Princess’ Movie Review: Gods of Egypt

Gods of Egypt never appealed to me, from its trailers to its marketing, and the controversy it had didn’t help either but an overly enthusiastic friend wanted to see this movie, though he cancelled at the last minute, and I ended up watching this alone.

Synopsis:

Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), was about to be crowned as the King of all Egypt until his jealous uncle Set (Gerard Butler) killed his father and gouged his eyes out and took over Egypt. Bek (Brenton Thwaites), a thief helped Horus in exacting his revenge and in return Horus will bring his dead lover back to the living.

Likes:

  • Costume – the costumes were aesthetically appetizing, a bit lavish and not that Egypt-ish but I liked it.
  • Set Design – it was okay and prolly the only thing I liked aside from the costumes.

Dislikes:

  • Plot – full of cliché.
  • Script – cheesy.
  • Effects –  it’s so fake and very disappointing. The Good Dinosaur’s animation is even more realistic (e.g. water, trees, etc. definitely not the dinosaurs :p)
  • Accents – inconsistent and as fake as the effects.
  • Execution – I kept thinking how similar it was to John Carter and Conan the Barbarian.

Over all Impression:

I only stayed during the entirety of the movie to get my money’s worth and I still didn’t get it. I’m sorry but I was disappointed. I should’ve watched and spent two hours of my time on Kung Fu Panda 3 instead of wasting my money and time on this film. Gerard Butler could do better than this. 😦 Now I know why it flopped in the box office.

One tiara out of five.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Princess’ Movie Review: Joy

I finally got to watch Joy here in the Philippines despite of being in the grave yard shift. Yey! Jennifer Lawrence is my goddess, she’s like my best girl friend… Of course, I first knew her through Hunger Games then I learned to love her more in Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle, Winter’s Bone and of course X-Men.

Synopsis:

Joy (J.Law), a divorced mother of two, inventor and a very determined woman, was caught in the middle of domestic issues involving her parents, half-sister and ex-husband, and financial problems. She decided to make a 180 degree turn from her mundane life and risked to achieve stability in all aspects of her life by pursuing her childhood dream of becoming a successful inventor with the support of her grandmother and best friend.

Likes:

  • Acting – as always Jennifer Lawrence delivered a superb “no-acting” acting. There’s not much improvement from her acting compared to her previous movies but she sure is doing great. Reminds me of a young Meryl Streep – whew!
  • Execution and Editing – it’s fast paced, was understandable and clean.

Dislikes:

  • I have been waiting for intense moments but I was disappointed.
  • I would like to see DeNiro, Cooper and Lawrence in one scene but then again, I was disappointed. Their chemistry together might have been great.

Over all Impression:

I am not really expecting that this film would win any Academy awards considering the other contenders but it wouldn’t be shocking if J.Law would win another Best Actress for this film (though I’m leaning towards Brie Larson’s performance in Room).  The film is kind of forgettable and lacks any “goose-bump” scenes. I don’t like it that much.

Two tiaras out of five.

Princess’ Movie Review: Spotlight

Spotlight is one of the Best Picture nominee in the Academy Awards. The trailer isn’t that appealing but since I am a sucker for movies and a friend highly recommended this film, I decided to watch it.

Synopsis:

Spotlight is an investigative team of The Boston Globe that bravely tackles unconventional  and controversial issues. The new Editor, who is ambitious and tough, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) decided to start an investigation together with his team regarding the allegations of molestation by the priests in Boston. This investigation opened a lot of cover-ups from the church to the local government and reverberated across the globe.

Likes:

  • Editing – it was fast paced, clear and easy to understand without compensating the story and the flow of the plot.
  • Acting – Rachel McAdams sure is one of the most underrated actresses in Hollywood but a film like this brought out her full potential.

Dislikes:

  • Mark Ruffalo’s character – I know that he was nominated for Oscars and I am just not sure if it’s his character but it’s painful to watch his facial expressions. I’m not sure what’s going on with his lower lip – maybe that’s who he’s portraying. 🙂

Over all Impression:

Spotlight is unapologetic and tenacious. It’s a sensitive subject and the film was able to project that without being offensive, I hope – at least, not for me. Hardcore investigative journalism was depicted in the film and was shown objectively. I don’t think it’ll win the Best Picture though. 😀

3 tiaras out of five.

