|The Wolf of Wall Street - R||What a long-winded drama! Nearly three hours of duration. It has a quality cast and film-making (especially because DiCaprio plays the main role), but I pity the fact that the movie tends to be more sympathetic towards Wall Street bankers instead of condemning their indecent lifestyle.||June 24, 2014||N/A|
|Yeolliji (Now and Forever) - Unrated||Having watched many Korean romantic dramas, I can say that this one is a tad too predictable. Even reading the synopsis would tell you the whole story. There is a little twist at the end, but not too much to even make it a more interesting movie. It is deeply romantic though, so if you are into that sort of thing, then this movie is definitely for you.||June 23, 2014||N/A|
|How I Live Now - R||Though the romance type might turn some people off from watching (which I won't divulge in order to avoid spoiling the story), I still find it a cute romantic drama. The sense of emergency is added with some apocalyptic fascist war theme in the middle of it. There is nothing else in it though, which is the reason why I rank "How I Live Now" with a mere 3.5 stars||June 21, 2014||N/A|
|The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug - PG-13||This sequel to the first Hobbit movie does not have much of a story line, but overall it is a visual delight. The action scenes are also filled with a decent amount of suspense.||June 17, 2014||N/A|
|Stolen Seas - Unrated||The amazing thing about this documentary is that it tells the other side of piracy in the gulf of Aden...story of a country (Somalia) abandoned by the international world even when its neighbours get much-sought help after their respective independence. In a country where there is absolutely no way of escaping poverty (except thru crime and corruption), these pirates are simply looking to improve the lives of their families and their villages. This documentary opens our eyes about the fact that the Western countries choose to tackle the problem by sending more battleships to deter the piracy problem instead of helping to build schools and hospitals to ameliorate the conditions of Somalians. Sad.||June 16, 2014||N/A|
|12 Years a Slave - R||"12 Years a Slave" does not hold back on any of the scenes. It is a full-scale unleashing of what it was like to live as a black man in USA in the 19th century, as a free man and a slave alike. Excellent acting by the main actors, especially Ejiofor and Fassbender. It has a quality of moviemaking rarely matched in most other historical dramas, and I admire the noble act of the director Steve McQueen and his cast for having given voice to the African Americans in the 19th century.||June 12, 2014||N/A|
|Last Love - Unrated||
"Last Love" is a slow-paced drama about life and death which, unlike most others that run on similar theme, does not go into psychological stuff. Rather, the drama explores how Matthew (played by Michael Caine) fixes his relationship with his two children after the death of his wife (who appears in form of flashback shadows). Along the way, he is guided by the help of his newfound friend Pauline (Clémence Poésy). Nothing inappropriate happens between Matthew and Pauline, as their bond is strictly one that can be found between a father and a daughter.
The fact that the drama is based in 6th arrondissement of Paris, plus soundtrack from the likes of Norah Jones make it suitable for a pre-bedtime watch.
|June 10, 2014||N/A|
|Inequality For All - PG||
I believe that this is one of the most important documentaries of the decade, as it opens our eyes to the actual widening income gap that has been in existence not just for the last decade. Rather, the roots go further than that: they were a combination of Reagan's economics and a series of policies that favour the rich more over the last four decades.
This movie has more credibility than others of similar topic, because the narrator Robert Reich was Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton. He also repeatedly argues that he is for, not against, capitalism.
Overall, Reich's simple persona, compounded with the fact that he is of comical nature, is guaranteed to persuade the audience into making capitalism work: not just for the select few who are privileged, but for all (including those who are not educated).
|June 2, 2014||N/A|
|Diana - PG-13||Naomi Watts does not fill the shoes of the princess too well, and it's not exactly her fault: Lady Di is much too legendary to be portrayed by any actress. As a drama per se, it is a decent watch. However, is a pity that the director Hirschbiegel summarizes the entire life of Diana solely on the accounts of the last two years of her life. Her relationship with her sons, which was of higher importance to her than anything else, was not mentioned at all apart from the princes being the topic of her private conversations.||June 1, 2014||N/A|
|King of Devil's Island - Unrated||A drama based on true story about the notorious boys' prison in Norway that was shut down several decades ago. Just like other dramas based on prison life, this drama displays how good deeds and monstrosity alike can be found in either side. The latter half of the movie, while not entirely satisfactory, is deeply haunting and would leave the audience somewhat heart-broken. Nonetheless, it is overall a very worthy watch, especially for those who always long to see justice established on both sides.||May 29, 2014||N/A|
