Category Archives: Movies

Film Review: Lady Bird (2017)

The Dixie Chicks once asked the questions – who’s never left home? Who’s never struck out? I think that most of the time, it’ll come to a point in our lives that we are ‘Lady Bird.’ I said that because when we’re young, there’s always this feeling that our world is too small for us, that we wanted to explore what life has to offer, what this world is waiting to show us. We want something so much that we persevere to get them. Sometimes doing things that we didn’t think was wrong when we did it and ended up regretting but at the end of the day, we have this sense of fulfilment.

Lady Bird are those feelings so cleverly translated by Greta Gerwig into a film. This coming of age film so brilliantly led by Saoirse Ronan is a tale as old as time that just works in so many ways because that is basically everyone of us when we’re at the cusps of adulthood.

Ronan playing the eponymous role was as usual terrifically sublime as the rebellious daughter who won’t let anyone hinder her aspirations – not by her friends, her school advisors and definitely not by her mother played by the equally wonderful Laurie Metcalf. Sometimes, it’s almost painful to watch their interactions or more of altercations because there’s vulnerability in both of their characters that everyone would relate to. You’d probably point out, hey! That’s me with my daughter – ouch! or that is me and my mom/dad sometimes!  Ronan and Metcalf made their chemistry as mother and daughter so palpable that it resonated so much with so many people.

Gerwig tried to snatch a lot of wigs for this film and she did so fabulously! Lady Bird is a cult classic waiting to happen. I wouldn’t even be mad for a sequel!

At the 90th Academy Awards, Lady Bird has received five nominations that includes Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress in a Leading and Supporting Roles and Best Original Screenplay.

Director: Greta Gerwig

Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Lucas Hedges, Tracy Letts, Beanie Feldstein, Timothee Chalamet.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Film Review: Dunkirk (2017)

The film is a narrative of the successful evacuation of the Allied troops from Dunkirk as the Nazi Army advances to the French city. The battle of Dunkirk depicted one of the historical catalysts that made the people in Europe come together against the war propagated by the Nazi regime.

The Academy gave Nolan’s film eight nominations including his first directorial nod, Best Picture and Best Editing. The latter I wholeheartedly agree and would predict this film to win said category. As for Nolan’s vision, I feel that the whole thing was well-executed, the way he played with our emotions but didn’t really hit the mark of capturing the essence of the topic. This was Dunkirk glossed over. There was too much technicality, hence the great editing, but it lacks the gravitas of what really transpired in those days. Yes, we see them soldiers fighting for their lives to stay alive, to be able to survive and be with their loved ones but I somehow find it devoid of motivation.

I thought it was critically overrated but at the end of the day – I still enjoyed it more than the Darkest Hour so that at least should be a consolation. Despite the measly character development, I’d still give it a 3 star ratings because it’s Nolan being Nolan and on a technical spectrum, this is heaps better than most films from last year.

Dunkirk scored eight nominations at the 90th Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Production Design

Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Barry Keoghan, Mark Rylance, Jack Lowden, Tom Glynn-Carney, Tom Hardy, Harry Styles
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Meet & Party with Timothée Chalamet & Armie Hammer via Omaze!

If you’re like super rich, you still have a chance to travel to Los Angeles, party and meet Timothée Chalamet & Armie Hammer by donating to wo incredible causes, bye entering HERE:ée-Armie-YOU

You could win a trip to celebrate with the Call Me By Your Name cast at their pre-Oscar party! Deadline is until February 25!

Speaking of Call Me By Your Name – James Ivory just snagged the Best Adapted Screenplay at the recently concluded BAFTA Awards! Congratulations!


Film Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

via impawards

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri for me felt like an examination of how deep the connection a mother has with her children and how far she’s willing to go for them. In the film, Frances McDormand’s character Mildred Hayes boldly put up three billboards that questions the authority for seemingly not doing anything about her daughter’s murder.

McDormand’s portrayal of grief – misplaced or not – that is not only seen but felt. It is so palpable on screen it makes you feel her anger and frustrations. All of her solo scenes are nothing short of sublime.


Then there’s Dixon – a xenophobe police officer in Ebbing. I’ve to admit that I was a bit uncomfortable with Sam Rockwell’s character. A portrayal which reminded me so much of his evil character ‘Wild Bill’ in The Green Mile. He was so effective here that his character angers me so much..

It’s funny that this picture so thoughtfully reminded me of the very divided America now under Donald Trump. Dixon (Rockwell) feels like a personification of what everything Donal Trump represents pre-reading the letter Chieft Willoughby have written for him.

This isn’t just about the fight of Mildred Hayes for justice. I want to believe that this goes deeper than that. This is a representation on apathy and how evil humans could get. Was I convinced by that ending? By Dixon’s redemption? Not quite, but as Chief Willoughby told Dixon thru a letter – all we need is love. Cringy but worth contemplating.

