DO NOT MESS WITH THE CAT

PUSS IN BOOTS (2011)
– 3 out of 5 stars

The trailer for this was absolutely adorable but watching this cat prance around for more than one hour was taking its toll on me. Story-wise, it was average. Interesting parts were when Puss revels in his feline self, chasing after lights and meowing agitatedly when provoked.

KING OF PRIDE ROCK

THE LION KING (3D) (2011)
– 4 out of 5 stars

Actually this is the first time I’ve seen The Lion King. I read the storybook when I was younger but I didn’t get a chance to see it till now… in 3D! Honestly, I was watching it for the story not the 3D effects and my favourite characters are Timon and Pumbaa! They sing about no worries for the rest of the day and eat slimy worms! Disney really made good (and earned lots of money) re-releasing this in 3D – I can’t wait for Beauty and the Beast to be re-released!

Anyway, I caught the Pilot of Modern Family recently and now I can’t seem to get the Lion King soundtrack out of my head from that pivotal scene of  Rafiki presenting Simba and Cameron presenting Lily Tucker-Pritchett.

“MY FIST HUNGERS FOR JUSTICE”

KUNG FU PANDA 2 (2011)
– 3 out of 5 stars 

Lord Shen: Who do you think you are, Panda?
Po: Who do you think I am, Peacock?

In this sequel, the Dragon Warrior, Po, and the Furious Five (Tigress, Monkey, Mantis, Viper, Crane) have to stop Lord Shen who has created a new weapon that threatens to destroy the legacy of kungfu. In the process, Po learns more about his past and how his father came to be Mr. Ping, a goose.

Po: Scars heal.
Lord Shen: No, they don’t. Wounds heal.
Po: Oh, right. What do scars do? Fade?
Lord Shen: I don’t care what scars do!

This was really funny and I enjoyed it even though I didn’t watch the original movie. Po really likes to state the obvious and OMG I loved it when he finally found inner peace! You can always count on him to do something unpredictable! Plus, the baby Po is super adorable! He eats non-stop and really cries like a human baby! Some of the funnier parts are already seen in the trailers but it’s still worth a watch.

BIRDS VERSUS MONKEYS

RIO (2011)
– 3 and a half out of 5 stars

Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) is a domesticated blue macaw that has been living with his owner, Linda, for the past fifteen years. A chance meeting with Túlio, an ornithologist, brings them all to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where Blu needs to mate with a female, Jewel (Anne Hathaway), in order to save his species. Trouble ensues when smugglers are after them and while Jewel yearns to escape, she learns that Blu cannot fly.

Rafael: Just tell her “you have beautiful eyes”.
Blu: (to Jewel) I have beautiful eyes.

OMG JESSE EISENBERG IS SUCH A CUTE BLUE MACAW. I think his real life awkwardness totally translates into Blu, which is absolutely adorable. The other characters like Rafael the Toucan and Luiz the Bulldog are equally funny. I like Luiz’s fruity get-up for the carnival and his saliva can actually be used as a form of lubricant! Nigel the Cockatoo is brilliant as the villain and he constantly antagonizes the other birds and monkeys. One of my favourite parts was the fight and they announced “BIRDS VERSUS MONKEYS!” The way these animals fight is so damn hilarious!

Both Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway contributed to the soundtrack! Though it’s not the first time we’ve heard Hathaway sing, it’s definitely the first time I heard Eisenberg sing! OMG he sounds so awkward – I like!

“MAGICIANS DO NOT EXIST”

L’ILLUSIONNISTE (THE ILLUSIONIST) (2010)
– 4 out of 5 stars 

The Illusionist is a French animated film brought to you by the people behind The Triplets Of Belleville. It revolves around an elderly illusionist struggling to make ends meet in the 1950s. During one of his acts, he meets a young lady, Alice, who is convinced that he is a real magician after he “magically” produces a new pair of shoes for her. They both travel to Edinburgh, Scotland, where their shared adventure will change their lives forever.

This was like a silent movie, because there were only a few lines of dialogue but action speaks louder than words, as always. It’s actually a rather sad story because it seems that nobody really enjoys a magic show with the increasing forms of entertainment available. They share the hotel with other performers like the clown, ventriloquist and a trio of acrobats. Similarly, behind their cheerful selves lies a sad face. Then as Alice starts to yearn for more luxuries, the illusionist had to take on menial and demeaning jobs to support her. I really wanted to shake her real hard to make her realize that everything comes by because he paid for it, not because he made it out of thin air. Stay till the end of the credits for an additional scene.

