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Official PEx Movie Reviews (2011-2018 Archive)



  • paddylastpaddylast PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐

    Taken 2 introduces us again to Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) trying to escape the wrath of the relatives of the people he previously murdered while searching for his daughter Kim. The father of Marko whom Mills electrocuted (during Taken) was out to avenge his son’s death and won’t stop at nothing until Mills received the same fate.

    I’ll keep it short and simple for this film; it’s watchable and is heart pumping enough but it lacks clear narrative. Neeson’s somehow got lost in this film which shouldn’t been the case because I thought he could deliver more if given the unrealized potential of the film. The screenplay seemed to be more focus on creating thread of scenes for a third follow-up, which I do not think is necessary had they mindfully connected every dot on the film.

    I love that Neeson is exerting just the right effort at times despite getting lost in translation but in comparison to the first film, I’d say that he failed miserably – or shall I say, the film as a whole failed miserably. It is entertaining enough but it’s borderline boring at most parts. It’s not too brutal as it should be and it’s not as organized as its predecessor that you’d rather wait for it on DVD.

    Rating: 4/10
    Director: Olivier Megaton
    Starring: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Rade Serbedzija
    Distributor: 20th Century Fox via Warner Bros. Philippines
    Still showing on your favorite cinemas!

    Discuss the movie at the Taken 2 Thread

  • paddylastpaddylast PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐

    The characters in this film may seem scary and all but, they are not. Hotel Transylvania introduces us to the classic “scary” movie monsters we came to know as youngsters and there is nothing really to be scared of this time. The title itself pertains to the place that Dracula (Adam Sandler) built as a sanctuary for monsters to be themselves and avoid human scrutiny – these monsters includes Frankenstein, the Mummy, the Invisible Man and Wayne the werewolf among others. Moreover, he built it to protect his half-human, half-vampire daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) who turned 118 and her birthday celebration became the starting point of the film. The celebration was smooth sailing until a curious 21 year-old human Jonathan (Andy Samberg) wandered around after hearing the stories about the monsters which causes chaos in the hotel and questions from Mavis that only his father could answer.


    The film was very wholesome and family-friendly. Actually, it was too wholesome and almost too Disney-ish that children of all ages would really enjoy it. Sandler’s voice performance as the Count Dracula is slightly reminiscent of Steve Carell’s Gru character from Despicable Me. I actually thought that it was Carell at the beginning of the film. I’d say though, that he was great in it. The other characters have their fair share of funny lines and there were some good laugh from the audience at some point but it mostly failed to deliver balance – meaning, the film did not really develop enough to push through and give smart dialogues and storyline. It was just pure “wholesome” laughter from these monsters.


    Aside from its great soundtrack, the film clearly stands out in terms of entertaining its audience. I was very entertained but I find it too lazy to consider it a great film. Kids should enjoy this one as they would come to know these monsters in our stories / movies with different perspectives and I guess, the great thing about it is that there is an effort to really give the audience a good laugh or two. I will give it an 8 over 10 rating.

    Rating: 8 / 10
    Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
    Starring Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Jon Lovits, Cee Lo Green, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon and David Spade.

  • forgforg Administrator PEx Moderator

    On his third directorial effort, Ben Affleck goes out of the Boston crime stories and tackles a very timely topic of diplomatic tensions. Argo recreates a moment in world history that is emotionally resonant, slyly humorous and nail-bitingly tense.

    On November 4, 1979, the Iranian revolution reaches its boiling point and militants storm the U.S embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. But six Americans managed to escape and find refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador (Victor Garber). Knowing it is only a matter of time before the escapees are found and likely executed, CIA “exfiltration” expert Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) comes up with an ambitious but risky plan. With the help of acclaimed make-up artist John Chambers (John Goodman) and producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin), they established the production of a fake intergalactic science-fiction epic “Argo” and have the six pose as members of a Canadian movie crew scouting locations in Iran.

    Argo's screenplay is based on an article written by Joshua Bearman about the Iranian hostage crisis and a chapter from a book by the real Tony Mendez. While the script took some liberties to make the story more cinematic, it knows not to make it flashy and executes each scene in a clean and unaffected manner.

    The film's three acts are clearly-defined and smoothly glides from one part to another. The film starts with the haunting images of the militants breaking in the US embassy and those scenes will give you the shivers as it established the high tension atmosphere so effectively. The middle part of the film involves setting up the production of the fake film in Hollywood and this section brings in the laughs thanks to its self-deprecating humor and dry wit. But the film smartly didn't linger with that portion of the story as once Mendez goes to Iran to rescue the six Americans, the film fully takes off. The last act of the movie is riveting and intense. From the moment Mendez and the six escapees goes to the public as “the Canadian crew” to the time they are in the airport to execute their escape plan, Argo never fails to give edge of the seat thrills. How this story ends is no secret but still the film manages to stir up suspense.

    Argo's production aspect is laudable from the editing to the cinematography even the hairstyling and costumes. It also helps that they used archived footage of the protests and actual news reports to make it feel more authentic. The performances from the cast is commendable and all the actors in this large ensemble were all given their moments to shine. Arkin will likely be the standout to most people as he delivers each punchy dialogue relentlessly but the lesser-known actors who played the six escapees are quite good as well as you could actually feel the frustration and fear without having brassy breakdown scenes or aggravated confrontations.

    It's not easy to pull of a film based on a true story especially a subject as sensitive as this but Argo proves that it is still possible for Hollywood to come up with an entertaining film without comprising the spirit of the actual incident.

