Sunday, January 25, 2015

Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis (2015) direct-to-video animated movie review

Overall verdict: 7.5/10

The Good: well written dialogue, exceptional action, improved art and animation,  well developed hero's journey for Aquaman, deliciously over the top villain

The Bad: Awkwardly written romance, contrived and convenient plot resolution, minor animation errors


Continuing the DC New 52 shared universe initiated by JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR, we have the long awaited Aquaman origin story in JUSTICE LEAGUE: THRONE OF ATLANTIS. This movie, loosely adapts the second major arc of Geoff John's critically acclaimed "Justice League" comic run. Like its predecessor, THRONE OF ATLANTIS does some major changes to the story to fit the animation medium. The most drastic change would be Aquaman's hero's journey from a lost wanderer finding his true calling in the world.

As the newly christened "Justice League" investigate a mysterious attack against a nuclear submarine,  we get glimpse into the life of one Arthur Curry. Grieving the loss of his father, the directionless Arthur has turned to drowning his sorrows and talking to lobsters. Just another drunken bum wandering the harbour. Or is he? As a fight with some thugs show, Arthur is more than human, boasting incredible strength, invulnerability, and able to mentally communicate with ocean life. Destiny, it seems, is not without a sense of convenience.

It seems that Arthur is the heir to the throne of Atlantis, the legendary underwater city, and the death of Atlantis' king (as shown in Justice League: War) forces Arthur to realise his birthright. While some see him as the solution to peace between two worlds, his half brother Orm desires only vengeance against the surface world. As tensions mount, a coup from within sparks all out war; a war that only the Justice League can stop.

I've said it before that DC and WB Animation's latest line of movies feel like Justice League in the tone of Marvel's Avengers. THRONE OF ATLANTIS continues that but starts to carve out its own identity. The forced humour is toned down a lot but the show still keeps its upbeat sense of superhero fun. The chemistry among the cast is impeccable thanks to the voice direction of veteran Andrea Romero. 

Some of the more questionable voices from the previous movie (Alan Tudyk as Superman, Justin Kirk as Green Lantern) are replaced with better sounding actors. Nathan Fillon is definitely a welcome choice to reprise his Green Lantern role and Jerry "Sliders" O'Connell takes over as Superman. On the antagonist side is Prince Orm, voiced by Sam "Starkiller" Witwer, who may be the most deliciously over-the-top villain in animation since the 90s Street Fighter cartoon's M Bison played by Richard Newman. 

For all the natural sounding dialogue and spot on acting, THRONE OF ATLANTIS feels a bit too bloated with too much plot in too little time. Other than Arthur Curry's journey, you have the political intrigue among the royalty of Atlantis, Cyborg coming to terms with the loss of his humanity, the budding friendship between Green Lantern and the Flash, and one of the most awkwardly written romances between Superman and Wonder Woman. Superman comes across like some desperate love deprived nerd continuing his creepy obsession with Wonder Woman taking advantage of the fact that she is a stranger to human customs and romance.

As a result, the central character of Arthur Curry is criminally underdeveloped. His story takes some cues from the live action MAN OF STEEL movie but due to a lack of focus, you never really get into his head or his personality. He goes from washed out drunk barely able to hold his own in a fight without his super strength..... a trained fighter, well versed in self defence and martial arts. All this within a single day.
He goes from a man whose life is in a mess, without direction or resolve, to a natural born leader with strength of character and charisma. Also within a single day. Almost as if donning that Aquaman costume bestowed those skills upon him. It would have been more natural if we saw his leadership abilities and fighting skills while he was still a drifter. More glimpses into his childhood would have also helped answer some important questions. Like why did he not become a superhero earlier? Why is he hiding his abilities instead of using it for good? What drives his motivations? We never know. 

Take away the opening and closing credits and this movie has just over an hour worth of content; Underdeveloped content, but beautifully drawn and animated content. Both artwork and animation takes a step up from the last instalment. The art is decently detailed even in the tightest action scenes.
Director Ethan Spaulding add some nice stylistic touches to the footage giving underwater scenes a slightly off-focused blurred looked and doing some marvellous work on lighting and shadows. Character designs are less exaggerated than before (Superman shaved off a few pounds) and hew quite closely to Jim Lee's New 52 look.
THRONE OF ATLANTIS earns its right to be called a movie thanks to the exceedingly smooth animation of Moi Studios in Korea. Every fight is fully choreographed and animated without short cuts. The part with Aquaman and Mera facing off against the savage "Trenchers" before the Justice League arrive is just spectacular to behold.  

It isn't perfect though and some animation errors do creep in. There is a scene in a bar where Arthur orders another drink. He raises his hand and freezes there with his mouth wide open but the dialogue carries on.
Then there is the attack on the lighthouse where the Atlantean lasers are clearly not hitting where they are aiming at.
Most obvious are the Atlanteans themselves who are portrayed in their battle armour as having face masks with their shoulder length hair hanging out the back of the helmets.
Then they remove their helmets and their hair suddenly changes to purple, sky blue and various other weird colours
And I just have to mention the aftermath of the torpedo attack against Atlantis where the smoke and debris are so badly composited on the background that they look like long floating turds.

But hey, I am nitpicking here. And it would not be fair to penalise the whole show for a few visual oversights. That being said, JUSTICE LEAGUE THRONE OF ATLANTIS may have been a more enjoyable experience had it been more focused on Aquaman and his origin story. His is an intriguing tale to tell but it ends up being rushed through.

At least DC has succeeded in bringing the Aquaman character out of the public opinion rut he has experienced since his days in Superfriends. I want to see more of Arthur Curry, and not relegated to a supporting role in the Justice League. Here's hoping that the character gets the solo movie that fans like me are dying to see.

