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Arrival Review

Extraordinary

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with the weight of its themes. It may be fiction, but the film's exploration of the power of language raises fascinating ideas about the human mind. It's also produced to an extremely high standard, with striking effects and sumptuous cinematography and editing. And as played by Amy Adams, the movie also carries a surprising emotional kick.

Adams plays linguistics expert Louise, who is asked by the American government to help decode the language of aliens who occupy gigantic monolithic ships that appear suddenly, floating over various locations around the globe. So she heads to the American site in Montana and begins working with scientist Ian (Jeremy Renner) under the watchful eye of Colonel Weber (Forrest Whitaker). And of course she's taken aback by these seven-legged creatures who communicate with odd tones and swirling symbols. When coordinated efforts with other teams around the world begin to descend into mistrust, everyone stops sharing their data, and the military leaders decide to take matters into their own hands and destroy the ships. But Louise begins to believe she is onto something important, and she tenaciously pursues a course of action that terrifies everyone, including her.

Expertly directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario), the film never lapses into sensationalistic action, and it's even more gripping as a result. Several scenes generate goosebumps for their inventive visual flourishes, including the surprising gravitational twists and the face-to-face interaction with two freaky but oddly endearing aliens Louise and Ian name Abbott and Costello. Special effects are seamless, grounding everything that happens as something eerily believable. But the emphasis is on the emotional drama surging within Louise, and the huge implications it has for the entire world.

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Arrival Trailer


Louise Banks is a communications expert, she's spent years studying linguists and is considered the go to person if you have any translation difficulties - especially with difficult scripts and ancient texts but never did she expect to be called upon to work on a language like the one her government is about to approach her with.

When a number of UFO's land on earth in different countries, no one knows what to do and what the outcome will be - the most everyone can hope for is a peaceful solution. Colonel Weber briefs Louise and informs her of her mission, she's been tasked with finding a way to translate and communicate the aliens demands - the top priority is to find out why they're on Earth.

Working alongside Louise is mathematician Ian Donnelly, the linguist and mathematician join a small team of military who must travel up inside the spaceship and race against time before a global war breaks out.

Continue: Arrival Trailer

Million Dollar Arm - Clips


Sports agent JB Bernstein was once incredibly successful in his field, but now there's a bunch of serious new sporting entrepreneurs in town that look to be about to make his job very difficult. With his agency under the threat of closure, he and his partner Ash need to start thinking long and hard about fresh new ideas that could rake in the dollars. While watching a cricket match on the box, JB devises a crazy idea to find America's next huge baseball star in India by setting up a talent show for the nation's finest young cricketers. The finalists of the show entitled 'Million Dollar Arm' are Rinku and Dinesh, who subsequently fly over to the US to begin training in the art of baseball. However, things are less easy than they first appeared and JB finds himself in deep water when it becomes clear just how different baseball and cricket are.

Continue: Million Dollar Arm - Clips

Million Dollar Arm Trailer


JB Bernstein is a sports agent who may outwardly look successful, but is struggling to make much business these days due to serious competition from much more enterprising sports entrepreneurs. JB and his business partner Ash are under significant threat of closure if they don't come up with some new ideas soon. He devises a plan to introduce America's next biggest baseball star by travelling to India to check out some of the nation's finest young cricketers. After filming a talent show called 'Million Dollar Arm', he brings winners Rinku and Dinesh over to the States to learn the art of baseball. Unfortunately, there appears to be more differences between baseball and cricket than Bernstein initially thought, and the boys are struggling under the pressure. However, with a little teamwork and determination, things start to look like they're going to work out just fine.

Continue: Million Dollar Arm Trailer

Management Review


Very Good
Gentle and very sweet, this low-key romance takes some rather random turns as it drifts toward the obvious conclusion. But it's very nicely played, and it still manages to catch us emotionally.

Mike (Zahn) is a lonely man-child, living in the Arizona hotel owned by his parents (Ward and Martindale). When he spots travelling businesswoman Sue (Aniston) checking in, he invents a reason to talk to her. And even she is surprised by her response to his clumsy advances. But it turns out that she's also lonely, trying to sort out her place in the world and looking for security Mike probably can't offer. On the other hand, is her high-achieving boyfriend (Harrelson) the right choice?

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Rush Hour 3 Review


Bad
For all the talk of his beguiling cameo as a police chief, Roman Polanski shows up in Rush Hour 3 for exactly two scenes for about two minutes. In fact, the French police have absolutely nothing to do with anything in the third Rush Hour installment. Polanski simply acts as a diacritic; a punctuation mark to let us know we're entering and exiting the French portion of the program. And although they are given more screen time, Ingmar Bergman-regular Max Von Sydow and French actor/director Yvan Attal serve similar purposes: They're garnish on a liver sandwich made with moldy bread and mayonnaise that started going green around the time of the Bay of Pigs.

Rush Hour 3 plunks our questionable partners, the loose-mouthed Carter (Chris Tucker) and elastic Lee (Jackie Chan), into an international scandal involving the Chinese Triad election that takes them from sunny Los Angeles to gay Paris. Lee's friend and employer Consul Hu (Tzi Ma) is about to blow the lid off the Triads when a sniper snags him a few centimeters north of his heart. Hu's friend Vernard (Von Sydow) OKs Lee and Carter's trip to his hometown of Paris, where, for one reason or another, the Chinese Triad have decided to have an election.

