The Family Stone

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Christmas movie, famous stars, family setting, the same kind of red and white square box poster...Oh, so Love, Actually.

Is the story predictable? Let me see, high powered New Yorker (Sarah Jessica Parker from Sex and The City) visits boyfriend's New England family. Everybody hates her, but she will touch everybody's heart. Movie will most likely end with a heart-warming Christmas dinner.

I am right for most except the last line. Not the most conventional way of ending a romantic love story.

The flaw of having too many characters is that many people appear can appear one-dimensional and stereotypical. Family stone beats that as everyone seem so likeable. You get the farcical New Yorker, handicapped gay and emotional matriarch, matched with affable performances by Jessica Parker, Diane Keaton and Claire Danes.

The Family Stone – Pleasant, holiday fare


The Ice Harvest

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If Narnia is for the family, Family Stone is just lovely-dovey, Merry Christmas's way too arty farty...Ice Harvast for the alternative.

Black Humour. Murders. Randoms. Strip tease clubs. This is your unconventional Christmas movie. It's Christmas Eve and Charlie (John Cusack), an attorney for the sleazy businesses of Wichita, and his unsavory associate, the steely Vic Cavenaugh (Billy Bob Thornton), have just successfully embezzled $2,147,000 from their boss. Everybody's wondering what's Charlie's hiding, and the next 12 hours is filled with dangerous and funny events.

I sense a Quentin Tarantino follower here with derisive dialogues and cynical humour. Not my cup of tea though, or I just don't sense a purpose. The movie starts and ends, and you probably won' t remember much of it. Not dark enough, and not funny enough.

If you are in Grinchy mood this Christmas, you would appreciate its grim dark feel and all the twists and turns. It's sex and violence and Christmas!

Ice Harvest – Lots of ice, but no harvest


The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrode

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Having 2 good movies at the end of the year is a treat to movie lovers. With this long-awaited Disney adaptation from CS Lewis, 4 children Peter, Susan, Edmond and Lucy travels to a professor’s country estate during the World War. A game of hide-and-seek leads young Lucy to a spare room containing a large wardrobe, she discovers something that will change their lives forever.

Narnia – The Land of magical beings and external winter. Our 4 young heros will save Narnia from the wicked witch with the help of Aslan the lion.

I love movies that can bring you to a fantasy world. Narnia did release the childlike tendencies in me. Kids would enjoy throughly enjoy the spectacle and bloodless battle scenes. While I thought the cast was okay, the cold witch (Tilda Swinton from Constantine) literally blew my feet off.

You may not like the movie for
1) Talking lions and beavers
2) Being touted as a children’s version of Lord of the Rings
3) Christian themes
Yes. I found it really strange that a talking lion reminded me of Jesus Christ.

Narnia did capture the wondrous imagination and I look forward to 6 more sequels. Although it is said to suffer from LOTR envy, children from 1 to 92 should enjoy it.

The Chronicles of Narnia – “Fabulous!” For children 1 to 92.


A Chinese Tall Story 情癫大圣

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We are all so familiar with the Monkey God's Journey of the West. A Chinese Tall Story tells the little-known tale about his master, Tripitaka. The Tang Monk's disciples are captured by evil spirits, and he has to save them with the help of evil spirit Meiyan. Meiyan is extremely ugly and guess what? Yes, they fall in love and she does become pretty.

Totally nonsensical and absolutely absurd! A sissy Triptaka, a vulgar Monkey God, man with breasts, a lesbian and chain-smoking fairy. Does this remind you of... Stephen Chow?

So downright silly it made me laugh. Charlene Choi (who happens to be like in every single Hong Kong movie) playing the ugly duckling Meiyan was refreshing for once. (My good friend happens to be called Meiyan and I am somehow always reminded of her. Meiyan, are you reading this?)

Over flooded with computer graphics and run-on-the mill jokes, what haven't we seen before? I nodded slept half way in the movie, while the person beside me cried at the everlasting love of Tripitaka and Meiyan. All right. What did I miss?

A Chinese Tall Story – A Chinese Bizarre Movie


King Kong

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Peter Jackson is the new King of cinema! Naomi Watt is the new Nicole Kidman!

It is 1933, and vaudeville actress Ann (Naomi Watts) has found herself rescued by filmmaker and multiple hyphenate Carl Denham (Jack Black). Carl promises his crew a trip to Singapore for filming, but actually hopes to find and capture on film the mysterious place of legend: Skull Island where King Kong resides.