*****************************Review End***************************

Entertainment: A-
Art: B+
Animation: A-
Story: B
Voice Acting (English): A- 
Characters: B
Music: B-
Replay value: A-
"Brains": C+

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Star Wars: Droids (1985) animated series [full] review

Overall verdict: 4/10

The Good: Anthony Daniels reprising his role, voice acting better than your typical cartoon, well timed comedy, Star Wars nostalgia

The Bad: low quality animation, constant off model art, hilariously bad creature designs, unoriginal plots, generic sound effects and music. 

In 1985, Star Wars Return of the Jedi had ended its run, effectively ending Star Wars' big screen presence for almost 15 years until the prequels. To keep the franchise going, George Lucas commissioned the expanded universe of novels and comics. Not forgetting the kids, he also commissioned cartoons. One of which was "Star Wars: Droids".
STAR WARS: DROIDS was the closest anyone had to a "prequel" back then. It detailed the often light hearted adventures of C3PO and R2D2 back before they landed in the possession of Princess Leia at the start of "A NEW HOPE". In a move considered rare among cartoons of that day, DROIDS employed arcs consisting of 4 episodes each. The first saw the titular droids land in the possession of a duo of Speeder Racing enthusiasts. They have built their very own speeder called the Mach 5 The White Witch but through a series of unfortunate events land in the crosshairs of a powerful triad boss. The second arc has the droids end up helping a lost prince reclaim his throne and fend off the pirates that were plaguing his homeland. Then they join merchant Mungo Baobab on a treasure hunt to the Roon system while evading imperial patrols.
Exciting stuff for sure. Pirates and princes, space ships and speeders, even a run in with the Empire.  Take the original Star Wars trilogy and watch only C3PO and R2D2 scenes. There you have what this show is all about. Lighter on action, heavier on humour with a good dose of cartoon slapstick. Anthony Daniel's humorous british accented delivery as C3PO and R2D2 as "himself" steals the show as the strongest reminder of its Star Wars roots.  Basically, C3PO and R2D2 are in this cartoon as they were in the movies. If you loved them then, you would love them here. It is amazing how one actor can establish this chemistry with a sound synthesiser (which is essentially what they used to "voice" R2D2).
Yet for all their efforts, STAR WARS DROIDS feels so far removed from the "feel" of Star Wars and more like your typical saturday morning cartoon. Space ships like the A-Wing and a badly drawn Star Destroyer do make an appearance, as do Stormtroopers and of course the titular droids. But nothing would change if they were replaced by generic space ships, generic bad guys and a bumbling protagonist duo. The story lines are so cliched and the new designs of never-see-before aliens, vehicles and technology so.....weird. This cartoon also throws out Skywalker Sound's fabulous audio from the movies and replace John Williams' timeless score with.....generic stuff. All the other characters act in that exaggerated cartoony manner befitting your generic.......did I just repeat "generic"? I guess I did. Because that is how you describe this show in a single word.
It is generic. Star Wars in name only. Even the visuals are groan inducing. Artwork goes off model once too often, colours are flat and lifeless, and once again the designs are just.....weird. In terms of animation, STAR WARS DROIDS was farmed out to a taiwanese studio and their work, while passable, cannot hold a candle to the superior work of Japanese or Korean studios. Movements alternate between stiff and exaggerated with character gesturing unnecessarily in conversations like they were in some stage play. Most confusing is the decision to animate robots like humans; C3PO is a heck lot more flexible than his movie counterpart, plus he is able to make facial expressions, run, jump and flex his elbows. R2D2 is now made of rubber seeing as how he can squash and stretch himself like a balloon. 
Perhaps I am out of my element here. Perhaps this was made for the simpler kids of the 80s and no one else. I may have judged this more kindly if it were not Star Wars, but we can't change the past. Star Wars dove in deep and revolutionised cinema. It pushed the boundaries of special effects and brought science fiction out of its B movie gutter and into billion dollar blockbuster territory. STAR WARS DROIDS chose to wade in safe and shallow, revolutionising nothing, and not even capturing the feel of its source material. 
*****************************Review End***************************

Entertainment: C+
Art: C-
Animation: C-
Story: C
Voice Acting (English): B+
Characters: B-
Music: C-
Replay value: C-
"Brains": D-

Monday, January 19, 2015

Concept: Red Hill - A plot Summary for a proposed fantasy action blockbuster

They call them the Garfish. But these were more than just sea creatures. They were ruthless pirates preying on defenseless island nations in the East Indies. Their ships were adored with sharp battering rams, their soldiers wielded spears, and for the longest time they were unstoppable. Year after year they came, killing men, raping women, kidnapping children, unless the villagers present a "protection tribute". Every few years during the monsoon, the Pirates would return to the island of Temasek and demand a tribute of gold and resources. Should those be in sufficient, the Garfish would take young men to be sold as slaves, girls to be prostituted. And for as long as one could remember, the chief's had given in to those demands in exchange for peace. 

But enough was enough. The younger son and elder daughter of the chief of Temasek (always having to hide in the northern hills) had grown weary of this endless cycle. The son tries to unite the tribes of temasek to fight back against the invaders but to no avail while the daughter yearns to leave this troubled island for a faraway land of peace. One day the son encounters a boy in the forests. A pale hermit with golden hair and uncanny knowledge about military tactics. He befriends the chief's son and provides him the opportunity to strike back at their pirate oppressors.
Together, they rally the villagers and begin to train the young and able bodied in the art of warfare. All the while, the chief's son and the hermit develop a bond of brotherhood. 

