2017

Dear Other Self is a movie for Millenials. Its light, relatable and very realistic.

 

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Dear Other Self is a story about a woman Becky who takes on a journey that will help her find herself, in the hopes of achieving genuine happiness. She is currently at the crossroads of her life whether to choose responsibility or adventure. This movie is directed by Veronica Velasco under Star Cinema.

Casts: Jodi Sta. Maria, Xian Lim, Joseph Marco, Carla Martinez, Bodjie Pascual, Paul Salas, Elaine Ochoa

Genre: Drama, Comedy, Romance

WHAT I LIKE?

The movie is very light-hearted and relatable in a sense that the material is also timely especially for Millennials out there. Dear Other Self is focuses on life-changing decisions in terms of career, responsibilities and the love for travel. What I like about the film is that the whole premise is actually an eye-opener for all Millennials who are confused on pursuing their careers and love for travel. Moreover, Dear Other Self will open your eyes to various factors to consider such as family and responsibility that are indeed vital to consider when making these kind of decisions in life. The strength of this movie is its foundation of strong family ties. I loved how the director gave value to Family which is really a fact especially for us Filipinos. Loved the inclusions of many scenes on the dining table. Those scenes were properly executed in a way that the characters can be able to fortify the film’s storyline especially when making decisions. The film’s strength also lies on its creative cinematography. I like how the director presented Two different options on all scenes. Its like 2 movies at the same time with different consequences. Truly, the movie has lived up to its title. Somehow, this is effective in showing the other side of the coin and raise questions to audience about their ”what ifs” in life. The setting was also great. I like how they utilized Thailand well in the movie. Shots in Thailand were great and superbly executed. Jodi Sta. Maria was impressive in the film too. I loved the consistency she has done in portraying two different perspective of herself. She is lovable in the film. Joseph Marco was also a goof compliment with Jodi. Compared with Xian Lim, I see a stronger chemistry with him and Jodi. Xian Lim on the other hand was also good though I prefer Joseph Marco here. Generally, the movie will give you a decent amount of comedy, romance, family drama and a tidbits of travel as well. Still, worth-watching.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

In as much as I like the whole premise, but I still believe that it could have been better if they have done shots with more places other than Thailand. The movie is all about life-changing decisions on travel so it is just right to show variety of places in the world as well to show justice of the decision made by Becky in the film. That lack of variety made the film a little bit isolated too. On the part of character build up, I find it less with Xian Lim on this film. For the romantic build up, I loved the Joseph-Jodi tandem but build up was too fast and very unclear too. Regardless of this somehow forgivable flaws, Dear Other Self is indeed a Star Cinema masterpiece worth-watching.

RATINGS:

7.5/10 Popcorns.

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2017

Generally better than Prometheus but Alien Covenant was a bit lost.

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Members of the colony ship Covenant discovered an chartered paradise. The mysterious world soon turns dark and dangerous when a hostile alien life-form forces the crew into a deadly fight for survival. This movie is directed by Ridley Scott under 20th Century Fox.

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Demian Bichir, Danny McBride, Jussie Smollett, Amy Seimetz, Carmen Ejogo & Callie Hernandez.

Genre: Action-Adventure, Science-Fiction, Mystery

Here are some alien-inspired movies as well: Riveting. Thrilling. Superbly-acted. LIFE gave all other films of the genre a run for their money. / Arrival redefined Sci-fi with mind-blowing, imaginative & subtle formula.

WHAT I LIKE?

