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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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!


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.