March 17, 2013


I finally saw Bridesmaids. My love for Rebel Wilson brought me to it, and even though she only had a small part in it, I'm really glad I did it. She was hilarious and charming and she makes everything enjoyable. But let's focus at the brilliance of Kristen Wiig. For her to come up with such an entertaining script, while also touching people is truly majestic. It was genuine and it really came from a real place, I thought. Sure, she must've written it for pure entertainment purposes, but I am also sure the depth of it came from something real and experienced. I should also acknowledge Kristen's co-writer Annie Mumolo. Both of them did very well!

First allow me to really get into the cast. I think they've been friends since they also did another movie "Friends with Kids," but seeing Chris O'Dowd, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig was such a blast. The movie was exploding with all things good and positive. The chemistry of these three with Rose Byrne and Melissa McCarthy was just heaven on a screen. It was that amazing. All of them were strong individuals who gave something memorable to the movie. I especially appreciated McCarthy's performance. What a babe!

For those who don't know, Bridesmaids is a movie about....bridesmaids. The main plot of the story revolved around how the bride's best friend tried to compete with the bride's new friend. That led to them trying to outshine each other. Sounds simple enough? Good cause it's really a simple movie. However, don't equate simplicity with dullness. This movie was anything but that. It also had different layers like life evaluations, hitting rock bottom, rising up and accepting the challenge. I think it's relatable, which is probably why it became a huge success.

This is just a short post. I have to be somewhere. But I really wanted to put this up now. I'll see if I'll be able to edit it later today to justify how much I enjoyed the movie. But here's what you need to know. It's a fun movie, Wiig, Wilson, Rudolph, O'Dowd and McCarthy were very god in it, and it made hundreds of millions. If that doesn't convince you, I don't know what would. But seriously, it's a good one!

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March 10, 2013

21 and Over

The guy from Pitch Perfect, the guy from the Footloose remake, and the guy from the Twilight, although since I really don't watch Twilight, I know him more as the YouTube celebrity. 21 and Over put these three together and I instantly became interested, especially since it's a comedy film. Sure there are new other releases here like the Oz and Dead Man Down, but I know I'd watch those sooner or later; so when I got a friend asking if I wanted to see 21 and over I was on board. I actually read the negative reviews about the movie but I've never been one to be swayed by reviews so I thought I still better check it out.

21 and Over is an insane movie. I haven't decided yet if it's a good kind or a bad kind, but I'm guessing I'm gonna end up thinking it's the former. It's a fun, crazy film. Since I am an advocate of fun and crazy films, I naturally enjoyed watching 21 and Over. The comparison to The Hangover was warranted, I think. It really did resemble a Hangover vibe, and even the story line was identical to the hit franchise. There's a group of friends who got so wasted they're now trying to get one of the friends to an important appointment to not ruin his future life. Sounds familiar? Yeah, I'm sure. But who cares. While the plot line was formulaic, there was nothing calculated about the quality of entertainment the movie had to offer. Let me be clear on this though, it's definitely not a movie you'd want to bring your kids to. This movie was made for adults, who are open-minded liberals (as redundant as that sounds) and fun loving people. Definitely the same market as the Hangover.

Speaking of Hangover, I really think Justin Chon is the younger Ken Jeong. Probably their characters were just similar but I got the Ken Jeong vibe out of him. Same level of hilarity too. Skylar Astin and Miles Teller played very different characters from the ones I've seen them do. That was a good thing to see, shows versatility. Nice to know they can really do good in a comedy film as well, especially one as raunchy and wild as this. I think the writers did well in creating a diverse pool of characters, reinforcing, while breaking at the same time, stereotypical notions.

While it's similar to Hangover, I think we should all give credit to 21 and Over as an individual film. It's a comedy film that can stand on its own. Not everyone would like it, some might even find it disgusting. But at the end of the day, the goal of this film is to make people laugh, and it definitely had the capacity to do that. It got some crazy ideas put to motion by three very competent stars. It's entertaining, funny and extremely hilarious for some parts. It's a crazy ride, and viewers must just sit back, and enjoy the adventure. Let the movie take the wheel and be assured that there's laughter awaiting at the end of the road.

This is a short review. All you need to know is that I was laughing so hard while watching the movie. It was great as long as you remember that the main objective is to have fun and be entertained. If you think the line for Oz is too long, remember there are other movies to see.

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February 25, 2013

A Good Day to Die Hard

I've never seen the other Die Hard movies, which is a good thing because the reviews for this one haven't been very favorable. It's a good thing because I have nothing to compare it too, which made me enjoy it fa more than a lot of people, apparently. I actually didn't get the hate. It was entertaining, had constant action, had a decent story to follow. I guess true Die Hard fans could react the way they did since they've been the ones loyally following the franchise. As a newcomer, I thought what I saw was pretty good.

When I said there was constant action, I really meant it. Guns were being fired, people were being chased, cars were being destroyed in many ways all the time. Before one can even recover from the previous gun show, there's another one being presented to you. Time flew really fast because of this. One minute they're crushing every car on the streets of Russia, the next moment they're involved in a gun fight; and just within a few minutes, they're running for their life to a dumpster. There was a constant movement, and the shift added the sense of danger and excitement.

I also liked the twists presented in the movie. I'm not only talking about the twists in the plot, but the twists on the characterization as well. The characters were very round and the transforming of these personas was amazing. I especially liked how the villain became the villain. It was a perfect execution and a bit unexpected. I was actually impressed by how dark it was, and I liked the fact that I was surprised by it.

Jai Courtney was incredible in this film. He was a great choice to play Willis' son. He had everything going right for him. He had the charisma, the power, and the skills t kick some ass in that movie. He was believable. I'd have to say though that Willis is still the star of the film. I really like his character here. Funny, witty, but still strong. He still got the movies even after all those years. He's still as sharp as ever, and he still has what it takes to define action. He was magnificent! The pair of them brought humor and deadliness together, and mashed it up perfectly.They had balance with just the right amount of pushing and pulling.

