Isnin, 10 Mac 2014

The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

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The Star Online: Entertainment: Movies

Aaron Paul gets into full gear

Posted: 08 Mar 2014 08:00 AM PST

The Breaking Bad star hits breakneck speed in his new movie.

ONE of the most successful racing video game series, Need For Speed, is now a movie headlined by Aaron Paul. In his first lead role in a big-budget film, the 34-year-old American – most famous for portraying Jesse Pinkman in the acclaimed drama series Breaking Bad – not only gets to play "a man's man" but he also gets to drive all kinds of vehicles, especially iconic muscle cars.

As it turns out, Paul is a fan of cars, especially the classic vintage muscle cars – "Yeah, who isn't into cars, right?" he said in a transcript provided by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. He also digs the video game: "I've definitely played the multiple games and it's fun because all you're doing is just driving these crazy exotic super cars."

The film revolves around Tobey, a mechanic who's trying to keep his family-owned garage business going by participating in illegal street racing. In a desperate move to stay afloat financially, he teams up with Dino Brewster (Dominic Cooper) who feeds him to the police instead, landing Tobey in jail for a crime he didn't commit.

Two years later, Tobey gets out of jail and is set on a revenge against Dino through a series of high-stake races. Only problem is, he must get from one coast to the other if he wants to enter this secret underground race. He must also dodge pursuing cops and avoid someone cashing in on the bounty Dino has put out on him.

"What's so great about the games is that they're full of adrenaline, and there's no narrative. So we had a giant blank slate to make it how we wanted, and tell this story however we wanted."

He added: "This film is not just a car movie, but it's a throwback to the classic car culture films. When I met with Scott Waugh, our director, he gave me this amazing pitch. He said it would be like a Steve McQueen-era film.

"That got me really excited. That's what first intrigued me about this story. And then he delved deeper into how he was going to tell the story. It's great because I think car movie buffs deserve something like this. It's not just a flashy car movie. I mean it does have that element to it, but it has an incredibly interesting story behind it."

To keep things real, the action sequences were shot with a stunt team, actual cars and very little special effects. This allowed Paul to do some of the "wild driving" which he described as super fun.

"Before we started shooting they wanted me to go through this crash course – so to speak – just to learn how to do drifts, and slides, and reverse 180s, and even 360s. And I learned all this in the first three days, and it's incredible. It's hard not to do it in your day-to-day life. Once you know how to really use the emergency brake properly you just don't want to ever stop doing it.

"Nowadays, the emergency brake doesn't really grip as well as it should on a lot of cars. So it doesn't allow you to kind of drift and slide the way you want to. But they have these cars all rigged up for us. They're just giant toys." 

Need For Speed opens in cinemas nationwide on March 13.

Trailer Park: Extinction event

Posted: 07 Mar 2014 08:00 AM PST

DOES anyone even remember how the 2011 film ended? All we remember about that film is there were a lot of explosions, buildings were destroyed, and in the middle of all that, a pretty girl managed to do a lot of posing for a camera only she could see.

Anyway director Michael Bay says goodbye to Shia LaBeouf and casts Mark Wahlberg as an all-American fella doing his best to earn money for his family so he can afford to put his very beautiful daughter (Nicola Peltz of Bates Motel) through college. He does this by collecting junk and then selling it. Well, wouldn't you know it – one of the old trucks he buys turns out to be a Transformer, one that is out of commission until Walhberg's character – get this – jumpstarts it.

Figures, only Bay would think of this; or maybe it's an allegory for getting the franchise going again.

There are a couple of funny scenes too – other than Wahlberg jumpstarting a Transformer, the best one has Stanley Tucci shouting "Oh my God!!!" while mayhem is happening around him.

But any good Transformers film is all about action – and Optimus Prime gets the ball rolling by breaking out of a barn, and then later taking down a Dinobot. Prime's pals and enemies are featured in the more exciting bits of the trailer. Whatever Bay's flaws may be in storytelling and character development, he pulls out all the stops when it comes to the action sequences and special effects – once again, all the robots look great and move flawlessly.

Transformers: Age Of Extinction is scheduled to open in Malaysia on June 26.

Now showing in Malaysian cinemas

Posted: 07 Mar 2014 08:00 AM PST

American Hustle

CON artist Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) is hoping to hustle his way out of a prison sentence by helping FBI agent Richard DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) nab mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) and his gangster friends for fraud. Besides having to deal with the mob and a publicity-hungry FBI agent, Irving also has to make sure his unpredictable wife Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence) doesn't get in the way of his plans. Then there is his partner in crime and lover Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams), whose true intentions are no longer clear to him.

