Thursday, May 31, 2012



We can’t beat them all, can’t we?

Somewhere along the fine line, HOLLYWOOD must have been facing a dearth of creative materials, as we are all at once swarmed with two big budget epics along the likes of SNOW WHITE – both screening barely a few months of each other.

The earlier one starring JULIA ROBERTS takes on a hilarious turn whilst the current offering starring CHARLIZE THERON rides along the treacherous path of a swashbuckling adventure.

As far as both features are concerned, the people behind them are great minds who must have thought alike.

This latest version offers insurmountable excitement but is steep in violence and gore. The story opens on King Magnus (Noah Huntley) rescuing and taking the beguiling Ravenna (Charlize Theron) as his new bride.

He is fatally stabbed during the act of marital coitus on their wedding night.

The wicked Ravenna usurps the throne and then banishes her step-daughter Snow White (Kristen Stewart) to rot in a derelict cell. When Snow White attains adulthood, she schemes her way out of the castle and flees into the wilds.

 Ravenna, however, is just not going to let things  be.

She hires a lonesome booze king called Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to scour the Dark Forest to capture her and bring her back as Ravenna needs to eat Snow White’s heart in order to retain her youth and maintain immortality. Will all these lead to a tragic ending?

Film director Rupert Sanders specializes in television commercials. This is his feature debut.

He does a commendable job and proudly leads us through a panoramic journey where we can fully apprehend the lush, larger-than-life mythos, the surrealism and spectacular imagery that seemingly reeks touches of Peter Jackson – as with emotive scenes showcasing the interaction of humans with soulful monsters and other weird beings.
Granted, the Director of Photographer did a brilliant job as the cinematography is breathtakingly beautiful. No expense has been spared to capture all of its spendor, but it is truly Charlize Theron’s acting vehicle as she renders here, one of her more significant screen perfomances. Without her, the pathos of aesthetics wouldn’t have been this profound. A petite Stewart adorning warrior garb leading a legion of soldiers to save her frailing empire lags far behind.

As an escapist film, “SNOW WHITE and the HUNTSMAN” is handsomely produced and is a cinematic gem to boot.

It’s certainly worth a see.

Monday, May 21, 2012

“MEN in BLACK 3″ (IMAX 3D) Movie Review. THEY are BACK IN TIME for the LONG HAUL.


They are back in grand style …. just in time for the long haul.

“MEN IN BLACK 3″ this action comedic caper directed by Barry Sonnenfeld is surely a fond case of vintage wine mellowing well.

A decade had lapsed over the last one.

Now we’re heralding the welcome return of part 3 with boisterous fanfare.

This time around, it’s bigger, gripping with more action ….  and funnier, happily basking in the splendor of the IMAX 3D.

For starters, get ready to be dazzled by the awesome visual effects that will blow your mind and ears aesthetically, where aliens and all kinds of idiotic creatures appear larger than life and snarlingly menacing over the Imax Screen to stun you.

It’s fun, fun, fun all the way.

Kudos to the animators and post effect specialists who painstakingly accomplished a great post production finish.

AGENT J (Will Smith) and AGENT K (Tommy Lee Jones) return once again to their respective roles as futuristic Federal Agents who are to maintain law and order and to keep the extra-terrestrial mischief makers at  bay.

At the film opens, the terrifying rogue BORIS the ANIMAL has escaped prison to wreak revenge on AGENT K who took away his freedom 40 years ago.

Using time travel technology, J transports himself back into the past, the year 1969 in a bid to save his partner from doom.

It is here that he teams with a 29 year old AGENT K (Josh Brolin playing the younger AGENT K).

There are thrills, spills, rollicking laughter notwithstanding heart-warming moments in this immensely enjoyable movie.

It’s worth waiting for, after all these years.

Roll on!

Monday, May 14, 2012

“DARK SHADOWS” Movie Review. HUSH, sweet Babe. You LIKE this one or NOT?


If you relish a dash of Gothic Art embroiled within a wacky retelling of a so-called 1970s tale of the macabre, DARK SHADOWS should fire your imagination.

This is the eighth collaboration of TIM BURTON, visionary director with Gothic offbeat sensibilities and JOHNNY DEPP, an actor known for his non-conforming aesthetic tastes – but it’s by no means their best effort.

But JOHNNY DEPP and TIM BURTON must have a certain kind of divine friendship where trust is concerned to be able to collaborate again …. and again.

This latest offering is a spoof about an arrogant playboy vampire who’s been buried alive for two centuries as a punishment for an unrequited love and his philandering ways.

BEHOLD a stunning parade of sweet damsels here (Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Grace Moretz, Helena Boham Carter, Bella Heathcote and Eva Green) who ignite the screen, hissing, snarling and fighting for every second of screen time each time any of them appears.

Now about the plot line:

Barnabas (Johnny Depp) is the master of Collinwood Manor. He is handsome, powerful and extremely sexual …until he makes the vital mistake of bedding and breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green).

