WEEKEND PIC - Feb 18 - 20, 2011
Note: Oscar Fever is heating up at the box-office, the cinema people are rushing to show off the Oscar-nominated films. First off is The King's Speech, followed by Black Swan and True Grit the following week. Combined with the regular list of new releases, you are spoilt for choice this week!
NEW THIS WEEK
a) THE KING'S SPEECH (drama with Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Timothy Spall and Michael Gambon) Rating: * * * 1/2 (3.5 stars): With 12 nominations for the Oscars, this period saga on Britain's King George VI is compulsory for viewing for film fans of all ages. It's like Pygmalion (or My Fair Lady) in the reverse and it offers an invaluable insight into the role of royalty at a time when Britain and the world are on the brink of war. What's more, we have first class performances, opulent sets and scintillating wit. (Check out the review here)
b) NO STRINGS ATTACHED (Romantic comedy with Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Kline and Ludacris) Rating: * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): This looks like the closest Valentine's Day movie you can get. Another reason is to catch Oscar nominee Portman in a role where she basically plays herself as opposed to the tensed, psyched-up ballerina in Black Swan. Director Ivan Reitman's No Strings Attached is no laugh fest, but it is saucy enough for a few giggles and sexy enough to be entertaining. Nothing less, nothing more.
c) THE MECHANIC (action thriller with Jason Statham, Ben Foster, Donald Sutherland, Tony Goldwyn, Jeff Chase, Mini Anden, Eddie J. Fernandez, Kurt Deville and Monica Acosta) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): An uninspired remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson hit, this Simon West effort just piles on the gore and the firepower. West makes no attempt to improve the ridiculous narrative of the original - and even adds on more silly plotting of his own. Still, Foster is sheer dynamite here and more than pulls his weight. (Reviewed below)
d) SANCTUM (underwater thriller with Richard Roxburgh, Alice Parkinson, Rhys Wakefield, Dan Wyllie, Christopher Baker, Allison Cratchley and Sean Dennehy) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Sanctum is hyped up as a James Cameron movie but it is directed by Alister Grierson. Cameron is the exec producer and like any Cameron film, the effects (also in 3D) and technical specs are fantastic - but the dialogue and the narrative of this man-vs-nature caper are lame and cliched. Catch it for the cinematography and effects, if you must. (Reviewed below)
e) BURLESQUE (musical drama with Cher, Christina Aguilera, Eric Dane, Cam Gigandet, Julianne Hough, Peter Gallagher, Alan Cumming, Kristen Bell and Stanley Tucci) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): I see this strictly as a vehicle to put pop queen Aguilera on the big screen. But even though she is sexy and dynamic as a dancer and singer, she does not have the talent to pull it off as an actress. Neither does Cher, for that matter. Burlesque, therefore, is mildly entertaining - for those who are undiscerning. (Reviewed below)
f) THE RITE (horror thriller with Anthony Hopkins, Ciarán Hinds, Alice Braga, Toby Jones and Colin O'Donoghue) Rating * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Ho-hum, another exorcist flick and another round of Hopkins' replay of his Hannibal Lector snarls! ''Were you expecting swivelled heads and pea soup?'' Hopkins' priest asks in the movie. Our reply: "Not really, but we we not expecting a debate with the devil on demonic possession and the strength of one's faith, either." To be fair, there are some interesting ideas here but most of them get lost in the messy narrative.