ICEMAN POSTER iceman1iceman2 iceman3 iceman4

“THE ICE-MAN” 2014 (HONG KONG) MOVIE REVIEW

冰封俠: 重生之門

It is an overdue production that should have been wrapped up a year ago. Here are the reasons for the massive delay:

Filming commenced on 19th December 2012 in Hong Kong with an initial budget of HK $100 million.

Technical and location problems plagued the entire cast and crew.

Progress was further hampered when the Hong Kong government rejected the use of Tsing Ma Bridge as a principal location.

Thereupon a massive amount of  HK$ 50 million had to be spent to erect an imitation life-like set of the Tsing Ma Bridge.

Shooting shuttles between Hong Kong and Beijing. 

In the end, HK $200 million was spent in total, an incredible amount for any film.

It is apt to say that little known director Law Wing-Cheong helms this  martial arts fantasy re-make with an  enormous budget (starting from HK 100 million, but finishing at a whopping HK 200 million.)

Is the money well spent?

The plot is as silly as you can get. He Ying (Donnie Yen) and his sworn brothers Sao (Wang Baoqiang) and Niehu (Kang Yu) are accused of collaborating with the Japanese pirates in year 1621.

They flee for dear lives but end up being frozen in ice when an avalanche engulfs them for 400 years.

When they wake up from their deep “slumber” they find themselves roaming aimlessly along the streets in  modern-day Hong Kong. Suspend your disbelief, please.

While Sao and Niehu tries to track down their sworn brother He Ying, little does they know that He Ying has gotten accustomed to the depressive city life.

He also befriends a pretty nightclub hostess called May (Huang Shengyi) whose intention is to fleece him of whatever wealth he may seem to possess.

Meanwhile, corrupted Police Commissioner Cheung (Simon Yam) together with a more corrupted politician Tang (Lam Suet) are working hand-in-glove to recapture the three frozen Ming Dynasty warriors for the purpose of selling them to the North Koreans as human exhibits.

Practically everyone: the good,  bad and ugly are here, all also locating a powerful Indian device called “Golden Wheel of Time”, which has the ability to propel people through time

And we get this cat-and-mouse movie that could have been done a lot better.

What happened?

No thanks to a ridiculously patchy script, notwithstanding abrupt shifts in mood and tone that dampen the overall “feel” of the movie.

Bad-taste “shooting pees” are graphically shown, as with scenes showing Donnie Yen “breaking wind” to smashing the toilet bowl whilst he is taking a dump with poop spewing helter-skelter.

The star power of Yen (also the film’s action director) will definitely attract domestic and international audiences but “Ice Man” is an ancient-modern comedy that begs not to be taken seriously.

The first part is screening now, and the second conclusive part will hit the screen before end of the year.

Director Law Wing-Cheong, who often worked with Johnnie To as an associate director, is clearly out of his league when comes to handle such a colossal project as the sole director. 


As for Donnie Yen being the action director here, it’s surprising that much of his fight choreography lacks the finesse we often seen in his past efforts.

 The only notable action scene is the film finale, where Donnie Yen tackles his opponents at the Tsing Ma Bridge.

Hopefully part 2 will be better.

RATING: 2.5 out of 5

 

Posted by: koolcampus | April 18, 2014

“TOKAREV” (2014) MOVIE REVIEW. Vengeance is Sweet.

Tokarev Poster

His kidnapped daughter has been slain.

Watch a gamut of heart-rendering emotions here:

Sorrow, anguish, pain and hatred all rolled into one.

TOKAREV 1

TOKAREV 2

TOKAREV 3

TOKAREV 5

TOKAREV 4

“TOKAREV” (2014) PRESS REVIEW

When the Russian mob kidnaps the daughter of a reformed criminal lord (Nicholas Cage), he rallies two of  his most trusted cronies and indulges in his own brand of justice.

Then he received some bad news about his kidnapped daughter.

She’s been brutally slain.

Now he switches gear and goes on a rampant murderous streak with a heart full of hatred and rage.

Payback is foremost on his mind.

 Spanish-filmmaker Paco Cabezas directs this film.

