Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Cabin in the Woods

Theatrical release poster
The Cabin in the Woods is about five friends spending their vacation in a remote cabin in the woods and bad things happen; zombies rise from the grave. First impression, you've seen it before. Bad things happen in House of Wax and zombie kills in Dawn of the Dead.

It seems to start out as a typical horror film but the killing zombies are part of an operation by two technicians of an unknown and complex industrial facility, which raises questions throughout the movie. That’s how the movie actually starts out instead of descending to good looking actors being killed of the film. If the movie feels typical in some way, then it’s one filled with actual scares.

Luckily all will be revealed at the end and The Cabin in the Woods goes from shocking scares to all out gore, which makes this film suitable for horror fans that likes being scared as well as corpses. Full of twist and turns as well as strange but astonishing creatures, which includes a scary clown, The Cabin in the Woods is more than just a typical zombie flick. It’s a refreshing take on a well-worn genre and probably the most original horror movie in ages. For some, it may be an unpleasant experience for about one and a half hour.

In conclusion, The Cabin in the Woods is full of shocks, surprises and even laughs on occasion. If you’re an audience looking for something new and inventive, then The Cabin in the Woods is the movie for you. If you’re a horror fan, then you won’t be disappointed. All in all The Cabin in the Woods is one of the best horror movies in years, one that’s made for a wide audience but obviously one who is age appropriate or has the stomach to watch a horror movie.

9/10

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Super 8

Theatrical release poster
A group of young teenagers discovers a train crash while filming a Super 8 movie, though it wasn't an accident. An extra-terrestrial was then released from the train cargo causing strange events and disappearances in a small town in 1979.

J.J. Abrams directs a tribute to alien sci-fi movies, such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, by Steven Spielberg, who is one of the producers of Super 8. The film was rumoured to be a sequel or prequel to modern monster movie Cloverfield and although that was quickly denied by Abrams, Super 8 is similar to Cloverfield as well as Spielberg’s Close Encounter of the Third Kind.

However, going back to the 70’s does work in Super 8 even with all the modern technology surrounding it. It’s a thrilling and well-made movie with spectacular visuals, great sound mixing and musical score. If you like summer blockbusters and brilliant cinematics, then you’ll enjoy this popcorn-filled flick.

Super 8 is built entirely around nostalgia, which can be a problem because then it would be another film we've all seen before, for those who want to relive Spielberg's golden era. It evokes nostalgia too eagerly but if it's not as good as Spielberg, it's not an embarrassment in comparison either but just keep in mind that Super 8 is less family friendly. Young actress Elle Fanning and even newcomer Joel Courtney (protagonist) gives a wonderful performance that displays heroism, chemistry and brings life to their well-developed character.

In conclusion, if Super 8 being too similar to other films isn't a problem then Super 8 is one of the best blockbusters of 2011 with a powerful, if rushed, and emotionally satisfying ending. If you love the films mentioned earlier, give this film a go. Don’t forget to sit through the credits just like some people did with Thor and Captain America, if you really enjoyed it that is.

8/10

Killer Elite

Theatrical release poster
Ex-special ops agent Danny Bryce (Jason Statham) attempts to rescue his friend Hunter (Robert De Niro) who is being held by Sheikh Amr, king of a small region of Oman, for not completing his job for Amr. Amr wants Danny to kill three former SAS agents for killing his three eldest sons and in return, he will release Hunter. Former agent Spike Logan (Clive Owens) has been sent, by a secret society of former millitants, to investigate on the mercenaries looking for former agents. A cat-and-mouse game then ensues between Danny and Spike.

Killer Elite is a bad film on almost every level. Sure we love to see lots of action, that’s certainly "better" than a plot. This is something for die-hard action fans to enjoy. Owen and De Niro, both stellar actors, is just a bonus. But all the good qualities in the film are nothing special as we have seen it one too many times in other movies, even with good acting. The filmmakers certainly remind you that the film is based on a book called The Feather Men which is apparently a true story denied by government officials. So true or not true, first time director of feature films Gary McKendry makes this film utterly unbelievable with all its Hollywood junkies.

In conclusion, for die-hard action fans you may find this movie worth watching although Fast Five gives you more for your money.

2/10

Friday, 13 April 2012

Alvin and the Chipmunks

Theatrical release poster
Dave (Jason Lee) is a failed song writer who discovers a group of singing chipmunks and he turns them into an international phenomenon but even chipmunks can be hard to take care of. The chipmunks then find a new owner, Ian (David Cross), a business man who owns everything. Ian gives them the time of their life but Ian is also dedicated to his career and pushes the little chipmunks to be an even better pop sensation which wears the chipmunks out. Dave realises that he has grown fond of the chipmunks and he actually misses them but it is too late to get them back. Or is it?

Alvin and the Chipmunks is a live action CGI animation comedy, just like Garfield, one that little children will find very entertaining, very funny and the little chipmunks very cute. It’s nice to see Jason Lee playing a character with a similar charming personality to his main role in the hit US TV show My Name Is Earl. So if you’re a fan of Garfield or a little kid still in primary school, then you will most likely find singing chipmunks to be very enjoyable and humorous.

