October 28, 2012

The Last

I've always been a big supporter of Wong Fu Productions. I always find joy and pleasure in watching their shorts, may it be a comedy skit, or a dramatic one. I've written about them before when I reviewed one of their shorts, one that I first saw during their trip here in the Philippines; but I waited til they've officially released it before writing about it.

This time, it will all be about their latest short, The Last, starring Harry Shum Jr, star of Step-up movies and Glee. It was written and directed by Philip Wang, although the whole crew got involved. It's all about how many people you have loved, and whether you've already found the last one. It's a romantic short, and it had that familiar vibe present in their work. Something smooth and relaxing. At the same time, also inspiring and thoughtful. I also liked the incorporation of why, what, when, where, and why in this story. I was actually thinking that the sixth will be "how" thus completing the set.

Harry Shum Jr. was also an excellent story teller. The tone and delivery he used was perfect for the theme of this short. We all know he can act and dance, but now we know that he can really do a great voice over. It was delicate and moving. Kina GRannis was also impressive in portraying all the characters she was given, the why, what, when, where and why characters. It had a variety of talented actresses to back this whole concept.

In the commentary, it said that the target audience were both the young and the old. I couldn't agree more as this was a short that could appeal to any type of audience really. It talks about something universal in a way that's familiar and inviting. It could relate to people very well. That's one of the best things about this short. It's an awesome short, and it's no surprise it's been getting positive feedback. Philip Wang is really one of the most talented men I know, and someone I really look up to. His works are always meaningful and inspired; and also inspiring. I wish I could create something like this.

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October 20, 2012

Taken 2

Before I start, you have to understand how much I liked the first movie of Taken. It was action-packed, intensely satisfying. I really enjoyed every second of it. The moment I left the cinemas, I started hoping they'd make a sequel. Imagine my surprise and joy when I learned that they did decide to make a part 2. Then it got me thinking, how will they match the success of the first film? Moreover, what will be their story? I didn't want taken 2 to end up like a Hangover 2 and have the same thing happen again, with some minor changes Hangover 2 did maintain the entertainment quality of the first, but at the same time, I wanted something more thrilling for Taken 2.

I finally had the chance to check the movie out, and I'd say they were able to maintain the core elements that made me like the first film. It had the same level of thrill, of excitement, of passion, and of course, action. I guess it's safe to share what's different in this movie compared to the first, since they basically showed it in the trailer. This time, the relatives of the people Bryan killed in the first movie are out to take their revenge. Their course of action will include taking him, and his family. However unlike the first movie, Kim would be helping his father locate her mother when the enemies successfully took Lenore. I thought that was impressive; Kim being a heroine, instead of a victim, or a damsel in distress. It also took Maggie Grace's performance to a new level, I thought.

My favorite scene included the roof top. For those who have seen the movie, I thought that scene was the stand-out scene in the entire movie. I can't necessarily pinpoint why, but I really liked that scene, with Kim saving her parents from dying, Bryan trying to save his child from those chasing her. It's multi-dimensional and it played out brilliantly. The final fighting scene was just impressive. It had a lot of tricks but it still felt passionate. I guess the main reason why people looked forward to this movie was the action scenes, and I don't think anyone would be disappointed by that.

If I'll be complete honest, the first movie definitely was better, although I thought the second movie did a decent attempt in matching the first one. The second movie was a little loose compared to the first one wherein every single detail had something to contribute to the movie. Taken 2 was an intact movie, but I guess the first one had just a bit more fire to it. I'll also say that I was more impressed with Maggie Grace this time around. She has grown into a refine lady with a performance that impressed me. She maintained the fragility of her character, but she also showcased strength. I also took notice more of Famke Janssen this time around, probably because she got a lot more airtime in the second movie. I liked that about it. Above all, I'll always be a Liam Neeson fan. He just has this ability to transform his characters to someone people can identify with. I don't have to say much, we've all witnessed the caliber of Liam Neeson in movie or the other.

I did like the second movie. It had the same level of energy as the first, and it was able to maintain everything that was good in the first movie. Probably fell short on some department, but definitely not on the entertainment value. It was thrilling and moving and it delivered what it promised it would: action. Olivier Megaton, the director, did a fine job creating this movie, especially after the success of the first one. Luc Besson, the writer and producer of both films, really has a creative mind, and an artistic point of view when it comes to telling stories.

