Kung Fu Panda 2 – Funnier than the first

You may not agree with me, but in my opinion, Kung Fu Panda 2 is even funnier than the first installment. No, I don’t mean the first one was not funny. In fact, both of them are very entertaining, and the good thing is that the second one is better than the first, as that is a rare trace in Hollywood movies.

The movie started off as a sequel, with Po and the Furious Five becoming guardians and protectors for the city, fending off all the attacks and ensuring peace and security. With their martial art skills, that is surely no problem. However, we soon found out that their skills would be tested against much more brutal and dangerous forces brought by the feared Lord Shen, who came back from exile with his own army and the desire to rule the whole China, and consequently the world.

Ok, so we have worthy enemy, and a good cause, and a potential for battles and fights. That is quite sufficient for an animated movie. Fortunately, the producers did not stop at that, but took pain to develop the story further, digging to the fact that Po’s Dad was a goose, not a panda, and hence made a deeper movie. It quickly turned into a prequel within a sequel, something like Wolverine’s story within X-Men. That is a nice extra touch, as it gives the movie a great depth and give viewers more things to ponder and more surprises to unfold.

Kung Fun Panda 1 was not meant for Oscar glory, and I believe the same for the second movie. However, that does not prevent the movie from being interesting and entertaining and lovely. Although the story turned more serious, it did not sacrifice on entertaining value. There were still a great deal of funny scenes, especially with Po’s belly. And after watching this movie, we have a new catchphrase: “Inner Peace”.

In terms of visual quality, this movie was even better than the first, with more efforts into the construction of the characters. There was a 3D version as well, but having encountered not so good experience with 3D movies previously, I opted for the 2D version instead. In my opinion, 2D was enough, as the images were really sharp and my brain did not have to keep processing the manufactured 3D effects until turning tired.

In terms of cast, there were more big names, such as Gary Oldman, who lent his voice to Lord Shen. In fact, I am not too concerned about that, unless the voice is too distracting, such as Reese Witherspoon in Monsters vs Aliens, or the guy has too poor English command, which should not be the case since the producers have poured in too much money to risk seeing the project fail because of such stupid detail. I am fine with not so famous actors lending their voices to the characters, as long as they do their jobs well. Save money for the effects, the characters and the scenes. That would be money well spent, unless you need someone to sing in the movie, which is very rare in animations nowadays.

Overall, this is a good, funny film that the whole family can enjoy together. There are deaths, but they are not brutal, and the movie ends well, so kids will not leave the cinema in tears, but laughter. For me, I am looking forward to the third movie. Hopefully they will make it, and it seems that they will do so, given the loose end after the credits.

As usual, more photos after the jump:

Po, the city’s guardian

Together, they keep the peace in the city

Lord Shen, the exiled prince who wanted to make a devastating comeback to rule China

Angelina Jolie as tigress

And Jack Black as the funny Po




Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

After more than one year, Captain Jack was finally back, to charm us again. This time, there was no Will or Elizabeth, so he had to carry the weight of the whole movie by himself. Of course, Johnny Depp could be trusted for such a difficult task, but I still prefer having the couple fighting alongside him. That was more fun, and it made the movie deeper.

The fourth installment continued from what the third movie left off, with Captain Jack on the path to finding the Fountain of Youth, after his plan to stab Davy Jones’ heart suddenly failed at the very end, so that he could still live forever and sail the seas for eternity. However, his journey was not as smooth as he had expected, no thanks to the unwelcoming company of a fearsome pirate and two countries’ armies. The odds were stacked against him, and he had to walk the line again to avoid getting caught and to save his own life.

The previous movies have been quite well known for their carefully built plots with lots of surprising twists and turns, as well as short lived alliances. In terms of that, this movie seems to be weaker. Although Jack was still jumping from side to side, turning from allies to enemies and back, I feel that the plot was not as deep as its predecessors. Last time, both Jack and Will, and even Elizabeth, kept switching sides and giving us surprises after surprises. Now, apart from Jack, most of other characters sticked to their own sides, which made the story more predictable. That made Jack become quite lonely, and it seemed that he was trying too much, with not enough help from others.

