Thursday, August 30, 2012

“SADAKO 3D” Movie Review. Flawed, but Entertaining nonetheless.


You don’t simply leave good things alone, can you?


The year was 1998 when Japanese director Nakata Hideo created a global wave of horror with his debut adaptation of Suzuki Koji’s best-seller called Ring.

 It was then a refreshing concept, original and terrifying, focusing on a cursed videotape that killed anyone who watched it.

All at  once it became an instant horror classic and threw the doors of Asian horror open to a receptive worldwide audience. Instilling cinematic chills is big time entertainment albeit a lucrative business.

 The Ring inspired remakes both in South Korea and the USA, as well as a prequel and two sequels of its own.


 14 years down the road, the Ring series is braced to spawn its fifth official entry, in the form of Sadako 3D, based on a new story entry from Suzuki.

This time, the plot revolves around a cursed Internet video, depicting the suicide of a young artist, which causes anyone who watches it to die a  horrific death, moments later.

Ayukawa Akane (Ishihara Satomi) teaches at an all-girl high school and when one of her students’ apparent suicide is attributed to the video, she begins her own investigation.

Shot in the third dimension, you watch hands reaching out of screens, insects hurling themselves at you, the shattering of glasses aroused by hyenic screams and locks of flowy hair creeping their way towards the audience.


 James Cameron has demonstrated via AVATAR that money can virtually buy any trick  in the special effects book.

But even then, the tap of creative ideas can sometimes runneth dry due to market saturation and fresh concepts “need to be drummed up” to induce new scares.

You do not go to watch a ghost movie to dig trenches, unearth flaws and find logic.

You go because you want to be entertained, to get “spooked” and everybody loves a good scare,now and then.

SADAKO 3D can be said to be atmospheric beautiful in execution with a desperate romanticism.

It is a creepy and intense thriller confronted with ghostly visions amd disturbing illusions that will send chills down your spine.

Appraise with an open mind and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Friday, August 24, 2012



The advertising slogan proudly expounds that our un-sunk heroes are” back for war and more.”

Jolly well so.

It’s making a bold statement that these middle-aged mercenaries still command our respect, their hormones are endlessly charging with kickass fury and where “die is a dirty word.”

These are vintage names we love, who are able to give any younger counterpart a run for his money.

Good wine certainly mellows well.

“THE EXPENDABLES 2″ comes with a delectable potpourri of vintage action stars of yester years who are being brought back again into the limelight of the war zone.

Baby boomers will remember these guys as fight superstars in their hey days:


All of these actors were bloody awesome at one point in cinematic history.

Now stay braced for the showdown.

STALLONE leads his coterie of iconic butt kicking friends to save their world from turmoil, in this intense, shattering, punch-in-the-gut actioner.

No blood and gore scenes will be spared, while fantastic weaponry ranging from machine guns, army tanks and airplane propellers will serve as decapitation instruments.

 The production value is USD 100 million in the making and filming took place in exotic locales such as Bulgaria, Hong Kong and New Orleans.

In watching this film, leave your thinking cap behind, forget the wafer-thin plot and soak in the battle cries.

That is, if you intend to enjoy this celebration of glorified machismo.

Everything’s in the name of the game.

Along the way, dirt will be dug, punchlines will be thrown and insults will be hurled.

Let your hair down and move with the adrenaline flow.

These retro action stars are back in top form and they are having a whale of a time. You can too.

“THE EXPENDABLES 2″ is gonna be a gigantic awesome blast at the box-office.

It has to be – with your support.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

“ParaNorman” Movie Review. GEEZ, those ZOMBIES are HAPPILY frolicking AROUND!

“PARANORMAN” Stop-Motion 3D Animated Feature Film


The average cinema goer might pop this question, “What on earth is stop motion?”

Well, any dedicated graphic artist will only be too happy to oblige with this answer:

that stop- motion is specifically, a filming technique in which a succession of objects are photographed to create the perfected impressions of “movements”.

In other words, it is the fine art of taking a series of images and then splicing these into a running series.

  Creating stop-motion animation is collectively, a painstaking, time-consuming and repetitive task that requires loads of patience.

It had been reported that the creative labor required to produce a feature like ParaNorman is massive ,that one single scene did take a year to shoot and thousand of expressions had to be  drawn.


No, love is not around this time in this spooky tale.

Rather, it is the arrival of the bizarre zombies in droves, with their unfinished businesses.

We are introduced to our  protagonist Norman Babcock (voiced by KODI SMIT-McPHEE) who is a cute yet sensitive kid with sad troubled eyes.

His spiky brown hair conveys the impression he is perpetually living in a “frightful” state.

Norman is a loner because nobody believes in him as he is the easy target of school bullies.

This, despite living with his irksome family in the New England town of Blithe Hollow that’s swarmed by aimless zombies.

Only Norman can “see” these apparitions, as he has the uncanny ability to communicate with the deceased.

Right from the beginning he knows he has to prevent the destruction of his town by by taking on the freaks, zombies and the moronic adults.

But there is only so much a young ghost whisperer can do.


Definitely an animated movie aimed at older kids, tweens and the adults, from the producers of  CORALINE.

ParaNorman has a darker premise and it’s more ghoulish than your average kid flick.

 Laika Entertainment is an up-and-coming brand that spins dark tales with an intention to expound life’s insightful lessons. Arresting visuals, meticulously detailed with the stop-motion animation creatively executed.

ParaNorman is in part, a professional, charming and lively work of art that speaks from the heart.

For fans of animated features, this one’s a real treat.

Monday, August 13, 2012

“PREMIUM RUSH” Movie Review. Are you GEARED for spectacular BICYCLE STUNTS?


