Tag Archives: Thriller



Never watched any of the previous instalments of this lucrative franchise but not knowing anything about what happened in six previous chapters was an advantage. Yes, I know there was some back story as to why Jason Statham’s character (Deckard Shaw) had a bone to pick with Vin Diesel and his crew but it really did not matter.



Screen shot 2015-02-07 at PM 01.17.15

As predicted last time out, the suggestion that Agent Keen would be spilling the beans about her childhood trauma and the location of the Fulcrum was really a cock tease. It was very much back to the status quo after the events of this Luther Braxton two-parter. And is anyone else getting annoyed by the Illuminati characters that are lurking ubiquitously in the background? Although, to be fair, the ending was intriguing enough to keep things boiling nicely in The Blacklist till the end of the season.



Written & Directed by Rowan Joffe
Starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth & Mark Strong.

When the film begins, you might be forgiven to think that Before I Go To Sleep is a rip-off of Christopher Nolan’s ground-breaking Memento. After all, the protagonist Christine Lucas (Nicole Kidman) is an amnesiac and wakes up every morning with no memory of her life from her early twenties onwards.

However, whereas Memento starts at the end and the story is presented backwards, the story telling in Before I Go To Sleep – barring the odd flashback – is mostly linear. Expect numerous twists and turns along the way as Christine attempts to piece together the truth from her shattered memories.

As much as the premise is interesting (based on the novel of the same name), there is something missing in the execution of this adaptation. Colin Firth is somewhat unconvincing and Kidman herself seems to be in a constant haze. Presumably that is what the script called for but it is difficult to empathize with her character as played.

The plot – without spoiling it for you, dear reader – has quite a few gaps: with the main one being the illogical manner in which the antagonist is allowed to manipulate Christine’s life for such a long time, without anyone being the wiser. But if one is able to ignore these holes, then Before I Go To Sleep is a passable thriller – especially if you are a fan of Ms Kidman.



Directed by David Fincher. 
Starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris & Tyler Perry

When you are watching a movie, you want to like it – after all, you are spending time and money to watch the movie so… wouldn’t you want to like it? I find that increasingly, the more visual eye candy the movie throws my way, the more amenable I am to accept the story flaws that inevitably crop up. But in the case of Gone Girl – director David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best selling novel, there are no special effects to distract from the plotline and thus, one would think that it would be easier to determine how successful the story-telling was.



You might say it began with Dexter.

Remember how it felt all those years ago when you first watched Dexter? You mean, the hero of the show is a serial killer? Mind-blowing, wasn’t it?

Considering how unique and groundbreaking Dexter was, it’s rather amazing that it’s taken almost seven years for more tv series involving serial killers to show up. In 2013, we’ve had The Following, Bates Motel and Hannibal take up Dexter’s challenge. Truth be told, it’s been a mixed bag so far from these three offerings.

The Following actually presents us with an entire cult of serial killers led by the charismatic Joe Carroll (James Purejoy) and pursued by the FBI and former agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon). The series started out promisingly enough but since then has degenerated into a totally implausible tale, where the FBI is constantly represented as incompetent and helpless whilst Carroll, is somewhat portrayed as an infallible super-villain! Utterly preposterous – the inherent flaw in the plot requires that Carroll never be caught which results in ridiculously unrealistic stories. What is truly amazing is that the series has been renewed for a second season already! Now that is a crime…

Bates Motel is obviously based on elements taken from Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal Psycho movie. A prequel of sorts but set in modern times (the movie was, of course, filmed in the early 60s), Bates Motel is a strange beast and so far rather mystifying. There is a general creepiness about the town in which the Bates (mother Norma and young son Norman – not forgetting older son, Dylan) reside in and there is a sense of a dark underbelly to the town in question. The leads (Vera Famiga and Freddie Highmore) do credible jobs with their respective roles and there is enough brand awareness to keep viewers interested (as evidenced by the series being renewed for a second season) but overall, I am waiting for the series to deliver a more than average impact.

Although only the premiere has aired thus far, Bryan Fuller’s re-imagining of Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon holds the greatest promise of the trio. Focusing on the relationship between special FBI investigator Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and psychiatrist Hannibal Lector (Mads Mikkelsen), there is much to admire in Hannibal. The genuine attempt made to connect the audience with Graham’s fraught psycho-analytical experiences and Mikkelsen’s deliciously dark portrayal of the sinister Lecter, makes Hannibal one of the more surprisingly successful TV series revolving around a serial killer.

With Dexter on its last legs, I am betting on Hannibal to deliver the thrills, spills and yes, the kills, in the weeks to come.





The more I see of writer/director Rian Johnsons’s time-travel flick, Looper, the more I think that this is going to be one of the best scifi films of the year. Already, I am totally sold on the fact that the two leads – Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt – play the same person at different ages in a life-and-death struggle with each other! All possible through that wonderful scifi device called time-travel. Wonderful!! Check out the trailer. Looper opens in late September.



I must admit that I am not much of a Tom Cruise fan or his movies. I remember watching (and hating) the first two Mission Impossible (MI) films –  convoluted and ridiculous works. But I was intrigued by the fact that the man at the helm of MI4 was animation master Brad (The Iron Giant, The Incredibles) Bird making his live action movie debut. And Bird did not disappoint with a thrilling and fun ride that presented Cruise in a very likable manner as well.



The Homeland Directive by Robert Venditti & Mike Huddleston (Top Shelf Productions)

Robert Venditti’s previous work was a sci-fi piece, The Surrogates, which was made into a rather watchable movie starring Bruce Willis.

