‘The world hated me’ – Ashlee Simpson opens up about 2004 lip sync disaster

Back in 2004, singer Ashlee Simpson got on the Saturday Night Live (SNL) stage for the second time that night to sing Autobiography. Instead, viewers heard Simpson’s vocals for Pieces Of Me (a song she sang earlier that night) come on.

But she wasn’t singing.

Fourteen years have passed since the lip syncing blunder and Simpson, now 33, opens up about what went through her mind back then on a snippet on her new reality show, Ashlee+Evan. “S*** happened, and it was like – boom. And the world hated me for this SNL moment I had,” she says.

“For me, it the was the most humbling experience of my life. The whole world thinks everything that you just put your heart and soul into writing is a joke – and that sucked.”

She continues: “For me, I went back in. I made a second record. It was No. 1, and I made a third record. I toured all of these amphitheatres, and I don’t think the world knows that I got to that place.”

Simpson is back in the spotlight with the release of the six-episode Ashlee+Evan. The show follows Simpson and her husband Evan Ross, son of legendary singer Diana Ross, as they go about raising their family and record a duet album together.

Ashlee+Evan airs every Monday at 11pm on E! (Astro Ch 712).

Entertainment – Star2.com


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‘Searching’: A unique clever mystery

It is hard enough to come up with a plausible mystery story for a feature film that has enough legitimate twists and turns to make it interesting without having to cheat on the payoff. Too often, the big surprise ends up being a major disappointment because what was coming was as obvious as the ending to a cheap romance novel.

Toss in a completely unorthodox way of putting the production together and there are an almost infinite number of ways for the project to crash and burn. And when it comes to veering away from the familiar path, few productions have gone into such a crazy creative orbit as Searching.

Despite so many ways it could go wrong, Searching works both as a smart and fascinating thriller and a wonderfully creative way of telling the tale. The best part is that writer/director Aneesh Chaganty never had to resort to any unfounded leaps in the story just to get to his conclusion. He establishes a compelling story, spreads the clues in plain sight and then brings it all together in a satisfying and tantalising finale.

Let’s start with the story. After David Kim’s (John Cho) teenage daughter goes missing, a local police investigation is opened with Detective Vick (Debra Messing) assigned to the case. When no leads surface after a day and a half, David decides to search the one place no one has looked yet – his daughter’s laptop. This is a world full of dead ends, revelations about the teen and a source of potential clues to what has happened.

Along with producing a taut thriller, Chaganty balances the story with very human moments. It only takes a few moments during the opening to establish the relationship between father, mother and daughter. Once an investment is made in them, the twists and turns come through with far more tension.

Nestled between these two major story elements is a compelling commentary about what it means to live in a world where social media is more addictive than most drugs. The need to be validated is often beaten into submission by the cruelty of the faceless beings typing away at their keyboard. This is a world of connections and misconnections.

All of these plot points are delivered through a cinematic format that has never been used to this extent. Instead of the standard filmmaking practise of pointing cameras at actors and editing together their actions and responses captured from multiple angles, Chaganty opts to tell his story as if the viewer was seated at a computer screen next to the distraught dad.

The images are a mix of computer screens where the frustrated father searches for information with conversations held via Skype. The director mixes the computer images with television news reports, cellphone conversations, security camera footage and any bit of technology used to capture digital images. What this does is strip away the conventional wall that separates the actors and audience, pulling both together into a new symbiotic way of telling and seeing a story.

‘Can I call my friend before I answer this question?’

This in-your-face style only works if Cho can get across the emotions of the moment even when dialogue is jettisoned in preference to seeing the images from the computer screen. Cho’s face sells each drop of emotions from angry parent to terrified father.

Don’t confuse this with the much overworked “found footage” genre. Those movies can still edit together multiple angles depending on how many potential victims can run with their camera phones working. There also have been a few films to use internet footage including the 2014 release, Unfriended. Past efforts like that one have counted more on the stagnant shots that can be picked up through the camera on a computer. There’s more energy to the way Chaganty works because the images are very different.

