Saturday, 25 January 2014

Sheer delight with 'Her'

Joaquin Phoenix in a scene from 'Her'.

Joaquin Phoenix in a scene from 'Her'.


BRILLIANT. Simply brilliant. Her is not only a pleasure to watch but a privilege as well.

As a story, it is simple and human. Set in the near future, it gives the viewer a preview of what life on Earth will be like when technology reaches new heights and how isolated people could become because of that.

We can already see the genesis of this in our time. People seem to communicate more with computers than other human beings in Her, painting a rather dismal picture of the future.

What makes this movie a delight to watch is Theodore Twombly, played by the talented Joaquin Phoenix. He’s an ordinary man with ordinary problems but in his pursuit of love, ends up bonding with an artificially intelligent operating system named Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johansson.

What begins as a beautiful friendship develops into an epic love affair. The flirtations, innuendos and their high-octane sex life may seem strange for viewers but in this world, it is a commonplace affair.

Once you get over the initial oddity of it all, the beauty of the relationship begins to blossom and you cannot help but smile or cry with the ups and downs of their love life.

It is when the end comes that the beauty of actual, human relationships shines. – Dinesh Kumar Maganathan (*****)

Ah Beng (Jack Lim) and Ah Hien (Jeff Chin) take on crooks and gangsters in Ah Beng: Mission Impossible.

Ah Beng: Mission Impossible

SECURITY guard Ah Beng (Jack Lim) accepts a seemingly simple task that sees him travelling to South Korea to meet a mysterious couple.

While there, he agrees to impersonate a missing man to claim an inheritance worth RM500mil. If the mission goes according to plan, Ah Beng will get a RM1mil reward from the couple.

His mission becomes complicated when he develops feelings for the missing man’s sister (played by newcomer Yumi Wong), and then a gangster gets involved.

Just like any other Chinese New Year film, Ah Beng: Mission Impossible emphasises the message “family comes first”. Ah Beng misses out on the Chinese New Year celebrations at home; yet there is no indication that he feels sorry about it.

Much of the focus is on Ah Beng figuring out how to get out of the mess he got himself into.

It was hard for me to empathise with Ah Beng as all his problems go away in a predictable fashion.

If you’re looking for a light-hearted, family-friendly flick for the festive season, then you won’t go wrong with this one. – Angelin Yeoh (**)

Lone Survivor

FOUR Navy SEALs are on a mission to take out a high-ranking terrorist in the mountains of Afghanistan. When the mission goes wrong, the SEALS (played by Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster) have to keep themselves invisible for as long as possible. However, it’s not long before a small army of Taliban catches up with them.

Lone Survivor is a really stressful film to watch as you wait to find out who survives at the end. No matter where the SEALs go, the bad guys are never far behind.

To make it more unbearable for the audience, they are stuck with the world’s worst satellite phone. Wait, let’s make this more harrowing – it’s based on a true story.

Lone Survivor is a highly engrossing film with its painfully graphic combat scenes, military drama and moments where you might go crazy wondering who will live through the next attack. – AY (****)

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

IN this movie reboot of Tom Clancy’s CIA analyst Jack Ryan, we not only get an original origins story, that is, not based on one of Clancy’s novels, but also a new actor in the role – Chris Pine, the fourth man to play Ryan.

He is recruited as an undercover CIA analyst by Thomas Harper (Kevin Costner), with orders to work as a stockbroker and keep an eye out for potential terrorist-related financial activity.

His discovery of suspicious transactions involving a company owned by Russian oligarch Victor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh, also the director) leads him to Moscow and an inadvertent “promotion” to field operative. His mission becomes more complicated when his girlfriend Dr Cathy Muller (Keira Knightley) gets tangled up in it.

Kudos to the screenwriters who deliver a plausible economic-related plot that still allows for lots of exciting “the clock is ticking” action.

The main cast does an excellent job, with my favourite being Branagh’s ruthless, yet pathos-filled Cherevin. Action fans should definitely check it out.

Those familiar with Clancy’s work will also notice many nods to the book version’s backstory. Tan Shiow Chin (****)

Kellan Lutz tackles the role of Hercules in The Legend Of Hercules

The Legend Of Hercules

THE only thing Herculean about this movie is the effort required to sit through it. If you are a fan of Greek mythology, it will be difficult to stomach the massive liberties taken with this supposed origin tale for the conflicted son of Zeus.

Wait, scratch that; even if you know absolutely nothing about Greek myths, this will still be a painful journey, thanks to the predictable storyline, cheesy dialogue and awful CGI.

Here, Hercules (a bland Kellan Lutz) is sold into slavery by his stepfather, and must find his faith in himself to both rescue his lady love (Gaia Weiss) and win his kingdom back.

This apparently involves looking earnestly up at the sky and telling Zeus he believes in him ... or something like that, I’m not sure; the plot lost me somewhere between the random slaying of a Nemean lion and the blatant ripping off of 300 and Gladiator.

Forget capturing the Cretan Bull or slaying the Hydra; to really test him, they should have made Hercules sit through this “adaptation” of his story. – Sharmilla Ganesan (*)

Tags / Keywords: Entertainment , Lone Survivor , Her , Jack Ryan , Shadow Recruit , The Legend Of Hercules , Ah Beng , Mission Impossible , movie review


Most Viewed

Powered by