The fair skinned hermit displays uncanny combat skills and strategic planning. Together the two unite the outlying villagers, gathering men of all trades into an army; the hermit providing the training, the chief's son rousing their spirits with passionate speeches. As more young men join the war effort, the son and the hermit earn the nicknames "prince" and "ghost"; one a budding leader, the other an answer to the prayers of an oppressed people. As part of the defense of Temasek, the Prince and the Ghost order the construction of a barrier along the coastline. Consisting of sharpened tree trunks angled out toward the sea, this barrier would have to be positioned just below the tide. 

Construction is not easy. Tempers flare, tension mounts and old rivalries are laid bare. However through his strength and his companion's timely advice, the Prince is able to quell such dissent and strengthen the bonds between villagers. .Into this grueling age, the chief's daughter develops close feelings for the hermit. She believes he is a foreigner who would be able to whisk her away from the life of misery she has known since birth. The chief's daughter tries to win Ghost's affection but it becomes clear that he has no interest in her and only grows closer to the Prince. The Prince and the Ghost grow inseparable, with Ghost becoming highly protective of the Prince. Challenges to his leadership are quickly and violently put down by the skilled hermit.the biggest challenge came from the Prince's father, the chief. He tries to sway the people into believing that the plan to fight back would backfire, resulting in greater loss of lives and a fierce retribution from the Pirates that would leave the island a burnt out, lifeless land. The prince becomes convinced by the Ghost that it was the chief who planted his loyalists among the Prince's army and caused the initial dissension. When a heated argument shakes the Prince's resolve, his friend the hermit assassinates the chief, accusing him of holding back the prince from his full potential. It is here that we see that the Ghost may be something other than human as he exhibits a dark power and uses its influence to convince the guards of treachery perpetrated by Garfish assassins. 

In time, a wall of sharpened branches angled out to sea is constructed, the army of temasek stands ready. Trouble brews on the Homefront though. The chief's daughter continues her attempts to convince Ghost to leave Temasek with her. When Ghost makes it clear he intends to stay after Temasek is freed the chief's daughter becomes increasingly desperate. She resents Ghost for spurning her advances and for becoming the sibling to her brother that she never was. When he violently rejects her attempted at seduction, her resentment turns to hatred. Her brother too ignores her, regarding her as childish unfocused and disloyal. 

At the appointed time, the Garfish return, The prince and his entourage meet with a Garfish envoy just off the coast. But instead of bowing to their demands, the prince kills the envoy and retreats to Temasek through a hidden gap in the spiked wall. In a rage at this treachery, the pirate leader sends most of his fleet to destroy the villages. With only bloodlust on their minds, the Pirates blindly advance only for their ships to crash against the hidden wall of spikes. Ships are smashed, bodies impaled, and while the attackers wallow in confusion, the prince's army reveals itself and charge towards the water's edge slaying without mercy. The pain and anger over Years of suffering are unleashed against the hapless invaders in a bloody carnage that stains the sands red. It is a great battle, one that would be told and retold for generations to come. In the end, only the pirate leader and his ship's crew are left having waded to a secluded swamp to escape the battle. Unknown to them, their escape was spotted by the chief's daughter who was overlooking the battle from a nearby hill.

Night came and the villagers celebrate their victory. Under cover of darkness, the chief's daughter meets up with the pirate captain and promises him the chance for vengeance in exchange for making her a part of his crew. She sees the Pirates as the only way to fulfil her dream of leaving Temasek and to exact revenge on the one who spurned her. They find the Ghost in his secluded hut on a hill but it seems he is ready for them. At that time, the Prince had no interest in the festivities. Shaken by the deaths he had caused, he goes out searching for his companion for advice and comfort. He hears the sound of battle coming from the hill and runs to investigate

There he comes across massacred pirates, the pirate leader disarmed, his terrified sister, and a demonic form that used to be Ghost. Ghost has revealed his true supernatural nature and proceeds to drain the blood of the pirate leader. The Princes sister begs the prince to kill Ghost, claiming innocence. Ghost silences her by decapitaiton before returning to his human form.

Prince and Ghost share a tense moment. Ghost does not try to explain the presence of his sister or how she tried to kill him, he only asks if Prince will accept him after seeing his true nature. Racked with grief and confusion, Prince charges at his former friend fueled by rage. The scuffle is brief but surreal. Ghost lies dead, princes mind snaps under the trauma of losing everyone close to him. As he sits crying, blood issues forth from the dead bodies and soaks the soil of the hill. Camera pulls back to reveal the soil slowly turning blood red. The red fills the screen just before the end credits roll. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

To Watch or Not to Watch- Jan to Mar 2015

To watch a movie, to wait for the Blu-ray, or to not even bother wasting my time.

I analyse upcoming movies in the first quarter of 2015

For easier reference, here are what each "interest level" means 

5 - Synopsis hooks me and I am looking forward to seeing this in cinemas even if no one else will go with me.

4 - Not hooked but interested. Will initiate invitations to watch but will only watch if others agree to come too.

3 - Curious. Won't watch but I won't say no if others invite me to.

2 - Not willing to spend money on it. So if it's free, i might give it a go

1 - Meh. Not even going to seek it out online. I might chance upon it on TV many years later and watch it but thats about it.

0 - not going to waste my time.

