JANUARY 15 ― Finally, things are starting to get back to normal at local cinemas.
It’s been a while since I found myself in the position of not having enough time to catch all the new movies I wanted to see in Malaysian cinemas.
And that’s exactly the position I found myself in, because work commitments and booster side effects meant I just didn’t have the time or energy to catch the latest movies opening here like Nightmare Alley, House of Gucci and Beautiful, so I probably have to save them for next week, or the week after.
But even after missing those three movies, I’ve still seen enough new movies currently playing on local screens to even decide not to write about some of them this week.
With Oscar season coming up, there are sure to be even more movies set to open here in the coming weeks, which should make things even more interesting and hectic.
For now, let’s jump right into those three new movies, shall we?
The king’s man
Right now I’m maybe the last person you should trust when it comes to writing about a new movie in the Kingsman franchise because I’m such a huge fan of the first two films that I even own multiple copies of their Blu-ray releases in order to collect as many different editions and cover variants as I can get my hands on/afford.
The last film in the franchise, The king’s man, a prequel telling the story of the creation of the Kingsman Agency, is further proof that director Matthew Vaughn is quite simply a master at creating naughty and uplifting popcorn entertainment, and you can be sure I will be looking for more editions of the Blu-ray release of this movie in the near future.
Set in the era of World War I, imagine a Matthew Vaughn take on what Quentin Tarantino did in inglorious Basterds and Once upon a time in Hollywood – that is to say. based on real historical events/characters, but freely taking liberties with them – and you won’t be far off.
With characters like Rasputin, King George, Kaiser Wilhelm, Tsar Nicholas and Archduke Franz Ferdinand involved, and with a tone that’s part of 1917 and Kingsman, it’s a gloriously deranged action movie that begs to be seen on the big screen.
If you’re capable of not taking things too seriously, check this one out; it rocks.
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Almost everyone I know (at least those in my circle of filmmakers) will have been alerted to my deep and ironic love for the resident Evil films directed by Paul WS Anderson, including Resident Evil: Afterlife and Resident Evil: Retribution.
Not being a gamer and obviously never having played any of the resident Evil games before, my appreciation for those resident Evil the films came strictly from my love of pure, kinetic cinema, of which the aforementioned films have a lot.
Judging by online chatter, this new resident Evil The film, a sort of reboot to kick off a new series of films, is the one that most closely/directly draws inspiration from video game storylines/characters.
Much-loved video game characters like Jill Valentine, Leon Kennedy, Claire Redfield and Albert Wesker all make an appearance here as writer-director Johannes Roberts (finally graduating into the big leagues after years of B-movie regulars like Storage 24, The other side of the door and the 47 meters down movies) adapts the stories from the first two video games, but the film is let down by an odd lack of excitement and tension, despite its many horror/action settings.
Maybe trying to combine the plot of two video games into one movie made a lot of them feel undercooked? Or maybe Roberts just isn’t as good a filmmaker as Paul WS Anderson when it comes to directing the action and just presenting the geography to viewers so they know to where the creatures come from, where our heroes are and who spins. who and in what direction.
Everything is really blurry here.
The French Dispatch
This being the 10th feature from writer-director Wes Anderson, I think people should already know what to expect and what not to expect from a Wes Anderson joint.
No matter what you think of the merits of this film, it’s clear from the first few minutes that this may be Anderson’s most beautifully shot film to date, and that’s reason enough to soaking up this one on the big screen, because it’s simply a joy to marvel at the framing, composition, and incredible design of the production and staging on offer.
In fact, in purely technical terms, I think it’s definitely Anderson’s most accomplished film to date.
A love letter to the New Yorker, especially in the days of founder/publisher Harold Ross and his stable of dazzling writers like James Thurber, AJ Liebling and James Baldwin, the film version of this publication is called The French Dispatch, its publisher being Arthur Howitzer Jr (a typically wonderfully morose Bill Murray) and writers with names like Herbsaint Sazerac (Owen Wilson), Lucinda Krementz (Frances McDormand) and Roebuck Wright (Jeffrey Wright), focusing on a wild variety of stories involving characters like a genius artist serving a life sentence (played by Benicio Del Toro), a legendary chef (played by Steve Park) and a revolutionary student (played by Timothee Chalamet).
Kind of like reading a magazine, but in film form, this one lacks the clear emotional line you can find in his earlier films like Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Darjeeling Limited, but it’s just a marvel so funny and visually stunning that it offers a different pleasure, and is no less enjoyable.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.