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Official PEx Movie Reviews (2011-2018 Archive)



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    Philippine Release Date: January 31, 2018
    Director: Luca Guadagnino
    Cast: Armie Hammer, Timoth?e Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg

    We asked our group of reviewers to give us insights about one of the most talked about and critically acclaimed films of 2017, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME. Check out the complete review here:

    For those who are unaware, what's CALL ME BY YOUR NAME all about?

    artalm_2604: It is a coming of age story about two people who form a beautiful bond with each other and eventually fall in love.
    carlhiro: It?s about sweet sweet forbidden love, a depiction of young love that you can see in a slightly different angle.
    kidrender: Call Me By Your Name is a coming-of-age film which tackles a young man's sexual awakening.

    How will you describe CALL ME BY YOUR NAME movie in one sentence?

    A: Call Me By Your Name is a slow burn, simmering in the heat of the build up and anticipation until it reaches its crescendo in a frantic but unforgettable mix of ecstasy and heartache.
    C: All the feels I felt in all the romance films I have watched packed in one movie.
    K: The film is sensually beautiful.

    What's your favorite moment/scene in the movie?

    A: Too many too mention? :LOL: The scene by the Battle of Piave statue ? ?You know what things? - I had no idea that so much can be said with a few lines of dialogue. The final scene alone was enough for Timothee Chalamet to get that Academy nod.
    C: ALL :LOL: My favorite is definitely the ?Am I offending you scene?? It is where Elio admits that he loves Oliver, and then Oliver contemplates if he should reciprocate his feelings or not. A very well acted scene.
    K: My favorite moment was when Elio no longer repressed his boldness and grabbed Oliver by the, well, you know it...


    How would you describe Armie Hammer's - Oliver and Timoth?e Chalamet's - Elio?

    A: Oliver is this confident, charming scholar whose nonchalant ?laters? belie a depth of emotion just waiting to be uncovered. Elio is an intriguing mix ? intelligent but naive at the same time. This movie is truly about him ? his growth, his realizations and his acceptance of himself.
    C: Oliver: Later! Elio is mature for his age due to his upbringing.
    K: Oliver exudes confidence while Elio is a bold confused teen - perfect combination for this genre.

    What's your favorite trait of Oliver, and for Elio?

    A: Pareho silang malandi? Haha. I love that Elio is curious and persistent, not to mention talented. Oliver is more level headed, but there is a playfulness in him as well.
    C: I love the carefree attitude of Oliver. I?d be in love with Oliver the same way that Elio loves him. With that said, Elio is the more relatable character. He is a representation of the love we felt for someone in our teenage days.
    K: I loved Oliver's confidence which is borderline cocky while Elio is charming all throughout.


    What is the one thing that impressed you the most about the movie? And what's the main flaw for you (if there's any)?

    A: Aside from Timmy?s superb acting, I love that the film is beautiful in more ways than one. The story and the characters I?ve already raved about, but the beautifully shot scenes, especially during Elio and Oliver?s mountain hike, capture the exquisite charm of the northern Italian countryside. Though it?s not really a flaw, the film, much like the book, takes its time to build up the tension. That meme ?just kiss? is perfect for how I felt for much of the movie. However, people will soon discover that the wait is worth it.

    C: I absolutely loved everything in the film and cannot wish for more. I loved how they used the setting well, and the chemistry of Armie and Timoth?e is so so good.

    K: The sensuality of the film impressed me the most. It captured the beauty of some particular scenes without going all out. Meanwhile, I found some parts really dragging and must I say, unnecessary!

    Why should we go see CALL ME BY YOUR NAME?

    A: Because everyone needs to see the 2018 Oscar winner for Best Picture. ;) If you?ve never heard of Timothee Chalamet, this is the perfect movie to get to know him, and the beautiful story of love, growth and acceptance that he and Armie Hammer so perfectly portrayed.

    C: We shouldn?t even convince anyone to watch it. It should be a given that they watch this film.

    K: Go see Call Me By Your Name because it is very rare for an LGBT-film to be this good. It wouldn't be the talk of the town for no reason at all. :)


    A: 11/10
    C: 11/10
    K: 8/ 10


    CALL ME BY YOUR NAME is NOW SHOWING at selected Ayala Malls cinemas. Rated R16, no cuts.

    Discuss the movie here: Call Me By Your Name (2017)
    More movie reviews here: Official PEx Movie Reviews

  • TeamPExTeamPEx Administrator PEx Admin


    Philippine Release Date: February 7, 2018
    Director: James Foley
    Cast: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eric Johnson, Rita Ora

    The final installment to the worldwide phenomenon is here. FIFTY SHADES FREED releases today, it’s the third movie in the Fifty Shades of Grey series starring Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson. We sent two of our resident reviewers to give us their honest views about the film.

    Describe Fifty Shades Freed in one sentence.

    Laurence_writer: Fifty Shades Freed is both "nakakakilig" and heart-pounding.
    jesjman: Fifty Shades Freed is the last movie of the Fifty Shades series, and portrays the ups and downs of Anastasia's life as "Mrs. Grey".

    How did the characters (Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey) evolve from the second film to this final installment?

    L: Christian slowly shows his kinder side while Anastasia is able to assert her needs and wants more. Both Mr. Grey and Ms. Steele grew a lot from when we first laid eyes on them.
    J: In general, I think Anastasia stayed the same, headstrong and assertive. Meanwhile, Christian's character is still disturbingly possessive, but I felt he was softer in this movie.


    How did Ana and Christian's relationship grow now that they are married?

