Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Transformers: Dark of the Moon [ Movie Review ] ★★1/2

In a strange revelation of sort, Michael Bay and Shia LaBeouf had actually publicly acknowledged that the second installment of the Transformers movie series was bad and they promised that the third one will be an improvement. Some suspect that it's just a scam to lure movie goers into trusting Michael Bay and company while there were early "reports" buzzing that the third installment was really an improvement. But Michael Bay is Michael Bay, can he really change his methodology to give us a Transformers movie that will finally do justice for the robot toys?

Transformers Dark of the Moon turned out to be much better than the first two movies but that doesn't necessary mean that it's a good movie. 

It's still plagued the same problem with Michael Bay trademarks (or Bayhem).  Convoluted plot, plot holes, quick fix solution, low brow juvenile humour and his love for military action were just some of the things that went wrong for Transformers Dark of the Moon.

The problem is further compounded by the fact that the actors were tasked to act with subpar characterization material. The Autobots and Decepticons were so poorly characterized that hardly anyone cares when they died. Last but not least, Shia LaBeouf's attempt at acting was simply annoying and whinny.

Wingsuit Basejumps
But then again, there are stuffs that I enjoyed in this loud barrage of noise, visual and bad acting. First and foremost, the action sequences are much clearer now. Michael Bay had finally fine tune to the right amount of slow-mo and clarity to allow viewers (like me) to get a better understanding of what actually happening in the gigantic robots bawl. It also included impressive action sequences such as wingsuit basejumpers gliding through collapsed skyscrapers.

Underneath the loud mess, I also saw potential with the plot of Dark of the Moon. It felt as though they gave a new spin to all that had been established in the first two movies.  It's not exactly done with finesse but it showed that it's plausible to craft a real Transformers movie out of Michael Bay's pseudo Transformers movie. The whole turn of the tide for the defeated Deceptions and betrayal among the ranks of the Autobots were some stuff that I love to see explored for a Transformers movie. But of course what little that's good in this movie had to wrestle with Bayhem inclusion of the gung ho military participation and a peekaboo at Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's short mini skirt while she is coming out from a sports car.

Badass Optimus Punisher Prime Kills with No Mercy
Last but not least, the reason why I was entertained in a pretty dumb and long movie would be that it's the darkest installment of the series. It's so violent that the movie is filled with decapitation and limbs flying all over. Optimus Punisher Prime and the other Autobots aren't shy to shoot their arch rivals in the head anymore. On one hand, the violence were stylishly portrayal, on the other, it wasn't very Autobots like. It seemed like Optimus Punisher Prime is strangely missing a sense of code of honor and suddenly capable of throwing tantrums that felt very unlikely of a respected leader. It's not the Optimus Punisher Prime that I grew up with but Michael Bay's Transformers hadn't been anything like the Transformers that I am familiar with so I am going to let it slide and simply enjoy the style over substance on this. 
The funny thing is that watching this movie is like going to a loud flashy party filled with pretty things to see and getting drunk. It felt kinda fun at that moment but the morning after, I woke up with a hangover and little recollection of what was good or make sense. The more I think about it, the more I hated it but I can't shake away the fact that I remembered clearly that I enjoyed watching it. 

Beyond the Movie

If you ever try to figure out how did the events that occurred in the three Bayhem Transformers movies could be piece together in a coherent way, check out this forum post at Hardwarezone.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Treasure Inn | 財神客棧 [ Movie Review] ★★★

Short Takes

Director Wong Jing is back with another China production. Thankfully Treasure Inn was much better than his last theatrical movie Future X-Cops. Even though it's still catered to the China market (i.e blatant  usage of China actors and some obvious hold back in crude humour), Treasure Inn is a film that easy to sit through.

Treasure Inn follows two low ranking constables who were investigating massacre at the city's richest man. Following the trail of the stolen life size white jade of the "Goddess of Mercy", they encountered a pair of twin sisters known as the "Reward Money Hunters". Pooling their resources together for the reward money for recovering the white jade, they head towards the infamous Treasure Inn where all the precious stolen goods get auction there. 