Chaganty has put together with Searching evidence that a film can be technologically different without having to reject elements like fascinating characters, clever storytelling and deep personal moments. In the case of Searching, go for the story and stay for the visual design. – Tribune News Service/Rick Bentley

Catch this movie at Golden Screen Cinemas nationwide. Follow GSC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Director: Aneesh Chaganty

Cast: John Cho, Debra Messing, Joseph Lee, Michelle La

Entertainment – Star2.com


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Avril Lavigne returns after almost dying from Lyme disease

Pop punk heroine Avril Lavigne announced her first song in five years as she revealed that she was so ill with Lyme disease that she feared death.

The Canadian singer and guitarist, who became an international star in the 2000s as one of the most successful women in the hard- charging world of skater rock, said she would release the first song off her upcoming album on Sept 19.

Lavigne, in a letter to fans on her website, said that the song, Head Above Water, reflected her struggle and that she wrote it as she lay incapacitated on her couch.

“I had accepted death and could feel my body shutting down. I felt like I was drowning. Like I was going under water and I just needed to come up for air. Like I was in a river being pulled in a current,” she wrote.

Lavigne described her past several years as the worst in her life but said: “I was able to turn that fight into music I’m really proud of.”

The 33-year-old, whose best-known songs include Girlfriend and Complicated, said that she was initially reluctant to discuss her illness.

But she said she wanted to raise awareness about Lyme disease, which is spread by tick bites and can lead to severe headaches and an incapacity to move.

Lavigne announced an effort through a foundation to help others to diagnose and seek help for Lyme disease as well as support for research to eradicate the illness. – AFP Relaxnews

Entertainment – Star2.com

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Forget Drake and Ariana: 5 albums you may have missed over the summer

With the fall season in the United States a few weeks out, the summer season feels all but finished. That said, here are five albums you may have missed in a season when it could be hard to hear anyone not named Drake or Ariana Grande.

Jake Shears
Jake Shears

A newly minted Broadway star thanks to his recent turn in the Tony-winning Kinky Boots, the front man of New York’s Scissor Sisters nails his latest role as a hedonistic rock god on this solo debut full of scuzzy guitars and stomping grooves.

But there’s an unexpected earnestness to tunes like Big Bushy Mustache that suggests Shears isn’t merely goofing on a wild look; he brings real emotion to the act of dress-up, just like David Bowie and Prince before him.

Various Artistes
King Of The Road: A Tribute To Roger Miller

Country stars young and old – from Kacey Musgraves and Lennon & Maisy to Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn – crowd this double-disc set to honour the late Nashville songwriter best known for the oft-covered King Of The Road. (Some non-country types show up too, including Ringo Starr and, uh, Toad The Wet Sprocket.)

If anybody was worried about being overshadowed, though, you can hardly tell: What distinguishes the project is the care each act takes to respectfully showcase Miller’s top-shelf wordplay. The result is the rare tribute album with class to spare.

Peabo Bryson
Stand For Love

The veteran R&B singer is still in fine voice on his 21st studio album – as fine, more or less, as in the pair of Disney hits (Beauty And The Beast and A Whole New World) that vastly expanded his renown a quarter-century ago.

But the polished and funky Stand For Love is also recommended to followers of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, the genre-defining duo who produced the record with their usual attention to detail – and took the project seriously enough to relaunch their Perspective Records label to put it out.

Dirty Projectors
Lamp Lit Prose

Following his high-profile collaborations with Kanye West and Solange, Dave Longstreth’s brainy art-rock group was poised to cross over from the indie world to something like the pop scene with last year’s self-titled Dirty Projectors.

Only that didn’t quite happen. So, instead of storming the Top 40, Longstreth re-embraced his quirks for this thorny but tuneful helping of avant-garde bubblegum.

James Williamson And The Pink Hearts
Behind The Shade

Williamson is best remembered as a member of the Stooges, the seminal proto-punk band with whom he made 1973’s Raw Power before quitting music to become a tech exec. And at points this debut by the guitarist’s new band certainly echoes the earlier group’s famously chaotic energy.

But thanks in part to the presence of Petra Haden – familiar to LA music fans from her days in That Dog and the Haden Triplets – Behind The Shade strikes a yearning roots-rock chord as well. Punks have feelings too, you know. – Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service

Entertainment – Star2.com

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Radio station 988 gets a power revamp

Local Chinese-language radio station 988’s latest revamp brings you Power Show, a brand-new weekday evening drive-time programme.

