Movie Review: Moana

When I first saw the trailer of Moana, it got me pretty excited. I thought it was refreshing and visually appealing.

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Synopsis:

As the only heiress of the chief, Moana is obligated to take after her father and lead their people into the same island living as what has been accepted traditionally. But fate has something else planned for Moana – that is to save her people from an inevitable catastrophe by searching for a legendary demi-god and bring back a lost treasure to its rightful owner.

Like:

Plot – it’s a little bit of a cliché but it is linear with just the right amount of conflicts and twist.

Soundtrack – it’s not the usual musical Disney film though it has a few song numbers which the film made fun from. I like the OST mainly because it was sang by Alessia Cara whom I like… :p But more than that, it got pretty, nice songs and having Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson sing… adorable. 🙂

Animation – from what I know, the hardest to animate are sand, hair/feathers and water. All these are present in this film and it’s visually stunning.

 

Dislikes:

Characters – just your usual Disney cast – headstrong yet lovely “princess”, strict father, understanding mother, animal sidekick… you get the idea, just think of The Little Mermaid or other Disney films (just substitute some characters). Well, this formula works.

 

Over All Impression:

I don’t think it can be considered a Disney classic like Cinderella or Snow White or Sleeping Beauty but it has it’s own appeal. I heard a lot of giggles from the younger audience, but growing up with Disney movies, I was hoping that maybe their films should also grow up”. But who am I to say? I am not their target audience… hahaha!

 

Six tiaras out of ten.

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Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

I am a HUUUGE Potterhead. I have been a fan ever since the first movie. I was 11 years old when it first came out so I can say that I practically grew up with harry Potter. One of the reasons I came to Manila was a promise to myself that I will watch the last Harry Potter movie in the Mall of Asia and it came true. After it’s last installment, the Potterverse didn’t stop for me. Pottermore has been my outlet for my constant dose of magic.

It has been my wish to see Dumbledore and Gridelwald’s famouse duel in film and I didn’t lose hope. When it was announced that a spin off Harry Potter film based on J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander is going to be adapted into a motion picture – I, along with millions of Potterhead, got ecstatic. The magic lives on!

Image result for fantastic beasts movie poster

Likes:

Screenplay – Okay, I am a little biased here because I love J.K. Rowling but I have to give her credit for coming up with a well-written plot. The movie happened decades before Harry Potter but it was well-sketched. While watching, I thought why would J.K. go into much details regarding the wizarding world in North America when it won’t be shown in the film and then I realized that it’s J.K. Rowling – whatever she writes will make sense later on. And I’m pretty hyped up for that.

Actors – I can’t imagine anyone playing Newt Scamander other than Eddie Redmayne. His portrayal is on point, from the speech pattern to the facial expressions to the whole physicality. For me, he was the Newt Scamander I imagined to be. Alison Sudol as the quirky yet lovely Quennie Goldstein is another stand out for me along with Ezra Miller as the disturbed yet pathetic Credence.

Visual Effects – it’s just so magical. The beasts were indeed fantastically depicted as if they are real creatures (again, I am a little biased here.. :p).

Execution – David Yates is one of my favorite directors. He’s very visionary. I like Chris Columbus’ direction but I prefer David Yates over him.

 

Dislikes:

Casting of Grindelwald – Like some (or most) of the Potterheads, I am partial to Johnny Depp playing Gillert Grindelwald but I trust J.K. Rowling’s approval. My reason is that Depp can sometimes be too much for a character. Too Tim Burtn-ish… lol. But I hope that he’ll tone it down here with just the right amount of craziness and contempt.

Musical Score – As I write this, I can’t recall hearing a familiar Harry Potter theme. I know that this is a totally different story but a magical theme (just like in the harry Potter films’ opening theme) can bring us into the magical world again.

 

Over All impression:

I love it! I just love it! It got me excited as to who will play a young Dumbledore. What is Newt Scamander’s real story. Who is Leda Lestrange? Will we see Credence and Kowalski again? I can’t wait. Another two years of waiting… *sigh*

Fantastic Beasts exceeded my expectations. It’s a whole another magical story in the same wizarding world. I love it!

 

Nine tiaras and a half out of ten. :p

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Reactions

It’s been a while since my last movie review and I don’t want to go over each movie I saw since then except for the below. :p

Miss Saigon: 25TH Anniversary Gala Performance

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I have been a fan of plays since elementary days (being a member of the school theater from elementary until college). I remember we did Miss Saigon on my 2nd year in college and it was really cool. Sun and Moon and Solo Saxophone are my favorite songs from this play.