Cage’s career has endured peaks and falls in recent years, like most other actors. Seasons come, seasons go.

Known as an action star akin to Liam Neeson, he has achieved accolades as well as brickbats.

So there!

Catch the still photos as well as the movie trailer provided here.

Study Cage’s facial expressions.

An expression tells a million tales. Be your own judge.

This would be enough to induce you to step into the cinema to watch this violent movie.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

 

the wind rises poster

WIND 1

WIND 2

yoko_out

WIND 5

WIND 3

WIND 6

WIND 9

WIND 8

WIND 7

WIND Extra

“THE WIND RISES”

JAPANESE ANIMATION MOVIE REVIEW

It’s mushy, this animation film, to be devoutly honest.

It makes you want to reach for your hankie to brush away a tear or two.

The flow is lilting, it touches your heart, and is oh-so-sublimal.

 “THE WIND RISES” is a huge departure project for ace Japanese animation guru HAYAO MIYAZAKI.

He is bidding us “sayonara”, chum. And we gonna miss his works.

 HAYAO  MIYAZAKI has dressed his swan song with fantastic surrealism as one would expect from him.

“THE WIND RISES” is in part, a historical extravaganza, set in the first half of the 20th century and based on the life and love of Japanese aircraft engineer JIRO HORIKOSHI.

 Let us run through the short synopsis:

 Jiro aspires to fly and design beautiful airplanes.

He is inspired by the famous Italian aeronautical designer Caproni.

But Jiro is shortsighted at a young age and therefore does not qualify to be a pilot.

Thereupon he joins a major Japanese engineering company in 1927 and grew to become one of the world’s most innovative airplane designers.

No, “THE WIND RISES”  is not about the harsh realities of war. It bears an indelible imprint of valentine to the creative spirit.

The lead character is Jiro Horikoshi (voiced by JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT), the airplane designer whose creations were employed during World War II ( including, ironically, those which attacked Pearl Harbor).

Yes, we are mindful of war hovering around the edges, but the primary focus is showing how this young man tackles his aviation aspirations, despite the myriad of odds stacked against him.

“Nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself” and “never say die in life “are valuable lessons we should learn from here.

The love of his sweetheart Nahoko (EMILY BLUNT) spurs him on. Love conquers everything.

As well as his imaginary conversations with the famous Italian aircraft designer Giovanni Caproni ( STANLEY TUCCI).

This film ushers in a boisterous surge of positivism among us.

It is one soaring big-hearted delight.

Rally your family and friends to watch “THE WIND RISES” if you can.

You won’t regret the decision.

Rating: 4 out of 5

11

22

33

44

DRAFT 4

DRAFT DAY

DRAFT 6

DRAFT 7

DRAFT 8

DRAFT 9

“DRAFT DAY” FILM REVIEW

“DRAFT DAY” is a lean and mean film and you have to hand it to KEVIN COSTNER for assembling both.

He’s the ideal hero.

You don’t need to be inundated with football fever knowledge to show the slightest ounce of  interest in American football, courtesy of the National Football League (NFL). Even if you exercise disdain at this sport,   end of the day you might be at the arena cheering.

 DRAFT DAY is all about Sonny Weaver, Jr. (played by KEVIN COSTNER), the fast thinking general manager of the Cleveland Browns who has only 10 hours left on his platter, to decide how he’s going to make the best choice out of the NFL draft.

This one is a sports thriller with corporate politics thrown in, piling atop the mayhem.

We are shown the wheeling and dealing that goes on behind the scenes, as teams and managers go about their tasks.

Everybody is being  cajoled into making hasty decisions by agents and the players they represent.

 Sonny is well aware that everything comes down to the choices he makes on this particular day.

He starts things off badly with a trade that earns them the first pick of the day, but at the expense of their first-round picks for the next three years.

Here’s a bit regarding the players:

There’s Bo Callahan (Josh Pence) a quarterback who has already been anointed as “the next big thing.”

Then there’s Brian Drew (Tom Welling), who is already the quarterback for the Browns, working his way back after an injury sidelined him.

There is Ray Jennings (Arian Foster) and Vontae Mack (Chadwick Boseman) two players who feel betrayed during early-round picks by the Browns.

