Sun, 06 Jul 2003

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (Action/Comedy, 106 minutes) Starring Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, Bernie Mac, Demi Moore, Crispin Glover. Directed by McG.

Sequel to 2000's supercool hit movie is bigger, louder but ultimately numbing. This time, the high-kicking trio must find two stolen rings which contain a list of people under the witness protection program.

Moore (who was reportedly hated by the three younger leads during the shooting) nearly steals the show as a bad angel. But Mac is merely a weak replacement for Bill Murray, who is sorely missed. Murray reportedly vowed never to star with Liu in a movie again after the two argued a lot on the set of the first film.

Offers some cool sequences (despite overused techno songs), but as much as you want these angels to fly (they do actually in the movie), the movie only ends up being indoor fireworks. ** (out of ****)

Basic (Drama/Thriller, 98 minutes) Starring John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Connie Nielsen, Geovanni Ribisi, Timothy Daly. Directed by John McTiernan.

Convoluted variation of Courage Under Fire (I'd be damned to compare this clunker with Rashomon) with several army ranger cadets recounting varying accounts of what happened during an ill-fated exercise where some of their team members disappeared.

Travolta is a drug enforcement agent who is asked by an old friend to make the survivors tell the truth.

The movie is designed to get you thinking, but the story itself and the twists are actually uninteresting.

This is the kind of movie you would want to talk about with your friends since you think you've miss some of the points. But then you'll hate yourself for asking, since it's really not worth it.**

Pinocchio (Fantasy/Comedy/Drama, 108 minutes) Starring Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Carlo Guiffre. Directed by Roberto Benigni.

Carlo Collodi's classic fairy-tale has been tainted so many times by filmmakers, including by some who made Pinocchio a murderous wooden puppet. But it's never been as disappointing as this since it comes from a respected filmmaker like Benigni.

In fact, a murderous Pinocchio is less scary than seeing a balding 50-year-old actor dressed up in weird pajamas and running around like a wooden child.

Although it's beautifully shot with nice production design and some amusing visual effects, the audience is likely to run away a bit scared.

Grotesque, to say the least, but absolutely not in a fun way.*1/2

-- Joko Anwar