The spoofs on Tsui Hark's upcoming 3D The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate (or the 90s version of New Dragon Gate Inn) and Stephen Chow's Kungfu Hustle were pretty obvious. Although these spoofs were not very inventive, they were still entertaining to spot. These spoofs and the comedic elements in this was a mixed bag. Some where laugh out funny and some just totally missed the spot.

Nicholas Tse who is currently dodging the media for the latest news on his marriage breakup was pretty effective as a eye candy. Compare to his recent movies, there nothing here to stretch his acting range and to some, that's a good thing. Bland but pleasant.

Likewise for Charlene Choi as the irritating Water Dragon Girl who is smitten by Nicholas Tse's character and is constantly worried that he would abandon her for the lady owner of the Treasure Inn. I wonder how long can she keep up in such fluffy flower vase roles.

Nick Cheung stole the show with funny one liners and comedic showmanship. He hasn't been this funny for a long time. Partly due to his choice in making serious movie these recent years. Or perhaps it's the partnership with  Wong Jing that Nick Cheung was so funny in this one. If their collaboration could result in such consistent standard, Nick Cheung should forget the dramatic roles that gives him film awards nomination and crave out a career that cement on comedy. 

Bottom line for Treasure Inn is that while it's not that good that you have to shell out movie ticket money to catch it in the cinema, it's won't be that bad if you did it anyway.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Beaver [ Movie Review ] ★★★1/2

The Pitch

These days, Mel Gibson has been surrounded by controversy that cause his career and popularity to plummeted into a free fall.  There's the DUI anti-semitism remarks and the ex girlfriend's domestic violence-related restraining order to name a few. He had been dropped by his agency and it would appeared that his career might be over.

Then comes Jodie Foster and this movie project about a depressed man who takes on a new persona through a beaver hand puppet. Perhaps its a way of helping her good friend out of a slum but the subject matter in The Beaver seemed like the right fix for Mel Gibson to exorcise his demons.

Putting Mel Gibson's problems aside, let's not forget that both Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster had made good movies as actors and directors before. Personally that an added incentive to see what their second collaboration* could churn out. (* their first being the enjoyable movie adaption of the western TV series, Mavericks)

The Plot

The Beaver follows the life of depressed toy executive Walter Black (Mel Gibson) who, after being kicked out by his wife, takes on a new persona in which he communicates through a beaver hand puppet. His wife ( Jodie Foster) and son (Anton Yelchin) are skeptical, but try to accept Walter as a favor to their younger son, who loves the beaver.

The Perspective

The Beaver felt like it's holding a mirror to what had transpired in Mel Gibson's downward spiral in recent years. His bout with depression and how he was perceived when he spoke of things without self censorship. At times, it felt like a raw confession done with a comedic touch that seeks the audience's understanding of what Mel Gibson went through.

Performance wise, Mel Gibson is a pretty good puppeteer. The way he switch accent and how he brought the beaver to life was impressive. There are a couple of time that it's hard to focus on both the actor and his puppet when "they" were delivering one heck of a performance.

The Beaver might not be everyone's cup of tea. It's good but it's really a depressing subject. Not exactly a movie that entertain the causal movie goers. It was also a box office flop in the USA and it make one wonder if the general public are still unwilling to forgive Mel Gibson for all the controversy that he had stirred up or they just didn't like the theme of this movie. Personally I suspect that it might be a mixture of both. But if one could look beyond the controversy surrounding Mel Gibson or even use it as a sort of enhancement in viewing The Beaver, it's an entertaining way to approach such a serious condition.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wasao | わさお [ Movie Review ] ★★

The Pitch

There's enough Japanese movies about dogs to identify it as a genre. From Hachikō to the recent Kinako: Police Dog Dream, it seemed that the Japanese hasn't run out of ideas in making a dog movie and the audience are still lapping it up. this review belongs to filmsblitz at blogspot

This time round, the focus is on a white Akita who became famous after a traveler's blog about him. Apparently Wasao (which apparently means furry in Japanese) was abandon as a puppy and he traveled on his own for a while. At the coastal town of Ajigasawa in Aomori Prefecture, he was rescued and  raised by the female owner of a grilled squid cafe. The blog post of this "cute & ugly dog" went viral and soon Wasao became the most famous Akita in Japan.

