‘Star Wars: Last Jedi’ reaps US$105m in Friday opening

Actors Andy Serkis and Lorraine Ashbourne pose for photographers as they arrive for the European Premiere of ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’, at the Royal Albert Hall in central London December 13, 2017. — Reuters picActors Andy Serkis and Lorraine Ashbourne pose for photographers as they arrive for the European Premiere of ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’, at the Royal Albert Hall in central London December 13, 2017. — Reuters picNEW YORK, Dec 17 — Walt Disney Co’s latest Star Wars film is on track to post the second-biggest box office one-day takings on record, behind only its predecessor in the space saga.

Sales for The Last Jedi were estimated at US$104.8 million (RM427.53 million) on Friday, Disney said in an emailed statement. That would make it just the second film to pass US$100 million in a single day behind The Force Awakens.

The earlier movie holds the record for single-day revenue thanks to pent-up demand, since it was the first film in the series in a decade.

The Last Jedi has been opening worldwide this week with the exception of China, where it debuts Jan 5. The takings are ahead of Disney’s expectations: It initially estimated the movie would reap US$99 million to US$104 million on Friday.

In a previous forecast, Disney expected the new film to rake in US$195 million to US$215 million in its first three days. The Force Awakens holds the current record for opening-weekend sales outside the US with US$281 million. — Bloomberg

‘Saya Menangis Terbayangkan Anak’- Viral Suami Bunuh, Kerat & Bakar Isteri Kerana Didesak Beli Kereta, Ini Penjelasannya

Serantau

Semalam viral di sosial media mengenai kes pembunuhan suami keatas isterinya yang terjadi di Indonesia. Semuanya berpunca kerana si isteri sering mendesak suami supaya dapatkan sebuah kereta baru. Kejadian ini telah berlaku pada Isnin minggu lalu, semuanya bermula dengan pergaduhan kecil sehingga berlanjutan ke aksi kekasaran.

Suami, Muhammad Kholil telah mendakwa dia dicekik terlebih dahulu oleh isterinya. Lalu dia membalas dengan memukul leher si isteri sebanyak 2 kali sehingga tidak sedarkan diri. Ini penjelasan dari Kholil.

Suspek, Muhammad Kholil membuat pengakuan kepada pihak berkuasa selepas didapati bersalah membunuh, mengerat dan membakar mayat isterunya dalam satu kejadian yang sangat tragis berlaku di Karawang, Jawa Barat, Indonesia.

Semuanya gara-gara isteri (Siti Saadah) selalu mendesak ingin kan kereta baharu. Kholil memberitahu di saat dia membunuh Siti, dia membayangkan wajah anak mereka yang baru berusia dua tahun.

Kata Kholil kepada Pesuruhjaya Polis Karawang, Rano Hadianto;

Sewaktu saya mengerat tubuh Siti, saya hanya teringat anak. Saya menangis terbayangkan anak.

Tambah Kholil, anaknya kini dalam jagaan orang tuanya di Bogor. Dalam kejadian pembunuhan kejam itu, Kholil bertengkar mulut dengan Siti sehingga lah berlaku aksi kekerasan.

Kholil mendakwa dia dicekik dan selepas itu membalas dengan memukul pada bahagian leher Siti sebanyak dua kali sehingga tidak sedarkan diri.

Terkejut dengan situasi itu, Kholil memeriksa nafas serta denyutan jantung Siti, namun semuanya sudah terlambat.

Saya bingung, lalu saya tutup mulutnya menggunakan pita pelekat.

Sehari selepas kejadian, Kholil ambil keputusan untuk mengerat tubuh isterinya kepada tiga bahagian, iaitu kepala, badan dan kaki- menggunakan golok.

Selepas itu dia membuang kepala dan kaki Siti ke daerah Tegalwuru. Manakala bahagian badan Siti pula dibuang ke Desa Ciranggon. Risau keratan mayat isterinya ditemui orang ramai, Kholil kembali pada keesokan harinya untuk membakar bahagian tubuh badan yang telah dikerat.

