I’M A DOG TOO


peabodyshermanMR. PEABODY & SHERMAN (2014)

3 and a half out of 5 stars

WATCH IT BECAUSE…
1) Beneath all the time travelling, it is actually a heartwarming story of father and son.
2) Mr. Peabody is really talented and sarcastic.
3) The characters from the past are truly hilarious especially those from the Trojan war!

King Agamemnon: This is the smell of victory!

WEIRD DOESN’T EVEN BEGIN TO COVER IT

vampireacademyVAMPIRE ACADEMY (2014)
3 and a half out of 5 stars

WATCH IT BECAUSE…
1) It has a little more bite than the Twilight Saga and it features more vampire mythology.
2) Zoey Deutch kicks ass! She is also the most sarcastic, in-your-face female heroine on screen in recent years.
3) Moroi are scary vampires!
4) You are rooting for two couples in this series – Lissa and Christian, and Rose and Dimitri.

WE LOVE TO PARTY!

blingringTHE BLING RING (2013)
3 and a half out of 5 stars

WATCH IT BECAUSE…
1) Sofia Coppola directs and writes.
2) EVERYONE is obsessed with celebrities and luxury goods – I’m in love with the opening credits: BRANDED HIGH-END LUXURY GOODS! ALL THE BLING! ALL THE SHADES! EVERYTHING! I had the strongest urge to strut down the streets with my shades on.
3) Getting home-schooled has never been more interesting when your topics include Angelina Jolie.
4) You want to know how these teenagers try to squirm their way out of their situation and how your best friend can stab you in the face (figuratively).

WRITING A NEW DESTINY

PJSOMPERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS (2013)
3 and a half out of 5 stars

Percy Jackson is back and this time, he has to retrieve the Golden Fleece from Polyphemus in the Sea of Monsters to heal Thalia’s tree, that has been protecting Camp Half-Blood after it has been poisoned by Luke (Jake Abel, deliciously bad). However, Luke is also after the the Golden Fleece to resurrect Kronos. So, it’s a matter of who gets to the Fleece first and uses it for what purpose.

It’s always interesting whenever demi-Gods are involved but do they have to resurrect Kronos too (I’m talking about Wrath of the Titans)? So now we have teenagers preventing the resurrection of Kronos, whom we all know will destroy the human race. Their journey to the Sea of Monsters is hilarious because of Tyson and his noisy backpack. Nathan Fillion is charming, as usual, as Hermes. Though, the story is screaming for a sequel because the prophecy has yet to be fulfilled. And who’s money is betting on Luke surviving this sequel?

MORTALLY MUTANT

thewolverineTHE WOLVERINE (2013)
3 and a half out of 5 stars

When an old acquaintance summons Logan (aka the Wolverine) to Japan, he is forced to face his own demons – his identity as a mutant and his guilt from killing Jean Grey. What will Wolverine do when he is offered an opportunity to not be a mutant?

Logan: Go fuck yourself, pretty boy!

No X-Men movie is complete without Hugh Jackman saying “go fuck yourself”. Just saying. Hugh Jackman is Wolverine. Wolverine is Hugh Jackman. Somehow, he just looks like he’s born to play the part. I’m not sure there’s another actor who can look like and play Wolverine so perfectly.

Story-wise, the Japanese setting does make it more mysterious especially with the yakuza involved. Asian values does change the perspective of everything. Respect, honour, family and filial piety. Watching Wolverine getting scrubbed down is also a plus.

Tao Okamoto is really pretty as Mariko Yashida while Rila Fukushima plays a feisty Yukio, Wolverine’s self-employed bodyguard. These Japanese ladies exude charm and grace and they can still kick ass. Though I wonder what it must feel like for the Viper? Does she really not crave male company? Or does she dislike them because she can’t be with them? Nonetheless, her body is smoking hot!

STAY FOR A SHORT SCENE DURING THE CREDITS!

GET YOUR HANDS OFF MY JORDANS!

whitehousedownWHITE HOUSE DOWN (2013)
3 and a half out of 5 stars

John Cale (Channing Tatum), hoping to impress his his daughter, Emily, brings her for a tour at the White House during this interview for the Secret Service. However, a bomb detonates and father and daughter are separated while the White House is overtaken by a paramilitary group. It is up to John to save his daughter and the President (Jamie Foxx) when this turns out to be an inside job.

