What to watch in cinemas this week?

JUNE 8 ― It's the school and Raya holidays this week, so I'm pretty sure a lot of us are looking forward to a cinema outing with our family, friends and loved ones.

Looking at the upcoming movie schedules, one thing really struck me as pretty odd; for the first time in a very long time, the traditional Malay language Raya movie is nowhere to be found in local cinemas this year.

The only Malay language movie scheduled to open this Raya week is Roh Fasik, which is a horror film, so obviously it doesn't count.

Nowhere in sight are staple Raya movies like comedies, rempit movies or even rom-coms, which is very strange as usually there'd be at least two of these duking it out for the kids' duit Raya in cinemas nationwide.

So I'm guessing that it'll be X-Men: Dark Phoenix (which I haven't seen at the time of writing, since obviously I had to write this before Raya arrives) which will be the big ticket this Raya week since there are no Raya movies to attract the Raya crowd.

Apart from that, there are also a few movies that opened a week or two ago which should still be playing and could be candidates for your movie day out as well.

Check out my short reviews below to see if they might be worth your while.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Reviews from film critics have been pretty bad and, at best, lukewarm for the latest Godzilla movie from Hollywood, with most complaining about the slapdash treatment of the human characters here.

I, however, don't see any problems with that. This is a monster movie, and even the movie title clearly says so ― Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

So I think it's fair (maybe even expected) that the humans here are inconsequential, merely there to provide some semblance of a story in order to go from one monster mash to another.

Looking at the track record of director Michael Dougherty, who did fanboy favourites Trick r Treat and Krampus, it's clear that he's one of us, the fans, and he's making movies that we, as fans, would love to see made.

And to me, Godzilla: King of the Monsters has everything that a big budget Hollywood monster movie should have ― generous amounts of monster vs monster action, just the right amounts of cheese in the dialogue to keep the audience giggling, and enough pace in the narrative to keep the movie rolling along nicely.

It's still not better than Kong: Skull Island, but it's more than good enough to be one of the better Hollywood monster movies out there.

Aladdin

As someone who grew up during the second golden age of Disney animation in the 90s, a “live” action remake of Aladdin really does seem unnecessary, but surprisingly, director Guy Ritchie is a pretty good fit for this.

For once, a Disney “live” action remake is a fun and nowhere near painful watch.

Although largely faithful to the original animation, the few tweaks here and there really made sense and even improved on the original ― like casting people of colour in the major roles (even Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine is a British actress of Indian descent), the framing device of the opening song Arabian Nights (which also wisely replaced the word “barbaric” with “chaotic” in the lyrics) and most of all, the female empowerment angle for the previously underwritten Princess Jasmine character.

Maybe the tweaks/updates are an acknowledgement of the fact that in 20 years, people are still more likely to return to the original 1992 animation than this “live” action remake, but that knowledge on the part of the film-makers has also given this film more freedom than would be possible from your typical “live” action Disney remake.

An entertaining and more than worthy remake.

The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil

Korean actor Don Lee is on a roll ever since he broke big with Train To Busan, with one hit movie after another hitting not only Korean cinemas, but Malaysian cinemas as well.

From The Outlaws, Champion, Unstoppable and now The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil (which played Out of Competition in Cannes and is already slated for a Hollywood remake), his leading man charisma just gets better and better with each movie, which is a good thing because this latest one really needs that charisma to carry what is, although very exciting and entertaining, a bit of a muddled blend between your typical Korean gangster movie and your typical Korean psycho serial killer movie.

The devil of the title is a serial killer whose modus operandi is to randomly do a fender bender on someone before proceeding to stab him/her to death.

That randomness brought him into the path of the gangster of the title (who survives the attack), who happens to be investigated by the cop of the title, and it's the criss crossing of these three paths that makes the movie feel fresh, even if it's made from very familiar parts.

If you like Korean gangster movies or Korean psycho serial killer movies, then this one's a no brainer. Even if you're not a fan of these movies, I've a feeling you'll still be entertained by this one, hence Hollywood quickly snagging the remake rights.

See it before Hollywood screws it up!

*This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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