After Elizabeth left the scene to take care of her son and wait for her husband, a new female character was introduced. She was Angelica, Jack’s former girlfriend and bride to be. It was a long time since they last met, and she had changed a lot since then. Their path suddenly crossed again as they both headed towards one destination, and in the face of strong enemies, they had no other way but to put the past behind, at least temporarily, to rely on each other so that they could outsmart and outrun their competitors.

Personally, I still prefer Keira to Penelope. She was more charismatic, and she had stronger acting skill. Penelope was hot, but maybe because she was not a native English speaker, she seemed to struggle a bit during long dialogues, and was not as comfortable. Her face was a bit stiff, even though her fighting skill was cool, and she had an awesome body with killer curves that were highlighted even more boldly in her tight and fitting pirate outfits. I have no doubt that we will see her again in the next installment, but I also hope that she will be more comfortable onscreen, and escape from the silhouette of Keira. She is talented, and with a richer plot she will be able to show more acting skill.

This movie also introduced a new pirate, the fearsome Captain Blackbeard, captain of the Queen Anne’s Revenge, one of the legendary pirate ships besides Black Pearl and Flying Dutchman. Blackbeard had dark magic, and harbored some zombies onboard his ship. Moreover, he could control the ship on his own, and the ship followed his order like a loyal servant obeying his master. That made him become dangerous, as there was practically no way to snatch the ship from him, or to fight against his zombie soldiers.

However, Blackbeard was living under a prophecy of a death drawing nigh, and that put him on the path to the Fountain of Youth to fight his destiny.

Finally he could reach his prize, but the there was a sudden twist that made all his plans go wrong, and that was one of the details that made the movie worth its price, although it was quite predictable, especially if you are already used to Jack’s nature and game plans.

Jack was still witty, as usual. Angelica was his ex, but he did not let that get in his way towards his desired goal. There were some sparks between them, but none was big enough to initiate a fire from the long cold ashes.

This movie also introduced the charming mermaids, the mythical creatures of the sea. They were beautiful and mind boggling, but they were also ravenous and aggressive and thirst for human’s blood and flesh. To human, they are angels, but to them human are just meat. Nothing more, nothing less. That was a stark difference from the mermaids in Disney’s Little Mermaid.

The mermaids added something new to the movie, but not crucial. They made the journey more challenging, but did not really change the course. I have the feeling that their introduction in this movie is to prepare the way for the next movie, where they will feature more boldly. Let’s wait and see 🙂

There was love at fight sight, between a missionary and a captured mermaid. Again, it was a bit unnecessary and might even make the story less condensed. The missionary appeared from nowhere, with just a very simple explanation of his presence onboard Queen Anne’s Revenge. Anyway, it was no harm having a handsome guy and a pretty girl who appeared half naked (nothing was exposed) in all her scenes. If they do not come back in the next movie, then I have no other way but to conclude that their presence was just for marketing purpose and to make the film appear longer and more sophisticated.

Blackbeard was quite interesting. Unlike Jack, or Barbossa, he was no nonsense kind of guy, who focused on his goal and dared to do everything for it. He was strong and fierce, but he had too little screen time, so his character could not be portrayed as clearly as Davy Jones in the previous 2 movies. Moreover, there was very slim chance of him coming back, so that was a bit sad and disappointing.

Jack was still a great fun to watch, as always. He continued showing his charm, his charisma and his multi layered schemes. Walt Disney was lucky to manage to persuade Jack to stay on. Without him, this movie will lose its extraordinary side, and become quite ordinary, even B grade. Moreover, I was glad to know that I did not have to bear to see Jack Enfron in this movie, and that the rumor was wrong. Otherwise, the movie will become a soft soap opera and lose its weight for sure.

