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If there is anything that can get your mood going for romance, it is Valentine’s Day. Admit it, even the most apathetic of you might feel the slightest stirrings when you see and hear that much anticipated day being talked about left and right.

So to satiate those stirrings of yours, I’ve gone ahead and gathered five romantic movies for your viewing pleasure. Nothing quite like a quiet day in watching chick flicks, amirite?

Clueless

If there is a movie that absolutely every teenager (and even adults!) has to watch, it has got to be “Clueless”.

Loosely based on Jane Austen’s beloved classic “Emma”, “Clueless” is jazzed up to modern day Beverly Hills. It centers around the life of Cherilyn “Cher” Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone), who is a kind, if somewhat spoiled, high school girl just a few months shy from 16 years old. Her goal throughout the majority of the film is to play matchmaker and to improve the lives of others- both acts of which lead to hilarious, heart-melting and for some, heartbreaking situations.

So if you’re looking for a light-hearted film that has plenty of laughs and sass in it, then “Clueless” might just be the one for you.

You’ve Got Mail

With Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan as the stars of this, do you really need any other reason to give it a watch? Inspired by the play “Parfumerie” by Miklós László, “You’ve Got Mail” is a story about two business rivals who are unaware that they are involved in an online romance with each other. In real life, there is no love lost between Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan), the owner of an independent children’s bookstore, and Joe Fox (Tom Hanks), a man who belongs to the family that owns a chain of mega bookstores.

In the online world, things cannot be anymore different. The pair hold a mutual affection for each other, and are always looking forward to responses from the other. It is as though it’s a match made in heaven.

Can their love hold true when they learn of each other’s true identities, though? Watch to find out.

13 Going on 30

Undoubtedly one of Jennifer Garner’s best films, “13 Going on 30” is a fun, light film that is so full of heart that you cannot help but to keep watching it. And of course, root for Garner’s character, Jenna Rink.

Jenna Rink is a gawky 13-year-old girl who wants nothing more to be popular. And the only way she can do it is by getting an in with the ruling school clique. In fact, she goes as far as to do their homework to get them to attend her birthday party. Which is always an advisable thing to do, of course.

After an unexpected turn of events that essentially grants Jenna her dearest wish, she wakes up in a gorgeous Fifth Avenue apartment- and finds out that her dream has come true. The only thing? She’s no longer 13, she’s 30. At first, Jenna is baffled, but as she discovers all the gleaming things that await her, she is overjoyed—until she isn’t. Is it possible that what she wished for isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be?

10 Things I Hate About You

The modernisation of William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”, “10 Things I Hate About You” is another one of those films that teenagers should give a watch.

“10 Things I Hate About You” is about two sisters, Kat (Julia Stiles) and Bianca (Larisa Oleynik), who aren’t allowed to date- at least, not until the older of the two does. It is a rule that was set by their overprotective father, Walter (Larry Miller), who believes that due to Kat’s antisocial nature, both of his girls will stay untouched until they graduate- just like he had planned.

But thanks to Cameron James (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a particularly smitten and determined boy who wishes to date Bianca, a chain of events is triggered that eventually leads to the school’s bad boy, Patrick Verona (Heath Ledger), trying to win Kat’s heart. All because he had been paid to do so. It is a recipe for disaster, for sure, but is it possible that a happy ending is in the cards for Patrick and Kat?

Let Me Eat Your Pancreas

And because we need to show Asian films some love too, here is a Japanese one that gained a lot of popularity when it was released last year: “Let Me Eat Your Pancreas”.

Ahh, sounds like a horror film, doesn’t it? Despite its zombie-like title, “Let Me Eat Your Pancreas” is a deceptively beautiful story that will keep you glued to the screen from the beginning to the end. If you don’t believe me, give the following summary a read and if it piques your interest, give it a watch.

“Let Me Eat Your Pancreas” is about the main character and narrator, “I” (Takumi Kitamura & Shun Oguri), and Sakura Yamauchi (Minami Hamabe). The tale begins with the narrator reminiscing his past, where he recalls the memory of a girl, Sakura, he used to know in high school, and how he had gotten to know her. It had all started when he accidentally picked up and read her diary, which details her struggle with a pancreatic disease. And despite being stoic and regarded as stand offish, the lad offered the bright, rambunctious lass support in the only way he knew how: by being there for her. Outside of her own family, he is the only person she has got, after all.

