Monday, December 31, 2007

The Life Of Buddha

This movie shows how Prince Siddhartha who was born in a royal family became Lord Buddha. It shows Prince Siddhartha's journey where he was protected from the outside world, but eventually his curiosity on suffering made him renounced his royal lifestyle and left his kingdom to go out and search for the meaning of life, especially on causes of human suffering.

Although this movie is an animated movie, it lacks the cheerful animation that most animation brings. Its monotone and serious dialogues leaves a rather meaningful & potential movie a bore to watch; turning it more into a documentary rather than a animated movie.

Although clearly lacking the essentials needed to follow the footsteps of Thailand's animated elephant movie, Khan Kluay, however this movie is still a noble movie and would appeal to those who already know about Buddhism. And it is a real pity as this movie could actually reach out to more people, especially those who want to know more about the religion.

Ponglang Amazing

Tomorn inherits an old and run-down theatre from his uncle, who doesn't want to sell the theatre despite it not having many customers and is making loss. Tomorn wants to sell the theatre, even more so after meeting & faling in love with a pretty broker.

Tomorn meets a young cap driver who helps him with ideas on how to turn the theatre around. This comes with the help of his hilarious employees.

This is a slapstick Thai movie with exaggerated actions & humour, that will appeal more to the locals. The horror part in the movie is played down by its humour, hence not a scary movie, but a comedy which is rather okay to watch.

This movie gives insights to foreigners on the real Thai language/ culture which is normally smooth & yet can be sharp at other moments. The twist in the ending & the antics of the employees help scores for the movie.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Set in the 1860s, during the Taiping Rebellion in the late Qing Dynasty in China, this movie tells the story of three sworn brothers - General Ma (Jet Li), Cao Erhu (Andy Lau) and Zhang Wenxiang (Takeshi Kaneshiro).

Their friendship starts off with a lil suspicion, but then builds up strong... only to be shattered towards the end when their values & objectives differs - General Ma with his quest for power & love; Cao Erhu for his honour & trust for the people; and Zhang Wenxiang for his stand on brotherhood.

This epic movie with its bold poster draws crowds who love Chinese epic movies. Not so attractive for those who want a simple movie, as the stories are actually behind the characters, and this will need evaluation. The grey scenes throughout the movie makes it rather dull, but it gives the setting it needs.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Golden Compass

My initial response to the movie was - "Another fantasy movie, again?". Ever since LOTR & Harry Potter burst into cinema screens, it seems all the production houses are now wanting a pie of the fantasy epics.

This movie which is based on a fantasy book as well sees young girl, Lyra (Dakota Blue Richards), an orphan who is given a fantasy ride & runaway with Mrs Coulter (Nicole Kidman), while her uncle, Lord Asriel (Daniel Craig), is embarking on a trip to the Arctic Circle to investigate a mysterious element intriguingly called Dust.

The movie focus on Lyra's world of wanting to save her friends & fellow children who are missing, and apparently being used as experiment objects. Lyra's confidence, good negotiation skills & intelligence sees her banding together with the Gyptians, the mysterious witch Serafina Pekkala (Eva Green) and Texas airman Lee Scoresby (Sam Elliott).

This young kid is flung into an adventure that took her to the wilds of the icy north, where she allied a polar bear named Iorek Byrnison (voiced by Ian McKellen), who pledges to serve her in her campaign until she prevails.

True to the fantasy movies, this movie shows talking animals and flying ships. But the best part of the movie is not from these fantasies, but more so the the lessons from it - like how a young girl gets people to be her allies by doing smart intelligent & courages moves. The part whereby each character has an animal as their daemon, or more like an inner voice & soul, also shows how we constantly have other thoughts running in our heads for every move we make.

Though the movie has an original plot, some new different ideas from other fantasy based movies - like the daemons, & good lessons, however, the overdose of these fantasy epics has raised the bar much more, and somehow the Golden Compass fall short of it compared to its peers. Unlike the other trilogies like LOTR or Matrix, which each episode can end on its own, the Golden Compass part 1 seems to leave a bad 'hanging' ending, despite good acting from its casts, especially Nicole Kidmans with her evil looks and her evil blue eyes.

Still, Golden Compass is a decent movie, and will be a good watch for fantasy epic fans.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Alvin And The Chipmunks, The Movie

The Chipmunks are back...! Yes, it's Avin...! Simon, Theodore... and of course, their 'single parent', Dave.

The 3 singing chipmunks (and talking ones as well), request to stay in with Dave. A 'budding' songwriter, Dave thought it was a good idea. In return of board & lodging and lots of mess at home, he will get them to sing for him, and hopefully launch his music career.