Overall, the movie was just ok for me. It was fun to watch, and quite hilarious at times, but it was not outstanding, and the new guys still could not fill in the shoes left by the veterans of the previous 3 outstanding movies.

X-Men: First Class – An exhilarating ride

You may have cried out in pain “Oh no, not another super hero movie again”. I really understand your feeling. Recently, we have been constantly bombarded with super hero movies of all kinds, from human to dogs to even lesser kinds of animals. And you may have lost your trust in X-Men following the failure of X-Men Wolverine. That, I also can understand, and I share your empathy. X-Men Wolverine is really a flop, but if you are generous and forgiving enough, then please give this movie a try, and hopefully, you will love it, as I gave it a try and I love it again.

X-Men First Class went back to the very beginning of the story, to tell us about the childhood years of the most important characters, Professor X and Magneto. If you have not read the comic before, and you will surely love those details, because they give you a fuller, more complete picture of the whole story. It’s like watching LOTR 3 and recalling the questions you had when watching LOTR 1. It also gives us the chance to get to know more about those characters, and understand what contributed to making them what they grew up to be.

We all know that Professor X is a telepathy who can read minds and plant his thoughts into minds, but many of us may not know his background, and why he has the urge to find others like him, save them, nurture them and teach them to make good use of their talents. X-Men First Class helped us answer those questions, and we also understand more why he has the kind of love for human, who have been rejecting him and hunting him and his people, and why he has that kind of love and hesitance when it comes to Magneto, despite all the bad things that guy has done to him.

This movie also tells us more about Magneto, his background and his upbringing, his difficult childhood years and what contribute to making him that human hater that we have known all along. We know that he can control magnetism, but we may not know where he came from and why he hates mankind so much, and what urges him to keep fighting for a world ruled by mutants. This movie helps us answer those questions, and also give us more details on his connection with the mutant Mystique.

True to its name, X-Men First Class also tells us about Mystique and gives us the full story of her background, which is really interesting. It’s good to know the girl behind that mask, and understand why she is so loyal to Magneto. Although I must say that the new girl is not as pretty as the Rebecca Romjin, who played the same role last time, I believe she will get famous and we will be seeing her more and more very soon.

Of course, a movie like this will become no fun without any villain, and the villains here are quite noteworthy. Yes, they are mutants too. I know it’s quite painful to see mutants fighting each other, but sometimes that’s inevitable. Well, at least the good ones won, and there was not much mutant bloodshed and no indiscriminate killings.


X-Men First Class focuses quite a lot on story telling, instead of just fighting and explosions, which is nice. It’s really boring to watch a show of explosions and effects without any story and with broken links and plot holes everywhere. This movie is different. It’s quite well rounded. It starts and ends well, and its special effects help carry the story and entertain viewers, not substituting the story and the characters. The digital version looks and feels great, but I actually was too immersed in the story that I did not realize the presence of those CGI until much later.

Overall, X-Men First Class is good to watch, and should be quite worth your time and money 🙂

As usual, more photos of the movie below 😀

Azazel, a villain with Hellboy’s look, a demonic tail and Jumper’s ability

Emma Frost, a villain with telepathy skill similar to Professor X, plus the ability to turn herself into a huge chunk of diamond (well, I don’t know whether she can pluck out a small piece of that or not, because if she can, she will surely possess the biggest diamond the world has ever known)

Dr. Coy aka The Beast

Bernard Shaw and Emma Frost, scheming the next move






Thor – A nice and entertaining movie

You may have read, or heard from somewhere, that this movie sucks and lousy, and there is nothing original in it. Well, those comments must have come from the critics, and I bet they have watched so many movies that they have almost lost their love for watching movies as a normal audience. Trust me, this movie is fun to watch, and worth your time and money, so go ahead and watch it, and have fun as I had fun watching it myself. 🙂

The movie is about Thor, a powerful God and soon to be king of Asgard, a world far away from our world. He was strong, almighty, but proud and arrogant. He craved for justice, but as he was proud, he always thought that he was right, and considered himself correct, so he did not listen to anyone at all, not until an incident happened that changed his life, and many others, forever.

