Tag Archives: Film Review

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!


Film Review: Baby Driver (2017)

Baby Driver reminds me so much of 21 and that’s probably because of the “Spacey” connection and the whole thing about professional felons with an innocent guy in the mix.

I do like the overall feel of the film – its funky music and alert pacing mirroring Baby’s best asset. What I didn’t quite like is its story in general. It was unrealistic with flimsy dialogues especially coming from Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx.

On the plus side, I thought Ansel was amazing considering the awful script. The rest are cliche at best. I don’t mind recommending this at all. It’s got lovely music and Ansel’s face.

Director: Edgar Wright
Cast: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Eiza Gonzalez, John Hamm, Jamie Foxx, John Bernthal
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Film Review: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Director: Bill Condon
Cast: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nathan Mack, Adrian Schiller, Hattie Morahan, Gerard Horan, Zoe Rainey, Henry Garrett, Harriet Jones

Beauty and the Beast in 3D is as magnificent as its grandiose  cast that includes Sir Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor, Luke Evans and its main stars Dan Stevens and Emma Watson among others.

I don’t think there’s even a doubt about Emma Watson’s star-power after the weekend success of the live-action remake of one of the most beloved Disney animations Beauty and the Beast where she played the iconic role of Belle – the provincial lass who felt too confined in her small-minded-small town who fell in love with a cursed prince.

The film just raked in $350M worlwide since its March 16 release despite controversies involving LeFou’s “gay” character (which is totally a non-issue to begin with so to you bigoted piece of shits – Disney doesn’t need your money – kbye!)

I’ve read a tweet last week that says, a new generation is going to forget Emma playing Hermionie because of Beauty and the Beast.

If I’m being quite honest,I think it’s going to be the exact opposite. Emma  has been immortalized by the Harry Potter franchise as the dorky, know-it-all  Hermionie and with Watson playing Belle and meeting every expecations, it solidifies her star-power that trandscends generation. So she’s gonna be remembered for sure playing the two equally iconic roles.

Kids and kids-alike will get a kick out of its fun, funny and endearing characters and songs that will remind them so much of their childhood. I was actually on the verge of tears when Mrs. Potts started singing the theme of the movie during Belle and the Beast’ romantic dance.

The lovely and well-detailed faithfulness of this adaptation from its original animation is what made the film even more special. The magic stayed with  Condon’s fresh new take and fresh new songs from Alan Menken and TIm Rice that includes  “How Does A Moment Last Forever,” heard at the beginning of the movie being sung/hum by Maurice (Kevin Kline), Belle’s father and during the end-credits belted by none other than, Celine Dion.

From the moment Watson appeared on screen, I just knew that it’s gonna be as epic as its trailer. Beauty and the Beast did not disappoint one bit. It was pleasing to the eye, lovely to the ears and just a full-on heartwarming movie that will make you believe in the power of true love – Disney style!

Rating: Perfect 10

movie poster via impawards

Film Review: Sakaling Hindi Makarating (2017)

sakaling-di-makarating-posterAfter watching Ice Idanan’s Sakaling Di Makarating last weekend, I was on the fence about it being a rip-off of “That Thing Called Tadhana” or perhaps just ‘a way better storytelling’ ala-Before Sunrise trilogy which ‘Tadhana” obviously tried to emulate. What I didn’t consider is the message within the film. Sakaling Di Makarating in comparison to the profanity-laden “Tadhana” has a much deeper message and obviously is more aesthetically pleasing.

What initially enticed me to watch the film is that it features the diverse beauty of the Philippines. Its beautiful landscapes being one of the focal points of the story should be a fantastic watch for a traveler like myself yeah? Then I found out that Alessandra de Rossi will star in it and I was absolutely sold! I knew I have to see this on the big screen.

A series of mysterious hand-illustrated postcards take a young woman on a journey throughout the Philippines in search of its anonymous writer.

The film didn’t disappoint with its aesthetic value. It felt like you’re traveling with Cielo (de Rossi) here – discovering the beauty of this tropical country whilst accompanying Cielo on her search for M.


Cielo’s journey is a way for her to alleviate her pain and to find the answers to the many whys of her failed relationship. Cielo for all her strength is only human though. She’s in the process of grieving and trying to decipher what her next move would be. Her journey to finding the postcard sender, M, is her journey to finding herself again. Some of us call it soul searching but more than anything else, I’d like to think that it’s finding a reason to live again. The places she’s been to, I’d like to think, made her realize that there’s so much more to life.