    Rating: 10 / 10
    Director: Ben Affleck
    Cast: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Victor Garber
    Distributor: Warner Bros. Philippines

    Argo opens tomorrow (Oct. 17) in theaters nationwide


    Discuss the movie at the Argo thread
  • carlhirocarlhiro PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐

    Argo follows the story of CIA “exfiltration” specialist Tony Mendez (Affleck) as he rescues six Americans who managed to escape from the hostage crisis in the U.S Embassy in Tehran during the Iranian revolution in 1979. The six are trapped inside the house of the Canadian Ambassador as they fear for their lives in militant-filled streets of Tehran. This is the third directorial film of Affleck and produced by George Clooney and Grant Heslov (Good Night, and Good Luck).

    One of the best aspects about the film for me was the cinematography. They used film equipment that was actually used in the 1980s so the scenes feel like they were shot at that time. Some of the scenes are re-enactments of photos of the revolution, which added to the feel that it is a true story.

    The cast were nothing but perfect. The performance of Bryan Cranston deserves some recognition, especially in his scenes in the climax of the film, as well as the performances of Alan Arkin and John Goodman, who worked well together.

    The scenes put me in the edge of my seat. You can feel the adrenaline rush as the mission goes on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. The people in the cinema even cheered in support of the characters.

    I really recommend you to watch this film. It is another brilliant work of Affleck (The Town was great too.) and I consider it as The Film of the Year. And make sure to stay for the credits, to learn more about the Iran Hostage Crisis, where the movie was based from.

    Rating: 10 / 10
    Genre: Thriller Drama
    Director: Ben Affleck
    Cast: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman
    Distributor: Warner Bros. Philippines

    Opens today (Oct. 17) in movie theaters nationwide.


    Discuss the movie here: Argo Thread

    Alex Cross

    The movie was adapted from the twelfth Alex Cross novel Cross by James Patterson. It is the first lead role movie of Tyler which he did not direct. This film will leave a trail of suspenseful moments that would keep you into the edge of your seat.

    Dr. Alex Cross (Tyler Perry) is a great police detective, who swore to seek revenge after his wife died in front of him in their anniversary. The reason, he disrupted the path of a trained assassin (Matthew Fox) in killing a rich businessman. With exceptional skills of this man who loves inflicting pain in his victims, Cross with his partner Tommy (Edward Burns) needs to work together to outsmart him and be one step ahead of the killer before it's too late.


    It's a good action film, with a lot of mind games and chases all throughout that makes it entertaining. The only downside of this film is the poor camera angles especially in the fight scenes which is a little bit shaky. The final clash between the Cross and Picasso was also unacceptable because we think it should have been done better. Though the emotions of each character were strongly felt and catches the attention of the audience.

    It's a battle between two guys, a duel between Tyler Perry and Matthew Fox . Their performance was outstanding especially Fox in showing a lot of character in his psycho killer role. He effectively shows the adequate attitude of a remorseless assassin. Tyler Perry was also good but it much have been better if they chose a much slimmer versatile actor for this role.


    Overall, Alex Cross is a decent action flick that just failed to have memorable moments that would leave a mark. It would keep you thrilled but the scenes are quickly forgettable. Matthew Fox completely carried this film with his enjoyable performance that brought the intensity all throughout. It's just failed to have a strong kick in the end that could make this good film into a great movie.

    Rating 7 out of 10 stars

    Tyler Perry, Matthew Fox, Edward Burns, Rachel Nichols

    Directed By: Rob Cohen
    Distributed By: Solar-UIP
    Now Showing at your favorite cinemas


    Discuss the movie at Alex CrossThread
  • three_stooges_ver3_xlg.jpg

    The classic comedy trio comes back to the big screen as finally the long wait is over as Three Stooges finally opens in the cinemas. The Farrelly brothers (There's Something about Mary) gave Larry, Moe and Curly a trip to the modern times.

    Three strange looking babies were left in front of a doorstep of an orphanage run by the mother superior (Jane Lynch). The three grew up as Moe (Chris Diamantopoulous), Larry (Sean Hayes) and Curly (Will Sasso) who gives a lot of problems with the nuns. But the problems have come to worst when they learned that the orphanage needs 850K to settle or their home will be closed. Soon the three embarks on a mission to raise money and save the orphanage.


    This movie will be good or bad depending on the viewer. With the movie mostly relying on slapstick comedy like finger-poking, slapping, nose pulls and other ridiculous brainless movements from the three. Some might find it dull and old school while others might quickly enjoy it. In fairness to this film it recreates the classic Three Stooges sketches dating back to the 80's capping it with the right combination of sound effects and buffoonery entertainment. The sad thing is a lot of people might find this a little bit silly, the humor used is best for young kids and people who grew up with this trio. On the positive note the film stays to a cleaner type of comedy that could suit for all ages.

    The trio was effective incorporating the three stooges. It's safe enough to say that the three (Diamantopoulous, Hayes and Sasso) gave the life back to the legendary characters. The cameos were also refreshing that backed-up the trio really well. Although the Jersey shore sub-plot was really unnecessary.


    Overall Three Stooges come up short. We can easily count the number of times we chuckled at their silly jokes. The three boys are definitely stupid, bad-tempered and violent in a crazy way. It's going to be hard to tell whether people will like this or not as what we said it all depends upon your taste.