Opening Title Origin Synopsis Comments Interest

Seventh Son USA/UK John Gregory, who is a seventh son of a seventh son and also the local spook, has protected he country from witches, boggarts, ghouls and all manner of things that go bump in the night. However John is not young anymore, and has been seeking an apprentice to carry on his trade. Most have failed to survive. The last hope is a young farmer's son named Thomas Ward. Will he survive the training to become the spook that so many others couldn't? Should he trust the girl with pointy shoes? How can Thomas stand a chance against Mother Malkin, the most dangerous witch in the county? This adaptation of a young adult novel series smells of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”, tastes like “Eragon” and feels like a live action “The Sword in the Stone”. Trailers showcase some amazing special effects of magic, dragons and a dark high contrast cinematography that is becoming the staple of Legendary studios’ movies.  3
The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death UK When a group of orphaned children are forced to move from their home in London, caretakers Eve (Phoebe Fox) and Jean (Helen McCrory) bring everyone to the desolate and eerie British countryside. 40 years after Arthur Kipps (played by Daniel Radcliffe in the first film, The Woman in Black) left, this supernatural horror film introduces this new group to the now abandoned Eel Marsh House; an odd but seemingly safe location. It isnt long before Eve starts to sense that this house is not what it appears to be as the children in her care begin to disappear. As their house of safety becomes a house of horrors, Eve enlists the help of a handsome pilot (Jeremy Irvine) to help investigate what is happening. Eve soon discovers that it may not be a coincidence that she has come to reside in the house inhabited by the Woman in Black. No more Daniel Radcliff. Was not impressed with the first one, doubt i will be with this one. Looks like your run of the mill supernatural horror thingy that gives nothing fresh to the genre. Slightly interested in the whole war time setting but the whole thing with the children and vengeful mother is just too cliche for my time. 0
Taken 3 France Bryan Mills, an ex-government operative, is accused of the murder of his wife Lenore "Lenny" Mills. As he is tracked and pursued, Mills again brings out his particular set of skills to find the true killer and clear his name. Liam Nesson is an excellent actor. Despite his age, he shows great versatility which he brings to this action franchise. Unfortunately what started as a franchise with an intriguing premise now falls into rehash territory with the whole “wrongly accused, on the run, trying to clear his name” plot. Nesson’s acting chops are just not enough here to hold my interest. 2
Blackhat USA Set within the world of global cybercrime, Legendary's Blackhat follows a furloughed convict and his American and Chinese partners as they hunt a high-level cybercrime network from Chicago to Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Jakarta. A very relevant premise with all those recent hackers, cyberterrorist and “anonymous” groups online and on our headlines. I am willing to give this a chance on its relevant premise but it has to be smart and not give in to convenient gimmicks to resolve the plot.  4
The Wedding Ringer USA Doug Harris (Josh Gad) is a loveable but socially awkward groom-to-be with a problem: he has no best man. With less than two weeks to go until he marries the girl of his dreams (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting), Doug is referred to Jimmy Callahan (Kevin Hart), owner and CEO of Best Man, Inc., a company that provides flattering best men for socially challenged guys in need. What ensues is a hilarious wedding charade as they try to pull off the big con, and an unexpected budding bromance between Doug and his fake best man Jimmy. The whole funny interracial buddy plot moves from cop drama to sci fi and now to a romance comedy surrounding marriage. With Singapore constantly pushing for people to get hitched, this may be quite an attraction for potential newly weds. But with an untested first time director and relative unknowns in the cast, i’m not going to waste my precious 10 bucks. Likely will wait till some highly positive reviews hit the net, or dump it entirely 0
Parasyte part 1 Japan Adapting the cult classic sci fi horror manga from the 90s, Parasyte features a secret alien invasion story. Aliens enter into human brains via ear canal and take control of their bodies. One of the aliens tries to enter into teenager Shinichi Izumi's brain, but is blocked because of his headphones. Instead, it invades his right hand. Shinichi calls it Migy, which has now an eye and a mouth. Accepting the fact that one would die if another dies, they join forces against other parasites.

I have the whole manga collection and love it. It is among my top 20 manga ever read, a gripping tale that feels like the premise of Animorphs’ Yeerk invasion with elements of David Cronenberg movies. If it stays true to the horror feel of the manga, i’m gonna watch this for sure. Sadly the special effects look awful by modern standards and some of the acting from the trailers seem ovely melodramatic. I’ll just stick to the manga with this.  3
The Boy Next Door USA Jennifer Lopez leads the cast in The Boy Next Door, a psychological thriller that explores a forbidden attraction that goes much too far. Directed by Rob Cohen (The Fast and the Furious) and written by Barbara Curry, the film also stars Ryan Guzman, John Corbett and Kristin Chenoweth.  Action director Rob Cohen does a creepy stalker type movie? A bit off but ok, people need to diversify now and then. Jennifer Lopez in the lead? Nope! I’m sorry. That woman can’t act. I’m out. 0
Mortdecai USA Juggling some angry Russians, the British Mi5, his impossibly leggy wife and an international terrorist, debonair art dealer and part time rogue Charlie Mortdecai must traverse the globe armed only with his good looks and special charm in a race to recover a stolen painting rumored to contain the code to a lost bank account filled with Nazi gold. Johnny Depp again. After an underwhelming 2 years with flops like Transcendence and Lone Ranger, heres hoping that his return to more grounded comedy bids well for this actor. 1
Strange Magic USA/Singapore “Strange Magic” is a madcap fairy tale musical inspired by “A Midsummer Night's Dream.” Popular songs from the past six decades help tell the tale of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their hilarious misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion. Not entirely thrilled by the animation. Then I remember that this is not the work of special effects megastudio ILM (Industrial Lights and Magic) but of Lucasfilm Animation. Hair rendered in clumps? Yup. Everyone having this weird “Stretched” quality to their faces? Right there. This ain’t no pixar or even Dreamworks and i doubt they can pull off the animated musical as successfully as Disney. 0
Taking of Tiger Mountain Honk Kong A story centered around a conflict between a People's Liberation Army squad and a bandit gang in northeast China during the Chinese revolution. Zhang Hanyu portrays Yang Zirong and Lin Gengxin takes on the role of Shao Jianbo, the two protagonists of the story. While Yang Zirong (19171947) is based on the real-life person, the other hero of the story Shao Jianbo is fictional, and Qu Bo created the character based on himself, as the story is seen through the point of view of Shao Jianbo.

