Friday, July 29, 2011

WEEKEND PIC - July 29 - 31, 2011



a) CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (fantasy adventure with Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Sebastian Stan, Hugo Weaving, Tommy Lee Jones, Stanley Tucci, Dominic Cooper and Toby Jones) Rated * * * 1/2 (3.5 stars): Coming after The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and Thor, Captain America is a lot more entertaining than Green Lantern and even the critically-acclaimed Thor! This is thanks to the wonderful performances by the leads, as well as Tommy Lee Jones and Stanley Tucci; to a gradually built up romance between Chris Evans' Steve Rogers and Hayley Atwell's agent Peggy Carter; and to the old-style Saturday matinee look and feeling that director Joe Johnston provides. Remember to stay back during the closing credits for a glimpse of what The Avengers has to offer. (Reviewed below)

b) THE HANGOVER 2 (comedy with Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Jamie Chung, Justin Bartha, Tanner Maguire, Ken Jeong, Todd Phillips and Mike Tyson) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): It is merely a repeat of the same shit - albeit in a different venue. Instead of Vegas, the 'crazy shit' shifts to Thailand where the three Wolf Pack members (Cooper, Galifianakis and Helms) grapple with a body, a bloody finger, angry monks and a drug-peddling monkey - after a night of boozing in Bangkok. It is deja vu right from the start but thankfully, the movie gets more tolerable as it progresses. (Reviewed below)


1. HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHY HALLOWS Pt 2 (fantasy adventure with Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Gary Oldman, Ralph Fiennes, Jamie Campbell Bower, Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton and Alan Rickman) Rated * * * 1/2 (3.5 stars): British director David Yates seems business-like in this final part of the Harry Potter franchise, picking up from where Part 1 left off - and building up to the big showdown between Harry and Voldemort at Hogwarts. Of course, Yates is mindful of the legions of HP fans out there and he 'stages' farewell glimpses of almost of the whole cast. It is a fitting and celebratory send-off for a 10-year series that helped to define the lives of so many fans. (Reviewed below)

2. WU XIA (martial arts drama with Donnie Yen, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Tang Wei, Jimmy Wang Yu and Kara Hui) Rated * * * (3 stars): Mark this one as director Peter Chan's best work and one of Donnie Yen's best performances. The first half works like a crime scene investigation caper with Kaneshiro's detective 'reconstructing' the events that led to the deaths of two notorious bandits at an idyllic village in China. The second half is more 'action-oriented' but the best parts are in the little details of life circa 1917 and the scenic shots. The only flaw is the ending that borders on the absurd. (Reviewed below)

b) HANNA (spy thriller with Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana, Cate Blanchett, Tom Hollander, Olivia Williams, Jason Flemyng, Jessica Barden and Aldo Maland) Rated * * * (3 stars): Director Joe Wright teams up with his Atonement star Saoirse Ronan in this espionage thriller that has Ronan playing a younger, Kick-Ass version of Jason Bourne. Trained from childhood as a killer, her Hanna has us rooting for her as she goes against the odds with the CIA baddies. She has good support from Blanchett, Bana and Hollander too. (Reviewed below)

c) TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT (romantic comedy with Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler, Teresa Palmer, Michele Trachenberg and Michael Biehn) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): A touch of Eighties nostalgia, anyone? Well, this comes from Topher Grace, one of the lead stars of That '70's Show on television. The comedy lacks the rowdy absurdity of The Hangover but Grace and Palmer display screen chemistry as two people trying to hit it off during a wild Labour Day booze party. (Reviewed below)


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