WEEKEND PIC - Sept 23-25, 2011
YOUR GUIDE TO THE WEEKEND MOVIES
NEW THIS WEEK
a) FRIGHT NIGHT (horror spoof with Anton Yelchin, Colin Farrell, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, David Tennant, Imogen Poots and Toni Collette) Rating * * * (3 stars): This remake of the 1985 horror-comedy is actually better than the original, with a good mix of laughs and scares. Why, it even takes pot-shots at the Twilight flicks, claiming that real vampires are nothing like the sissy types played by Robert Pattinson. Now, any movie that takes a swipe at Twilight is okay by me. What's more, Farrell proves he can do comedy and get away with it.
b) WARRIOR (martial arts drama with Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton, Nick Nolte, Jennifer Morrison and Kevin Dunn) Rating: * * * (3 stars): This one deals with the Mixed Martial Arts tournaments but you don't really need to know what the MMA is about. Like Million Dollar Baby and The Fighter, Warriors is about how two brothers Tom and Brendan Conlon (Hardy and Edgerton) and their father Paddy (Nolte) are caught in the dark conflicts of the human heart. They must fight for a living, culminating in a winner-takes-all match in Atlantic City.
c) ABDUCTION (mystery drama with Taylor Lautner, Lily Collins, Alfred Molina, Sigourney Weaver, Jason Isaacs, Maria Bello, Michael Nyqvist, Antonique Smith and Denzel Whitaker) Rated * 1/2 (1.5 stars): Aimed at screaming female fans of Twilight, Abduction is just a showcase for Lautner to show off his abs at the slightest excuse - since he has no acting talents to display. And despite the big names like Weaver, Nyqvist and Molina, the movie stinks. The plot is lame and even though there's no vampire here, the dialogue sucks. (Reviewed below)
STILL GOING STRONG:
1. CONTAGION (drama with Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Marion Cotillard, Bryan Cranston, Sanaa Lathan and Jennifer Ehle) Rated * * * (3 stars): Don't expect Contagion to be as critically-acclaimed as the 2000 drug flick, Traffic. However, director Steven Soderbergh's docudrama style keeps the pace tensed and engaging. The big name cast is not allowed to overshadow the dramatic impact of the virus, which remains the main invisible star of the film. Some of his subplots are weak and even ridiculous but the film is believable on the main. (Reviewed below)
b) BRIDESMAIDS (comedy with Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Chris O'Dowd, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Jon Hamm and Matt Lucas) Rating * * * (3 stars): If you enjoyed The Hangover and its sequel, you are gonna like this one. The first half is rather revolting but the laughs come on regularly and lead star Wiig manages to shine in a role that seems to have been tailor-made for her. Indeed, she makes the film seem like an American version of Bridget Jones. (Reviewed below)
3. JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN (comedy spoof with Rowan Atkinson, Gillian Anderson, Rosamund Pike, Dominic West, Daniel Kaluuya, Richard Schiff and Ben Miller) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Those who like the childish antics of Mr Bean will be laughing at Atkinson's Johnny English. However, those who want something new and witty in terms of gags and plot will not find any here. The best laughs are those shown in the trailers - and what we have left is a predictable and inane story about an assassination plot against a Chinese premier - for dubious reasons. It's nice to watch Anderson, Pike and newcomer Kaluuya, though. (Reviewed below).
b) CITY ON FIRE aka 5 DAYS OF WAR (war drama with Rupert Friend, Val Kilmer, Andy Garcia, Dean Cain, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Heather Graham, Mikko Nousianen, Richard Coyle and Rade Serbedzija) Rating * * (2 stars): If there is any doubt that Renny Harlin's days as a hotshot director are over, this movie will only confirm it. Instead of making a tensed and well-researched film about the August 2008 flare-up between Russia and Georgia, he made an action-packed 'propaganda' movie centred around a war reporter (Friend) and his cameraman (Coyle) in a quest to get the message out at a time when the eyes of the world are on the Beijing Olympics. The production values are strong but the story sucks.