1. IRON MAN (fantasy thriller with Robert owney Jr, Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow) Rating * * * 1/2 (out of 4): Produced by Marvel Studios itself, this is an 'origin' caper - and one that's energetic and entertaining, thanks to DOwney Jr and his co-stars. In the same league as "Batman Begins".
2. THE KITE RUNNER (drama with Khalid Abdalla, Homayon Ershadi, Zekeria Ebrahimi and Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada) Rated * * * * (4 stars): This one gets my vote for the Best Movie of 2007. It does not have the eye candy power of "Atonement" or the cool brutality of "No Country For Old Men", but it gets us both on the emotional and intellectual level. (Reviewed below).
3. RUN PAPA RUN (crime drama with Louis Koo, Rene Liu, Nora Mioa and Ti Lung) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Writer-director Sylvia Chang gets whimsical and derivative in this tale about a HK triad boss who has a change of heart over his criminal ways when he has a new role as father to his little girl. (Reviewed below)
4. SHADOWS IN THE PALACE (Korean murder mystery with Seo Young-hee, Park Jin-hee and Yoon Se-ah) Rating * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): This debut feature of director Kim Mi-jeong has a promising murder mystery but it gets muddled up by the horror elements that she incorporates. Technically, it is highly competent, though.
5. FOOL'S GOLD (adventure comedy with Matthew McConaughey, Kate Hudson, Donald Sutherland, Alexis Dziena and Ewan Bremmer) Rated * * (2 stars): A dim-witted romp about a treasure hunter and his soon to be ex-wife mucking around in the Caribbean in search of sunken gold. Really, it makes us feel like fools after watching this lame comedy. (Reviewed below).
6. FORBIDDEN KINGDOM (kungfu fantasy with Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Michael Angarano) Rating * * (2 stars): The main attraction for this movie is the first-time teaming up of Jet Li and Jackie Chan. And if you feel you must catch this, you have swallowed the bait. The stunts are familiar with lots of wire-fu and nods to the Drunken Master days. The dialogue (in English) and the acting suck. (Reviewed below)
7. SLIT-MOUTH WOMAN (Japanese horror with Eriko Sato, Haruhiko Katou, Chiharu Kawai, Rie Kuwana, Kazuyuki Matsuzawa and Miki Mizuno) Rated * * (2 stars): This one is just a one-scare movie taken to the extreme. It is also disturbing, with themes about severe child punishment. (Reviewed below).
8. OVER HER DEAD BODY (comedy with Eva Longoria Parker, Paul Rudd, Lake Bell, Jason Biggs and Lindsay Sloane) Rating * * (2 stars): Longoria plays a bride who gets killed on her wedding day and returns to haunt her groom. Let's let her RIP and stay away from this mediocre fare fit only for TV.
9. CONGKAK (local horror thriller with Nanu Baharudin, Riezman Khuzaimi, M. Rajoli, Erin Malek and Erynne Erynna) Rating * 1/2 (1.5 stars): This one is billed as 'scarier than 'Jangan Pandang Belakang' but the real horror is its illogical plot, irritating effects, amateur acting... and even a makcik with a moustache(?).