Thursday, September 15, 2011

WEEKEND PIC - Sept 16 - 18, 2011



a) JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN (comedy spoof with Rowan Atkinson, Gillian Anderson, Rosamund Pike, Dominic West, Daniel Kaluuya, Richard Schiff and Ben Miller) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): Those who like the childish antics of Mr Bean will be laughing at Atkinson's Johnny English. However, those who want something new and witty in terms of gags and plot will not find any here. The best laughs are those shown in the trailers - and what we have left is a predictable and inane story about an assassination plot against a Chinese premier - for dubious reasons. It's nice to watch Anderson, Pike and newcomer Kaluuya, though. (Reviewed below).

b) CITY ON FIRE aka 5 DAYS OF WAR (war drama with Rupert Friend, Val Kilmer, Andy Garcia, Dean Cain, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Heather Graham, Mikko Nousianen, Richard Coyle and Rade Serbedzija) Rating * * (2 stars): If there is any doubt that Renny Harlin's days as a hotshot director are over, this movie will only confirm it. Instead of making a tensed and well-researched film about the August 2008 flare-up between Russia and Georgia, he made an action-packed 'propaganda' movie centred around a war reporter (Friend) and his cameraman (Coyle) in a quest to get the message out at a time when the eyes of the world are on the Beijing Olympics. The production values are strong but the story sucks.


1. CONTAGION (drama with Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Marion Cotillard, Bryan Cranston,
Sanaa Lathan and Jennifer Ehle) Rated * * * (3 stars): Don't expect Contagion to be as critically-acclaimed as the 2000 drug flick, Traffic. However, director Steven Soderbergh's docudrama style keeps the pace tensed and engaging. The big name cast is not allowed to overshadow the dramatic impact of the virus, which remains the main invisible star of the film. Some of his subplots are weak and even ridiculous but the film is believable on the main. (Reviewed below)

b) BRIDESMAIDS (comedy with Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Rose Byrne, Chris O'Dowd, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Ellie Kemper, Jon Hamm and Matt Lucas) Rating * * * (3 stars): If you enjoyed The Hangover and its sequel, you are gonna like this one. The laughs come on regularly and lead star Wiig manages to shine in a role that seems to have been tailor-made for her. Indeed, she makes the film seem like an American version of Bridget Jones!

c) MY KINGDOM (drama in Cantonese with Wu Chun, Han Geng, Barbie Hsu, Liu Qian, Yuan Biao and Yu Rongguang) Rated * * 1/2 (2.5 stars): After a promising start, My Kingdom slowly falls apart. This may be due to director Gao Xiaosong trying to reach out for more than he can grasp. He extends the kungfu flick into a multi-genre effort, resulting in a messy revenge film that is part costume drama and part soap opera and even a love story. Also, the three young leads seem unable to carry the movie. They were obviously picked for their looks than talent. (Reviewed below)

4. THE SMURFS (live action cum animated comedy with Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays and Sofia Vergara) Rating * * (2 stars):
This Smurfs movie unleashes the blue critters from their fantasy village into the streets of New York for some ruckus and mayhem. Like on the TV series, the Smufs are both adorable and annoying but the movie seldom rises above the level of childishness of Alvin And The Chipmunks. Mainly for kids who have been on a diet of Smurfs on TV.


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