More than anyone else, Sonny has to impress Anthony Molina (Frank Langella), owner of the Browns, because Molina has no real faith that Sonny is able to turn things around.

Even as Sonny struggles with his professional problems, he’s also got to grapple with his relationship with Ali (Jennifer Garner), the lawyer whose job it is to keep some control of the salary caps for the team.

It’s interesting to watch Sonny handling all the obstacles stacked in his way, throughout the movie.

  DRAFT DAY focuses entirely on the business of sports, as opposed to what transpires on the field.

Much ado about man sports stars?

Surely.

The film transports you into the back rooms of several franchises, exposing their motives from a strategic perspective.

The owners are akin to generals and they armed with their battle plans.

Go watch it, even if you are not a football fan.

There’s nothing like a true-blue challenge in life, right?

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

 

33

11 22

RIO 2 - 1

RIO 2 - 3

RIO 2 - 4

RIO 2 - 5

RIO 2 - 6

“RIO 2″ ANIMATION MOVIE REVIEW

Jungle life explodes, dazzling us with its grand style in “RIO 2″.

We gyrate to the rhythm of Bossa Nova and samba to the beat in this hilarious-happy family movie, where the lead cast from the original returns to entertain and enthrall us with festive music, songs and dances.

As a quick flip-through, BLU, JEWEL (our rare blue macaw birds) and their three mischievous kids are hurtled from city life, smack into the Amazon wilds, to face and tackle unexpected dangers of the most foul.

 Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway) and brood are happily settled in the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Our story begins when Blu’s former owner, Linda (Leslie Mann) and her husband, Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) make a startling discovery, that the rare species of the blue macaws are in reality, not really endangered after all.

The colony of blue macaws can be found deep in the Amazon wildiness.

The jungle-bred Jewel is homesick and when she learns about the discovery, she persuages Blu that the family should take off to the Amazon rain forests to join their kind.

This is where the fun … oops …  danger begins.

One of the principal dangers is to defend their habitat against illegal loggers, something which they are unprepared for.

 Beautiful animation, brilliant colors, lively songs and dances, all baked within a simple plot.

This bird brained sequel has star vocal performances from JESSE EISENBERG, ANNE HARTHAWAY,  BRUNO MARS right down to veterans ANDY GARCIA and RITA MORENO.

This one is worth a watch for its intrinsic entertainment value.

Rating:  3.5 out of 5

The Grand Budapest Hotel_1Sht

 

GRAND 2

GRAND 3

GRAND 5

GRAND 6

GRAND 7

GRAND 8

GRAND 9

GRAND 11

GRAND 12

“THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL”

PRESS REVIEW

In truth, anyone can get tickled pink whilst watching this film. It’s absolutely hilarious as it’s meant to be.

It swallows you into its “guffawing” process, from start to finish.

This Reviewer steers away from comedies because he is a sad person, but hey, this one really makes him roar. (very serious).

Granted, the packaging offered is deliberately done in old school style to render it a period setting.

But beat it, the jokes  and actions are timelessly funny. If  you are feeling blue at any time of the day, check into the cinema to enjoy this fun movie when it’s in town.

You’d not regret the decision.

“THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL” breezes us through the silly escapades of Gustave H, a classic goodlooking  concierge at a renowned European hotel between the wars.

His sidekick is Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy he trains to be his loyal friend.

The story focuses all  types of human dramas: the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting, and the battle for an enormous family fortune, all against the back-drop of a Continent that is geographically changing.

Director-writer WES ANDERSON dresses the movie in seamless style. He garnishes it with rich color tones,  symmetrical designs, nothing short of breathtaking.

It’s a goofy movie that induces genuine laughter. Hahaha!

Repeat, the lead actor M. Gustave (RALPH FIENNES) is a concierge at a legendary hotel perched atop a vantage mountain in a fictional European country before the outbreak of war.

He is in the process of training a lobby boy named Zero (TONY REVOLORI), who will soon become his closest pal and accomplice.

Gustave is a dandy who takes delight in catering to the whims and fancies of senior wealthy women who stay at the hotel. Whether this is done out of pure joy or gain, no clear reasons were specified.

