The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Hmmmm Peter, Peter, Peter…. I totally love your Lord of the Rings trilogy and I have watched it over and over again because the cinematic experience was awesome on each series. The Hobbit's first installment was another much anticipated movie in this festive season and I felt that I didn't have that same experience as I had with LOTR. It reminded me so much of the Star Wars where the prequel kinda lack the mojo too. Don't get me wrong. Visually The Hobbit was freaking amazing though I thought it was too "real" because of the new frame technique deployed by Peter Jackson. And yes, I caught this is an IMAX 3D and I have no complains on the visuals and the cinematography. However, I would still give the visual award to Ang Lee's Life of Pi for now.
Movie wise, it has some good moments, some maybe draggy moments and a few flaws here and there. I know some movies have their flaws but when it comes to Peter Jackson, my expectations are higher. One big thing I felt was missing was the depth of the characters of the dwarves. I've actually read the Empire (film magazine) and it has descriptions of each of the dwarves personality. However, the movie failed to translate that knowledge I had on the screen. The direction could have been stronger and I felt the movie was kinda long. Well, LOTR movies had the same duration but it didn't feel long for me. I think you get the gist what I'm trying to say. Needless to say, I still enjoyed the movie but it was surely not an epic. Now wonder The Hobbit only scored 65% on Rottentomatoes while LOTR movies averaged at 92%. Verdict: 7/10.
Bacherolette. I saw the poster at the cinema in Singapore and the first thing I saw was Kirsten Dunst. I used to adore her in Spider-man movies and ever since, she hasn't been in many movies or maybe I have been ignorant.. Hmmm this movie was just an average romantic comedy movie. I won't spare so much on writing this review. Frankly speaking I wish this was the first movie of the movie marathon I had yesterday with A Werewolf Boy which was one of my top movies of the year. There were tons of profanity though and one scene where Dunst was hmmmm ahem you know haha which is kind rare. Finally I realise how "green" Dunst is but me likey likey. Sadly, the movie was a letdown. Oh yea, Fat Amy is there as well. Verdict: 6/10.
Argo. Woww!!!! One thing I have to salute about Ben Affleck is his ability to direct and also being part of the movie. He did it with The Town and I really enjoyed that movie. Now he came up with Argo which is based on a true story that happened in Iran and it was superb from beginning to the end. I'm not a big fan of political movies but I have to give this an exception. It's one of the movies that will keep you to the edge of your seat and the experience is much more rewarding after every obstacle they went through each scene. It was a bit weird to see Affleck sporting a hairy beard *lol* and he pulled off a great performance too. I doubt this will be showing in Brunei and I was glad it was still showing in Singapore. Keep it up, Ben. Looking forward to your other upcoming movies. Verdict: 8/10.
A Werewolf Boy. Gosh… I went to this movie with no expectations and I didn't see any preview or even read the summary of the movie. Of course the title suggests that it's gonna be a thriller horror perhaps and if it was a Werewolf movie by Hollywood, I would think twice about catching it. Yes, this is a Korean movie and I'm a big fan of Korean movies for the past few years. Boy oh Boy… this movie was surprisingly good from start to the end.. I never thought such movie would make me intrigue all the way.. It was humorous, touching, edgy and most of all, I ended up crying.. I meant weeping in the final third of the movie. Wow!!! I was invested in the two main characters that I was emotionally drawn. A great score too for the movie that also made the difference. This is one of the best movies of 2012 and after googling it, A Werewolf Boy is the 3rd biggest box office in Korea. I highly recommend you to catch this and I don't know if this will be shown in Brunei. It's been a while since I really enjoyed a Korean movie. Oh yeah, there's a good message about commitment and compassion and it' quite powerful. Verdict: 9/10.
Life of Pi. There were so much expectations on this movie as people were drawn to the spectacle trailer months before it was released. Ang Lee has been quite in the Hollywood scene but he was well known his hits such as Hulk and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and even Brokeback Mountain. Now with Life of Pi, he attempts to create that emotional value with the audience. So did he succeed? For me, it was a yes and no situation. The ending was also an open ended situation which was doable for Life of Pi. I was hoping for more an adventure rather than spending more time of the main character Pi connecting with Richard Parker the Bengal tiger.
Visually I have to admit it was amazing though I thought the best parts were already shown in the trailer so no surprise or wow element moment there for me. One thing that kept me wondering why wasn't Coldplay's Paradise song included in the actual movie but it was a good score in the end of the preview trailer. I was hoping for that song to appear but it didn't. I have to salute Ang Lee though for turning this challenging novel into a movie and if anyone can do, he's the right man for it. Yes, I expected more in terms of the "fun" factor and lack of emotional drive. Well done on being nominated as the Best Picture and Best Director in Golden Globes Award. Verdict: 7/10.
Wreck-it Ralph. I also came into the movie with high expectations though I didn't see the trailer for this. The feel I had for this movie was similar to that of Pitch Perfect. I was simply amazed how creative this animation was and I believe Wreck-it Ralph was a saviour for Walt Disney Pictures which has been struggling to produce enjoyable films. Well, it was a huge success for The Avengers also under Disney but other than that, they are recovering from a slide.
This movie is equally entertaining for adults and kids and it was probably more rewarding for adults since it reminded us of the gaming industry back in the 80s and 90s. The translation of a video game into reality was witty and creative and alone has earned a point or two for me. Plot wise it was good and lessons can be learnt from it which is good for the kids and even adults :D I suggest parents bring their kids to watch Wreck-it Ralph and you will definitely enjoy the ride. I don't mind watching this again really and there are still tons of screens showing this at The Mall Cineplex. Verdict: 8.5/10.
I lost track of how many shabu-shabu restaurants are they in Brunei. I heard a lot of good reviews about Yugo BBQ. Located at Gadong Central. Image taken from Yogu BBQ Facebook page
Image taken from Yogu BBQ Facebook page
Sharon and Dayah having their meal at Yugo. I shall try this out soon.