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Popcorn and Opinions: February 5

Have you been catching up on the Oscar nominated films? If so, this is your week because two more nominees are arriving on our shores and hitting the silver screens. Our in-house movie expert, Howard Elias, is here to give us the scoop on them and one other film that may catch your fancy. For last week’s review click here.

Jupiter Ascending

The Wachowski brothers (now brother and sister, but let’s not get into that here) hit pay dirt with The Matrix franchise but they may have bit off more than they could chew with this complicated but ultimately hollow sci-fi action adventure of a toilet cleaner (Mila Kunis, Black Swan) who discovers that she is galactic royalty and apparently owns Earth. Unfortunately for her, though, scheming siblings from another planet have other ideas. Use the force, Jupiter! This film has nifty special effects (you can buy a lot these days for US$175 million) but little else.
Showing everywhere in 2D, 3D, and IMAX depending on the cinema.

 

Still Alice

Academy voters love actors who play people with illnesses and disabilities (think Matthew McConaughey in last year’s Dallas Buyers Club, Tom Hanks in Philadelphia, Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, Daniel Day Lewis in My Left Foot, and Cliff Robertson in Charley… and that’s just the men!). So it’s with a bit of smugness that I hereby predict Julianne Moore to win the Best Actress Oscar this year. To be fair to Moore though, she put in a stellar performance as Alice Howland, a renowned linguistics professor who sees her memory getting slowly erased due to Early-Onset Alzheimer’s. This film is not a tear jerker; rather, it’s an honest portrayal of a brutal yet little-discussed disease. It’s well worth seeing. And kudos to K-Stew for another great performance, this time as Howland’s daughter.
Showing at the Grand, MCL, and UA cinemas.

 

Wild

Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line) teams up with Oscar nominee, director Jean-Marc Valleé (Dallas Buyers Club) in this true story of a woman’s thousand mile solo trek along the Pacific Crest Trail following the failure of her marriage and the death of her mother. Witherspoon puts in her best performance since Walk the Line but will it be enough to take home the Best Actress award this year? My vote may be with Julianne Moore but I think it’s going to be close!
Showing everywhere.

 


Howard Elias is a Hong Kong-based film critic and film event organiser. You can hear his reviews every Thursday morning at about 8:40 am on RTHK Radio 4, and read his reviews anytime on his website at howardforfilm.com.

 

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