Princess’ Travel Diary: Cagbalete Island

[For my travel tips – please scroll down.]

February 13, 2016. Before bedtime.

I suddenly thought of going out of town, then I got my phone and search for the most accessible and nearest destination from Manila. I came upon a blog about the top ten underrated beaches near Manila and saw Cagbalete Island among the list. Incidentally, a friend mentioned that Cagbalete Island is among his favorite weekend getaway destinations.

Without much planning, I did a quick research on travel tips to Cagbalete and a couple of minutes later I was packing an overnight backpack.

I took a midnight trip from Manila to Lucena then transferred to another bus to Mauban. At dawn, I was in Mauban’s Tourism Office which faced east and this golden sunrise welcomed me.

imageWhile waiting for the Tourism Office to open at 7AM (where I have to register and pay an environmental fee), I strolled along the seaside port where locals jog and some were even fishing. I came upon this shrine dedicated to World War II veterans.

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I then rode a tricycle after paying the Environmental Fee going to the Mauban Port for the boat ride bound to Cagbalete Island.

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From the ferry, approaching Cagbalete Island.

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Upon embarking, several porters approached the passengers and offered to tour us. I politely refused their offer and decided of finding my way alone in the island going to Joven’s Blue Sea Resort which is somewhat farther than any other resorts from the Carbalete Island (mini) port.

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Luckily, signs were posted for easier navigation but I had to walk for fifteen minutes across a field of grass and then through the woods. I was alone and encountered no other person along the way in this remote island which is kind of thrilling and exciting.

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Apart from the coconut trees, pine trees were also sporadically scattered.

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Upon arrival and without reservation, I walked in at the front desk and asked for their accommodation options and rates. I settled for a tent since I was alone instead of opting for a private room, which is not practical and boring.

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I asked the resort staff to give me the best spot on the camping ground and this is the view from where I was camping.

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One thing I loved about the island though is the local people. I have to say that the beauty of Cagbalete pales in comparison to the kindness of the locals.

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I ordered this breakfast from the resort.

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My service from the resort to the island’s mini port after checking out.

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It was a fun experience.

I came there to relax and enjoy the beach, I got more than what I was expecting.

TRAVEL TIPS and DETAILS:

  • Manila to Lucena Grand Terminal
    • JAC Liner in Cubao
    • Fare is 218 pesos as of this writing
    • I took the 1AM schedule
    • Travel time is 3-4 hours depending on the traffic
  • Lucena Grand Terminal to Mauban
    • NCR-Rienton Lines
    • Fare is 54 pesos as of this writing
    • Trip is hourly, I arrived there at 430AM
    • Travel time is 1-2 hours
  • Mauban Terminal to Mauban Tourism Office
    • You will have to pay an Environmental Fee of 50 pesos before going to the Mauban Port
    • You can ride a tricycle from Mauban Terminal to the Tourism Office for 10 pesos OR you can walk! It’s much fun and it’s very near. From Mauban Terminal, you may ask the bus conductor or the sales clerk in 7-11 for the way. You won’t get lost, I swear!
    • The Tourism Office opens at 7AM, you can ask the attendant for suggestion about which resort you want to go to or ask for the brochure instead. Contact number are also listed on the Tourism Office’s facade.
  • Mauban Tourism Office to Mauban Port
    • Tricycle is 40 pesos, you may cost share with other tourists/guests and just divide the 40 peso fare OR walk! Mauban Port is visible from the Tourism Office and it’s fine to walk by the seaside port. You won’t miss the ferry trip because it’s not until 10AM unless you arrived in Mauban at 9:30AM.
    • It would be best to buy food for your trip at the Mauban Port market. This is a must if you want to save because the foods from the resorts are a little bit pricey. Anyway, you can cook at the resort or ask the kitchen staff to cook for you, you’ll only pay a cooking charge.
  • Mauban Port to Cagbalete Island
    • Ferry trip is at 10AM and 3PM only. There are two boats available: Jamelle which cost 100 pesos per pax and Neneng (smaller one) for 50 pesos per pax.
    • A life vest is provided to each passenger and you will have to enter your info in the manifest.
  • Cagbalete Island
    • If you have a prior reservation, resort staff would fetch you. If the resort is near, you’ll walk from the mini port to your resort or another boat ride to your resort. I’m just not sure if there’s another fee for that boat trip but you may choose to walk across the island anyway.
    • Cottages cost between 800 to 1,500 pesos that can accommodate up to 4 persons. Tents are also available for camping which cost 500 pesos per night, good for two but can be maximized to three persons (bye personal space).
    • Electricity/power is only from 6PM to 6AM so make sure to bring a power bank.
    • Beware of stray dogs – they tend to steal foods from campers. And please, don’t blame the resort staff.
  • Be friendly with the locals, it would go a long way. Trust me. Immerse yourself to them. They are very accommodating and hospitable.
  • Always wear your slippers if you wanted to stroll the shore during low tide unless you wanted to experience what I experienced. Dead shells and corals are not friendly.
  • You may haggle with the fishermen should you decide to island hop but if you happen to be friendly with them earlier, you might get a discount.
  • And most importantly, don’t be an asshole. Remember that you are a guest/visitor:
    • respect the locals
    • don’t treat the resort staff like your servant
  • And remember:

