Showing posts with label Movies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Movies. Show all posts
04 September 2014

'Mary Kom', A Motivational Masterpiece

By Subhash K. Jha

It's that life-defining moment when a character on screen transforms totally into a real life personality. We've seen Seema Biswas, Ben Kingsley and Farhan Akhtar metamorphose into real life characters in front of our bewildered eyes.

Film: "Mary Kom"; Cast: Priyanka Chopra, Darshan Kumar, Zachary Coffin, Robin Das, Shakti Singh;
Director: Omung Kumar;
Rating: *****

Now it is Priyanka Chopra. She virtually transforms her physicality before entering the spirit and the soul of boxing champ Mary Kom (MC).

And what a grand entry!

Ladies and gentlemen, we give you Priyanka as the gritty volatile boxer from Manipur who won't take no for an answer, even from god. Penetrating a male domain like boxing in a gender-defying swoop, Priyanka's MC takes us on a voyage of self-discovery where a plucky poor girl from rural Manipur goes right to the Olympics. It's an incredible story filled with sound and fury signifying something deep and seductive, just waiting to be told.

Hats off to debutant director Omung Kumar for bringing us one of the most inspiring biopics to have ever reached the silver screen.

"Mujhe bronze pasand nahin aata," barks MC's coach. As we see Mary's dreams come true in front of our eyes, we know she was born to win. The narrative has a soaring quality and texture. It simply takes off with scarcely any room for breathing space. The breathless quality of storytelling goes well with the protagonist's stormy mercurial nature.

As MC' story unravels in a flashback we meet a woman who is not affected by gender rules and discrimination that governs our society.

Very early in the tightly clenched narrative, we see MC get into a full-fledged scuffle with a school bully. Later she takes on another far more dangerous bully who threatens to destroy her boxing career. In and out of the arena Mary never stops fighting. "The rest of the world may be round. But your world is this square ring," her coach reminds her pointing to the boxing arena. The struggle, as depicted in the stunning unspoilt northeastern terrain of Manipur, captured with mesmeric intensity by cinematographer Keiko Nakahara, is manifold. Here it is a curse to be born a girl. And to be born a girl who wants to be a boxing champ!

You have to be kidding.

Admirably the narrative doesn't over-sentimentalise MC's struggle. This is "Mother India" without the glycerine and melodrama. As played by Priyanka, MC is both gritty and giggly, plucky and precocious, a ferocious fighter and a tender mother.

Priyanka expresses every shade of her character with a pitch-perfect bravado. Her northeastern accent could easily have become caricatural. The actress controls curbs and quantifies every component of her character's personality without losing that basic element of spontaneity without which Mary would have become mechanical.

I dare any other actress to play MC the way Priyanka has. Even Hilary Swank would have been stumped by MC'S mystical mix of the girlish and the aggressive. Priyanka gets the point.

My favourite sequences are the ones where MC shares tender marital moments with her husband. If it's vital for a career woman to get a supportive husband, it is equally essential for a film starring a female hero to have a co-actor who can play yin to her yang. Newcomer Darshan Kumar suffuses the screen with such supreme spousal sensitivity. He is a talent to watch.

Predictably enough a lot of the opposition to MC's dreams is shown to come from within her home. The skirmishes between MC and her father (Robin Das) and MC's gender battle with the slimy executive of the boxing federation (played with diabolic relish by Shakti Singh) are exceptionally filmy', and I use that word in the truest cinematic sense.

The picturesque narrative, the richly flavoured music composed by Shashi Suman and Shivum (watch out for the poignant lullaby sung by Priyanka), the rapid fire editing, the framing of the shimmering shots and the incredibly aesthetic use of rich colours bear the unmistakable stamp of producer Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who is billed as Creative Director.

"Mary Kom" is a motivational masterpiece. From first frame to last it grips your senses and irrigates the parched corridors of your heart like very few biopics in recent times. Kumar weaves seamlessly in and out of Mary's remarkable life creating a work that is as dramatic as Mehboob Khan's "Mother India" and as inspiring as Richard Attenborough's "Gandhi".

Priyanka's powerhouse performance knocks the breath out of our solar plexus. She yet again proves herself the best actress of her generation.

Hereafter there will be an eternal confusion about whose face goes on the hoardings announcing Mary Kom's boxing events.

PC or MC?
10 November 2013

Aamir Khan Celebrates Wife's Birthday in Assam


Bollywood actor Aamir Khan and his entourage, which includes directors Karan Johar and Ayan Mukherji gave a surprise visit to the tea plantation town of Tezpur in Assam on Wednesday.

According to DNA source, the 3 Idiots celeb is reported to be holidaying in a private resort inside Nameri National Park in Sonitpur district, near Tezpur with his family and close friends to celebrate his wife Kiran Rao’s 40th birthday on November 7.

Aamir, who is on a five days Assam trip to visit different tourist destinations including the Kaziranga National Park, was also spotted playing with his toddler son Azad in the grounds of the resort today.

Aamir Khan drinking the traditional rice beer Apong of Mising tribe in Assam
Khan and his entourage earlier today visited a Balipara Mising village in Sonitpur district, where they were treated with the traditional rice beer called Apong of Mising tribe.
03 September 2013

Vin Diesel exposes his softer side as a part-time philosopher on Facebook

By GREGORY E. MILLER

On the surface, Vin Diesel appears to be the ultimate Hollywood tough guy. Those bulging muscles. That shaved dome. The bottom-of-the-ocean deep voice. His apparent disdain for smiling and sleeves. If he weren’t an action- movie star, he’d be a bouncer — which he was, at New York nightclubs like Tunnel in the ’80s.

In movies such as the “Fast & Furious” series and “xXx,” he jumps off moving cars, drives through flames and throws a lethal punch. For “Riddick,” the third film in its franchise, out this Friday, Diesel handily rips more than a few sci-fi creatures a new one.

So one imagines that, in his spare time, Diesel relaxes by crushing the throats of rogue coyotes or working out until he pukes. Not updating his Facebook profile. And certainly not posting platitudes of the variety one might find adorning a poster in a dentist’s office.

Meet the nation’s oddest action hero.

“You angels can turn hate to love, change poison into medicine and replace doubt with dreams.” -Vin Diesel100,718
QUOTE: “You angels can turn hate to love, change poison into medicine and replace doubt with dreams.” -Vin Diesel NUMBER OF LIKES: 100,718
Here’s a typical Facebook post from Diesel: a photo of the actor in a car, his hand gripping the wheel as he stares out into the distance. Overlaid atop the image are these words: “Time goes by so fast, people go in and out of your life. You must never miss the opportunity to tell these people how much they mean to you.” Diesel attributes the words to Alexander Graham Bell. Google seems to disagree.
The star’s fans couldn’t care less — more than 130,000 of them have liked it.

Diesel’s most viral post to date is a Valentine’s Day video of him crooning Rihanna’s ballad “Stay” (sample lyric: “Funny you’re the broken one/ but I’m the only one who needed saving”) in a dark room with the music video projected on a wall. Not only does he attempt a few falsetto notes, he throws in some kissy sounds at the end.

The result of all this un-John- Wayne-like behavior? Diesel, with 46 million Facebook fans, is the second most-liked actor on the social network site (only Will Smith has more, with 49 million).
Diesel told Entertainment Weekly earlier this year that Facebook once asked him to visit its offices after seeing his initial success with the social media platform. He even joked that Facebook owes him “billions of dollars.”

