Tag Archives: Film Review

Film Review: Searching (2018)

At the beginning of the film, we were introduced to David Kim’s family through a montage sets the mood of the film. It makes you root for this family. For this father who lost his wife to cancer and for the daughter that was left behind.

And when said daughter has gone missing, David tried every avenue to locate her including tracking her daughter’s online footprints and this is where the film got that thriller film that it’s almost maniacal at times, like your solving the case with David. I enjoyed Aneesh Shaganty’s way of telling the story via the screens of each gadget used in the film. This is how you make use of these ‘millennial’ stuff properly in a movie, if I may say so.

It is like a puzzle or a computer game with levels-up and it makes you thoroughly involved in it. I know I was trying to guess a twist midway through the film and it actually did not disappoint. It was a bit debatable but it feels new, it feels fresh. It helps that by this time, you’d already be emotionally invested.

Searching is masterfully crafted in a way that the technologies that shared the focal point of the film were balanced out by the sheer emotion behind the main story line. I’d definitely recommend this film especially if you’re looking for a good thriller with modern twists.

Director: Aneesh Shaganty
Cast: John Cho, Debra Messing, Michelle La

The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2018.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Film Review: Netflix’s Sierra Burgess is a Loser (2018)

Sierra Burgess played by Shannon Purser (Stranger Things, Riverdale) received a text from his long time crush Jamey (Noah Centineo) thinking the message was really meant for her until she figured out that the popular cheerleader and nemesis Veronica (Kristine Froseth) is behind it. She could’ve easily talked to Jamey about it but she continued the deception because it makes her ‘happy’ *rolls eyes* I know! I didn’t like it. Talk about cringe worthy.

Having watched Noah Centineo in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, my expectations were set pretty high. I thought the film started out good. I am starting to smile here and there until Sierra made one wrong decision after another. She was supposed to be the smart one for Kavinsky’s sake!

The whole catfishing thing I think is what bothers me the most if I’m being honest. It was borderline creepy and not funny at any point in the movie.

Allowing the whole thing to happen even though she figured out right away that it was all an accident was definitely not her character but I guess, deemed as a ‘loser’ by the popular kids – one can only take so much.

I also thought that her playing the victim at after everything was way off. I didn’t like the fact that she didn’t take full responsibility of what she did. It was just all too convenient for her.

This for me would’ve been a big hit similar To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before if written properly. There’s the execution but the story was on the losing end.

Director: Ian Samuels
Cast: Shannon Purser, RJ Cyler, Noah Centineo, Kristine Froseth, Will Peltz, Lea Thompson, Alan Ruck, Lorerra Devine, Chrissy Metz, Alice Lee, Giorgia Whigham, Mary Pat Gleason, Joey Morgan

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Film Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018)

Lara Jean played by Lana Condor wrote love letters to all the boys she ever had a crush on since childhood but kept them in a box until her younger sister , Kitty stole the letters and sent them to the boys she apparently “loved.”

I’ve read a few chapters of the book a couple of years back but never had the energy to finish it not because it’s bad but it was just not my cup of tea. Now, after watching its film adaptation, it made me want to go back to the book and reread its entirety.

I’ve tremendously enjoyed the film. First, I loved the casting of Lana Condor as its protagonist Lara Jean. She’s very relatable and has a really good screen charisma. I could still recall when I was reading the book’s first few chapters, I was imagining Cho Chang (Katy Leung) playing Lara Jean. Lana was such a good choice for the role paired with Noah Centineo‘s super charming appeal. I so loved their chemistry!

Although Lara Jean’s character isn’t as dynamic as I expected her to be, I loved the subtle discovery of herself over the course of the film. As an aging millennial, I could easily relate to what she’s gone through what with her unrequited love and teenage longings.

The film may be full of clichés but it’s the good kind of clichés. It’s a movie targeted for the young ones if I may say but if you’re like me, you’d get a nice throwback feeling watching it.

Based on the novel of the same name by Jenny Han
Director: Susan Johnson
Cast: Lana Condor, Noah Centineo, Israel Broussard, Trezzo Mahoro, King Bach, Joey Pachecho, Janel Parrish, Anna Cathcart, John Corbett, Madeleine Arthur, Emilija Baranac

Rating: 3/5

Film Review: 4th Man Out (2015)

On his 24th birthday, Adam comes out as gay to his three best friends – Chris (Parker Young), Nick (Chord Overstreet), and Ortu (Jon Gabrus). Naturally, the three freaked out but immediately reassured Adam that nothing is going to change between them.

The whole film actually seems to be about Adam finding a boyfriend and his male pals acted like Adam’s long lost fairy godmothers intent on finding a guy for him. They’re even more knowledgeable than Adam about the gay scene. Like seriously? There are a bunch of cringy moments in it and a number of funny scenes too. I still liked this movie. It is something that you could watch to combat boredom but it didn’t deliver its intended message. More like, the film didn’t actually have a message at all.