|Last Night - R||A rather long-winded romantic drama that displays two individuals with a night of infidelity when the husband is out of town. The wife bumps into an old lover, while the husband has a somewhat passionate night with his colleague. Too bad it leaves out the aftermath of what happens the day after... The usage of a "twist ending" does not seem to be appropriate in a story like this. For the main actors, Keira Knightley and Guillaume Canet seem to be the only ones with decent acting. The onscreen chemistry between Sam Worthington and Eva Mendes is deeply lacking, especially since Worthington has a taciturn role.||May 27, 2014||N/A|
|Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom - PG-13||A beautiful movie that focuses more on Nelson Mandela the man instead of Nelson Mandela the leader. The drama also shows how Winnie Mandela's life unfolded when her husband was in prison: it provides a fresh insight into how Winnie's struggle largely represents her husbands interests (though later she and Nelson went on opposite paths on the struggle against apartheid). Both Idris Elba and Naomie Harris don't resemble the characters they portray in the least, but it does not stop them from giving superb acting on the screen||April 30, 2014||N/A|
|Prete-moi ta main (I Do: How to Get Married and Stay Single) - Unrated||"Prête-moi ta main" is such a sweet and funny French romantic comedy. The on-screen chemistry between Alain Chabat and Charlotte Gainsbourg is rather odd, but it does not distract the audience from the enjoyment of the story. They are both such excellent actors!||April 23, 2014||N/A|
|The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - PG-13||I have not read the book, hence I cannot compare/contrast anything between the book and the movie. I do love this sequel of The Hunger Games though, especially for the fact that it delivers an implicit criticism of what capitalism at its worst might look like. Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson lack onscreen chemistry, but it does not distract the overall enjoyment of the movie. Both actors deliver well with superb acting skills. I cannot wait to watch the next installment in the franchise.||April 21, 2014||N/A|
|Daenseo-ui sunjeong (Innocent Steps) - Unrated||"Innocent Steps" is a very cute romantic Korean drama that mixes good dancing with a solid love story. Knowing the usual sad ending formula to Korean dramas, I initially expected the ending to disappoint. But this one defied my expectation.||April 19, 2014||N/A|
|Noah - PG-13||This sci-fi take on the biblical tale of Noah's ark deviated from the original so much that one could understand why the story offends religious conservatives worldwide. Nonetheless, as an apocalyptic-themed drama per se, "Noah" looks more like if Michael Bay's Transformer franchise was remade into an epic drama. Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly lack on-screen chemistry to portray Noah and his wife, but having Emma Watson portraying the daughter-in-law is a delight to the eye.||April 9, 2014||N/A|
|Max Schmeling - Unrated||"Max Schmeling" is a decent movie on one of the most admirable German athletes of all time. He had to live through the Nazi regime, but the fact remained that he was never sympathetic to the Nazi cause. This movie showed his life as it was: little dramatization, and sole focus on his life story. The only drawback is the fact that nearly the entire duration of the movie is told in terms of flashback...it could have been better if it was told in "present" time of the plot itself.||March 31, 2014||N/A|
|The Fifth Estate - R||"The Fifth Estate" shows Assange's dedication to the truth even at his personal cost. This action drama does start out with Assange as a saint, but later on it shows his less-endearing traits. Cumberbatch's portrayal of him makes Assange a character hard to sympathize with... A ruthless character who is willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of truth...is that really the kind of person on whom we would entrust our confidential information with? Nonetheless, this is a thrilling movie that hardly includes any gun shootings, except for Assange's allies elsewhere in the world who are suffering the consequences of sharing the truth.||March 17, 2014||N/A|
|Reconciliation: Mandela's Miracle - PG-13||A respectful homage to one of the greatest political figures of all time.||March 13, 2014||N/A|
|Cheongchun-manhwa (Almost Love) - Unrated||"Almost Love" is a beautiful love story between two lifelong best friends.||March 12, 2014||N/A|
|The Act Of Killing - Unrated||
The fact that none of the Indonesian crew members are willing to have their names put in the credit (they all appear as "ANONYMOUS") is already a testament to how chilling this documentary is.
"The Act of Killing" shows what is today a taboo topic in Indonesia: communist-cleansing in the 1960s. Despite being a democracy, there are still a lot of discrepancies in today's Indonesian history textbooks regarding who were the actual evil of those days: the PKI (Communist Party) members or the rest of the Indonesian people? This movie shows who the real assholes were/are.
The reason I give this docu 2.5 stars is because it lacks survivors' or victim families' testimonies on THEIR side of the story. I know that they are probably too afraid to come forward to speak in front of camera, but still, the crew could have obscured their face and gave them pseudonyms.