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February 19, 2013


Ghajini is an odd movie for me; and I say that in the best way possible with the utmost respect and admiration for the artistry of this movie. The reason I called it odd as because of how it integrated almost every single genre known to man in one single movie. It's practically a psycho-thriller crime drama; however, also part of its subplot was a romantic comedy love story. It was a different experience for sure. During the subplot, I almost lost track of what I was watching. It felt like I was watching another film, far from the psycho-thriller revenge seeking film I was supposed to be seeing. That tells me two things. One: the movie is a perfect example of a genius film. Two: the director and cast were so diverse and versatile to produce such a challenging film.

The plot revolved around a man who suffered from a short term memory loss. He would lose all his memory after 15 minutes, and lived by taking photos and name-tagging everything he owned and did. He, however, had not forgotten the tragedy that struck two years prior: the violent murder of his girlfriend. He then only had one goal in life: avenge the death of his lover. I don't think this will be considered a spoiler since the movie made it pretty clear with in the first few minutes of the movie. I guess they just said it so the audience can focus on the story-telling, which I will tell you, was beautiful. It was graphic and detailed how the main character was going to get to his target. he doesn't remember a lot so he's made an intricate plan to find the killer and make him suffer.

This also led to the police having a sudden interest in him especially since an investigation was pointing to him. Few minutes later, the audience is introduced to the girlfriend Sanja Singhani (the main character played by Aamir Khan) lost. It started with how they met, the circumstances that led to their meeting, growing close and eventually falling in love. This was the lightest part of the film. It was truly comical since it was really unconventional. Their love story screams hilarity right from the start. It was really helpful that Asin was so damn compelling in her role as Kalpana. She was lovely and had the perfect timing for her lines, and boy were her lines good. This was the romantic comedy part of the film. It was so well-done it takes you full-on. As I said, I almost forgot I was watching a movie about a man out to kill the people who wronged him. These scenes had a totally different vibe with it.

Then it shifted to the present where a medical student found herself involved in the chaotic life of Singhania. She definitely was interested, but there was more to his life than a medical case. She was in for a surprise when she realized her life was actually in danger. In the midst of running and telling, it shifted back to the past to complete the story of Singhania and Kalpana. It showed what happened that changed Singania's life forever. Gone was the big shot business man. Gone was the smiling, generous man. Gone was all the fame and fortune as he lived in isolation. The turn of events was so drastic yet so endearing. It had the magic of a great flick and it was touching and moving as well as heartbreaking. It's the artistry and craftsmanship of the movie that made me really like it.

The movie had a very powerful feel to it. The story was complex, but the way they did it made total sense. It was organized in a way that the narrative would be understood and felt by the viewing public, but it also boasted its artistry. This movie is a real work of art and the director, was a brilliant artist. He was able to depict all these intertwining stories so wonderfully that it was effective. Effective and powerful. Those are the two words I'd use to describe the film. Emotional and grandiose would be other choices. It was a really grand film. I don't think they held back with anything. All of it was visually pleasing and appealing. It was a great viewing experience.

The writing and the directing was a perfect marriage. Sure they had a strong material at their hands; but the most impressive thing was what they chose to do with it. They definitely not wasted it. I was really impressed by how the story was flowing, how they were shaping the characters, and how the events are turning up. It was constantly changing which made the movie alive. I just was blown away by this movie. It was a really great film to see. I had a lot of fun watching 3 Idiots and I'm glad this gave me another form of fun in terms of  a Bollywood experience. It was a fascinating film for sure.

Aamir Khan as the star of the movie was perfect. He had everything going for him. He was versatile and transformed himself in every scene. He was funny when he needed to be, and tough when the scene called for it. I guess there's a reason why two of the highest grossing Bollywood film had him as the star; he delivers, and he delivers well. He's one genuinely talented actors and probably one of the best in worldwide cinema. He has this effect of making people laugh, sympathize, or angry. He portrays a wide range of emotions and he's always right on cue when showing them. He's a truly remarkable actor and a gift the cinema.

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February 16, 2013

Pitch Perfect

The film was a simple movie. No twists, exploding cars or out of this world creatures. No CGIs or insane graphics. It was just about a group of people who sing acapella music. "All with [their] mouths," as the mpvie said. The idea of it isn't as exciting as Transformers or Avengers, but somehow I still liked it. It was actually recommended by my brother who told me it was good. I'd have to agree with him on that one. I like music as well so that was a huge added bonus.

Anna Kendrick was not only beautiful in this movie, she definitely showcased her vocal range. Everyone did, but Kendrick was the biggest surprise for me. I've seen Kendrick in films like 50/50 which was also a good film. But with this, I was even more impressed by her. She's definitely a star on the rise, and I think she'll go really far. She's beautiful and very talented. She has everything going for her and I can't wait to see her next move/movie. Another surprise was Brittany Snow. I guess Hairspray really helped her. Her presence in the movie was so charming and warm, I just was drawn to her. But the biggest treat in the whole movie was Rebel Wilson. Her crystal meth line was right on the money, and people will for sure remember that scene for a long time. She was a very vital ingredient in this movie, and she was an absolute delight.

The guys of the movie didn't fall behind. Skylar Astin, Ben Platt and Adam DeVine were getting really into it. The three characters were so different but perfectly complemented each other.  It was a good guy bad guy kind of thing, and it added entertainment quality to the movie. One of my favorite performances was Magic, led by Platt. I already liked the song before but it was cool the way they did it. The choreography was also fun. It's one of those I'd gladly watch over and over again. Freddie Stroma, who played the campus DJ, and John Benjamin Hickey, who played Beca's father weren't singin in the movie; yet, somehow they still managed to stand out as well. They didn't have a lot of scenes but they both seized every moment of their time.