Director: Andrew Nackman
Cast: Evan Todd, Chord Overstreet, John Gabrus, Parker Young, Jennifer Damiano, Jordan Lane Price, Kate Flannery, 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Film Review: Beach Rats (2017)

This film is like a Coldplay music video for me. It’s affecting and it’s melodious and by the end of it, it felt like you’re grasping for something. Beach Rats is so much like that. Its enigmatic lead Harris Dickinson is nothing short of spectacular playing a repressed youth from Brooklyn finding his sexuality and his place in the sun. It’s a rough environment for him and he’s got to fit the mold to survive.

The film was is so different from the young-adult LGBTQ+ stories with the usual arc of realizing their sexuality and coming out of the closet. In context it is almost the same but also different in the way Director Eliza Hittman explored the depth of a teenage longing for freedom, longing for identity and longing for self-expression.

The whole thing was like a loop with beautiful shots and grainy atmosphere. I enjoyed it immensely because I find it so realistic and Dickinson so effective. You can really see everything in his eyes – the fear, the excitement, his vulnerability. He’s someone to watch out for that’s for sure. I’m not sure if this would be most people’s cup of tea but it’s a good kind of film that doesn’t come very often in the genre.

Director: Eliza Hittman
Cast: Harris Dickinson, Madeline Weinstein, Kate Hodge, Neal Huff, Nicole Flyus, Frank Hakaj

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Film Review: Handsome Devil (2016)

I absolutely adore this film! It’s very old school in a way but very refreshing at the same time as its story revolves around two gay schoolmates and the friendship between them that you won’t even mind that there’s not a single whip of romance in it and I loved it for that! Not every gay guys are out there are looking for their “one true love!” I also loved the fact that there’s nothing remotely sexual about it. It’s just about two high school boys trying to fit in or in Ned’s case, trying to get through high school.

At first though, I find it a bit Glee-ish but then it transitioned so fast when Ned, the bullied outsider and Conor, the star athlete transfer student started to interact with each other. They have such amazing chemistry and that it’s easier to root for both of them.

There’s a ‘scene’ here that I did not like in so many book characters and even most recently, from the movie Love, Simon when one of the characters outed the closeted character. It was not cringy at all here. It was actually heartbreaking because it felt like Ned did it out of necessity, being fed up with the bullying and the feeling that he’d finally have the upper hand just for once. It wasn’t right but at that moment, for him it must be some sort of vindication. As he was narrating the whole film, he said that this story is about his ‘most embarrassing moment’ ever. This must be that moment.

The conclusion was not exactly what I was expected because it felt a bit rushed but I appreciate the sort of a happy ending the movie has given us. Also, It’s just so good to know that a lot of LGBTQ+ films are now being produced for mainstream viewing!

Director: John Butler
Cast: Fionn O’Shea, Nicholas Galitzine, Andrew Scott, Moe Dunford, Michael McElhatton, Ruairi O’Connor, Ardal O’Hanlon, Mark Lavery, Jay Duffy, Jamie Hallahan

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Film Review: The Danish Girl (2015)

The Danish Girl is inspired by the true story of married Danish painters Einar and Gerda Wegener. When portrait artist Gerda Wegener as her husband Einar to stand in for a female model who couldn’t make it on time, it reveals her husband lifetime identification as a woman.

I just absolutely adore this film. The whole time, I was transfixed to Eddie Redmayne’s transformation into Lili Elbe’s character. His sublime performance as one of the pioneering transgender individuals is nothing short of amazing!

After Redmayne’s beyond amazing Oscar winning performance in The Theory of Everything, this I thought should’ve gotten him his second Oscar. Alas, he was pitted against THE Leonardo DiCaprio whose time to win has been long overdue and it would be a total injustice if DiCaprio’s equally incredible performance in The Revenant will be ignored yet again. If this was released last year, he could easily snatched the Best Actor trophy from Gary Oldman.

It is also undeniable that without Vikander’s affecting performance as Einar Wegener’s devoted wife, the whole vibe of the film won’t be as convincing! Her subtle intensity is what made Gerda’s character truly mesmerizing on screen.

The story felt as powerful today as when it was released a couple of years back, what with all the stories and media mileage the Transgender community is getting at the moment, one that I’m hoping will continue until such time everyone could just mind their own business.

Director: Tom Hooper
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ben Whishaw, Amber Heard, Sebastian Koch, Adrian Schiller, Emerald Fennell, Nicholas Woodeson, Pip Torrens, Henry Pettigrew

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Film Review: Mamma Mia 2! Here We Go Again (2018)

The first film, Mamma Mia was an absolute delight! I’m a big Meryl Streep fan and I absolutely adore the storyline of the first installment which was released a decade ago. Can you believe that it has been 10 years? Doesn’t feel like it at all!

I was able to catch Mamma Mia 2! Here We Go Again during its first week of showing in Manila and I’m pretty surprised that aside from its expected demographics lining up for it, a lot of younger viewers were actually there to watch it. Imagine that!

