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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

MARIGOLD BRIDGE — In Disney•Pixar’s “Coco,” Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) desperately wants to prove his musical talent. But when he strums the guitar of his idol, the late Ernesto de la Cruz, Miguel sets off a mysterious chain of events and finds himself—and his loyal dog Dante—crossing into the Land of the Dead via a breathtaking bridge made of marigold petals. Directed by Lee Unkrich, co-directed by Adrian Molina and produced by Darla K. Anderson, “Coco” opens in theaters Nov. 22, 2017. ©2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

We all know Disney and Pixar as the creators of the beloved family films that make up both our past and present. Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Up, Inside Out, The Incredibles… just to name a few. Now we have Coco to join the fray, and just how welcome this addition is simply cannot be expressed with mere words.

This is especially true when one considers the fact that Pixar’s name faded into the background in recent years. While it still remains as one of the biggest names in the animation industry, it cannot be denied that – save for its just “good” films like Finding Dory – its quality went on a decline for a spell.

Coco successfully breaks this pattern, and reminds us that yes, yes, Pixar is still the King of Animation Studios.

It breaks this pattern in more than one way, however. Coco, with its Mexican setting and characters, is also a turn away from Pixar’s usual collection of white-dominated stories. This is yet another welcome change, as it affords us a peek into another culture and in turn, appreciate it.

Who here has heard of the Mexican holiday Día de Muertos before this film happened? Not many, I’d wager. Unless of course, you’ve watched The Book of Life, but that’s another story for another day.

Back to the subject of Coco, if there is a way to describe the film as a whole, it would have to be that it is a touching, heartwarming tale that will remind you of the importance of family. It does this too, without disregarding the importance of following your dreams. Both themes enjoy a healthy balance; neither is demonised in favour of the other. A feat that Disney and Pixar deserve much applause for.

Moving more onto the plot without risk of spoilers, Coco enjoys well-structured storytelling that is filled with heart at nearly every seam. Be it light, cheeky humour, anger, sadness or happiness, this film is simply emotive. Even the unassuming title is an unexpected punch in the gut.

And as if those weren’t enough to deliver a compelling story, Pixar bestowed Coco with animation that is rich in detail, to the point where every movement of hair, every facial expression and every wave of fabric is filled with life-like vitality. The sheer vibrance of colour is a treat for your senses, and needless to say, the top-notch animation only augments the raw emotion that the tale has already been interwoven with.

But even with all of these fantastic qualities to consider, does Coco have what it takes to face the year end blockbusters head on?

Whatever your say on the matter is, I believe that Pixar has, without a doubt, done it again. Here’s to Pixar and its many films to come.

Coco is now in cinemas

Melissa Kartini
Nuffnang Community Team

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After Superman’s (Henry Cavill) demise, Earth is left vulnerable to the invasion of unwelcome alien critters. This is highlighted when the film opens with Batman’s (Ben Affleck) efforts to capture one of these fear-feeding aliens during the world’s state of mourning for Superman.

Fast-forward and we cotton on to the fact that Batman plans to assemble a group of ragtag superheroes to save the world from these invaders. This is where the story truly begins.

Said team will ultimately (for the first portion of the movie) consist of Batman, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher). Out of all of these, we’re already fairly familiar with Batman and Wonder Woman, thanks to the release of their solo films prior to Justice League.

As for the rest, Justice League serves as an introduction to their characters, with just a glimmer of backstory in the trim two-hour film.

The Flash’s backstory is the most solid of the three, offering a more personal glimpse of his past and present life without coming across as too heavy or obnoxious. Aquaman’s case is more of a touch-and-go kind of deal, while Cyborg’s lack of a backstory leaves him a bit two-dimensional. This slight in storytelling is not aided in any way by the time constraints.

That being said, the cast does play well together. Miller’s The Flash offers all the loving charm and humour in the film, though they do at times seem misplaced due to the film’s more somber atmosphere. Momoa’s Aquaman is badass enough to leave you wanting more, and Gadot’s Wonder Woman? She’s as flawless as usual. She drives the seriousness of the story home, lending gravitas where the rest of the cast cannot.

Thankfully enough, the plot is not difficult to follow. The entire story in a nutshell is that the group has to stop the main villain, Steppenwolf, from getting his hands on the “Mother Boxes” that are hidden away on their planet. Failure to do so would mean the destruction of their world as they know it, which would then be replaced by Steppenwolf’s crystallised home.

Unfortunately, while the film isn’t without its sliver of merits, it could certainly benefit greatly from a bit more direction. There is a sense that the creators tried to cram as much as they possibly could into the film without first considering the most organic way to allow both the characters and the plot to properly develop. The Amazonian battle, Wonder Woman, the Flash and (on a smaller note) the Flash’s amusing friendship with Superman can only do so much for Justice League.

