Robinsons Galleria, Cinema 6, October 21, 5:20pm
Trite and predictable but at least it did the basic stuff right. POV is clear, singing is enjoyable and Anna Kendrick is just luminous.
Friends who might appreciate it: For sure they’ve heard about the film already.
SM City – North EDSA, IMAX Cinema, October 21, 7:50pm
I'm not sure if it can be classified as having a Tim Burton ending or not but it gave me an idea on how he handles a Disney film. It's both cuddly and dark but the references to B movies are the best part. Its message on death and science is clear and the song "Strange Love" just capped the fun.
Friends who might appreciate it: Kids.
A SECRET AFFAIR
Eastwood Mall, Cinema 5, October 26, 1:00pm
Direction-wise, it's serviceable enough. It's just that it was already done before; same theme, almost the same cast, same gloss and same approach. Some scenes are likeable (car scene with Jaclyn Jose and daughters, the iconic artwork in Burgos Circle, etc.) but it's very hard to take the characters seriously. The women here are either plain bitch or just fickle minded.
Friends who might appreciate it: I wish I can demand them not to watch and like it.
Greenbelt 3, Cinema 5, October 27, 11:00pm
Categorically, the film is a popcorn action film for me. It's based on real life characters back in the 1930's Virginia. Its story about brothers who are forced to have a taste of violence is very easy to follow and probably has been exhausted before. Past that, it remains entertaining for me, thanks to its terrific photography. Guy Pearce should be noticed here at the very least.
Friends who might appreciate it: Those who are tired and weary of those Bruce Willis’ brand of machismo.
SM Mall of Asia, IMAX Cinema, November 4, 5:00pm
I haven't seen all the Bond films but from what I saw, this one's the most definitive. It has the usual stuff like undercover tasks involving women, some gadgets, some cars, sleek fashion and big action scenes. What differentiates this from the rest is the successful attempt to humanize the paper thin character. From this franchise on, audience can now easily empathize with the iconic agent. Also well acted (especially Javier Bardem who's scary in most scenes) and the production design is impressive. I can say that it's the only Bond film that I experienced a little sense of danger while watching it.
Friends who might appreciate it: For sure they’ve seen it.
Glorietta 4, Cinema 1, November 7, 7:10pm
This film about finding purpose through an unlikely friendship is very predictable but I liked how it could stir the imagination of its expected young audience. As for the not-so-young viewers, there's always the novelty of the arcade/video game culture to consider. It would be lame to say it's an eye candy but the Sugar Rush scenes made me crave for sweets. Bonus: impressive B&W (and red) animation on the short film “Paperman” (which I believe was noticed by the Academy).
Friends who might appreciate it: Everybody has a purpose so....
MADALING ARAW, MAHABANG GABI
Glorietta 4, Cinema 2, November 7, 9:40pm
Aside from the additional CGI, I didn't see much progress from its version that was shown at the CCP four months ago but I enjoyed it the second time around. This talky film which looked like a labor of love from a circle of friends in the industry has to have an audience. It could actually serve as a baby step in anti-formula film appreciation in Pinoy cinema. It's about the vanishing tradition of Pangangaluluwa where the characters are challenged to reexamine their own souls. The stories are a bit uneven and the final segment relies on being too eventful but it was satisfying nonetheless. It was a good call to tag playwright (and Virgin Labfest regular) Nicolas Pichay on board as co-writer.
Friends who might appreciate it: Not entirely sure who’s going to appreciate the film.
TWILIGHT BREAKING DAWN, PART 2
Newport Cinemas, Cinema 4, November 18, 1:05pm
I missed the first part but at least I still managed to pick up the story. Oh, there's really no story. It's just a clash of two vampire groups and their preparation for it. Snapshots on the opening credits are good though and the OST sounds promising for its genre.
Friends who might appreciate it: It’s so pop that it doesn’t require any recommendation at all.
