April 2011 | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Review: THE LOST BLADESMAN 關雲長 (2011)

Review: THE LOST BLADESMAN 關雲長 (2011)

Adapted from the story of "Guan Yu crossing five passes and slaying six generals", the movie begins as the tyrannical Cao Cao (Jiang Wen) is determined to conquer all China in the name of Han dynasty. During an ongoing war against Yuan Shao, Cao Cao enlists General Guan (Donnie Yen) to help him launch an attack against the enemy troops and subsequently killing the rival General Yan Liang (Chin Siu-Ho) in the process. Thanks to Guan's victory, Cao Cao awarded him an honorary title of "Marquis of Hanshou" and hoping that he will continue to serve him as his close ally. Unfortunately, Guan remains faithful to his sworn brother Liu Bei (Alex Fong), who is actually Cao Cao's intended enemy as well. So out of respect, Cao Cao allows Guan to leave home peacefully, even though his fellow advisors are feeling uncomfortable with his decision. As a result, his advisors take their opportunity to inform every general to apprehend and kill Guan at all cost. In the meantime, Guan is fulfilling his duty to escort Liu Bei's concubine, Qilan (Sun Li) back home safely. And to make things complicated, Guan has been secretly in love with her but afraid to express his feeling because he doesn't want to betray his loyalty against Liu Bei. Soon their long journey becomes increasingly dangerous as Guan has to find a way to overcome a few generals, hence the "crossing five passes and slaying six generals" in the process before able to reunite with Liu Bei.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Top 12 Must-See Summer Movies Of 2011!

Woo-hoo! I can't believe summer movie season is just around the corner... beginning with the much-anticipated superhero epic, THOR screened next Thursday on April 28th!

So, here's my personal pick for "Top 12 Must-See Summer Movies Of 2011":

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Review: THE ROOMMATE (2011)


It's 1992's SINGLE WHITE FEMALE revisited and updated for the modern young crowd. The result is THE ROOMMATE, a slickly formulaic "roommate from hell" thriller once popularized in the '90s. Being too close to formula is nothing wrong as long as the movie gets the tone right and engaging enough to keep viewers on the edge of their seat. Unfortunately that's barely a case for this wannabe thriller -- it's bland, lightweight and utterly uninspired.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Review: RIO (2011)


All flying swagger and dipped in a colorful gloss, director Carlos Saldanha's RIO is pretty much the same old formulaic animated feature aimed squarely for those non-fussy kiddies and viewers fancied for a no-brainer entertainment.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Review: SCREAM 4 (2011)

RATING: 2.5/5

New decade, new rules... but mostly same old formula. SCREAM 4 doesn't exactly recreates the genre convention that the original SCREAM (1996) did it so successfully, but at least there are few interesting tweaks that made this fourth entry a cut above than the bloated SCREAM 2 (1997) and the underwhelming SCREAM 3 (2000).

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Review: SOURCE CODE (2011)

RATING: 3.5/5

Part DEJA VU (2006) and part INCEPTION (2010), Duncan Jones' sophomore follow-up to his critically-acclaimed MOON (2009) proves he's no flash in the pan after all. His second movie, SOURCE CODE works impressively well as a complex science fiction/action thriller that is both mind-bending and thought-provoking.

Review: WHAT TIME IS IT THERE? 你那邊幾點? (2001)


Up to that time, Kuching-born and Taiwan-based auteur Tsai Ming-Liang's fourth feature, WHAT TIME IS IT THERE? is widely recognized as his most accomplished work to date. Which of course, that depends on viewers' point-of-view because Tsai's filmmaking style is more of the same: long and unbroken static shots, no direct plot, little dialogue, cryptic motives, deadpan humor and the ever-present themes of isolation and heartache.

Review: BEAUTIFUL BOXER บิวตี้ฟูล บ๊อกเซอร์ (2003)


Part ROCKY (1976) and part gay-themed movie, Singapore-based Ekachai Uekrongtham's BEAUTIFUL BOXER is a remarkable true story about a transgendered Thai kickboxer Parinya Charoenphol (renamed in the movie as Nong Toom) who fights in order to fund a sex change. Such fanciful biography is interesting enough to check out for, and BEAUTIFUL BOXER never fails to entertain in that manner. But the movie falters for the lack of depth (especially for its subject matter) and thoroughly cliched in its overall execution.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Review: HOP (2011)


When comes to holiday-themed genre, Christmas movies quickly springs to mind. But Easter? Not really. In fact, rarely has a Easter-themed movie found in Hollywood and that alone becomes a charming novelty for Tim Hill's new comedy, HOP. Unfortunately the novelty stops there as Tim Hill, responsible for the box-office hit but terribly annoying ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS (2007), returns with a juvenile CG-heavy comedy that is painfully tedious.

Review: HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN (2011)


Exploitation cinema doesn't come heavily promoted, at least for this year, with Jason Eisener's highly-anticipated debut HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN. With an inspired casting choice of cult favorite Rutger Hauer front-and-center, expect this to be a shotgun-blast of a movie. In fact this movie is based on a fake trailer made for 2007's GRINDHOUSE by Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, so what's not to like? Surprisingly, a lot. And guess what? HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN is more of a flat-out roadkill.

Review: JUST GO FOR IT (2011)


Imagine sitting through a two-hour show of bad sitcom desperately trying to be funny, and it feels like forever. That is exactly what happened when I watched this listless Adam Sandler's romantic comedy, JUST GO FOR IT. It is that bad, and I kid you not.

Monday, 4 April 2011


RATING: 2.5/5

China goes gonzo in a rare occasion with THE BUTCHER, THE CHEF, AND THE SWORDSMAN, a hyper-stylized genre cocktail unlike anything you've seen before. (Well, at least if you keep track for what kind of movie China usually released in the theaters these days).

Sunday, 3 April 2011



Billed as KRU Studio's flagship production, the highly-anticipated HIKAYAT MERONG MAHAWANGSA (or known internationally as THE MALAY CHRONICLES: BLOODLINES) is the studio's first historical epic adventure with a whopping budget of RM8 million (making this the second most expensive local picture ever made behind 2004's PUTERI GUNUNG LEDANG) to make. Now the biggest question is: how does this movie fares? Two words to describe here: wannabe and disappointing.