At least that’s what we at Nuffnang think! What about you? What do you think about the movie? Let us know in the Comments section below!

Justice League is now showing in cinemas

Melissa Kartini
Nuffnang Community Team

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It’s that time of year again. The cobwebs are out, the carved pumpkins set on porches, and warty witches and wizards are prowling the streets for candy. –Well, not really. This is Malaysia, after all.

But what we do have on All Hallows’ Eve is a stash of horror movies to gorge on! Especially tonight of all nights. There is something strangely appealing about having a Halloween horror movie night with your friends now, isn’t there?

Rather than relying solely on movies for scares, though, why not up the Fear factor by delving into the “true stories” some of these films were inspired by?

Here are three of the more famous ones:

1. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

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A movie that freaked out millions with its chilling audio alone, The Exorcism of Emily Rose is based on the story of Anneliese Michel, a German lass who began to experience convulsions at the age of 17 in 1968.

According to court findings, she had her first epileptic attack in 1969 and was then diagnosed with Grand Mal epilepsy.

At first, her parents relied on doctors to treat their daughter, but as her condition steadily worsened, they soon became convinced she was possessed. So they gave up on professional medical care and came to solely depend on exorcism for healing.

It was at this point that she had long gone past experiencing mere convulsions.

By then, she suffered devilish hallucinations while praying, heard voices that told her she was damned, saw faces of demons on the people and things around her, and harboured an aversion for religious objects. In addition, she was convinced that she was possessed by several demons including Lucifer, Judas Iscariot, Nero, Cain, Hitler, and Fleischmann.

During this unstable state, she performed a myriad of highly disturbing actions that would make anyone take more than a step back. She ate flies, spiders and coal, bit off the head of a dead bird, crawled under a table and barked like a dog for two days, just to name a few. There’s more, of course, but we’re leaving the more disturbing details to your imagination.

Unfortunately for Anneliese, there was no happy ending at the end of the tunnel. Her life ended from severe dehydration and malnutrition after enduring 67 grueling exorcisms for 10 months.

2. The Conjuring (2013)

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There was some controversy regarding the legitimacy of the “true story” that The Conjuring is based on, and in this day and age, hardly anyone would blame you for being a skeptic.

Just how much truth does the film hold? How much is simply fiction?

This story is based on the experiences of American paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, the latter of which was a consultant for the film.

They claimed that The Conjuring farmhouse (the real one, mind) was haunted by a witch called Bathsheba Sherman.

Born in 1812, Rhode Islander Bathsheba Thayer married Judson Sherman in 1844. During their marriage, Bathsheba took on the role of housewife whilst her husband worked as a farmer. Between the both of them, they had at least one child, though it is possible that they had other children as well.

If they had other children, rumours have it that none of them lived past the age of seven. There are, however, no census records that can confirm these reports. Nonetheless, it was possibly from here that stories of her being a witch began.

Although child deaths weren’t uncommon at the time, Bathsheba was suspected of murder after a baby died while under her care. Whether the child was hers or someone else’s isn’t clear, but the ending was the same: the cause of death was impalement via a large needle at the base of the skull. This consequently caused rumours of her being a witch to spring forth, and she was consequently put on trial.

3. The Exorcist (1973)

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The Exorcist is an adaptation of a novel of the same name, which was inspired by the exorcism of Roland Doe in 1949.

Unlike the previous two accounts, the true identity of the boy in question isn’t known; the name Roland Doe was granted to him to protect his anonymity.

The story supposedly began after the death of Roland’s aunt. Having been introduced to the Ouija board prior to her death, Roland fervently tried to contact her with it after her passing. And wouldn’t you know it, it was then that strange happenings started to occur.

Furniture moved across the room, inanimate objects levitated in the house, scratches of words appeared on the poor boy’s body, vials of holy water smashed to the ground, the works.

All of these incidents were centered around Roland.

Not knowing what else they could do, his parents took him to Catholic priests, who reportedly performed -you guessed it- exorcisms on the lad. These exorcisms could at times turn violent, with one of the most prominent incidents being when Roland slashed one of the priests with a bedspring from the mattress.

Other horrors that occurred during this tumultuous time were the appearances of lacerations resembling words and demonic faces on Roland’s body, and Roland speaking in a guttural voice unlike his own.

In contrast to Anneliese Michel, however, Roland survived these exorcisms.

Not much is known about what happened to him thereafter, but those involved in the event said that Roland went on to live a perfectly normal, happy life. He apparently has no memory of what took place during his possession.