Another historical “epic” from China. I doubt this would grab the glory of Red Cliff or Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon but it looks like a passable entry in the tried and true Chinese historical films library, lending nothing new to the genre. 0
Project Almanac USA As a group of friends discover plans for a time machine, they build it and use it to fix their problems and personal gain. But as the future falls apart with disasters, and each of them disappear little by little, they must travel back to the past to make sure they never invent the machine or face the destruction of humanity. I like time travel. And though some people think the “found footage” angle is an overdone gimmick, I feel that it adds a sense of mystery to the premise. What happened has already happened and through the found footage we are unravelling the mystery of HOW it happened. Already done with superheroes, giant monsters and dinosaurs. Over done with ghosts and zombies. I’m intrigued as to how it will fit with time travel 3
Birdman USA BIRDMAN or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance is a black comedy that tells the story of an actor (Michael Keaton) - famous for portraying an iconic superhero - as he struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career, and himself.  A delayed premiere from 2014, Birdman has already gained rave reviews for its smart screenplay and sharp acting. The fall from grace and climbing out of the gutter arc that the main character goes through is thrilling and realistically done. The movie itself conveys the theme of trying to recapture the glory days, something anyone can relate to.  5

Bring Back The Dead Singapore When her seven-year-old son dies in a tragic road accident, a grieving mother, Jia En (Jesseca Liu), seeks the help of her former caregiver, Mdm Seetoh (Liu Ling Ling), to bring back his soul so he can be ‘by her side’ at home. However, after several strange and deadly occurences in the house, she begins to suspect that there is something amiss with the soul she has brought back. In discovering what has really happened, she unravels the horrific truth … a truth which may cost her her life and the lives of those around her.

Judging from the trailers, we are finally getting a made-in-singapore movie that does not look like it was shot in someone’s back yard with home video equipment. Cinematography and lighting are great. Unfortunately the whole premise is just so cliche with scary kid and haunted house ripped right out of better asian horror. Expect your standard “twist” ending and lots of cheap shocks.  1

Exists USA All Brian (Chris Osborn) and Matt (Samuel Davis) want to do is have a wild party with their friends in the woods. They figure that their uncle's secluded cabin is a prime location, as it was abandoned long ago and it's unlikely to have anyone complaining about the noise. What they did not plan on is the legendary Sasquatch (Brian Steele), who calls the east Texas woods his home, to start stalking the party goers one by one. A creature feature! Featuring the sasquatch! You don’t see those often outside of some misguided direct-to-video crap with Playstation 1 level CGI. But this appears to be returning to the big budget “Guy in a suit” type of creature feature with decent special effects. Will give this a go out of curiosity and to support good old physical suit performers as opposed to CGI. 2

Gangam Blues Korea Set in the 1970s when political corruption is at its highest peak. During the development of Gangnam, Seoul, two childhood friends, Jong-dae and Yong-ki, are struggling to survive the harsh reality of everyday life. When their homes are destroyed by local thugs, the two friends are in desperate need for cash. They get involved in political clashes and are separated in one of the skirmishes. Three years later, Jong-dae lives as an honest man along with former gang leader Kil-su while Yong-ki joined Seoul's most powerful criminal organization, the Myeongdong-pa. Please DO NOT feature that “Psy” song. This whole “brother/best friends on opposing teams” thingy is so overdone in Korean cinema. No doubt it is born from the North/South split but I’d wish they would give this predictable rehash a rest. 1

Whiplash USA Miles Teller plays Andrew Neyman a young drummer enrolled in one of the best music schools in America who has to suffer the scrutiny bestowed on him upon his fearsome tutor, a jazz maestro played by J. K. Simmons. As Andrew faces the tough challenge of rising towards his potential, his perfectionist tutor will stop at nothing to achieve the best. JK Simmons is best when he’s chewing someone out. Not too keep on the whole drum thingy but i’d give this a watch just for JK Simmons. 4

Vice USA This film is a resort that enables wealthy clients to live out their deepest most desired fantasies until an unfortunate accident happens that causes one of the staff members to seek out revenge. Interesting premise. And unless they run with that premise, I’m giving this a skip. There’s lots of potential to delve into themes of human psychology and carthasis among the rich and powerful.  3

