It is sad to think that a sequel to a one-joke comedy is the big release for the Lunar New Year vacation, but Little Fockers, with its cast of Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro, is likely to bring in the punters. This utterly cynical exploitation of a top-notch roll call of stars relies on gross out gags in an extension of a scenario that was only mildly funny with Meet the Parents a decade ago. The long-running animosity between Jack (De Niro) and Greg (Stiller) gets a new twist as Greg becomes the family patriarch-in-waiting, but the comic effect is already too well-worn to generate many laughs.
I, Don Giovanni
I, Don Giovanni centers on the famous womanizer and lyricist Lorenzo da Ponte, who collaborated with Mozart in creating what is arguably one of the composer’s most complex and compelling operas, Don Giovanni. Focusing on a time and place familiar to many through Milos Forman’s 1975 landmark work Amadeus, I, Don Giovanni takes an Italian perspective on the scene, emphasizing the role that Ponte, along with Italianate music, played in the gestation of the opera. With its lavish period settings, magnificent costumes and a wonderfully attractive cast, I, Don Giovanni provides an exciting, if rather romanticized, look at the music and sexual shenanigans of court life in the 1780s.
The Disappearance of Alice Creed
A tight little kidnap drama that uses minimal resources to pack a powerful emotional punch. It shows first-time British director J Blakeson to be a formidable talent in the making. The psychological drama plays out between two criminals (Eddie Marsan and Martin Compston), and their captive, Gemma Arterton, who shows herself to be a classy performer. While Blakeson overplays his hand with a few too many twists and turns, The Disappearance of Alice Creed maintains sufficient tension to provide a heartily engaging 100 minutes.
A Disney animation based on the popular fairy tale Rapunzel about a golden-haired girl imprisoned by an evil mother figure. She discovers her own worth (and magical powers), finds her prince charming and goes on to live happily ever after. There are various charming talking animals, some musical numbers, snappy dialogue and lots of sharp editing to keep the story moving along. The whole setup is familiar, but the production team has managed to balance Disney’s commitment to expressive emotion with the smarts that Pixar has made the epitome of modern animation. Tangled has even managed to earn praise from a number of critics for its effective use of 3D technology.
Directed by Richard Dutcher, whose previous directorial outings have related to aspects of the Mormon faith. Evil Angel continues his fascination with religion, but this time embracing supernatural horror, making it more accessible to a broader non-religious audience. The story takes its inspiration from the legend of Lilith, a figure who, according to legend, was the woman made from the same clay as Adam. She was subsequently expelled from the Garden of Eden, and vowed vengeance on the descendants of Eve, the woman who supplants her. Set in modern-day Chicago, Lilith decides to destroy a young paramedic who unwittingly obstructs her effort to return to corporal form. Messy plot and uneven acting, but an amusing B-movie all the same.