Thursday, April 12, 2012

WEEKEND PIC - APril 13 - 15, 2012



a) BATTLESHIP (sci-fi adventure with Liam Neeson, Alexander SkarsgÄrd, Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Jesse Plemons, Tadanobu Asano, Peter MacNicol and Rihanna) Rated * * * (3 stars): Typical summer action blockbuster in the Transformers and Independence Day mould. Okay, the action set pieces are not as awesome of Transformers: Dark Of The Moon but the storyline, centred on a reluctant hero (Kitsch) and his shapely girlfriend (Decker) is more engaging. We need to leave logic aside in order to enjoy the action, though. (Reviewed below)


1. THE FLOWERS OF WAR (war drama with Christian Bale, Ni Ni, Zhang Xinyi, Huang Tianyuan, Han Xiting, Zhang Doudou, Tong Dawai, Cao Kefan, Atsuro Watabe, Yangyang Chunzi, Sun Jai and Li Yuemin) Rated * * * (3 stars): Adapted from Yan Geling's novel by Zhang Yimou, the movie grips us right from start to end. It is set in 1937 when Japanese soldiers plunder and rape Nanking - but the movie centres on how a lusty American mortician (Bale) is persuaded to masquerade as a priest to protect a bunch of female students in a cathedral. And yes, Zhang introduces a new star in Ni Ni. (Reviewed below)

2. MIRROR MIRROR (fantasy spoof with Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Sean Bean, Nathan Lane, Mare Winningham, Michael Lerner, Jordan Prentice, Mark Povinelli, Joe Gnoffo and Ronald Lee Clark) Rated * * * (3 stars): Director Tarsem Singh gives the classic Snow White fairy tale a touch of modern day political and gender correctness. He also keeps its tongue firmly in cheek, having the charming Roberts to poke fun at her Evil Queen and making the Seven Dwarves a band of bandits. The best part is in the closing credits when Tarsem shows off his Bollywood roots. (Reviewed below)

3. THE HUNGER GAMES (sci-fi adventure with Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Stanley Tucci, Wes Bentley, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Lennie Kravitz and Willow Shields) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): This first instalment of Suzanne Collins' trilogy about the adventures of Katniss Everdeen (Lawrence), directed by Gary Ross, is a faithful attempt that sets out the groundwork for the other two movies. However, while remains faithful to the book, the movie lacks the vision and imagination of the Harry Potter and Lord Of The Ring franchises. Kudos to Lawrence's portrayal of the heroine, though. She is the winning factor. (Reviewed below)

4. WRATH OF THE TITANS (fantasy adventure in IMAX 3D with Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Danny Huston, Rosamund Pike, Toby Kebbell, Bill Nighy and Danny Bell) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): The first Clash Of The Titans was critically-roasted. This sequel is slightly better with a more comprehensive narrative and action pieces. The main plot is family melodrama - with Perseus (Worthington) setting out to save Daddy Zeus (Neeson), accompanied by the lovely Andromeda (Pike) and Argenor (Kebbell). I caught this in IMAX where the action is enhanced in spectacular 3D and recommend it to action fans. (Reviewed below)

5. STREETDANCE 2 (dance drama in 3D with Falk Hentschel, George Sampson, Sofia Boutella, Stephanie Nguyen, Samuel Revell and Tom Conti) Rated * 1/2 (1.5 stars): This sequel to the 2010 Streetdance 3D is tolerable as long as its stars are dancing. However, when they stop, the film sucks big time. This is because none of the cast members can act to save their lives - except for Conti who looks so out of place in this recycled dance show that mixes Latin moves with hip-hop. (Reviewed below)

6. DARK FLIGHT (Thai horror in 3D with Marsha Watanapanich, Peter Knight and Patcharee Thabtong) Rating: * 1/2 (1.5 stars): If you have seen Snakes On A Plane, this one offers the variation, Ghosts On A Plane. However, while the former has a touch of humour and cult feel to go with the proceedings, the laughter here is largely unintended. We get the feeling that the 3D is more of a novelty than to enhance the scares.


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