WEEKEND PIC - Aug 27 - 29, 2010
NEW THIS WEEK
a) STOOL PIGEON (HK crime thriller with Nicholas Tse, Nick Cheung, Kwai Lun-Mei, Yi Lu and Liu Kai Chi) Rated * * * 1/2 (3.5 stars): With a riveting plot and tensed action from start to end, this Dante Lam effort looks like his best work so far. It also helps to have Nick Cheung and Nicholas Tse in the leads, with Tse giving one of his best portrayals (of the title role). This is one of the few gems to have come out of Hong Kong this year. (Reviewed below)
b) GROWN UPS (comedy with Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Rob Schneider, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello and Maya Rudolph) Rated * * * (3 stars): Dare we hope that with this comedy, Sandler has become more matured or grown-up? Well, as script-writer, he has curbed his subversiveness and crude gags. Instead, he opts for 'friendly banter' with his Saturday Night Live buddies who make up the cast. Why, even Schneider is more bearable here. (Reviewed below)
c) PHUA CHU KANG THE MOVIE (local comedy with Gurmit Singh, Irene Ang, Lim Kay Siu, Neo Swee Lin and Charlie Tan) Rating * * (2 stars): Over the past years, PCK the TV series, had been rolling downhill both in quality and viewership. That is why it is a surprise to me why anyone would want to make a movie of it. What is not surprising is that this feature, shot entirely in KL, is a messy, hastily-concocted and half-baked caper about some murder at an old folk's home.
d) VAMPIRES SUCK (comedy spoof with Jenn Proske, Ken Jeong, Matt Lanter, Charlie Weber, Marcelle Baer, Chris Riggi, Wanetah Walmsley and Michelle Lang) Rated * * (2 stars): Another uninspired and misguided effort from Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the guys behind lame lampoons like Epic Movie, Date Movie, Meet The Spartans and Disaster Movie. The one thing that does not suck is the performance of Proske who does a magnificent job of spoofing Kristen Stewart's portrayal of Bella Swan. She has all of Stewart's 'acting' down pat - her blinking, pouting and blank reactions. (Reviewed below)
STILL GOING STRONG
1. THE EXPENDABLES (action thriller with Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren, Giselle Itie, Eric Roberts, David Zayas, Steve Austin, et al) Rating * * * (3 stars): Most of Hollywood's action stars of yesteryear are gathered for this 'nostalgic thrill outing' for their fans. If you have high expectations, you are gonna regret, but if you are just happy with some popcorn entertainment, you are in for a treat.
2. REPO MEN (sci-fi thriller with Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Alice Braga, Joe Pingue, Liev Schreiber, Carice van Houten and Liza Lapira) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): The world of Repo Men recalls that of The Surrogates, with its 'hell-to-pay' system of health care service instead of robotic clones. Technically, the movie is up to scratch but the narrative runs out of steam halfway - thanks to a weak script. (Reviewed below)
3. THE DESCENT 2 (horror thriller with Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Jackson Mendoza, Krysten Cummings, Gavan O'Herlihy, Joshua Dallas and Anna Skellern) Rating * * (2 stars): This B-grade horror is for two kinds of viewers: those who have seen the first and are unreasonably curious about this sequel; and those planning to 'score' with their dates. Other than these, I cannot see any reason why we have to descend again into an abyss of mindless conceit.
4. THE LAST AIRBENDER (fantasy thriller with Noah Ringer, Nicola Peltz, Dev Patel, Jackson Rathbone, Shaun Toub, Aasif Mandvi, Cliff Curtis, Seychelle Gabriel and Katharine Houghton) Rated * 1/2 (1.5 star): M. Night Shyamalan sinks to a new low with this insepid adaptation of the Nickelodeon TV series, Avatar: The Last Airbender. Its childish dialogue and mispronunciations of names will not please any of the series' fans and won't win any new ones either. The special effects, especially its stunts with water are pretty fantastic though. (Reviewed below)
5. LOVE IN DISGUISE (romantic comedy with Wang LeeHom, Crystal Liu Yi-Fei, Joan Chen and Chen Han Dian) Rated * 1/2 (1.5 stars): Directed by singer Wang LeeHom himself, this one is a right royal mess of over-the-top performances, an infantile script and juvenile jokes. LeeHom fans would probably like his music and songs here - and its promotion of traditional Chinese instrumental music. (Reviewed below)