While Thor was proud but righteous, his younger brother, Loki, was more introvert, but also more scheming and calculative. Being the weaker child, he did not get as much attention from their father, King Odin, as his brother, and therefore had to keep making plans to get his father’s favor, at the expense of his own brother. His chance finally came when his brother made a grave mistake, and had to pay for it at a very high price, but having the chance and being able to make good use of it are two very different things.

Thor might be arrogant and proud, but he was not a loner. He had a group of very close childhood friend, who have gone through wars and battles with him, who he could trust with his life, and who were willing to risk their own lives for his. When hard times came, those friendships were proven priceless, and those friends helped him get back, to his world and to his mission, of course as a changed man.

Odin, Thor and Loki’s father, was the mighty but just and righteous king of Asgard. He was powerful, but he did not abuse his power. He used his power to keep the peace between worlds, and stood against the Frost Giants to protect mankind. However, he still strived to make peace with his enemy, for a greater good, and tried his best to protect that fragile peace treaty. It took a lot of courage and patience for him to do it, and he expected the same from his son and future successor, so when his son disappointed him, he had no choice but to bite the bullet, strip him from his power, and send him to Earth as a normal man, so that he could learn his lesson and control his temper so that he could use his power properly.

The painful decision appeared to work, Thor had a chance to open his eyes, his mind, and change totally. He not only found himself, but also found something new called love, which he had never noticed before. He was brought to the bottom, and he rose up from the abyss and earn back his power, just in time to save the day and prevent his younger brother to throw the worlds into a new world.

Chris Hemsworth was a relatively new face, and this was his first major leading role. To tell the truth, he was not bad at all. He had beautiful piercing blue eyes, which helped him a lot in expressing his character’s emotions. He was really handsome, which was a crucial factor for newcomers in Hollywood nowadays. Moreover, he had a wonderful form figure, which allowed him to showcase his muscles confidently whenever and wherever possible.

Thor’s brother, Loki, was played by Tom Hiddleston, a new face as well. He really shone in this movie. He looked mean and he acted mean. He was charismatic, and versatile, but I doubt we will see him in a good man’s role, as his face seems to be more suitable for playing the bad guy’s role.

Although Natalie Portman was the leading actress, she did not have much screen time, as this was basically the movie about Thor and his people. She was outstanding, as always, but I still feel that she did not have enough time to showcase her brilliant acting skill. This role could be played by a lot of other, less talented actresses, so I believe her casting is simply for publicity purpose only, not for professional reasons.

The movie’s CGI was quite good. I did not watch the 3D version, so I am not sure how it looked like in 3D, but it was quite nice in 2D. The battle scenes were sophisticated, and the effects were magnificent. The Frost Giants looked really scary and menacing, although I found them similar to some ogres and monsters in Lord of the Rings. Maybe they renewed the prototypes to save time and money, maybe not. Anyway, those are just extras, and as long as they looked their part, I’m fine with it.

The movie had a happy ending, although not totally well rounded. Thor had to make a difficult decision, and he decided to forgo his promise to the girl he loved, for a greater good. He finally found his footing, and proved himself worthy to be king of Asgard. His mind was in Asgard, but his heart was left on Earth, where the girl was waiting for him, and trying her very best to find the way for him to come back to her again.

Red Riding Hood – Not very scary and lousy ending

Don’t believe in the genre classification for this movie. It’s not a horror movie, not at all. Classifying it as a horror movie is an insult of those true horror movies that can raise up your hair in each minute and each second. It’s just a thriller movie at most. So, those who are fan of thrilling movies, but not really into horror things, feel safe and go ahead to watch it, if you have not done so yet.

The movie revolves around babes, hunks and wolf. Yes, there are a few babes in this movie, clad in old rural villagers’ outfits. However, being set in place in the medieval time, the tight fashion with corset then made them quite well endowed and sexy, with Amanda being the sexiest of all. We also have a few hunks, with 2 main handsome boys fighting for the love and affection of the most beautiful girl in the village. Add into the context a scary big black wolf, and you have something to spend your one and a half hour.

