Date Night - a movie review

 

Date Night

 

Some movies allow you to escape from the doldrums of daily life, have a good laugh and sit back for the duration of the show and forget about your troubles. Others can take you past that, and whilst you are laughing, you also appreciate a deeper meaning, where you can relate to the scenes portrayed and reflect on how your life parallels that. Whilst Date Night is no heavy duty blockbuster, it has enough gravity to hit home with a message and yet remain light and fluffy enough to take you away from your woes for just under 2 hours. With ticket prices half that in Singapore, and a 2 day lay up in KL, it makes watching this with friends a decent distraction, which actually worked out well.

 

The plot is simple and tested, two people who have been married for years go on their usual date night where they get time off from the kids to be by themselves and they have recently become a little jaded, and inside long for a little excitement in their lives.

 

Little do they know the night will get explosive, shots will be fired at them and they will take down corrupt politicians, kingpins of crime and literally have a blast of an evening. Some of the events are a little far-fetched, but the team of Steve Carell and Tina Fey pull it off quite nicely with good comic timing and genuine chemistry between them.

 

The scenes are familiar, and whilst we laugh at the stunts, the ridiculous pole-dancing, we can also reflect on how often our own lives seems so close to the couple on screen. How often do we wish things would rise above the mundane before the whole marriage or relationship breaks down. The concept of time for each other to have space, and the need to spend our whole lives trying to please the other person can be quite tiring too. This can lead to an eventual breakdown of the relationship, and that strikes home, as I do know someone who just felt there was no more love in the relationship. It was a passive decision to give up on the family and simple feel no hate and no love.

 

The movie wraps it up well, showing how commitment to a relationship extends beyond merely corporeal attraction, and a real motivation to keep the marriage together, whilst giving us a few laughs in the process.

 

All in all, good for a few laughs, and gives you something to talk about at the end, and it leaves you with a feel good warm sensation too. Recommended.

 

Plot: 4/5

 

Action: not a lot and they don't make full of Mark Walberg, but he does make his wooden acting work for him here, and squeezes out a few laughs from his pecs… not a lot for your home theatre to work out on 2.5/5

 

Chick Factor: Tina Fey really looks like Sarah Pallin, and despite her age, does look pretty good, even in the pole-dancing outfit. 2.5/5

 

I reckon this movie is worth a rental at least and I would be looking to get the DVD.

 

 

 


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Terminator II UK Skynet Edition (Region B )

Terminator II

 

This is one movie which defined all action movies in its decade and its legacy still lives on with 2 sequels after. It was the movie which define its main actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, sealing his reputation as The Action Star of the 90s. its CGI was Oscar winning and cutting edge and even today it still feels fresh. The marriage of good action enhanced rather than defined by mere CGI, plus an engaging storyline and the clever use of the villain turned hero, got us rooting for the underdog, and hoping it will beat the seemingly unstoppable T-1000.

 

Over the years, so many versions have been released that if you were a hard-core Home Theatre Hobbyist, you will have owned at least one version. Well, I have the THX Judgment Day version, the lossy DD Blu ray version, then the DTS-MA HD DVD and now the Ultimate Skynet edition on Blu Ray.

 

So how good is this latest version? If you have any of the older ones, should you part with more cash for the money suckers creating yet another edition? Actually from a practical stand point, the older Blu Ray was so bad, almost any new release would beat it, and HD DVD is a dying format. And it does offer better picture quality than the older SD DVD, so its quite a no brainer.

 

Now at 7 GBP after you deduct VAT, that’s a really sweet price. But note that it is a region B only disc.

 

It comes with a DTS-MA 6.1 soundtrack, that begs you to turn up the volume and enjoy the surrounds plus a decent bass track. Now this move will not rival the best of 2009, such as Die Hard 4, Star Trek etc, but it is still decent and with the gripping storyline, it will sit proudly on your shelf and make you want to pop the disc in for a spin every now and then. The picture quality does not fair as well as the sound, it is not bad, and in the daylight scenes, the colours are rich, and it is a definite upgrade over the older releases.

 

Furthermore, it is packed with extras and has 3 versions of the movie. Note that it takes a while to load up, being BD-live.

 

Plot 4.5/5

Action 4.5/5

Chick factor – well a muscular Linda Hamilton well only make James C drool but somehow she does not cut it as eye candy. 2.5/5

 

Definitely, Maybe - a movie review

Definitely, Maybe

 

There have been a few classic romantic comedies which have impressed me over the years: 4 Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually, Harry Met Sally, You Got Mail. The essential plot is about how the man, after a circuitous journey usually plus some time falling in love with others, eventually ends up with the woman of his dreams. After all these rom-coms should end well, and leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling, regardless of whether real life is like that. How about a rom-com which is funny, warm and yet reflective, and give you more than a topic or two to talk about when the show ends? Will it work if it goes off the tried and test formulae a little?

 

So here is a movie, where from about the fifth minute you know the main actor, Ryan Reynolds, is divorced from the love of his life, and is on his way to pick up his precocious daughter who just had her first sex education lesson, and now knows she did not come from storks. The story is about how the daughter squeezes out the story of how her parents metfrom her dad, who reluctantly tell her through a series of stories of all the women her dad met and loved in his life. So there is a bit of guess who as he does not tell which is which, and the story arc goes through a time in the 90s where Clinton runs for president, and his infamous Lewinski affair.

This is a quite a twist on the romance bit and leads you through a few twists and turns in the protagonist's life. I half wanted to dislike it for the amorous and almost free-love nature of the parts where there is a lot of sleeping about, with scant regard for the institution of marriage, but this is reflective of America and perhaps other societies too. The lead actors and even the daughter Maya, do very well, with good synergy to weave a story that is part fiction and all life. Clever flashbacks and painting it as a story remind me of the technique employed in Princess Bride, but this is more dark and it isn't an action movie.

 

It is perhaps a reflection of the fact that true love does not run smooth, and that you may love more than one person, or worse, when you think that you found the right one, after marriage and all, the quarrels begin and it all does not end well. It can also be about betrayal, by the closest to you. It can also be a reflection on life, that even after the worst events (like your best friend sleeping with your beloved), or after the dust has settled on the separation, life does go on and possibly, the journey continues, with potholes of sadness along the way, but plenty of memorable scenery, and the right company to make that long journey, a good one.

Plot: good chick flick I guess, but it will definitely lead to lots of discussion if you bring your partner, or you can quietly watch it on a plane and deny all knowledge of it if you are the red-neck bloke and too macho to watch such a movie.. or feel free to share your thoughts with another lady --- 4/5

Action - zip

Chick Factor - plenty of eye candy Isla Fisher is a mix of innocent sweet and overpowering sensuality -- 4/5

Rent or Buy or forget it: depends on your stand on morals, and whether you have objections to romantic flicks, but worth a rent at least.  4/5

 

I personally watched this at least four times, and gave my copy away to 2 other people, and have bought 3 copies of this movie as result.

 

 

GREED

The recent brace of 3D movies has allowed the ugly head of GREED to rear its head, in a way which is more menacing than the hissing snakey head of Medusa.

 

Alice and Titans are clear examples of movies made in 2D, but due to greed from the studios has had post-production manipulation to squeeze some 3D out of a flat film and charge the paying public more.

 

Unlike Avatar or even Up, these films are not natively created in 3D and it shows with lacklustre depth and poor picture quality. If this is the future of subsequent 3D productions, the uptake of 3D flatscreen TVs, HDMI 1.4 players etc will be much lower and effectively show up the obvious, that 3D is a gimmick which is meant to enrich the coffers of the producers.

Clash of the Titans in 3D - movie review

 

3D movies are now coming out fast and furious and you know you are in for a nasty time when the most three-dimensional thing is the subtitles.

 

The plot has not changed much and follows much of the older movie, with 3D added post production presumably to cash in on this new craze. Well lets just say that the 3D effect is flatter than an airport runway, and instead, you get this faint halo effect or grainy enlargement of the character. The picture quality is also poor, were they trying to convince us this was an 80s production? The CGI was sporadic, with the scorpion scene nicely done, whilst Medusa looked worse than the Scorpion King animation which is almost 8 years old now.

 

Sam Worthington tries almost single-handedly to rescue this movie and the people who hired him got their money’s worth from him. He grimaces, growls and slashes his way through the movie pulling the others along and almost makes the movie watchable. There are a few laughs and some decent action scenes, but for a 2010 movie, the bass and sound was surprisingly flat (pun intended). The surrounds were also not used much, and you wonder if this was a direct to video production. In fact the first 30 minutes resembled a B grade movie and Sam W looked like he was hopping back and forth from Avatar, especially since he basically had the same hairdo and all he had to do was retain his Aussie accent here, and swop over to a Marine’s grunt in Avatar.

 

The director also seems to be lacking ideas, borrowing the big scorpions from Michael Bay’s Transformers I, the Kraken looked pretty similar to an Alien, and the lady tied to be sacrificed had her set borrowed right out of King Kong. With a 2 dimensional storyline, indifferent special effects and a decidedly poor implementation of 3D, this movie looks to be a rental at best, and if you plan on seeing this in the cinema, just go 2D, and you will feel less cheated.

 

Avatar was the epitome of 3D for the year, and efforts like this leave such a bad aftertaste that the skeptics will feel subsequent productions are merely cashing in on the phenomenon and don’t really use 3D to add much to the plot.

 

Action 3/5 Plot 2.5/5

 

Chick factor – well Gemma Atherton was a hottie and looks better here than in James Bond if you asked me, and I wished she has a meatier role, rather than imitating an “Etheral” from Riddick. And whoever played Medusa was a fine looked inspite of her dreadlocks. 3.5/5

Do You Really Need To Follow Every Update Issued For Your Gear?

That old adage still applies: " if it ain't broken, don't fix it .. " Unless there's something obviously wrong...