The choice of music in this movie was smart. It ranged from oldies to current songs. I thought that had widened its audience. For sure it will mostly be young kids, but at least if adults came to see the movie, they'd still enjoy it. Maybe enjoy the twists and mas-ups made to the songs. As mentioned, I liked Magic, but I also liked Kendrick's version of Titanium, and her mash-up of the Bella's signature song with the pop song Bulletproof. I thought that was sick. It meshed up really well and it was very well-done. So whoever thought of that, kudos to you. The song selections were all pretty good. I wasn't aware of some of them so I guess it was good that they didn't go full mainstream, or at least not my mainstream.

It's a fun movie. Nothing too dramatic, lots of funny moments, much thanks to Wilson and Hana Mae Lee, the silent star of the show. Those two definitely brought their funny bones to the movie. Also, allow me to say that I was very shocked to see Ester Dean in this movie, especially in a role like that. Never imagined i'd be seeing her sing a Kelly Clarkson song. How's that for something new? But really, the movie was an uplifting fun movie. It provided quality entertainment and a fun loving singing atmosphere. The stars shone, and I think they all will continue to do so.

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February 11, 2013


I remember the first time I saw Looper I thought, "Wow. This movie is a lot darker than I expected." There was a certain grim about the movie's presence that was a little disturbing. How does a man kill his future self?  What will be the repercussions of doing so? What will be the consequences of not doing it? What happens next in either scenario? These were the main question that drove the story of Looper, a story about a hired killer who executes people from the future with the invention of time travel. In this case, the powerful tool was used by top crime syndicates to eliminate their enemies. In some instances, Loopers had to kill their future self.

The concept of it was great and the story line created around the concept was even better. At first it seemed like the movie Jumper, the 2008 movie of Hayden Christensen. It had almost the same premise of time/space travelling with people pursuing them. The basic structure of Looper was a little too similar to Jumper but the plot and core elements were different. There was the idea of self-conflict in Looper, a personal dilemma of choosing one's fate, which will inevitably affect the people of the future. The concept of it was intriguing at the very least. It's a constant battle of what the Looper must do next. There's an anticipation of what would happen next. It kept the movie alive and running even during it's down moments. Something was always just waiting to happen.

I have to say though that the idea became a bigger piece of the movie than the actual execution itself. The concept and story was the driving force of the movie for me; the reason I kept watching. While the cinematography and directing were also good, I was just dazzled by the idea behind the whole thing. It wasn't disappointing though. In fact, it was very impressive. The idea was consuming, yes. But the execution of the idea was not a let down. Rian Johnson, the writer and director,  truly grabbed the opportunity to create something exciting and provoking. It made several references to moral dilemmas of doing or not doing certain things. There's been talk about the silver in play and how it references the Biblical character Judas. I wouldn't be surprised if this was the case, as depicted in scenes early on in the movie.

Emily Blunt shone in this movie. She was captivating and relatable. Very human in that subject. Her character, though portrayed as a heroine, had her own faults, and Blunt made sure to showcase those as well. Vulnerable yet tough. That's how I'd describe her performance. The two main guys also delivered. It was thrilling to see both Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt battle it out in a survival of the fittest kind of game. Johnson directed these stars perfectly. I guess it's good that the writer also turned out to be its director  to enable him to pursue how he has visualized this movie. He had authority and control, and like a good leader, Johnson brought this film to a success.

**Side note: It was surprising and amazing to see Garret Dillahunt and Piper Perabo in the movie. Just thought I'd include it.

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February 10, 2013

3 Idiots

3 Idiots just became one of my favorite movies of all time. It was one of the lightest yet deepest movies I've had the pleasure of witnessing. 

3 Idiots was released back in 2009 and starred Aamir Khan, Kareena Kappor, R. Madhavan, and Sharman Joshi. The supporting cast included Boman Irani, Omi Vaidya, Mona Singh, and Rahul Kumar. It was a comedy-drama-musical Bollywood film that showcased different aspects of Indian life. The educational system, their culture, food, lifestyle, and even surroundings. 3 Idiots raked in numerous awards and recognition, became a box-office hit both in their domestic market as well as in the international market, and had a strong following. All these for good reasons. It's a freaking fantastic film. It's a gift to cinema in my honest, humble opinion. 

The movie never got boring for a second. I've always believed that at the core of every movie is the opportunity to entertain. That's exactly what the movie achieved: entertainment! There was something happening constantly. They kept in mind that the audience and witnesses of their work would need something to keep their attention. It was like a well-choreographed waltz with the rise and fall in its story line. It smoothly transitioned from being a comical musical to a heartfelt drama and back to the hilarity of the three idiots. Just when you thought everything was going good, laughing at the insanity being presented in front of you, you suddenly realize the shock and pain of the next scene. It never hits you, until it does because every transition was clean. It never felt forced or out of place. Every single scene was interconnected with each other; and that made the movie a crazy, yet inspiring narrative. 

It was all about learning, which was why a school for engineering folks was the perfect setting for this adventure. At the beginning of the movie, I thought this was going to be like The Hangover and a search for a lost buddy would suddenly commence. But it turned out to be a very intellectual movie. It employed science and philosophy to form amusing antics clever dialogues. It even applied physics to formulate an incredibly funny scene early on. But it wasn't just about the pranks. It also used simple thinking to navigate the movie into a more serious tone to talk about the value of education, the pressure revolving around it, the support professors should be willing to extend for their students, the drastic ways people cope with stress and frustration. It was rich both in laughs and lessons. While the movie had its characters mostly play around, it also made sure to define these characters as human beings, capable of being there for the people they care about. It showcased their humanity. 

