There’s a new IMAX theater in town: the Vieshow Sun multiplex in Wuchang Street, Ximending. With luck, IMAX moviegoers will get to enjoy varied programming instead of month-long block bookings, but for now, it seems, we will have tandem schedules with the Miramar IMAX. And the first film to be screened? It’s:
Monsters vs Aliens
This animated 3D film will be a smash hit with the kids. A luckless bride grows very large after contact with an extraterrestrial object and gets locked up with various monsters in a secret government facility. But when some aggressive aliens ignore immigration procedures and start causing havoc, the monsters are let out to save the world. Well, America, anyway. It’s a real spectacle, this film, but the plot is for the birds. Screening in English or Mandarin at IMAX and regular theaters.
Back in 2D movieland, Nicolas Cage continues his series of hernia-inducing roles in this apocalyptic tale from Aussie director Alex Proyas (I, Robot, Dark City). An elementary school time capsule from the 1950s is dug up to reveal a strange sheet of paper with nothing but numbers, which a bereaved professor (Cage) learns is a code of catastrophe for the past, the present and the future. This film has divided critics more sharply than any other in recent memory, but Cage’s fans should be satisfied.
New in Town
Renee Zellweger is the star of the show here. She’s a ruthless executive who travels to Minnesota to axe local jobs, but gets more than she bargained for professionally and romantically. As a romantic comedy, this change of pace might impress Zellweger devotees, but anyone who has seen Local Hero will hear the machine of Hollywood color-by-number filmmaking start up at the opening credits. Instead of Scottish wile, Zellweger must deal with locals as pure as snow — and who reminded critics of the cast of Fargo.
Fireflies in the Garden
A big cast (Julia Roberts, Willem Dafoe, Emily Watson, Carrie-Ann Moss) star in a small movie about family troubles in sub-suburban America. Roberts is the mother and Dafoe seems to have used his evil genius character in Spider-Man as a template for his cruel husband and father. As so often happens in these types of dysfunctional family dramas — even if they’re autobiographical — an accident is the trigger for much fighting, fraying of nerves and gnashing of teeth.
In probing relationships within constrained social circumstances, this drama from first-time writer-director Ivy Ho (岸西) turns to the office setting, with all of the barriers and quiet communication that this implies. An apparently unconsummated attraction between Karena Lam (林嘉欣) and her married boss Ekin Cheng (鄭伊健) is gently probed, but like Harold Pinter’s Betrayal, the story is told backwards, challenging the viewer to look for hidden clues. Warm reviews greeted this Hong Kong production.
Anpanman: The Secret of Fairy Rin-Rin
Here comes the 20th feature starring the much-loved, bun-and-bean-paste children’s hero Anpanman (“Bread Superman”) from Japan. In this entry, the secret ingredient that gives Anpanman his courage is discovered and damaged, leading to an odyssey in search of the flower from which it derives, but the evil Baikinman (“Germ Man”) has other ideas. As always, the program starts with an Anpanman short.