Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Review: Source Code

Source Code is the kind of brainy science fiction movie that is best enjoyed while knowing as little as possible about the movie. Directed by Duncan Jones, who did another good sci-fi, Moon, Source Code is about a man who finds himself waking in a body of another man and reliving the man's last eight minutes of his life, over and over again. The plot involves finding out why this is all happening. If you have seen Groundhog Day, this movie is similar to that one, but with more explosions. Though that usually means the movie has been "dumbed down" for the masses who can't take anything more intellectually challenging than Transformers 3, thankfully it isn't. A good thriller with a fairly smart and emotional story, supported by a good cast of actors. I truly enjoyed this one. Recommended.

Format: DVD, anamorphic widescreen.
Source: Rental (Arts Brother, Jurong Point 1 Level 3)

Experience: Home, 47-inch LCD with home theatre surround system
Cost: FREE (a reward from Arts Brother's prepaid rental package)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I had no hope that this movie would work, until I saw the reviews, which were unexpectedly very positive. Like X-Men: First Class, Rise of the Planet of the Apes (ROTPOTA) is a 'prequel' to the 40-plus-year-old Planet of the Apes. Not a familiar movie to these parts of the world, but familiar with most Americans and considered a science fiction milestone by some. A prequel of a decades-old movie that lacks familiarity, ROTPOTA was destined to fail. Thus, it was a pleasant surprise to find a rousing (no pun intended), heartwarming tale of a genetically intelligent simian who would eventually become the catalyst to the events in the original movie. It's a simple story that relies a lot on performance and direction, and here all of it worked amazingly, even the ape CG. A little bit of Lassie, King Kong 2005, 28 Days Later, and The Great Escape (or Prison Break for you young fellas), the best big movie of 2011 so far. Really!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Review: Cowboys and Aliens

An OK Western science fiction hybrid from the director of Iron Man and Zathura, the best thing about it is having James Bond and Indiana Jones occupying the screen together. The title suggests a gimmicky, pandering-to-the-masses type of movie, but instead surprises with its serious tone and gritty, sweaty portrayal of the American Old West. This is one instance where a movie could have done with a little more humour and cheese. Nevertheless, the movie still manages to squeeze in cowboys, aliens, spaceships, ray guns, Paul Dano and Sam Rockwell. The story is also rather vanilla and straight. I would have preferred a "what if The Man With No Name fought aliens" movie where bounty hunters actually hunts aliens in the Old West. Cowboys and Aliens played it a bit too safe, I felt.
Violence: A bit too much blood and bludgeoning for the kids.
Sex: None, unless a brief shot of someone's buttocks counts.

Saw it at: Golden Village Jurong Point on a weekday
Cost: $8 for two tix, using GV's Buy 1 Get 1 Free member's birthday special