 

Princess’ Movie Review: Room

There’s not much hype about this movie until I found out about its nomination for the Academy Award. After that, several social media posts of my movie buff friends lauded this film which made me really curious. Then I saw the novel where this film was based from (which I also bought right after watching the film) and I decided that I must see this.

 

Synopsis:

The film opens showing the vicinity of the room where Joy (Brie Larson) lived for seven years together with her now five year old son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay). Old Nick (Sean Bridgers) visits every day to copulate with Joy and sometimes to bring their supply. At five years old, Jack’s curiosity about the “outside” side is building up typical for his age which made Joy frustrated. Because of this and for wanting to give her son the freedom that was ripped off him, she planned on escaping using her own son to survive.

Likes:

  • Direction – I was in awe on how Lenny Abrahamson directed a five year old actor to show a wide range of emotions.
  • Camera Works – a 360 degree panning of the camera in a small room with a hyper kid is something that amazed me.
  • Acting – raw emotions are very evident on this film. Brie Larson is a top contender for the Oscars’ Best Actress award and Jacob Tremblay was robbed off of an Oscars’ nomination.
  • Music – an essential part of the movie. This is maybe the first time I felt my heart pumping real hard not just because of the scenes but because of how the music complemented each scene beautifully.
  • Editing and Screenplay – I have yet to read the book and compare (I’m a little purist) but based on what I saw, it could not get any better than that.

Dislikes:

  • Second half of the movie – I was hoping to see more of Jack’s reaction to the “outside” side. It would have taken the heaviness I felt on the first part of the film. It would have been good also to know what happened to the villain right after.

Over all Impression:

This is really a must watch film. It will touch you emotionally and will leave you hopeful. Room may not be as good as The Revenant when it comes to the technical stuff but its depth and pull of the audience is up there. I never thought that a drama movie can work well with a mixture of suspense.

4 1/2 tiaras out of five.

Princess’ Movie Review: How To Be Single

Not really a fan of Dakota Johnson but I’m a big Rebel Wilson fan. This movie is not on my “2016 Movie List” but it’s a good way of passing the time while waiting for the movie I was really planning to watch.

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Synopsis:

Alice (Dakota Johnson), have never been independent in her whole life. After asking for a “break” (we call it “cool off” from where I was from) from their relationship, she moved to New York and worked as a paralegal where she met the happy-go-lucky, live-life-to-the-fullest, and very single Robin (Rebel Wilson). Then her single story started from experiencing a no strings attached sexual relationship to getting back with her boyfriend to meeting eligible bachelors until she found out what she really wanted.

Likes:

  • Chemistry – this is probably the first thing I noticed about the film. The ensemble, especially Dakota and Rebel, have great chemistry which made the film not painful to watch.
  • Humor – as always, Rebel’s improv skills are great which complemented Dakota’s timid and candid character.
  • Sub-plots – I liked how the story is not centered on Dakota’s story alone but also tells the stories of her sister, and the cute bartender.
  • Storyline – it’s very realistic, few cheesy movie clichés. It’s very relatable and I thought that it’s something that do happen in real life.