 Angelique is a witch and dooms him to a fate worse than death by transforming him into a vampire, and then deliciously burying him alive.

Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his grave and emerges into the modern world of 1972.

He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate is no longer what it was.

The new members of the Collins family each harbors their own dark secrets.

Is the film any good?

Yes, if you don’t go on digging dirt for whatever it’s worth.

The characters are fabricated after the 1970s American gothic soap opera or what you’d call a camp classic.

It’s absolute gloom as each lead character puts forward his or her melodramatic performance.

The dialogue is spiced with mirth and wit in a bid to incite light hearted laughter to dispel the shadows of despair.

The cinematography is lavish, the visual effects are spectacular and the atmospheric interiors are darkishly desolate.

Enough said.

It’d be best you exercise objectivity if you wish to appreciate this movie.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

DIN TAO: Leader of The Parade 陣頭 MOVIE REVIEW. Brotherhood and Spiritual Bonding abound in this Heart-warming Tale.

DIN TAO: Leader of The Parade 陣頭 PRESS PREVIEW.

Sure, this feature bears an oddball name.

Furthermore it was shot on a modest budget of USD 1.3 million.

Yet it unexpectedly became a sleeper hit when it was released in TAIWAN during the Lunar New Year 2012 with a record-breaking box office take of more than USD 10 million, out-performing all local and foreign films during that period.

No mean feat as that status is still maintained.

Assuredly it’s a mighty film that undresses the Taiwanese art of the DIN TAO ritual in grand style.

DIN TAO is a significant street act in Taiwan to those who may not know.

It’s a glorious religious ritual performed to express the people’s belief and gratitude to Gods during religious festivals.

We are treated to an artistic eye-opener, focusing on the splendor of the DIN TAO art with a matching tale that will tug at your heartstrings.

Some soul – yes, with a lot of heart to boot.

DIN TAO the movie packs a beautiful formula that combines traditional practices of the DIN TAO art with modern elements within a heartwarming script.

And kudos to an all-star cast who succeeds in bringing forth the emotional depth that’s required in each of their roles.

It is television director FUNG KAI’s first foray onto the big screen and he deserves a resounding pat on the back for drumming us with this wondrous piece of cinematic gem.

There’s an air of poetic beauty throughout in the element if you care to dig.

Whilst FUNG KAI applauds that it may be acceptable to be young and disdainful, he also clearly demonstrates that respect for the elders and one’s family is an important factor.

Treasure this thing called filial piety, is his didactic reminder.

Let’s have a quick run-through of the plot line:

  Allen Ko (柯有倫) plays A-tai, a hot-tempered young man who aspires about becoming a rocker in the US. He quits school in Taipei and returns to his Taichung village to work-and-save, before following his heart’s desire.

            A-tai is often at loggerheads with his father, Uncle Da (A-hsi, 阿西), who runs a DIN TAO troupe, and they quarrel whenever their paths are crossed.

            But Uncle Da is in financial straits. While his company struggles to make ends meet, his long-standing rival Wu Cheng (Liao Chun, 廖峻) and his troupe meet with success and popularity.

            Irked by Wu’s arrogance, A-tai decides to lead the troupe’s demoralized members on a countrywide walk in search of inspiration to enhance the traditional folk art form.

Inspired by the true story of Taichung’s Chio-Tian Folk Drums & Arts Troupe, this movie glorifies the physical and emotional challenges a group of youth endures while engaging in the diminishing art of folk drums culture.

The troupe’s training regimen includes running six miles daily, hundreds of push-ups and sit-ups, hours of drumming, martial arts, meditation and studies on Taiwanese culture. In recent years, Chio-Tian has performed at national ceremonies and other public events.

This movie takes us on a rollercoaster ride spiced with thrills, spills, joys, sorrows and heartbreaks.

Spirituality and surrealism aside, one must realize that there’s always, a redemption factor in life where forgiveness heals all pains.

In closing, this Reviewer is highlighting a Dalai Lama quote to best describe the moral of this film:

“If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another.

If you wish to know that you are safe, cause another to know that they are safe.

If you wish to better understand seemingly incomprehensible things, help another to better understand.

If you wish to heal your own sadness or anger, seek to heal the sadness or anger of another.”

Nothing can be further from the truth, right?


ALAN KUO and CRYSTAL LIN chime together:

“It’s really BEYOND our wildest dreams that this FILM is a super-duper BOX OFFICE HIT.”


“EACH and EVERY of the entire CAST has an integral role to play in the SUCCESS of this Film.”

Television director FUNG KAI achieves stupendous SUCCESS in his first time foray onto the big screen with DIN TAO: LEADER of the PARADE.  He’s BEAMING all the way to the moon.

“I may look SWEET and DEMURE, but it is a new challenge to take on a BAD GIRL character as well ….”

“I play A-TAI who’s this ill-tempered and rebellious guy, and I am proud to be given this lead role in DIN TAO.”