Thursday, October 27, 2011

WEEKEND PIC - Oct 28 - 30, 2011



a) DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK (supernatural thriller with Guy Pearce, Katie Holmes, Bailee Madison, Jack Thompson, Alan Dale, Julia Blake, Eliza Taylor-Cotter, Emelia Burns and Garry McDonald) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Touted as the 1975 TV-movie that scared film-maker Guillermo del Toro as a kid, this one is rewritten by him for modern audiences. The atmosphere and the location settings are first class, as with the performances. Alas, the plot and scares seem to have been written for children and non-horror fans. (Reviewed below)

b) THE WOMAN KNIGHT OF MIRROR LAKE (biodrama with Crystal Huang Yi, Anthony Wong, Patricia Ha, Suet Lam, Kevin Cheng, Dennis To and Rose Chan) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): After Jackie Chan's 1911, here's another biodrama on another Chinese revolutionary hero. Qiu Jin is the first woman activist in China and the movie chronicles her exploits as a child, wife, mother, feminist and revolutionist. Director Herman Yau opens the movie at the time of her capture in 1907 - and squanders the potential for suspense that the story would have. Again, Anthony Wong shines in his role as a sympathetic Manchu official.
(Reviewed below)

c) IN TIME (sci-fi thriller with Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Alex Pettfyer, Olivia Wilde and Vincent Kartheiser) Rated * * (2 stars): The premise, in a futuristic world where time is literally money and people stop aging at 25, is novel and intriguing. However, our interest vanes when disturbing questions arise over the plot mechanisms. Also the main story - about Timberlake's and Seyfried's characters engaged in a Robin Hood game of robbing banks - is too difficult for us to swallow. At the end, it is a sheer waste of time. (Reviewed below)


1. REAL STEEL (sci-fi drama with Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Evangeline Lilly, Kevin Durand, Anthony Mackie, Hope Davis, Phil La Marr, Olga Fonda and James Rebhorn) Rated * * * (3 stars): Imagine Rocky played by a cute robot, throw in the ring action of The Fighter and add some father-son bonding and you get Real Steel, a typical Disney entertainment for the family. What's more Jackman and kid star Dakota Goyo display good chemistry as father and estranged son going on a road trip. The fight plot may seem formulaic, with the underdog versus unbeatable champ schtick but it is bearable. (Reviewed below)

2. PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 (supernatural thriller with Chris Smith, Katie Featherston, Sprague Grayden and Lauren Bittner) Rating * * * (3 stars): If you just can't get enough of this faux videocam documentary franchise, this third instalment can be satisfying. It is actually a prequel, a flashback to 1988 to show how siblings Katie (Katie Featherston in the first film) and Kristi (Sprague Grayden in the second) were traumatised during their childhood. Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman stick to the tried and tested - and deliver the scares too.

3. TRESPASS (crime thriller with Nicolas Cage, Nicole Kidman, Liana Liberato, Cam Gigandet, Ben Mendelsohn, Dash Mihok and Jordana Spiro) Rating * * (2 stars): With Nic Cage headlining this movie, I had suspected that it would be another Nic Cage flop. After half-an-hour, my suspicion was confirmed. Cage seems trapped in a curse and this house break-in tale is so full of awful dialogue and lame plotting that even the presence of Kidman and Gigandet cannot alleviate. It seems relegated to the DVD shelves where it is actually heading come Nov 1.


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