Alien Covenant is perhaps one of the visually-entertaining franchise of Ridley Scott in the Alien universe. The movie is a sequel of Prometheus, the latest movie in the universe. If you haven’t seen Prometheus, you might have a problem catching up with the story since much of it has a direct reference to its predecessor. The story started of course in a space setting. I really like the editing and production design. The ship is by far the best in the Alien universe. Also, the idea of the ship carrying colonizers for a new planet for human beings make the premise of the whole movie interesting too. Its like a human civilization from another planet kind of thing. This time, it has a larger crew in the ship. Generally, the plot would be easier to follow if you have background from the latest Alien movie of Scott. I really like the scenes in the unchartered planet too. Loved the setting. Its very eerie, dark and very isolated too. Cinematography is great too. Suspense is presented on chunks but are all spot on. Death scenese are gory and shocking too. Given that the crew is in large number, scenes are executed fast leaving you at the edge-of-your-seat during these moments. Also, much emotional attachments were established with the whole cast giving audience an affecting attention to the characters as they die.  The first half of the movie is packed with suspense-filled scenes and the second half will try to answer some of your questions about the plot. For the record, this is by far the most disturbing Alien movie in terms of death scenes. Blood, body organs and broken bones are everywhere. The Aliens featured were scary as hell too. The ending will leave you with such questions too though I loved the suspense and tension as it builds towards that shocking and confusing twist too. As a whole, if you are a fan of Ridley Scott’s Alien movies, you will surely love Alien Covenant.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

Alien Covenant was a bit lost for me. This was better as a straight horror-suspense movie just like the previous Alien Movies. For me, it did not answer some of the major questions raised in Promotheus. The plot of Alien Covenant will either confuse you or bore you specially if you haven’t seen the past movies in the universe. Also the movie is cluttered with many characters. Despite a good tension of horror on their deaths, I find them as dangling modifiers covering the loop hole of the movie – the premise itself. Its a bit formulaic and very familiar too. Generally, its still a great film. I still it enjoyed though I have so many questions on the twist. But of course, I won’t spoil it.

RATINGS:

7/10 Popcorns.

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2017

Gifted is a heartwarming & subtle tearjerker movie that is generally predictable but forgivable too.

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Frank is a single man raising his young niece Mary, who has very exceptional abilities, in Florida. Frank’s plans for a life for Mary are bound to end when Mary’s mathematical abilities came to the attention of Frank’s mother, Evelyn.  Evelyn wanted to provide special education and attention to Mary and she will do anything to prove to the court that the environment Frank is giving is not fit for the child. GIFTED is directed by Marc Webb under Fox Search Light Pictures.

Casts: Chris Evans, McKenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan, Octavia Spencer & Jenny Slate

Genre: Drama (PG 13)

Previous Movies of Chris Evans: The Avengers: Age of UltronCaptain America: Civil War

WHAT I LIKE?

GIFTED is a light-hearted piece that offered something new on the table. I really like the fresh approach on children with special abilities and exceptional knowledge. Also, the movie showed interesting scenes in dealing with these kind of special abilities. It went away with sentimental formula and created a good balance out heartwarming and easy-to-digest scenes. Generally, the film is a feel-good movie. The back story was presented very well and the plot has that little pinch of emotional and comedy at the same time. McKenna Grace is the highlight of the movie. She is just impressive and the role really is made for her. They have a good chemistry with Chris Evans. Their tandem added to the movie’s charm that is why the movie is bearable to watch despite its silent formula. I also admire their dramatic scenes together. Cried for some scenes too. Octavia Spencer is a good compliment too. The whole cast were good. Conversations are easy to grasp with and I loved how they put emphasis on the LOVE OF MATHEMATICS. Nothing extraordinary  though about how they presented in the movie the child’s special abilities. Everything is laid out pretty well.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

The story is not demanding of a hardcore drama and a very affecting turn-out. Expect it to be predictable but I think the attack on the story is just right though some audience will be bored on the 2nd half of the film. Worth-watching ONCE only.

RATINGS:

7.5/10 Popcorns.

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2017

A great premise put into waste. The Circle is one of this year’s biggest disappointments.

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This digital thriller is about Mae finding her lifetime opportunity  to work in the most powerful tech and social media company, The Circle. As she gains recognition in the company, she is encouraged by the company’s founder, Eamon, to engage in a ground breaking experiment that pushes the boundaries of her privacy, freedom and even values. This movie is written and directed by James Ponsoldt under Europa Corp/STX Films.

Casts: Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Karen Gillan, Patton Oswalt, Glenne Headly, Bill Paxton & Ellar Coltrane.

