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