The movie version (not adaptation) of Miss Saigon met all my expectations. The new casts were all great especially Jonjon Briones – he stole the show. I cried on some parts (parts where Hugh Maynard sang actually :p). Eva Noblezada as the new Kim may not be as great as The Lea Salonga but she gave justice to the role. And of course, Rachelle An Go, she had a pretty important role in the first act only but she sure knows how to utilize it effectively.

 

The Accountant

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The trailer of this movie was what made me excited to see this film plus Anna Kendrick and also the plot – a mentally challenge individual who grew up to become an assassin in the guise of a lowly accountant. Sounds exciting, right? Nah! Ben Affleck has always been a boring actor, in my opinion, but he’s nice to look at. :p I slept on some parts and it’s the first time I slept in a movie house. 😦

 

Trolls

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Easily, one of my favorite movies this year. Not really a big fan of the toy but I like Anna Kendrick (same reason I watched The Accountant) and their OST is one of my fave songs ever – True Colors.

It was really entertaining. The plot is really simple enough for kids (and kids-at-heart) to enjoy. It was funny, colorful, cute, musical and a real feel good movie. I love it!

 

Doctor Strange

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This movie may not be as good as Guardians of the Galaxy or The Avengers but it’s a good vehicle to introduce Doctor Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Action scenes, visual effects, humor and Easter bunnies were all present just like any other MCU films but what I liked most is the tailor fit of the actors to the characters. I can’t imagine any other actor playing Doctor Strange but Benedict Cumberbatch, same thing with Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One.

 

I will be watching the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them today and being a huge Potterhead, this is th emovie that I’ve been waiting the whole year!!! Argh!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Review: Don’t Breathe

This is one of my most anticipated horror movies of the year. I saw this trailer during my lunch break and it got me really scared that I screamed. Rainy days are lazy days for me but I still chose to watch this as soon as I found out that it’s already showing.

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Synopsis:

A group of cat burglars decided to steal from a blind ex-war veteran who got a huge amount of money in his decrepit house. Unknown to them, the blind, old man is more dangerous and deadly than all three of them combined.

 

Likes:

Plot – it’s refreshing to see this kind of horror/thriller film without your usual ghosts, demons, zombies or other worldly entities. The story is very linear and simple and can happen in real life which made it scarier, not to mention the antagonist which is a person.

Characters – I actually found myself rooting for the blind man more than the main characters until the climax of the film. That’s what I love about this movie, you will understand where the characters come from and will root for either the protagonist or the antagonist.

Execution – it’s nice to know that Sam Raimi didn’t use gore (see Evil Dead) to elicit scares in this film. It’s very simple yet very effective in keeping the audience at the edge of their seat.

Stephen Lang – as the blind man, he delivered just the right amount of emotions for you to feel his pain and be scared of him at the same time.
Dislikes:

Subplot (or the twist) – for me, I find it a little bit out of place. I thought that it’s not really needed on the film because the main plot itself is scary enough but I guess, the writer/s needed that twist for us to root for (and then hate) the blind man.

Over All impression:

I was NOT disappointed at all! I knew that this is a good film not just because it had a good trailer. It’s a new kind of horror for me. Something that can happen in real life and with that thought, you will also think, as you watch, on what you’ll probably do when you’re the character. One thing I like about this film also is that there’s no booboo scenes. For me, the characters made all the right choices based on common sense. You know, when you’re watching a horror film and you’re telling the character not to go down the basement kind of thing? Yep, I didn’t see it here.

 

7 tiaras out of ten.

 

Movie Review: Train to Busan

I saw a Facebook post of my friend who watched this and I thought that it might be one of those “Oscar-ish” kind of film so I was not really interested at first. And since it’s a Labor Day (long) weekend, I decided to check what’s showing in the theaters online and found out that this movie dominates the nearest mall (with 5 cinema houses) and I thought that it must be worth a try, so I found myself in the movie theater without any idea as to what it really is about. Based from the movie poster, I thought that it might be a story about a tragedy on a train or something like that.

Image result for train to busan
Synopsis:

A father granted her daughter’s birthday wish to see her mother (his ex-wife) and made an early trip to Busan (a province or city in South Korea). Little did they know that on their trip, an infected passenger was able to come aboard without the conductor’s knowledge and this lead to an event that tested the survival instincts of all the passengers.
Likes:

Plot – it was an effin’ zombie movie! But more than that, it showcased two of Korean film making’s strongest strengths – horror and drama. You will think that it might be a rip off of The Walking Dead but for me it’s more of a World War Z/The Walking Dead/Snakes on a Plane kind of movie.

