Thursday, March 27, 2014


divergent post



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

Sunday, March 23, 2014


horseplay poster


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

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


PO 1
PO 2
PO 3
PO 4


Having worked in Thailand before and still am, it’s pretty clear  to me, as with my Thai colleagues that this is one movie that will grip you by the horns.

Or it might not.

For sure, it will provide you with some chilly, scary moments.

Along with an accompaniment of mindless gags.

Hence we should pronounce this as a Ghost Comedy.

Now, the rural population of THAILAND is around 46 million and these country folks love this brand of comedies. Good to laugh, they chime.

Smart director Pakphum Wongjinda knows where to place his sentiments in a win-win situation.

He has also gleefully calculated the inflow of dollars and cents.

The drab Plot:

“A group of college students pick a remote Chinese cemetery as a filming locale for their
senior-year short movie project.

The filming script is planned to be a weepy romance that will tear at your heartstrings.

Quite by coincidence the shoot dates happen to fall during the Chinese Ghost Festival.

But the real terror erupts when Ji (Apittha “Mean” Klaiudom), a depressed female colleague, who has just joined the crew gets possessed by a stray spirit.

The horrifying spirit wants the crew to help it to accomplish something…

Or else death will befall everyone.”

It is silly to even compare this movie with PEE MAK, the blockbuster which stars MARIO MAURER.

PEE MAK is helmed by a very renowned director and MARIO is a Thailand superstar.

The ensemble cast of POSSESSED are relatively unknown.

No matter, as the 46 million people comprising the rural populace were to buy the DVD version, the sales will still reap a tidy amount, even if this film should flop at the cinema.

Is this movie deliciously demented?

Not on your life, but if you like Thai horror comedies, check this one out.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Monday, March 17, 2014


MrPeabody & Sherman



Truth be told:

You can grade me as an old school enthusiast, but no matter.

I try not to be a fan of the present day animated films where the focus rests largely on CGI instead of plot.

This one, however, is an exception: I am bowled over by “MR. PEABODY AND SHERMAN”.

It may be in 3D but the use of CGI is wisely balanced.

The movie is funny, wacky, cute, offering a wisp of spring, is irresistible, and a lot more …..

Truly we roar at the unintended antics of the comic duo MR.PEABODY, his son SHERMAN and their helpless escapades.

The “feel-good” energy is set to dispense anybody’s blues away.

Let’s take a quick run through the story:

Mr. Peabody (Ty Burrell) is a smart talking dog who won the legal right to adopt Sherman (Max Charles), an orphaned baby.

Father and son now live an eventful life—punctuated by frequent time-travel adventures around the world in Mr. Peabody’s time machine (called “the WABAC’). You better believe this.

Life is perfect, until Sherman starts school.

Teased by his classmate, Penny, for his unorthodox upbringing, Sherman retaliates and lands himself in a fix, raising doubts about Mr. Peabody’s ability to raise a human child.

Thereupon Sherman takes the WABAC out for a joyride to impress Penny and win over her friendship.

The two accidentally rip a hole in the universe, wreaking havoc affecting the most important events in history.

Before the damage sinks deeper to alter the past, present and future, Mr. Peabody is summoned to their rescue.

This is a wholesome family entertainment at its best.

Everybody will be assured of rib-tickling fun and laughter galore.

You can’t possibly go wrong with this one, chum.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Friday, March 14, 2014


P hashima


Are THAI HORROR FILMS really the best thing in town?

Most everyone I know would rate that Thai ghosts are way on top, as compared with those from other countries.


There’s nothing like a Thai chiller, I hear this all the time.

They have probably forgotten that THAILAND also produced some pretty bad ones too.

Here is a Thai paranormal thriller called PROJECT HASIMA directed by Piyapan Choopetch that offers tons of jolts, thrills, spills, walking zombies and everything such.

You will be thrilled to bits. I was.

It’s competently directed for the THAI audience, not without its fair share of flaws though.

As an added bonus, you are rewarded with five pretty young things (three guys and two gals) , their screen characters groping in the dark, screaming out for survival.

They are strapped onto a metaphorical swinging pendulum, waiting to be slaughtered in the movie.

They are yours for the asking, as you would see them being bumped off, one by one, for your viewing pleasure. Ah, isn’t this sadism most foul?

This young creative team is trained in film making, and has just returned from an exciting all-expenses-paid assignment called PROJECT HASHIMA.

For no apparent reason, everyone is now mysteriously struggling with the demonic after-effects attained after their short shooting stint on the “devil” island.

Have they been cursed?

This island is renowned for the spooks dwelling there who wish not to be disturbed, as HASHIMA island  has long been abandoned by the Japanese.

As time goes by, it becomes the breeding nest for nasty apparitions.

Incidentally this locale has  also inspired Sam Mendes, Hollywood film maker to use this deserted island as a villain’s hideout for his James Bond’s movie “Skyfall”.

How does the PROJECT HASHIMA story start?

First, five eager film-school graduates gleefully upload a clip onto YouTube, and it unexpectedly becomes an online overnight sensation.

Because they are the “flavor of the season”, these aspiring filmmakers are offered an attractive deal by a local TV production company whose sole intent is to cash on their popularity.

Their assignment is to shoot a horror-genre TV program on Hashima Island, with all expenses paid.