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Suspense (PG-13)

Past Movies of Tom Hanks: Sully

Past Movies of Emma Watson: Beauty and the Beast is faithful to its classic origins. One of Disney’s finest masterpiece so far.

WHAT I LIKE?

The Circle is actually a very interesting movie about technology specifically social media. The whole premise is generally relatable since almost all of us use this in our everyday life. Moreover, The Circle is all about the current generation too. The first part of the movie has set the mood well in terms of providing background with the life of Mae and her journey in The Circle on the middle part. The first half maintained my interest and curiosity especially during the scenes when Mae is employed already in The Circle. I loved how the movie introduced breakthrough technology such as cameras and social media in accessing information and videos from people and places all over the globe. The scenes inside The Circle was my most favorite part of the film. Emma Watson and Tom Hanks were also impressive in their roles. Emma was at her natural state. Tom Hanks was still classic. The film will also show you the importance of privacy especially when dealing with the digital world. As a whole, the film is good despite its flaws will be mentioned after this article.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

The second half of the film is the major downfall of The Circle. When it landed on the middle part, everything was out of bounds. The momentum was not sustained with very confusing story-telling technique and lack of emphasis on the danger of technology that is essential in contributing to the suspense and mystery factor the movie must deliver. Moreover, the supporting scenes towards the Climax were weak and very uninteresting. It did not supported well the degree of resolution Mae must have in order to fully justify the twist of The Circle. Somehow, the whole plot was not utilized well on its full potential. It could have been mind-blowing given the right blend of script and direction. The film could have explored more on its very wonderful premise. Nevertheless, it was still a good film but not worth-recommending.

RATINGS:

6/10 Popcorns.

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2017 · Pinoy Indie

A breakthrough film in the Psychological thriller genre- Bliss proved to be the film to beat in terms of creative execution & an effective take on a risky plot.

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BLISS is a story about an actress named Jane Ciego who entered showbiz at a young age. Jane, now in her 30s, has become tired of the usual projects she’s been getting. She decides to produce her own film to win some respect in the industry. A terrible accident on the set of her dream project leaves her temporarily crippled, trapped in a house filled with bizarre phenomena and under the care of her unfeeling husband and a strange nurse. With the horrors and madness escalating each day, Jane’s simple dream becomes an endless nightmare. This movie is directed by Jerrold Tarog, the director who gave you Heneral Luna under TBA and Artikulo Uno Productions.

Cast: Iza Calzado, TJ Trinidad, Ian Veneracion, Adrienne Vergara, Michael de Mesa, Shamaine Buencamino, Audie Gemora, Stephanie Sol & Star Orjaloza

Genre: Psychological Thriller, Drama (R18)

WHAT I LIKE?

Bliss is for me a breakthrough film in the field of Psychological thriller. Perhaps, this is the first ever full-length movie and the most consistent masterpiece in the genre that was able to fully show a wide scale of a risky cinematic formula that effectively brought its audience to a whirlwind of twist and turns. More than part of the 12th Osaka Asian Film Festival, Bliss has every right to brag about its material and the brilliantly-crafted elements that will scare and disturb you at some point. For me, I am pretty amaze to finally see a Pinoy creation in this bold and risky take on dream versus realism. The entire flick is a dream within a dream and a movie within a movie. The main plot was presented in a very creative yet confusing manner that will raise lots of questions to the viewers. It evolves around Jane, who is exhausted in her career and wanted to explore more. After meeting an accident, Jane spent her recovery in a huge house where she began nightmares and hallucinations. What amazes me more is the magical hands of Direk Jerrold Tarog investing on various symbolism in the movie and the effective repetition scenes that will confuse you if the scene is a flashback, a dream or a reality. Kudos to the consistency of the symbols used and if you pay attention to the details of it, you can even figure out the plot right away. I loved how Direk Jerrold will take you on different perspective of Jane’s experiences and will raise questions and doubts as the story progresses. I really like the technique applied in the story-telling. Everything is a mixed tape of dream, reality and imaginations with a touch of disturbing and sensitive scenes about homosexuality, greed, sex & even poverty. Bliss is also a metaphor of show business and the ugly side at the back of the camera. I really loved how Direk Jerrold placed a movie within a movie showing back scenes of an ordinary movie shot and a glimpse of the ugly side some celebrities are experiencing. Plus, showing a little bit of conspiracy behind the camera was really fit for the plot. It was just breath-taking. Never a dull moment for me. It was a psychological thriller that is well-crafted with the right balance of disturbance and artistic approach. Kudos to the cast as well especially Iza Calzado (Osaka Asian Film Festival Best actress) for giving a powerful and her best performance yet. I really can see the hard work of Iza here. After her performance here, I must say she deserve that award. I mean, I am speechless with her acting prowess. TJ Trinidad and Ian Veneracion were also a great compliment. They have both gave justice to their roles and I think they were made for it. Adrienne on the other hand, made a surprising performance as a creepy nurse. She was a revelation in the film. The Location of the film were also great. It was consistent with the demand of the plot and the scene. Musical scoring was also good and on-point. I also would like to commend the Cinematography and editing. New techniques were shown in the movie and it did blend well with its dark and eerie atmosphere. Loved the visual editing and the transition. It was on point and very creative. Bliss will require you to look beyond its material and plot. For me, the best and most creatively done Pinoy film to date. Cheers to the cast, crew and Direk Jerrold Tarog.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

