Showing posts from June, 2013

Monster University [3D]

Disclaimer: I don't really remember much about "Monster Inc.". The concept was refreshing but the plot was not very memorable. So I went into this sequel not really expecting much.

An entertaining animation with some chuckles and laughs, and gorgeous design, however just a tad long and lacking soul. Pixar's initial years of producing revolutionary, groundbreaking animations with amazing technical skills and refreshing plots seemed to be over the moment they merged with Disney. The storyline here was rather straight forward with nary a curveball nor unexpectedness. It was clearly aimed at the general Disney audience and the younger ones, rather than cater to the ones that loved the first outing and were interested in the characters' backstory. Some sequences were entertaining but most of the laughs were from sight gags rather than sequences. Helen Mirren stood out as the voice of the main antagonist, however Billy Crystal and John Goodman were distinctive but not …

Under The Dome

Pilot:The book has always intrigued me but I just never had the time to read it. Fortunately, the power duo of Steven Spielberg and Stephen King has brought the book to its CBS premiere. However, despite the very fascinating premise, some interesting plot threads (in particular: What is the Dome? Who is Barbie? Why Chester Mill? Why are some of the kids seizing up and what exactly are they sprouting?) but like most King novels, there are too many distracting stories that may or may not link back to the A-plot. Cast wise, that creepy Junior is really creepy and freaky and not in a good way. But at least we have Vogel and Fahey. The other cast members are kind of dead blocks at the moment, although it looks like the young ones (Joe and Norrie) seem to be having the more interesting sci-fi storyline. Not sure, if I will continue watching this series. Maybe it will be faster and better if I just read the book. Let's see how next week will be like. I really dig that bisected cow though…

Hoshino Coffee

A rather crowded Japanese-inspired French/Italian restaurant (more bistro like though). The queue for dinner took 15 minutes on a weekday night, however service was prompt, efficient, and most importantly polite. You can decide on your orders whilst queuing, but they don't take it till you have seated inside. The wait for the food was a good 10 minutes. The Hot-pot curry rice looked pretty but it sure ain't worth $15. Maybe $1.50. One piece of generic sausage, a half-boiled egg, 2 small broccolis for garnishing, very al dente rice (or uncooked rice, depending on your view) in a cheesy, very mild curry that was too rich in MSG, overly salty and lacking in proper substance (meat pieces or potatoes) or anything. It just tasted awfully boring, and rather awful too. The vanilla souffle was supposedly made fresh on order, so the well-trained staff actually asked whether they could start preparing it while we were eating our mains. Nonetheless, like the main, it looked good with a ni…

World War Z

A very high concept action/thriller film that started off really strong and riveting, with a fantastically fascinating premise, that ended with a tonally juxtaposed (the much-discussed) third act that, though great on its own, did not really match up with the first two acts of the movie. But still an engaging, pseudo-intelligent, movie nonetheless. This movie will be a great study in screenplay and script-writing. And come on, if you can accept sparkly vampires, what are fast moving zombies? I loved that idea. The beginning of the movie was excellent! Within 5 minutes you are lunged into the action of the movie and you are just as confused as the main characters. Backstory comes in between without slowing down the action, and not more necessary is given. There were many great visuals throughout, and that zombies climbing on top of each other to scale a height: WOW! Unfortunately, the star of the show, Brad Pitt, does not really shine, and was rather underwhelming, in this movie. Yes,…

Man of Steel [IMAX] [3D]

[Disclaimer: I have never watched any scenes prior to the movie: no trailers, nothing, as per usual. The only sensed that I got before going in was that it made tonnes of money in its opening weekend, but was not as embraced by the critics]

This is a vast improvement over the previous entry "Superman Returns" and the retelling of the origin story does try to flesh out Superman more as a character rather than the caricature that he has become. There are two gems in this movie: Henry Cavill and Hans Zimmer. Cavill certainly carried the role of Superman off with aplomb, and for a British, he does convey a strong sense of the good ol'American that Clark Kent represents. In addition, he is a good actor. He may not be a very strong actor but definitely way better than Ken-doll Routh's portrayal. However, what he lacked in acting, Cavill certainly wins over with his charm, infectious smile and those blue eyes; certainly a more fitting descendent of Christopher Reeves' …

The Hunt (Jagten)

Mads Mikkelson is astounding and mesmerising in this powerful and frightfully realistic, serious meditation of human nature and small town hysteria. And this is also why "Hannibal" is one of the best TV show on right now that no one is watching. Thomas Vinterberg has created a disturbing portrayal of humanity and even the ending paints the Garden of Eden as a place where treachery lurks within. The story is deceptively simple but the power behind its message is brought so vividly to life by Mikkelson, and also the supporting cast of Thomas Bo Larsen and Annika Wedderkopp. Thankfully Vinterberg does not dwell too long on the schmaltzy side of the story and seldoms explicitly explain the scenes to his audience, and for that he has given us an intellectual study, and not the typical Hollywood schlop. He allows the scenes and the actors to convey the themes and not have it drummed in through heavy handed repetitions or spelt out in a heroic diatribe. Mikkelson's brilliance i…

Now You See Me

A breezily entertaining crime heist movie with a very interesting concept that is best enjoyed if one does not think too hard about it. A typical example whereby plot triumphs over characterisations, and the actors are exchangeable. But having said that, the plot is filled with logic leaps (oh, the irony throughout) and holes and idiocies that obviously the writers, directors and producers (it's Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman again!) have decided were not important enough to warrant a more intellectual execution. Similarly, the whole plot line, twists and turns, were predictable and rather hamfistedly written. Louis Leterrier is a competent director with a flair for the action sequences and the large magic-related setups, however, outside of his comfort zones, the movie was rather flat. As I said earlier, some of the top-billing actors were really not that essential for the success of this movie: Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson and Dave Franco as "The Four Horse…