January 2013 | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Monday, 28 January 2013

Review: TEXAS CHAINSAW (2013)


RATING: 2/5

Ignoring whatever sequels, prequels or even the recent remakes of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE franchise, TAKERS helmer John Luessenhop is game enough to position his new TEXAS CHAINSAW (or TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D as widely advertised by the marketing campaign) as a true sequel to 1974's Tobe Hooper's horror classic. For the record, Luessenhop really has an eye for a grimy-and-gritty horror approach but good technicality alone isn't nearly enough to justify this as a worthwhile sequel. Instead, TEXAS CHAINSAW is more of the same horror movie you've come to expect from this already-tired franchise.

Review: PARKER (2013)


RATING: 2/5

Terribly clunky and painfully routine, Taylor Hackford's big screen adaptation of the late novelist's Donald E. Westlake's PARKER (who died in 2008) is nothing more than your typical, undemanding Jason Statham-centric crime thriller.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Review: MAMA (2013)


RATING: 1/5

Last year, when Guillermo del Toro helped executive produced Troy Nixey's directing debut in a supernatural chiller called DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK, many horror fans were expecting an edge-of-the-seat spookfest but what they got, was a horror-movie yawner instead. This year, it's sad to say that del Toro failed to live up to his good reputation for the second time in another supernatural chiller called MAMA. Expanded by sibling filmmakers Andres and Barbara Muschietti from their 2008 short, Andres Muschietti's directing debut does bears the influence of executive producer Guillermo del Toro's trademark of graphic supernatural elements and moody visuals. Unfortunately, MAMA is a crushing bore that doesn't do much other than repeating the same scare over the course of 109-minute running time.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Review: ZERO DARK THIRTY (2012)


RATING: 4.5/5

Back in 2009, director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal made a low-budget Iraqi War thriller about military bomb squad called THE HURT LOCKER -- a little movie that nobody would have thought that it subsequently gained a lot of critics' attention and eventually surprised its way to the Oscar to win the Best Picture and Best Director awards. No doubt the movie was technically well-made, with a breakout performance by then-unknown Jeremy Renner. But personally, I thought the overall movie was overrated and didn't exactly deserved all the big awards recognition. Three years later, Bigelow and Boal returns for another military-themed drama, and this time they worked with a bigger canvas called ZERO DARK THIRTY -- an intense procedural drama about the decade-long manhunt of Osama bin Laden, the notorious al-Qaeda leader responsible for the 9/11 attack. This is a meticulously-detailed motion picture unlike anything Bigelow has done before -- meaning her signature trademark of slow-motion montage is nowhere to be seen. It's a radical departure from her usual filmmaking style, which might alienated her die-hard fans but rest assured that ZERO DARK THIRTY is a mesmerizing and near-perfect cinematic experience ever made for a movie that is heavy on dialogue and light on action.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Review: HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS (2013)

Now, why does the letter says we are Bitch Hunters instead of Witch Hunters?
Two energetic performances by Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton, along with Tommy Wirkola's gleefully excess of over-the-top violence isn't enough to justify HANSEL AND GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS as a satisfying guilty-pleasure entertainment.

Review: BASIC INSTINCT 2 (2006)


RATING: 1/5

Back in 1992, BASIC INSTINCT was a landmark erotic thriller that inspired countless imitators and remained a long-lasting phenomenon even until today. 14 years after the original movie, an unlikely sequel arrives. However, BASIC INSTINCT 2 is one of those sequels that shouldn't been made at the first place, as everything about this limp sequel is terribly pale in comparison to the first movie.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Review: BASIC INSTINCT (1992)


RATING: 4.5/5

This is the movie that started the erotic thriller craze -- both mainstream and direct-to-video market -- over the next few years throughout the mid 1990s. Even more than a decade since its US theatrical release on March 20, 1992, BASIC INSTINCT remained the perfect example of how erotic thriller should look like.

Review: SINGLE WHITE FEMALE (1992)


RATING: 3.5/5

Along with the popular "tenant-from-hell" psychological thriller subgenre that populated the early 1990s including PACIFIC HEIGHTS (1990) and THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE (1992), Barbet Schroeder's SINGLE WHITE FEMALE sits equally well as among the best of its kind.

