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Water polo makes call for more exposure

GULF IN STANDARDS: A water polo player from Slovakia's KVP U-18 team (in blue cap) helping his team to 
a 12-4 win over Singapore Under-23 at the Toa Payoh Swimming Complex yesterday.

He may have watched his Under-23 team lose 12-4 to the Kupele Piestany (KVP) Under-18 team from Slovakia at Toa Payoh Swimming Complex yesterday, but Lee Sai Meng is far from disappointed.

The head coach for the water polo team feels that his boys can only benefit if there are more competitions such as the Water Polo Sparring Programme, which is being held for the first time in Singapore.

Singapore's water polo boys have won 26 consecutive gold medals at the South-east Asia Games, but they managed only a fifth placing at the Asian Games in 2014.

To make the breakthrough into the top three in Asia, Lee has called for his boys to get more exposure.

"We are now trying to bring more of this kind of invitational tournaments. It's something that we are really lacking in Singapore," Lee said.

"There're only three (official tournaments for the national team). So that is really not enough in terms of competition exposure."

There will be another invitational tournament from Jan 21-25, which will feature teams from Spain, Japan and Shanghai.

Jerome Lau, the Singapore Swimming Association's assistant secretary general (water polo), says the standard of the teams brought in for such sparring programmes is a crucial factor.

"We want to bring in teams who are stronger than us, but not too strong, because that really presents our players with the right kind of challenges," he said.

"You've got a chance to beat them, but you've got to play a really hard game, so the standard of play is really just right for us."

BENEFIT

Chow Jing Lun admitted that his team could have fared better against the KVP Under-18, but believes that the exposure will benefit the players.

"It'll be good exposure for the younger guys, even for me," said the 21-year-old, who took up the sport in Secondary 1.

"Because in Singapore, we don't get to play against many foreign teams. We usually play a lot in South-east Asia."

The senior men's water polo team will take on Hungarian club OSC Budapest at OCBC Aquatic Centre at 7.30pm today.

Hollywood insider Meher Tatna takes M behind the scenes of the glittering Golden Globes

Actress-turned-writer Meher Tatna takes M behind the scenes of the glittering Golden Globes

UP CLOSE: Writer Meher Tatna often gets to rub shoulders with Hollywood's big names such as Sam Heughan, star of Outlander. 


You have seen her byline in these very pages of M and read her exclusive interviews with your favourite movie and TV stars that no other local publications have.

Our US stringer, Ms Meher Tatna, has, for some, one of the most enviable jobs in the world - one that lets her rub shoulders with Hollywood stars on a weekly basis.

She has been contributing articles on A-listers such as George Clooney, Jennifer Lawrence, Daniel Craig, Meryl Streep, Emma Stone, the entire cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and more for M since last April.

The Mumbai-born, Los Angeles-based journalist credits such access to being part of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA).

The journalists and photographers of this non-profit organisation represent some 55 countries and write for publications all over the world.

Ms Tatna, who has been an HFPA member since 2002, is HFPA's vice-president and is busy overseeing the digital coverage of the 73rd Golden Globes, which takes place at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles on Sunday.

The highlight for the HFPA is the annual Globes, where 93 of its members vote to honour the best in film and television.

This year's awards will be hosted by British comedian Ricky Gervais and will be shown live on RTL CBS Entertainment HD (StarHub TV Ch 509/Singtel TV Ch 318) on Jan 11 at 8am, with a repeat telecast at 9pm.

The actress-turned-writer, who has written for Vogue India, Elle India and Grazia India and who declined to reveal her age, shares some insights into organising the event as well as the unseen side of the stars.

How frenzied can the planning for the Golden Globes get?

We do our partnership contracts - such as The Beverly Hilton hotel, Moet & Chandon, the Cecil B. DeMille Award recipient and security - in advance, but the actual planning of each individual show only happens once the nominations are announced. Then we can plan the presenters and the ballroom seating.

The latter is especially fraught as seats are limited and given by invitation only and are much sought after.

Presenters sometimes don't commit till the last minute or they drop out and have to be replaced last minute.

There are a thousand and one moving parts and fires to be put out constantly. Somehow, it all comes together at the end, but we are all exhausted.

What goes on behind the scenes?

The best places to meet the celebrities are the bathrooms or the smoking gallery where they congregate.

I will be live-blogging from the red carpet before the show starts and then from backstage, which is the first stop for the winners to get the first video interviews and the Instagram photos. I have been running that room since last year.

Do you still get starstruck?

The only one who had me starstruck - literally, I couldn't speak - was Peter O'Toole. The two times I met him, I stared like an idiot, completely dumbstruck. No one else.

The worst part (of interviewing celebrities) is being kept waiting. Barbra Streisand and Jennifer Lopez, I'm looking at you. And those young stars who are so media trained they don't give you an original thought.

Who are your favourites to interview?

I adore Russell Brand. He is such an unexpectedly articulate man who talks in long, perfectly grammatical sentences about things he's thought about, important things.

