Money No Enough 2 made my makeup run

On my way to watch Jack Neo’s Money No Enough 2, I camwhored in the taxi.

Sometimes, I wonder what taxi drivers think about my camwhoring activities. I camwhore a lot in taxis because firstly, there is nothing else to do in there and I hate sitting around having nothing to do.

Secondly, I hardly have time to camwhore otherwise. Just the fact that I even take cabs show that I’m always running behind time. Otherwise, I would take bus/MRT to save money.

I can’t explain this facial expression.

Let’s just say that I went home and downloaded the photos and I saw this and I couldn’t remember what I was thinking when I shot this.

There was a kink in my fringe. I was trying to add a bit of a curl to my stupid stubborn straight hair with a hairdryer, but in my hurry, I made an angle instead of a curl.

Dumb hair.

So, the reason I’m talking about camwhoring in a taxi is because I didn’t camwhore at the cinema for the Blog Aloud movie event.

I know some readers get upset when I don’t post camwhore pics for them to criticise and insult.

The reason I didn’t camwhore at the cinema before the show started was because I thought I could do it after the show, together with all the bloggers attending the event with me.

The reason I didn’t camwhore after the show was because I had cried so much during the show that my makeup had all run away.

When I went up to say hi to director Jack Neo after the movie, it took him five seconds and a very close look to recognise me.

“Oh, it’s you!” he said, after studying my face for a while, trying to figure out whether I was human or ghost.

“Yes, your movie did this to my makeup,” I accused him.

“Good, good,” he said. “I’m glad you enjoyed it.”


I did, indeed, enjoy Money No Enough 2.

If you look past the product placements, slapstick jokes and sometimes cheesy CG, you’ll feel touched by the message that the movie wants to bring across, that love transcends money.

In a harsh, materialistic society such as ours, it’s hard to uphold the traditional values of love, loyalty and filial piety without sacrificing monetary happiness. Something has to give and the end result is often hard to swallow no matter what you choose.

I don’t think the movie answers any questions or offers any ready solutions (other than just try your best to do the right thing), but it makes us stop and consider what we truly value in life. I think that is a very powerful message.

The star of the show, to me, is undoubtedly veteran Malaysian actress Lai Ming.

She plays the long-suffering mother of three sons (played by Jack Neo himself, Mark Lee and Henry Thia).

I would even go as far to say that her performance deserves an Oscar, such was the extent to which she impressed me with the love and vulneribility that shone through her eyes with every word she said or didn’t say.

She was the reason my piece of tissue paper (very kindly sponsored by molemole, who noticed me rubbing my face with my hands halfway through the movie) got so wet I couldn’t find a dry spot left to dab my eyes by the end of the movie.

The melancholic Hokkien songs helped, too.

I love the Hokkien songs in Jack Neo movies. They’re always so sweet and poignant and nothing like the scary ones you hear at KTV pubs.

By the way, the movie is dominated by Hokkien because the director feels that it makes the movie more realistic. Also, he’s very afraid that, one day, knowledge of Hokkien will totally be wiped out in Singapore, therefore he feels the need to immortalise the language in his movies.

“Young people like to read subtitles, anyway,” he explained during the interaction session at the end of the movie, “So having a Hokkien-dominated movie doesn’t mean they won’t understand it.”

Money No Enough 2 could be shorter, in my opinion, because crying nonstop is really exhausting, not to mention embarrassing. Despite my most heroic efforts to quell the dam, the tears just freely flowed, as if someone had forgotten to turn off the tap.

It’s good, though.

I read somewhere that crying helps to remove toxins from your body so you get better skin after that.

Cool. Let’s call it a movie facial.

But if you’re going to do a movie facial, I recommend either doing it at home, or not wearing any makeup if you’re doing it outside.

Catch Money No Enough 2 at Golden Village cinemas. Support local movies… because you know it’s the right thing to do.

The Dark Knight seduces me with his billowing cape

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To start off with, I have a few admissions to make.

