CHINESE NEW YEAR PIC - Feb 12 - 16, 2010
YOUR GUIDE TO THE WEEKEND MOVIES
NEW THIS WEEK
a) LITTLE BIG SOLDIER (war dramedy in Mandarin with Jackie Chan, Wang LeeHom, Steven Yoo and Xiao Dong Mei) Rated * * * (3 stars out of 4): No, you don't get lots of kungfu fighting here or epic-styled battle sequences. Instead, this odd-couple road movie serves up an engaging mix of war-is-hell drama and Jackie Chan-typed comedy that should help brighten up the Lunar New Year celebrations. (Reviewed below)
b) PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS: The Lightning Thief (fantasy adventure with Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Catherine Keener, Uma Thurman, Pierce Brosnan, Sean Bean, Kevin McKidd, Steve Coogan and Rosario Dawson) Rating * * * (3 stars): Made in the style of the Harry Potter fantasy, this 'pilot' effort about a demi-god kid getting involved in an Olympian conflict is entertaining enough but not outstanding. The CGI is great though, especially of Medusa, played by Thurman.
c) VALENTINE'S DAY (romantic comedy with Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Eric Dane, Patrick Dempsey, Hector Elizondo, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway, Ashton Kutcher, et al) Rated * * * (3 stars): Just like the day itself, this ensemble film is cliched, predictable and uneven. But then who can deny it makes a great date movie for courting couples and fans of the two Taylors? (Reviewed below)
d) THE WOLFMAN (thriller with Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving and Art Malik) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): This remake of the 1941 werewolf classic comes with strong performances from its lead cast but it is hampered by a weak script. Its love story, which should be emotionally intense, is anaemic too. (Reviewed below)
STILL GOING STRONG
1. UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: A NEW BEGINNING (action adventure with Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Andrei Arlovski and Corey Johnson) Rating * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): This made-for-DVD film by director John Hyams is the sequel to Roland Emmerich’s 1992 movie. Reteaming Van Damme and Lundgren, it offers the kind of action and humour the fans of Universal Soldier films expect and nothing more. The film is subtitled 'Regeneration' on DVD.
2. FAME (dance musical with Naturi Naughton, Kay Penabaker, Kelsey Grammer, Megan Mullally, Bebe Neuwirth, Charles S. Dutton and Debbie Allen) Rated * * (2 stars): A totally needless remake of the famous 1980 musical with Irene Cara that spawned a TV series and many similar flicks. This one, however, is both tame and lame - with a cliched plot and characters that are utterly forgettable. (Reviewed below)
3. TOOTH FAIRY (fantasy comedy with Dwayne Johnson, Ashley Judd, Stephen Merchant, Julie Andrews, Billy Crystal and Ryan Sheckler) Rated * * (2 stars): A flimsy plot and kiddie humour mark this second comedy outing by The Rock Johnson (after The Game Plan). The one-joke set-up has Johnson being 'sentenced' to serve as a Tooth Fairy by Andrews for crashing a child's dream. (Reviewed below)
4. LEGION (apocalyptic thriller with Paul Bettany, Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson, Doug Jones, Jon Tenney, Charles S. Dutton, Lucas Black, Kate Walsh and Adrianne Palicki) Rating * * (2 stars): As an apocalyptic thriller about God sending his angels to wipe out the human race for the second time, Legion is a total mess. Technically, there are some cool effects and credible performances. But that's it.
5. THE SPY NEXT DOOR (comedy with Jackie Chan, Amber Valletta, Madeline Carroll, Will Shadley, Alina Foley, Magnus Scheving and Katherine Boecher) Rating: * * (2 stars): Another greasy kids' stuff the likes of The Pacifier and Old Dogs, with Chan reduced to playing an undercover CIA spy who has to take care of his neighbour's three kids. Yup, the trite, sentimental crap that Chan is now good for.