Power Show is hosted by three 988 deejays – Danny One, Cassey Soo, and Fish Poh.

In a recent interview at the 988 office, the trio spoke about the refreshing lifestyle theme for their rebranded drive-time show, which airs Mondays to Fridays from 4pm to 7.30pm.

The three deejays will each have their own respective thematic segments – Danny’s IT Brain, Cassey’s Beauty Gallery, and Ikan Canteen.

Danny’s IT Brain will be dealing with all things tech-related. “My segment will focus on IT, gadgets, technology, and what’s new on the tech radar these days. I’ll also talk about apps and software and programming, and whatever is going viral at the moment,” shared the IT-savvy deejay, who is also a popular singer-songwriter.

With Cassey’s Beauty Gallery, Soo gets to showcase her fashionista outlook by discussing the latest beauty trends.

“I’ll be sharing tips on fashion and beauty, and talk about my own experiences with skincare and makeup as I review products I’ve tested. We’ll be creating online content for our social media accounts. Our objective is to remind people that ‘if you never try, you’ll never know’,” said Soo.

Poh’s segment, titled Ikan Canteen, will revolve around foodie experiences, cooking ingredients, and everything about food and eating.

“I’m a newbie in the kitchen. So, we’ll be learning by experimenting with food, starting with the ingredients used for cooking. For instance, we’ll discuss the difference between cooking with local cucumber and Japanese cucumber. Or the difference between mozzarella and cheese slices.

“I’ll also be making videos, and bringing the food here for them (co-hosts) to eat. We’re here to encourage everyone to go out and have fun, new experiences,” urged Poh.

Power Show is part of a full-scale revamp for 988, which kicked off on Sep 18.

Prior to the revamp, the time slot was occupied by Let’s Play, which Danny One had been co-hosting with Cheryl Lee and Hao Min.

Lee is now co-hosting Morning Up (Monday-Friday, 6am-10am), 988’s weekday morning drive-time show, with Chan Fong and Jason Poon.988 logo

Additionally, 988 also has a new logo as well as a new tagline: Discover 988.

Tune in to 988 to check out the all-new line-up and the latest developments. Follow 988 on Facebook, Instagram, YouTubeTwitter, Weibo, and WeChat for more details. 988 is part of the Star Media Radio Group.

Entertainment – Star2.com


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Move aside, pontianak – the terrifying Langsuir is coming to the big screen

When actress Hannah Delisha read the script for Langsuir, she said it reminded her of the film Twilight as both are – at its core – a love story between a human and a supernatural creature.

“It read like a fantasy to me, with elements of romance and horror,” said the 21-year-old Singaporean, who is also a recording artiste. She plays the titular mythical creature in the film.

According to Malay folklore, langsuir – a close cousin of pontianak – is a spirit of a woman who died while giving birth, with the baby also dying in the process. She is then cursed to roam the earth as a langsuir and is said to have deformed features, with long sharp fingernails. However, if a nail is hammered into her head, a langsuir will turn into a beautiful woman.

Director Osman Ali – who helmed horror Puaka Tebing Biru (2007) as well as psychological thriller Juwanita (2015) – was intrigued by the tales about langsuir when he heard stories of it when he was small.

He elaborated: “That story about a langsuir becoming a beautiful woman has stayed in my mind for a long time. I had always wanted to make a horror movie that explores relationships and insert elements from classic Malay horror films.

“I did a lot of research before writing the script and discovered new things like langsuir flies upwards and that they appear by fishermen’s boats.

Osman Ali did a lot of research on langsuir before he started writing the script for his latest film. Photo: The Star/ Izzrafiq Alias

Osman Ali did a lot of research on langsuir before he started writing the script for his latest film. Photo: The Star/ Izzrafiq Alias

“I also learned during my research that unlike pontianak, where you hammer the nail at the base of the neck, for langsuir the nail has to go in at the top of the head.

“From my research too, langsuir is said to live for generations, so I thought they’d be talking in classic Malay,” he reasoned when asked why the actresses playing the supernatural creatures in his film have dialogues in classic Malay.

