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57 reviews in total 
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Takes satire and outrageousness to the sensitive theme of terrorism, 27 April 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First of all let's get this out of the way, the opening is by far the worst part of the movie, and is the only part where I almost walked out. It was plain juvenile. Now I've never been a huge Adam Sandler fan, I always thought his best work was The Waterboy and Happy Gilmore, but never really got into his later work. At some point he became downright annoying to me. At first I was reluctant to watch "You Don't Mess with the Zohan", or just Zohan for short. The poster really put me off, it just looked like another stupid mindless comedy.

Well, that's exactly what it is. But there's more. Zohan Dvir is an Israeli counter-terrorist commando, and the theme of the movie is about terrorism, Israelis, Palestinians, stereotypes, the Middle Eastern conflict, etc. This is an extremely sensitive subject, but Zohan manages to poke fun at everyone, and turn stereotypes into funny. It's safe humor for everyone. Even Rob Schneider, whom many class as a complete hack and an expert in making flops, did very well in his role in Zohan. He seems to do well when he tries to play a serious yet silly role, as he does in Zohan, being the leader of a band of "three stooges" type of character. John Turturro also does well, his character had this Homer Simpson-like scream that seems to work well in most scenes, but never overused. Emmanuelle Chriqui plays Sandler's love interest and she's eye candy.

Notable mentions to Michael Buffer who makes a great cameo, Nick Swardson and his mom were a hilarious angle, and the actors from both the Israeli and Palestinian side (especially the Israeli merchants). Come to think of it, Sandler himself was so-so, but his supporting cast was excellent.

All in all it was a great popcorn flick, and had a couple of really laugh out loud moments, which basically achieves its goal. I'm not surprised to see Judd Apatow having a hand in writing the script, the guy is on a hot streak.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Nothing new here., 5 April 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Was expecting something different, but it's the same old clichés again. Same old ex-triad protagonist who tries to shake off his past to start a new life, but gets dogged by his paranoid nemesis who thinks he might try to make a comeback and steal the top dog spot again. Which is a shame, because Ricky Chan (Bo-yuan) put in some really powerful scenes. This guy used to be a second to third-rate TV series actor, but since many stars left TVB he stepped up and took many lead roles, acting superbly and has a whole new look. It's a shame his character was so pathetically clichéd and unimaginative.

However, I am quite satisfied with the cast. Everyone was pretty convincing in their roles, with notable mentions to Winnie Leung (who looks beautiful with hardly any makeup, and puts in a strong performance), and the youth actors and actresses. They put in chillingly authentic contributions, and shows us just how bad and misguided some of the Hong Kong youths are nowadays. It is a dark side of Hong Kong that no one wants you to see, no one wants to know, and they keep themselves hidden away from the public spotlight. Drugs, bullying, and gang influence is a big problem to the schools of Hong Kong, and even now they are struggling to deal with it.

So if you're a Jordan fan, by all means check it out. Otherwise, you won't be missing much if you skip this. Oh and to confirm other reviewers' points about the CGI blood, yes there is a ridiculous amount with a comic book feel to it, but nowhere NEAR as stylish as Jacky Wu and Sammo Hung's Fatal Move.

Ong-bak 2 (2008)
3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
He is taking it to the next level., 2 April 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The only spoilers in this review is regarding the moves he uses throughout the movie. There will be NO plot spoilers.

First of all this is more of a prelude to the original Ong Bak. If you're reading this to decide whether to watch it or not, the answer is quite simply YES. It is difficult to compare with Ong Bak because it's slightly different, for example the entire movie takes place in the forest and not any cities or urban areas, and he uses a lot of weapons and different fighting styles than just the same Muay Thai elbows and knees. This time Tony Jaa himself is the director, and he has teamed up yet again with the excellent Panna Rittikrai. And the result is some seriously good cinema. The editing and cinematography is superb. Fans of the original Ong Bak may feel a bit disgruntled as the storyline doesn't seem to completely fit together, but don't let the finer details distract you from what is a fantastic directorial debut from Mr.Jaa.

