WEEKEND PIC - Oct 22 - 24, 2010
NEW THIS WEEK
a) RED (action comedy with Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Brian Cox, Helen Mirren, Richard Dreyfuss, Karl Urban and Ernest Borgnine) Rated * * * (3 stars): Like The Expendables, this reunion of Hollywood veterans, led by Willis, offers lightweight fun and a few laughs. That should be enough considering that the plot is from a DC Comics graphic novel - and Mirren still looks cute totting a gun. (Reviewed below)
b) HACHIKO (drama with Richard Gere, Sarah Roemer, Joan Allen, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Jason Alexander, Erick Avari, Robert Capron, Davenia McFadden and Kevin DeCoste) Rated * * * (3 stars): Based on a real-life Akita breed and a remake of the 1987 Japanese film, this tale of loyalty and devotion (that can only come from a canine friend) avoids shameless sentimentality. Instead director Lasse Hallstrom opts for realism - and this is what makes the story even more touching. At GSC International Screen (Reviewed below)
c) YOU AGAIN (comedy with Kristen Bell, Sigourney Weaver, Jamie Lee Curtis, Odette Yustman, Betty White, Kristin Chenoweth, Victor Garber, Christine Larkin and Patrick Duffy) Rating * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): "High school was a horror movie, this weekend is the sequel" - says one of the characters in this 'revenge comedy'. True enough, the comedy turns out to be more of a horror than rollicking fun because it wastes the talents of three generations of actresses.
d) LIFE AS WE KNOW IT (romantic comedy with Katherine Heigl, Josh Duhamel, Josh Lucas, Christina Hendricks, Jean Smart, Melissa McCarthy and Majandra Delfino) Rating * * (2 stars): Heigl and Duhamel play two people who don't quite like each other but are forced to stay together to take care of their orphaned god-daughter. That's the 'life' of this movie as we know it because what follows is highly predictable, manipulative and derivative.
STILL GOING STRONG
1. THE OTHER GUYS (cop comedy with Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton, Dwayne Johnson, Lindsay Sloane, Ray Stevenson and Steve Coogan) Rated * * * (3 stars): After a number of stinkers, it is clear that Farrell has found his comedy partner in Wahlberg. They are a riot here playing opposites to each other and chalking up another great odd-couple team. Director Adam McKay (Talledega Nights) keeps things offbeat and off-logic in a fun and flashy screwball comedy. (Reviewed below)
2. REIGN OF ASSASSINS (Mandarin swordplay thriller with Michelle Yeoh, Jung Woo-Sung, Wang Xueqi, Barbie Hsu, Shawn Yue, Kelly Lin, Guo Xiaodong and Jiang Yiyan) Rated * * * (3 stars): It is not as compelling as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon but for those who miss this kind of wirefu and swordfighting action (courtesy of John Woo), this should whet their appetite. The coy romance in the first half stalls the pace somewhat but it picks up appropriately later. (Reviewed below)
3. BURIED (thriller by Spanish director Rodrigo Cortes, starring Ryan Reynolds) Rated * * * (3 stars): Be warned that this movie is not for those who suffer from claustrophobia and depression. The whole film is shot 'inside' a wooden coffin and from the point of view of Paul Conroy, an American truck driver in Iraq who finds himself captured and buried under ground. Nope, this is not piece of entertainment. It is for those who want to experience one-and-a-half hours of sheer terror and helplessness. (Reviewed below)
4. SAMMY'S ADVENTURES: The Secret Passage (animated adventure in 3D with Isabelle Fuhrman, Tim Curry, Melanie Griffith, Jenny McCarthy, Kathy Griffin, Anthony Anderson, Stacy Keach, Ed Begley Jr and Billy Unger) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Without much of a plot and fast-paced action, this Belgian effort works a lot like a documentary on protecting our oceans and environment. The 3D effects are commendable - at least for young children at which the movie is targeted. (Reviewed below)
5. DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS (comedy with Paul Rudd, Steve Carrell, Stephanie Szostak, Jemaine Clement, Zach Galifianakis, Lucy Punch, David Walliams and Ron Livingston) Rated * * (2 stars): Carrell gives a credible and even touching performance as a mentally-challenged guy invited to dinner so that he can be laughed at. But then it is incorrect to laugh at idiots who should be pitied, as suggested by the movie's moral compass. (Reviewed below)