Friday, October 08, 2010

WEEKEND PIC - Oct 8 - 10, 2010



a) THE SWITCH (romantic comedy with Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Juliette Lewis, Patrick Wilson, Jeff Goldblum, Caroline Dhavernas, Bryce Robinson and Thomas Robinson) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): After The Back-Up Plan, here's another artificial insemination comedy about paternity plans gone awry. The first half is interesting and promising but with a highly predictable plot, deja vu sets in during the second half. (Reviewed below)

b) SAMMY'S ADVENTURES: The Secret Passage (animated adventure in 3D with Isabelle Fuhrman, Tim Curry, Melanie Griffith, Jenny McCarthy, Kathy Griffin, Anthony Anderson, Stacy Keach, Ed Begley Jr and Billy Unger) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Without much of a plot and fast-paced action, this Belgian effort works a lot like a documentary on protecting our oceans and environment. The 3D effects are commendable - at least for young children at which the movie is targeted. (Reviewed below)

c) DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS (comedy with Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell, Stephanie Szostak, Jemaine Clement, Zach Galifianakis, Lucy Punch, David Williams and Ron Livingston) Rated * * (2 stars): Carrell gives a credible and even touching performance as a mentally-challenged guy invited to dinner so that he can be laughed at. But then it is incorrect to laugh at idiots who should be pitied, as suggested by the movie's moral compass. (Reviewed below)


1. 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)

2. 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)

3. 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.

4. 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)

5. 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)

6. 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)


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