The storyline, however, felt a bit disjointed for me. It’s like I’m watching a movie within a movie, rather it felt like watching two films altogether. The connection between the first and the latter part of the film was startlingly obvious but it felt forced. Good thing, the kid who played Sol (Teri Malvar) is an absolute joy to watch! When the spotlight was focused on her, ‘girl just kick some ass like no other.


I have to be honest though. I actually enjoyed the latter part of the film more. The beginning which I find a bit mechanical was too reminiscent of ‘That Thing Called Tadhana.’ The dialogue were a bit off and Paul’s character was unnecessary in my opinion. The short affair involving Manuel (JC Santos) was a rather welcome distraction from the bleak narrative of the first half of the film. The parallelism of their scenes in connection to M at the latter part was just too clever! I just loved how so apt it was. I’m not sure if it’s just me who thought of it but if you think about it, there’s a rather eerie similarity.


Overall, this film was able to deliver a solid ending. The story may or may not work with many but there’s a chance for it to have a sequel. I’d love for it to have a sequel! I want a storyline with more of Paul in it. Maybe, I’m just not giving him a chance. The story could be everybody’s story who struggle not only with their love life but simply every day and are looking for an escape. The film won’t fix your problems but it will inspire you to go out there. Have the courage to search for what you’re looking for and as corny as it may sound, you have to remember that you only live once…

Director: Ice Idanan
Cast: Alessandra de Rossi, Teri Malvar, JC Santos, Pepe Herrera

Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

Film Review: La La Land (2016)

la-la-land-posterSo how do I even start with this one without spoiling it too much for you guys? I’ve been meaning to write a review after watching it last weekend but I’m still at that point where I’m trying to digest every scene, every moment of Mia and Sebastian together and everything that makes it one of the best films from last year.

Okay, so let’s start with the stars of the film.

emma-stoneEmma Stone here is flawless. There’s nothing I’d change about her in this film. It’s like watching a beauty pageant contestant on stage performing flawlessly for her audience to win the crown. Emma plays a ‘struggling’ actress here who knows that she’s destined to play A-lister roles for the camera and her struggles to make it into the city of stars is so transparent in her luminous depiction which I’m pretty sure will resonate with everyone of us dreaming – maybe not of the same thing – to be that something or someone.

Ryan Gosling meanwhile plays a passionate Jazz musician whose dream is to own a Jazz club in order to keep the musical genre alive. It all sounds very simple but in context it is a rather heartbreaking realization that indeed, jazz is dying and we need the likes of Sebastian in the real world to save it! Ryan played his role so
convincingly – playing the piano and dancing with vigor – that you’d fall in love with him all over again the way you fell for Noah in the Notebook. Ryan Gosling here without question cemented his status as a true ARTIST.


As for the story, it reminded me a bit of Satine and Christian’s love affair in Moulin Rouge what with both of them chasing their dreams and having to sacrifice love in the process.

There’s nothing extraordinarily new in it but there’s that surprising element of the storyline’s effectiveness. The storytelling will affect you. It will make you contemplate about your abandoned dreams and will make you weep at some point. I know I did and I cannot really explain why it affected me so much. Isn’t that crazy?


Perhaps, I was thinking of all the things we really have to let go in life in order for us to achieve something? I was asking myself tho, how worth is it to sacrifice one precious thing in exchange of similarly precious something? How do you weigh things out? I warned you that this may contain spoilers but there’s a lot of things to think about in this film – things that will make you stop, wander, and look back. Well, aside from the fantastic song and dance numbers, this film is just up there which will make you think that sometimes in life, we just have to keep dreaming. It’s free anyway!

Director: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars!

Film Review: Gods of Egypt (2016)

Gods of EgyptTitle: Gods of Egypt
Year: 2016
Director: Alex Proyas
Cast: Brenton Thwaits, Nikolak Coster-Waldau, Gerard Butler, Geoffrey Rush, Elodie Young, Courtney Eaton

Gods of Egypt may just be the worst film I’ve seen this year or from the last two years if I’m being honest. The whole thing was just horridly executed with a very weak storyline, unimpressive CGI’s and overall performances of actors who didn’t quite deliver the goods.

I am so much up for epic films. I loved me some mythical creatures – fiction or nonfiction and loved my history lessons but this didn’t quite get me to that place where I was left in awe-inspiring wonder of the world the film was trying  to create.

Let me just say how awfully off the humor was. It’s just all awkward and wished that it was just all grit. Why does it have humor in the first place?

