More trou­ble ahead

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You Again

THINK of the per­son you hated most in sec­ondary school for pick­ing on you mer­ci­lessly. Imag­ine that per­son reap­pear­ing in your life to­day and pre­par­ing to marry into your fam­ily, and you have the premise for You Again.

The horror of it all is the set­ting for this Dis­ney fam­ily com­edy star­ring Kris­ten Bell as Marni, whose fu­ture sis­ter-in-law (Joanna, played by Odette Yust­man) is the one who ter­rorised her in high school.

The film boasts other big stars such as Jamie Lee Cur­tis as Marni’s mother, Vic­tor Gar­ber as the fam­ily pa­tri­arch, Betty White as Marni’s Grandma Bunny, Sigour­ney Weaver as Joanna’s fab­u­lously wealthy and stylish aunt and Kristin Chenoweth as a flam­boy­ant wed­ding plan­ner.

With such a dream en­sem­ble, one would ex­pect a stel­lar per­for­mance. The cast does de­liver, even the new­com­ers James Wolk, who plays the groom Will, and Billy Unger who is Marni’s lit­tle brother.

The comedic tim­ing is spot-on, while the emo­tional scenes are not over the top. Ku­dos to di­rec­tor Andy Fick­man for keep­ing the movie tight and mov­ing at a good pace. He also raised it above the run-of-the-mill chick flick.

Watch out for the string of cameos at the end of the movie.

I only wished that White had more to do than merely pro­vid­ing comic re­lief. – Vicky Ooi ( )

Red

EAR­LIER this year we had aged ac­tion stars com­ing to­gether in The Ex­pend­ables. Now here’s yet an­other film in which the cast is made up of, erm, some­what se­nior cit­i­zens.

Sigour­ney Weaver (left) and Jamie Lee Cur­tis play Ra­mona and Gail re­spec­tively in But sur­pris­ingly, Red is quite fun de­spite (or is it be­cause of?) the age fac­tor.

There’s Bruce Wil­lis, Mor­gan Free­man, John Malkovich and Helen Mir­ren play­ing re­tired agents who are forced back into ac­tion – and these char­ac­ters wield awe­some weaponry and blow up peo­ple right on tar­get. Yes, Helen Mir­ren, the Os­car-win­ner!

In one of the most sur­real scenes, the ac­tress – wear­ing a white dress (look­ing like the roy­alty that she is) – lets loose hun­dreds of bul­lets from this mas­sive ma­chine gun like it’s the most nat­u­ral thing for her.

Who would’ve thought she’d be at ease play­ing a govern­ment agent who re­mains ex­tremely dan­ger­ous even though she’s re­tired?

If Mir­ren is watch­able, Malkovich is pretty funny play­ing a para­noid man with a pen­chant for mil­i­tary cam­ou­flage. He may be a bit over-the-top, but the way Malkovich delivers the lines in that clear, sane voice only mag­ni­fies the fact that his char­ac­ter is a tad crazy.

There are no sur­prises where Wil­lis is concerned, mak­ing the most of his char­ac­ter’s soli­tude man act.

Red also fea­tures Mary Louise Parker, as a bored woman who gets in­volved with these re­tired agents by chance.

While her role is ob­vi­ous – as the per­son who clues the au­di­ence in on who’s who and what’s what – Parker must be cred­ited for giv­ing the role a touch of fresh­ness. Sim­i­larly, Karl Ur­ban is ef­fec­tive in his role.

While the cast is great, the film is far from per­fect: there are plenty of mo­ments when the plot and char­ac­ter devel­op­ment are skat­ing on dan­ger­ously thin ice.

The go­ings-on will have us go­ing “se­ri­ously?” a cou­ple of times, made worse with an ut­terly bor­ing vil­lain.

The script is medi­ocre, fea­tur­ing an aw­ful “Grandpa” run­ning joke. But when a film has Mir­ren play­ing against type and fea­tures Ernest Borg­nine it’s def­i­nitely worth a watch. Get­ting soft in the old age maybe is not so bad. – Mum­ta­jBegum ( )

Hachiko: A Dog’s Story

THOUGH this film is about a dog, it feels far more hu­man than most of the films I’ve seen this year.

Hachi the puppy is an Akita pure-breed from Ja­pan that has just touched down on Amer­i­can soil. His next of kin is the cage he trav­elled in, which now lays bro­ken af­ter it fell off a lug­gage trol­ley.

Lost in the train sta­tion, the puppy wan­ders up to an­other wan­der­ing soul – a pro­fes­sor Parker (Richard Gere) – who im­me­di­ately opens up his heart to the adorably placid puppy.

Based on a well-loved Ja­panese true story, this is a tale of a dog so loyal, that he sees his mas­ter off to the train sta­tion ev­ery morn­ing and re­turns to greet him, with­out fail, at the end of ev­ery day. Un­like films like Cats & Dogs: The Re­venge Of Kitty Ga­lore, you won’t be hear­ing any an­i­mal voices here.

The film is beau­ti­ful in its cin­e­matog­ra­phy, with heart­felt per­for­mances by Gere and the dogs that played Hachi. As an ac­com­plished pi­anist off-screen, Gere shares a melo­di­ous chem­istry with the pi­ano pieces in the sound­track, which evoke mem­o­ries of ful­fil­ment tinged with poignancy.

Parker’s child-like bond with Hachi is any­thing but lame. The un­con­di­tional love be­tween them is so pro­found, they are like lovers who can’t wait to meet again. Hachi never tries to be loved; he just is. For the si­lence he ex­udes, his ex­pres­sive face speaks vol­umes.

Hachi is treated more like fam­ily than a pet – for one, he is never made to wear a col­lar. Don’t ex­pect to hear a lot of “No!” in the film, be­cause Hachi sim­ply doesn’t wreak havoc like in Mar­ley & Me.

Gere will make you miss him a whole lot in this film. The jour­ney is tran­quil but still, there is the res­onat­ing pain of loss that you will have to deal with. Bring a friend or two for a good sob. You’ll see – this film will prove to you that even boys cry. – LeeMeiLi ( )

The Other Guys

TO be hon­est, I don’t get Will Fer­rell’s hu­mour. About the only Fer­rell film that I’ve en­joyed so far is Stranger Than Fic­tion. Hav­ing said that, I have to ad­mit The Other Guys is pretty en­ter­tain­ing. But only in how it ex­ploits the whole cop-movie genre while mak­ing fun of the char­ac­ters found in those films.

While some of the jokes hit right on the mark – cops hav­ing a whis­pered brawl dur­ing a wake and Michael Keaton’s char­ac­ter un­con­ciously quot­ing TLC’s lyrics – oth­ers are just yucky.

Well, ac­tu­ally any scene in­volv­ing Eva Men­des is just plain aw­ful. To be hon­est, I don’t re­ally know why Men­des is still in de­mand. – Mum­ta­jBegum (

)

Spot on:

YouAgain.

In Hachiko:ADog’sS­tory, Akita dog Hachi faith­fully greets Parker Wil­son (Richard Gere) ev­ery day.

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