Honestly speaking …..

You can rarely come across a feature film such as “PREMIUM RUSH” that breezes you through the breathtaking insights of a cycle courier, battling his parkour on wheels (a grueling non-competitive sport focusing on physical discipline).

The headline “RIDE LIKE HELL” says it loud and clear, screaming for attention from the movie poster.

You are promised that the death-defying stunts are going to be authentically old-school.

There will not be any computer-generated enhancement imagery used to deceive your eyes, so the actions are for real.

And the bonus: this season’s hottest flavor JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT will be playing the bicyle riding lead in this story.

He stars as WILEE, this devil-may-care bicycle messenger who speeds precariously on his “fixie”, a bike that is a super lightweight, single geared and brakeless.

WILEE is a die-hard bicycle messenger and his job is totally reliant on this “fixie” bike.

Far from being a piece of cake, his daily daunting tasks are spiced with spills and thrills, fraught with dangers in trying to avoid himself from being hit by speeding vehicles, human beings and reckless cab drivers along the street.

 Bike messengers are employed by courier companies because bicycle travel is less prone to unexpected holdups in city’s congested traffic jams  and is unlikely to be deterred by unpleasant parking limitations that can hinder prompt delivery.

Be prepared to be amazed by the stunning bike choreography.

“PREMIUM RUSH” is an eye-opener that implores you to share the hectic routines of the bicycle messengers and is fertile ground to set off a high octane actioner.

The film director DAVID KOEPP exemplifies a courageous tale of respect and resilience.

The plot:

WILEE, a dedicated New York bike messenger is entrusted with  an envelope by NIMA, a young Chinese woman played by JAMIE CHUNG at an uptown Manhattan college.  The instructions?  He has to deliver it to a shady address in Chinatown within 90 minutes.

No one would ever expect a corrupt police office to suddenly step in and demand the envelope on ambiguous grounds.

The shady motives are succintly revealed through a series of flashbacks as the cop (MICHAEL SHANNON) and the messenger furiously engage in a cat-and-mouse chase in a race against time.

 WILEE has to defend the urgency of the envelope’s mysterious contents.

A little on film director DAVID KOEPP here:

Granted, he may be one of Hollywood most prolific screenwriters with more than two decades of writing blockbusters.

But helming the movie is another story.

He has delivered the actions well.

Outside of the stunts, the treatment of  the tamer scenes in-between tends to fall substantially into light-hearted buffoonery.

MICHAEL SHANNON the predator is portrayed as a bumbling, inept idiot who’s been given a hard time by JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT in the dodging game. Also, there’s a touch of comedic element meted to the rogues and the evil characters are far from being the menacing and slashing lot.

An air of sinister suspense can do wonders to ignite the sparks, and could fare better to keep the adrenalin flowing.

Whatever it takes, if you are an avid fan of JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT, this one can’t possibly go wrong.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

“THE BOURNE LEGACY” Movie Review. A Reboot doused in a palatable New Dressing.


An apt title, this one, and it has finally arrived.

“THE BOURNE LEGACY” proudly parades the continuation of this grit-and-intrigue actioner in the line of the fabulous BOURNE franchise.

Only that this time around, TONY GILROY, the co-writer of the earlier three films has taken over the helm.

 The newly established film director happily conjures his personal version, culled from using material from the original novels by the late ROBERT LUDLUM.

He breathes a fresh feel by injecting a new hero (JEREMY RENNER)  whose deeds will be exemplified, fighting for dear life, in death-defying situations triggered by events and characters from the past three films.

The first half of the film meanders with the spewing of red herrings, intensifying the suspense.

Action peaks in the second half and thence it is pulsating excitement all the way.

The JASON BOURNE character portrayed by MATT DAMON had been written off the hook.

Call it a rehash or a reboot, the old chapter has closed and a brand new chapter is now beginning. Now,  JEREMY RENNER is taking the form of AARON CROSS – and he alone will carry the weight of this movie.

He is ably supported with the “additions” of veterans such as RACHEL WEISZ, EDWARD NORTON and STACY KEACH.

JEREMY RENNER is Aaron Cross, an intelligence operative who participates in an integral secret government program called OUTCOME.  This project utilizes pharmacology to enhance soldiers’ brains and bodies.

After the inexplicable chain of events that happened in the last film “ULTIMATUM”, Jason Bourne uncovered clues in London and New York about the truth shrouding the secret government program that had transformed him into a ruthless killer.

OUTCOME’s head Eric Byer (EDWARD NORTON) therefore decides to shut down his program and kill all its members.

However Aaron Cross (JEREMY RENNER) manages to survive the shelling.

He enlists the help of biochemist Dr. Marta Shearing (RACHEL WEISZ) as he needs the intelligence enhancing medications in order to survive.

Together they flee from Byer’s agents who are out to silence them.

The two’s fierce determination to stay alive takes them on a dangerous journey through the US, the exotic East – culminating at Manila, where the last vital piece of the Bourne puzzle is located.

One of the notable action highlights of the film takes place in Manila where there’s a cat-and-mouse mayhem of dashing, jumping, kicking and acrobatics in dark alleyways, atop roofs and congested side streets,

jeepneys are spinning perilously at ferocious speed, relentless motorbike and car chasing to hump up the adrenaline rush.

These scenes were shot in Pasay City, Manila’s San Andres Bukid district, the Navotas fish port and Palawan, providing the notion that the Philippine locales can give the Thai’s (foreign film makers’ favorite location choice) a run for the money.

An entertaining film, depending on what you are looking for.

For avid fans of suspense and action thrillers, this one deserves your attention.