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  1. #1
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    Official PEx Movie Reviews

    Hello PExers !

    A couple of weeks ago, we called movie critics from the community who would like to contribute meaningful content to everyone. In this light, we now have the Official PEx Reviews wherein PExers get to attend advanced screenings and write real reviews on the movies.

    What you are about to read in this thread are genuine reviews by members of the PEx community who had a sneak peak at the upcoming movies.

    All the Best,
    Team PEx

    DISCLAIMER:
    The views expressed in the following articles do not necessarily reflect the views of PinoyExchange.

  2. #2
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    REVIEW: "The Adjustment Bureau"



    “The Adjustment Bureau” is a solid movie that delivers the right amount of thrill and entertainment that you wouldn't feel like you wasted two hours of your life. But if you're looking for the next “Inception” then you might get disappointed.

    I haven't read Phillip K. Dick's “The Adjustment Team”, the short story where this movie is based on, when I watched the movie but nevertheless the premise is already intriguing enough to draw me into. David Norris (Matt Damon) is a US congressman who meets Elise (Emily Blunt), a beautiful woman whom he immediately falls smitten with after they share a moment on the night where David is about to give a pivotal speech for his political career. David and Elise's blossoming romance was thwarted when a mysterious group of men abducts David and warns him that he should never see Elise ever again. Apparently, these group of men called the Adjustment Bureau are tasked to “adjust” your destiny according to the plan of the “Chairman”. They even have a book containing a map-like illustration of a person's destiny moving in real time. The mysterious men eventually let David go but not after burning the piece of paper where Elise wrote her number. But David ignored the warning and tried to search for Elise to no avail. After 3 years, David found Elise on a chance encounter and this time around David will not allow anything to set them apart even if facing the mysterious destiny-adjusting men once again.

    “The Adjustment Bureau” makes a strong case on destiny versus free will but while I found the premise intriguing the script was dragged down by a weakly written conflict. There are contrived plot devices just to set up the central conflict like why would a prominent congressman take public transport without security or staff accompanying him? Why is David more bothered with the thought of not seeing the woman (which is basically just a stranger) ever again than finding out shocking secrets about human destiny? I have no problem with a love story as the driving force for the main character to fight the “Chairman's plan” but the build up was simply not compelling enough.

    The performances were all fine but nothing noteworthy. Damon and Blunt offer enough chemistry to make you believe that their characters' love is true and not just a passionate affection. The movie has a witty dialogue where the cast especially Damon delivers quite well. Anthony Mackie and John Slattery did a great job and their scenes with Damon provided the movie a snappy repartee. Terence Stamp as Thompson, a veteran member of the Adjustment Bureau, was an engaging “antagonist”.

    The cinematography and visual effects are top notch particularly the “traveling through doors” sequences. New York, which plays an integral part in the story, was utilized quite well with a showcase of the city's stunning scenery during the well-executed chase scenes towards the end of the movie.

    “The Adjustment Bureau” is a mix of suspense, romance, and science fiction with some religious and political undertones on the side. While the result is an entertaining movie, “The Adjustment Bureau” could have achieved more if managed to focus on one aspect alone or at least gave more emphasis on the aspects where it worked.

    "The Adjustment Bureau" will be shown in the Philippines on March 4, 2011.




    "The Adjustment Bureau" thread @ Pinoyexchange
    Last edited by forg; Feb 25, 2011 at 05:52 PM.

  3. #3
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    Since most of us couldn't stop talking about the unforgettable action-suspense thriller Taken (2008) for a week after seeing it in the Cinemas, it's no surprise that we've gotten all excited about Liam Neeson's newest suspense flick, Unknown, hoping it would be an equally edge-of-the-seat thriller, the kind of escapist adrenalin-booster romp that we crave as a break from the everyday humdrum.

    This time, in Unknown, Liam takes us to the cold, grey ominous streets of Berlin as Martin Harris, an American botanist that is scheduled to attend a Biotechnology summit in the city, where the greatest scientific minds of the world will merge— the hot topic being the genetically-altered crop that could end world hunger. Harris brings along his wife Liz, Mad Men's January Jones, who looks particularly too young for the aging Neeson. Upon arrival in the snowy, blistery streets of Berlin, the red flag of suspense promptly raises as Harris accidentally leaves behind a suitcase before embarking on a taxi to the hotel. Then a string of events quickly picks up; Liz has some trouble checking in the hotel, Martin, upon realizing that he left his suitcase back at the airport, frantically hails a taxi with a woman driver (Diane Kruger), and they get into a harrowing accident. When Martin wakes up from a coma sans ID, January Jones is looking at him quizzically—and in her arm, is a less handsome Martin Harris (Adian Quinn) that she claims to be her husband. Suddenly, no one knows who he is. The only one who can possibly help him pick up the pieces of the mystery is the Bosnian illegal immigrant taxi driver.

    Directed by Jaume (House of Wax), the movie lacks that smart, polished, elegant feel despite the exciting mystery, and even the strong visual presence of Bruno Ganz and Frank Langella did not elevate the movie into a classy, quality film that you expect. The action scenes were a bit sub-par to the point of okay-let-us-get-done-and-over-with-the-car-chase sort of impatience, and there were character flaws and inconsistencies, also lacking in depth and richness. Diane Kruger, Neeson's staunch ally, weirdly seems to be the hero in the film and should have taken up the movie poster instead of Neeson. In fact, the only one actor who showed exemplary performance, albeit her strange superhero role, was Kruger, with Neeson's character and performance only secondary. And January Jones was the annoying part in the film, a frosty blond that couldn't act. What's wrong with her?