This is more of a disclaimer: BLISS contains disturbing images, sensitive social issues, nudity and profanity in language that’s why it got R-18 from MTRCB.

RATINGS:

10/10 Popcorns.

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2017

Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2 is more than worthy to be a follow-up. One of Marvel’s best and most exciting franchise so far.

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Guardians of Galaxy returns in this 2nd installment of galactic adventure in the Marvel Universe. As the Guardians are fighting their way with a recent planet they have served, Ego, Peter’s father, surface to the scene. Peter soon discovered his real powers and the back story of his life he has been wanting to hear. Along the way, the Guardians will encounter twist and turns that will test their relationship and even trust with each other. This movie is written and directed by James Gunn under Walt Disney Pictures.

Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper (Rocket), Vin Diesel (Groot), Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Kurt Russell, Sean Gunn & Pom Klementieff.

Genre: Science-fiction, Adventure, Action (PG 13)

Past Movies of Chris Pratt: PassengersJurassic World

Past Movies of Vin Diesel: The best installment so far. Fate of the Furious made a bold move in renewing its long overdue plot. The move was worth it.

WHAT I LIKE?

Just when you had a worlwide blockbuster hit, the 2nd installment takes on much of the pressure and shoes to fill in. In the case of Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2, it was never a single problem at all.  As expected, the 2nd installment brought a whole new lot of excitement and adventure we loved during the first one. This time, its a lot more dope and a lot more bad-ass stuff. The Director effectively played along Volume 2’s plot that focused on the real identity of Peter. If you’ll recall the first movie, his identity remained a mystery. On this phase, the movie has managed to play around using the same effective formula that made GOTGV appeal to a global audience. The comeback of the characters such as Nebula, Yondu and Groot (who is now a baby) really added to the film’s vibrant phase and strength. The 3 characters above have established themselves on Volume 2 and has made relevant contributions as well to the plot. Groot is now more adorable as ever being in a small and baby figure. You will even loved him on Volume 2. For the comeback characters, Nebula and Yondu both have interesting to offer for fans. On the other hand, watch out for exciting nee characters such as Ego, Mantis, Taserface and Kismet and her golden-skinned people. Not much of the spoilers but these new characters really have their own shining moments in the film and are major contributors as well to the fate of the Guardians of Galaxy. Moreover, the film still has the same bad-ass and infectious cast we loved – Peter aka Star Lord, Gamora, Drax & Rocket. Still, loved their variety and their chemistry together. Plot-wise, it was very well crafted and presented. Volume 2 has more fun and humor than ever. I loved how everything seems so light all the time. Aside from eye-popping action sequences and galactic war scenes, the film is a visual-spectacle from beginning to end. Aside from its trusted comedic timing, the film is as emotionally-engaging too at some point. The conflict of the film was on point and was on the right phasing. Generally, its more action-packed than the first volume. A lot has been happening almost all of the film’s running time. The phasing was really dynamic. At least, never a dull moment. Production Design was superb and sound engineering was good. I still loved the consistency of their 1980s feels. Star Lord still got his Sony Walker the least. Volume 2 is worthy to be a follow-up of the worldwide smash hit. And yes, Volume 2 is the most exciting Marvel movie franchise ever made. It keeps getting better and better. Highly-recommended to all fans and even non-fans out there.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