Melissa Kartini
Nuffnang Community Team

If you’re a fan of Dr. Sandra Lee – who is more famously known as Dr. Pimple Popper – then you’re in for a real treat. The doctor, who gained YouTube fame for uploading videos of her popping her patients’ zits, cysts and blackheads, has gotten her very own TV show.

You read that right. Her very own TV show.

From popping zits on YouTube videos to doing the same on television, Dr. Pimple Popper is making strides in the entertainment world. The sole difference now being? Television viewers will get a more in depth look into her world of dermatology.

The TV show is aptly named “This is Zit”. And rather than simply watching her perform extractions, viewers will be afforded a look into her office, her preparations before appointments and even her patients’ background stories. So for those of you who simply can’t stand seeing ginormous zits and cysts being popped in all their liquid glory, the format of “This is Zit” might help mitigate the ick factor.

By helping viewers learn of the patients’ stories and struggles, “This is Zit” has an emotional aspect that draws people in. One cannot help but to watch on to see the conclusion. Will the patients’ troubles be solved? Will they be at peace with themselves? We have to know!

Such is the appeal of “This is Zit”. This TV series follows the story of four patients: Angelina, who has a baseball-sized lipoma under her breast; Delano, a homeless man whose job search is complicated by the growing lump on his back; Carla, who has 50-year-old pilar cysts in her scalp; and Brenda, who has a sizable growth above her eyebrow.

Do you dare watch “This is Zit”? Your favourite popstar awaits.

“This is Zit” premiered on January 3rd. Catch it on TLC!

You can watch her YouTube videos here

Melissa Kartini
Nuffnang Community Team

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  • Genre: Drama/Musical
  • Language: English
  • Starring: Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya

Patience was never my strong suit when I was younger, so the thought of watching a musical always made me grumble with impatience.

“Too much singing, not enough story,” I’d say, and I’d inwardly whinge for the rest of the movie.

I’m older now, and while I’ve gained more patience over the years, this aversion to musical still remains. Yet disgruntled distaste was not the reaction I gave when I first watched the “The Greatest Showman” trailer. Fact of the matter is, I was somewhat intrigued.

But did this ring true as well when I actually sat down to watch the movie?

What is it about?

Without spoiling the movie, one of the central themes of “The Greatest Showman” is its “rags to riches” storyline. Its main character is Phineas Taylor Barnum (Hugh Jackman), a man who rose from nothing. Born dirt poor, Phineas is not unfamiliar to the feeling of being so hungry that he’d have to steal for his own survival, or being so severely looked down upon due to its pitiful rank (the lowest) in society.

Yet through his own hard work, he managed to pull himself out of poverty and earned at least enough money to marry the woman of his dreams.

But then life decides to deal him a bad hand- one that essentially leads him to losing his job and only source of income.

The thing with being dealt a bad hand since young is that those who managed to get through it all, know how to survive. Which is exactly what Phineas does. Resourceful, enthusiastic and driven by his love for his family, he does what he can to ensure that his wife and daughters don’t get put out on the street. Even if it means recruiting the wrongly perceived rejects of society to work for him.

Through trial and error, the Barnum & Bailey Circus is eventually born.

Is it worth a watch?

Yes. I would have to say “yes”. Despite my initial misgivings until learning the genre, I was pleasantly surprised that “The Greatest Showman” strikes a fine balance of storytelling and song, without one ever undermining the other.

Not once did I feel the singing obstruct the story in anyway. If anything, the musical performances complemented it, enhanced it even. A welcome experience, needless to say. It is rare for me to get away from a musical without feeling as though the musical performances had been shoved down my throat.

But here we are.

To further add on to the appeal of “The Greatest Showman” is its portrayal of the stark reality of a time when prejudice against those different from us was especially rife. Especially, because it still does exist. The film does not shy away from this theme, and rightfully so.

These qualities aside, however, the shining stars of “The Greatest Showman” go beyond the fine balance, musical performances and dark themes; the stars are the cast themselves and the story. The chemistry between actors and actresses is palpable, and their acting thrilling. There really is something to be said about actors that are able to skillfully deliver weighted messages through mere looks with the same impact a scene with actual dialogue does.