    Rating: 5 out of 10 stars

    Casts: Chris Diamantopoulous, Sean Hayes, Will Sasso

    Directed By: Bobby and Peter Farrelly
    Distributed By: 20th Century Fox Philippines
    Now on it's 2nd Week


    Discuss the movie at The Three Stooges thread
  • skyfall-poster_510x756.jpg

    Celebrating his 50th cinematic birthday and his 23rd film Skyfall finally hits our cinema ahead of its US release.

    James Bond (Daniel Craig) together with his fellow field agent Eve (Naomie Harris) is in the pursuit of a terrorist in Istanbul Turkey which stolen a hard drive containing the real identity of every British secret agent around the globe. Bond was almost accidentally killed in the process. Few months have passed, Bond spends his time hanging in the beach drinking in a bar where he saw the news that the MI6 has been under a terrorist attack. He quickly decided to return and help MI6 and find out who is the the man behind all of this.


    We are not a fan of Bond films so we can't really tell or compare Skyfall from the previous films. A lot of critics say that this is one of the best James Bond film ever made. The film started really fast with heart pounding motorcycle chases through the roofs in Istanbul up to fist fight above a running train. At the start the movie promises that it would be a solid action film but as the movie goes along the action sequences was reduced but inserting a much deeper story line. It's quite interesting when you think of it, with fresh new characters that is hinting for another Bond movie in the future.

    This is the best performance of Daniel Craig in his James Bond resume. He really took the pace up reaching to its maximum level. While Javier Bardem provided quality acting as a super villain without making too many gimmicks. The other supporting cast were pretty awesome too including Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris and Judi Dench. And don't forget the newest Q in Ben Whishaw which looked really cool.


    Overall Skyfall is a good film but it should have more action scenes that every Bond film should have. Also the film limits the Bond Girls exposure that many looked forward too in each film. Also the last fight scene was much better if they made it in the daylight. Still it would be appreciated by a lot of James Bond fans it's just felt that something missing because we expected too much.

    Rating: 8 out of 10 stars

    Daniel Craig, Ben Whishaw, Javier Bardem, Judi Dench

    Directed By: Sam Mendes
    Distributed By: Columbia Pictures Philippines
    Now Showing at your favorite cinemas


    Discuss the movie at Skyfall thread
  • wreck_it_ralph_international.jpg

    Ralph (John C. Reilly) is sick and tired of being a villain in a classic arcade video game called Fix-It Felix Jr. The characters in that game hate him so much that he decides to jump out of his game to go on a game-hopping journey to prove that he has what it takes to be a hero. He travels to the world of Hero's Duty and finally gets a medal, but stumbles into the world of Sugar Rush and Ralph then meets Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman), whose world is threatened when Ralph accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens the entire arcade. Does Ralph have what it takes to indeed be a hero and save the arcade before it's too late?


    Without a doubt, this animated flick is a very strong contender for the best animated movie of the year. Wreck-it Ralph is full of colorful and familiar characters from famous video games that many generations have loved playing. The film's formula is similar to Toy Story where the characters come to life after playtime, where every video game characters go out and take a break each night. The idea was really cool that made us feel that we were also a part of the colorful world of Wreck-It Ralph. Kudos to the filmmakers for using imagination to make this film so interesting and entertaining. The cameos were really fun seeing other recognizable characters on the big screen.

    The voice beyond each video game character was excellent in all aspects keeping each one of them stand out on their own. Jane Lynch is the only recognizable voice that really possessed the angst which her character needed. John C. Reilly made Ralph appealing to the audience. And don't forget Sarah Silverman's finest voice used in Vanellope that made the annoying kid into a very likable one.


    Overall we highly recommend Wreck-it Ralph especially to parents who wants their kids to enjoy a very entertaining movie. Adults would love this too particularly on those who grow up playing this arcade games when you were still a kid. All we can say that we love this wonderful film and I am hoping for a sequel probably in the near future. It's not too late to see it in cinemas better plan a movie date before it's too late as we assure you that your money will be very well spent in this animated film.

    Rating: 10 out of 10 stars

    Casts: John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch

    Directed By: Rich Moore
    Distributed By: Walt Disney Pictures Philippines
    Now on it's 2nd Week


    discuss the movie at Wreck-It Ralph thread
  • Lola_RoseLola_Rose PEx Veteran ⭐⭐

    For Pinoy mainstream-content folks, do not ignore the indie film Graceland. Winner at the recently concluded Tribeca Film Festival in New York, garnering international praises, the Filipino crime thriller rivals your regular Hollywood crime fare, delivering a strong, solid narrative that will keep you riveted to the screen.

    Marlon Villar (Arnold Reyes), a religious, mild-mannered, loving father, is the loyal chauffeur to corrupt Congressman Changho (Menggie Cobarrubias). Life is difficult for the poor driver, and yet he never forgets to keep his daily prayers and put his trust in the Lord. But one unfortunate day, Marlon experiences what could be his greatest trial: While driving home Changho's daughter, with his own daughter at the backseat, the car is ambushed by the police, Marlon is knocked out, and the girls are suddenly gone. And thus Marlon is thrown into a horrifying and grim predicament that pushes him to the brink of insanity.


    Graceland, written and directed by Filipino Ron Morales--who has head key grip stints in films such as New York, I Love You, Michael Clayton, and Spider-Man 3--is a dark and weighty film that explores poverty, kidnapping, prostitution, and political corruption in an intricately woven plot that will tense, stress, and keep a certain level of heaviness in your chest.

