WEEKEND PIC - March 27 - 29, 2009
NEW THIS WEEK:
a. 12 ROUNDS (action thriller with John Cena, Ashley Scott, Brian J. White, Taylor Cole, Aidan Gillen, Steve Harris, Lara Grice and Billy Slaughter) Rated * * * (3 stars): It is heart-pounding action from start to end in this race-against-time story about a criminal out for revenge. Wrestling star Cena makes a refreshing new action hero. (Reviewed below)
b. KNOWING (sci-fi thriller with Nicolas Cage (pic), Rose Byrne, Chandler Canterbury, Ben Mendelsohn, Adrienne Pickering and Lara Robinson) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): The plot is messy and defies logic but the action sets are the highlights of this combination of X-Files and Independence Day thrillers. (Reviewed below)
c. CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC (romantic comedy with Isla Fisher, Hugh Dancy, Joan Cusack, John Goodman, John Lithgow and Kristin Scott Thomas) Rating: * * (2 stars): Shoddily written rom-com that is neither funny nor romantic. Doesn't come close to The Devil Wears Prada.
d. THE UNBORN (horror thriller with Odette Yustman, Gary Oldman, Cam Gigandet, Meagan Good, Jane Alexander, Idris Elba and Carla Gugino) Rated * 1/2 (1.5 stars): Copycat horror that allows you to play a game guessing which famous movie a particular scene is stolen from. (Reviewed below)
STILL GOING STRONG:
1. THE INTERNATIONAL (suspense thriller with Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Armin Mueller-Stahl and Brían F. O'Byrne) Rated * * * (3 stars): Tom Tykwer's 'expose' on an international bank that deals in arms and murders people is serviceable, sans humour and romance. Its piece de resistance is a shootout at the Guggenheim Museum that has the Tykwer trademark. (Reviewed below)
2. TAKEN (action thriller with Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace and Xander Berkeley) Rating * * 1/2 (2.5 out of 4 stars): This daddy-to-the-rescue-of-kidnapped-girl story has its own built-in emotional power but the one-man-against-Paris thingy is incredulous. It's like Neeson doing a Jack Bauer. (Read the DVD review here)
3. RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN (sci-fi fantasy with Dwayne Johnson, AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig, Carla Gugino, Ciaran Hinds and Tom Everett Scott) Rating * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): A re-imagined version of the Witch Mountain series of the 70s, this one is pure Disney fare, catering to the undemanding family audience.
4. HOTEL FOR DOGS (comedy with Emma Roberts, Jake T. Austin, Lisa Kudrow and Don Cheadle) Rating: * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): If you can't get enough of doggie comedies like the recent Marley & Me, this kiddie fare should help you with your fix of cute canines.
5. CITY OF EMBER (sci-fi fantasy with Bill Murray, Tim Robbins, Saoirse Ronan, Martin Landau, Mackenzie Crook, Toby Jones and Mary Kay Place) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): The sets of this underground city looks so fabulous and cool that they become the star of the show. Storywise, nothing much happens until the end of the movie. (Reviewed below)
6. THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX (animated comedy with voices of Matthew Broderick, Robbie Coltrane, Frances Conroy, Tony Hale, Ciaran Hinds and Dustin Hoffman) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): This mouse tale from Pixar is not as funny or energetic as Ratatouille but it is adequate enough to serve as family entertainment for the kids.