When oldie dowager (TILDA SWINTON) who plays an old lady aged 100+) passes away, she bequeaths him with a priceless painting, but this act infuriates her arrogant son (ADRIEN BRODY).

What follows are cat-and-mouse chases throughout the movie, involving  murder, imprisonment and a whole lot more.

The list of notable veterans such as RALPH FIENNES, JUDE LAW, TONY REVOLORD, BILL MURRAY, EDWARD NORTON, SAOIRSE RONAN, ADRIEN BRODY and OWEN WILSON.

The film director WES ANDERSON takes a cue from the Charlie Chaplin comedies where the actions of his actors are animated in a high spirited and hilarious style.

He unashamedly adds a remarkable dash of surrealism transporting us through a world of aesthetic dreams where the rules of reality do not apply.

His visual treatment is like a welcome breath of fresh air.

Stay braced for a beautiful, colorful world.

In grand style.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

 

DARK ACTUAL POSTER SIZE

The POSTER warns: “SOME SECRETS ARE BEST LEFT UNEXPOSED.”

DARK 1

MURDEROUS INTENT? Come watch the MOVIE for the ANSWER.

DARK 2

SMELL a Rat?

Seems so, something is just not right.

DARK 3

An OUIJA Session to tempt FATE?

Don’t! You might usher in Unwelcome Spirits!

DARK 5

Someone’s knocking at the Door?

There shouldn’t be anyone at this unearthly hour!

DARK 4

DANGER on the High Seas?

Not if you hold on to me tight, dear.

DARK 6

CAN you SEE the SPIRIT SLURPING on YOUR SOUP? (quivers)

- a Yeo Joon Han film -

“IN THE DARK” (怨鬼) 2014 Malaysian Movie.

The PRESS REVIEW

 Treat “IN THE DARK” 怨鬼 ” as one big Pandora’s box, and you will be bestowed with surprises galore.

But hide it from the squirmish and faint-hearted.  Because, should you continue digging further, you may strike upon unnerving nuances.

Curiosity kills the cat, right.

So don’t be dismayed when upon unwrapping, you get more than what you bargain for, but beware ….. the findings can be brutal and demented.

“IN THE DARK” tells you about a doomed romance, the sudden demise of this clingy relationship leads to unsettling discord and mayhem.

The psychological reel nightmare faced by the actors  up on the giant screen can sort of creep into your skin as audience. You actually feel the goose pimples. Scream!

The Director intends to assail you with his power of scares to harness you on edge. And he rendered a smashing job at that.

 Painstakingly written and helmed by Yeo Joon Han whose previous  project was “Sell Out!”, he delivers  also, a spooky haunting score. His musical director Ken Hor ensures that, at every juncture of shock, he dispenses a scare “jolt”, to draw audience into the mood.

It’s a refreshing change to see Taiwanese pin-up boy Wang Po Chieh as the lead actor, emitting a powerful performance. He brings a raw energy, engaging and endearing.

 And Malaysian beauties Candy Lee and Jennifer Foh are up-and-coming Malaysian actresses who can give the regular television artistes a run for their money.

Everything is a refreshing change to boot. Thank goodness.

Beware! “IN THE DARK” is not crafted for the squeamish. What would you do when you harbor dark thoughts of cinematic nihilism?

This one is for those looking for a new kick in scares, be prepared for the headache you might get when you leave the theater.

Let’s run through the plot:

 Joseph (Wang Po Chieh) is one happy-go-lucky real estate agent, taking life in his stride. He has a reasonably successful sales career and has gotten a new love May (Jennifer Foh) in his life. Life’s looking great.

He is devastated when May is suddenly killed in a car accident.

Just before the accident, May has been seen squabbling with an unknown male passenger Wei Teck who survives the crash but slips into a coma.

Taking May’s joke seriously that she will return to haunt him if she dies one day, Joseph enlists the help of May’s best friend, Vivien (Candy Lee)

Both of them perform an Ouija board session hoping to find May

from the dead and talk to her.

However, instead of May appearing, a host of other strange spirits turn up to taunt him, including Wei Teck’s ghost.

