Category Archives: Ewan McGregor

Jack the Giant Slayer / Killer 3D 傑克:巨人戰紀 (2013) – USA

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 1st March 2013
In cinemas everywhere from 1st March (USA), 14th March (Australia) and 28th February (Hong Kong).

Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Ewan McGregor
Directed by: Bryan Singer

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What can I say, this is exactly how mindless entertainment should be filmed and not be ashamed of it afterwards. “Jack the Giant Slayer” sounds stupid and it never attempts to hide the fact and in the process the film-makers have deliver what is most probably the greatest guilty pleasure of the year. I have not seen myself laugh so much in a film for a long time and while all the laughter is more attributed towards the ultra cheesy B movie dialogue, ridiculous happenings, the non-existent plot line and totally laughable out of place random events. What separates “Jack the Giant Slayer” from other cheesy but bad movies, is that the actors and characters themselves laugh with the audience. In the scene of putting the bee hives into the sleeping giant helmet, all three of the cast laughed just as much as the awaiting audience, now that’s cinematic involvement. So for maximum enjoyment, the audience will need to totally suspend beliefs and just take in the ride.

Playing the title unlikely hero Jack, Nicholas Hoult (also in “Warm Bodies”) is suitably adequate in a role that requires more likeability than acting. Hoult is a easy hero to follow and he plays the underdog role with enough charisma. Ewan McGregor shines in support and provides he film with plenty of funny moment. It is easy for the audience to enjoy the performances as McGregor is at his light hearted best. Queen to be and Jack love interest, played by English actress Eleanor Tomlinson (“Alice in Wonderland) flairs well in a role that requires her to be constantly frightened, be saved and be loved. Hoult and Tomlinson’s chemistry works to degree, but at times, it seems rather forced. While Stanley Tucci (“Lovely Bones”) plays the B movie villain to perfection, but the film belongs to the CGI monster Falloin, (played by Bill Nighy as the big head and John Kassir as the smaller one) who is simply the most complicated and interesting character of the lot as his two heads revokes Gollum’s scene stealing presence in “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit”.

All in all, “Jack the Giant Slayer” works because it sets out to be cheesy, ridiculous, but ends up being loads of fun. Director Bryan Singer (who helmed most of the “X-Men” films) makes use of 3D technology and display some breathtaking scenery both above the clouds, over the waterfalls and the holy kingdom to maximum effect. Alongside the recent “Life of Pi”, this film is visually enhanced by the 3D effects and the CGI giants is strikingly vivid and detailed. “Jack the Giant Slayer” won’t win any big awards, apart from being visually amazing, but in terms of mindless entertainment, few can rival this. So forget your brains and bring your sense of humour and I can assure you, “Jack the Giant Slayer” will make you laugh. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 7.5/10

The Impossible / Lo imposible 海嘯奇蹟 (2012) – USA / Spain

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 27th January 2013
In cinemas around Asia in January 2013

Directed by: Juan Antonio Bayona.
Starring: Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland

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With all the Oscar buzz and awards nomination surrounding the latest film from Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona (“The Orphanage”), I must be first to admit that I did not understood the hype. Sure, the disaster proceeding and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami sets up an excellent premises in terms of showing the audience the aftermath of such an extravagant human atrocity. However, “The Impossible” feels every bit average, never rising above its own genre conventions and featuring a highly overrated performance from Naomi Watts. Watts is a wonderful actress and have made far better films, namely “Mulholland Drive” and “21 Grams”. Therefore, the performance here is average at best and most certainly not worthy of its Oscar nomination and Golden Globe nominations. Still, “The Impossible” is visually stunning and even manages to portray the terrible aftermath of a disaster with minimal melodrama.

Naomi Watts tries extremely hard to headline the role of a mother and her never give up attitude is to be admired. However, she spend far too many scenes hiding behind hospital live support and pipes and heavily special effects make up, which in turn makes it extremely hard for the audience to relate to her character. There are some scenes where Watts simply shines, including her insistence on saving an unknown kid in the midst of their own danger and also the scene where she sees the shadow of his missing husband (played by Ewan McGregor). Ewan McGregor appears in nothing more than a glorified cameo, but out of the lot, the bulk of the acting is given to kid actor Tom Holland, who simply shines the role of a determined son, learning and growing stronger in he facof adversity. In fact, it is Holland, not Watts or McGregor who holds the film together for most of the duration and emotional core.

All in all, “The Impossible” is not a bad film, but it is just insanely average and it constantly gives the vibe of something we have all seen before. There is nothing new in the latest disaster flick and it does not help when you add in over-hyped performances from Naomi Watts. Still, director Juan Antonio Bayona manages to depict the horrors of a tsunami event and the painful aftermath that the family needs to go through in finding one another, while not knowing whether they are dead or alive. Perhaps, one thing that strikes me is that the film is based on a true story and the fact that the family manages the impossible of locating one another and survives provides some much needed inspiration. There are good things about “the Impossible”, but as a whole, it really isn’t much. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 6/10