|March 10, 2014||N/A|
|Duplex (Our House) - PG-13||Duplex is a dark comedy that keeps the audience to the edge of the seat while laughing out loud. It is that good. Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore make an odd couple, but they play their roles well. Plus, the ending has a twist too.||March 7, 2014||N/A|
|Lee Daniels' The Butler - PG-13||"The Butler" is an epic movie that gives an homage not just to the butler who serves as the source of the story, but also to the struggle of African Americans in achieving their unity. Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey play the main roles beautifully.||February 27, 2014||N/A|
|Graduation - PG-13||A smart heist movie with a somewhat surprising ending. The progress of the story is not as predictable as the first 10 minutes seem to suggest.||February 4, 2014||N/A|
|Little Secrets - PG||I remember loving this movie around a decade ago... It is a sweet coming-of-age drama!||February 4, 2014||N/A|
|Don Jon - R||A drama about life lessons for a young man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), disguised as a rom-com movie. Pretty smart actually, and overall it is not that much of coarse watch as the trailer seem to suggest.||January 31, 2014||N/A|
|Switchback - R||Predictable plot, little action. The style of the movie is typical of 1990s fiction. Nonetheless, the buildup of suspense does pay off in the end.||January 25, 2014||N/A|
|Bread and Tulips - PG-13||"Pane e tulipani" is a quirky, romantic, Italian drama. I was initially piqued by Bruno Ganz's role in the movie (since he is more known for his German-speaking roles), but then I find out that the beauty of this movie seeps into the audience's heart...such a delight to watch!||January 21, 2014||N/A|
|Convicted - Unrated||A suspenseful drama about a former lawyer who is working hard to free an inmate on the death row. Overall it has a great buildup of story. Too bad the ending is rather flat.||January 19, 2014||N/A|
|Fast & Furious 6 - PG-13||Compared to the previous Fast & Furious franchise movies, this 6th movie has a lot of emotional elements involved (i.e. how Dominic tries to win back Letty's heart and mind). The action scenes are also original, which makes it a satisfying watch overall.||January 18, 2014||N/A|
|2 Guns - R||Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington make an odd duo as partners in this crime drama. The action scenes are great and the story seems somewhat shaky, but it's a decent action thriller overall.||January 17, 2014||N/A|
|Intolerable Cruelty - PG-13||"Intolerable Cruelty" is definitely the type of movie that embodies the aura of both Clooney and Zeta-Jones. Smart, comical, and oddly romantic.||January 15, 2014||N/A|
|The Quiz Show Scandal (Kwijeu Wang) - Unrated||A quirky Korean comedy. Though the title says "Quiz Show Scandal" and the latter half of the movie does seem to be in line with the title, later on will be revealed that the real scandal is about something else. The unpredictable twist that awaits at the ending of the movie is just amazing.||January 14, 2014||N/A|
|The Skulls - PG-13||A decent college-based conspiracy thriller about a secret elite society in an Ivy League institution. The cast includes young Paul Walker.||January 13, 2014||N/A|
|The Entitled - R||"The Entitled" is one of the best crime films with manipulation as the main theme. The ending contains so many twists that nobody could have predicted in the beginning.||January 12, 2014||N/A|
|A Little Pond - Unrated||"Jakeun yeonmot" ("A Little Pond" in English) offers little in terms of cinematic story, but it unconceals a dark, painful history about the tragedy of No Gun Ri. For the history of modern Korea, this movie is a gem.||January 9, 2014||N/A|
|Red 2 - PG-13||"RED 2" is an action thriller that aims for the stars but somehow falls into the doomed category of lacklustre action movies. Overall, it is a decent movie (especially since some of the action scenes involve espionage-ish tricks). Just don't expect much out of Bruce Willis and John Malkovich here.||January 8, 2014||N/A|
|Plastic Planet - Unrated||For a documentary with such noble intentions, "Plastic Planet" aims to show how much do we depend our lives on plastic, and the impact it has for the posterity. Too bad the director Werner Boote does not elaborate much on how viable his plans would be for a plastic-less future.||January 7, 2014||N/A|
|The Switch - PG-13||Quite a decent, light romantic comedy with a somewhat predictable plot. Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston lack onscreen chemistry, but that does not prevent "The Switch" from being an enjoyable weekend watch||January 5, 2014||N/A|
|The Internship - PG-13||"The Internship" is a comedy-drama starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. These two main actors play two former salesmen who want to stay relevant in the modern world by trying to get internship (not a job) at Google, much to everyone's skepticism. It is a light comedy with plenty of poignant moments and just a tinge of romance. Since the humour mostly lies in these two dinosaurs trying to get a job in a highly-innovative company, the jokes are mostly original (i.e. you'd never see the jokes anywhere else). Overall, it delivers.||January 3, 2014||N/A|
|The Legend Is Born: Ip Man (Yip Man chinchyun) - Unrated||This martial arts drama, which serves as prequel to the "Ip Man 1" and "Ip Man 2", does not disappoint. Admittedly, the drama is a bit predictable. Nonetheless, compared to the two other movies "The Legend Is Born: Ip Man" goes even deeper into the history and soul of the Wing Chun style, which makes it a valuable gem for martial arts and history buffs alike.||January 1, 2014||N/A|
|Russell Peters - Red, White and Brown - Unrated||What can I say? It's Russell Peters, everyone! I've seen most parts of his standup comedy movie before (in form of 3 to 10 minute clips all over Youtube), but it is not until recently that I am finally able to see the show in its entirety.||December 31, 2013||N/A|
|Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - PG-13||"Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" is a comedy drama with a little pinch of romance... It has the right amount of comical and romantic elements to make the movie endearing. Though the story is basically about the forces of globalization (after all, I had to watch this movie for my globalization college class), there is almost no serious elements. Hence, anyone could watch it without having to think too deeply.||December 29, 2013||N/A|
|Sixty Six - PG-13||A quirky, yet poignant, British comedy drama that shows sensitivity towards both Jewish and English cultures alike. "Sixty Six", named for the year the story was set, has a lot of moral values to teach us.||December 28, 2013||N/A|
|The Polar Express - G||A decade after its release, I finally have chance to watch this movie. "Polar Express" is such an enchanting Christmas animation that has a magical story about belief and imagination. Though some of the scenes are a bit quirky, the overall story plot is solid. The combination of story plot and soundtrack is just about right.||December 26, 2013||N/A|
|Which Way Home - Unrated||A documentary which shows the other side of the cross-border immigration. Unlike most other documentaries, this movie is produced from the other side of the fence. "Which Way Home" could raise awareness to the average Americans that behind all the immigration debate, there are millions out there who are trying to get a chance at a better life.||December 24, 2013||N/A|
|Tapped - Unrated||"Tapped" is an important documentary that shows how harmful the effects of plastic bottled water are for the environment. After watching this, you are guaranteed to stay away from bottled water (unless you don't care about the plastic waste polluting our rivers and the Pacific Ocean).||December 23, 2013||N/A|
|Nazi Medicine: In the Shadow of the Reich - Unrated||An informative documentary that expounds on how the slippery path towards genocide started during the early years of Third Reich: by imposing a so-called "healthcare" that got rid of the unwanted citizens of Germany during early 1930s through a series of sterilization and euthanasia. This documentary is a cautionary tale for the history of humanity...let us hope that such atrocities would never be repeated.||December 22, 2013||N/A|
|White House Down - PG-13||
What is with Hollywood these days? The theme of takeover of the country's most vital assets (whether by domestic or by foreign elements) seems to be repeated across various movies, such as "Olympus Has Fallen", "G.I. Joe: Retaliation", or even "Red Dawn". The story has become too predictable. Sigh.
