Vantage Point – die2 must watch!!

March 24, 2008 at 11:15 p03 (Movies)

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No spoiler here but this is a simple movie of the US president and his guardian angel Dennis Quaid. The US president went to talk 3 talk 4 *about world peace, what else!* in Spain and got shot. Point of view from eight fellas were joined together to retell the scenes leading to the assasination and we get this movie.

Why i like this movie?

Got Dennis Quaid – like this fella cos got a damn serious look, almost authoritative. But not the kind of character that i would like to meet in real life. He anchored the movie with a performance that is solid yet vulnerable.

Got alien smasher Sigourney Weaver – SW looks stunning as the production manager of the studio network covering the occasion in Spain. Another strong woman role for SW – look like she is type casted after her alien-kicking days!

Forest Whitaker – Love him for his potrayal of Idi Amin in another show. But unfortunately, his character is the weakest in this movie. His “visiting tourist with a video cam” role was, IMHO,  created as a link pin so the whole plot make sense. It takes a lot of artistic license for me to believe that the playback from the video cam helped in solving the case.

The car chase in the movie was superb. How the hell the director managed to let it rip in a street crowded with people and cars is simply awesome!! Dennis Quaid in a Mazda 2 cub is  ridiculous but very cute!

The assasination technique is very high tech, but very believable! It seems the bad guys are highly cerebal fellas. If that is an indication of the capability of the bad guys nowadays, it is not hard to believe that a limping middle age man can escape from the island of alcatraz!!

 WELL, that Pipit view of the “Vantage Point”

 Hope you like it too!!

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“Kung Fu Alien” the next block buster movie

February 16, 2008 at 11:15 p02 (Movies)

Caught Jay Chou’s “Kung Fu Dunk” and Stephen Chow’s alien movie “CJ7” last week. Like both the Zhou offerings with different reasons.

Jay Chou’s KFD was super cool and the basketball game scene was fanstastic. The game dunk and the slick moves were very well choreographed. At least the USS10 million budget shows. There was not much kung fu moves in the game which i suspect the words “kung fu” was added to ride on the popularity of the Stephen Chow’s “Shaolin Soccer”. Eric Tsang performance as the down-and-out agent who launched Jay Chou basketball career was superb and warm. I feel for his character. Gillian Chung and Ng Man Tat characters are distractions. Jay & his cool gang of cagers can carry the movie without these distractions. The only fault i can pick with this movie is the simplistic plot and too few basketball games scene. But then, this is Jay Zhou’s movie and everything else are secondary, right?

For those who hate Stephen Chow but like his non-sensical antics, this is your movie. There is less “Chow” here but his type of humour is all over the movie! There is no laugh-a-minute but then you get a touching movie with funny/cute kids and a funnier/cuter alien toy dog. It is never easy to work with kids and animals. But Chow succeed with both while at the same time keeping his style. His non-sensical humour was very well executed in the dream sequence of his son and the toy dog, without even a hint of the man in sight. There was also this character of a big girl (actually a man in girl school uniform) with a squeaky voice. Any scene with her in it is a guarantee to bring the house down with laughter. 

“Poignant” is not a word you usually associate with Chow but the hidden message of the have and have-not, family ties and social satire is difficult to miss. The scene when his son asked the teacher to go away was powerful, i guess there were not many dry eyes in the cinema after that. Comedy that can pack a weepy wallop? Only Chow can. Following the success of Shaolin Soccer (2001) and Kung fu Hustler (2004) and now CJ7, Chow proves he is a man who can move with the tide and time. Chinese cinema as a matter of fact has never integrate well special effect into their story. CJ7 works because Chow’s over the top humour work was very well inter-woven with the special effect. In CJ7, the kids and the the alien dog are the stars. Chow demonstrated his substance when his brand of humour came out well through his co-stars in the movie.  Mo-lei-tau without Chow? I hope this is the beginning of something exciting…. Chow could be a few more million richer or make a few million kids happier if he had jumped onto the merchandising bandwagon with the cute alien dog. Where are all the copy cat when you need them?

There is a lack of fresh ideas in the Chinese cinema nowadays. I am sure in 12 months time we will see a movie with the title “Kung Fu Alien”. Kung Fu and wuxia seems like the genre that sell. If our local director, Jack Neo can have his way, will we see a “Kung Fu not enough” or “Hero not enough” movie in the next CNY?

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Will Smith – legend in the making?

January 5, 2008 at 11:15 p01 (Movies)

I AM LEGEND

This is definitely a Will Smith’s movie albeit a disappointing one. Without his star power, this is one movie that will head straight to the DVD shelf. You know it is a Will Smith’s movie because he is the only actor for most part of the movie. The camera trained one full minute on his face when he was about to kill his infected dog. I was counting the minute because I was in a rush to be somewhere else during that scene. I was at the toilet door and missed the conclusion of that scene.

