2019

John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum

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FILM INFO

Super-assassin John Wick returns with a $14 million price tag on his head and an army of bounty-hunting killers on his trail. After killing a member of the shadowy international assassin’s guild, the High Table, John Wick is ex-communicado, but the world’s most ruthless hit men and women await his every turn. The 3rd Installment of the John Wick Series is directed by Chad Stahelski under Lionsgate Films.

CASTS: Keanu Reeves, Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Asia Kate Dillon, Lance Reddick, Ian McShane, Jerome Flynn, Tobias Segal & Anjelica Huston.

GENRE: Action

Check out my previous Review for Chapter 2: John Wick: Chapter 2

WHAT I LIKE?

John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum never disappoints to be a worthy and even better installment than its predecessors of this action-fueled franchise about the super assassin, John Wick. I really couldn’t imagine that it could even get better for the 3rd time around. What I like about John Wick 3 is still the consistent formula the audiences craved – PURE VIOLENCE, GORE & CRUELTY. John Wick’s brand of film goes beyond violence as it became a masterpiece and a breakthrough Hollywood film that could survive with pure man-to-man action sequences from beginning to end without those cringe-worthy moments and editing. I am really impressed on how they were able to sustain brilliantly-executed fight scenes even without musical scoring in the background. There were times that all we hear are punches, heaving breathing, splash of blood and the raw sounds of real fighting scenes. Story-wise, the 3rd Chapter was able to pick up the pieces from John Wick’s miserable journey under the radar of the High Tables after his betrayal. Fight Scenes are still commendable and I love how some of the chasing scenes were done too. Keanu Reeves still got this. He was just pure joy to watch on-screen. Cinematography was superb. Musical Scoring is also good. Visual Editing is as raw as the fight scenes. This movie is bot suitable for 16 years and below. For me, this the best in the FRANCHISE.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

This might be the best in the FRANCHISE but somehow all the fight scenes are too cliche already. There is a certain boredom on pure action scenes considering its their 3rd installment. For the record, I fell asleep during the Climax.

RATINGS:

7.5/10 POPCORN

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2019

Aladdin (2019)

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FILM INFO

A street rat frees a genie from a lamp, granting all of his wishes and transforming himself into a charming prince in order to marry a beautiful princess. But soon, an evil sorcerer becomes hell-bent on securing the lamp for his own sinister purposes. The first ever Live Adaptation of Aladdin is directed by Guy Ritchie under Disney Movies.

CAST: Will Smith, Naomi Scott, Mena Massoud, Marwan Kenzari, Billy Magnussen, Nasim Pedrad, Numan Acar & Navid Negahban

GENRE: Fantasy, Adventure

WHAT I LIKE?

Everything about the first ever Live Adaptation of this well-loved Classic Animation is PERFECT & MAGICAL. Aladdin is basically the love story we all admire during my younger years. It was the Fantasy of my childhood years. And yes, the live adaptation gave justice to this classic masterpiece. What I like about Aladdin is their brave move to cast a not-so-mainstream actors and actresses aside from Will Smith. Aside from that, the live adaptation captured the original content while reinventing a modern approach and minor touches with some details you loved even before. First thing, Special Effects are highly-impressive. I am really amazed on how they visualized the Kingdom where Aladdin and Jasmine lives. Also, the Magic Carpet Ride was brilliantly-done along with Abu (the joyful monkey) and of course, the Genie. The Production Number of Genie during their first meet-up of Aladdin is the movie’s most perfect and highly-entertaining part. It was a visual spectacle and it will truly be one of the books for this 2019 adaptation. The Props, Costumes & Setting were on-point and impressive. I really like the Bollywood-inspired numbers. For the Musical Part, this was also one of the movie’s strengths. It was executed well and it was very engaging & visually-compelling. Jasmine’s Speechless Song was the highlight. Acting-wise, I am pretty satisfied. Mena as Aladdin was the perfect choice. His physical appearance and impressing acting & charm really made him deserving for this role. On the other hand, Jasmine was great and epic. She was the cream and the crop of the whole movie. Her singing parts were great too. Her beauty and charm really made her worthy of the role as Jasmine. The Villain (Jafar) was also a good choice. What I loved the most is Will Smith portraying Genie. He actually proved all the doubts on him on the early announcement of the adaptation. He was entertaining and he was almost perfect for his role as Genie. Parents need not to worry for this movie too since its rated G – General Patronage. Overall as an Aladdin Fan, I am pleased and satisfied. I am so excited for the follow-up movie. I hope they would release it sooner.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

C’mon! Everything about the movie is either nostalgic or perfect.

RATINGS:

10/10 POPCORN

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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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