Pre­quel pre­ten­sions

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - MOVIES - Gi­ant,

Whisky (Uruguay) JA­COBO’S small sock fac­tory is run by his faith­ful and ul­tra-com­pe­tent as­sis­tant Marta.

She has al­ways been there for him and agrees with­out ques­tion when he asks her for a rather un­usual favour — to live with him and pre­tend to be his wife while his brother comes to visit.

With her quiet ef­fi­ciency, Marta takes over, an­tic­i­pat­ing needs Ja­cobo did not con­sider.

Say­ing “whisky” is the equiv­a­lent of say­ing “cheese” to smile for the cam­era. Nei­ther Ja­cobo nor Marta are used to smil­ing.

Marta has down­turned lips and a dour ex­pres­sion, but is not, as she might seem, dis­con­tent with her life. Mean­while, Ja­cobo is a sim­ple, ner­vous man em­bar­rassed to ask for any­thing with­out com­pen­sa­tion, and so used to rou­tine that he never imag­ines there could be a bet­ter way of liv­ing.

He won’t be­lieve any­thing good ever hap­pens and be­cause of this, takes a risk which is, frankly, in­sane. When the re­sult is some­thing so good, it is al­most mirac­u­lous, Ja­cobo’s big­gest re­ward is a sud­den new con­fi­dence with which he might get a bet­ter life.

Even with vir­tu­ally no di­a­logue and lim­ited fa­cial ex­pres­sions, the film is wo­ven into gold by the two leads, An­drés Pa­zos and es­pe­cially, Mirella Pas­cual. n Screen­ing at GSC 1 Utama on Sat at 4.45pm; Mid Val­ley at noon on Sat and Pav­il­ion KL at 2.15pm on Sun. Gi­ant (Uruguay) THE sec­ond of Uruguay’s two en­tries, this film also speaks vol­umes while go­ing easy on the di­a­logue.

Although he is so big Jara gets bul­lied by smaller men.

His job as a se­cu­rity guard is strictly non-phys­i­cal. His shift is spent locked in a lit­tle room, keep­ing an eye on the se­cu­rity cam­eras be­tween read­ing, do­ing cross­words, and some­times, sleep­ing at his post.

Shy and un­am­bi­tious, this suits Jara just fine un­til one day, his eye is drawn to one of the new floor clean­ers.

Now, he can’t pull his eyes from the screen and soon just ob­serv­ing her dur­ing work hours is not enough. With no cam­eras to fol­low Ju­lia out­side of work, Jara takes to fol­low­ing her him­self.

Ju­lia is clue­less, which is lucky be­cause Jara is a ter­ri­ble stalker; less be­cause he is head and shoul­ders above the crowd, but be­cause he is in­cred­i­bly clumsy when ner­vous.

Nor is the stalk­ing ever creepy be­cause Jara is just a huge puppy, whose in­fat­u­a­tion inspires him to be some­one Ju­lia might no­tice.

Se­cretly, he per­forms small acts of chivalry and leaves her anony­mous gifts. The more he changes for her, the harder it is for Jara to re­main in the back­ground, or to keep out of Ju­lia’s life, but this is a sweet ro­man­tic com­edy, so you are promised a warm and fuzzy end­ing. n Screen­ing at Pav­il­ion KL at 5.45pm on Sun and Mid Val­ley at 4.45pm on Sun. Daw­son, Is­land 10 (Chile) EV­ERY film fes­ti­val should have at least one en­try that re­quires its au­di­ence to have enough courage to stare ugly truths in the face. Daw­son, Is­land 10 is one such film.

Daw­son, an is­land off the coast of Chile, houses a con­cen­tra­tion camp where cabi­net mem­bers were sent af­ter the demo­crat­i­cally-elected com­mu­nist govern­ment was over­thrown.

Con­cen­tra­tion camps are a study in how we cope with in­hu­man­ity. With their names re­placed by numbers, pris­on­ers strug­gle to keep any­thing that re­minds them of who they are.

One of the pris­on­ers wears his suit and an im­pec­ca­bly knot­ted tie. When asked by a guard what is the point of this, the pris­oner haugh­tily as­sures him that in this place, wear­ing a tie is the least of his in­con­ve­niences.

If pris­on­ers sur­vive by re­mind­ing them­selves to be hu­man, guards en­joy the il­lu­sion of strength for the cru­el­ties they can im­pose.

