Thursday, February 27, 2014




The movie poster screams aloud, “Expect some turbulence this year!”

Aren’t we all prepared?

Meanwhile, anybody cares for a little sleuthing with LIAM NEESON in this noir film?

If so, please go take a deep breath.

Throw in a teeny bit of the Hercule Poirot whodunit mentality, and you will soon be aboard for a thrilling joy ride.

You bet it’ll be non-stop action and nail-biting suspense all the way. All within a gigantic Boeing air bus.

The hijacker is on this flight. He is one of the 146 faces.

Red herrings are strewn throughout in a guessing arcade.

The question is, who wants to bomb the flight?

Now buckle your seat belt as the air bus is taking off.

Here’s how our story begins:

“NON STOP” is a pulsating suspense thriller that takes place at 40,000 feet high up in the sky.

Bill Marks (LIAM NEESON) is a disgruntled, chain-smoking alcoholic undercover officer for the Air Marshals service.

He has a short fuse, is unapproachable and we can tell that he hates his job.

He views his latest assignment as as a routine caretaker job in the sky.

But he is clearly wrong.

This transatlantic flight from New York city to London is anything but mundane.

He suddenly receives a mysterious series of cryptic text messages demanding that he instruct the government to wire USD 150 million into an offshore account within 20 minutes.

Until this money is secured, one passenger on this flight will be dead meat every 20 minutes as a valid warning. 

Soon it is a deadly cat-and-mouse race against time to prevent this killing. Passengers are hollering in fright as they do not want to be marked for slaughter. A horrific mayhem of doomsday prevails.

Further delays with the money transfer would mean more killings.

Stay braced.

“NON-STOP” is directed by JAUME COLLET-SERRA who had collaborated  with LIAM NEESON in Unknown.

The plot takes a swipe at the 9/11 paranoia and exposes our hero as an alcoholic weakling wallowing in self-pity over a tragic family past.

 Largely because of his self-inflicted alcoholism and unorthodox tactless methods in assembling the case, Bill Marks himself, becomes a prime suspect.

This movie is another addition to the LIAM  NEESON’s professional folio as a commercially bankable action star.

“NON-STOP” is a fantastically riveting entertainment, this time combining cabin action versus “who’s the mysterious culprit”.

It challenges your mindset.

With a standout cast such as the effervescent JULIANNE MOORE and British actress MICHELLE DOCKERY (of Downton Abbey fame), the gripping plot twists and relentless storytelling, this is a reel treat for  both NEESON’s fans and action buffs.

Go for it!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Tuesday, February 25, 2014




It’s hard to rate “MONUMENTS MEN” as there are two schools of thought.

Either you like this one, or you don’t.

With a stupendous cast ensemble boasting of  the almighty GEORGE CLOONEY with his troupe MATT DAMON, CATE BLANCHETT, BILLY MURRAY, JOHN GOODMAN and JEAN DUJARDIN, you would definitely expect more … a wonderful film with a “to-die-for” script.

During World War II we are shown in no uncertain terms, that the German army has unceremoniously stolen some of the world’s art treasures with the devious intention of exhibiting them in the Adolf Hitler’s  Fuhrer Museum project.

With Hitler’s death the Third Reich collapsed, thereupon the German army receives orders to destroy all the priceless paintings.

Hence art historian Lt. Frank Stokes (George Clooney) rallies a team of art experts who all share the same vision.

They are medieval art curator James Granger (Matt Damon), architect Richard Campbell (Bill Murray), sculptor Walter Garfield (John Goodman), French designer Jean-Claude Clermont (Jean Dujardin) and theater director Preston Savitz (Bob Balaban) who are responsible for to recover the relics back from the German.

There are good moments in the movie, yes.

But other than that, the movie plods at a snail’s pace and if you watch the mighty camera work zooming in and out to match actors’  facial expressions with dialogue, you’d soon detect a total lack of character’s development.

And as a result, there’s an uneven continuity flow.

In a capsule “MONUMENTS MEN” is touted as a retro action comedy based-on-a-true story claim about the epic treasure hunt in history by soldiers who are intent on rescuing stolen arts in the waning days of World War II.

Your heart won’t be beating faster, nor will all these be a feast for the eyes and ears.

For the younger generation this one’s just going to be a gathering of middle-aged uncles.

This is intellectual entertainment for fans of GEORGE CLOONEY and MATT DAMON.

