Friday, November 04, 2011

WEEKEND PIC - Nov 4 - 6, 2011



a) TOWER HEIST (crime drama with Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Tea Leoni, Casey Affleck, Michael Peña, Alan Alda, Judd Hirsch and Gabourey Sidibe) Rated * * * (3 stars): At a time when the 'working class' is protesting against the 'cheating class' (represented by Wall Street), this crime thriller has its built-in lure. Its A-list cast is another attraction - including the motor-mouthed Murphy who, surprisingly, provides most of the laughs in this premise about how a gang of workers plan to steal back their money from a Ponti scheme organiser (Alda). (Reviewed below)

b) SLEEPWALKER (horror thriller with Angelica Lee Sinje, Charlie Yeung, Kent Cheng and Li Zong Han) Rating * * (2 stars): This husband-and-wife (director Oxide Pang and lead star Lee) venture is derivative and cliched, employing cheap scares like sudden loud jolts and half-baked subplots in a tale about a woman who sleepwalks into a possible murder. The main attraction here is local actress Angelica Lee (of The Eye) in the title role but our patience soon runs out over its lame script and lapses in logic. The 3D effects are a waste and they cannot flesh out the movie's two-dimensional characters.

c) SHARK NIGHT (horror thriller with Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan, Chris Carmack, Katharine McPhee, Donal Logue, Joshua Leonard and Joel David Moore) Rating * 1/2 (1.5 stars): Wow, American Idol heart-throb Katherine McPhee used as shark bait! This is the main lure for me but it fizzles out quickly when I realise that this is another rip-off in 3D. If you expect to see blood and gore and pretty nubiles in various states of undress, forget it because this is rated PG-13 in the States and nudity would have been cut here anyway. As for gore, it is disappointing too.


1. 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.

2. 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)

3. 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)

4. 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)

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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