YOUR GUIDE TO THE WEEKEND MOVIES
NEW THIS WEEK
a) 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 former action stars 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.
b) 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)
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. 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.
3. SALT (spy thriller with Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alex Pettyfer, Gaius Charles, Victor Slezak 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. Expectedly, the plot has to be taken with more than the proverbial pinch of Salt but the action and the twists go well with Coke and popcorn. (Reviewed below)
4. TEKKEN (action thriller with Jon Foo, Luke Goss, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Chiaki Kuriyama, Mircea Monroe, Gary Daniels, Darrin Dewitt Henson, Cung Le and Ian Anthony Dale) Rated * * (2 stars): Made in the style of Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, Tekken is strictly for action addicts, with a weak and predictable plot and eyefuls of sexily-clad girls. The fight sequences get repetitive after a while but I guess its audiences wouldn't mind. (Reviewed below)
5. 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 a bunch of young gangstas in the 'hood downtown. It is interesting but rather amateurish compared with similar Hong Kong efforts. The main attraction for Taiwanese is the cast of TV heartthrobs. Not so attractive for others. (Reviewed below)
6. 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 mispronounciations 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)