PEx Highlights

TRAVEL: Ilocos: Vigan, Laoag, Pagudpud

PExer mikedph shares everything you need to know about an Ilocos trip that includes photos around Vigan, Laoag and Pagudpud.

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PHOTOS: Alaska Takes Game 1 vs RoS

The Aces mustered a furious 2nd half turnaround to take Game 1 of the semifinals against the Elasto Painters, 87-80.

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FEATURE: On Former Teammates and Rivals

PEx's guest contributor Michele Gumabao talks about her ex-teammates and ex-rivals in the UAAP and the pros.

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Where are you staying this Holiday Season?

Join the Call Center promo and get a chance to win Pizza Inc Gift Certificates!

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FEATURE: Philippine Cup Semis Preview

It's the Aces against the E-Painters and SMB versus TNT. Read on as JPM previews and predicts the outcome of the Fil Cup semis.

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REVIEW: This is Where I Leave You

Family dramedy This Is Where I Leave You graces the screens this week. Is this movie worth checking out? Find out here!

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  1. #201
    IMPERSONATED Lola_Rose's Avatar
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    Life of Pi (2012)


    Adventure | Drama



    Yann Martel's Man Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi is a profoundly affecting experience. A young, bookish and religious Indian boy named Pi (pronounced as "Pie") from Pondicherry narrates his extraordinary ordeal as a castaway; shipwrecked in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with Richard Parker, a dangerous 450-pound Bengal tiger, as his sole companion.



    The book was masterfully written; poetic, intensely vivid, and mainly presents, with clarity, the thoughts, feelings and spirituality of Pi as he suffers tremendously in the limitless sea— a prey to his companion. It's a one-man's extraordinary fight against nature and hopelessness. Hence, the book, being too internal and lyrical, seems "unfilmable." And even if it is, you'd still doubt if Yann Martel's brilliant fiction can ever be translated satisfyingly to the big screen.

    But director Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Screenwriter David Magee (Finding Neverland), proved all our doubts pointless. They did the impossible and created a movie adaptation that is not only visually stunning, but which also delivers a smooth, effortless storytelling that is able to preserve the book's emotional and soul-stirring experience. The movie intelligently picked only the most essential, substantial parts from the book; compacted within two hours the drama, humour, and adventure in the life of Pi. And the movie introduced a surprising talent: newcomer Suraj Sharma, who brought life to the protagonist and was emotionally engaging.



    This is probably one of the finest, most polished 3D movies I have ever seen. 3D usually makes a film feel distant and detached, but this one makes you feel more connected to the story; you forget that you are wearing 3D glasses and instead you are thrown right in the midst of glorious nature scenes— both breathtaking and terrifying. Magical and unfamiliar. Expect to gasp out loud.

    Life of Pi, nominated in this year's Golden Globes, including Best Picture and Best Director, is indeed a cinematic triumph— and it would be terrible to miss this on the big screen. It will entertain all audiences, and fans of the novel won't be disappointed. It's a movie that not only wholly entertains—both visually and emotionally—but it also presents an intensely moving truth about human nature, suffering, and the strength of the human will.

    9.5 out of 10 stars


    In Philippine theaters January 9, 2013, in 2D and 3D




    Discuss the movie in the Life of Pi thread.
    Last edited by Lola_Rose; Jan 9, 2013 at 07:16 PM.

  2. #202
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    Jack Reacher



    Based on the self-titled books by Lee Child, Jack Reacher is described as a 6 foot 5, 250-pound burly mass of a man who drifts in and out of crime scenes to clear up the mess. In the movie however, Tom Cruise plays the titular character, and Mr. Cruise is far from “burly”. But does it work?

    One shouldn’t be quick to dismiss Jack Reacher as another clichéd action flick. It is after all written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who’s also done another Cruise-starrer Valkyrie and the cult classic crime noir The Usual Suspects. In the film, McQuarrie provides us an entertaining white-knuckle action thrill ride.

    The film starts with a sniper killing six people. Within hours, police think they solved the case and capture the suspect, an Iraqi war vet. The only problem is, the suspect says that they’ve got the wrong guy. The suspect asks to get Jack Reacher, an ex-military investigator turned one-man army of justice. Now, the open-and-shut case isn’t exactly what it seems, as an unseen villain appears to be pulling the strings. Jack Reacher now has to get to the truth before all hell breaks loose.



    Tom Cruise plays the Lee Child’s stoic hero convincingly, arrogant, cool-headed with a gaze of steel and tight-lipped. He shines as an action hero. Prolific director Werner Herzog is a scene-stealer, as he makes his uncommon appearance in front of the camera, playing the creepy and disfigured Serbian war criminal The Zec, whereas Rosamund Pike borders on over-acting as she plays the defense attorney that Reacher gets teamed up with.



    There’s no question that the action sequences in Jack Reacher are creatively choreographed and even features a high-octane car chase, but the story and directing suffers from numerous inconsistencies, from an awkward bathroom fight scene, to Reacher may or may not be heading into romantic territory, and the truth that Reacher uncovers isn’t at all mind-blowing, considering how methodically Reacher analyzed the supposed open-and –shut case, and it also may leave the audience scratching their heads.

    Jack Reacher isn’t the perfect action movie but if you’re after an entertaining ride, Jack Reacher won’t disappoint.

    7 out of 10 stars

    In Philippine Theater January 9



    Discuss the movie in the Jack Reacher thread

  3. #203

    Review: Les Miserables



    I’m not familiar with the full story of Les Miserables. I haven’t read Victor Hugo’s novel or seen an adaptation in any form. I just know about the two iconic songs from the musical and some of the characters so Tom Hooper’s film is my introduction to the material. Les Miserables is imperfect but the polished production and the strong performances will make you understand why this story captivated the hearts of many

    Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is imprisoned for stealing bread for his sister’s starving children and after serving his time he was freed. But Jean had difficulty to start a new life due to the cruel terms of France’s parole system. Valjean escapes and a few years after became a rich factory owner and politician. But when one of his workers dies, he looks for her daughter and adopts her. But Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe) locates him so he runs away once more with the child. Several years after, Jean and her now grown up adopted daughter were caught in the middle of a student uprising against the government. As the tension of the uprising escalates, Jean is conflicted whether to let her adopted daughter go as she falls in love with one of the revolutionaries and at the same time he once again faces Javert who over the years never stopped searching for him.