Now I would like to take a moment and talk about the fighting in Ong Bak 2. That Tony Jaa is one cunning customer. I remember he said his childhood idol was Bruce Lee, and you can sometimes be reminded of Lee's style especially when he pulls a "WHOAAA" face after he just smashed someone. But why is he cunning you ask? Well after filming Tom Yum Goong, he seemed to have disappeared off the radar for quite some time. Well during this time he was getting busy traveling around and studying other people's martial arts! In Ong Bak 2, he pulls off signature moves from other famous stars, here are some off the top of my head: Jet Li (when he swung a fire hose around like a whip), Donnie Yen (flying spinning armbar), Japanese sword styles (especially Seiza, art of sword drawing defence), Shaolin styles, Kali knife fighting (quite authentic as well), even a rather rare scene from a Chinese movie where when the opponent thrusts his sword at him, he uses his own sword hilt and "captures" the enemy sword, effectively disarming him. He pulls off all these moves with incredible proficiency and smoothness. I wouldn't quite call it plagiarizing, as some of them are so obvious that it looks more like a homage.

Now, about his direction and acting. Again, I think Tony is very smart in that he plays to his own advantages. In his previous movies, whenever he opened his mouth he usually sounded wooden and dull. So in Ong Bak 2, he has very little dialogue, and lots of butt kicking. But seriously though, it really is a great debut for him. The story was good, the scenes well edited and the fights extremely stylish and tightly shot. He even had the audacity to pull off a shock ending, and never did I expect to feel emotion while watching a Tony Jaa film, not just adrenaline but emotion. The ending leaves you yearning for more.

In conclusion, it is a MUST BUY for any fan of Tony Jaa or martial arts collections. The harshest of critics will call it a simple movie incomparable to Hollywood productions, but looking back at the Jackie Chan and Jet Li movies, at least Ong Bak 2 doesn't have as much cheese and cringeworthy dialogue. I dread the day Tony pairs up with a hip hop star or some smart mouth pretty boy and run through the usual stereotypical humor of cultural clashes.

They are not gangs, they are hooligans., 7 March 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hands down one of the best British films in the last decade, right up there with the likes of Trainspotting and This Is England. Green Street Hooligans takes you to the old firms of English football clubs, and while the portrayal may not be 100% realistic, it is the story telling that counts, and female director Lexi Alexander does an amazing job. The fight scenes were beautifully shot, and the message conveyed was excellent.

It is not often where a movie is not only wonderfully directed, but also paired up with fantastic acting. This is one of those cases. Everyone in the movie was extremely convincing in their roles, especially the GSE (Green Street Elites), most notably Marc Warren (The Repairman from Wanted), Charlie Hunnam (as Pete, the GSE leader), and Geoff Bell (as Tommy Hatcher, leader of the Millwall firm). Geoff was only in a handful of scenes but his presence is amazing, he completely dominates on the screen. He is genuinely frightening. Throughout the movie there is a fair amount of banter (jokes) towards "Yanks", but one line truly stood out as the ultimate diss: Pete insists that they are not gangs, but firms (hooligans actually), they do not drive around with guns and shooting at 8 year old little girls.

The ending was a nice touch as well. Lexi Alexander has really outdone herself and hopefully she is involved with more projects in the future. Her directing style has a slight resemblance to Danny Boyle, both of them have a talent for showcasing stylish action scenes, and engrossing storytelling ability. Green Street Hooligans is a must watch for anyone interested in the footballing hooligan scene back in the 80s and 90s.

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Not quite PTU, but enjoyable in its own right, 4 March 2009

Tactical Unit: The Code is produced by Johnny To, but directed by Law Wing Cheung. The movie starts off showing CCTV footage of three PTU officers in a back alley beating up a suspect, this footage is somehow obtained and submitted to the Police Board who then decide to start an internal investigation. So unlike PTU, where the plot took place entirely in one night in a race against time, in The Code the CAPO (Complaints Against Police Officers) officers are involved immediately in an investigation against the three cops.