Vivien, too, is threatened by demons of her own — ghosts from a dark past that she has been unwilling to confront.

Now, spirits are out to get both of them at every turn.

Joseph and Vivien have to unravel the mysteries that surround them – Why are they being pursued by Spirits?

What other horrors will be unleashed from the darkest recesses of the surroundings?

This film is about twisted revelations. Some secrets are best left unexposed.

If haunts and spooks are your cup of tea, brace yourself and step right in.

“IN THE DARK” is superb, powerfully haunting and affecting.

Right.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

divergent post

 

DIVERT 1

DIVERT 2

DIVERT 3

DIVERT 4

DIVERT 5

DIVERT 6

DIVERT 7

DIVERT 8

DIVERT 9

“DIVERGENT” (2014) PRESS REVIEW

An industry professional told me months ago not to miss the media screening of DIVERGENT, if there’s ever going to be one.

There was one eventually, and now you’d be asking me if it were any good.

For its entertainment value, I cannot fathom any complaints, to be devoutly honest.

The production is vivid, engaging and well worth seeing.

But if you enjoy digging dirt, you will be confounded with your own expert findings, but really, nothing serious.

DIVERGENT has SHAILENE WOODLEY together with THEO JAMES as a screen couple.

It has been reported that they are going to be groomed by Hollywood to be the next “best things” around. Charming.

They are competently supported by luminous veterans such as KATE WINSLET, ASHLEY JUDD and MAGGIE Q, among others.

DIVERGENT is an absorbing actioner set in a world where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues.

Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) is warned from the start that she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group.

Later she discovers a conspiracy by a faction leader (Kate Winslet) whose ulterior motive is to destroy all Divergents,

Tris then meets the hunk called Four (Theo James) and together they set to tackle the situation before it’s too late. Not before both of them grind and roar in sexual heat.

The plot is based on the popular book series by Veronica Roth.  The film director is Neil Burger.

In recent years, Dystopian young adult novels have garnered such explosive popularity among teenagers and young adults.

This genre demonstrates the bleakness of worlds with corrupt governments and complex characters.

Film studios are ready to “cash in” and adapt these novels  (Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant) onto the big screen.

The first movie in a trilogy, Divergent has already been positioned as the next Hunger Games. As indicated by the mood-and-tone.

The film is both riveting and provocative.

For those who love this genre of movie, it’s a must-see.

You’ll hold  your breath from start to finish.

RATING: 3.5 out of 5

horseplay poster

HORSEPLAY 1

HORSE 1

HORSE 2

HORSE 3

HORSE 4

“HORSEPLAY” 盜馬記 PRESS REVIEW

Here’s a mumbo-jumbo of the plot:

Ha Mui (KELLY CHEN) is a pretty TV host, trying to make good.

She is hot on the trail of a notorious thief and reliable sources direct her to London.

She sees the trip serving as the prologue to a fantastic scoop on relics smuggling ,and as a boost to impress her bosses.

And chances would have it, she comes face-to-face with the infamous thief who goes by the name of Nine-Tailed Fox (TONY LEUNG KA-FAI) during her investigations.

This foxy guy provides some comic relief, and outwardly he appears cheeky and playful.

Nay, not everything is what it seems.

Next, enter the bumbling nerd of a detective Cheung Ho (EKIN CHENG).

He arrives in London to “protect” the multi-million TANG DYNASTY POTTERY HORSE from being stolen.

And midway through it all, you’ll find he is more a hindrance than a help.

Everyone has his own hidden agenda.

We have a top-notch Hong Kong cast. Plus exciting locales such as London and Prague.

The plot of the movie may have been inspired by a TVB recent drama series TRIUMPH IN THE SKIES 2 which  give the wrong idea that pilots and cabin crew are always frolicking on the streets of London during stopovers.

Please take note that Hong Kong is an island with an overall population of  7 million, the commoners dwelling in cramped public housings.

Not everybody can afford to travel, so the substitute is in the form of a travel movie which shows you the splendor of exotic locales.

The three veteran actors here are baby boomers.

Try sorting them in a potpourri of sorts and transport them to LONDON and PRAGUE. And be prepared for a mayhem of comedic escapades.