    The much-talked about aspect of the film is the decision to let the actors sing live as opposed to lip-synching studio-recorded versions of the songs. Yes, the singing is not flawless but it really doesn’t matter as the live singing gave the film a stronger emotional impact. You would actually feel the characters’ pain and suffering when the actors belts out a song. The musical numbers that shined thanks to this style were Anne Hathaway’s “I Dreamed a Dream”, Jackman’s “Valjean's Soliloquy” and Eddie Redmayne’s “Empty Chairs and Empty Tables”. Hooper’s close up shots during most solo numbers are quite jarring but for what is worth when it works it makes the scene more intimate and heart-wrenching

    Since this is my first exposure to the full story of Les Miserables I have to admit that I got a little lost on some areas. I felt that the film didn’t fully connect all the stories cohesively and there are parts that were underdeveloped. For example, the love affair between Cosette and Marius is weak which makes it quite hard to invest in their relationship. Apart from the “On My Own” musical number, Eponine didn’t leave much of an impression.

    The biggest strength of the film is the performances of the actors. Jackman gave a career-best performance while Hathaway lived up to the hype. The rest of the supporting cast is solid but while I find Crowe’s voice good enough, he lacks the spunk to give more teeth to the character of Javert. The production aspects of the film are commendable from the superb cinematography, to the detailed costumes and the glorious production design.

    There’s a reason why Les Miserables is so popular over the years and while this film is not without its flaws, it still succeeded in bringing to life one of the most-beloved stories of all time.

    Rating: 9 / 10
    Cast: Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russel Crowe, Amanda Seyfriend, Eddie Redymayne, Samantha Barks, Elena Bonham-Carter, Sasha Baron Cohen
    Director: Tom Hooper
    Distributor: Solar Entertainment Corporation

    Les Miserables is now showing in theaters nationwide



    Discuss the movie at the Les Miserables thread

  4. #204
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    Hansel and Gretel: The Witch Hunters (2013)


    Action | Fantasy | Horror


    If you loved the Brothers Grimm fairy tale Hansel and Gretel as a child, then you might wanna know what happened fifteen years later after Gretel kicked the witch’s arse into the oven.

    In MTV Films’ Hansel and Gretel: The Witch Hunters, we see the siblings, played by Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton, all grown up and earning their living as witch hunters in the small German town of Augsburg. And they’re good at it, despite Hansel being a diabetic (remember the witch in the gingerbread house had fatten him up?). Hansel and Gretel are ruthless and fearless, eliminating evil witches with their guns and explosives and clever weapons, while cussing sharply, dropping f-words here and there. They are awfully smug, too, because they are, for some mysterious reason, invincible—spells and curses seem to bounce off of them. But when they finally find themselves faced against Muriel (Famke Janssen), the most evil sorceress of them all, it's proving to be a rather difficult challenge.




    This action-horror, directed by a Tommy Wirkola and released in IMAX 3D format, is one gory feast. Immediately, with all the macho guns and weapons and the cuss words, you see that it’s trying to come off as a cool spin to the famous fairy tale. But the movie is just one killing spree, like watching a video game. The characters are flat and underdeveloped; and aside from some interesting revelation about the siblings’ history, there is nothing much to the narrative -- Hansel and Gretel just killing witches until they’re faced against the most powerful witch in town. And so all there is to experience in this movie is gore. The witches look fascinating though as artfully designed monsters.

    So if you’re into these kinds of action-horror flicks reminiscent of Van Helsing, or you’re simply a gore fan, or you have a crush on Jeremy Renner, you just might enjoy it-- In 3D-IMAX for a full, maximum bloody experience. It was kind of fun dodging bullets and blood splatter. However, this is an R-rated film due to its bloody violence, profanity, and some nudity, so don’t bring your small kids with you. This is surely not that kind of fairy tale.


    6 out of 10 stars

    In Philippine theaters on January 23, 2013. Also in IMAX-3D.





    Discuss the movie here.

  5. #205

    Review: Gangster Squad



    Gangster Squad is based on a true story and while a premise like this is often given the license to stretch the truth for cinematic effect, it still should still have a hint of emotional reality. While the movie’s strong cast saves Gangster Squad from being a total dud, the movie’s detachment from reality is a disappointment.

    Los Angeles Police Chief William Parker (Nick Nolte) assigns police officer John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) to form a squad that will take down gangster Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) and his group of gangsters who have recently taken over the city of Los Angeles. O’Mara is determined to put an end to Cohen’s businesses in any means even if it’s breaking the conventional law.

    To Gangster Squad’s credit, its stylized action sequences are snappy and quite enjoyable to watch. The production design was also successful to make you feel the authenticity of the era the movie was set in. But while the premise is quite interesting, the movie didn’t fully maximized the story’s potential and went with an action blockbuster route that oftentimes made the movie feel more cartoonish than it should be.

    The story is cluttered with crime movie clichés, predictable plot turns and unnecessary characters and subplots. The chemistry between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone is sure good (as evidenced in their first team up in Crazy Stupid Love) but their story in Gangster Squad is so underdeveloped that there was a scene in the kitchen which suggests that their relationship is on a deeper level already. But the weird thing is that prior to that scene there was no real build up that they connected beyond sex. Most of the acting is over the top (and sometimes borders on self-parody) especially Penn but for what is worth they are fun to watch in some scenes.

    Gangster Squad is not that awful but it’s just unremarkable. It could be considered a mindless mob movie but still it’s quite a shame that a good ensemble and fascinating premise were wasted on a so-so effort.