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October 14, 2012

Robin Hood

Two words can describe the entirety of this movie: authenticity and credibility. These two words, I believe, can sum up the whole experiencing of watching Robin Hood, the 2010 epic adventure drama film starring Russell Crowe. It was directed by Ridley Scott, who also directed Gladiator. The film also featured Cate Blanchett, Mark Strong, Max von Sydow, Kevin Durand, Scott Grimes, Alan Doyle, Oscar Isaac, Lea Seydoux, Mark Addy, Danny Huston, and Eileen Atkins.

The partnership of Crowe and Ridley Scott is divine. I don't know how Scott pushed Crowe, but I though Crowe was able to pull off his characters with great valor and excellence in both movies I've seen he did with Scott. Gladiator was a phenomenal film I looked forward to seeing this almost immediately. In all honesty, if only time permitted me to do so, I would have watched this movie right after Gladiator. But at the same time, I also knew it was a good thing as I wanted to savor the majestic experience that is the Galdiator. I wouldn't have suspected that Robin Hood would be just much of a thrill.

The story tells the tale of Robin Hood, known to most as an outlaw, a thief, a criminal. A man who didn't always do the right thing, but always meant well for the poor people he encountered. While he stole, he only stole from the rich to provide for the poor. A thief with a heart. This movie provided a narration of how such a man became who he became. A noble man who fought in a war, only to find himself in uncommon circumstances. This was the prequel to the famous tale of Robin Hood. I thought the storyline was brilliant, and it gave justice to the legacy of Robin Hood. It demonstrated how fair he was, and also how strong and clever he was. This plot was good enough to maintain the "hero" status of a man who justified the means with the end. Maybe that's just how I saw it, and that's how I interpreted it.

The authenticity of the film had something to do with the credibility of the actors. If you've seen Gladiator, you'd know that there's no one more credible to take up a sword than Russell Crowe. This was his league, his expertise. He knew how to handle a weapon, and knew exactly how to use them.It always felt real when he took up a sword ans swung it to his opponents. When he got his hands on a bow and arrow, and let out a beautiful shot. His mere presence demands attention, and his skills was for pure spectacle. He's one of the biggest names in the business, and I'm glad he still has a lot of projects. His a very talented actor and one I look up to.

Cate Blanchett, Kevin Durand, Scott Grimes, Alan Doyle and the rest of the cast were all equally credible in portraying their respective roles. I'd have to say though that these 4, along with Crowe, of course, were my absolute favorites in the movie. They were firm when they were in the battlefield, but loose and funny when they weren't. They allowed the entertainment value of the movie to skyrocket just with their dynamics and camaraderie. It was awesome to watch them. They gave the sense of lightness with their words, but a real sense of what knight were with their stature and stand. It was, in a way, majestic, to witness it all play out and how their characters evolved through the movie's run.

It's a spectacle, and one to linger at that. It's one of those movies that keeps your mind on it long after the ending credits have finished rolling. It's one that invites and allows you to invest yourself and to be involved in it. I pictured myself being in it because the movie provided the opportunity to do so. It wasn't a distant movie, but rather a close one, and that made a huge difference in terms of what kind of movie experience I'll be having. I really had a great time watching the movie. It was exciting and free-spirited and I liked those things about it. It kept me on the edge of my seat, as one would say. I appreciate a movie that can do that.

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A Very Important Call

This will be a short review of a short film. I enjoy watching all types of films, even the short ones. In fact, I've reviewed a couple of short films here because I genuinely enjoy how people can create a story in just a few minutes. This one didn't even last 10 minutes, but the concept of it was established and clear.

You know those times when you're getting all the calls/messages except the one you really need? Yeah, this short is about exactly that. A Very Important Call is a short film featuring Earl Palmer, who also sent me a link to this short. It's uploaded in funnyordie.com and based on the meter, a lot of people are liking this one. It's about a man waiting by the phone for a very. very important call. Unfortunately, he kept getting calls from people he never intended to talk to, like, I think, telemarketers. He then learns that the best way to keep all those calling him away was to be rude.

I think given the premise of the short, the ending didn't come as a surprise. However, that didn't take away anything from the entertainment value of the film. I particularly liked the ending itself, the facial expression while being in a fetal position. I found that really funny. Actually the unnatural sounds he was making was also something worth noticing. I'd like to be able to pull that trick off.

