Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Apocalypto (2006)

Opening quote: "A great civilisation is not conquered from without until it is destroyed from within.” — W. Durant

Set in the Mayan civilisation, a peaceful tribe is brutally attacked by warriors on the rulers' command seeking human beings and slaves as sacrifices for their gods. Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood), a young man captured for sacrifice, flees to avoid his fate.

The fighting scenes and massacre are pretty graphic, although not as disturbing as the torture in The Passion of the Christ. I would like to think that the glimpses this film provides of Mayan civilisation are in meticulous detail, although I expected to see more and less of the boring 'running through the forest' scenes. The scenes of captured villagers running around in blue body paint reminds me of William Wallace in Braveheart. Gibson casted actors with little or no experience at all, but they are quite good. The whole film is in an ancient Mayan language (with easy–to–follow English subtitles), which lends an air of authenticity to the happenings.

Rating: 2/5.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Shooter (2007)

Based on the novel, Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter, this is a story of a former Marine scout marksman, Bob Lee Swagger (Mark Wahlberg), who is coaxed back into action after learning of a plot to kill the US President. Ultimately double–crossed and framed for the attempt, he goes on the run to track the real killer and find out who exactly set him up, and why. Co–stars include Danny Glover, Ned Beatty and Michael Peña (Babel, Million Dollar Baby).

It has been a while since I saw a good action film. The last ones were Casino Royale, The Bourne series and The Italian Job (remake). This one makes the cut as well, but I wouldn't say it's as equally good as The Bourne series. Mark Wahlberg is a fine actor. I wonder if he could perform in a romantic comedy?

Rating: 2.5/5.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

A struggling salesman, Chris Gardner (Will Smith) takes custody of his son, Christopher (Jaden Christopher Syre Smith) as he's poised to begin a life–changing professional endeavour.

Based on a true story. Inspiring. The message is simple: never give up, keep trying until you achieve your dream. The spelling mistake in the title ('happyness' instead of 'happiness') is deliberate. You'll understand why when you watch the film.

Rating: 2/5.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Walk The Line (2005)

A story about the life of Johnny Cash, from his younger days to becoming a country music legend.

I'm not really into biography/memoirs, and not a Johnny Cash fan. Only watched it because Reese Witherspoon won an Oscar for Best Actress for her portrayal of June Carter, who toured with Cash and finally married him. Reese and Joaquin Phoenix prove themselves to be able singers. I enjoyed Joaquin's solid performance in Ladder 49, which is one of my favourite films.

Rating: 1.5/5.

The Omen (2006)

A remake of the 1976 horror classic, The Omen. An American diplomat realised that his son may be the son of the devil.

It isn't a bad film, but it nearly pales in comparison to the original. I remember feeling disturbed after watching the original many years back. Liev Schreiber is a fine actor, but he's no Gregory Peck. The musical score in the remake doesn't sound as bone–chilling as the original. The dreams that the lead characters had carry creepy images without any sound effects. Still, the remake isn't 'evil' enough unlike the original.

Some interesting facts about the making of The Omen as published on
wikipedia.org/The_Omen and wikipedia.org/The Omen (2006).

Curse (1976)

In 2005 a documentary entitled "The Curse of The Omen" was shown on British television. The production of The Omen was plagued with a series of incidents which some members of the crew attributed to the operation of a curse. They wondered if these events were due to supernatural forces trying to prevent the filming of the movie. Instances include the following:
  • Scriptwriter David Seltzer's plane was struck by lightning.
  • Star Gregory Peck, in a separate incident, had his plane struck by lightning.
  • Richard Donner's hotel was bombed by the Provisional IRA.
  • Gregory Peck cancelled his reservation on a flight. The plane he had originally chartered crashed, killing all on board (a group of Japanese businessmen).
  • A warden at the safari park used in the "crazy baboon" scene was attacked and killed by a lion the day after the crew left.
  • Rottweilers hired for the film attacked their trainers.
  • On the first day of shooting, the principal members of the crew got in a head-on car crash.
Curse (2006)
  • In a strange event, Pete Postlethwaite (Father Brennan) not only lost his brother while he was filming the movie, but before he passed, his brother was in a card game in which he drew three sixes. Postlethwaite is reluctant to put together a connection, but adds "I think things like that do happen and it's just sometimes we're not sensitised enough to see the problem."
Other facts
  • Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles had earlier starred together in a contemporary update of Shakespeare's Hamlet. They play brother and sister in Hamlet, and husband and wife in The Omen, ironically, their characters in both films die and die in the same fashion. Both of Schreiber's characters are shot dead, and both of Stiles' characters die from a form of suffocation.
  • David Thawlis who plays the photojournalist, Keith Jennings, also plays Professor Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter series, along with Sir Michael Gambon, who plays Bugenhagen in this film, and Professor Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter.

Rating: 2.5/5.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Perfect Stranger (2007)

A journalist, Rowena Price (Halle Berry) goes undercover to investigate the unsolved murder of one of her childhood friends. Co–stars include Bruce Willis, Giovanni Ribisi and Gary Dourdan (Warrick Brown of CSI).

A complete waste of time. I wonder why did they bother to make this film in the first place? You won't even remember watching this after like, a month. Glad I didn't waste my money by paying for a movie ticket. Can't wait for The Bourne Ultimatum!

Rating: 1/5.

Die Hard 4: Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) takes on an internet–based terrorist organisation who is systematically shutting down the United States.

Watched this on DVD. I'm not a fan of Bruce Willis, but it seems like he's still the man, although the action and suspense have worn off after three Die Hard films.

Rating: 2/5.

The Last Time (2006)

A salesman, Ted (Michael Keaton) rediscovers a lust for life after falling for Belisa (Amber Valetta), the fiancée of his new business partner, Jamie (Brendan Fraser), a Midwest transplant finding his footing in New York City.

Another major flop. Enough said.

Rating: 0.5/5.

Must Love Dogs (2005)

I have extra time to spare, so am indulging in a movie marathon again. Watched 4 movies on DVD in less than 2 days, and I've got more to catch.

In Must Love Dogs, Sarah Nolan (Diane Lane), a divorced pre–school teacher who has sworn off dating after her bad break–up, finds her family pushing her back into the dating world. Her sister places a personal ad for her, declaring that anyone answering it "must love dogs", despite the fact that Sarah doesn't own a dog herself. When someone intriguing responds to the ad, she decides to borrow her brother's dog, Mother Theresa, and plunge in.

The film benefits from having a talented cast inclusive of John Cusack, Christopher Plummer and Dermot Mulroney, but it has flaws and lacks that warm feeling when you watch a romantic comedy unlike The Holiday starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black.

Rating: 2/5.

Call Me Irresponsible (Michael Bublé)

Love this new CD album from Micheal Steven Bublé. I can't get Everything out of my head! After watching the video clip featuring Whoopi Goldberg and Sting, and listening to the song on TV for a few weeks, I just had to get it. It's jazz meets swing meets broadway meets pop. Bublé wrote 2 new songs, Everything and Lost. There's a duet with Boyz II Men. There are some renewed tracks such as Me and Mrs Jones, Wonderful Tonight, Always On My Mind and Love.

Rating: 3/5.