Director Tan Seng Kiat deftly takes us on the harrowing journey of Ah Qiang (Jack Tan in a career-defining role). After his six-year-old sister was killed in an accident, Ah Qiang desperately needs money to claim her body. However, an unkind society stares back at him and makes his already-difficult life harder. Shuttle Life is an important, revealing social commentary about the lives of the urban poor in Malaysia.
At times, Shuttle Life also feels like a much-needed cathartic release because it validates the frustrations you feel towards certain aspects in life that you can’t control.
Not all heroes wear capes. Director Eric Ong shines the spotlight on a teacher who is dedicated to making her students believe that they can achieve success if they try hard enough.
This movie also proves that not all our modern youth is social media-obssesed. In the rural areas where their stories mostly go untold, there are heroes who step up to make lives better for their loved ones. You’ll definitely be able to relate to some of them in Adiwiraku.
You Mean The World To Me
Multi-faceted Penang serves as a stunning backdrop to this poetic and heartbreaking family drama. In You Mean The World To Me, we watch a boy grow up in a family that is all about maintaining a stable appearance. Director Saw Teong Hin carefully peels away the veneer for us to see cracks on disillusionment, suicidal thoughts and repressed desires.
But through it all, what prevailed is an unforgettable story about sacrifice.
By My Side
When Faye, played by Marianne Tan, breaks up with her beau over the phone, you can’t help but feel like you’ve gotten your heart broken too. There is a huge sense of optimism riding on this story about heartbreak. Maybe it’s in the way director Reuben Kang presented this coming-of-age story with a pleasing warm tone throughout the movie.
Finally, we get a local heroine who is not waiting to be rescued by a rich man. By My Side is welcomed respite for the weary.
Abang Long Fadil 2
Director Syafiq Yusof delivers a highly-entertaining action comedy where Zizan Razak plays a jobless man who has to keep up with his lies. There’s a loser to root for, memorable baddies (from Wak Doyok and A. Galak to comedian Achey’s surprising turn as a villain) and Syamsul Yusof as a cop who embraced his sensitive side. The special effects and explosive action sequences are also commendable.
It’s better when the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously and pokes fun at Malaysian pop culture.
This has to be the banner year for Jack Tan. While he has been active in the entertainment scene for years – as one half of the pop duo Thomas Jack and appeared in various TV dramas – Tan’s stunning performance in the tearjerker Shuttle Life has made him one of the hottest local actors in the industry.
He held his own opposite award-winning veteran star Sylvia Chang, and this didn’t go unnoticed. The actor has picked up acting nods at several international film festivals for his work. – Gordon Kho