The movie is like “Castaway” meets “28 Days in London”. I have no problem with a “rojak” theme but then, this movie fails in its delivery on either front. There were weak attempts in exploring heavy topics like God, humanity etc and why bother if the attempts were half hearted. The actions were slow with a total of only three scenes with zombie vampires “encounters” with Will Smith. For a simple story like that, it will do no harm to sprinkle it with a little more action and suspense.

An advice for hard core fan of Will Smith, leave your logic at the door. The plot was full of holes, the whole movie feel like a string of scenes strung together with Will Smith as the linking pin. How the hell does Will Smith survive the attack of the beasties with the help of a spotlight where in the final encounter the lights were easily squashed by the beasties? The beasties seem to exhibit a propensity for learning when they set a trap for Will Smith after our hero captured one of their kind using the same technique. But then, they are not smart enough to trace his car to his apartment during the whole three years? The supposedly intelligent beastie leader using his head to break through a glass wall? Enough said.

Despite the shortcomings of the movie, I like the vista of a deserted New York. A New York that is filled with former residents of the New York Zoo, former humans and their dogs, our hero and his non-obedient dog. If you watch carefully, there is also a “Batman vs Spiderman” outdoor advertising sign on one of the buildings. Will Smith is credible as the last human with a mission to save the world but the movie is not. Using the “car” analogue from Emma Thompson in the movie, the experience is not unlike watching Lewis Hamilton in a Toyota Axio racing in a track during peak hour traffic.

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Transformers

November 11, 2007 at 11:15 p11 (Hobby, Movies)

Transformer, is one of my favourites cartoons during my growing up years. When the movie version sailed into town, it is like a wet dream comes true for a young-at-heart like me. The only spoiler in the movie are the humans. The action scenes are too few and far in-between. It is like having sex but not reaching orgasm *sigh*. Since this is a made for human movie, cant really expect the robots to be the main stars, right?

Pumped up after the movie, i MUST get my “OPTIMUS PRIME” the toy!! Sadly, the only OP i can afford is those made in China model, costing S$12.90. The OP made by Harbro (the license toy maker) costs S$99 and out of my range.

Welcome to my made-in-china TRANSFORMERS…..

 

When they are not fighting a war, they are six hardworking construction vehicles….

 

If provoked, these construction vehicles can transform into six tiny green robots…

 The Ultimate Robot – can you still see the six tiny green robots?

As with all dreams, even the wet one, we wake up and go back to the real world. Now, this robot sits pretty in my store room and will only be come upon to entertain when the nephews and nieces visit…

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X-Men 3 – love story on steroid

May 28, 2006 at 11:15 p05 (Movies)

Beside the busy plot with so many characters and loud pyro-technic from its action scenes, “X-men, The Final Stand” striked me as a Love Story on steroid. Dr Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), the heroin in the first two installments has a split personality called “Phoenix”. Dr. Jean Grey, now Phoenix in this film is out to kill anyone who stands in her way and annihilate all life on earth. Wolverine (Jack Hughman) who ‘tan leun” (secretly in love with) Jean, have to kill Phoenix in order to save earth and release Jean from her evil twin sister.Jack Hughman, is fantastic here as a tortured soul with an unrequited love for a colleague, Jean. Of course, don’t ask me how Jack can hide his feeling from a colleague who can read mind! How I wish the love scene with Jean in the lab could be better developed. If you had followed Famke since her Goldeneyes’ days, you know what I mean. I missed Famke in her Goldeneyes’ days. Her death-lock love-making scene with James Bond (Pierre Brosnan) was tantalizing, to say the least. Famke’s “Xenia Zaragevna Onatopp’ was visually stunning and that impression had remained.

X-men 3 is an accidental love movie that I like. Like Ali McGraw and Ryan O’Neal original Love Story in 1970, the tagline (Love means you don’t have to say “Sorry”) applies equally well here. In the final showdown, when Wolverine stabbed Phoenix and killing her, Jean schizoid twin, I could almost hear Jean telling Wolverine “love means you don’t have to say “Sorry”. Despite the loud and crowded actions in the final scene, i was surprised the message "Forgiveness and letting go…the greatest sacrifice of love" reached out and touches me.

I can’t believe this is the last installment. There is no closure and a lot of questions remained unanswered. Is Cyclop, the original love of Jean gone for good? How Jack is going to spend his loveless life since he had accomplished his two missions…the mutant school was already in the good hands of Storm and the world had rid itself of Magneto, what is next? Will there be an X-Men 4…I would not rule it out.

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Tom Cruise & his Impossible Missions

May 18, 2006 at 11:15 p05 (Movies)

If I were in Ipoh and crave the famous Ipoh Hor Fun, I would not be too please if the seller offers me a souped up version of their famous dish. Tom Yam Ipoh Hor Fun, anyone? No, thanks… just the Ipoh Hor Fun. This famous dish derives its fame from the rich soup base, smooth hor fun and the chicken breast meat topping. You don’t go for IHF to savour the taste of tom yam…absurd & ridiculous!! Of course if you just wanna fill a hungry stomach, it really doesn’t matter, does it?

