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

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Review: THE SORCERER AND THE WHITE SNAKE 白蛇傳說 (2011)


RATING: 2.5/5

Earlier this year, we are treated with Wilson Yip's highly-anticipated remake of Ching Siu-Tung and Tsui Hark's supernatural romance classic A CHINESE GHOST STORY. Unfortunately that movie was a huge disappointment, and definitely a far cry from the 1987 original version. Naturally, when another highly-anticipated Chinese blockbuster (THE SORCERER AND THE WHITE SNAKE) is arrived with the similar supernatural romance genre, I'm already expecting the worse. After all, it's a movie directed by the inconsistent veteran filmmaker Ching Siu-Tung whose last effort, 2008's AN EMPRESS AND THE WARRIORS, was a huge failure. But THE SORCERER AND THE WHITE SNAKE really caught me by surprise -- it's a fairly entertaining genre mishmash that mixes over-the-top martial arts showcase, imaginative visual effects, above-average acting, overblown romanticism and decent comic reliefs.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Review: DREAM HOUSE (2011)


RATING: 1/5

From the outlook of DREAM HOUSE, two-time Oscar nominated director Jim Sheridan's (MY LEFT FOOT, IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER) first foray into psychological thriller sounds like a refreshing throwback to the "suburban house-in-peril" subgenre popularized in the 1990s with a supernatural twist. What's more, the movie is boosted with an irresistibly dream cast: Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts. So what's not to like? Unfortunately the end product in DREAM HOUSE turns out to be an unexpected train-wreck of a movie. Yes, it's pretty unbelievable especially given the caliber of good talents involved here.


Sunday, 25 September 2011

Review: BEACH SPIKE 熱浪球愛戰 (2011)

Review: BEACH SPIKE 熱浪球愛戰 (2011)

BEACH SPIKE tells the story of two carefree and fun-going sexy cousins Sharon (Chrissie Chau) and Rachel (Theresa Fu) who likes to play beach volleyball in their spare time. But their childhood home at Pui Long Bay is about to suffer a major threat when their neighbourhood's wealthy family, Mrs Brewster (Candace Yu) and her three children Natalie (Jessica C), Natasha (Phoenix Valen) and Tim (Him Law), are about to redevelop the quiet beach community entirely. The Pui Long Bay residents are naturally very upset with the sudden decision, and it's up to Sharon and Rachel to stop them at all cost. When the girls lose a beach volleyball game miserably to Natalie and Natasha, they demand a rematch. But instead of just a mere game, both teams will enter a local volleyball tournament, in which the winners will determine the fate of the beach. Complicating the matters is Tim, who is unlike his ruthless sisters Natalie and Natasha, he has a soft tendency of sympathising the local residents at the Pui Long Bay. What's more, he also falls in love with Sharon when he first saved her from drowning at the sea. That anger both Natalie and Natasha, but Tim remains supportive for Sharon until he is willing to abandon his family for the sake of her. In the meantime, Sharon and Rachel have learned that they are no match for their better opponents of Natalie and Natasha. However, thanks to the help of their local martial art masters, Mr and Mrs To (Lo Meng, Sharon Yeung Pan-Pan), they soon mastered their beach volleyball-playing technique spiked with extraordinary kung fu skills to boost their credibility more than ever.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Review: OVERHEARD 2 竊聽風雲2 (2011)

Review: OVERHEARD 2 竊聽風雲2 (2011)

Joe (Daniel Wu) is a mysterious figure with a hidden agenda who eavesdrops on a group of stock fixers called "The Landlord's Club". Among them are Manson Law (Lau Ching-Wan), a highly successful stockbroker, who gradually discovers that he's been under surveillance by Joe. Earlier in the movie, he tries to avoid being followed by Joe but ends up unexpectedly in a car accident. However, he manages to survive. Enter Inspector Jack Ho (Louis Koo), a Security Bureau head officer who begins to investigate the incident and discovers that Manson's sports car which suffered from the crash, is being wired with surveillance device. Soon, the mystery continues as the fate of the three men (Joe, Manson and Jack) intertwines one way or another.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Review: BRIDESMAIDS (2011)


