The House Bunny
This Anna Faris vehicle looks like junk judging from the trailer, but early reviews are very affectionate. Faris is an uber-dumb Playboy Bunny who gets ejected from Hugh Hefner’s digs and responds by teaching a sorority full of gormless young ladies to triumph over their apparent sexlessness. In turn, she learns that making yourself smarter has its advantages. Sounds like Revenge of the Nerds meets Legally Blonde, which, come to think of it, might be a good thing. And it’s no accident: The latter film and this one share the same screenwriters.
20th Century Boys
Nobody quite embraces the apocalypse and loss of innocence like the Japanese, and here’s another movie sourced from a classic manga to prove it. Childhood friends create a fantasy world — complete with an unsettling symbol — that imagines dreadful events befalling the planet. After reuniting as adults, they discover that their youthful fantasies are becoming reality and that the world faces annihilation at the hands of a cult leader/terrorist called Friend who has accessed their past. The film concludes with spectacular and disturbing scenes of destruction and mayhem, but hope remains: Part 2 is on the way.
City of Ember
An intricate underground city not unlike the one envisioned by the Artilleryman in the book of The War of the Worlds is the setting for this futuristic, family-ish movie. On the surface of the Earth some kind of apocalyptic event has forced humans underground and to accept the challenges that go with it. How else could the city tolerate Bill Murray as its eventual mayor? Two hundred years on, two precocious children find clues that suggest things are looking very bad for the community, not helped by collapsing infrastructure and predatory creatures roaming the outskirts. Also stars Martin Landau and Tim Robbins (who, by the way, played the Artilleryman redux in Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds).
No, this videogame-cum-movie is not directed by Uwe Boll. Mark Wahlberg is the title character, out for his own brand of justice after his wife and baby are murdered. Like City of Ember, this movie privileges style and heat over content and light and may delight budding production designers as Max pursues crooks at an evil company that produces a terrifying, unpredictable drug for military purposes. Lots of action for the faithful, but it seems we’ll have to wait until Gaspar Noe directs Grand Theft Auto IV for a truly envelope-pushing movie based on a format that always lent itself to addiction and robotic violence, not real emotion.
A revelatory, wide-ranging documentary on breakdancing, this might be the best release of the week. Those put off breakdancing for life after watching fluff like the Cannon studio’s Breakin’ and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo in the mid-1980s might find themselves converted, despite themselves, after watching this. Superb dancers from around the world strive to reach the finals of the world competition in Germany, with the viewer intimately following five of the crews, including Japanese and South Koreans. Variety points out that the director opted for the dancers to show their moves without the hype of excessive editing or close-ups, which should please dance aficionados.
A French production set in Ireland supposedly based on an incident in the US, the title refers to a creepy-looking girl who is seemingly possessed, while the story has a psychologist attempting to reach her through her Sybil-like battery of sinister multiple identities — but not necessarily to the delight of the Wicker Man-like locals, who may have a vested interest in keeping some nasty secrets buried within her. Not a favorite among the folks at Tourism Ireland, this movie was also released as Dorothy.
With most of his village preferring to converse in Mandarin, opportunities are scant for 81-year-old Kacaw to use his mother language of Amis. But things are changing in his household — one day the family was having an animated discussion when his plucky four-year-old granddaughter Nikal bursts into the room: “You should talk in the mother tongue,” she tells them loudly in Amis. Another time, Nikal’s uncle Yosifu, a well-known artist, overheard her arguing with her grandmother over rights to the television remote — “in our mother tongue,” he tells me excitedly. “With such visible change, I can see hope
British-Indian artist Anish Kapoor , 66, is mounting his largest-ever UK exhibition of outdoor sculpture at Houghton Hall in Norfolk from late this month, including his famous Sky Mirror, a five-meter stainless steel disc that turns the world around it upside down. Sarah Crompton: What kind of things did you want to show at Houghton Hall? Anish Kapoor: It’s one of the great houses of England, with a great history, and extensive grounds. I decided the stone works that I’ve made over the past 25 years, and I’ve never shown in the UK before, would sit quite well there. Then it
Deaths, economic meltdown and a planet on lockdown: the coronavirus pandemic has brought us waves of bad news, but squint and you might just see a few bright spots. From better hygiene that has reduced other infectious diseases to people reaching out as they self-isolate, here are some slivers of silver linings during a bleak moment. WASH YOUR HANDS! The message from health professionals has been clear from the start of the outbreak: wash your hands. Everyone from celebrities to politicians has had a go at demonstrating correct technique — including singing Happy Birthday twice through to make sure you scrub long enough, and
Within 10 minutes of the train pulling into Chaojhou (潮州) in Pingtung County, I’d retrieved my bike from a paid-parking compound and initiated the fitness tracking app on my phone. Just one thing bothered me: The color of the sky. I cycled southeast, passing the shuttered Dashun General Hospital (大順醫院). Given everything that’s going on in the world, I couldn’t help but think: If the government needs extra facilities to handle the COVID-19 epidemic, this sizable building could perhaps be brought back into service. After crossing Highway 1 (台1線), I skirted a settlement established after 2009’s Typhoon Morakot disaster, during which