Sadists thrive here, spend their time de­vis­ing twisted ways to break a fel­low man’s spirit and rise swiftly to the top. Guards who do not start out as be­ing nat­u­rally cruel find they can only cope by forc­ing them­selves to hate the pris­on­ers.

There is no room for a gen­uinely de­cent per­son in the ranks. A young guard pays dearly when he is un­able to be­come the mon­ster he is asked to be. Daw­son, Is­land 10 is not easy to watch, but it is un­for­get­table. n Screen­ing at GSC 1 Utama on Sun at 2.15pm; Mid Val­ley at noon on Sun and Pav­il­ion KL at 3.30pm on Sat. El Es­tu­di­ante (Mex­ico) A DIG­NI­FIED older gen­tle­man en­ters a noisy univer­sity class­room. At once, the stu­dents quiet down and take their seats, star­ing at him ex­pec­tantly, wait­ing for him to start teach­ing. Smil­ing apolo­get­i­cally, he po­litely asks for per­mis­sion to sit down in one of the empty seats. He is their new class­mate, Chano, a man re­tired from work, but not ready to re­tire from ad­ven­ture.

De­lighted to be in this new environment, Chano en­joys ob­serv­ing this gen­er­a­tion’s be­hav­iour and lan­guage, like an en­thu­si­as­tic an­thro­pol­o­gist.

How­ever, things are not quite as easy when he is re­quired to par­tic­i­pate. If, at first, class­mates help or talk to him out of pity, they start to see that Chano holds se­crets they long to pos­sess.

Through their friend­ship with Chano, they be­gin to shed the pro­tec­tive cyn­i­cism that they be­lieve makes them cool.

Though the di­a­logue and act­ing won’t win any awards, there are lovely mo­ments and, yes, lessons in El Es­tu­di­ante which make it worth watch­ing. Bring tis­sues. n Screen­ing at GSC Pav­il­ion KL on Sat at 1.30pm and 7.30pm; and on Sun at noon.

The Thing

NOW, don’t get con­fused. This movie is ac­tu­ally a pre­quel to The Thing (1982), not a re­make as you might think.

The 1982 John Car­pen­ter movie, which in­ci­den­tally is a re­make of The Thing From An­other World (1951), set the story in an Amer­i­can Antarc­tica re­search sta­tion, but showed that the hu­man-repli­cat­ing en­emy alien was pre­vi­ously dis­cov­ered by a Nor­we­gian re­search team.

This pre­quel shows how the alien was dis­cov­ered, and how it wreaked havoc at the Nor­we­gian re­search sta­tion be­fore reach­ing the Amer­i­can one.

Con­sid­er­ing that this is, af­ter all, a Hol­ly­wood film, view­ers shouldn’t be sur­prised that the hero of the movie is ac­tu­ally an Amer­i­can.

But à la Alien’s Ri­p­ley, it is a she — pa­le­on­tol­ogy grad­u­ate stu­dent Kate Lloyd (Mary El­iz­a­beth Win­stead), who has been re­cruited by Nor­we­gian sci­en­tist Dr San­der Halvor­son (Ul­rich Thom­sen) to ex­am­ine some strange re­mains un­cov­ered in Antarc­tica.

How­ever, kudos to the pro­duc­ers for ac­tu­ally us­ing Nor­we­gian ac­tors to por­tray the Nor­we­gian mem­bers of the re­search team.

I par­tic­u­larly liked the char­ac­ter Lars (Jør­gen Langhelle), the only mem­ber of the team who doesn’t speak English.

As I didn’t watch the orig­i­nal movie star­ring Kurt Rus­sell, I can’t of­fer a com­par­i­son to the sci-fi hor­ror cult favourite.

But, I thought that the alien in this movie looked re­ally good, es­pe­cially the part-hu­man, part-alien hy­brid. If some of it looks fa­mil­iar, it might be be­cause the vis­ual ef­fects team here were also be­hind the aliens in District 9 (2009).

So, will this also be a cult favourite?

Not, in my opinion. It sim­ply doesn’t suf­fi­ciently build up the sense of para­noia and claus­tro­pho­bia that the 1982 film is known for.

This pre­quel is a watch­able movie, but quite for­get­table af­ter you leave the cinema. So, rec­om­mended only if you want to catch a movie – any movie – on your weekly mall trip. – Tan Shiow Chin ( HHHII)

What’s Your Num­ber?

IF there’s one rea­son to catch this

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.