MAGIC AND OLD MAN SHOES

THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE (2010)
– 3 and a half out of 5 stars 

Caught The Sorcerer’s Apprentice a while ago; it bears some resemblance to Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief because they both involve magic/mythology in the modern world.

In this case, the sorcerer’s apprentice is Dave, who is the Prime Merlinian (Merlin’s successor) that Merlin’s immortal apprentice, Balthazar, has been searching since Merlin’s death. The Prime Merlinian is the only wizard that can defeat Morgana, whom Balthazar has trapped into a Grimhold (nesting doll prison) before she could wreak havoc. Dave, a physics student, is reluctant to help but does so when he realizes he wants to learn magic. Through a series of clumsy and unfortunate events, the evil witches and wizards trapped in layers of the Grimhold are released and Balthazar and Dave have to join forces to save the day.

There is some resemblance to the original Sorcerer’s Apprentice starring Mickey Mouse, particularly the scene where Dave uses magic to assist in household chores. Not a good idea, in cartoon or otherwise. Morgana’s successor is oddly interesting because he prefers to use his powers for profit and dresses like some Criss Angel wannabe. Best of all, he even manages to spoof a line from the Star Wars franchise, “These are not the droids you’re looking for”. Towards the end, you know that Dave will rise to the occasion and fulfill his destiny as the Prime Merlinian but the process is fun to watch because he behaves kinda awkwardly. And, please STAY TILL THE END OF THE CREDITS!

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.

FLY WITH ME

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM 2: BATTLE OF THE SMITHSONIAN (2009)
– 3 and a half out of 5 stars

As the prequel’s slogan goes – where history comes to life – this time it’s no different! The exhibits at the Museum of Natural History are being shipped to the Federel Archives in lieu of revamping the museum. However, Larry (Ben Stiller), now a successful inventor, knows better when the magical Egyptian tablet is shipped over as well. Now, the largest museum comes to life!

The bad guy is Kahmunrah, a pharaoh mummy, who plans to dominate the world in his second chance to live. He is so funny defending his outfit (tunic) which the others insists it’s a dress, and watch his attitude towards Darth Vader!

(Confronting Vader)
Kahmunrah: Is that you breathing? Because I can’t hear myself think! There’s too much going on here; you’re asthmatic, you’re a robot. And why the cape? Are we going to the opera? I don’t think so.

Too bad the Force was not with Darth at that moment.

I loved the part where they jumped into the portrait, where Larry left his mobile phone in that era. Bet you didn’t know the sailor that picked up his phone was Joey Motorola. Larry’s sidekick is the fiesty Amelia Earhart, who uses cool ’30s phrases like “jimmy-jacked” and “moxie”. Oh, did I mention the Jonas Brothers are in the movie too?! They are the singing cupids (not cute at all but still recognizable). I also enjoyed the various appearances of the cast of The Office. Overall, the movie provided really good, hearty laughs.

MUSICAL SOULMATE

NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST (2008)
– 4 out of 5 stars

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is about two individuals who meet while finding a secret show for their favourite band, “Where’s Fluffy?”. Nick is nursing his broken heart after being dumped and cheated on by Tris, and he burns mixtapes (up to volume 12) for her one month after even though she has started dating around. Norah goes to the same school as Tris and frequently picks up the mixtapes Tris dumps. When they hear about their favourite band, Where’s Fluffy, having a secret show, they stay up all night to find it and their paths cross. Nick’s friends see the potential in Norah and matchmakes them together, while helping her to send her extremely-drunk buddy Caroline back home.

The whole movie is just about that magical night of how Nick and Norah get to know each other better and find their musical soulmates. It’s extremely hilarious especially with Nick and his Yugo (that yellow car in the poster). His “this is not a cab”, “this is not a toy” defenses against his Yugo is so funny! Caroline’s drunken escapade is another funny thing, especially the mini story of their disgusting piece of chewing gum. Nick’s gay friends are so cool! Especially Lethario who headbutts Tal at the end of the film. Yay, indie music rocks!

THE RIGHT THING

KNOCKED UP (2007)
– 4 out of 5 stars

Knocked Up is more realistic as it plays on the danger of one night stands and how drinking REALLY mars your vision, considering how pretty Alison (Katherine Heigl) hooks up with average guy Ben (Seth Cohen) under the influence of alcohol.

The story picks up when she discovers she’s pregnant and contacts Ben, requesting for help and support during the remaining seven months of her pregnancy. However, Ben seems to need more help than her; he does not have any income/savings and he smokes pot and watch porn with his friends daily. I guess the main draw of the film is seeing how Ben matures from a no-brainer to serious Joe, and does his best to win Alison back after disappointing the hormonally-imbalanced her too many a time. It also talks about the ‘sacrifices’ each gender has to make after they get married or have a child. In this case, it’s all fast-forwarded since the pregnancy is unexpected. The delivery scene is hilarious too, though I must say parts of it were rather explicit. The ‘crowning’ image shown (3 times within a minute) is similar but clearer than what was shown during Science class is secondary school. At the end of the movie, you’ll start to think that Ben is really a good guy after all, well at least better than most of the friends he hangs out with.

I liked the movie. I like Knocked Up‘s soundtrack too. Nice and relaxing tunes. Their website is cute too – using pregnancy test kits to signify ‘loading in process’.