Saturday, February 27, 2021

The Marksman Is Standard Liam Neeson Fare, But Slower

Veteran star Liam Neeson has done a Hayao Miyakazi, that is, publicly announce that they plan to "retire", and then come back doing the thing they do best. Now in his late 60s, Neeson is back starring as a lead in an action-thriller called “THE MARKSMAN”. The movie opened at local theatres a few days ago on 25 February.

Living in his ranch at the Arizona-Mexico border, Vietnam war veteran Jim Hanson (Liam Neeson) is leading a lonely life together with his trusty pet dog. He has just lost his wife to cancer, and he is about to lose his property to the bank too. He passes by his days with melancholy, downing a regular bottle of whisky, and saving his livestock from coyotes - thanks to his skills as a marksman. From time to time, Hanson would notify the border patrol whenever he spots illegal immigrants pass by his land.

His peace shatters one day when he spots a mother and son cross the fence from Mexico, on the run from the dangerous members of the cartel. In the ensuing violent gunfight, Rosa the mother, gets mortally wounded. Before she dies, she offers Hanson a bag of cash and pleads for him to take her son Miguel (Jacob Perez) to Chicago, where her cousin lives. Hanson reluctantly agrees and the two end up on a road trip up north, with the drug cartel in hot pursuit.

The trip to Chicago starts out awkwardly enough as Miguel blames Hanson for his mother's death, and the impatient and gruff Hanson was treating the entire thing like a chore. Being practical, he was hoping to fulfil a woman's last wish and then, use the money to pay off his debts. But as the ride progresses, the two begin to bond through their shared grief of loved ones lost.

THE MARKSMAN” is co-written and directed by Robert Lorenz, who has worked on several Clint Eastwood films. That ol' Western style is evident in the movie, with its measured pace, grounded sensibilities, and an older grizzled lead actor being a heroic protector. As eye-candy, the movie also takes advantage of the gorgeous Arizona landscape as its backdrop.

Watching Liam Neeson is always entertaining, especially when he plays characters with a mix of guilt and frustration. His Irish sense of humour inevitably filters through in some of his lines. Young actor Jacob Perez gives equal weight in his many scenes with Neeson, providing a sad dimension to their natural chemistry. Usually, kid characters in need of rescue in movies are written as annoying or snarky little brats. For a change, without the need to over-act or say much, Perez's quiet portrayal of grief tugs at your heartstrings.

It is too bad that Kathryn Winnick, as Sarah, Jim Hanson's border patrol agent step-daughter, was simply not given enough lines or scenes that really matter. It goes to show that this is still a guys' movie, and female characters are merely peripheral. Juan Pablo Raba gives an over the top but convincing performance as the baddie Maurico. There is a bit of a revelation on how Maurico became so evil, but the movie is not interested in giving a deeper perspective on members of the Mexican drug cartel. It is all about Jim Hanson - his struggles, his guilt and ultimately, his redemption.

THE MARKSMAN” isn't a trailblazer of any sort, but Red Dot Diva thought it was a watchable action road movie despite its slow pace. It's like comfort food, because you know what to expect - that is, Liam Neeson's character saving the day.

Monday, February 22, 2021

Superman & Lois Series Is Ready To Soar on 24 February 2021, Warner TV Asia

It's time to go up, up and away on 24 February 2021 with the premiere of “Superman & Lois”. The brand new series, which will telecast exclusively on Warner TV at 9 PM on the same day as the U.S., is the latest spin off from the Arrowverse. For those who are new to the Arrowverse, the term refers to a shared universe of several TV series consisting of story arcs of several DC Comics' characters like Green Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Batwoman, just to name a few.

About a decade has passed since a series about Superman was last aired on TV. This was a long running series called “Smallville” starring Tom Welling as Clark Kent, which was well loved by many Superman fans.

Tyler Hoechlin (who was in “Teen Wolf” prior to entering the Arrowverse) has taken over the mantle as Superman. Elizabeth Tulloch reprises her role as famous journalist Lois Lane. Instead of the usual villain of the week format, the 90-minute premiere episode of “Superman & Lois” gives a fresh spin of the Superman lore by focusing on the married life of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. Like most working parents, they are busy juggling their careers while raising the teenage sons Jonathan (Jordan Elsass) and Jordan (Alexander Garfin). Meanwhile, there is the question of whether the boys will inherit any of their father's Kryptonian superpowers and complicate matters even further.

After relocating to Smallville, the rural town where Clark grew up in, he discovers how much the place has changed. He also gets reacquainted with his first love and good friend Lana Lang (Emmanuelle Chriqui), who is now married to the Fire Chief, Kyle Cushing (Erik Valdez). Lois' father, General Samuel Lane (Dylan Walsh) is also a frequent visitor as he seeks for Superman's help to take care of villains and trouble-makers. Talking about trouble-makers, the appearance of a mysterious stranger (Wolé Parks) adds to the family drama.

Superman and comic book fans will notice that the superhero is donning a new suit that updates the iconic look with a sleeker style and modern applications. Like the sculpted red belt, billowing cape and custom fabric, for instance.

