New Entertainment

Cinematic Releases: Violent Night (2022) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 1 hour 34 minutes ago on Entertainment

Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures People tend to have polarizing opinions about traditional Christmas films.  They’re warm, happy hugs to some, and trite, overly cheery drivel to others.  Not all Christmas films are created equal, however.  From Bad Santa to Krampus, filmmakers have chosen to depict Christmas in a variety of unconventional ways to appeal to even the staunchest Christmas film hater.  Director Tommy Wirkola’s Violent Night is yet another of these off-kilter films proving there’s a Christmas film for everyone, and while the Die Hard comparisons are inevitable, it has a personality and charm that is all its own. The film opens in a mostly empty pub on Christmas Eve, where we meet our protagonist whose appetite for booze surpasses his craving for cookies:  Santa Claus (David Harbour).  This isn’t the jolly St. Nick of lore, however — quite the contrary.  He’s a weathered, cantankerous soul who ponders to the bartender if this Christmas will be his last, and after the predicament he finds himself in delivering presents that evening, this may very well be the case.  He visits a wealthy family in the midst of an armed hostage situation, and realizes he’s in danger.  Unluckily for him, his “Christmas magic” is running low and his reindeer abandon him, leaving him to fend for himself.  While mercenaries led by a vicious “Mr. Scrooge” (John Leguizamo) attempt to steal the family’s vast fortune, Santa must fight to stay alive and rescue the family before it’s too late.  Fortunately, this isn’t Santa’s first rodeo and the bad guys start to massively regret being on his “naughty list.” Violent Night has an irreverence about it that’s gritty and amusing, but also manages to scream “Christmas” consistently throughout, and it creates an interesting juxtaposition.  While some films that don’t follow the traditional Christmas film formula treat the festive elements in it as secondary, this one keeps them all at the forefront, even in its most brutal moments.  There are holiday-heavy visual gags aplenty in the film and they all work gloriously.  Traditional Christmas decorations like light-up stars and candy canes are used as makeshift murder weapons in some creatively gory kill scenes, making much of the violence in the film wickedly funny.  There are even scenes that pay homage to Home Alone’s slapstick-infused violence in the not-so-subtlest of ways, and rather than feeling like cheap winks, they seem organic and fun.  Combined with a score that constantly gives nods to classic Christmas songs, it’s impossible to forget this film’s setting, even for a moment. The absurd premise completely works thanks to its strong cast.  David Harbour is an especially indispensable asset — so much so that it’s difficult to imagine anyone else as this Santa.  His line delivery and physicality are perfect as a rough-around-the-edges, cynical hero.  The film even gives Santa a Viking backstory to explain why this beloved icon is so good at kicking ass, and Harbour is entirely convincing as a former barbarian who knows how to skillfully crush skulls with a hammer.  The supporting cast is equally great:  the legendary Beverly D’Angelo plays the ruthless matriarch Gertrude Lightstone who keeps her cool despite her home being invaded, and Edi Patterson is a natural as Gertrude’s selfish, slightly insane daughter Alva.  The despicable members of the Lightstone family are grounded by Gertrude’s son Jason (Alex Hassell) and his separated wife Linda (Alexis Louder), whose daughter together Trudy (Leah Brady) is a force to be reckoned with when the mercenaries try to catch her.  Brady’s scenes with Harbour are especially enjoyable and serve as a catalyst for the audience to see the softer side of this Santa, which in turn gives a bit more dimension to an otherwise fairly straightforward, single-note movie. Violent Night is a fresh, clever take on the unconventional Christmas film.  There is no other that is quite as bloody, but also somehow manages to maintain the Christmas spirit.  It’s nothing deep, but that’s never its intent.  It’s comfortable doing exactly what it does, and does it exceedingly well.  This fast-paced, laugh-out-loud funny action film will keep people entertained throughout, and if they’re in on the joke, chances are very few will leave theaters saying “bah humbug.”—Andrea Riley

Big, Big Christmas Trees in Singapore | December 2022

Posted By ScribblingGeek 9 hours ago on Entertainment

https://www.scribblinggeek.com - The post Big, Big Christmas Trees in Singapore | December 2022 appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.
Nowadays, it is almost customary for Singaporean malls and attractions to display big Christmas trees during the year-end. Here are the biggest, the tallest ones to enjoy!
The post Big, Big Christmas Trees in Singapore | December 2022 appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.

