A Movie Weekend in Singapore

Last weekend is pretty much a huge clusterfuck for the world: the Norway massacre, Amy Winehouse’s passing and my other blogging site went down. My condolences to the people of Norway, Winehouse’s family and fans and myself (because I can’t blog over at Livejournal and it just really sucks when this happens). And as if that’s not enough, for anyone living in Indonesia such as myself, we’re also still dealing with the Epic Movie Crisis of 2011 in which no blockbuster Hollywood movie is playing in Indonesian cinemas because A) the government is being stupid, B) the movie distributors are also being stupid, and C) apparently the Indonesian media can’t report news worth crap.

As for me, being the movie buff who’s more than just a little obsessed with Harry Potter, I hightailed it out of the country on Friday, flew to Singapore and stationed myself for three days in Shaw Lido cinema in Orchard Road to watch these summer movies that are not playing here in Indonesia. It’s my second trip to Singapore to do the same thing – the first being in last May, where I watched eight movies in the span of 60 hours – and I managed to amuse myself before the real world caught up with me and made me want to dig a hole and hide there with a Hobbit (preferably in the form of Martin Freeman, of course).

Arriving in Singapore’s Changi Airport at 9.30 AM on Friday, July 22nd, the first thing I did after passing the immigration line was to get a cab to go to the theater. Having paid SGD 19.80 in fare, I arrived at 10.15 AM in Shaw House in time to buy a set of movie vouchers from the ticket box and exchanged them with six movies that I wanted to watch. The first thing I watched there was X-Men: First Class, which I think is a movie that everyone ought to watch every Friday morning to kick start their weekend, and I made a note in my little black book of secret, random thoughts about it, writing “McFassy Bendervoy bromance first thing in the morning gives a whole new meaning to ‘first class’.”

After that, it was onwards to the second movie – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. FINALLY. I’m usually the first person in the planet to watch a new Harry Potter movie but this time around I had to wait a week to watch it. But I have no regrets because it doesn’t matter how soon or how late I watched it, my first viewing of it left me completely in tears. If you’d asked me right after the movie finished what I thought about it, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you because all I remembered was crying for more than half of the movie, especially at all the Alan Rickman’s Severus Snape’s moments.

I don’t know if watching  Green Lantern after Potter was a good idea but it wasn’t like I was given a choice of the showtime. The movie plays only once throughout the day and the 5 PM showtime was the only time I could watch it. So still riding high from the Potterdrenaline I watched as whoever wrote the script of the movie screwed up the story of one of DC Comics’ best superheroes (of 2010, at least, because Geoff Johns’ Blackest Night series was one of the best things to have happened last year). I’m also putting the blame on whoever decided to cast Blake Lively in this movie. But at least Ryan Reynolds remain extremely pleasing to the eyes so it was NOT a total lost.

My movie line-up for Friday ended with the clad-in-CG-costumes superheroes, allowing me to have dinner and meet up with a friend rather early. But come Saturday morning, it started all over again. I watched the 10.30 AM showtime of Kung Fu Panda 2 and both laughed and cried myself silly in the theatre; the movie was indeed made of awesome.

And I knew for sure this time that I made the right choice of watching that movie first before the next one because my 12.30 appointment at Shaw Lido’s Theatre 2 is going to be with a long, exhausting and utterly explosive movie directed by Michael Bay. It really is just better to start with something light before a movie like Transformers: Dark Of The Moon. That way, whenever you start feeling frustrated at Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s complete lack of talent, skill and ability for acting, you can just remember how Jack Black and Angelina Jolie’s characters in the previous movie have sort-of-kind-of-did-that-really-happen inter-species romance, giggle for a moment and say, “Really? Po and Tigress? REALLY?” To be honest, though, Transformers 3 was very good. The only bad thing about it was the female lead, if you could call her that. Other than her utter unimportance to the story and her bad acting, I liked this third Transformers installment quite a lot and not only because Alan Tudyk’s Dutch is probably the best character the franchise could have ever had. Then again, I’ve always been a fan…

Finally, I ended the day’s moviegoing activities by watching Your Highness. Mind you, this sort of comedy is really not my thing… it’s juvenile, it’s crude, it’s gory and it looks cheap (did they not get a special effects budget?) But surprisingly, I laughed a lot and it’s probably the first time ever in the history of me liking movies that I actually enjoyed Natalie Portman’s performance. Go figure!

