Thursday, July 12, 2012

WEEKEND PIC - July 13 - 15, 2012



a) ICE AGE 4: CONTINENTAL DRIFT (animated comedy with Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Lopez, Peter Dinklage and Seann William Scott) Rating * * * (3 stars): Basically, you know what you are going to get from this franchise and you won't be disappointed with its pumped-up action and additional characters. Among the newbies is Dinklage's flamboyant baboon who is such a scene-stealer that he looks set to come back for the next outing. And yes, Scrat is fun too.

b) NAKED SOLDIER (action thriller with Sammo Hung, Andy On, Jennifer Tse and Philip Ng) Rating * 1/2 (1.5 stars): It started in 1992 with Naked Killer, followed 10 years later by Naked Weapon (starring Maggie Q). This is the third in a series started by producer Wong Jing - and it has his trademark flaws written all over it. Despite its tittilating title, there is nothing nude or erotic about this shameless outing with recycled plots and situations. This time around, Jennifer Tse (sister of Nicholas) is the titular character who is not in the same class as Maggie Q.


1. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (reboot of fantasy comic book franchise, with Andy Garfield, Emma stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field and Campbell Scott) Rating * * * (3 stars): Do we really need another retelling of the Spider-Man origin? One thing I am happy to note is that this new version of the web-slinger tale thrives on its own strengths without undermining or being held back by Sam Raimi’s vision. Director Marc Webb emphasises more on the human drama and the psychological side of Peter Parker's childhood and his love story with Gwen Stacy. And with top-notch acting by Garfield, this one looks fit enough for a summer blockbuster.

2. PROMETHEUS (sci-fi thriller with Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce and Logan Marshall-Green) Rated * * * (3 stars): This is supposed to be the sequel to Ridley Scott's 1979 Alien but it has been rewritten to stand on its own as a sci-fi thriller. Prometheus is a technically brilliant visual feast, enhanced by 3D. However, its narrative seems to have bitten off more than it can chew, raising our expectations and not fulfilling them. On the whole, however, it is a compelling film especially for sci-fi fans. (Reviewed below)

3. BRAVE (animated adventure with Kelly MacDonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Julie Walters, Kevin McKidd and Craig Ferguson) Rated * * * (3 stars): This Pixar's 13th animated feature is basically a mother-daughter tale set in the Scottish Highlands and spiced with mirth, myth and magic. It is suitably action-packed and centred around a young red-haired heroine that most of today's young girls can relate to. However, its magical elements tend to run away with the story and leave the older viewers dissatisfied. (Reviewed below)

4. MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE'S MOST WANTED (animated comedy with voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric The Entertainer, Andy Richter, Tom McGrath, Frances McDormand, Jessica Chastain, Bryan Cranston, Martin Short and Paz Vega) Rated * * * (3 stars): Accompanied by 3D and a bigger voice cast, this third instalment of the successful Madagascar franchise offers more of verything in its bag of madcap gags. It also dispenses with ties to reality and logic, culminating in a circus-gone-berserk climax. Should delight the kids during the weekend. (Reviewed below)

5. ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER (fantasy thriller and biopic with Benjamin Walker, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Anthony Mackie, Marton Csokas, Jimmi Simpson, Rufus Sewell, Erin Wasson and Dominic Cooper) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Adapted from the book by Seth Grahame-Smith (who also wrote the screenplay), the film chronicles the famous US Prez as a closet vampire-killer. It is obviously a mix of biopic and horror flick but it fails at both, and ends up being an expensive action film. Two of its action set pieces, involving stampeding horses and a runaway train, stand out but I prefer its subplot on Abe's love story. (Reviewed below)

Monday, July 09, 2012

Actor Ernest Borgnine Dies At 95


JULY 9, 2012 - Actor Ernest Borgnine, who played bad guys in films like From Here to Eternity but won an Oscar for playing a sensitive loner in Marty, died yesterday at age 95, his publicist said.

The real-life U.S. Navy veteran who became a household name during the 1960s by starring as the maverick commander of a World War Two patrol boat in the popular TV comedy McHale's Navy, died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, spokesman Harry Flynn said.

Borgnine, who continued to work until very recently, had been the oldest living recipient of an Academy Award for Best Actor, Flynn said.

A statement from the actor's family said he "had been in excellent health until a recent illness." Flynn said Borgnine recovered from unspecified surgery he underwent a month ago but his condition deteriorated rapidly after he visited the hospital on Tuesday for a medical checkup.

His last screen credit was the lead role of an aging nursing home patient in a film set for release later this year, The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez. The performance earned Borgnine a Best Actor award at the Newport Beach Film Festival, where it debuted in April, Flynn said.

My fondest memories of him are from the TV series Airwolf where he co-starred with Jan-Michael Vincent  .

Spider-Man Tops But Falls Short of Expectations

JULY 9, 2012 - The Amazing Spider-Man got off to a very good start over the past six days, although it didn't perform at the same level as the previous series entries.

Meanwhile, Ted continued to play well, Savages got off to a decent start, and Katy Perry: Part of Me disappointed. The Top 12 earned an estimated US$187.1 million this weekend, which is up 28 percent from the same frame last year.

The Spider-Man reboot earned an estimated US$65 million for the three-day weekend. Adding in its previous three days of grosses, the new version of the webslinger's story had a US$140 million six-day opening. Over the identical six-day period in 2007, Transformers earned US$155.4 million. 

Here are the Top 5 North American B-O studio estimates for July 6-8, 2012 weekend, in terms of rank, (previous week ranking), Movie name (studio), Weekend takings in USD, (Cumulative gross, USD) and week on chart, courtesy of Boxofficemojo. (US$1=RM3.11)

1. (-) The Amazing Spider-Man (Sony) $65.0 million ($140.0 million) 1

2. (1) Ted (Uni.) $32.5 million ($120.2 million) 2

3. (3) Brave (BV) $20.1 million ($174.5 million) 3

4. (-) Savages (Uni.) $16.1 million ($16.1 million) 1

5. (2) Magic Mike (WB) $15.6 million ($72.7 million) 2

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Worst Is Over, Recuperating Now

Hi friends and visitors,

I am very happy to report that the surgery I had was a success, thanks to God and a very able and experienced surgeon. It was a grueling nine-hour op but the worst is over and I am now recuperating.

I wish to thank all well-wishers and visitors who have supported me on this blog, and mostly, my wife, family and friends who have stood by me all through the ordeal.  I shall resume blogging soon, hopefully.

Lim Chang Moh