Out of the Dark USA This English-language supernatural thriller film focuses on an American couple played by Stiles and Speedman, who move to Columbia with their young daughter to take over a manufactering business. the couple soon discover that their house is haunted after a series of creepy events took place. Looks like standard haunted house fare with unsuspecting family. Skip 0
Jupiter Ascending USA/Australia Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis), who was born under a night sky, with signs predicting she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning other people's houses and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along-her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos. A project that was delayed as the directors were not satisfied with the special effects. I am expecting a true visual spectacle with this. Plot-wise sounds like a re-telling of the Matrix as a space epic instead of a cyberpunk movie. Unoriginal premise aside, definitely catching this on the big screen for the native 3D effects and I might add this to my collection if this turns out to be the true space epic that it promises.  5
A Most violent Year USA 1981 is statistically the most dangerous year in New York City's history. The movie follows an immigrant and his family trying to protect his business even as he capitalises on opportunities that arise during the rampant violence. Synopsis sounds boring.  0
Unbroken USA On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane's bombardier. His name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he'd been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown. Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. A survival film? Kinda like castaway? May give this a go if i come across it somehow 1
Still Alice USA Based on the bestselling book by Lisa Genova, Julliane Moore stars as Alice Howland, a cognitive psychology professor who is married to an equally successful husband (Alec Baldwin) and they have three grown children played by Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth and Hunter Parrish. Suffering an early-onset of Alzheimer's disease, things start to change drastically for Alice affecting her relationship with her family and those around her. Kudos for drawing attention to the plight of families with loved ones having Alzheimer’s. Sadly there is little else intriguing with the premise but at least we will be getting a nice realistic family drama here. It all boils down to the acting. 1
Shaun the Sheep Movie UK/France When Shaun's mischief inadvertently leads to the Farmer being taken away from the farm, Shaun, Bitzer and the flock have to go into the big city to rescue him, setting the stage for an epic adventure. Never a fan of the series. May check this out but wont pay for it. 0
Zhong Kui: Snow Girl And The Dark Crystal  China A big budgeted 3D fantasy-adventure movie directed by Peter Pau and Zhao Tianyu, starring Chen Kun as Zhong Kui and Li Bing Bing as Snow Girl. Zhong Kui, a legendary Chinese anti-hero, is a man with mysterious powers. He is forced into battle among the realms of Heaven, Earth and Hell in order to protect and save the people of his country as well as the woman he loves. Chinese fantasy starts to get a little stale. There is only so many ways the same old package ca n get repackaged. Won’t actively seek this out at all. 1
Fifty Shades of Grey USA When Anastasia "Ana" Steele, a literature student, goes to interview the wealthy Christian Grey, as a favour to her roommate Kate Kavanagh, she encounters a handsome, brilliant and intimidating man. The innocent and naive Ana, startled to realise she wants him, despite his enigmatic reserve and advice, finds herself desperate to get close to him. Not able to resist Ana's beauty and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her too, but in his own terms. Ana hesitates as she discovers the singular tastes of Grey – despite the embellishments of success – his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family – Grey is consumed by the need to control everything. As they get close, Steele starts to discover Grey's secrets and explores her own desires. Ah the controversial BDSM kinky sex novel that started as a Twilight fanfiction. Controversy may do it for some people but not for me. Romance is great, but i draw the line at tasteless sex. May borrow this to review it but thats about it.  2
From Vegas To Macau 2 Hong Kong This sequel to 2014's "From Vegas to Macau" will see the return of Chow Yun-Fat, Carina Lau, and Kimmy Tong in their respective roles in the first movie. In the upcoming Hong Kong crime action comedy movie, Nick Cheung joins in as the main character's new nemesis, seeing that his role is of a computer expert who has a clashing personality with Chow's character. Hong Kong Comedy has this weird taste to it. If it aint martial arts comedy like Jackie Chan, it just feels flat and forced. 0
Kingsman: The Secret Service UK Based upon the acclaimed comic book and directed by Matthew Vaughn, Kingsman: The Secret Service tells the story of a super-secret spy organization that recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency's ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius. Seems Comic book writer Mark Millar’s books keep getting the same treatment. Keep the premise and general setting but dump everything else. Not as faithful to the comic as “Kick Ass” and sounding like a rehash of the “Wanted” movie with a spy organisation replacing the clan of bullet bending assassins who recruits an everyman guy to become the next superspy. Comic was good and Matthew Vaughn’s past works speak for themselves so I am giving this a try in cinemas.  5
King Of Mahjong  Singapore "King of Mahjong" is the first Singapore mahjong-themed movie that is set in modern times. It tells the story of Ah Fatt and Ah Shun. The former is a single father to a teenage daughter and sells Yong Taufu for a living, while the latter is a World Series Championship winner for the past ten years. Ah Shun invites Ah Fatt to participate in a World Mahjong Series held in Singapore. But Ah Fatt is less than happy to join due to the duo's past conflict with each other.