Jack In: William Gibson's Neuromancer Getting TV Series Adaptation From Apple TV

Posted By themoviesleuth 19 hours ago on Entertainment

Cover art from the Brazilian edition of NeuromancerCourtesy: AlephAfter many, many false starts and failed attempts, it appears that William Gibson's genre-defining cyberpunk novel Neuromancer (and possibly the whole Sprawl Trilogy, if things go well) might finally be making it to the screen. It is no exaggeration to say that Gibson's 1984 novel is surely one of the most influential and iconic sci-fi books ever written: one of the founding texts of the cyberpunk genre, the book that gave us the word "cyberspace" (seriously), and an influence on a whole generation of sci-fi media, from Max Headroom to The Matrix. And yet, for reasons fans have never fully understood, it has proven weirdly difficult to adapt to the screen, despite numerous attempts dating back as far as the late-80s. For a while there were many who thought the novel to be unfilmable, due to how much of it is set in Gibson's virtual-reality realm of cyberspace itself, which would have been very hard to realize on-screen before CGI was up to the task (just ask The Lawnmower Man). But that hasn't been an issue for a long time now, and yet every attempt has still fallen through for one reason or another.Now, according to a report broken yesterday by The Illuminerdi (which has not yet been confirmed by the studio, so take this with a grain of salt), Apple TV is finally ending the decades of preproduction hell, and will adapt Neuromancer as a TV series in 2023. According to the report, William Gibson himself will serve as the series' executive producer, while Graham Roland (Jack Reacher, Lost) will serve as showrunner. Miles Teller has allegedly been offered the lead role of strung-out black-market hacker Case. Personally, as a fan of the novel, I question that casting choice - Teller is a great actor, but I have trouble seeing him as the gaunt, world-weary "console cowboy" who seems like a better fit for someone like a Bill Skarsgård or a Riz Ahmed. But still, Teller is a powerhouse actor who is having quite the moment right now after Top Gun: Maverick, and if he is the kind of lead the series is allegedly courting, that is a good sign that this may be the kind of big-budget series that stands a chance of doing justice to Gibson's high-concept universe of The Sprawl. Photo credit: Amanda Edwards/Getty ImagesIt is also a very good sign that Gibson himself is involved as an executive producer - a title which will hopefully be more than honorary, and will hopefully mean that he is on-board to both protect his universe, and to guide how it is updated. Because it definitely will need updating: Neuromancer was written when the internet age was on the horizon but not yet here, and while a lot of its predictions (cyberspace, VR, digital data being the ultimate commodity, etc) were very accurate and prophetic, some were a bit off the mark, and it would be really interesting to see how Gibson might alter the story to work in a 2023 world (which, let's be honest, is a techno-dystopian hellscape in a lot of ways already, except without the cool cyberpunk fashions).The series has not yet cast any of its other leads - crucially, it has not yet cast the female lead: the cybernetically-enhanced assassin Molly, who was cited by The Wachowski Sisters as a direct influence on The Matrix's Trinity. The Illuminerdi report does, however (again, without citing any sources, so take that for what you will), mention that Apple TV is looking to cast Molly as the one carryover character who would continue on to seasons 2 and 3 if the show is successful, which is a major indicator of the studio's intentions. Specifically, this means that they are looking to adapt Neuromancer as a one-season story, and then adapt the two other novels in the Sprawl Trilogy, Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive, as seasons 2 and 3. The trilogy is a loose one: three novels all set in the same world, but not direct sequels to one another in the sense that they don't follow the same characters from one book to the next. Each book has a different ensemble of leads, with characters recurring and popping up across all of them, and Molly is one of the principle ones, and definitely one of the most memorable and iconic characters in Gibson's universe. In addition to the novels, the Sprawl series also includes three short stories, Johnny Mnemonic, Burning Chrome, and New Rose Hotel, so if the series is a success, Apple TV and Graham Roland will have plenty of source material to work with.A previous cinematic portrayal of The Sprawl,from Johnny MnemonicCourtesy: SonyThe Sprawl is a future Earth where governments have largely collapsed and the world is a dystopian network of cities ruled by corporations and crime syndicates; where data is the ultimate currency and people are cybernetically enhanced, in both body and brain. When you die, your consciousness can be uploaded to cyberspace, where you can live (in a manner of speaking) forever as an AI ghost in the machine, and cyberspace is a virtual-reality realm that you jack into via a port in your skull. Against the backdrop of this cyberpunk dystopia, Case is a down-on-his-luck hacker who is just desperate enough to be recruited by Molly and a mysterious man named Armitage for a very high-stakes, and very high-reward, cyber heist and espionage job. But things are not what they seem, and Case and Molly quickly find themselves in over their heads in a labyrinthine plot spanning both the crime and corporate worlds, leading them across the entirety of the Sprawl, not to mention the darkest corners of cyberspace itself. It's a dense novel with a ton of great world-building, and an episodic nature to its structure which gradually adds up to a grander plot. It would be pretty tricky to adapt well as a single film (hence why the only two film adaptations set in Gibson's Sprawl that have actually gotten made are both based on short stories: Johnny Mnemonic and New Rose Hotel), but it would be perfectly suited to a big-budget streaming series.This Neuromancer TV series looks as though it will cement 2022 and 2023 as quite a moment of resurgence for William Gibson and his brand of cyberpunk: Amazon Prime has been quite successful with their series adaptation of another one of Gibson's (non-Sprawl-related) cyberpunk works, The Peripheral, and this year also saw the 25th anniversary black and white re-release of a previous Gibson film adaptation of one of his Sprawl stories, Johnny Mnemonic, which has been undergoing something of a reappraisal from notorious box-office flop to increasingly-appreciated cult classic. If Neuromancer, the quintessential Gibson novel, ever had a serious chance of making it to the screen, this is surely it. Again, if this report pans out, and the project actually makes it to production this time, unlike so many past attempts.We will keep you updated!- Christopher S. JordanShare this article!(function() { var zergnet = document.createElement('script'); zergnet.type = 'text/javascript'; zergnet.async = true; zergnet.src = (document.location.protocol == "https:" ? "https:" : "http:") + '//www.zergnet.com/zerg.js?id=59239'; var znscr = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; znscr.parentNode.insertBefore(zergnet, znscr); })();