“What Facebook didn’t realize is something very big was about to happen, and that was — for the first time in history [ . . . ] I started talking to people,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “In the realest ways.”

“When I started talking to the fans, I became the No. 1 page in the world. Over Coca-Cola, over huge companies. And it was only because I said: ‘Hi, guys, I love you.’ ”

Social media experts attribute his Facebook success not necessarily to who Diesel is, but what he’s posting. At their best — or worst, depending on your point of view — the actor’s posts are highconcept and chock full of cheese.

168,912
NUMBER OF LIKES: 168,912
“As a community manager, it’s awful,” says Christianna Giordano, a digital strategist at Cohn & Wolfe and a featured blogger for Social Media Today, citing Diesel’s infrequent posts and lack of direct responses to his fans. “But it’s very obviously him. That’s why the 46 million fans comment.”
Breaking the mold of celebrities who hire others to handle their social media, Diesel has said he posts everything himself. Which might explain a few things.
A typical Diesel post offers a few words of inspiration — sometimes quoting others, sometimes from his own mouth. “Confidence . . . never deny yourself of it, for it costs you nothing and leads to great things . . . /smile.” Or “Being male is a matter of birth, being a man is a matter of age, but . . . being a Gentleman is a matter of choice.”

“I totally acknowledge as a fan that it’s super cheesy,” says Giordano. “I think that people respond to it because he can be personal. It’s very inspirational, [what] with him having come from meager beginnings.”

Diesel, 46, was born Mark Sinclair in Manhattan to an astrologist mother, Delora. The actor has said he does not know his father, but was co-parented by his stepfather, Irving H. Vincent, in Greenwich Village.

As a child, Diesel, along with his brother Paul and a group of pals, roamed the Village streets, looking for trouble. Crystal Field, executive artistic director of the Theater for the New City for four decades, remembers the day a 7-year-old Diesel and his gang sneaked into the theater, not realizing anyone was there.

“He told me that they came to vandalize the place — he used the word ‘vandalize,’ ” recalls Field. “They proceeded to tell me . . . they weren’t going to attack me, but they were going to tear things up and write on the walls.”

Field, who frequently worked with at-risk youth, had other plans for the rebel without a cause. “I said, ‘Listen, don’t you think it would be much more valuable for you to be in a play?’ ” she says.
Upon consideration, Diesel agreed. His role was in something called “The Dinosaur Door.” (Nearly 40 years later, he would post on Facebook: “Never forget your child inside cause that’s where dreams are made.”)

Bitten by the acting bug, Diesel adopted his stage name while working as a bouncer — Vin short for the last name acquired from his stepdad, and Diesel for his boundless energy. After a 1998 role in “Saving Private Ryan,” his first studio film, he hit it big with a string of movies in the early aughts. “Pitch Black” made him an action hero, “Boiler Room” proved he could act, and “The Fast and the Furious” and “xXx” made him a bona fide star.
Vin Diesel steps out on the town with his girlfriend, Mexican model Paloma Jimenez.“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.” -Nelson Mandela.168,912
Getty Images
Vin Diesel steps out on the town with his girlfriend, Mexican model Paloma Jimenez.
His star power waned, however, in the mid-aughts with critical duds such as “The Chronicles of Riddick” and “The Pacifier.” But interestingly, since he joined Facebook in 2009, Diesel’s boxoffice cred has risen. That same year, the fourth “Fast” film grabbed $363 million and the fifth (released in 2011) netted $628 million. This year, the sixth and most recent installment has earned a whopping $787 million so far. And just last week, Diesel received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as his model girlfriend, Paloma Jimenez, and their children (daughter Hania, 5, and son Vincent, 3) stood by his side.
You’ve gotta wonder if the career rebirth is helped by Diesel’s enormous Facebook presence. After all, he calls his fans “angels.”
“Truly phenomenal & superb actor. A credit to his gender. He deserves to be recognized,” one fan recently wrote on his page.
After the (unintentionally or not) hilarious “Stay” video was picked up all over the Web, Diesel responded — where else? — on his Facebook page.
“Naturally, I became self-conscious . . . and thought maybe I shouldn’t have exposed myself like that . . . ,” he wrote. “Then I had dinner with my dad, and surprisingly . . . he said he loved it . . . and thought it was deep on a few levels . . . P.s. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, you don’t have to be perfect . . . just believe in yourself.”
Life coach Sherri Ziff, author of the November book “Hollywood Epidemic: Fame, Celebrity & Other Allusions,” says Diesel represents the new masculine ideal. “He’s a badass with a moral compass.”
Vin Diesel steps out on the town with his girlfriend, Mexican model Paloma Jimenez.“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.” -Nelson Mandela.168,912
QUOTE: “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.” -Nelson Mandela. NUMBER OF LIKES: 168,912
Those who know Diesel in real life say the image of a soft guy stuck in a thug’s body is not just an act.
Antoinette Kalaj, who plays one of Diesel’s consorts in “Riddick,” says the actor was generous with career advice on the set.
“He is someone that really worked hard for his career from the beginning,” she says. “He just always says, ‘Stay true to yourself and be you. Do what you love. Don’t ever change for this business.’ ”
Neil Napier, who also appears in “Riddick,” got a taste of the star’s true self at a cast dinner before shooting began. Diesel opened up about his love of the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. In fact, he wrote the foreword for the book “30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons.”
“We started talking about the mythology of ‘Riddick’ and why he was so passionate about this series of films that he fought to make this last one, and it moved on to why he loved playing ‘Dungeons & Dragons,’ ” says Napier. “I was schooled a little bit.”
Perhaps it’s no surprise that Diesel loves a good fantasy. What else would you expect from a man who has no shame posting on Facebook a photo of himself standing on a balcony and peering out into the great beyond — with these words of wisdom: “Be you . . . believe in you . . . and allow for tomorrow’s dreams.”
22 August 2013

The Prof behind the Good Science in Breaking Bad

By Gary Stix


Donna J. Nelson, BB's science consultant, all dressed up for a never-used cameo appearance as a nursing-home attendant.
Since 1983, Donna J. Nelson has taught some 10,000 students as a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Oklahoma. Her research extends to characterizing carbon nanotubes and examining carbon–carbon double bonds every which way and even promoting chemistry education as a means to increase the number of chemists and chemical engineers in the workforce.

On her 31-page, single-spaced CV, one item that leaps out is the notation of her role as a science consultant to the smashingly popular cable TV show Breaking Bad.  Nelson decided to help the show’s writers when she read in Chemical & Engineering News that they were looking for expertise to ensure accuracy of the dialogue and plot devices related to chemistry. Since then she has gone on to suss out answers to questions such as how much meth you could synthesize with 30 gallons of methylamine using the P2P meth recipe.

[An edited transcript of the interview follows.]

Scientists often criticize the way that their various disciplines are depicted in popular media. How does Breaking Bad stand up as far as that goes?
I have heard people at professional meetings, such as AAAS [American Association for the Advancement of Science], who were in symposia about taking science to the public. They did not know that I was in the room and they would start talking about Breaking Bad. They asked one of the speakers what was going on with the show because it seems to get the science right, disproving the myth that it’s impossible to get the science right and still have an interesting show.

