2018

ADRIFT

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As the two avid sailors set out on a journey across the ocean, Tami and Richard couldn’t anticipate they would be sailing directly into one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history. In the aftermath of the storm, Tami awakens to find Richard badly injured and their boat in ruins. With no hope for rescue, Tami must find the strength and determination to save herself and the only man she has ever loved. Adrift is directed by Baltasar Kormakur under STXfilms.

Casts: Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin, Jeffrey Thomas, Elizabeth Hawthorne & Grace Palmer.

Genre: Drama, Survival Film

WHAT I LIKE?

Adrift offers a simple approach on a movie that is based on a true and inspiring survival film. If you do your research on the film, you will surely encounter spoilers as the story is already in the history books. Thanks to the Worldwide Web too. Not minding the spoilers online, Adrift stands alone as a worthy interpretation of a beautiful love story united by their love of ocean and adventure. The movie was direct in terms of story-telling. With some flashbacks in between, you can easily grasp everything the film wanted to tell you. Specifically, I loved how the flashbacks will play into your emotions especially on each stage of the story and their struggle at sea. More than an artistic approach, the flashbacks were meant to prepare for the story’s heartbreaking turnaround (in case you still don’t know about it). The revelation of that twist was done well. Aside from very engaging scenes, what I like about ADrift is the portrayal of its main characters. Shailene nailed her role. She was so impressive in the film. I can almost see the struggle in her eyes and she was so effective on major points in the film. Sam was a good compliment to the acting prowess of Shailene. He was, as usual, charming and adorable too. Overall, ADrift is a movie you might want to consider watching in the cinemas.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

Noting the impressive acting chops from Shailene and Sam, the movie for me lacks some intensity for it to become that memorable and emotionally-compelling. I am not saying that the movie failed to inspire me, it is just that I expected much from its interesting source material. Well, you may or may not watch it on cinemas though.

RATINGS:

7/10 Popcorn

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2018

Hereditary

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When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited. This film is directed by Ari Aster under A24 Studio.

Casts: Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro, Ann Dowd, Gabriel Byrne & Mallory Betchell.

Genre: Thriller, Suspense

WHAT I LIKE?

Hereditary is a promising and one-of-a-kind horror movie that defied horror technicalities and somehow redefined the genre with its unique cinematography and story-telling formula. Hereditary provides a lingering and disturbing feeling especially on the climax part. Camera angles were creatively executed. I loved how continuous shots are used from various scenes. Sound Design was great too. Overall, the story was unique though. It is very effective in bringing in some eerie feeling especially on the camera angles and very impressive sound design. There were some disturbing scenes that are truly unique and distinct from the movie. For those who love deep and silent horror, they might find HEREDITARY on their favorite list.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

Honestly, Hereditary is not my cup of tea in terms of the Horror formula. I was utterly disappointed after all the hype and the marketing the movie and critics are doing since its theatrical run. I felt asleep actually at most parts. There were some pretty disturbing and scary scenes but the rest felt like a slow and blank canvass finding its real substance. In as much as I wanted to be creatively impressed with the movie, I find it very lazy in terms of digging in with its interesting plot. There were times that it is predictable too. In as much as I wanted to appreciate it aesthetics in terms of technicalities, I see Hereditary as a failed attempt to make a memorable and haunting silent horror film it is bound to be.

RATINGS:

6/10 Popcorn

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2018

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

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It’s been three years since theme park and luxury resort Jurassic World was destroyed by dinosaurs out of containment. Isla Nublar now sits abandoned by humans while the surviving dinosaurs fend for themselves in the jungles. When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen and Claire mounted a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event. This movie is directed by J.A. Bayona under Universal Pictures.

Casts: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, James Cromwell, Toby Jones, Ted Levine, B.D. Wong, Isabella Sermon & Jeff Goldblum.

Genre: Science-Fiction, Action, Adventure

WHAT I LIKE?

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom gave us a good Jurassic Feels with its high-adrenaline action sequences and very thrilling scenes that is truly a big improvement over Jurassic World. I really like the take on the 2nd installment of this well-loved dino franchise. What I like about Fallen Kingdom is its nostalgic feeling through honoring some of iconic Jurassic Park symbols and even paying respect with an old character – Ian Malcolm. Somehow, it is a complete improvement in terms of execution from start to finish. Plot-wise, it picks up to where Jurassic World left. This time, the story and conflict revolves around a deeper approach and presentation on the cloning, genetics & evolution of these creatures. This got me interested though. Fallen Kingdom is also better in terms of action sequences especially the one with the dinosaurs. In short, there are more dino fights this time. There were a lot of edge-of-the-seats moments that were solidly crafted especially on a very impressive climax scene. Compared with the climax on Jurassic World, Fallen Kingdom just nailed it. Visually, I see a little improvement also. I loved how authentic-looking the dinosaurs are this time. Cinematography is still top-notch and Production Design is impressive as usual. I loved the Island scenes especially on the volcanic eruption sequences. Character-wise, Chris is a little toned down but somehow manages to pull-off the demands of his role. Bryce was a less glamorous too but she was one of who gave a strong performance in the movie. Justine was a refreshing character with his humor and personality. Rafe was a good villain. Overall, Jurassic World is worth your penny.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

Comparing it with the old Jurassic Park movies, you may see a little downgrade in terms of majestic and classic feels despite the rise of high-tech visual editing equipment. I mean, Jurassic World showed that weakness already. Given the evolution of the plot versus its actual timeline reference, I somehow expected everything will be a little different. Also, the Volcanic Eruption scenes could have been a little longer for me. Still, this is a worthy adaptation.

RATINGS:

10/10 Popcorn

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2018

Sid & Aya (Not a Love Story)

SID & AYA

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Sid met Aya, a mysterious woman whom he met after asking to spend time with him as he battles insomnia and those long & empty nights. This movie is directed by Irene Emma Villamor under Viva Films.

Casts: Dingdong Dantes, Anne Curtis, Gabby Eigenmann, Cholo Barreto, Bubbles Paraiso, Josef Elizalde, Pio Balbuena, Gab Lagman, Joey Marquez, Jobelle Salvador & Johnny Revilla.

Genre: Romance, Drama

WHAT I LIKE?

Sid and Aya is indeed not a love story. The movie is a life story. It teaches us to take risk for the persons we love. The movie is pragmatic and straightforward. It gives us a different kind of views in love and in life. It was raw and realistic. The status inequality was laid down well along with the contrast of characters between Sid & Aya. Sid being an established, well-mannered, handsome and arrogant person at the peak of his career. He is a go-getter and very determined in his goals. Aya, a hardworking middle-class woman who is cool, jologs and outgoing person. She is a family-oriented person. I salute how the Director played creatively the contrast of the 2 main characters and made it look seemless as both of them flaw effortlessly on the film’s promise of love and happy endings. Sid and Aya is not your typical sugar-coated love story. With the addition of scenes in the workplace (PH Stocks Market, Laundry & Coffee Shop), these location add to the complexity and differences of the two characters living their own lives and crossing their path somewhere in between. Cinematography is on-point. Color Grading was perfect. The Japan Scenes were beautiful and impressive. The Soundtrack was great too. Everything is so smooth and flawless. Anne and Dingdon were such a joy to watch and I must say, their first time together on screen was a huge success. They were the film’s gem aside from the unconventional plot material. There is something deep and relevant about the ending. Its a thought-provoking and inspiring to say the least. Overall, I highly recommend Sid and Aya to everyone. 

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

How I wish the movie’s running time was longer. I was craving for more Anne and Dingdong’s scenes.

RATINGS:

10/10 Popcorn

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2018

Kasal

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FILM INFO

Kasal is a story about Lia who began questioning her decision to marry an eligible bachelor in Cebu and a Mayoral candidate, Philip, after her ex-boyfriend Wado came back into her life. This movie is directed by Ruel Bayani under Star Cinema.

Casts: Bea Alonzo, Derek Ramsay, Paulo Avelino, Christopher de Leon, Cherie Gil, Vin Abrenica, Kylie Verzosa, Cai Cortez & Victor Silayan.

Genre: Drama, Romance

WHAT I LIKE?

