Saturday 27 February 2016

The Other Side of the Door ... Slammed shut

I NEVER though I'd yawn so much watching a horror film, but I did just that viewing director Johannes Roberts's The Other Side of the Door, about a white middle-class American family in India dealing with the loss of their infant son.
  India may seem like an exotic location for the filmmakers and the family in question, but Hollywood horror tropes abound in this film, from creaking doors and high-strung music to decaying corpses playing in the rain.

Thursday 25 February 2016

Gods of Egypt ... The gods must be crazy

GODS of Egypt is a big and bombastic film that depends on its special effects to lift it above the
humdrum. I will shamelessly admit that I enjoyed the spectacular sceneries and battle scenes. I was also enchanted by the Wonderbra blouses worn by the actresses. Heck, those pieces of clothing should have kept ancient Egypt in order.
    However, the extravagance overflowing in director Alex Proyas's film can't cover up its lack of impressionable characters. It's so focused on overwhelming viewers with CGI  -- for example, the opening scene, with the camera gliding from up above and along a winding river and down into a crowded alleyway teeming with shops -- that the plot takes a backseat.

Wednesday 24 February 2016

The Choice ... Sparks didn't fly

HANDSOME, smooth-talking and lanky Southerner Travis (Benjamin Walker of In The Heart of The
Sea) has always had it easy when it comes to ensnaring beautiful women. Even his two married male best friends are envious of his ability to chat up women.
   Viewers know that the good-looking man and woman in author Nicholas Sparks's novels always end up together, regardless of whether they were dating others or that they are from different social classes.

Monday 22 February 2016

Hail, Caesar! ... Hailstorm of criticism

A COEN brothers film is something to look forward to, but their latest flick, Hail, Caesar!, which
mocks the Hollywood film industry in the 1950s, is a disappointment. It has delightful and funny individual moments, but taken as a whole, it deserves to be crucified.
   There's only scene that grabs my attention, and it's a ghastly one. The scarf of an editor (Frances McDormand, who won a Best Actress Oscar for the Coen brothers' Fargo) gets stuck in an editing machine and nearly chokes her. I don't know whether to laugh or appreciate the brothers' morbid instincts.

Sunday 21 February 2016

Joy ... No joy de vivre

IT'S important for viewers to connect with film characters, but writer-director David O. Russell's Joy, which urges women to live their dreams, lacks that vital characteristic.
  It's not necessarily due to Jennifer Lawrence, who received a Best Actress nomination for this role. She won a Best Actress Oscar for Russell's Silver Linings Playbook and received a Best Supporting Actress nomination for his American Hustle.

Thursday 18 February 2016

The Finest Hours ... Breaking the waves

CHRIS Pine may be the star of director Craig Gillespie's The Finest Hours, but viewers will take a liking to Casey Affleck.
    However, their characters share a similar trajectory in this US Coast Guard small-boat rescue set in 1952, which is based on the book The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard's Most Daring Sea Rescue (2009).

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies ... Love in the time of monsters

I'M all for strong heroines in films, especially the ones who kick men's asses and show the world that
they're not to be trifled with. Viewers would have seen Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Tris (Shailene Woodley) dispatch their enemies with ease. These heroines have female viewers wanting to be like them and male viewers wanting to sleep with them.
   But they never had to worry about staying chaste and focusing on getting married, while surrounded by hordes of zombies keen on eating eat their brains.

Sunday 14 February 2016

The Purge: Anarchy ... Blood lust

IN preparation for the release of The Purge 3 in the summer, I watched The Purge: Anarchy (2014),
written and directed by James DeMonaco.
  Viewers know that the 12-hour annual Purge gives US citizens the legal right to commit all crimes, including murder. During that time, fire and emergency services are suspended.

Wednesday 10 February 2016

Cast Away ... The important things in life

I ALWAYS thought that director Robert Zemeckis's Cast Away (2000) was about a man stranded on an island for four years and how he lost an immense amount of weight during that tumultuous time.
  Watching it today, I realise it's about how FedEx employee Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) learns to let go of his desire to control of time, and learn to value the relationship he had with doctoral student girlfriend Kelly (Helen Hunt).

Tuesday 9 February 2016

The 5th Wave ... Kids rock the world

THE 5th Wave, directed by J. Blakeson and based on a book by Rick Yancey, shows the tepid transformation of pretty blonde cheerleader Cassie Sullivan, from a teen interested in parties and boys to a rebel leader who makes handsome guys melt in her hand.
   Aliens, a.k.a. The Others, hover above Earth, destroying it with earthquakes, tsunamis and avian-borne diseases, and blocking off the energy supply for humans. No one's seen them, and humans wait with bated breath for the Fifth Wave, the attack that will wipe out Earth's population.

Monday 8 February 2016

Deadpool ... Facing his fears

WHEN watching the trailer for Deadpool, I expected it to be about a wise-cracking and crass superhero
 with a penchant for showing off his taut body in a red spandex outfit. My expectation was proven true when I watched it. I just never expected it to be filled with dollops of crude humour.
  The film actually has a soft spot, even though it's littered with profanities and action scenes that would make Arnold Schwarzenegger go green with envy.

Thursday 4 February 2016

Ola Bola ... Kick-starting national unity

SPORTS films are a staple of Hollywood, for example, Chariots of Fire (1981), Any Given Sunday
(1999) and Remember The Titans (2000). A theme of sports films is the turnaround that happens when a new coach shakes a losing team out of its doldrums and inspires it to reach greatness.
  On the way to reaching for the stars, the team will stumble as the players and coach get a feel for each other. It's not unsurprising to have people shouting at each other, or blaming each other for the team's defeat.