    L: I can honestly feel that they are more mature now. Christian is genuinely working hard to grow up and Ana's there to be with him all the way.
    J: I guess, now that they're married, they have to deal with "rich married couple" problems, like having kids, adjusting to new last names, and nepotism.

    From a scale of 1 to 10, how steamy are the scenes in Fifty Shades Freed?

    L: Hmmm, I'll give it an 8. It's not as steamy as Grey but still very satisfying.
    J: It's a 10. Dakota and Jamie's chemistry on screen is very natural, and I love that.


    What's your most memorable scene in the movie?

    L:[CROUCHING-TIGER-DISAPPEARING-SPOILER]It's got to be the scene where Ana confronted their architect Gia Matteo for flirting with Christian. You go, girl![/CROUCHING-TIGER-DISAPPEARING-SPOILER]
    J: My most memorable scene is when the camera focused on Dakota's Vertu cellphone to communicate with her friend. I thought that was a fascinating detail because nothing says filthy rich and gullible like using a Vertu phone (if you don't know, Vertu sells "luxury" cellphones that has mediocre specs for $10,000 to $25,000 a pop).

    Who is your favorite character in the entire Fifty Shades series?

    L: This is hard but I'll have to pick Anastasia Steele. I can honestly relate with her, especially about being open in trying new things and not giving up on the one you love.
    J: I honestly don't have a favorite character.


    Do you think Fifty Shades Freed was able to provide a perfect ending to the series?

    L: I can't say that it was the perfect ending. But it's not bad either. It was just right to make the film standout from the first two installments.
    J: I think it was a suitable ending to the whole series. It put an oversimplified closure to some of Christian's issues to assure us they're gonna be okay and they're not going to divorce (any time soon).

    What I like in Fifty Shades Freed is...

    L: the songs! Fifty Shades Freed has got some of the best and magical tracks. And the song-to-scene pairing is just so perfect!
    J: that it is straightforward romantic movie. It doesn't pretend to break grounds in film making or story telling. It's blatantly outrageous, and that's just how its target audience likes it.


    What I didn't like is...

    L: the story. The conflict, and the antagonist's motivation, is weak and underwhelming. But I can't blame the movie for that since they just adapted the plot from the book.
    J: that the main conflict of the movie felt forced. I wasn't invested in hating the antagonist at all because his motivation for ruining Anastasia and Christian's lives was too loosely portrayed.

    Your final verdict:

    L: Fifty Shades Freed definitely knows just when to hit all the right spots. It had me holding my seat during the entire show. It made suppressing whimpers of pleasure particularly difficult.
    J: The in-your-face extravagance makes it somehow fun to watch. And I really appreciate Dakota and Jamie's onscreen chemistry. But I felt that the theme and conflicts could have been treated with more finesse.


    L: 8/10
    J: 6/10


    Fifty Shades Freed is NOW SHOWING in Philippine cinemas, it is rated R-18 Without Cuts (Original US Version)

    Discuss the movie here: Fifty Shades Freed (2018)
    More movie reviews here: Official PEx Movie Reviews

  • Laurence_writerLaurence_writer PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐


    Philippine Release Date: February 14, 2018
    Director: Joe Wright
    Cast: Gary Oldman, Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn, Ronald Pickup, Stephen Dillane, Samuel West

    Photo Credit: Focus Features

    [JUSTIFY]It was May 1940 and Britain’s forces in France are outgunned and outnumbered by the NAZIs. The Labour and Liberal Parties no longer believe that Neville Chamberlain is fit to lead the government. There is only one person whom the opposition is willing to accept as leader of a unified government. But his track record is as colorful as his ability to weave powerful and moving words.[/JUSTIFY]
    [JUSTIFY]Darkest Hour, the latest World War II biopic, focuses on Winston Churchill’s rise to power amid troubling times. The entire movie is set in Churchill’s first weeks in office as Prime Minister, filled with a ginormous task of managing domestic affairs and preparing for an inevitable war with Germany. Aside from all that, he needs to outmaneuver more seasoned politicians in an internal struggle for power and get the support of the reigning monarch King George VI.[/JUSTIFY]
    [JUSTIFY]Storywise, the narrative is pretty straightforward and easy to digest. The pacing from scene to scene, setting to setting is just right. It gives the audience enough time to take everything that’s happening and appreciate the emotions and details shown. The showing of the date at the beginning of each scene also helps establish a clear timeline for the story. Moreover, it’s a nice touch that serves as the movie’s trademark move.[/JUSTIFY]
    [JUSTIFY]Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill gives a chilling performance that is rarely seen in his previous portrayals. Not only did he give new breath to Winston, he was able to guide his viewers at a particular feeling, whether it be anger, fear, or despair, and make them linger on it until they themselves are engulfed by such strong emotions. Darkest Hour, it seems, is a one man show made for Oldman, and his fellow cast members, from Lily James to Kristin Scott Thomas, worked quite well to give all the necessary support for Gary’s character.[/JUSTIFY]
    [JUSTIFY]Darkest Hour paints a vivid picture of one of the most prominent figures in a very important turning point in history. It did not embellish people and events. It did not shy away from the ugly truths. It simply told what has happened, and how people reacted to such events, in the best way possible. For that, it is undeniably an illuminating and enjoyable film to watch.[/JUSTIFY]

    Rating: 8.5/10


    Darkest Hour WILL BE SHOWN starting February 14 in theatres nationwide.

    Discuss the movie here: DARKEST HOUR (In PH Cinemas 2018)
    More movie reviews here: Official PEx Movie Reviews

  • artalm_2604artalm_2604 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐


    Philippine Release Date: February 14, 2018
    Director: Martin McDonagh
    Cast: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, John Hawkes, Peter Dinklage


    [JUSTIFY]A maelstrom of emotions is what perfectly describes Fox Searchlight Pictures’ Academy Award contender – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Shot under the masterful hand of director Martin McDonagh, this is a film whose intensity exceeds the scope of its small town setting. Bannered by a cast of characters who played their hearts out with their roles, Three Billboards is a film that more than lives up to its hype as an awards frontrunner.[/JUSTIFY]


    [JUSTIFY]After 7 months of grieving over her daughter Angela, who was raped, murder and burned; Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) decides to take matters into her own hands. Frustrated by the lack of progress in the investigation, she rents three billboards outside town to post a message: "RAPED WHILE DYING", "AND STILL NO ARRESTS?", "HOW COME, CHIEF WILLOUGHBY?" This causes a stir in the town as Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) is quite a popular figure with an open secret – he is suffering from pancreatic cancer. However, Mildred remains steadfast with her quest for justice and continues to butt heads with the local police officers, including racist officer Jason Dixon (Sam Rockwell). As the tension comes to a head, so does Willoughby’s illness, until he decides to spend a day with his family before taking his own life. This single act triggers a chain of events that unleashes the hate, anger and frustration that has been simmering in the townsfolk for quite some time. While a series of unfortunate incidents happen all throughout town, the search for those responsible for Angela’s death still continues.

    Three Billboards is a movie with a heavy theme – that of a chain of anger and hate that continues in different forms as the people in the cycle refuse to budge. However, the film does not feel too heavy, largely because of the wit and humor interspersed in between the intense confrontations. The dialogue was very in-your-face albeit not forced, and the delivery was on point in making the audience laugh in he midst of a tense situation. At one point it was easy to dismiss this as a “whodunit” kind of film, but once you realize that the story focuses more on the characters instead of the plot, you realize the beauty of this film is not solely in telling a story but in making you feel that what happens to the characters matter, and that they are so much more than their place in the bigger story.


    [JUSTIFY]Characterization is definitely the film’s strongest point. The acclaimed cast certainly delivered well, from McDormand’s tormented but determined Mildred, to Harrelson’s charming but ailing Chief Willoughby to Rockwell’s mercurial but loyal Dixon. The variety of emotions that each one goes through – pain, anger, fear, anguish - was portrayed in full spectrum throughout the film. Their delivery is impeccable, seamlessly pulling off the dry wit with the intense emotions that they reveal as the story unfolds. Even the supporting cast held their own really well, with Peter Dinklage notably standing out as the witty James, Mildred’s casual acquaintance turned date. It is a strong cast that holds the story line together, and the performance of each gives us a glimpse not only of what these characters are below the surface, but in what they can become with the different choices that they make.[/JUSTIFY]


    [JUSTIFY]All in all, Three Billboards is a strong and gripping film well deserving of its acclaim. It is a mix of good story with great characters, and the writing makes you feel invested in what happens next to the story. It is intense at the same time entertaining, thus it was no surprise that a smattering of applause rang inside the cinema as the credits started rolling. It is a movie that makes you think, feel and most importantly care, and it speaks volumes with just a simple storyline of a mother trying to find justice for her daughter in a small town that can’t seem to get its bearings. With the Academy Awards coming up, it’s not farfetched to think that a couple of trophies, including the big one, will be coming in the way of this masterpiece.[/JUSTIFY]
    Rating: 9.5/10


    Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri WILL BE SHOWN starting February 14 in theatres nationwide.

    Discuss the movie here: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
    More movie reviews here: Official PEx Movie Reviews
  • TeamPExTeamPEx Administrator PEx Admin


    Philippine Release Date: February 14, 2018
    Director: Ryan Coogler
    Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett

    Photo credit: Marvel Studios


    Marvel Studios opens 2018 with its spectacular and revolutionary movie BLACK PANTHER. Black Panther follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king. But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk.

    By now we know that most of you (if not all of you) will be watching this latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I think we really don’t need to say too much to even reel you in into watching this movie. But just in case you need anymore convincing, two of our resident movie reviewers, artalm_2604 and kidrender gives you this:


    It is a fusion of the old and the new
    The ancient Wakanda traditions side-by-side with the ultramodern Vibranium-powered technology is a sight to behold indeed.


    Stellar Cast!
    From Martin Freeman to Angela Bassett, Black Panther is filled with an all-star cast! Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong'o and Danai Gurira have such strong presence on-screen but Michael B. Jordan is a stealer! His acting added color to every layer of his complex character.

    Pace, pace, pace
    An origin story lasting for more than 2 hours, there’s got to be dull moments, right? Not with this one, with the right mix of action, story progression and world building, Black Panther delivers great characterization without sacrificing the big picture of the story.


    Women Power
    While the main protagonist and antagonist are both males, this film does not lack for kickass female characters – from the regal Queen Ramonda to the feisty Shuri to the steadfast Okoye and the resourceful Nakia – girl power is very much alive in this film


    Loki, watch out!
    For the longest time, Loki has been everybody's favorite villain in the MCU. Zemo tore the team apart during Civil War placing him second to my ranking of MCU's villain. But Michael B. Jordan's Erik Killmonger was so fleshed out and motivated that I actually rooted for him for a moment.

    One thing that makes the MCU so great is the relevance of its plots in the real world. Several movies in the franchise made some connection to real events such as the World War II in Captain America. Black Panther is an ode to [#]BlackLivesMatter[/#]. It is relevant and touching.


