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Popcorn and Opinions: March 19

It’s starting to turn warm again and with it, our thoughts are turning to the air conditioned cinemas as a cool refuge from the soupy weather. Our in-house movie expert, Howard Elias, is here to tell us about the new films in Hong Kong that will hopefully entertain us for a few hours while we keep the sweat at bay. For Howard’s last review click here.

A Most Violent Year

You wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that the clock turned back to 1981 while watching this gritty film noir from director/screenwriter J.C. Chandor (Margin Call). Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) stars as a heating oil company boss who is trying to run a clean business in a very dirty industry in New York City. When Abel’s strategies for success begin to rattle his competitors’ cages, they begin a turf war that catches the eye of a young district attorney (David Oyelowo, Selma). Powerful stuff!

Showing at the AMC, Broadway, and Grand cinemas.

The Divergent Series: Insurgent

I like actress Shailene Woodley (“Tris Prior”) as much as the next film critic but this sequel (the second part of the Divergent trilogy) is one post-apocalyptic bore. Because Insurgent spends so much time rehashing what happened in the previous film, one has to wonder why the filmmakers just didn’t combine the two films into one. Oh, that’s right. It’s all about the money. Don’t believe me? The series’ third part, Allegiant, is being made into a two-part film à la The Hunger Games.

Showing everywhere in 2D, 3D, and IMAX depending on the cinema and time.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) would have had to have really messed up in order to make a bad sequel of what was a thoroughly enjoyable, if not highly clichéd, 2012 film. I’m happy to report that he did not. While The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel plays like an Indian terra firma version of the 1980s TV show, The Love Boat, it’s still fun to watch. The Bollywood dance scene at Sonny’s (Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire) wedding is as golden as a freshly-made samosa.

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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