Sumber: Astro Awani

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Oscar Isaac in talks to play ‘Addams Family’ patriarch

Oscar Isaac is a deadringer for Raul Julia, who played Gomez Addams in the last film — AFP picOscar Isaac is a deadringer for Raul Julia, who played Gomez Addams in the last film — AFP picLOS ANGELES, Dec 16 — It looks like fans might get their wish to have Oscar Isaac play Gomez Addams. The actor is apparently in talks to play the character in an animated feature film, reports EW.

Isaac has long been a fan favourite for the role, what with his uncanny resemblance to Raul Julia, who played the Addams patriarch in the last film.

Onboard to direct is Sausage Party’s Conrad Vernon. No news, however, on who might be playing the other roles or when the film would debut. Since casting has only just started, don’t expect it out earlier than 2019.

Malaysia’s ‘BoBoiBoy’ series goes to China and India markets

With the support from MDEC and WebTVAsia, the local company has sealed an exclusive acquisition deal with China’s Tencent Video. — TheHive.AsiaWith the support from MDEC and WebTVAsia, the local company has sealed an exclusive acquisition deal with China’s Tencent Video. — TheHive.AsiaKUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 —Local animation company, Monsta, has secured a deal to bring over its hit animation 3D series BoBoiBoy to both China and India.

With the support from MDEC and WebTVAsia, the local company has sealed an exclusive acquisition deal with China’s Tencent Video, the dominant video streaming platform with over 457 million monthly active users, to bring BoboiBoy into the China market.

Nizam Razak, CEO of Monsta, said, “It has always been our dream to export not only our content but also our Malaysian culture to the world. Now this dream is a reality as millions of viewers from across the world are enjoying our animated shows with our Malaysian identity.”

The acquisition deal is worth seven figures in renminbi (RMB), and WebTVAsia will act as the distribution and localisation partner for the animation series.

All three seasons of the BoboiBoy TV series as well as its feature film BoBoiBoy The Movie will be fully dubbed into the mainland Mandarin language.

“It is a major breakthrough for a top Malaysian animation IP to enter China, one of the world’s biggest markets with a highly popular video platform like Tencent. As a Malaysian company ourselves, we are proud to bridge this connection and look forward to a successful partnership in years to come,” said Fred Chong, Group CEO of WebTVAsia.

Meanwhile, Monsta has also announced its acquisition deal with Disney Channel India to broadcast the series and movie to the whole Indian sub-continent, which includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Seychelles, and Sri Lanka.

In the region, BoboiBoy will be shown in four languages including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and English.

Apart from international partnerships, Monsta has also acquired a merchandising deal with Japan’s Takara Tomy to produce the BoBoiBoy Galaxy TOMICA toy series which was released to the Malaysian market this year, and has also partnered with Gameloft to produce BoBoiBoy Galaxy Run, a mobile game on both Android and iOS.

BoboiBoy is a series about a boy and his friends who gained super powers from an alien robot and they must now use it to defend earth from alien threats who aim to conquer the Earth in the hunt for cocoa beans.

Next year will mark Monsta’s ten years anniversary, and the company has announced that the second BoboiBoy movie will be released in 2019, featuring two new superheroes.

With the release of BoboiBoy in China and India, Monsta hopes that the brand will become more popular with kids internationally and open up new opportunities for the Malaysian animation industry. — TheHive.Asia

Ed Sheeran duets with Andrea Bocelli (VIDEO)

LOS ANGELES, Dec 16 — British star Ed Sheeran joins forces with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli on a new orchestral version of his hit song Perfect.

Ed Sheeran's recent duet with Beyonce hit the top of the Billboard charts. — AFP picEd Sheeran’s recent duet with Beyonce hit the top of the Billboard charts. — AFP picA video shared on YouTube shows the two artists recording their Perfect Symphony duet in the studio.

In the first part of the track, the Shape Of You star can be heard singing the original lyrics in English. Andrea Bocelli then takes over and is joined by Ed Sheeran singing some lines in Italian.

Perfect features on Ed Sheeran’s latest album, “Divide,” released earlier this year.