Dislikes:

  • Rebel’s character – yes, Dakota is the main character but I thought that Rebel should have more depth on her character aside from being the “best friend”. Maybe I just wanted to see more of her in the movie.

Over All Impression:

How To Be Single is a light, fun, romcom film. It has a few boring scenes but these were much compensated by humor and poignant moments. The characters are relatable, not complicated and it felt like they’re one of your friends. It’s kind of like a self-help book also because it actually made me realize some things, being single and all that. LoL. I’m glad I bought a ticket for this movie. 🙂

3 tiaras out of five.

Princess’ Movie Review: Deadpool

Honestly, I have no idea that there’s a comic book superhero (?) named Deadpool. I grew up knowing the popular X-Men, Avengers and basically those who are more commercialized, I guess. The first time I knew about Deadpool was through Wolverine’s Origin movie and he was just a secondary, ugly character there – not worth a second look… until a hype was built about his solo movie and BAM! I became an instant fan.

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Synopsis:

Wade Wilson, a mercenary/hired assassin(?), was diagnosed with cancer right after getting engaged to her hot girlfriend. He then accepted the offer of a creepy looking recruitment agent who might have been one of the Men in Black. Little did the merc with a mouth know that he will only be used as a subject for an underground experiment ran by the British villain – Ajax.

The experiment was both a success and a disaster. That’s where Wade, now known as (Captain) Deadpool, began his search for the person who he think can undo the “disaster” and maybe avenge himself.

Likes:

  • Humor – before watching the film, I did a little research about Deadpool and found out that he’s an unconventional character and one of the very few comic superhero to break the fourth wall. This has been the running gag on the film aside from his “mouth” of course.
  • Action Scenes – it didn’t disappoint like most of the Marvel movies when it comes to action-packed, jump-on-your-seat, grin-like-a-chimp action sequences. Not overdoing it but not lacking too.
  • Pop references – fat Gandalf, Green Lantern card, ugly-Deadpool-from-Wolverines-film action figure and a lot more!!
  • Plot – the Deadpool origin story was close to the comics and the whole storyline is not heavy or dark.

Dislikes:

  • Secondary characters – not as well-sketched as I hope they would be.

I can’t think of anything else!! Wow!

Over-all impression:

It’s not a typical Valentines Movie due to the tad bit gory fight scenes but it can be – thanks to the steamy and funny sex scenes. Hahah!! But there’s more to it though, it’s basically a love story – a guy doing everything for his girl. And accepting someone not on physical appearance but on what’s inside.

(Cue Careless Whisper)

3 tiaras out of 5.

Princess’ Movie Review: The Revenant

I’ve only become a Leo fan recently and probably I’m one of those who became really frustrated when he didn’t win any Oscars. When I heard that The Revenant is another “Oscar deserving” movie, boy, I was really excited!!

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Synopsis:

Glass (the great Leo), was left dead by one of his men, played by Tom Hardy, after being mauled by a not-so-cute bear. After he recuperated (almost) and survived many ordeals, which no ordinary person can survive from, he went after Tom Hardy’s character for revenge.

Likes:

  • Cinematography – I never thought that a serene and a magical landscape blanketed by prestine and pure snow with unbelievably wonderful  arboreal scenes can be a setting for deadly and gore-filled fight scenes.
  • CGI – the bear!! Enough said.
  • Actors – of course, there’s the great Leo with hot Hardy and that guy who got to kiss Jennifer Aniston in We’re The Millers – he was pretty good too.
  • Camera works – i loved it!! How it zoom in and out, how it made me feel the tension of the scenes, how it manage to capture the actors’ emotions. I love it!
  • Make up and prosthetics – ugh!! I cringed! No wonder why some audiences wasn’t able to finish the movie. Kudos!
  • Plot – it was not hard to understand. It was laid out meticulously so as not to divert the audience’s attention by figuring out what’s going on from what’s actually happening on the screen.
  • Execution – the director, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, should he win the Best Director in Oscars won’t surprise me.

 

Dislikes:

  • Costumes – I don’t really dislike them but I don’t like them either. Maybe they’re made that way not to distract the audience.
  • Dialogue – the accents of some actors are a little bit inconsistent but maybe because in the movie they came from different states? I don’t know…

 

Over All Impression:

Devoid of cheesy scenes, The Revenant is a “no bathroom break moment” film. It will keep you glued on the edge of your seat with its well-executed climaxes, which is from start to finish, and would make you peek between your fingers over the suspenseful and “gore-filled” scenes. It has a perfect balance between amazing and beautiful scenery, and blood-curling, teeth-wrenching gore.

DiCaprio and Hardy didn’t play their character but became THEIR character. DiCaprio’s acting is not as calculated as it was before, delivering impeccable performance especially through his eyes. Hardy, on the other hand, is unmistakably one of Hollywood’s most versatile character actors.

I would love to see it again! With my friends this time. I would surely recommend it to them. A must watch – if you’re brave enough. :p
Four and a half tiaras out of five.

My Fave Authors

I’ve always loved to read ever since. I remember that I would always read out loud the signage and what not along the streets – from vulcanizing shops to whatever is for sale to campaign materials to vandalized walls. I enjoy reading. I love books.

As any other bookworm, story books and comics appealed to me with it’s colorful illustrations; then I moved on to Reader’s Digest and other magazines I can grab on; then I remember trying to attempt to read a novel which to me was boring and too advanced for my age – the novel was Lawrence Sander’s The First Deadly Sin.

I never finished it and I thought that I would never finish a novel. I even wondered how come grown ups find the time to read an inch (or two) thick of book which is ALL WORDS and NO PICTURES?

Then during high school, I saw our college neighbor devouring a novel and she highly recommended that I should read that same book when she’s done. It was the very first novel I finished reading and I felt proud and accomplished and realized that I can finish a book without pictures! The book was Sidney Sheldon’s Nothing Lasts Forever.

It was the turning point for me. I fell in love with Sidney Sheldon’s storytelling and became obsessed with him. However, his books were very rare from where I came from. Our public library don’t have novels and I can only borrow from that college friend and even she told me that Sheldon’s books are always checked out. She then introduced me to Daniel Steel. Remembrance was the first novel I read which was authored by Steel. It was a good book but I didn’t like how she kills the protagonist and later on found out that she has a penchant for doing that to her main characters.

Fast forward to college, I was one of the students who always checks out the maximum allowable number of books and did that every month. At this time, I have read all of Sheldon’s books – my all time favorite is If Tomorrow Comes (read this many times already).

Then I indulged myself on some other authors that surprisingly were good and didn’t even know that these were classics or bestsellers.

Because of this adventurous streak to try other authors, I have loved them. Robert Fulghum and Mitch Albom were also great authors. I would always scour second hand book shops for their books and almost always find a book or two authored by them.

One time, out of impulse I grabbed a book which at first didn’t appeal to me when I read it and didn’t even finish it until I saw my mother crying while reading it. I tried to reread the said book and found myself crying too. I became an instant fan of LaVyrle Spencer and that book was Family Blessings.

Then one time while cleaning my boarding house’s closet, I found piles of books, half of them eaten by termites and the other half – decrepit and looked very old. My roommate grabbed Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park first and I end up with a worn out, dusty novel. Upon reading the first page of the book, I never get to finish my cleaning. It was Jackie Collins’ Rockstar. I fell in love with her then and there.

After that several authors made it to my most fave list – Dan Brown through his The Da Vinci Code novel and Mary Higgins Clark with her Sheldon’ish writing style and Iris Johansen to Amy Tan.

My book shelves now have books from these authors along with J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and one of her Robert Galbraith novels.

