Thursday, September 23, 2010

WEEKEND PIC - Sept 24 - 26, 2010



a) WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS (drama sequel with Shia LaBeouf, Michael Douglas, Carey Mulligan, Charlie Sheen, Susan Sarandon, Josh Brolin, Vanessa Ferlito, Frank Langella and Natalie Morales) Rated * * * (3 stars): Oliver Stone updates his tales about Greed on Wall Street in this sequel which has Gordon Gekko (Douglas) released from prison - and engaging in another round of wheeling-and-dealing, especially involving his estranged daughter (Mulligan) and her boyfriend (LaBeouf). The business intrigues aren't new but there are some rivetting performances and emotional subplots. (Reviewed below)

b) LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (animated fantasy in 3D) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Audiences are going to be bowled over by the visuals and 3D effects that recall those of Avatar. However, the narrative does not match the visual splendour as it is derivative of kiddie tales like The Golden Compass - and the owl characters can be confusing, especially in the aerial battles. Still, it's worth a watch. (Reviewed below)

c) LEGEND OF THE FIST: The Return of Chen Zhen (drama sequel with Donnie Yen, Shu Qi, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Shawn Yue, Yasuaki Kurata and Huang Bo): Rated * * (2 stars): If you are expecting more Ip Man-styled kungfu action from Donnie Yen, you will be disappointed with this outing about the legendary Chen Zhen made famous by Bruce Lee in Fist of Fury. In fact, some of the trysts appear unintentionally comical, especially when Yen dons a mask - recalling Bruce Lee's Green Hornet! A major letdown considering that Infernal Affairs director Andrew Lau could have done so much better. (Reviewed below)


1. WHEAT (war drama in Mandarin with Fan Bingbing, Huang Jue, Du Jiayi, Wang Zhiwen and Wang Ji) Rated * * * (3 stars): Like Jackie Chan's Little Big Soldier, this 'dramedy' is about the exploits of two army deserters during the Warring States era. The technical aspects, photography and locations, are splendid. Fan Bingbing is a delight to behold but director He Ping sometimes drags the narrative to the point of annoying the viewers. (Reviewed below)

2. DEVIL (mystery thriller with Chris Messina, Geoffrey Arend, Logan Marshall-Green, Bojana Novakovic, Jenny O'Hara, Bokeem Woodbine and Jacob Vargas) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): The plot, scripted from a story from the 'Mind of M. Night Shyamalan', is another one-twist tale. Five people are trapped in the lift and one of them is the Devil, guess who! Thank goodness that the brothers Drew and John Erick Dowdle are directing, and we do not have the disturbing sights of Shyamalan showing up in cameos. (Reviewed below)

3. RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE (sci-fi fantasy adventure with Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Spencer Locke, Wentworth Miller, Shawn Roberts and Boris Kodjoe) Rated * * (2 stars): The publicity mills were working overtime to make sure that we all know that the movie is shot in 'stereoscopic 3D' using the same camera rigs that director James Cameron used on 'Avatar' to bring this fourth edition of the popular vid-game franchise to the big screen. The result is that the action and visuals are engaging but nothing in the plot makes any sense. A 'bang-bang, see ya again' movie. (Reviewed below)

4. CATS & DOGS: THE REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE (comedy with Christina Applegate, Michael Clarke Duncan, Neil Patrick Harris, Sean Hayes, James Marsden, Bette Midler, Nick Nolte, Joe Pantoliano, Katt Williams and Chris O'Donnell) Rated * * (2 stars): It's a sequel to the 2001 original but in trying to reach for the sky with its spy theme, it merely falls flat on its paws. Its spoof on action and Bond films make it look like the Epic Movie turkeys, and the comedy lines are cliched. (Reviewed below)


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