Despite the famous title, the movie was very loosely based on the evergreen bedtime story. There was no small girl, only coming of age teenagers. There was no wolf pretending to be grandma, just wolf jumping around and killing mercilessly. There was a love triangle, with one guy gaining unfair advantage as the girl’s childhood sweetheart, while the other one tried desperately to turn the table and win her love with his good look, sincerity and brave sacrifice for her, not with money or position.

There are a few fighting scenes in the movie, mostly between the wolves and those who tried to put an end to their own sufferings and the menace they have been enduring all the while. However, there was quite little bloodshed, and although the wolf looked big, its wet and dirty fur look did not scare much. It seemed to be not so high end CGI involved, and the fights were quite simple. You can easily find better action sequences elsewhere.

Having said that, the movie still had to plus points worth highlighting. First, Amanda’s acting was quite natural, and through her abnormal big eyes, I could sometimes see emotion lingering, be it fear, anger, passion or confusion. She has been progressing, and will become a big shot in Hollywood very soon. Secondly, the plot was quite ok, except for the ending. I was left puzzled for quite a large part of the movie, unable to make a strong guess on who was the man turned into wolf. There were confusing indicators, and hints here and there for the possible candidates, which would help glue viewers to their seats as they wanted to stay until the end to see who the culprit was. Thirdly, when the real culprit was finally revealed, I was quite surprised and when I thought again about it later, it was a good fit. The film makers must have put some serious thoughts into the script and the flow of events to make it logical and fun to watch.

However, the part that disappointed me most in the movie was also the ending. It ended abruptly and loosely. There was no proper wrapping up, which made me think that they might want to leave a placeholder for a sequel should this one be a success. I will not say exactly how it ends, but it’s something like the ending of Pirates of the Caribbean 3, but less graceful. Moreover, the only sex scene in the movie was pushed all the way to the very end, when everything has been settled, making it out of place and not necessary at all. It did not contribute anything to the story or the flow, and it seemed to be there just because it was a Hollywood movie, and a Hollywood movie needs some sex scenes so it can sell. Or maybe they shot that scene, but during editing they could not find any proper place to put it (I cannot see any place that they could put it either), and they did not want to cut it out totally after having to persuade Amanda to do it, and spending some efforts making it look good and sexy. I just find it ironic, and totally useless for the movie indeed. Maybe just another reason for you to be patient and stay until the end, assuming that you come to the cinema just to see Amanda naked and having sex for a few seconds.

The teenager and her love

Gary Oldman made a supporting appearance in this movie as the professional  and obsessed werewolf slayer. He was talented, and his acting skill was natural. We all know that. However, the role did not give him much room to showcase his talent, and was cut short abruptly as well.

The teenager going to her grandma’s

Her abnormally big eyes never fails to make an impression

The very short and unnecessary sex scene

The King’s Speech – Good but not Great

To tell the truth, I did not quite understand why this movie reaped so many Oscar awards. Of course, Colin was outstanding in his role as the king who struggled with his speech defect, but other than that, the movie was quite normal. It was a bit long and draggy at times, and the story did not contain big surprises or striking twists that caught me off guard.

A large part of the movie was about the path towards the crown for King George, who had a speech defect and therefore no interest for public speaking at all. However, as a public figure, public speaking is a must, and he had no way to avoid it altogether. He had no other way but to face his problem heads on, and tried various ways to solve it, most of the time with disappointment and frustration. Fortunately, he finally managed to find a suitable speech therapist, with unconventional yet effective methods, and regained both public speaking skill as well as his confidence in himself and in his own voice. Basically, that’s the whole story line. It’s quite monotonous and had little room for surprises.

