Category Archives: Movies

Film Review: Columbus (2017)

A successful Korean-American man finds himself stuck in Columbus, Indiana, where his estranged architect father is in a coma. The man meets a young woman who plans to stay in Columbus with her mother, a recovering addict, instead of pursuing her own dreams. Together, the two explore the various architectural buildings in Columbus, all the while discovering in each other what they hope to be.

This is one of those instances where I’ve expected too much from a film because of its rave reviews but end up getting oh-so disappointed that getting through the whole 104 minutes of it almost felt like a chore. I mean, it’s not that long so I decided to just get over it while wasting away my time commuting to work.

The whole thing just felt contrived. The dialogues, the very in-your face frame by frame Architectural landmarks which I totally get but felt a bit too much, and the disjointed feel of the whole story. I didn’t see chemistry between Casey (Richardson) and Jin (Cho) and I wasn’t even looking for a romantic chemistry.

To end this, I thought the whole script was just weak or what I will call in books having a thinly veiled plot with very stiff characters. Or maybe Kogonada’s style isn’t just for me.

Director: Kogonada
Cast: John Cho, Haley Lu Richardson, Parker Posey, Rory Culkin, Michelle Forbes

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

The film premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and was released in the United States on August 4, 2017, by the Sundance Institute.

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Film Review: Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

I was not supposed to watch this. I was thinking that I won’t be able to fully understand the story because I haven’t watch the most recent Marvel films prior to this and I’m not a Marvel fanboy to begin with. But yeah, it is the only available flick that coincides with my schedule so I decided to check what the ‘hype’ really is all about.

The movie boasted grand and scenic special effects, is action-packed and most importantly, it wasn’t boring. See, it’s more than two hours and the film was able to sustain the excitement from start up to the end-credits. The great thing about watching it on IMAX 3D is that it feels like you’re part of each scene yourself. I just noticed that the 3D effect isn’t as crisp as I expected it to be. There are parts of the film that they may have forgotten to convert into 3D.

I’ve to praise the wonderful casting as well. I mean, we’ve known most of them from their individual films but you cannot deny the great chemistry between these bevy of A-listers and B-list celebs.

The story kind of make sense in a way that it connects the individual movie installments and it also makes you want to watch them again because each one did their job wonderfully.

I am really excited to watch what will happen next. And no, I won’t be reading its comics or the Avengers wiki-page. I think I could wait for the 2019 release of the next film.

Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Film Review: Love, Simon (2018)

Synopsis: Simon Spier keeps a huge secret from his family, his friends, and all of his classmates: he’s gay. When that secret is threatened, Simon must face everyone and come to terms with his identity.

I am absolutely delighted by this movie adaptation! The book didn’t do much for me but this one just made me appreciate it more in a way. Nick Robinson was very charming and funny as the closeted High School teenager blackmailed by a fellow student!

I also love Duhamel. It thought he’d be awkward as the ‘awkward’ dad but he’s incredibly charming here. Jennifer Garner was her usual amazing self and she and Nick had the best scene in the movie methinks. Their heart to heart talk is so beautiful it made me tear-up right then and there.

I loved that Berlanti did not demonized Martin’s (the creepy blackmailer) character here but I was maybe hoping that one of the most intense scenes would be Simon confronting Martin about HIM taking away his right to come out in his own terms.

Super sulit! I wished more people would watch it. Too bad, it’ll be affected by the Infinity War but if you’re looking for an alternative watch, then you should really check this out.

Director: Greg Berlanti
Cast: Nick Robinson, Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Garner, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Keiyan Lonsdale, Miles Heizer, Logan Miller, Talitha Bateman, Tony Hale, Natasha Rothwell, Drew Starkey, Clarke Moore, Joey Pollari, Mackenzie Lintz

Love, Simon was based on the novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. (Read my review HERE)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Love, Simon opens in Philippine cinemas on May 9, 2018 courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

Timothée Chalamet’s Hot Summer Nights First Official Trailer!

Yay! It’s finally here! After his breakthrough performances via Call Me By Your Name and Lady Bird last year, Timmy’s upcoming movies are very much anticipated by fans and critics alike (including moi). One of them is Hot Summer Nights that premiered earlier last year at the South by Southwest (SXSW) and will be the first film by Timothée to come out this year. The coming of age film was directed by Elijah Bynum and also stars Maika Munroe (The Guest), Alex Roe (The 5th Wave) and Thomas Jane.

It will have it commercial release in the US on July 27, 2018!

My Hot Picks for Movies to Watch Out For!

I’ve been binge-watching film trailers on YouTube the whole day and thought of sharing with you guys my top favorites so far – the interesting ones that got me all excited to go watch them on the big screen! It’s just a shame that most of this films won’t probably be getting any local releases but I’m keeping my fingers crossed right now. Check these trailers out!