While the movie moves along at a fairly slow pace, dragging a bit at times, it is not entirely without merit. First of all I noticed that it's a bit more realistic than most cop movies. Different departments in the police force are not obligated to help each other out. Only if two people have a very good relationship and history would they grant a favor. Don't watch it if you're expecting stylish cinematography and intense gunfights. It's more of a story telling movie, so it's worth a rent if you like Simon Yam and Maggie Siu, as they both carry the movie most of the time. There are some decent twists.

It's worth about a 6.5 but gets rounded up because the way the police officers assemble themselves and carry out orders, feels more like a documentary than an action movie, in terms of realism. I am not surprised if they had actually had an adviser from the Hong Kong Police to teach them the tactical side.

Valkyrie (2008)
3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Underdog status made this movie a hell of an experience for me, 3 March 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

***NOTE*** This review contains minor spoilers, but they are historical spoilers, not fictional or movie plot spoilers.

With all the negative reviews surrounding Valkyrie when it first released, it was way down the list of movies to see for most people. Most flocked to check out the Oscar nominees, or more popular titles like The Wrestler and Gran Torino, even Jim Carrey's Yes Man. But when I finally got around to seeing this once it premiered in Hong Kong, I was simply blown away.

Tom Cruise, no matter how his personal life is, delivers on the silver screen where it matters. I've heard some professional critics complain that he was a bit stiff, but to be honest I have hardly ever seen the real Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg even in other films, so I wouldn't know how accurate Tom's portrayal was. The only thing I do know, is that he commanded most of the scenes in the movie. This is no easy task when you're up against Bill Nighy. The other supporting cast was excellent as well, especially Tom Wilkinson, Terence Stamp, and Christian Berkel, who was absolutely wonderful as Colonel Quirnheim. I do not know too much of German actor Christian Berkel, apparently he was also in Der Untergang which I enjoyed very much, he was superb in Valkyrie. Another point of interest is that, despite already knowing the outcome of the plot, the ending scenes are still extremely gripping and emotional. Bryan Singer deserves much of the credit for an amazing job.

As a closing note, no matter if you like or hate Tom Cruise, or whether or not you enjoyed the movie, it did a significant job portraying the brave men that stepped up and resisted. Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, General Friedrich Olbricht, Herr Ludwig Beck, Herr Erwin von Witzleben, General Erich Fellgiebel, Colonel Mertz von Quirnheim, and all those who lost their lives as a result of the assassination attempt; they tried, they did not succeed, but they will be remembered.

27 Dresses (2008)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Solid story, likable cast, Katherine Heigl, winning formula, 18 February 2009

27 Dresses exceeded my expectations. First of all I didn't expect James "Cyclops" Marsden to pull off a light hearted role like this. He was pretty good, his character exudes confidence without looking overly cocky. My only small gripe was that he was supposed to be a cynic, but smiling all the time he sometimes came off a bit of a wise-ass, but like i said he doesn't come off cocky so that's fine. Katherine Heigl has gained a lot of valuable experience from her work in Grey's Anatomy and it shows. She is definitely one of the better actresses today, her screen presence is completely natural and her comedic delivery is great. I love watching her in 'underdog' type of roles where she isn't given extra attention by everyone around her (sometimes hard to believe, considering her massive beauty), and she excels in this position. Supporting cast Malin Akerman from The Heartbreak Kid and Edward Burns add depth to the film. The editing is well done, the scenes are transitioned smoothly and at a perfect pace. Be warned though, the story itself is fairly straight-forward and cliché so don't watch it if you don't like the cast.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Great idea, good acting, decent directing, and questionable editing, 18 February 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The biggest problem with St.Anna is the first scene. The modern day murder plot intertwines with the main plot but it just suspends itself and you the viewer gets thrown back into the WW2 era in a state of confusion. Why not just have the camera pan over some newspaper clippings about the murder? I hate watching a movie while suspending my curiosity about a major plot in a different setting/era. Flashbacks are fine but pretty much the entire movie is set in WW2 so the opening scene was unnecessary. The editing leaves a lot to be desired, most of the scenes feel very clumsy and the cutting from scene to scene feels almost a bit amateur at times.