Can you give me an example of where your input has had an impact on the show?
In season 4, episode 1, there’s a lot of dialogue about enantiomers and diastereomers
and how a reaction creates chiral centers, things like that. I did work with them on that scene. It’s where Walt is really trying to impress people, telling them that they’re not going to be able do the synthesis without him and his knowledge.

Anything else?
One thing I thought was sort of humorous was when I was to talking to them about methylamine and I said when you use that precursor—and the writers stopped me and said, “Precursor? What’s a precursor?” And if you notice they now they throw that word in all the time.

Another suggestion I made was when Walt was teaching high school and there was a scene on alkenes. They asked is there anything that Walt would write on the board. I told them I could send a drawing of alkenes and that is indeed what’s on the board. The alkenes are missing a couple of hydrogens but otherwise they did a pretty good job of drawing them.


Didn’t they ask you to calculate the exact yield you get from 30 gallons of methylamine using the P2P method of synthesizing meth?
The story behind that is that the first step in the synthesis is pretty much the same in any P2P method. Step two, the reduction step, can vary from one synthesis to another, and there’s a lot of differences in the reducing agents. And so I said, I don’t know what reagent you want. They said to send them a list, and they liked the one that was aluminum–mercury because it would be easier for the actors to say those words. I looked at the other reducing agents and they would, indeed, have been difficult for the actors to the say on the air.

That’s another example of where I let them be boss. I wouldn’t go back to them and suggest another reagent because it might be safer, cheaper or have a higher yield, I  just said “yes sir.”

That reagent turned out to be obscure, and I had to go to a German patent from the 1950s to get the information to make the calculation. Fortunately, when I was a graduate student, I had taken German. So I was able to get back to them and tell them the quantity of meth produced, in pounds. So it worked out, but it was a little trouble.


A lot of people harp on the fact that meth would not really be blue, the way Walt’s supposedly hyperpure meth is. Did you talk to them about that?

When advising them I didn’t run into the lab to try to reproduce these syntheses. I can only draw on my own experience as an organic chemist making crystals, I did one time make one compound with huge needles, similar to what they show in Breaking Bad. That was 9-Borabicyclo[3.3.1]nonane. Some people call it “banana borane.” I used that when I was a postdoc with H. C. Brown [a 1979 Nobel chemistry laureate] at Purdue. I was usually able to get it very, very pure just like Walt was able to get his very pure. If these large needles are really  pure, they are colorless. But when I looked at them closely, it was almost as if they had a slight bluish tinge.

What Walt is supposedly synthesizing is powder blue. I can tell you the pure crystals I made never looked anything like that. I don’t think that’s realistic. but  it’s part of artistic license that we must allow allow creative artists to have. I think it was just meant to  be Walt’s trademark. There are times I think people try to make too much of these details as if Breaking Bad were a science education show. That perhaps is one time in which we just need to let the writers have a little bit of artistic license and let them go with it. Overall, I was not uncomfortable with the way they showed things because of my own experiences.

Were there things changed to ensure that you wouldn’t teach people how to make meth?
I’m sure there were. Vince [Gilligan, the show’s creator and producer] had DEA [U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration] agents advising the show and checking everything written. The DEA helped to ensure that certain critical steps were omitted and that everything in this regard was kept legal. That was very smart of Vince. That ensured that any complaints they received could be referred to the DEA.


How did you get involved with the show?
During Breaking Bad season 1, Chemical & Engineering News—an American Chemical Society magazine—interviewed Vince. He said his writers had no scientific background and he would welcome constructive comments from chemically inclined people. I recognized this as an opportunity to help the show and the public, as well as an opportunity to do something really fun. I volunteered to help, and Vince took me up on the offer.

Do you think Breaking Bad has fostered interest in science?
I think it has. My students will say that they just love that show and that they’re so interested in science now. Previously, very few students would come up and talk enthusiastically about chemistry, and now they do.


Did the chemistry-related theme, making meth, ever give you pause?
I hadn’t seen the show before when I read an interview with Vince Gilligan in Chemical & Engineering News. So before deciding to offer to help, I  watched season 1, and  I saw it show Walt getting beaten up and dragged through the sand. At that point, I realized that no kid watching this would want this as a lifestyle, so I decided I could volunteer as an adviser with a clear conscience.

Image Sources: Donna Nelson and Wikipedia

source: scientificamerican
28 May 2013

'Iron Man' Retold In 60 Animated Seconds

8-bit Cinema is a new series from CineFix where popular films are given a retro 8-bit video game redesign and retold in 60 animated seconds. For the pilot episode, the 2008 Marvel Studios film, Iron Man, has been given an 8-bit Cinema treatment by Californian filmmakers Norwood Cheek and David Dutton.
video via CineFix
13 November 2011

Movie Made By Real Navy SEALs!

Act Of Valor

Even as we thank our troops for their selfless bravery overseas, it's hard to imagine what those acts of bravery actually entail. So, as we continue the Veterans Day celebration into the weekend, there's no better time to take a real glimpse into the battles we usually only read about.

There are plenty of war films, but "Act of Valor" stands above the rest: it stars actual Navy SEALs. It began as a Navy recruitment video, but eventually grew into a full-on feature, directed by Mike "Mouse" McCoy and Scott Waugh. The plot concerns the rescue of a CIA agent and a web of terrorist plots that must be taken down, and the action is as intense as the screen will allow.

This second trailer was revealed during the 2011 Quicken Loans Carrier Classic, a college basketball game between North Carolina and Michigan State that took place aboard the USS Carl Vinson on Friday evening. The film hits theaters in February.







20 May 2011

‘Songs of Mashangva’ Gets Indian National Award


"SONGS OF MASHANGVA" a film by Oinam Doren has won the Indian National Award, the highest filmmaking award of the country given by the President of India .

The 2nd part "THE NEXT SONG" is in post-production phase.

My Photo

Oinam Doren is an ex-tv producer and an award winning filmmaker.

He writes as a freelancer for media houses based in India & UK, supports social campaign with short videos, graphic designs & photography.

More about the Project here at ourvillagevoice.blogspot.com

Source: ourvillagevoice.blogspot.com

imagejpg.phpSinlung Supports and Congratulates Rewben Mashangva and Oinam Doren for this extraordinary endeavor for making the sun rise in Northeast India.

19 May 2011

And The Award For…58th National Film Awards Goes To…

dabang

New Delhi, May 19 :
Salman Khan-starrer Dabangg got the 58th National Award for wholesome entertainment, which was announced here today.  And Ishqiya walked away with four awards. 

But Southern movies stole the thunder at the 58th National Film Awards announced Thursday. While Tamil movie 'Aadukalam' was named in six top categories, Malayalam film 'Adaminte Makan Abu' picked up four honours. Marathi films also put up a great show.

Among Tamil films, 'Aadukalam' walked away with the maximum trophies, including best director award for Vetrimaran; best actor for Dhaush; best original screenplay for Vetrimaran; best editing for T.E. Kishore; best choreography for Dinesh Kumar; and special mention for V.I.S. Jayaraman.

In total, Tamil movies got 14 awards, including best actress for Saranya Ponvannan for 'Thenmerkku Paruvakkatru', which also got Vairamuthu the best lyricist award and was named the best Tamil film. Read the full report here.