This Busa - Kawaii (Ugly - Cute) canine eventually became a World Heritage special ambassador and now there's a movie about him. I guess it's true that every dog has his day and now the review for Wasao the feature length movie. this review belongs to filmsblitz at blogspot

The Plot

In the peaceful town of Ajigasawa, the locals witness an unidentified animal, which some claim looked like a lion, whilst others describe its look as more like a bear. It was eating Farm crops and many raised concerns for their children’s safety. This led to a plan for a hunter to terminate it. 

Waiting for Something to happen
With much effort, Setsuko finally got the dog to start eating a little of what she offers him. However, the dog’s temperament puzzles her, he hardly lets anyone near him, and comes and goes as he please. But yet he always seems to cheer up the elderly and the junior high school students who are hard at training for a triathlon tournament. The dog also shows concern for the old dog that Setsuko had taken under her wing. Setsuko realizes that the Akita Inu dog that appeared before her, looked like a lion, and that worried her. She was afraid that it might get mistaken as the bear that’s ruining the farm crops and get shot.

Setsuko extends her love and care to every living thing, and Akira who loves dogs, but is unable to open up as a puppy had led to his mother’s hospitalization, as a result of an accident. 

(Plot Outline taken from Wasao Facebook Page)

The Perspective

After watching this movie, my hunch is that Wasao didn't charmed the Japanese with his dog tale. It was likely that he gained popularity simply because of his ugly cute appearance. Likewise for the movie, there's plenty of close up on the adorable furry creature and scenic shot of Ajigasawa but when it comes to crafting a dog movie out of Wasao's journey, there's not much substance there.

This movie is filled with non essential people and subplots that had nothing to do with Wasao's story. A farmer taking part in the triathlon event so that he could get married, a school girl organizing  her classmate to perform at the Nebutsu Festival while having a crush on her teacher and many more of such subplots that had nothing to do with the dog. These supporting characters and subplots just drag on and on till it felt like the movie title should be changed to The Town Folks of Ajigasawa and Wasao. It's hard to understand why don't they trim away the unnecessary characters and focus on Wasao's struggle instead. this review belongs to filmsblitz at blogspot

I am going to bite your neck off ... you ungrateful owner!
Even when it comes to the characters and plots that actually mattered to Wasao, it didn't do such a great job in establishing a connection with the audience. Akira the sympathetic boy who "abandon" Wasao was rather annoying.  Even though he is young and understandably worried for his mom, but the picture didn't really gave us a reason that this character deserved Wasao's love and dedication. Likewise for the bonding between Wasao and it's eventual owner, it could have branch out more than what was shown in this movie. this review belongs to filmsblitz at blogspot

Last but not least, the predictable finale where the boy, the bear and the dog finally met for the standoff. There's no need to do a research on it to know that it's made up for the movie. It's so far fetch and unbelievable that it became a joke to the heroic finale that the movie had been trying to build up. It just eye rolling bad to see who came out unscratched in this bear versus dog fight. this review belongs to filmsblitz at blogspot

What is so special about this Akita dog? I really can't tell from this movie. Beside looking adorable and huggable, there's nothing unique or extraordinary about his exploits. It might appear that the filmmaker knew about that fact and tried to cover it up with focusing on other unimportant characters and subplots. Resulting in a long deary affair seemed to have forgotten about the protagonist.

As a dog movie, it pale to comparison with Hachikō and was actually weaker than Kinako: Police Dog Dream (which is actually quite a weak dog movie).

Not Recommended.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Green Lantern [ Movie Review ] ★★1/2

The Pitch

After Marvel showed everyone how Comic book movies could be successful with their second tier characters (Iron Man) and the potential superheroes team up movie that they could do with them, DC comics finally have the balls to make a big budget movie of their other characters beside Batman and Superman.

That's right! beside Batman and Superman, there are other famous superheroes (Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman & Green Lantern) in the DC Comics that are waiting for their big screen adaption. Together, they form the Justice League of America, a superhero team that is similar to Marvel's Avengers which will be coming mid next year. this review belongs to filmsblitz at blogspot

To test if the audience these days are ready to embrace other DC Comics superheros (beside the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel), they are going with Green Lantern, a superhero who possess a power ring that allows the user to control enormous power with their willpower.