The singer recently released another Perfect duet with singer Beyoncé. — AFP-Relaxnews

‘In the Fade’ star Diane Kruger on her real-life agony

Actress Diane Kruger was filming 'In the Fade' — Fatih Akin’s German thriller about a woman who seeks revenge on the neo-Nazis who killed her husband and son — when she was told her stepfather had died. — Reuters picActress Diane Kruger was filming ‘In the Fade’ — Fatih Akin’s German thriller about a woman who seeks revenge on the neo-Nazis who killed her husband and son — when she was told her stepfather had died. — Reuters picLOS ANGELES, Dec 16 — It is the most intense, critically-acclaimed role of her career, but Diane Kruger hardly had to act at all to play a grief-stricken woman robbed of her family in a bombing.

Kruger was filming In the Fade — Fatih Akin’s German thriller about a woman who seeks revenge on the neo-Nazis who killed her husband and son — when she was told her stepfather had died.

Wolfgang Bieneck — her mother’s longtime partner since Kruger’s parents divorced when she was a teenager — had been a crucial part of her life, often pictured with her on the red carpet. She channeled her grief into the role.

“I felt like I was drowning in sorrow and grief. It just felt like there was no way out, ever,” the German-born 41-year-old, best known for blockbusters such as Troy and Inglourious Basterds, told AFP.

In the Fade was filmed chronologically, allowing Kruger to tap into her character’s fluctuating state of mind, and her own fraught emotions were heightened by visiting grieving relatives of real-life murder victims.

“I never felt like that tension, those feelings, like I could push them aside at night, or on weekends,” Kruger told said in an interview at the plush Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills.

Kruger’s work as the tattooed, drug-taking Katja has earned her critical acclaim and the best actress award at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

On Monday, the movie was nominated for best foreign language film at the Golden Globes, and three days later it was named among nine overseas films advancing to the next round of voting in the Oscars.

‘Dream director’

Kruger was on the Cannes jury in 2012 when she met Akin, an acclaimed German-Turkish auteur known for hits such as Head On and Edge of Heaven, at a beach party.

“He was definitely my dream director, I’d seen all of his movies. I went up to him and said, ‘If you ever have anything, please remember me.’ It took five years but he did,” she said.

Kruger moved to Hamburg a few months before shooting, contributing to the casting process and meeting two dozen people who had lost a loved one, mostly families of murder victims, in special workshops.

“It was an experience that I didn’t quite understand when I first started going there — how much it would affect me and my personal life,” she recalled.

“As the months went by — I think I went for about six months leading up to shooting — it’s even hard to describe the horror, desperation, loss, anger, the rage that people feel.”

Kruger says she would feel intrusive at first probing grieving relatives for details about their experiences, but soon learned she needed simply to “sit there and listen and just observe, and allow myself to feel.”

Kruger, born Diane Heidkrueger in what was then West Germany, left home as a teenager for Paris, quickly landing catwalk jobs for Marc Jacobs and Dolce and Gabbana and print ad campaigns for Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel.

Hollywood beckoned, and she got her break as Helen in Wolfgang Petersen’s 2004 swords-and-sandals epic Troy co-starring with Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom.

 ‘Intimacy’

Kruger went on to star as a German actress turned Allied spy in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, winning plaudits for her channelling of Marlene Dietrich for the role.

Her diverse resume includes roles in time-travel adventure “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” and as the wife of a South African prison guard who befriends Nelson Mandela in Goodbye Bafana.

She played a US homicide cop in the FX series The Bridge and has demonstrated her French language skills in films such as Benoit Jacquot’s erotically-charged historical epic Farewell, My Queen.

Kruger saw In the Fade — her first role in her native German — alone in a screening room and again 10 days later at the Cannes world premiere, an experience she describes as “overwhelming.”

“I was really, really stressed out and it’s my first really big starring role. I’m in every frame of the film, so if people didn’t like it that was definitely on me,” Kruger said.

The actress says she felt “a real sense of connection” with the audience, however.

“There are plenty of movies about bombs and terrorists, but it was the intimacy of this film, the small details that grief and death bring into one’s life, that I found so moving and emotional,” she said.

“I believe it’s what connects this film to a global audience, because we can all identify with that.”