    Pumping Soundtrack
    Two words: Kendrick Lamar. The reminiscent of African percussion with a touch of modern mixes, the sounds of the film complement the sequences very well

    Perfect setup
    Now that we know more about Vibranium and Wakanda’s place in the Marvel universe, this movie just whets the appetite more for the upcoming Avengers film (ehem Infinity War).


    artalm_2604: 8.5/10
    kidrender: 10/ 10


    BLACK PANTHER is NOW SHOWING in cinemas nationwide

    Discuss the movie here: [URL=" https://www.pinoyexchange.com/forums/showthread.php?t=731455&page=6&p=76795152#post76795152]Marvel's Black Panther (2018)) [/URL]

    More movie reviews here: Official PEx Movie Reviews
  • kidrenderkidrender PEx Rookie ⭐


    Philippine Release Date: February 21, 2018
    Director: Guillermo del Toro
    Cast: Sally Hawkins, Doug Jones, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer

    Love knows no boundary. Love is blind.
    Think of all the cliche sayings you can think of about love but that’s how love is- cheesy and sappy.

    Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water reflected those qualities to a magical effect. Helmed as Master of Monsters, del Toro introduced yet again a monster with the heart of a human. His latest film is the right blend of fantasy, thriller, and most of all, love.


    Sally Hawkins plays Elisa Esposito, a mute but not deaf character who mysteriously has scars on the side of her neck. Living next to her is her gay neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins). Their friendship is one that is special- almost similar to brothers and sisters. At night, she heads to work at a secret facility with her friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer) as toilet cleaners.

    At the height of Cold War, a humanoid creature from the waters of South America is being held captive and tortured. The suffering is being headed by the strong-willed Strickland (Michael Shannon). One night, Elisa discovered the creature and instantly built a connection with it. What started as a pet-master relationship developed into something more meaningful- as lovers.


    The plot is as surreal as it can get but knowing the track record of the director, it all resulted into nothing but fantastic. Hawkins stood out and shone the brightest in the film. She spent most of the time expressing her thought through her face and gestures but still managed to evoke emotions from the audiences. She only spoke for a scene and that was more than enough. Spencer, on the other hand, complemented the timid quality of her friend. She was not just a mere interpreter, but she was the yin to Hawkins’ yang.

    The Shape of Water is a beautiful love story which is a great reminder that love knows no bounds. It lets the audiences dive into a surreal, seductive yet romantic story- a true del Toro trademark.

    [CENTER-HIDDEN]Rating: 9/10


    The Shape of Water comes out in theatres nationwide on February 21.

    Discuss the movie here: [URL="https://www.pinoyexchange.com/forums/showthread.php?t=885954”] The Shape of Water [/I][/B][/URL]
    More movie reviews here: Official PEx Movie Reviews

  • artalm_2604artalm_2604 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐


    Philippine Release Date: February 21, 2018
    Director: Michael Sucsy
    Cast: Angourie Rice, Maria Bello, Debby Ryan, Jacob Batalon, Justice Smith, Lucas Jade Zumann, Owen Teague, Jake Sim


    [JUSTIFY]“What if you could be someone else everyday?”

    This is a question that is often asked by people, a question that elicits almost as many different responses as the number of times it is asked. Every Day explores just how it feels to be in this situation, one of perpetual flux as someone who wakes up in a different body each day. In a world where every thing literally changes every day, how does one leave a trace and make their mark?

    Rhiannon is a high school girl who lives a mundane life, going day by day being taken for granted by her boyfriend Justin. One day, in a seemingly spontaneous act of rebellion, Justin and Rhiannon skip school to spend a day in the park, a day she labels as the best date ever. However, the next day Justin returns to his old ways, prompting Rhiannon to wonder if she just imagined the perfect date. Adding to her perplexity are the random people she meets who seem to have inside details of that memorable day. She soon discovers that Justin was possessed by an entity named A, a consciousness who wakes up every day in a different body, and never the same one twice. It was A who spent the perfect date with her, and now he wants to be a part of her life permanently. Rhiannon initially struggles with this information, however she decides to give him a chance. Soon A and Rhiannon find themselves falling for each other, which is something that creates a lot of complications as they endeavor to find a way for A to stay permanently.[/JUSTIFY]


    [JUSTIFY]Every Day is a story adapted from the similarly titled book by David Levithan, but it is more than a mere copy of Levithan’s work. The basic premise, the characters and the story line is there, but the films expands more on the experience of the characters, in particular A, who has to wake up everyday in a different body and learn to adjust to how the person lives his or her life, and Rhiannon, to find someone she has a connection with come to her in a different form everyday and yet still retain that same personality that she finds endearing. While the plot leaves us with a lot of questions with the specifics, it also leaves us with the impression that this movie is more about the big picture – how does one deal with change, especially change that is unwanted, and how do we remain true to ourselves despite this change?

    A film like this hinges a lot on the portrayal of the characters, and the ensemble cast was certainly up to the task. Angourie Rice performed well as Rhiannon, the girl who suddenly finds herself in a whirlwind romance with someone she didn’t expect and certainly didn’t prepare for. The actors who played A were also commendable, each one bringing in their own distinct personalities and yet having that common soul and joy in their eyes that perfectly encapsulates what A is like. The other members of Rhiannon’s family – her father, mother and sister were also pivotal characters – members of a family who are trying to keep themselves together in the midst of tough times while also recognizing that their youngest member is going through a challenge of her own.