Director: Martin McDonagh
Cast: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Caleb Landry Jones, Kerry Condon, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Abbie Cornish, Lucas Hedges, Željko Ivanek, Amanda Warren, Peter Dinklage, Kathryn Newton, John Hawkes, Samara Weaving, Clarke Peters, Brendan Sexton III
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The film received seven nominations, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actress for McDormand and Best Supporting Actor nominations for Harrelson and Rockwell at the 90th Academy Awards.

Film Review: Darkest Hour (2017)

Going into this film, I actually didn’t care about how factual the events were in it during the early days of World War II when Britain faces an invasion by the Nazi forces. I mean, I was just there to witness the so-called transformation of Gary Oldman into former British Prime Minister and historical Icon Winston Churchill and I am telling you, it was just mesmerizing. I didn’t see Gary Oldman in it and not because of the prosthetics and heavy make-up but because it felt that he really was Winston Churchill.

This one is going to be a quick review though, because I honestly didn’t get anything out of the story aside from Oldman’s stellar performance. I mean, let me put it bluntly – it was flat from start to finish. It doesnt have a defining moment (again) aside from Oldman himself. If not for him, I’d walk out midway through it.

It was nominated for six Academy Awards and surprisingly, also as Best Picture and it’s probably because of its technical merits.

Not really for me. 😌

Director: Joe Wright
Cast: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James, Ronald Pickup, Stephen Dillane, Nicholas Jones, Samuel West, David Schofield, Richard Lumsden, Malcolm Storry
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

At the 90th Academy Awards, the film earned six nominations which includes Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup and Hairstyling and Best Costume Design.

Film Review: I, Tonya (2017)

I, Tonya follows the life of figure skater Tonya Harding and her involvement to the attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan in 1994. It features interviews of the characters in between sequences. Margot Robbie plays the titular role while Allison Janney plays her mother.

There was this one word I thought of after watching this film – riveting. Margot Robbie’s intense portrayal of Tonya Harding is a spectacle similar to the latter’s public persona. Robbie, Janey and Sebastian Stan who plays Harding’s husband did a triumvirate of sublime performances that should be honored and perceived to be their best work to date.

Allison Janey playing Tonya’s vindictive Mother was such a delight on screen. You’d hate her like you didn’t know you could hate someone as much. She’s always in the zone with every scene she was in and it was not the ‘in your face’ kind of thing but in a subtle yet very effective way. Her Oscar nod was a a truly deserved one.

I thought a lot of critics underrated Stan’s performance here but I loved how he reciprocated Robbie’s vulnerability and angst as a struggling figure skater wanting to get the recognition she believed she deserves. Plus, he is utterly charming!

And then we have the biggest revelation of the year – Margot Robbie. She obviously didn’t get an easy role right here but from the get-go, she soldiered on and was simply mesmerizing on screen. Margot Robbie’s phenomenal portrayal of Tonya Harding is one unforgettable performance that deserves more than one Oscar. In the movie, she is REALLY Tonya. The struggle, the pain, the success, the vulnerability and the burst of emotions she was able to convey on screen was a clear testament that Margot Robbie is a force that will only get stronger given the right roles.

Incredibly well-crafted, this movie deserves to be watch by more people and be inspired by this brave this brave Tonya they tried to portray. I’m not sure how accurate they portrayed the events and characters here but Margot Robbie made me like Harding right here in contrast to what I’ve read about her in the past and in her most recent interviews. Regardless, this movie just blew my mind!

Director: Craig Gillespie
Cast: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, Julianne Nicholson, Bobby Cannavale
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The film received three nominations: Best Actress for Margot Robbie, Best Supporting Actress for Janney and Best Editing at the 90th Academy Awards.

Movie Poster courtesy of impawards

Film Review: Call Me By Your Name (2017)

Twice I’ve seen the film on the big screen since its commercial release in the country last January 31st and twice I’ve been affected by it in such a way that no other films I’ve seen in a while had made such strong impact. If you’ve not read the book of the same name where the film was so brilliantly adapted by James Ivory, you won’t miss out that much. There are a few deviations from it but overall, it was an almost faithful retelling of Oliver and Elio’s story – a summer love affair between a seventeen-year-old Italian boy, Elio Perlman and an American university professor Oliver who has been selected to live in Elio’s parents’ home as a guest “resident” while finishing a manuscript for publication.

The number one thing that I’ve noticed while watching the film is how sedate it was. There’s the beautiful landscapes of a northern Italian country side that transports you to its 1983 time period. The relaxed vibe of the film juxtaposed the heaviness of its plot –  mainly, Elio’s struggle to understand and accept what he feels towards Oliver.

Timothée Chalamet truly and utterly made me feel what Elio felt. He totally owned Elio’s character – every roll and flick of his eyes, every nuances in his voice especially when he asked Oliver not to go. I am in so much awe of his brilliance – so young and yet with so much potential.

Chalamet and Armie Hammer had an incredible chemistry here that makes you root for them. The compatibility was there and all throughout the film, you can feel their characters’ connections.

I’d also like to praise Michael Stuhlbarg’s portrayal of Elio’s father.  Mr. Stuhlbarg is beautiful and his acting is simply sublime. I’m very surprised that Hammer got more acting nominations than him from this film. He was simply delightful to watch.

