WEEKEND PIC - Jan 2 - 4, 2009
a) JUNO (2007 drama with Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman and Allison Janney) Rated * * * 1/2 (out of 4): It is two years too late but this movie, written by ex-stripper Diablo Cody is still a worthwhile comedy about teenage pregnancy. Charming acting by Ellen Page. (Review in my February 2008 blog).
b) FOUR CHRISTMASES (comedy with Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Duvall, Jon Favreau, Mary Steenburgen, Kristen Chenoweth, Sissy Spacek and Jon Voight) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): There are some fun moments in this uneven comedy about a couple forced to spend Christmas with their divorced parents. However, Yuletide season is over... (Reviewed below)
c) BEDTIME STORIES (fantasy comedy with Adam Sandler, Guy Pearce, Keri Russell, Lucy Lawless and Courteney Cox) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Sandler plays a handyman who finds his bedtime stories come to life. With a plot like that, it is slanted towards kiddie entertainment. (pic above)
d) LADY COP AND PAPA CROOK (crime thriller with Sammi Cheng, Eason Chan, Michelle Ye, Chapman To and Kate Tsui) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): The big deal is that Sammi is back after a hiatus of three years. However, this flick won't put her at the top of the pop star pile. (Reviewed below)
e) OUTLANDER (fantasy adventure with Jack Huston, James Caviezel, Ron Perlman and Sophia Myles) Rating * * (2 stars): An outlandish fantasy, set in the Viking era, that incorporates dragons and alien predators. It will make you wonder at the ridiculous lengths film-makers will go to make cinema fodder.
STILL GOING STRONG:
1. IP MAN (Cantonese kungfu drama with Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung) Rated * * * (3 stars): This biopic on the grandmaster of Wing Chun kungfu and the tutor of the legendary Bruce Lee is nicely balanced with great martial arts action and an engaging narrative.
2. YES MAN (comedy with Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, Rhys Darby and Terence Stamp) Rated * * * (3 stars): This comedy plays out better when it goes into romantic comedy mode with Carrey and Deschanel displaying good screen chemistry. Otherwise, a bit uneven. (Reviewed below)
3. AUSTRALIA (romantic adventure with Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Bryan Brown, Brandon Walters and David Wenham) Rated * * 1/2 (out of 4): It is not the epic love story to move you but it has enough substance to keep you interested. Good show by Kidman, Jackman and young Brandon Walters. (Reviewed below)
4. THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (sci-fi remake starring Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Connelly, Jaden Smith and Kathy Bates) Rated * * (2 stars): A rather bland remake of the 1951 Robert Wise classic that is big on CGI effects but low on substance. (Reviewed below)
5. THE SPIRIT (comic book recreation starring Gabriel Macht, Eva Mendes, Sarah Paulson, Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson) Rating * 1/2 (1.5 stars): Comic book writer Frank Miller's debut directorial effort proves one thing: that he could not flesh out his characters to give them the third dimension. Unlike 'Sin City' (which Miller co-directed with Robert Rodirguez), everything here is flat. SPLATT!