WEEKEND PIC - Dec 4-6, 2009
YOUR GUIDE TO THE WEEKEND MOVIES
NEW THIS WEEK:
a) LOVE HAPPENS (comedy'drama with Jennifer Aniston, Aaron Eckhart, Anne Marie DeLuise, Martin Sheen, Sasha Alexander, Dan Fogler and Judy Greer) Rated * * (2 stars): Weak and tepid romantic-comedy sans any sense of romance or comedy about a self-help guru (Eckhart) and a quirky florist (Aniston). Love doesn't really happen here but sh*t does. (Reviewed below)
b) COUPLES RETREAT (Comedy with Vince Vaughn, Jason Bateman, Jon Favreau, Faizon Love, Kristin Davis, Malin Akerman, Kristen Bell, Kali Hawk, and Jean Reno) Rated * * (2 stars): A vacation movie sans the fun and frolic, this is actually a predictable couples therapy flick involving four pairs on an idyllic tropical island run by a French marriage therapist. Notable for its bad acting especially from Reno and poor scripting. (Reviewed below)
STILL GOING STRONG:
1. ASTRO BOY (animated adventure with Freddie Highmore, Kristen Bell, Charlize Theron, Donald Sutherland, Nicholas Cage and Bill Nighy) Rated * * * (3 out of 4): An entertaining adventure involving a 'discarded' robot hero and a villain bent on destroying it. A good balance of light and dark stuff as well as story and action. (Reviewed below)
2. A CHRISTMAS CAROL (animated drama with Tom Hanks, Jim Carrey, Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Bob Hoskins and Jacquie Barnbrook) Rating: * * * (3 stars): The spirit of Dickens and Christmas takes on an exhilarating new look here in this retelling by director Robert Zemeckis done in performance-capture animation similar to his Polar Express.
3. 2012 (Disaster thriller with John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Thandie Newton, Woody Harrelson, Danny Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Oliver Platt and Chin Han) Rated * * * (3 out of 4 stars): Another apocalypse-type movie by demolition guru Roland Emmerich but this time around, he seems to have gotten many things right with this cinematic thrill ride. Edge of the seat CGI action. (Reviewed below)
4. MULAN (live-action war adventure with Vicki Zhao Wei , Chen Kun, Jaycee Chan, Jun Hu and Jiuzhe Li. Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Vicky Zhao looks too hot for the role as a warrior but Jingle Ma's remake of the folklore is passable, nonetheless. Good performance by Zhao also helps to make this version watchable. (Reviewed below)
5. TWILIGHT SAGA: NEW MOON (romance sequel with Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene, Jackson Rathbone, Nikki Reed and Kellan Lutz) Rated * * (2 stars): A clear example of how hype and star-cult frenzy can transform a franchise from one of novelty to exploitation. Under the direction of Chris Weitz, New Moon is just skinflick for teen girls. (Reviewed below)
6. PLANET 51 (animated adventure with voices of Dwayne Johnson, Jessica Biel, Justin Long, Gary Oldman, Seann William Scott, John Cleese, Freddie Benedict and Alan Marriott) Rated: * * (2 stars): A forgettable galactic romp with tiresome and repetitive themes and scenes.
7. NINJA ASSASSIN (actioner with Rain, Naomie Harris, Ben Miles, Rick Yune, Sho Kosugi, Guido Foehrweisser, Stephen Marcus, Randall Duk Kim and Sung Kang) Rated * * (2 stars): Typical no-brainer Ninja flick featuring pop singer Rain as its main attraction and gory slice-em-up violence as the highlights. The novelty fades soon enough after watching Rain act and tolerating Kosugi's inane delivery of his lines. (Reviewed below)