It's undeniable how this film could immediately bring smiles. It had every single working tool at its disposal to create the most demented, yet excruciatingly hilarious movie. It had three very talented actors for the lead roles. Had a very strong script, and a director with the perfect knowledge and wisdom to transform he script into a full-on feature. All that judgment based on the output the whole team produced. After all, the film wouldn't have been a major success if the crew didn't put in the time and effort to perfect it. 

One more thing I really liked was the bond that the film showcased among the three idiots. It was warm and friendly. It was never hostile and always light. It's inspiring to see the friendship they had and how much they longed to be around each other again. I also liked how the story led the three together and the stories each of them had. They had different journeys but they decided to go along with each other and discover what life had in store for them together. The ending scene was probably one of the most joyous dramatic moments of the movie. Something I'm sure everyone would enjoy and laugh about, but also remember as one of the most heartwarming scenes. 

Aamir Khan, R. Madhavan and Sharman Joshi were all perfect actors in the movie. I couldn't see any fault in those three as they took on very challenging roles. It's not that easy, I assume, to play such diversified characters. But all three were magnificent in it. I really enjoyed each of their performances. Kareena Kapoor not only looked beautiful in the movie but also gave a moving performance. The entire cast was a delight to watch and each of them had a hand in making the movie as remarkable as it was. Everyone lifted their own weight and more to attain a beautiful, entertaining masterpiece. 

I beg you to do yourselves a favor and look for this movie. It has been several years from its release, but it is still finding its way to make more people happy. I only learned about this movie a few weeks ago, and I couldn't be more thankful that I got to watch it. I liked the movie so much, I watched it over again right after my first time seeing it. It was that good for me. Hopefully, you'll also feel the same. 

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February 03, 2013

Chinese Zodiac

**Let me take this opportunity to apologize because I have accidentally deleted a good number of comments. I was just trying to delete span comments, but it looks like I accidentally deleted some of the legit comments as well. That was stupid of me, so if you ever wrote a comment on this blog, please feel free to re-comment. Or just let me know. Looks like I deleted some of my replies as well.

I'm not sure if the rumors are true, but some of my friends say Chinese Zodiac will be Jackie Chan's last action movie. I've actually read an article that said that Jackie Chan will stop making such movies, but I'm not entirely sure if Chinese Zodiac will be the last. Jackie Chan has made a lot of entertaining martial arts-comedy films, it would be a huge loss for him to stop doing so. But since he does most of his stunts, I guess he just knows there's a limit to his physicality and wants to make sure people will remember all his work as movies that never disappoint.

I was told before watching the movie that it wasn't a very good one. That it was a little disappointing and a bit rough. I went in anyway because if this is the last time I see Jackie Chan fight, I want to witness it on the big screen. I didn't find it bad. In fact I was thoroughly entertained by it. I was hugely surprised by how funny it was, and it was very evident that people in the cinema were all enjoying and having a great time. It played on Jackie Chan's ability to be humorous, it added shock and excitement along with it as well. The fight scenes were very well choreographed, and it was a bit dangerous. It had that flare and it was exhilarating. A very fun movie.

It's true that the story got a little blurry. Things suddenly didn't make sense. It started raising questions it never answered. The story line went all over the place. I guess that's the biggest flaw of the movie. I didn't understand a couple of scenes, and hoped that it would be explained later on but it never came full circle. Some things were left unanswered. But other than that it maintained its entertainment quality. I guess the whole movie showcased Jackie Chan's greatest strength: fast-paced action scenes and ridiculous funny persona. These two qualities definitely were defining elements of the movie and practically helped the film boost its value.

It had incredible stunts and technology. Starting off with the skater body suit. I want that one for myself. It seemed fun and looks like Jackie Chan enjoyed it as well. They also had these awesome gadgets which I know can't be real, but it's nice to see the creativity. It employed a lot of things to offer different scenarios, different props to make it a diversified movie. In terms of stunts, I felt like Jackie Chan did some things he has never done before. Each sequence felt and looked different from the other and it was a pleasure to watch every one of them.

While the film had its faults, I guess true fans of Jackie Chan would not be disappointed. Everyone should admire what he did in the film at his age. A true artist I would say. Also, I think we have to be impressed how much Chan invested in the movie, taking on practically every major role in movie making: director, producer, writer, and actor. That's complete faith in one's ability and I hope he feels proud. After all it did make a lot of money.

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February 02, 2013


I just realized I never put this one up. I had it written before and I thought I had placed it on the blog until I realized I didn't. So, here it is.

Lincoln has the most number of nominations in the Oscars; and nominated for even more in other award giving bodies. It's a crowd favorite, and people are already expecting the film to take home a number of awards, not only in the Osacrs but at the Golden Globes, the SAG awards, and other institutions that cater to awarding and rewarding quality films.And I'll tell you it is a quality film indeed. It's a very special movie that deserves all the attention it's getting.

I guess the subject itself had everything to do with the success of this movie. It's about the presidency of one of the most known American presidents, the passing of an amendment in the United Constitutions that changed millions of lives, a civil war, and the aftermath of the said events. The subject matter of the movie was so thick that it offered a variety in 2 and a half hours. It had history, drama, war, politics, and a whole lot more. These subject for sure played a role and served as a driving force for people to take notice on the film. It's a huge commentary and portrayal of real people and how and where they stood on a political and social movement. It's something that would spark interest among the public, especially people from America. It may also interest people from other countries for either its topic or its entertainment value. There were a lot of reasons why this movie could be a success, and a success it had become.