American Hustle is a highly engrossing film with colourful characters and plenty of intrigue. Nothing seems to go the way you think it should because the film introduces characters who disrupt the flow to make things more interesting.

Lawrence is a scene-stealer with her performance as the flamboyant (and somewhat dimwitted), estranged wife of Irving. There's also Victor Tellegio (Robert De Niro), a Mafia boss who makes things very difficult for Irving and Robert. He quizzes Irving's friend – a man pretending to a wealthy Arab sheikh – in Arabic and you simply have to watch it to find out how Irving gets out of that situation. – Angelin Yeoh (4/5 stars)

Non-Stop features Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore


Well, there was certainly non-stop suspense in this airplane-hijacking thriller from the moment US Air Marshal William "Bill" Marks (Liam Neeson) starts getting text messages from an anonymous number on his secure phone on board a flight from New York to London.

Director Jaume Collet-Serra helpfully zooms in on certain passengers to help us narrow down the suspects list, but the final reveal was a surprise to me.

Neeson seems to be coasting along on his by-now familiar performance of a flawed (very flawed, in this case) anti-hero with a gun and a noble purpose. Not to say he doesn't play the role well, just that this role ain't adding anything to his acting portfolio.

The few close-quarters fight sequences were well done, I thought – direct and brutal. But I do wish some of the implied relationships between the characters were more fleshed out.

If you're all about the journey and enjoy suspenseful thrillers, then I would definitely recommend Non-Stop. However, if you like a nice tidy end, then you might want to think about it, because the reason for the hijacking turns out to be rather lame. I would have given this a higher score, if it weren't for that. – Tan Shiow Chin (3/5 stars)

Chris Evans in Snowpiercer


With a short intro on how an experiment to stop global warming goes disastrously wrong – it's the Ice Age again! – director Bong Joon-ho immediately zooms in on the living conditions of the survivors on board a very long train. For 16 years, the train and its occupants have been ceaselessly moving (otherwise they all freeze, see), and it hasn't been an easy road.

Based on a French graphic novel, the story illustrates social classification in an enclosed space and the result is just amazing – it is as if everything has been put under a microscope, amplifying the dire situation.

Other than translating the comic-book imagery onto the big screen successfully with an impactful storyline, director Bong draws brilliant performances from his cast especially Chris Evans and Jamie Bell. Tilda Swinton in particular, with fake teeth and hair, is a standout.

This is one future apocalyptic movie that you won't want to miss. – Mumtaj Begum (5 stars)

The Monuments Men

If you're looking for a different type of World War II movie, sometimes funny, occasionally touching, and somewhat philosophical, then this movie might be your thing.

Admittedly, I wasn't quite sure I could buy into the idea of saving great works of art from the Nazis when so many lives were being lost, even though the story is based on real events.

But my heart still broke a little at the senselessness of it all when the Germans torched some of the stolen masterpieces.

The Monuments Men is entertaining, but doesn't quite achieve its full potential – the story is not quite tight enough, the characters a tad underdeveloped, and the transitions from comical to touching not always smooth.

However, it's a character-driven movie, and I particularly enjoyed the affectionately antagonistic relationship between Preston Savitz (Bob Balaban) and Richard Campbell (Bill Murray), Cate Blanchett's all-too-human Claire Simone, and Hugh Bonneville's flawed Donald Jeffries.

A decent option, particularly for those who enjoy World War II movies. – Tan Shiow Chin (3/5 stars)

Kit Harington leads the cast of Pompeii


This is a mash-up of a disaster movie, a gladiatorial epic, a tale of star-crossed lovers and a revenge flick.

It's not as bad as it sounds, but neither is it awesome (depending on your sensibilities).

It's just ... all right.

As disaster movies go, the eventual eruption of Mount Vesuvius is pretty well done, bar the way the tsunami came to a weird, abrupt end.

The gladiator-love-revenge bit is all right too – nothing groundbreakingly original, but entertaining enough.

And that about sums up the movie; it's a perfectly average epic, good to while away a couple of hours, but not particularly memorable, except maybe for the exploding volcano bit.

Note: Fans of Kit Harington should definitely check out this movie, as he is in superb physical shape here. – Tan Shiow Chin (3/5 stars)


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