Speaking of grit – it was zero. Nada. Nil. I would appreciate a grittier execution ala-300 than the awful, puke-inducing cheesy lines from each character with the rather dull CGI’s.

Meanwhile, lead stars Gerard Butler (Set), Brenton Thwaits (Bek) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Horus) were like one actor with multiple roles (just ridic af) and that’s not good in my book. Not even Geoffrey Rush whom I loved dearly could save the film because he’s just all kinds of out of place here.

One thing that may have some merit here is the costume design and absolutely nothing else.

There may be some people who may enjoy this one but I honestly cannot fathom why they would…just saying.

 Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Film Review: Triple Standard – An LGBTQ Short Film (2010)

Triple StandardTriple Standard is short film about Crim, a homophobic ex-professional athlete who’s in denial of the reality of his situation as a gay man which he refuses to acknowlegde telling his partner of three years, D that he is in fact bisexual – even insisting that they are both bisexuals.

The movie started with Crim, D, Stanley and their friends in the locker room after a friendly game of basketball. When Stanley messes with Crim (William Jennings) licking his armpit, Crim went berserk spewing a litany of homophobic remarks. At the shower room, Crim was still seething with some of their friends noticing D (Lee Amir-Cohen) being quiet through it all. When D went home after the incident, Crim was anxiously waiting in the living room. It turns out that they have actually been living together for years now. Crim’s denial towards his sexuality, even acknowledging his “standards” that they have talked about before left D hurting thus issuing an ultimatum to end their relationship if Crim will not stop and face reality.

I very much enjoyed watching this short film because it totally depicts the reality of most closeted men (most especially the ones in the spotlight) where they would rather deny themselves the freedom to acknowledge what they are than be condemned by the cruel and unforgiving society.

Coming from D’s point of view, it’s really hard to be with someone that basically denies what you have. It gets to a point where enough is enough. And from Crim – well, reality sucks big time. At the end of the day though, why should they let others run their lives? I guess that’s too easy to say from someone who are not in their shoes.

The actors who played Crim and D are both likable. I can just feel the hurt pouring out of Amir-Cohen throughout the mid-to-last scenes. Jennings was equally impressive! They really do have great chemistry and I won’t mind seeing them together on screen again.

Do spare 20 minutes of your time to watch this short film for free, I promised that it won’t go to waste.

This was the re-edited version for Youtube Distribution.

Director: Branden Blinn
Starring: Lee Amir-Cohen, William Jennings, Ronnie Prouty, Stephen Alderfer, Jay Ellis, Dylan Mooney, Justen Naughton, Michael Williams, Jontae Vinson, Ramall Goodrich, Jacob Hibbits

Film Review: Paper Towns (2015)

Paper TownsPaper Towns is the only book of John Green that I have not read, though I remember starting the first chapter of it last year but decided to drop it because I got emotionally exhausted after reading The Fault In Our Stars and Looking For Alaska consecutively so I thought I needed a John Green break. So when I decided to check this film out, I’ve nothing to compare it with and can look at it with no preconceived ideas or whatsoever.

The film follows Quentin helping her childhood friend Margo exact revenge to a friend who betrays her. The day after their mischief, Margo didn’t show up at school and is nowhere to be found. With clues left behind, Q along with his other friends embarks on a mission to find Margo, the girl he is still in love with.

I was actually ecstatic when I found out that Nat Wolff would be headlining Paper Towns because I loved his character in the film adaptation of The Fault In Our Stars. He’s got incredible charisma on screen and I thought he’d be perfect for another young adult book-to-movie adaptation but on a leading role this time. Then there’s the surprising addition of pseudo-supermodel Cara Delevingne. Not exactly a fan of Cara but I love her as a model.

Paper Towns 2

I loved the direction director Jake Schreier (Robot & Frank) was trying to get into with this film but I kinda missed the point midway because I lost the connection from both Cara and Nat, more so with Cara I believe. She’s definitely no Shailene or even Kristen and she acts like she’s on a runway. Sorry for the comparison but it’s just bland, blank and I dunno – dull or any other synonyms of what I just mentioned. It was disheartening that I didn’t get much from her aside from her insistence of what she felt like all over the film – I’m like, girl get over it! Meanwhile, I was fawning all over Nat Wolff because this guy just outshined everyone in the film the way Woodley did it in The Fault In Our Stars. So it’s kind of a 50/50 like and not liking this film for me mainly because of the two main characters.

