Archive for the ‘movie reviews’ Category

May 28, 2006

“Over The Hedge” (2006)

Emily and I were there to watch “The Poseidon”, but somehow, the show had stopped screening. And we were left only with a few choices : “Mission Impossible 3″, “X-Men”, “Over the Hedge”, “Da Vinci Code” and a bunch of movies that didn’t catch my attention.

Since:
– both of us didn’t like Tom Cruise,
– I had slept through the first 2 X-Men movies
– I’ve read Da Vinci Code before, and thought it was fucking boring,

… we finally settled for “Over The Hedge”. Was it a good choice? Depends. If I’m an excited 5 year old who has never seen a raccoon before in my life? Hell yeah. If I’m a guy who expects more from the CGI world after watching the likes of “The Incredibles” or any other motion pictures animated by Pixar? Nope.

Somehow, the graphics failed to impress me and the storyline was just OK.

The movie starts with a naive raccoon that hit a boner when he tries to steal a hibernating bear’s junk food out of the compulsion of hunger, and ends up waking the disgruntled bear and inadvertently trashing his stuffs. The bear got tulan, catches him and is about to give him a big brain squirt, when the smooth talking raccoon manages to convince the angry bear that he’s able to restore everything he trashed as ever before, and is thence given the time to fulfill his pledge until the bear wakes up half a moon revolution later.

And that’s how the raccoon come to this oasis of little wood smack dab in the middle of a modern human suburb (which is separated by a perimeter of hedge, hence the title) and meets a group of rustic animals who have never seen humans before. (how they ended up in that little area of woodlands without noticing the humans around them, still escapes me. But hey, it’s just a fucking 3D cartoon, they need no logic in that…). From there, the raccoon works out a plot to convince (he’s good in convincing) the bunch of animals to help amass his promised loot back for the bear within the promised dateline – and adventure ensues.

Overall, it was just adequately entertaining. It didn’t flop too bad, nor did it fare well enough. It’s just another mediocre animated movie that simply didn’t cut the cake. For this movie, I’d recommend a pDVD instead, and watch it at home… unless of course, you’re itching of an outing and you’ve watched everything else at the cinema, like me.

michaelooi  | movie reviews  | 18 Comments
February 7, 2006

“Fearless” (2006)

I’ve been longing to watch “Fearless” (霍元甲) since it was launched on 26th Jan, but couldn’t get myself any tix to watch it. Well, that was because all the major theaters in town were fully booked in conjuncture with the CNY holidays. After a few attempts (and a great deal of perseverance), I finally got to watch it yesterday.

And it didn’t live up to my expectations.

Sure enough, it was good, but it wasn’t as good as I had anticipated. Being an avid fan of kungfu flicks, I would say this movie is pale in comparison to those legendary kungfu blockbusters such as Tsui Hark’s “Once Upon A Time In China” and “Swordsman” trilogies.

I think it lacks of a certain something that would make many kungfu fanatics (like me) find appealing – a main villain for the hero to stomp at – A tacit formula for any successful kungfu films. A symbolical victory of good against evil. A purpose in life, you know, shits like that. I know it’s corny but hey, it’s always better to have an object to hate at and later to have that hero weed that motherfucker’s ass out. You get what I mean?

But not in this movie. The villains are more like sporadic. Apparently, the director (whoever that is), tried to make the villain of the movie to be Master Fok (the protagonist of the film) himself. As a result of that, you get a batter of dramatic character played by Jet Li, which I find unappealing. I think he’s more suitable to play solemn looking roles. One that’s cruel and doesn’t even elicit a half hearted smile. (even if he were to smile, it’s only for his awesome looking girlfriend in exchange for a round of steamy sex, oh yeah bebeh). Check out the Master Wong role he played in “Once Upon A Time In China”… it was awesome.

Some preposterous plots too. I’m not too sure if it’s suppose to conform to the original historical happenings that befell on Master Fuck Fok himself, but the part about his repentance after being a farmer, was goddamn ridiculous. Things that I failed to comprehend:

1) How in the world could planting rice crops teach a conceited person to realize that he should respect life in general? Why wouldn’t he listen to what his mom said to him in length but would find his nirvana when a knockout gorgeous chick merely uttered something colloquial in just one sentence? Chick power?

2) A chick that’s blind, would have little narcissism left in her. That’s because she can’t fucking see the mirror. She would have no regards of how she would look but would focus on how to be tough and persevere to cope with her disability. But in this flick… nevermind.

The fight scenes were nicely choreographed though – the main selling point of the movie. I particularly loved the sword fight (or sabre fight) with that bald villain inside a restaurant. It was energetic and very violent. I LIKEEEEEE!!! And that, was the only cream I enjoyed about the movie. I totally did not dig the uplifting and Zen part of the work.

Perhaps, I’m more ‘accustomed’ to the conventional kungfu films that feature heroes kicking asses. Only kicking asses, not being kicked at.

*****

Something I shared at the cafeteria today:

How would “Fearless” look like if it were to be directed by the following people?

