LOCK up your comic-books and stash the perps in protective custody – the costumed vigilante with damaged nerve endings is back, and if he’s here, can the fan-favourite Hit-Girl be far away? The sequel to the most refreshing “superhero”/vigilante flick in recent memory is here at last and, although it’s all a little familiar by now, the over-the-top violence and audacious attempts at comedy (some hits, some misses) still have an impact.
Basically, it’s about the three main players on the Kick-Ass stage – Dave Lizewski/ Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), Mindy Macready/ Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) and Chris D’Amico/ The Supervillain Formerly Known As Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) – trying to find themselves; in short, that age-old quest to belong. Dave joins a (somewhat sad) superhero team; Mindy falls in with the cool girls at school; and Chris ... spends a lot of money.
If this were a teen comedy or drama, well, same old, same old; but this is a Kick-Ass movie, from the nihilistic comics of Mark Millar. As such, things seldom transpire as they would in the “real world” – no matter how many times writer-director Jeff Wadlow (taking over from Matthew Vaughn) tries to stress that this isn’t a comic-book but the real world.
The film has some big laughs and the action (especially the Hit-Girl fights) is quite terrific, but the resolution of the main characters’ respective paths could have been handled much better. That bit with Mindy, the mean girls and the “sick stick” for example – sure, it’s gross and a bona fide “Tell me they didn’t just do that!” moment, but it’s neither skilful nor satisfying. – Davin Arul ***
The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones
THIS movie is certainly filled with eye candy for two generations of moviegoers.
Tweens and teens have teenager Clary Fray (Lily Collins, who seems to have tamed her eyebrows somewhat), who starts to unconsciously draw a strange symbol obsessively and see things others don’t, and the unconventionally good-looking Shadowhunter Jace Wayland (Jamie Campbell Bower), who becomes her love interest, as well as fellow sibling Shadowhunters Isabelle (Jemima West) and Alec Lightwood (Kevin Zegers).
Older viewers have Clary’s mother, Jocelyn (the luminous Lena Headey), who tries, but doesn’t succeed in shielding her daughter from her heritage, family friend Luke Garroway (Aidan Turner), and villain Valentine Morgenstern (Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who projects bad-boy sexiness despite the mini-braids in his hair).
Major props to the costuming department, whose choices contributed a great deal to the characters’ appeal.
Based on Cassandra Clare’s book of the same name, this movie adaptation is quite well done.
The plot is well-paced and has a good flow, although there are deviations from the book, and the action is well-choreographed with good CGI.
As far as Young Adult movie adaptations go, I would recommend this over Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.
My only quibble is with the overly emotive soundtrack; the acting is good enough for me without the musical manipulation.
A recommended watch for fantasy fans. – Tan Shiow Chin ****
THE year is 2154, and mankind is divided into two: the haves, who live in a luxurious, peaceful space station called Elysium, and the have-nots, who remain behind on an over-populated, polluted and crime-ridden Earth.
Most significantly, the people of Elysium have the technology to cure practically any medical ailment, while hospitals on Earth are ill-equipped to treat even basic injuries.
Max (Matt Damon) is a reformed criminal who is simply trying to make a living for himself on Earth, until a dire turn of events forces him to embark on a desperate attempt to break into Elysium. This earns him the wrath of Elysium’s Secretary Of Defense, Delacourt (Jodie Foster), and her hitman on Earth, Kruger (Sharlto Copley).
Those who enjoyed director Neill Blomkamp’s amazing debut District 9 will see his signature all over Elysium – his realisation of the era is fantastic, with stunning details that are both familiar yet otherworldly. He also doesn’t compromise on the action either, which is both gory and hugely exciting.
The storyline, while lacking the freshness of District 9, is pretty decent sci-fi fare, and brings up relevant questions about government and society’s class systems.
And despite some rather unlikely plot turns, a stellar cast keeps your attention riveted. The best, however, has got to be Copley’s surprising turn as the deranged, bloodthirsty and yet thoroughly enjoyable Kruger – Hollywood, this man needs to be in more films! – Sharmilla Ganesan ****
Welcome To The Punch
THE premise of this British action thriller is quite typical. Jacob Sternwood (Mark Strong) is a thief who has managed to evade the police until one young detective Max Lewinsky (James McAvoy) is put on his trail. Despite getting close enough to touch Sternwood, Lewinsky doesn’t get to arrest him and Sternwood disappears. Three years later, Sternwood makes an appearance and Lewinsky is back at work, sniffing him out. Only thing is, the game has shifted quite a bit for both men.
No doubt there are more intense films involving robbers and cops – Michael Mann’s Heat comes to mind immediately thanks to the blue tint director Eran Creevy uses and the subject matter. Except here, Creevy works in the fact that British police officers are not allowed to carry firearms on normal patrols.
There are some good action scenes too – but again, they resemble other Hollywood productions. However, if there is a reaason to watch the film it is to see the performances – all the cast members deliver, especially the leads. Strong exudes danger with calm control while McAvoy ably conveys Lewinsky’s self-hatred and determination with just a look. – Mumtaj Begum ***
PLANES is a classic example of a perfectly entertaining, perfectly unoriginal and perfectly unmemorable movie.
The Cars movies have always been at the bottom of my Pixar movies list, mainly because their other efforts have far better stories and characters (in my opinion).
So, I didn’t really have high expectations for this spin-off.
That, perhaps, was the key to my enjoyment of the movie.
Telling the story of Dusty Crophopper, a cropduster plane, whose biggest dream is to participate in the elite Wings Around the World racing competition, the plot is about as dramatic as deciding whether to paint your house white or beige.
Every character in the movie has a counterpart in either Cars or Cars 2, from the young hopeful to the reticent mentor and the silly sidekick to the arrogant villain.
But the visuals are beautiful, especially in 3D, and many of the puns are quite hilarious.
A good movie to escape the daily grind for a short while and have a good laugh.
Also, a good one to bring the kids to. – TSC ***