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Archive for 17/03/2013


Just R

Written by Rano Iskandar. Posted in RA News

Earth Hour countdown


Click image to enter Earth Hour Brunei facebook page


Movie reviews


*LOL* it has been a while since I posted my movie reviews on RA. For the record, most of the movies I have caught have been posted on my Instagram. So if you want up to date snippets of my review and ratings, just catch me on instagram @ranoadidas (and Twitter sometimes).

I have to admit that movies in February have been mediocre to say the least. I know the summer movies look promising judging from the trailers but man, that’s no excuse for film studios to deliver all the crap in the month of February. There were three movies I enjoyed but then again that was back dated last year but only released in February, notably Lincoln, Cloud Atlas and Flight.

March movies have been a saviour in some ways and a slight improvement from February. I’m quite happy that Django Unchained made to our local theatres. There have been huge question marks if the movie would be released due to the violent nature of the content.

Lincoln. I had a feeling that this movie would be draggy because it’s all about American politics and how the 13th Amendment of the American constitution happened under the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. It’s no surprise that Daniel Day-Lewis who played Lincoln won Best Actor in the Oscars and I found Lincoln’s character quite interesting to begin with. I knew Steven Spielberg is the best person to deliver this masterpiece. His formula paid off and he made Lincoln’s character quite compelling too. In actual fact, Lincoln reminds me of my friend Clovis who loves to share stories of his wonderful experiences in life. A lot of lessons can be learnt here. It can get a bit draggy but I was still entertained. Verdict: 7/10 Rottentomatoes 89%.

Journey to the West: Conquering The Demons. CJ7 was a disappointment.. It was nothing compared to Shaolin Soccer and Kungfu Hustle. I didn’t even know Stephen Chow was the producer of Dragon Evolution (That was really bad right, guys?). Anyway, the latest movie by Stephen Chow was another disappointment. Who cares about the visuals these days? The real demon is this movie is the actual storyline/plot. It was all over the place. Even the chemistry of the lead actors was poorly executed. It was good to see Shu Qi though on the big screen once again. Maybe another disappointment is Chow’s absence in the movie but he could have done the Ben Affleck way (director/actor). The funny moments are there indeed but it’s not enough to save my level of interest to re-watch again even on HBO. Verdict: 6/10.

Beautiful Creatures. I was already interested in this movie because I was hoping that it would put the Twilight series to shame. This movie is based on a series of novel and it’s very likely that it will have a sequel or so. In conclusion, BC ain’t cheesy as Twilight but oh my, it has flaws that I couldn’t comprehend. The build up chemistry seemed too fast and it was nothing interesting either. I’m just content that it didn’t go the “cheesyness” level of Twilight. Too bad this movie bombed at the box office (only 19 million) but if there’s a sequel, I probably would catch it. Devon thought the parts of the movie deviated from the book she read. She was unhappy about it *lol* Verdict: 6/10 Rottentomatoes 45%.

Flight. I kinda half-half enjoyed this movie. The first 20 minutes of the movie was stunning but not as riveting as the one in The Grey (in reference to the plane crash). However, the melodrama was the one that caught me restless at times. Denzel Washington will always be Denzel. If it was another actor, he wouldn’t have pulled it off. There are some issues maybe that clouded my verdict of this movie because of ethical issues involved and how it was handled throughout the movie. This is a crowd pleaser movie but I just got bored of this draggy “hangover” stuff. Some of you would appreciate it. Verdict: 7/10 Rottentomatoes 78%.

Cloud Atlas. Whatever you do, don’t catch the midnight show though it has stopped showing her in Brunei cinemas *lol* My point being is that you need to be focus and alert while catching CA. One word I can say is ambitious. Who would have dared tackle such movie that has action, mystery, romance and comedy where one soul goes through different generation from a villain to a hero and from what I can gather, it is all about cause and effect. Yes, yes, yes.. It does sounds confusing *lol* but if you do have the time, do catch CA and it’s a pretty long movie too. This is again another hit or miss kinda of movie. You can either be absorbed or disinterested. I don’t mind to watch this again to catch some bits that I may have not interpreted. This could be an interesting movie for film study too. Verdict: 7/10 Rottentomatoes 67%.

