Movie reviews: Alita: Battle Angel, Colette
ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL (PG13)
I didn't expect to enjoy this sci-fi fantasy from the mind of James Cameron, which is worth watching in 3-D.
But the special effects are superb, especially for the titular character played via performance capture by Rosa Salazar.
The scenes with Motorball, a violent futuristic roller derby-type sport, and the fight sequences are also top-notch.
Sadly, I can't say the same for the predictable story.
Based on Japanese cyberpunk manga series Battle Angel Alita created by Yukito Kishiro in 1990, the plot follows an amnesiac cyborg who is cared for by cybernetics doctor Ido (Christoph Waltz).
In her attempts to recover her memories and mysterious past, Alita discovers she is imbued with a unique power that can bring down the corrupt floating city of Zalem.
Alita may be a CGI character, but her presence is magnetic. Her relationships with Ido and love interest Hugo (Keean Johnson) are charmingly human.
The film sets up for a sequel, but director Robert Rodriguez had better deliver a meatier story. - JOANNE SOH - 3 Ticks
Keira Knightley was born to do costume dramas, her latest one being a lush period piece about one of France's most celebrated female writers, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette.
Set in the late 19th century, the story starts when Colette marries well-known author Willy (Dominic West).
More of an opportunistic literary entrepreneur than a writer, he convinces Colette to ghostwrite for him, and when her semi-autobiographical novel Claudine becomes a national bestseller, Willy claims the credit.
His exploitation soon goes on an overdrive, including forcing her to write by locking her up for four hours at a stretch.
Their love story is interesting too. The philandering Willy offers an open marriage, during which Colette discovers she finds more love and solace with the fairer sex.
Fashion plays a big role in this film. From a lady in elegant dresses and tresses to sporting an edgy haircut and sharp suits, Colette's sartorial transformation mirrors her liberation from Willy and social norms of the time.
While this biopic doesn't fully depict Colette's real gender equality struggles, it is an eye-opening statement in the #MeToo climate, with credit going primarily to Knightley's powerful performance. - JOANNE SOH - 3.5 Ticks