Thursday, May 17, 2012

Chow Kit Avengers

Just came back from two movies - local fare Chow Kit and international blockbuster The Avengers.

Dhojee asked me to go and see his movie and since I turned down one of his offers, I decided what the hell. I watched Chow Kit and it was better than I expected.

Yasmin Hani looked like a Yasmin Ahmad stand-in. And I mention her because I believe Chow Kit as one of those movies that are like Yasmin's.

I never really loved Yasmin's movies, but I believe they were very important as it convinced a whole generation of filmmakers that it is possible to do movies that stay true to the story and have minimal studio intervention.

The truth is, the local as well as global film industry, in my opinion, are mostly concerned with only one thing - making money. Everything else takes a backseat. It takes movies like Yasmin's, Kami (the Sudirman one), Chow Kit, Bunohan and the rest to show that there are other types of films that can be made than whatever is popular at the time.

Even so, it was sad to see that less than half of the cinema was filled. The stark reality is that movies are a business and the types of movies that get made are the ones with a lot of audience. If you want smart, well-made movies, vote with your dollar and always go for these films whenever the rare ones gets made. And then pray to God, Science or Eywa, that many other people enjoy the movies you like.

So go watch Chow Kit now, because these movies don't come out too often and when they do, their takings at the office are usually a beating.

Chow Kit has two stories, making it an anthology of sorts. The first is about four kids who live in Chow Kit. Reminiscent of Harmonie Korrine's Ken Park and Kids, as well as The Kite Runner, Hayao Miyazaki's Grave of the Fireflies and the late Sudirman Hj Arshad's Kami - one of the best Malaysian movies to have come out in the past three decades.

Chow Kit I is about the harsh realities faced by the children of Chow Kit who have prostitute mothers, junkie fathers and other asshole adults who exploit them financially, sexually and whatever.

It would have been stronger if the kids manage to do something spectacular, only for their dreams to shatter into pieces of shit later on, but it was depressing enough as it is.

The second feels like a gangster flick, which was okay, but with weaker characterisation. Aileen should have been established earlier and her relationship with the lead dude Ah Kuan could have had a stronger set-up, but it was okay.

I went into the cinema expecting cringe-worthy moments, but they were very few and much too far in between. In essence, Chow Kit is okay. And go watch it before the screenings end this weekend.

Then I watched The Avengers. I had much too high expectations for the movie. It's good, but not great. I wanted more Iron Man, more Giant Man (missing from the movie), Janet Pym (missing), Quicksilver (nada) and Scarlet Witch (zip) and more Black Widow in the nude.

It was all right, but I'd rather watch Iron Man III.

Meanwhile, I am currently infatuated with a girl I met in Sarawak, but being a Stark realist and pseudo-Buddhist means that I have no expectations and subscribe to no desires.

No one can control me except myself.

So that's my roundup. Off to bed.