The Green Lantern power would create the opportunity to razzle dazzle the viewers with special effects. A potential incentive to draw in viewers who are new to the Green Lantern universe. Character wise, they chose Hal Jordan, the most popular Green Lantern in DC Comics history to carry the story forward and they hired Ryan Reynolds (X-Men Origins: Wolverine's Deadpool) as Hal Jordan, with Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) directing. this review belongs to filmsblitz at blogspot

The first trailer was goofy and caused a split in reaction to this movie. Some like it while others just didn't think it was a faithful representation of Hal Jordan. The subsequent trailers tone down Ryan Reynolds clowning around and focus on the action and special effects. Personally it was an improvement but while small adjustments can be done for trailers, would it be possible to remove the unlikeable content for the whole movie without affecting the story telling?

The Plot

In a universe as vast as it is mysterious, a small but powerful force has existed for centuries. Protectors of peace and justice, they are called the Green Lantern Corps. A brotherhood of warriors sworn to keep intergalactic order, each Green Lantern wears a ring that grants him superpowers.

But when a new enemy called Parallax threatens to destroy the balance of power in the Universe, their fate and the fate of Earth lie in the hands of their newest recruit, the first human ever selected: Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds).

Hal is a gifted and cocky test pilot, but the Green Lanterns have little respect for humans, who have never harnessed the infinite powers of the ring before. But Hal is clearly the missing piece to the puzzle, and along with his determination and willpower, he has one thing no member of the Corps has ever had: humanity.

With the encouragement of fellow pilot and childhood sweetheart Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), if Hal can quickly master his new powers and find the courage to overcome his fears, he may prove to be not only the key to defeating Parallax...he will become the greatest Green Lantern of all.

(Plot taken from Green Lantern Facebook Page)

The Perspective

After going through three comic book movies (X-Men First Class and Thor) this summer blockbuster period, Green Lantern is the weakest inclusion. It suffered the same problem that plagued the other two comics superhero movies and that's trying to cover too much ground for an origin movie. It felt like a crash course on Green Lantern and it sort of alienate the newbies. The problem in this area was due to movie trying to pander to the non fans while catering to what the fans would want to see. I suspect that the end result here would not please both sides at all. this review belongs to filmsblitz at blogspot

Ryan Reynolds rendition of Hal Jordan felt like a weak attempt to replicate Robert Downey Jr's success with Tony Stark / Iron Man. There something about how Ryan Reynolds approached comic characters that don't really sit well with me. He has that limited range when he is taking on comic book character that I find it hard to distinguish his Hal Jordan from his Deadpool (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and Hannibal King (Blade: Trinity). It required more to be able to relate to a character that constantly switching between a charming playboy and a insecure superhero and personally, I felt that he didn't managed to pull it off.

It's also crucial to build the villain up when one attempts to build the hero up. We get two in this movie and both of them felt so disposable. Parallax, one of the greatest super villain in Green Lantern mythology gets a proper setup when it showcase how the combine might of several Green Lanterns couldn't even get a scratch on it. Guess which rookie Green Lantern came around at the end to go one on one with Parallax? I won't spoil the ending here but let's just say it's one ending that hard to swallow. this review belongs to filmsblitz at blogspot

The other villain, Dr Hector Hammond was setup to show a parallel villainous journey as compared to the green hero of the day. The characterization felt paper thin and rushed to keep up with the pace and numerous elements of the movie. At the end of the movie, it makes one wonder what the point of setting up this character when he hardly amount to anything at all. Was it even necessary to have another villain at hand when there's already one as super as the Parallax?

It's not the worst comic book movie but it certainly won't make me go out and grab a Green Lantern comic to read. It tried to cover too much ground and the star actor lacks the x factor to carry this whole bulk of the movie on his shoulder. I really wished that the next comic book movie would just keep it simple and remove all the unnecessary bits while focusing what the main thing that make the hero tick.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

ScreenSingapore Closing Red Carpet Gala Premiere

and just like that, the inaugural ScreenSingapore comes to an end. To celebrate the end of the week long event, ScreenSingapore held the Closing Red Carpet Gala Premiere of Larry Crowne.  Check out the stars that graced this prestigious event.