  1. While I did somewhat enjoy a couple of Batman films in the past, I’ve never been a fan.
  2. I saw photos of Christian Bale on the Internet and thought he’s a bit too old and not good-looking enough to be a superhero.
  3. I have never watched a Heath Ledger movie and didn’t quite get the buzz surrounding him and his recent death.
  4. The character of the Joker has always irritated me because I thought the clown face with the fake smile looks stupid and doesn’t make a very appropriate villain.

That was before I watched The Dark Knight, three nights ago.

Today, I’m a convert many times over.

You either outright believe me (because you’re a fan and you know), or you have to watch it for yourself to believe me.

It was a good thing I was invited to the gala premiere of The Dark Knight at Lido on Wednesday night. Otherwise, I probably would never have watched it, unless my friends forcibly dragged me to.

I was very late because I had to rush down after drumming class.

By the time I got there, guests had already begun to file into the cinemas. It took me about ten minutes to frenziedly sort out the admin, get a drink and get myself admitted.

Because it was free seating and I was really late (although early enough to catch the start), I only managed to get second row seats.

Better than nothing, I guess.

I was a little lost in the first 20 minutes because I didn’t watch Batman Begins (prequel to The Dark Knight) and because, like I mentioned, I wasn’t a big Batman fan. And it took some time getting accustomed to staring up at a giant screen just a few feet away from me.

But that’s all dust under the carpet now. The movie was gripping enough to draw me out of the present and into the dark.

The Dark Knight is quite dark, thanks to Heath Ledger, who stole the show with his Oscar-deserving performance as the Joker. Now I wish the man hadn’t died, because I want to see more of him.

The Joker is a lot more likeable now (I mean in the sense of loving to hate), compared to the Joker of Jack Nicholson. Not meaning to slight Mr Nicholson, who is a great actor, but I just prefer the look of the new Joker.

With the gritty makeup, no mask, and downplaying of colours, the Joker is now more real, which makes it more terrifying. Believable villains are always scarier than campy larger-than-life villains.

Heath Ledger brought to this role a raw vulnerability that is heartbreaking and a quiet madness that is chilling to watch. I couldn’t get enough of him.

And you know how I said Christian Bale doesn’t look superhero enough for me? I take it back. He does in The Dark Knight.

He probably did, too, in Batman Begins, but I can’t know for sure because I didn’t watch that.

Although the actor is not heart-stoppingly good-looking, he isn’t without charisma. Charisma he has, in abundance. And I guess charisma is much more important for a superhero than vanilla good looks.

I love that intense gaze of his, which at the same time sends out vibes of love (for the good guys) and menace (for the bad guys).

The new bat costume I like. Very keeping with the times.

But I don’t know about the new batmobile. It looks like a tank. Not quite right, here. Not quite what I expected.

The Lamborghini that Bruce Wayne drives, though, is something else. I think Batman should drive this instead of Bat Tank up there.

Watching this baby go is worth the price of admission alone.

Well, so is watching Heath Ledger bring the Joker to life.

So is watching Christian Bale sew himself up after getting a cut.

So is watching acting veterans Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman heat up the screen.

(Aaron Eckhart is kinda cute, too, as the people’s hero, Harvey Dent.)

So is watching the nonstop explosive action you would expect in a superhero action movie.

So is watching the Dark Knight’s cape billow in the wind.

I totally fall for that sort of thing.

If you’re going to watch this movie (which I’m sure you will because you don’t want to be a suaku and miss the movie of the year), just take note of a few caveats.

  • The movie is really long at 150 minutes. Make sure you go to the bathroom just before and don’t drink too much in the cinema.
  • If you’re watching it at Lido, bring a jacket. People around me (and me) were all frozen stiff by the time the movie ended.
  • Try and get tickets early so you don’t get front row “privileges” like me. Action movies are really better watched from afar.

You can watch the trailer here. As if you need any more convincing.

And don’t be late for the show. The heart-pumping, adrenaline-inducing action starts from the very first second of the film and you don’t want to miss a single moment.