“KASAL” started off on a clean slate exploring the idea of two lovely couples deciding to get married. What is interesting about the plot development is the involvement of Politics in the story that somehow made it dynamic in terms of execution. The plot begins to thicken when Wado came into the picture. From thereon, the story begins to unfold along with its intriguing and controversial hints. Don’t worry – I won’t spoil it here. Kasal is definitely a Star Cinema masterpiece given the fact the Cinematography and sound design is impressive. Moreover, majority of the scenes were shot in Cebu City and a little bit 10% of the characters’ dialogues are in the local tongue. This approach made a little impact to me being a proud “Bisaya”. I loved that they have utilized major tourist spots and economic hubs in Cebu for majority of their scenes. Plot-wise, the build towards the turnaround and climax was spot on. I loved how the first half of the scenes didn’t give any hints before the twist was revealed. What I like about KASAL is the issues being tackled not only about Politics but more of about love, acceptance and respect. Dialogues are heartfelt and are very emotionally-engaging. The movie gave us a new perspective of the kind of love we truly deserve. Not spoiling the twist though – the movie became sensitive to some of the sensible issues nowadays. Acting-wise, I must say that it is worth every cent of your cinema ticket. Bea Alonzo is so beautiful and very sexy in the film. She is just a glowing ray of sunshine on screen not mentioning her ever impressive and award-winning performance. Paulo Avelino was also at his best in the film. Given the demand of his role, his acting was so raw and captivating. Derek Ramsay was also a good lead in the movie. With the presence of some veteran actors such as Christopher de Leon and Cherie Gil, Kasal has already exceeded my expectations in the first place. Kasal is good for mature audiences as it gives an eye-opener about love and respect.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

Some of the Bisaya words in the dialogues are not appropriate but I am glad that they shot this in Cebu City.

RATINGS:

9/10 Popcorn.

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2018

Deadpool 2

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The mercenary Deadpool joins forces with three mutants — Bedlam, Shatterstar and Domino — to protect a boy from the all-powerful Cable. The second installment of Deadpool is directed by David Leitch under 20th Century Fox.

Casts: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand

Genre: Action, Adventure

WHAT I LIKE?

Deadpool 2 is far way better than its predecessor with a top notch higher in terms of action sequences, cinematography and character development. What I like about Deadpool 2 is its big improvement while retaining the same R-16 content & breed of violence and meta gags you come to expect from the Deadpool franchise. The 2nd installment has lots of pop culture references that are truly relatable and entertaining. Its fully loaded with witty and highly-engaging conversations and dynamic sequences garnished with impressive Visual editing and bad-ass sound engineering. Knowing the brand of the Deadpool entertainment, the 2nd movie never failed to impress its audience. This time, there’s a solid X-Men crossover which will truly excite fans out there. Acting chops are impressive especially Ryan Reynolds. His charm and humor is a pure cinematic masterpiece. Other supporting leads were also good. The X-Men crossover feel is such a joy to watch on screen. Deadpool 2 is indeed one of Marvel’s best in a different genre they are trying to fit in. Highly-recommended.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

The movie has R-16 content from violence to offensive languages so this is not suitable for everybody specially for younger audiences.

RATINGS:

10/10 Popcorn.

2018

Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum

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FILM INFO

GONJIAM: HAUNTED ASYLUM follows the crew of a horror web show who plan to stream live from inside the asylum. To attract more viewers, the show’s host arranges some scares for the team, but as they move further into the nightmarish old building, they begin to encounter much more than expected. This is directed by Beom-sik Jeong.
Cast: Seung Wook Lee,  Ye Won Mun, Ji Hyun Park, Sung Hoon Park, Ha Joon Wi, Oh Ah Yeon & Yo Jee-yon
Genre: Found Footage, Horror, Mystery

WHAT I LIKE?

Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum is truly a breakthrough Asian film in terms of the Found Footage Genre. Based on a creepy place in Korea, the movie features an impressive approach on the genre. What I like about Gonjiam is its inclusion of a Live Horror Web Show thing infused with a reality show format. It is somehow good for a found footage material since the video output has variety and clarity is a requirement given the need to document all scenes well. The utilization of drone, go pros and hidden cameras were all utilized well too. Aside from great camera angles, the movie benefited on creepy locations and good lighting effects. Also, the movie is acted by impressive performances from its charming Korean actors and actresses. What is great about Gonjiam is its disturbing and spine-chilling scenes that made me jump-out of my seat for a while. It was brilliantly done. The build up of tension and terror was just right towards a very horrifying climax. They were some scenes that were so hard to forget. Kudos to the staff and crew for pulling off some bad-ass cinematic techniques that will surely scare the shit out of you. The plot may a little bit too familiar but what stood out is the method used by the Director in making this Asian film one of the best in its genre. Highly-recommended for thrill-seekers out there.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

The real deal of the movie might start late but it is worth the wait until that disturbing climax.

RATINGS:

8.5/10 Popcorn

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