Fri, Mar 27, 2009 - Page 16 News List

OTHER RELEASES

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The Pink Panther 2

Enough people saw and enjoyed the Pink Panther remake featuring Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau for this sequel to be financed, but it’s hard to imagine another one being made. The upside is that it’s got a good cast: John Cleese, Jeremy Irons, Jean Reno, Alfred Molina and Martin’s All of Me co-star Lily Tomlin, to name a few, though some critics lamented the waste of talent — not to mention a gratuitous CNN cameo (guess who). In Part 2, the Pink Panther diamond is targeted by a legendary thief, and Clouseau must foil him. Peter Sellers fans are advised to hire the old DVDs.

The Unborn

Now we’ve seen everything: an Exorcist-style movie steeped in Jewish religious lore and Nazi scientific atrocities. For the rest of the horror crowd not into such themes, there’s also hot babes, creepy children and a catalog of shocks. Odette Yustman (Cloverfield) plays a young woman whose link to experiments at a World War II concentration camp turns her life into a supernatural nightmare. Also stars Gary Oldman (as a rabbi) and Jane Alexander. Director David S. Goyer is a prolific action/fantasy writer-producer; he played a big role in Christopher Nolan’s Batman films. But his work here has not passed muster among those with little tolerance for the genre.

Personal Effects

A casualty of a nervous (or passionless?) US film industry amid the economic gloom, this Michelle Pfeiffer film had lone screenings in New York and Los Angeles before being dumped on the DVD market. Taiwanese audiences, however, are lucky because some of the many straight-to-DVD-in-the-US features screened here are worth the price of a ticket. Pfeiffer is the mother of a deaf child and, because of a murder, recently bereaved; she meets a man (Ashton Kutcher, from That ’70s Show) in a support group and a bond develops between them. Also stars Kathy Bates.

Thomas & Friends: The Great Discovery

Fans of the long-running (25 years!) British TV show for kids about a friendly, hard-working locomotive, his engine friends and their controller will be delighted to see this up on the big screen. Thomas’ “discovery” is an old mountain town on a little-used stretch of track. For the TV show, Ringo Starr and the late George Carlin were among the narrators for the UK and US markets respectively; for the movie, Pierce Brosnan steps into the sound-proof booth. Screening at the Vieshow complex in Xinyi District.

A Frozen Flower

South Koreans took to this sensual, bloody costume drama in record numbers — for an adults-only film. Set around 1,000 years ago, a homosexual emperor asks his lover/bodyguard to impregnate his wife and sire a son to avoid a clash over succession ... but allegiance to the emperor can only go so far. Handsomely mounted, beautifully filmed and featuring a gorgeous cast, this lengthy saga has sex scenes that fully earn its restricted rating.

Shakariki!

Some might argue that the Japanese film industry is an offshoot of that country’s manga market, and here is yet more grim evidence of it. Selected members of the curious male acting ensemble known as D-BOYS star in this trifling story based on a dated manga of a high school bicycle racing team that must overcome assorted challenges to prevail. The film may score points for its enthusiasm, but this is no Breaking Away, sad to say.

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