WEEKEND PIC - March 12 - 14, 2010
YOUR GUIDE TO THE WEEKEND MOVIES
NEW THIS WEEK
a) GREEN ZONE (conspiracy thriller with Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Amy Ryan, Brendan Gleeson, Jason Isaacs and Khalid Abdalla) Rating * * * (3 stars): A thinking man's movie with keen insights into the reasons for the Iraq war. Again Damon is back at his best in his familiar Bourne role although not as Bourne-like in his quest to seek out weapons of mass destruction.
b) EDGE OF DARKNESS (murder mystery with Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Shawn Roberts, Peter Hermann, Denis O'Hare, Jay O. Sanders and Bojana Novakovic) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Gibson is back on the screen after a hiatus of eight years playing a role he does best - as a hot-headed cop like Martin Riggs of Lethal Weapon. He is still watchable but his character here is so over-the-top in its Mad Max caricature that we don't feel for him. (Reviewed below)
c) REMEMBER ME (romance drama with Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin, Chris Cooper, Lena Olin, Tate Ellington, Ruby Jerins, Pierce Brosnan) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Mediocre love story that seems to be banking on the bankability of Twilight heart-throb Pattinson who plays a rebellious youth at odds with his dad and the world. The ending is abrupt - hitting on a famous tragedy. (Reviewed above)
d) UNDER THE MOUNTAIN (sci-fi fantasy with Tom Cameron, Matthew Chamberlain, Oliver Driver, Matt Gillanders, Sophie McBride, Chelsea McEwan-Miller, Sam Neill and Gareth Reeves) Rating: * * (2 stars): Based on the novel by Maurice Gee, this New Zealand production has all the genre cliches ever formulated. The plot about aliens vs Earthlings defies logic and even Sam Neill could not save it from its own banality.
STILL GOING STRONG
1. INVICTUS (sports drama with Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, Scott Eastwood, Robert Hobbs, Langley Kirkwood, Bonnie Henna and Grant Roberts) Rated * * * (3 stars): Director Clint Eastwood's account of Nelson Mandela's role in the World Cup rugby game offers interesting insights into the 'healing' and re-unification of South Africa after decades of apartheid. Also notable are the perfs of Freeman as Mandela and Damon as team captain. (Reviewed below)
2. NINE (musical with Kate Hudson, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, Sophia Loren, Stacy Ferguson and Elio Germano) Rated * * * (3 stars): Rob Marshall's reworking of Frederico Fellini's 8 1/2 is not as stirring and rousing as his Oscar-winning Chicago but there are a few entertaining set pieces here, provided by its gifted cast. The sexy numbers by Cruz and Hudson are worth the price of the ticket. (Reviewed below)
3. ALICE IN WONDERLAND (fantasy adventure with Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Crispin Glover, Mia Wasikowska, Matt Lucas and Marton Csokas) Rating * * * (3 stars): This is Tim Burton's remake of the Lewis Carroll classic with his trademark opulence and weirdness. Nice eye candy but nothing spectacular though.
4. CONFUCIUS (biodrama with Chow Yun-Fat, Lu Yao, Zhou Xun and Chen Jian Bin) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): The veteran Chow does a good impression of the ancient teacher and director Hu Mei serves up a rousing first half with political intrigues and war sequences. However, the film starts to go downhill in the second half, punctuated by a brief respite provided by the sexacious Zhou Xun. (Reviewed below)
5. FROM PARIS WITH LOVE (action thriller with John Travolta, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Kasai Smutniak, Richard Durden, Melissa Mars, Amber Rose Revah and Farid Elouardi) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Luc Besson's actioner offers a high-voltage Travolta as a US Agent roughing up Paris but it is full of ridiculous action and lame lines. Thankfully, it has all the bang-bang stuff that action fans need. (Reviewed below)
6. THE BOOK OF ELI (futuristic adventure with Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis, Gary Oldman, Malcolm McDowell, Michael Gambon, Jennifer Beals, Ray Stevenson and Tom Waits) Rated * * (2 stars): Just another dose of apocalyptic doom and gloom with Washington as a latter-day prophet guarding a precious Book. Impressive atmosphere but the plot is too incredulous to be convincing. (Reviewed below)