Trinoma, Cinema 2, November 21, 9:55pm
This glossy film serves as an antidote to the recent Pinoy films about the so-called extra-marital affair. Erik Matti is like showing us how to better tackle infidelity: insightful, technically well made and sensual. The last few minutes of the film got me. It pretty much pinpoints what could have been the ripple effects of our actions, something that was not touched yet in other kabit films. John James Uy is not a good actor but the peg of the character is there. Yam Concepcion has a strong presence and very promising for her first film but it was Max Eigenmann, who reminds me of the young Monique Wilson, who delivered the goods.
Friends who might appreciate it: Married or not, this film deserves a try.
THE TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE
Robinsons Galleria, Cinema 2, December 5, 12:10pm
I got no plans of watching the film at first but the extra time to kill pushed me to. I more or less knew what to expect from this Hallmark-y tale about the emotional distance between an aging father (Clint Eastwood) and his daughter (Amy Adams). And my guts are actually right. Reliable acting from the leads salvaged a quarter of what could have been the usual and run of the mill Hollywood drama.
Friends who might appreciate it: I can’t pinpoint anyone right now.
RISE OF THE GUARDIANS
Robinsons Galleria, Cinema 3, December 7, 3:30pm
Past the cute idea of assembling the familiar characters (Santa Claus, Jack Frost, etc.), there's nothing more to it. It's another take on maturity and on how to shoulder responsibility. For sure, I've seen something like that before. It's enjoyable for 90 plus minutes nonetheless.
Friends who might appreciate it: Kids though they deserve something better.
KILLING THEM SOFTLY
Glorietta 4, Cinema 4, December 12, 7:35pm
This talky film reminds me of Quentin Tarantino's early works, only more technically promising. I can actually stand the slow pacing but the reference to the US national elections is a bit forced for me and oftentimes distracting. I can say that Brad Pitt has been very picky on his film projects.
Friends who might appreciate it: Forget the song reference in the title; it’s not Cannes-decorated for nothing.
FLAMES OF LOVE
Glorietta 4, Cinema 1, December 12, 9:25pm
I almost walked out after 15 minutes, particularly in a scene that involves a soft-spoken guy and his girlfriend dismissing pre-marital sex. He said that it's a love triangle between them and God. The rest of the film boasts of similar scenes; saying no to abortion (which, on personal note, is a good campaign) and repeatedly preaching that condoms are ineffective. The “sermon” that the film tries to convey is difficult to swallow especially for a script that seems to challenge not morality but reality. The OFW mom for instance is shown putting $1,000 in a snail mail and the money reaches the daughter. There's nothing much from the acting department either considering the presence of the likes of Christopher de Leon, Lani Mercado and even the great Jaclyn Jose. Only exception perhaps is Dina Bonnevie who did great.
Friends who might appreciate it: I know some extremely religious friends who may appreciate the film big time.
SM Megamall, Cinema 12, December 15, 12:00pm
Similar to Emerson Reyes' award-winning short film, "Walang Katapusang Kuwarto", the audience is once again asked to eavesdrop to other people’s conversations. This time around, the POV is brought inside an FX and charmed to feel what’s going to be a day like for a public transport driver (Allan Paule). For me, the whole premise looks like an extended plot for a short film (the moment Joy Viado joined in up to the last frame) and some odd decisions (like the scene where the lead character is seen getting emotional while the whole song from “Paalam, Aking Bulalakaw” is being played on the radio) did not help. I must admit though that the last five or so minutes provided the expected kilig.
Friends who might appreciate it: I can’t tell.
Robinsons Galleria, Cinema 8, December 15, 3:20pm
First things first, I haven’t read the book. What I’ve heard is that the novel is challenging to adapt on film. It’s a bit noticeable along the way but the Wachowski brothers (more of siblings now) and Tom Tykver did a great job with the finished product. The timelines are easy to follow and seeing the same set of actors (Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, etc.) doing different set of characters pushes the agenda further that everything is connected. It’s a new experience for me since the different timelines serve as varied storylines as if I was watching four or five different short films in one. Maybe a bit simplistic if taken per piece but at least the high concept is not messed up. The only downside for me is the make-up. It is sometimes overly distracting especially those episodes that require a Caucasian actor play an Asian role and vice versa.
Friends who might appreciate it: Those who miss the same folks who gave us “Matrix” and “Run, Lola, Run”.