DURING Chinese New Year, Uncle Chuan (Lee Sai Peng) receives a surprise from his estranged daughter Bee (Joanna Yew). She returns home from Britain with fiance Benji (Ben Andrew Pfeiffer). Owing to Benji’s ignorance of Chinese culture, Uncle Chuan refuses to give his blessing to the couple. Later, he agrees to change his mind on condition that Bee and Benji throw a traditional Chinese wedding with 50 tables for guests. Benji must also accompany Uncle Chuan on a journey across Malaysia to personally deliver wedding invitations to some of his closest friends.
As Benji and Uncle Chuan go on their journey, the audience is also taken on a ride across dreamy landscapes. I’ve never been to Cameron Highlands and I feel like I should after seeing the way it was shot in this movie. There is also a stunning shot of clear seas in Sabah and colourful festive lights in Penang. Director Chiu Keng Guan also takes the viewer on an ethereal journey by hot-air balloon.
Overall, The Journey is an unforgettable film with hilarious characters (Lee shines as Uncle Chuan with his deadpan comic delivery), heartrending scenes (watch out for Bee’s speech to her father) and plenty of gorgeously-shot scenes. – Angelin Yeoh (*****)
This Malaysian movie is ideal viewing for young adults. Cuak, which roughly translates to “cold feet” or “suspicious” depending on the situation, is the story of Adam (Ghafir Akbar) who is about to get married to Brenda (Dawn Cheong) but is having second thoughts. Ghafir and both Dawn are really good in their portrayal of the betrothed.
Told by five young directors who each direct an event in Adam and Brenda’s past leading up to their present situation, Cuak’s narrative is naturally a variety of different styles. What you get here is a combination of very different films produced by very different people: very rojak, and in that sense, very real and very Malaysian. – Azhariah Kamin (****)
The Lego Movie
“Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you’re part of a team. Everything is awesome, when you’re living your dream!”
I promise you, this incredibly catchy theme song from the movie will be playing in your head long after you’ve walked out of the theatre. Alternatively, you might be more taken by the equally memorable and hilarious heavy metal-style Batman song (Darkness!!).
Now, I was really looking forward to this movie, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
It was huge, colourful, fresh, funny and nostalgic all at once. Trust me, you’ll want to break out your Lego sets, no matter what your age, after watching it.
The story is surprisingly layered for a supposedly kiddie movie, with an interesting twist two-thirds of the way through, and kind of puts the question out there: which are you – instruction follower or random builder? (Nothing wrong with being either, by the way, just don’t Kragle the finished product!)
Go watch it! Awesome for actual kids and kids-at-heart of all ages. – Tan Shiow Chin (*****)
That Awkward Moment
Pick three guys in their 20s and give them reckless and irresponsible lifestyles – that pretty much sums up the entire movie.
Best friends Jason (Zac Efron), Daniel (Miles Teller) and Mikey (Michael B. Jordan) make a promise to avoid getting into any relationships and remain single, so that they can have all the fun together. However, things begin to fall apart when Mikey starts meeting his ex-wife while Jason and Daniel unexpectedly fall in love.
The movie indulges in a whole lot of distasteful jokes which don’t seem to be funny. I’m guessing writer-director Tom Gormican has a strange sense of humour.
Yet, as cliché as the movie is, this is one romance movie that tells the story from the men’s point of view. – Samuel Lee (**)
This film – starring Alex Pettyfer as David and Gabriella Wilde as Jade – is an idyllic, almost mushy tale of a modern-day Romeo and Juliet who are barred from seeing each other by their parents. It explores true love as well as the question “Is love all that you need in life?”
My issue is that, apart from their star-crossed relationship, the movie doesn’t have much else to offer besides its sickly sweetness and idealism. The only character development seems to be in Hugh (Bruce Greenwood), Jade’s father. He carries his role believably, propping up the story, but it’s not nearly enough to provide any real substance.
There is an innocence to the movie that may resonate well with people who might feel like the romance in their life is waning. – Clarissa Say WC (**)
From Vegas To Macau
To think that The Los Angeles Times once called Chow Yun-Fat “the coolest actor in the world”. The thought made me cringe all the more when I saw him in this one. The actor has always exuded a certain coolness and sophistication. Unfortunately, he is anything but cool in this fourth instalment of the God Of Gamblers film series.
He plays a renowned gambler who becomes a security consultant for a casino. When an undercover policeman is murdered by the boss of an illegal gambling syndicate, he is enlisted to help take down the ruthless villain.
All-too-familiar slapstick comedy and unrealistic scenarios (don’t get me started on those heavily CGI-ed card tricks) dominate the movie which is typical Hong Kong gambling-comedy fare. Chow’s character is always either in a suit or turtleneck but the sophisticated appearance fizzles out the moment he delivers a lame punchline.
But if you’re not too critical about it, it’s still possible to have a good time. – Kenneth Chaw (**)