Overwhelmed by horror movies; Review of The Screen at Kamchanod

Will people stop making horror movies already!!

At Golden Village Marina Square last night, they were showing four horror films and one film with a cheesy title: Step Up 2 The Streets. What kind of a stupid selection is that?!

I picked one of the horror films. Better to risk traumatised sleepless nights than to suffer through a teen blockbuster wannabe.

Of course, we could have chosen not to watch a movie and just gone home. But I felt like watching a movie, okay? Even if it had to be horror.

For your general information, I hate horror films for the simple reason that I spook easily. It took me more than a year to get over The Ring. For the longest time, I couldn’t even look at the poster without breaking out in cold sweat.

So I’m a little more than annoyed that we’re now inundated with more horror film selections than I can deal with. It’s like, every corner I turn, I see a horror movie poster featuring a freaky giant eyeball staring at me.

In fact, some corners even turn up dead bodies.

Although I have to admit that the dead body displays admirable marketing finesse, I must say I don’t care too much for it. I really don’t want to see dead bodies every corner I turn, thankyouverymuch.

Oh, stop already!

I didn’t fancy getting further acquainted with Ms Dead Body with her parts scattered around in separate evidence bags, so I chose not to watch Rule #1.

I chose The Screen at Kamchanod because the synopsis engaged my curiosity. I do enjoy a good storytelling, if not a good scare.

But it was a mistake.

The Screen at Kamchanod is a stupid, stupid movie.

It’s based on an actual news report in 1987 of a group of outdoor film projectionists hired to screen a movie in a spooky Thailand forest. The unlucky chaps reported that there was no audience until the end of the screening, at which time a mysterious group of people drifted out of a clump of trees and stood in front of the giant screen. And then they vanished into thin air.

The speculation is that the movie was screened specially for ghosts. Fast forward to 2007, which is when the film starts. A doctor takes it upon himself to unravel the mystery of that news report, in the process exposing himself and his friends to supernatural calamities.

The premise sounds good but everything else is really bad. The plot is weak and uses flashback tactics to try to impress you and gain your attention but ends up confusing you, instead.

You also get a main cast of psycho characters whose motivations aren’t adequately explained, who all seem to have been written into the plot for the sole purpose of conveniently moving the story along to its insipid conclusion.

You’ll probably find yourself spending most of 96 minutes asking questions that never get answered satisfactorily.

“Why is this doctor so determined to solve this senseless mystery at all costs?”

“How did he so conveniently find all the clues and leads he needed?”

“What the hell is wrong with his girlfriend?”

Most of the acting is either really bad or maybe Thais generally talk that way, I’m not very sure. But the actors all look and sound like they’re reading lines off cue cards.

The scare tactics employed by the movie with clever combinations of editing, sound effects and camera placement are quite impressive the first five or so times.

But, by the 800th scare (half of which are false alarms), you’ll be ready to curse the director and editor for giving you heart attacks for no good reason. I would challenge anyone to find me a movie that has more scare scenes than The Screen, but then I would not actually recommend anyone to watch the movie in the first place.

The Screen tries to be literally scream-a-minute the way comedies try to be laugh-a-minute.

Well, we all understand laugh-a-minute. Everyone enjoys laughing. More is better in the case of laughs. But—honestly!—nobody wants to scream-a-minute! It’s not healthy and just plain stupid.

In fact, I was so annoyed by the unending stream of cheap scare tactics that I resolved not to be frightened by them at all. To my credit, I didn’t scream or jump a single time in the entire 96 minutes even though many scenes were actually quite scary. (I usually scream at the slightest provocation, even at non-horror movies and especially at cockroaches.)

Leading actress Pakkaramai Potranan is really pretty, which, to me, is the only saving grace of the movie. She’s a 30-year-old Thai singer/actress who has a website that takes literally forever to load (I quit waiting after 10 minutes).

To wrap it up, don’t watch this movie unless you’re one of those perverse types who enjoy watching bad movies just to laugh at how bad they are.