Its premise has go great potential for an exploration of the single father/daughter relationship. But knowing Singaporean comedy films, it will be full of crude humour, especially with Mark Lee in the lead. Any drama likely would feel forced. 0
12 Golden Ducks Honk Kong The film follows a group male gigolos from Hong Kong as they struggle to make ends meet in order to survive the economic downturn in Hong Kong. The film stars Sandra Ng, Louis Koo, Anthony Wong, Babyjohn Choi and Pakho Chau with cameo appearance from Isabella Leong, Joey Yung, Nicholas Tse, Simon Yam, Wilfred Lau and Wyman Wong. Gigolos. FAIL.  0
Dragon Blade China Jackie Chan stars as Huo An, the commander of the Protection Squad of the Western Regions during the Han Dynasty. He is framed for a wrong he did not commit and is enslaved. Meanwhile, a Roman general is on the run after his mission of rescuing the Prince and escapes to China. These heroic duo soon meet each other in the Western Dessert and embark on a thrilling journey together. Jackie Chan!  3
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 USA Nick (Craig Robinson) and Jacob (Clark Duke) use the time traveling hot tub to try to get back to the past after Lou (Rob Corddry) gets shot, but they inadvertently end up ten years in the future, which they must alter if they want to save their present-day environment. Time travel. I like. But not the crass cheap and brainless humour that plagued the first movie. Waste of time for me. 0
Focus Warner Bros. Nicky Spurgeon (Will Smith) is a seasoned con-man who becomes romantically involved with a young attractive woman (Margot Robbie); however, while introducing her to the tricks of his con man trade, she gets too close for comfort and he abruptly breaks it off. Three years later, the former flame—now an accomplished femme fatale—shows up in Buenos Aires as the opposing side of the same scam: a billionaire international race car owner. In the midst of Nicky's latest, most dangerous scheme, she throws his plans for a loop...and the consummate con man off his game. Has Will Smith still got the acting chops? Can he still diversify beyond comedy? I am liking the premise of a veteran being outwitted by a spurned protege but not too sure if this hews too close to your typical chad thriller romantic comedy like Knight and Day or The Tourist. May borrow to see Will Smith, but thats about it. 3
Ah Boys To Men 3: The Frogmen Singapore The familiar cast of recruits from Jack Neo's box office two-parter hit Ah Boys To Men (2012, 2013) are back, except that they are now part of the famously tough naval diving unit. If the previous Ah Boys to Men movies are anything to go by, I am not wasting my time on this. Tasteless humour, bad effects, crude comedy, over-acting and forced drama and tragedy abounds in Jack Neo movies. Someone will get into an accident which will allow for lots of crying. “Army Daze” did the whole “comedy in National Service” shtick with a heck lot more professionalism that this modern day rehash. 0
Triumph in the Skies Hong Kong "Triumph in the Skies" is a Hong Kong movie adaptation of the TVB series by the same name. This drama movie tells the story of the lives of pilots working for the fictional Solar Airways, which is based on Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific. It stars some of Hong Kong's biggest acts such as Francis Ng, Louis Koo, Julian Cheung, Sammi Cheng and Charmaine Sheh.

Little Boy USA Little Boy tells the heartwarming story of a little boy who is willing to do whatever it takes to bring his dad home from World War II alive. The story reveals the indescribable love a little boy has for his father and the love a father has for his son. Set in the 40s, Little Boy is a cinematic classic that captures the wonder of life through the eyes of a 7-year-old little boy. Little Boy highlights themes of faith, hope and love in the face of adversity. This feels like 2015’s feel good movie of the year. As long as the little boy is done realistically and charmingly, i will watch this. A sure fire tug on the heart strings, and a potential keeper. Especially with the whole period setting to heighten the father/son tragedy. 5

An inspector calls Hong Kong The film, directed by Herman Yau and Raymond Wong, is a Cantonese adaptation of a British play of the same name. The story depicts Louis Koo as the titular inspector who investigates the death of a suicide victim by searching for clues through observing the people and situation.


Cymbeline USA Set in a corruption-riddled 21st century of America, the film tells the epic battle between dirty cops and a drug dealing biker gang. A film on love, betrayal and revenge based on Shakespeare's play known as "Cymbeline, King of Britain" or "The Tragedy of Cymbeline". The film stars Ethan Hawke, Ed Harris, Dakota Johnson and Milla Jovovich.


Arpeggio Of Blue Steel (Anime) Japan One of the two films in 2015 that is based on the manga series "Arpeggio Of Blue Steel" by Ark Performance. This first film will be a compilation of 2013's television anime series with new story sequences. The manga tells the story of the world being taken over by a fleet of fog ships, after global warming caused rising sea levels in the early 21st century. 17 years after the humans' defeat to the ships, Gunzo Chihaya and his crewmates somehow commandeer a "Fleet of Fog" submarine named I-401 and get ready to face the ships again.


My Papa Rich Malaysia Yang is a widower who is used to living a solitary life. He lives a simple and poor life. His eldest daughter is married and resides in Kuala Lumpur, his second daughter is still studying in Singapore and his youngest son works as a small-time salesman. Yang real troubles begins when he realizes that he cannot afford to celebrate the coming Chinese New Year. However, a chance encounter with his long-time friend, Lin who has become a millionaire, changes Yang's life as Lin offers Yang a once in alifetime chance of becoming a millionaire for a month.

Chappie USA Every child comes into the world full of promise, and none more so than Chappie: he is gifted, special, a prodigy. Like any child, Chappie will come under the influence of his surroundings - some good, some bad - and he will rely on his heart and soul to find his way in the world and become his own man. But there's one thing that makes Chappie different from anyone else: he is a robot. The first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. His life, his story, will change the way the world looks at robots and humans forever. Niel Blomkamp’s repertoire of smart science fiction continues, this time delving into artificial intelligence. I wonder what the metaphor will be here? He had already used an alien invasion story as a metaphor for racism and apartheid, and a space based dystopian future for class segregation. If Chappie turns out as smart as District 9 or Elysium, then we have another keeper on our hands.   5
The Coup USA In their new overseas home, an American family soon finds themselves caught in the middle of a coup, and they frantically look for a safe escape in an environment where foreigners are being immediately executed.

