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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

Movie Review: Finding Dory

I am entitled to be first in line in this film than the kids who went to watch this on Father’s Day. Like most people my age, I waited for a very long time thus I should be more prioritized than those children! LoL

Synopsis:

Dory sets on a journey with Marlin and Nemo to find her long lost parents which brought them to a marine institute. On their journey they met funny and quirky characters which helped Dory reunite with her parents.

 

Likes:

Everything about this film!! Hahah!!

Characters – of course, Dory is given to be the funniest character in Finding Nemo but in this film, I get to know her even more. She’s more than that. I also loved Hank the octopus (septipus), Becky, Destiny and a lot more.

Plot – even though it’s more on of finding Dory’s parents, at the end of the film you’ll understand why it’s Finding Dory. :’)

Humor – of course, it’s not gonna be such a huge hit if Dory’s antics won’t be funny but more than that, new characters brought more laughs in this film. I would love to have a Finding Hank or Finding Destiny sequel. LoL. Hank is just so funny.

 

Dislikes:

Pacing/Editing – there were just some scenes where I got bored for a few seconds, maybe because I wanted Dory and her parents to meet already. 😀

 

Over All Impression:

Finding Dory made me laugh, giggle, cry and laugh some more. Its humor is in its characters but its heart is in the story itself (like most Pixar films) and what sets it apart is its reach not just to kids but to everyone.

 

Eight tiaras out of ten.

Movie Review: TMNT Out of the Shadows

This sequel is one of the movies I anticipated to watch this year but decided to not watch it after reading a critic review that it’s not worth to watch but then, an office mate told me that he enjoyed the film so I spent 200 pesos to see if it’s worth it.

Synopsis:

The brothers, having their own personal struggles, were conflicted and their relationship as a team and as brothers were threatened until an invasion brought them together. With the help of a new member, they went on to save New York (and the world) jeopardizing their anonymity.

 

Likes:

Characterization – the characters are more defined than the first film especially the individuality of the brothers. And I also liked how bad ass April is on this film.

Plot – it has more story than the first film. Just enough conflicts for subplots but the main story is there even though it’s tailored to some of the successful films lately (Marvel movies).

Humor – it has its cricket moments but I had more laughs in this film than the first.

 

Dislikes:

Execution – it feels like a bit “cartoony”, of course they use CGI but the whole movie seems like an animated movie for me.

Effects – too much unnecessary stunts and explosions that I thought it’s directed by Michael Bay, only to find out that he produced this so…

 

Over All Impression:

It’s explosive and visually entertaining. I would say that this could’ve been the first installment, I mean there’s no need to build an origin story if you can’t execute it well, right? Contrary to some (or most) critics, I can say that I enjoyed this movie.

Six tiaras out of ten.

 

 

 

Movie Review: Now You See Me 2

Another sequel movie that has a cult following (I guess). This is not on my list of anticipated movies in 2016 but I still braved through the rain to watch this in a movie theater because I was a fan of the first film. I hoped not to get disappointed and I guess I was not.

Synopsis:

After being gone and in hiding for a year, the horsemen were setup, framed and blackmailed to retrieve a high-tech chip using their skills and magic tricks which lead to twists and revelations that almost shattered their team.

Likes:

Cast – in this sequel, they have a new character played by Lizzy Caplan which brought dynamics to the film. And of course, Daniel Radcliffe, who is my first love. *sigh*

Execution – it is not that complicated and it has the right amount of visually appetizing shots and exhibitions.

Dislikes:

Plot – it’s a little bit cliché and common and predictable and the twists made a few plot holes.

Acting – Discounting Morgan Freeman and Michael Cain, the acting of some of the cast are a little bit over the top, some are forced and some are mediocre especially Jesse Eisenberg. I liked him in The Social Network but his acting is somewhat just the same (also in BvS).

Over All Impression:

I already forgot the first Now You See Me but this second one made me smile not because I find it a joke but because I liked how some scenes were executed. I loved the scene where they infiltrated and stole the chip though it could’ve been done in a different and less complicated way – it was a fun scene. I just feel like the final heist could’ve been more epic.

Six tiaras out of ten.

Movie Review: The Conjuring 2

I am a HUUUGE horror movie fan and it’s just nothing but usual for me to be on the first day or week of showing. The Conjuring was directed by James Wan and for me that’s where he cemented his mastery in telling a horror story. I thought that he was just lucky with Saw and Insidious but I thought wrong. He is a master storyteller.