Altered Innocence: Hypnosis (2020) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 1 day 13 hours ago on Entertainment

Courtesy of Altered InnocenceIndependent distributor Altered Innocence, recently paired up with Vinegar Syndrome and their boutique releasing blu-ray company as a sublabel, primarily specializes in LGBTQ and coming-of-age films such as The Wild Boys, After Blue (Dirty Paradise) and the restored version of Arrebato.  One of their most recent releases is a subtly beguiling Russian coming-of-age psychological drama from prolific director Valery Todorovskiy, Hypnosis.  A film that doesn’t quite reach the artistic heights of Karen Shakhnazarov’s Courieror the biblically fanatical weathers of Kirill Serebrennikov’s The Student but manages to find its own footing in the snowbank, Hypnosis is a wintery widescreen Moscow-set effort that winds up posing more questions than it answers as its sleepwalking teenage hero tumbles down a mysterious internal rabbit hole. Nightly, teenage lad Misha (Sergey Giro) rolls out of bed in boxers and sleepwalks out of his family apartment into the cold Moscow open air without reason or recollection as he wakes up in strange places.  A brooding, withdrawn boy alienated by his parents who themselves can’t seem to figure out how to curtail their son’s disorder, Misha is administered treatment under the supervision of accomplished hypnotherapist Dr. Volkov (Maksim Sukhanov).  Defiant as ever, Misha claims to be unhypnotizable but nevertheless stays on board warming up to Volkov as a prospective pupil eager to learn the ways of hypnotizing others.  During his time in treatment mingling with other patients he’s struck by a young girl named Polina (Polina Galkina) whom he quickly forms a bond with.  But when she abruptly disappears and Misha tries to find her, his investigation leads him down towards a path where the lines between reality and dream are indecipherable. Loosely based on the director’s own childhood experiences as a 12-year-old sent to renowned Soviet hypnotist Vladimir Raikov to better cope with claustrophobia and co-written with the help of Lubov Mulmenko, Hypnosis while never fully breaking into the terrain of the psychological thriller is nevertheless a confounding slowly burnt psychodrama that’s at once ethereal and somewhat melancholy.  Utilizing the snow-covered chilly Moscow as a backdrop for Misha’s existential loneliness inside a carefully managed system, the film somehow or another transforms Russia’s grandest city into the increasingly paranoid and delusional headspace of the protagonist.  Over the course of the movie we’re deliberately as confused and afraid as the film’s troubled hero trying to figure out what’s happening to him. As aforementioned, this is a lush panoramic 2.35:1 widescreen effort lensed beautifully and occasionally asymmetrically by Jean-Noël Mustonen, capturing the interiors of the apartment complexes within Moscow in subtle shades of grey, green and orange especially during nighttime scenes.  At times the exterior framing of balconies and stairwells are shot in such a way that we feel ourselves being threatened and turning inward with Misha.  One particular scene that catches the eye involves Misha dangling off the edge of a balcony as the doctor tries to talk him down from jumping, shot in such a way that the chances of falling feel overwhelming visually.  Equally striking is the subtle electronic score by Barbarian composer Anna Drubich who has already established herself as one of the premier horror film soundtrack writers and then some.  Performance-wise the cast is fine with first-time actor Sergey Giro imbuing the boy with a Fyodor Dunayevsky youthful disobedience.  The film really catches fire however when it posits Sergey against accomplished and formidable actor Maksim Sukhanov of The Horde.  Intimidating and oversized but possessing a clinical complete control over his patients (and soon us), Sukhanov makes the hypnotist a figure to look up to in wonderment and later some measure of fear when it appears not all is what it seems.More interesting and fascinating than piercing or searing, the quietly unsettling and haunted Hypnosis is at once a personal confession from the director as well as a genre-hybrid of the coming-of-age film and the psychological thriller deep in the heart of a Moscow winter.  Beautifully composed and performed by the ensemble cast, it is a film that asks us to look further inward whose mysterious aura won’t wow all viewers but will indeed leave behind much food for thought.  Todorovskiy is a director to watch for with a unique personal vision of his country of origin while the film boasts icy yet ornate vistas of his home while zeroing in on aspects of his own life rarely if ever dealt with in Russian cinema.--Andrew Kotwicki (function() { var zergnet = document.createElement('script'); zergnet.type = 'text/javascript'; zergnet.async = true; zergnet.src = (document.location.protocol == "https:" ? "https:" : "http:") + '//www.zergnet.com/zerg.js?id=59239'; var znscr = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; znscr.parentNode.insertBefore(zergnet, znscr); })();