    Arnold Reyes is a fitting protagonist, delivering an impressive, multi-layered performance to his impoverished and morally challenged character, emotionally hooking you to his helplessness, fear, and shock; sucking you along in his horrific dilemma. This is a film where you will see local actors deliver natural, satisfying performances, both subtle and intense, that you forget that you are watching actors, as you are swept away by the narrative, feeling fearful, sympathetic, and sad.


    Graceland provides an unpredictable, thrilling, and thought-provoking story, taking you right into the heart of the heavy, shocking, ills of our Third World country-- the same problems that exist around the world. It's a movie that delves into the dark, human psyche, exploring man's weaknesses, and exposing us to sad realities that we'd rather believe do not exist. Ron Morales' Graceland indeed succeeded in presenting us a moral and sociological study through a highly entertaining plot, that you'd be thinking and talking about long after you've left the cinema. A definite must-see.

    9 out of 10 stars

    Screening Schedules:
    December 8, 2012, Saturday at 7:30pm
    December 9, 2012, Sunday at 4:30pm
    Venue: Robinsons Galleria Movieworld cinema 4
    Screening format: DCP


    Discuss the movie in the Graceland thread.
  • Lola_RoseLola_Rose PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    Animation | Adventure | Family

    The holiday animated flick of the year, The Rise of the Guardians aims to bring back the beloved mythical childhood figures in the hearts of this Internet-crazed generation: Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, The Sandman, and the Tooth Fairy-- the four major fantasy characters that bring joy to the children of the world.

    The central story of the movie, though, is the lonely immortal Jack Frost (Chris Pine), who makes Snow Day for children but never gets credit for it...because he is invisible. Worse, he has a serious identity crisis and longs to learn about his past. In the process of his search for his identity, he finds himself in an alliance with the Guardians to save the children of the world from the Bogeyman (Jude Law) who is bent on taking away the children's faith in the existence of the Guardians.


    Based on William Joyce's children storybook Guardians of Childhood, and directed by first-timer Peter Ramsey, the movie is one stunning visual delight in IMAX 3D. Adults and children alike will revel in awesome 3D experience. Sparse as the 3D effects come by, they will still render you breathless. The visual details are vivid and intense; superior animation, down to the impeccable facial expressions of the characters.

    The narrative fairly holds your attention, and the Guardians are interestingly reinvented in this movie, with Santa Claus looking like a Russian mob leader (Alec Baldwin) instead of the Coca-Cola jolly one. The characters are highly distinct from one another and bring colorful personalities to the story, with Hugh Jackman as the Aussie Easter Bunny, Isla Fisher as the Tooth Fairy, and the charmingly mute The Sandman. But it is Jude Law as Pitch the Bogeyman who stands out, delivering a resounding voice to the villain in the story.

    The Rise of the Guardians' strength lies more on the visuals than the story itself. The story is engaging, yes, Jack Frost's internal struggles will definitely earn your sympathy, the humor is funny, and The Sandman is just terribly charming, and the villain is effective, but all in all, the story may not be resonant, but it's a pretty good animated adventure, a one major visual feast that will delight all audiences.

    Highly recommended in IMAX-3D

    8 out of 10 stars

    Showing in Philippine Cinemas November 28, 2012


    Discuss the movie in the Rise of the Guardians thread.
  • paranormal-activity-4-poster.jpg

    The film follows up after the events of Paranormal Activity 2 where Katie (Katie Featherston) has killed the parents of his nephew Hunter before abducting him and going missing. A few years later, a happy family started to experience weird things happening in a house after a young boy named Robbie (Brady Allen) stayed in their house after his mother was suspiciously brought to a hospital. So Alex (Kathryn Newton) and his boyfriend (Matt Shively) installed secret surveillance cameras around the house. Soon they findnd out that little Robbie is lurking down in the house in the middle of the night talking to someone which they need to investigate further before its too late.


    The fourth film in the last 5 years, the franchise has been so successful with the formula of hand held cameras and recorded footages in scaring its audience. After a breathtaking part 3, PA4 feels the same thing once again, but the scares were limited but gets better towards the end of the film. PA4 is good if you're a fan of this series. It still has the cheap scares but the story feels like getting tired and should've ended in this film. There's one weird thing which really doesn't make sense is when the character never seem to bother to check the recorded footage as the movie goes along. It's seems like they just installed the cameras so we can see what happens at night where the so-called demons is talking to a creepy child. Still the movie produces some nerve-racking scenes that build tension which shook the audience.


    Overall PA4 is a step backwards that is really costly for this franchise. It's still good but it's getting tired as we can see the same thing all over again. We just love Little Robbie which really creeps us out the most. We almost thought that he is also the super child in Looper. It's up to you to decide whether to watch it on the big screen.

    Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

    Casts: Kathryn Newton, Matt Shively, Katie Featherston, Brady Allen

    Directed By: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
    Distributed By: Solar-UIP
    Now on it's 2nd Week


    Discuss the movie Paranormal Activity 4 thread
  • Lola_RoseLola_Rose PEx Veteran ⭐⭐

    If you want to momentarily take a break from movies with heavy visuals and complicated plots, and want to see a refreshingly light and "normal" movie, then Trouble with the Curve will satisfy that thirst.

    Set in suburban North Carolina in cool blue shades, with open skies and open roads and baseball games, Trouble with a Curve is a real breather from the current line-up at the cinemas; a soothing medicine for stressed out moviegoers.


    The sports drama tells the story of Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood), a super old senior baseball scout for Atlanta Braves whose eyesight is already deteriorating. Sent by his company on a trip to North Carolina to recruit a promising young hitter, he is joined by his estranged daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) to assist him and help him keep his job, but their trip soon becomes bumpy with their father-daughter issues.