Every thing seems so surreal, just like stepping off a fashion spread.

You’ll wonder at KELLY CHEN who’s wearing the same red color evening gown for most part of the movie.

You tell yourself that it it’s her royal sacrifice, pursuing the nine-tailed fox, she has no time to go back to change. Believe this,chum.

What writer-director LEE CHI NGAI Lee succeeds is swarming us with breathtaking panoramic views of London and Prague.

Script-wise however, is another matter where he relies an overload of slapstick gags.

It is silly to watch the alluring female assassin  (MANDY LIEU) trying to “finish off” the Nine-tailed Fox with a pen-like needle over and over again but fails in her attempts.

The squealing ERIC TSANG and the funny man WONG CHO-LAM are tag-along stars.

You hope that the riotous film ‘HORSEPLAY” ignites like a fire-cracker.

Well, almost, with your help.

 Cha-cha-cha anyone?

Or tango?

Rating: 2.5  out of 5

YEO JOON HAN 1

Film Director YEO JOON HAN

IN THE DARK POSTER

The “SURE-to-SCARE-the-SHIT out of You” movie tells you ANYTHING can HAPPEN in the DARK.

(Please note that this article is written as a literary tribute to director YEO JOON HAN).

I have met and worked with countless regional award-winning actors and movie directors during my decade long exposure within the film and entertainment industry.

Many of them are a boon-and-a boost. Of course, there are the usual creepy thorns, the trouble-makers.

Kaya is eaten best on toast, right?

But there’s one thing I’ll devoutly honor and respect: originality in storytelling (supreme) and post production (extremely important) and acknowledging the hard-working team who shared and helped with the project from on-start to the finished product.

Sadly, this is not the always the case.

It is gratifying to note the humility in a director on how he tackles his success or failure.

Because it is “REEL” stupid to think every film by an award-winning director can be a blockbuster. But nothing is impossible.

During my decade long working experience in the film industry, I came to know many top regional actors and directors (I am now in the mid of writing a book on the exceptionally nice , not forgetting the defatigable assholes in this industry).

I have seen talented people who soared high overnight, only to fall from grace by a mindless act of arrogance.

Truth always prevails. Memories are short and raw talents come knocking everyday and you can be easily forgotten. You are as good as your last song.

At the present moment, there are two film directors whom I’d love to collaborate with.

They are LEE THEAN JEEN (credits: HOMECOMING and EVERYBODY’s BUSINESS).

But it is THEAN JEEN’s English Television dramas, notably CODE OF LAW that catches my attention of which I stay hooked, raw garnishing and all.

As for YEO JOON HAN, his funny musical SELLOUT! a couple of years ago  was fantastic, and I can always  “feel” from the words he used on the written subject.

He exemplifies his creative input to a hilt.

Directorial treatment is of utmost importance.

By sheer coincidence both are Malaysians, so you see my point. Good wine needs no bush as indicated by the cash cow “THE JOURNEY” directed by Malaysian CHIU KENG GUAN which amassed RM 16 million at the box office.

There is little point in bragging, day in and day out, over and over again in all media.

Anyone can get tired of repetions. Right?

Back to my Article on YEO JOON HAN whose horror film called IN THE DARK is up in the cinema at this point of time.

From the scary trailer, you can judge that it is good. Once you have watched the movie, you form your own judgement.

Or wait for my REVIEW next week as I am now away.

SUPPORT, ok!

THIS is what Director YEO says in his own words:

“IN THE DARK” was originally meant to be a typical commercial horror movie.

But I wasn’t interested in stringing clichés together and passing the thing off as a movie.

I’ve always felt that if there’s nothing new about a project, it’s not worth doing.

But all that thinking about ghosts led to a very interesting question:

what if the ghost that’s haunting us is someone we loved dearly when s/he was alive? Would we be afraid of him/her/it?

If the answer is yes, then it begs the next question: why? These questions provided an in-point to writing a ghost story that I would actually be interested in.

Because it would be a ghost story about something I, and many people, I believe, care about:

why we love a person and can love last beyond the grave? And this is the crux of “IN THE DARK”.

 

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 544 other followers

%d bloggers like this: