Sunday, March 27, 2005

Star Wars Clone Wars Episodes 21-25

(OK, given my expected 2 week hiatus for in camp training, I felt that I have to review something before I head off to some unknown jungle)

For the uninitiated, Star Wars Clone Wars are short episodes (of about 5 minute each) that chronicles the adventures of the clone troopers, and our favourite jedis from Master Yoda to Padawan Anakin Skywalker. The events take place immediately after Attack of the Clones, and showcases the wars between the Repubilc and the Separatists. Familiar villains like Count Dooku and new ones like General Grievious are also introduced in these episodes, along with various character development pieces.

Episodes 21 to 25, just released recently on Cartoon Network and the official Star Wars website (yes, the episodes are available online), lead directly to the crawler of Revenge of the Sith. It doesn't matter if you've missed the first 20 episodes of Clone Wars, as this 5 episodes serve as a standalone story. Also, these episiodes are longer than the previous 20, with each being about 10-15 minutes long, so the combined episodes serve as a movie.

And a highly recommended one too. It is in these episodes that bridge the subtle moments that you observe in Revenge of the Sith's trailers, and provide classic moments, some of which I shall just list them down here:

- The "promotion" of Anakin from Padawan to Jedi Knight, with the initiation ceremony and all, and the losing of the padawan "pigtail", which accounts for his new wavy hairdo
- The introduction of the scar at Anakin's right eye
- C3PO and his new golden body
- Anakin facing his Jedi Trials
- The attack on Coruscant, in a Sith plot to capture Palpatine, leading to his rescue in Revenge of the Sith by Anakin and Obiwan
- Camaraderie moments between Obiwan and Anakin, whereby the former acknowledges the latter as a "brother"
- Yoda and Mace Windu fighting alongside each other, their harnessing the powers of the Force is a joy to behold
- The cunningness of Palpatine
- And who can forget our favourite Driod R2D2 in the new jedi starfighter, and showing his handyman-ship in repairing Anakin's driod hand

May the Force whet your appetites and prepare you for the Sith's Revenge!

Friday, March 25, 2005

House of Fury Gala Premiere

This is the second Asian film premiere in Singapore I am attending, the first being Princess D a few years back, and it is no surprise that I drew comparisons and could see similarities between the two, in the way the premiere was handled.

Collected my tickets courtesy of a movieXclusive contest, met the site administrator for the first time, and after dinner, made my way to the Prince 1 foyer - and the sight was one funny one...

Wonder why Singaporeans queue, for everything! I was greeted by this extremely long queue... there's this table set up by the radio station Yes933, and I thought the queue originated there for those to claim their tickets from the station. But NO! I was so wrong! The queue was actually starting from the theatre doors. Like, Hello?? Why can't everyone just hang around the lobby and mingle, instead of forming this inane queue? No idea.

Anyhow, the foyer wasn't decorated much. You only suspect there's a premiere with the film's posters being the only posters put up all around, and that's it. Guess not much budget left after giving away all the tickets to probably the largest cinema hall in Singapore.

I was wrong to think that everyone would be in the foyer to await the arrival of the VIPs that night - director/actor Stephen Fung and one half of HK pop duo Twins Gillian Chung (only 2 guests, Princess D had 4 - director Sylvia Chang, and the leads Daniel Wu, Edison Chen and Angelica Lee). Security concerns probably prevented that, as you never know what groupies can be capable of doing. Instead, the cinema hall was open and we were all ushered inside. Too bad the collectible ticket had to be surrendered - which was the same situation as in the Princess D premiere, and the Kill Bill special invite marathon which I attended - thought I could keep the stub to get it autographed or something.

There are 4 kinds of people, as observed with my limited experience with Asian premieres. The first are those who scramble to sit near the rows of reserved seats (where the stars will take their place during the show). The second are those who at the first row (where the stars will be when they enter). There's a stage set up which looked like a ping pong table - saw it in place couple of weeks back when I watched Hostage. The third are those who stakeout the side entrance - where the stars will enter from. And lastly, those who don't give a damn. The first two types probably accounted for the kiasu queue before the doors are opened.

The long wait begins, as the stars arrived 15 minutes past the stipulated time. Can't blame them cos they were at another meet-the-fans session at Junction 8. Those bored started to play around with their digital cameras, and flashlights go off every now and then.

A Yes933 deejay (sorry, don't know who) opened the premiere, with an unsuccessful attempt to rouse the crowd into action. Even when the 2 guests appeared, they were greeted by than less then enthusiastic applause and cheers - my take was quite a number of people were tired from the waiting in a darkened environment, could see many people dozing at their seats.

Similarities with the Princess D premiere were abound:

The groupies congregating near the side entrance were brushed aside - the stars did not stop for any autograph signing (I may be wrong) as it seemed that they were rushed by their minders and bouncers to the stage area.

On stage, they played Q&A to giveaway prizes, no doubt groupies at the front are having a field day with this, being asked questions ranging from who stars as who, or who's the action director, etc, and being up close and personal to the stars.

And to wrap up, both of them were asked to make some closing comments. I can't remember what Gillian Chung said (hey she's eye candy), but as I remembered I better start paying serious attention in order to review the movie, I caught Stephen sidestepping his question of commenting on the message that the movie is bringing across - his answer was to ask the audience to watch and decide for themselves. Not a very good sign.

No longer than 10 minutes, they were whisked off the stage to their seats (groupies trying to follow), the light goes off and the movie plays. But somewhere in between, they snuck out and when the lights come on again, the entire entourage was nowhere to be seen.

Ah well, at least I got to watch the movie :)

House of Fury

(This review is brought to you courtesy of MovieXclusive's lucky-draw invitation, without which it won't be out today, and I wouldn't have as much fun at the gala premiere - gala premiere observations will be published separately)

The overall narrative feel of House of Fury, is a mixture of Tim Burton's Big Fish, and Pixar's The Incredibles (with super powers replaced by kungfu prowess), but the delivery is not as well polished.

Simply put, it's a story about a single father (Anthony Wong) family (with Stephen Fung, the director, and Gillian Chung, one half of HK pop duo Twins, as his children), whose secret agent past catches up with him and threatens his family. Like Big Fish, while dramatizing his colourful past in delightful unbeatable-secret-agent-kung-fu-prowess stories, his children outgrows them and their disbelief causes their relationship with their father to be distant at best. Until somewhere along the way when they discover that those stories have some element of truth behind them.

Like The Incredibles, we are shown the potential of his kids, who naturally have learned kung fu, in a similar dining table setting, and when daddy's threatened, we also know that it is up to family to bail him out, and in the process, improving their family ties.

With a title (in mandarin) containing "Jing Wu", one cannot help but expect comparisons, references and the paying of homage to Bruce Lee and his film "Fists of Fury", and yes, this film does too. The name of Anthony Wong's shop contains the letters "Jing Wu", and during his fight with Japanese ninja type adversaries, we see the slow break up of the shop's name ("zhao pai") to not-so-subtly emphasize "Jing Wu", and the very hilarious and creative use of make-shift nanchakus. There is also the obligatory fights with "Ang Mos" (Westerners), and in this show, the Ang Mo is reduced to a teenage sensation whose expertise is with the staff. (We can't expect Chuck Norris now can we?)

The artistes are no real life exponents, and it is left up to Yuen Wo Ping to fashion the martial arts scenes. I applaud the film-makers deliberate crafting of various martial arts for the lead actors - Anthony Wong's style is subtle yet forceful (funny at times), Stephen Fung's direct and in-your-face, while Gillian Chung's is graceful, elegant, yet packs a punch (I like hers best).