MARS NEED COLOUR

MARS NEEDS MOMS (2011)
– 3 and a half out of 5 stars

Mars Needs Moms is based on the book by Berkeley Breathed; where a boy, Milo, learns to better appreciate his mother after she was abducted by Martians who intend to harness her “mom-ness” for their young. Together with Gribble, Milo has until sunrise to save his mother before he loses his mother for good.

Well, this movie took me by surprise! I wasn’t sure if I would watch it but I heard that it made some people cry so I went to watch it. I just love the chance to cry.

Milo: Mars needs botox!

Anyway, the Martians take some time getting used too and their “hair” or whatever it is on their heads reminds me of spider legs. The male Martians are cuter because they are the crazy ones hugging and celebrating for no good reason. It’s no wonder Mars is a matriarchal society. Ki is a pretty cool Martian, though her English is stucked in the 70s. Gribble is such an adorable guy! I liked it whenever Ki and Gribble are in the same scene – Gribble can “change colour”!

Personally, I thought the ending was not bad so colour me shocked when I heard that the movie bombed in the US! Maybe the cast weren’t star-studded enough, unfamilar territory (Mars) or maybe Milo was too whiny.

THE SPIRIT OF THE WEST

RANGO (2011)
– 4 out of 5 stars

Rango tells the tale of a chameleon who gets stranded in the Nevada desert and winds up at Dirt, a town populated by desert animals and plagued by water shortage. He creates a brand new personality that is tough, fearless and full of bravado. When he accidentally kills the hawk that has been terrorizing the townsfolk, he becomes a symbol of hope and is appointed the new sheriff. Rango does his best to protect the townsfolk and in the process, becomes the hero he always wanted to be.

OMG I think I almost died (of happiness) in the cinemawhen I heard/recognized Timothy Olyphant’s voice as the Spirit of the West! Considering the fact that I didn’t know any other voice except Johnny Depp’s, it was a pleasant surprise! However, since the image of the Spirit of the West is unique to each person, I can’t find any picture of him/her/it – not even in Rango’s perspective. So, here’s an alternative:

Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens in FX’s Justified

The movie really caught me unexpected, in a good way. Basically, the story’s about Rango trying to find his identity and the process is hilarious and a little sad at times but coupled with the fact that it’s also a Western… needless to say, I enjoyed it thoroughly. The owl mariachi band provides witty and funny songs/commentary throughout the film and they are constantly pessimistic about the fate of Rango. Rattlesnake Jake (Bill Nighy – perfect evil, creepy voice) sends shivers down my spine and you wouldn’t want to drink from his shotglass.

I can totally imagine Johnny Depp doing this in real life.

Plus, the film was acted out while the actors recorded their voices, so the characters have human-like expressions. That includes Johnny Depp’s always-quirky performance, full of his signature charm and swagger. Must watch!


And here’s a featurette from Rango:

DO YOU GNOME?

GNOMEO & JULIET (2011)
– 3 out of 5 stars

Gnomeo & Juliet tells the story of two families of garden gnomes – the Reds and the Blues, which belongs to two elderly neighbours who despise each other. When they leave the house, the gnomes come to life and pit themselves against each other, like lawnmower races and competing who has the best kept garden. Very gnome-y stuff.

It’s a pretty cute movie, though the story’s been done to death even with the slight twist towards the end. What I liked was that whenever they touch, they “clink” because they are made of porcelain. I thought the funniest character was Benny (Blue), who has the ability to be really silly. Like when they headed for their stealth operation, he carried a spray can that jiggled loudly whenever he moved. Oh, and he dressed up as a sunflower! So much for stealth. The other funny one is Featherstone, the pink flamingo, who speaks with a Spanish accent and is probably the most indestructible one of all since it’s made of plastic. I think my favourite scene would be where all the gnomes gather on the edge of the porch, mid-action, causing a jogger to stop in her steps. Cute story.

I SEE THE LIGHT

TANGLED (2010)
– 3 and a half out of 5 stars

It seems quite sad that Rapunzel: A Tangled Tale will be the last Princess movie from Disney, because it’s a really nice story with a refreshing twist.