The funny thing is that in the end, despite all the intricate plots and numerous thrilling scenes, the White House is saved by a little girl waving the Star-Spangled Banner flag. That must be a new low for an action movie. LOL.
|December 19, 2013||N/A|
|The Edukators (Die Fetten Jahre sind vorbei) - R||I was expecting a somewhat violent or revolutionary drama. Instead, this German drama focuses more on how these young people try to navigate their daily lives while doing childish pranks on rich people's houses to express their frustrations. Overall, the plot's direction is a bit confusing. However, being a sympathizer of the left-wing cause, I find "The Edukators" quite satisfying to watch.||December 18, 2013||N/A|
|Russian Dolls (Les Poupées Russes) - Unrated||
The title "Russian Dolls" is rather unfortunate, as it makes the movie sound like it is a girly movie. Which it is not, really. This sequel to "L'Auberge Espagnole" is about the love ventures of Xavier (Romain Duris) as he tries to decide which among his latest jobs (and girlfriends) are really worth the hassle to stick onto. A mini mid-life crisis, I say.
I did not find out that this is a sequel movie until I read the synopsis soon after watching it. Nevertheless, as a standalone movie, "Russian Dolls" is still a lovely movie to watch.
The excellent actresses (e.g. Audrey Tautou, Lucy Gordon) and the dreamy soundtrack that accompanies us throughout the movie have made this French-British romantic comedies one of my favourites of all time.
|December 17, 2013||N/A|
|Iron Man 3 - PG-13||
The latest sequel to the Iron Man franchise is just...exhausting to watch. After having been impressed with the first two movies, "Iron Man 3" really has nothing new to offer in the "human-machine integration" of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). Tony Stark's boldness in challenging his enemy (by giving out his address, etc) has simply made him a character that is much harder to like.
I have to say, the only thing that saves this movie from doom is its CGI. Plus the fact that potential romance between Tony and Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) does pique some curiosity.
|December 15, 2013||N/A|
|Man of Steel - PG-13||Feels like the entire TV series of "Smallville" is packed into slightly more than two hours worth of movie. Sans Lex Luthor. Sans the Clark-Lois love chemistry. I'd say the movie is highly artistic with all those fantastic CGI. Nonetheless, there is not much to offer in terms of story line, is there?||December 14, 2013||N/A|
|Punch (Wan-deuk-i) - PG-13||"Punch" is a light Korean drama about a teenage boy living in a poor neighbourhood in Seoul. The fact that he is a half-Korean, poor, and befriends some odd people puts the spotlight to the disenfranchised people in urban Korea...which is a theme that is rarely explored in Korean dramas. The emotion and the comedy are just enough to make it an nice, heartwarming family drama.||December 8, 2013||N/A|
|The Children's War - Unrated||This documentary explores the impact of the Ugandan civil war on the education and daily lives of children in northern Uganda...many of whom have had their normal childhood disrupted.||December 1, 2013||N/A|
|Star Trek Into Darkness - PG-13||"Star Trek: Into Darkness" does not offer very much in terms of story substance. Nonetheless, it does have entertaining CGI and action. It's also quite cool seeing Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, and Benedict Cumberbatch playing the main roles.||November 28, 2013||N/A|
|Fifty Dead Men Walking - R||A somewhat decent thriller based on the true story of an Irishman who was conflicted between loyalty to his Irish roots and patriotism to the British government. The setting was during the early days of the IRA in Northern Ireland, hence it was all tense. The atmosphere is rather dark like most other British spy movies, but overall, it is a great watch (though I read on its Wikipedia article that the story somewhat deviated from the original story it was based on).||November 23, 2013||N/A|
|The Great Gatsby - PG-13||
The atmosphere overall feels like a film noir, perhaps because it is one. I've never read the book it is based on, hence my review here would be purely for the movie version.
I find it incomprehensible why I even like this movie, given the fact that it shows rich Americans' disinterest in the life of poor people. What is filled with great joy and galore in the beginning turn into a story of despair in the end, and if I start discussing all the different symbolisms in this movie, I am afraid it could go on forever.