Having said that, I still agree that Colin deserves his Oscar award. He was outstanding, and contributed the most to the success of the movie. He had great personality, and showed the full aspect of the king’s personality, from his anger to his desperation to his frustration with himself. He beautifully depicted the king’s emotions and feelings, and gave viewers a very much closer look into the normal life of the British royal in a natural way. Through his acting, Colin kind of gave us a virtual tour into the monarchy’s life and the inner waves that seldom surface in public, and I bet that’s what makes the movie different from the rest of the contenders for the Oscars.

The cast was all English, and the director was also English, but fortunately the dialogues were quite easy to comprehend. I was very impressed with the way Colin acted the scenes when the king attempted to read or to speak in public, especially with a level of anger. As he is a native English speaker, it must have been very hard for him to try to mumble that way, and he must have practiced a lot just for that act.

If I can choose between this and Black Swan, I will definitely go for Black Swan. Personally, I think another reason why the movie was so successful is the upcoming royal wedding between Prince William and Kate. The movie was release at the right time, when people were quite curious about the royal life behind the high walls and thick veil of secrets, and it satisfied them by giving them a sneak peak, even though nobody would confirm how true that image was. The royal family will neither agree nor protest, normally they don’t have the habit to do that, they just don’t care and keep their straight faces, so viewers have the freedom to decide how much they want to believe in whatever they have been told 🙂

Black Swan & No Strings Attached – Two sides of the same actress

Well, this review is a bit overdue, but since I have told myself to write something for each movie I have watched in cinema, so this is it 🙂

Recently, we have watched 2 movies starred by the same actress: Natalie Portman. By now, you should have known that she has won an Oscar, and that was for her role in one of the two movies that I am talking about: Black Swan. Having watched the movie, and awed by her performance, I can say that she really deserves it. She was simply brilliant.

In Black Swan, Natalie was a young ballerina who was cast into the coveted role of the swan queen in the famous Swan Lake makeover. She had a hard time taking grip of that, and even a harder time preparing herself for the role. It was a double role that required her to act as both the white swan and the black swan, and it was the black swan that gave her all the troubles.

Being very disciplined, hardworking and careful in whatever she did, she had no problem playing the white swan. Her skill was perfect and her steps were well calculated, but what she lacked was the daredevil and the dark side of the black swan.

The large part of the movie was her struggle to fit into the dark half of the role, and how it changed her, totally but gradually. It was amazing to see how she immersed herself in the part, and how it changed her, brought out the dark side in her, and how she released her darkness to fit into the role she would be playing.

The movie brought us from one surprise to another, and we went so deep into it that we sometimes were as confused as the character about the events that happened around her. We also questioned whether they were real, and her horror and fear became ours.

Natalie’s acting skill was simply superb. She led us together into the journey deep into her deepest fears and most secret emotions. Her facial expressions said all what she wanted to say, and her ballet moves were really beautiful. She must have practiced a lot for this role, and now I understand why she fell for her choreographer after that. They must have worked hard together for a really long time.

There were some hot scenes in this movie, but they did not make the movie become cheap. They were there not to attract viewers, but to help develop the story.

The movie ended triumphantly, but abruptly and in such a surprising manner that when we saw the credit rolls, we suddenly felt empty. It was so abrupt ending, yet it was so perfect, and ended at the climax when everything fell together and the complete picture unfolded. This kind of ending, right at the climax, made us want for more, to see more. Not a nice, well rounded ending, yet it was perfect. Simply outstanding.

Shortly after this heavy movie, we saw Natalie in a romantic comedy. Yes, a romantic comedy. I know that sounds weird, and I was surprised to know that she was starring in a comedy, but after watching it, I knew that for such a talented and versatile actress, she could star in whatever genre and still nail it. We have seen the like of Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro and Paul Newman in comedic roles, and they were still great. Same for Natalie.

Apart from Natalie’s stellar performance, there was not much to say about this movie. It was fun to watch, relaxing and did not weigh your brain down too much. It was ideal for a Friday night, and it was quite predictable.