    Rating: 5 / 10
    Cast: Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Pena, Robert Patrick and Nick Nolte
    Director: Ruben Fleischer
    Distributor: Warner Bros. Philippines



    Discuss the movie at the Gangster Squad thread

  6. #206

    Review: Chinese Zodiac



    Chinese Zodiac’s main marketing push is that this is Jackie Chan’s final action movie and if this is indeed true, Chan’s action career will go out on a high note. Chinese Zodiac’s story lacks focus but does it really matter when Chan’s astonishing stunt work is more than enough to keep the viewer interested?

    Treasure hunter JC (Jackie Chan) and his team of thieves travel the world to hunt down and recover the twelve bronze heads of the Chinese Zodiac but they soon meet a group of activists fighting for preservation of Chinese cultural relics which complicates their mission.

    The movie is dubbed in English and in some areas it was a little jarring due to off synch dialogue and mismatched voices. The story is pretty much your standard adventure flick although it tries to tackle a broader topic with a deeper message but didn’t hit it off flawlessly because of its tendency to be preachy. There’s also a bunch of story threads thrown together and a plethora of unnecessary characters, which makes the movie a little confusing at times. I also felt that the threat was not fully established so even if the stake is high it just doesn’t’ feel like there’s imminent danger.

    But just like most Jackie Chan action flicks, it’s really all about the amazing set pieces and jaw dropping stunt work. And as always, Jackie Chan delivers. Chan is truly a legend and the way he pulls off all those stunts is simply impressive. The highlights are the sofa showdown and the skydiving scramble. Chan is just a lovable star as he can make some of the silly jokes and antics still endearing. The supporting cast is okay and while the movie tries to give most of them a moment to shine, it’s just a tall order to stand out if you have someone as charismatic as Chan anchoring the movie.

    If there’s one thing that Chinese Zodiac proves, it is that there’s a strong reason Jackie Chan is so popular and why many considers him as a pop culture icon. In this movie, he showcases why he won the hearts of many people worldwide. If this is indeed his final action movie, his presence in the big screen will surely be missed. Do I wish that his final action movie had a stronger storyline? Definitely but Chinese Zodiac was still a good reminder why Jackie Chan will always be one of the most treasured stars of all time.

    Rating: 7 / 10
    Cast: Jackie Chan
    Director: Jackie Chan
    Distributor: Star Cinema



    Discuss the movie at the Chinese Zodiac thread

  7. #207
    IMPERSONATED Lola_Rose's Avatar
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    Mama (2013)


    Horror | Mystery

    Spanish-Canadian film Mama, produced by Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth), is the inspired full length version of Andrés Muschietti’s 3-minute short film of the same name (watch here).

    Lucas, played by Game of ThronesNikolaj Coster-Waldau, and his live-in rocker girlfriend Annabel, played by a very brunette and very goth Jessica Chastain, win custody of Lucas’ young and strange orphaned nieces: Victoria and Lilly. However, the girls, fresh from a 5-year residence in a cabin deep in the woods where they were found and rescued from, exhibit creepy behavior: savage, spider-like, and giving you the evil eye. Domesticating the emotionally detached and uncivilized kids is challenging enough, but the girls also seem to have brought with them a dark, sinister company into the house that they call “Mama.” And this mama has some serious custody issues.



    Directed and co-written by Andrés Muschietti himself, Mama delivers a smooth and solid storyline that cheap horror flicks usually lack. Devoid of the tiresome bloody gore, Mama is a good ol’ refreshing ghost story, with a dash of Tim Burton-like fantasy. The film is direct-to-the point, entertaining in its simplicity and does a good job in scaring you. The scary element of the film is mostly derived not from this Mama creature, but from the creepy children, played by Megan Charpentier and the exceptional Isabelle Nélisse, who plays the disturbing Lilly. You get the chills when their eyes dart at something that we cannot see, the very subtle changes in their facial expression suggesting that something is definitely watching close by. The dark, wicked secret in their eyes unsettling, on top of the demonic voices that come from their bedroom during the night.



    Sometimes the fear factor decreases when you catch sight of Mama, because the horror comes from what is not seen, but what is only felt and heard in the shadows. Seeing the Mama creature in full form might reduce the horror, but it is compensated by the engaging, almost emotional, narrative. Horror flicks usually bore me as I don’t believe in ghosts and monsters, but Mama still gave me the creeps and provided entertainment, fun tension, and a little drama.

    You can wait for Mama on DVD, sure, but it is absolutely more fun to see it in a dark movie house and be part of a collective thrilling experience.

    Do not underestimate its PG-13 rating because Mama will still give you the chills.

    8 out of 10 stars

    In Philippine Cinemas on February 6, 2013




    Discuss the move here.
    Last edited by Lola_Rose; Feb 6, 2013 at 07:51 AM.

  8. #208
    Olaf Winterscheidt carlhiro's Avatar
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    Review: Flight (2012)



    Nominated for two Academy Awards (John Gatins for Best Screenplay and Denzel Washington for Best Actor), Flight is the story of Captain Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington), an airline pilot who successfully landed a plane that underwent through a disastrous air turbulence with just six casualties, a feat that no pilot could have ever done. The catch is, he was high on cocaine and had an alarming booze levels in his system at that time. We follow Whip in his life of everyday booze, sex and drugs, and the development of his character as he goes through a rollercoaster journey of emotions, guilt, pain and battle with his inner demons.

    I really love a movie with a great screenplay, and this film gave me that. The movie had great inspirational lines that were delivered, mostly coming from Whip’s realizations in life. One quip I really loved was the conversation between Whip, Nicole (Kelly Reilly) and a young man with cancer (James Badge Dale). It is a minuscule representation of the whole message of the movie, which is the role of God, acceptance and value of life to all of us.

    I also commend Denzel Washington for his great performance in this film. He had lots of shining moments in the movie, but my favourite was the hearing of the plane crash by the NTSB, particularly on how he answered the questions.

    One thing the movie lacked was the follow-up to all the intense scenes they created all throughout the film. It seemed like it was dragging in the middle part, only to be salvaged by the scenes depicting the days near the hearing.