RATING: 3/5

Hailed by critics as "the female version of THE HANGOVER", BRIDESMAIDS was a surprise hit in the summer season, grossing at $168 million at the box-office so far for 18 weeks and still counting since the movie debuted in U.S. on May 13, 2011. Despite almost five months after the U.S. release that this breakout comedy finally manages to reach to our local cinema, it's better late than never to find out what's the fuss is all about. I must say after watching this movie, BRIDESMAIDS has its few genuine moments blessed with top-notch casts, excellent comic timing and thoughtful storyline. Unfortunately, it's also an overrated comedy that works better in individual scenes than a coherent whole.



Sunday, 11 September 2011

Review: X (2011)


RATING: 2.5/5

From the look of the suggestive poster, it's easy to dismiss that Jon Hewitt's Australian thriller entitled X, is a sexually-charged erotica that seems to be leaning more towards exploitation. Unfortunately this is the kind that never judge the movie by its cover. Despite such title as X, this movie is more of a half-realized gimmick rather than a full-fledged erotic thriller it suppose to be.

Review: SHARK NIGHT 3D (2011)


RATING: 1.5/5

I've got three words when I watched David R. Ellis's latest B-movie called SHARK NIGHT 3D -- JAWS rip-off. Okay, fine. As long as the movie captures its satisfying amount of guilty-pleasure moments, I'm up for it. Unfortunately even that fundamental element alone Ellis can't get it right. If that's not insulting enough, it also comes with a dreary PG-13 rating. Now can somebody tell me, since when PG-13 rating works well for a movie that features shark? Yeah, I thought so.



Saturday, 10 September 2011

Review: PUNISHED 報應 (2011)

Review: PUNISHED 報應 (2011)

At the beginning of the movie, we learn that real estate tycoon Wong Ho-Chiu (Anthony Wong) and his ex-convict loyal bodyguard Chor (Richie Ren) has discovered the dead body of Chiu's daughter Daisy (Janice Man) who is kidnapped and murdered. Told in non-linear narrative structure, the movie flashes back and forth on how Daisy comes to such eventual doom. Daisy is a rebellious and spoiled rich girl who likes to overspend her father's money, particularly when she is addicted to drugs. One night during her stepmother's (Maggie Cheung Ho-Yee) birthday, she wants to go to Bolivia for vacation but her father disagrees because he wants her to go to rehab instead. The following day Daisy continue to argue over the matter and ends up running away from home. Things go awry when Wong receives a phone message saying that she has been kidnapped, but he quickly dismisses it as a scheme to get money out of him. The kidnapper demands HK$50 million for ransom and Wong ends up paying the money, hoping he can get back his daughter in no time. Unfortunately, Daisy ends up dead, prompting Wong to take matters in his own hand. With nothing to lose, Wong enlists Chor to help him locate and kill whoever responsible for Daisy's death.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Review: APOLLO 18 (2011)


RATING: 2.5/5

Dubbed as "PARANORMAL ACTIVITY in space", Spanish director Gonzalo López-Gallego's first English-language feature, APOLLO 18, is a typical found-footage genre thriller with a refreshing premise that has lots of potential. No doubt it has few notable chills to look for, except that the movie suffers from thinly-drawn characters, half-cooked plot and some questionable choice of direction here. More on that later.



Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Review: CONTAGION (2011)


RATING: 3/5

At the first glance, a disaster movie filled with lots of A-list casts is simply hard to ignore. What's more, we are talking about Steven Soderbergh here, the director who last made two successful all-star ensembles movies -- TRAFFIC (2000) and OCEAN'S ELEVEN (2001). In his latest movie called CONTAGION, I was hoping him to pull off the same dramatic flair he did before in TRAFFIC. Make no mistake, Soderbergh's take on a viral outbreak isn't your typical sensationalistic Hollywood gloss but rather something subdued and perfectly grounded. Such approach might alienate most mainstream viewers seeking big thrills, but those who are game for something uniquely different -- CONTAGION is surprisingly good movie to catch, uh, I mean, to watch for. But other than that, it's hardly the kind of TRAFFIC-like cinematic sensation.