Joining the troupe?

RATING: 2 out of 5


Sunday, February 23, 2014




If you relish beefcakes (the human ones), then “POMPEII” is a must-watch.

It offers an assortment of the white and the black hunks in short skirts, so just ponder over your pick.

The men are all draped in loin cloth, so heaven be.

It’s as silly as you can get, so don’t ask if they wear undies as well.

This 2014 American disaster epic is produced and directed by PAUL W.S. ANDERSON.

It stars KIT HARINGTON (playing the lead), EMILY BROWNING (his paramour), CARRIE-ANNE MOSS and KIEFER SUTHERLAND among many others.

If you watch this on 3D, it would be an explosive experience.

However the one that I saw was in 2D.

The setting is in the Roman city of Pompeii in the year AD 79.

Milo (KIT HARINGTON) is a hunk-of-a- slave who is also an invincible gladiator.

Milo is a slave-gladiator whose Celtic family was slaughtered by Corvus, a nasty Roman officer-turned-senator played with disdainful superiority by Keifer Sutherland.

Midway in the movie, Milo finds himself in a race against time to save his love Cassia (EMILY BROWNING), the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant from being forced to marry the cruel Senator Corvis (KIEFER SUTHERLAND).

The whole city of Pompeii rumbles, nobody gives two hoots.

Little do the citizens realize that everyone will soon be wiped out from the surface of the earth due to a gigantic volcanic eruption as this story proceeds.

This is brought about by the numerous colossal threats of rumblings from Mount Vesuvius in 79D.

Everybody dies including the hero and the heroine, buried under the volcanic lava and the hot pumice.

 Film director PAUL W.S. ANDERSON keeps the action grinding  and the volcanic visual dazzle.

 The massive, CGI-enhanced destructions are eye-popping and  fascinating to provide the hellish moments.

An escapist entertainment? Surely.

There is heart-pounding excitement and a great love story of two lovers fighting for futile survival amid the destructive fires.

It’s beautifully shot and competently acted for a gladiator film.


RATING: 3 out of 5

Thursday, February 20, 2014


PHILOMENA Online Poster


Religion has always been a debatable topic. So spare me.

This Reviewer is a devout Buddhist and knows little about the Catholic faith by way of choice.

Every religion has its own set of principles. We have to respect this.

And for all it’s worth, the Reviewer is here to write an impartial review, unbiased.

Let’s begins with the lead character who’s former journalist Martin Sixsmith.

He has been fired from the British Labour Party, a job he loves, and is now unsure of his next career move.

His luck changes when a young Irish woman approaches him to work on a story about her mother, Philomena.

Philomena had her son forcibly taken away when she was a teenage inmate of a Catholic convent some fifty years ago. It’s been a pretty long time.

Martin sees a scoop here, bagged a magazine sponsorship and goes on a manhunt (the search for her long, lost son).

This journey eventually leads them to America.

Along the way, Martin and Philomena discovers a better understanding between them, leading to an affable friendship.

They also uncovers the truth about her son’s fate. He’s dead. How did he die?

The film is “based on a true story,” and we are shown those chapters that highlights the Church’s harsh treatment of its titular character.

Flashback to year 1952 where an impressionistic teenager Philomena Lee (Sophie Kennedy Clark) had unprotected sex and got herself pregnant.

Being unwedded, the act of coitus is not bliss.

So her parents whisked her off to a convent in Roscrea, Ireland to atone for “her sin.”

Young Philomena gave birth soon after and is then put into a viritable servitude program to serve her penance.

She is only allowed to see her infant son once a week.

The nuns there treat their wards with disdain, contempt and intolerance. So much for the Catholic faith.

That particular convent even sell babies in their care to wealthy Americans for profits. Bless these nuns.

We later discover how Philamena loses her precious little Anthony.

He has been sold to an American family and shipped to the US.

Judi Dench as the older Philamena is awesome for her pitch perfect acting.

Her emotional stance wavers from holding the Church responsible for her emotional and physical damage as she is a God fearing woman.

Steve Coogan as the former political journalist Martin Sixsmith is marvelous.

 There’s an engaging chemistry between the two leads.

Martin uncovers clues to Philomena’s long lost son without much ado when she is unable to do so for five solid decades.

This is a lilting film that raises questions about love, religion, endurance and forgiveness paying homage to an old adage “love thy enemies”.