Magnolia Pictures is giving In the Fade an awards-qualifying run at select US theatres this month and a nationwide rollout next year. — AFP

Film about poor kids at Disney’s gates is fairy tale hit

Mela Murder, Sean Baker, Bria Vinaite, Brooklynn Prince, Christopher Rivera, Willem Dafoe and Valeria Cotto attend The 55th New York Film Festival — ‘The Florida Project’ in New York October 1, 2017. — AFP picMela Murder, Sean Baker, Bria Vinaite, Brooklynn Prince, Christopher Rivera, Willem Dafoe and Valeria Cotto attend The 55th New York Film Festival — ‘The Florida Project’ in New York October 1, 2017. — AFP pic

PARIS, Dec 16 — It is already the fairy tale of this year’s Oscars race: A little film about homeless children living in the shadow of Walt Disney World in Florida that threatens to turn the tables on the big-budget favourites.

Director Sean Baker, who shot his last film on an iPhone, has scored a surprise hit with a gritty yet heartwarming tale, The Florida Project.

It has already been showered with prizes by US critics, usually reliable pointers for the Oscars, and has made the lists for best film of the year on both sides of the Atlantic.

Not bad for a movie that no one initially wanted to back and whose rookie lead actor Baker found on Instagram.

Driven by the remarkable performances he drew from Bria Vinaite as a tattooed single mother living hand-to-mouth in a motel with her seven-year-old daughter (Brooklynn Prince), the film has built a head of steam since it premiered at the Cannes film festival in May.

“I am happy for my actors,” Baker told AFP, “because they deserve it, but I try not to take anything too seriously.” 

“It is not why I made the film,” said the director, who was partly inspired by the rascally spirit of the “Our Gang” street kid comedy films, which were hugely popular during the Great Depression of the 1930s. 

Baker went to live in a budget hotel along the Kissimmee Strip that leads from Disney World to see for himself how people struggle to make ends meet within sight of the theme park that bills itself as “The Happiest Place on Earth”.

Other side of American Dream

“I am drawn to these kind of stories, the other side of the American Dream — those that are left behind,” Baker said. 

“You have this population living in budget hotels underneath signs trying to sell a dream to tourists, yet the people living there cannot afford the things being pushed into their face.”

In this lurid landscape of gun shops, ice cream parlours and chain restaurants, the film’s child heroes play, hustle and cause havoc, frequently testing the patience of the motel’s long-suffering manager, played by Willem Dafoe.

Baker shot the film in almost a documentary style at the bright purple Magic Castle motel in Kissimmee, using mostly amateur actors, the hotel’s residents and passing tourists as extras, even giving some of them small speaking parts.

“I wanted a real environment and I wanted the community to be involved,” he said.

Baker insisted that his child stars also came from Florida, and even found one — the remarkable Valeria Cotto, then five — in a nearby Target superstore.

“I gave my card to her mother and I remember the look on her face. She obviously was very suspicious because my cards have my dogs on them. I will have to change that,” he laughed.

Baker, 46, had never worked with children before — “it was a long and patient process” — yet managed to weave tough adult themes into the story.

Electrifying chemistry

“We see it almost through the viewpoint of a child. Most of the adult themes are off camera. There’s a degree of candy coating to everything,” Baker said.

Like his acclaimed breakthrough movie Tangerine, a strangely life-affirming portrait of a transgender sex worker which he shot on a phone, The Florida Project has been praised for the subtlety of its storytelling.

Its authentic feel had one US journalist asking Baker “how I got Willem Dafoe to be in my documentary.”

First he wanted to cast Britney Spears as Halley, the wayward but loving mother — little more than a child herself — attempting to live by her wits alone.

But as time went on the idea of someone so rich and famous playing someone trapped in poverty began to “feel weird”.

Then he found Lithuanian-born Vinaite on Instagram and brought her to Florida, and then shot her and the children horsing around the motel on his iPhone.

It was there the electrifying chemistry between her and Brooklynn Prince was born.

“One day Brooklynn sat on her lap and they sang some top 20 song that I had never heard of and I thought, This is perfect!” the director said.

Prince, who was only six when the film was made, is now being tipped for an Oscar nod as best supporting actress.

Baker described her as “wonderful”, improvising one of the film’s funniest lines herself.

With “a steady, very well-rounded family” behind her, he said she was revelling in the buzz of its pre-Oscars publicity tour.

“It is usually the adults who are the tired ones, saying, ‘Can we just go home?’” — AFP