WEEKEND PIC - March 19 - 21, 2010
YOUR GUIDE TO THE WEEKEND MOVIES
NEW THIS WEEK
a) HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (animated adventure with Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrara, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Craig Ferguson, Kristen Wiig and T.J. Miller) Rated * * * (3 stars): Somewhat the Viking version of Lilo & Stitch in 3D, this is a rousing adventure for the family during the school holidays. The graphics are great and the dragon flights exhilarating enough to send you into the mythical world. (Reviewed below)
b) DAYBREAKERS (vampire thriller with Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Claudia Karvan, Michael Dorman, Isabel Lucas and Sam Neill) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): An Aussie version of the vampire genre, Daybreakers does not break any major rules of the vampire myths but the atmosphere and effects are catchy. It is just too bad that the narrative is rather dull and static. (Reviewed below)
c) THE LOVELY BONES (murder drama with Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Saoirse Ronan, Michael Imperioli, Amanda Michalka and Nikki SooHoo) Rated * * (2 stars): It is a real pity that Peter Jackson's rendition of Alice Sebold's bestseller misses the mark somewhat. Production values are above par but Jackson seems too self-indulgent in its effects in portraying the novel's surrealistic aspects. (Reviewed below)
STILL GOING STRONG
1. GREEN ZONE (conspiracy thriller with Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Amy Ryan, Brendan Gleeson, Jason Isaacs and Khalid Abdalla) Rating * * * (3 stars): A thinking man's movie with keen insights into the reasons for the Iraq war. Again Damon is back at his best in his familiar Bourne role although not as Bourne-like in his quest to seek out weapons of mass destruction.
2. ALICE IN WONDERLAND (fantasy adventure with Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Crispin Glover, Mia Wasikowska, Matt Lucas and Marton Csokas) Rating * * * (3 stars): This is Tim Burton's remake of the Lewis Carroll classic with his trademark opulence and weirdness. Nice eye candy but nothing spectacular though.
3. EDGE OF DARKNESS (murder mystery with Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Shawn Roberts, Peter Hermann, Denis O'Hare, Jay O. Sanders and Bojana Novakovic) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Gibson is back on the screen after a hiatus of eight years playing a role he does best - as a hot-headed cop like Martin Riggs of Lethal Weapon. He is still watchable but his character here is so over-the-top in its Mad Max caricature that we don't feel for him. (Reviewed below)
4. REMEMBER ME (romance drama with Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin, Chris Cooper, Lena Olin, Tate Ellington, Ruby Jerins, Pierce Brosnan) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Mediocre love story that seems to be banking on the bankability of Twilight heart-throb Pattinson who plays a rebellious youth at odds with his dad and the world. The ending is abrupt - hitting on a famous tragedy. (Reviewed below)
5. CONFUCIUS (biodrama with Chow Yun-Fat, Lu Yao, Zhou Xun and Chen Jian Bin) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): The veteran Chow does a good impression of the ancient teacher and director Hu Mei serves up a rousing first half with political intrigues and war sequences. However, the film starts to go downhill in the second half, punctuated by a brief respite provided by the sexacious Zhou Xun. (Reviewed below)
6. FROM PARIS WITH LOVE (action thriller with John Travolta, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Kasai Smutniak, Richard Durden, Melissa Mars, Amber Rose Revah and Farid Elouardi) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Luc Besson's actioner offers a high-voltage Travolta as a US Agent roughing up Paris but it is full of ridiculous action and lame lines. Thankfully, it has all the bang-bang stuff that action fans need. (Reviewed below)
7. UNDER THE MOUNTAIN (sci-fi fantasy with Tom Cameron, Matthew Chamberlain, Oliver Driver, Matt Gillanders, Sophie McBride, Chelsea McEwan-Miller, Sam Neill and Gareth Reeves) Rating: * * (2 stars): Based on the novel by Maurice Gee, this New Zealand production has all the genre cliches ever formulated. The plot about aliens vs Earthlings defies logic and even Sam Neill could not save it from its own banality.