The ensemble team comprises of the self-assured, pain-in-the-ass  leader Off (Alexander Rendell) and his trusting  girlfriend Nan (Apinya Sakulkaroensuk0), the clingy beauty May (Sushar Manaying), the artistic Nick (Pirat Nipitpaisalkul), and the long-haired airhead Dog (Mek Mekwattana).

The movie is overloaded with a generous dose of teen-romance, a love triangle, loan sharks, witchcraft and apparitions when Off stupidly messes with possessions of the dead on the island.

You see, Off steals a demonic ring from an altar at the shoot location, brings it back to Bangkok, thereby kicking off the curse for the rest of his team.

Who’s next for the execution?

PROJECT HASHIMA has an interesting premise with excellent acting from the cute actors.

There’s a menacing zombie lurking in the dark.

It’s waiting to pop out suddenly to give you the creeps whilst the ghost exacts her revenge one-by-one.

Who will die, who lives?

Go watch the movie for the answers.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


second coming



 If anyone can possibly recall, there’s a Chinese adage that preaches “revenge is ever-so-sweet”.

And it comes with a resounding admonishment, warning you not to toy with fire, but if somebody does you a huge injustice, you can still evoke your revenge, even if the waiting takes ten years.

Vengeance will justifiably strike at the opportune time when you least expect it.

But can you wait this long?

That is the premise of “THE SECOND COMING”, a theme of vengeance comes lately.

This is  Hong Kong film director HERMAN YAU’s first foray into directing a stereoscopic 3D movie, using a macabre plot weaving around fighting the supernatural.

But at the press screening, we were shown the 2D version, so the interesting parts would not have been glorified.

The co-director is Australian writer RAYMOND NG who incidentally, writes the screenplay.

 It is a Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore joint collaboration in view of the elaborate investments required for the extensive CGI effects.

For all purport, this  suspense-horror feature focuses on a teenage girl who’s able to feel and see nasty apparitions from the spiritual world.

Here’s a quick plot run-down :

Ming (KENNY WONG) and his wife (MAGGIE SIU) lead a serene life with their 13-year-old daughter Lucy (JOEY LEONG) while their 20 year-old son Sunny (DON LEE) is studying to be a doctor overseas.

Everything is idyllic, until Ming accidentally reverses his car and accidentally knocks Lucy down on her 14th birthday.

From then onward, Lucy starts to hallucinate and behaves in an eccentric way.

When her brother Sunny returns from his overseas studies, he finds his once beloved sister is no longer the person he knows.

What follows are the hidden secrets about the past.

These are uncovered one by one, and the exasperated family is forced to confront what they want to be forgotten.

Asian horror films have always been fascinated with the relationship between the living and the dead.

This one is no exception.

“THE SECOND COMING” is competently handled, decently acted and contains a few twists in the final reel that may have you on edge.

Such as the one with Lucy opening the fridge door only to scream in terror at a baby-like demon curled up embryonic style.

No spoilers here to mar the suspense but the post production is choppy with far too many flashbacks and if  you do not follow closely, confusion can set in.

 The lead actress is JOEY LEONG, a pretty nubile Malaysian who’s done a couple of made-in-Singapore horror flicks and some TV dramas.  She’s prettier here and her acting skills have improved immensely.

She is ably supported by Hong Kong veterans: MAGGIE SIU, KENNY WONG and DON LEE.

Here’s an interesting bit about the film director HERMAN YAU when he was explaining why his film had been classified under  Category 3 in Hong Kong.

His witty reply was that it is the first time experience where he created a scenario showing his actor cutting the penis off a man and later a doctor eats the penis.

And in realm of the 3D you can actually see the genitals zooming straight at you! (guffaw).

But I witness no such scene, assuming that this one must have been censored.

Ghosts most foul?

Truth or Dare?

Tread in with a curious mind if you wish to know the answers.

RATING: 2.5 out of 5.

Saturday, March 8, 2014



“300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE Press Review

First, let’s move in and seize the bull by the horns following this remarkable SYNOPSIS:

The movie is based largely on Frank Miller’s latest graphic novel Xerxes.

Here the continuing saga is recounted in the grand style of mesmerizing visual splendor, dogging closely to the immensely successful 2007 blockbuster “300″.

This new rebirth relocates the action from sordid land to the men-swallowing stormy seas.

The Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) endeavors to unite all of Greece by leading the legion that will change the course of the war.

“300: Rise of an Empire” pits Themistokles against the massive invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro), and Artemisia (Eva Green), the vengeful commander of the Persian navy.

Themistokles’ troops may not be real soldiers.

But this untrained bunch of farmers, poets and sculptors they will fight tooth-and-nail to protect their land.

This sequel is a dedication saluting their bravado.

Israeli director Noam Murro does an excellent job of helming the franchise established so vividly by Zach Snyder.

With the slaughters shot in slow motion gloriously demonstrating the gushes  of blood, magnificent 3-D effects, homoerotic undercurrents, these are dressings of an actioner that promises something on the platter for everyone and  will not fail to enthrall the audience.

 The complexity of depicting a story this time from land to water is admirably harnessed.

The navy battles will surely blow  your mind away.

These scenes are nothing short of breathtaking.

For non-stop butchery and for fans of gladiator epics, this one’s a good choice.

Violent. Gutsy. Sexy.

Go for it!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5