Sure, they have good chemistry but their acting prowess clearly was imbalance. What I probably enjoyed most about it though, was the almost magical feel of the film. There’s this subdued ambiance over the shots and even the dialogueswith characters deciphering the mysterious “Paper Towns” Schreier so meticulously crafted but aside from that, everything just fell flat.

This is a teenage movie after all –  angsty but too contrived (at least for me) but would definitely work for its demographic.

Director: Jake Schreier
Cast: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Halston Sage, Austin Abrams, Justice Smith, Jaz Sinclair, Caitlin Carver, Tom Hillmann, Jim Coleman, Ansel Elgort 

Rating: 5/10

Review: That Thing Called Tadhana (2015)

That Thing Called TadhanaGoin’ into the theater, I already expected that I’d love it no matter what since it’s starred by JM de Guzman whom I considered a superb performer and being partnered with the feisty Angelica Panganiban – my impression was solidly cemented for good.

A Thing Called Tadhana isn’t your usual pa-tweetums romantic pinoy flick. It’s sooooo far from it. Directed by Antoinette Jadaone, the whole thing was like a local adaptation of Before Sunrise – but definitely has its own charm. Mace (Panganiban) and Anthony (de Guzman) met at an airport in Rome. Both broken-hearted, they decided to take on a road trip in the northern part of the Philippines – a whirlwind trip that went deeper than their new found friendship as they delved into searching where do really broken hearts go?

I just totally loved how their relationship developed throughout their journey. The dialogues weren’t overly dramatic but very memorable. They’re not the usual “one-liners” that border on being contrived. It’s the lines that you’d actually remember the most after watching this film. I especially loved this one  – “Hindi Na Kita Mahal, Makakaalis Ka Na! Yung eight years naming, tinapos niya in seven words!” – I thought it was genius through and through!”

I also loved the fact that it focuses more on dialogues than visuals although it feels like you’re also travelling with them as they went to Baguio, then Sagada (I totally got nostalgic on their way there because Sagada’s one of my favorite places on earth!!!!) – I’m happy that these places were highlighted in the story without out-staging the actors. The only thing I would consider to be an issue about it is the excessive use of profanity which I felt was lazy on the part of the screenwriter. Other than this, it is golden.

JM de Guzman and Angelica Panganiban just had this undeniable chemistry that made the film relatable more than its glaring mass appeal. It’s so refreshing to watch a Filipino film that does not resort to visual grandeur which often does not work in their favor. I loved the film’s simplicity, its funny antics and its touch of nostalgia that everyone could easily relate to. Jadaone created a pierce here that will probably propel her into the mainstream cinema film making. Congratulations!

Director: Antoniette Jadaone
Cast: Angelica Panganiban, JM de Guzman

Rating: 6/10

Review: Ang Lalake Sa Parola [The Man in the Lighthouse] (2007)

Director: Joselito Altarejos
Starring: Harry Laurel, Justine De Leon, Jennifer Lee, Crispin Pineda, Allan Paule, Sheree, Richard Quan, Dexter Doria

Ang Lalake Sa ParolaAng Lalake sa Parola have big, big potentials. Director Joselito Altarejos could’ve maneuvered this film into a different direction to come up with a masterpiece. “… Parola” chronicles the journey of Mateo (Harry Laurel), a lighthouse caretaker from a rural area and Jerome (Justine De Leon), a gay man from the city who seduces the naive Mateo to enter into a homoerotic relationship with him.

 The plot seems very simple yet complicated. It’s a metaphorical rendition of how homosexuality encompasses the lives of men even from the remotest of area. The myth about fairies was a great parallelism to the focal point of the story. That may be the word. The film is full of parallelism that it failed to deliver an actual storyline which in the end resulted to a confusing finale.

 ‘Probably the best thing about this film is the lead actor; Harry Laurel performed incredibly well considering that this was his first feature film. His subtle attack on each scene was very believable and you’ll actually root for him! His slight accent gives flavor to the naivety of Mateo’s character. His almost awkward and sometimes deer in the headlights expression was rather charming because it fits his character so well. Justine on the other hand played it a bit too forced in my opinion. I know that he was supposed to play it discreetly upon arriving in the small town but overtime, that whole persona evaporated. He became rather clingy and too needy which I thought his character does not really asked for.

The film overall was okay. It may have a weak structure and may have used too much symbolism to make it look like an intelligent film but those are tolerable.  The intent was there which makes it easy to understand the statement it was trying to convey – yup, it is a good film.

Rating: 6/10