For the record, I still loved the visuals and action scenes setting of the first film though Volume 2 has really great graphics too. Maybe because the set-up was more on the planetary system this time. Well, this does not necessarily have a bearing on my review.

RATINGS:

10/10 pocorns.

Thank you SM Lanang Premier in Davao City & Walt Disney for the Advance VIP Screening of GOTGV2 last April 21, 2017 at IMAX Theater.

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2017

An overused RomCom formula saved by KathNiel themselves. Can’t Help Falling in Love is actually a great film because of them.

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Can’t Help Falling in love is the latest addition to the trusted KATHNIEL love team in the RomCom formula. The film is about a career-oriented woman named Gab who is currently engaged with her longtime boyfriend. Her world changed when she found out that she is already married with a total stranger and happy-go-lucky guy named Dos. In the process, they have to figure it out why they ended as a couple realizing  a blossoming love story along the way.  This is directed by Mae Cruz-Alviar and with story and screenplay by Carmi Raymundo and Kristine Gabriel under Star Cinema.

Cast: Daniel Padilla, Kathryn Bernardo, Matteo Guidicelli, Cherry Pie Picache, Lito Pimentel, Lotlot De Leon, Dennis Padilla, Joross Gamboa, Janus Del Prado, Kristel Fulgar, Pinky Amador, Johnny Revilla, Hannah Ledesma, Devon Seron, Chienna Filomeno, Earl Ignacio, Nina Dolino, Belle Mariano, and Clarence Delgado.

Genre: Romantic, Comedy, Drama

Previous KathNiel Movies: Barcelona: A Love UntoldCrazy Beautiful You

WHAT I LIKE?

KathNiel gets better and better every movie they are in to. Can’t Help Falling in love is the latest addition of their tried & tested blockbuster appeal and undeniable strong charm and chemistry on-screen and even off-screen. The movie is an overall feel-good movie with lots of kilig moments from this phenomenal love team. The central plot is very good. They invested on this “Fake Marriage” then with a little resemblance of the Hollywood’s hangover plot. I loved how the Director played with the plot and relate to the characters in the movie. Aside from that, the conflict was laid out properly. It was well-justified and the timing is just right. Conversations are generally-relatable though expect a little bit mature and naughty KathNiel on this movie. I also loved the location of the movies. My most favorite part is the South Cebu scenes. Glad, they featured South Cebu on the movie. What I certainly like about this film is that it did not dwell much on the serious aspect and demand of the plot. Lots of comedy or humor along the way that made the film pretty- enjoyable to watch. Aside from KathNiel, the supporting characters were also good. Kathryn Bernardo did well on her acting this time. I loved how she portrayed a mature type of woman in the film. Daniel Padilla is really good with his natural acting though I must commend, this is his most charming and most bubbly portrayal ever. I loved how Daniel throw in some punchlines in the movie. Overall, the movie resonates a positive feeling in the end with a very nice and heartwarming message about love and even family.

WHAT I DON’T LIKE?

Well, the movie’s plot and formula is a little bit overused already. Somehow, we needed  new and fresher take on Pinoy RomComs formula who usually evolve on the same scenarios and conflicts all over again. Though the movie’s main plot is unique, what happens after is a constant repetition of one of the characters realizing he/she has fallen out of love when he/she met this happy-go-lucky guy who made him/her realize something. The third party formula is still there. Then the normal family affairs or issues with moms and dads are always present. I mean, no question about KathNiel. They are so great. As a whole, Pinoy RomComs should start evolving. Nevertheless, these statements won’t affect my ratings for the movie since I really enjoyed it.

RATINGS:

10/10 Popcorns.

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