Langsuir kicks off with a bunch of rowdy men who are at a remote island for a short holiday. Although the island is beautiful, no one lives there as it is rumoured to be home to langsuir and demonic spirits.

These men are determined to have a good time there. Unfortunately, one of them – Zaman (Firdaus Nadzaman) – thinks a good time means hunting down a langsuir and planting a nail down her head, so that he can fool around with her. Meanwhile, Azlan (Syafiq Kyle) is hypnotised by a langsuir named Suri (Hannah) to fall in love with her at first sight.

Zaman manages to carry out his mission, and the langsuir is none other than Suri. His action angers not only Azlan, but Suri’s older sister (Julia Farhana), who sets out for revenge.

Osman and his crew filmed in Langkawi for almost a month, capturing scenic landscape as the drama unfolds. Some of the locations he chose include Gua Langsir, Gua Tembus, Pantai Talam Dua Muka and Teluk Datai.

Actor Firdaus recalled the shoot was challenging because of the erratic weather. “We were expecting sunny weather, but it turned out to be gloomy, and all the scenes were set outdoors,” Firdaus said.

The director agreed filming Langsuir was difficult especially in the caves where there were many rock formations, which made it hard for the crew to manage the cameras and other equipment. Filming in a small tent and on the boat was also difficult, Osman shared.

“I tried to get the visual closest to what I imagined,” said Osman. “Filming at night was also challenging, as we had to figure out the lighting. This took longer than I expected.”

Despite all the challenges, the director and cast are hopeful that audiences will check out the film in line with the successes of Munafik 2 and Hantu Kak Limah.

“I hope people will become interested in this legend after watching Langsuir,” Osman noted.

Catch this movie at Golden Screen Cinemas nationwide. Follow GSC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Entertainment – Star2.com


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‘Munafik 2’ star Fizz Fairuz not interested in just being popular

One of the things Datuk Fizz Fairuz (whose full name is Mohd Fairuz Zainal Abidin) values most when working on a production is when everyone involved has the best interest for the project.

The 39-year-old is not keen on wasting time working with fellow cast members who are part of the production just because they are popular on social media.

“When we are acting together, it is important that everything falls into place like having an innovative director, and fellow actors who we can ‘spar’ with when filming a scene.

“I have gotten roles where my ‘sparring’ partner is ill-fitted for a role, but the director or producer insists on this person because their Instagram followers are high. That is the current trend. But I also understand that someone like that might pull in a higher viewership,” he laments.

When this happens, Fizz said he’d rather leave the production or just adhere to what the person in charge decrees.

“Sometimes, it is a losing battle,” he concludes.

Thankfully, that was not the case when director Syamsul Yusof asked the Raub-born actor to reprise his role in Munafik 2 (reviewed here), which recently became Malaysia’s No. 1 local film of all time.

“When Syamsul called me to say that he’s bringing back (the character of) Azman for the sequel, he told me that the character will have a different storyline in the second movie. I agreed to the movie because I always want to try new things with a role, even if it’s the same one I have played before,” Fizz said.

For Munafik 2, Fizz agreed to reprise his role after director Syamsul Yusof told him, that his character’s path will be a little different from the first film. Photo: Skop Productions

1. When it comes to filming projects, how do you decide on which roles to accept?

In Malaysia, we can’t be too choosy when it comes to roles.

But sometimes we need to say no … maybe because our schedule doesn’t allow it, or perhaps the role is not suitable. But most importantly, if it’s a role we simply cannot portray, then we should turn it down. We must know our own strengths and weaknesses as an actor.

For example, if I selfishly accepted every role that came my way but couldn’t do the role justice, I feel I would only burden the whole production. That’s something I do not want.

(At the moment) I am interested in playing roles that have Islamic elements; Munafik films definitely have it and so was my role in Nur Kasih (a 2009 TV drama series). This is something I want to pursue more in the future as well.

Fizz Fahrun

Datuk Fizz Fairuz. Photo: The Star/M. Azhar Arif

2. You don’t only act, but write scripts as well. How about directing?

I want to direct, but I want to do it for my own company and it has to be a project for the big screen.