It was not however sufficient to have a controversial movie. It had to be done the right way as well. The people behind this movie had to execute every little detail for the movie to work, to satisfy the viewing public. With the attention already on their side, they had to make sure that the movie they would show will be as exquisite as it possibly could be. It had to be brilliant and captivating. I personally felt that the movie did all that and even more. The clarity of the story line was superb. It had a clear chronological order in way that laid out the facts, the people involved and the direction it was going to take. It was clean. That's how I saw it. A clean story with a presence.

The direction of Speilberg on this movie was magnificent. Totally in control, and it just showed how great he is at his craft. The scenes the movie produced were all strong and effective. The drama behind every scene was just full of different emotions. The way he captured the expressions of the actors in the movie was very impressive. He managed to create a powerful film keeping in mind the strength of the message the movie had.  I don't know, I was just impressed by the strength of this movie. It was amazing. It was at a level of my being blown away by Schindler's List.

People say Daniel Day Lewis is a lock for Best Actor, and a huge part of me wishes it's true. He was absolutely amazing and his portrayal of the president was heart-warming, to say the least. He was on cue in everything, showed a wide range of persona and emotions, captured the true essence of what the movie was about. He's truly a fantastic actor. I had chills during one scene where he was arguing with Sally Field. That scene was perfect as it had the right amount of push and pull, the dialogues complemented what was happening and the camera captured the heartbreak and frustration of both individuals. That's also the scene that made me realize I want him (and her) to win at the Oscars. As much as Bradley Cooper surprised me in Silver Linings Playbook, I really want to see Daniel Day Lewis win big.

The entire ensemble was a huge huge part of what made this movie. Tommy Lee Jones and his character as a whole was someone I really rooted for. All those senators who played part in the Democrat-Republican battle for the amendment added flavor and spark to this already incredible movie. All these people were part of the reason why I liked this movie.

I'm not sure if the movie will win big come Oscars night. I'm still wishing Argo has a shot, but I'll be pleased whatever the results are. From the looks of it, all nominees are great. I've seen most and I'd say the Academy has a strong pool of contenders. It really shouldn't matter which movie would take home the big awards (but of course everyone will still be awaiting the results).

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January 27, 2013


The main reason I decided to check out this film was the fact that Jason Statham was the star of it. I've said it  several times that Jason Statham is my favorite actor when it comes to action movies. He's just excellent at it.   Whenever he's fighting, I recognize the power and tension. It always looks legit and authentic. His performance in Parker was no different. He brought his game, added stunts and blood to it as well. He definitely showed that he still had what it takes to beat the hell out of those he could not consider his friends. That's the way it should be done.

Parker was an action-heist movie. At first I thought it would be an action-romance movie mainly because of the presence of Jennifer Lopez, but it wasn't. While it had some bits of romance and kissing, it was mainly a shoot and kill kind of movie. That's actually a surprise I gladly welcomed. Jennifer Lopez's character didn't serve as a love interest for Statham, she became an accomplice. I know what you're thinking, JLo with guns?  Yup, it happened. It's not a bad thing either. Actually her role here is quite different from her other roles I think. She wasn't just a pretty face here. She was a serious actress portraying a woman scared of her financial status. It was more drama for her character than charm. That was refreshing to see and she made sure she delivered.

In terms of story, I'd say it was a little bit general. The main story revolved around getting back at those who wronged Statham. (Why would you do that though? The guy can kick anyone's bottom) It started with a heist gone wrong and now he's back with nothing but his desire for revenge, and a little plan to take what the others took from him. Thus started a series of spying, and careful planning leading to his meeting with a real estate agent, Lopez. With the latter being in need of money, she volunteers to help Statham in whatever he was doing in exchange for a tiny portion of what he could earn.

The movie also enjoyed the brilliant performances of actors like Michael Chiklis and Clifton Collins Jr. Both of them were part of the gang that double crossed Statham's character. Chiklis was stern and firm in his portrayal as the leader. He definitely showcased himself in this movie, I thought.  Also proving to be an asset to the movie was Emma Booth who not only looked beautiful but also served as a mild gentle air to an otherwise passion filled movie. Nick Nolte also deserves a mention. The old guy still managed to reinforce his presence in the movie without doing much. The guy was great. 

I guess Statham's performance was what carried the movie for me. Although Lopez was just as impressive. I personally think that the story line of the movie was too general to gain buzz, or to have the advantage of word of mouth. It also wouldn't help, I think that it's not getting the box-office attention it wants. It was quite enjoyable though. A nice break, if you will. I personally found myself amused by different things and it solidified Statham's status as one of the best action stars. The action scenes were delightful, and the story line quite entertaining, especially with a few punch lines here and there. Statham and Lopez made a good tandem, and made the movie as charming as it could possibly be. 

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January 21, 2013

The Last Stand

Nope, this isn't about the third X-Men movie. This one was more graphic, gory, and much bloodier. This Last Stand featured the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger in a leading role. He's done a few films recently but only as a supporting character. Get ready though, looks like he's back in the movie-making game, with several new movies lined up, according to IMDB. Also part of the cast Johnny Knoxville,  Rodrigo Santoro, Zach Gilford, Forest Whitaker, Genesis Rodriguez, Jaimie Alexander, Daniel Henney, Luis Guzman, Peter Stormare, and Edward Noriega. And let me tell you, the supporting cast for this film was plain amazing. Special mention to Zach Gilford, Jaimie Alexander and Edward Noriega. These three were really standouts in the film. Superb performances.

At first, I thought, it's not quite as good if I'll be completely honest; at least during the times no one was shooting, driving, killing another human being. The down times of the films were a little bit boring, not much happening and it was difficult to stay focused on the film. Especially the first part. Just to illustrate how dragging it was, when I felt I needed to use the restroom, I didn't feel the need to hurry back to the cinema. I took my time to casually walk to the restroom and back. Normally I wouldn't do this as I think it's a waste of money to miss even a minute of the film. However, not much was going on during that time that I knew I wouldn't be missing a lot. When I got back, I asked what I missed, and from the sounds of it, I was right on the money: nothing.

