Friday, May 20, 2011

WEEKEND PIC - May 20 - 22, 2011



a) PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN ON STRANGER TIDES (Fantasy adventure with Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane, Kevin R. McNally, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Sam Claflin and Geoffrey Rush) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): In many ways, this fourth instalment of the POTC franchise looks like a 'reboot', what with its new director (Rob Marshal), the dropping of Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, and the introduction of a new villain. However, while the pace is supposed to build up to a climax, On Stranger Tides seems to start off fast and frivolous - but gradually slackens in pace and content right to its ending. Not what we would expect from a ho-ho-ho-and-a-bottle-of-fun series. (Reviewed below)

b) INSIDIOUS (horror thriller with Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Ty Simpkins, Andrew Astor, Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Directed by Malaysian-born James Wan, this is a combination of Paranormal Activity, Poltergeist and Exorcist. It starts off promisingly, with an intriguing build-up about a family experiencing things that go bump in the night and having an offspring in a coma. Then when we get genre cliches like dripping faucets and creaking doors, the movie degenerates into an unintentional comedy. Unlike Wan's popular Saw series, there's not much blood and gore scenes - just a few psychological scares in the first half of the film. (Reviewed below)


1. PUNISHED (crime thriller with Anthony Wong, Richie Jen, Maggie Cheung Ho-yee, Janice Man, Candy Lo, Lam Lei and Jun Kung) Rated * * * (3 stars): A taut psychological thriller about a kidnapping case and a personal brand of punishment. Anthony Wong is splendid in his role as the tyrannical father of the victim while Richie Jen provides one of his best performances as his bodyguard and henchman. This is not the usual action-packed thriller but it has the trademarks of director Law Wing-cheong and producer Johnny To all over. (Reviewed below)

2. PAUL (Sci-fi comedy with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Seth Rogan, Jason Bateman, Bill Hader, Kristin Wiig, Sigourney Weaver, John Carroll Lynch and David Koechner) Rating: * * * (3 stars): There is a blend of E.T. and Close Encounters of the weird kind here but Paul is actually a road trip cum buddy movie about two guys running into an alien (voiced by Rogen). There are some very funny moments, especially when we get cameo star Sigourney Weaver on screen.

3. FAST & FURIOUS 5 (action thriller with Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Dwayne Johnson, Joaquim de Almeida, Tyrese Gibson, Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges, Matt Schulze, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot, Tego Calderon, Don Omar and Elsa Pataky) Rated * * * (3 stars): Those who like fast cars, hot women, chases and crashes will get their fill here as director Justin Lin revs up on these factors that charge the adrenaline. Of course the 'scripto-meter' is low on logic and the film violates the laws of physics. In other words, it is a real summer guy flick - so be prepared for the spills and thrills - and sweaty palms. (Reviewed below)

4. SOMETHING BORROWED (romantic comedy with Ginnifer Goodwin, Kate Hudson, Colin Egglesfield, John Krasinski, Steve Howey and Ashley Williams) Rated * * (2 stars): Director Luke Greenfield and scripter Jennie Urman borrows a whole lot from the rom-com genre to make this triangle love caper among best friends a lame comedy. Some of the secondary characters are more annoying than funny while Hudson and Goodwin are wasted in a storyline that should not have been made into a movie. At least not like this. (Reviewed below)

5. PRIEST (horror thriller with Paul Bettany, Karl Urban, Cam Gigandet, Maggie Q, Lily Collins, Brad Dourif, Stephen Moyer and Christopher Plummer) Rated * * (2 stars): It may be based on a Korean graphic novel but this movie works more like a videogame with its shoot-the-vampire quest being the main attraction. Also, those familiar with the post-Apocalyptic flick genre will recognise set pieces and ideas borrowed from films like Blade Runner, Star Wars and Mad Max 2. The main attraction for me is Hong Kong's Maggie Q as the Priestess - hence the two stars. (Reviewed below)


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