Tom Hanks (Director & Actor of Larry Crowne) (Photo Credit DayLife.com)
Zhang Ziyi and Lee Byung-Hun gracing the event (Photo Credit DayLife.com)
Vanness Wu gracing the event (Photo Credit DayLife.com)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ladda Land | ลัดดาแลนด์ [ Motion Poster ]

Golden Village Pictures just posted a set of Ladda Land posters. The eeriness of the ghostly character approaching the viewer seemed like a great idea for a motion poster. So here you go, a "motion" poster for Ladda Land.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Bollywood: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told [ Documentary Review ] ★★1/2

For ScreenSingapore's Bollywood night, Bollywood: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told is the sole feature that getting the Red Carpet Gala Premiere treatment. Producer Shekhar Kapur (शेखर कपूर) who directed Elizabeth and The Four Feathers was in attendance to present this documentary to the audience. 

He spoke of who he became accidentally involved in this documentary and what this piece of work meant to him. He became intrigued with the aspect that for every negative stereotypes about Bollywood movies, it's being counterbalance by the energy that still moves billions of Indian viewers today. Bollywood movies are still reaching out to Indians who left India years ago and those third generations of Indians who lived aboard are still addicted to it. With that in mind, he set off with Rakeysh Mehra and Jeff Zimbalist to try and define this unique Bollywood love affair.

Personally, Bollywood: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told is hardly a documentary. It's more of a string of musical video snippets that been extracted out from selected Bollywood movies to form a musical montage that lasted 81 mins.

Even for someone who is totally new to the Bollywood movies, these montages were a clear representation of the charms of Bollywood movies. The cinematography were breath taking with vibrant colors and excellent choices of picturesque scenery. The artists from this generation and decades before have a common trait and that's the charismatic x factors to light up the big screens. The dance choreography and music are well designed to reel in the viewers time after time.

On the flip side, even after experiencing 81 minutes of the best that Bollywood movies have to offer, I don't think I came any closer to understanding the charms of Bollywood movies or understood why the intended audience love them so much.

It's a documentary that is lacking a narrator to explain the videos that were chosen and what they are supposed to represent. It sporadically splice in interviews with Bollywood filmmakers and actors that showcase why they love Bollywood movies and what those movies meant to them. It just felt like it's superficially scraping the various well known elements of Bollywood movies and it never really goes any deeper than that. Or is that all there's to it?

In a way, I could understand what the documentary makers were trying to do when they chose to minimize explicit explanation. It's like a hybrid documentary that provides an experience of what is Bollywood movie all about, without trying to explain too much about it. But it ended up a little too vague and it felt like a video montage that put together without any narrative flow. It could be a tiring experience but with the right frame of mind and patience, this can also be a rewarding experience.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Super 8 [ Movie Review ] ★★★1/2

The Pitch

When Super 8 teaser trailer was released, it felt like it's going to be a Cloverfield-ish type of film. In the usual secretive J.J. Abrams way of keeping the fans interested, there was not much information on it. What is Super 8 all about? Are there going to be eight super powered individuals that escape from the train crash or will eight superheroes rising from that incident.

Then when the next trailer came about, it was revealed that it was going to be like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Goonies meets Cloverfield type of film. A bunch of kids making movies with Super 8 mm film camera when they witness a horrifying train accident. It's notable that this is a collaboration between J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot Production and Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment. Yup the same folks that gave us Cloverfield and E.T.. Expectation for this movie had been turned up a few notches.

But personally, what attracted me to Super 8 would be the aspect of kids making homemade movies. Movies like Son of Rambow and Be Kind Rewind that are focus on amateurish movie making have always touch my heart. I am interested to see how this mixture of genre would turn out. This review belongs to filmsblitz at blogspot

Super 8 also marks one of the two movies shown in ScreenSingapore Hollywood Nights Red Carpet Gala Premiere.

The Plot

In 1979 the United States Air Force shuts down a portion of Area 51 and ships the material stored at the decommissioned site by rail to an undisclosed but secure location in Ohio. In the fictional town of Lillian, Ohio, a group of teenagers are making a movie with a Super 8 mm film camera when they witness a train crash. They suspect it was not an accident. There are disappearances and unexplained events around town, and the local deputy investigates the cause of the events leading to the discovery of something nobody expects.