Action, thriller 0
The Lovers Belgium, India, Australia In the year 2020, after a dangerous dive to save his wife Laura (Tamsin Egerton) trapped while exploring a colonial British merchant ship wreckage in the Great Barrier Reef, Jay Fennel (Josh Hartnett), a rugged and attractive marine archaeologist lies brain dead in a Boston hospital. However, Fennel's coma takes on a reality of its own, where it is 1778 in Pune, India. The British East India Company is invading the palaces and a young captain named James Stewart (Josh Hartnett), who bears a striking resemblance to Fennel, embarks on a dangerous mission to find a magical ring. When he falls deeply in love with a Marathi warrior named Tulaja Naik (Bipasha Basu) along the way, it is an impossible love which he must fight for, and only the power of the ring can transcend time and save a life.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water USA Burger-Beard is a pirate in search of the final page of a magical book that makes any evil plan he writes in it come true, which happens to be the krabby patty secret formula. When his search is completed and the formula is missing, the entire city of Bikini Bottom is in danger. SpongeBob, Patrick, and the gang need to go on a quest that takes them to the surface. In order to get back the recipe and save their city, the gang must retrieve the book and transform themselves into superheroes to fight Burger-Beard and his super villain pirate crew The all popular kids cartoon franchise gets its live action adaptation with the cartoon characters finally entering the real world. This live action/CGI mix looks a bit off with the CGI characters looking out of place in the real world footage. At least we aren’t getting another human centric awkward romance subplot that plagued similar cartoon adaptations such as Smurfs and Garfield. The trailers already manage to capture the simplistic whimsical fun of the cartoon. Not exactly for me, but bound to be a hit among kids. 2
Monsters: Dark Continent  USA In this sequel to 2010's "Monster", the story takes place ten years after the events in the first movie. It revolves around a soldier looking for his comrade as the Monsters spread worldwide and the US army struggles to keep them at bay. I liked 2010’s MONSTERS by Gareth Edwards. It was smart, it was well acted, it had well done drama and did i mention it was smart? First time Director Tom Green…….I should give him a chance. After all Gareth Edrwards was a first timer too. Premise sounds like James Cameron’s Aliens to Ridley Scott’s Alien so, who knows.  5
In The Heart Of The Sea USA This movie is based on the book "In the Heart of the Sea" by Nathaniel Philbrick. Set in the year 1820, Captain George Pollard, Jr. (Benjamin Walker), first mate Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth), second mate Matthew Joy (Cillian Murphy), and cabin boy Thomas Nickerson (Tom Holland) are on a voyage in their whaleship Essex. The whaling ship is preyed upon by a large bull sperm whale, who eventually strikes it and the crew is left stranded at the sea for 90 days over a thousand miles from home. Things turn ghastly as the crew sails for South America but under the circumstances is forced to turn cannibalistic. Sounds like Moby dick but seems more like a survival movie ala Lord of the Flies. 3
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel UK/India The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is the expansionist dream of Sonny (Dev Patel), and it's making more claims on his time than he has available, considering his imminent marriage to the love of his life, Sunaina (Tina Desai). Sonny has his eye on a promising property now that his first venture, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful, has only a single remaining vacancy - posing a rooming predicament for fresh arrivals Guy (Richard Gere) and Lavinia (Tamsin Greig). Evelyn and Douglas (Judi Dench and Bill Nighy) have now joined the Jaipur workforce, and are wondering where their regular dates for Chilla pancakes will lead, while Norman and Carol (Ronald Pickup and Diana Hardcastle) are negotiating the tricky waters of an exclusive relationship, as Madge (Celia Imrie) juggles two eligible and very wealthy suitors. Perhaps the only one who may know the answers is newly installed co-manager of the hotel, Muriel (Maggie Smith), the keeper of everyone's secrets. As the demands of a traditional Indian wedding threaten to engulf them all, an unexpected way forward presents itself. Was not too keen on the first. Same with the second. 0
Cinderella USA The story largely follows Disney's 1950 animated adaptation, with several twists. In this version, Cinderella and the Prince meet prior to the fateful ball. At the time, he tells her he's simply a palace employee.[2] The Fairy Godmother is a larger character than in previous versions, as she is initially disguised as an old beggar who watches over Cinderella before ultimately revealing herself as a magical being.[3] Im a fan of darker retellings of classic fairy tales but this one looks like alive adaptation of the disney movie instead. Not too keep, but wont say no to a free viewing.  3
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension USA Gregory Plotkin (director); Jason Pagan (screenwriter); Katie Featherston, Tyler Craig The Paranormal Activity franchise seems to be heading the way of SAW. What started as something smart and new soon became milked dry of ideas.  1
The Divergent Series: Insurgent USA As she searches for allies and answers in the wake of the uprising, Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) are on the run. Being hunted by Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet), the leader of the Erudite faction, Tris and Four will race against time as they try to figure out what Abnegation sacrificed their lives to protect, and why the Erudite leaders will do anything to stop them. Haunted by her past choices but desperate to protect the ones she loves, Tris faces one impossible challenge after another as she unlocks the truth about the past and ultimately the future of her world. The first one didn't hook me. 1
Home USA An overly optimistic, yet inept,[2] alien race called the Boov led by Captain Smek[4] invades Earth to hide from their mortal enemy and make it a new home.[5] Convinced they are doing a favor, they begin to relocate the human race,[6] but one resourceful teenage girl, Tip, manages to avoid capture.[6] When on the run, she is accompanied by a banished Boov named Oh who has accidentally notified the enemies of his whereabouts.[5] Comedy 0

Lazarus USA A team of medical students have found a way to bring dead patients back to life. When Zoe (Olivia Wilde) dies, they attempt to duplicate the procedure that was done on animals on to her, and succeed. But is it really Zoe that has come back? Or something else? Something evil. Raising the dead. This can be something smart which delves into the moral and philosophical implications of cheating death in this manner. This can be a metaphorical modern day Frankenstein or a deep analysis of the science vs God. Sadly, trailers show this to be a simple cliche ridden scientific horror movie with nothing smart. Will borrow. If it does turn out smart, will buy. 2

Robot Overlords UK An upcoming science fiction directed by Jon Wright about life on earth after the invasion of robots from another galaxy. The human survivors have to stay at home or risked being incinerated if they dare to venture out. Bad special effects don’t do justice to a decent premise. What happens after an alien invasion? Rings especially true for Singapore which was at one time under the occupation of invaders herself. 4