How many movies can you make about the White House? See: Olympus Has Fallen. Anyway, I didn’t catch that so I won’t be able to tell you which one is better though both Gerard Butler and Channing Tatum are plausible bodyguards/action heroes.

There’s never a dull moment and if you’re not worried about Channing Tatum, you’re worried about Joey King, who plays Emily. She is a prime example of our generation – using technology even though we are in mortal danger. Her final act really saved the day. That was a really smart move! Tatum and Foxx are quite a good team and even though they are being chased by big bad guys with big bad guns, they still have time to joke about and make sarcastic remarks. Lance Reddick from Fringe also stars along with Jason Clarke, last seen in Zero Dark Thirty and Gatsby.

President Sawyer: There’s some knives in the kitchen.
John Cale: Great. You can make me a sandwich.

BECOMING A GENTLEMAN

greatexpectations2012GREAT EXPECTATIONS (2012)
3 and a half out of 5 stars

Based on the novel by Charles Dickens, the story revolves around Pip, an orphan, whose quality of life improves when he receives a sum of money from an anonymous benefactor.

I would jump at any chance to watch a classic brought to screen and this is no exception. Though I have only briefly read the book during primary school, I still remember bits and pieces of the story. While reading up this adaptation, I’ve heard many rave reviews about the BBC adaptation and hopefully I have the chance to watch it one day.

Holliday Grainger is delightful as Estella. She is really beautiful and I almost didn’t believe her when she said she had no heart. Jeremy Irvine is really handsome and the younger Pip really resembles him (played by Toby Irvine – his younger brother!). I suppose he did an acceptable job and my favourite scene is quoted below. Overall though, I didn’t feel my heart flutter as much as it should have.

Pip: You are part of my existence, part of myself. You have been in every line I have ever read. You have been in every prospect I have ever seen – on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea in the streets. You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy that my mind has ever become accquainted with. The stones of which the strongest London buildings are made are not more real, or more impossible to be displaced by your hands, than your presence and influence have been to me, there and everywhere, and will be. To the last hour of my life, you cannot choose but remain part of my character, part of the little good in me, part of the evil. But in this separation, I associate you only with the good, and I will faithfully hold you to that always, for you must have done me far more good than harm. Let me feel now what sharp distress I may.

YOU DON’T MESS WITH FAMILY

FF6FAST & FURIOUS 6 (2013)
3 and a half out of 5 stars

The gang is back!

Dom and the guys have retired after the events from Fast Five but reunite again when Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) offers to clear their names in exchange for taking down Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), who has been presumed dead.

There is definitely more action now. Gina Carano (Haywire) is Hobbs’ partner and she really packs a punch. But Michelle Rodriguez is not to be trifled with either.  The two of them plus Gal Gadot definitely give the fairer sex an edge. Too bad about Elsa Pataky, come on, give Mrs. Chris Hemsworth a chance to fight!

The franchise has always been about cars and we were treated to some cool cars, particularly those modified cars that Luke Evans drives. The biggest WTF moment happens at the highway with the tank. I will not reveal it so keep a lookout for it if you watch it. It is as unbelievable as it is jaw-dropping.

Comic relief comes mainly from Roman (Tyrese).

Roman: Better hide your baby oil.
Hobbs: Better hide your big-ass forehead.

STAY TILL THE START OF THE (ACTUAL) CREDITS FOR AN EXTRA SCENE!

MINIATURE PONIES ARE THE LEAST OF YOUR CONCERNS

promisedlandPROMISED LAND (2012)
3 and a half out of 5 stars

The movie introduces “fracking” to its audience through Steve Butler (Matt Damon), a representative at a natural gas company that specializes in obtaining natural gas trapped underground. His job entails persuading landowners to sign over their drilling rights to the company at a price. His plan to win over the town comes to a halt when a former teacher raises safety issues regarding fracking and an environmentalist, Dustin Noble (John Krasinski) starts a campaign to oppose fracking in the town.

Well, the movie certainly opened my eyes to “fracking” and I have to say it doesn’t paint it very favourably. Every method to obtain energy has its pros and cons. From this movie, it seems that the pros only include obtaining the energy and the profits it will bring. The environmental effects are more long-lasting and devastating. It tries to be a serious film but isn’t close to being a documentary yet.

ABRACADABRA!