    Overall, the film was good. It successfully brought out the message of accepting your mistakes and not basking in the undeserved glory that you have received. This is a great inspirational film for everyone (older than 13 years old) to watch.

    Rating: 8/10
    Cast: Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood and Melissa Leo
    Director: Robert Zemeckis



    Discuss the movie at the Flight thread

  9. #209
    IMPERSONATED Lola_Rose's Avatar
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    Lincoln (2012)


    Biography | Drama | History
    12 Oscar Nominations



    Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln runs 149 minutes of talk. Mostly. But before you yawn and say “boring!” you have to know that this could very well be this year’s Oscar Best Picture.

    The movie is set during the final months of Lincoln’s second term as US President as he pursues his mighty quest to pass the Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery. The movie, thus, plunges us into a series of debates, arguments, and speeches about the Thirteenth Amendment until the historical—and emotional—moment of its ratification.



    And when you are presented a film filled with talk, there’s no better screenplay writer than Pulitzer Prize-winner, and literary genius, Tony Kushner (Angels in America). And that is where Lincoln’s entertainment and pleasure come from: the words. Mightier than sword. Slicing at your heart and gripping at your soul. Kushner delivers delicious verbal jousting and wordplay that propel you to tears and laughter.



    Movies and literature on black slavery and oppression have always been profoundly affecting, and here is a movie that is not only about moral conviction, but about the Great Emancipator. We see a great man relentlessly fight for equality, freedom, justice, and fairness with extraordinary determination, because it's a self-evident truth that God created men equal.

    Daniel Day-Lewis is no longer Daniel Day-Lewis in this movie, as expected. He is Lincoln come to life; you not only see a physical transformation, but a total one. He is quietly intense, dominating the screen. Tommy Lee Jones as the radical abolitionist congressman Thaddeus Stevens also gives an unforgettable, riveting performance, and it’s sheer entertainment watching the striking difference between two men with similar goals: Stevens’ ruthless, heedless, overzealous and uncaring pursuit of the good versus Lincoln’s slow, wise, and meticulous, loving-kindness approach. Sally Field, as Lincoln's wife Mary, could have been given to any other actress; passable performance but not impressive.



    Lincoln, loosely based on Doris Kearns Goodwin's book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, is a cinematic triumph. Important, rewarding, and informative. Thinkers , leaders, idealists, proponents of what is morally right, as well as those who enjoy language and politics, will certainly fall in love with this movie. It is witty, dramatic, resonant, tremendously inspiring and soul-stirring, immersing you in the mind of a great man, a husband, a father, and an exceptional leader who changed the course of history. The rich, powerful words delivered effectively by the actors are the film’s masterpiece and strength, and the rest of its cinematic elements are subtle support that resulted in a truly remarkable film.

    Recommendation: Watch this before you watch Tarantino’s Django Unchained, Lincoln’s competition for Oscar Best Picture.



    9.5 out of 10 stars

    Showing in Philippine cinemas February 20th, 2013






    Discuss the movie here.
    Last edited by Lola_Rose; Feb 20, 2013 at 09:11 PM.

  10. #210
    IMPERSONATED Lola_Rose's Avatar
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    Silver Linings Playbook (2012)


    Comedy | Drama | Romance

    Silver Linings Playbook, which competed in this year's Oscars, including for Best Picture, Best Director, as well as in all four acting categories, is a romantic comedy set in the midst of mental disorders.



    Bipolar and garbage bag-wearing Pat Solatano (Bradley Coper) is released from a mental institution and returns to live with his mom (Jacki Weaver) and his superstitious, OCD father (Robert De Niro), a bookie favoring the Philadelphia Eagles. Pat only wants one thing: to win his wife, Nikki, back, who's gotten a restraining order against him. Pat is full of hope and positivity, and firmly holds on to the belief that every cloud has a silver lining. But then Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), with her own mental issues, suddenly enters Pat's life-- and derails his plans.


    Jennifer Lawrence wins Oscar Best Actress for her role.


    Written and directed by the meticulous David O. Russell, based on Matthew Quick's debut novel of the same title, Silver Linings Playbook is smart enough, fairly witty, and has that trademark of Russell's overlapping exchanges in dialogue to project natural conversations. The entire cast deliver effective performances, except for Paul Herman, who plays Randy, the family friend, and you wonder if Russell was too lenient on him. Bradley Cooper, who earned a nomination in this year's Oscars for Actor in a Leading Role, was engaging and competent and funny, but it was Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence's performance that was truly Oscar gold; she was effortless and exceptional as the brooding, broken, depressed widow.


    Jacki Weaver and Robert De Niro - Oscar nominees for their supporting roles as Pat's parents.


    Silver Linings Playbook is entertaining, romantic, fast-paced and funny, and there are definitely great, memorable moments-- both hilarious and touching. However, the screenplay is nothing special. Dysfunctional families and people with mental issues are always great material for a multilayered, dark comedy, but Silver Linings Playbook is a bit wanting, lacking in impact, which leaves you a bit mentally and emotionally shortchanged. There are definitely funnier and more delicious comedies out there on mental issues. Jennifer Lawrence, though, is the real gem of the film--- the main reason to head to the cinemas.



    8 out of 10 stars
    In Philippine Cinemas February 27, 2013




    Discuss the movie here.
    Last edited by Lola_Rose; Feb 28, 2013 at 01:36 PM.

  11. #211

    Silver Linings Playbook (2012)



    Romance| Comedy | Drama

    Director: David O. Russell
    Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert de Niro, Jackie Weaver, Chris Tucker, Julia Stiles

    After directing the Best Picture nominated ensemble film The Fighter two years ago, David O. Russell wasted no time in coming up with a worthy follow up, the romantic-comedy Silver Linings Playbook. Based on the novel by Matthew Quick, this film which starred Bradley Cooper and Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence was nominated for eight Oscars, and a winner for Best Actress.