    Despite the unpolished feel of the movie, the nightmarish sense of losing your identity is still palpable and unsettling in Unknown, and will keep you guessing towards the unpredictable end. Was Harris' identity really stolen? Or has the accident altered his mind-- yet a conspiracy still exists? Mystery and conspiracy buffs will find the film titillating as the puzzle was laid out very well in the story, and the foreign eerie streets of Berlin actually enhanced the espionage, atmosphere of the film. Also, there were a few heart-stopping, stressful kind of suspense as Harris was being hunted by the mysterious bad guys. It's the slightly flawed characterization, as well as the action scenes that came short, that reduce Unknown into almost TV movie-like instead of a blockbuster cinematic experience, but it will nevertheless hook you until the end.

    Do not expect a mind-blowing high-quality action thriller with a smart and savvy screenplay, but Unknown is still fairly a good mystery movie; enjoyable in a conventional level that, if you're looking for a suspense and mystery fix, backdropped with the refreshingly beautiful German city, it will fairly do its job. Choosing Unknown as a Friday night movie date is a safe, worth-it experience, but not something that you will giddily talk about afterwards. It is entertaining, but not wildly entertaining.

    ***



    "Unknown" thread @ Pinoyexchange

  4. #4

    Review: Red Riding Hood



    Before watching this film, I already have a pre-conceived idea about the film’s premise given that I've already read and watched some retellings of Little Red Riding Hood (and also upon watching its less than impressive trailer.)

    Red Riding Hood is the tale of a young lady named Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) who is in love with the woodcutter Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) but was arranged to marry the wealthy Henry (Played by Max Irons). Unwilling to marry Henry, Valerie and Peter plan to runaway just when her sister was found slaughtered by the wolf that has been lurking around their village for years. With this, famed wolf hunter Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) was asked to kill the beast.

    As the death toll rises, Father Solomon warns the villagers that the beast maybe one of them. Valerie then discovers that she has a special connection with the wolf, suspecting that the creature could be someone she loves.

    I was almost sure that everyone in the cinema felt the Twilight-ish starting scene of the film with the snow-covered forest, the pine trees and the fog. It’s just all too familiar. After all, it was Catherine Hardwicke who created this folklore’s adaptation. I was praying silently that it would meet or even surpass my expectations, but I think I got what I deserved.

    The start was very fast-paced. From the moment that they found out that Valerie’s sister was slaughtered, the villagers plotted to kill the wolf themselves but were unsuccessful that it even causes more deaths. With Father Solomon’s arrival, which kind of gave me that “Van Helsing Just Arrived” vibes, it was apparent that he’ll be the one to actually create havoc in the village rather than the wolf itself. I just don’t get his character. Why is he bossing around people in the village when in fact it is obvious that it was not the majorities who called for him to be summoned and kill the beast? It was funny that he had his army with him to protect him and be his slaves.

    There were also some funny scenes involving Valerie’s grandmother and that almost comical cutaway from scene to scene. It was a trying hard approach to create suspense but it failed terribly that they ended up being funny. Some shots are not too polished and are a bit distracting as well. I however, love its soundtrack but thought that some of the songs were played in the wrong scenes.

    Watching Amanda Seyfried as Valerie feels like watching her in Mamma Mia and Dear John. Those scared and effervescent eyes are really piercing that you’re sure that she’ll stab the next person in front of her anytime which actually happened in the film by the way. Max Irons who played Henry was the clone of Edward Cullen (yes, that glistening vampire from Twilight). At some point in the film, you’d feel that you’re watching Twilight (No pun intended). This is not to discourage you from watching though, I mean Billy Burke was also part of the cast who played Valerie’s father and was brilliant to say the least. Peter, who played Valerie’s main love interest, was almost non-existent. He’s too awkward yet he played a rather important role.


    When the wolf arrived and cornered Valerie and talked to her, the guessing game furiously started as everybody she loves was a suspect. That guessing part was almost good and suspenseful; I just wish that there’s more action to the narrative rather than just a plain explanation because it kind of lacks the connection. The big reveal was almost anti-climactic but it was still good given that it was not too much of a giveaway.

    In conclusion, I think the film was trying too hard to be darker than what it shows in its trailer and was not very successful. It was still a good two hours guessing who the werewolf is and lamenting how some scenes could’ve been executed better.

    Overall, I’d give it a 6/10 rating.




    Click for Red Riding Hood's thread @PinoyExchange

  5. Mar 13, 2011

  6. #5
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    Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (2011)



    I only found out that he’s a Canadian and a YouTube-created pop star the day before I watched the screening of Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. Prior to that, all I know is that he’s a mysterious global phenomenon of a blonde-helmet-hair catering to the 16-year-old-and-below demographic with his “Baby, baby, baby noooo”—a song that always sends shivers through my jaws but is actually the anthem of tweens wordlwide . And, yes, I recently heard that he’s Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and Beatles combined, and I was flabbergasted. Who does this Bieber think he is? This androgynous baby-faced teen that spews the kind of songs that have the annoying power to stick to your head? Is this Justin Bieber the Manny Pacquiao of Pop Culture? And he’s only 17 and still alive—yet he's already got a biopic? In 3D?

    Screening Day. I snapped on my 3D glasses, the “unbelieber” that I was, while the rest of the teen-filled cinema cheered wildly. And on the screen came this incredibly cute little boy, his round eyes so visible and adorable without the patented hair. Then my jaw dropped when the toddler began beating the drums. And instantly, you realize that behind the bubblegum exterior that frightens away the alternative music-loving people is a seriously musically gifted boy. And with that kind of talent, comes respect. And you watch the rest of the film with respect for the boy.

    Justin Bieber: Never Say Never is a documentary about the teen heartthrob; a biographic timeline of his instant rise to fame, interspersed with concert clips, and a countdown to his sold-out concert at the “World’s Most Famous Arena,” the Madison Square Garden, where superstars like U2, Rolling Stones, and Michael Jackson have performed—proof that Bieber has reached the pinnacle of success.