As for the story… “The Greatest Showman” enjoys a well-structured plot that artfully layers and builds it up without once feeling rushed or cobbled together. Altogether a wonderful film to watch with the family.

“The Greatest Showman” is now in cinemas

Melissa Kartini
Nuffnang Community Team

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  • Genre: General/Family/Humour
  • Language: English
  • Starring: John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Anthony Anderson, Bobby Cannavale, Peyton Manning, Gina Rodriguez, Miguel Ángel Silvestre, David Tennant

Hot on the heels of Disney and Pixar’s “Coco” is “Ferdinand”, yet another movie to add to this year’s list of animated films.

Which certainly isn’t a bad thing, mind you. With the massive popularity animated films have experienced in recent years, we just can’t get enough of this delightful genre! So you can imagine the small smile promotional posters and decorations of “Ferdinand” had managed to draw from the Nuffnang team.

Does this also apply when the film itself is playing on the big screen, though? Well, before we get to that, allow me to explain what this adorabull movie is about.

What is it about?

Based on the children’s book “The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson, “Ferdinand” is about a gentle bull that had the misfortune of being born in a bullfight training center called Casa Del Toro.

Misfortune, because despite being built to fight, the blood of a fighter does not run through his veins. Really, there is nothing that this friendly bull would like better than to sniff and care for flowers all day long. Yet that is a path that has been discouraged by his peers from the very beginning, because bullfighting is all they’ve ever known and all a bull should ever do.

In their minds, a bull is not a bull if it doesn’t fight.

This all changes, however, the day his father doesn’t return from a fight he was selected to go for. Devastated, Ferdinand runs away from the training center, and eventually ends up at a florist’s farm. There, he is adopted by the owner, Juan, and Juan’s daughter, Nina.

Life is idyllic for a time. Ferdinand manages to live the life he has always wanted; he is loved and cared for, and he’s able to appreciate and grow flowers without fear! Alas, all good things must come to an end when he inadvertently gets carted off to Casa Del Toro… Will he be able to avoid fighting again? Or will he give in and mow down opponents like he’s “supposed” to?

Is it worth a watch?

If what you’re looking for is a simple, feel-good movie that you can watch without thinking too much, then “Ferdinand” might just be right up your alley. If you have a child in tow that you’d like to treat to a movie, even better. We’re sure they’d appreciate the film’s brand of adorable, cheeky humour as much as you do too!

Story-wise, “Ferdinand” features a plot that is easy enough to follow, and a cast of vibrant characters that possess strong, distinctive traits. So much so that the message that the film is trying to relay can be picked up with relative ease. Certainly, there isn’t a shadow of a doubt that the producers kept their main target audience in mind, and so structured the story in a way that is easy to understand, complexity shelved.

However, what is especially worthy of praise isn’t all of that– admirable as they are. What is (worthy of praise) is how the story stays true to its original message, from start to finish, no matter how trying or impossible circumstances seem. It’s not a simple task, but “Ferdinand” managed it with what feels like unwavering, staunch belief. A lovely, heartwarming film to watch when you have the time, for sure.

While “Ferdinand” is certainly not going to be one of those films that will rest imprinted in your mind for days, weeks or even months to come, it is still a film that will promise an enjoyable time with your family.

“Ferdinand” is now showing in cinemas

Melissa Kartini
Nuffnang Community Team

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  • Genre: Crime/Thriller
  • Language: Malay
  • Starring: Aeril Zafrel, Siti Saleha, Alvin Wong, Iedil Putra, Dato’ A. Tamimi Siregar, Vanidah Imran, Susan Lankaster, Jo Kukathas, Meor Hashim Manap, Amerul Affendi, Chew Kin Wah

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the local entertainment scene, we suggest that it is about time that you are.

Directed by Razaisyam Rashid, “Mandatori” is yet another literary work by famed novelist, Ramlee Awang Murshid, that has been breathed to life- this time on the television screen.

If you feel as though you’ve heard that name before, there’s a good, solid reason for it; he is the novelist who penned the rich world of “Tombiruo”. With how successfully the film version of “Tombiruo” has done in the box office, there is no denying there are expectations for “Mandatori”.

We at Nuffnang are proud to announce that these expectations are not only met, but exceeded.

