Thursday, June 02, 2011

WEEKEND PIC - June 3 - 5, 2011



a) X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (fantasy adventure with James MacAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Rose Byrne, January Jones, Oliver Platt and Kevin Bacon) Rating: * * * 1/2 (3.5 stars): A first class prequel (of the origins of Professor X and Magneto et al) done in style and wit by Matthew Vaughn (of Kick-Ass fame). The performances by MacAvoy and Fassbender are excellent, the state-of-the-art effects are impressive and there are many surprises in store for X-Men fans. Arguably, the best X-Men film so far.


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)

2. 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)

3. 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)

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)

5. 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)


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