(Synopsis taken from Wikipedia)

The Perspective

Super 8 is an enjoyable flick that invokes all the memories of old school children adventures with a dash of modern day CGI monsters. The pace of the movie was good and the turn of events were interesting enough to keep me glued to the screen. The young cast were impressive and specially Elle Fanning that charms the socks out of me.

For the look of this movie, J.J. Abrams used a mixture of lens flare and grainy film stock. The combination didn't really complement each other and it became competing distraction instead. The lens flare that J.J. Abrams utilized to give Star Trek the movie it's special look is starting to wear out it's novelty and welcome in Super 8. However the grainy feel of the movie was a nice nod to the olden days of film making. This review belongs to filmsblitz at blogspot

What I didn't like about Super 8 would be how it ended. It felt rather too convenient and simplified after the elaborate setup and multiple subplots. It lacks a certain satisfaction of seeing how the various elements (such as the Super 8mm film project, the alien dilemma and Romeo and Juliet love angle) were being tied together. The fruition of all these elements felt too easy and hastily done. It was a great journey but let's just say the destination was a bit of letdown. This review belongs to filmsblitz at blogspot


Don't rush out of the cinema once the movie is over. There a special treat during the credits that made for those who wondered what happened to their film project. One of the highlights of the movie, specially when they pay homage to the maestro of zombie movies. This review belongs to filmsblitz at blogspot

Monday, June 6, 2011

ScreenSingapore Red Carpet Gala Premiere of May’n The Movie Phonic Nation

May'N (or May Nakabayashi | 中林 芽依) attended the Red Carpet Gala Premiere of her latest 3D concert documentary "May’n The Movie Phonic Nation"

Before heading up for the 3D concert documentary, she performed 2 songs for her fans. Here the video of her performance. Enjoy

Sunday, June 5, 2011

ScreenSingapore In Conversation with Jon Landau and Yu Dong

Defining a Business Case for 3-D Film in Asia
Left to Right: Moderator, John Landau and Yu Dong
John Landau and Yu Dong were in town to kick start the In Conversation series for ScreenSingapore. The discussion for this morning would be on the prospect for 3-D Films in Asia. John Landau is renown for his collaboration with James Cameron in making Avatar and Titanic and needless to say, Avatar had already set the bar for the new phase of 3-D movies. Yu Dong on the other hand, is currently producing Tsui Hark's Flying Swords of Dragon Inn which is going to be the first Asian Wuxia film in 3-D.

Here are Some of the Key Points that John Landau and Yu Dong had pointed in this Discussion
  • John Landau felt that 3D is the natural progression for movies. Like how sound replaced silent films and how colour replaced black and white movies, 3D will be the new standard in watching movies and would replace all 2D movies in a natural progression.
  • John Landau mentioned that the next two Avatar movies will be shot at a higher frame rate. He also pointed out that it's important to "control" where the viewers are focusing while watching 3D movies. While Yu Dong felt that not all movies (such as romance) require to be filmed in 3D, John Landau disagreed by saying that 3D could help with the immersion experience.
  • Yu Dong felt that in Asia, beside making 3D action movies, the Asian region is rich with Classic folktales that would benefit from 3D. He also pointed out that there will be a Journey to the West / Monkey King 3D movie coming out next year.
  • Yu Dong had pointed out that in recent years, there's been an explosion of multiplex in China and the biggest auditoriums are fitted for 3D movies. Initially, they were considering whether to film Flying Swords of Dragon Inn in 3D or not but eventually, they realized that in order to protect their market share, they had to film the movie in 3D so that they could have it screen in the largest hall.
  • Yu Dong also pointed out that in China, they have all the latest equipments but lacks qualified personals to operate them. They would have to continue to work closely with the American counterpart in developing the right 3D movies. John Landau extended an invitation to Yu Dong to visit his studio / workshop in USA so that they could further exchange ideas on 3D movie making.

ScreenSingapore Opening Red Carpet Gala Premiere

It's finally here, the inaugural ScreenSingapore commence it's week long movie business trade fair with the Opening Red Carpet Gala Premiere and World Premiere of The Devil Inside Me. Here's a look at the stars that graced the event.

