Police Story 3 is considered by many to be the greatest martial arts movie ever made. I wont go that far but it is definitely the strongest film in the series as well as being Jackie Chan's best. He returns as agent Chan (big stretch there) who is given a new partner (Michelle Yeoh) and together they attempt to infiltrate drug syndicate. This installment works so well thanks to the introduction of Yeoh's character. She shares the screen and affectively redistributes the action. The stunts are incredible and until i saw the Thai film Ong Bak, I had never seen action sequences so incredible. Another review of Police Story 3 pointed out that the action in Chan's films is gleeful as opposed to American action which is grimacing. With Chan and Yeoh doing their own stunts, it also adds another level of awe. Like alot of Chan's Chinese films, this is almost more fun when watched with the English dubbing. Most of the actors provide their own voices in English, much of which was recorded at the time of filming. It all adds up to a unique and exciting action flick. It was also popular enough to spawn a spin-off movie "Once A Cop" featuring Yeoh's character.
The Muppets is a movie made with absolute love & affection. I feel lucky to be part of a generation who grew up with the Muppets as a staple part of television. It was unique entertainment which later transpired into a series of films. Sadly with the progression of CGI animation, these lovable characters have been lost and the youth of today miss out. Thank God for Jason Siegel. Obviously a fan, he has written a brand new Muppet movie that will satisfy everyone. Its a smart movie packed with wonderful musical numbers, 70s & 80s references and gags. I watched this with the kids last night who had NO idea who the muppets were... for me it was a welcome trip down memory lane but for the kids it was a whole new, weird experience. No computer effects, no violence and 100% pure puppetry (How I've missed it).
In My Country is a film about post-Apartheid South Africa. In 1995 Nelson Mandela established the Truth & Reconciliation Commission which allowed victims to testify to share their stories and perpetrators were allowed to confess their crimes in exchange for amnesty, on the condition that their accounts were truthful and proved to be politically motivated. In My Country was directed by John Boorman and stars Samuel L Jackson and Juliette Binoche and it recounts just some of the thousands of testimonies given during the commision. Unfotrunately the story gets bogged down with a few unessessary subplots such as a relationship between the two leads and an interview between Jackson's character and a ruthless white supremisict played well be Brendan Gleeson. This portion of the film is broken up and presented in scattered moments throughout the movie. I also felt that the wrong actors had been cast. Binoche seems to have been chosen for her ability to cry on que but her performance is unconvincing. Jackson is also two dimentional playing an American reporter and his performances teeters on kitchy. In My Country is a well intended film, telling important stories... but it fails in it's delivery.
Unknown starts with a familiar premise. Following a car accident a man wakes up and his identity has been taken. There is no record of him existing and not even his wife recognises him. Liam Neeson stars in this fast paced thriller about a man frantically trying to uncover a conspiracy against him. Or perhaps he is dillusional and suffering from amnesia. I got quite excited about this movie and watched it with an anticipation that the answers he seeked would be revealing... unfortunately I felt robbed. The conclusions were typical and I felt like Id seen it all before. The performances are all good, particularly Bruno Ganz's, and the pacing is well maintained... but it all became dissapointing for me in the end. Maybe I'm also getting tired of seeinig Liam Neeson play the same character over and over again. Unknown is okay. Not great!
I imagine the writers saying to themselves "imagine if we blended War Of The Worlds with 28 Days Later". And I imagine they thought this was the cleverest idea for a movie anyone had ever come up with. The Darkest Hour is a new alien invasion movie that is exactly that... a mash of WOTW and 28 Days Later. It's another watered down rehash of old ideas for a newer, stupider teen audience. Alien's invade Earth, this time they're invisible. They get around in electrical pulses and evaporate all humans (in the exact way Spielberg's War Of The Worlds tripods did). There are SOME things to like about the movie. It does move at a fast pace and the FX are genuinely good... but there are too many negatives for me. What bothered me the most was the arrogance of the movie. It's essentially a Russian film yet all of the Russian characters speak English for the sake of the protagonists. Set in Moscow it follows 3 Americans & 1 Aussie who are travelling at the time of the invasion. Everyone they meet throughout the movie speaks fluent English... bollocks. This would have been a far more engaging story if the characters were Russian or the darn thing was set in the USA. Not many people are bothered by subtitles these days and given that this was producted by Timur "Nochnoy Dozor" Bekmambetov, I would have appreciated some more respect. Teens will probably lap The Darkest Hour up and that says a lot.