Friday, March 05, 2010

WEEKEND PIC - March 5 - 7, 2010



a) INVICTUS (sports drama with Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Scott Eastwood, Robert Hobbs, Langley Kirkwood, Bonnie Henna and Grant Roberts) Rated * * * (3 stars): Director Clint Eastwood's account of Nelson Mandela's role in the World Cup rugby game offers interesting insights into the 'healing' and re-unification of South Africa after decades of apartheid. Also notable are the perfs of Freeman as Mandela and Damon as team captain. (Reviewed below)

b) NINE (musical with Kate Hudson, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, Sophia Loren, Stacy Ferguson and Elio Germano) Rated * * * (3 stars): Rob Marshall's reworking of Frederico Fellini's 8 1/2 is not as stirring and rousing as his Oscar-winning Chicago but there are a few entertaining set pieces here, provided by its gifted cast. The sexy numbers by Cruz and Hudson are worth the price of the ticket. (Reviewed Above)

c) 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 to excite the audience, though.

d) 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)


1. 14 BLADES (martial arts fantasy with Donnie Yen, Vicky Zhao Wei, Kate Tsui, Wu Chun and Qi Yuwu) Rating * * * (3 stars): Daniel Lee is not much of a story teller but he has made a crowd-pleaser of a kungfu actioner. There are many impressive fight sequences, including one in which Kate Tsui does a mid-air striptease duel. Oh yes, there is also a nice love story and some wonderful locales and costumes.

2. 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.

3. 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)

4. 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)

5. THE BOOK OF ELI (futuristic adventure with Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis, Gary Oldman, Malcolm McDowell, Michael Gambon, Jennifer Beals, Ray Stevenson and Tom Waits) Rated * * (2 stars): Just another dose of apocalyptic doom and gloom with Washington as a latter-day prophet guarding a precious Book. Impressive atmosphere but the plot is too incredulous to be convincing. (Reviewed below)


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