Soulful Christmas Medley | 2022 Electone Upload

Posted By ScribblingGeek 2 days ago on Entertainment

https://www.youtube.com - The post Soulful Christmas Medley | 2022 Electone Upload appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.
A Soulful Christmas Medley performed with the Yamaha Electone ELS-02C. Songs: Santa Claus is Comin' to Town, This Christmas, and Oh Happy Day.
The post Soulful Christmas Medley | 2022 Electone Upload appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.

Seasons of Bloom 2022 | Gardens by the Bay

Posted By ScribblingGeek 5 days ago on Entertainment

https://www.scribblinggeek.com - The post Seasons of Bloom 2022 | Gardens by the Bay appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.
Christmas festivities, poinsettias, and more, at Seasons of Bloom, Gardens by the Bay final Flower Dome display for 2022. Seasons of Bloom is the final Flower Dome exhibition for 2022, described in official literature as a tribute to all the flowers Gardens by the Bay has presented over the last ten years. Ongoing from now […]
The post Seasons of Bloom 2022 | Gardens by the Bay appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.

I-PRIMO Flagship Store Opening at ION Orchard

Posted By ScribblingGeek 7 days ago on Entertainment

https://www.scribblinggeek.com - The post I-PRIMO Flagship Store Opening at ION Orchard appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.
Bridal jewellery isn’t something that I usually write about, but I-PRIMO’s flagship store opening at ION Orchard still caught my attention because of its mythology association. There’s a new bridal ring specialist in Singapore, one that came all the way from Japan! One of the largest bridal jewellery chains in Japan, with some 112 stores […]
The post I-PRIMO Flagship Store Opening at ION Orchard appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.

Movie Review – Slumberland

Posted By ScribblingGeek 9 days ago on Entertainment

https://www.scribblinggeek.com - The post Movie Review – Slumberland appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.
Slumberland (film) review. A visual feast if you are in search of colourful escapism, and as long as you can tolerate OTP silliness and a loose plot.
The post Movie Review – Slumberland appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.

Jurassic Nest Food Hall | Gardens by the Bay

Posted By ScribblingGeek 9 days ago on Entertainment

https://www.scribblinggeek.com - The post Jurassic Nest Food Hall | Gardens by the Bay appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.
Enjoying Michelin-starred cuisine at Jurassic Nest Food Hall, Gardens by the Bay's themed dining location located beside the Supertree Grove.
The post Jurassic Nest Food Hall | Gardens by the Bay appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.

Disney-themed Christmas Pop-Ups at 16 CapitaLand Malls

Posted By ScribblingGeek 10 days ago on Entertainment

https://www.scribblinggeek.com - The post Disney-themed Christmas Pop-Ups at 16 CapitaLand Malls appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.
It’s a Disney-themed Christmas at 16 CapitaLand Malls this year-end, with pop-ups and photo booths of favourite Disney characters.
The post Disney-themed Christmas Pop-Ups at 16 CapitaLand Malls appeared first on The Scribbling Geek.