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

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Retrospective: Top 10 Must-See Horror Movies During Halloween Night




Come 31 October (which is tomorrow, by the way!) will be none others than celebrating Halloween! Apart from dressing up in Halloween costumes and putting scary makeup, watching horror movies is another part of tradition to celebrate the particular season. So here are my "Top 10 Must-See Horror Movies During Halloween Night" that I have compiled right below:



Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Review: DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK (2011)


RATING: 1/5

In 2007, acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro has helped his protege and first-time director Juan Antonio Bayona crafted a spooky and richly-textured "haunted house" horror movie in THE ORPHANAGE. Four years later, del Toro attempts to replicate the successful formula again with another first-time director (Troy Nixey) in a remake of a 1973 made-for-television horror movie DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK. But this time, del Toro's second attempt in tackling "haunted house" horror genre is an awfully tired slog that is neither scary nor interesting in many levels.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Review: PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3 (2011)


RATING: 3/5

With a combined gross of more than $190 million at the box-office, both PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (2007) and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2 (2010) were no doubt one of the most successful low-budget horror movies ever made in recent memory. And like it or not, here's PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3. Yes, it's more of the same old "found footage" horror genre you've already seen before. But kudos goes to CATFISH directors duo Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman manage to showcase some effective jolts and even some inspired tinkering within its formulaic structure.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Review: SECTOR 7 7광구(2011)


RATING: 1.5/5

Heavily promoted as South Korea's first 3D IMAX blockbuster, the highly-anticipated SECTOR 7 has also been touted as the next "ultimate monster movie" since Bong Joon-Ho's groundbreaking hit, THE HOST (2006). In fact, from the look of the promotional trailer, SECTOR 7 looks promising enough as a fun-filled summer popcorn blockbuster. Actually I got a high hope for this one, but unfortunately SECTOR 7 is a jaw-dropping disappointment from many levels. Yeah, it is that bad, especially given all the high-profile talents involved in this big-budget production.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Review: TRESPASS (2011)


RATING: 1/5

Home invasion thriller is nothing new at all, but I always admire the sense of claustrophobia and nervous tension often associated in this kind of genre. Case in point: THE DESPERATE HOURS (1955) to PANIC ROOM (2002). But in Joel Schumacher's latest thriller called TRESPASS, it's more of a convoluted mess than anything else matters. How messy are they? Let's just say, not even a caliber of A-list talents by the likes of Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman can save this train wreck of a movie.

Review: REAL STEEL (2011)


RATING: 3/5

A genre mashup borrowed from TRANSFORMERS (2007), OVER THE TOP (1987) and ROCKY (1976) all rolled into one, Shawn Levy's first foray outside his usual comedy genre in REAL STEEL is a slickly-packaged Hollywood blockbuster that celebrates the good old-fashioned "feel good" factor you often seen in this kind of movies.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Review: NASI LEMAK 2.0 (2011)


RATING: 3.5/5

The name of Wee Meng Chee, or better known as Namewee, is no stranger to controversy. His so-called "insult" for rapping the national anthem Negaraku back in 2007 as well as criticizing TNB (Tenaga Nasional Berhad) in 2009, has made him a constant public sensation, both good and bad. When Namewee announced that he was going to make a "1Malaysia" movie on 17 March 2010, he is determined to seek funding from the government. But due to his controversial nature, his countless attempts including his vow to meet the Prime Minister, was wholly unsuccessful. Despite no support from the government, Namewee still managed to film the whole movie on a shoestring budget of less than RM1 million. The result is NASI LEMAK 2.0. At the beginning, I was dumbfounded when I first watched the trailer for this movie (It looks too silly to me). But then again, NASI LEMAK 2.0 went on becoming an instant hit when the movie hits local theaters on September 8. In just two weeks' time, the movie grossed an astonishing RM4.5 million at the local box-office and was widely praised by (many) critics and moviegoers. However it's a terrible shame that the movie was forced to halt from showing at local cinemas last week, due to controversy and prejudice over Namewee. As I managed to get my chance of finally watching this highly-debatable movie, I was pleasantly surprised how Namewee has created his first feature-length movie. Before you can shout "amateurish" or "wannabe", let me assure you that NASI LEMAK 2.0 is one of the best local movies I've ever seen in recent years.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Review: THE THING (2011)


RATING: 2/5

When word was out that Universal Studios was going to unleash a prequel to John Carpenter's THE THING (1982), I was very doubtful the filmmakers are going to make things right. After all, THE THING was one of the most terrifying horror movies of all-time and it's a near-perfect masterpiece that was (frankly) hard to surpass. And not surprisingly, it turns out to be a lackluster prequel pale in comparison with the more superior original version.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Review: THE THING (1982)


RATING: 4.5/5

Following from the cult hit of the futuristic action thriller, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981), director John Carpenter has taken a quantum leap from independent filmmaking to his first major studio effort. The result is a spectacular remake of Christian Nyby and Howard Hawks' horror classic THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (1951), which both of them are actually inspired from John W. Campbell's 1938 novella Who Goes There? But when THE THING was first released back in summer 1982, it flopped miserably with a measly $13 million at the box-office. Much of the poor box-office performance is due to the highly-popular release of Steven Spielberg's E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL in during that time, mainstream viewers are more akin of watching optimistic scenario of alien visitation than the ugly nature of alien invasion. However, the movie had subsequently garnered a strong cult following through the release of home video.



