Thursday, August 04, 2011

WEEKEND PIC - Aug 5 - 7, 2011



a) RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (sci-fi thriller with James Franco, Tom Felton, Andy Serkis, Brian Cox, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, David Hewlett, Tyler Labine, Leah Gibson and Jamie Harris) Rated * * * (3 stars): This is not a remake but a reboot of the Planet Of The Apes franchise based on the 1963 French novel by Pierre Boulle. Set in modern-day 'Frisco, the movie follows the adventures of Caesar (played by Serkis), a highly intelligent primate brought up by a genetic scientist (Franco). As an origin film, it details the start of the Ape Revolution and the roles Caesar and his friends play in transforming the face of our planet. (Reviewed below)

b) WINTER'S BONE (American drama with Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Lauren Sweetser, Kevin Breznahan, Isaiah Stone, Shelley
Waggener, Ashlee Thompson, William White, Casey MacLaren and Valerie Richards) Rated * * * 1/2 (3.5 stars): This Oscar-nominated effort sure took its time getting to Malaysia but for those who want to see this critically acclaimed film on the big screen, here's the chance - at GSC's International Screens. The Oscar buzz is over the captivating performance of Lawrence who plays a young girl in search for her father in the unforgiving wastelands of the Ozarks mountains. I have reposted the January 2011 review below for those interested.

c) THE LOAN SHARK (local drama in Cantonese with Sam Lee, Jojo Goh, Eddie Cheung, Irene Wan, Lam Suet, Fung Hak-On and Yuka Dai) Rated * * (2 stars): A rather unevenly executed movie about the scourge of illegal moneylenders in Kuala Lumpur. Sam Lee and Jojo Goh play siblings caught in the clutches of the loan sharks, while MCA Public Service and Complaints Department chief Datuk Michael Chong has a cameo doing what he does best. There are some obligatory fight scenes and stunts but the 'action' is mostly about beer bottles being thrown or cracked on someone's head. (Reviewed below)


1. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (fantasy adventure with Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Hugo Weaving, Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Dominic Cooper and Toby Jones) Rated * * * 1/2 (3.5 stars): Coming after The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and Thor, Captain America is a lot more entertaining than Green Lantern and even the critically-acclaimed Thor! This is thanks to the wonderful performances by the leads, as well as Tommy Lee Jones and Stanley Tucci; to a gradually built up romance between Chris Evans' Steve Rogers and Hayley Atwell's agent Peggy Carter; and to the old-style Saturday matinee look and feeling that director Joe Johnston provides. Remember to stay back during the closing credits for a glimpse of what The Avengers has to offer. (Reviewed below)

2. WU XIA (martial arts drama with Donnie Yen, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Tang Wei, Jimmy Wang Yu and Kara Hui) Rated * * * (3 stars): Mark this one as director Peter Chan's best work and one of Donnie Yen's best performances. The first half works like a crime scene investigation caper with Kaneshiro's detective 'reconstructing' the events that led to the deaths of two notorious bandits at an idyllic village in China. The second half is more 'action-oriented' but the best parts are in the little details of life circa 1917 and the scenic shots. The only flaw is the ending that borders on the absurd. (Reviewed below)

3. THE HANGOVER 2 (comedy with Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Jamie Chung, Justin Bartha, Tanner Maguire, Ken Jeong, Todd Phillips and Mike Tyson) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): It is merely a repeat of the same shit - albeit in a different venue. Instead of Vegas, the 'crazy shit' shifts to Thailand where the three Wolf Pack members (Cooper, Galifianakis and Helms) grapple with a body, a bloody finger, angry monks and a drug-peddling monkey - after a night of boozing in Bangkok. It is deja vu right from the start but thankfully, the movie gets more tolerable as it progresses. (Reviewed below)


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