See: Dreadful Ride

8 Aug

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JOYRIDE

Directed by John Dahl
Starring Steve Zahn, Paul Walker, Leelee Sobieski, Jessica Bowman, Stuart Stone and Basil Wallace.
Distributed by Movie Magic Sdn Bhd

This is not even a ride but a slow and stale movie about a joke gone wrong. It’s a thriller, one that is supposed to glue you to your seat and make you breathless whenever the villain appears. But I nearly fell asleep.

The story is about two siblings who take a road trip and play a practical joke on an anonymous trucker. Expectedly, the trucker doesn’t find the joke funny and decides to track down the boys and make them pay for the humiliation he suffered.

The villain, known only as Rusty Nail, didn’t appear terrifying enough. The other characters are flat too. The brothers argue most of the time. And the side plot which has Fuller (Zahn) liking his brother’s girlfriend Venna (Sobieski) is so stunted it might as well not be there.

In a nutshell, it’s a two-dimensional movie that is more tedious than fun. The DVD sleeve mentions that there are “special features”. How misleading. There is nothing special about interactive menus, scene access and multiple language subtitles as they are basic DVD features. – SL

Rating: H

THE BUCKET LIST

Directed by Rob Reiner
Starring Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Sean Hayes, Beverly Todd, Rob Morrow, Alfonso Freeman and Rowena King.
Distributed by Movie Magic Sdn Bhd

IT’S a difficult lesson to master, but dying can teach us how to live. Morris Schwartz taught us that, in Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays With Morrie. Randy Pausch’s uplifting The Last Lecture at Carnegie Mellon University also spoke in the same tone.

The Bucket List is a more hilarious, yet profound take on dying, as seen from the eyes of two cancer wardmates who came up with a list of things to do before cancer gets the best of them.

So billionaire Edward Cole (Nicholson) and scholarly mechanic Carter Chambers (Freeman) set out to do what they haven’t done – skydiving, car racing, viewing the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China and the Egyptian pyramids.

Nicholson and Freeman have an amazing on-screen chemistry as two strangers who share the last months of their lives together and the story they weave out of that is just superb and humbling.

Not many actors can bring out that level of madness and sadness hand-in-hand but these seasoned and talented actors do it with complete ease.

Too bad that the special feature is only a music video by John Mayer. If there are commentaries and even examples of others who wring out the most of their lives in their last few months, it would have given the story added impact.

This is a fantastic movie not about dying and leaving, but about living and loving. A drama/comedy that will one day be a classic. – SL

Rating: HHHH

HOT FUZZ

Directed by Edgar Wright
Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Jim Broadbent
Distributed by Berjaya HVN Sdn. Bhd

Puzzling title? “Fuzz” is actually a slang word for police in England. And this is a very British film – it is set in an apparently idyllic, pastoral English country town and possesses that quirky, offbeat British humour.

In this cop thriller/black comedy for lack of a better way to describe it, the humour comes at several different levels, in your face, very dry, sometimes almost subliminal and sometimes in questionable taste.

It is the story of a dedicated, brilliant, highly-decorated and completely humourless London cop, who after being wounded in action, is posted from London to a quiet country town; actually because his success in London makes his colleagues look bad.

However, mysterious “accidental” deaths which the police and civic leaders of the town dismiss lightly, trouble the “super cop”. All is not as it appears in this rural paradise. The town harbours dark secrets, nothing is quite as it appears, and soon blood is flowing freely.

Our hero with his partner and admirer, set to restore law and order.

This is a bloodthirsty comedy thriller, which you will either love or not be too amused with. There’s an excellent cast of quality British TV actors and even a guest appearance by Cate Blanchett in disguise (I only discovered this when listening to the excellent commentary in the Bonus Features section). – JH

Rating: HHHH

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL 2

Directed by Kenny Ortega
Starring Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel
Distributed by Berjaya HVN Sdn. Bhd

Very much an American film. It’s the summer holidays and the kids from the famous high school are all off to the Lava Springs Country Club. Most of them take on a summer job whilst a few rich kids are there to lounge around.

And so the song and dance routines begin in this somewhat vacuous feel-good musical movie which I assume will appeal to middle class American teenagers.

The plot will not tax the intellect. A rich girl (a Paris Hilton look alike) wants a talented boy to perform with her to win the “midsummer night talent show”. Will the boy sell out his buddies and girlfriend working in the club kitchen, to join the rich set?

You can guess the answer. The movie is really about the song and dance routines, which are competent but not exactly inspiring. One set piece where the hero danced and sang his way across a verdant green golf fairway, with lofty mountains in the background was pure Bollywood!

The special features section offers Karaoke versions of all the songs with some music videos using materials from the film but featuring international artistes. Look out for one song performed by Malaysia’s Vince Chong and Jaclyn Victor.

A movie for those who are into wholesome, American high school pop song and dance, but not much for the rest of us though. – JH

Rating: HH

 

New Straits Times

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