Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin in a scene from 'Labor Day'.
KATE Winslet plays Adele, a depressed single mom who lives with her only son, 13-year-old Henry (Gattlin Griffith). When Henry needs a new pair of pants, she reluctantly takes him out shopping. That’s how they end up bringing fugitive Frank (Josh Brolin) home for the holiday weekend.
There were many scenes where I rolled my eyes thinking “seriously, who would do that?” Adele is forced to take Frank home because of the threatening way he puts his hand on Henry’s neck. When they get home, the first thing Adele says to Frank is “I’m sorry for all this mess.” Later she asks, “How would you like your coffee?”
No surprise that Adele and Frank eventually fall in love. But I have to admit that the pair’s affection and need for one another actually grew on me. It may seem unreal at first, but the audience eventually learns why Adele and Frank are perfect for each other. If you’re going to watch this movie, come prepared with some tissues because when harsh reality finally hits our happy couple, you’re going to need them. – Angelin Yeoh (3/5 stars)
Need For Speed
This film has two things working for it and against it – the extremely successful Fast & Furious franchise, and the fact that it’s based on a video game. Make your own conclusions about the adaptation, but F&F has already explored a lot of storytelling avenues and action involving fast cars.
Maybe to put some distance from these films, director Scott Waugh tones down the action on the road to keep the story more grounded. Instead he splashes some colourful characters and a couple of stand-offs. Unfortunately, he miscalculates on both. Apart from Aaron Paul, Imogen Poots and Michael Keaton (who just steals every scene he is in), things are not that interesting.
But obviously, this film is not supposed to be character/story-driven. There are a couple of impressive stunts to hold our attention, especially one that sees a car flying over numerous obstacles, generously meeting our need for speed. – Mumtaj Begum (3/5 stars)
If you fondly remember the Tarzan released by Walt Disney Pictures, then we’d like to introduce you to the latest remake of that 1999 film.
While the overall CGI effects are stunning, the storyline seriously lacks punch. The Tarzan character feels like a mixture of personas – with references to Spider-Man and characters from Assassin’s Creed – – from the way he swings through the forest and unrealistically climbs steep surfaces.
At least the main characters are consistent with the originals; Jane Porter the love interest, Kala the motherly ape and Clayton the antagonist are all here.
Some credit is due to director/scriptwriter Reinhard Klooss for spicing up the plot with more romance and Indiana Jones-type elements, but don’t expect any deeply affecting songs like Phil Collins’ You’ll Be In My Heart. – Samuel Lee (2/5 stars)
300: Rise Of An Empire
Turns out the best way to revitalise all the testosterone of blockbuster hit 300 is a great big dose of oestrogen ... in the form of a sword-wielding, stylishly goth and very sexy Eva Green. In the absence of a Gerard Butler-like hero for us to rally behind – though Sullivan Stapleton tries very hard as Athenian general Themistokles – it is Green’s Artemisia, the bloodthirsty commander of the Persian navy, who keeps our attention riveted.
The story is quite cleverly engineered. Neither a sequel nor prequel, Rise Of An Empire (ROAE) answers the question you never knew you had: what was the rest of Greece doing as Leonidas and his 300 men fought to the death at Thermopylae? In contrast to the land skirmish of 300, ROAE focuses on the simultaneous battle at sea that Athens is engaged in against the massive Persian navy. The visuals are equally stunning, the fights equally bloody, and the story equally flimsy, with just enough of a different focus from its predecessor to keep you from getting bored. Oh, and Eva Green. – Sharmilla Ganesan (3/5 stars)
Take Me To Dinner
You can take the actors out of theatre; you can’t take theatre out of the actors. Gavin Yap’s feature film directing debut sees the young thespian pulling together his friends from stage — Patrick Teoh, Susan Lankester, Thor Kah Hoong — to bring this art-house slice of Americana to life. Take Me To Dinner would make a riveting play, as some of the cast demonstrate (with gusto) on the big screen.
It’s not a complicated story — a man with a mysterious past does something to atone for his sins, and sets off a chain reaction that destroys everyone in its path. But Teoh and Lankester’s chemistry is pure gold. Sure, there are plot holes and cinematography headaches — it could’ve used a sharper pair of scissors in the editing room, too — but the performances by the two leads make the final cut worth the effort. – Darren P. (3/5 stars)