The idea is excellent. At first I was even reminded a bit of Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima. Miracle at St.Anna shows a slightly different perspective of the war, from the African-American soldiers' side. This movie could have been so much better if the scenes were shot in a different way. Perhaps Spike could've gotten a better Art Director, this movie lacked subtlety and depth. I felt many of the plots and dialogue were jammed down our throats with overly obvious lines. Great acting from Michael Ealy manages to keep the film respectable though, and two big thumbs up to the child actor, Leonardo Borzonaca.

11 out of 21 people found the following review useful:
What was the point of this movie?, 17 February 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Besides being one of the most clichéd movies in history. Honestly, I had a notepad with me and I wrote down a list of clichés that would turn this into a B-MOVIE had it not been casted with some stars, and even then only Bill Nighy can be considered A-list. Rhona Mitra and Michael Sheen are debatable. Underworld: Rise of the Lycans includes:

- bureaucratic, prestigious vampire class that are so far up their own behind, totally oblivious to reality. basically the vampires = Romans

- introducing slavery to their House, then treat them like crap prompting an all-out rebellion

- a treacherous daughter that defies and backstabs her father in every possible way

- an obligatory love story involving the treacherous daughter and the leader of the slaves

- the leader of the slaves rallies all the other slaves to rebel

- a corrupt, power hungry member of the council

- the hero escapes, then stops and goes back to rescue her love, falling into a trap

- the vampires toy around with the hero despite knowing how powerful and destructive he can be, never killing him outright of course

- climatic battle scene. bad guys get destroyed, good guys win/save the day/save the world/make the world a better place.

I honestly don't mind movies with a bit of cliché, I'm not expecting every movie to be like No Country. But Rise of the Lycans is a glorified B-movie. I can't believe Bill Nighy signed up for this. The scene where Rhona Mitra points her sword at him and he yells I'M YOUR FATHER!!! was so cringing. Michael Sheen was completely miscast, he had only one expression throughout the entire movie and that is to widen his eyes as big as possible, which ironically makes him look more like the animals that he so vehemently distances himself from. Rhona was pretty decent, nothing terrible but also nothing special. The rest of the cast is nothing special, as a matter of fact I was shocked at how insignificant the rest of the characters were. The House was very small. The bulk of the film's $35 million budget must have gone to Bill Nighy's, Rhona Mitra's and Michael Sheen's salaries. This movie looked like it was made 10 years ago. I know it's a prequel but I'm sure the producers did not literally intend the movie to actually look like it was made/shot before the other Underworlds!

Not surprisingly the film's highest votes come from the male and female under 18 crowd. Boggles the mind how this can be over 6 at all, but it is rated at 6.9 at the moment.

Dostana (2008)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Really fun movie, 15 February 2009

Dostana is a very stylish Bollywood flick that shows how modern and hip the Indian film industry has progressed over the years. Dostana is extremely vibrant, with excellent and clever editing and a real "cool" feeling that really lifts your spirits. It's no wonder it's only the fourth Bollywood movie to break into the U.S. Top 20 box office.

Dostana boasts a fairly star studded cast, with many familiar names such as Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham, Bobby Deol, and of course the stunningly gorgeous Priyanka Chopra, one of this year's most successful Bollywood actresses. Personally I thought it was Abhishek who steals the show most of the time, his humour is top notch without having to go over the top or appearing to be cheesy or forced. John Abraham may at first appear to be just eye candy for the ladies, but he also does extremely well and shows off his moves in various dances as well. I've never really been a fan of Bollywood's song and dances, but I thoroughly enjoyed the songs in Dostana especially "My Desi Girl" which I felt was one of the climaxes of the movie.

This movie is in no way homophobic. Those who call it ridiculous and making fun of homosexuality are probably taking it too seriously. Dostana doesn't laugh at gay people, it laughs at the two bumbling idiots, Bachchan and Abraham, two supposedly macho young guys pretending to be a gay couple. Perhaps some scenes which depicted actual gay people were a bit stereotyped but I felt it was simply adding to the film's light-heartedness and humour. It does convey a decent message in that everyone should be accepted for who they are, regardless of their sexual preference. Dostana is well worth the rental if not just for the songs, but Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham really do a great job playing off of each other and only the most uptight of people could resist laughing at this film.

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