However, this movie is a great work of art and drama that firstly brings our hopes up only to crush it later on. It reveals the indifference of the ultra-rich of America, which was what Francis Fitzgerald had perhaps envisioned when he wrote this story. That is probably the reason why I like the movie after all: it reveals the unfair socio-cultural structure that exists in the rich-poor gap of America since the Jazz era of the 1920s.
|November 21, 2013||N/A|
|The Hangover Part III - R||
This last sequel is rather "meh". Still the same crass jokes as before, especially those by Alan (Galifianakis). But there's no more hangover like the first two movies. The only story line that makes this movie have a "substance" is the fact how Mr Chow (Ken Jeong) manipulated them into completing his heists...even then the ending is rather predictable.
Overall, that is what makes this movie a much lighter comedy than its prequels. It's OK to watch as a simple comedy, but don't expect so much "story substance" as you'd see from the first two Hangover movies.
|November 11, 2013||N/A|
|We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks - R||This is an insightful documentary to different facets of one of the most controversial figures in the early 21st century: Julian Assange. Though initially it starts off with portrayal of Wikileaks in a positive light, the director Alex Gibney seems to focus the latter part of the movie on how Assange's mistakes diminished the popularity of his whistleblowing organization. This documentary has many exclusive interview clips with Assange (and people close to him), hence it is worth it to watch it.||November 8, 2013||N/A|
|Now You See Me - PG-13||
This is the kind of magic movie that is so mysterious and suspenseful that it keeps one glued to the edge of the seat, wondering how the little tricks scattered throughout the movie could lead to the big trick at the end. Eventually, the audience would learn that the answer behind the illusion has actually been displayed in the movie from the very beginning. The big illusion is so simple yet elusive.
Plus, the main casts include Jesse Eisenberg, Morgan Freeman, Isla Fisher, Mélanie Laurent, and Mark Ruffalo.
If I could nominate one of the best movies of 2013, this is it.
|November 5, 2013||N/A|
|Welcome to the Punch - R||"Welcome to the Punch" is a somewhat dull British political-crime drama, despite the fact that it has James McAvoy, Mark Strong, and Andrea Riseborough as the main actors. There are suspense buildups here and there, but the ending is not as satisfying as anticipated.||November 2, 2013||N/A|
|After Earth - PG-13||
This is quite a decent movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan - perhaps one of his most decent ones in the recent years. Excellent CGI, and the Will Smith + Jaden Smith father and son duo playing onscreen family in the film are some of the most uplifting aspects.
That being said, the movie somehow falls short as the story line is a tad too predictable. Here's the plot: humans occupying another planet, and on one day where General Raige (Will Smith) and Kitai (Jaden Smth) happen to go on patrol with their spaceship together, they fall into a super-lethal planet...called...what else? EARTH.
Kinda sounds like the sequel of "Oblivion" (another recently-released movie starring Tom Cruise), doesn't it? Even after 30 minutes of watching it, the audience could already see where things are heading.
This movie almost doesn't make three stars...except for the fact that the gadgets available in the movie are highly...visually appealing. For example, the spacesuits which could change colour depending on the wearer's state of health. Or Kitai's oxygen tablets, which he has to consume every several hours due to the thin level of oxygen available on earth.
Hence, for sci-fi lovers, this movie is OK. Just don't expect too much of an original story line.
|October 28, 2013||N/A|
|World War Z - PG-13||
Since the movie is based on a book by Max Brooks, I do not know to what extent could we blame the plot's holes on the director Marc Forster. For those wanting a blend between "Resident Evil" and "The Day After Tomorrow", this is your movie. But be forewarned of the glaring plot holes.
First, for an epidemic that occurs on a global scale, it seems somewhat odd that only USA and hardly any other countries are doing something about it. Even then, USA does not seem to knowledgeable about the disease, relying on Gerry (played by Brad Pitt) and a Harvard virologist (who is shown to be killed not long in the movie), accompanied by heavily-trained soldiers who have so little knowledge about pathology. Thus, the entire country, or even planet, relies on TWO PEOPLE to do research about the virus... I mean, seriously?
Second, the Israeli wall scene seems a bit off. In the Israeli wall zombie attack scene is shown heaps of zombies making a mountain of themselves in order to climb the wall. Then, Gerry's conclusion was that the zombies were attracted by the noise of people singing. C'mon. Even if those Jerusalemites were only whispering, half a million people standing close to a wall would surely attract zombies.
Third, is the fact that the aeroplane crash seem to occur conveniently close to the UN health facility in Cardiff. Also, the only two survivors of the crash was...who else? Gerry and Segen, the Israeli soldier he has picked up at Israel (played by Daniella Kertesz). It is not shown how long Brad Pitt walked from the site of the crash to the health facility building, but judging from the fact that they didn't have to spend a night on the road, they probably walked there three or four hours, at most. The coincidence is a bit stretched thin here.
Fourth, is the fact that it is Gerry who found the vaccine! Infect yourself with a deadly pathogen, everyone...and you'll be saved! There are at least five other actual scientific researches in that health facility building, and it never occurred to them to try out a vaccine like that.
For an overtly-hyped zombie thriller drama, I must say that "World War Z" is rather disappointing. Yes, it has exciting trailer. Yes, it has fast-moving zombie attack scenes. The CGI is excellent too.
