[This article was originally published at Star2.com]
There were plenty of local box-office duds this year. But within them were a sliver of hope. One of which was a buddy cop movie that set a whole new box-office standard for Malaysian films.
Then there were a few gems that proved that the best way to drive the local film industry is through great storytelling.
On paper, Polis Evo has a very predictable plot – two cops with opposing personalities have to overcome their differences and work together to solve a case.
Typical buddy cop movies like Rush Hour and Bad Boys come to mind when you read a story like that.
However, Polis Evo – directed by Ghaz Abu Bakar – comes across as a fresh film thanks to a number of factors. These include its setting in a sunny Terengganu, well-executed action scenes and strong performances by the Shaheizy Sam-Zizan Razak pair. All of these allowed Polis Evo to deliver an entertaining Malaysian action comedy flick like no other.
Well, viewers definitely loved it – Polis Evo set the record for highest-grossing local movie ever with a collection of RM17.47mil.
The success shows that Malaysian moviegoers have not given up on local movies. They are just waiting for a well-made feature with a local-flavoured approach on storytelling to come along.
“One of the most engaging action-packed Malay movie in the history of Malaysia film industry. Comparable to some Hollywood Blockbuster Action movies.” ~ MalaysianStudent.com
Based on your experiences in life, evil comes in all shapes and sizes.
In the film Jagat, evil is an uncaring, unforgiving society that is deeply rooted in its own rigid ways of life. It has enough ammunition to make a child forsake his true potential in favour of something he is not meant to do.
It can also make grown men cry and resort to despicable behaviour just to make a living.
Jagat, a feature film debut from Shanjhey Kumar Perumal, is a truly unforgettable emotionally-engaging film that will leave you breathless. It is also a stunning lesson in restraint as the feeling of anger is left simmering until it comes to an explosive blow at the end.
Jagat makes you wonder why we continue to allow evil to persist in our society today.
“An eye-opening reminder to all of us on what we can change about our country, our society, and ourselves!” – MalaysianStudent.com
This romantic comedy from Australian director Virgina Kennedy could have fared better at the local box-office if it was marketed differently.
Discerning viewers might have brushed it off because it was presented as a movie about a kampung girl who signs a contract with a rich man to become his pretend girlfriend.
Hence the assumptions that the movie might be a copy of Fifty Shades Of Grey.
But there’s more to Girlfriend Kontrak than that. It features a heroine (Risteena Munim) who agrees to help a rich man (played by Keith Foo) weather bad press and in return, he promises to save her kampung’s firefly habitat. Ultimately, it’s really the girl who saves the day.
Girlfriend Kontrak is a modern Cinderella story with a lot of heart and humour.
“A brave and “not-so-cliché cliché” Malaysian romantic story.” ~MalaysianStudent.com
Now who doesn’t love a good mystery? Director Syafiq Yusof tells the story of the reputedly-haunted Villa Nabila in Johor Baru in his own way.
The movie starts out as a documentary featuring two independent paranormal investigators curious to know why Villa Nabila is still standing despite notices by authorities to tear the property down.
They meet with construction workers involved in the project and some of them agree to tell their stories under the condition of anonymity.
Then the film shifts into a horrifying fictional re-telling of an eyewitness account.
Villa Nabila is all about understatement, proving that what you don’t see on screen is scarier than anything.
“A surreal and adrenaline inducing Malaysian made thriller!” – MalaysianStudent.com
My Papa Rich
Money can’t buy happiness. Director Ryon Lee proves this age-old adage in his comedic Chinese New Year fare about a poor, lonely father who gets the chance to be a millionaire for a month.
He gets his children to come home and visit him for the first time in many years. However, things began to unravel as they try to find out the source behind dad’s mysterious windfall.
My Papa Rich grossed over RM3mil at the local box-office, making it the second highest-grossing Malaysian movie of the year.
Actor Wang Lei gives a heartfelt performance as a dad who really just wants to buy more time with his children.