driftUS release date: August 2

Western Australia already had their own established surf culture back in the 60’s and 70’s, and the Kelly Brothers quickly embraced it as their obsession. The younger Kelly, Jimmy, had bigger talent on the waves, and his big bro Andy had better common sense, plus a huge business dream. But beyond that, we must admit that the Kellies are not exactly the most revolutionary surf characters worth dedicating a whole feature-length movie on.
Between building a small town surfing equipment shop, carving and polishing surfboards, fending off a drug dealer friend, dealing with a lukewarm Hawaiian love triangle, there are just not enough cool surfing scenes if we’re looking for action. Jimmy and Andy were not competitive surfers and they didn’t surf for trophy or money; at least not until they really need some five thousand Dollars. And for some of us who are in for an actual based-on-a-true-story 70’s period drama, fighting some brutish bikers with Kula Shaker‘s “Govinda” as background music is certainly not what anybody can call historically accurate.

My Rating: 5/10


Europa Report

europa_reportUS release date: August 2

Can they land on the surface of what essentially is a gigantic frozen sea safely–just dropping in moon landing style at 60 kilometer per second velocity–without breaking the, even if it were super thick, ice, and risking the entire crew members on the landing module? They launch one probe under the ice, lost the probe, then risk another crew member in a very dangerous E.V.A. just to collect some ice samples that should be done quite simply with a remote-controlled robotic vehicle, or maybe a spare probe? Can’t travel some 700 million kilometers from home with just one irreplaceable probe.
Yes it’s another space mission goes awry story, complete with another obligatory self-sacrificing overboard astronauts drifting to his/her death scene. But bad space mission technicalities aside, it’s a movie with good editing and cinematographic strategy–of course, with some annoying faux digital glitches added, specifically designed to not showing us much, creating some sense of claustrophobia while at the same time cleverly masking its modest visual effects.

My Rating; 5/10


wastelandUS release date: July 26

Straight out from prison, straight on the way back to prison in just six weeks. Or is it?
Harvey Miller knows all the theories to run a fairly safe and profitable drug trafficking business, but he still ended up in jail even though he didn’t actually dealing any drug at the time. Now he has a better and bigger plan. A dream plan that requires him to do a robbery with his three very helpful mates. And somehow Harvey is very able to tailor a heist that would make Danny Ocean proud. A guy that smart and all he can think about is how to rob a club? For a better future? Wow. What a waste.

My Rating: 4/10

Drug War

drug warUS release date: July 26

The action starts one morning at Jinhai highway toll gate where an eagle-eye pretty undercover cop, the ice cool and very dedicated Captain Zhang, and their anti-drug squad bust a few drug couriers carrying drugs inside their bellies. Tracking the rest of the drug cartel, they conveniently nab one of the cartel’s main man at a hospital, injured in a car crash after escaping his exploded drug lab. Timmy Choi, the very lightly injured sign-language able–and turned out to be quite good at acting–drug maker (played by Louis Koo) suddenly and so easily switches side and decides to help Captain Zhang infiltrating the secretive but very compartemented narcotic organization. One guy doesn’t really know the other guy in the business, except Timmy Choi who seems to know everyone. So Captain Zhang can, again, very easily, slips in.
As usual, Johnnie To wants to deliver a fast-paced action movie, but it will be even better if he also provides a better story logic. Of course it’s very thrilling to see uptempo non-stop crime thriller with John Woo-style brutal gun battle climax, but it’s also truly quite impossible for any cop anywhere in the world to track down so many drug dealers and uncover one whole drug organization, including the big bosses, in just a few days’ time.

My Rating: 6/10


strandedUS release date: July 26

Somehow, the fictional designers of this movie’s fictional moonbase have just never anticipated the danger of meteor showers when they built a lunar station for these four poor extra-terrestrial militaristic mining crew. Even worser for the hapless three men and one woman, that meteor also contains weird alien spores. Talking about a very, very bad luck for the crewmen, and a very, very bad cinematic treat for the auidence. It is plain impossible to make a proper Alien/The Thing-hybrid sci-fi horror with a weak script and very limited budget, even if you have Christian Slater on it.

My Rating: 2/10

Breaking the Girls

breaking_the_girlsUS release date: July 26

A troubled girl meets another troubled–much more troubled, lesbian, girl. And in the movie’s rather short 87 minutes runtime we are made to see them swimming, make out with each other, getting kicked-out from law school, complaining about their arch nemesis: a bitchy fellow law student and a bitchy–also lesbian–stepmom about more than three times each. Beyond its 80’s crazy lesbos story, the 80’s TV-movie cinematography, and the actual 80’s TV actor Sam Anderson (the filmmakers even shot parts of this movie at an L.A. mansion that was frequently used in 80’s TV series like Knight Rider, MacGyver, or The A-Team), just don’t expect to find anything new or at least newer here.

My Rating: 3/10