John Woo – Fights would be screened in slow-mo. Halfway through the climactic fight, there would be pigeons flying out of nowhere.

Ang Lee – Master Fok will be portrayed as a homosexual wuss that does odd job pimping for a living. He is later engaged in an anti-gravitational fight that mind boggles the viewer. The film would then end abruptly with an ancient Chinese pictogram text that nobody understands.

Quentin Tarantino – The script will consist 30% of the word ‘fuck’. 20% of it will be ‘mother’. 10% of it will be on various expletives. And there will be gangsterism, drugs and sexual elements in the movie.

Steven Spielberg – The villains Master Fok up against turn out to be robots planning to take over the world. And halfway through his quest, he’d met little fairies and disproportionate friendly aliens that would aid him through his course.

James Cameron – The entire film, fights and plots takes place on a giant wooden ship, which would sink at the finale of the movie and everybody fucking dies.

Peter Jackson – Master Fok will sport a beard and a silky smooth rebonded straight long hair (like Cher’s), and his adversaries are green in color and looked like Triceratops.

Sam Raimi – Master Fok will be cutting up plasticine zombies instead of live humans. With a chainsaw.

Martin Scorsese – Master Fok will be an artist instead of a kungfu master. He would then become an alcoholic and later die out of self injury with a vibrator.

*****

michaelooi  | movie reviews  | 14 Comments
December 18, 2005

“King Kong” (2005)

Spoiler alert: King Kong croaked in the end and everyone was fucking thrilled

Goddamn! Peter Jackson’s rendition of “King Kong” is awesome! The movie’s like what… 3 hours? But you could barely feel it’s actually that long. That is because it was so exhilaratingly entertaining and mind blowingly splendid… by the time it is over, you’d go “wow! what a ride!”. Yeah… it was that good.

The storyline conforms to the original and is very well edited. There were no preposterous plots and it was packed with action from almost the beginning till the end (the first 30 minutes of introduction can be kinda boring for some, though necessary). See bottom of this entry for the longer write-up of the storyline.

In this 2005 installment of King Kong, I noticed that the big ape was kind of different from the original King Kong. The original King Kong, was a bipedal anthropoid looking primate that very much resembled a yeti or my colleague Elliot (whichever applies…) – shorter frontal limbs and longer legs… looked like as if it could actually drive a standard transmission vehicle or something. But the 2005 King Kong, was somehow modeled after a silverback gorilla… longer (but more powerful) arms and midget legs. (reminded me of the flick “Mighty Joe Young”, not very King Kong-ish)

And judging by the proportion of the Empire State building versus the ape, I’d say the 2005 King Kong is kinda smaller in size. The original King Kong was almost the ultraman standard… but this one is just slightly bigger than Shaquille O’Neal. I mean, they could have actually made him bigger you know… and make him swim to Japan to meet ultraman or something like that. (a sequel perhaps?)

Maybe not. Sequels tend to flop big time. This movie’s already a legend now. It has a good storyline (though not self-conceived), has comedic elements (have you seen a gorilla snigger?), it’s sentimental (I saw a few ah lians sobbing outside the cinema) and it gets you to the edge of your seat. What more could one ask for? (though it could still do some topless scene… ahaks!!)

If there’s only 1 blockbuster movie in 2005 to be reckoned with, this would be it. I’m going to look out for the DVD version.
Read the rest of this entry »

michaelooi  | movie reviews  | 12 Comments
July 19, 2005

“Fantastic Four” (2005)

Empat baguih. Fantastic Four that is… watched it last weekend. What do I think of it ? Well, not as ‘fantastic’ as I’ve anticipated. Or to be more direct, it’s boring. I don’t know if it’s me but, the movie’s kinda frivolous and the actors were goofy.
They made
– “The Thing” too short and looked like he’s made of wads of unkneaded roti canai dough (man, that thing was supposed to be gigantic and rock solid !).
– “Mr Fantastic” like Jeff Goldblum in ID4.
– “Human Torch” like a gay bloke that loves extreme sports.
– “Dr Doom” like some kid in a Halloween costume (which, looks not like a doctor at all, but more like a metrosexual bloke that trims his eyebrows)
– “Invisible girl” like a … lap dancer ? Ok, she’s alright.

For the first 3 quarters of the movie, I struggled to put up with the somehow stodgy storyline which seemed to last forever. It had the same formula like most superheroes movie, you know … a bunch of normal individuals discovering themselves bestowed with superpowers after an accident that involved a shitload amount of radioactive exposure …

Which, makes me ponder a bit, aren’t these messages kinda misleading ? It sort of paints an impression to the kids that radioactive are cool stuffs that could alter one’s DNA into some super being with a chiseled good looking body that also gives you supernatural powers… Man, if only they knew about the real thing. If only they knew that radioactivity mutates not only your DNA but your physical cells as well … and you’ll be looking like no He-Man nor She-Ra … but some biological piece of walking beef patty that couldn’t even pronounce ‘horlicks’ properly…

The finale wasn’t that impressive either … The battle was short and poorly choreographed. There weren’t any thrilling effects because they looked so cliche, after getting accustomed to all those mind blowing graphics in the past blockbusters.