Here are my thoughts on each of the authors mentioned above:

  • Sidney Sheldon – he will always be my fave author. His storytelling is superb and his books are “unputdownable”. He would take you to exotic places, let you taste culinary masterpieces and share with you different cultures. He’s good with twists and empowers strong women characters.
    • Fave books – almost all of his books but what stood out to me were If Tomorrow Comes, Master of the Game, Doomsday and Tell Me Your Dreams (which I finished reading overnight).
  • Danielle Steel – as mentioned above, she likes to shock you by killing her or one of the main characters but her storytelling is something that will keep you glued on her books page after page.
    • Fave books – Remembrance and Sisters.
  • Robert Fulghum – he may not be a novelist but his books were full of wisdom. stories you would reflect upon and would make you step back and think.
    • Fave books: All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten and Uh-Oh!.
  • Mitch Albom – he’s poignant and would make you shed a tear.
    • Fave books: Tuesdays with Morrie and For One More Day.
  • Dan Brown – I like how he researched his books based on facts(?) and injecting that on his fiction novels.
    • Fave books: Deception Point, The Da Vinci Code and Digital Fortress.
  • Amy Tan – her rich in Chinese culture novels coupled with true to life characters are on point!
    • Fave book: The Secret Hundred Senses (though her The Joy Luck Club is also good).
  • LaVyrle Spencer – the emotions on her books were real and well-written. Her characters were lovable and likable. The way she writes her novels would pierce me right through the heart. One thing why I love female authors more than male authors is that they describe human emotions really well.
    • Fave books: Morning Glory and That Camden Summer.
  • Iris Johansen – just like Spencer, the way she writes human emotions are real. I also like how strong her women characters are just like Sheldon’s. Though her novels are a bit formulaic.
    • Fave books: The Ugly Duckling and her Eve series (though I haven’t read all of it yet).
  • Mary Higgins Clark – I am currently obsessed with her. I bought, on impulse, ten of her books from a secondhand book shop and have been reading book after book after book. Some of her books were predictable but most of it would really surprise you. I thought at first that she has a formula in writing a suspense novel but after five or six books now, I realized that she doesn’t follow a formula. She’s indeed the queen of suspense.
    • Fave books: I can’t really say as of yet but I just finished her We’ll Meet Again and Before I say Goodbye.
  • Jackie Collins – again I love strong women characters and Collins’ Lucky Santangelo is just that. I also love how she tells stories about Hollywood glamor and what’s happening behind the scenes.
    • Fave books: Rockstar, Lucky Santangelo series and Hollywood Wives.

I am now trying out a new author Debbie Macomber and I thought that her and Spencer may be similar in writing style. I would also like to try John Grisham and Stephen King but their books are a little bit pricey for a secondhand book shop. LoL!

 

Princess’ Movie Review: The Boy (No Spoilers)

[Disclaimer: I thought of having a different way of reviewing movies I’ve seen because I am not a legit film critic or knowledgeable of the technical aspects of creating a movie. What I know is that I love watching films and that I know if a film is good or not. Anyway, this is going to be based on MY impression of the movie.]

Greta (Lauren Cohan), running away from a dark past, accepts a nanny job in a far-flung English mansion. The couple who hired her is going away for a holiday and trusted her to take care of their life-sized ceramic doll that they treat as their child who died from a fire 20 years ago. Greta thought it funny and peculiar but took the job nevertheless. Alone in the big mansion with the doll, scary and unexplainable occurrences happened that made her believed the doll is possessed by the couple’s dead kid. Her and Malcom (Rupert Evans), the cute delivery guy, accepted that fact and made peace with it until Greta’s abusive ex-boyfriend showed up on the mansion and after a heated argument, an unpredictable truth was revealed.

Likes:

  • The twist – I’m a huge horror movie buff and the twist on this movie is something that I didn’t expect to happen.
  • Actors – surprisingly both Lauren and Rupert deliver believable acting, not too over the top for my taste.
  • Plot – it’s something that I haven’t read nor seen before. I learned not to take horror movies superficially (Asian horror movies are so good at plot twists) so I kept on thinking of possible twist while watching the film and boy, I was surprised when it was finally revealed.

Dislikes:

  • Suspense – I expected to have a lot of scary moments, more unexplainable stuff and Greta to be tormented more by the “haunting” but it fell short on that.
  • Reactions – I didn’t like how Greta and Malcolm react when they learned that the doll was possessed.
  • Cliché – there are some moments that I find too cheesy and worn out.
  • Plot holes – I don’t know how to put this without spoiling the movie. :p

Over all impression:

  • It’s not a movie that I would recommend my friends to watch but it’s a movie that I thought was worth my time and my money. Would I watch it again in theaters? No. It’s not painfully bad but it’s not that good too.
  • Two out of five tiaras.