    Trouble with the Curve, directed by Robert Lorenz, is a solid narrative that is smooth to follow. Although the movie is obviously refuting sabermetrics, the statistics-based recruitment process championed by last year's brilliant sports movie masterpiece Moneyball, the heart of the movie is the father-daughter relationship between Gus and Mickey.

    Penned by newcomer Randy Brown, some of the dialogue are painfully cliche-ish, but the strong presence and highly engaging performances of Adams and the snarling Eastwood override the cheesy lines. The movie is also devoid of sophistication; sometimes with a feel of an unpolished amateur home video, and with actors that were seemingly left alone on their acting craft. But since the entire cast is made up of competent actors, including Matthew Lilliard and Justine Timberlake, you become thoroughly engaged in the story.


    What is fascinating and astonishing with Trouble wit the Curve is despite Amy Adams' weird walk, its sometimes shallow dialogue, and its lack of cinematic elegance, the movie's got a heart and soul. The film's simplicity is its charm; the actors are its strength, and its heartwarming and oftentimes-funny pocketbook-like story is its beauty. Indeed, Trouble with the Curve is highly absorbing and feels like reading a good book in a blissful afternoon, in a perfect weather.

    8.5 out of 10 stars

    Showing in Philippine Cinemas November 28, 2012


    Discuss the movie in the Trouble with the Curve thread.
  • forgforg Administrator PEx Moderator

    I first saw Ismael Bernal's Himala when it was shown on local TV during Holy Week several years ago. I was a child back then and well, I just watched it because there was nothing else on TV. Admittedly, I did not fully absorbed Himala back then as I was just too young to comprehend the context. So it's a great pleasure that 30 years after its original release, Himala returns to the big screen in a digitally restored version that gives the film a brand new life.

    During an eclipse, Elsa (Nora Aunor), from the small town of Cupang, allegedly saw an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary on top of the hill where she was also found by her adopted mother. Soon after, Elsa began conducting faith healing to the local residents and when word got out about the miracle, pilgrims and tourists flock Cupang. A mass hysteria occurred which forever changed the lives of Elsa and the people of Cupang.

    The technical aspects of the digitally re-mastered version of Himala is very impressive. The images are crisp which will make you fully appreciate the film's visuals. I was blown away with the first couple of scenes when it transitioned from the darkness of the eclipse to the shot where Elsa was having her first apparition. That sequence alone gave me goosebumps. The restoration was rendered magnificently and you could see, frame by frame, the hard work that was put to it.

    I now understand why many people considersHimala as one of the best Filipino films of all time.. The story is just so powerful and three decades after it was made, it still remains relevant today. All aspects from the the visuals, to the sound and most especially the acting is just top notch. Nora Aunor's “Walang Himala!” speech will still give you the shivers no matter how many times it was parodied already. This is high-quality work from all accounts.

    I encourage everyone to go and watch Himala as it returns to theaters today. I know this film has been shown countless times on television and a lot has already been said about it but this restored version will still give you an amazing theater experience. There's nothing like watching a classic on the big screen. We should be grateful that through this restoration, this masterpiece is now preserved in its full glory.

    Rating: 10 / 10
    Cast: Nora Aunor, Spanky Manikan, Gigi Duena, Vangie Labalan
    Director: Ishmael Bernal
    Distributor: Star Cinema


    The restored version of HIMALA opens today (December 5) at SM North Edsa, SM Megamall, SM Manila, SM Southmall, Powerplant, Market Market, Trinoma, Glorietta, Robinsons Galleria, SM Cebu, SM Davao and Gaisano Mall Davao

    Discuss the movie at the Himala thread
  • forgforg Administrator PEx Moderator

    The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a landmark in filmmaking winning the hearts of both the audience and critics. So it goes without saying that the much-awaited prequel, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, will face lofty expectations just because of the legacy set by its predecessor. It may not be fair but it’s an unavoidable comparison, however the film
    on its own still delivers although is not flawless by any means.

    Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is reluctantly recruited by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellan) on a quest to help a band of dwarves led by their prince Thorin (Richard Armitage), to reclaim their land and treasure from the dragon Smaug. As the journey begins, Bilbo and the dwarves face dangerous creatures that lurk the Middle Earth and one encounter will change not only Bilbo’s life but also the future of their world.

    One of the most-talked about aspects about the production of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is how it was shot and projected in high frame rate (HFR) of 48 frames per second (fps). I’ve seen the film twice, on regular 3D and 3D HFR and I must say that 3D HFR version is quite a marvel. Some of the impact is quite jarring at first but as the film progresses, the HFR format settles in and gives an amazing visual experience. Personally, I’m not a fan of 3D because it gives me eyestrain and headaches plus the much dimmer projections is something that I don’t enjoy but with the HFR format all previous issues I had with 3D is gone. What’s good about 48 fps is that is not like standard 3D where you will only notice the effect when there are objects flying to the screen because HF3 3D gives every shot and object with more multidimensionality.