    [JUSTIFY]Every Day is a film about making connections, may it be with a family member, with a friend, with a stranger or with someone special. It is a film that gives us a lot to think about, and even more to feel about. It leads us to question how we take certain things and people in our life for granted, people who we feel will always just be there for us, not knowing that someone else does not have that same privilege. It is a story that makes us reflect on how a lot of things can change not just in 24 hours but in an instant, and how we can, despite these changes, leave a mark of permanence that will touch the lives of other people around us.[/JUSTIFY]

    Make marks. Leave traces. Every Day.

    Rating: 8.5/10


    Every Day WILL BE SHOWN starting February 21 in theatres nationwide.

    Discuss the movie here: EVERY DAY (Opens Feb 21)
    More movie reviews here: Official PEx Movie Reviews
  • kidrenderkidrender PEx Rookie ⭐


    Philippine Release Date: February 28, 2018
    Director: Francis Lawrence
    Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Ciaran Hinds

    It may look like your typical espionage film but Red Sparrow is more than that. Jennifer Lawrence is Dominika Egorova, a Sparrow or trained assassin. Sparrows are women enrolled in a specialized school made specifically to train women to use their body to take advantage of an enemy. The film directed by Francis Lawrence is an adaptation of the book of the same title authored by Jason Matthews.


    Coming off from her highly-controversial and polarizing film, mother!, Jennifer Lawrence returns in yet another would-be-talked-about film. Lawrence is easily the best for the role as she is a total package. Her remarkable acting prowess makes her a believable spy. A weak victim one second then a slaying assassin in the next, watching Lawrence’s swift evolution from a character to another is an experience in itself. Meanwhile, Joel Edgerton’s work as Nate, a demoted CIA agent was borderline stiff. It even came to a point where the character nearly disappeared whenever he is placed alongside Lawrence’s Igorova. Charlotte Rampling, however, is a completely different case as she elevates the film whenever she is on-screen. Her intimidating portrayal of Matron, the Sparrow School’s Headmistress packs immense intensity.


    There is no way Red Sparrow will not be compared to Marvel’s Black Widow with the two properties sharing a major factor: Russian women trained to become seductive assassins. Despite that, Red Sparrow is more reminiscent of the espionage film, Salt meets revenge film, John Wick. It features intense and no-holds-barred action sequences.


    With that said however, the film, is more of an espionage thriller, threading over the qualities of being a horror movie. One remarkable quality about Director Francis Lawrence’s film is the whole atmospheric tone of the movie.

    From the washed out tones to gripping scenes, Red Sparrow is a consistently fleshed-out film. With a dash of tastefully-handled nudity, unforgiving brutality, and unified plot, Red Sparrow is another female-led Russian espionage film that founded its strength on its lead cast and director.

    [CENTER-HIDDEN]Rating: 9/10


    Red Sparrow is now showing in theatres nationwide.

    Discuss the movie here: [URL=https://www.pinoyexchange.com/forums/showthread.php?t=826475”] Red Sparrow [/URL]
    More movie reviews here: Official PEx Movie Reviews

  • artalm_2604artalm_2604 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐


    Philippine Release Date: February 28, 2018
    Director: Greta Gerwig
    Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timoth?e Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein


    [JUSTIFY]Simple and impactful. These are two words that describe Greta Gerwig?s masterpiece Lady Bird, one of the films vying for Best Picture in this year?s Academy Awards. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timoth?e Chalamet and Beanie Feldstein, this coming-of-age film centers around a strong-willed teen with big dreams and her tumultuous relationship with her equally iron-willed mother. More than seeing someone go through growing pains, it is a film that shines as a testament that the truly important things like love and family rise over any conflict or hardship.[/JUSTIFY]


    [JUSTIFY]Christine McPherson (Ronan) is much like your normal teenager, angsty, a little bit rebellious and always wants to be the center of attention. She constantly clashes with her mother Marion (Metcalf) over the simplest things such as cleaning her room and cooking breakfast to her bigger life choices like her plans for college. Giving herself the nickname ?Lady Bird?, she and her best friend Julie (Feldstein) audition for a school play, where she meets Danny (Hedges), a theater geek who she instantly develops a crush on. Lady Bird and Danny grow closer and start going out, but eventually their relationship does not work out. She then falls for a band guitarist, Kyle (Chalamet), who she decides to lose her virginity to. As she goes through the motions of high school, she also asks the help of her dad Larry (Letts) to help her with one of her biggest life decisions ? choosing to go to a college on the other side of the continent.

    Lady Bird?s plot is painstakingly simple and straightforward, some might even say predictable. It has what you would expect a coming of age movie to have ? awkward sex, angst-ridden outbursts, life lessons learned and a journey to self-discovery. However, the film?s beauty lies in its execution, how the bits and pieces fall together to make a simple story into something magnificent. The witty banter, the grounded dialogue and the effervescent portrayals are all instrumental in building the film into something more than your average coming of age story ? a gripping narrative of love, friendship and finding oneself.