    Newly released from a mental facility, Pat Jr. (Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper) is determined to get his life back on track. Upon learning that his wife who cheated on her has moved away, it made him more than eager to fix his life. Much to his surprise, he’s left in the company of his parents, supportive mom Dolores (Academy Award nominee Jackie Weaver) and OCD father Pat Sr, who now resorts to his superstitious beliefs in order to maintain his bookmaking sideline. It is through this process of coping up that Pat Jr. met Tiffany (Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence), a young woman who recently lost her husband. We then witness this unlikely friendship between Pat and Tiffany, as we’re treated to some baseball, dancing, and My Cherie Amour in between.

    David O. Russell is responsible for both penning the screenplay and directing the whole film. I find the screenwriter Russell more engaging and effective though. As a director, Russell really knows how to work an ensemble (it’s not as if I Love Huckabees and The Fighter are not enough proofs of that), and this is simply another testament to it. With that said, his writing efforts are more polished and heartfelt, if one can even combine that. For the most part, I really like how Russell wrote the two characters. It’s just that he can’t help but go every other time to the borderline rom-com approach in scenes such as the dolly pan near the end nor the contrived dancing scores. I felt too that his dancing story was written better than the football one, though both actually delivered.



    It also can’t be denied on how much the movie boasts of these strong performances. It is always such a sight to see Jennifer Lawrence have fun with the role of Tifanny. Her maturity as an actress was a highlight here, and while it’s noticeable that she got lots of those Oscar scenes, she pretty much nailed them all. It’s quite sad that Bradley Cooper has been paved on the sideline for the whole awards season. His Pat is probably my favorite performance in the whole movie, as he anchored the role with too much vulnerability that it’s hard not to root for him. De Niro also got his most interesting role in years, and while Weaver was in a very much thankless role, it was one that needed constant presence, and Weaver reassured that.

    All in all, it’s easy to fall in love with a film like Silver Linings Playbook. It charms you off right from the start, and it is comprised of solid and memorable performances. While I mostly like what Russell offered to the table, I just felt that he still restrained himself in it. I would have preferred if he just went all out with it, since I’m confident that it would still yield a charming outcome.

    GRADE: 7.5/10

    Silver Linings Playbook is now open in theaters nationwide.



    Discuss the movie at the Silver Linings Playbook thread.

  12. #212
    IMPERSONATED Lola_Rose's Avatar
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    Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)


    Adventure | Drama | Fantasy

    Have you always loved the classic fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk? Then relive your favorite childhood adventure story in the full-length film adaption, Jack the Giant Slayer, brought to you by X-Men director Bryan Singer.



    Our young hero Jack (Nicholas Hoult; Warm Bodies), in his contemporary teen costume and perpetually open mouth, suddenly finds himself in an extraordinary adventure and an extraordinary love life. Not only did the plain but radiant—and restless—Princess Isabelle (Eleonor Tomlinson), fall in love with a poor farm-boy like him (and despite him looking not so intelligent with his open mouth), but the magic beans handed to him by a monk catapulted him into an adventure only heard in legendary fables and night-time stories. One moment, he's just a commoner, and the next he's a hero. It's the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and Jack the Giant Killer combined, with Stanley Tucci as bad guy Roderick and Ewan McGregor as the king's brave knight, Elmont, with an unflattering hairdo.



    Jack the Giant Slayer's plot is solid and competent, with scenes that strongly remind us of such movies as Jurassic Park, Disney's Aladdin and a little bit of Prometheus and a teensy bit of Titanic. It's the kids who will surely love the movie, with castles, princesses, magic beans, and of course a race of gross-looking giants (including Bill Nighy). Adults will be engaged by the story but should not expect much entertainment from the dialogue as they are minimal in this movie and lacking in wit and substance— the humor only relies on the characters' comical expressions and not their lines. The fun and entertainment come from the visuals and the adventure itself: the suspense, the legend and the fantasy, all delivered from an effective storyline.





    The CGI is believable enough, except for one giant's parasitic twin, which was bothersome crude. This is a movie that can be seen either in IMAX-3D or in 2D, not much difference.

    Jack the Giant Slayer is fast-paced, visually absorbing and essentially fun. A family friendly epic adventure-fantasy story. A great way for families with young kids to spend a day at the movies.

    8 out of 10 stars
    In Philippine Cinemas February 28, 2013
    PG-13
    Available in 2D, 3D and IMAX-3D




    Discuss the movie in this thread.
    Last edited by Lola_Rose; Feb 28, 2013 at 09:03 PM.

  13. #213
    Olaf Winterscheidt carlhiro's Avatar
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    Review: Stoker (2013)



    Stoker is the first English-Language film under the direction of Park Chan-wook, a famous South Korean horror/thriller film director. The screenplay is written by Ted Foulke, pseudonym of Prison Break star Wentworth Miller. The film follows the story of India Stoker (Wasikowska), whose father Richard (Mulroney) died in a car accident. At the funeral, she and her mother Evelyn (Kidman) get to know Richard’s brother Charlie (Goode), who was unknown to them in the past. Charlie decides to stay with India and Evelyn, as they grieve the loss of Richard. India then discovers there is more to the decision of her Uncle Charlie to stay with them to keep them company as she uncovers Charlie’s gruesome past. The film takes us on a journey of thrills as we uncover the real mystery of Charlie and what really happened with Richard Stoker.

    The direction of Park Chan-wook is the strongest suit of the film. It was my first time seeing one of his works and I love it. His direction really gives you the thrill you want, keeping you at the edge of your seat as the story slowly unravels. His frequent use of close-ups and unfocused shots added to it as well as the perfect selection of scenes, sequenced just the way you would have wanted it to be.

    Wentworth Miller did a good script, although it was a little bit predictable. But still, the unraveling of the mystery of Uncle Charlie was the best. It could have been just your typical psycho thriller, but it turned out to be one of the best thrillers you will ever watch.