    The ultimate Bieber fans, of course, already know by heart the history of the child star. But be assured that the movie is not just some Bio episode in full-length. “Beliebers” will be treated with a bunch of concert performances, mostly 3D images of Bieber floating out of the screen, so close that you can relive your dream and pretend to touch his hand; intimate behind-the-scenes footages; home videos where you can get a glimpse of the homelife of the boy wonder; and like sprinkles to your chocolate ice cream, you will be treated with guest performances from Boyz II Men, Miley Cyrus, Jaden Smith, and of course, The Mentor: Usher. Also, there are life-sized Bieber 3D scenes solely created for this movie that I’m sure the fans would delightfully indulge in—Oh, and of course, scenes of a shirtless Bieber.

    Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, directed by Jon Chu (Step-Up), threads together Bieber’s short history in an engaging and clear fashion. The transitions between interviews and home videos and the wild concerts were swift and smooth right until the culminating scene. Bieber’s life story is not exactly unique and awesome, but Chu succeeded in producing a streamlined storytelling of the Bieber Fever phenomenon that will tickle your funny bone and will warm your heart. And he reveals the human being behind the pop-packaging. After watching the movie, fans would definitely want a real Bieber concert experience more than ever, as the 3D makes them one step closer to the real thing. “Unbeliebers,” on the other hand, will enjoy the cute and funny clips of the obsessed fans, be entertainingly educated on Bieber’s bio, and will realize and admit that the boy actually possesses real talent—if you strip away all that pop overload.

    Hearing “Baby baby baby noooo” might still make an “unbelieber” like me cringe, yes . . . but after watching the movie, I actually started caring about Justin Bieber. Never say never!



    Talk about the movie at the Justin Bieber: Never Say Never thread.
    Last edited by Lola_Rose; Mar 23, 2011 at 01:37 PM.

  7. #6

    Sucker Punch Review



    As a fan of 300 and Watchmen (both directed by Zack Snyder), I was excited to watch Sucker Punch. Based on the film’s trailer, Snyder used the same style he used in filming 300 and Watchmen (lots of slow motion and wide angle shots) so if you liked how both films were shot, you will definitely like Sucker Punch.

    Sucker Punch features an all-female lead cast: Emily Browning (Baby Doll), Abbie Cornish (Sweet Pea), Jena Malone (Rocket), Vanessa Hudgens (Blondie) and Jamie Chung (Amber). If you like females dressed in naughty and provocative outfits then their costumes are enough eye candy already. The special effects were also great and realistic (explosions, dragons, gun fire, robots, etc.).

    I was fortunate to watch it in an IMAX theater so the feel for the fight scenes was great, but not awesome. It was great because it was complemented with a great soundtrack. It was not awesome because it somewhat lacked impact (compared to 300 and Watchmen) and the scenes were short.

    In my observation the story also has a touch of the film Inception (Christopher Nolan). You might get confused of the plot because of this. I will not elaborate on this similarity to avoid giving spoilers. It also has elements of Lord of the Rings - Battle of Helm’s Deep, Moulin Rouge, Nazis and World War II.

    Overall, I think Sucker Punch is like a long music video (the soundtrack rocks), a cabaret film without dancing or strip tease and a sad-uplifting film. The visuals are of trademark Zach Snyder imagery, but I don’t think he is a good writer.
    I give Sucker Punch a rating of 6/10.



    Talk about the movie at the Sucker Punch thread.

  8. #7

    Review: Hop



    The film focuses on E.B.--son of the Easter Bunny--who dreams of becoming a drummer instead of taking over his father’s job, and Fred, a happy go lucky human who accidentally injures E.B. and eventually helps him overcome the evil plan of the Easter chick Carlos to destroy Easter.

    This film does not really require a great deal of dissection. We could easily relate with E.B’s character, someone who dreams big but is caught in an inevitable obligation; while Fred is someone who’s always yearning for something else in life without actually having any clue on what that is.



    It has some great moments especially in the part when E.B. pretended to be a stuffed animal. That scene was just hilarious. Carlos, the head chick was also very funny with all his dialogues.

    If you have seen Enchanted, you will be reminded again of the awful singing of James Marsden. You really have to see that part of the film as it is one of the funniest as well.

    I thought the whole film was a bit slow, though it is highly entertaining especially to the kids who truly enjoy the antics of the very cute E.B. as well as the chicks’ characters. It is incomparable to Toy Story or Shrek or even the most recent film Rango, but it has the elements of a good film.

    Its trailer alone is fun to watch but after watching the whole film, you’ll see that the story lacks depth. But hey! Who needs depth if you can just laugh along with the kids in the cinema?

    I’m giving it a 7.5/10 rating.



    Discuss the film here HOP

  9. #8

    Hall Pass Movie Review



    A Barely Passing Mark for Hall Pass

    When I first caught the trailer of Hall Pass by the brothers Peter and Bobby Farrelly, I decided that this is a movie that I will not pass up on, especially since it comes from the same team behind the iconic comedy, There’s Something About Mary. Thus, I went to the cinemas prepared to suffer the pain— in my jaws from laughing endlessly.

    Not exactly.

    The film started out slowly, with a rather lengthy launch of its premise: here were two middle age family men, Rick and Fred, played by Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis. The duo is stuck in their foregone glory days as bachelors, ogling women from afar, and whining about dwindling sex lives with their wives, Maggie and Grace, played by Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate respectively.