A joyful Salim Khan, an ace film writer, could not hide his happiness after news came Thursday that 'Dabangg' has won the national award for best wholesome entertainment, saying credit goes to his family and everyone else behind the venture. Read more

Actress Sonakshi Sinha, who made a dream debut opposite Salman Khan in blockbuster 'Dabangg', is amazed that the action film has won national award for best popular film providing wholesome entertainment. Sonakshi says Kamaal

Salim Kumar, who was named for the best actor National Award Thursday for Malayalam film 'Adaminde Makan Abu', expressed his joy at the honour but lamented that the film has not even been released in Kerala.

Here is a look at the trailer:

'Believe me, I was very sad when this film never got attention even in any local film awards. And obviously, when I got the best actor award in the country, you can imagine my happiness,' Salim told reporters. Read the full interview

On a lighter vein, Bollywood filmmaker J.P. Dutta  presented a disappointing picture of himself when he failed to pronounce right the names of regional actors, directors and movies that he judged as the chairperson of the feature film jury for the prestigious awards. Click here to read why he said  I'm sorry I didn't do my homework. I was too tired after watching all those films!'

Here's the list of winners:

Best Film:  'Adaminte Makan Abu'

Best Hindi Feature Film: Do Dooni Chaar

Best 'Wholesome Entertainer of the Year' : Dabangg

Best Sports Film National Award:  'Boxing Ladies'

Best sci & tech film: Heart to Heart

Best film on social issues: Champions

Best English film - Memories in March

Best Art & Culture Film: Leaving Home (Indian Ocean Film)

Best Marathi Film: Mana Ayi Vacha

Best Kannada Film: Putukarna Highway

Best Children’s Film: Hejjegalu

Best Investigative Film: K R Manoj's 'A Pestering Journey' on Endosulfan victims

Best special effects: - Enthiran, Robot

Best Actor: Salim Kumar for Adaminte Makan Abu and Dhanush for Aadukalam

Best actress: Marathi actress Mitalee Jagtap Paradhar and Tamil actress Saranya

Best director: Vetrimaaran for 'Aadukalam'

Best supporting actress: Malayalam actress Sukumari

Best Male Playback Singer: Suresh Wadkar

Best Female Playback Singer: Rekha Bhardwaj for Ishqiya

Best Music: Vishal Bharadwaj for Ishqiya

Best audiography location sound recordist: Kamod Karade (Ishqiya)

Best re-recordist of the final mixed track: Debajit Changmai

Best cinematographer: Madhu Ambattu has won award for Adaminte Makan Abu.

Best production design: Sabu Cyril for Enthiran

Special jury award: Mee Sindhutai Sakpal

10 May 2011

Pirates Of The Caribbean 4 Walks The Plank

First review of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - series has walked the plank

Pirates

Johnny Depp, left, Penelope Cruz, right, and Ian McShane, in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Picture: AP/Disney

  • Fourth Pirates movie slammed by reviewer
  • "Piratical wacky race" gets just two stars

The fourth instalment of Pirates of the Caribbean has walked the plank and well and truly "worn out its welcome" if the first review of the Johnny Depp action flick is to be believed.

It's not unusual for the fourth instalments in movie franchises to critically fail, (see Indiana Jones, Die Hard, Rambo, Shrek) and Guardian film reviewer Steve Rose says Pirates has suffered the same fate, labelling On Stranger Tides a "piratical wacky race" that deserves just two stars.

"The temptation to do something fresh is often outweighed by the fear of losing whatever it was that made it successful in the first place. This tries to do both, but ends up just trying too hard," he writes.

Two Pirates stalwarts, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, are no longer with the series but the cast now boasts Ian McShane as the villainous Black Beard and Penelope Cruz as a feisty love interest for Depp.

Geoffrey Rush returns as Captain Barbossa but this time minus a leg.

The third and second instalments of Pirates of the Caribbean were torn apart by the critics but still made hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office.

The third film was to be the last but the profits the series yielded for producer Disney meant Depp was always going to be persuaded to don his pirate make-up one more time.

To combat the critics, Disney hired a new director, who promised On Stranger Tides would recapture the magic of the first film.

His efforts failed to enchant reviewer Rose, who savaged the film for its lack of female presence - bar some "vicious but seductive mermaids" who are "rather cruelly hunted, slaughtered and tortured".

The big budget flick - which forked out mega bucks to secure Depp - reportedly drowns in its own grandiosity, offering only brief moments of downtime between chases, sword fights and races.

"Everyone else is so scheming and self-centred and double-crossing, it's not always clear who to root for, who's in cahoots with whom, or what anyone's going to do if/when they actually find the sacred fountain," says Rose.

Allegedly, the only saving grace in the flick is hunky clergyman, Sam Claflin, and the "ingenious choreography" which makes the best of the 3D visual technology.

But even these ultimately wore thin for the reviewer.

"It's a succession of ever-escalating action sequences and grand settings. At first they're stunning, then they're routine, then they're wearying."

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opens in cinemas on May 19.

28 April 2011

3D Porn Movie Not The Sum Of Body Parts

Is '3D Sex and Zen' really a new dimension in porn?

By Andrew Ramadge

3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy

3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy is billed as the world's first "IMAX 3D erotic film". Picture: news.com.au / One Dollar Production

It smashed box office records in Hong Kong and it's packing out theatres in Australia. But is the world's first "IMAX 3D erotic film" any good?

!! Warning — this article contains mild spoilers !!

It's a public holiday and raining and the Tuesday 5pm session of 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy at Hoyts Broadway is sold out but for a few spots in the first two rows.

Hoyts Broadway is one of three Sydney cinemas screening the film which broke the opening day ticket sale record in Hong Kong, taking the title from the $US237 million 3D blockbuster Avatar.

3D Sex and Zen, made in Hong Kong, cost just a fraction of James Cameron's epic — about one seventy-fifth as much — and is shown in Cantonese with English subtitles.

Like Avatar, its goal is to take the viewer on a trip to "a world they've never seen before", says director Christopher Sun.

So, does it succeed? During the two-hour-plus screening, news.com.au learned quite a few things.

For example, that subtitles are really hard to read while wearing 3D glasses. Also, that the women of 15th Century China enjoyed spectacularly powerful orgasms.

But perhaps the most important revelation — and the one you are here to read about — is that "3D porn" is still a long way from a must-see.

Most of the 3D effects in Sex and Zen are reserved for computer-generated graphics, rather than the wonders of nature.

3D is only occasionally applied to the movie's many — many — sex scenes, and when it is the results are hit and miss.

In one instance, when the entire screen is filled with a close-up shot of gigantic, jiggling body parts, it just looks ridiculous.

In others it makes the scene appear more "real" than usual, but also rather blurry.

In fact, Sex and Zen is a bit of a tease — it hints at the potential of porn in 3D without actually giving you much of it.

Viewers who only want to go for the sex scenes without worrying how many dimensions they have won't be disappointed.

But be warned — the sex comes with quite a lot of blood and guts as well.

Sex and Zen is a film in two halves. The first half is a light-hearted erotic comedy with plenty of softcore porn.

Chinese porn: coming to you in 3D

Hundreds turn out for the premiere of Hong Kong's first 3D porn film.

The second half is darker and more shocking. It's the sort of thing Quentin Tarantino would love, and gives the phrase "torture porn" a more literal meaning than usual.

Plenty of boundaries are pushed and some Western viewers may find that it's a little too "out there" for their tastes.

Need an example? The most memorable use of 3D in the film is when a dismembered animal body part covered in blood is flung at the camera.

And that's in one of the comedy scenes.

Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy is rated R18+.

27 April 2011

He'll Be Back–Arnie Signs For Terminator 5

Arnold Schwarzenegger to star as Terminator in new film

By Stephanie Masters

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Hasta la vista, baby: Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2002 film Terminator 3. He's going to reprise the role in a fifth film.

Arnold Schwarzenegger will make his movie comeback by reprising his title role in the Terminator series.

After nearly 30 years since the original James Cameron flick, the former California governor and action movie hero promised his fans that he will return with as much violent action as ever.

"I can step very comfortably into the entertainment world and do an action movie with the same violence that I've always done," he told the LA Times.

The film, at this stage being referred to as Terminator 5, is in a very early pre-production stage but is apparently to be directed by Fast & Furious 5 director, Justin Lin.

The direction of the storyline is unknown, leading to speculation that the fifth film of the series will lead on from the ending to the third film, Terminator: Rise of the Machines, and not the fourth film, Terminator Salvation, which starred Aussie Sam Worthington as the new hero.

21 April 2011

Battle Of The Blue Movies: 3D Erotic Comedy Breaks Box Office Records By Beating AVATAR

By Sinlung

Earlier we
Blogged about this Film. Now it has rocked the Box Office, beating even Avatar…great going…

A pioneering 3D erotic comedy has taken the Hong Kong box office by storm, beating the first-day record set by Avatar and drawing viewers from mainland China as it eyes a global rollout.

The Cantonese-language production 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy had earned 17 million Hong Kong dollars (£1.3 million) as of yesterday since opening last week on 73 screens, according to figures provided by producer Stephen Shiu.

That's nearly seven times the total take so far for Hollywood thriller Scream 4, which has earned HK$2.5 million (£195,000).

Actress Saori Hara and actor Hiro Haayana are seen embracing in a scene from 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstacy, which had earned £1.3 million as of yesterday since opening last week

Actress Saori Hara and actor Hiro Haayana are seen embracing in a scene from 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstacy, which had earned £1.3 million as of yesterday since opening last week

Sex and Zen - a remake of a 1991 Hong Kong movie by the same name - features full nudity and camouflaged lovemaking scenes but does not show actual sexual intercourse, as is common in pornographic films. The movie, which stars Japanese porn stars Hara Saori and Suo Yukiko and Hong Kong actress Vonnie Liu, tells the story of a sexually frustrated scholar in ancient China who loses himself in the harem of a duke he befriends.

The film brought in HK$2.78 million (£220,000) on its opening day last Thursday, eclipsing the previous first-day record set by James Cameron's 2009 3-D sci-fi epic 'Avatar,' which earned HK$2.63 million (£210,000) on its first day.

In Taiwan, where the movie opened last Friday on 77 screens, it earned 17 million New Taiwan Dollars (£360,000) through Sunday. That figure is still inferior to Hollywood competition but marks the best opening weekend for a Chinese-language movie in Taiwan this year, Shiu said today.

Shiu, whose father Stephen Shiu Sr. served as executive producer on the original Sex and Zen, said he believes he has capitalised on a huge desire for 3D erotic movies.
'We met people's expectations. People have always thought that you need 3D technology for this kind of content. So people were very curious,' he said.

The film's stars watch back scenes from the erotic comedy while on set. The Cantonese-language film has so far taken nearly seven times as much as Hollywood thriller Scream 4

The film's stars watch back scenes from the erotic comedy while on set. The Cantonese-language film has so far taken nearly seven times as much as Hollywood thriller Scream 4

Sex and Zen bills itself as the world's first 3D erotic film, although Shiu acknowledges that a South Korean production - last year's Natali - hit the market before his release did. However, Shiu's movie is still a pioneering attempt at using new 3D technology in theatrical releases of erotic films, given that the market in the West is now largely dominated by DVD releases.

The movie's Hong Kong performance has also been boosted by an influx of mainland Chinese viewers, whom Shiu estimates accounted for up to half of the business at some cinemas. Although former British colony Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997, it still maintains a separate political system - and film regulatory regime. While Hong Kong has a film ratings system, mainland China doesn't, which effectively rules out erotic content.

Sex and Zen received a restricted rating in Hong Kong, allowing only audiences aged 18 and older to see the film.

Sex and Zen has taken the Hong Kong box office by storm, beating the first-day record set by Hollywood blockbuster Avatar

Sex and Zen has taken the Hong Kong box office by storm, beating the first-day record set by Hollywood blockbuster Avatar

It's not the first time mainland viewers have travelled to Hong Kong to evade censorship by Chinese authorities. Many mainlanders crossed over to watch the uncut version of Oscar-winning Taiwanese director Ang Lee's sexually explicit 2007 spy thriller Lust, Caution.

Hong Kong cinema operators have also sought to cash in on the novelty factor by staging women-only screenings.

Sex and Zen has also been released in about a dozen cinemas in Chinese communities in the Australian cities Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, but Shiu didn't have box office results. The movie is scheduled to be released in South Korea on May 12, and in France, Italy and India in June. Shiu is also targeting a May release for Singapore, although the filmmakers are still working with local censors on the final cut.

15 April 2011

No Transformers On The Moon? Prove it

If Armstrong and Buzz didn't find a Transformer on the moon, what WERE they doing?

Transformers 3

Where did Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin go during those 21 minutes of radio silence? Here... maybe / Paramount Pictures

Transformers 3

Are conspiracy theories the only way we can actually make sense of it all? Picture: Paramount

Have you heard the one about the moon landing?

Not that it was staged. We all know that rumour is a bunch of bunk.

No, this story involves what Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were doing during those 21 minutes of radio and video silence on the Apollo 11 mission.

You think they were turning over rocks and drinking Tang? Think again.

Turns out the two astronauts were actually bouncing over to the dark side of the moon, investigating a crashed alien space ship that turned out to be — yes — a massive Transformer robot.

"We give you a whole new reason why the moon landing actually did happen," says Lorenzo di Bonaventura, producer of the Transformers movies.

"Everyone was right. The conspiracy existed. It was just a different one than people thought."

Conspiracies are the rage these days, and not just the intrigues spread by the likes of Glenn Beck, talk radio hosts and people who think their new NBN Box will spy on them.

There are even conspiracies surrounding conspiracy-tinged material that has been adapted to the screen.

Did Stieg Larsson really write the best-selling series of thrillers, which, beginning with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, were published after his early death by heart attack?

And was his death natural or was he murdered by neo-Nazis?

All this code-red anxiety in the air has begun to permeate the multiplex as filmmakers proffer plots and plans and secrecy the likes of which haven't been seen since agents Mulder and Scully poked around Area 51 in The X-Files.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon, due out on June 29, uses the Apollo 11 lunar mission to accomplish something that sounds entirely implausible — namely, give a Transformers movie an actual storyline.

Dimension Films, meanwhile, has Apollo 18 (due January 2012), a horror film that claims to be found footage from a secret lunar expedition that the government covered up because alien monsters ate the astronauts.

"When the world gets complicated and people start feeling at a loss, these types of conspiracy stories start showing up in pop culture," says USC professor Leo Braudy, who has written several books on film.

"Pop culture is designed to upset you and give you solace.

"The possible existence of a conspiracy would be upsetting. But it's solacing, too, because at least somebody knows what's going on.

"The problem is, of course, that the real world is chaotic and maybe no one knows what's going on."