It did get better though. Much better, actually. Things started to look up. It began to take up speed and maintain a rather impressive pace. I thought the movie started moving along (it took a while, but it did get there). I thought the employment of various sub-plots finally worked. It started to be a little exciting. I guess the moment everything was pieced together was also the time the movie took off for me. The drama surrounding it was effective, the action scenes definitely provided great support for that story arc. The mood changed, for the better, and it took the movie to a new level. The atmosphere was filled with tension, and I couldn't help but feel the increasing interest in the movie. It still had some of those down moments here and there, but for the most part, the latter part of the movie worked well.

What I would say, however, was how this movie got everything right on the action scenes. The shootouts, the car chasing, the fist-fighting. This movie was golden in that aspect. As a person who truly enjoys action films, I was really satisfied with what I saw. The weaponry and the cars they used were nothing less than magnificent. Of you're a car enthusiast or obsessed with guns, you might enjoy that aspect of the film. This was a very well-choreographed action sequence. I enjoyed how daring the movie was when it took out the big toys. I appreciated how realistic, while also gruesome, the shootings were. I totally got into the danger of capturing one psychotic guy. I really have no complaints about the action element of the film. I thought it was fantastic.

I'm a little mixed in this film. At one point I started thinking it was a waste of money, then later found myself smiling, getting giddy about what I was witnessing. The film definitely had faults. Maybe more than what I would have liked. But, the film definitely deserves credit for being (eventually) entertaining, dangerous and action-packed. It had its own merits too, merits that I wouldn't deny. By the end of the movie I was really getting into it, participating in the awesomeness that was the last stretch of the movie. The final battle, the final sequence when everyone was bringing everything they got. That part of the film was true, beyond question, entertainment.The film redeemed itself for sure.

What I'm not mixed about though was how brilliant the supporting characters were, especially the deputies of the small town. Their characters provided hilarity to the film. The interactions, dialogues were comical that it added value. It also surprised me how they were able to transform themselves from funny people to serious characters. How they were able to embody the emotions required. That was some acting they did there. The cast was part of the "redeeming" qualities of the film. They were just, plain and simple, great.

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January 15, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook

I initially intended to put up my Lincoln review first, but I decided to go ahead and write about Silver Linings Playbook. This has been one of my most awaited films for the simple reason that Jennifer Lawrence was in it. Then the excitement grew stronger when I started reading positive things about the film. It even made it me more curious when I found out people are expecting Silver Linings Playbook to make it to the Oscars (and we all know, it did). There's just something about people talk about it, express their opinions on it that made me think "Wow, this must be really good." At the same time, there's the trepidation that it might not be as good as I'd expect, especially since my expectations had started to build up.

I really don't know how to categorize this movie. It's considered to be a comedy, and while it was, it's also very dramatic. It's not the in-you-face comedy. It's subtle and mild. It's quirky which makes it funny. I loved the ticks they created for the characters. Their characterization itself paved the way for humor, but it was the subtlety in the dialogues that made me appreciate the sly humor the movie had. I think what happened was they tried to take something so serious, so far out of the realm of comedy and managed to transform it to something positive. Yeah, sure it's about depression and people having a hard time coping with it. It's about the poor decisions people make when they go through tough times. But somewhere there, we can all find something ridiculous about it laugh about it. And at the end of the day, after shedding some tears and breaking some glasses, we find something good about it, and we can transform it to something beautiful.

At the same time I liked how in touch these characters were with the story, with their lives, with their tragedies. How do you find peace between a violent man with some serious anger management issues and a woman who turned herself to a slutty girl one her husband died? But the story explored that journey and took me with them. The highs and lows, the good and the bad. Chasing for something you really want then questioning whether you still want that. It was that conflict that created this dynamic interaction and made the movie work. That's simply it. The chemistry the two had, the perfect amount of dramatization they had for these two, every was so right on the money. David O. Russell just knew how to make the perfect mix.

For something so simple, everyone involved in the movie made it extra appealing. It was quirky and quite a bit of fun. Having Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence dance didn't hurt either. I thought their dance scene was one of the highlights of the movie. Good job to them by the way for doing that. I guess it helped that the person who adapted the screenplay also directed the movie because I'm sure he already had the vision for the movie. He knew where to take it and what to do with it. Judging from the final product, I'd say Russell executed every single one of his plans perfectly. It was a very well-crafted film designed to touch people's hearts and make them laugh all at the same time.

To be honest, I never thought the star of Hangover would be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. It just never crossed my mind. I must admit I was a little shocked when he got nominated but after seeing his performance I threw all my doubts out of the window. He was excellent as a disturbed young man.  Jennifer Lawrence was nothing less than superb as the troubled young widow. She was effective and showed a real performance. It's even a greater pleasure to know that her efforts to portray a character so out of her league, and so different from her was rewarded. Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper were insanely good in the movie. Both of them stepped out of their usuals to deliver some of their best performances to date. It was also great to see an amazing supporting cast including the awesome Robert De Niro. He was magnificent! Enough said. Jackie Weaver, Chris Tucker, John Ortiz and Julia Stiles were also great additions to an already exceptional film.

I didn't realize at first how much I liked it. Then I found myself constantly looking back to the movie, the events that happened, the stand-out scenes, the story in general. The more time that passed, the more I realized how much I really liked the movie. I couldn't stop thinking about it even hours after seeing it. There's this sensation that seemed to live in me, that kind that made me want to rush back and watch it again. It was absolutely enjoyable to see two stars feed off of each other's talent to make each scene as powerful and as memorable as it can be.