His unanticipated mischiefs of the trio ended him loosing his job, and they messing up his house. But in a rare encounter, he got them a recording deal which turned them into pop sensations, but which was then too big for them to handle.

By him not wanting a 'family', Alvin and the chipmunks left to stay with the recording company's boss. It was without their presence that Dave missed them, and then made a hunt chase for them. This indeed was a good comeback action, as they too were exhausted from their concert dates schedule & missed him too.

The mischievous trio of Alvin, Simon & Theodore makes this movie a nice watch, with them showing how energetic & fun life can be. Their 3 distinct characters are portrayed well here & gives the movie a good mix of lively characters.

This movie also has the special warmth moments by the chipmunks, especially Theodore making it appeal to both kids & adults, especially during this Christmas season. Also, one of the more interesting part is seeing the 3 chipmunks holding concerts with them taking center-stage!

Fans of the former TV cartoon series will most likely enjoy this animated movie as well. And though the chipmunks have 'grown up' in their dressings & looks to suite the 2000s, they still remain the same fun, happy-go-lucky chipmunks they were.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


This movie starts off with a young Englishman, Tristan, who sets off to find a falling star to prove his love to the girl of his dreams.

To do that he has first cross the 'Wall' which separates his town with the unkown. He managed to locate the falling star, who turned out to be a human, a pretty lady, Una. Yes, she is the star he has to bring back to his town.

But, it isn't that easy, as he has to fight off the rest - from princes & withces, who are all after the girl's heart. Their adventures fighting off them, plus the adventure with pirates on a flying ship gives this movie a wonderful heart-beating experience. Of course, the sound effect plays a part too.

Imagine a movie filled with magic, fantasy, plus a dose of reality - which is the current trend set out by movies like LOTR and Harry Potter. There are fightings, killings, lots of chasing (after the star's heart) and yet there is romance and comedy.

The more matured stars shines here - Michelle Pfeiffer in her witch role clearly steals the show with her charms & wit, while Robert De Niro pulls off a dual role.

With beautiful settings and though a little predictable script, this show is a great watch.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bee Movie

When the main bee character, Barry, started to talk, it sounded so familiar I couldn't remember who it was, but I've heard that voice before... and it was not only the voice. Somehow, the bee seemed to represent someone in real life... yes, it is Jerry Seinfield, from the Seinfield sitcom.

Here, he voice-over a new graduated bee, who has to look for a job in the bee-hive, which is a job for life. He couldn't decide, as one, there were too many jobs, but more so he fancied seeing the world, out from the hive.

His eagerness lead him to meeting a lady whom he became best friends with, and were to later sue the humans for stealing honey & selling/ consuming them. With all the honey in the world now back with the bees, they had more than sufficient, and stopped working altogether. This creates the problem whereby the bees stop pollinating the flowers, and which then affects the human race (eg. no more flowers for sale).

Of course, then the task fell back to Barry to solve the problem, which in cartoon style, of course he did!

Done in a light hearted animation cartoon, this movie falls in line with Dreamworks style of more humour with some snippets of lil heart warming scenes.

It's refreshing to see Jerry take up this Bee role and it's a timely opening for the Christmas/ year end season. Nice for kids, families, and those who just want a break with humour and fun :)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Pleasure Factory

The star of the movie is not the actors or actresses, but mainly location Geylang - the glaring red-light district of city conscious Singapore.

I am ok with watching art movies, but this art movie seems too arty - and too lost, with many different characters in different settings, and many not contributing to the message. Even if it does, it takes too long for the message to get accross - you can actually close your eyes for a full 10 seconds and nothing has changed in that scene!

For an acclaimed director, with Chang & Eng and the blockbuster Beautiful Boxer, this seems a very big letdown. Pleasure Factory seems much more like a student's project or a first time director at most.

Unless you come from Singapore, or you are curious on Singapore's red-light district, this movie will not garner much interest except, maybe apart from its soft porn flicks. Minus Geylang, and this movie is just like any movie taken in any other red-light district in any country.

But, of course, if you think hard enough & endure the movie, you'll get Ekachai's message - the difference between love & sex. But to go through such length & 'torture', it's much better to simply visit the district itself.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Detective

Filmed entirely in Thailand, this movie showcase Aaron Kwok in a more centered role, where he plays, Tam, a private detective who is in search of a lady, Sum, for his client.

However, his focus from finding the lady was instead moved to find the killer of people who were associated to Sum. Hence, he moves from clue to clue and from deaths to deaths of each person he chances upon. This makes the plot rather complicated & confusing leaving the average audience rather lost.

