Sunday, August 25, 2013

Movie Review : White House Down, The Lone Ranger, Prisoners & Blackfish

I’m reviewing an action-packed movie, a western comedy, an emotional drama, and a touching documentary. bring out the popcorn and kuaci. and a box of tissue when you’re watching ‘blackfish’.


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‘white house down’ is a combo of ‘air force one’ starring harison ford, and ‘the rock’ starring nicolas cage and sean connery. something belonging to the president is hijacked, and it’s up to only 2 individuals to save it, and a whole billion other people.

SPOILER : even the dramatic ending is similar – in ‘the rock’, nicolas cage’s character dramatically stumbles outside with the green smoke to indicate threat is neutralized before alcatraz is bombed; while in ‘white house down’, the little girl takes a dramatic move of taking the white house flag outside and waving it to indicate that the white house is safe, just in time to stop the armed forces dropping the bomb on them.

america humors itself by making a movie about white house being terrorized – but NOT by outside forces; because it seems that the only way the sacred white house can be taken over is if it were occupied by its own people – the head of secret service to the president.

it contains all sorts of action flick cliché known to man :

  • girl disrespects dad; even calls him by first name and then boom – something happens, dad does cool stuff like saving the world and everything is rosy. she calls him dad again.
  • one man fights against an army of armed and dangerous soldiers – and survived without a scratch.
  • one tiny little girl saves the world, and the bad guy actually say, “when they come you will die first.” I mean, shoot her there and then and be done with it already!
  • amidst the chaos – with the country, and possibly the fate of the whole world on the line – the president has time to change his shoes – because he’s the freakin US president
  • that comic relief in all movies, that one guy who gets all the funny lines that should get him killed, but they won’t kill his character so that the jokes keep coming

I’m just glad that they didn’t have that ONE major cliché – a sexy love interest or damsel in distress who join forces with him wearing a tight tank top or torn skirt. I’m really glad it’s just hot channing tatum and adorable jamie foxx all the way!

but hey, I didn’t say that the movie wasn’t entertaining. I enjoyed it! cammon, it’s channing tatum rolling around, sweating. almost shirtless. and jamie fox as the US president. of course it’s a fun watch!

I hope those two team up again for another action-packed comedy!



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‘the lone ranger’ is enjoyable simply because of johnny depp. change the casting and the whole movie is actually a drag.

justice-seeker lone ranger team up with a quirky native american. both out for revenge. in the middle of it all there are precious stones, suspenseful fights on trains and corrupted law enforcers. that’s the plot for ‘the lone ranger’. it’s mostly action, few funny moments, and odd native american philosophy and mystical ideology courtesy of johnny depp.

johnny depp’s ‘tanto’ is like captain jack sparrow disguised as a native american. and that’s not necessarily bad for a fan like me. he’s trying to make tanto as memorable as ‘willy wonka’, or ‘the mad-hatter’ but it just didn’t take off. the reason is, tanto is similar in character to captain jack sparrow – looks aloof and a little silly, but really smart and conniving.

however, as a fan of johnny depp, his not-so-perfect character is still loveable! I enjoyed the movie as a light watch before taking a noon siesta, simply to watch johnny depp. oh, and I didn’t know that helena bonham carter is in ‘lone ranger’ too. she has a few scenes here, but steals them all. a nice surprise.



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how far would you go to find your missing child? how would you deal with them being lost? does it make you as bad as the criminal just because you’re willing to hurt and kill? or does it make you less of a loving parent if you just sit back and wait for the police to do their job?

‘prisoners’ is an intense emotional drama that starts from the very first 15 minutes. it doesn’t need to drag on to establish the loving relationship between parents and daughters; or between friends before the panic starts. no – from the get go, ‘prisoners’ lets you know that this would be a movie about 2 girls allegedly taken in daylight, and the emotional and physical struggles of each parent in search of their missing daughters.

oscar nominees hugh jackman and jake gyllenhaal are amazing in their roles. hugh jackman is such a fantastic actor. he can be wolverine, he can sing as jean valjean AND he can be funny hosting the oscars. he’s is SO good-looking, and on top of that he’s such a loving husband to real-life wife deborra. I LOVE hugh jackman!

here in ‘prisoners’ hugh jackman as the desperate father, willing to do anything to get his girl back. he’s not a dad ‘..with special set of skills’ like liam neeson in ‘taken’, but just a regular guy that any father can relate to. mr. khairul said he would do the same thing; if not worse.

the movie ‘prisoners’ is a well-made movie with A-list actors; but as a huge fan of CSI and criminal minds, I can’t help but feel that the plot is just a longer extension of one of the better episodes of criminal minds. a crime has been committed, 2 little girls are gone, distraught parents go to great lengths and emotional turmoil in dealing with the loss; and a young police officer determined to find the perpetrator.

a must-see for the storyline, for the powerful acting and the intense drama. the plot that’s so close to us malaysians (remember little girl sharlini who is still missing, and nurin who was found lifeless in a gym bag after missing for many weeks). may Allah grant peace and jannah for these girls. amin.



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‘blackfish’ is a powerful documentary about the life of performing killer whale or orca named ‘tilikum’. the title ‘blackfish’ refers to another name in reference to the orcas, but less commonly used.

intertwined with the narration are the interviews with the marine biologist, animal activists, former staff of these water parks; and who had experiences studying about or performing with orcas. the stories are often revealing, at times shocking, and most of the time, touching and emotional.

all these while we’re presented with a picture-perfect image – the family-like atmosphere established in these water parks through the close relationship of the trainers and the orcas, the happy-fun activities and stunts performed by these talented orcas, and the satisfaction of performing for a happy crowd day in-day out.

the reality is shocking and all too saddening. the many deaths recorded of trainers attacked by these emotionally disturbed killer whales (when in reality, orcas eat fish or seal. no documented attacks on human in the wild). the ill-treatment of orcas while in captivity. the abuse and attack from bigger orcas in the same cage. the list goes on.

killer whales or orcas live and hunts in tight groups; they’re social animals. they display great intelligence from the many instances of researches. this is one of the many reasons why it’s a concern in keeping these orcas in captivity away from other orcas with whom they have had strong emotional bonds.

like one former orca-hunter said – “it’s just like kidnapping a baby from its mother.” tears falling down his cheek. it broke my heart to hear the screams of the adult orcas as the babies were captured.

the gripping tale of ‘tilikum’ the 12,000 pound killer whale – from the moment he was caught, to his sad, helpless days at the small cramp of a ‘pool’. I was feeling so sorry I enjoyed my time at seaworld san diego. these beautiful, intelligent creature of the sea belonged to the great big ocean.

highly recommended. the final scene when the former orcas trainers go on a boat, enjoying the view of wild orcas in the wild and free at sea will make you weep. that’s how it is supposed to be. free the orcas!


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