Monday, July 1, 2013

Xpress Reviews: Despicable Me 2, White House Down, KIL

As usual, I'm both extremely busy and lazy (with a little hint of feeling depressed) right now, so I'm going to quickly combine a few movies into one post. I'd like to say I'm giving you guys value by giving you 3-in-1 but the truth is.... its really 3 lazy writings disguised as a single blog post. The first movie is an early preview, the second released last week, while the last is a Malaysian (surprise, surprise, a first film review from my local industry) movie released in the late of May.

# Despicable Me 2 [2013]

"Are You Really Gonna Save The World?"

Directed By: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renauld
Written By: Ken Daurio, Cinco Paul
Voiced By: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand
The Story: Former iconic villain, Gru (voiced by Steve Carell), is being recruited by the Anti Villain League (AVL) to help identify and take down an unknown new super-villain. He is is partnered in the task with AVL agent, Lucy Wilde (voiced by Kristen Wiig).
The Verdict: Just like the first film, this one is also highly enjoyable where its main strength lies in its loveable characters. The many minions (whatever their names are), Gru, his adopted kid daughters - Margo, Edeth, & Agnes (voiced by Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, & Elsie Kate Fisher), Lucy Wilde, and El Macho (voiced by Benjamin Bratt) are very entertaining and well developed characters. A special shout-out to El-Macho's guard-chicken... it hilarious!
Rating: 8 out of 10

# White House Down [2013]

"Alright People You Heard Him! Tour's Over"

Directed By: Roland Emmerich
Written By: James Vanderbilt
Starring: Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Woods, Jason Clarke, Richard Jenkins, Joey King, Nicolas Wright
The Story: U.S Capitol Police officer, John Cale (played by Channing Tatum) and his daughter Emily (played by Joel King) are in the middle of a White House tour when it is assaulted by a paramilitary group. The U.S President, James Sawyer (played by Jamie Foxx) is held hostage and it is soon discovered that this attack was the brainchild of a top-ranked U.S government official. John Cale attempts to save the President, his daughter, and the fate of the country altogether (who would have guessed that the 4th of July is around the corner).
The Verdict: Here's the deal upfront.... this film requires a lot of suspending belief. I'm usually OK with that as long as there's plenty of other things going in the movie's favour (refer to the Fast & Furious franchise). But other than a steady dose of comedic relief, White House Down is full of clichés while the story and action lacks enough punch or/and thrills. Instead of this movie, you'd be better off watching the similar (and much better) flick released earlier this year, Olympus Has Fallen [2013].
Rating: 5.5 out of 10

# KIL [2013]

"The Direction More Malaysian Movies Need To Go"

Directed By: Nik Amir Mustapha
Written By: Nik Amir Mustapha, Rewan Ishak, Khairulzaman Dzulkifly
Starring: Redza Minhat, Cristina Suzanne Stockstill, Harun Salim Bachik, Hasnul Rahmat, Dira Abu Zahar
The Story: "Kil" is the short form for the name of "Akil" (played by Redzha Minhat), a depressed yuppie whom has several times attempted suicide, but never could bring himself to fully commit to the act. He finds the perfect solution, he hires an agency that specializes in killing suicidal people on their behalf. The catch - he won't know the actual time or date that he'll be murdered. He however meets Zara (played by Cristina Suzanne Stockstill) whom changes Akil's view and appreciation of life.
The Verdict: Sadly I'm not a fan of a lot movies from my local (Malaysian) scene. Actually, not many people in the country are. While neighbouring countries like Thailand and Indonesia produce international standard films, ours is full of forgetable, cliche and low quality flicks. Out of nowhere comes this indie gem which almost wasn't released. Completed 2 years ago but only debuted recently, the movie which was shot using a DSLR Canon 5DMK2 camera has the same feel to it to such as films like (500) Days Of Summer [2009] and Garden State [2004]. Despite the tragic theme, it has a feel-good an uplifting vibe to it. The female protagonist, Zara, despite being quirky, manges to avoid being a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and that is refreshing. Also like all good indie films, this packs a lovely soundtrack too. Now if only more local films could be like this....
Rating: 8 out of 10


  1. Hi Asrap!!! The minions are really what made me LOVE Despicable Me. I thought Gru is ok but not that funny, the minions however, are a hoot!!

    Not interested in White House Down, I've seen one exploding white house already in Olympus Has Fallen. Interesting that it opened lower than that movie but it had double the budget, ouch!

    I've never seen a Malaysian film before. This KIL one sounds intriguing, not sure if it'll ever be available on Netflix though.

    1. Hello Ruth!! Yes, the Minions are great! The first thing that pops into my mind when someone mentions Despicable Me are the Minions.

      I didn't know White House Down had double the budget of Olympus Has Fallen. I prefer that Gerard Butler film than this one anytime of the day!

      I highly doubt it'll be on Netflix. But who knows...*maybe... cough... it might be on Youtube soon... :P

  2. Planning to see Despicable Me 2 this weekend. from your review it seems worth it! Ouch for White House Down, poor Tatum (?). Nice to see you're posting more, Asrap!

    1. Thanks Andina! I have a feeling that you'll enjoy Despicable Me 2. But if you don't... don't blame me.. haha!

  3. zara = zooey (alamak aku xtau eja last name dan malas google, but minah new girl tu)

    1. Zooey Deschanel. Yup, mmg itu yg aku maksudkan dgn "Manic Pixie Dream Girl (MPDG)". Zooey mmg terkenal sbg MPDG nih. Tapi aku x suka dia dlm New Girl (granted aku baru tgk 2-3 episod awal)... dari quirky, dia dah jd annoying sket dlm series tuh..


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