A Good Day To Die Hard. Hmmmm.. I believe the series should have been dead and buried. The last outing wasn’t as good as the previous movies. I enjoyed the 1st and the 4th one the most but the 5th one was the weakest of the lot. Some of the scenes just doesn’t make sense especially when John McClane (Bruce Willis) arrived in Russia trying to get the attention of his son who was in a middle of an espionage job and yet John starts chasing him and destroys public properties along the way. That’s just one of those moments that defies logical reasoning. There are simply many flaws and it just doesn’t compute in my head. I remember giving this a 7 on my IG posting but after analysing it deeply, I have overrated this action flick. I was also misled by the good trailer. Verdict: 5/10 Rottentomatoes 16%.

The movie was launched during the National Day two weeks ago and it’s still a big seller

Apa Ada Dengan Rina. This is the first full-length Brunei movie produced by Regalblue Production and I’m here to do my review finally. I have missed two of their invitations (sneak preview and the premier) and I apologise to Harlif for my absence. Nevertheless I still managed to catch the movie a few days ago and I’m quite impressed by the outcome. For a locally made movie, this is a great effort though I believe there is still room for improvement.

The humour was spot on and Bruneians can relate to them. Despite the laughs, the plot I believe could have been stronger and to give the characters a more challenging scenario so the emotions could be felt more. I left the movie without any recall of the highlight moments (of humour) and mind you the movie is hilarious from start to finish. If it had one or two talking most funny moments (just like how American Pie or Hangover series did theirs), this flick would have a good “after-movie-conversation” instead of saying “it’s a funny movie” (and ends there) and hence creating more buzz than it already has.

I have to admit that I hardly watch Malay movies with the last being Ombak Rindu (7/10) and to enjoy a Malay movie is tough especially Malaysian produced ones. However, Ada Apa Dengan Rina gave me some hope that I can still enjoy one. I highly recommend friends and families to catch this movie and for your info, there are no subtitles. Seng Yee had a bit of problem watching it but she managed to understand most of the Bruneian jokes *lol*

Benny of Times Cineplex said that this movie have been a huge hit for them surprisingly and this is a good sign that Bruneians are appreciating locally produced movies. This is already a great start and I hope there will be more movies coming from Brunei. Ada Apa Dengan Rina is only showing at Times Cineplex, Times Square. Verdict: 7/10.

Rurouni Kenshin. So much hype about this movie especially those who are familiar with the Japanese anime. Brunei was fortunate enough to have this movie screened at Times Cineplex though the screening didn’t last long but I managed to catch it a few weeks ago. I have to say I was impressed with the film adaptation. It reminds me of the classic movie Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman. The fighting sequences kept me glued to the screen and I enjoyed every moment of it. The plot was great too and I love how the villain doesn’t have much (or any) fighting skills but the director was able to portray him as a bad ass villain. It would have had a higher rating if they could have explored more elements to it. A great effort nonetheless and yes, it’s too violent for kids. Verdict: 7/10.

Jack the Giant Slayer. The biggest flop of 2012. The investment costs nearly USD 200 million and they have only raked in USD 72 million worldwide. There are many talking points in this movie to begin with and the changes in the original screenplay of Jack and the Beanstalk wasn’t that appealing to begin with. The pace was so uneven and there is a moment that you thought the movie would end but it took another direction. I was kinda lost who was the actual main villain in this movie as it kept on swapping on the lead villain. With the money spent, I was disappointed with the CGI used. This is a big year for Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies, Mad Max: Fury Road, X-Men: Days of Future Past) but he was wrongly cast in the movie. Furthermore, this movie was directed by Bryan Singer (X-Men: First Class, X2, Superman Returns) and hence I expected more coming from him. Jack the Giant Slayer simply lacked depth. So much potential indeed. Oh yeah, some of the violent scenes may not be suitable for kids. I was surprised it was rated PG. Verdict: 6/10 Rottentomatoes 51%.