I ask myself, “Can you love your enemies?”

Maybe not.

A leopard never changes his spot, people often say.

 Martin Sixsmith’s book was published in 2009 as The Lost Child Of Philomena Lee.

The story was said to have inspired thousands of adopted Irish children and their mothers to come forward with their own stories.

This film will surely expose those horrific acts by relentless nuns, who had thrived for decades to keep the mother and son apart.

Watch it for Judi Dench’s compelling performance. She’s brilliant.

 ”PHILOMENA” is a cinematic gem not to be missed. Go see it!

Rating: 4 out of 5

Wednesday, February 19, 2014





Shall we say, “Stop in the name of love?”

This movie seems to say so, given the content.

“BEIJING LOVE STORY” is a collaborative venture by the entrepreneurial film makers from Hong Kong jointly with Mainland China.

It is culled from a popular mainland China television drama series aired in 2012 which had an impressive run securing great reviews and scoring high ratings.

The original Producers therefore seize the opportunity to hop aboard the bandwagon with a re-imagined dressing, revise some characters by adding. And juggling others in order to boost a refreshed team from google box to the cinematic screen.

The subject is unashamedly love. Family love, drinking buddies bromance, romantic love and last and most important: the sexual love that rejuvenate your libido and keeps the torchlight below your belt joyfully upright and vibrant.

As the years roll on, familiarity would  breed contempt and when reality sets in for every couple, hostility balks.

Aw, this is the message that BEIJING LOVE STORY is conveying to the audience. The path to whatever love never will run smooth, does it?

Love actually sucks!

There are five parables told in a five-chapter omnibus, all written and directed by CHEN SICHENG. He even acted in one story about his movie highlighting greed, lust and infidelity.

The run-down:

Man (Chen) encounters Yan (Tong) and falls head-over-heels in love. They are itchy, have unprotected sex, the girl gets pregnant and both decide to get married despite parental objection from the bride’s mother.

In story 2, Chen’s best friend’s infidelities are exposed when torrid pictures of him making sex stored in his cellphone are discovered by his suspicious wife Lei (Yu Nan). She plots revenge.

In story 3, Hui (Tony Leung Ka Fai) flies happily to Greece for a romantic tryst far from the madding crowd to ball his horny wife (Carina Lau). The whole plan bombs when this middle-aged couple entered into a hilarious, heated argument over plastic surgery.

Meanwhile the story 4 unfurls to show their teenage daughter Xing Yang (Nana Ou Yong), an aspiring cellist has fallen in love with her schoolmate Songge (Liu Haoran). Songge tries to build her confidence in order for her to compete for her TV talent show.

In the final story Songge’s grandfather (Wang Qin Xiang) is back at the dating game at 66 in order to please his dying wife ( Siqin Gaowa). The dedicated wife wants him to be happy and remarries, in this case it’s to an attractive Chinese divorcee (Elaine Jin).

There’s a neat balance of farce, comedy and adolescent melodrama here and the film director is able to accomplish these in style.

It’s an emotionally mesmerizing film with strong performances by a veteran cast ensemble such Siqin Gaowa and Elaine Jin. Both actresses have been noticeably absent for a while so they are delightful toppings.

Coming from a Mainlad China director, it has to be one the better Mandarin films that I have seen thus far.

Go for it!

Ratings: 4 out of 5

Monday, February 17, 2014




“THAT AWKWARD MOMENT” is your smarter-than-average sex comedy, starring three hot studs. Believe it.

It’s a drooling experience for fans who love to see their pretty hunks taking an onscreen shit and indulging in shameless, sexual acts and banters. Truly.

If you are not an avid fan, then stay away.

But this is ASIA, where looks count more than anything else for the screaming kids.

It’s mind over matter and who cares about the script or award winning acting for this one?

This film directed by TOM GORMICAN is crafted for the young idolizing audience who will go to the cinema despite whatever reviews.

Shoo away the professional critics who will find every opportunity to plunder it to pieces. It’s their job, dearie.

But with  gorgeous ZAC EFRON, MILES TELLER and MICHAEL B. JORDON in the forefront boasting about their sexual prowess and steaming innuendos, it is a wow, wow, wow.

Hop on in!

Here’s the synopsis.

Zac Efron, Miles Teller and Michael B. Jordan star in this R-rated comedy about three best friends who find themselves at crossroads, each having to decide whether to continue in their current relationship or to call it off.