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January 13, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty

I really like Jennifer Lawrence, and has always rooted for her to win the Best Actress award in the Academy Awards this year. I'm just a huge supporter and I wanted her to get this one since she was only nominated last time. However, watching Zero Dark Thirty made me think I wouldn't be disappointed to see Jessica Chastain win the award either. I was fond of her in The Help, but her performance in the movie really just placed her in another level. She's the one who people are thinking will take home the prize, and if she does, I'd be satisfied as well. Although I'm still not counting out Lawrence cause she definitely has a huge chance to win it too. I just wanted to say that before I started writing about the movie.

The movie had a very controversial background, theme, and plot. It's about the capture and death of one of the world's leading enemies. I guess that in itself would really stir some attention and curiosity. It had a dramatic scenery as a background, a horrific event to start the ball rolling: the 9/11 attacks. People all over the world became aware of the tragic incident and it's one of the most shocking events in history. This was the starting point of the movie, the pursuit of the United States of America to capture take revenge, I guess, to the people who attacked their country. Also, to prevent future attacks not only theirs, but in other countries as well. It was a movie about trying to keep the world a safer place in a way. Of course we can't count out personal vengeance in the process.

What I liked about the film was the honesty. I can't say for certain that its been completely, 100 percent accurate. Nobody can except for the select few who actually got involved in the mission. However, I did enjoy the idea that the film acknowledged some flaws of the US military, including the depiction of how much torturing happened during the time of their hunt. I guess I interpreted it as the movie reflecting that they too were involved in inhumane acts, which they can argue was forced by circumstances. Whatever their rationalization might have been, they laid it out there for people to see that they took up some measures not very morally upright. That acknowledgement, I thought, was genuine. Aside from that, I thought, and still hope, that the movie stayed true to the actual events as much as possible.

I also liked the sequencing of events. How one thing leads to another, and how another thing triggers another. I liked how Bigelow directed the entire thing; well almost. Aside from a couple of scenes I didn't think were as important as the others, I thought the directing of the entire movie was absolutely impeccable. It was clean, it was clear and it was easy to follow the story and feel the emotions. There's a vibe that signaled the viewers where we were exactly. It's dramatic, a bit humorous, and very, very passionate.

I really liked the passion it had. The passion oozing out of all the characters, the anger and determination to even just locate the whereabouts of the enemy. It was real. Special mention to Jessica Chastain for that scene with his boss. I won't give too much details, but that scene was very powerful, I thought. It made sure the audience members would feel every, joy, pride, frustration, and loss. It had a great mix of distinct performances that I really enjoyed. Not only that, I also liked how mildly intense the final search was. The canaries on the target's land, literally just several feet from the leader of the group. The scenes of how they searched house were just contrasting. On one side you got soldiers shooting the people inside the house, but at the same time, trying to calm the children down. That contrasting images show the conflict of what it must have been like for the soldiers to be placed in that situation.

Bigelow sure had an amazing cast to work with. I've praised Jessica Chastain's performance throughout this post, but it is also worth mentioning a few more people. Jennifer Ehle, Jason Clarke, Chris Pratt, Kyle Chandler, and Mark Strong. All these people had great performances. Jennifer Ehle's story line was even a driving force for Jessica Chastain's character to locate and kill the target. Jason Clarke as Chastian's partner really provided support and substance to the initial progress of the hunt. Chris Pratt and Taylor Kinney, although only shown in the last part of the movie, still stood out as Navy SEALSs. It was rewarding to see passioante, powerful performances from all these actors who made sure that the audience would enjoy a quality film.

People are starting to bet that Zero Dark Thirty would win Best Picture and Best Director. Personally, I don't want to get involved in that mix too much since all the movies nominated that I've seen have been all impressive. Ayone could take it home. Although I would say that I'm still rooting for Affleck for his work in Argo. Coincidentally people have been comparing Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. Both were incredible and we should all celebrate the fact that we are all lucky to enjoy such films.

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January 12, 2013

Life of Pi

Of all the movies I've seen, I think this is the time my expectations were almost all wrong. For starters, I really had no idea of the movie. I've heard of it before but never knew the story, never knew the characters, not even the tiger. Then when I heard about the movie, I still wasn't able to familiarize myself about the story, except that there was a tiger involved. Then I thought the whole movie would be on sea with just the boy and the tiger (I didn't figure out that Pi was the name of the boy). I thought the setting will be this just small frame, a small part of the sea, but I couldn't have been more wrong. And although I'm a fan of restricted settings, sort of like Buried, I didn't think I would like the movie. Not that I didn't like the idea of it, it was more of being indifferent towards it.

I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed the movie. Like I said, I didn't expect to like the movie, but after seeing it, it was just unexpected. I appreciated it and found myself incredibly surprised by how much I really got into it. I appreciated several elements in the film. I appreciated the actors. I appreciated the story even more. It was a bunch of spectacular ingredients that made the movie just exquisite.

For starters, I really enjoyed the fact that the movie was somehow humorous. Right from the beginning, it shattered at least some expectations about how heavy the movie was going to be. At least for me who had absolutely no idea what the movie was about. But I really liked the fact that I was laughing and already enjoying myself from the beginning. How he got the name, how he got the nickname, how he struggled at school, how he grew up with different religions, and much more. It was that freshness and lightness in the beginning that drew me into the movie. The conversation of the writer and Pi made escalated it even just with their exchange of words. The dialogues were clear and it drove the story very well.

Then the shipwreck happened and it became more serious. They didn't stop with the humor but it definitely got serious, dramatic, and well, still surprising. The cinematography of the shipwreck was tragic and breathtaking at the same time. It was like Titanic meets Cast Away really. Except this time there were animals involved. And this time, instead of a volleyball, the kid got a tiger to keep him company. But the interaction between those two have been a roller coaster ride. It added danger to the trip, as if being stuck in a small boat in the middle of the Pacific wasn't scary enough. It elevated the hardships, the fear, the loneliness experienced by the kid. It's even hard to know that the kid just lost his family, everything he knew, and right after he had to fight for his own survival. How do you find time to grieve while fighting for your life.

