- Lots of action but very little awe-inspiring death moments
- Female elf is strong and beautiful and a lot more scenes of her would have helped the film
THE second part of director Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy at times feels like the first Indiana Jones. The are many ups and downs in both films and it’s the ups that will keep Smaug viewers reasonably engrossed for nearly three hours.
Bilbo begins to feel more drawn in to the power of the ring, but in this film, it’s used more as a get-out-of-jail card. Whenever he’s in trouble, he pulls out the ring, puts it on and escapes his predicaments. Bilbo doesn’t have a face-to-face confrontation with Golum like he did in the first film, so the film lacks that near-death tension.
Bilbo and the dwarves get themselves into many terrifying situation but viewers implicitly know that they’ll find a way out of it. The film’s most scintillating moment happens when the dwarves escape the elves in barrels in a white-water rapid and also fight off the nasty orcs. It feels like Jackson has broken free of his chains and is simply enjoying himself.
Evil is a term bandied about in the film. It probably refers to author J.R.R. Tolkien’s warning about the impending threat of Nazism in Europe. But the dwarves are on a quest to reclaim their stolen land from the dragon Smaugh and also get hold of a sparkling jewel. So the film loses its moral point by focusing on the selfish pursuit of wealth.
I particularly enjoyed the presence of the female elf and the return of Legolas (Orlando Bloom). The female elf is a concoction of Jackson’s mind as she’s not present in the book. But she’ll certainly leave her mark on viewers with her beauty, agility, murderous skill and willingness to fall in love with a dwarf.
There’s a lot of running around and killing and the film got a bit tedious towards the end, just before the dragon makes its spectacular entrance. Even the climax got a bit too long for viewers to enjoy themselves.
3½ out of 5
- Child warriors are asked to do unspeakable things to win wars for adults
- A reasonably engrossing film about management styles and getting people to do your bidding
A GIFTED kid with a propensity for violence is picked to join a military academy that prepares child warriors for battle with an intergalactic species called Formics, or the Ants.
Three-quarters of Gavin Hood’s Ender’s Game is spent on the runt’s experience in this academy as he experiences bullying, ragging, teenage crush and the expectations of the whole universe. The film is based on Orson Scott Card’s book of the same name.
- Thor and lover are feeble and humorless in sequel
- Loki steals Thor’s thunder with his sneering comportment
I WAS not impressed by the first Thor, and it’s sad to say that my feeling about the sequel, Thor: The Dark World, is equally pessimistic.
Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has won a war and the Nine Realms are calm and peaceful. His brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), has been captured and dumped in Asgard’s dungeon. Asgard is ruled by their father (Anthony Hopkins), who hopes to pass the baton one day to the blond and hunky Thor.
- I expected the worse but was pleasantly surprised by the humour in this film
- White man and Mexican-American save LA from destruction
WRITER-DIRECTOR Mike Mendez’s Mega Spider surprised me. I thought it’d be as bad as February’s Spider, but I was wrong. The former has its requisite gore quotient with the badass giant spider using its maxillae to kill people, but it’s also replete with humour that will make you chuckle when you least expect it.
Yes, the CGI is appalling and yes, the dialogue is sometimes stilted and unnatural, but they’re all subservient to the key ingredient of the film: the Batman-Robin-like relationship between white pest exterminator Alex Mathis (Greg Grunberg) and Mexican-American security guard Jose Ramos (Lombardo Boyar).
- Multiracial ‘Romeo & Juliet’ dance flick lacks the moves to engross audiences
- BoA’s foray into Hollywood flounders
DANCE films are a dime a dozen. The acting is stiff, the plot is predictable and the dancing is blase.
Writer-director Duane Adler thinks spinning a tale based on Romeo & Juliet will work wonders for him but his Make Your Move will be more known for its multiracial love angle and theme than anything else.
Donny (Broadway dancer Derek Hough) is an ex-con who makes a living tap dancing in New Orleans streets. He’s also got a hard-nosed, no-nonsense parole officer.
- Malaysian director James Wan tips his hat to many horror films, including his own ‘The Conjuring’
- A decent but hackneyed film
MALAYSIAN director James Wan has the ability to turn a hackneyed horror plot into a film that delays tension-filled moments, surprising you when you least expect it.
How else can one explain the success of haunted house film The Conjuring? This film has ghosts from so many horror films and it ends with an exorcism in the cellar. Yet he made you empathise with the family in question, to the extent that you didn’t care if you had seen these scenes in other films.
This is another one of those prison-break films. Sly lacks an iota of personality playing a get-out-of-jail contractor who gets paid by the government to test the integrity of maximum-security prisons. Is the audience really going to believe in him using a roll of toilet paper to get out of prison? It was funny, though.
Put Sly and Arnie together and you get two 1980s’ action stars desperately seeking to regain their mojo. I admit the secretly-run prison set up was ingenious but you just know that these two old-timers will find a way out of it.
I find it hard to believe that Sly is the thinking-man’s action hero. He just can’t think, so imagining him thinking of a way to break out of prison is unimaginable.
The dialogue between both of them is dry, too. Also, can you imagine Arnie playing an inmate who does favours for you? Usually, it’s a skinny helpless guy who does this to get into the good books of the convicts who rule the prison.
Caviezel plays the prison boss who has a penchant for keeping his expensive clothes clean (like the guy in Elysium) and who dabbles in framing dead butterflies. The tension between him and Sly is barely palpable, much less worth talking about.
This is a simple breakout film. Watching these two old geezers huff and puff is not worth it anymore
2 out of 5
A BREATHTAKING film with virtuoso control by director Alfonso Cuaron. The opening scene glides by effortlessly in a single take. There’s fun banter with Mike (George Clooney) and Dr Ryan (Sandra Bullock) and a third astronaut, Sharif. All that changes in an instant when debris hurtles their way.
The camera becomes jumpy and jagged and shows the turmoil in space. Bullock does an awesome job showing her helplessness floating in space. Clooney is mainly in the film to provide humour but one scene of him showing his courage and sacrifice is worthy of an Oscar nod.
It reminded me of what Tim Robbins’ character did for his wife (Connie Nielsen) when they were running out of oxygen in Mission to Mars.
Bullock is the film’s heart and rock. She’s at first not used to being in space but circumstances force her to think outside the box.
She’s even about to give up after reaching the safety of a Russian space ship, but Cuaron’s deft hand, with the help of Clooney, get her to focus on her life and determination to get back to Earth in one piece.
However, my small problem with the film is that it’s predictable. Sure, we empathise with Bullock’s predicament and feel her confusion. But once she gets to her first ship, we know that she’ll get back home safely, regardless of the obstacles in her way.
3 1/2 out of 5
- Film puts its cards on the table very early
- Timberlake’s wooden performance is a far cry from his sterling singing
YOU may have heard of this tale: a man makes it big in an industry (gambling, stock market or industrial espionage). He is showered with attention and money. He snares a trophy girlfriend. The sex is hot and sweaty. However, the FBI threatens him with jail if he doesn’t cooperate to bring criminals to justice.
If you think this it the plot of Paranoia, you are wrong, but I wouldn’t blame you for this mistake as the film shares traits with Runner Runner, starring Justin Timberlake.
- Natascha Kampusch’s fighting spirit is shown in great detail in this slow, quiet and plodding film
- It’s broken by outbursts of violence
HOW did Natascha Kampusch survive 3,096 days in captivity, where she was humiliated, assaulted, raped, embarrassed and starved of food?
Most people know of her abduction on the way to school in Vienna at the age of 10 on March 2, 1998, by Wolfgang Přiklopil, and how she escaped 8 1/2 years later on Aug 23, 2006.