    Maggie, taunted by a doctor-friend’s experiment, was pushed to grant Rick a “hall pass”--one week off from their marriage where he could do everything he wants to do, no questions asked. He was later joined by Fred after the latter drew the ire of his wife.
    Thus begins the more exciting part of the movie: the chronicle of Rick and Fred’s seven days as virtual bachelors. The film picked up with bolder and funnier antics from the two along with their loyal gang of dorky suburban husbands. True to the form of the directors of There’s Something About Mary, the scenes which elicited the most laughter involved toilet humor. The more memorable scenes include Sudeikis‘ potential one night stand’s toilet scene; a trippy golf outing resulting from a binge on dope brownies; and Fred’s moment in the car to the tune of [I]Air Supply[I] that has made the best of us wincing in our seats

    Wilson and Sudeikis as the two leads are effectively humorous as they traipse around like hormone-driven teenage boys, although the good looking Wilson was unconvincing as a middle age dad, despite his old man shirts. We may be used to seeing him as a matinee idol or guy next door in his earlier comedies. In contrast, the supporting role Applegate stole the show. She was biting and funny, without need of toilet humor. Too bad her scenes were limited.

    I also need to mention that the casting of Academy Award nominee Richard Jenkins as Coakley is disturbing. Coakley’s character was interesting as he has been mentioned several times early on but when the great reveal was made, it was difficult to match Jenkins with the character.

    The producers market the film by associating it to the classic Cameron Diaz-Ben Stiller starrer. This might be enough to generate interest among the moviegoers but once inside the cinema, Hall Pass ought to stand on its own merits. Unfortunately, it does not.
    If you are looking for a few good laughs, then you can troop the cinemas. This might be an alternative to the films currently showing. But don’t expect to roll out laughing

    Rating 6 out of 10


  10. #9

    Source Code Movie Review



    When I first saw this movie’s trailer, my impression was it’s a saving the world / time-travel type of a movie. So if you like science fiction thriller movies, this is a movie you would like to watch.

    Jake Gyllenhaal plays the lead character with supporting cast Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright. Michael Arden and Scott Bakula in a cameo role (guest what contribution he made). It was directed by Duncan Jones, son of rock star David Bowie. This is Jones’ first Hollywood movie. The movie didn’t have a lot of special effects. Just repeating explosion and time warp scenes.

    The film revolves around Gyllenhaal’s character, Captain Colter Stevens a decorated army helicopter pilot. To just give you an idea about the story without giving spoilers, his character is in a mission to identify a bomber who just bombed a train in Chicago to prevent a much bigger bombing. He was “sent back” to the last eight minutes before the train was bombed. This movie has a touch of Vantage Point and Minority Report. The movie also has a love story element in it with Monaghan’s character as the love interest.

    The first part of the movie was exciting but it gets a little draggy in the middle part. Maybe I just got tired of seeing the same scene over and over again. The ending was good and to be expected. You’ll figure out who the bomber is early in the movie. The mystery is how he caught him and the real condition of the lead character. Don’t miss the scene where they show the physical appearance of Captain Colter Stevens.

    Overall, I didn’t think that I didn’t get my money’s worth but it could have been better. The last science fiction thriller I watched was The Adjustment Bureau and I liked it so much. Maybe I’m just comparing this movie to it so my expectations are high.

    I give it 6 stars out of 10 stars.



    Talk about the movie at the Source Code thread.

  11. #10
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    Upcoming Films for 2011 from Paramount, Universal, and Dreamworks

    Thinking of catching the hottest movies for 2011?

    TeamPEx was fortunate enough to be invited to the movie roadshow event of United International Pictures (UIP) today, and we were amazed by the movies they have lined up for 2011.

    Marvel fans should watch out for two upcoming superhero flicks: Thor and Captain America, and from the looks of the trailers these movies pack a mean punch for all moviegoers.

    Aliens never looked so good as they dominate the big screen. Whoever said that Westerns are a thing of the past sure haven't seen Daniel Craig kicking alien butt while wearing cowboy boots in Cowboys vs. Aliens.

    For those looking for a bit of mystery coupled with suspense and heart-pounding action, watch out for the Steven Spielberg produced film Super 8. We were actually treated to a few minutes look at Super 8, and from what we've seen, it's a movie that would be hard to pass up on.

    The magic of animation is also fully present in UIP's lineup. Kids would definitely enjoy the funny antics of Puss in Boots as he dances his way to the theaters, while Kung Fu Panda 2 promises a kung fu kick of laughter and action from Po and the Fearless Five for the whole family.

    Lastly, everyone should get ready to go into battle against the Decepticons with Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The third installment of the series promises lots of eye candy special effects from the Autobots as well as from Sam Witwicky's new girlfriend.

    To know more about the movies UIP has in store for you this 2011, visit their Facebook page.

    Keep on popping those popcorns with PinoyExchange Movie Reviews!

  12. #11
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    Review: Arthur


    I haven’t seen the 1981 movie so I can’t really say if the updated version of this romantic-comedy lived up or ruined the original. In a way, maybe it’s good that I’m judging Arthur through its own merits (and demerits) and not be affected by nostalgia.

    Arthur tells the story of a young billionaire Arthur Bach (Russell Brand) who was born with a golden spoon and thus has always relied on his limitless fortune to do everything he wants. He parties hard, sleeps with various women, bids expensive historical items against himself, literally throws away money, and is always drunk. But despite his promiscuous and happy-go-lucky lifestyle, Arthur is still a child at heart who loves to watch cartoons and listens to bedtime stories read to her by her nanny Hobson (Helen Mirren), who has been looking after him since he was a baby and essentially became his only parent since Arthur’s father died when he was young and his mother, Vivienne (Geraldine James), was too busy to take care of him. However, Vivienne had enough of Arthur’s crazy shenanigans as it is already scaring away investors from their company so she decided to set up his son to marry famous corporate executive Susan (Jennifer Garner) to improve his image. Arthur at first refused to be tied down but Vivienne warned him that if he does not marry Susan she will cut off his inheritance and will be left penniless. Arthur who has never worked ever in his entire life agreed to marry Susan so he can keep living lavishly. However, things got complicated when Arthur falls in love, for real, to charming tourist guide Naomi (Greta Gerwig).

