Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ah Long Pte Ltd

This Singapore-Malaysia collaboration is Jack Neo's fiercest attempt to enter the similar Malaysian market. Featuring famous Singaporean leads - Fann Wong, Mark Lee (who has acted together with Jack in many other movies), Richard Low, and a huge Malaysian supporting casts - from KK, Daniel Tan, MY FM deejay Lam Tak Wing/ Jack Lim & Lai Ming.

This 'dark comedy' shows an attempt of the new Ah Long leader, Wang Li-Hua (Fann Wong) to transform & reform her triad to be more responsible, and use less violence, hoping to appeal more to the public. Not used to this new method and thinks that they are trying to take his 'territories', the other triad leader is angry. In the meantime, the cunning retired boss of Li-Hua is also angry of the 'weaker' style and wants to make a comeback.

Hence, there is the rush & running around of each triads, with quite a fair bit of violence in between. It shows some part of how the Ah Longs work - to get back their monies, their regular meetings between the heads, and their 'lavish' lifestyles.

One interesting scene is the durian football scene where durians were used to play rather than the usual ball. Another heart-stopping moment is also during the revenge by a group of youngsters who lost their parents because of the ah longs - violence begets violence.

This typical Singapore movies stick closely to the slapstick comedies the city-state was first introduced to back in the late 90s. Jack's usual subtle play on Malaysian politics is here as well - and one needs a fair bit of observation to see the connections. However, if mentioned, it does clearly shows.

To add to it, it's mainly shot in Malaysia - and that is one move from the usual HDB scenes seen in the Singapore films. There is also a mix of Cantonese to suite the language used in KL, and even the Mandarin is more Malaysian style!

Talented Mark Lee acts well here, playing as a soft sissy beside the gritty Fann Wong. This role suits her well with her fierce look as the triad leader.

If you are local Singaporean, then this is a decent movie to watch. It should do reasonably well in Malaysia for its topic and the fact it's a Malaysian-ised movie to one extent, and also because there's lots of funny moments in between.


Hong Kong actor - director, Stephen Chow is back after his successful movie - Kung Fu Hustle. This movie sees him both directing & acting. He playes, Ti, a poor construction worker who struggles financially because he sends his son to a private school. His love for his son is strong and he instills good life values to him, despite them being poor - as his philosophy in live is.

His son, Dicky, can't seem to fit well in the school because of his background of being poor. He is often bullied by both his friends & even the teachers.

One day, his dad brought a 'toy' he found at the garbage area - and it turned out to be an alien dog. Named as CJ7, it becomes Dicky's best friend, and although not helping him in less important things that Dicky wanted, but helped in more important situations.

This movie shows the strong bond of a father-son relationship, and how often young children may say things they do not mean, only to realise (& regret later). Chow also instills the value to human beings - integrity and not about one's status. The relationship between CJ7 & Dicky also shows the deepness of a friendship.

This movie is a heart warming story that may divert from Chow's previous all laughter movie, and some may not be used to it, especially if there are sad scenes during Chinese New Year! But, despite that, it is still a good effort & a thumbs up for Hong Kong films - in terms of movie direction, moving away from its slapstick comedies. The big budget Columbia Pictures gives the weight to the movie as well, with good CG effects - and of course its wonderful marketing plan, as Chow says.

It also goes well with Xu Jiao's acting skills - a girl playing the boy role as Dicky.

Is the CJ7 character similar to Chicken Little?
Maybe a lil, but to me, it's still quite distinct. Yes, maybe the big fluffy head, but CJ7 is more dog like than chicken :)

CJ7 & its pal, Dicky.

The famous lil chicken, Chicken Little.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Kung Fu Dunk

This live action Chinese New Year movie sees a talented orphan boy, Shi-Jie (Jay Chou), who grew up in a kungfu school, only to be expelled after a brawl.

He meets up with Wang-Li (Eric Tsang), who brought him into the world of basketball, joining the univeristy team. An 'agreement' was formed between them - Wang-Li will market the talented Shi-Jie, while Shi-Jie is to combine his talent & skill of both kung fu and basketball and win honours.

It sees the journey of how they both overcome obstacles, learning about trust, and also on bonding and friendship.

This movie sees Jay Chou playing a different role we usually don't see from him - a not so smart guy. However it is made up with his cool basketball tactics. His fast paced & catchy music scores for the movie has added lots of punch to it, delivering at the correct times.

Lots of Matrix styled action in the courts, good sense humour, and a lil bit of romance makes this movie a great watch, especially this Chinese New Year. It's light and has a good ending.

The only part I think should have been improved is the posters from the movie, which could do a lil better to attract more.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


All I can remember on this movie is a group of friends who are so silly to follow the lead to save his girlfriend from monsters. Along the way, they die one by one, but are not affected, and just continue with his mission.

One of his friends is the 'cameraman'. He can't stop holding the camera and keep on talking nonsense, which is very irritating, and doesn't add any value to the show at all - except how silly this show is. The movie is shown from his camera - bluriness and all.

If the producers/ director wanted this movie to be real, then make it from someone's view (from his eyes), rather than someone carrying a video camera everywhere even in times of danger, and to die because of that.

The poster is way too good for this movie. They obviously have good marketing here, but it's really is style without substance. Even giving tomatoes (rotten) would be too kind.

Sweeney Todd Movie

Based on a fictional character of Sweeney Todd & the musical of the same name, this movie is set in old, gloomy & dark London. This musical film is about Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp) who was unjustly sent to prison by Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman) in order for him to get his wife.

Benjamin returns to London years later to revenge, changing his name to Sweeney Todd and teaming up with the pie shop lady, Mrs Lovett (Helena Bonham Carter). Together in his quest of revenge, he kills men who come to shave at his upstairs barber's shop, and she using the corpse's as meat in her meat pie.

In between, his new friend wants to save his daughter, who is prisoned by the Judge.

The first 20 minutes of the show is a real bore, which is a little slow and too much singing. However, if you can withstand the first 20 minutes of the show, then you'll enjoy this musical, especially the singing & the music score.

Seeing how they team up is rather amusing, though it can make some 'sick'. Killing here is made like another routine, blood is seen everywhere, and eating human pie is like normal.

Johnny acts well here - deep, angry and revengeful, while Helena sings & acts incredibly too, playing a less serious, but cunning person as well. Of course, Alan who has his usual stern serious look and voice brings out the Judge just as good.

A good watch.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Mad Money

A stellar cast of Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah & Katie Holmes sure sets this movie in the right mood.

Diane plays Bridget, the wife of her out-of-job corporate husband, who found themselves staring blank with bills to settle. Not wanting to give up, she applied and got a job as a janitor - yes, the once rich housewife working as a janitor in the Federal Reserve Bank at Kansas City.

Because of the need of more cash, she tempted to steal, where she formed an 'alliance' with Nina (Queen Latifah)and Jackie (Katie Holmes). Their easy money & not getting caught got them to want for more, especially the greedy Bridget.

However, their soon accumulated wealth got the officials wondering where the monies were coming from, which got them into a frenzy.

This movie is acted very well by Diane who after all these years still have the star power. She played her role superbly - both as the rich wife, and the unglamorous janitor. And of course, not to mention, the ever magnetic Queen Latifah, who played her mama role. The beautiful Tom Cruise's wife, Katie adds to this powerful line up, acting as a blur young & naive girl.

A light hearted movie for everyone :)