For older audience however, your reaction to this movie may be mixed. If you enjoy your kids enjoying this movie then you might feel the same way but as the novelty of the CGI wears off, Alvin and the Chipmunks is just a formulaic kiddie film with bland humour and one cover song after the next. You can only expect an average family adventure comedy from director Tim Hill who directed Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, the sequel to the live action Garfield movie, and Muppets From Space. Even Muppets from space lacks the charm and the wit of the other Muppet movies.

In conclusion, kids will enjoy Alvin and the Chipmunks but older audience will most likely find this movie to be too simplistic with annoying voice acting.

2/10

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Hangover Part 2

Theatrical release poster
The Wolf Packs are back and a pre-wedding brunch can result in a really bad hangover the next morning. Once again, the gang stumbles on an adventure to find out what happened the previous night and find Stu’s soon to be wife’s little brother who joins them for only one beer. You can't get a hangover with only one beer but how they got a hangover will be revealed in the film.

It’s nice to see the Wolf Pack for the second time after the hilarious first film and Ken Jeong did get more onscreen time for his role as Chow which gave the film more humour that matches the amount, or exceeds the amount, of humour as the first movie.

But all that cruel and lowbrow laughs comes with a price. The Hangover Part 2 doesn't have the full surprise that the first film has that makes the first film so good it covers most of its flaws. At the end of the day, it’s exactly the same as the first film which is probably the reason why they call it The Hangover Part 2 and not The Hangover 2.

For those of you who don’t know the difference, compare this film, as well as the original, to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 and 2. The last Harry Potter installment is one movie split into two, whether they choose to split the movie because the adaptation would make a movie too lengthy or they want to make more money isn’t relevant, whereas a direct sequel is another movie that continues the story of the previous movie.

In conclusion, if you’re willing to pay to see Todd Phillips recycle his materials then The Hangover Part 2 will consist of laughs worth having a laugh about. Otherwise, the carbon copy of the original is much darker and raunchier.

3/10

Tower Heist

International release poster
Tower Heist is a 2011 crime comedy movie about a group of employees, of an exclusive penthouse, who plans to rob $20,000,000 from businessman, Arthur Shaw, after he invest in their pension, what he invested their money on will be revealed in the film. The film follows Josh (Ben Stiller), Charlie (Casey Affleck), and Enrique (Michael Pena) with the help of criminal mastermind known as Slide (Eddie Murphy), former Tower tenant and businessman Fitzhugh (Matthew Broderick), and another employee of the penthouse Odessa (Gabourey Sidibe).

Does the plot sound familiar? It should as it recycles plot from other heist film such as Inside Man which is also about a group of criminals who robs a bank and outsmarts the cops. Tower Heist obviously replaces intelligence with a few short laughs.

On the other hand, director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) did manage to make a formulaic film very enjoyable, as always, with a handful of stellar casts, namely Stiller (There’s Something About Mary), Sidibe (Precious), and FBI Agent Claire Denham portrayed by Tea Leoni (You Kill Me) but Eddie Murphy steals the show with the most hilarious performance out of all the cast in the film which is just as noteworthy as his performance in older movies such as 48 HRS and Trading Places.

In conclusion, Tower Heist feels very rushed, due to its less than 2 hours running time, and dull at times but the stars put a lot of effort into their characters. While film buffs may find the movie to be worth watching, regular audiences will find this film to be very appealing.

6/10

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Theatrical release poster
Three years after the event of the second film, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) grows from being a spoilt teenager to a mature young adult and the Autobots collaborates with a military force called NEST (Networked Elements: Supporters and Transformers) that discovers a secret alien technology, founded by Apollo 11, that could bring a war to Earth. The Decepticons plan to use the secret technology to enslave all of humanity and bring back their home planet known as Cybertron.

The plot may not be basic, since fans of the Transformers toy line and animated series will fully understand the movie, but it is no different than its two predecessors. This is a film about good vs. evil, the Autobots vs. the Decepticons. A plot as thin as this one can only be written by a child who has seen Die Hard.

As usual, Michael Bay is one of the best directors when it comes to 3D action sequences as well as visual and special effects but that alone doesn’t make the movie any more pleasant to watch throughout two and a half hours. Shia LaBeouf was very good in Disturbia but in this movie, he couldn’t make his character come to life nor could Megan Fox’s replacement Rosie Huntington-Whiteley who is even worse than her; she's just eye-candy not an actor. This is a woman that came out from lingerie fashion modeling for Burberry and Victoria’s Secret, not from Lost in Translation where the performances are a spot-on showcase for the two leads. Whether or not she is hot is completely up to the audience but it has no relevance to the film whatsoever, she makes Megan Fox look like Meryl Streep.

It is a little bit better than the second installment though, removing all the bad jokes and the racist stereotype seen in the previous movie as well as casting some good actors for supporting roles such as John Malkovich (Being John Malkovich) with a hilarious moment from Ken Jeong (The Hangover). Michael Bay also promises less action sequences, making the movie less noisy and head banging. But, of course, a Michael Bay formula consist of one long action sequence at the end which could be just as long and as loud as the second installment’s final action sequence, but do you really want to find out by watching both scenes again?

In conclusion, if you’re a die-hard action fan then Transformers: Dark of the Moon may be the movie for you but the film is just as silly as its title. Whether or not there will be another pointless sequel, let’s just hope that this movie isn’t the kind of movie Hollywood will be making in the future.

3/10