2019

Between Maybes

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FILM INFO

Louie Puyat has been living a solitary life in Saga, Japan until has-been actress Hazel Ilagan arrives. They develop a functional relationship where Louie checks on Hazel during her vacation. Amidst the isolation, the two lost souls find comfort in each other. This movie is directed by Jason Paul Laxamana under Black Sheep Productions.

CASTS: Julia Barreto, Gerald Anderson, Yayo Aguila, Christian Vasquez

GENRE: Romance, Drama

WHAT I LIKE?

Between Maybes has a very ordinary plot but what makes it a quality Pinoy Romantic Film is the way they deliver the story-line and the way they gave justice to the beautiful Saga, Japan in the beautiful island of Kyushu. Let me start with the Plot. There is a good move to incorporate the chaotic life of Hazel – a struggling Celebrity who’s fame is about to go down along with family issues and societal pressures in a beautiful and peaceful setting of Saga. It became a contrast on two different worlds wherein Hazel will be able to meet a fellow kababayan Louie who is enjoying his solitude in the peaceful town. What happens next is a series of connection and deep conversations wherein the audience will be brought to the magic of strangers meeting and connecting each other despite differences and status in life. Julia was effective being a strong-willed & spoiled brat celebrity and Gerald has able to maintain the shy-type & timid gentlemen who is fragile & vulnerable. I loved the way the story flows effortlessly from beginning to end. It felt like you are riding on a feather going with the direction of the wind. The story is light and very easy to digest. What I love about Between Maybes is how they were able to crate a good chemistry with the contrasting characteristics of their main leads and were able to translate it on-screen effectively. Also, I must commend Julia & Gerald for bringing the characters into life. I couldn’t think of any celebrities who can portray well the characters of Hazel & Louie. On the other hand, this is Julia’s first ever on-screen kissing scene. The film has the right amount of romance, comedy, drama & bitter-sweet ending. It is realistic as well. The setting in Saga, Japan was the most perfect choice setting of the movie. Glad they went into an underrated location which is actually fit for the demand of the story-line. I am really impressed on how they were able to utilize Saga beautifully. Shots were spot-on. All featured spots were just awesome and breath-taking. I commend the Cinematography for bringing it a notch higher and even comparable with Hollywood. Musical scoring is on-point. I am really proud about this film. My hope for quality Pinoy films is back. For me, this is worth-watching.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

Well, we all different takes on Pinoy Romantic Films. The pairing might be new and the story may not please other audiences who are hungry for a dynamic ROMCOM Formula. Between Maybes is a silent killer.

RATINGS:

10/10 POPCORN

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2019

Kuwaresma

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FILM INFO

Rebecca and Arturo’s daughter Manuela just died and their son, Luis, returns home to pay his last respects. But Manuela’s ghost haunts Luis and when he asks his parents, both are tight-lipped. Rebecca, on the other hand, is also experiencing taunting from her daughter. The search for the truth behind Manuela’s death leads Luis to a psychic named Salve who warns him against returning to the old house. But as Luis perseveres to unlock the mystery of his twin sister’s death, he comes face-to-face with the malevolent history of their house and unravels suppressed memories from his dark past. This is directed by Erik Matti under Reality Entertainment.

CAST: Sharon Cuneta, John Arcilla, Kent Gonzales & Bam Gonzales

GENRE: Horror, Mystery, Drama

WHAT I LIKE?