1. Krystal
Director: William H. Macy
Cast: Nick Robinson, Grant Gustin, Rosario Dawson, William H. Macy, William Fichtner, Kathy Bates, Felicity Huffman, Rick Fox, Jacob Latimore, T.I., Amy Parrish

Plot: A young man living a sheltered life develops a crush on a stripper and joins her Alcoholics Anonymous group just so he can be in the same room with her. (IMDb)

This kinda reminds me of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Justin Bartha’s The Rebound where the young guy fell for the older girl, they got together but at the end they’d realize their priorities in life. Hah! This looks cute and funny though! Nick Robinson looks absolutely adorable here!

US Release Date: April 13, 2018 (The film had its premier back in November 2017 at the Virgina Film Festival)

2. On Chesil Beach
Director: Dominic Cooke
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Billy Howle, Emily Watson, Anne-Marie Duff, Samuel West, Adrian Scarborough

Based on Ian McEwan’s novel. In 1962 England, a young couple find their idyllic romance colliding with issues of sexual freedom and societal pressure, leading to an awkward and fateful wedding night. (IMDb)

Now, this looks absolutely fantastic! This is looking to be another Ronan’s possible entries to next year’s Oscars. I haven’t personally read the book but I’ve read a summary of it before and it’s really interesting and uhm, sad.

US Release Date: May 18, 2018 (The film had its premier back in September 2017 at the Toronto International Film Festival)

3. The Seagull
Director: Michael Mayer
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Annette Bening, Corey Stoll, Billy Howle, Elisabeth Moss, Jon Tenney, Brian Dennehy, Mare Winningham, Glenn Fleshler, Michael Zegen

An aging actress named Irina Arkadina pays summer visits to her brother Pjotr Nikolayevich Sorin and her son Konstantin on a country estate. On one occasion, she brings Boris Trigorin, a successful novelist and her lover. Nina, a free and innocent girl on a neighboring estate who is in a relationship with Konstantin, falls in love with Boris. (IMDb)

Now, this one has Oscars written all over it! Based on Anton Chekhov’s play of the same name, the film doesn’t lack in its star-power with former Academy Award nominees Benning and Winningham providing support for Ronan. Moss looks absolutely brilliant here as well! I hope they’d show this one locally!!!!

US Release Date: May 11, 2018 (The film will premiere on April 21, 2018 at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival)

4. Adrift
Director: Baltasar Kormakur
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin

Based on the true story of survival, a young couple’s chance encounter leads them first to love, and then on the adventure of a lifetime as they face one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history. (IMDb)

I loved Shailene! Even the horrendous Divergent film series was made bearable by her. She’s also fantastic in Big Little Lies!  Now, I am hoping that this one will pick up steam and get her the attention leading up to next year’s Awards season. On to the film, I did a bit of a research and it tells me that the guy in the trailer (played by Claflin) was not really discovered along with his wife. Uhm, so there ya go…

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And of course, I am just waiting for Avengers: Infinity War three weeks from now and Love, Simon (whose books I’ve read but didn’t like) which is getting a late release here but I’m really excited to watch it because it’s gotten tremendous support and good praises from the film community!

 

Film Review: Mary Magdalene (2018)

This isn’t on my initial must-watch list this month mainly because it’s obviously all religious and stuff. See, I tend to veer away from the crazy topic that is religion. The thing is, its trailer got to me. I loved that they picked Rooney Mara to play the titular role and it’s been ages since I’ve seen Rooney on the big screen.

Garth Davis’ Mary Magdalene is one that is almost free of misconception. One that contradicted previous portrayals of Mary of Magdala in pop culture. Mary here is a strong-willed woman with unwavering faith to her God. ‘Shaming’ her family by defying an arranged marriage, Mary decides to leave them and follow Jesus of Nazareth (Joaquin Phoenix).

The film easily cultivated Mara’s greatest strength as she is thoroughly affecting and her eyes speaks to you – no long dialogues necessary.

I loved that we see Phoenix’s Jesus here as more human – grittier in a way. I loved that aspect of humanizing (normalizing) such a divine being.

Tahar Rahim played Judas like an uber-eager puppy invoking sympathy like no other Judas in the past films. Chiwetel Ejiofor as Peter was surprisingly too strong here almost to the point of being unlikable. I find it interesting that the usual personality depicted in films’ past got switched here.

As a controversial and mostly misunderstood figure in the bible, the Mary Magdalene that we got here is a symbol of power. It could be an eye-opener for so many devout but perhaps not in the spiritual level. It wasn’t as visually strong nor very thought provoking but it trudge our thoughts about believing and faith in more ways than one.

Director: Garth Davis
Cast: Roonet Mara, Joaquin Pheonix, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tahar Rahim, Sarah-Sofie Boussnina, Hadas Yaron, Lubna Azabal, Lior Raz, Ryan Corr, Shira Haas, Uri Gavriel, Charles Babalola, Tawfeek Barhom, Tzachi Halevy, Zohar Shtrauss, Michael Moshonov, Ariane Labed, Giovanni Cirfiera

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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: http://bit.ly/Timothée-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.