Tag Archives: Film Review

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.

Advertisements

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.

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

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: 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