As with all comedies, there was a male lead, and it was Ashton. He starred opposite Natalie, playing the other part of a not so normal couple. It was not so normal because they come together just because of sex and simply to satisfy each other’ sexual desires. Enough said.

The guy was heartbroken, and the girl had a phobia for any type of serious relationship, so after they accidentally met and had sex by chance, they decided that sex was all that they needed from each other at that time, and agreed to become sex friends, so that they could be satisfied without any burden of having to care for a serious relationship.

That could be shocking at first, but come to think of it, that is quite common nowadays, especially among the young. People are living more for themselves, and thinking more about today than tomorrow.That is one of the reason why premarital sex is so common nowadays.

By making a movie for the young, and touching on such a sensitive topic, the subtle message that the producer wants to bring across is that: There may be different ways in which a relationship is started, but in order for it to last, there is only one way, and that is real, true love. Otherwise, it can’t prevail. Simple, even a bit trivial, yet it’s often forgotten. When couples watch this movie, there may be some bells ringing gently in their minds, which may provoke them to look again into their relationships, and that is the whole purpose of this movie.

The movie was simple but sweet, and Natalie was really beautiful. She smiled more, was more lively, and she looked really happy. She did not have to do too much, and it seems like she was not acting at all. It was so natural, and so real. That could only be found in great stars and strong and complex personalities.

Although the movie was about sex, there were in fact not many sex scenes in this movie, and there were all quite short. Moreover, Natalie was not really totally nude in any of those scenes. Therefore, those who flock to the cinema just to hope for a glimpse at her naked body will be disappointed. She did not even come close to what Anne did in Love and Other Drugs, even though there were some hot scenes between her and Ashton in this movie. Anyway, I am fine with it, and we had a nice, lovely evening watching this lighthearted flick together.

Season of the Witch, or season of the bored

To tell the truth, there is not much juice in that movie. Although it stars Nicolas Cage, the rest of the casts are quite little known. Probably, they only had enough budget to hire a big star, and then hoped that he would be big enough to carry the whole movie to at least break even or profit marginally. Well, maybe they have achieved that (I even don’t bother to waste time checking the profit and loss of this movie), but the quality of the movie is something Cage cannot salvage alone all by himself.

The movie is quite a bore. The plot is thin, and borrowed. There is a little twist and surprise in the end, but the surprise does not come naturally, but forcefully. The ending was loosely constructed, as if the director tried ending it without many creative ideas in mind. There are some action scenes with swords and arrows, some magic, and some legends. That’s it.

The movie was about the supposedly final quest of two knights who were tired of fighting for others’ glories and gains, and doubtful about the true purpose of the war they had been fighting. They had decided to wash their hands and walk away, but fate made them go on that final quest, so that they could be redeemed and had the chance to really turn a new life without fighting and killing. Armed with that purpose, they started the journey to the holy land to transport an alleged witch girl for trial, only to find out that things did not turn out the way they were supposed to be, and encountered strange things that they had never encountered before. In the end, the trial became an ultimate battle for survival, for protection of mankind, and for eradication of the dark force from this world.

Although the plot does not have much for thoughts and pondering, the movie is not really suitable for the faint-hearted, as there are unknown diseases that terribly morph the faces of the infected, some fiercely looking wolves, some bright red blood and some thrilling scenes. Therefore, you can opt for it if you want to release stress and do not want to think too much during the movie.

Or if you are Cage’s fan, and cannot afford to miss any of his movie, although I must sadly admit that, his recent ones have been far from fantastic, and it would be a shame to compare this movie, or The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, to the likes of National Treasure or City of Angels.


It has been quite a while since the last time we saw a musical movie in theater, with the last one being Mamma Mia, if my memory serves me right, so when it came to the choice between Burlesque and Season of the witch, both of which premiered on the same day, we all went after the music. Well, I don’t say it was a bad choice, since the movie did give us a good time, but it still pales in comparison with the like of Chicago and Moulin Rouge, and I will be very surprised if this movie wins some major awards 🙂

The movie revolved around a small town girl who wanted to make it big in a large city, and eventually got it. The plot is not new, not original, quite predictable and easy to guess. I will not go into the details, and since this is a musical, the plot really does not matter too much, as long as the music is good. Luckily, I can proudly say that the music is quite good, at least good enough to make me go online and search for the OST to listen to them again 😛

Xtina’s acting in this movie is just average, but she more than made up for that with the songs she sang in the film. She had a great, strong and high, raspy and sexy voice, and she managed to show it off with her solo performances, especially the parts which she sang without music. Her deep voice, once heard, sent chill down my spine. I enjoyed her “Tough Love”, and the way she “Express” herself. And the way she Burlesque, well, it was cool. If I happen to watch this movie again, it will be for the music, and music only 😀

Another star of the night was Cher, who played Tess, Burlesque’s owner. She did not have as much screen time as Xtina, but she used her time well to showcase her singing talents, and proved once again that class is forever. Her voice was very deep, very strong and very addictive. She had only 2 songs, and she nailed them both. The first song was an undeniable invitation to come and enjoy the world she created, to have fun and spend money there, while the second song was a well of pain that was also full of determination. Xtina’s songs were catchy and sexy and attractive, but Cher’s songs were really the heavyweights of the night.

One more thing to note, in this movie, we meet again the cunning vampire James of Twilight. He still had the menacing but tempting glare, the half smile and the beautiful body, only less the fangs and the burgundy eyeballs. Besides, he is a good guy this time, a bit funny, a bit half baked character and easy to forget. By the way, his love scenes with Xtina sucked, or did I only see the toned down, edited version? Anyway, nothing much to discuss about him either.

There were some other familiar faces, including Stanley Tucci, again as a gay assistant who had a great love for his work and women’ clothes. It seems that every time there is such a role, he is the guy to call for. I believe he is much better than that, and I still remember her cool portrait of a serial killer some time ago. It’s time for him to be in the limelight again.

Overall, the movie was just ok, entertaining and forgettable. The plot was quite simple and borrowed, and the situation in which the girl discovered the truth that could shatter her world was very similar to the one in “The devil wears Prada”, but less natural. By the way, Xtina in this movie does not look as sexy as she normally looks outside. I don’t know whether it’s because of her outfits, or her moves, or what. I just feel it, a gut feeling that is hard to explain. Well, she was meant to be very sexy and tempting in the act where her clothes just flew off one piece after another, but as it was again too predictable that she would not show anything at all, so the act became funny in the sense that we all laughed at the cheeky way she managed to cover herself 🙂

Some more photos, as usual 😛

Have a nice day, and see you at the movies again soon 🙂

Breaking Dawn – Some photos

Well, Eclipse is a big flop, and my expectation with Breaking Dawn is wearing thin. The fourth book was the best among the lot, but I really don’t know if the fourth movie will be nice, given that the movie adaptions have been worse and worse. For this final book adaption, the producers also adopt the same approach as Harry Potter’s 7th movie: Split it into 2 movies instead of keeping the 1 book 1 movie approach. I consider it as merely a pitch to get more revenues before the well runs dry, not an effort to preserve all the fine details of the book and showcase them in the movie without compromise, but let’s see how it goes.

Rumor has it that the actors playing Alice and Emmet may be replaced for their pay rise requests, like what the producer has done to the actress playing Victoria. Well, he shouldn’t. First of all, Alice and Emmet are much more prominent and important than Victoria in the story, and secondly Alice was the only rare bright spot in the third movie, which was an overall disaster. I bet a lot of moviegoers like me will think twice before going for the forth movie should they be replaced by other actors.

Bella has been looking worse and worse, and Kirsten’s acting skill has not improved, even a little bit. Hopefully this time we can see some improvements. Of course, those die hard fans won’t care, I know. And the movie will surely be very profitable, no matter how bad her acting skill is. It’s a saga, that’s it. But it will be forgotten soon. And totally. After a short time, no less.

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