Kuwaresma is perhaps one of the most unique Pinoy Horror Masterpiece ever made and has surely made its mark on the genre. To be honest, I felt like I was watching an International Horror Movie. Let me go into details and don’t worry, no spoilers ahead. First of all – THE STORY. Story-wise, Kuwaresma is about a family haunted by their daughter Manuela and their dark and twisted past as a family living in an old house. At first, it was predictable. But when the twist came, it was truly the best Twist of any Pinoy Horror Movie. It was on-point, disturbing, twisted and mind-blowing. The attack of the story is pretty creative & conventional. They invested much on classic horror tricks an for me, it was effective. Is it SCARY? Yes, it is and I must say it is spine-chilling & disturbing. If you are in for some screaming lead actors and actresses and a movie with heavily-pounded cheap jump-out scares, then KUWARESMA is not for you. Kuwaresma is film that will send creeps into your spine as they invested on new horror techniques along with brilliantly-executed prosthetic. The disturbing feels settles slowly as the story progresses and as it gets darker. The climax was truly evil to say the least. And the twist, DEYYYYM! Still thinking about it after some time. The movie gave a different kind of fear that is close to reality. A fear that can happen to anyone of us. The Exorcism scene was pretty dope and epic. Though, the best exorcism scene still goes to Aubrey Mile’s SANIB but the scene in Kuwaresma is also memorable. Production-design and set-design is highly-commendable too. Set in 1965 and 1985, the film is consistent and has truly invested in making the scenes apt to the Period. I am really amazed. From the house, way of living, casset tapes down to the outfit. Musical-scoring was really impressive. I loved the Introduction Scene by the way. Choices of Music were really great. Cinematography is also commendable. I loved how Erik Matti played with unconventional camera angles to create fear. The Color Grading was also perfect to attribute to the film’s eerie and dark theme. The real strength of Kuwaresma lies on its actors and actresses. Sharon Cuneta delivered her best on her first ever Horror Film. She was just a shining star effortlessly blending with the great actors in the fil. John Arcilla deserves another Acting Award. He was so damn effective on his role. His Exorcism scene will truly be one in the books for sure. New-comer Kent Gonzales is surprisingly great too. Given the amount of screen time given to him, it felt like he was the lead in the movie. But, he was able to deliver at par with Arcilla & Cuneta. Pam Gonzaes (his sister in real life) was also impressive as the haunting spirit. Overall, Kuwaresma gave a new taste in the Pinoy Horror Genre with brilliant plot and a twist that will linger for a while. It may not be as scream-fest as Sukob and Feng Shui, but Kuwaresma will surely be one of your favorite Pinoy Horror Movies on yout list.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

Erik Matti should master downsizing some unnecessary scenes and angles specially on the Climax Scene. Some parts of the Climax could have been better if it was shortened. Well, for me, it is forgivable.

RATINGS:

8.5/10 POPCORN,

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2019

The Curse of La Llorona

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FILM INFO

Ignoring the eerie warning of a troubled mother suspected of child endangerment, a social worker and her own small kids are soon drawn into a frightening supernatural realm. This is directed by Michael Chaves under New Line Cinema.

CAST: Linda Cardellini, Roman Christou, Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen, Raymond Cruz, Marisol Ramirez, Patricia Velasquez, Sean Patrick Thomas, Tony Amendola & Irene Keng.

GENRE: Horror, Mystery

WHAT I LIKE?

Well, The Curse of La Llorona is acted by great actors with a few jump-out scares for the sake that it is a Horror Film.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

The Curse of La Llorona can easily drown in the numerous Horror Films made in Hollywood lately just because everything is so predictable and overused. Yes, it does have some jump-out scares to begin with it but almost 90% are so predictable. For me, it is a lazy horror movie who put into waste a great folklore in Mexico. If they could have developed a darker approach on La Llorona, they could have pull off the whole thing. The story reveal was pretty lame and lackluster for me. The whole thing is just so shallow to begin with. Yes, it is a curse thing but the background story building up to highlight such point is so weak and poorly-executed. Despite good prosthetic and visual effects, The Curse of La Llorona is forgettable and you may pass this on theaters. Not recommending it especially for die Hard Horror Fans out there.

RATINGS:

4/10 POPCORN

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2019

Avengers: End Game

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FILM INFO

The grave course of events set in motion by Thanos that wiped out half the universe and fractured the Avengers ranks compels the remaining Avengers to take one final stand. The epic conclusion if this worldwide saga is directed by Anthony & Joe Russo under Marvel Studios.

CAST: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Brie Larson, Paul Rudd, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Bradley Copper, Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Benedict Wong, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Hiddleston & Samuel L. Jackson.

GENRE: Action, Adventure

WHAT I LIKE?