Despite possessing a trim collection of 6 episodes, this mini series packs a punch from the get-go. It portrays a dark and serious world that is home to murders, conspiracies and deception. A world that criminal profiler, Inspector Norman (Aeril Zafrel), is unfortunately all too accustomed to. Or is he really?

What is it about?

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“Mandatori” opens with a murder mystery, one that Inspector Norman manages to solve effortlessly. Armed with a keen eye for observation and a rich imagination, his style of unravelling a crime scene is comparable to that of Will Graham from “Hannibal”. Needless to say, his uncanny ability for accurately profiling criminals makes him an invaluable member of the police force, and he is often called upon to help solve cases. –Even after he expresses his desire to leave the job for good, the twisted and the macabre presumably having taken a toll on him.

Ironically, he isn’t quite able to stay away, and is soon sucked into a series of murders that seem to be connected to one another. What is even more surprising is that this new case reopens several crime cases that happened years ago.

But with each investigation he conducts, he is led to yet another murder. People he knows are brutally killed one after another, and the murderer always leaves behind two pieces of evidence- an Inspector Carlos doll and a piece of paper with the words “Case Closed” written on it. These items are always found in the body of the deceased.

Is it worth a watch?

If you are a fan of the crime thriller genre, then by all means. Thanks to the release of “Tombiruo”, confidence in the local filming industry has reignited, and we daresay that the existence of “Mandatori” will only further reassure that newfound confidence.

After all, how could it not? Along with a stellar cast that artfully delivers their scenes, this mini tv series is also solidly backed up by a strong team of seven writers, who – get this – spent a whopping year to perfect the story. Phew. Talk about dedication!

And if that isn’t enough to convince you, then the sheer aesthetic might, shamefully visual creatures that we humans are. Each hour-long episode of “Mandatori” was crafted with care; from the costumes, locations to the camerawork, a lot of attention to detail was given to ensure that the television adaptation would be worthy of Ramlee Awang Murshid’s popular novel.

You can watch “Mandatori” on channel 480 of Astro First Eksklusif starting this 14th December

For just RM19.10 (6% GST included), viewers can watch all 6 episodes over and over within a period of 5 days after the day of purchase

“Mandatori” can also be found on the “on demand” digital platform.

Melissa Kartini
Nuffnang Community Team

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Murder on the Orient Express opens splendidly. Within the first few minutes of the movie, we’re afforded a luscious view of Jerusalem, where our hero and famed detective, Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh), effortlessly solves a sticky matter to do with theft. And he does so with what seems like a simple glance.

Of course, the amazement that follows suit is expected, and Hercule claims that his ability to solve cases so easily has to do with his need for perfection; his attention to detail allows him to pinpoint the root cause of “imperfection”.

Despite his fame and talent, Hercule wishes to rest. And thus, his journey aboard the Orient Express, which he was invited to ride by his friend and director of the train, Bouc, begins.

As far as praises go, there are many to go around for this film.

It is as elegant as it appears in the trailers. It is breathtakingly beautiful, with the gorgeous architecture, backdrops, artfully angled shots and finely tailored costumes making themselves perfectly at home in this setting; there is simply no denying any of these. It is also blessed with a star-studded cast that certainly knows how to deliver their lines with an appropriate toss of their hair or flick of their wrist.

But there is a slight snag to this. Murder of the Orient Express has all of the makings of an excellent, well-rounded film, but perhaps due to a classic case of having a large cast and limited time, the actors and actresses were unable to showcase their full potential.

For instance, Murder on the Orient Express has been graced with the likes of Johnny Depp, Judi Dench and Penelope Cruz, yet the appearances their characters make in the film can be likened to cameos.

It is all too common for certain characters to fall through the cracks when running on limited time, especially when the plot follows the olde whodunnit formula- where the main character takes the time to investigate each and every suspect. This is essentially what the film is in a nutshell: a story that solely focuses on the detective and his attempt in identifying the murderer. 

At least that is what I took away from the film. It is not by any means a terrible production, because it does give your brain a bit of an exercise by making you puzzle over the identity of the killer, but it does leave one wanting. It has all the right ingredients for an excellent movie, but there is a need to create more emotional attachment and depth to the supporting characters. 

That is just one person’s opinion, however. What do you think of the movie? Do you like it or do you not? Leave your thoughts in the Comment section below!

Murder on the Orient Express is now showing in cinemas

 

Melissa Kartini
Nuffnang Community Team

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