    Arthur opens with a lot of typical gags and antics you would expect from a movie that stars an actor like Russell Brand. Brand provides funny moments and witty one-liners every now and then but unfortunately it got tiring and annoying at some point. Brand is good in small doses but seeing him almost the entire movie doing crazy stuff is a little too much. Although to be fair Arthur’s antics are not too over-the-top compared to Brand’s previous movies. Obviously this movie also serves as a star vehicle for Brand to showcase not just his comedic chops but his overall acting prowess. Sadly, Brand could not a carry a movie like this on his own just yet, during the movie’s emotional moments Brand simply could not live up to what the scene requires.

    The love story follows the typical romantic route however Brand and Gerwig don’t have enough chemistry for you to care if they will end up together or not. Meanwhile, Jennifer Garner is just too good of an actress to play a caricature; one can’t help but think that Garner should be playing better roles than the one-dimensional antagonist Susan. A strong point about this movie though is Arthur’s relationship with her lifelong nanny Hobson. Brand and Mirren played each other well and we could see the characters’ affection with one another. Mirren could play this kind of roles in her sleep but nevertheless she is still effective and brought class to this otherwise average movie.

    All in all, Arthur is a solid comedy which provides good laughs with some heartwarming moments as well. However, this movie could’ve been more engaging in the hands of a more gifted actor in the lead role. 6.5/10



    ***

    Arthur will be shown here in the Philippines on April 23, 2011.

  13. #12
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    Review: Thor



    A good mix of everything. That is how TeamPEx saw Thor during its press screening. It has lots of action, lots of eye candy visuals, plenty of funny moments, just the right amount of romance, and a good serving of good old drama.

    The movie adaptation of the popular Marvel comics is a typical superhero film. Moviegoers follow the god of thunder Thor (Chris Hemsworth) as he transforms from an arrogant warrior to a hero full of valor--thanks mainly to his sojourn in the mortal world where he meets physicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman)--worthy to succeed his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins). However, the road to kingship is a difficult path to thread especially with his jealous and conniving brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) in the way.

    Thor is a visual feast. Whether you are basking in the shiny halls of Asgard, crossing realms thru the Bifrost, or feeling the chill of Jotunheim, the different realms were beautifully imagined and created. No wonder the gods are so happy. Catching the movie in 3D iMax is even better as you get the sensation of flying thru Asgard the moment it is first presented. But the movie is just as good in plain 2D.

    The mortal world is by no means a boring place though. Much of the comic relief is delivered by Jane’s spunky assistant Darcy (Kat Dennings of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist fame). Her character is a welcome distraction from all the smashing and bashing of Hemsworth. Hemsworth on the other hand looked old in the film. We don’t know if it was just the unkempt facial hair and grizzly long hair or his forced “royal” manner of speaking.

    Natalie Portman on the other hand was a waste. Her character’s one dimensionality didn’t fully utilize her acting prowess. She was good. Her character wasn’t. You would think that a physicist of Jane Foster’s caliber would have more to offer. But she is just a flirty little girl who is too smitten with Thor.

    Typical superhero movie entertainment. Stunning visuals, direct to the point plot, hunky lead, pretty damsel, scary monsters. That is Thor in summary. Do not expect depth in the storyline; just take the movie for what it is: good old fashioned entertainment that is very sequel-friendly.

    We give it a 7.5/10



    Discuss the movie at the Thor movie thread.

  14. #13

    Rio Movie Review



    When I saw this movie’s trailer, the first thing that came to my mind is I will watch it with my kids. So this weekend we went to see it and my children (6 years old and 3 years old) liked it. If you have kids this movie is a must see.

    The movie is about two birds Blue (Jesse Eisenberg) and Jewel (Anne Hathaway). They are the only male and female of their species. So the owner of Blue, Linda (Leslie Mann) decided to go to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to meet with Túlio (Rodrigo Santoro) the owner of Jewel so the two birds can mate to preserve their species. The story evolved when the two birds were stolen.

    While my kids liked it, I kind of didn’t. There’s a part in the movie that I almost went to sleep. I am fond of watching animated films but this movie didn’t hit me. I was excited while watching Cars, I was teary eyed in Up, I was touched in Toy Story 3, but in this movie I was bored. Maybe I’m just not impressed with animated movies from Blue Sky Studios. I only stayed awake because my kids were so excited in watching the movie. They were excited when the birds were fighting with the monkeys and when the main character Blue was struggling to fly.

    I will be fair in giving the movie a rating and I give it a PEx Review Rating of 6 out of 10 stars. I was thinking of giving it a 4 but I consulted my kids and they told me it was a 6.


  15. #14
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    Water for Elephants (2011)



    It’s America during the Great Depression, and Jacob (Robert Pattinson), a young and handsome Cornell veterinary student, suddenly finds himself an orphan, out of school, and homeless. And one fairy tale-like evening, he hops on a train and joins the spectacular Benzini Brothers traveling circus, where his life is about to change.

    Based on Sarah Gruen’s bestselling novel, Water for Elephants is a dramatic love story reminiscent of Titanic—it’s the present day and an old Jacob recalls the “famous circus disaster of all time,” and he was there, “right in the middle of it.” And then we are sent back in time, in 1931, in the enchanting world of the “most spectacular show on earth,” to find a young educated Jacob as a circus runaway locked in a love triangle between the circus’s beautiful blonde star attraction, Marlena (Academy-award winner Reese Witherspoon), and her husband, August (Academy-Award winner Christoph Waltz), the sadistic circus impresario.

    The elegant cinematography indeed catches the eye. The film is visually pleasing, beautifully rendered in harmonious hues, the play of light and shadow and colors aesthetically correct; the brilliant skies, billowing circus tents, the dank circus train of roustabouts, the breathtaking costumes, and the animals almost mystical in appearance. Also, the slow, languid movements of the circus characters—as opposed to the common noisy, energetic and chaotic portrayal of circuses—serve as a refreshing change and project an almost dream-like feeling.

    While both Titanic and Water for Elephants tell a cliché love story—and both a period drama—Water for Elephants, unlike Titanic, failed to deliver that lingering emotional impact and ignite even the smallest romantic spark—with Pattinson and Witherspoon lacking chemistry (the blossoming romance and the building tension missing). Pattinson, who only showed credible acting in 2010’s Remember Me, fizzled again in this movie, confirming that his acting skills solely rely on the director. But he was acceptable enough in this movie since the characters—and even the story—lacked serious depth anyway.



    Water for Elephants, directed by Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend), is a one-dimensional story that is forgettable—lacking that punch; the romance, humor, magic, and adventure only seemed to stay onscreen and failed to make its way to the heart. Except for Christoph Waltz. Aside from the secondary star of the movie—the exceptionally talented circus elephant Rosie, who evoked “ooohs” and “ahhs” from the moviegoers whenever she performed her adorable tricks—Christoph Waltz was the attention grabber, the star attraction in the show, frighteningly effective as the cruel antagonist, his multi-layered character almost as frightening as his Jew Hunter role in Inglorious Basterds. This is an actor who can independently bring life even to the most mediocre screenplay.

    Alas, the love story of Jacob and Marlena, the most essential part of the movie, failed to rise to the surface and was not passionate enough. And even their infidelity did not earn my sympathy despite August’s murderous nature. Water for Elephants is rather run-of-the-mill, and you will leave the cinemas feeling nothing. Unless, of course, you are a Twilight fan.

    5.5 out of 10 stars.



    Discuss the movie in the Water for Elephants thread.

  16. #15

    Review: Beastly



    Sucker Punch and I Am Number Four, both films unanimously lured me to watch this film starred by Vanessa Hudgens and newcomer Alex Pettyfer. It is the modern re-telling of the classic Beauty and the Beast, which tells the story of Kyle Kingston (Alex Pettyfer), an arrogant young man who thinks that he, could get anything because he was blessed with good looks. After humiliating his classmate Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen) who is actually a witch, she casted a spell to disfigure him. The only cure is for him to find love in about a year or he would stay that way forever.



    The film was actually the biggest disappointment for me this year so far in terms of the storyline. It didn’t quite work for me because it was very much predictable and was badly written. Every scene felt forced and there was no chemistry at all between Hudgens and Pettyfer. I thought Vanessa’s performance here was a far cry from her performance in Bandslam that I considered her best performance to date. I almost wished that she played Kendra and Mary Kate played her character. Neil Patrick Harris who played Kyle’s blind tutor seemed off to even be part of the film. Another actor could have played it better in my opinion.

    The score was actually impressive but other than that, it lacks everything that you’ll be looking for a worthwhile film to spend your money into. It was a film that you may enjoy if you’re a big fan of its actors but as for the rest, it’ll just be a good two (almost) hours that you shouldn’t be wasting.

    Rating: 4/10



    Discuss the movie at the Beastly Thread.

  17. #16

    Outdoing the original


    It has been proven countless times that franchises of successful films pale in comparison to their original. With this in mind, I went to see the latest installment in The Fast and the Furious series with really low expectations, especially considering the how forgettable previous editions were.

    Yet this time around, ten minutes into the movie, I found myself and almost everyone in the cinema intently and absorbedly following each scene. From the daring rescue scene to the magnificent aerial panorama of Rio de Janeiro to the thrilling train heist immediately got the audience’s attention. Everyone’s eyes were glued to the screen closely following as the story unraveled. The opening sequence is reminiscent of the opening salvo usually seen with either Ethan Hunt or James Bond.

    In this fifth installment, entitled The Fast and the Furious Five: Rio Heist,the duo that started it all returns. Vin Diesel and Paul Walker reprise their roles as Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Conner, respectively. The former cop O’Conner (Walker) partners with ex-con Toretto (Diesel) in a very unfamiliar place: the opposite side of the law in exotic Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    After Brian and Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) broke Dominic out of custody and have blown across many borders to elude authorities, they found themselves in Rio with one last job to gain their freedom. And the way to do it is to assemble an elite team of top operatives made up of their family of friends to orchestrate an insane heist worth $100 million from Rio’s notorious corrupt businessman.

    This is where the characters from the previous instalments of the movie were introduced. For the avid follower of the series, excitement will definitely ensue as Dominic and Brian re-introduces Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris Bridges), Vince (Matt Schulze), Han (Sung Kang), Gisele (Gal Gadot), Leo (Tego Calderon) and Santos (Don Omar).

    But making their mission impossible and their lives miserable is federal agent Luke Hobbs, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Hobbs also brings with him his specialized team on a mission to arrest Dominic and Brian at all cost.

    Expectedly, the film contained references to its earlier versions. Nonetheless, a moviegoer who hasn’t seen any of the earlier Fast film installments will not be at a lost. The action scenes were just too good, that you won’t even bother recalling the previous editions or trying to tie up this storyline with the previous ones.

    The film is so engaging that you will forgive its flaws. The lousy acting of Dwayne Johnson cannot outweigh that exciting fight scene between him and Diesel. It was like watching a wrestling match! The annoying eureka moments of Diesel (I counted three) will not stop the audience from looking forward to the next fight scenes or the next car races. And that surprising twist in the end will make you ignore the loopholes in the script. Heck, the audience even clapped.