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Tzi Ma Monday 30th July 2007 LA premiere of 'Rush Hour 3' at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre Los Angeles, California

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Red Doors Review


Good
At last we left the quirky-family dramedy, it was thrusting us into a dilapidated VW van with Toni Collette and Greg Kinnear at the helm in the lovable, if not uneven Little Miss Sunshine. Now, in a stab at cultural accentuation, we are given Red Doors, the tale of the Wongs, an extremely dysfunctional Asian family living in the suburbs surrounding New York City. Too bad culture and tradition are used only as window dressing.

When Ed Wong (the reliable Tzi Ma) retires, he finds that the meaning in his life has been lost. His first way to regain it is to surround himself with old tapes of his three daughters and wife when they were growing up. It doesn't help to look at them now. His wife (Freda Foh Shen) has become a mechanical beast of nagging and criticism. Samantha (Jacqueline Kim), his eldest, has become all business, no soul, and gives all her time to her husband, who is likewise all business. His middle daughter, Julie (Elaine Kao), is a repressed lesbian who begins falling for a B-movie actress (Mia Riverton). And then there's Katie (Kathy Shao-Lin Lee), his youngest, a hip-hop dancer who shows her affection for her neighbor (Sebastian Stan) by pulling dangerous pranks. Ed attempts to commit suicide, but not one of the 40-plus attempts have been successful. Ed's finally conclusion: become a Buddhist and move to an upstate temple to study the religion. This, of course, sends the family into disarray.

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Rush Hour Review


Very Good
I'll be the first to admit that I didn't used to like Jackie Chan or Chris Tucker. I have never seen either of them in a movie I liked -- until now. Rush Hour, the 1998 action comedy directed by Brett Ratner, successfully blends two immensely different personalities. The film also works because it contains the perfect amount of action and comedy. By themselves, Chan and Tucker do not provide anything inspiring or refreshing, but when they are combined, they form a surprisingly entertaining comedic duo.

Chan and Tucker are truly opposites. Jackie is known for his modest demeanor and amazing physical abilities, but not for his amazing grasp of the English language. Chris is boastful and outspoken, a shameless motormouth that just will not shut up. The pairing of these two actors works well. Chan provides us with the action and Tucker provides us with the witty comic relief.

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The Ladykillers (2004) Review


OK
Joel and Ethan Coen's hot hands finally have cooled with their remake of The Ladykillers, and fans could probably see it coming. For starters, as mentioned, it's a remake - uncharted waters for two filmmakers best known for placing their unique fingerprints all over their unusual projects. Their vision ends up being a productive failure that's silly rather than sophisticated. We're engaged by its oddities, but never really entertained.

The original Ladykillers pitted Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, and their band of British crooks against a kindly old landlady in 1955. The Coens shift their action from England to the Deep South, where Tom Hanks wheezes and grins as a genteel criminal mastermind plotting to rob a Mississippi riverboat casino. He and his motley crew take up residence in the home of Marva Munson (Irma P. Hall), a churchgoing Bible Belter with a room to rent near the boat's dock. The men fool Munson into thinking they perform in a musical group, though they're forced to consider devious actions when the old lady discovers their criminal plans.

Continue reading: The Ladykillers (2004) Review

The Ladykillers Review


Weak

The Coen Brothers flopped with last year's comedically clumsy and questionably hammy "Intolerable Cruelty," and now that they have repeated and amplified the same arched-performance mistakes in "The Ladykillers," I am beginning to understand what it is about Joel and Ethan's movies that their detractors dislike so much.

The characters in the Coens' recent comedies have frequently been oblivious to the world beyond their whimsical capers, and in these last two pictures even the protagonists have become objects for audience ridicule, making them poor surrogates for getting us involved in their stories.

Tom Hanks takes that bullet in this loose remake of a 1955 British laffer about a band of crooks inadvertently foiled by the little old landlady who rents them a room. All toothy, affected mannerisms and blabbering balderdash as the endlessly loquacious supposed mastermind of the criminal enterprise, his character is nothing but caricature -- an over-educated, old-fashioned, pocket-watch-and-hankie type Southern gentleman who goes by the tongue-tying moniker of Professor Goldthwait Higginson Dorr, Ph.D.

Continue reading: The Ladykillers Review

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Tzi Ma Movies

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Arrival Trailer

Arrival Trailer

Louise Banks is a communications expert, she's spent years studying linguists and is considered the...

Million Dollar Arm Trailer

Million Dollar Arm Trailer

Sports agent JB Bernstein was once incredibly successful in his field, but now there's a...

Million Dollar Arm Trailer

Million Dollar Arm Trailer

JB Bernstein is a sports agent who may outwardly look successful, but is struggling to...

Management Movie Review

Management Movie Review

Gentle and very sweet, this low-key romance takes some rather random turns as it drifts...

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Rush Hour 3 Movie Review

Rush Hour 3 Movie Review

For all the talk of his beguiling cameo as a police chief, Roman Polanski shows...

Red Doors Movie Review

Red Doors Movie Review

At last we left the quirky-family dramedy, it was thrusting us into a dilapidated VW...

The Ladykillers (2004) Movie Review

The Ladykillers (2004) Movie Review

Joel and Ethan Coen's hot hands finally have cooled with their remake of The Ladykillers,...

Catfish In Black Bean Sauce Movie Review

Catfish In Black Bean Sauce Movie Review

Now here's an unconventional family for the new decade: two Vietnamese siblings are brought up...

The Quiet American Movie Review

The Quiet American Movie Review

Emotionally and politically complex beyond what most filmmakers would dare attempt -- and transporting in...

The Ladykillers Movie Review

The Ladykillers Movie Review

The Coen Brothers flopped with last year's comedically clumsy and questionably hammy "Intolerable Cruelty," and...

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