This adaptation actually made me appreciate the book a little more. I wasn’t that fond of it mainly because of Oliver but this version right here made me like him. Hammer made me appreciate his character.

Overall, I believe that this film does not need many dialogues or any major special effects. It’s wonderful as it is. Luca Guadagnino so brilliantly captured the beauty of human emotions in Elio, Oliver and the rest of its characters. It’s sedate but it’s so full of life.  It makes you appreciate yourself and your support system the way everyone has been supportive of Elio in the film.  I think it’s lovely that it does not merely focused on what’s on the headline like the whole love affair between these two guys but it delves deeper with the love that we could find around us, most especially our family. If given a chance, I’d watch this one the third time and I cannot wait to get its DVD! The film truly deserves all of the accolades it has received.

Director: Luca Guadagnino
Cast: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel, Victoire Du Bois
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Chalamet), Best Adapted Screenplay (Ivory), and Best Original Song (“Mystery of Love”) at the 90th Academy Awards.

ICYDK: ‘Call Me By Your Name’ Will Open on January 31, 2018 Nationwide!

If you’ve missed the local limited screening of the most buzzed movie of 2017 and one of this year’s Oscars’ frontrunners during the Cinema One Original Film Festival last November, don’t fret because you will get your chance to see Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer heat it up with their summer romance flick, Call Me By Your Name directed by Luca Gaudagnino. It is based in the book of the same name by Andre Aciman.

by Sony Pictures Classics

The film will have its nationwide release on January 31, 2018 Wednesday at select Ayala Cinema Malls!

by Sony Pictures Classics

I will be updating this once the final participating cinema schedules comes out!

Book Review: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli

Published: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Novel
Genre And Themes: LGBTQ, Romance, Young Adult, Highschool
Length: 325 pages, ebook
Characters: Simon Spier, Martin Addison, Abby Suso, Nick Eisner, Leah Burke

When Simon Spier’s emails to his secret pen pal, Blue, fall into the wrong hands, he is forced to play wingman to his blackmailer

In a usual high school setting where everything is supposed to be a big ol’ cliche, the author tried her best to make this a “not another high school”story but it is a “high school story” so inevitably, it totally reads like one. Only the focus of this one involves the forced “coming out” from the closet of our main protagonist Simon and the not so big reveal of his penpal, Blue.

I liked this one mainly because it’s an easy read. It’s predictable, but good predictable. I loved Simon’s character. He’s got a very fun family and friends who are surprisingly all so supportive of him.

Althought I didn’t find anything out of the box about the whole thing, I do loved its consistency. This could end up all wrong what with the whole blackmailing thing and the whole e-mail thingy between Simon and Blue merely keeping the story afloat but the author was able to maintain the excitement until the end. I mean, I actually guessed Blue’s identity midway through the book but I enjoyed the whole works of the author trying to deviate its readers from its obvious clues. I loved the dynamics between his friends but they’re just too ideal for me. I mean, I loved that it doesn’t have this despicable evil person for a villain and that’s what maybe I was looking for. Something to stir shit up but not to the level, the “villain” of the story did it. I mean, like REALLY stir shit up.

I also want to address the issue of coming out on our own terms. I think everyone should be able to do it the way they want to – No questions asked.

This is an okay read for me, overall. It’s cute, it’s fun and I reckon, very intune with its target audience.

Now, I am really curious to see Love, Simon.

Rating:  3 out of 5 stars


About The Author
Becky Albertalli is the author of the acclaimed novels Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (film: Love, Simon), The Upside of Unrequited, and Leah on the Offbeat. She is also the co-author of What If It’s Us with Adam Silvera. A former clinical psychologist who specialized in working with children and teens, Becky lives with her family in Atlanta. You can visit her online at

Film Review: Pyotr495 (2016) – An LGBTQ Horror Short

I just discovered this short film by Blake Mawson a week ago while binge-watching short films on Youtube and I thought it’d be a great post to start 2018 since it’s very relevant to the horror that is happening in Russia with their anti-LGBT laws – not only in Russia, I supposed but still many parts of the world despite all of the breakthrough we’ve had in 2017 when it comes to bringing out equality.

Set one evening in present-day Moscow, 16 year-old Pyotr is baited by an ultra-nationalist group known for their violent abductions and attacks bolstered by Russia’s LGBT propaganda law, but Pyotr has a dangerous secret.

I do loved the symbolism used by Mawson to capture the mentality of this type of hate groups that baits gay people. While watching this 15-minute film, I got to thinking that there are indeed monsters in this world. It’s scary to think that at this time and age – there are still people / monsters like these.

I also loved the vibe of the whole film, that it reminded me so much of A Serbian Film with the character acting like a background in it, though probably less shocking. What a really clever and relevant film! I do hope that anyone who’s reading this will give this film their 15 minutes.

Directed by Blake Mawson
Cast: Alex Ozerov, Alanna Bale, Juliana Semenova, Max Rositsan

Highly Recommended!