However, the wire-work seems to be out of place in a movie like this, and somehow isn't as disciplined, so the audience can tell when it was used, as it's not well-executed to perfection. While we can suspend our belief in martial arts shows set in pugilistic worlds, where exponents can fly from tree to tree, or in unreal worlds like The Matrix where the laws of physics do not apply to those who are "free", having a film set in a real world scenario, and yet having people float around, somehow doesn't cut it. My personal opinion is if the kung fu was more grounded (pardon the pun) then it'll be perfect. And yes, wire-work with wires digitally removed doesn't mean one should opt shoddy work - watch and you'll see what I mean.

The good looking cast does compensate somewhat though, with special appearances by Daniel Wu and Charlene Choi, but it is the veterans like Anthony Wong and Wu Ma who lent some acting weight to this otherwise fluffy teenybopper show. The villains, led by Michael Wong, a cross between Austin Power's Dr Evil and James Bond's Blofeld on a wheelchair, are one-dimensional, and most prefer to let their fighting do the talking.

Like most HK contemporary movies, it is peppered with comedic moments throughout the film, very simple romances, a predictable plot cum ending without much emotional depth or theme. During the interview before the show, Stephen Fung was asked the message this film is bringing across, but sidestepped with an answer asking the audience to watch and decide for themeselves. Not a very good sign, but enjoyable as a popcorn movie.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Swing Girls

From the director of Waterboys comes a new drama-comedy Swing Girls, and I'm a happy camper. I mean, what can go wrong with combining Japanese Schoolgirls (drool?) and Jazz? Absolutely nothing!

The premise and narrative is formulaic for this kind of "feel good carpe diem" shows - a bunch of misfits are thrown together by circumstance, to escape the dread of make up Math lessons during the holidays, they enroll (not voluntarily at first) to form a Big Band, face the great uphill task of getting funds for instruments, rehearsing and getting their act together, before ending it all with a cheery big bang.

But as always, it's the delivery that matters. And this show delivers at all fronts. From the many comedic and zany moments, to preaching "never give ups", the story is breezy and the pacing comfortable. The main leads are rock solid good lookers, while the supporting casts consists of quirky characters, like the rocker chicks (huh? in a jazz band?! watch to find out!), gangster-ish mechanic wimps, and a teacher-maestro wannabe, brings much laughter even though at times their characters might seem one dimensional.

What works is definitely the chemistry amongst the cast. It seems, from the out takes, that they had tremendous fun in making this film, and it shows in the end product.

One gripe you may have about this film is that the band, when they finally get their act together, always seem to play the same old piece, when you're craving for more. Well, that's what made the finale work, by building the expectation, then surpassing it - it's 15 minutes of pure musical splendor, and it really made me wanna stand up from my seat and swing along. Too bad I didn't do that, cos I know the entire audience might just join along with me!

So if you're feeling down, and somewhat bored, give this movie a go, and I'd guarantee, you'll be swinging and jazzing along when you emerge from the theatre, craving for more.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

La Peau Blanche aka White Skin

The title of this film doesn't give you a clue as to what it wants to tell. "White Skin" opens with a conversation between two friends, Thierry and Henri (yeah, those of you who know me will know that I am grinning at this - Arsenal's star player is called Thierry Henry, but no, it doesn't make any inference here), they're talking about being coloured (Henri is black, Theirry is white), and touch on racism.

This film doesn't pretend that it's not preaching about this topic, but at times when they talk about it, you can't seem to help but think the filmmakers are trying, though without success, to deliver some kind of message across. Peppered throughout the show are conversations that touch upon skin colour, race, "The Original Man", etc.

But looking at the theatrical poster, one might be fooled into thinking it's an out and out horror film about new vampires. It isn't.

For those who dove head-on into this film, it'll be kinda confusing at first, as the narrative at times doesn't seem to lead anywhere. The first 5 minutes shows the chums engaging with hookers, and all hell breaks loose when Henri is stabbed with a knife by one of the prostitutes. It is also within this 5 minutes that we learn of Thierry's dislike for brunettes (again, not that it is a major plot point or adds to the narrative). However, he finds himself being drawn towards a brunette called Claire in his University, whom he fist laid eyes on when she was busking at the underground metro.

They become bed buddies, and although Thierry wants more than sex in a relationship, Claire seemed to be satisfied with the state of things - kind of a role reversal here. She's hiding something from him, and it's not until the last third of the film that we realize what it is, and it's not cancer as originally thought. Sticking to my concept of reviewing, I shall not dwell into the plot from this point on, as it'll lead to major spoilers.

This show positions itself more as a thriller and not your outright horror show with ugly monsters, musical crescendos, loud bangs at right moments and blood splattering all over. We are left with wondering what the big secret is, but the slow pace of the film makes it quite a stretch in a theatre seat. Many subplots go undeveloped, or gets lagged as a red herring. Things go full circle when the chums get figuratively haunted by the prostitute who stabbed Henri.

This is recommended for one of those lazy weekends when you really got nothing else better to do. So set your expectations right, and don't expect too many memorable scenes from this movie, though it is compensated by a relatively good looking cast.

Saturday, March 12, 2005


It's been some time since I last saw a movie with creative opening credits. This one is unique, with comic book like panels and graphics, which looks suspiciously like Sin City, capturing different aspects of first responders in a hostage crisis, before dissolving into real life and putting everything into perspective.

And we see Bruce Willis with hair! Lots of it! Well, at least for the opening tense and engaging scene. He seems to have monopolized the role of the world weary cop, this time, a renowned hostage crisis negotiator, until the mission goes awry and he literally has blood on his hands.

We fast forward to today, and we see the Willis we're all too familiar with - bald, and into a career as a small town police chief. Before you can say "bring on the action!", 3 teenage delinquents hold a man and his 2 children hostage in their swanky ultra modern home.

To add to the mix, there's something shady going on behind the man held hostage, and given Willis' reputation as an ex-hotshot negotiator, he's now blackmailed by unidentified masked men holding his own family hostage, who want a DVD from the house with probably important information (don't ask). So Willis has to use his smarts, play both sides, putting his skills into practice and wiggle out of both situations - get the hostages safe, deliver what the masked men wants, and in turn, guarantee safe passage for his own family. Naturally when you play both sides, those on the side of the law always question your motives, as you deviate from the book.

What intrigues me is the negotiation process - between Willis and the hostage taking delinquents, and between Willis and the professional masked men - which takes centerstage in any hostage drama. I've been reading up a bit on crisis negotiation, and some aspects of the movie does seem to apply the principles of what I have read, which is cool.

It's a thrill from start to end, and this film delivers, with 2 finales tying up the 2 major plots. While at times predictable, the superb delivery by the cast does not bore you, though some might think that having "unidentified" masked men seems a little too convenient, as their motives go unexplained.

This is based on a novel, so I might just check out the book. And if Willis' character is called John McClane, this could well be a worthy addition to the Die Hard franchise.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

In Good Company

It is a challenge to thoroughly explore this drama. It's an excellent film, which deals with many contemporary themes, with great character development brought out by a superb cast with chemistry. Whilst some might view this film through romantic lenses, I'd prefer to view this film differently, from another angle, probably because I'm a salaried man myself, and at times, see myself in one of the characters now (no prizes for guessing who).

This film's premise is steeped in the realities of today's business world of mergers and acquisitions, layoffs associated, of office politics and relationships, and of corporate jungle survival. Dennis Quaid plays a Dan, a senior sales manager in his 50s, juggling life with adolescent teenage daughters (the emphasis being Scarlett Johansson's Alex) and his wife, who's expecting their newborn baby, and with his job, when his company has just been bought over and merged into a conglomerate. Suddenly his career is filled with uncertainty, as everyone in the company is worried over whether they'd still have their jobs once the dust settles, with new management being put in place - and this means Dan is no longer the main man, but the "wingman".

As with businesses these days, the emphasis is always on revenue, sales numbers, and the bottom line. We are shown, through the cast members, the pain of being laid off. It never is easy being a manager, and the dread when you'd have to ask members of your team, the team you picked and groomed, to leave. Some see it coming, some take it in their stride, others just can't. And that's the job of Dan's new manager Carter Duryea (played by fresh faced Topher Grace), who's half Dan's age, tasked with increasing sales revenue, and trimming the bottom line.

The film is also about relationships, and relationships here are multi-fold. Dan and Carter do not hit it off on the right note, basically because Carter just waltzes right into Dan's job, even though he lacks the experience in the industry, but he's young, energetic, and a proven go-getter. Dan feels threatened - it's understandable, especially when you have to put food on the table, put your kids to University, and going to have a new addition to the family. You have mortgage to pay for, and I think many salaried men will identify immediately with the situation at hand. Carter knows he's a threat to Dan, but initially for his own selfish reasons, he keeps Dan by his side (he needed someone with experience to teach him the ropes), defying upper management preference to lay Dan off because of his fat salary, thus he lays off Dan's team members. One of the more poignant moment in the film, the most realistic I think, is when faced with the reality of survival, of You or the Other Man, what choice would you make?

But slowly and steadily, a mentor-mentee relationship forms between the two, until Carter falls for Dan's daughter Alex. Although their romance takes a backseat to the relationship between Dan and Carter, whatever romance is shown onscreen is sweet - their first dates, their long walks, their worry of letting Dan discover their secret. But there is also doubt if it'll work out - Alex wants to concentrate on school, and is worried that Carter is on a rebound after his divorce. Carter, on the other hand, we question his intentions, whether he just wants someone to fill his loneliness, or if he's really in love with Alex.

This film is also about the importance of family, and the lack thereof. We see Dan with his very normal functional family - strong relationships and love amongst everyone. Which Carter envies. We see Carter's broken marriage, his unsupportive and adulterous wife whom he divorces, a mention of his parents who separated, and of his loneliness, which resulted in burning weekends at the office, and inviting himself over to Dan's home for dinner, just to beat being alone. He's a modern day poor little rich kid, and I identify with him on the loneliness bit.

Sometimes. the film pokes fun at corporate values, mission statements, themes of synergy, and showcases the office balls-carrier. A good reminder is brought out in - in today's world, the only constant is change, so break down your arrogance, as you'll never know what the next merger or acquisition will bring. One day you're at the top, the next you might be out.

Peppered throughout are contemporary folk songs, which just seem to evoke the right emotions in you, at the right time it's played. Making contributions are Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill and singer of the moment Damien Rice's Cannonball.

Dennis Quaid is one of my favourite character actors, though I must add that this is the first movie I've seen him in since "Frequency". His Dan brings about the everyday man whom I can probably identify with, when I'm 50. Topher Grace shines with his role of Carter, the inexperience of youth being thrusted into the limelight and given heavy responsibilities. He tries to impress his new team with his can-do attitude, his enthusiasm for his job, but scores zero on his personal life (hmm.. kinda like me, now). Heck he even crashes his new Porsche when he leaves the showroom! And Scarlett Johansson is an angel - showing vulnerability as a coming of age teenager who has to decide whether to pursue her love for Carter, or to realize the sacrifices her dad made to put her in varsity, and to pursue her studies.

This show has a little something for everyone, and I'm sure you'll find that the comtemporary themes do ring a familiar bell in your life. My review above might seem a little heavy, but hey, I'm over-analysing, so no worries, go catch this one!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith Trailer


I just returned from a special preview of Robots at Cineleisure 730pm, and I was grinning with glee like a schoolboy the minute I saw the Lucasfilm logo, and something different coming on screen rather than the rehash of Episode 4, which was how the original trailer started.

Though I know that in the US, the trailer prints are attached to Robots (both 20th Century Fox), but to date I have never experienced that happening in the local theatres with other films...

Until today!

Well, am gonna write as many details as I can remember, granted that I only watched it once!