    [JUSTIFY]Saoirse Ronan gives a very convincing portrayal as Lady Bird, a role that has catapulted her as one of the one to watch in the best actress category. Lady Bird owns every scene she is in, and her undeniable connection with her mother is one of the film?s highlights. Ronan and Laurie Metcalf both make the roles their own and play off each other spectacularly, a mother ? daughter dynamic that is special but also all too real. Hedges and Chalamet, who both star in other Oscar nominated films (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Call Me By Your Name respectively) are excellent as the boys in Lady Bird?s adolescent life. One sweet and caring, another smart and nonchalant, they represent the different sides and struggles that Lady Bird goes through in her adolescent journey. Capping off the list of notable performances is Tracy Letts? Larry McPherson, Lady Bird?s mild-mannered father who is always there to support her decisions even while facing some struggles of his own.[/JUSTIFY]


    [JUSTIFY]What sets Lady Bird apart from its contemporaries is the all too real dilemmas and situations that the characters all deal with. It is special in a way that it?s not special ? no big passionate speeches, no burning signages, no fantastic creatures. Just a story about a girl growing up and finding a lot about herself, and finding the love of a mother who sees a lot of herself in her daughter. It is what it is, and this makes the film all the more relatable to everyone who has ever had to fight with their parents while finding themselves, only to discover that they will love them no matter what. Simplicity is beauty, as may be the case for this film, but a beauty nonetheless that just might turn some Academy heads their way.[/JUSTIFY]

    [CENTER-HIDDEN]Rating: 8/10


    Lady Bird is now showing in select theatres nationwide.

    Discuss the movie here: Lady Bird
    More movie reviews here: Official PEx Movie Reviews
  • hoyheyjeyhoyheyjey Moderator PEx Moderator

    Philippine Release Date: March 8, 2018
    Director: Roar Uthaug
    Cast: Alicia Vikander, Daniel Wu, Walton Goggins, Dominic West, Kristin Scott Thomas


    [JUSTIFY] Words. Puzzles. The world and the seas. These pieces await the return of the classic RPG heir in her run for her life and eventually, for the humanity.

    Director Roar Uthaug boots the 2018 remake of Tomb Raider, starring Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft, the daughter of the long-lost adventurer Richard Croft (Dominic West). With Angelina Jolie marking her name as the original Lara, Vikander will try to create a new persona of the character as the story now focuses on the early life and beginnings of the young Lara. [/JUSTIFY]


    [JUSTIFY] With the regrets of the disappearance of his father 7 years in time, Lara manages to get by everyday life through bike courier works. Training herself in physical activities, her interests varied from archery to martial arts, and biking – one that led her to unfortunately stumble upon Ana Miller (Kristin Scott Thomas). Miller, temporarily running the Crofts’ company, once again opens up Lara’s father’s corporation signatories – with the stubborn Lara still declining. Not until Miller’s secretary hands her a capsule puzzle did she entertained the thought of living on with his father’s remaining fortunes. [/JUSTIFY]


    [JUSTIFY] The capsule, containing her and the elder Croft’s photograph, leads her to one of the latter’s secret lairs. One thing led to another until Lara finds herself in Hong Kong looking for a certain Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), who eventually deals and brings her to a place where they both suspected their fathers went to – the Devil Island where the legendary Japanese goddess of death, Himiko, lies. The adventure starts as soon as they landed to the island – an uneasy yet exciting one – without the knowledge what lies beyond the woods. [/JUSTIFY]


    [JUSTIFY] Coming into the movie, Lara’s superhuman abilities (death-defying, if not dramatic) were probably well-backed up with her aforementioned physical gusto, making her adventures seem a bit legitimate. However, what made Vikander less of a heroine and more of an adventurer is the way she delivered Lara Croft’s persona – the grunts, tired voice, shifting verbal tones – made her reactions more realistic somehow as compared to jumping off a ship in deadly waves. Lu’s character, as well, managed to provide ample support to adventurous Lara’s travails while developing his own backstory to connect with her. [/JUSTIFY]


    [JUSTIFY] As a fan of puzzles and mind games, it is quite disappointing though to see less of the actual thought processing in solving one of the adventure’s biggest quest. However, the movie’s seemingly obsession with running into the unknown made it quite exciting and reminiscent of the game where it was once played on.

    All in all, Tomb Raider adds another dimensions to Lara Croft’s identity, with Vikander actually making quite more relatable and real as an adventurer more than a heroic icon.

    [CENTER-HIDDEN]Rating: 8/10


    Tomb Raider is now showing in select theatres nationwide.

    Discuss the movie here: Tomb Raider
    More movie reviews here: Official PEx Movie Reviews
  • Laurence_writerLaurence_writer PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐


    Philippine Release Date: March 14, 2018
    Director: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
    Cast: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Sharon Horgan, Billy Magnussen, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Jesse Plemons

    [JUSTIFY]Do you love playing tabletop games? How about solving mysteries? Or answering ridiculously hard trivia questions? If you said yes to any of these questions, then Game Night is made just for you.[/JUSTIFY]
    [JUSTIFY]Their love for games, and the insatiable appetite to win, brought couple Max and Annie together. They’ve hold regular game nights to hang out with, and beat, their closest of friends. Everything is going well for the two until Max’s brother Brooks comes home and decides to hold a game night of his own. Will Max finally get over his brother issue? What surprises await the game night players?[/JUSTIFY]
    [JUSTIFY]Game Night is outrageously funny and exciting. Crazy antics, fluid delivery of punch lines, and great performances from the lead and supporting actors fill the entire film. Aside from that, its direction and cinematography, which borrowed a few pages from action filmmakers’ playbook, are spot on in making this movie stand out from other films in the same genre.[/JUSTIFY][CENTER-HIDDEN]GN-13.jpg[/CENTER-HIDDEN]
    [JUSTIFY]It also helped greatly that Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman were perfect fit for the lead characters. Bateman, who is seasoned in comedy, was natural in his portrayal of Max. McAdams, on the other hand, was both gracious and witty as Annie. More than the two, viewers also need to watch the crazy banter between Lamorne Morris’ Kevin and Kylie Bunbury’s Michelle. Jesse Plemons was great and effective in making his creepily funny character come to life.[/JUSTIFY]
    [JUSTIFY]While Game Night relied heavily on how good its actors are, it is undeniable that several scenes and shots are masterfully crafted and unforgettable. Audience members would marvel in the chase scene that made use of uncut shots from a single camera. Another scene would be where Annie tries to remove a bullet from Max’s arm. Then there’s the part where Max tried to clean the blood stain that dripped on their neighbor’s dog.[/JUSTIFY]
    [JUSTIFY]Viewers will relate to Max and Annie’s attitude as serious game players, however, this is just one aspect of the movie. Game Night follows a typical comedy film plot, sans the usual twist and turns that most people have seen thousands of times already. The flick is rich in comedic banters that’s guaranteed to make anyone who watch it laugh out loud. It will keep viewers look forward to what happens next. It’s guaranteed that anyone who’ll see it will have a genuinely good time.[/JUSTIFY]