    As for the story, I haven’t read the book but from what I was told the novel is not as thematically rich and complex as the The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And with the novel divided to three movies, the episodic structure of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is prevalent. Not that it’s a bad thing but with a run time of almost three hours and with only a portion of one relatively short novel being told, pacing problems is inevitable. The first part when the dwarves were introduced (the dinner scene in particular) was too long. I just felt that the scene introduced way too many characters to digest all at once. There are 13 dwarves in the story and unfortunately, especially from someone like me who is unfamiliar with the source material, it’s hard to keep track which is which and even with the lengthy run time I still didn’t get to know these characters quite well with the exception of Thorin who had an emotional backstory and a strong arc that helped carry the film

    While the story takes a while to take off, once it gets to the climactic battles it goes to great heights. I was amazed with the scene that involves the Stone Giants that features one of the most breathtaking battle sequences I’ve seen of all time. But hands down the film’s best part and the highlight is the scene between Bilbo and Gollum as they face off with a game of riddles. It was funny, riveting and scary all at the same time thanks to the terrific performances of Freeman and Andy Serkis as Gollum. It’s also worth nothing that the CGI work with Gollum is very impressive and life-like.

    While the stakes are not that high in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, it is still quite an enjoyable ride and serves as a solid start to another adventure back at Middle Earth. If you can, please go see it in 3D-HFR format as it will give you a different and remarkable movie going experience.

    Rating: 8 / 10

    Martin Freeman
    Ian McKellen
    Richard Armitage
    James Nesbitt
    Ken Stott
    Cate Blanchett
    Ian Holm
    Christopher Lee
    Hugo Weaving
    Elijah Wood
    Andy Serkis

    Director: Peter Jackson
    Distributor: Warner Bros. Philippines


    "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is now showing in theaters nationwide in 2D, standard 3D, IMAX 3D and 3D HFR formats.

    Cinemas showing in HFR 3D format are Glorietta, Greenbelt 3, Greenhills, Robinson's Ermita, Robinson's Galleria, SM Mall Of

    Asia , SM Megamall, SM North Edsa, SM Southmall. The movie will still be showing on SM IMAX theaters during the MMFF season

    Discuss the movie at the The Hobbit: An

    Unexpected Journey
  • Lola_RoseLola_Rose PEx Veteran ⭐⭐

    Brillante Mendoza doesn't allow fame to get to him. After beating Ang Lee, Quentin Tarantino and Lars von Trier as Best Director at the 62nd Cannes Film Fest in 2009, he remains to be down-to-earth and all the more passionate about his art. And it seems like he can only achieve personal success if the Filipino people, his own race—especially the mainstream-stubborn ones—can finally appreciate his films.

    That is his primary concern with his latest work Thy Womb (Sa Iyong Sinapupunan), starring the legendary Nora Aunor, and which won him the La Navicella at the recently concluded Venice Film Festival, that the Filipino audience give it a chance. To highly consider alternative cinema.


    In Thy Womb, Mendoza takes us to the southernmost part of Tawi-Tawi, in glorious high definition seascapes that meet the boundless sky—a panorama reminiscent of the trailer of Ang Lee's Life of Pi. Zoom in closer and you see a dilapidated water village. Shanties balanced on stilts in the middle of nowhere. Zoom in much closer and you see the people in their colorful Muslim garments. And that's where Mendoza intends to immerse you. In the rich and exotic Muslim culture. Zoom in much, much closer and he centers you on Shaleha (Nora Aunor), a selfless, infertile midwife, who searches the island for an additional wife for her fisherman husband Bangas-An (Bembol Roco) that would bear him a child for their household.


    In this ethnographic drama, the narrative is thin, the dialogue very minimal and naturalistic, as with most of Mendoza's previous works, with bursts of unscripted voice and reaction. The movie simply—and literally—follows Shaleha and Bangas-An in their life in the village, drawing you into their caring, respectful and patient relationship, and taking you along in their mutual goal to find a child-bearing wife, all in stunning and poetic visuals.

    Mendoza gifts you with a visual feast and an exotic cultural experience. Sweeping you away and setting you loose in the midst of colorful Muslim wear and the unrecorded singing voice of the Badjaos, and their perfunctory mat-weaving. He also presents you with contrasting imagery: the opulent wedding feasts against the prevalent poverty in the island; sporadic signs of violence among an otherwise gentle and generous people. But the real drama is behind Bangas-An and Shaleha's quiet and deliberate movements.

    The entire cast deliver impressive performances, but it's Nora Aunor's performance, which won her the Bisato d'Oro Award in the 69th Venice Film Fest, that was the most potent and captivating; her presence strong, her eyes and subtle expressions speak volumes, holding your rapt attention, all complemented by Bembol Roco's equally natural and believable performance.

    Lovi Poe as a prospective wife.

    Mendoza is a passionate filmmaker. A real artist. He paints stories with hyperreal and surreal strokes. And he's a poet, depicting realities with his visual metaphors And he's an advocate. He wants to expose you to places and events that you can only speculate about, delivering facts but also incorporating symbols to give you your own personal interpretation.

    Thy Womb, which received a 5-minute standing ovation in Venice, is absorbing. An important movie to watch. A poetic and romantic work of art. It will give the Filipino audience a foreign experience in our own land, and will provide marital drama that will intrigue even the most mainstream-loving audience.