Oz the Great and Powerful. Hmmmmm James Franco is fine actor but only for some movies, it does bring the best out of him. In this, he’s just a simple fine lead actor but nothing the title suggest – Great and Powerful. Again, character developments are just a brisk walk and perhaps the producers are focusing more on visuals and artistry. It may not be top notch visuals but it does stands out on the big screen. Oh yeah, this has a mixture of live-action and CGI. The tree witches were alright and it’s nice to see Michelle Williams on the screen again. This was a good ride and Sam Raimi (director) kinda played it safe. I wish he would be more ambitious on some aspects of the movie. The final third of the movie was a great payoff but the ending could have been sharper. I enjoyed this more than Jack the Giant Slayer. Verdict: 7/10 Rottentomatoes 61%.

The Call. I kinda like the premise for The Call. Halle Berry was great as the lead actor. The suspense and thriller were the main ingredients and it can be quite absorbing to some. I do learn something about call centres now and how tricky situations can be especially when it comes to a matter of life and death. I’m quite surprised WWE studios is involved too hence you see the appearance of David Otanga from WWE. The portrayal of the villain was well executed. The only thing that was a let off was how the movie ended. I’m gonna go into spoilers but this just spoiled my rating for this movie. Other than that, I’m surprised I still can enjoy a movie that deals with call centres. Again the final third was a bit problematic. Verdict: 6/10 Rottentomatoes 40%.

Snitch. This year is another big year for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Apart from Snitch, he will be starring in G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Fast and the Furious 6. The movie snitch was based on true events if I’m not mistaken. It was a decent showing again by The Rock. I still remember another movie Gridiron Gang which I enjoyed more than Snitch and it’s also based on a true story. There is not much talking point here but I wished the storytelling could have been sharper because the elements are there already. I have mixed feelings of him now being in the WWE because his comeback trail has been fading in popularity. He’s better off in Hollywood. Verdict: 7/10 Rottentomatoes 56%.

Django Unchained. It’s no surprise that Quentin Tarantino won for Best Original Screenplay for Django Unchained. I love the show and I’m super glad that it made to Brunei cinema. I caught it on the premier night itself and to my surprise, it’s almost the full version that’s shown in the States so I must have been pretty lucky to catch the unedited version. Anyway, you may know that I’m a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino and my thoughts of Django… hmmmm it’s not as great as Inglourious Basterds or Pulp Fiction or even Kill Bill but it’s one of the great movies I’ve seen these past few months. Christopher Waltz was superb but I thought Leonardo DiCaprio stole the show for me as the villain. This is another fun and violent and even humourous show. It could have been a slightly shorter in terms of duration time. I have always love the dialogue in Tarantino’s movies and this didn’t fail to deliver the goods. Verdict: 8/10 Rottentomatoes 88%.

Warm Bodies. I was so looking forward for this movie and finally it’s out in Brunei. Yes, I have mentioned before that Nicholas Hoult is a big star in the making with a few more movies up his sleeves. This was a much better outing for Hoult compared to Jack the Giant Slayer. The premise of the Warm Bodies was interesting enough and I’m a sucker when it comes to zombie type films. However, this is not your typical zombie flick and it took a different direction as it tackles the relationship between a human and a zombie. I won’t spoil it further so you better catch it on the big screen. Some great music as well as the scores too. I just downloaded some of the classic songs *lol* A heartwarming movie and the formula works. I expected more though but I was still satisfied. Oh it’s likely that Warm Bodies to earn more box office than Jack the Giant Slayer *ouch* Verdict: 7.5/10 Rottentomatoes 79%.





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