Acting – the actor who played the father was very familiar to me, I watched some of his Korean TV series aired locally before and he was good, but apart from him, the child actress was amazing. But what really awed me are the zombies – they’re not your usual brain dead zombies but more of a predator/hunter/contortionist/athlete zombies who are really rabid and really scary.

Characters – cliché but very effective. You will root for them, you will hate some, you will relate to some. Their mixture is kind of like in an animé series but they compliment each other really well.

Humor – aside from being a horror movie (with drama), there are bits of humor injected in the film that made some scenes light despite of the characters fighting for zombies.

Character Background – not as well-sketched as I want in a movie but you will get the gist of every characters’ story. Though it’s not really needed for a film like this to dwell on each character but you will know what motivates them and will understand their actions and decisions.

Dislikes:

Plot – I know that it’s one of my Likes up there but I dislike it a little bit because the film didn’t really show how the outbreak originated, I assumed that it’s because of a biochemical gas leak, but it was not really explained why. I am a person who needs to know the reason to everything. LoL.

Over All Impression:

I loved the film. Now I know why it was such a hit even without a proper ad or anything like that but just through word of mouth and social media posts. I loved some of the characters and even felt sad when some of them didn’t make it in the end, which was expected for a film like this. Korean films are one of those that I respect so much when it comes to horror and drama (Miracle in Cell No. 7). If you’re a sucker for horror movies especially the zombie genre, this is a much watch. If you like tear-jerkers, this is also a must watch. If you love both, you NEED to see this.

8 tiaras out of ten.

Movie Review: Suicide Squad

First, I just want to lay it out there that I’m not really a huge DC fan… I’m more of a Marvel kind of nerd but when I read months ago that DC is making a Suicide Squad movie, I felt ecstatic not because I’m a fan but because it will star Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Urgh! I love her!

Prior to watching Suicide Squad, it already trended twitter with having low ratings from critics so I tried to watch it as objectively as possible.

Synopsis:

A group of dangerous criminals were gathered together by a top ranking official as their go-to “suicide squad” should there be a Superman-level security threat. One of their supposed-to-be members which incidentally is the most powerful in its own out of this world sense decided to go on “its” own and enslave the world. Now it’s up to this mismatch squad to save the world while moving on with their own personal issues.

 

Likes:

Margot Robbie – this film is Margot Robbie’s movie. I’m saying this not because I love her but because her character portrayal stood out from the rest. She is the humor of the film and literally the craziest character and the loveliest at the same time.

Camera Works – David Ayer sure know how to take beautiful shots. I’m a little bit partial to the movie’s cinematography but the shots were great.

Plot – I’m not a big fan of the “questionable” plot with no real motivation from most of its characters but I took it as it is. It’s plain and simple. No complications and not hard to understand.

Viola Davis – you will hate her but you will love her at the same time that you might find yourself rooting for her over the “bad guys” and then you’ll hate her again. That’s how good she is.

 

Dislikes:

Execution – this could’ve been executed better. Yes, David Ayer took beautiful shots but his direction is not cohesive. Flashback scenes are needed but they tend to be anti-climactic. There are also scenes that for me are a little bit unfocused to what should be really going on. There are also several scenes that I find a little bit cartoon-ish.

Central Character – I believe that Deadshot should really be the lead but Will Smith’s portrayal is a little bit out there. His characterization is kind of corny. I can say easily that Harley Quinn stole every scene she’s in.

Cara Delevingne – I love her as a top model but she’s still too “young” to be a full-pledge actress. Blank eyes and unbelievable emotions made me cringe a bit. But she’s getting there, I hope.

Jared Leto – yes, he’s not Heath Ledger but I can’t help comparing them together. Both are Oscar winners but unfortunately, Jared can’t pull off Joker (yet). I believe that he’s a method actor but it didn’t work in this movie. I can still see Jared Leto acting unlike Heath who lost into the character itself. For me, that’s the difference – one is acting as Joker while the other IS Joker.

 

Over All Impression:

Well, I have to say that apart from the poor execution and direction of the movie and contrary to some (or most) of the critics Suicide Squad is good. Good thing they did re-shoots to bring in more humor in the film after BvS was heavily criticized for being boringly serious and laughable in a bad way. DC made the right move to “copy” Marvel movies though they might have overdone the humor in some parts.

Suicide Squad is a psychedelic mixture of quirky (though some are forgettable) characters that surprisingly worked well for the total cinematic experience. It’s a good introduction to a franchise with great potential. I would surely love to see a Suicide Squad vs Justice League movie in the future.