The start of his life on the boat was already dangerous when a mad hyena was running around the boat. Then the tiger appeared and it all changed. How do you live with a vicious creature, one that is on a confined space with you with nothing to eat. The concept of it, however absurd it may seem, was actually very effective I thought. How you use your resources while keeping not only  your self but also a tiger alive. But the way he managed to do so is not only impressive but also commendable. It was a real portrayal of courage and hope, which I think the movie was all about. As it said more than once, never give up hope.

I was absolutely stunned by how great the actors were in this movie. I didn't know anyone of them (but I'm sure I will be seeing more of them pretty soon), and I know that this was the first acting experience of Suraj Sharma. But man was he good. He wasn't without flaw, but for a newcomer he was really good. Ang Lee definitely made a good choice to take the kid. In fact I like the fact that Lee didn't want superstars for a film of this caliber. Lee chose to showcase the potential and talents of newcomers, and I like the idea of the hope that this movie will create new superstars, just like Sharma. Rafe Spall, although a supporting character in the movie, was also note-worthy as he depicted his scenes as a writer, and more importantly, as a listener to Pi's story. I knew Tobey Maguire was supposed to be the one for the role, but Lee re-shot the whole thing with Spall. Not a bad choise either. Irrfan Khan was definitely a star of the movie. As the adult Pi, he managed to hold on to the emotions Pi had as a teen. The sense of hope was present in character, without a doubt.

Life of Pi was an magnificent movie. As of now, you probably have heard of the Oscar nominations and the movie earned 11 nominations, and Lee is up for Best Director, and the movie is up for Best Picture. I have yet to see the other contenders but Life of Pi deserves the recognition it got from the Academy. It has grossed almost 300 million dollars worldwide, and I think it will get even more, with the Oscar buzz, and also through its opening in other markets. I wish the movie the best of luck, for only the surprises it had for me. I absolutely enjoyed it.

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January 06, 2013

Man On A Ledge

First of all, happy new year to everyone of you! Here's to a movie filled 2013! Hopefully that means more time to write as well!

Not a lot of people paid attention when Man on a Ledge movie came out. To be honest all I knew about the movie was that Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks and Jamie Bell were in it. I never saw the trailer, never saw anything about it on the internet, didn't read the plot. I basically had almost no idea about the movie. I did however know that it didn't do that well in the box office and critics weren' too impressed by it. I'm not usually affected by these but a successful film definitely raises my curiosity. However, a few days ago, I came across the trailer of the movie on the net and was drawn to it by the storyline. I thought the movie would be all about the man on the ledge and that it would be the only setting of the movie. I was surprised to find out that this wasn't the case at all.

Let's do the introduction to the film, shall we? Man on a Ledge was a 2012 action, thriller movie starring Sam Worthington as the man on ledge, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Edward Burns, Anthony Mackie, Genesis Rodriguez, Titus Welliver and Ed Harris. It was directed by Asger Leth (I don't think I've seen any of Leth's other movies if there are, but I'd gladly check them out). It was written by Pablo Fenjves. It earned more than 46.2 million dollars on a 42 million dollar budget, enough to recover the costs. After watching the film however, it became a little puzzling why it didn't take off as much.

The main plot of the story revolved around a man who was desperate to prove his innocence from the allegations that he stole a 40 million dollar diamond. After escaping from prison, he checked in a hotel, apparently ready to commit suicide. Unknown to the public, this was a distraction to enable his brother and his girlfriend to prove his innocence by, surprisingly, stealing the diamond. I liked this twist in the story, I liked the idea behind it and I thought it was really clever. It was a little unexpected on my part who had a very different idea of the film. It was a very good surprise though because it enabled the film to incorporate action, thrill and heist elements to the story. It added spice and it added danger.

All these elements made the film exciting. It all started with the question of whether or not the man will jump. Then it became about will he prove his innocence. Will the people around him help him achieve his goal. It shifted and that's what I liked about it. I think the idea behind it was the best part of it, distracting the crowd by coming off as a man ready to die, while other people were getting ready for the dirty job of stealing a diamond that would eventually prove his innocence. It was amazing and very intriguing. The plot just kept getting better for me, and the ending literally made me hold my breath. The actual ending was a bit anti-climactic in a way that they managed to build up the hype and the ending was just too simple. But it was satisfying nonetheless.

Sam Worthington, who has become a huge start after hit movies like Avatar and Clash of the Titans, didn't fail to impress in this movie. He held his own ground, figuratively and literally. He portrayed innocence all throughout which was the perfect expression for a man in that situation. It was also really amazing to see Elizabeth Banks in a role like this. It was very different from what we normally see from her which really escalated her abilities as an actress. It was a great chance to diversify herself, and she definitely took the chance. Jamie Bell and Genesis Rodriguez had an undeniable chemistry. They were the fun couple who brought the laughs on an otherwise tension-filled scene. They were as charming as they can be, with a hint of toughness. A very good combination. Edward Burns also managed to stand out even though he only had a supporting role. He was firm, but also funny. He was tough, but also kind. He was really able to capture the necessary expressions and emotions required for each scene.

It really was a decent, even good movie. It's a shame it didn't have as much as a following as it should. Although from the looks of it, people are starting to watch it now, at least in my circle of friends. I hope more people will take notice of the movie, and spread the word. It's an amazing story to tell, made even better by quality performances by the actors and actresses involved in it. The crew of this movie showed how hard they worked for the movie by the extremely detailed portrayal of the plot.

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