Mission Impossible III is the type of gah yim gah cho (add salt add vinegar) Tom Yam Ipoh Hor Fun dished out by the commercial chef “Tom Yam” Cruise.

The original Mission Impossible TV series chronicled the adventures of the Impossible Mission Taskforce (IMF), a team of government spies and specialists who were assigned "impossible missions" by the unseen "Secretary". The team consists of the Team Leader, the Techno-Wizard, The Strongman, The Master of Disguise, and The Femme Fatale.

Its opening mission assignment (conducted by a pre-recorded tape), the theme composed by Lalo Schifrin, the leader's selection of mission agents from a dossier, the opening briefing, the intricate use of disguises and a typical "mask pulloff" scene near the end of most episodes….were the definition and character of any show that carries the MI logo.

MI3 is totally action and suffers from a severe lack of character. Director JJ Abrahm “interrogation” opening scene will never measured up to John Woo stylishly choreographed “self destruct in 5 second” exploding sunglasses and motor chase scene in Mi2. For his lack of idea, JJ filled the void in his Mi3 with a lot of firework that numb the senses after a while. Look like Tom has lost the plot and JJ was brought in to provide the pyrotechnic firework that made this Mi3 a very ordinary action film.

There are too much adrenalin pumping scenes that do not fit into the MI mould. For me, the scene that really does justice to the MI franchise is the Vatican Ball plot to capture the baddy played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Planning, deception, disguise, high tech wizardry and masterful execution…they are all here. That’s MI pure and simple.

Cruise’s pandering to a 1.2 billion Chinese market is so shameless and obvious. How can you hide an ang moh in China and of all places, in a river village? River villages are so backward; they had not been touched by development for the last 30 years. You can’t even hide a Shanghainese there without attracting a visit from the local police. I can tell you if Cruise were to produce the “The Last Supper” I would not be surprised if he cast a Chinese as one of Jesus disciples. Maggie Q is no ass kicker but a sad token wall flower. Q couldn't even deliver her cantonese lines fluently…i rest my case.

Instead of team work, we have too much of Tom Yam Cruise. Tom Yam rescued colleague, Tom Yam shot down drone plane, Tom Yam stole the rabbit claw, Tom Yam rescued wife….. Maybe because he takes a cut of the film revenue, he tried to do more. Slowly but steadily Tom is turning the Mission Impossible into “Tom & his Impossible Missions”.


The action maybe hot, but who is kidding who… this is one action movie that is ripping off the good will of the Mission Impossible legacy. Tom Yam is turning the MI into a bland popcorn franchise…niamah!! ACTION has not been this dreadful!

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“Escape” movies

February 27, 2006 at 11:15 p02 (Movies)



When i was small, i watched a lot of movies. My record was 52 movies in a year, achieved during one of my secondary school years. It was a one-off record that was never repeated. Movies was my escape. Ironically, i never like "escape adventure" movies like Poseidon Adventure, Towering Inferno, Babylon, Airports 'XX… These movie typically would have some heroes (dont know why no heroines…) leading a bunch of ppl running here and there. Watching this type of movies give me phobia until today…. of cramped space, distrust of women as crisis leader (dont prosecute me, ok!! freedom of speech wat!) and fear of going on holidays.

So, when that significant relative of mine wanted to watch "Titanic", i gave all sort of excuses like headache lah, cannot get tickets, blah blah blah. I will never watch another "escape" movie. period.

Except of course, if it is Tom Hank and/or Steven Spielberg movie. which was why i gambled away 2 hours of my weekend with "The Terminal". I thought it was the most wu liao movie about someone stuck in the JFK airport in NY. Only Tom Hank, an expert in acting with himself (Castaway was a good example) could pull it off. Otherwise how could one act through an english movie as a non-english speaking tourist. "Wat!! i am wrong? Mr Bean also can act without speaking a sentence of English?" Hei! Mr Bean (forgot his name) is a comedian lah, we are talking about serious drama actor here!! hehehe i am still right.

Maybe the accidental love story between TH and Catherine Zeta-Jones distract abit. Anyway, our hero wasnt trying too hard to escape after meeting this "Meg Ryan" look-alike. I am a sucker for TH-MR romance movies. CZJ with the pouty lips really looked like the cutesy MR in this movie.

Actually "Terminal" look a lot like a rojak of TV "Survivor" and "Friends" with its "no-money many-friends" theme. I mean it cos there were so many CCTV in the airport, Hank's antic was good TV to the sadistic Airport Manager and his kakis. No privacy in American's airports?

I am actually surprise why the movie was not banned in Singapore. Tom Hank was really bad here as a role model. Ripping airport property, repainting wall (read grafitti)… vandalism in short!! Canning if get caught in Changi. Maybe Hank's acting was so good, the censors missed it?

Well Hank/Spielberg combo is a sure "pau jiak" winner. A really good wu liao movie to spend 2 hours with over the weekend!!

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