 

Six tiaras out of ten.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Review: Lights Out

When I saw the trailer of this movie, I thought that it plagiarized the 3 minute horror film I saw in Youtube. I didn’t research much on the film before watching it so as not to spoil my pleasure in watching a horror movie but also for me not to be influenced by the reviews.

 

Synopsis:

After being hunted by a violent entity, a young boy went to his sister not just for safety but to ask help to save their mother who has a mental illness and is being fed off by the same entity that claimed the life of the boy’s father and will stop at nothing to eliminate all of those who come between it and its “friend”.

 

Likes:

Scares – it definitely did not bank on jump scares and loud musical scores but on the suspense and the feeling of dread of what’s about to happen.

Plot – it’s simple, linear and no complicated twists but the storytelling was made not to divert the audience’s attention from what’s going on the screen.

Direction – David F. Sandberg is another horror movie director to watch out for. His 3 minute horror movie which is the inspiration for this film got me scared real good and this full length made me shout in the movie house several times.

 

Dislikes:

Loopholes – I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll just leave the description for this blank except for this thought: If you were the ghost, what would you do?

 

Over All Impression:

Another hit for me being a huge horror movie fan. It was, for me, inventive and something I haven’t seen yet. No gore, no jump scares, no loud noises – the scares are all in its storytelling. This is one of the movies that actually made me feel scared even after leaving the cinema house. I kept on thinking about it. It made me scared of the dark. And yep, I slept with the lights on that night. Swear. Probably better than Conjuring 2.

 

Eight tiaras out of ten.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Review: Jason Bourne

I have been a fan of this franchise though I haven’t read the book series and I’m not planning to since it’s too “manly” for me. LoL But I love the movie adaptations (except for the Jeremy Renner starrer), so as soon as it’s showing here in the Philippines, I watched it on the its first weekend.

 

Synopsis:

Jason Bourne, after living away from the CIA was brought back into the turmoil. Targeted by an equally skillful assassin while trying to find out his past and unraveling its secrets.

 

Likes:

Hmmm… can’t think of anything that stood out. Everything for me was mediocre except for the below items that for me were below average.

 

Dislikes:

Fight Scenes – it’s not as satisfying as the previous fight scenes in the franchise. They still show Bourne’s resourcefulness in using common, somewhat harmless items as deadly weapons (eg. pen, magazine, etc) but it doesn’t have that same effect anymore.

Camera Works – it’s really shaky. Sometimes a shaky camera adds to the tension of the scenes but it’s excessive use in this film is too much and actually dizzying.

Plot – I was expecting that it’ll be more conflict-ridden, has at least one major twist but I was disappointed. It was pretty much linear with lots of “walking around”.

Cinematography – lots of scenes that involved huge crowds but are not necessary to the plot at all. It didn’t use much of the locations’ scenery as well.

Characterization – Bourne’s character should have evolved by now after what he’s been through but it’s still one dimensional.

Acting – the movie have a lot of good actors but there’s no showcase of talents. I was expecting more from Matt Damon and Tommy Lee Jones but I was again disappointed. Probably the commendable actors here are just Alicia Vikander and Vincent Cassel.

 

Over All Impression:

It could’ve been a great film since its premise is about Bourne knowing his past but it fell short on its story telling. Paul Greengrass may have lost motivation already because based from the past Bourne movies, this latest installment is a disappointment for me.

 

Four tiaras out of ten.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Review: Imagine You & Me

NO SPOILERS!!

This is the most anticipated movie for all citizens of the ALDUB nation, including yours truly. I may have missed the premiere night but I won’t miss the first day of screening so I had to wake up early and change my working hours just so I don’t feel left out.

 

Synopsis:

Gara (Maine Mendoza), a hopeless romantic caregiver helped a brokenhearted medical student, Andrew (Alden Richards) when the latter’s bag was snatched. This started their romantic journey together. Will he move on and find a new love? Will she finally fall in love? Will they end up with each other?

 

Likes:

Cinematography – top of my list. The movie was shot almost entirely in Italy. Almost 98%, the setting is in Lake Como which is very picturesque. Of course, cinematography is not just about the beauty of the place but also how it was brought into the picture which  compliments AND complements the story.

Plot – it’s simple and relatable (for some, I guess). The conflicts and the twists are just enough to make the whole premise of the film interesting. Of course, it’s far from what could really happen in real life but as far as cinematic experience is concerned, it’s just right.

Acting – Maine’s acting has improved since My Bebe Love, it seems that her forte is romantic comedy. There are few instances where it’s obvious that she’s just a neophyte but she is a natural. Her ad lib and comedic timing are on point and she can banter with Cacai bautista (which is really funny) and Cai Cortez (I love her dialogues). Alden is already a known good actor but what surprised me here was Jasmine Curtis, I know that she has an award in acting already but this is the first time I saw here acting and yep, she’s great.

