WEEKEND PIC - Feb 20-22, 2009
NEW This Week:
a. DOUBT (drama with Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman (pictured below), Amy Adams, Viola Davis and Joseph Foster II) Rated * * * 1/2 (3.5 stars out of 4): With four acting nominations for the Oscar, this drama begs to be seen by any avid moviegoer worth his or her popcorn. It may be 'slow' but it's quite riveting. (Reviewed below)
b. BURN AFTER READING (comedy with George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt, John Malkovich, Tilda Swinton and Richard Jenkins) Rated * * * (3 stars): It is a comedy by the Coen Brothers with Brad Pitt seemingly on steroids, given his energetic performance. Expect the usual Coen elements: greed for money, death and adulterous fun. (Reviewed below)
c. PUNISHER: WAR ZONE (action thriller with Ray Stevenson, Dominic West, Julie Benz, Colin Salmon, Doug Hutchison, Dash Mihok, Wayne Knight and T.J. Storm) Rating: * * (2 stars): This third reincarnation of Marvel Comics' The Punisher (Stevenson) for the big screen may be an improvement on the earlier efforts but it is way below the standard of Iron Man and The Dark Knight. Why punish yourself?
STILL GOING STRONG:
1. SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (drama with Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Madhur Mittal, Anil Kapoor and Irrfan Khan) Rated * * * * (4 stars): With Oscar fever spreading, this will probably be the movie on everyone's lips. Intriguing tale about a slum boy who is suspected of cheating when he wins 10 million ruppees in a Mumbai TV quiz show. (Reviewed below)
2. THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (drama with Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Taraji P. Henson, Julia Ormond, Jason Flemyng, Elias Koteas and Tilda Swinton) Rated * * * 1/2 (3.5 stars): This is the top Oscar contender with 13 nods. Aren't you even slightly curious as to why this Case is such an Oscar favourite? (Reviewed below)
3. CHANGELING (police drama with Angelina Jolie, John Malkovich, Jeffrey Donovan, Michael Kelly and Amy Ryan) Rated * * * 1/2 (3.5/4 stars): Directed by Clint Eastwood, this is a parable of wronged innocence and abuse of power reminiscent of L.A. Confidential. And of course, there's Jolie's Oscar-nominated performance to watch out for. (Reviewed below)
4. VALKYRIE (War drama with Tom Cruise (picture), Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Carice van Houten, Terence Stamp, Eddie Izzard and Kevin McNally) Rated * * * (3 stars): With a cast of gifted veterans on both sides of the Atlantic, you can expect an engaging plot to kill Adolf Hitler. Even though the outcome is history, the tension and suspense is tangible. (Reviewed below)
5. PINK PANTHER 2 (comedy with Steve Martin, Jean Reno, Emily Mortimer, Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Lily Tomlin, John Cleese and Jeremy Irons) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): This sequel is an improvement over the scattershot comedy of the (2006) first movie. Or perhaps it is the star-studded supporting cast who provided the glitter to the famous diamond nicknamed Pink Panther. (Reviewed below)
6. EDEN LAKE (thriller with Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender, Thomas Turgoose, Bronson Webb, Jack O'Connell and Shaun Dooley) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): This made-in-England thriller is about an encounter between a yuppie couple and some village kiddie gang. It is gory, gruesome and ghastly. Not for the faint-hearted. (Reviewed below)
7. ONG BAK 2 (martial arts actioner with Tony Jaa, Sorapong Chatree and Nirut Sirichanya) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Again it is teeming with action, courtesy of Tony Jaa, the Jackie Chan of Thailand. A bigger and better production than the first but still lacking in finesse and plot development.
8. NEW IN TOWN (romantic comedy with Reneé Zellweger, Harry Connick Jr., Siobhan Fallon Hogan, J.K. Simmons, Mike O'Brien and Frances Conroy) Rated * * (2 stars): Predictable, derivative and badly contrived tale about city hotshot exec (Zellweger) going to a small snowy town to downsize a factory there. You can fill in the rest of the story. (Reviewed below)
9. HOUSE (horror thriller starring Michael Madsen, Allana Bale, J.P. Davis, Reynaldo Rosales, Bill Moseley, Leslie Easterbrook and Julie Ann Emery) Rated * * (2 stars): A confusing and messy horror thriller about couples stranded in a haunted house. Basically, a DVD movie. (Reviewed below)