BurtWonderstoneTHE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE (2013)
3 and a half out of 5 stars

Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton (Steve Carell and Steve Buscem) have been performing magic in Las Vegas for many years. Their sales are hurting due to stale performances and an up-and-coming street magician known as Steve Gray (Jim Carrey).

The reviews haven’t been kind but if there’s one thing I’ve taught myself – if you like it, watch it!

First of all, don’t their name sound magical? And I kinda love Steve Carell’s wig – it seems to have a life on its own. His character even wears spanx! I was giggling away when they performed to Abracadabra because it is so cheesy but the song is just so catchy! Jim Carrey may be have been the “new face of magic” but his aptly titled programme “Brain Rapist” describes his acts to a ‘T’. What I liked about this movie is that it brought the feeling of wonder and excitement that one experiences with magic. It’s all trickery but what matters is the execution and I felt Alan Arkin’s character really brought a nice touch to the movie. The final trick was pretty funny though I wished they didn’t show us HOW they did it so we can preserve that little bit of magic.

HE’S GETTING DOWN, SIR

21andover21 & OVER (2013)
3 and a half out of 5 stars

Let’s just say I did not expect to see so much of Skylar Astin.

Here comes a teenage version of the Hangover – same amount of havoc  with more hormones. Miller (Miles Teller) and Casey (Skylar Astin) helps their childhood buddy (Jeff Chang) celebrate his 21st birthday with a bang right before a big medical school interview the next morning.

Granted, this did not warrant as much laughs as the ‘adult version’ but it still delivered. Justin Chon really went out there and became a wild drunk. All the shaking and dancing with the teddy bear… On a wild night such as this, there are bound to be some recurring characters and Randy just takes the cake. His sidekicks are super hilarious, ending each sentence with “Randy”. The Chief is also quite amusing.

But one of the main reasons I watched this was Skylar Astin! He’s still so earnestly funny and wow, those guys really worked hard on their v-line, don’t they? The sorority deals with outsiders pretty sternly and us, audiences, really benefitted from it. Miles Teller, last seen in the Footloose reboot, steals scenes as the fast-talking, sarcastic friend. He definitely needs to work on his pick-up lines.

Jeff Chang: I’m 21! Blackjack, motherfucker!

IT AIN’T ALL DARK AND IT AIN’T ALL LIGHT

beautiful_creaturesBEAUTIFUL CREATURES (2013)
3 and a half out of 5 stars

Based on the first novel of the Caster Chronicles series created by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert star as Ethan and Lena, an ordinary boy and a girl from a line of Casters, who fall in love despite the extraordinary circumstances. It is dark time for the couple because Lena is to be claimed on her 16th birthday, her true nature will decide if she becomes a Light or Dark Caster.

Well, I really wished every marketing team would stop comparing each new novel-to-movie adaptation as the new Twilight because it is getting old.

I enjoyed this movie though I’m not a particular fan of witches/Casters/people who use spells. What makes this enduring is the chemistry between the leads and how Alden Ehrenreich actually makes you believe every word he says even though he is a mere mortal sucked into a world of Casters. Emmy Rossum is deliciously evil as Dark Caster/cousin Ridley Duchannes and her costumes are really va-va-vooom!

Ethan Wate: No! I’m sick of listening to your family. I have been chased, spun, hypnotized, paralyzed, and damn near killed by your family. I have been going out of my mind for the past two weeks, then your mother shows up on my door step and damn near gives me a heart attack but you know what I don’t care about them, about the curse, you are not going dark and you are not losing me! No matter what they do, no matter what they do to me, I’m still here.

FULL CANDY CIRCLE

HGWitchHuntersHANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS (2013)
3 and a half out of 5 stars

The fairy tale takes a darker twist here as Hansel and Gretel become witch hunters! Yup, they are no longer witch baits but bait witches in order to kill them. They are hired to look into the case of missing children and end up finding out more about their past.

Wow, H&G is much more violent and explicit than the trailer depicts but maybe that’s because I’ve never seen the red band trailer. The blood and gore really splatters in all sorts of glorious manner. Their weapons are really cool – I like Gretel’s double-pointed crossbow! The details of the story ties up and it kind of explains why Hansel and Gretel ended up at the candy hut. But the witches looks really scary – I don’t understand why their faces have to be all white with scary eyes.

Hansel: Whatever you do, don’t eat the fuckin’ candy.