Jim Carrey is always "on". He treats press conferences as a stand-up routine.

The British men all have this wry, self-deprecating sense of humour.

But the champion of them all is Michael Caine, a born raconteur. So full of stories from his career.

Love Emma Thompson, too. I always want her to win as she gives the best acceptance speeches.

Who will be golden at the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards?

A quick recap of the 73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards-nominated movies that you can catch in cinemas here.


Carol (now showing)

5 nominations (Best Picture - Drama, Best Actress - Drama for Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, Best Director, Best Original Score)

Joy (opening tomorrow)

2 nominations (Best Picture - Comedy or Musical, Best Actress - Comedy or Musical)

The Danish Girl (opening tomorrow)

3 nominations (Best Actress - Drama, Best Actor - Drama, 
Best Original Score)

Room (opening Jan 14)

3 nominations (Best Picture - Drama, Best Actress - Drama, 
Best Screenplay)

Concussion (opening Jan 14)

1 nomination (Best Actor - Drama)

Spotlight (opening Jan 21)

3 nominations (Best Picture - Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay)

The Big Short (opening Jan 21)

4 nominations (Best Picture - Comedy or Musical, Best Actor - Comedy or Musical for Christian Bale and Steve Carell, Best Screenplay)

The Revenant (opening Feb 4)

4 nominations (Best Picture - Drama, Best Actor - Drama, 
Best Director, Best Original Score)

Brooklyn (opening Feb 18)

1 nomination (Best Actress - Drama)

Trumbo (opening Feb 25)

2 nominations (Best Actor - Drama, Best Supporting Actress - Drama)

Movie Review: Mojin: The Lost Legend (PG13)

Think of this as Tomb Raider, Chinese style.

Focusing on a secret society of grave robbers known as Mojin, this cheesy action fantasy takes viewers on a ride through booby-trapped graves and treasure chambers, complete with zombies and a mysterious cult.

Mojin trio Hu Bayi (Chen Kun), Wang Kaixuan (Huang Bo) and Shirley Yang (Shu Qi) come out of retirement in 1980s New York for one last job in Inner Mongolia.

But a figure from Hu and Wang's Cultural Revolution past, Ding Sitian (Angelababy), continues to haunt them.

What the movie lacks in plot development, it makes up for in spectacle.

It's an epic adventure rife with puzzles, even if its inclusion of Cultural Revolution details in the plot seems bizarre.

​Rating: 3/5

 

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The M Interview: Bradley Cooper is super at cleaning

The US actor puts his home-cleaning skills to good use for new movie Joy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOIqiLLfArc

With abundant charm, comic timing and good looks, it would have been easy for Bradley Cooper to coast along in his career making raunchy comedies with much success.

But the 40-year-old US actor was not willing to settle for that. He has taken chances that have paid off handsomely and established him as one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood.

With three consecutive Oscar nominations in as many years, the highest-grossing movie of 2014 in the US (American Sniper, which he also produced), and coming off an excellently reviewed turn on Broadway and the West End playing The Elephant Man, he is back on the press junket at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills to discuss Joy, his third outing with director David O. Russell and fourth with co-star Jennifer Lawrence.

What was it like working with Lawrence for the fourth time?

She's an incredible power as a human being and as an actor and is a delight to work with. I am lucky... and she's just growing.

The thing about working with David, we have been able to stay sort of like a family, the three of us at least, Bob (Robert De Niro), Jen and myself.

Life goes on in between the movies and then to come back and work in that environment together and see how we have all grown in different ways, I think that impacts the roles and the work.

I hadn't seen her in a long time and she came to see The Elephant Man and the next thing you know I am in Boston playing this role opposite her and then it just clicks.

Are you familiar with QVC (a home shopping network)? Have you used the Miracle Mop?

I grew up in Philadelphia where QVC was massive.

I remember coming home from school every day and the front door would be just a tiny bit ajar because there would be a QVC package.

So the world was very familiar to me, as was mopping. I grew up doing tons of chores and I remember when the Miracle Mop came and just made life a lot easier. I had it in my dorm room, freshman year when I was at Villanova (University).

Are you good at chores?

I find a tremendously odd amount of satisfaction cleaning things. What's the wood cleaner? Pledge.

That was my favourite thing. I used to fight with my sister which chores we would do because I absolutely hated washing windows and I didn't love vacuuming.

But I loved mopping the basement. It was a red cement floor and when you put water on it, it looked like you were painting it. So it was fun.

You've proven yourself in dramas, comedies and on stage. How have you planned your career?

The truth is, there is no plan, other than I want to grow. I think I am so lucky to be curious and also to absolutely love what I do.

So to work hard is not as hard as if I was working on something I didn't like.

If you told me that when I was going to meet (director) Todd Phillips auditioning for The Hangover that I would wind up being partners with him (on a new production company), it's crazy. So you never know.

Dreams, big dreams, but no plan.

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