2018

FANTASTICA (MMFF 2018)

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FILM INFO

Fantastica is a story of proprietor of a struggling carnival must help a prince from another land find three lost princesses. This movie is directed by Barry Gonzales under Viva Films & Star Cinema.

CAST: Vice Ganda, Dingdong Dantes, Richard Gutierrez, Jaclyn Jose, Ryan Bang, Bella Padilla, Maymay Entrata, Edward Barbers, Ronnie Alonte, Loisa Andalio, Kisses Delavin, Donny Pangilinan, Chokoleit, Johnny Revilla, MC Muah, Lassy Marquez, Juliana Parizcova & Angelika Mapanganib.

GENRE: Comedy, Adventure

WHAT I LIKE?

With so many controversies surrounding the 2018 Metro Manila Film Festival, I am making Fantastica an exception in terms of Quality. What can we expect? With Commercialism for every year of MMFF, it all boils down to revenue. Adding any Vice Ganda Movie would mean millions of returns in the box office. Fantastica has effectively lived up to its purpose to provide cheap laughs and accessible entertainment to its viewers. Watching it after a disappointing “AURORA” was such a good relief actually. Fantastica is as shallow as expected but for me, it was refreshing Vice Ganda Movie with a heart. With Perya/Carnival as the main setting, the movie is really in for some fun ride from beginning to end. What I like about Fantastica is how it set the movie’s conflict & struggles through family. What comes after is pure entertainment and gags that are overall effective in its merits. The Carnival Concept was staged well. For me, the fun is always there. With pop culture references along with staging some memorable Star Cinema Films, Fantastica is downright funny & entertaining. The Magical Concept of the World of Fantastica was also pretty cool. The Location is really impressive. After all the laughs the movie is offering, Fantastica is a heartwarming story about Family & Love. I see so many heartwarming scenes on this film. Aside from that, Vice Ganda never failed to bring an epic performance as usual. The love triangle between Dingdong & Richard was such a refreshing site to see. Lassy & MC was again a good support to Vice. Jacklyn Jose’s role was truly one of the film’s strength. Bella Padilla was a good villain too. Not minding the quality of the film we are all aspiring, Fantastica was a good escape from other disappointing MMFF 2018 entries.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

Fantastica may have a good location bit Visuals could have been improved. How I wish movies like this could spend on Production Design considering that Vice Ganda Films always rake the box office returns. Aside from that, Love teams present on the film was not utilized well. How I wish they have given worthy screen time and even a worthy plot support on the film’s premise. It felt like there were just pure accessories and glitters on the movie.

RATINGS:

8/10 POPCORN

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2018

AURORA (MMFF 2018)

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FILM INFO

The passenger ship Aurora mysteriously collides into the rocky sea threatening an entire island. A young woman and her sister must both survive by finding the missing dead for a bounty. Aurora is produced by Viva Films & Aliud Entertainment and directed by Yam Laranas.

CAST: Anne Curtis, Alan Paule, Mercedes Cabral, Marco Gumabao, Andrea del Rosario & Phoebe Villamor.

GENRE: Thriller, Mystery

WHAT I LIKE?

Aurora is definitely a breakthrough in the Filipino Film Industry in terms of Editing, Cinematography and Production Design. So far, this is the film to beat in terms of the following cinematic elements. Set in the majestic and mystic island of Batanes, Aurora was able to utilize the beauty and gloominess of the island into something that is creepy, strange and very dark for the movie’s atmosphere and feels. Production-design wise, I must commend Aurora for staging that old Seaside Inn on the seashore plus the realistic and impressive mounting of the giant ship in the water. The interior shots of the old seaside Inn was creepy as hell. The corridors and the atmosphere of the Inn added much on the demand and genre of the movie. Camera angles were brilliantly utilized especially the drone shots of the waves, the giant ship and the panoramic view of Batanes. The underwater shots were staged beautifully too. I am just glad to see an upgraded Production with Aurora. Acting-wise, Aurora provided some impressive performances from Anne Curtis, Alan Paule, Phoebe Villamor (child actress) & Marco Gumabao. Anne Curtis is already a revelation in Buy Bust but she gave an entirely different performance from Aurora. As a whole, Aurora brought decent chill from the spine moments that may pleased certain audiences and fans of the genre.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

Aurora may have the impressive Technical & Visual Aspects but for me, but the movie is a lost sheep trying to find its shepherd in a barren land. In as much as I wanted to praise the movie for being a breakthrough film, Aurora lacked the cohesiveness of its plot starting from the conflict setting going towards a lackluster climax. The movie has set the mood right. It is creepy, dark & gloomy as hell but the film invested much on unnecessary sequences that did not add up to the resolution of the movie. There were a lot of scenes that has no impact with the movie’s turnaround. I admit these scenes were made to send some chill-from-the-spine moments but it somehow failed knowing that it doesn’t add any impact at all. The twist was good however the development of the twist stopped right there. What happens next are failed premonitions and some weird stuff going on. From there, the movie went into a downhill. For me, Aurora was a big disappointment.