However, such great-looking features are unfortunately accompanied by weak story line.
|October 24, 2013||N/A|
|Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream - Unrated||"Park Avenue" is about how some of the richest men in America are hogging the bulk of our income for themselves. The bias of this socio-economic drama is rather leftist, but the message is fair: these billionaires are destroying the American dream for the average Americans. While millions of Americans are struggling to put food on the table with their minimum wage jobs, the residents of this ultra-rich neighbourhood of Park Ave simply turn a blind eye to the poor's plight by lobbying Washington for reducing their taxes while increasing taxes for the rest of Americans. The director Alex Gibney also shows why Mitt Romney was not elected in the last presidential election: his VP choice, Paul Ryan (who bases his economic philosophy on that of Ayn Rand) was a huge mistake.||October 22, 2013||N/A|
|The Bling Ring - R||"The Bling Ring" is a drama about the true story of teenagers obsessed with Hollywood celebrities' luxury brand obsession that was taken into the next level: robbing those celebs when they're away. While thievery is wrong, this drama might also be a critique to show that the celebrities themselves actually deserve to be robbed...with hundreds of pairs of shoes and jewellery and so many other luxury items that ordinary Americans would never be able to afford. Emma Watson shines in this movie as a true, vain, and empty American chick.||October 20, 2013||N/A|
|Lumumba - PG||This historical drama is about the national hero of Democratic Republic of Congo, Patrice Lumumba. The drama hows everything mainly from Lumumba's life (instead of the atrocities committed during the following chaotic civil war). Nonetheless, it uncovers what history has taken so long to achieve: that there were outside parties involved in the killing of Lumumba. For colonial history enthusiasts, "Lumumba" is a must-watch.||October 19, 2013||N/A|
|Coming to America - R||I remember watching this movie as a kid...Eddie Murphy as an African prince who came to America and to find a new wife of his wish (as opposed to arranged marriage decreed by the royal tradition). I love it!||October 19, 2013||N/A|
|Crossing the Line - Unrated||"Crossing the Line" is a unique documentary about North Korea that focuses not on the usual staple of human rights abuses or political standoffs, but more on the Americans who had defected to the country, particularly James Joseph Dresnok. His undivided loyalty to the Kim regime is what sets him apart from other defectors, because other defectors did talk bad about the regime when nobody else is around. This is the only documentary that has an exclusive interview into Dresnok, the reasons he did the things he did, his daily life, and the ultimate irony that as one of the very few naturalised North Korean citizens, he gets better treatment and rations by the DPRK government in comparison to most North Koreans.||October 18, 2013||N/A|
|Stoker - R||
"Stoker" is a modern-day Hitchcockian mystery drama where the family has a lot of secrets. So Mia Wasikowska has finally taken more adult, supposedly sexually-explicit roles from now on, with her character India Stoker finding her sexual fetish in a somewhat...bizarre way.
The overall theme of death & sexuality is not a new stuff for those who are used to Alfred Hitchcock's works, though the scriptwriter Wentworth Miller (who was Scofield in the Prison Break) had merely adapted Hitchcock's influence.
It is rather unique to know that despite the all-American setting and cast, almost none of the main cast/crew are American. Matthew Goode is British, Mia and Nicole Kidman are Australians, Chan Wook Park is Korean, and Wentworth Miller is dual-citizen of both UK and USA. But that's just a little trivia I notice.
|October 17, 2013||N/A|
|Emperor - PG-13||
The historical drama "Emperor" had a lot of potential to offer. Had. Great setting, great back story, major Hollywood actors...what could possibly go wrong?
Ah, yes. It's the script. The script was so poorly written that the romance substory eclipses the movie title's namesake, which is about the Japanese Imperial Family itself. Only later do I found out that General Bonner Fellers had actually been happily married to an American woman since 1925. Hence, even the romance substory might have been a complete hogwash.
I also think that the romance substory between an American soldier and a Japanese woman might be an attempt by the director or the scriptwriter to present symbolism of their respective countries...one survived the war, and the other didn't.
The only saving grace of the movie is the fact that the setting of the location (shot almost entirely in New Zealand) is beautifully made. The setting is reminiscent of that of the HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers". The atmosphere shows a nation scarred beyond recognition: from the common people in rags to the featureless ruins.
Matthew Fox, who is more known as Jack from "LOST", also enforces his onscreen image as a leader with Messiah complex who wants to save everyone despite the fact that his character himself is lost beyond saving. But his acting is solid., and so is Tommy Lee Jones'.
