Movie Date: Doctor Strange (PG13)
Guys will dig the supernatural mystic universe of Doctor Strange, while the females can enjoy Cumberbatch and the film’s spectacular ending.
STARRING: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Mads Mikkelsen
DIRECTOR: Scott Derrickson
THE SKINNY: Arrogant but highly gifted neurosurgeon Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) is left desperate after an accident ruins his hands. His journey for a cure leads him to Nepal, where a mysterious figure named The Ancient One (Swinton) helps train him in the mystic arts.
MARS by Jason Johnson
Without giving away the ending, I want to talk about the ending.
It's a great ending.
Almost every superhero flick we see climaxes with some sort of fist fight.
It doesn't matter how smart the script is, or how smart the characters are, everything ends up boiling down to a couple of dudes punching each other.
Doctor Strange is the exception that proves the rule. Full credit to the team for coming up with a way to end a movie that isn't fisticuffs related.
Bravo! Everything that comes before the ending is also first rate.
I've never seen a mainstream Hollywood film make such good use of the visual potential of magic. Doctor Strange makes Harry Potter look like David Blaine. We're far beyond shooting beams of light out of wands here. Strange and his colleagues bend time, space, matter and energy to their will.
It's a sophisticated approach to magic, using the idea of the multiverse to add complexity and plausibility to an activity that is normally presented as inscrutable mumbo jumbo.
Cumberbatch was born to play this role, but the actor who really won me over is Swinton, who plays Strange's mentor.
There has been some controversy over the fact that she's a Caucasian playing a character that was originally Asian, but she is just so good.
You won't just forget she's white, you'll forget she's human.
VENUS by Lisa Twang
For a flick with Strange in the title, I was expecting something a lot weirder.
After all, the original Doctor Strange comics are so trippy and psychedelic, they were famously enjoyed by 1970s hippie-mystics while they were high.
In comparison, this movie version seems a little too safe and sober.
Maybe the problem is that it's set in the present day instead of the wonderfully hazy 1970s.
It feels, pardon the pun, strange to have references to Eminem and Beyonce.
Of course, Cumberbatch is magnificent as the smug neurosurgeon reduced to a broken shell, then built up again as the new Sorcerer Supreme.
His rabid fans have come to expect nothing less from the man who played the brilliant-but-infuriating Sherlock.
But overall, the film feels unmistakably like its Marvel movie cousins The Avengers and Iron Man.
It's probably the "saving the world" rhetoric and predictable plot, save for the truly mindblowing finale.
It's a finale I can't help replaying over and over in my mind.
Doctor Strange is really at its best when it ventures outside the Marvel movie formula and messes with our thoughts, and I do wish it had warped my brain a bit more.
Maybe for the sequel, they should time-warp back into the 1970s where Doctor Strange originally came from.
THE CONSENSUS: Guys will dig the supernatural mystic universe of Doctor Strange, while the females can enjoy Cumberbatch and the film’s spectacular ending.
Movie Review: Nessun Dorma (NC16)
Hong Kong psychothriller Nessun Dorma reminds me of M Night Shyamalan's critical flops.
There are unexpected twists, but alas, the film's direction, editing and casting are executed poorly.
Simin (Janice Man) is having second thoughts about her arranged marriage to the most eligible bachelor in town, Weichen (Lam Ka Tung), because she is secretly in love with maths prodigy Muzhe (Andy Hui).
One night, on her way home, Simin is attacked and knocked unconscious by a masked stranger. When she wakes up, she finds herself trapped in a room and tied to a bed.
Man's wooden performance is a let-down, considering how impressive she was in action flick Helios (2015). And there is no leading man as uncharismatic as Hui, who should seriously just stick to singing.
Movie Poster: Underworld: Blood Wars
IF A PICTURE PAINTS A THOUSAND WORDS, THEN WHAT DO SOME MOVIE POSTERS TELL US?
UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS
What It Looks Like:
Kate Beckinsale returns as the vampire warrior Selene, who sadly is not acclimatized to the winter.
She constantly slips on the ice while engaged in battle, spending more time on her butt than on her feet.
What It's Really About:
Selene is back to fight both vamps and werewolves.