    The supporting cast did a wonderful job in providing humor, despite the predictable dialogues. They provided the much welcome comic relief to the exhilaration generated by the action-packed scenes.

    This is one of those rare times that the franchise outdo the original.

    In summary, just throw everything out the window--expectations and biases, and watch this movie, and be sure to stay until the closing credits roll out.

    As of press time, Fast Five has gotten the distinction of having the best opening box-office figures for 2011. Well, I am not surprised.

    Rating: 8 out of 10



    Discuss the movie in the Fast and the Furious 5 thread.

  18. #17
    IMPERSONATED Lola_Rose's Avatar
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    Something Borrowed (2011)



    Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin) is an average-looking, rule-following, hardworking Manhattan attorney who is "way past her prime child-bearing years" and is still loveless. With her sensible clothes and plain features, could there be any hope for a romantic love for her?

    Darcy (Kate Hudson) is Rachel's best friend since childhood. Fun, spontaneous, glamorous, and sexy, Darcy is the complete opposite of Rachel. She lives the good life and seems to be a magnet for good luck. And while Rachel looks like a spinster-in-the-making, Darcy is soon to be married to the seriously handsome Dex (Colin Egglesfield). And Rachel, of course, is her maid of honor.

    But on her 30th birthday, after the surprise party thrown for her by Darcy, Rachel unexpectedly ends the night sleeping with Dex—whom she's been secretly in love with. For years. And to her amazement, Dex feels the same way.

    Based on Emily Giffin's unforgettable best-selling romantic dramedy novel, Something Borrowed is a beautiful, funny, heart-rending story of friendship, self-realization, morals, and the complexity of love and relationships. I have read and loved the book, and the movie adaptation did pretty well (brought tears to my eyes in some parts), except for Goodwin (House, MD) who, in my opinion, was a bad choice for Rachel. With her annoying high-pitched perky voice and emotionless eyes, she was incredibly disappointing. She lacked that transformative power that defines a real actor; instead, she looked fake; twisting her facial muscles or wetting her eyes to project the appropriate emotion, yet her eyes say nothing at all. Fortunately, the rest of the main cast were fantastic—including funny guy John Krasinski (The Office)—that Goodwin, miraculously, can be endured.



    Directed by Luke Greenfield (TV Series Aliens in America), Something Borrowed is a mixture of trite and original, silly and profound, corny and witty. Also, Rachel's character in the movie lacked that consistently repressed tortured feeling of being in love with your best friend's fiance, which was pretty weird. But because the base storyline is good and the film's positive elements outshine the flaws, it comes out a very good romantic dramedy. The real beauty of the film, however, lies in the subtleties: the body language, the small gestures, those split-second facial expressions that are dead giveaways of someone in love. Those small magic moments are breathtaking. And that should be entirely credited to the perfect romantic hero, Colin Egglesfield; his character Dex exhibited emotions with believable depth, supporting the emotionless Goodwin, enough to make you fall in love.



    For the fans of the best-selling novel, you must see the movie. For the hopeless romantics who've never heard of the book, still see the movie.




    8 out of 10 stars
    Showing in Philippine theaters on May 11, 2011



    Discuss the movie on the Something Borrowed thread.
    Last edited by Lola_Rose; May 12, 2011 at 10:18 AM.

  19. #18

    Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Strager Tides



    I have seen the first three installments of the Pirates of the Caribbean, and I cannot actually recall if I enjoyed or hated them. All I can remember is that they are nothing spectacular or extraordinary, at least for me. Thus, it should be understandable that going into the fourth chapter “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, I was not that excited as I am not exactly what you might call a fan.
    But with the energy and anticipation displayed by the audience in the cinema, which I must put to be in the seven to thirteen age bracket, I found myself teeming with enthusiasm about the film. And it helped that the opening sequence of the movie delivered a balanced mix of humor, action and adventure: the courtroom scene, the chase scene and Capt. Jack Sparrow’s encounter with the King.
    The movie contained that same element which I think was key to the success of the first three franchises—Johnny Depp/Jack Sparrow! It seemed like the character Jack Sparrow has developed a cult following among the young audience with his moves and fashion style. The not-so-young audience, on the other hand, will enjoy his wiles and sarcastic but funny remarks.
    This time however, there are added elements which hoped to capture the interest of a wider audience. The introduction of the first female pirate—Angelica, played by Academy Award Winner Penelope Cruz and the mermaids.
    On Stranger Tides runs on a plot which is not really a stranger to the action-adventure genre---the quest for the Fountain of Youth. Jack crosses path with Angelica, who forces him aboard the “Queen Anne’s Revenge” on a journey towards the fabled fountain, with the legendary pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane).
    There is much to be desired with regard the storytelling. It was predictable from the time the movie began. As the film was rolling, in my mind, I was toying, and perhaps even expecting several twists to happen to make it more interesting. Unfortunately, no such twists came. The story was straightforward. It was linear and very predictable. Maybe this is owing to the fact that the movie was made for children and it was done to be less complicated for the young viewers.

    Nonetheless, all the predictability didn’t affect the film’s appeal or quality, it only prevented it from achieving its potentials to be a great film. Other elements in the film could have also made it a greater film. The mermaids were underutilized, and I must say, under-exposed. The Spaniards role in the film, I think was too flimsy, especially given that intriguing and mysterious introduction in the early part of the film.

    The two new characters delivered. I am under the impression that Angelica was being portrayed as the female Sparrow, which was achieved by the believable portrayal of Cruz. Unfortunately, all the promise went to naught towards the end of the film as one can hardly feel the existence of Angelica in the latter portion of the movie, except for that vital scene in the Fountain of Youth and in the final island scene. Ian McShane was also effective as Blackbeard. When he’s on screen, he impinges a diabolic presence, that will make Capt. Hector Barbossa look like an angel any time.