|October 16, 2013||N/A|
|Promised Land - R||Matt Damon proves that he is not to be typecast into action movies by co-writing and starring in this small town drama "Promised Land". Solid story line about "corporate takeover of energy towns by fracking" make it a relevant drama for this current era.||October 15, 2013||N/A|
|Welcome to Nollywood - Unrated||This documentary shows Nollywood, Nigeria's film production studio. It has some potential, though underfunded. If the studio could export its material to other African countries, it is probable that within several decades, it could emulate Bollywood's fame.||October 15, 2013||N/A|
|Raging Phoenix (Deu suay doo) - R||The Thai movie "Raging Phoenix" has a decent potential with a poignant back story, but unfortunately it is overshadowed by drawn-out fighting scenes. Some of the scenes even takes the duration of 10 minutes or more of the movie (without any break whatsoever). After a while, it gets a tad tiring to watch.||October 14, 2013||N/A|
|The Linguists - Unrated||The documentary shows two linguists trying to keep record of four dying languages in different countries. They participate in the villages' little rituals and so on, makes it feel more authentic as a anthropological linguistics cinematic work. I like the duo's spirit of curiosity... It reminds us of the need to preserve dying languages and cultures.||October 13, 2013||N/A|
|Admission - PG-13||"Admission" is a comedy drama that is somewhat making fun of the admission process at Ivy League schools...amazing story concept! Especially when the main characters are played by Tina Fey and Paul Rudd...big names with somewhat charming on-screen personalities. The flow of the story plot is somewhat odd, but it does not negate the enjoyment of the watch.||October 12, 2013||N/A|
|This Is the End - R||I did not expect that the blend between apocalyptic theme and some of the most famous comedy casts in Hollywood could be so crazy and yet so funny to watch. But it surpassed my expectations. The gores in the movie is not even lame like in "Scary Movie"...nor it is terrifying like in the slasher-killer junks like "Friday the 13th". Rather, "This is the End" manages to balance both elements, which makes its originality a reason why you should watch it.||October 12, 2013||N/A|
|Castaway on the Moon (Kimssi pyoryugi) - Unrated||"Castaway on the Moon" is a somewhat quirky Korean comedy drama about a man who wanted to commit suicide but fails to do so - and awakes in an island on Han river instead. The odd elements of this movie almost present themselves like a science fiction...except for the fact that it's not sci-fi. The friendship that he later forms with a hikkikomori woman in an apartment from far away makes this a very much enjoyable watch.||October 9, 2013||N/A|
|Partition - R||"Partition" aims to address a major world history event in the 1950s through the microcosm of story between two lovers: one in Indian Sikh man, the other a Pakistani Muslim woman. The event and the setting look fresh, but the acting and the chemistry all seem a bit odd. Nonetheless, it is always a delight watching the beautiful Indonesian Canadian actress Kristin Kreuk (who also plays Lana Lang on the TV series "Smallville") on the screen, and only her presence turns the movie into a somewhat decent watch.||October 7, 2013||N/A|
|Yongseoneun Eupda (No Mercy) - Unrated||"No Mercy" is a very scarring movie... It's a Korean crime drama (without any romantic element whatsoever). Nonetheless, it's still a quintessentially Korean movie. A lot of thrill and suspense, but at the end, it's all about feeling the pain in the heart. Once the movie ends, viewers are guaranteed to be left with an empty hole...a gaping feeling that lingers for hours.||October 6, 2013||N/A|
|Redemption - R||"Redemption" is a movie about modern-day Robin Hood in London. The main protagonist, who is played by Jason Statham, is constantly morally-torn between paying for his sins and surviving on a daily basis. He works for a Chinese mafia, though he gives a lot of his money to charity. His love interest, a nun, is also morally-torn between following her heart's desires or keeping her vow of chastity to God. The result is a light suspenseful movie that keeps audience interest at a sufficient level, enough to see how the ending unravels.||October 4, 2013||N/A|
|Stand Up Guys - R||This is a relaxed action comedy, suitable for a light weekend watch. With Al Pacino and Christopher Walken as the main casts, it does not disappoint. The action and emotional scenes are found here and there, but overall, this is an action movies that manages to show values about family and loyalty (even within its light story plot). The soundtrack is also loaded with classic rock by Bon Jovi, which is great.||October 3, 2013||N/A|
|Pain & Gain - R||What firstly seems like a light comedy soon turns out to be a thriller full of...hard action. Pure, hard action. It's expected though, especially when we consider the fact that this movie has Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson as the main stars...plus Michael Bay as the director. It's even better to find out that the storyline was based on true story...kinda similar to the heist movie "Armored", but with a lot more blood...||October 1, 2013||N/A|
|Dead Man Down - R||A rather slow-moving action romance, which in the end manages to give just a mediocre amount of both elements. Not bad, considering that the main actors are Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace, both of whom are highly popular in their other movies. But for those looking for a fast-moving thriller, this ain't it. Although there is much to learn in this movie about revenge, redemption, and love.||September 28, 2013||N/A|
|Good Morning President (Gutmoning peurejideonteu) - Unrated||Leave it to the Koreans for a heartfelt political drama. The director Jin Jang manages to blend the political and personal aspects of three fictitious presidents of Republic of Korea, and he succeeds in making a Korean movie that is neither a romantic comedy nor a horror... Quite a rarity, I say.||September 27, 2013||N/A|
|Shadow Dancer - R||This spy drama about an MI5 officer and an informant explores the not-so-distant troubled history of secessionist Northern Ireland. Little sustained suspense throughout the movie, compounded with the fact that the atmosphere is always gloomy, makes it a decent le Carré-ish film overall.||September 24, 2013||N/A|
|Oblivion - PG-13||"Oblivion" is a post-apocalyptic science fiction which, as said by the Director-Writer Joseph Kosinski himself, aims to strike a contrast from other sci-fi movies by showing a brighter and more positive overtone. Kosinski did just that with this movie. Excellent CGI (which were mostly composite of scenes taken in Iceland and Hawaii) and experienced actors (especially Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman) are also the main factors that make this movie an enjoyable watch.||September 14, 2013||N/A|
