Thursday, December 29, 2011

WEEKEND PIC - Dec 30 - Jan 1, 2012



a) THE DARKEST HOUR (sci-fi thriller with Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Rachael Taylor, Max Minghella and Joel Kinnaman) Rating * * (2 stars): Set in Moscow, this doomsday alien invasion thriller may keep our interest for about 20 minutes. Then, when we get over the novelty of the uninspired plot (and how Earthlings get vaporised by invisible aliens), we start to realise how utterly silly the script is. Reminds me of Skyline, but with even less IQ.

b) JACK AND JILL (comedy with Adam Sandler, Al Pacino, Katie Holmes, Allen Covert, Dana Carvey, Natalie Gal, Tim Meadows, Katelyn Pacitto, Valerie Mahaffey and Regis Philbin) Rated * (one star): The big deal here is seeing Sandler playing both the title characters - as twins. However, he makes no attempt to flesh out the role of Jill - but merely puts on a wig and dress and speaks in falsetto. And the idea of Al Pacino wooing Jill makes us cringe rather than burst out in mirth. (Reviewed below)


1. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - GHOST PROTOCOL (action thriller with Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, Simon Pegg, Josh Holloway, Lea Seydoux, Tom Wilkinson, Michael Nyqvist, Ving Rhames and Anil Kapoor) Rated * * * 1/2 (3.5 stars): With Brad Bird (of The Incredibles) at the helm, we have a more compleat M:I caper - nicely coated with typical English humour (courtesy of Pegg), narrative depth and a plot we can sink our teeth in. The set pieces are not bad either, especially the Burj Khalifa building stunts and sand storm in Dubai, and the climactic face-off in Mumbai. This M:I 4 is arguably the best of the franchise. (Reviewed below)

2. SHERLOCK HOLMES: A Game of Shadows (mystery thriller with Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Jared Harris, Stephen Fry, Kelly Reilly and Rachel McAdams) Rated * * * (3 stars): Guy Ritchie's bastardisation of Arthur Conan Doyle's icon continues - with the wedding of Dr Watson and a nefarious plot by Dr Moriarty (Harris). Again, the emphasis is on elaborate action set pieces at the expense of intellectual intrigues that is typical of Holmes' capers. Still, with Downey Jr and Law in the lead, this romp is sheer popcorn entertainment fit for the holiday season. (Reviewed below)

3. WE BOUGHT A ZOO (family drama with Scarlett Johansson, Matt Damon, Elle Fanning, Carla Gallo, Thomas Haden Church, Patrick Fugit, Stephanie Szostak, Colin Ford, John Michael Higgins and Desi Lydic) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): The movie, about how a widowed dad and his two children take over a decrepit animal park and turn it into a zoo, is rather formulaic but the main lure is the cast that includes heart-throbs like ScarJo and Elle Fanning. Another flaw is its long running time that takes a toll on our concentration. (Reviewed below)

3. NEW YEAR'S EVE (romantic comedy with Lea Michele, Michele Pfeiffer, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Jon Bon Jovi, Abigail Breslin, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Robert De Niro, Josh Duhamel, Zac Efron, Hector Elizondo, Katherine Heigl and Hilary Swank) Rated * * (2 stars): After Valentine's Day, Garry Marshall comes out with another ensemble flick centred around the traditional Ball Drop at Manhattan's Times Square, NYC. It comprises a bunch of vignettes involving that special day and night but only a few are worthy enough of their starry cast. Many of the romantic threads are implausible while some are overly sentimental. Good for gawking at your idols, though. (Reviewed below)

4. ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS 3 (animated and live action comedy with Jason Lee, David Cross, Jenny Slate, Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, Jesse McCartney, Amy Poehler, Anna Faris and Christina Applegate) Rated * * (2 stars): The Chipmunks and Chipettes (female version) are cute. They can sing and dance. They are also 'rodents' and they can be pesky and annoying. How much of these attributes can you take in a movie about the whole gang of them ending up on a deserted island? The answer, I believe, depends on how young your accompanying kid is. Suitable for those below five. (Reviewed below)


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