About wearing the Superman suit, Tyler Hoechlin said, “I find that the new suit is representative of the show. Just as this suit is unique and set apart from the ones that preceded it, the story we’re telling about Clark/Superman at this point in his life is unique and something we’ve never seen before. I appreciate the opportunity to wear the suit and the responsibility that comes with it. But it’s always interesting when I’m asked how I feel about “my new suit,” because I’ve always felt that the suit doesn’t belong to me; it belongs to everyone that finds some kind of meaning in that suit, in the symbol on the chest. I just happen to be the one wearing it. I come from the world of baseball and a line of coaches that always preached that the name on the front of the jersey is more important than the one on the back. Because when you wear that jersey, it represents not only you, but your entire team, and everyone that has ever worn that jersey that came before you. So when I wear the suit, that’s what it means to me. It represents everything that Superman stands for and has stood for, for almost a century now. And I look forward to carrying on that tradition.

Lois Lane may not possess any superpowers but her intelligence and tenacity as a journalist are her secret weapons when battling against media mogul Morgan Edge (Alexander Garfin), who is bent on promoting online journalism where only clickthroughs matter.

Elizabeth Tulloch says, “I find Lois inspiring in how little she gives a crap about what anyone thinks of her. She’s not doing the work for glory or more Pulitzers, she’s doing it because she believes in justice and truth. She is incredibly driven and determined and hard-working, and she really embodies the aphorism “be the change you wish to see in the world.” She is not intimidated by anyone. She wants to save the world with words.

New episodes of “Superman & Lois” will air every Wednesday at 9:50 PM on Warner TV. Right after the pilot episode, a half-hour special, “Superman & Lois: Legacy of Hope”, will air at 10:15 PM. So remember to keep your eyes locked on the screen after you have enjoyed the premiere.


Tip: To get deeper into the lore of this iteration of Superman, Red Dot Diva recommends new fans to watch past episodes of the Supergirl series, and the crossover event “Crisis of Infinite Earths”.

Warner TV is on Starhub Channel 515 or Singtel Channel 306.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Join in the Hijinks of Tom & Jerry Movie, Premieres 11 February 2021

Believe it or not. The classic cat-and-mouse chase in the guise of Tom and Jerry is still going on after 80 years! 

This year, the duo continue with their trademark cartoony violence in a full-length, mixed live action and animation movie entitled TOM & JERRY. This is the characters' first theatrical release, with actors Chloë Grace Moretz, Michael Pena, Ken Jeong, Rob Delany and Colin Jost joining in the real world set. The movie is directed by Tim Story and produced by Chris DeFaria. TOM & JERRY will be opening at local theatres on 11 February.

Our favourite nimble and mischievous mouse Jerry has taken residence at a swanky New York City hotel, and has been spotted by guest, causing a massive mouse hunt to begin. Kayla (Chloë Grace Moretz), one of the hotel's employees, decided to hire a cat to solve the problem. And guess who that hapless cat turns out to be? Tom is reunited with his frenemy and their long-standing feud starts up again.

However, Tom and Jerry find out that someone else is conspiring against them as well as Kayla, and the three decide to team up together.

Leading up the anticipated release of the TOM & JERRY movie, Warner Bros. has planned a series of exciting promotional events. Check them out below!

Get A Daily Dose Of Tom & Jerry's Antics!

Fans can enjoy a daily dose of Tom & Jerry movies at 11:30 AM every day from Saturday, February 6, on Cartoon Network (Singtel TV Ch 226 / StarHub Ch 316). Their antics in these shows are reimagined in the world of classic tales like the Wizard of Oz, Sherlock Holmes, and Robin Hood, and many others. 

The Tom and Jerry Show is also airing on Boomerang (Singtel TV Ch 228 / StarHub Ch 317) every day at 6 PM. Plus, there is a two-month long channel takeover featuring various Tom and Jerry series from March to April!

Oh, and HBO GO subscribers get to watch a specially-packaged boxset of The Tom and Jerry Show Seasons 1 to 4 including the movies, starting on 1 February.

Chase Down Those Giveaways and Fun Challenges!

Take the Tom and Jerry Challenge by downloading photo templates from Cartoon Network Asia's website - Pose yourself or your pets together with Tom and Jerry, snap a shot and then post your photo in your Facebook and Instagram feed, using the #TomAndJerryChallengehashtag. You have up to 11 February to take part in this real world meets cartoon character challenge. The most creative posts stand to win tickets to watch the TOM & JERRY movie and receive some cool merchandise.

You can get even more chances to win goodies by spending $5 on Win Win Potato Crisps at all major supermarkets and convenience stores. Just upload your receipt to before March 31 to stand a chance to win the prizes.

Nab Those T&J Collectibles!

There are loads of Tom and Jerry merchandise for fans to collect. Here are the places where you can find them:

Golden Village
From February 11, GV is offering limited-edition Tom and Jerry reusable cups. Remember to grab them when you go watch the movie.

Head to 7-Eleven stores for novelty items like plushies, back packs, water bottles and more! These collectibles are expected to hit the shelves in March.

A brand new Tom and Jerry EZ-Link card will be available at EZ-Link vending machines located at Bishan Junction 8, Bugis Junction, Tampines Mall and Westgate, from February 24.

Polar Puffs & Cakes
Take a bite of new limited-edition Tom and Jerry cakes, which will be available at all Polar outlets from February 18.

The Flip Flop Shop
It's all about the chase! A fun and stylish new Tom and Jerry footwear collection can be purchased at all The Flip Flop Shop outlets now.

Mighty Jaxx
Coming soon by design studio Mighty Jazz is a Tom and Jerry collaboration.

The worldwide pandemic has been difficult for everyone, and Red Dot Diva thinks we all need some cheering up. So why not gather your family and friends to spend measure of rambunctious cartoon fun at the cinema watching the TOM & JERRY movie? As they say, laughter in the best medicine!