It has good entertainment value and the cinematography is commendable. The quality of the film was really good, and the sound quality was just as great. The movie makers knew how to utilize their equipment and make use of its full capacity in order to produce a quality short. Thank you Earl Palmer for sending me the link. I'm not sure if I can share the link, but you can all search it in funnyordie.com

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October 11, 2012

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

I liked Greek mythology when we discussed it in school. I liked it even before that cause I thought mythology's one of the most interesting topics we can all talk about. It's about the stories of gods and of humans, the interaction people associate them with and the overall story being told. I enjoyed reading about the different narrations whether it was a story about victory, conflict or anything else for that matter. Right off the bat, I instantly connected with the idea of this movie.

I have to say that I had a great time watching the movie, although there were a couple of moments I wasn't sure if I was enjoying for all the right reasons. There were scenes that looked really awkward, and felt awkward, which made me laugh and smirk and enjoy the moment. But, aside from those short moments, I noticed that the movie had great visual effects and great sound effects as well. They really knew how to sell the movie's strength: concept and effects. These two worked well together and it was clear that the whole idea of the movie was to fascinate, but at the same time, tell a different perspective of the stories found in mythology.

The movie was humorous which was a great part of why I found this movie entertaining. It had quirks and punchlines not at all suitable for a movie about gods. It's funny and I liked that aspect of the movie. It's like an adventure comedy film about Greek mythology. Most of the entertainment value of the movie could be credited to Brandon T. Jackson, who I thought was like a young Martin Lawrence. He was right on cue to make things lighter with his witty lines and priceless expressions.

The movie was filled with newcomers and old-timers, with every single one standing out on their own rights. Logan Lerman really know how to lead a movie. He has this presence that is suited for a lead role. He can establish a connection with the roles he play because he really knows how to connect with them. Alexandra Daddario did not only look amazing in the movie, she played her part really well too. She was strong and dignified when she did her battle scenes.

The execution of the movie, while commendable, could have been stronger. The battle scenes could have been more authentic. At times it seemed a little too choreographed, and it's always better to see battle scenes that just flow naturally. There were scenes where there seemed to be a disconnect in some areas as well. My biggest concern revolved around how there seemed to be no sense of suffering when Percy Jackson first toured the camp when he just lost his mother. Maybe that's just a minute detail but it really got me wondering.

But in all honesty, I really liked the movie. I watched it cause I learned that there will be a sequel which made me think that it must've been a hit for the filmmakers to do another one. Then it got me thinking that maybe it was a good movie for people to spend money on it. And it was. A very entertaining, fun-filled adventure movie. A very good way to spend the afternoon.

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October 07, 2012


Gladiator was a 2000 award winning drama film starring Russell Crowe, who ultimately won an Academy Award for Best Actor during the 73rd Academy Awards. Also part of the cast were Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Djimon Hounsou, Ralf Moller, Oliver Reed, Richard Harris, Spencer Treat Clark, and Derek Jacobi. It was written by David Franzoni, John Logan, and William Nicholson and was directed by Ridley Scott.

I feel a little lucky cause the past couple films I've seen have been really good. It makes my comeback that more enjoyable. I knew Gladiator would be amazing. After all it's a critically acclaimed movie that also enjoyed a successful box-office run, earning more than 450 million dollars. Not a bad profit, considering the movie was released 12 years ago, when prices of commodities were relatively lower. That just shows how the people vastly enjoyed the magnificence of this epic film. Who wouldn't? It had great production value, a reference to historical events, and a battle performances worth watching over and over again.

The execution of the movie was commendable. The way Scott directed the movie just made a whole idea be brought to life. I liked how every scene was clear and had a direct relation to the story. Nothing felt out of place, and every moment had an impact to the whole movie. I also liked how the cameras were placed during the battles. It captured every detail worth noting during the battles. The splash of blood, the sword fighting, the deaths of the victims. It was all well-planned and very well-executed. I even enjoyed the background music they combined the intense scenes with. Actually, the movie had amazing music, soft, melancholic, exciting.

Russell Crowe truly deserved the honor and recognition he got from this movie. His portrayal of Maximus drove the entire movie to a quality of excellence. He's a hero audience members would certainly root for. His presence in the movie is so big that it captures the essence of a true warrior, a real gladiator. He was strong, courageous, and powerful. The villain made it even better. Joaquin Pheonix's Commodus was cynical and disturbed. Treacherous yet vulnerable as well. Crowe and Phoenix complemented each other well and the push and pull of their characters, the tension and the hatred were all authentic and genuine.