This film would disappoint some, if not all of Meryl Streep fans because this is a Meryl-less Mamma Mia! Ugh. It was rather head scratching at first when it was revealed at the start of the film that her character, Donna died a year before. The heart of the first film just had a little scene (but definitely the highlight) at the end and that’s it. I’ll be glad to tell you though that it wasn’t so bad that they killed Meryl’s character – I mean, they need something to work on. Although, personally I wasn’t convinced that it was the best route.

The first good thing about this installment is the inclusion of more music from ABBA (obviously) that I’ve never heard before aside from the more popular ones like Fernando, I Have A Dream and Waterloo that were not part of the first film. I have to be honest though, ABBA was not my generation, hence, my lack of knowledge about their catalogue. Secondly is the casting of Lily James (Cinderella, 2015) as the young Donna. She’s an absolute delight on screen and I couldn’t think of any other actresses that could do the role justice. And then there’s Cher. I was giggling throughout her scenes because she’s such a fucking queen especially when she sang the iconic Fernando. That was one of the highlights for me.

There’s also a bunch of eye candies here! The young fathers of Sophie are just all so dreamy! I particularly liked the very charming Josh Dylan as the young Bill! But really, the casting was fantastic!

Overall, it wasn’t as enjoyable as the first film because I wanted more Meryl in it but you cannot fault the treatment of the film paying homage to ABBA and Meryl Streep’s character – a film filled with beautiful people and jaw-dropping musical productions!

Director: Ol Parker
Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep, Dominic Cooper, Christine Baranski, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Julie Walters, Alexa Davies, Pierce Brosnan, Jeremy Irvine, Colin Firth, Hugh Skinner, Stella Skarsgård, Josh Dylan, Cher, Andy Garcia

Music: When I Kissed The Teacher, I Wonder (Departure), One of Us, Waterloo, Why Did It Have to Be Me?, I Have a Dream, Kisses of Fire, Andante, Andante, The Name of the Game, Knowing Me, Knowing You, Mamma Mia, Angel Eyes, Dancing Queen, I’ve Been Waiting For You, Fernando, My Love, My Life, Super Trouper, The Day Before You Came

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Film Review: Alex Strangelove (2018)

At first glimpse, Alex Strangelove looks like a mere rip-off of Love, Simon but far from its smiliar LGBTQ+ lead characters, this coming-of-age film has a charm of its own with Daniel Doheny adorably playing the role of Alex Truelove and his quest – with the help of his supportive friends – to lose his virginity to his awesome girlfriend / bestfriend Claire (Madeline Weinstein).

Unlike Love, Simon – this isn’t as wholesome and as realistic in terms of how accepting the high school kids are and virtually just about everyone around Alex. That is where it falters a bit in my opinion. Alex Strangelove is a cliché yet poignant and optimistic movie in an unforgiving high school setting moving towards acceptance, rather than just mere tolerance when it comes to sexuality and individuality. It is beautiful yet too ideal a scenario that we only see on TV and the big screen – this time, through my smartphone.

That being said, Alex Strangelove is a step forward towards education. A step towards acceptance. We’ve already made some progress. One step at a time. One step at a time.

Director: Craig Johnson
Cast: Daniel Doheny, Antonio Marziale, Madeline Weinstein, Daniel Zolghadri, Nik Dodani, Fred Hechinger

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Film Review: Annihilation (2018)

I’m not big on these kind of films but this one piqued my interest from its very visually appealing trailer, plus one of my favorite actresses is starring in it so I ‘d easily searched it thru Netflix where it was widely released and tagged as one of Netflix originals.

Annihilation follows a group of an all-female scientist who enter a mysterious quarantine zone they call The Shimmer – a place where there is constant mutation from virtually all living things the shimmer touches.

There were several failed mission before the group where nobody has ever returned except for one – Lena’s (Natalie Portman) husband. Nobody has ever gotten information about The Shimmer since said husband couldn’t remember a thing and communications is jammed inside the Shimmer.

I’ve several questions about the central premise of the film but the major thing that bothered me is – if and when the / a group was able to gather information from The Shimmer, then what? It’s not like, we’re advanced enough to counter such entity (if you even wanna call IT that). Obviously, the whole thing was expected to expand and invade cities, states, countries and the rest of the world in time but what can we do exactly? I mean, all throughout I was just thinking about what are they going to do about a world that is constantly evolving, the way we are evolving now. If you wanna go deep and a philosophical about it – even without the Shimmer. We are evolving. Maybe not in appearance (just yet) but in every aspects of our lives.

It was a fascinating and visually stimulating film to say the least. Very typical alien-esque movie, not as artsy as the tree of life but definitely worth a watch or two!

Director: Alex Garland
Cast: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, Oscar Isaac, Benedict Wong, Sonoya Mizuno, David Gyasi,

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars