Saturday, 5 October 2013

Movie Review: Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon

Tsui Hark is back again with his latest fantasy-action-drama-adventure-thriller epic - Young Detective Dee: Rise of the Sea Dragon, which serves as a prequel to Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame released in 2010.

The film tells how the young Dee rise to become a respectable detective for the Tang Dynasty, befriends the doctor Shaluo (similar to Sherlock Holmes and Watson) and his rival, Chief Commissioner/Detective Yuchi, unravels and solves an intriguing mystery case which involves a plot to assassinate the royal family and palace officials to overthrow the entire kingdom.
In order to fully enjoy the film, it requires some suspension of disbelief from the audience for some of the fantasy or action elements shown in the film such as riding a horse underwater, 'Kraken' beast, parasites that can change a person's looks and behaviour entirely, flying around fighting in the air, etc.

Although the wire-action choreography was great and well handled throughout the film, but the action scenes gets a little too much and it feels tedious to watch as the film moves on. It took away the focus of the mystery plot and a lot of potential character development required in the film. However, most of the lead and supporting actors did a fine job in portraying their character roles.
The CGI has improved a lot and looked believable and realistic compared with past Chinese big budget films. Overall, it's still a watchable, entertaining Chinese big budget production comparable to Hollywood standards.

Rating: 7.5/10

 Angelababy is gorgeous and sexy...

Movie Review: Rush

Rush is a biopic drama based on the real-life rivalry between the famous Formula One drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda during the 1976 Formula One season. First and foremost, I'm not a Formula 1 fan as I find the sport uninteresting and I don't know much about the sport itself. But, I find myself drawn into this film.

Different than many typical racing sports film found out there, Rush actually shows the clash between two distinctive, contrasting personalities, the passion that brought them into the sport and fears that come with it. James Hunt is a highly sociable British playboy who loves to live life dangerously close to death, have the willingness to do whatever it takes to win, a seemingly typical F1 driver. On the other hand, Niki Lauda is an eccentric, methodical, disciplined, and seemingly unsociable perfectionist, constantly assessing the odds and potential risks and outcome of things.

Watching these two characters constantly pushing their limits to be the world's best racer and what drives them to win truly makes this a very engaging, entertaining, interesting drama to watch.With a great chracter-driven script by Peter Morgan, brilliant direction by Ron Howard, good acting performances by the two leads to provide impressive character depth and gripping, intense score composed by Han Zimmer (again), the film successfully carefully showed both personas in detail, allowing the audience to draw out the differences between these two men, in terms of personal values and beliefs and how they eventually develop mutual respect for the other by the end of the film.

Technically speaking, it seems like Lauda is the better driver as he knows the specifics, modification, requirements of a Formula 1 car compared to James, but James' bold and determined personality also shows that he's a good driver who certainly deserves respect. The racing scenes in the film was intense and beautifully filmed. The injuries sustained by Lauda during the Nurburging crash in 1976 looks about the same in real-life. It's definitely a compelling drama worth watching, not to be missed.

Rating: 8.5/10

"When I saw it the first time I was impressed. There was no Hollywood changes or things changed a little bit Hollywood-like. It is very accurate. And this really surprised me very positively." -Niki Lauda (Carjam TV Interview, September, 2013)

The following shows the images of the people in the film and what they look like in real-life:
Taken from the site:

Friday, 4 October 2013

Movie Review: Gravity

 Gravity is truly a visually stunning sci-fi thriller about two people (a medical engineer and an astronaut) trying to survive after an unexpected accident leaves them adrift in space. The story is simple, straightforward and predictable, the entire film happens in space and there's only 2 actors you'll be seeing throughout the film.
However, the visual aspects of the film are aesthetically breathtaking and realistic at the same time. The visuals showing Earth or even aurora borealis is truly mesmerizing. It successfully captures the terrifying dangers a person might experience while in space to the audience. In space, it's downright scary when all communication systems down, no oxygen, no gravity, with extreme cold temperatures, no sound where no one can hear you scream, no one can help you and you're all alone. Moreover, Clooney managed to provide enough charm and Bullock's character has a likable personality for the audience to continue watching the film and hope that they manage to survive their ordeal.
The film also provides us some of the character's visual perspectives - out-of-body floating and spinning experience, explosions due to objects flying and colliding with each other in space without sound...I believe this is as close as you can get to have a decent space experience in the cinema.As Bullock's character said in the film, it's truly one hell of a ride.Recommended to watch it in 3D. (although 2D is still acceptable if you're in a tight budget)

Rating: 8.5/10