With a title like The Homeland Directive, Venditti’s new graphic novel is quite clear from the beginning about what you’re going to get inside its pages. Rather unpredictably, Robert has chosen to show his versatility by churning out a fast-paced thriller filled with action and plot twists and a believable story worthy of a Jason Bourne installment.

Dr Laura Regan is a research scientist who’s partner is murdered and she’s the prime suspect. Forced to go on the run, she’s caught up in a conspiracy which seems to involve every government agency you can think of. It may sound entirely formulaic, but instead, Venditti’s crisp and witty dialogue strings together each and every scenario in an entirely plausible setting. Throughout all this, Venditti manages to touch on current issues we continue to confront daily such as the loss of personal privacy in the face of modern technology.

Beautifully illustrated by Mike Huddleston, the painted borderless panels give a cinematic feel to the story. Mike’s art conveys perfectly the changing tension and atmosphere as the scene dictates.

All in, an exciting story and a great read, don’t miss it!

(Kenneth Chaw)
Official Site
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The title character of this adventure thriller, filmed in Europe, Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) is a teenage girl. Uniquely, she has the strength, the stamina, and the smarts of a soldier; these come from being raised by her father (Eric Bana), an ex-CIA man, in the wilds of Finland. Living a life unlike any other teenager, her upbringing and training have been one and the same, all geared to making her the perfect assassin. The turning point in her adolescence is a sharp one; sent into the world by her father on a mission, Hanna journeys stealthily across Europe while eluding agents dispatched after her by a ruthless intelligence operative with secrets of her own (Cate Blanchett). As she nears her ultimate target, Hanna faces startling revelations about her existence and unexpected questions about her humanity. (from Wikipedia)

Continue reading GEEK OUT!


Episode 6: Loyalty

This latest episode of the scifi-conspiracy thriller could just as well have been entitled, “The Sacrifice of Agent Lee”. Simon Lee (Ian Anthony Dale) – the ALIEN mole in the CIA – finally has his cover blown to high hell as he assists ALIEN leader Sophia (Laura Innes) escape from a tracking device placed within her body as she attempts to meet with her colleague, Thomas (Clifton Collins Jr).

Continue reading THE EVENT SEASON 1


I guess the word I’m looking for is edgy. Which is why a Hollywood remake of this Swedish thriller will most likely fail to come anywhere close to matching up. Adapted from late Swedish author Stieg Larsson’s Men Who Hate Women (and also the first installment of Larsson’s Millennium trilogy), The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a dark (and at times disturbing) tale of intrigue, deceit and abuse of power.




Let’s get the IMDB plot synopsis out of the way.

An average man is kidnapped and imprisoned in a shabby cell for 15 years without explanation. He then is released, equipped with money, a cellphone and expensive clothes. As he strives to explain his imprisonment and get his revenge, he soon finds out that not only his kidnapper has still plans for him, but that those plans will serve as the even worse finale to 15 years of imprisonment.

Continue reading OLDBOY


You want to be disoriented and disturbed by the movies you watch. You want to have to watch movies a couple of times in order to figure what they are about? Well, Memento is one movie you should not miss! You know the drill, let’s have the IMDB plot synopsis first.

Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce) has short term memory loss resulting from an injury he sustained which was associated with the murder of his wife. He remembers his life prior to the incident, such as being an insurance claims investigator. He has learned to cope with his memory loss through dealing with a man named Sammy Jankis, a person he investigated professionally who also had short term memory issues. Some of these coping mechanism are to have a system of where to place things, talk to people face-to-face if possible rather than on the telephone as to be able to gauge their true intention, take Polaroids and write copious notes, the most important of those which he tattoos on his body so that they become permanent. Leonard’s current mission is to find and kill his wife’s murderer, who he believes is a man named John G., a name which is tattooed on his body. Over the course of a day, Leonard is assisted in this mission by a few people seemingly independent of each other, including a man named Teddy (Joe Pantoliano) and a woman named Natalie (Carrie Ann Moss). However, each time he meets them, he has no idea who they are, why they are helping him and if indeed they are working toward the same goal as him.

Memento (released in 2000) was director Christopher Nolan’s sophomore feature! Which may not be that surprising if you have watched his debut indie feature, Following, which also experimented with film narrative innovatively. By telling the story backwards, the viewer is forced to experience Shelby’s condition. As their is no past narrative, the viewer has no idea what happened before the current scene, like Shelby.

In the final analysis, after all that is said about this clever device, the real theme of Memento is self-delusion (self-manipulation), or believing what you want to believe and ignoring everything else. For Shelby, perhaps he needs this delusion so that he can continue to have a reason to live. Without it, his wretched life will probably fall around his ears, like a house of cards.

If you haven’t watched Memento before, I highly recommend you do. If you have, go watch it again and again and again…

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I watched Shutter Island after Inception and the parallels are rather stunning. Both star Leonardo DiCaprio as a man who is holding on to the ghost of his wife, spends a fair bit of time in the dreams of its protagonists and feature twist endings.

However, that’s where the similarities end. Whereas Inception’s denouement actually strengthens the film, the reveal at the end of Shutter Island simply ruins everything that went before. Sometimes I really hate that Sixth Sense was as successful as it was because this device has been copied by too many directors, even Martin Scorsese. Yes, I realize that the film is adapted from a book (by Dennis Lehane) which contains the said twist but still…

Till that moment of revelation, you could say that Scorsese had done a good job in building up the tension and expectation in the mind of the audience although towards the end, you do get the feeling that the film was up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

As usual, clues were lying around throughout the movie, if only you knew what you were looking for and so, you might say that the twist device promotes multiple viewings if nothing else, and if so minded, then would make the DVD an essential acquisition.

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