This movie follows the usual Hong Kong styled twists & turns, mixing it with a lil horror, with lots of suspects who is the killer giving the audience lots of goose bumps.

The end result is a rather lame storyline, but the music effects & heart-beating moments keeps the audience to their chairs.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Azur & Asmar

This fairytale cartoon is about 2 children, Azur & Asmar, who grew up together and taken care by Asmar's mother. She was working as a maid for Azur's rich dad.

Azur's dad seperated the 2 kids while young and also sacked the maid.

Years later when Azur grew up, he went on the quest to seek the Djinn fairy, whose story is not sure a fairytale or truth. Being white, he ended up landing on the Arab nation, whose blue eyes were a curse. Hence, he pretended to be blind.

In all surprises, he finally met Asmar's mum, who now is a rich merchant. And she shows both him & Asmar the ropes to meet the fairy.

This fairytale story is set with beautiful intricate & lavish Arabic settings, especially in the homes of the now merchant and the Djinn's fairy's palace.

This movie also drops little snippets of philosophies & beliefs, like that 'tone is more important in getting message accross, rather than language itself'. It comes as no surprise because the movie was dubbed in both French & Arabic, and do not have full translations of each sentence.

In addition, it also shows how some people can perceive things negatively, while other see it in a positive light. This was shown when Azur pretended to be blind, his new found friend, only told him the bad things, even if they seemed ok. But when he finally opened his eyes, he got a shocked to know the contrary.

Interestingly set, this movie is beautiful with its colours & drawings, and is a rather decent show :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry

Chuck & Larry are two firemen who are best of pals. One day, Larry (Kevin James) helped saved Chuck's (Adam Sandler) life while in work. In return of his gratefulness, Chuck mentioned that he will repay Larry in whatever he wants.

So, when Larry had problems of tax issues, he decided the only way was to have Chuck be his domestic partner. And he of course turned to Chuck for 'help', not knowing what they would fall into.

Both straight men had to pretend to be domestic partners and even getting married legally in Canada, just for Larry's sake. They even had to lived in together with Larry's 2 kids. Chuck was pissed further as he was then falling for their lawyer, Alex McDonough (Jessica Biel), but had to hide it as the government is cracking on scams of gay marriages.

My initial idea was this was going to be a gay-bashing movie. But it ended empathising on them with subtle lines, giving viewers a better understanding of them and love in general. There is also a showcase of strong friendship bonds as shown among the firemen, when they backed both Chuck & Larry in their 'marriage'.

The usual American or Hollywood jokes are found here, together with the typical Adam Sandler's hilarious actions.

Watch this if you are a fan of humour, or a fan of Sandler.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Home Song Stories

This collaboration between Singapore - Australia is a true life story of writer Tony Ayres.

It shows his growing up years with his beautiful yet dramatic mother, Rose (Joan Chen) and sister May (Irene Chen). It shows her mother's life from her nightclub days in Hong Kong before they migrated to stay with Uncle Bill (Steven Vidler) in Melbourne, Australia for better hopes of a brighter future.

However, his mum's behaviour simply spoils whatever bright future they have, as she kept on with her flirtatious and opportunist lifestyle. On at Melbourne, she befriends an apprentice chef, Joe (Qi YuWu), who although helped her in certain times, but made more damage in the end, falling for her daughter May.

The stories 'ping pong' back & forth of dismay to hope and seems never to end til when Bill came back (again) to save them. However, that didn't seemed enough.

The story first seemed to come more from the mother's point of view, before shifting focus to Tom's perspective. The focus wasn't in depth on the boy's part, and was rather shallow with most times just touching the surface of his feelings, hence not being able to dwell into his thoughts fully. Though viewers can sympathise with the boy at times, but are not able to read & feel for the boy fully. However there is more attachement to his mum instead.

That is where the confusion is - is this movie about the mother or the boy?

And more confusing is the poster in Singapore whereby Joe & Rose were featured instead of the little boy, Tom.

The star of the movie no doubt is superb acting from all casts, especially Joel Lok who played the charming & cute character with wide eyes & full expressions of his faces.

Overall, a good start for a Singapore - Australian production, though with backing from Raintree, I expected this to be a Bigger movie.

Finally, one last note, this movie also goes to show how the Asians or Chinese are able to blend in well in Australia (or any Western country for that matter), speaking their language with their accent. And this showcase by the English movie makes it more thumbs up for Asia, a rare opportunity for Asians showcase.