    The film was not neglected in terms of acting. Of course you can’t really leave out Nicole Kidman, as she portrayed her role as the unloving, careless mother, but the kudos go to Wasikowska and Goode. I believe that the two actors were perfectly casted for their roles. Wasikowska portrayed the development of India Stoker very well, from the silent mysterious teenage girl transitioning to a ruthless, unpredictable woman. I have read that Colin Firth got the role of Uncle Charlie first but had to drop out but it was the best thing to happen as Goode was so brilliant for the role. He portrayed the astonishingly handsome yet very mysterious uncle beautifully. You’ll see his right mix od charm and creepiness, as he gets you drawn to his beautiful eyes (thanks to the close-up shots) but really get creeped out afterwards.

    One of the best scenes of the film is that infamous sensual piano scene where you’ll feel the sexual tension, the thrill, the awe, the creep and all the other emotions the movie tries to evoke from you, all at the same time. That was really a great scene by Wasikowska and Goode.

    The film is truly a must-watch, definitely one of the best films this year. I am looking forward to see more films by Park Chan-wook and I think Wentworth Miller has the potential to write great screenplays in the future, so looking forward to see his scripts as well.

    Rating: 10/10

    Director: Park Chan-wook
    Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver

    Stoker is now showing in theaters nationwide.



    Discuss the movie in Stoker thread.

  14. #214

    Review: Oz the Great and Powerful



    Oz the Great and Powerful is essentially a prequel to the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz and with such iconic movie comes great expectations. Certain elements from the 1939 film is legally tied to another studio so there are noticeable variations in the story but overall Oz the Great and Powerful is still a solid and colorful return to this magical world.

    Oscar (James Franco) is a womanizing magician who finds himself in the magical Land of Oz after his hot air balloon was sucked by a cyclone. In Oz, Oscar meets Theodora (Mila Kunis) a witch who thought that Oscar is the wizard prophesied to defeat the Wicked Witch who killed the King of Oz and therefore take his throne. Oscar plays along and he then soon meets Theodora's sister Evanora (Rachel Weisz) who tells him that he can only have the king's power and wealth if he can find the Wicked Witch (Michelle Williams) and breaks the source of her power, the wand. Oscar travels to the Dark Forest to look for the Wicked Witch but he then discovers secrets that will take his journey to a different path than he expected

    The movie begins with a nod to The Wizard of Oz as it starts in black and white and an old-fashioned aspect ratio which then transforms to wide screen full color when Oscar enters the land of Oz. The movie is definitely a wonder with a lot of eye popping visuals and beautiful scenery to feast your eyes on. However, the movie has pacing issues which affect the first part of the story where the story does not fully take off and was dull at times. But once everything is set in motion, the energy and action picks up and we are treated to a very fun adventure. The action is very kid-friendly as it was established earlier on that the citizens of Oz could not kill their enemies. So how could they defeat the villains without too much violence? The way they resolved the dilemma is quite smart and very entertaining. In a way, it was also a nod to early forms of cinema on how simple mechanisms could bring magic to the people.

    The performances of the cast is generally favorable. Franco starts off awkward as he does not have the Robert Downey Jr. kind of charm to pull off the smarmy but lovable man Oscar but he makes up for it in the final act of the movie where he confronts the witches in such a clever way. Meanwhile, it was refreshing to see both Williams and Weisz take on roles so different from the very serious characters they usually play and fortunately they both pulled it off. However, Kunis was clearly the weak link as she struggled with her character's shift. Zach Braff and Joey King did terrific jobs providing voices to the funny flying monkey Finely and the magnificently-animated China Girl.

    Oz the Great and Powerful admittedly has a lot of flaws especially in the first half and would definitely suffer in comparison to the 1939 classic but for what is worth, it did very good job capturing the magic of the world of Oz. If this movie is financially successful, I would be looking forward with what they can do more in the potential sequels.

    Rating: 8 / 10
    Director: Sam Raimi
    Cast: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachelle Weisz
    Distributor: Walt Disney Philippines

    Oz the Great and Powerful is now showing in theaters nationwide



    Discuss the movie at the Oz the Great and Powerful thread

  15. #215

    Django Unchained (2012)



    Western | Drama | Adventure

    Director: Quentin Tarantino
    Cast: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo di Caprio, Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson

    Acclaimed filmmaker Quentin Tarantino is back for another adventure; only this time, a homage to
    spaghetti Westerns via Django Unchained. Nominated for five Oscars including Best Picture and a
    winner for two: an Original Screenplay for Tarantino and Best Supporting Actor Christoph Waltz, we
    were once again treated back to the Antebellum Era with some hammering, slavery issues, and lots of
    dead bodies in between.



    German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) freed one of the slaves, Django (Jamie Foxx), and kept him under his wing. Schultz then trained him to be a badass bounty hunter himself, until
    they faced their biggest challenge yet: rescuing his wife (Kerry Washington) from the hands of harsh
    plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo di Caprio).

    Once again, Tarantino managed to present a story that is both gripping and action filled. The icing on top
    of the cake is that it was aided by great visuals. Everything was commendable from the lavish production
    designs, to the creative costumes, and to the cinematography that really brought you a throwback feel
    while watching it. It is always such a blast to watch Tarantino films, especially when you see him use bits
    and pieces of iconic visual imagery in it. That being said, one aspect that seems hard to digest especially
    for casual viewers is the length of the film. It runs at almost 160 minutes. Ironically though, given such a
    long viewing time, there are moments wherein it felt empty or lacking. It seems as if there are still some
    details that Tarantino wants to insert in it.



    It seems that its late release date in the United States hurt its awards prospect, especially due to its
    heavily effective use of its ensemble. Jamie Foxx as a lead was restrained, but it’s nice to see it in him for
    once. He rarely does this approach, and it makes him more of a team player when he can easily just steal
    the show. Christoph Waltz was simply fantastic; he was likable and interesting that it didn’t feel such a
    chore to watch him. I’d even argue that during the moments when he wasn’t on screen, he was greatly
    missed. The pairing of Samuel L Jackson and Leonardo di Caprio is also one of the underrated ones. Di
    Caprio gives one of his best performances in a while, as he effectively goes out of his shell, albeit in an
    over the top manner, but his presence was already felt the moment he appeared on screen. Jackson,
    on the other hand, was also a blast totally disappearing as Calvin’s loyal house slave. And as the only
    rose among the thorns, Kerry Washington’s Broomhilda was totally game into Tarantino’s vision and
    providing the necessary inputs needed; she wasn’t required to do much, but she totally aced the parts
    that she was given to do.