From the urban jungle of Manhattan, to the Skull Island jungle, Jackson once again creates spectacular visual effects which is so real.

You may complain that 183 minutes is too long, but there was never a boring moment. From the nostalgic US, creepy Skull Island, violent islanders, Dinosaurs, giant leeches to the King Kong rampage finale, every scene stimulates a different sensory from fright, anticipation to being very, very touched.

Not since Disney’s Beauty and the Beast do we feel such emotions in a monster. Instead of being a 2 billion mega digital movie, King Kong incorporates the emotional element that breathes life to the creature.

I haven’t feel so much fun in a theatre for the longest time. Pure cinematic enjoyment.

King Kong – 2005’s Best Film. Worth every cent.


A History Of Violence

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I actually watched this quite some time ago, but forgot to blog about it – only because it was not very memorable. It was Ong Sor Fen (ST) and Whang Yee-Ling (8 days) who made me watch it. What? A 5 and 4.5 star rating respectively? Must be a blow-out!

The History of Violence just gathered nominations in Best Motion Picture and Best Drama Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture (Maria Bello) for the 63th Golden Globe. Did I seriously miss something?

Viggo Mortensen (from Lord of the Rings) plays a small time diner boss in a small town and lives a happy and quiet life with his wife and children. But their lives are forever changed when Mortensen thwarts an attempted robbery and is lauded as a hero by the media, attracting the attention of some mobsters (William Hurt and Ed Harris) who believe he is someone else.

Commented on its raw, disturbing depiction of violence, I thought American History X had it better. Wasn’t the twist predictable? What was it? Viggo Mortensen’s silent and resilient portrayel ?

It ended with a thud, yet unresolved. I felt I had been going aimless trek to nowhere, disappointed, bewildered and expecting more.

A History of Violence – Ong Sor Fen don’t usually give 5 star, but she did!


Perhaps Love 如果.爱

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Isn’t it about time that Hong Kong comes up with a full-length feature musical? Especially after the industry picks up and Snow Wolf Lake has left its mark internationally.

Never exclude Jacky Cheung (Chinese pop’s Song God) from a Chinese musical. Though his is only the 2nd lead, his presence and singing prowess lent weight to an otherwise fluffy storyline. A movie-within-a-movie? A love triangle? Probably been-there-done-that, but the grasp of a musical should be in its music.

Let’s not forget Takeshi Kaneshiro, whose soulful eyes melt ‘obasans’ in Japan to young girls in Singapore. He was never better, especially when he cried underwater. Please land some credit to Peter Chan and Chris Dole for the lovely directing and cinematography.

Zhou Xun had the Vicki Zhou defiance look and demure sweetness appropriate to play this role. But she can’t sing. Korean Ji Jin-Hee works hard to sing a Chinese song. He can’t sing either. His role as a walking muse seem rather redundant.

Frankly, I thought overall it was just ok. There were moments of cringing and hair rising. Jacky sounded more Phantom than Jacky. That single eye tear dropped from Takeshi a plenty. Nevertheless, some memorable songs out there, credible first time effort and lots of admirable for Peter Chan for being so ambitious.

Perhaps Love - Almost There


Pride and Prejudice

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This according to my friend is “THE most brilliant, wonderful and absolutely splendid movie I've watched this year!” A stellar performance from the whole cast - especially Keira Knightlely (who plays Elizabeth) and Brenda Blethyn (who plays her mother Mrs Bennet). Filmed on location, it is lovely, beautiful and picturesque.

The 2005 production is adpated from the screenplay by Deborah Moggach. There are obvious departures from Jane Austen's most loved work but these liberties are more than acceptable and the film still remains faithful to the original in all respects and faithful to 19th Century England.

There were moments that where emotions have to be controlled. (Darcy and Lizzie's first dance and Darcy's first proposal) Seriously, some really fine acting! The future is safe. But I finally succumbed....where Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth were discussing terms of endearment in the final scene....memory is fuzzy.....

Elizabeth: "You may not call me 'Mrs Darcy'. 'Lizzie' for every other day, 'My Pearl' on Sundays. 'My divine goddess' on special occasions. Perhaps you can only call me Mrs Darcy if you are really utterly in love with me and extremely and incandescently happy."

Darcy: Mrs Darcy...[plants kiss on her cheek] Mrs Darcy.... [another kiss]. Mrs Darcy...[another] Mrs Darcy....

Pride and Prejudice - Women fancy admiration means more than it does.


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