Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sore Points

If y'all pop over to this here page, you'll see the nominees for the 35th International Emmy Awards. Take a look under "Children & Young People" and you might find something surprising.

Nevermind. Here it is:


The Arena
Mediacorp TV Singapore Pte. Ltd.

The Magic Tree

Australian Children’s Television Foundation / Enjoy Entertainment

Nutty Boy
TVE Brasil / Ministry of Education / Petrobras / Ministry of Culture
Being a co-creator of this show (guess which one - I can't be that obvious), you might think that everyone would be more congratulatory. Unfortunately, the truth is far from it. No one even knows we had anything to do with it.

The creators were not from the department that usually produces shows of this genre. Hence it was given to two executive producers in that department to produce. They were not the ones who came up with the concept, the gameplay format, the rules, and so on. They were not the ones who presented the idea tirelessly, time after time, to people that didn't really believe in it. They were the executors of that project; nothing more, nothing less.

Yet when the show finally went to air, the creators were surprised that their names were not in the credits at all. They found out that their previous boss has said that he didn't need his name on it. But how could he speak for them? they argued. We need some recognition, you know.

And they finally relented and put the three creators a "Concept By" credit that rolled by so fast you could hardly see it. But the executive producers had the gall to place their names on top of the three creators under that credit, when all they came up with was a tacked-on segment that added nothing to the show as a whole.

The creators have received nothing so far for their contributions. No bonus, no profit-sharing, no accolades, no praise, no commendations, no pat on the back, nothing. And definitely no flying to NYC to attend the ceremony. The glory has been taken from right under their noses. Yet they're not surprised. This is how it goes over here.

But we'll see who has the last laugh.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Caution: Lust!

There will be no review or write-up of Ang Lee's 色‧戒 (Lust, Caution) on this website, at least not for the next few months. Why? Well, there's been a real brouhaha in the press lately over the film. More specifically, the version that Singapore audiences are getting, which opened here on Thursday.

See, Lee edited a toned-down version, removing much of the explicit sexuality, for the Mainland Chinese market, which does not have a ratings system. Hence this version is meant for general consumption - meaning your 5 year-old nephew could watch it if he was in China. This is the version that the film's distributors in Singapore, Buena Vista International, have decided to bring in, and it is rated NC-16 here, meaning no one below the age of 16 can be admitted. The original, uncut version would probably have earned a R21 rating (only adults above 21 admitted).

(Yes, we have a stupid, stupid ratings system and authorities that believe that an 18 year-old can use a rifle to kill an enemy during war but isn't mature enough to watch two people fucking.)

While the R21 rating doesn't carry with it the stigma of a Kiss of Death (unlike the NC-17 rating in the U.S.), it does mean many more restrictions in terms of advertising and screening locations. Hence it usually means that box office takings tend to be lower the higher movies are rated.

The reason for BVI's decision is fucking clear: Pure Profit. They're hoping to attract the teenage crowd to see this film. Wait, you may say, this is an arthouse film, with serious, heavy themes pertaining to the human spirit, freedom, love and life itself. Why would teenagers want to watch such a movie? Wouldn't they rather see, oh, Rush Hour 3?

Oh, but this Ang Lee film is different, you see. Because the third wheel in the main cast is Wang Leehom, who just so happens to be a teen pop idol over here in Asia.

Yes. Poor, deluded BVI hopes that teenagers will flock to the movie to see fucking Wang Leehom (not that I don't like the guy; some of his music is pretty good). I can't decide whether to feel sad for their stupidity or feel offended at this massive insult to the rest of the audience. So, what, they think we don't have a brain? They think we're not going to care which version we watch?

The sad thing for most people is, Singapore video stores aren't allowed to carry R21 titles. Maybe if children accidentally watch these, they'll turn into rapists and murderers. Who knows? Anyway, if the typical Singaporean doesn't watch the full version in theatres, there's no way they can get the DVD in local video stores.

Which leaves us with several options:

1. Download it online from some file-sharing site.
2. Buy the pirated DVD in Johor Bahru. All you need is your passport and a couple of bucks.
3. Buy the DVD online when it's released.
4. Get your friends abroad who live in more civilized countries to buy the DVD for you when it's released.

Whatever it is, everyone should boycott the NC-16 version in Singapore theatres. Let the distributors get a big slap in their face and make even less money than they would've if they'd shown the uncut version. That'll teach them to be so fucking greedy. It's a sad state of affairs when I'd rather give my money to a fucking pirate than to them.

I've been looking at forums online where kids in the U.S. are bitching about the show being rated NC-17 over there. Seriously, shut the fuck up. If you're below 17, just buy the DVD at any fucking store or from Amazon. Or, if you're refused, come back a year or two later. No big deal. Look at what kind of idiocy people in other parts of the world are getting before you whine like the little bitch you are.

Monday, October 01, 2007

My Masochistic Day

On September 6, I did something no sane person should ever attempt to do. I don't even know why I did it; perhaps I was feeling guilty about something and subconsciously needed to punish myself. And I dearly hope I never do such a thing again in my life.

I saw Rush Hour 3 and Evan Almighty on the same day.

It was painful, seriously painful. And now I'm reliving the pain again as I list these comparisons between the two, to see which one is the better awful movie.


Number of has-beens in movie:
Rush Hour 3 (RH3) - 2 (Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker)
Evan Almighty (EA) - None
Winner: EA

Number of laughs:
RH3 - less than 5, and all during the outtakes at the end
EA - None
Winner: RH3

Offensive moments:
RH3 - Countless, especially of racial and cultural stereotypes
EA - An extended montage of Steve Carell falling over
Winner: EA

The Black Dude:
RH3 - Chris Tucker
EA - Morgan Freeman
Winner: EA

The Asian Dude:
RH3 - Jackie Chan
EA - None
Winner: RH3

Numerical position in their respective series (and hence degree of whoredom):
RH3 - 3
EA - 2
Winner: EA

Important Messages that are what the movie is ostensibly about (but really, why bother?):
RH3 - Nothing
EA - Like, save the environment, mmkay?
Winner: RH3

What the movie is really about:
RH3 - America rocks! And Brett Ratner spits in your face!
EA - Steve Carell loves a big fat paycheck like anyone else!
Winner: EA

Number of annoying animals:
RH3 - Chris Tucker (1)
EA - Countless, and they come in pairs
Winner: RH3

RH3 - Relatively low
EA - Astronomically high
Winner: RH3 (hence it has a higher laugh-per-dollar rate)

And the final tally is...

Rush Hour 3 with 5, and Evan Almighty with 5 as well.

Yup, just as I thought. They're equally bad.

On second thought, Evan's posters show a little bit more wit than Rush's, which are just plain lazy. So yeah, Evan wins, I suppose. Just barely.

Oh, and if it's reviews you be wanting, Tim has some good ones here and here.