    In its entirety, while the long running time can be a test of patience, the adventure is worth the watch.
    Tarantino always puts out this lavish show, and the same can be said for Django Unchained. It was
    visceral, visually stunning, and action packed. You definitely can’t go wrong with a combination of
    Quentin Tarantino and a great adventure story, and this is highly recommended.

    GRADE: 9/10

    Django Unchained is now open in theaters nationwide.



    Discuss the movie at the Django Unchained thread.

  16. #216

    Review: Must Be Love



    I admit my initial impression with Must Be...Love is that it's simply a vehicle to cash in the popularity of a teen love team but to my surprise it's actually more than that. While it still has all the cutesy stuff to generate “kilig” moments, the movie surprisingly touches on more personal and emotional themes that makes it more than just fluff.

    Patchot (Kathryn Bernardo) and Ivan (Daniel Padilla) have been best friends since they were kids. Now that they are teenagers Patchoy realizes that she does not see Ivan as a friend anymore but the problem is, he is now courting her cousin. For once, boyish Patchoy wants to explore her femininity in hopes of winning Ivan's heart but it won't be easy as the change she wants contradicts how her father (John Estrada) raised her.

    Star Cinema romantic movies usually adds a sad family background to their characters to justify why they are behaving that way in the present and usually it doesn't work out because the inclusion of those back stories are often too contrived with no reason but add a melodramatic effect. In Must Be...Love, the two teens grew up with a broken family and this time around the back stories of the characters are more believable and easily relatable. The element of family drama was seamlessly integrated to the romantic story. It gave us a solid foundation to understand the characters' apprehensions and insecurities. The lead characters are more well-rounded especially Patchot as she isn't just a helpless girl hopelessly devoted to her best friend but an adolescent discovering a lot of things about herself for the first time.

    The main plot is still predictable and did not add any new angle on the “best friends falling for each other” love story and as usual did not give that much dimension to the third wheel other than simply being a hindrance for the destined pair to be together. Also, the movie's portrayal of a girl's boyishness and the subsequent “girl transformation” is tired and formulaic. However, the direction exudes a youthful and lighthearted vibe that it's hard to not to smile on its very sweet nature. Padilla and Bernardo's chemistry is so good that the target demographic (and maybe some adults as well) will surely find themselves rooting for them to be together. However, Padilla still needs to work on his dramatic skills especially that he is paired with such a strong young actress. Bernardo just sells every emotion from infatuation to awkwardness to pain effectively.

    Must Be...Love is a pleasant surprise. Just as I thought that this is a typical flash in the pan romcom, it gives an honest look on a young person's struggle with one's self and how it affects her relationships as she grows up. It doesn't exactly offer a fresh insight but it wore its heart on its sleeve that is simply hard to dismiss.

    Rating: 8 /10
    Cast: Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla, John Estrada, John Lapus, Sharlene San Pedro, Lisa Soberano
    Director: Dado Lumibao


    Must Be...Love is now showing in theaters nationwide.



    Discuss the movie at the Must Be Love thread

  17. #217
    Olaf Winterscheidt carlhiro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Leavenfang

    Review: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)



    Remember the first time you saw a magic trick? That’s what made best friends Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) become a famous magician duo in Las Vegas. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone follows the story of Burt Wonderstone’s struggle as a magician with rather old tricks to compete with a modern magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), who is always willing to sacrifice his safety for a breath-taking magic trick. Hilarity ensues as Burt tries to compete with Steve for being the best magician in Las Vegas, only to realize he must change his old ways to bring his career back up after an accident happened during his trick with his partner Anton.

    The film features a Bruce Almighty reunion with Steve Carell and Jim Carrey, so these guys will surely bring the laughs you will expect. Lots of easy laughs were thrown out, lots of schticks left and right. The supporting cast were also good; Buscemi, Wilde, Gandolfini and Arkin had some memorable funny scenes as well. Carell and Buscemi did a wonderful job as the duo Burt and Anton, as they had so many funny scenes, especially their magic tricks.

    The movie did not pay too much attention about the plot, it was very predictable. I say just watch the movie without minding the plot because you are assured of laughs left and right. But I really commend the writers for putting in magic tricks that are basically new to lots of people. Some of the magic tricks are even impossible in real life, but I think that added to the comedy.

    This is the perfect movie to watch after a stressful day, where you wouldn't want to think about anything and just laugh. The predictable plot was a setback but I think it served its purpose of entertaining the audience.


    Rating: 7/10

    Director: Don Scardino
    Cast: Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Jim Carrey, Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin

    The Incredible Burt Wonderstone is showing tomorrow (March 20, Wednesday) in theaters nationwide.



    Discuss the movie at The Incredible Burt Wonderstone Thread.

  18. #218

    Review: Aparisyon



    Aparisyon is not a horror film. There's no actual apparition or any supernatural vision in the story but the film is still about fear. And it's a kind of fear that stems from guilt and apathy that is nonetheless cryptic.

    Lourdes (Jodi Sta. Maria) enters a monastery located in a remote area where the nuns are shielded away from the rising tension of the Marcos regime. There she meets Remy (Mylene Dizon), a nun who secretly attends meetings of activists. One day, Lourdes accompanied Remy in one of the meetings but it ran late and they were unable to go back to the monastery before dark. On their way home, the nuns were assaulted by bandits. Remy manages to escape but Lourdes was left behind. Worrying about the nuns who haven't come home yet, Mother Superior Sister Ruth (Fides Cuyugan-Asensio) and her assistant Sister Vera (Racquel Villavencio) searched for them and what they discovered will forever change their lives.