Everything you waited after 22 films of the Marvel Universe has come to the most memorable cinematic masterpiece ever made. Avengers: End Game concluded the worldwide phenomenon with a big bang. Though fans expected how the End Game will turn out, it just magical and surreal to see the film on theaters despite spoilers and leaked videos. As a true Marvel Fan, you can never deny the fact that the movie has become a part of your life through the years. With this epic conclusion, you are ready for quite an emotional ride and End Game really brought their best foot forward. What I like about End Game is how the Director played with Intimate Conversations & Flashbacks to prepare for what lies ahead the lives of our beloved Superheroes. I haven’t read the comics so my review will purely rely on the movies alone. Others may find the first part to be boring and lazy but for me, those parts are the best. The movie showed the vulnerability of the superheros thus making them relatable to their audience and established a stronger and deeper connection to these characters we all loved from the beginning. This part was necessary. In all fairness, the Marvel Universe has given to-notch action sequences that is worth every price of your admission ticket. Also, how I loved the fact that End Game gave a fairly good amount of screen time and focus with Black Widow & Hawkeye who are actually the pure humans in the original Avengers. I know Spoilers have already died down as of writing but watching Avengers: End Game on the big screen is really the best thing to give back to this amazing cinematic masterpiece ever created. After all the melodramatic sequences on the first part, nothing will prepare you from the epic battle and climax that will surely be one in the books for MCU Fans out there. I was literally screaming and crying while watching the end part. Well, I must say that Avengers: End Game delivered its promise to end the saga with a big bang.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

Well, Thor has no abs in this film. That’s definitely a SPOILER LOL!

RATINGS:

10/10 POPCORN

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2019

Maria (2019)

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FILM INFO

FILM INFO

When a former Black Rose cartel assassin deliberately betrays them by refusing to complete her mission, the cartel orders her execution. Unknown to them, she fakes her own death and is able to create a new life of her own. When the cartel discovers she is alive, the hunter becomes the hunted as she fights to get revenge on those who took her new life away from her. This movie is directed by Pedring Lopez under Viva Films.

CAST: Cristine Reyes, Germaine De Leon, Adrea del Rosario, Ronnie Lazaro, Johnny Revilla, Cindy Miranda, Freddie Webb, Guji Lorenzana, Jennifer Lee & KC Montero.

GENRE: Action, Thriller

WHAT I LIKE?

Maria is truly one of the breakthrough Action Films after Buybust. I really admire the effort and the creativity poured in making this film. What I like about Maria is the fact that it was consistent with its R-16 content. Violent. Brutal. Gory. Anything you expect from its plot full of killings & betrayal is laid down very well. True to its premise, Maria is a complete bloodbath showcasing impressive and well-executed man-to-man fight scenes and some pretty amazing stunts & Cinematography. Well, I really adore the fight scenes between Cristine & Jennifer & Ivan & Cristine. These scenes are truly one of the film’s strengths. Aside from solid stunts & fight scenes, the plot of the movie is also relatable as it tackled drug syndicates and assassins in the Philippine setting. The Sequences were presented well and the Conflict of the whole story was justified from beginning to end. What I like about Maria is the fact that the whole film really invested on Production Design & Action Sequences. I didn’t see any cringe-worthy scenes at all. Well, the drama of loss was injected well to fire up Maria’s revenge plot. I must say, I admire Cristine Reyes for this role. She was born for this. She was a perfect fit. I couldn’t think of anyone who could portray MARIA other than her. Her action scenes were natural and were executed seamlessly.  Ivan Padilla & KC Montero were effective villains. Oh! I must say that their English Conversations were just so lovely to watch on screen. At some point, I can imagine watching a Hollywood movie. Their actions scenes were also great. Freddie Webb was also good on his portrayal as the Master Villain even with the absence of action scenes from him. Overall, MARIA is something we could truly be proud of. How I wish many more audience could watch this movie. Wait, its R-16 by the way.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

It may be a little bit similar to other Hollywood Movies with the Revenge plot formula but I must say that MARIA was able to put a Pinoy taste as a whole. The whole movie is graphically-disturbing thus the R-16 Rating.

RATINGS:

10/10 POPCORN

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2019

Eerie (2019)

EERIE

FILM INFO

The unexpected and gruesome death of a student threatens the existence of an old Catholic school for girls. Pat Consolacion, the school guidance counselor, involves herself with the students in the hopes of helping them cope, and at the same time uncover the mysteries of the student’s death. Most students suspect of the strict and borderline abusive Mother Alice, who also threatened Pat’s tenure in the school because of her continuous meddling with the case. But Pat’s unusual talents lead her to knowing Eri, a former student who’s been watching the whole school for years. Piece by piece, Pat uncovers the secret of the school and the monster that it nurtured for the past century. This movie is directed by Mikhail Red under Star Cinema.