They are brainless men with kiddo mentality who take delight in toying with their girlfriends’ feelings and whiling their time with anything remotely love in nature, but everything garnished with sex.

 All three men develop individual relationships they don’t want to tell one another, and eventually discover that, in general, women do not threaten their video game time or break their bro-hood.

This is one life lesson you can pick up here.

“THAT AWKWARD MOMENT” is a fun movie not to be taken seriously.

It is able to laugh at itself. I tried.

It has loads of gutsy sexy talks cajoling you to rest, relax and enjoy what life’s leading you when you are young. Men will be boys and you can only be young once.

To go or not to go, you decide after this.

RATING: 3 out of 5



“SAVING MR. BANKS” Press Review

“SAVING MR. BANKS” is a delightful film. You bet.

There’s a great director, a captivating script, enjoyable dialogue, marvelous acting by the  two leads, and more … to bring us this stupendous entertainment.

Allow me to begin with the ending of the movie first. There’s an eye-popping scene of the author P.L.TRAVERS’ facial expression (the creator of the MARY POPPINS character), when the camera zooms in for a close-up reveals that she’s tearing up (for a few minutes).

The press audience could be seen to be visibly moved. You could hear audible sniffings here and there.

And for me, memories of my late mother and of my own strict upbringing tugged at my heartstrings. Did I bawl? They say when you laugh the whole world laughs with you. But what when you cry? Ha.

Here’s a well-done story about WALT DISNEY’s frustrating crusade of 20 years to woo the MARY POPPINS’ movie rights from an old tart who’s also no-nonsense writer. His young daughters (then) loved the POPPINS stories, and the adoring father WALT promised them that he’d win the rights to make it into a blockbuster movie.

But heck, it was an uphill task which is what SAVING MR. BANKS is showing us.

The titanic clashes of egos between the movie mogul and the dreadful author form the crux of the movie calling for a truce before the movie eventually made its mark in 1964 to become a classic.

DISNEY, played by TOM HANKS is one determined film maker who never says die. He will fight tooth and nail to have TRAVERS’ universal character of MARY POPPINS brought to the big screen.

TRAVERS, on the other hand is insistent that her titular book character should not be compromised and commercialized. Then how?

Baby boomers who have read and seen “MARY POPPINS” will know that MR. BANKS is the father of the children cared for by Mary Poppins. TRAVERS will want it no other way as the role is patterned after her beloved late father.

 TRAVERS is steadfast as she much as she is stubborn, nursing a secret pain dated back to her childhood in Australia.

TRAVERS grew up in Australia in 1906 and this is depicted through flashbacks. She was very close to her charismatic father Travers Robert Goff (COLIN FARREL) who was fighting a losing battle against alcoholism.

Back to the present, reality jolts when she discovers that her bank account is depleting and her agent beseeches her to tactfully release the MARY POPPINS rights to DISNEY to save her from financial ruins.

So she made the business trip from desolate London to to sunny Southern California. And she meets up with DISNEY, who is full of charm, gallantry and everything sugary nice – and who personally guides her on a tour of his theme park to bowl her over.

For those two short weeks in 1961, Walt Disney pulls all tricks in the trade to woo her into signing the contract.

Disney’s staff members, meanwhile, are terrified by this stern, headmistress-like figure they have to work with. There are some hilarious scenes in which Travers sits through script meetings.

She is appalled at the thought of animation and of penguins creeping into the film adaptation. The joyful approach of the Sherman brothers (who wrote the music and lyrics for the film) earns her displeasure.

Armed with storyboards and chirpy songs, Walt launches an all-out onslaught on P.L. Travers, but the stubborn ox remains unmoved.

 However, in the days that followed, the resolute P.L. will soften and yield. Walt sees an insecure woman who shirks at whatever that may offend her late Australian father.

 It is only when Walt re-examine his own past that he discovers that they have something in common.

With that mutual understanding, they both set out to make MARY POPPINS which turns out to be one of the most endearing films in cinematic history.

The director of the film is JOHN LEE HANCOCK. He is pitch-perfect in delivering a wonderful piece of gem.

EMMA THOMPSON and JOHN HANKS are right for their roles with their award winning background.

This is a first-rate film from start to finish and stands as a must-see.

Don’t miss it!

RATING: 4 out of 5