    Aparisyon's indie film budget might have kept it from having a larger setting but the film never felt small. It dug deeper and broaden the scope by raising the stakes. What makes it more gripping is the way it examines issues of faith, fear and guilt in a situation which is undeniably a grey area. It raises questions that is not easy to answer. It presents characters who we can both detest and sympathize.

    While there are certain scenes that I wished the filmmaker added more context, Aparisyon is still a directorial triumph. Even if the film is almost entirely set in the monastery it was able to maximize the surrounding to make the viewers feel the coldness and sullen mode of the convent after the tragedy happened. Moreover, the film was able to tell an affecting story with less dialogue and even in silence. The film didn't have to resort to use drawn out speeches or lines to tell us the inner turmoil the characters are going through. The very talented cast was used efficiently. The most affecting scene is the first one-on-one encounter between Lourdes and Remy since the assault. No dramatic speeches were said but the tension was high. And when one character finally breaks down, one can't help but share her pain.

    At first glance, Aparisyon might not be accessible to casual moviegoers but it tells a story that we could all relate to as each one of us have our own inner battles. Aparisyon tells a different type of terror that's quietly haunting and with its sophisticated direction and captivating performances, it is definitely one of the films that is worth watching.

    Rating: 10 / 10
    Cast: Jodi Sta. Maria, Mylene Dizon, Racquel Villavicencio and Fides Cuyugan-Asensio
    Director: Vincent Sandoval

    "Aparisyon" is now showing in SM Mall of Asia, SM Marikina, SM Manila, SM Megamall, SM Fairview, SM North Edsa, SM Cebu, SM Southmall, SM Sta. Mesa, Trinoma, Gateway and Glorietta



    Discuss the movie at the Aparisyon thread

  19. #219

    Review: The Croods




    The Croods has all the elements that make for a fun time at the movies with your family. Yes, it is your typical animated adventure movie but that's nothing to be ashamed of as it manages to entertain without excesses.

    Eep (Emma Stone) is a free spirit who wants to explore the world outside the comforts of their family cave. But Eep's father Grugg (Nicholas Cage) is overprotective as he believes that venturing the outside world will put their lives in jeopardy. But one day Eep sneaks out and meets Guy (Ryan Reynolds), a wanderer who informs her that the world is ending and they must go to a place where they can survive. Grugg is skeptical to take her family out of their comfort zone but he is left with no choice when their cave is destroyed by the impending doom.

    The Croods opens with an exciting and hilarious food hunt and from that sequence alone one could easily tell that this movie is going to be an enjoyable ride. The storyline is your standard child/parent conflict wherein the kid wants to break away from a parent who have a hard time letting go and they go on an adventure to learn lessons about life. However, what separates The Croods from generic kid flicks is that it did not feel tired at all. Moreover, the movie's play for emotion was heartfelt while all the jokes landed down pat.

    The visuals are striking and there's a lot of breathtaking scenery for our eyes to feast on. The character designs, particularly the various flaky creatures inhabiting the world, are imaginative. Crafty editing also enhanced the movie especially the funny moments. The voice work from the cast is strong with Cage shining the most as he proves that despite the bizarre roles he have taken in recent years he is still one of the best actors out there who can balance humor and heart perfectly.

    The Croods may not be as remarkable as other recent animated features as it is a straightforward tale with no deeper theme to dissect but what it aims for, it does extremely well.

    Rating: 9 / 10
    Cast: Nicholas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke
    and Cloris Leachman
    Directors: Kirk DeMicco and Chris Sanders


    The Croods opens today (March 22) in theaters nationwide.



    Discuss the movie at The Croods thread

  20. #220
    Sissie DaToic starczamora's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Not today, Satan!

    Review: G.I. Joe: Retaliation



    After the predecessor "The Rise of Cobra" got critically-panned, Hollywood producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura wants to make sure that the latest "G.I. Joe" movie would not only provide the explosive action this franchise demands and bring in huge box-office receipts, but also receive praises from the harshest of film critics. I can say that "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" has able to accomplish the third criterion.

    "In this sequel, the G.I. Joes are not only fighting their mortal enemy Cobra; they are forced to contend with threats from within the government that jeopardize their very existence," Paramount Pictures writes.

    "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" looks more like a reboot rather than a sequel. The most significant change is the inclusion of Dwayne Johnson (as Roadblock), whose on-screen charisma remains consistent in every movie he appears in. He also blends well with the cast, most notably his scenes with Channing Tatum (as Duke), which are rife with just the right amount of humor.

    The movie does not scrimp on the booms and bangs, as heart-stopping action sequence fill it to the brim. Big guys with big guns: check; huge explosions: check; sword battles along the Himalayan rock cliffs: check. The constant action highlights would have appeared numbing when handled wrongly, but thankfully these sequences fit right in the storyline.

    Hats off to screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick of "Zombieland" fame for coming up with a script that, while grabbing references from the "The Rise of Cobra," contains strong characters with more human dimensions, less campy humor, and an insidious enemy plot that—while it may sound ridiculous—could be possible when committed by a man of power, greed, and craftiness. It is quite surprising to see a movie about a group of elite, patriotic American soldiers that does not sound too indulgent, and I am not complaining.

    I have watched "Retaliation" in 3D and while it adds a whole new experience in movie watching, I could not help but feel iffy about the very flat backgrounds.

    "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" has made a movie based on the popular toy franchise appealing to a broader audience apart from prepubescent boys and action figure geeks, except perhaps those living in London. Watch the movie and see why.

    Rating: 8 / 10

    Cast: Bruce Willis, Dwayne Johnson, D.J. Cotrona, Lee Byung-hun, Adrianne Palicki, Ray Park, Jonathan Pryce, Ray Stevenson, Channing Tatum

    Director: Jon M. Chu

    G.I. Joe: Retaliation is showing today (March 30) in theaters nationwide.



    Discuss the movie in the "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" thread.
    Last edited by starczamora; Mar 31, 2013 at 11:19 AM.

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