A magical flower that grows with the power of a single drop of sunlight has been the source of youth and immortality for Gothel, an old lady when she discovered it. Centuries later, the Queen is heavily ill while pregnant and this magical flower cures her. However, Gothel tries to claim her youth from the baby but realizes that the magic only exists within the baby’s hair. She steals the baby, locks her in a high tower while the kingdom mourns for the lost princess. The baby grows up to be Rapunzel, who yearns to watch the floating lights that happens on her birthday. Gothel refuses her request and a chance encounter with notorious thief, Flynn Rider, enables her to fulfill her wish.

With almost every animated feature, there are always adorable characters to look out for – this time it’s Pascal the chameleon and Maximus the horse! Pascal doesn’t speak but his actions are super hilarious; he helps the naive Rapunzel deal with Flynn when he first arrives in her tower. Whereas Maximus is one strong determined horse, with only one goal in mind: to capture Flynn! I love the scene where he chews the “wanted” poster of Flynn.

MAXIMUS!

The pub thugs are really funny too (the mime!) because they are all softies at heart! Awww… I would say the ending is standard Disney (happy ending) but with a twist and loads more spunk (the hair!).

Rapunzel: I’ve been looking out of a window for eighteen years, dreaming about what I might feel like when those lights rise in the sky. What if it’s not everything I dreamed it would be?
Flynn Rider: It will be.
Rapunzel: And what if it is? What do I do then?
Flynn Rider: Well, that’s the good part I guess. You get to go find a new dream.

SO GOOD AT BEING BAD

MEGAMIND (2010)
– 3 and a half out of 5 stars

I didn’t think to watch Megamind at first, but when it was #1 for two weeks in the USA, I guess that many Americans can’t be wrong.

The movie tells of Megamind (Will Ferrell), who is sent to Earth by his parents at only eight days old. However, his arrival was marred by another alien infant, later known as Metro Man (Brad Pitt), whose spaceship sends Megamind to a prison instead of a loving family. Metro Man becomes a superhero while Megamind becomes a supervillian, and so, their rivalry begins.

Megamind’s attempts to be evil can be hilarious because he keeps kidnapping Roxanne Ritchi (Tina Fey), a news reporter, to lure Metro Man out. Even Roxanne is unfazed by his attempts to scare her. Plus, Megamind defines unfathomable as… without fathom. Minion is rather cute as his sidekick and is the one with all the ideas even though he’s just an alien fish.

HALFWAY THERE

LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA’HOOLE (2010)
– 3 out of 5 stars 

The movie is based on the Guardians of Ga’hoole series by Kathryn Lasky. While branching (flying from branch to branch), Soren (Jim Sturgess) and his brother, Kludd (Ryan Kwanten), fall to the base of their tree and is unable to fly back up to their nest. They get abducted by an evil owls who brainwash them into soldiers for their army. Soren managed to escape with his new friend, Glyfie, while Kludd would rather stay behind to get in the good books of Metalbeak, the leader of the army. Soren and Glyfie fly to the Guardians of Ga’hoole for help to rescue those owlets trapped in the evil army, and meet Digger and Twilight who guide them to the Great Tree where the Guardians reside.

Seriously, before this movie, the only owl I had an impression of was Hedwig from the Harry Potter films and I didn’t know owls can fight! Plus, their theme song was sung by Owl City so… not a very good first impression but it turned out quite alright. They can literally poke your eye out and you learn that they regurgitate owl pellets, which contain metal flecks which the evil owls use to mess with the Guardians. I thought Digger was adorable, cos I’ve never seen owls do much digging before; while Eglantine and Gylfie are so small! That said, don’t buy an owl as a pet just because they’re cute or you think they’ll deliver your post (refer: Harry Potter).

IT’S SO FLUFFY, I’M GONNA DIE!

DESPICABLE ME (2010)
– 3 and a half out of 5 stars

OMG! Agnes is so adorable!

Super-villian Gru (Steve Carell) decides to become the greatest super-villian by stealing the moon until his plans were disrupted by Vector, the newest super-villian in town. He adopts three girls from the local orphanage – Margo, Edith and Agnes – in order to steal the shrink ray gadget from Vector’s. However, he didn’t expect they would make him a better man than he ever thought he would be.

Ooh, I have to say the minions are cute too! Especially when they dress up as “civilians”, make their signature “Awww” and engage in their operations when they help Gru. They behave like people but are much cuter. One of the nicer moments happens when Gru tells a bedtime story to the three girls and the book has finger puppets, with brush and milk included. Why didn’t I have such a cute storybook last time? Then I suppose the main pull factor would be Agnes! She has the best lines in the movie!