RATINGS:

6.5/10 POPCORN

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2018

Aquaman (2018)

FILM INFO

Aquaman  is a story of half-human, half-Atlantean, Arthur Curry on the journey of his lifetime–one that will not only force him to face who he really is, but to discover if he is worthy of who he was born to be. This DC Movie is directed by James Wan under Warner Bros. Pictures. 

CASTS: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Ludi Lin, Temuera Morrison.

GENRE: Action, Adventure, Science-Fiction

WHAT I LIKE?

After the success of Wonder Woman, Aquaman is another redeeming film for the DC Universe. What I like about Aquaman is its overall consistency considering that he is a superhero who spent most of his time underwater. Aside from its consistency, Aquaman lived up to its main plot material offering some impressive cinematic visuals & production design. As expected, the whole movie is full of CGI which is for me expected with the whole concept of this superhero film. Aside from its highly-entertaining action sequences, the film draws its strength from an effective narration down to impressive performances from Momoa, Kidman & Heard. Jason Momoap was born for the role. I couldn’t think for anyone in Hollywood who could play best for this role. For me, everything you need to expect from a superhero movie is here with Aquaman. With enough action, heartwarming scenes, this movie offers a decent popcorn entertainment. I really love the visuals of Atlantis and other kingdoms. The action sequences are very engaging too. The final battle was truly a remarkable visual feast. After all the disappointments of Fans from the recent DC Films, I hope they could give chance to Aquaman as much chance they gave for Wonderwoman.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

I hope they could improve more especially on the CGI Effects but generally, Aquaman is an impressive masterpiece.

RATINGS:

10/10 Popcorns

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2018

Overlord

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FILM INFO

A team of American paratroopers drop into Nazi-occupied France to carry out a mission that’s crucial to the invasion’s success. Tasked with destroying a radio transmitter atop a fortified church, the desperate soldiers join forces with a young French villager to penetrate the walls and take down the tower. But, in a mysterious Nazi lab beneath the church, the outnumbered G.I.s come face-to-face with enemies unlike any the world has ever seen. This is movie is directed Julius Avery under Paramount Pictures.

CASTS: Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, Pilou Asbaek, John Magaro, Iain De  Caestecker, Bokeem Woodbine, Jacob Anderson, Dominic Applewhite

GENRE: Horror, Suspense, Action

WHAT I LIKE?

Overlord is an interesting and effective mix of war violence and some pretty disturbing and horrifying zombie scares. Finally, the Zombie Genre has been reinvented with subplots that are actually quite a good move for you to get entertained and glued from beginning to end. Overlord plays on the American VS German War backdrop. Basically, the plot material is strongly gearing towards a war film. What I love about Overlord is its  creative approach in inserting the zombie formula through the laboratory of the German troops. The first part was perfectly executed for me. The movie directly started off the American soldiers on board their plane as they reach the German soil. The action sequences and the thrills of explosions & the continous shot of the main character falling from the plane was pretty cool and visually-engaging. The horror of the surviving troops began when they went over their mission to take over the control tower. The movie picked up some war moments most of the time as the entire zombie thing is some sort of a disturbing twist. The fun and thrilling part of the movie is when they discovered the dark secret of the place. Despite having a modest amount of zombie formula, Overlord never fails to entertain its audience with enough gore and terrifying sequences that scared the shit out of me. There were a decent jumpout scares in the movie. I am quite impressed with the prosthetics and production design. Cinematography was superb and the whole war setting was great. For me, it is one of those enjoyable war-inspired thrillers and a good addition to the zombie genre.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

For me, I expected less with Overlord so I think I came out the cinema very satisfied.

RATINGS:

10/10 Popcorn.

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2018

Halloween (2018)

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FILM INFO

Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago. This is directed by David Gordon Green under Universal Pictures.

CASTS: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Nick Castle, Virginia Gardner, Miles Robbins & Will Patton.

GENRE: Suspense, Thriller

WHAT I LIKE?

