WEEKEND PIC - Jan 6 - 8, 2012
YOUR GUIDE TO THE WEEKEND MOVIES
NEW THIS WEEK
a) THE AWAKENING (supernatural thriller with Rebecca Hall, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton, Isaac Hempstead-Wright and Shaun Dooley) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Playing a bit like The Others, Sixth Sense and The Orphanage, this British-styled thriller has the requisite eerie atmosphere and engaging performance by lead star Hall. However, the movie kind of buckles at the end with a lame resolution that leaves more questions than answers. (Reviewed below)
b) THE BEAVER (drama with Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin, Jennifer Lawrence, Cherry Jones, Paul Hodge, Michelle Ang, Riley Thomas Stewart, Kris Arnold and John Bernhardt) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Directed by Jodie Foster, this psychological drama is about mental depression and how a hand puppet is used as a form of therapy. The plus side here is Gibson's riveting performance as a man on the verge of suicide; the minus side is that Foster allows the subplot about the son (Yelchin) and his girlfriend (Lawrence) to break the momentum of the main story.
STILL GOING STRONG:
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)
4. 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)