Friday, October 01, 2010

WEEKEND PIC - Oct 1 - 3, 2010



a) DETECTIVE DEE (mystery thriller in Cantonese with Andy Lau, Li Bingbing, Carina Lau, Deng Chao, Richard Ng, Teddy Robin, Lu Yao and Tony Leung Ka-Fai) Rated * * * 1/2 (3.5 stars): Veteran HK director Tsui Hark is back with a vengeance with this epic rendition of Robert van Gulik's Judge Dee tales. The effects are eye-popping, as expected, but what's pleasantly surprising is that Tsui Hark has managed to get his narrative under control, giving us a spectacular treat that would make the recent Sherlock Holmes look like the work of amateurs. (Reviewed below)

b) ALPHA AND OMEGA (animated rom-com in 3D with Justin Long, Hayden Panettiere, Christina Ricci, Danny Glover, Dennis Hopper, Larry Miller, Eric Price, Chris Carmack and Vicki Lewis) Rating * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): A passable kiddie cartoon ostensibly rendered in 3D (which is the trend these days) but also easily forgettable. However, the voice cast shine in a script that is rather unfunny and uninspired.

c) THE JOSHUA TAPES (local indy drama with Baki Zainal, Matthew Ho Tien Li, Phoon Chi Ho, Alfred Loh and Grace Ng Fei Fen) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Made by the gang who gave us S'kali, this buddy flick also deals with a bunch of guys out on a road trip to the peninsular west coast. It is definitely an improvement on S'kali - and even looks like its sequel of sorts. Shown at GSC's International Screens (Reviewed below)

d) CHARLIE ST CLOUD (romantic drama with Zac Efron, Amanda Crew, Donal Logue, Charlie Tahan, Kim Basinger and Ray Liotta) Rated * * (2 stars): Strictly a vehicle for Efron to show off his abs and pecs, this movie about a guy who also sees dead people loses our interest midway. Looks like director Burr Steers, who directed Efron in 17 Again, is out of his league with this emotionally-demanding script. (Reviewed below)

e) EAT PRAY LOVE (romantic drama with Julia Roberts, James Franco, Richard Jenkins, Viola Davis, Billy Crudup and Javier Bardem) Rated * 1/2 (1.5 stars): Highly indulgent and sometimes repugnant, this adaptation of Elizabeth Gilbert's bestseller turns out to be more of a travelogue and food guide than a romance drama. Roberts' charms notwithstanding, the lead character is rather detestable in the way she uses men and spits them out. Sorry guys, but you gotta think of a good excuse for the girlfriend/missus to escape this ordeal. (Reviewed below)


1. 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 riveting performances and emotional subplots. (Reviewed below)

2. 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 for avid moviephiles. (Reviewed below)

3. 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)

4. 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)


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