Sunday was a day of repeats. I watched Harry Potter and Transformers again… and managed to come up with more substantial thoughts about other than “OMG SNAPE YOU WONDERFUL MAN YOU!” Which is good… because one of my assignments this month is to write a review for the movie for the magazine. I almost didn’t watch Transformers for the second time but, I thought, oh well, it shouldn’t hurt to watch Optimus and Megatron try and kill each other. Plus, it was worth spending money to see Alan Tudyk again. So I did. (Fair warning: I’m stalking this actor from now on!)

Having a movie marathon weekend is so much fun. I just wish, of course, I didn’t have to do it in Singapore. I think it’s extremely ridiculous that we don’t get to watch summer blockbusters in Indonesian cinemas. Some sources have been saying that the situation has been resolved now, the movies are coming back, and in fact HPDH Part 2 and Transformers 3 are going to play very soon in cinemas, and they are coming back this month, etc. But seriously? We shouldn’t have to be made to wait this long to watch them in the first place.

I’m not saying I don’t want the government and the movie distributors to collect their collective crap together, but I’m only saying: don’t you have a more efficient way to do that without sacrificing the people’s need for cinematic entertainment? Yes, I realize that not everybody thinks movies are all that great and I know there are other forms of entertainment that we can still enjoy, but have you tried talking to a foreigner about not being able to watch Harry Potter or Thor? Have you ever tried telling people who live abroad, “We don’t have Hollywood movies in Indonesia anymore”? Have you ever tried explaining the whole situation? If you have, then you should have felt what I felt when I tried doing – extremely ridiculous and pathetic.

Anyway, rant aside, this weekend has been fun for me. Of course it makes discovering the news about Norway and Winehouse, plus meeting a dead Livejournal website, all the worse because, after having so much fun, these incidents felt all the more rage/sorrow-inducing. But I can’t imagine where I would be right now if I hadn’t watched those movies before finding out for the nth time what a sad world we live in… I’d have probably drowned myself in a pond somewhere out of depression. The fun and entertainment those movies provide, at least, allowed me to escape to several fictional worlds where I can recharge my happiness levels if even for a short while. That’s why I enjoyed the trip and that’s why watching those commercial blockbusters was, is and always will be essential for my well-being.

Having said that, here is what needs to happen: WORLD, START MAKING SENSE AGAIN. You’ve had your chance to screw us over this weekend, now right yourself and make us happy again without us having to resort to Hollywood entertainment to smile.

When you sing, the world stops turning to wait for you

In the past 24 hours, I have been spoiled by the lovely voices of two very young actors and I can’t stand it. They are just too good to be true.

The first one, I am not exactly surprised that he manages to wow me. He is, after all, a tried and true performer who sings for one of the most watched high school musical series in the world. And he already won a Golden Globe, so you know he can and does sing beautifully. He can do show tunes and Lady Gaga with so much ease. He’d even tackled on a legendary Beatles song and owned that song. And we have all agreed that his moves in a cover of Madonna song is sexy and hot as all hell. Except that lately he hasn’t been singing in the show. And I – like many of his fans – miss hearing him serenade his audience on-screen. Instead, they are giving all the songs to his so-called ‘love interest’ in that show who, while having a marvelous voice, is still not as divine a singer as this guy is.

[+] Listen to Chris Colfer singing Blackbird for next week’s Glee episode (spoiler alert).

His voice is BEAUTIFUL. Enough said. Listen for yourself. You’ll see what I mean.

Now the second guy… it came as a surprise to me what a wonderful singer he is because he’s definitely not known for his singing skills! He is best known for playing a bespectacled boy wizard in one of the most successful movie franchises oin this history of cinema. He is also known for shedding his clothes on stage a few years ago. He is one of the best young actors the United Kingdom has produced in the last decade. But he is NOT known for being a bloody good singer or dancer. So when I heard that he can and does sing extremely well in his newest Broadway musical, I am just blown away.