Synopsis:

The Conjuring 2 is based on a true story of the Hodgson family’s experience with paranormal. Janet, the second daughter, was the object of the haunting that started after playing witn a ouija board summoning an angry spirit and a demonic entity. Came in the Warrens, who were skeptical at first but after realizing about what’s really going on helped the Hodgsons cast out the evil in their home.

Likes:

Direction – I have become a huge James Wan fan because of how he sets the mood by building the scare gradually without the aid of too much gore, blood or sound effects to jump scare the audience. He’s no Alfred Hitchcock but he can be the next one.

Camera Works – the continuous shot were tastefully done which made me feel like I was in the movie.

Lighting – for me lighting is one of the components in movie making that can make of break the mood of the film. Too much or too less in a horror movie can make it laughable. The lighting in this film is terrifyingly good.

Acting – the acting of the child actors especially Madison Wolfe, is giving the lead actors a run for their money. 🙂

Dislikes:

Scares – first off, the movie is indeed scary but as a horror fan it has become formulaic for me. I understand that it is James Wan’s style and it still is effective, mind you, it’s just that I thought he could have shown something new. But the scares are really good while watching but for me a good scare is something that you bring with you even after leaving the movie house.

Over All Impression:

The first Conjuring is still my favorite especially the plot and the scares (hide and clap, cabinet scene, etc) but I would give this sequel a two thumbs up still. James Wan sure knows how to make the audience scream and cover their eyes with their hands peeking through the gap between the fingers (like what my Mom and I did… lol). The Conjuring 2 has the right mixture of scares and heart which made it somewhat a family movie if your family is a horror movie junkie. :p

Seven tiaras out of ten.

 

 

Princess’ Travel Diary: Calaguas

It was kind of a spur of the moment decision for us to go to Calaguas. Summer is almost finish and the monsoon season is already effective in Manila but because of my enthusiasm and insistence of pushing through our trip, we did even without extra cash.

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My friends and I decided on having an adventure trip instead of the pre-planned packaged tours. There were only seven of us anyway and the package tours usually requires at least a minimum of 10 persons.

It was a long weekend for us and we opt to take the trip right after our graveyard shift. It was a wrong move for us because most buses are for reservations only, luckily we were able to book our ticket on one of the bus liners along EDSA.C360_2016-05-29-08-10-18-194C360_2016-05-29-08-07-32-944.jpg

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The day trip took 12 HOURS instead of the usual 9 hours land trip from Manila to Camarines Norte (Eastern part of the Philippines) but it was just fine for us since we just got off from work and a long trip means long sleeping hours for us. There were several stopovers for bathroom break, to smoke and/or to eat anyway.C360_2016-05-29-11-45-23-145

We arrived in Camarines Norte at 11PM and we have to commute (no buses anymore) to Paracale, the town where we will take the noat trip to Calaguas. We rented a tricycle instead and upon arrival in Paracale, we checked in to one of the motels to spend the night. At 5AM we bought our food supplies, grabbed a bite, checked out after an hour and then off we went to find us a boat that will take us to the island.20160530_053005C360_2016-05-30-05-15-41-966

While finding the port, we met a guy and when we asked him where the port is, he didn’t just take us there through his jeepney for free but even looked for a boat for us. Like I said on my previous travel diary (Cagbalete Island), it pays to befriend the locals. 🙂C360_2016-05-30-05-26-50-836

C360_2016-05-30-05-26-33-614Prince Joshua was our boat (see contact below) and the “crew members” were more than happy to accommodate us. They even chose the best spot on the island for us to camp. The boat ride took a little more than an hour but we were never bored because the view were great. Upon approaching the island, we can’t wait to feel the sand and soak in it’s clear, blue waters. The commute we had was all worth it. It was still summer there. Calaguas is a paradise.C360_2016-05-29-16-47-18-892

Princess’ Tips and Reminders – Calaguas:

  • It is best to have a reservation (bus fare is around 500 – 600 depending on the schedule and the bus line) if you don’t have a private transportation.
  • Night travel is advisable – less traffic, less humid. It would also mean that you won’t have to spend a night in Paracale thus less spending.
  • Bring (or buy) your food supplies – rice, chips, viands, if you can bring an ice cooler with tube ice the better. Goods in Calaguas are a little bit pricey (a 3 peso ice in Manila costs 20 pesos there, no kidding).
  • You may ask the resort attendants/caretakers to cook for you and you can just pay them. Cooking charge is up to you, we paid 50 pesos when we asked them to cook our rice and another 50 pesos the following day for our breakfast.
  • Recharging your phone will cost you 30 pesos, so I suggest to bring a power bank.
  • I am not going to post here where the best spot on the island is because I want you to discover it. That spot has the best camping ground, powdery white sand, great snorkeling area and has a secluded beach with a great view. 🙂
  • You may ask a guide if you want to go trekking but you may do it on your own (entrance to the trekking trail is 20 pesos).
  • Trek before sunrise.
  • Wear sandals or slippers when exploring the island.
  • When snorkeling, please make sure not to damage the corals. 🙂
  • You can’t take an ugly picture of Calaguas.
  • All pictures posted were taken by me, I didn’t use ANY filters on the beach photos. I had to use filters on the sunrise photos for dramatic effect.
  • I don’t have to tell you this but enjoy and have fun!!

Movie Review: Warcraft

I am not a fan of online games and never played one in my entire life ever but the trailer of this movie was kind of exciting and I thought that it may interest me so I decided to watch it without any knowledge about the online game where it was based on.

Synopsis:

An orc chieftain seek the help of the humankind after opposing the evilness of their king (I guess). This evilness was being driven by wanting to find a new kingdom to rule thus the humankind did everything they could, with the help of a powerful guardian, to protect their people and their kingdom.

 

Likes:

Effects – more than anything else, it’s what made me see the movie. They could have made it more realistic though because I feel like watching a version 2.0 of Beowulf but it’s tolerable. It’s not as good as the LOTR franchise but it’s okay.

Story – it was there though not deep and complicated enough but it works. It was understandable except for some confusing parts. It would’ve been more comprehensible for me if only I know something about the online game. 😀

 

Dislikes:

Acting – It just shocked me how an orc holds a cup with her pinky flicking like a proper lady. Animated facial expressions doesn’t work for me either and I’m confused on their underacting and overacting technique. 🙂

Subplots – The love angle was too forced. Father and son relationship and conflict was too shallow. “Saving the child” was too biblical.

 

Over All Impression:

It was an okay movie for me. I just thought that for starting a new franchise film, the producers and the director should’ve made it more epic. It was kind of bland and lacks an oomph factor. I also thought that they should’ve cast at least one or two more known and good actors to help audiences like me to have that feeling of familiarity at least. It would make us, non-Warcraft gamers, more excited I guess.

Four tiaras out of ten.

Movie Review: X-Men Apocalypse

X-Men Apocalypse is one of the most awaited movies of the year and as soon as I knew that it’s already showing here in the Philippines, I went and watched it right away (second day of showing). Of course, prior to watching I had to know how many, if there are any, post-credit scenes. Bought a large glass of iced tea and some raisins to nibble on and then I went inside very excited. Yey!

Synopsis:

Without Professor X, the new breed of X-men went to save the world (and the Professor) under Mystique’s lead against a powerful mutant and his four minions. That’s pretty much it.

Likes:

Quicksilver – I thought that he deserved to have his stand alone film under a different director with a fresh approach. He  shone here more than he did from the previous X-Men film until the script crippled him literally.

Sophie Turner – she’s refreshing and a great new addition on this franchise.

I paused and think for several minutes to think of anything else I like in the film but I can’t think of any. Gahd!!

Dislikes:

Editing – what happened? There are unnecessary scenes that didn’t help the flow of the plot.

Cinematography – almost non-existent. It’s 2016 already!! I was really bothered on the final battle scene. They were just fighting in someone else’s junk yard.

Script – when did it become cheesy? I realized that even how much acting caliber an actor has, if the script is bland… urgh!

Plot – I thought that it was too convenient for the protagonists. No complicated conflicts, love angle was forced, poignant moments were laughable. Urgh!!! What happened?!?!?! There are a lot of plot holes even. I thought a lot of questionable inconsistencies in the continuity of this film saga. AND that’s it for Wolverine?

Direction – I like Bryan Singer but it seems that his energy has burned out. No fresh approach, nothing at all. I’m so sad.

Actors – I had high hopes that the multi-awarded actors can carry the film but even their stars were dimmed by the direction. 😦

Over All Impression:

It’s like watching the characters from Glee in costumes trying real hard to win the regionals. What’s with the awkward poses and tableau?? What’s with the cheesy lines?? I guess, it’s about time that 20th Century give the rights for X-Men and let Disney take over. Even the humor in the film is forced. I only liked Quicksilver’s scenes and that’s it. Sorry. The film was a joke. And I can’t believe I compromised my sleeping hours for this. Urgh! I’m so disappointed and sad.

Four tiaras out of ten. (I gave this rating generously.)