Do you happen to have a horror story of your own to share? Let us know in the Comments section below!

Melissa Kartini
Nuffnang Community Team

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Nuffnang is home to many ambitious, hardworking individuals. So much so that one of them has recently risen to stardom status. The person in question is our man of the hour, Lead Producer of ReelityTV Malaysia, Michael Chen.

A long-time member of the Malaysian Theatre and TV scene, Michael has built up quite the impressive portfolio. Thus far, he has had a hand in acting, producing, fitness instructing, martial arts, singing-songwriting, hosting and emceeing. Phew! With such an exhaustive list, Michael is clearly a force to be reckoned with.

Therefore, it is without a doubt that his extensive experience helped him carry the role of Wong from the locally made blockbuster film, Tombiruo.

We at Nuffnang cannot be prouder of our Lead Producer.

So imagine my excitement when I managed to catch him for an interview one afternoon! Busy bee that he is, he is constantly in and out of the office throughout the week.

How did you come across the role of Wong?

I was recommended to the Casting Director and veteran Malaysian Director, Nasir Jani by my friend, Zurina Ramli. She’s one of the lead Producers. They needed a Chinese actor who could act, fight, potentially do his own stunts and is comfortable speaking Malay on screen. So I was just lucky to know the right people and have the varied skillset!

You are a man of many talents. It must’ve been exhausting juggling multiple jobs and projects at the same time while filming. How did you manage it?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been juggling. I’ve been dabbling in theatre since 2000, when I was still in Form 6. When I was studying law in Uni, I’d be doing acting workshops at night and teaching kickboxing in between all of that. The same thing applied when I started working full-time in different lines from production, marketing and so on. This trend continues till today.

During the toughest period of the Tombiruo shoot, I would be in the Nuffnang office, going for a shoot from 7pm to 7am and then back to the office again at 10am. But the awesome thing about this production was that they were willing to work around my schedule and put most of my shooting times after work or during weekends.

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Did you have to do any special preparations for the role? Did you have to do your own stunts?

There were actually a lot of rehearsals for Tombiruo. Rehearsals were broken down into script reads, character development, fight choreography and stunt preparation. For me personally, I attended most of the script reads and selected character development rehearsals. And yes, I did all my own stunts.

What was it like to play Wong? Do you feel you are similar to him in any way?

Wong is my first time playing an all-out ‘bad guy’ who doesn’t seem to have any moral compass. He’s more of a psychopath in the clinical sense of the word.

I’m very different from him. When playing a character like him, I attach certain personality attributes that I can share with him. For example, Wong is a very driven person and I’m a driven person too.

Tell me an interesting story of what happened while you were on set.

That would have to be the day that I had to shoot a very dangerous stunt. They were going to set me on fire. At the same time, I experienced a personal family tragedy and couldn’t be on location for the shoot. The entire production gave me the time I needed to manage my personal situation and when I arrived on set, they were all extremely understanding. They knew I wasn’t in a good state of mind and that I was also quite afraid of the stunt I was about to engage in.

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At the same time, I was set on fire! How much more interesting can I get?

What have you learnt from your experience on Tombiruo?

One of my biggest takeaways is to never stop trying. The likelihood of an unknown actor like me getting such a pivotal role in a big film like this is very low. Had I allowed that ‘reality’ affect me, I wouldn’t have gone for the audition.

How does it feel to star in such a successful local film?

I don’t think it has actually sunk in yet. At the moment, I’m just really proud to be part of it and thankful that I had the opportunity.

Are you interested in acting in more films? What sort of character do you hope to play next?

Of course. I’ll never stop.

I’m actually quite keen to play more flawed characters. Not necessarily good or bad guys but just flawed like everyone we know in real life.

Did you get to meet Ramlee Awang Murshid himself? What was your impression of him?

Yes, I did. Many times. He was very involved in the movie and was regularly on location.

He’s a very intelligent man and an experienced writer with great characters under his belt. He shared with me that he never allowed any of his bestselling books to be turned into movies over the years because he felt that he didn’t have enough stories yet. His novels are all connected like how the Marvel Cinematic Universe is connected. After 20 years, he finally feels like he has enough stories to start looking into making movies. This shows how much of a visionary he is.

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Is there a chance we’ll see Wong again?

Who knows? The fate of that relies on how well Tombiruo: Penunggu Rimba does in the box office, whether the fans make enough noise to warrant my character coming back and whether the Producers think the same. I hope so!

Tombiruo: Penunggu Rimba is still showing in cinemas!

Written by
Melissa Kartini
Digital Content Writer
melissa.kartini@nuffnang.com

afreeda@netccentric.com
Nuffnang Community Team

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