[+] Listen to Daniel Radcliffe sing the songs from How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.

Marvelous voice, especially in I Believe In You. And I hear he’s dancing beautifully, too. Do you hear that? That’s me swooning.

I envy them. So much. They are young, talented, successful, handsome and… did I mention young? They are under 25 and they are already accomplishing so much. And I have a feeling they will only get better as they get older.

Now may I make a little bit of ‘proposition’? Can we bring Daniel Radcliffe to Glee? I would be lying if I said I hadn’t thought of having him on the show – especially after Kevin McHale and some of the Glee cast made a huge deal about watching Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 1 last November. I think, if any, Daniel should play Kurt Hummel’s love interest (I mean, if you want to have a guy who has played Harry Potter somewhere to play Kurt’s potential boyfriend, you might as well cast the ORIGINAL one).

Now imagine them singing together.

Are you imagining it?

How explosive would they be together, joined in harmony? I, for one, will be having days of FANTASTIC GOOD NIGHT DREAMS if that ever happens.

Now if you’ll excuse me… I will be sitting here and putting both of their songs on loop. For, oh, I don’t know… forever?

Bonnie’s Twilight question

I feel the need to say, regarding that Twilight question that was included in Bonnie Wright’s interview, that the question was NOT ours per se. The interview was a round table with a few other journalists and that question came up. Since we thought people might want to know the answer, then I decided to include it for the print edition.

Also, we never mentioned Jamie Campbell Bower’s name to her either because when we were coming up with questions, we wanted to respect Ms. Wright’s privacy. But his name came up anyway (I assume people find the fact that Bower managed to get roles in both the vampire movie and the wizard movie is something fascinating. That’s because he is awesome – I have known this since he serenaded “Joanna…” in Sweeney Todd and did a cameo in RocknRolla. The only thing he should do now to make himself Master of the Franchises is to star in Narnia, but this is all beside the point.)

Nonetheless, I think everyone will find that Bonnie Wright is not only stunningly gorgeous person in real life but also very tactful and diplomatic. I was already halfway in love with her (although not as crazy as I am about Evanna Lynch, whom I think should start her own fashion line) before the interview and now I’m head over heels.

That’s all.

More on Total Film Indonesia Issue 13…

I received my 3 copies of Total Film Indonesia Issue 13, November 2010, from my chief editor today. He was passing by the bookstore and brought me 2 copies of each cover (the extra copy is for our correspondent in the UK) and I opened one to read how the feature was laid out. And as it turned out, it was pretty good.

The whole feature is 35 pages. There are about 3 separate articles plus the 8 actor interviews, starting from Bonnie Wright’s and ending with Rupert Grint’s… so it’s like Grint’s is the “big finale”. I remember specifically asking for the interviews to be placed in that order: Wright – Evanna Lynch – Matthew Lewis – James and Oliver Phelps – Daniel Radcliffe – Emma Watson – Tom Felton – Grint. I think it had to do with the number of pictures of the actors we received… or was it the exclusivity of the interview contents? Oh, well, whatever the original reason for putting the layout that way, I feel that it was way deserved because Rupert Grint, in my opinion, showed the best performance in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

Also, in the article where I laid out 7 reasons to love Harry Potter, I somehow managed to mention Glee in it. As we all know, Glee is my new drug, Kurt Hummel is my new hero, and Chris Colfer is my new favorite eye candy. (And I belong to the minority that think Max Adler’s Dave Karofsky is kind of like Draco Malfoy. In a way. Which makes me uncomfortable but there you go.) I won’t go into too much detail but I did mention Severus Snape as one of the biggest reason to love Harry Potter.

In this issue, I also had to write one original Buzz article on the third Narnia movie, The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I realized this as I was writing the article a few weeks ago, but when I reread the finished product on the magazine, I noticed once again how heavily Ben Barnes-centric that article was. Not that I’m complaining, of course, because I adore him as much as I do Colfer…

I didn’t see the piece I wrote on the upcoming Tintin movie though. Either it will be shifted to the next issue, or I just wasn’t reading closely enough.

Abridged Script for this issue is Eat Pray Love. Check that out, as well, although it’s probably not as special as the one I did on The Expendables.

