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Friday September 6, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Friday September 6, 2013 MYT 9:13:25 AM
Adelaide Kane gets a surprise visit in 'The Purge'.
Riddick is just OK and Jobs is boring, but local Tamil film Dhusrajanam is worth checking out.
THE 2000 film Pitch Black is a lean and efficient film featuring a hero who is a murderer and not at all a nice guy. It has an absorbing story, tackling faith and heroism, which is neatly wrapped with just the right amount of suspense and thrilling action.
Hence, it seems, the sequels are already hamstrung in trying reach the same heights.
The second film, The Chronicles Of Riddick (2004), is a bloated affair – it has a large cast and a multi-layered storyline boasting expanded mythology and what-not. Nonetheless, the film does provide an insight into Riddick’s past, great action sequences and a continuation to the characters introduced in Pitch Black.
Vin Diesel and ... an old pet in Riddick.
Now, almost a decade later, we have the third installment to Richard B. Riddick’s tale. As if trying to get back to what made Riddick, well, Riddick, we see the now-civilised convict regaining his animal side after he is stranded on a desolated planet.
While it’s good to see Riddick in his element – “ghosting” deadly creatures, taming wild animals and looking menacing in every single shot (yay!) – this film has a way-too-similar blueprint to Pitch Black with less likeable supporting characters, not so many gripping moments and a straightforward story.
On its own, Riddick is more than a decent action film and Vin Diesel does play the guy like he was born for the role. And even with its faults, Riddick is watchable if just to see how this man can, yet again, survive the impossible. It is only in comparison to Pitch Black – and really, how can you not when they are so alike? – that it takes some things away from Riddick. – Mumtaj Begum ***
FROM picturesque scenery to disorientating Dutch angles, prolific local filmmakers M. Suurya and M. Subash are out to impress with the cinematography of their latest Tamil production.
For Dhusrajanam, M. Suurya directs while M. Subash plays Kuttan, a young man who aspires to become a top badminton player but is forced by his step-sister and brother to participate in dance performances at temple festival shows to contribute some income to the family.
Autistic and impoverished, the poor fellow appears to be less privileged than most, as he is constantly abused by his two scheming guardians who take advantage of his condition.
Initially, Kuttan almost never speaks, perhaps symbolising his helplessness in the face of oppression, which he reluctantly seems to accept. But his spirit refuses to be broken, so his mind becomes clearer with every step he takes towards his dream. And, as the wheels of his mind start turning, every single word he says becomes meaningful and purposeful.Dhusrajanam then hits hard with its chilling resolution, making it a story that is simply impossible to forget. – Seto Kit Yan ***
RESIDENT idiot of That ‘70s Show Michael Kelso decides to reinvent himself as an innovative genius. No, that is not the actual plot of Jobs – a biopic on the life of co-founder and former CEO of Apple Computer, Steve Jobs – but it certainly felt that way with Ashton Kutcher playing the titular character.
We meet Steve Jobs in the 1970s as a college dropout who believes that he is meant to do bigger, better things with his life.
While working at his first job in Atari Inc, Steve gets his own project to work on because he can’t get along with everyone else. Then, he enlists the help of a friend, Steve Wozniak (played by Josh Gad), to help out. Later on, he sees a home-made computer device at Wozniak’s house, and thus, his vision for Apple Computer begins.
In the corporate world of Apple Computer – a company that he co-founded with Wozniak – Jobs suffers from mostly other people telling him “no, it’s not possible” to “nobody cares about fonts”. It seems that his dream of changing the way we use the computer is slowing fading away because almost everyone is against him.
Those unfamiliar with the icon’s personal life and relationship with other people involved in Apple would certainly be surprised with the way he is portrayed in this movie. Those who already know about Jobs’ apparent difficult personality and abandonment issues would, however, appreciate the film’s brutally honest approach about the life and times of a celebrated tech icon.
As a biopic, Jobs suffers from being too melodramatic, overly peppered with cliche “inspirational” lines and making Steve Jobs seem more like a machine than the Macintosh. Judging from the number of challenges Jobs faced in making his dream device, they should have called this movie Dude, Where’s My Computer? – Angelin Yeoh *
We’re The Millers
WILL Poulter, who played the Pevensie siblings’ annoying cousin Eustace in The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader, is all grown up now – and way more likeable – in the uproariously funny We’re The Millers. In fact, the 20-year-old steals the show starring as the clumsy, wide-eyed teen Kenny, who helps pot dealer David (Jason Sudeikis) ship “a smidge” of marijuana over the border from Mexico. To get across without raising any suspicion, David recruits a fake family, comprising stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston), homeless teen (who ironically owns an iPhone) Casey (Emma Roberts), and Kenny.