The whole movie was a treat to watch. It deserved the recognition and the love it received upon its release. 12 years later, people still talk about the greatness of the movie. I ever know people who consider this their favorite movie of all time. There's a certain charm and importance to this film that triggers something inside of people; a certain interest. It invites you to take part in history, in entertainment, and in the overall situation. It's a fantastic movie and I greatly enjoyed watching it. I appreciated every aspect of the movie because the filmmakers took the time to polish every single edge of it.

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October 06, 2012

Perks of Being a Wallflower

After a long time of being sick, I'm finally back. Been suffering this outrageous headache the past few days, but fortunately, things are getting better. Hopefully I'll be able to write more now. There's another thing called work that's keeping me from writing more here. But I'm just glad I'm back.

I haven't been able to watch any movies recently, so it was good to finally see the inside of the movie house once again. What better way to come back to the movie zone than by watching an Emma Watson movie? The sole reason I agreed to watch this movie was Emma Watson. I thought this was going to be one of those typical and generic teen movies. But I thought, watching Emma Watson in a role different from Hermione Granger would be refreshing enough to make those usually corny teen movies tolerable. But let me tell you now that this movie set itself apart from its peers. This movie was anything but your ordinary teen romantic movie. This had much more substance, much more volume and a wide range of variety. It did have stereotypical ingredients of a normal teen movie, but this was still of a different level.

I've read some people refer to the movie as a "coming-of-age movie", and I thought it was a perfect description of the movie. It's a period of exploration, a period of knowing and experiencing new things. The movie majestically created that atmosphere in a sophisticated manner. It was not a raunchy one, it was a real movie that combined passion and art realistically. It's a very refreshing movie, and it made me feel good that a movie in this particular genre can be as amazing as this one. I don't hate teen movies. I've seen several and I understand the appeal of it. It's just that most of it start to look the same and this movie was able to bring something new to the table.

The story was multi-layered and dynamic, I appreciated it about it. While my friends call it a romance movie, the movie experimented not only with romance but with friendships, trauma, and abuse. It also had the element of family, death, love, and being in terms of who the characters really were. It's a story of how a boy  who had horrible experiences managed to find his "place" in the world. How he was able to cope with all the anxieties and turned his life around. How he got people who loved him support him through the whole process. It's a real feel good movie. It didn't hurt that this movie, while really moving, was also hilarious. A funny dramtic movie - that's how I saw the movie.

The brilliant story was backed by outstanding performances from the whole cast. Logan Lerman, who I first saw in the movie Gamer (starring Gerard Butler) was able to be real lead i this movie. His performance as the shy, innocent and naive boy who slowly fought his way through his hardships was convincing and heartfelt. Emma Watson was just as amazing. First of all, we have to hand it to her for speaking withour her British accent. That must've been tough. I kept remembering Hugh Laurie, the star of the television series House, who also had to speak without his accent for his work. It was impressive, really. Also, it wasn't just the way she spoke, but also the way she took the character of Sam and made it an adorable yet significantly captivating one. The connection of Logan and Watson was really a treat and it made the dynamics of the characters work.

The other characters also made their mark on the film. Starting with Ezra Miller, who was probably one of the best things of the movie. He gave one of the strongest acting performances in the movie. Actually his portrayal of Patrick was one to give chills and to impress movie-goers. He's a fantastic actor. Mae Whitman was also a hard-rocking yet lovable character in the movie. She was someone you really rooted for. And although she didn't have much lines, Erin Wilhelmi had a charming presence as Alice. I also liked the fact that Nina Dobrev, Kate Walsh, Paul Rudd and Joan Cusack were all thin movie. Everyone in the movie is really awesome and I am supporters of all of them.

I really enjoyed the movie, mostly for the quality of the story and the phenomenal performances of the actors involved in the story. I also liked the direction of Stephen Chbosky, who also wrote the book the movie was based on. It was clear and concise. It wasn't all jumbled up even though a lot of things were happening. I'd say though that the cuts/transitions from one scene to another was a little weird. Although I think that was the movie house's fault. I'd watch it in another place to make sure. It was just weird that another scene was showing when the scene before didn't seem done yet. I'm not sure.

All I'll say now is that the movie is getting a wider release this weekend and I hope people, especially the younger ones, the real target market of the movie, take the time to check it out. It's a movie worth seeing, and a movie so beautifully done as well. It's amazing and seeing the actors bring it to life is something we all can appreciate.

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