Now I have to excuse myself because I need to gather more Narnia 3 information, plan my Deathly Hallows Part 1 review and decide on which movie to Abridge for the next issue.

3D: Dizzying, Dispensable, Disproportionate

“There’s an evolution, and people are starting to not accept inferior forms, which is good.  But it’s typical of Hollywood to get it wrong. We do a film that’s natively authored in 3D — it’s shot in 3D.  So they assume from the success of that, that they can just turn movies into 3D.  In 8 weeks.  You know, just throw a switch on 3D and that’s gonna work somehow.  If you wanna make a movie in 3D, MAKE the movie in 3D. It should be a filmmaker-driven process and not a studio-driven process.”

– James Cameron (from this interview)

Ah, FINALLY. Someone is speaking up against the whole “movies-in-3D-are-better” crap. Seriously, Hollywood, listen to the man.

I pretty much have nothing else to say because, frankly, James Cameron said it all. I’ve been waiting for someone to say this to the world at large ever since the filmmakers of Harry Potter decided to release Deathly Hallows Part I and II in 3 effing D. At that time, I felt like grabbing a stuffed baseball bat (toy) and just hitting the Davids – Heyman, Yates, whoever – on the head for that. In fact, I still do now. If they go ahead with this 3D plans for the last 2 movies in the franchise, I might just have to jab them all with a spork. The only thing that would forgive them for going 3D is if Steve Kloves actually came up with a worse script than what he did for Half-Blood Prince. That way, I’d be too worked up on exacting revenge plans for Kloves that the 3D wouldn’t matter.

But, seriously… enough 3D. Just because James Cameron is bored enough to spend the last decade to develop a movie with an inferior story into a freaking massive epic 3D masterpiece, it doesn’t mean everyone has to. First, Hollywood can’t make a decent enough script for a movie without resorting to books (or amusement park rides or old movies or TV shows or video games) these days. Second, it’s trying to cover this up by making all their movies in 3D. I say, stop being stupid, Hollywood, it’s embarrassing.

That said, I’m looking forward to Tim Burton’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The one that will play in a cinema near me NOT in 3D. 🙂

In Bruges

Two nights ago I watched In Bruges, starring Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clemence Poesy and Jordan Prentice. And I must say, I am impressed as hell.

If I hadn’t been so caught up in work that I watched this movie more than a year late, this movie would’ve made my Favorites List in 2008 or 2009 as the no. 1 movie of that year. (Yeah, it’s a bit pathetic… I’m not usually this late watching a movie.)

The story of a remorseful hitman who’d accidentally killed a child on the job, it’s sentimental without being soppy. The movie managed to draw tears from me at many points, but every single time a scene makes me cry, it also makes me laugh at the same time. I lost count of how many times I shouted to my sister amid my bout of laughter, “This is so sad but why is it so funny?” I was literally laughing through my tears there.

Most of these moments (and there are many) come from the lines and dialogue exchanges between Farrell and Gleeson, who are playing the hitmen Ray and Ken, both of whom are absolutely brilliant in their roles. I won’t even bother giving you an example of these lines because it won’t sound as funny without Farrell and Gleeson saying them. Added with a Ralph Fiennes who uses the effing F word behind every other word in the same effing sentence (and calls his effing wife an effing inanimate object), the movie’s lines are plenty effing fantastic.

And can I just say how fantastic the setting of this movie is? I do so love a movie set in beautiful cities and Bruges looks more than just fantastic… it’s gorgeous! It seems very much like a random choice of city but it does have a nice ring to the lines, whenever Ray complains about being “in Bruges”. It makes for a very clever catchphrase! Bruges has officially made my “Places to See Before To Die” list.

I would put this movie in the same category as Kinky Boots and The Full Monty. Neither are nowhere near as dark as In Bruges, of course, but they’re the same kind of British movies that are humorously sentimental. They’re movies that’ll make you laugh without resorting to general arseholiness. I also like the fact that it doesn’t have that kind of ‘gloss’ Guy Ritchie’s gangster epics usually provide by bringing in an epic all-star cast. So the whole movie is just infinitely more sincere and thoughtfully crafted.

In short, I love it to pieces. There should be more movies in the world like this one.