HALLOWEEN finally started off a clean slate on this 2018 revamp. What I like about this new installment is its tribute and reference to the first and classic Halloween 1978 Movie. Aside from that, John Carpenter’s epic musical scoring is back and is giving me that throwback and eerie feels. Halloween picked off its story after 40 years of Laurie Strode and the bloody past she had with Michael. The story development was good and was just right. Overall, its fast-paced and direct. The opening scene was disturbing & haunting. It lingered on me for a while. As a slasher movie, Halloween 2018 is satisfying & gruesome. With an impressive number of body count and some terrifying kills, the movie really gave justice for the whole franchise. With the perfect musical scoring and some good mix of the epic theme song, it made some scenes very memorable. The movie also has some interesting characters. Headlined by Jamie Lee Curtis, the whole cast was impressive. I also love Judy Greer on this film. Halloween is still one of the undisputed mainstream Hollywood slasher films that truly redefined the genre. For me, I am impressed.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

Halloween could have been a lot scarier as it should be but for me, its forgivable.

RATINGS:

9/10 Popcorn

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2018

Johnny English Strikes Again

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FILM INFO

When a cyber-attack reveals the identity of all active undercover agents in Britain, the country’s only hope is called out of retirement. English’s new mission is his most critical to date. English must overcome the challenges of modern technology-or his newest mission will become the Secret Service’s last. This movie is directed by David Kerr under Universal Pictures.

CASTS: Rowan Atkinson, Olga Kurylenko, Ben Miller, Jake Lacy, Emma Thompson, Adam James, Ben Miller, David Mumeni, Miranda Hennessy & Samanthan Russell.

GENRE: Action, Adventure

WHAT I LIKE?

Johnny English Strikes Again brings some short-lived Popcorn entertainment that could please some audiences depending on their hunger for Spy-inspired entertainment.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

With a few laughs along the way, I am still disappointed with the turn out of Johnny English Strikes Again. The beautiful backdrop of London was under-utilized. They could have maximized the place with decent and edge-of-the-seats. I craved for more variety and more intensity. It was poorly-done for me. How I wish they could have invested more on a solid plot and some pretty cool action sequences. Overall, the movie is underwhelming. Character Development was poor too. You can pass this on cinemas though.

RATINGS:

4/10 Popcorn

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2018

A Star is Born

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FILM INFO

A Star is Born follows a love story of a seasoned musician Jackson, who falls in love with struggling artist Ally. As Ally’s career takes off, the personal side of their relationship is breaking down and Jack fights ongoing battle with his inner demons. This movie is directed by Bradley Cooper under Warner Bros. Pictures.

CASTS: Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott, Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chappelle, Rafi Gavron, Anthony Ramos, Alec Baldwin, Marlon Williams, Barndi Carlile, Ron Rifkin, Michael Roberts, Michael Harney & Rebecca Field.

GENRE: DRAMA

WHAT I LIKE?

By now, you have been spoiled with A Star is Born’s Plot considering that this is a remake of a tragic love story before. Well, I can’t compare it with the previous movie so I will review it on the current film alone. I actually liked A Star is Born for having the right blend of Romantic Drama accompanied by music. A Star is Born provides a decent amount of drama & artistry along with strong chemistry from Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper. The movie portrayed very well a romantic story strengthened by the love of music and a story of achieving your dreams and having compromises for the persons you loved. It is an inspiring piece told in a modern way. A Star is Born features the glits and glamour of the spotlight along with the consequences of fame. Music-wise, the movie captivated me already. I really love all their music numbers and their live performances. Plus points too because both of them are performers in real life. The movie will also give a terrifying glimpse on the inner demons some of us are facing. Along with real-life references of drug, alcohol, sex and fame, A Star is Born showcases the ups and downs of Showbiz. The conflict material is just right after all the supporting scenes are laid down. The Climax was done with a little hanging formula but it was still affecting for me. Camera angles were quite different but I find artistic as a whole. Acting-wise, Lady Gaga’s performances was outstanding & impressive. I couldn’t think of anyone in Hollywood that would fit Ally’s role other than her. Bradley Cooper was both a great actor and a good director for me. He nailed his role and he was natural at most scenes of the film. What I loved about A Star is Born is its story-telling approach of staying away on too much melodramatic approach and invested on creative music collaborations & emotionally-engaging sequences.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

The approach on its story-telling may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But for me, A Star is Born is an affecting and inspiring love story.

RATINGS:

8.5/10 Popcorn.

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