THE CLAW FASCINATES

TOY STORY 3 (2010)
– 4 out of 5 stars

Wow, I saw Toy Story 3 and it’s really very nice!

To be honest, I’ve never seen Toy Story 1 & 2 and probably wasn’t interested in this franchise at all. But the good reviews (verbally and online) makes it too good to pass up, so here I am!

The toys’ owner, Andy, is entering college and he must decide between keeping his toys in the attic or discarding them. A turn of events lands the toys in the donation box to Sunnyside Children’s Daycare Centre. The toys think they are in paradise because they will no longer be obsolete and they enjoyed a nice welcome from the toys there – their leader, Lotso the strawberry-scented bear and his minions. The children turn out to be ’tiny terrors’ who lick, suck, dismantle and dip toys in paint while Lotso and his minions aren’t as kind as they appear to be. Soon, they hatch an escape plan to get back to Andy before he leaves for college.

Somehow, I don’t think I played with my toys the way Andy did – the opening sequence is out-of-this-world but totally possible with the creative minds of young children. It’s always heartwarming to see how these toys stand up and protect one another, perhaps even better than us, humans, do. Certain parts of the story induce tears and at times, I’m inclined to make a swear word involving “bear”. Barbie does a good job of showing girl power as compared to “girls’ toy” Ken. The Potatoheads are also adorable, with their easy-to-fix body parts, which is especially useful for an escape.

WHAT THE SHREK?

SHREK FOREVER AFTER (2010)
– 3 and a half out of 5 stars 

Shrek Forever After is the final instalment of the Shrek series and it’s still fun, considering that they added more fairy tales into this one – The Pied Piper and Rumpelstiltskin.

After being a father, Shrek is unhappy that all he does it to burp his babies and fix things, which is so unlike his ogre-self. He signs a magical contract with Rumpelstiltskin, to be a real ogre for a day in exchange for a day from his childhood. Fiona is now an outlawed ogre, Puss is an overly-pampered cat, while Donkey is a slave to the now-King Rumpelstiltskin and his witches. Unbeknownst to Shrek, Rumpelstiltskin actually took the day he was born and he has only that one day to salvage everything.

My favourite parts still belong to Donkey and Puss, like when they were bickering about “catastrophe” and “redonkulous”. The ogres’ hideout was pretty interesting, considering how much bigger they were compared to Shrek and how they quickly they could create a “not-there” presence when the witches are patrolling the area. The part where Donkey shows Shrek the exit clause for the magical contract is interesting – origami! The cutest part would belong to Puss when he asks to borrow Donkey’s tongue when they get wet because he’s too round to lick his back. Awww…

I still think Shrek 2 is the best instalment of all, with the introduction of Puss with his goo-goo eyes, and the Donkey-Dragon offsprings (compared to baby ogres) are the cutest! Those flying things with cute donkey faces!

TOOTHLESS WITH TEETH

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (2010)
– 3 and a half out of 5 stars 

Managed to catch How To Train Your Dragon after almost a month since it opened because I have been hearing good things about it.

Based on a children’s storybook by Cressida Cowell, the story takes place in a Viking village where the adult Vikings are dragon slayers because their livestock are constantly being raided by dragons. Hiccup is the son of the Viking Chief and longs to become a dragon slayer. During a dragon raid, he manages to shoot a Night Fury, the rarest dragon that even his father has not seen. The next day, he goes to find the Night Fury in an attempt to kill it but realizes he cannot bear to. He sets it free.

Meanwhile, Hiccup enrolls in dragon training with the other village youths and makes time to visit the Night Fury, which he eventually names Toothless (such an adorable name!). He realizes Toothless is missing a part of his tail and makes an articificial tail wing for it. The two of them begin to forge a bond and Toothless realizes that the Vikings have a wrong perception of dragons. Apparently, they like being tickled, enjoy chasing mirror reflections, are afraid of eels and eat fish. The climax of the movie takes place when the Vikings discover the dragons’ nest and attempt to wipe them out.

OMG! Toothless is so cute, especially when it makes its goo-goo eyes. The story may seem predictable but I think the ending was quite touching and surprising. Love the bond between Toothless and Hiccup because I think it’s harder for the dragon to trust the human, especially when Hiccup has to navigate the dragon using the artificial wing. I didn’t catch it in 3D but I heard the flying scenes rival that of Avatar’s.