Humor – the movie is a romantic comedy thus its humor is just enough and right. Not slapstick, not corny. Probably, what I like most about the humor in this movie are the ad lib.

Camera Works – the long continuous shots of Mike Tuviera reminds me of Martin Scorsese’s trademark. It’s fluid and smooth and it brought me into the movie. It’s as if I was there.

Candid Moments – I like how the director incorporated the scenes where Maine and Alden are not acting at all. It may have work well because of this next item…

Chemistry – it’s undeniable. Alden and Maine have it. The last time I saw this kind of chemistry was between Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes. Shouts of glee reverberated in the cinema halls when the screen showed them on the same scene the first time.

Cameo – please do watch out for the cameo appearances. They’re funny and cute.

Very Subtle Product Placements – I always cringe whenever I see product placements which where injected in the film and as a result make the movie crass (e.g. Converse in i-Robot, Tide in My Bebe Love, etc) but the product placements in this film are almost unnoticeable except perhaps for the major sponsor(s) and these product placements were executed well.

 

Dislikes:

Sudden Burst of Emotions – the actors deliver what was expected of them but I thought that some dramatic moments were not cohesive to the flow of the scene. It’s kind of out of place, dramatic moments could’ve been better if they were not as unreasonable and unrealistic as I thought they were.

Supporting Characters – Irma Adlwan’s character as well as Cacai and Cai and Jasmine were great but I was expecting more screen time from Jerald Napoles, Yayo Aguila and others. Their scenes may have been edited but it would’ve been nice to see Jerald and Cacai. Hopefully in the sequel.

 

Over All Impression:

I loved it! Not because I’m an Aldub fan but because it was a great film. It was a perfect lead star vehicle for Alden and Maine’s love team. I can say this, without bias, that it’s one of my favorite local rom-com films apart from Starting Over Again and  Just The 3 of Us.

I can’t help myself smiling all through out the film except for the climax where I “almost” cried… okay fine, I cried. I got kilig the whole time! And another thing, the maturity that Alden and Maine showed here is superb. Very far from being pabebe. Will watch this again… and again. And the ending!!!! Grabeeee!!!

8 tiaras out of ten.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie Review: The Legend of Tarzan

I am partial to this film having grown up with the Disney animation but the trailers look promising. I was half expecting talking animals and cheesy lines, I braced myself for it.

Synopsis:

Set after Tarzan’s (re)introduction to society as Sir John Clayton. A power hungry and greedy explorer is set to bargain Tarzan for his own cruel intention which lead to Tarzan saving not just himself and Jane but also his beloved birth place and everything else that comes with it.
Likes:

  • Plot – first and foremost, this is what I loved about the movie. It’s simple with just enough conflicts that do not overwhelm the over all premise of the story.
  • Acting – it’s really well-acted. Christoph Waltz, as always, delivers top notch acting without overdoing it. I am also beginning to love Margot Robbie. Alex Skarsgärd is perfection!! Samuel L. Jackson and Djimon Hounsou supported the lead cast really well without really stealing the scenes but complementing it actually.
  • Characters – the caliber of the actors brought depth to the characters they played. A simple arranging of cutlery says so much of the character. A simple smirk and gaze tell a lot about the character. No need for unnecessary back stories, subtle movements tell a lot about the characters.
  • Cinematography – you can’t get a bad shot having Africa as your backdrop. There are a lot of scenes that can be the poster of the movie. Tarzan touching the elephant is one of my faves as well as the poignant scene he had with his gorilla mother. It’s breathtaking.
  • Editing – it’s just right, it delivers impacting scenes and letting you breath for a few seconds then bringing you in the story again.
  • Humor – having Samuel L. Jackson is a wise move. His character is a perfect relief for the action-packed film. But all humor is not just about him, even Tarzan and Jane themselves prove to bring light-hearted moments.
  • Directing – I watched the movie without knowing who the director was. I liked and loved the film so half-way through it I grabbed my phone and search who the director is and I was pleasantly surprised to know that it’s David Yates. No wonder, it’s that good!!

Dislikes:

  • Costumes –  probably the only thing I don’t like about. Considering that the story happened in the late 19th century but I guess that it’s not convenient for the actors especially Margot Robbie to do the action scenes with a really tight corset and huge ball gowns.

Over All Impression:

I loved it!!! It’s not just visually stunning but it’s also spectacularly well-made. Definitely one of the best movies in 2016!!

9 tiaras out of 10.