CAST: Bea Alonzo, Charo Santos-Concio, Maxene Magalona, Jake Cuenca, Mary Joy Apostol, Nafa Cruz, Gabby Padilla & Gillian Vicencio.

GENRE: Mystery, Horror

WHAT I LIKE?

Eerie is another milestone in the Pinoy Horror Genre in terms of quality. Star Cinema didn’t disappoint again, Overall, Eerie is a refreshing flick in the Pinoy Horror Genre. What I like about Eerie is the consistency of its Cinematography. From the color grading down to the camera angles, the whole film is downright creepy, dark & gloomy. The feels complimented well with the 1995 setting and the production & set elements were consistent too. The location is superb. The school really looks scary and the atmosphere is heavy and haunting to say the least. Musical Scoring is really one of the film’s strengths too. As a Horror Film, Eerie was effective in bringing solid jump-out scares & thrilling moments. Some of the dark scenes were utilized well and there were some unique scares introduced in the film. Prosthetics was on-point and there were no obvious CGI or special effects used making the whole film even scarier.  Plot-wise, it was direct and the plot slowly unfolds as the story progresses. Bea Alonzo nailed her role. She was just pure joy to watch. On her first ever role in a Horror Film, she was at her best. Charo Santos was also good in the film. She was also effective as a scary and strict nun. Overall, Eerie is a fun-flick to watch if you are in for some scream-fest. Truly, proud to be Filipino-made.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

Eerie may be effective as a creepy Horror Film but how I wished they could have invested more on the Plot Twist and some elements of the story line as a whole.  The twist was a little half-baked for me. I expected it to be darker and more evil. The reason why I wanted it to go further is because the elements and cinematography are really great a& impressive already. For these kind of movies, I expected more evil. Also, I have some problems with some of the character developments. Charo Santos’ role was not developed well especially on the reveal. I really expected her vital role in the film’s premise but for me, her role went into a downhill after her confrontation with Bea in her bedroom. As an investigator, I find Jake’s role to be useless in the film. His screen time was not enough for his role to be justified. Other than that, I find some of the student’s personality to be vague. At some point, I can’t identify if who is Clara or Erika or Joyce. LOL. Also, I see some similarities on some of the scare techniques used since it is patterned with the Hollywood Horror Formula. Nevertheless, Eerie is a must watch for Horror-lovers. Just watch it with your own risk.

RATINGS:

8/10 POPCORN

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2019

Us

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FILM INFO

Haunted by an unexplained and unresolved trauma from her past and compounded by a string of eerie coincidences, Adelaide feels her paranoia elevate to high-alert as she grows increasingly certain that something bad is going to befall her family. After spending a tense beach day with their friends, the Tylers, Adelaide and her family return to their vacation home. When darkness falls, the Wilsons discover the silhouette of four figures holding hands as they stand in the driveway. This movie is directed by Jordan Peele under Universal Pictures.

CASTS: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Anna Diop, Evan Alex, Madisson Curry, Cali Sheldon & Noelle Sheldon.

GENRE: Mystery, Thriller

WHAT I LIKE?

Jordan Peele is on the roll again. After the success of “Get Out”, here comes another brilliant masterpiece that is changing the thriller Genre with Us. What I like about Us is how the weird and scary stuff blended very well. For me, this is one of the best thrillers in Hollywood offering a visually-compelling Cinematography and a very disturbing and creative storyline. I have never imagined that Horror can be pushed in these limits. I am literally at the edge of my seat most of the time. The creepiness of the film is going down my spine. The film was effective to bring that kind of fear that lingers for a while. The concept is entirely unique and has a strong foundation that is gearing towards old-fashioned horror and thriller films. This R-16 film is a complete blood-bath too. Violence is dominant. What I even adore about the movie “Us” is its comedy that is staged well on vital scenes. For me, this is a refreshing take on the genre. The twist is also brilliant. You have to watch “Us”. PERIOD!

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

What I don’t like is the influence of the movie for me to watch it again. GAAAH!

RATINGS:

10/10

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