    Despite all these shortcomings, the film was fun to watch. It was easier to watch as well, as the accents weren’t that thick.

    And by the way, some trivia. One of the mermaids was portrayed by a Filipina named Daphne Joy who hails from Olongapo.

    7 out of 10 stars



    Discuss the movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean 4 thread.

  20. #19
    Administrator TeamPEx's Avatar
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    Review: Kung Fu Panda 2



    TeamPEx was fortunate enough to be invited to the press screening of Kung Fu Panda 2 last Tuesday at the SM North EDSA IMAX theater. It was a night of kung fu awesomeness for both kids and adults alike.

    The second installment of the animated kung fu film doesn’t have a dull moment. Whether it is heart pounding kung fu action courtesy of the Fearless Five, or slapstick comedy by Po, or even tearjerking moments by the various characters, you will surely find yourself glued to the silver screen wanting more.

    Kung Fu Panda 2 follows Po, who now fully enjoys the perks of being the Dragon Warrior, as he goes against Lord Shen, a peacock hell-bent on taking over China by destroying kung-fu with a deadly weapon he has invented. Along the way Po discovers the troubling memories of his past, overcomes them, and uses his newfound inner peace (yes, Shifu isn’t the only one with inner peace anymore…haha!) to ultimately defeat Shen and destroy his infernal weapons. With help from the other kung fu masters of course.

    Truth be told, part 2 is actually loads better than part 1. It was much more enjoyable. The characters seemed more human and relatable and not just enjoyable personas from a fable. The flow of the story was well executed. Just when you think that a scene is about to go horribly boring, a quick quip from Po saves the scene and brings the awesome factor right back up.

    Animation is superb as you would expect from a Dreamworks animated movie. But we especially liked the 2D dream sequences reminiscent of Kung Fu Panda 1’s opening scene. The opening sequence for Kung Fu Panda 2 however is in a league all on its own. The shadow puppet effect really sealed the Asian flavor of the movie as well as made the otherwise boring delivery of the Lord Shen’s story a bit more bearable.

    Kung Fu Panda 2 is a worthwhile movie for the whole family. Kids will enjoy it; kids-at-heart will love it. Plus it is very sequel-friendly, so you know that the awesomeness of kung fu will definitely continue. Catch Kung Fu Panda 2 in theaters starting May 26, 2011.

    We give it a 9/10



    Discuss the movie in the Kung Fu Panda 2 movie thread.

  21. #20
    IMPERSONATED Lola_Rose's Avatar
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    The Arctic Boosh

    Paul (2011)



    If your idea of a hilarious comedy is one riddled with humor based on empty expletives and mockery of Christian fundamental beliefs, then Paul might just be the movie for you.

    Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz British team Simon Pegg and Nick Frost gives us Paul, a story about a close encounter of the third kind. Graeme Willy (Simon Pegg) and Clive Gollings (Nick Frost) are two English Comic-Con sci-fi geeks who embark on a road trip to the US of A for a tour into the UFO heartland on board an RV. Their sci-fi fantasies are rewarded way beyond their expectations when not only do they get a snapshot of each other on Area 51, but they also accidentally meet an alien fugitive named Paul (the generic cute "little green man," with stringy limbs, a bulbous head, and a captivating pair of huge almond-shaped eyes), who joins the geek fanboys so they could help him escape from the men in black.

    Joining the trio of their mad race to Paul's mother ship is dorky Ruth (SNL's Kristen Wiig), a one-eyed Baptist (her one eye symbolical of her singular perspective on life). After a brief debate on Intelligent Design versus Evolution, her lifelong beliefs are ultimately shattered by Paul, yet her broken faith was instantly replaced by a sense of ultimate freedom to commit sins, particularly spitting out cuss words and fornicating, implying that Chistian faith is based alone on fear of God's punishment. She then goes on forming weird unnatural combinations of dirty words to make up for lost time, aiming to charm the audience but ends up downright corny. Chasing after them are the MIB, led by Agent Zoil (Jason Bateman) and his two goofy underling agents (SNL’s Bill Hader and Joe Lo Truglio) who act like retards to give us slapstick comedy, Ruth's fanatic Bible-thumping gun-waving father, and a couple of rednecks.



    Written by Frost and Pegg, and directed by Greg Mottola (Superbad and Adventureland), the film's premise of two geeks, outcasts all their life and now in the middle of a wild adventure with an alien (voiced by Seth Rogen) who unexpectedly has a very American, very human behavior has a lot of comedic potential. But the movie is painfully cliche-ish, with expletives-based humor as well as anal probe jokes repeated a hundred times that it's become tiring and embarrassing. It's filled with stereotypes: all Comic-Con fans look like losers, all Christians or Creationists are fundamentalist nut jobs-- and even Sigourney Weaver's cameo is a stereotype itself. The only unorthodox part of the the film is Paul the alien; the pair's expectations of what's an alien like is shattered because aliens are, in truth, English-speaking, rude-humored, weed-smoking, madras-wearing Hollywood consultants.

    There are plenty of movie references for the pleasure of movie buffs, the CGI alien looks flawless and adorable, and the wide open skies of Nevada brings back warm memories of The X-files and quality stories of extraterrestrial biological entities, and there are a few good laughs. But in its entirety, the movie is a mix of bad comedy. The characters are underdeveloped, the comedy offers obscenity and slapstick over wit and substance, the jokes are old and cliche-ish, and it is subtly preachy of Darwinism. Paul is definitely not a result of "intelligent design."

    4 out of 10 stars



    Paul premiers June 1, 2011 in Philippine cinemas.

    Discuss the movie in the Paul thread.

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