    Also starring Lovi Poe and Mercedes Cabral

    Awards and Recognition:
    69th Venice International Film Festival (2012)
    In Competition, Venezia69
    La Navicella / Venezia Cinema Prize
    P. NazarenoTaddei Award - Special Mention
    Bisato d' Oro Award (for lead actress for Nora Aunor)

    Toronto International Film Festival 2012
    Official Selection

    Busan International Film Festival 2012
    Official Selection

    Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2012
    Best Director, Brillante Ma Mendoza
    Best Actress, Nora Aunor
    55th Asia Pacific Film Festival (2012)
    Nominated for Best Director, Brillante Ma Mendoza
    Nominated for Best Actress, Nora Aunor

    Dubai International Film Festi
    In Competition


    8.5 out of 10 stars

    In Philippine Theaters on December 25th, 2012
    Official entry to the 2012 Metro Manila Film Festival


    Discuss the movie in the 2012 MMFF Movie Reviews thread
  • forgforg Administrator PEx Moderator

    There’s nothing new to expect with the latest Wenn Deramas comedy Sisterakas. It is pretty much in line with his recent movies that were all box office hits. This brand of comedy clicks with the mainstream audience mainly because it’s easily digestible but one can’t help but think what more can they do if they had a better storyline and not just a barrage of jokes.

    Perfectionist fashion czar Bernice (Vice Ganda) hires Detty (Ai Ai Delas Alas) to replace the executive assistant he fired. Unbeknownst to Detty, Bernice is her illegitimate half-brother whom they threw out of their house (along with Bernice’s mom) when he was a child. To seek revenge, Bernice plans to make Detty’s life a living hell while she works for him. Meanwhile, Bernice’s rival Roselle (Kris Aquino) plans to pirate Berna to finally beat Bernice’s company.

    While the main plot is actually decent it is still nothing but an excuse to set up jokes, parodies and skits. With this kind of set up, the comedy is pretty much a hit and miss. Vice Ganda did his usual sarcastic and personal jokes and he can really sell a joke no matter how old or corny it is. He can effortlessly deliver one-liners and snark that seems so natural and out of the blue. Delas Alas is fine although her “baby voice” is grating but the energy is there. And as for Aquino, well, you could see the effort to do things broad but she doesn’t have the comedic chops to pull it off. The movie was also hesitant to make Aquino’s character a full-blown antagonist and I think if they only embraced that, they could have squeezed out more substance from the character which to be honest is really not needed. And speaking of unnecessary stuff, the subplot of the teens (Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla) is so minor that I don’t think even the love team’s diehard fans will enjoy it completely (their scenes in the trailer is pretty much it for them).

    Sisterakas reportedly topped the first day of the 38TH Metro Manila Film Festival, which will likely begin another franchise in this annual festival. The audience clearly likes this type of comedy and the stars will add this to their roster of box office hits. I admit I laughed in a couple of scenes. It’s silly fun but I hope this team will be inspired to change things up and not be afraid to explore more areas in comedy next time. At this point, they can pretty much sell any movie with their names alone, so why not take some risk (even a small one) in the next project? I hope this is not just wishful thinking.

    Rating: 5 / 10
    Cast: Kris Aquino, Ai Ai Delas Alas, Vice Ganda. Kathryn Bernardo, Danile Padila, Xyriel Manabat
    Director: Wenn Deramas
    Producers: Star Cinema & Viva Films


    Discuss the movie at the 2012 MMFF thread
  • forgforg Administrator PEx Moderator

    Horror/suspense movies are mostly built on twists and in this day and age it's really hard to get a new twist that can still surprise a viewer. The Strangers pulls off a twist which is really interesting however a movie can not just rely on twist alone as it actually needs a compelling story first.

    Evelyn (Cherry Pie Picache) and Roy (Johnny Revilla) take their twins Max (Enrique Gil) and Patricia (Julia Montes) on an out-of-town trip to celebrate their 18th birthday. Tagging along with them is Evelyn's father (Jaime Fabregas) and his aid Paloma (Janice De Belen). But on their way to the place, their van broke down and they got lost in the middle of the forest where they met a group of villagers hunting down Dolfo (Enchong Dee) whom they believe is an aswang.

    The movie starts pretty slow as it takes too much time telling the characters' issues with one another. Nothing really significant or exciting happens for the first hour or so but for what is worth, when they finally got to the “twist” it will make you look back at the early scenes and conversations. I must say that the foundation of the twist is structured well. Unless you're a super sharp person or have seen this premise before in another movie (I haven't) the twist is not something that you could easily guess.

    Unfortunately, before you get to the cool twist part the movie lingers on a storyline that drags for too long and felt like it was going nowhere at all. I felt a sense of disconnect from what's happening on screen mainly because The Strangers failed to construct characters and build situations that the viewer could actually have an emotional investment on. It felt like it was just filling out time before they reveal the deceit.

    The effects are solid but it's pretty generic and they rely too much on the musical score to inform the viewer that this is an intense scene already. The cast is populated with veteran actors who made the most out of their stock characters while the young leads took sometime to get into the groove of their characters but in the end they still did a fine job. One thing I was impressed with the technical side of the film is the make up because it's really well-done and didn't look fake at all.

    The Strangers is sadly a missed opportunity. If they only had a stronger story leading to the revelation of the twist then the impact of the deceit would have delivered a bigger blow. As it stands, the twist only redeemed the movie from being a total dud.

    Rating: 6 / 10
    Cast: Cherry Pie Picache, Janice De Belen, Jaime Fabregas, Johnny Revilla, Julia Montes, JM De Guzman, Enrique Gil, Enchong Dee
    Director: Lawrence Fajardo
    Producers: Quantum Films & MJM Productions
    Distributor: Star Cinema


    Discuss the movie at the 2012 MMFF thread
  • forgforg Administrator PEx Moderator

    Thy Womb is a very unique entry in this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). Getting in the last minute thanks to one movie backing out, Thy Womb is a refreshing change to the commercial-driven movie festival.