- Begins with the conversation between Palpatine and Anakin, with the former telling him something about mastering the dark side of the Force
- Palpatine appointing Anakin to the Jedi Council(?)
- Anakin standing within the Jedi Council (like in Ep 1 when he was a kid), but Mace Windu, in his bad mo-fo attitude, telling Anakin that he is accepted into the Council, but is not recognized as a Jedi Master, which pissed Anakin off big time
- Mace Windu and 4 other Jedi Masters enter the quarters of Palpatine. Mace actually ignites his mo-fo purple lightsaber first, followed by the others. Palpatine asks "are you threatening me" or something to that effect
- Palpatine draws his lightsaber and initiates battle with the Jedi Masters
- We see the shot where Mace brings down his lightsaber
- Lightsaber fight scene between Anakin and Count Dooku (new footage)
- Padme cries in one scene with Anakin (she looks hot though)
- Anakin / Vader marching with clone troopers into the Jedi Temple - he has this possessed look in him
- Shots of Anakin using his lightsaber to annihilate one jedi (can't see who) - the massacre begins
- Yoda and Obi-Wan discussing who massacred the Jedi in the temple
- Lightsaber battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan (new footage)
- One mega kickass everything on screen starfighter battle
- Palpatine in his Emperor garb
- Obi-Wan screams "YOU ARE THE CHOSEN ONE!!"
- Part of a lightsaber battle between Palpatine and Yoda, which resulted in Yoda being tossed over a platform and hanging for dear life
- Force Lightning being flung at Yoda
- Random shots of Chewbacca (yay!)
- Classic shot of Darth Vader with his arms folded, standing beside the Emperor


So my advice to eager beavers, go watch Robots, make it Cineleisure (no, neither film nor theatre are paying me any moolah to say this), and watch the trailer.

Enjoy! May the Force, be with you!

Monday, March 07, 2005


This film is ingenious, in the way the story narrates and transplant everyday life and events, into their robotic equivalent. It brings the phrase "Giving birth after 12 hours of labour" to a new dimension, and so we begin, with the birth of robot "Rodney Copperbottom".

While growing up in Rivet Town suburb, he experiences the simple life, living with "hand-me-down" spare parts and upgrade pieces from relatives, before realizing his dream and ambition of becoming an inventor, just like his idol Big Weld, a fuddly duddly corporate big wig, who cares about the robotic society, giving it back to it, and encouraging everyone to live their dream.

But all's not well when Rodney visits the big city - his idol has become a recluse, and the corporation he left has become the exact opposite from what it was founded - profits and the bottom line matters, and something sinister is brewing between the new CEO and his mum, who runs the city's smelting plant. The narrative seems suspiciously familiar that point on, like you've seen it before somewhere, but the robotic premise breathes new life into recycled themes.

The themes in the movie are never fully developed, partly because it's supposed to be enjoyed by children as well, and also because it clocks in at a relatively short 90 minutes. Themes like corporate responsibility, living your dreams, and consumerism - the need to perpetually upgrade even when you don't have a need to. Perhaps with more time, and if wanting to veer into those direction, we'll get more beef, but I must remind myself, this is essentially a children's film - nothing to deep please to get a kid's attention span.

There are beautiful set action pieces with everything happening at the same time, and robotic animation that look so real, you thought they actually built the robots for this film!

While there are big names who lent their voices to this film, Robin Williams stands out (as always) and is a riot in this one. From the minute he begins, he is an absolute scene stealer, right up until the finale scene, though I must add that it does seem a little muted, given that he only has his voice to bring his wit across, rather than experiencing the full repetoire of what Robin is capable of!

The music in this film plays an important part in the narrative as well, and at times, contribute a lot to the slapstick scenarios. From Baby One More Time to Right Thurr, the filmmakers have picked the right hits for the right moments for maximum effect.

