Movie Insights – Dark Shadows

Lots of unpleasant things has rocked our once-peaceful tropic island lately; death of national servicemen, MRT repeated disruptions which-I-don’t-know-why, the impending arrival of Lady Gaga.. So on and so forth. Picking up the newspaper and glancing through the headlines can be rather depressing at times like this (not that headlines has ever been very positive in the first place), but thank God for movies.

Being a BIG movie fanatic, how can one miss the dynamic duo Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton’s latest film; Dark Shadows? Dark Shadows talks of a dark tale (puns puns) of Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp), a rich and hopeless Casanova from the prestigious Collins family in 1872, who finally falls in love with his true love; Josette du Pres. Dark as the story goes, one of the ladies, Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green), a witch whose heart he broke cast a spell on all his lovers, making every single one of them commit suicide, killing Collin’s parents, turning Collins into a vampire and subsequently locking him up in a coffin.

196 years later, Collins awoke from his slumber from an accidental excavation only to find his beloved Collins Manor in a state of disrepair and his (highly dysfunctional) descendents struggling to make ends meet after their main business was falling apart due to the acts of the very witch who turned him into a vampire. Chaos ensures as Collins battle it out with Bouchard to restore the glory of the Collins, dark secrets of the family is swept out of the carpet, and Collins fighting to protect his new love Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote) who’s a splitting image of Josette, from suffering the same fate.

As usual, Depp puts up spectacular acting through his quirky personality; his expression from being fascinated by the big M (for McDonalds) and a weird terrain (road) is priceless, not to mention his old Georgian English which have smitten the hearts of some of my friends. Eva Green is so wicked at being wicked yet so able to bring out her deliciously sexy sex appeal at the same time (you kinda hate her but love her, now that’s what I call acting). Though a small role, one of my favorite up-and-coming actress, Chloë Grace Moretz plays it well as the rebellious descendent of the Collins, (and secretly a werewolf).

But that’s about it. The star powers in the film are  really the redeeming grace for the film which so disappointingly lack in plot and depth. Is Victoria Winters the lead character or just a side character, I don’t know. Unlike Burton’s previous films, Dark Shadows is a pretty ordinary movie which lacks that special spark, magical touch, X factor, Allspark, chemical X, whatever you wanna call it to make it a blockbuster. The movie is one that is cliché, forgettable, and is entertaining to say the most. Watch it if you’re bored or just a Johnny Depp and Chloë Grace Moretz fan like me.

Verdict: 3 out of 5 movie bites

 

Movie Insights – Ip Man 2

If there was to be a must-watch movie for the month of May, Ip Man 2 is one of them. Ip Man 2 takes place after Ip Man (叶问) escaped from Foshan, China to the British Colony; Hong Kong where he tries to spread ‘Wing Chun’, a Chinese Martial Arts fighting style in the region.

The film is a sequel to the movie Ip Man and is loosely based on the true story. Ip Man 2 is starred by some of Hong Kong’s highly reputable and veteran actors such as Donnie Yen (as Ip Man) and Sammo Hung (as Hung Jan Nam).

Director Wilson Yip wanted to highlight certain issues from Ip Man 2 such as the prejudices of the British who calls the shots against the Chinese who were deemed the ‘weaker’ race, the British’s perception of Chinese Martial Arts and the struggles of living under colonial rule in Hong Kong. But the film also highlights the strengths and unity of the Chinese as well as their ancient Martial Arts.

Some exciting moments include the fight between Ip Man and Hung Jan Nam. Movie-goers will be amazed by the action scenes as well as the volley of punches executed by the martial arts masters. While some of the moves might seem a little repetitive from the last film, this film promises to put all viewers at the edge of their seat – be it whether they have watched the prequel or not.

Ip Man 2 has comical scenes, awesome fighting scenes, moral values and touching moments all rolled into one movie. More than that, Ip Man 2 highlights the importance of having dignity, pride and fighting for a purpose (unlike many movies which depicts mindless fighting). This film takes chinese martial arts movie to a whole new level, and it is better than Fearless (霍元甲) in my opinion.

If you’re a Chinese, you would definitely feel proud to be one after this movie!

Word has it that there might be a sequel to the movie focusing on Ip Man’s disciple Bruce Lee, and Jay Chou is considered for the role. Whatever that may be, I sure hope that it does not disappoint!

Though many movie critics slam the movie for various reasons, I personally feel that this movie struck all the right chords in a viewer’s minds (in mine at least), making this movie a 5 star film. Ip Man 2 will continue to be the talking point of the movie-goers even when the movie is long over. Go watch it if you haven’t really have! You have to see it to believe it!

 

Yours Sincerely,
Reuel Eugene.