 Zhang Ziyi the event ambassador for ScreenSingapore 2011 gracing the Opening Red Carpet Gala Premiere (Photo Credit DayLife.com)

 Zhang Qi, Director of The Devil Inside Me (Photo Credit DayLife.com)

 Zhang Qi and Anya, Director and Actress for The Devil Inside Me (Photo Credit : DayLife.com)

Xie Nan, Liu Tan, Yan Ni and Gordon Chan presenting the trailer for The Mural at the ScreenSingapore (Photo Credit: DayLife.com)

Colin Chou here to present The Mural Trailer (Photo Credit: DayLife.com)

Launch and signing of The Blue Mansion at Kinokinuya

Glen Goei and Tan Kheng Hua were at at Kinokuniya (Ngee Ann City) this afternoon for the official launch of The Blue Mansion DVD.

They talked about Glen Goei's movies and the process of making them.

Stefan S of ANutShellReview video the whole session. Click on the Video to view whole discussion

(Part 1, the rest will be coming soon)

Then it's the autograph session!

Blue Mansion signed by Glen Goei

Blue Mansion signed by Tan Kheng Hua

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

X-Men: First Class [ Movie Review ] ★★★1/2

The Pitch

After the first trilogy of X-Men movies, 20th Century Fox decided to continue the franchise with prequels. The first one put Wolverine in the front seat and the other one will focus on the relationship between the Professor X and Magneto during their formative years.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine wasn't critically well received and personally, it was the worst installment of the X-Men movies. Could the early adventures of Professor X and Magneto turn things around for the franchise?

And can they do it without the wildly popular Wolverine? Not forgetting that it's set during Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s. Might not exactly be the cup of tea for movie goers these days.

It seemed like a tall order for Matthew Vaughn (who had notably left the directing duties for the third X-Men movie), James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Kevin Bacon and the rest of the cast. But when the trailer for X-Men: First Class hits the internet, it felt like they have gotten it right.

The care and attention that were spend on establishing the characters and their power felt like a lovely homage to their comics roots (even though it wasn't exactly what happened to the first X-Men in the comics history). James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender slipped on the roles of Professor X and Magneto nicely. Their friendship and conflicts look tense and ready to rip at any moment. Last but not least, the 1960s setting gave the movie a great aesthetic feel and weaving the Cuban Missile Crisis into the X-Men mythology was a intriguing move. movie review belongs to filmsblitz at blogspot

My expectation is riding high on this one and I hope it won't be a letdown after watching this movie.

The Plot

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS unveils the epic beginning of the X-Men saga – and a secret history of the Cold War and our world at the brink of nuclear Armageddon. As the first class discovers, harnesses, and comes to terms with their formidable powers, alliances are formed that will shape the eternal war between the heroes and villains of the X-Men universe.

Plot Outline from X-Men Movies Facebook Page.

The Perspective

Let's put it this way. X-Men: First Class definitely has it's great moments that the trailer had promised and added plenty insightful elements to the X-Men movie mytho. But it felt like the movie was covering too much ground within the 2hrs odd time frame (same problem as the Wolverine movie) and it had difficulties gelling the various well constructed moments of the movie together.

The movie started well in comparing and contrasting the childhood of Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr. It did well to point out the roots of their eventual stance as Professor X and Magneto. Erik Lensherr's sad childhood created a sort if sympathy and understanding for his future villainous decision. It's a pity that the movie didn't flesh out more characterization from their past and rushed to create a chance meet up between these two.

The rush job on the story telling was also felt on how Charles Xavier's first class of mutants was formed and how the Cuban Missile Crisis was worked into this movie. The flow here felt rather uneven. The whole idea of forming and training the mutants felt like an afterthought made after discovering the main plot crisis. movie review belongs to filmsblitz at blogspot

I really like to embrace this movie but while I love parts of it, it didn't add up for me. The pacing and story flow of X-Men First Class just didn't work for me. If there's any way to remake this movie, I would wish that the focus would be more on the relationship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr and removed the entire supporting mutant cast. It was one element too many. It's still an essential part of the X-Men movie franchise but it felt like it didn't fully achieve it's potential. It might get better when I rewatch it on Dvd but that's another review all together.