Poulter cracked me up the most portraying the lovable nerd who’s struggling to navigate through his adolescent years. Whether it’s locking lips with female members of his “family” or rapping to TLC’s Waterfall, he comes off as genuinely innocent and clueless, making him that much funnier.
Elsewhere, Sudeikis does all right playing the typical 30-something unable to let go of his juvenile ways, while Aniston is in top form, and no, I’m not just referring to her acting chops, but the 44-year-old’s incredibly toned physique (you’ll see what I mean).
Though the plot is thin and crude jokes are aplenty, We’re The Millers is a surprisingly great watch if you’re just looking for some mindless laughter. — Kenneth Chaw ***
IF you’ve kicked someone’s derriere once, you may think it would be easy to do it again, but not necessarily … the second time around, your opponent may just see you coming and anticipate your moves; basically, you’ve lost the element of surprise.
That, essentially, is the reason why this sequel doesn’t quite boot as much backside as the original 2010 cult hit – the superhero send-ups, potty-mouthed adolescent girl, and the stomach-churning action all seem a tad familiar.
Yet, for all that, Kick-Ass 2 is hugely entertaining, with many of the same zany elements as the first. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is still very likeable as the slightly hapless yet good-hearted titular superhero, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse is hilarious as he completes the transformation into a (bumbling) supervillain with an unprintable name.
The weight of most of the movie, however, rests on one fabulous pair of small shoulders: Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit-Girl; and boy, does she deliver, balancing between the all-out madness of the action to the emotional scenes of being an awkward teenager.
Jim Carrey also deserves a special shout-out for his self-made superhero Colonel Stars And Stripes, a perfectly over-the-top performance and one of his most entertaining in recent times.
Sure, the plot isn’t as tight and the humour a little obvious at times, but Kick-Ass 2 is far from the flop many critics are making it out to be. With so many superhero flicks on our screens, a tongue-in-cheek take on the genre still feels refreshing. – Sharmilla Ganesan ****
THERE are a few lessons that can be learnt from this movie. Lesson 1: Discipline your kids. Lesson 2: Be careful who you trust. Lesson 3: The green-eyed monster is real.
The American government has sanctioned a 12-hour all-crime-is-allowed period called The Purge. This is in keeping with the notion that we humans are “violent” creatures and need to “purge” it from our system, so that we are well-behaved minions of that said system the rest of the year.
And, in this movie, it works. Crime is at an all-time low 364.5 days out of the year. Many Americans have willingly agreed to this system; then again, these are the ones with the money to buy a security system that locks down their home for the night. As for the poor, well, they’re fair game. So, do you see who is really being “purged” here?
The movie centres on a family that made its wealth selling such security systems to the neighbourhood. I honestly felt for Ethan Hawke’s character, the No 1 salesman, the hopelessness and frustration he feels (he has the most annoying children EVER), especially when a group of bloodthirsty young people come knocking because his son gives shelter to a homeless man they are hunting.
But what made the movie so much more intriguing is the air of spookiness that prevails on Purge night. The privileged kids, all of whom wear masks and are led by a polite but aggressive leader (Rhys Wakefield, who steals the spotlight) really do turn it into a horror show. It’s scary because it’s people killing people. It could be anyone; you, me, our neighbours – anyone can be a killer, and with the state’s blessing. Now, that is true horror. – Karyn Anne ***
Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters
FOR fans of Rick Riordan’s book series, please beware that this movie adaptation of the second Percy Jackson book goes rather far off the reservation.
And to add insult to injury, it isn’t that great a movie either, especially considering the promising premise it had to work with. I mean, a quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece from a place called the Sea of Monsters? All while racing against the clock to save the only place our heroes – all half-children of the Greek gods – can live safely in? Not to mention, running up against an old nemesis (Jake Abel) too! How do you muck up material like that?
But to be fair, the film isn’t a total disaster. If you go in with low expectations and an open mind, it is a fairly entertaining fantasy action-adventure watch, although not as good as the first movie. The cast does its job well enough, but the standout moments belong to the smaller supporting roles like Mr D (Stanley Tucci) and Hermes (Nathan Fillion).
Overall, an acceptable choice if you don’t have anything else you’d rather watch, but this need not be at the top of your list. – Tan Shiow Chin ***
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