|Snitch - PG-13||Dwayne Johnson tends to show his soft side in some of his action dramas, and "Snitch" happens to be one of them. Inspired by true events, this movie provides an insight into what it is like being the federal's civilian informant inside drug cartels...||September 8, 2013||N/A|
|Olympus Has Fallen - R||"Olympus Has Fallen" is a high-adrenaline movie with plenty of action fanfare to offer. The director, Antoine Fuqua, aims to take on the North Korea-bashing trend that has been picked up by Hollywood in the recent years. Though there are obvious logical fallacies in the movie (such as the fact that no private organization is likely to have the logistical and financial capability of carrying such attacks), Gerard Butler carries out his character so well that he has established himself as multi-talented actor among the likes of Tom Cruise and Leonardo DiCaprio (just like them, Butler plays in rom-com as brilliantly as he plays in action movies). Funny though, Morgan Freeman plays a somewhat distant secondary character of Acting President who has a strong role but still set apart from where most of the best scenes take place. Aaron Eckhart, who plays the President, is not quite convincing in his character. But overall, this action movie has able to top even the latest installment of Die Hard franchise. We can be sure that there is more to Gerard Butler that we will see in the next several years...||September 8, 2013||N/A|
|The Reluctant Fundamentalist - R||A decent suspenseful drama about the dilemma faced by a Pakistani man (Riz Ahmed) in deciding his allegiances after seeing how he and his fellow citizens were treated within the last decade or so. The theme is relevant today, but unfortunately the film itself tries to explain the psyche of the Muslim world merely through a two-hour duration of microcosmic conversation between an American (Liev Schreiber) and the Pakistani compounded with his occasional flashbacks. The result is a quite odd alternating mixtures of fast-paced scenes and laidback ones. A worthy watch, especially for fans of Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty"...but if you are looking for something resembling even a modest thriller, this ain't it.||September 7, 2013||N/A|
|Killing Season - R||"Killing Season" has a mild suspense throughout, but not excessive, because it aims to be somewhat a semi-noir production...or maybe not. I don't know, the genre is confusing. Nonetheless, John Travolta and Robert de Niro being the two co-stars is a great advantage (especially this is perhaps the only rare case where Travolta has to adopt a non-American accent in the entire duration). There is a lot of philosophical discussions (or perhaps ramblings) between the two as they aim to understand their respective roles during the war... Eventually, the ending is quite unpredictable as it strays away from what the movie title says. But it's OK because the conclusion wraps things up nicely between the two characters.||September 2, 2013||N/A|
|The Call - R||"The Call" is a highly suspenseful thriller that explores the world of 911 emergency services, which has never been dissected so thoroughly in a fictitious movie before. The fact that it stars two excellent actresses, Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin, also helps. Though almost the entire duration is dominated by phone call between these two people, the deliverance of the script is done so well that the adrenaline rush could linger for a while, even after seeing the ending.||September 1, 2013||N/A|
|Jack the Giant Slayer - PG-13||"Jack the Giant Slayer" is quite an amusing fantasy drama which has transformed our childhood tale into something more...adventurous!||September 1, 2013||N/A|
|G.I. Joe: Retaliation - PG-13||It could have been done better, especially with the glittering of hot-shot actors including Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis. But no, "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" is simply a rehash of its prequels, compounded with some of today's zeitgeist of possible World War 3.||August 31, 2013||N/A|
|The Numbers Station - R||"The Numbers Station" is an action movie with a bit of a dragging pace, typical of John Cusack-starred movies...but still mildly engaging in its shock value by showing no mercy towards those standing in the way of the Agency. Overall, it is a very light thriller.||August 31, 2013||N/A|
|Mud - PG-13||"Mud" seems like a neo-noir at first, but after seeing the first five minutes of the film, it reveals itself to be just a simple drama about friendship, family, and love. Matthew McConaughey is the main star, together with two aspiring young actors Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland. The setting is Southern, hence there are some peculiarities which may seem foreign to non-Southerners. However, the drama is enjoyable without getting too overtly emotional...a good watch for a summer day.||August 30, 2013||N/A|
|Bullet to the Head - R||
An average action movie that aims to show how Sylvester Stallone still has his 'mojo' despite his old age. If one seeks for an action movie with enough action to keep oneself occupied, but not too slow-paced that it could bore to death either, this is the movie. Sung Kang, who usually takes a more minor role, also has a major role here.
(By the way, a little anecdote here: I find it ironic that Stallone's character made fun of Kang's character about the "Asians can't drive joke". Kang is, after all, most well-known for his driving scenes in The Fast and the Furious franchise).
|August 25, 2013||N/A|
|Spring Breakers - R||"Spring Breakers" is a rather mesmerizing drama about the ritual of Spring Break that supposedly fulfills the image of American Dream among adolescents. In short, for the characters in this movie, everything is possible as long as one does it in excess. The fact that there are glittering of big name stars in this movie does not make a difference, as James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez seem to be out of their typecast (read: comfort zone) in their roles here. Overall, it is an adequate portrayal of the Spring Break scene among wild American adolescents, even though its dreamy scenes leaves little to desire.||August 24, 2013||N/A|
|Solomon Kane - R||A mildly engaging film about a former brutal warlord who seeked redemption by saving lives. The CGI is not so great, but overall, it has an interesting story line.||August 23, 2013||N/A|
|Teddy Bear - Unrated||This Danish drama is a truly heartwarming look into a genuine-hearted, shy bodybuilder who is looking for love in Thailand. The movie does not provide any suspense or embellishments, which is just excellent, considering that the subject matter is about daily life of ordinary people. No more, no less...||August 22, 2013||N/A|