Monday, May 26, 2008

Sydney Pollack - Iconic American Director

Sydney Pollack, who died of cancer on May 26, 2008 at 73, was an iconic American director best known for winning two Oscars for his hit film Out Of Africa in 1985 namely Best Director and Best Picture.

Born on July 1, 1934, in Lafayette, Indiana, he directed over 21 films and 10 television shows. He also acted in 30 films and produced 44 films.

Besides Out Of Africa, the best known films directed or produced by Pollack included Tootsie (1982), The Yakuza (1975), The Way We Were (1972), The Interpreter (2005), Sabrina (1995), The Firm (1993), Havana (1990), The Talented Mr Ripley (1999), Iris (2001), The Quiet American (2002) and Cold Mountain (2003).

The best known films he acted in were Tootsie (1982), The Interpreter (2005), Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Changing Lanes (2002) and Michael Clayton (2007) which starred George Clooney.

He also appeared in the hit TV series Will And Grace.

Pollack, of Latvian-Israeli ancestry, was the son of boxer and pharmacist David Pollack and his wife Rebecca Miller.

His brother is costume designer, producer and actor Bernie Pollack.

Pollack first directed the television series The Fugitive and Alfred Hitchcock Presents in the 1960s.

Pollack is survived by his wife Claire Griswold, two children (his third child, Steven, died in an air crash in 1993) and 6 grandchildren.

About Muse - Gothic Rockers Of Great Britain

Thanks, Wikipedia.

Muse is a British rock band formed in Teignmouth, Devon in 1994. The band comprises Matthew Bellamy (vocals, guitar and piano), Christopher Wolstenholme (bass guitar and vocals) and Dominic Howard (drums and percussion).

Muse blends alternative, hard rock, progressive rock, classical music and electronic music. It is best known for its energetic and visually dazzling live performances and on June 16 and 17, 2007 became the first band to sell out Wembley Stadium in London.

Muse has released four studio albums - Showbiz in 1999, Origin Of Symmetry in 2001, Absolution in 2003 and Black Holes & Revelations in 2006, and two live albums, Hullabaloo Soundtrack (2002) and HAARP (2008). It has won 5 MTV Europe Music Awards and 2 BRIT Awards.

The members of Muse played in separate bands during their stay at Teignmouth College in the early 1990s.

In 1994, under the name Rocket Baby Dolls and with a Gothic / Glam image, the group won a local battle of the bands contest. From then onwards it was no turning back for Matthew, Christopher and Dominic.

The band experiments with unorthodox instrumentation, such as church organs. It is influenced by Jimi Hendrix and Rage Against The Machine among others. Fans also compare it to Queen.

The band’s most successful hit songs include Time Is Running Out, Hysteria, Blackout and Butterflies And Hurricanes.

Popular devices in its songs include singing with vibrato and in falsetto, the use of arpeggiations and large jumps in melody lines.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Acha Septriasa Pays Tribute To The Late Sophian

Indonesian Natalie Portman Acha Septriasa has paid tribute to the late Sophian Sophiaan, her co-star in the film Love.

Acha described Sophian, affectionately known as Pak Sophian (Pak = Uncle in Bahasa Malaysia aka Bahasa Indonesia) to juniors in the republic's entertainment industry, as a father figure to all aspiring Indonesian actors.

"Pak Sophian was always generous in sharing his knowledge of acting and directing with his juniors in showbusiness and was never shy of giving us fatherly advice," she said.

"Indonesian cinema has lost a true father figure and leading man. Condolences to his family and may God bless him."

Acha, who is currently studying in Malaysia, is best known for her romantic films such as Heart where she starred with her off-screen partner, actor Irwansyah. The duo also performed the hit romantic duet My Heart from the 2006 film which was a hit on both sides of the Straits of Melaka.

In Love, Acha played a 20-something former college student who was dumped by her playboy fiance and sought the help of a 20-something journalist to find him.

Acha's character was played by popular Malaysian actress (and my ex-neighbour) Sharifah Amani Syed Zainal Rashid of the films Sepet and Gubra fame in the original 2006 Malaysian film Cinta.

Sharifah Amani is also known as Malaysia's answer to Natalie Portman.

Cinta and Love director Kabir Bhatia described Sophian as a gem of Asian cinema who would be hard to replace.

Sophian, a high-powered motorcycle enthusiast who also biked around Malaysia during the country's 50th anniversary celebrations last year and who is idolised by fans on both sides of the Straits of Melaka, died after being crushed by his motorcycle in an accident near Jogjakarta two days ago.

He was participating in a month-long, high-powered motorcycle expedition around the island of Java to mark the 100th anniversary of Indonesia's struggle for independence.

Sophan Sophiaan - Indonesia’s King Of The Screen

Sophan Sophiaan, Indonesia’s King Of The Screen, is no more.

The 64-year-old actor who has been compared with India’s Amitabh Bachchan and Britain’s Sir Sean Connery, died in a road accident yesterday while participating in a high-powered motorcycle procession around the island of Java.

The 270-member procession comprising Harley Davidson bikers from around the republic set off from the capital Jakarta last April 12 and was scheduled to return on May 20.

In the accident, Sophan was crushed by his Harley when it landed in a hole on the road at the Central Java town of Ngawi near Jogjakarta. He died at a local hospital of chest injuries.

The procession was part of year-long celebrations to mark 100 years of the Indonesian independence movement.

Born on April 26, 1944 in Makassar, Sulawesi, Sophan was the son of prominent politician and former Indonesian ambassador to Russia Manai Sophiaan.

He began his acting career in 1971 and appeared in more than 30 films. He also directed more than 20 films.

Sophian’s last film was Love, screened in 2008, as an adaptation of the 2006 Malaysian film Cinta. He played a grandfather stricken with Alzheimer’s Disease who was cared for by a widowed coffee shop proprietor played by his real-life wife, veteran Indonesian actress Widyawati.

Sophan was also a member of the Indonesian Parliament and a dear friend of former Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri.

Sophian is survived by his wife and 2 children.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Tan Sri Nasimuddin Amin - Successful Native Malaysian Car Czar

Tan Sri Nasimuddin Amin, who died after a long battle with cancer at the age of 53 today, was one of the most successful car czars of Malaysia.

The Negeri Sembilanese was the Chief Executive Officer of the Naza Group of Companies which is the franchise holder of Ferrari, Kia, Peugeot, Brabus, Hamann and Ducati motor brands in Malaysia.

Naza, formed in 1974, also imports Mercedes-Benz and Mazda vehicles. The group of companies not only imports and manufactures motor vehicles but also operates hotels (in Malaysia and the USA), develops property (Tun Dr Ismail township in Kuala Lumpur) and sells insurance.

Nasimuddin, who was born on January 25, 1955 in Kuala Pilah, the royal town of Negeri Sembilan, began his automotive business when he was 21.

A year later he made his first million Ringgit by importing used cars from Japan.

He once said: "I have always loved cars since my teenage years. That is why I am in this business. My father's construction business was not my cup of tea."

Nasimuddin was a dear friend of former Deputy Prime Minister the late Tun Abdul Ghafar Baba, who also hailed from Kuala Pilah, and former International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz from Taiping in Perak.