Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden,
Susan Sarandon,Idina Menzel, Timothy Spall

"The real world and the animated world collide"

Cinema 1, Shang Cineplex

I must be getting soft in my old age. My sarcastic, cynical self actually liked this classic fairy tale Disney movie with a twist. Nary a trace of violence, no cuss words, no bad guys, no noisy car chase scenes. Just an innocent naive little princess lost in chaotic New York city. Her simple quest is to return to her animated world so she could marry her Prince Charming.

Ok ... all together now. Awwww!!!

What's not to like, right?
I'd say a few song and dance sequences in Central Park and some typical fairy tale ballroom dancing didn't register well with my cynical heart.

Even though for a few minutes in the beginning you pinch yourself because you think you've wandered into the wrong cinema. The screen comes alive with an animation feature. The eventual transition from animation to real life is smooth and well executed.

The cast is composed of talented artists known for other genres like drama and comedy so to be part of an animated/real feature must have seem like a breeze. But it doesn't necessarily mean it is easy to act all fairy tale like either. You have the likes of the resplendent Susan Sarandon in a small role as the evil stepmother complete with freaky makeup, hideous outfits and the 'evil' laughter. James Marsden as the typical caricature of a Prince Charming - meaning he looks good only in paper/cartoon but he doesn't bear much substance. This brings us to the real Prince Charming in disguise portrayed by the yummy Patrick Dempsey. The guy with a young daughter trying to balance his career, his love life and his role as a father with ease. The attorney with a heart of gold who doesn't take advantage of lost out of her elements little Princess Giselle. Of course, Amy Adams with her perky nose and her childlike aura looked every part the naive Princess that she was.

The story is pure fantasy with enough dose of harsh reality (in the form of the mean city that never sleeps - New York). The plot evolved well, had enough conflict and created a credible buildup towards the climax and of course finishes with a happy ending both in animation and in real life.

Light feel good movie with solid plot, good cast and the ubiquitous moral lessons expected from fairy tales for both children and adults alike - certainly you can't go wrong at all with this premise.

Thursday, November 8, 2007



Tony Leung, Wei Tang, Joan Chen, Lee-Hom Wang

Cinema 5, Power Plant Mall

The thing I remember most from watching this film are the very panoramic shots of the city of Shanghai during the WWII era. Ang Lee succeeded in capturing the scenic essence of the city. It had such a European ambiance except that it was populated with Chinese. Great cinematography!

Other than that, I wasn't overly impressed with this movie. It was dragging. Ang Lee took his time getting to the more gritty parts. I am not talking about the sex scenes, I'm referring to the entrapment operation. Franky, the much touted sex sequences were too mechanically rehearsed to merit such a fuss. I didn't get emotionally invested with the characters. The film just didn't live up to my expectations.

Having said that I must admit it was a good character study of two contrasting individuals. A young girl sidetracked into becoming a patriot. This distraction turned her into a woman. One who had to grapple with her feelings of affection for her 'prey'. A woman who had to experience lust at its most brutal form all for a more noble cause. The chance to expose a traitor to his country. Towards the end, you get a feeling that her love overruled her love for her country. Yet you cannot really know for sure. In this regard, kudos goes to the young Chinese actress Tang Wei for portraying such a complex role. A rather complicated yet still left with much to be desired role. For one thing, a lot of questions abound regarding the way that her character behaved during certain aspects of the film.

I still have a lot to say about this film but duty calls so ... tTo be continued

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