    Shaleha (Nora Aunor) is a Badjao midwife who can’t bear a child. Her husband Bangas-an (Bembol Roco) proposes that he gets a second wife so he’ll finally have the chance to have a child of his own. This begins the couple’s journey of finding the suitable woman that could give them a child they wanted for so long.

    Thy Womb is a restrained quiet film as it lets the visuals do most of the talking. Small moments are lingered on even if it does not move the story forward. At times it felt like you are watching a documentary because of the film’s naturalistic vibe. People may find this approach boring but what keeps the film from being lifeless is because it focuses on the culture of a small community in Tawi Tawi which is anything but uninteresting.

    The film gives us slices of life from the regular townsfolk exchanging small talks to the local market activity to the intriguing and lavish marriage proposal rituals. But what got me the most is the way it captured how life goes on in a place that is often burdened by violence. During a wedding, a gunshot was heard and a minor chaos ensued but Shaleha encouraged the newlyweds to continue dancing and they followed and soon after everything went back to normal as if there’s no more threat. Violence is nothing new, it still gives them scares but they can easily move on from it and resume their lives. It’s quite a moving scene and will make you wonder how can they live normal lives under such precarious situation.

    Another interesting aspect in this film is how it gave us a look on how marriages are arranged in this culture. It presents the process in a matter-of-fact account offering no judgment but still managing to let the complexity of the situation seep through. However, I wished the film gave us more scenes on how the arrangement Bangas-an had with his second wife worked because I felt that it was not given enough time to tell that story satisfyingly.

    Aunor and Roco gave restrained but very effective performances. This film has little dialogue in it but thanks to the strength of the actors they don’t need words to show their characters’ inner pain and complex feelings. The scene when they met the future second wife for the first time is the best example how an actor can do so much without uttering a single line. It’s all in the eyes.

    Reports say that Thy Womb is getting pulled by a lot of theaters due to poor ticket sales. It’s unfortunate that they couldn’t give this a full-week run. Admittedly, it’s a tough sell to the mainstream audience due to the way the story is told but Thy Womb presents a picture of a culture that is fascinating and is definitely worth watching. I always hear complaints how uninspiring the MMFF slate is but this year we have a film that is not your usual MMFF fare so why not give this a chance?

    Rating: 9 / 10
    Cast: Nora Aunor, Bembol Rocco, Lovi Poe, Mercedes Cabral
    Director: Brillante Ma Mendoza
    Distributor: Solar Entertainment

    Discuss the movie in the 2012 MMFF Movie Reviews thread
  • forgforg Administrator PEx Moderator

    The 38th Metro Manila Film Festival Best Picture winner One More Try offers a very interesting tale of a moral dilemma. I read that the movie’s plot is strikingly similar to a Chinese film but I haven’t seen that so I can’t compare but on its own One More Try thrives thanks to commendable performances but it still can’t fully escape the awkwardness of its story and some of the Filipino melodramatic tropes.

    Grace (Angel Locsin) looks for Edward (Dingdong Dantes), the father his son never met knew. Grace’s son needs a bone marrow transplant and only Edward could help him. When they found out that Edward couldn’t donate his own, the doctor suggests that they should have another child who can give his bone marrow. But Edward is now married to Jacq (Angelica Panganiban) while Grace is in a long-term relationship with Tristan (Zanjoe Marudo).

    While the premise of One More Try is medically possible, the way the movie builds up the predicament is contrived. The doctor played by Carmina Villaroel was just too unprofessional when she was pushing Grace and Edward so hard to sire a child the natural way. That scene, which was obviously intended for laughs, just left me cold. I know it’s just a movie but with a morally complex premise like this, there should be a sense of realism with the attitude and behavior of the characters no matter how minor the role. I feel like that the attempt to inject humor through the doctor’s perkiness and bluntness was out of place and offensive.

    But setting that aside, One More Try is compelling enough thanks to strong performances from the cast who elevated the material. All the major characters were sympathetic and their actions were quite believable given how difficult the situation they were forced to be part in. Locsin delivered a career-best in this movie as she perfectly captured the struggle of a mother who will do everything to save her child’s life. Panganiban is equally impressive as she can fully express the inner turmoil of her character even without words. Dantes and Marudo were good as well with controlled but heartfelt performances. There are a lot of dramatic exchanges but they were mostly effective with no histrionics from the actors.

    It’s also worth noting that there are surprisingly good choices in direction for a mainstream movie like scenes that didn’t have much dialogue and it just let the visuals to do the talking. However, it still did some of the clichés like having a montage of scenes with the movie’s theme in the background and a predictable ‘happy’ conclusion. I’m not saying that movie should end in a dark place but I just think that given the premise it just doesn’t make sense to leave all the characters in a situation that is way too sociable as if they didn’t experienced the most grueling time of their lives. It would have been better if at least
    one of the couples broke up for good or at least have an ambiguous end with regards to the status of their relationships. I just can’t buy that the four characters are that comfortable with each other as if they are all best friends and nothing happened. I know the intention was noble but the predicament was just too morally damaging to not leave a dent in their relationships.

    One More Try is decent movie with some very promising aspects. For the performances alone, it’s worth the watch but they could have hit the right spot if they dared to make bolder choices.

    Rating: 7 / 10
    Cast: Angel Locsin, Angelica Panganiban, Dingdong Dantes, Zanjoe Marudo
    Director: Ruel Bayani
    Producer: Star Cinema


    Discuss the movie in the 2012 MMFF Movie Reviews thread
  • Lola_RoseLola_Rose PEx Veteran ⭐⭐
    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.
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