Speaking of, is it just me or is this movie as much a Harry Potter reunion as Sweeney Todd was? I mean, Lord Voldemort, Moody and Fleur Delacour in the same movie. And this might be a coincidence, but Brendan Gleeson’s son Domnhall is going to play Bill Weasley in Deathly Hallows, who will marry Clemence’s Fleur. So, Clemence will have played with 2 generations of Gleesons. Either the Brit film industry is very small or these people are just clique-ish. 😉

Insert: Virtual Life – Tom Felton on the Internet

Introduction: This article was originally written as a part of the Tom Felton interview, Behind the Mask of Malfoy, but failed to make it into the magazine. I was very disappointed that it wasn’t able to be published, but alas, that’s life. Now that I have my own blog, where I can display my own works, there should be no reason I can’t include this one here. (Do not copy/use without permission.)

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VIRTUAL LIFE: Tom Felton on the Internet

by Amanda Aayusya

If you could have 1 last drink at your final meal what would you have? Pint of beer, champagne, milkshake, water? Curiosity tickling my mind

8:33 AM Mar 18th from Tweetie

Fans of Tom Felton are absolutely spoiled – the 21-year-old actor has provided many ways for them to keep virtually in touch with himself. Other than having his own official website, Felton is very actively Tweeting at twitter.com/TomFelton, where he often posts the most random, funniest things and has more than 48,000 followers, and updates his YouTube account whenever he has a new song and video to share at youtube.com/user/feltbeats.

He is also well supported by his most comprehensive website on the Internet http://www.feltbeats.com. Feltbeats.com – whose name was taken from the pseudonym Felton uses to release his musical works – is owned by Misha. She has a crew of eight site administrators to run this interactive website. In the beginning, she only planned to talk about Felton’s music, but along with Felton’s increasing Internet popularity, Misha made additions that now allow all Feltonites to catch the latest news on Felton, video and song previews and even exclusive original interviews with Felton.

Thanks to the wonderful relationship Misha shares with Felton, it’s guaranteed that Feltbeats.com has plenty of interesting stories to share about this young man who ‘sacrificed’ his natural hair color to give way to Draco Malfoy’s blondness on screen.

FiRST’s contributor Amanda talked to Misha about the inner workings of the website in this interview.

Amanda: How did Feltbeats.com come about?

Misha: The site started almost exactly a year ago (as of May 20). Essentially, I was a bit of a Harry Potter fan – enough that I bought the last two books at midnight when they came out, but not enough that I had any costumes or anything. I came to it late, however – I didn’t start reading the books until the sixth one was about to come out!

One day while browsing around the internet I saw a link that said, “Draco singing!” and so of course I checked it out. I watched the YouTube video (“Time isn’t Healing“) with my hands covering my face in shock and maybe a little embarrassment. I expected him to be bad, I’ll be honest. But, after a few minutes, I peaked through my fingers and watched, more appreciative. Then I watched it several times.

Then, I ripped the song from the YouTube site and played it over and over on my mp3 player. I was hooked! Absolutely addicted and completely thrilled with the music!

Soon after, I tried to find out more about Tom Felton and Feltbeats, and I was shocked to find out that the domain name was available. (Interestingly, I found out from Tom later that he had tried to register the domain for himself, but it was taken by a guy named Felt who blogged about rapping. About a month after Tom tried to register it, it expired, and I got it a few weeks later!)

So, I started a little Feltbeats appreciation site, just to post news about Tom’s music. In fact, in the beginning, I had a strict policy that there would be no mention of Harry Potter at all. This was a music site, I said, there are enough Potter sites already! (That policy changed later, after fans demanded we cover Draco Malfoy things and Tom’s other acting ventures as well!)

After a week or so though, I felt I couldn’t do it all by myself. So…

So, who are the people behind Feltbeats.com and how long have you all been fans of Tom Felton?

I really felt that I needed more news and interaction on the site.

So I went around on all the various Tom Felton sites, and found the best, most well-spoken, more hard-core Tom Felton fans out there. These were the true Feltonites who posted everything first, who knew everything about Tom, who had been fans of Tom since he was a kid (unlike myself, who had only been a fan for a year or so and hadn’t even seen The Borrowers or Anna and the King – still haven’t, ack!).

