YOUR GUIDE TO THE WEEKEND MOVIES
NEW THIS WEEK
a) SALT (spy thriller with Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alex Pettyfer, Gaius Charles, Victor Slezak, Daniel Olbrychski and Marion McCorry) Rated * * * (3 stars): Jolie gives a jolly good account of herself as a double/triple agent in this Cold War spy caper centred on the affiliations of her character. Expectedly, the plot has to be taken with more than the proverbial pinch of Salt but the Bourne-type action and the twists should go down well with Coke and popcorn. (Reviewed below)
b) MONGA (Taiwan gangster drama with Ethan Juan, Mark Chao, Ma Ju-lung, Ko Chia-yen, Rhydian Vaughan, Jason Wang, Tsai Chang-hsine, Huang Teng-hui, Chen Han-tien and Hsing Feng) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Touted as Taiwan's New Wave cinema, Monga deals with five young gangstas in a 'hood downtown. Its story is interesting but the film looks rather amateurish compared with similar Hong Kong efforts. The main attraction for Taiwanese is the cast of TV heartthrobs. They're not so attractive for others. (Reviewed below)
STILL GOING STRONG
1. INCEPTION (sci-fi thriller with Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Michael Caine and Lukas Haas) Rated * * * * (4 stars!): By now, it is impossible for one to escape reading or listening to people taking about Inception, Christopher Nolan's 'dream-travel' masterpiece. The tale is so intriguing and complex that it may take more than one viewing for one to appreciate its nuances and conceits. The special effects are top class and so are the performances and plot. (Reviewed below)
2. TOY STORY 3 (Computer animated comedy in 3D with Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger and Estelle Harris) Rated * * * 1/2 (3.5 stars): This is a winner of a comedy for both young and old right from start to finish. I had not expected it but Pixar has done it again with this highly creative and mischievous sequel greatly enhanced by 3D. Yup, it is fun and enchanting to be back with the toys again.
3. DESPICABLE ME (animated comedy with Jason Segel, Steve Carell, Russell Brand, Will Arnett, Julie Andrews, Danny R. McBride, Kristen Wiig and Jack McBrayer) Rating * * * (3 stars): With its tale about a villain named Gru, it's quite the opposite of The Incredibles but just as funny and fun. It represents the inaugural entry for Universal into the field of 3D CGI and will give Pixar a run for the money.
4. CHLOE (suspense thriller with Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Julianne Moore, Nina Dobrev, Max Thieriot, Meghan Heffern and Laura DeCarteret) Rated * * * (3 stars): Remade from the French film Natalie, Chloe may be remembered for the real-life tragedy Neeson suffered when his wife, Natasha Richardson, died after an accident and interrupted the filming schedule. It is also director Atom Ergoyan's rather titillating effort about a doctor (Moore) who hires an escort to seduce her husband (Neeson) to verify his fidelity. I watched this on DVD some time ago and expect some cuts in the screening here. (Reviewed below)
5. THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE (fantasy thriller with Nicolas Cage, Jay Baruchel, Alfred Molina, Teresa Palmer, Toby Kebbell, Nicole Ehinger, Peyton List and Monica Bellucci) Rating * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): This Disney cartoon, with its title from the 1940 Fantasia segment, is loud, noisy and largely uninspired. Still, the kiddie crowd may be enthralled by the cute special effects, in this tale about how a boy (Baruchel) is told he is apprentice to the magician Merlin's protege (Cage).