In the words of the Goonfather, “It’s a stupid show.”

Now, I’m hoping someone can tell me why there’s a sudden craze in horror movies right now. Not only did Golden Village slap horror posters in our faces at every junction, the cinema also chose to screen three horror movie trailers for us before our show started. Like, can you say horror overdose?

We didn’t even get a single non-horror trailer. Do these people (whoever they are) think that people who watch horror only like watching horror and can’t get enough of horror?

Next you know, some freakshow entrepreneur is going to build a horror cinema that specialises in screening horror movies in haunted-house settings. For a dollar extra, maybe, you can get real-life spook effects with your very own ghosts-in-attendance.

Wouldn’t you horror freaks like that?

Presenting Shen Qiaoyun… the famous nobody

Since I am not a famous actress and no one is going to give me rave reviews for my performance in I Not Stupid Too, I shall do it myself!

I was a certified journalist so I should be more than qualified to give official reviews, shouldn’t I? Even if it’s of myself.

So, here goes.

Shen Qiaoyun — The Review

Making a surprise appearance in hit movie I Not Stupid Too is actress Shen Qiaoyun (formerly known and credited in the movie as Serena Sim).

Ms Shen simply sizzles on the silver screen. Yes, she is hot because her character has a bun in the oven and she looks like she should be lying down on the delivery bed instead of gallivanting around with a bunch of hyperactive kids.

For her role of a conservative pregnant primary school teacher, the youthful-looking actress sacrificed her “Act Cute in Baby Tee” specialty…

…to put on a maternity dress and horn-rimmed glasses.

And it is a worthy sacrifice because the actress really stands out in the movie. That is, her belly really stands out. She has many speaking lines, which, in showbiz terms, means “significant role (but not significant enough to be named in press releases)”.

In fact, this reviewer would find it a daunting challenge if asked to pick a line delivered by the actress that could possibly be Oscar material — there are so many. Should it be the line that goes “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8”, when she counts time for the children for a dance performance, or the one that goes, “2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8”?

Regardless, it is now clearly evident that Ms Shen can count. To at least eight.

And it is only a matter of time before she receives her pre-school graduation certificate.

On Monday, Jan 16, after the gala premiere of the long-awaited sequel to 2002’s I Not Stupid, a few members of the audience could be heard raving over the actress, who is well on her way to graduating from her showbiz status of “Not So Famous” to “Still Not Famous Yet”.

“Acting is quite natural except for some parts!”

“Looks like a mother!”

“Who the hell are you talking about?!”

These were some of the phrases uttered in praise of the illustrious actress.

Asked to comment on her own performance, Ms Shen said, “I am very relieved that I don’t look as bad on the big screen as I expected I would.”

Pressed further, the actress revealed that she had her hands up at her face throughout the movie in anticipation of cowering in embarrassment whenever she appeared on screen.

Such endearing modesty.

The actress went so far as to disguise herself at the gala premiere so that no one would recognise her as the pregnant teacher in the movie.

Ms Shen was spotted at the cocktail reception emulating Emily, her favourite merchandise mascot.

But her identity was revealed when she was later seen heading towards the theatre seat bearing her name.

Some of the actors were visibly upset by this invasion of privacy.

“Oh my god, our names are on the seats! This is so embarrassing,” said an actor who refused to be named.

Ms Shen, however, graciously took the infringement in her stride because all eyes were on the main stars of the show a few seats away, anyway. Nobody noticed when she busied herself by peering into the goodie bag generously contributed by SingTel and other sponsors.

Watch out for more of Ms Shen’s appearances on TV and cinema screens as the actress lends her presence to any production that can afford her daily rate — an amount somewhere in the vicinity of the gross national product of a developed anthill.

Indeed, I Not Stupid Too, directed by the multi-talented director Jack Neo, is all the more richer with Ms Shen’s involvement because she will be elevating box office takings by forcing all her friends, relatives and neighbours to watch the movie.

I Not Stupid Too launches in cinemas on Jan 26, 2006.