I invited them to become admins, and all of them accepted! I think adding them as admins was one of my best ideas yet, because that meant our site instantly had the latest news, and the forum lit up with interactivity as admins themselves started chatting about Tom.

Later we added two more admins who were really knowledgeable and active (there are now eight of them), and this is the administration team we have at feltbeats.com today.

What can Feltbeats.com offer the fans?

Firstly, Feltbeats.com is a great place to hang out and chat about Tom Felton, his music and Harry Potter. The atmosphere is really light and casual, and in general we’re a witty, easy-going gang. I can’t pinpoint it exactly, but it seems Tom Felton fans have similar personalities and we all click together – no matter how old someone is, no matter where someone lives in the world – we all get along great!

We also cover Tom news to an obsessive, ridiculous degree. We will post just about any news item, just about any photo (except personal photos – we won’t post those unless we have Tom’s permission).

Now that we are in contact with Tom personally, he or his management team give us lots of news about his activities – which has really made us an authoritative source for news about him. Additionally, we’ve been able to ask for his input on various subjects (such as the recent rumor that he had been cast as Riley in the third installment of the Twilight series, “Eclipse“), which of course gives us a lot to post about.

In the long run, what is your main goal with this website and how will Feltbeats.com work in terms of supporting Tom Felton?

When the site first began, the goal was really to have a positive, pro-Tom site where people could get lots of Feltbeats music news.

Nowadays, we’re much more focused on helping spread the news about Tom – in terms of both his music and his acting. We’ve even started the “Feltbeats Army” – which is essentially a marketing street team of hundreds of fans around the world who go on little missions to promote Tom and his projects.

I would love it if more directors and producers in the industry came to understand what a huge star Tom Felton is – he has a HUGE fanbase that is dedicate, loyal and WORLD WIDE. Just by casting Tom in their movie, they gain a ton of exposure for their project and instantly have thousands and thousands of people around the world interested in it. Plus Tom is a great guy and a great actor – so it’s a win-win!

Feltbeats.com seems to have a good relationship with Tom Felton. What is the key to this wonderful relationship you share and what advise would you give fans when it comes to interacting with Tom?

We do have a good relationship, and I think it is mostly because Tom trusts us to act in his best interests. When the site was first founded, I always told the admins (and anyone else on our forums) that we want a positive, professional site so that if one day Tom Felton himself stumbled upon it, he wouldn’t be disgusted by what he saw.

Apparently, it worked – he did visit the site and he liked it enough to respond to an e-mail I wrote him… the rest is history.

As for advice for other fans, I do have some!

Firstly, the best way to interact with Tom is to follow him on Twitter (http://twitter.com/tomfelton). That IS really him, and he does read his replies and often responds to them!

When sending him tweets on Twitter, be classy. Don’t send 500 tweets a day asking for a reply from him or something like that. Just respond casually about things he might be interested in, or things he’s talking about. And definitely be funny! Tom has an amazing sense of humor and he really appreciates witty remarks and clever jokes! Tom has told me that his favorite part of Twitter is seeing all the crazy responses he gets when asking a question.

Lastly, be patient. Though he does read all of his replies, be aware that he gets THOUSANDS of replies every day, and can’t respond to them all! So just keep tweeting, and keep being funny, and he’ll appreciate it!

Thanks, Misha, for being a dedicated Felton supporter and for this interview.

Twitter Mania

Felton isn’t the only who’s a Twitter regular. Other Potter stars are also Tweeting!

Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom) – http://twitter.com/Mattdavelewis

A girl asking for my autograph today told me that she did already have it. Her mother got it for her before she was born. Am I that old? 😦

2:01 AM Jun 13th from web

Oliver Phelps (George Weasley) – http://twitter.com/OliverPhelps

Sidney is my mx5 roadster. (car) I know it’s a little silly naming my car but never mind.

9:11 AM Jun 4th from TwitterFon

James Phelps (Fred Weasley) – http://twitter.com/James_Phelps

The parachute was invented 120 years before the airplane. It was originally intended to save people who had to jump from burning buildings

2:34 AM May 29th from web