The Orphanage (Film)


Director: Juan Antonio Bayona
Cast: Belén Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Geraldine Chaplin, Montserrat Carulla, Mabel Rivera, Andrés Gertrúdix
RunTime: 105 mins
Genre: Horror/Thriller (Spanish)
Rating: PG (Some Disturbing Content)

A woman's return to her old orphanage is the start of a creepy and hair-raising thriller. With open air and beautiful beach surroundings, she plans to reopen the orphanage as a centre for sick children. Her son starts talking to imaginary friends, and very soon disappears into an unknown world.

Expectations run high for Guillermo del Toro's The Orphanage, especially after an immensely successful Hellboy and Pan Labyrinth. Again, he uses children to tell a story about adults, and the fact that they are young makes them (and us) feel very vulnerable and helpless.

This isn't your typical Hollywood horror, with loud sound effects and sudden jolts to scare the living daylights. Like a sinister demon, it slowly lures the audience into this old abandoned house full of disturbing secrets, and story with mysteries.

You feel with the anxiety of the mother's search for her lost son, and wait in anticipation as she solves the puzzle part by part. In the process, the cinema does feel chilly and still, my movie partner covering his eyes 10% of the time.

However, Pan Labyrinth was stronger in bringing out a theme, with a greater impact on the audience. While it is more successful in terms of box office, a pity it didn't match up on its magic.

The Orphanage - A chilly change from the typical Hollywood horrors

Meet The Spartans (Film)


When the gorgeous Wai Han wanted to watch Meet The Spartans as a date movie, I went like, “You really really really are going to watch Meet the Spartans?!” I am sure she regretted her decision.

It also makes me wonder how about the millions of American and Singaporean viewers who supported this film all the way to Box Office Number 1.

Hey, I am not some strict and boring reviewer, and do appreciate some sense of humour as well. I hate to admit this, but I actually enjoyed Scary Movie. At least it was funny, sarcastic and refreshing.

One can send that the producers have run out of their creative juices for their latest spoof. It started all right with the usual puke, armpit hair and s*** stuff, but the battle/dance scenes were just long and repeatative. Quoting Simon Cowell, “It was a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y dreadful.”

You get your usual doses of Paris Hilton, Ugly Betty, Britney, Lindsay blah blah, but we want more. Enough of gay and black jokes. Next. The best part was the Paula Abdul impersonation which got me to chuckle a little, but that’s it.

Saying so much, I still watched it. Argh!

Meet The Spartans – I want to save you $9:50 and 84 minutes

Juno (Film)


Juno's a freaking cool movie. There is just so much fairytales out there when movies like this, realistic, quirky, unpredictable and just keeps our foot on the ground.

Juno is one idiosyncratic girl, or just your normal high school student, depending on how you see it. You may not identify with her problem immediately, but the story's all about relationships which can strike a chord.

I hate to use the word, but the parents are very 'cool'. Although disapproving of their daughter's actions, it's the things they say, and the unspoken actions that make them very supportive and thus admirable. Sometimes, 'young' people like us think we know too much, disregarding the fact that our parents have been through a lot more than us.

Ellen Page has already proved she is the next young thing to look out for after a shivering Hard Candy. She may have lost to Marion Cotillard, but her stars will keep shining. First time screen writer and ex-strip dancer Diablo Cody keeps the story authentic, down-to-earth and humorous with that as a reflection of her younger days.

My favourite quote (though a little cliche): "The best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person will still think the sun shines out your ass." And yes, the one on China and ipods.

It could be a life lesson, or just a weekend movie break, Juno's one girl who will kick some a**.

Juno - An older 'Little Ms Sunshine' which is surprisingly quirky yet sweet

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