Chip Berlet, who studies conspiracy culture for Boston-based think tank Political Research Associates, says: "Between the collapse of the economy and unresolved fear after 9-11, there's a lot of anxiety that has to be expressed some way.

"People don't believe their leaders are telling the truth and they look for alternate explanations."

And that, of course, would include the leaders of the nation's space agency, with conspiracy theorists spinning tales of NASA-led hoaxes from the time Armstrong took one giant leap for mankind in 1969.

The 1978 movie Capricorn One took that lunar intrigue, added a dash of post-Watergate, anti-Washington outrage and spun a tale of a fake Mars landing that turns into a murderous government cover-up.

The new Transformers movie and Apollo 18 add to the lunar conspiracy legacy.

"With moon conspiracies, there's a contradiction at work," says di Bonaventura.

"There's a deep-seated romanticism about the moon with the poetry and romantic settings.

"Then you have this notion that there's this gigantic lie propagated about what may be 20th Century man's greatest single achievement."

The problem, Mr Berlet says, is not that Hollywood feeds this mistrust, but that political, business and religious leaders don't step up and address the underlying problems that stoke conspiracy theories in the first place.

"In a healthy society, people would be rolling their eyes at this stuff," he says.

"But nowadays, no matter how far-fetched the rumour is, people say: 'Hmmm... maybe there is something to that.'"

With AP

14 April 2011

Sex & Zen At Premiere Of First 3D Porn Film

Hong Kong, Apr 14 : A period drama about a young man, a duke and royal orgies drew hundreds in Hong Kong to the premiere of the territory's first 3D erotic film earlier this week.

The soft-porn Sex & Zen: Extreme Ecstasy debuts as the stricken porn industry turns to 3D as a potential money-spinner to revive its fortunes following the success of Hollywood blockbusters such as Avatar.

"What we're going to expect is that people don't take it as an erotic or any gross thing to look at," said director Christopher Sun.

Erotica enters the third dimension
A period drama about a young man, a duke and royal orgies drew hundreds in Hong Kong to the premiere of the territory's first 3D erotic film earlier this week.

"Try to take it as an entertaining movie for adults."

His father, Stephen Shiu, was responsible for the original "Sex and Zen," a 1991 film that grossed over US$2.6 million and held the crown as the city's highest-grossing adult film for over a decade.

Based on a classic Chinese erotic text, The Carnal Prayer Mat, the $3 million film, released on April 14, follows a young man as he befriends a duke and enters a world of royal orgies and other sexual peccadilloes.

The film, which began production last August in a shabby film studio on the leafy fringes of Hong Kong, uses slapstick comedy and an amusing script to offset some of the more explicit sex scenes and occasional shocking violence.

Seven simultaneous premiere screenings took place in central Hong Kong, and Sun said he hopes it will run for over a month. This would take in both the Easter and the crucial May Day holiday, seen as key for one target audience - Chinese tourists.

The Chinese government has engaged in a long-term crackdown on smut, and movies with sexual content are generally banned.

"We have already drawn a lot of tourists and also I say they are actually ordinary Chinese people. Of course they are adults," Sun said.

"There's no way to show this film there in China so they just come by and try to watch it."

Taiwanese newspapers reported that at least five tour groups from mainland China had already made reservations to see the film during the May Day holiday.

With 3D films taking almost twice the time to shoot of conventional movies and requiring higher budgets, more advanced equipment and elaborate lighting, the porn industry has been slow to take up the technique despite early excitement at its promise.

But despite this, major 3D sex movies are now reportedly in the works.

US adult entertainment firm Hustler is said to be working on a three-dimensional porn spoof of the lithe, blue aliens in Avatar, while Italian director Tinto Brass plans to film a 3D version of his classic 1979 erotic film Caligula, based loosely on the life of the dissolute Roman emperor.

Many viewers appeared drawn by the film's novelty, with some saying they liked it better than they had expected.

"I think people should really view this movie as more a romantic movie with kind of a lot of sexual scenes just coming in between," said a woman who said she worked in finance but declined to give her name.

"I think there's a deeper message to the movie than just people expecting to see body parts flying around."

The soft-porn Sex & Zen: Extreme Ecstasy debuts as the stricken porn industry turns to 3D as a potential money-spinner to revive its fortunes following the success of Hollywood blockbusters such as Avatar.



"What we're going to expect is that people don't take it as an erotic or any gross thing to look at," said director Christopher Sun. "Try to take it as an entertaining movie for adults." His father, Stephen Shiu, was responsible for the original Sex and Zen, a 1991 film that grossed over US$2.6 million and held the crown as the city's highest-grossing adult film for over a decade.


Based on a classic Chinese erotic text, The Carnal Prayer Mat, the $3 million film, released on April 14, follows a young man as he befriends a duke and enters a world of royal orgies and other sexual peccadilloes.

The film, which began production last August in a shabby film studio on the leafy fringes of Hong Kong, uses slapstick comedy and an amusing script to offset some of the more explicit sex scenes and occasional shocking violence.

Seven simultaneous premiere screenings took place in central Hong Kong, and Sun said he hopes it will run for over a month. This would take in both the Easter and the crucial May Day holiday, seen as key for one target audience - Chinese tourists.

The Chinese government has engaged in a long-term crackdown on smut, and movies with sexual content are generally banned.


"We have already drawn a lot of tourists and also I say they are actually ordinary Chinese people. Of course they are adults," Sun said. "There's no way to show this film there in China so they just come by and try to watch it."


Taiwanese newspapers reported that at least five tour groups from mainland China had already made reservations to see the film during the May Day holiday.

With 3D films taking almost twice the time to shoot of conventional movies and requiring higher budgets, more advanced equipment and elaborate lighting, the porn industry has been slow to take up the technique despite early excitement at its promise. But despite this, major 3D sex movies are now reportedly in the works.


US adult entertainment firm Hustler is said to be working on a three-dimensional porn spoof of the lithe, blue aliens in Avatar, while Italian director Tinto Brass plans to film a 3D version of his classic 1979 erotic film Caligula, based loosely on the life of the dissolute Roman emperor.


Many viewers appeared drawn by the film's novelty, with some saying they liked it better than they had expected. "I think people should really view this movie as more a romantic movie with kind of a lot of sexual scenes just coming in between," said a woman who said she worked in finance but declined to give her name. "I think there's a deeper message to the movie than just people expecting to see body parts flying around." (Text: Reuters)

Erotica enters the third dimension
A period drama about a young man, a duke and royal orgies drew hundreds in Hong Kong to the premiere of the territory's first 3D erotic film earlier this week.

11 April 2011

Kirsten Dunst is Laid Bare in Breathtaking Scenes From Her New Film Melancholia

She has been quiet on the career front for the past couple of years but Kirsten Dunst is set to make her big screen return in spectacular fashion next month.

The 28-year-old actress appears completely nude in the newly released trailer for her new film Melancholia, a beautifully shot drama written and directed by controversial Danish film-maker Lars Von Trier.

Scroll down to watch the trailer....

Laid bare: Kirsten Dunst appears naked in scenes from her new film Melancholia

Laid bare: Kirsten Dunst appears naked in scenes from her new film Melancholia

In the newly released trailer, Kirsten is seen lying naked in rocks next to a river then later in the the short clip being helped into the bath after collapsing on the bathroom floor - again completely nude.

The movie follows the story of Justine, played by Kirsten, as she marries Michael, played by Alexander Skarsgard.

