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Showing posts from December, 2013

12 Years A Slave

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Finally, a Steve McQueen movie comes to the shores of Singapore, and for those who may have missed his previous 2 works Shame and Hunger, this is definitely an excellent introduction to this director. Again, he reunites with Michael Fassbender to bring us a a harsh, brutal and direct look at black slavery in 19th century America. However, this time the lead role belongs to Chiwetel Ejiofor.

It is amazing how a mainly British team came together to give us an amazing film about a piece of American shame. Almost every aspect of the movie was without a doubt top notch. From the sound mixing and editing, to costumes and sets, the very fitting score by Hans Zimmer, the gorgeous cinematography by Sean Bobbitt and of course the first class acting and directing.

From the get go, McQueen has got us hook, line and sinker into the film. There was minimal dialogue during the first 10 minutes with just Zimmer's wondrous score coupled with the harsh, raw directing and filming. And throughout th…

American Hustle

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David O. Russell has hit it 3 for 3 with this latest flick. This is a compelling love story wrapped in a con-heist featuring complex leads that are likably unlikeable. Russell seems to have a knack for drawing such characters. Bringing together the stars from his previous two films, The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, the expectations of the audience, critics and the actors themselves must be undoubtedly high. Especially for the new guy(s). This film is without a doubt, like Silver Linings Playbook, going to be a major awards contender. Director, Picture and even Screenplay seems to be a lock for nominations. However, surprisingly, it is the acting category that will be rather challenging. In here we have 2 Academy Award winners and both for Russell's movies in Christian Bale (The Fighter) and Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), and 3 Oscar nominees in Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams and, new guy, Jeremy Renner. This movie might break the trend of producing an Academy Awa…

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [3D/HFR/IMAX]

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Like the first instalment, this movie suffered from poor pacing and extraneous scenes. It could definitely been have at least 1/3 shorter and that could have made it more impactful and memorable. Nonetheless, it was still stunning movie, gorgeously rendered and directed. I am still a believer in the HFR technology, and over here, it was actually less distracting than before. In addition, the 3D was less obtrusive here, although some scenes were clearly created just to show it off with no real benefits to the story; and IMAX is always excellent especially to fully appreciate the grandeur of Peter Jackson's world. The biggest problem with "The Hobbit" trilogy that separates it from LOTR is that the main cast is too big, what with all the dwarves. This results in insufficient screen time for the main leads: Bilbao, Thorin and Gandalf, and insufficient audience empathy to care deeply for their quest. Unlike destroying the ring to save the world, what will re-establishing Th…

Ilo Ilo 爸妈不在家 [SQ Inflight]

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The best Singapore movie since Roystan's controversial "15". Both may appear different at first glance but thematically they could be brothers, albeit likely from different fathers. Homegrown son Anthony Chen has given us a heartwarming, simple story of the modern Singapore family. However, despite its sincerity, the Romanticising of the central characters frequently rang false. Which led to an unabashedly shameless, emotional-baiting, penultimate scene. Having said that, the scene would not have worked if not for the wonderful performances by Yeo Yann Yann (who really ought to run for Lead Actress rather than Supporting Actress) and Filipina actress Angela Bayani. Chen Tianwen also gave a career best performance, and young actor Koh Jia Le was believable in his more emotional-heavy scenes. Unfortunately, the writing was the biggest let down. Other than the extremely grating use of blatant Singlish which truly does not sound like that (Learn from Roystan Tan and not Jack…