I’d say, this movie would be better off as a 3D animated cartoon instead… or was there already ? Yes, “The Incredibles”. Though it was clearly a rip off from the more original Fantastic Four, but “The Incredibles” was waaaaaaaaaay much more entertaining than “Fantastic Four”. Hands down.

If you have yet to watch this movie, well, don’t. It’s not worth the money (even for a pDVD).

michaelooi  | movie reviews  | 8 Comments
July 2, 2005

“War of the Worlds” (2005)

Finally, the famous “War of the Worlds”. Can’t remember much of its story, except some mild memories of squid looking monsters terrorizing streets of some city … I think I’ve watched the cartoon version of it when I was a kid.

Never mind that. I watched the movie version today. So, what do I think of it ? Because it’s a Steven Spielberg movie, I would say the movie is a flop. I had put up a high expectation of it … and was literally filled with disappointment when the movie ended. As simple as that.

details (spoiler alert) :

As you all may have already known, this movie is all about some aliens from Mars trying to take over our planet. Story focuses on the adventure of a crane operator (Tom Cruise) and his kids surviving through the entire ‘invasion’ – which was pre-planned millions of years ago by the aliens.

How did they do it ? By burying their 3 legged spaceships (called “tripods”) underground before the dawn of civilization … and reactivated it back to fuck the whole world when Tom Cruise was about to have a bad time with his teenage son in the 21st century. Sounds like an awesome plot, doesn’t it ? Well, I don’t think so.

I was thinking, if they’re planning for an invasion, or extermination of mankind, wouldn’t it be easier for them aliens to fuck with us humans while we’re still dwelling in caves thousands of years ago ? But no. Instead, they would wait until we have all the gadgets to fuck back with them… and took the trouble to jam our electronics before rising up from the ground to wreak all havoc upon mankind. That’s smart…

Some part of the movie reminded of “Independence Day” – you know, the aliens appearing out of nowhere in America thrilling everyone. Just when they (Americans) were gaping by the prowess of their awesomeness, then wham… the aliens started to mow everyone down with their plasma/sonic/whatever weapons. I have to admit, that part of the movie was kinda fun to watch. It gave me the feeling that the world’s gonna end… though it’s only occurring at some ghetto neighborhood somewhere around America (no high rise building, no nothing).

Come think of it, why do aliens like to cause troubles only in America ? (and oversized mutated monsters in Tokyo) ? Why can’t that happen in somewhere around places like Air Itam in Penang … or perhaps, Jonker Street in Melaka ? Sheesh.

And when Tom Cruise discovered that he’s in deep shit, he quickly bailed his neighborhood to seek refuge at somewhere safer – his ex mother-in-law’s house in Boston. (he probably thinks that his mother-in-law is nastier than the aliens). Talking about aliens, I’ve noticed that the word “alien” was not being mentioned even once in this movie … as if everyone was trying hard not to say the magic word. Like when Tom’s teenage son actually asked him where did those “things” come from ? He only answered him – they’re something from “somewhere”… to which, his dumbass son thought he meant Europe.

I was thinking, why can’t he just say – “THOSE ARE ALIENS FROM THE OUTER FUCKING SPACE YOU DOLT !!!!”.

So, the tripods would go around toasting everyone’s ass and picking up housewives with tentacles and imprison them for snacks later. Not much battle scenes, but a lot of scenes of those tripods going around causing destruction. Unlike “Independence Day”, there wasn’t a feel of unity at all here, nor was there any ridiculous heroic tales to tell about. Oh, except the scene where Tom Cruise actually stuffed up a couple of grenades into the puckering sphincter of the tripod’s ass (yes, the spaceship has an anus)… causing it to puke and explode with diarrhea before dying off.

Just when I started to wonder if the movie had enough time to get to a good ending … suddenly, all the tripods started to move awkwardly and died off… Some that still stood, would suddenly lost its shield and eventually end up getting shot by human soldiers. That was when the credit rolled out telling the audience that the aliens had died off due to their lack of immune against the microorganism in our atmosphere … and the invasion failed. We won.

I was like “WHAT THE FUCK !? THE ALIENS ACTUALLY GOT AIDS AND LOSE THE BATTLE ??”. As odd as it may have already sound, the intelligent aliens that were already capable of building spaceships millions of years ago, didn’t seem to be able to figure out that their immune was weak against our Earth’s atmosphere … That’s kinda hard to swallow isn’t it ? It’s a choking hazard.

This movie contains a lot of major flaws. And that’s the problem with it. No shit that it has plenty of CG effects and some good drama as well, but… it’s the contradicting plot that actually spoilt it. I’d say don’t waste the money, get a pDVD.

michaelooi  | movie reviews  | 39 Comments