During their wedding the party spots a red star in the sky which ends up being the planet Melencholia, which had been previously hiding behind the sun.

The world is ending: Justine slumps into a deep depression and in one scene is seen being helped into the bath

The world is ending: Justine slumps into a deep depression and in one scene is seen being helped into the bath

Drowning: Kirsten's character Justine begins to question her happiness on her wedding day

Drowning: Kirsten's character Justine begins to question her happiness on her wedding day

All star: The Lars Von Trier directed movie also features Keifer Sutherland and Alexander Skarsgard

All star: The Lars Von Trier directed movie also features Keifer Sutherland and Alexander Skarsgard

As the evening goes on, Justine begins to question what will happen to them if the world ends as well as her current happiness.

This results in her relationship with her sister Claire, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg, being put to the test.

The move also features Keifer Sutherland, in his first big screen performance since 2008's Mirrors, playing Claire's unusual and prickly husband.

Strange turn: The film sees Justine fight with her sister, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg,

Strange turn: The film sees Justine fight with her sister, played by Charlotte Gainsbourg,

No future: Justin begins to question her happiness just hours after tying the knot

No future: Justin begins to question her happiness just hours after tying the knot

Kirsten, who rose to fame as a child star appearing alongside Brad Pitt in the movie Interview With A Vampire, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe at just 13 years old.

She then made a name for herself in the Spiderman franchise alongside Toby Maguire but has been relatively quiet on the work front since the films third instalment in 2007. 

Lars von Trier, the film's director, is known for his controversial use of explicit imagery in mainstream movies and has won several awards at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

Melancholia is released in the U.S. on May 26 2011.

Life threatening: The two women find their relationship put to the test as a neighbouring planet threatens to collide into the earth

Life threatening: The two women find their relationship put to the test as a neighbouring planet threatens to collide into the earth

08 April 2011

'Miral' Tackles Controversy, Gets Major Praise From Johnny Depp & Critics

Miral Poster

Several of Hollywood's biggest names are coming out in support of Julian Schnabel's controversial new film "Miral," with quotes from Johnny Depp and Javier Bardem featured in a new ad for the film in the Los Angeles Times.

Schnabel wades into the ever-simmering Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his new film, "Miral"; based on the semi-autobiographical book by Rula Jebreal, "Miral," a new Weinstein Company release, tells the story of an orphaned Palestinian girl (Freida Pinto of "Slumdog Millionaire") who finds herself thrust into the ethnic and political conflict once she leaves her safe orphanage. A number of Jewish groups have protested against the film, including asking the UN not to show it at a recent screening.

Their sentiment is not shared by a number of other Jewish groups, or by many in both the film and political studies worlds.

“Julian Schnabel’s film is a unique and courageous glimpse into one woman’s painful journey. It is an epic poem teetering on the edge of a dagger. See it and decide for yourself,” Depp says, focusing on the personal aspect of the story.

Oscar winner Javier Bardem is also quoted on the poster, saying, “THE BEAUTY of Julian Schnabel, he creates art that inspires discussion for World leaders and also touches the rest of us mere mortals on a very HUMAN and primitive level.”

In quotes exclusive to The Huffington Post, academics and other actors praised the film for its tackling of the greater political conflict.

“Schnabel’s 'Miral' is a resolute act of truth and reconciliation, a visual pilgrimage—to Palestine, to find peace in the forgiving landscape of an unforgiving history that must one day overcome itself," says Hamid Dabashi, Professor of Iranian Studies & Comparative Literature, at Columbia University. This is more than a film. This is the overcoming of a psychological barrier—for a filmmaker to bring two bereaved peoples finally together.”

Similarly, Sir Norman Rosenthal, former Head of Exhibitions at the Royal Academy, also spoke to its importance in an ever burning discussion. “'Miral' is a beautiful, compelling, imaginative exercise in film as well as a significant contribution to the discussion of one of the burning issues of our time.”

Filmmaker Schnabel wrote about the film for The Huffington Post, writing, "The heart of this story is all about the lasting impact of education and the journey of a relatable main character, who tries on several different approaches to solve the problems in her life, including violence, but in the end, falls back on the ideals she learned as a child. This is, in my humble opinion, an exemplary message for our time, especially for young people -- whether they live in Brooklyn, Jerusalem, or anywhere in between."

01 April 2011

Why Everyone Hates Sucker Punch

Carla Gugino, Jena Malone, Abbie Cornish, Deborah Snyder, Zach Snyder, Emily Browning, Jamie Chung, Vanessa Hudgens AP – From left, cast members Carla Gugino, Jena Malone, Abbie Cornish, producer Deborah Snyder, director Zach …

By Chris Lee

NEW YORK – Critics, fanboys, and the moviegoing public rarely reach consensus, but on the action movie Sucker Punch, they all seem to agree that it's horrific. Chris Lee examines the vitriol.

In an increasingly fractured, 700-channel digi-verse, where attentions are divided between myriad media pursuits, strong opinions travel with lightning speed 140 characters at a time, and anything approaching critical consensus is nearly impossible to come by, a movie has arrived to provide a kind of cultural unity seldom seen outside of responses to natural disasters or terrorism.

The critical assessment nearly everyone with access to a computer keyboard seems to share? That director Zack Snyder's impressionistic action epic Sucker Punch is absolutely dreadful.Why Everyone Hates Sucker Punch

"The film abdicates so many basic responsibilities of coherent storytelling, even coherent stupid-action-movie storytelling, director/co-writer/co-producer Zack Snyder must have known in preproduction that his greasy collection of near-rape fantasies and violent revenge scenarios disguised as a female-empowerment fairy tale wasn't going to satisfy anyone but himself," harrumphed Michael Phillips in his Chicago Tribune review.

Worse still, to judge by Sucker Punch's unspectacular box-office performance, opening to a soft $19 million and placing second to the much less-hyped Diary of a Wimpy Kid sequel ($24.4 million), Snyder's core constituency—the kind of guys who lust after Princess Leia and can recite swaths of dialogue from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan—seems to have forsaken him. It's an outcome that would have been just this side of impossible to imagine last July when the director unveiled footage from Sucker Punch to a veritable hero's welcome at that pantheon of geekdom, San Diego's Comic-Con. And as recently as a few months ago, buzz about the movie remained at fever pitch: "Behold the Fetishistic Awesomeness of Zack Snyder's SUCKER PUNCH!!" blared a typical headline on Ain't It Cool News.

Then Warner Bros. started screening the film, and next thing you know, the geeks are calling it the worst affront since Jar Jar Binks—with more than a few fanboy functionaries, including Ain't It Cool's Harry Knowles, admitting deeply conflicted feelings about not loving Snyder's latest.

As sophisticated culture consumers (who just happen to disproportionately still live in their parents’ basements), fanboys don’t appreciate any perception of being shamelessly pandered to.

• A ‘Sucker Punch’-Inspired Cocktail Recipe "As someone who considered himself a Zack Snyder enthusiast (yes, even the owl movie) it gives me no pleasure to inform you that Sucker Punch, the first film based on an original concept of Snyder's, doesn't work," reads a review on ugo.com. "How could this happen? How could a movie with giant samurai, interplanetary robots, undead WWI soldiers, dragons, and five half-naked beauties all beating each other up be bad? HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN?!?"

