WEEKEND PIC - April 30 - May 2, 2011
NEW THIS WEEK
a) THOR (fantasy adventure with Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Hemsworth, Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston, Ray Stevenson, Kat Dennings, Stellan Skarsgård, Rene Russo and Jaimie Alexander) Rated * * * (3 stars): Director Kenneth Branagh shows he is as adept at action epics (this is his firts) as he is with Shakesperean dramas (his forte). Hemsworth, as the mythical 'Goldilocks' god of thunder, is solid in his title role in a film that teems with explosive CGI action and spectacular set designs. (Reviewed below)
b) THE LOST BLADESMAN (war actioner with Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Alex Fong, Betty Sun and Andy On) Rating * * * (3 stars): Adapted from the story of 'Guan Yu crossing five passes and slaying six generals' from Luo Guanzhong's famous novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms by co-directors/writers Alan Mak and Felix Chong, this war flick is reminiscent of Red Cliff. However, with Donnie Yen doubling up as action director, we have lots of combat action as well as a strong story about friendship, loyalty, warfare and even a bit of romance.
STILL GOING STRONG
1. RED RIDING HOOD (fantasy thriller with Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Lukas Haas, Shiloh Fernandez, Michael Shanks, Julie Christie, Virginia Madsen and Max Irons) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): A rather anaemic transformation of the Grimm Brothers folk tale into a grim fantasy thriller. Big Bad Wolf is made into a werewolf and the plot becomes a where-wolf whodunit. Of course, there is a love story - a triangle one - thrown in but there isn't enough bite to the romance or the horror. (Reviewed below)
2. A CHINESE GHOST STORY (fantasy thriller with Louis Koo Tin Lok, Wong Fan Siu, Crystal Liu Yi-Fei, Yu Shao Qun, Wai Ying-Hung and Lin Peng) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): This Wilson Yip remake of the 1987 movie starring Leslie Cheung is meant to be a triangle love story but the romance is lost in the 'wire-fu' stunts and sword-fighting gimmicks. Still, the three leads, Koo, Liu and Yu Shao Qun (reprising Cheung's role) acquit themselves admirably from a messy plot of sexily-clad demonesses and itinerant demon-hunters. (Reviewed below)
3. HELLO STRANGER (Thai romantic comedy with Neungthida Sophon, Chantavit Dhanasevi and Chantawit Thanasewee) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): The big deal here is that director Banjong Pisanthanakun, who gave us Shutter (2004) and Alone (2007) is making his debut in the romantic-comedy genre. The result is a fluffy, crowd-pleasing tale about two Thai tourists who meet during a trip in Seoul but decide to remain 'strangers' despite staying together while traipsing around South Korea. A bit over-contrived but quite appealing as a date movie. (Reviewed below)
4. SCREAM 4 (slasher flick with Courtney Cox, Neve Campbell, David Arquette, Hayden Panettiere, Emma Roberts and Rory Culkin) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): The good news hare is that director Wes Craven and scripter Kevin Williamson have learnt their lesson from Scream 3 and go for the tongue-in-cheek approach, mocking its the slasher genre and its web-cam fans. The bad news is that this dilutes its suspense sequences and makes a joke of the plot. (Reviewed below)
5. THE ROOMATE (psychological thriller with Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Danneel Harris, Cam Gigandet, Alyson Michalka, Matt Lanter, Frances Fisher, Katerina Graham, Tomas Arana and Cherilyn Wilson) Rated * 1/2 (1.5 stars): This re-imagination of the 1992 thriller Single White Female is totally limp and unnecessary. The build-up takes ages and the scares are derivative (especially of Psycho) and cliched. Even with the starlets providing eye-candy, we get tired of them halfway into the movie.