I am 39 this year, so I aim to direct my first film by next year. I waited this long because I feel it’s important to have the knowledge and skill first before taking on the role of a director.

I am thinking of doing a film based on one of the characters I have played before, expanding on that role.

3. If you weren’t an actor, what would you be doing today?

I would be playing football for Pahang. I had to quit football after a knee injury that happened during a tournament to select players for Sukma Games in 1996.

The doctor who took the X-Ray advised me not to play professional football. So I had no choice but to give it up.

But I still play football for fun with my friends every week.

4. You received a Datukship from the Sultan of Pahang recently for promoting the state. What exactly do you do for Pahang tourism?

I promote the culture of Pahang, its food, its traditions and encourage people to visit my state.

I organise events and concerts – because my company does event management – to promote all things Pahang.

There are so many things I can do to promote Pahang – we have beautiful islands, we have scenic lakes and we have gorgeous beaches.

5. You are father to two girls, a three-year-old and a two-year-old. How has your life changed?

My daughters are the best, they don’t wake up in the middle of the night like most kids do, which means I can also sleep through the night.

I don’t know how it’s going to be like with the next one though. (Wife Almy Nadia is pregnant with the couple’s third child.)

But I don’t think I have changed much other than that when I was single, I only had to take care of myself, but now I have other people I care for and people who care for me.

I love spending time with my family. For me being with them is a stress reliever.

The actor with his wife, actress Almy Nadia, and daughter at the premiere of Munafik 2. Photo: The Star/M Azhar Arif

Entertainment – Star2.com


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Thai actor Lee revs up the romance in dimsum drama

Thai actor Lee was pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome of local fans at the airport when he arrived in Malaysia for the first time last month.

Lee (real name Thanat Lowkhunsombat), 25, was accompanied by Mook (real name Worranit Thawornwong), 22, as they met fans at Sunway Pyramid and Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre during a recent promotional tour for dimsum’s popular Thai drama My Dear Loser Series: Monster Romance.

In the Thai idol drama, Lee plays a young man named Pong, who is the head of a motorcycle gang. His life changes one fateful day when his bike collides with the car of a rich girl named Namking (Mook). The story then revolves around their unlikely romance, as he strives to make things right.

Although he already knew how to ride a motorcycle, Lee said he still had to spend some time preparing for his more extreme biking stunts.

“I had to learn how to ride like a real biker and rev the engine the way bikers do, in order to look convincing as the leader of a biker gang,” said the fresh-faced actor who has many scenes on a big bike.

Apart from bike-riding, he also has some fight sequences with rival gangs and lots of romantic scenes with his lady love in the 10-episode drama.

“He may be the ‘monster’ in the drama, but he is not really a bad guy and doesn’t go out causing trouble for others,” he said of his character Pong.

Lee found fame after he emerged winner of the Finding U-Prince Project. Photo: The Star/Sam Tham

And just like his character, the eligible bachelor believes fate will bring him together with someone who “understands me and the nature of my work as an artiste and can get along easily with my family and friends”.

The boyish model-actor got his big break during his university days when he emerged the winner of the Finding U-Prince Project and scored the main role in the U-Prince Series, Badly Politics, where he plays a prince who decides to further his studies alongside commoners in a public university.

Having just made his acting debut in 2016, Lee is still considered a newbie in showbiz; he hopes to get to play more unusual roles. “I’d like to be cast in the role of a psychopath one day. It’s the kind of character that will be challenging to portray.”

When he is not working, Lee – who is a graduate from the Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts of Srinakharinwirot University – continues to enjoy artistic pursuits.

“I like to play the guitar and record cover songs,” said the actor, who also finds time to indulge in analog photography.

dimsum is a Malaysian subscription ­video-on-demand service operated by SMG Entertainment Sdn Bhd (formerly known as Star Online Sdn Bhd, part of Star Media Group). Currently available in Malaysia and Brunei, dimsum supports Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and AirPlay for subscribers to binge-watch all shows on a bigger screen, with subscription priced at only RM13.90 a month. All new subscribers will enjoy 30 days of free access. For more information, visit dimsum or follow dimsum on Facebook or Instagram.

Entertainment – Star2.com

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