Review: GANDHI (1982)


RATING: 4/5

A longtime pet project for producer and director Richard Attenborough, GANDHI is a magnificent biopic that spanned decades surrounding the ups-and-downs of the Indian-born Mohandas Gandhi (Ben Kingsley), one of the greatest leaders ever lived in the 20th century.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Review: THE LAST STAND (2013)

I'm old but I'm back!
A would-be huge comeback for Arnold Schwarzenegger but THE LAST STAND only sizzles in the action-packed final 30 minutes.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Review: THE IMPOSSIBLE (2012)


RATING: 4/5

Word of warning: this is not a Roland Emmerich-kind of disaster movie (e.g. 2004's THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW and 2009's 2012) where larger-than-life special effects matters the most. Instead, THE IMPOSSIBLE is a rarity -- Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona (2007's THE ORPHANAGE) has created an emotionally-driven disaster movie that successfully captures the devastating effect of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami as well as the aftermath of how a significant family struggles to stay alive. It's a remarkable piece of filmmaking, and certainly not for the squeamish.

Review: SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (2012)


RATING: 4.5/5

Two years after his critically-acclaimed boxing drama in THE FIGHTER (which also won Christian Bale his first Best Supporting Actor Oscar), writer-director David O. Russell has finally returned to his roots (quirky comedy, that is) in SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. The result is one of his funniest movies to date. That's not all -- SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK is the ultimate feel-good movie of 2012, anchored by memorable cast and witty screenplay all around.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Review: TOUCH AND GO 一觸即發 (1991)


Sammo Hung plays Fat Goose, a naive but lovable loser who is unfortunate enough to witness a cop being killed one night by a bunch of killers in the back alley while working late at his restaurant. The killers notice him and try to stop him, but Fat Goose apparently knows martial arts to overcome and finally made his escape. Instead of calling the police, he vows to keep quiet until the arrival of the dead cop's partner Pitt (Vincent Wan) forces him to become an eyewitness.

Review: LES MISERABLES (2012)


RATING: 2/5

By now, if you are a movie fan, you should have heard all the positive buzzes surrounding Anne Hathaway's pitch-perfect performance as the doomed Fantine in Tom Hooper's big screen version of Victor Hugo's massive novel, LES MISERABLES and of course its long-running 1980 Broadway musical. Her particularly vocal rendition of I Dreamed a Dream, which is filmed in a bravura single take, has single-handedly moved (many) critics and viewers to tears. After finally watching this movie, I must admit I was moved by Hathaway's heartbreaking role and I can't believe she actually sings very well. No doubt she is truly deserved to garner an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress (and I really hope she can win the award as well).

Review: LES MISERABLES (1998)


RATING: 2.5/5

A very straightforward re-telling of Victor Hugo's celebrated 1,488 pages-classic novel, this all star-studded, big screen Hollywood adaptation doesn't do much justice to the purists who enjoy the original Les Miserables because the filmmakers opted to streamline everything to a bare minimum.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Review: THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (1974)


RATING: 4/5

One of the scariest horror movies ever made in the history of cinema, Tobe Hooper's influential cult classic THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE is a low-budget masterpiece that still managed to hold up its shock value until today -- even after the movie was released way back on October 1, 1974. In fact, when it was first came, the movie was so horrifying that people actually walked out during sneak previews.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

SNAKES ON A PLANE And THE FINAL DESTINATION Director David R. Ellis Dead At 60


A shocking news in the movie industry has occurred that director David R. Ellis has passed away at the age of 60. The cause of his death is currently unknown, but it is learned that he has died in Johannesburg, South Africa. Apparently Ellis was in South Africa in preparation for directing his upcoming movie adaptation of the highly-controversial Japanese OVA, KITE. The live-action version is also set to reunite Ellis with his SNAKES ON A PLANE star Samuel L. Jackson.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Review: RUROUNI KENSHIN るろうに剣心 (2012)

When  I was a teenager, I used to love watching the highly-popular anime series called Samurai X (an international title otherwise known as Rurouni Kenshin in its native Japan) back in the late 1990s. Now, over ten years later, writer-director Keishi Otomo finally brings RUROUNI KENSHIN to life. At first, I was doubtful whether a live-action adaptation from such a popular manga can live up to its high expectation since most like-minded movie like this always ends up as a rip-off. But thankfully, fans of the anime/manga series will be (mostly) satisfied the way this first live-action adaptation of RUROUNI KENSHIN has turned out admirably.