The King’s Speech
The big winner at the Oscars, The King’s Speech picked up awards in the best picture, best director, best original screenplay and best actor categories. Outstanding production values, a fine script and great acting by all involved have made this period drama a crossover success story, turning the tale of a British monarch’s speech impediment into a runaway hit with audiences around the globe. Although it doesn’t break any new ground, everything about it is so finely crafted and the performances so well judged that it is hard to find fault. At least one critic stated that he enjoyed it despite strongly held republican sympathies. Colin Firth manages to be both aloof yet sympathetic as King George VI, and he is ably supported by Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter and Derek Jacobi.
I Am Number Four
A second-rate reworking of some of the ideas from Twilight Saga, but with aliens replacing vampires and werewolves, spruced up with elements taken from the likes of The Lord of the Rings. I Am Number Four is so annoyingly and joylessly derivative that it will have fantasy fans tearing their hair out. The lack of imagination even extends to the hero’s home planet being called Lorien and the bad guys coming from Mogador. All that’s missing is a small person called Frodo. Good-looking teenagers with special abilities sorting out relationship issues while on the run from an evil alien race fail to create tension, and various babes wander in and out of the frame, probably in order to keep the audience from noticing that the story isn’t going anywhere.
The only reason I can think of for screening the 2007 comedy St Trinian’s at the present time is that it takes some of the wind out of Colin Firth’s Oscar success. This naff British comedy is a coarser, cruder reworking of the 1954 The Belles of St Trinian’s, and it does no credit to anyone involved. Firth only plays a minor role. The main culprits of this comedy about a bunch of unruly high school girls who band together to save their appalling school from closure are Rupert Everett and comedian Russell Brand. It could work if you like sexed-up school uniforms.
All’s Well, Ends Well (最強囍事)
A romantic comedy in the same style and with some of the same cast as the highly successful 1992 film with exactly the same English name. All’s Well, Ends Well is being billed as Cecilia Cheung’s (張柏芝) return to the movie screen after giving birth to her second son. She is joined by a host of variety show regulars including Raymond Wong (黃百鳴), Louis Koo (古天樂), Carina Lau (劉嘉玲) and Angela Baby (楊穎), who get embroiled in all kinds of relationship tangles as members of a successful cosmetics company. Lots of pretty faces and some clever dialogue make this a funny, if forgettable, 100 minutes of entertainment.
In the Electric Mist
A thriller/noir murder mystery with Tommy Lee Jones as Dave Robicheaux, a detective in post-Katrina Louisiana whose investigation into a recent murder links up with the accidental discovery of a long buried corpse. Jones is a master of the tough cop role, and in Electric Mist he is given excellent support by Peter Sarsgaard as a drunken film star and John Goodman as a mafia boss. Based on a novel by Edgar Award-winning crime writer James Lee Burke. The story is convoluted and the presentation sometimes confusing, and the movie never feels the need to answer all the questions it raises, but its atmosphere, heavy with the scent of corruption, is something to be savored.
This is the third installment in director Kenji Kamiyama’s animation series East of Eden, which in turn is an outgrowth of an anime TV series. The movies feature a hero who has totally lost his memory (in the manner of Jason Bourne) and a 21-year-old university student who runs a trading Web site that buys junk items and enhances their value. These two unlikely characters battle a slew of villains whose aim is to commit terrorist acts.