Sunday, 9 October 2011

Review: TROLL HUNTER (TROLLJEGEREN) (2011)


RATING: 2.5/5

Originally known as TROLLJEGEREN, this Norwegian found-footage genre movie was a big hit in its native Norway when it released late last year. Since then, it's been buzzing strong all over the world and subsequently became a worldwide sensation. The movie is so popular that Hollywood has already acquired the rights to remake it. Now here lies the biggest question: What makes TROLL HUNTER such a phenomenal sensation? Upon finally watching it, it's easy to see why. TROLL HUNTER is unlike any found-footage genre movie you mostly expected from the Hollywood counterparts. Sure, found-footage genre nowadays are very typical but Norwegian director Andre Ovredal manages to put a fresh spin in TROLL HUNTER by spicing up the famous Scandanavian folklore about troll and mixing it with horror, adventure and comedy. Best of all, it's the first found-footage movie where you don't have to suffer nausea from the ever-distracting shaky cam movements. As good as it looks, I still feel TROLL HUNTER is a highly overrated movie. More on that later.

Review: JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN (2011)


RATING: 2/5

The sequel that (nobody) asked for. Remember JOHNNY ENGLISH back in 2003? (You can also read my review here). That so-called James Bond spoof was a shockingly unfunny movie that certainly hurt the comedic reputation of Rowan Atkinson who once gave the world MR. BEAN. But I guess Atkinson and the filmmakers figure it's worth a second shot to improve better in an unlikely sequel called JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN. After all, it's been 8 years long since the ill-fated first movie and I'm sure there should be some sort of improvement. Too bad that's hardly the case because JOHNNY ENGLISH REBORN still suffers miserably from Atkinson's tired old gags and the whole movie is also the same old tired James Bond spoof we have seen countless times before.



Review: JOHNNY ENGLISH (2003)


RATING: 1/5

Another James Bond-style spoof but JOHNNY ENGLISH can't even stand on its own ground in the vein of what AUSTIN POWERS and SPY KIDS has succeed admirably.



Friday, 7 October 2011

Review: THE THREE MUSKETEERS (2011)


RATING: 3/5

Reinventing an oft-filmed classic literature movie like Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers is nothing new. After all, director Peter Hyams had done it before by mixing with acrobatic Chinese martial arts style choreographed by Xin-Xin Xiong in 2001's THE MUSKETEER. Ten years later, it's Paul W.S. Anderson (RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE) turn, which sees him attempting what would be the biggest-budgeted (at $100 million) reinvention of THE THREE MUSKETEERS ever made. But when I first heard the name "Paul W.S. Anderson" on the helm, my expectation is kept low. I mean, I personally feels the director who takes a potentially good material (e.g. RESIDENT EVIL) and botched everything up into lackluster effort. But surprisingly, his latest movie here is a fantastical, yet entertaining take of the classic tale with PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN vibe. It's still suffers from the director's usual haphazard direction but I have to say, this is easily his most exciting effort to date.



Sunday, 2 October 2011

Review: DRIVE (2011)


RATING: 3/5

Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn's first Hollywood feature, DRIVE, was a critical and crowd sensation when it first premiered at the recent Cannes Film Festival. The movie went on to win Refn the coveted "Best Director" award. For months, DRIVE had been garnered such an overwhelming response that some critics already labeled it as the director's best movie to date, while others even praised it as one of the best movies of the year. I have been eager to find out what makes this movie such a big fuss at the first place. After watching the movie, it's easy to see why -- DRIVE is a refreshing throwback to the '70s and '80s neo-noir crime drama once populated by cult classics by the likes of Walter Hill's THE DRIVER and William Friedkin's TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. But it's also hardly the kind of masterpiece most people might have expected. It's kind of overrated, but still, DRIVE remains an extraordinarily stylish cinematic experience to watch for.



Review: ABDUCTION (2011)


RATING: 1/5

In the first three installments of THE TWILIGHT SAGA (including this year's upcoming THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN - PART 1), the once-unknown, 19-year-old Taylor Lautner had quickly rose into superstardom, thanks to his good looks and well-toned physique. Ever since then, he became a constant media sensation and also largely considered as the highest-paid teenage actor in Hollywood. After hitting big with THE TWILIGHT SAGA movie series, I'm sure a lot of people are anticipating whether he can carry an entire movie with his first solo outing, ABDUCTION. From the promotional poster, trailer and TV spots, ABDUCTION plays out like a teenage version of THE BOURNE IDENTITY (2002). Such action vehicle suits Taylor Lautner well enough. After all, he's a martial art champion who seems destined to be the next action star to look for. But unfortunately, that's hardly the case. I'm sad to say that ABDUCTION is a hopelessly bland action thriller that you'll also be surprised how come critically-acclaimed director like John Singleton (1991's BOYZ N THE HOOD) would accept this movie at the first place. And what about Lautner? I got two words for him -- wooden and dopey.



Review: FRIGHT NIGHT (2011)


RATING: 3/5

To a legion of die-hard horror fans, 1985's FRIGHT NIGHT was like a sacred art -- a cult classic and a landmark modern vampire genre that combined Hitchcockian themes and teen-oriented, John Hughes-style comedy drama. No doubt the original FRIGHT NIGHT was a clever presentation that poked fun of the oft-told vampire genre while maintaining its scare factor at the same time. But to me, FRIGHT NIGHT was more of an overrated classic that didn't really lives up to its phenomenal reputation I was hoping for when I first seen the movie. Twenty six years later, Hollywood has finally decided to remake FRIGHT NIGHT for today's generation and I'm sure a lot of eagle-eyed genre loyalists are bracing themselves whether the remake manages to live up to their beloved original or simply a cash-in poor rehash. I'm happy and also very surprise to say that director Craig Gillespie (2007's LARS AND THE REAL GIRL, TV's United States Of Tara) and screenwriter Marti Noxon (TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer) manage to stay faithful while improved upon the flawed original.