Movie Date: Equals (NC16)
Slow-moving, shamelessly derivative and sluggishly acted, Equals falls short of matching sci-fi greats that came before.
STARRING: Nicholas Hoult, Kristen Stewart, Guy Pearce, Jacki Weaver
DIRECTOR: Drake Doremus
THE SKINNY: The future is a clinical utopia where humans are wiped clean of any emotion. When they feel anything — joy, love, hate, anger — they will be taken to “The Den” and made to commit suicide. So when two young co-workers, Silas (Hoult) and Nia (Stewart), experience mutual attraction, they realise the only way to stay together is to escape from their heavily-guarded habitat.
MARS by JASON JOHNSON
Imagine a world where emotions are outlawed.
Is your mind blown? Well, it shouldn't be.
Frankly, there's no more cliched concept in science fiction.
Equilibrium, The Island and The Host are recent examples.
Star Trek, in all its incarnations, touches on the theme often - think of the Vulcan Spock just for starters.
There's of course THX 1138 and Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.
The Matrix, Gattaca and 2001: A Space Odyssey address dehumanisation in their own idiosyncratic fashion.
Going way back, there's Metropolis.
With all these truly great flicks out there, there's honestly not much to talk about with Equals.
Aside from the story, the all-white look is also incredibly hackneyed.
I guess it's fun picking out the Singapore locations, but just takes you out of the narrative.
It's not that Equals' a bad film, it's just that this thing has been done so many times and so much better. My biggest complaint is Stewart's hair, which is a disaster.
I say that as a fan.
I don't understand how that 'do gets a pass; she looks like a crazy person.
It should go into the Bad Movie Hair Hall Of Fame, along with Hugh Jackman's Van Helsing curls and Halle Berry's grey X-Men tresses.
Ratings: 2/5 stars
VENUS by JOANNE SOH
You'll need a lot of patience for this slow-burning romance.
It's a good thing that director Doremus has a great eye for aesthetics.
Everything looks fantastic, from Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Tadao Ando's Awaji Yumebutai conference centre that served as the key set piece to our very own Southern Ridges, and Doremus captures an attractively pristine, monochromatic environment.
Hoult's lovely face adds to the appeal.
The same can't be said about Stewart though, whose horrific eye bags make her look so haggard. Perhaps it's part of her "look", considering she's playing someone who's been trying hard to suppress her feelings.
If this sound superficial, that's the vibe Equals gives off.
Stewart plays to her strength, being sullen most of the time. Hoult recycles his Warm Bodies performance, though watching him as an emotionless zombie is more fun.
Thankfully, the pair have great chemistry, or Equals would be even more boring than it already is.
The plot moves at a snail's pace, so don't be surprised if you find yourself nodding off.
And when the big reveal finally comes, you feel so cheated as it's basically a rip-off from Shakespeare's most famous tragic love story Romeo And Juliet.
Appearances can only take you that far.
Ratings: 2/5 stars
THE CONSENSUS: Slow-moving, shamelessly derivative and sluggishly acted, Equals falls short of matching scifi greats that came before.
Movie Review: The Angry Birds Movie (PG)
Anyone who has played the popular game already knows the movie's plot.
Vengeful birds use a giant slingshot to hurl themselves at structures built by green pigs to rescue their stolen eggs.
This film adaptation includes this moment as its most memorable scene. The problem is that the half-baked plot is meant to build up to that moment.
The franchise's most iconic character, Red (voiced by Jason Sudeikis), is an outcast who is forced to attend anger management classes. He befriends Chuck (Josh Gad) and Bomb (Danny McBride), and is given an opportunity for redemption when the birds' eggs are stolen by green pigs.
Red's story is too cliched to make his efforts more inspiring than cheesy.
There are some funny moments, but they do not help the film take flight.
Ratings: 2/5 stars