    Rating: 7.5/10


    Game Night is NOW SHOWING in theatres nationwide.

    Discuss the movie here: Game Night
    More movie reviews here: Official PEx Movie Reviews

  • artalm_2604artalm_2604 PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐


    Philippine Release Date: March 14, 2018
    Director: Ava DuVernay
    Cast: Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Pe?a\, Storm Reid, Zach Galifianakis, Chris Pine


    ?The only thing faster than light is darkness.?

    The searched for a loved one turns into a race to defeat darkness in A Wrinkle in Time, Walt Disney Pictures? newest offering based on the book by Madeleine L?Engle. Bannering big names such as Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Chris Pine among others, this sci-fi adventure film delves into the intricacies of science to bring about a wondrous adventure that spans across dimensions and galaxies.

    Meg Murry (Storm Reid) is a smart but troubled teen that longs for her father (Chris Pine), a famous scientist who disappeared four years ago while in the midst of a breakthrough in astrophysics. She, her mom Kate (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) spend their days waiting for his return, convinced that he has found a way to travel to another dimension. One day, Meg, her friend Calvin (Levi Miller) and Charles Wallace meet three women with the power to travel through space and time ? Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling). They set on a quest to find Meg?s father, who they soon discover is being held by the It, a purely evil force residing on the planet Camazotz. With the help of the three women and The Happy Medium (Zach Galifianakis), Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin discover that they need to be warriors and heroes of the light as they race to save Mr. Murry from the clutches of the It who is looking to spread chaos in the universe.


    [JUSTIFY]A Wrinkle In Time is a compendium of stunning visual effects as we travel from one world to another, from the vibrant and colorful Uriel, to the somber home planet of The Happy Medium to the macabre and ever-changing landscape of Camazotz. This film is a visual feast from start to finish as we see the pages of L?Engle?s work comes alive on the silver screen. The sound mixing and soundtrack are on point as well, complementing the visuals with a sense of adventure that completely turns the film into a technical success.

    However, the plot and storyline leaves much to be desired for this adaptation. The story feels disjointed at some points, and the plot would have benefitted from a simpler execution instead of multiple embellishments. This is a case of the technical aspect overpowering the storyline aspect as at some points it feels like a jump from just one visually stunning scene to the next, until we reach a rather predictable conclusion to the quest to reunite the Murry family.


    [JUSTIFY]Working with a subpar storyline, the cast did a commendable job in giving life to their roles. The Hollywood veterans in Witherspoon, Kaling, Pine and Winfrey (albeit in a different medium) gave justice to their characters, bringing magic and wonder to the beings that are always ready to assist our heroes. The younger cast in Reid, McCabe and Miller more than held their own next to the veterans, working well with each other and making us believe in the power of trust, faith and self-confidence.

    All in all, A Wrinkle in Time excels in one aspect and is commendable in another while leaving much to be desired in the overall feel. It is a film you watch to see your favorite worlds and characters come alive, but add little to the existing lore of the universe. It is a passable adaptation, one that is worth seeing if only to watch your favorite stars do their thing in a visually stunning backdrop. Surely, the technical effects will leave you in awe for a while before you finally move on to the next good story.



    Rating: 6/10


    A Wrinkle in Time is still showing in theatres nationwide.

    Discuss the movie here: (2018) A Wrinkle in Time
    More movie reviews here: Official PEx Movie Reviews
  • carlhirocarlhiro PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐

    World Release Date: March 23, 2018
    Director: Kyle Newacheck
    Cast: Adam Devine, Anders Holm, Blake Anderson


    [JUSTIFY]The dark comedy of the Workaholics boys elevates to a new level in their latest venture, Netflix’s Game Over, Man![/JUSTIFY]


    [JUSTIFY]The film is basically a crass comedy version of Die Hard, where our “heroes” save the attendees of a party for video game mogul Bey of Tunisia (Utkarsh Ambudkar) in a hostage situation on the hotel where they work as housekeepers. But crass maybe an understatement, the film is relentless in its violence, nudity and gore – something that Netflix would want to experiment now and in the future. Dogs exploding, Shaggy singing “It Wasn’t Me” on gunpoint, Joel McHale dying of a shoe heel punch into his temple – it was a bit reminiscent of This Is The End, but definitely a lot lot darker.[/JUSTIFY]


    [JUSTIFY]The bad side, it feels like its crassness was without purpose – it was made crass because they just wanted it to be crass, to the point that maybe you’ll think that this isn’t funny anymore. Which made me confirm that they did everything in the movie while being high. This seems like a film perfect for people who are high while watching Netflix.