It gets worse. On a post unsubtly entitled "Sucker Punch goes beyond awful to become a commentary on the death of moviemaking," the sci-fi website io9.com even decried what many armchair critics view as the film's chief selling point: its five vixenish female protagonists as fodder for masturbatory fantasies. "Though this movie has women in tiny outfits, you're going to see less skin here than you would in an average episode of Baywatch," the io9 review asserts. "And unlike Baywatch, there's nothing fun to jack off to here, unless you're into the sounds of an offscreen rape."

So now the question: What in the world did Sucker Punch ever do to merit such withering scorn?

To be sure, Snyder's geek bona fides are beyond reproach—and that may be a large part of the problem. The audacious auteur responsible for 2004's Dawn of the Dead reboot galvanized the fanboy film fan diaspora, heralding the arrival of a devastating new talent. But it was Snyder's swords-and-sandals smash 300 that made him patron moviemaking saint of a certain strata of society—namely grown men who collect action figures. And for some (although not all geeks), the director's divisive, pastiche-filled film adaptation of the graphic novel Watchmen seemed to cement his reputation as a filmmaker with his finger firmly on the comic book nerd pulse. The New York Times Magazine recently anointed Snyder "the purest geek-auteur of the geek-film era."

Which all adds up to set the bar pretty high for Sucker Punch, his first go at directing original— i.e. not adapted or rebooted—material; Snyder co-wrote the script with Steve Shibuya. But as well, there were several other fundamental hurdles the film faced in connecting with its target demographic:

• Female protagonists: With the possible exceptions of Sigourney Weaver in the Alien franchise and Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, the fanboy world has been reluctant to embrace the wisdom that girls kick ass. Even with speechifying dialogue like "You already have all the weapons" and "Begin your journey, it will set you free" intended to inspire in every other scene, the geeks apparently opted not to project their hopes and aspirations onto machine gun-wielding, lingerie-clad Sailor Moon lookalikes.

• While Snyder has provided what amounts to a pu-pu platter of action imagery—steam punk Nazi zombies, fantastical serpents, giant ogre samurais, mech robots, etc—intended to light up the fanboy hippocampus like a Christmas tree, one of the main knocks against Sucker Punch is that it all doesn't quite add up. And as evidenced by the success of Christopher Nolan's reconfigured Batman, geeks are looking for substance in addition to style. And as sophisticated culture consumers (who just happen to disproportionately still live in their parents' basements), they don't appreciate any perception of being shamelessly pandered to.

• The mother of all confusing plots: Sent to a gulag-like Vermont mental institution after being framed for killing her sister (and in the wake of her own mother's untimely death), bottle-blond gamine Babydoll (Emily Browning) is scheduled to receive a lobotomy in five days time. In order to confront her impending loss of sentience, she somehow transfers her consciousness into another realm: a garish bordello where she and the other Girls Interrupted must dance for their survival. Every time Babydoll dances, though, she beams into still-deeper subconscious realms to battle the aforementioned Nazis, robots, serpents, et al. en route to collecting several totems—fire, a key, a knife, a map—that will set her (and her four insane asylum/bordello cohorts portrayed by Jena Malone, Abbie Cornish, Jamie Chung, and Vanessa Hudgens) free. Got all that? No, Harry Knowles didn't either.

While hell apparently hath no fury like a fanboy wronged, Sucker Punch is, in fact, not awful and in certain ways pretty great, I thought. If you sit back and let it happen to you as an unwieldy visceral jumble rather than actively await an epic awesomeness—something that few cultural offerings can manage—the film unfolds with a kind of delicious delirium, as a visually sumptuous fever dream. Even though unmistakably imperfect, Sucker Punch is one of the more cutting-edge mainstream movies to reach the multiplex in a long time—an exercise in non-linear storytelling that exists decidedly outside the kind of predigested world that most films that thrill the geek heart.

So a message to all the fanboys who have been doing the hate stomp on Snyder lately: Stop using the metaphor about feeling "sucker punched" to describe your disappointment with the film and quit dissing your homeboy—you're going to give him performance anxiety about his follow-up directing gig. This is, after all, the guy who's going to reboot Superman next.

Chris Lee is a senior entertainment writer for Newsweek/The Daily Beast.

15 March 2011

'Munni Badnaam Hui' Enters Guinness World Record

malaikaMelbourne, Mar 15 : 'Munni Badnaam Hui', the smash hit item number from Salman Khan starrer 'Dabangg' has created history by entering the Guinness Book of World Record here.

Over 1200 people danced for three minutes on the song, led by Malaika.

The event was organised by Indian Film festival 2011 director Mitu Bhowmick Lange to promote Bollywood Down Under.

The song was played at Melbourne Park in Australia on weekend with over 1200 people dancing together.

Malaika received a certificate for setting the record yesterday.

Lange said: "Its been amazing to see such a large crowd has come together and danced with same steps on this exciting number."
The earlier record was set in Singapore when over 1008 people danced for a song.

Malaika was accompanied by her Bollywood star husband Arbaaz Khan and her son.

The gala evening was also attended by Vidya Balan, director of 'No one Killed Jessica' Raj Kumar Gupta, director Kabir Khan and Pakistan pop singer Ali Zafar.

12 March 2011

Group Petitions ABC To Drop Production of 'Good Christian Bitches' Pilot

The book on which the ABC pilot is based.

ABC sparked outrage when they announced they were developing a pilot based on Kim Gatlin’s book, “Good Christian Bitches.”

Following last week’s FOX411 report, the American Family Association started a petition calling on “ABC and parent company Disney to drop all plans to air the anti-Christian program ‘Good Christian B-tches.’"

ABC has since changed the working title to “GCB,” but the AFA is undaunted.

"Our boycott has really resonated with television viewers – especially the Christian community – who are shocked and appalled that ABC/Disney would even consider airing such a program with anti-Christian content, anti-Christian bigotry and the insulting of the American Christian with this type of show,” Randy Sharp, director of special projects for the American Family Association, told FOX411. “The name of the show is offensive to Christians, it's insulting and demeaning, it's misrepresentative of the Christian community–not just that, I think it's insulting to all women.”

The petition is at 120,000 signatures and growing.

“As more and more people find out about it, they want to take action and speak out,” Sharp explained. “And this is one way they can make their voices heard with the executives at ABC."

The dramedy will be brought to life by “Sex and the City” and “90210” executive producer Darren Star. The plot centers on the life of reformed “mean girl” Amanda, played by “Talladega Nights” actress Leslie Bibb, who returns to her hometown of Dallas to find herself fodder for malicious gossip from the women in the Christian community.

While the title of the show may have been abbreviated, the gravity of insult has not, according to Sharp.

“I'm going to speak personally,” Sharp said. “Anyone would who would refer to my wife or my daughters as a 'B,' it would make me extremely angry and I think it's insulting in general for ABC to think that this is an appropriate word to use for females.”

 

27 February 2011

Playboy Girl Makes Bollywood Debut

Latest entrant into Bollywood is none other than Candice Boucher, a Playboy covergirl.

Sexy playboy pin-up girl Candice Boucher is all set to make her debut in Prashant Chadha's Aazaan, where she will play a sand artist.

candice-Boucher-Playboy
1269500338_470x353_comely-candice-boucher
Candice_Boucher_Playboy_April-2010-1
Candice-Boucher-in-Bollywood-film
Candice-Boucher-Shot-03-005_jpg_620x540_q85

Our Twits

Latest Posts

Archives