowie.
  • Christopher Walken was the first Academy Award-winning actor to star in a Bond film. He co-starred in A View to a Kill.
  • The satellite dish used at the end of Goldeneye was the same used in the film Contact.
  • Pierce Brosnan's contract for Goldeneye specified that he could not appear in any other film wearing a tuxedo.
  • Goldeneye is the nickname of Bond creator Ian Fleming's beachfront house in Jamaica where he wrote the James Bond novels.
  • The first James Bond film to ever be released on DVD was Goldeneye.
  • According to Goldeneye, Bond's parents were killed in a climbing accident.
  • The pre-credits action sequence in The World is Not Enough runs about 15 minutes, the longest in any Bond film to date.
  • Moonraker contains excerpts the themes from Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Magnificent Seven.
  • Among the places where James Bond has made love are on a train, in a forest, in a plane, in a submarine, on a motorized iceberg, and in a hospital.
  • Bond films have been nominated 10 times for Academy Awards, five times in technical categories and five times in musical categories.

November 10, 2006

A couple of Asian horror flicks coming in January

Here's a couple of Asian horror flicks that will be coming to our local screens in January 2007.....a bit late though considering that both movies were released in their home countries last August. (I'm still figuring out why nobody is releasing 'The Host' in Malaysia!)

9:56 (aka APT)
Country: Korea
Release Date: 4 January 2007

A young woman who lives in an old apartment notices that the apartment complex next door turns off the lights every evening at 9:56 PM. She begins to suspect that this pattern is related to a series of mysterious deaths in the neighborhood. She becomes deeply involved as she attempts to solve the mystery.

13 (aka 13 Beloved)
Country: Thailand
Release Date: 11 January 2007

Based on a comic book called 13th Quiz Show, this is a thriller about a salesman who receives a call from a seemingly omniscient quiz show moderator enticing him to complete 13 tasks as instructed through a mobile phone for an exorbitant amount of prize money. The tasks become increasingly disgusting, homicidal, and inhumane.

November 6, 2006

'Flushed Away' - great fun

With the current slew of animated movies on our screen recently, I was a initially sceptical about 'Flushed Away'. However I was pleasantly surprised by the movie...good storyline and brilliant animation. Created by the same people who made 'Wallace & Gromit', the look and feel bears a resemblance to W&G...even the British humour is prevalent in the movie.

The story is about Roddy is an upper-crust "society mouse" who lives the life of a beloved pet in a posh Kensington flat. When a sewer rat named Sid comes spewing out of the sink and decides he's hit the jackpot, Roddy schemes to rid himself of the pest by luring him into a "whirlpool", ie the toilet bowl. Sid may be an ignorant slob, but he's no fool, so it is Roddy who winds up being flushed away into the bustling sewer world of Ratropolis, a replica of London City constructed from junk. There Roddy meets Rita, an enterprising scavenger who works the sewers in her faithful boat, the Jammy Dodger. Along the way, they meet the villainous Toad who despises all rodents, and want to get rid of them.

By the way, watch out for the singing slugs...they are so cute and funny. Overall this is one animated movie worth checking out.

November 5, 2006

Ghost baby in TGV

I was at TGV One Utama this morning and I saw a creepy promo of the upcoming Thai horror movie 'Colic'. There is baby crib with a cloth hanging around it. As you walk closer, the 'baby' will start to cry. Inside the crib is a scary looking baby, missing his hand.

Colic is a syndrome found in infants, which causes infants to cry continuously for hours. The reason behind this illness is usually credited by medical expects to a number of factors. However, some people believe that it's linked to something supernatural.

'Colic', the movie, tells a story of a couple Pongpob and Praeploy who gets married when Praeploy is unexpectedly pregnant. After the wedding, Pongpob brings Praeploy to his mother's house to settle down. On the night that Praeploy delivers her child, she witnesses the neighbour's house on fire. When the baby is delivered, he often screams and cries with no reason. The doctor considers it a case of colic ailment, but it doesn't go away. Several months later, the baby still can't stop crying, meanwhile the family's members encounter mysterious and unexplained experiences.

November 3, 2006

'The Departed' - don't compare with the original

When Martin Scorcese first announced that he was going to remake HK's Infernal Affairs, everybody was worried that this is going to be another Hollywood screw-up of Asian movies. Western viewers who have not watched the original is raving about it, whereas those who have watched the original says that 'The Departed' did not live up to the original. Of course credit should be given to Andrew Lau and Andy Mak for the great storyline and clever twists.

I guess for me, the movie was just ok, but not great. Definitely I prefer the sleek and stylish feel of Infernal Affairs. compared to the drab and mundane setting of Boston. My advice is to just watch it as it is and not make any comparisons to the original.

Matt Damon is well cast as the cool and sleek cop who is actually a mole for the mob. However I feel Leonardo DiCaprio is too 'baby-faced' to play the undercover cop. His goatee looks like it's been pasted on. Jack Nicholson, as always gives a memorable performance as the mob boss Frank Costello. I hope he gets nominated for an Oscar next year.

Now for the really, really bad news.....thanks to our local censorship board, the movie was butchered up badly especially the dialogue where every other word is a swear word. It sounded like everybody is talking through a bad phone signal where the conversation starts to break up. (For trivia buffs, the word 'f***' are said 237 time throughout the movie!) Amazingly, our censorship board considers 'cock' and 'cunt' as acceptable because they were not cut out! Some gory scenes were cut out as well, and for those who have not watched the original version, you will probably be wondering what the f*** just happened in the in the lift in the film's climax.

I urge all of you to avoid the cinemas for this one and just wait for the DVD. If you can't wait, then go and watch 'Infernal Affairs' again.

November 1, 2006

Adam Sandler in post 9/11 drama

I have always liked Adam Sandler....from his goofy days when he starred in Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison to his more serious roles in The Wedding Singer and most recently Click. Now Sandler is finally taking on a completely different role in his new movie 'Reign Over Me'.

The movie follows a man, played by Sandler, who lost his family in the September 11 attack on New York City and runs into his old college roommate who is now a psychiatrist, played by Don Cheadle. Rekindling the friendship is the one thing that appears able to help the man recover from his grief.

The movie also stars Jada Pinkett Smith, Liv Tyler, Cicely Tyson, Ted Raimi and Mike Binder, who also wrote and directs.