Friday, May 27, 2011

WEEKEND PIC - May 26 - 28, 2011



a) KUNG FU PANDA 2 (animated comedy with Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, James Hong, Gary Oldman and Michelle Yeoh) Rated * * * 1/2 (3.5 stars): Po the kungfu warrior panda (Black) is back and he and his friends are on a mission to save China from a mega-villain Peacock (Oldman) with a weapon of mass destruction. Then there's a subplot about Po's search for his biological parents that should lend depth to the sequel. For me, this one is even better than the first and it pays to watch in 3D. (Reviewed below)

b) LET THE BULLETS FLY (comedy in Mandarin with Chow Yun-Fat, Feng Xiaogang, Jiang Wen, Carina Lau, Ge You, Jun Hu, Chen Kun, Zhou Yun and Miao Pu) Rated * * * (3 stars): This is China's highest-grossing film - mostly because of its wordplay comedy that appeals to those who understand Mandarin and Chinese culture. Still, with three of the top Chinese stars in the cast, the movie has a tongue-in-cheek approach. It can be repetitive and long-drawn - clocking more than two hours. - At GSC's International Screens Only (Reviewed below)

c) DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: RODRICK RULES (family comedy with Zachary Gordon, Devon Bostick, Robert Capron, Steve Zahn, Rachael Harris, Peyton List, Ben Hollingsworth, Robert Capron, Michelle Harrison and Grayson Russell) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): This sequel looks like a rush job (to get the film out before the young cast lose their cute looks) with only a few good laughs. Many of the gags look 'contrived' and unnatural and fans of the original would miss Chloe Moretz whose character is not in the sequel. (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. 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 Kiera 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)

3. 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)


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