Though the ending, like all cartoons, are happily ever afters, I felt a sad tinge of disappointment at the lack of what I felt was the norm of animation film these days - no blooper clips or easter eggs, nor fancy end credits for this film. Kind of an anti-climax after a fun rip-roaring session, lacking an encore.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

The Woodsman

(This is one of the tough reviews I've had - the material is tough, and having seated beside a cute chick in the theatre ain't helping bucketloads)

The Woodsman gets its name from a fairy tale - Little Red Riding Hood, you know, the dude who actually cut the wolf and out came red riding hood, alive and well. The woodsman (and his axe) gave red riding hood a chance to live another day.

Does society give second chances to criminals, criminals like Walter, convicted of child molest? Released on supervised parole, Walter tries hard to reintegrate back to society. Police knocks at his door anytime, snarling. Frequent visits to his psychiatrist is a must. Getting a job is based on whatever network he has left, and willing to accept him with the condition that he doesn't screw up. Colleagues belittle him. Relatives shun him, sometimes mock him.

And yet Walter tries, hard. He knows it is an illness in the mind he has to conquer. And he sees this sickness manifest itself in a strange man whom he calls "Candy", who loiters outside the school courtyard outside his home - he understands what "Candy" is up to, setting traps for young boys, with the aim of violating them. He is disgusted, but the reason why he understands what's going on, is because he's such a person himself. "It takes a thief to catch a thief" doesn't ring any truer than this.

But not all is gloom, as he hooks up with Vickie, a colleague ast his workplace. Vickie is his pillar of strength (in a way), and yes, she too comes along with plenty of emotional baggage (seems like all the characters in this movie are really screwed one way or another)

The finale is gripping, as we see Walter being tempted by a young girl, who's undergoing some really painful relationships back home. Will Walter falter, or will he find moral courage to resist? And what will happen to Candy? And will Walter find what he's looking for with Vickie?

The highlight here is Kevin Bacon, perhaps the most underrated character actor ever in Hollywood. His measured performance made it so believable that hey, you just pity the guy Walter he's playing.

This movie is an acquired taste, though I must warn you the movie takes its time to tell its story (even though it clocks in at about 90 mins). And oh, don't get me started on the 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Hitch's a date doctor. Got a problem with initiating contact with the woman of your dreams? Then Hitch's your consultant for hire - he'll teach you the ropes, and by 3 dates, you'll know if it can or cannot work out, if you follow his advice that is. But he draws the lines with jerks. In the first meeting with you, he'll size you up in minutes, to see if you're someone worth working with/for, or to walk away from.

For the guys, this movie shares with you many good date tips, so much so that you'll sometimes be at a lost with the barrage of tips, or at times go "that's common sense!", or even, "hey, I know/can do that!" For the girls, I guess it's good fun to know the extent and fear each guy go through just to ask you out - sometimes things go fine, sometimes they just go awry, and it happens even to a smooth operator like Hitch!

The film opens with Will Smith talking to the camera, kinda like Alfie, but Smith can do no wrong. From action (Bad Boys, Independence Day) to drama (Ali) to Sci-fi (I, Robot), and now romantic comedy, he has anchored himself as a leading man, whose name on the marquee can open any movie. Kevin James is comedy fodder as Albert, the man whom Hitch coaches - those dance moves you saw in the trailer, well, there's more! Eva Mendes star as Hitch's opposite number, a cynical gossip columnist who's after the dirt between Albert and babe Amber Valletta.

There are many memorable scenes in this movie, but my personal favourite is when Hitch and Sara first interact in a pub. I laugh at lame pick up lines/attempts, but this one - the banter's really smart and witty, and best of all, the lush sounds of Everything But The Girl's Five Fathoms is playing in the background. Tracey Thorn rocks, and the scene, perfect. Peppered throughout the movie are contemporary pop songs that you surely can identify.

But as with most romantic comedies, the plot's formulaic - boy meets girl, boy loses girl, and the endings are usually cop-outs and happily-ever-afters. But I'm not finding fault - this film addresses timeless, current and real-life dating issues, and it redeemed itself with a hilarious ending scene to what is an enjoyable flick.
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