    And it is a film that glorifies losers. This has been my problem with Workaholics in general, that’s why I didn’t get to it when I tried to watch it. But outside of Workaholics, I almost always love the works of the trio (well, mostly Devine and Holm). Back to the film, I cannot find an ounce of will to root for the protagonists, which makes the ending unsatisfying because they win in the end.[/JUSTIFY]


    [JUSTIFY]The good side, maybe with different creators and actors, this venture of Netflix can extend to really good shows who use violence and nudity for the right moments. I admit that I don’t like to watch these kinds of films, but I am aware that there are fans of uncensored violence and gore in movies.

    Overall, Game Over, Man! is a film that you and your friends would watch while hanging out, but you’ll forget because you are having fun already on your own.

    Did I have fun while watching? Yes. Would I want to watch more of these in the future? No.[/JUSTIFY]

    Rating: 4/10


    Game Over, Man! is now streaming in Netflix.

    More movie reviews here: Official PEx Movie Reviews

  • TeamPExTeamPEx Administrator PEx Admin

    Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

    Philippine Release Date: March 31, 2018
    Director: Steven Spielberg
    Cast: Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Waithe, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance

    READY PLAYER ONE is one of the most anticipated movies of 2018. With Steven Spielberg directing Ernest Cline’s bestselling debut novel it’s bound to be one exciting and awesome adventure.

    Two of our reviewers’, artalm_2604 and kidrender got the chance to watch it before the film's release. We also invited our cute and witty 11 year-old kiddie reviewer, Aidan to chime in this exciting journey into the OASIS.


    Here’s what they thought of the film:

    Please describe the movie in one sentence.

    artalm_2604: This is a movie that more than lives up to the hype and expectation – truly our favorite story come to life.
    kidrender: Ready Player One is an Easter Egg Basket adapted into film!
    Kidde reviewer: Aidan: It’s a movie about a game trying to find an Easter egg.


    What did you think of the movie 10 minutes in?

    A: While there were some notable changes in the adaptation, the movie did not disappoint. If this is just the first 10 minutes, I can’t wait for the next couple of hours!
    K: 10 minutes in into the movie, I thought "Hey, this is gonna be one hell of a throwback!"
    Aidan: It’s like Mario Kart! Interesting.


    Who is/are your favorite character/s in the movie and why?

    A: Definitely Parzival. He is a very relatable character especially for those who are in love with 80’s pop culture and technology. His story of coming to Oasis as a means of escaping the real world to suddenly being involved in something much bigger than he ever bargained for is something that is definitely exciting and engaging.
    K: I love Aech because of this one scene in the movie. Aech’s total ignorance of one infamous movie was hilarious!!!
    Aidan: Sho - ninja eh


    If you were to have an avatar in the OASIS what or who will your avatar be?

    A: I’d choose an avatar with a meek exterior but is actually handy with a lot of stuff – something very representative of Oasis as having something more than what appears on the surface.
    K: Good question. I've always wanted to be Zero from the Megaman series.
    Aidan: My Mii from Wii

    Tell us your favorite sequence/ moment in the movie.
    A: It’s actually the first scene where Wade is shown in the Stacks. It was exactly how I pictured them to be, and for me seeing that come to life on the big screen meant that I was in for one hell of a ride with this film.
    K: Nothing can top the final battle! Iron Giant in action? Who would not love that!
    Aidan: The race at the start.


    What did you like about the Ready Player One movie?

    A: I like that it’s not a mere copy of the books, while at the same time the changes they made in translating the material make sense in the perspective of the storyline.
    K: I adored that Ready Player One had the essence of it being a geek movie without stereotyping geeks as 'losers.' I think it is best that Spielberg worked on it.
    Aidan: It’s about games!

    What did you not particularly like about the movie?

    A: Without spoiling anything about the movie, I just wished they followed some events in the same sequence as the books. What happened near the end should have happened near the end.
    K: Not enough pop culture references. It is understandable due to studio issues but I wish they had sorted those things out for the film.
    Aidan: The kissy-kissy part :rotflmao:

    Would recommend this movie to your friends?

    A: I would recommend it to anyone and everyone I know! This is the must watch movie of the year!
    Aidan: Obviously


    A: 10/10
    K: 10/10
    Aidan: 10/10


    READY PLAYER ONE opens MARCH 31 in all Philippine cinemas.

    Discuss the movie here: Ready Player One Movie
    More movie reviews here: Official PEx Movie Reviews

  • hoyheyjeyhoyheyjey Moderator PEx Moderator


    Philippine Release Date: March 31, 2018
    Director: Steven DeKnight
    Cast: John Boyega, Caelee Spaeny, Scott Eastwood, Rinko Kikuchi

    [JUSTIFY] Succeeding in defending the earth several years ago from other-worldly creatures in kaijus, the world needed stability in security and defense. The need for mechanical and robotic advances posed both a boon and bane for the community, and this is where the story picks itself up from where it left. [/JUSTIFY]


    [JUSTIFY] This year’s Pacific Rim: Uprising by Steven DeKnight is today’s installation of its Guillermo del Toro predecessor from its 2013 franchise. The uprising stars John Boyega as Jake Pentecost, former Pan-Pacific Defense Corps (PPDC) head Stacker Pentecost’s son. Jake, making a living out of decommissioned jaegers’ spare parts, will be held captive by the PPDC after stumbling upon Amara (Caelee Spaeny) and her unauthorized mini-jaeger, Scrapper.[/JUSTIFY]


    [JUSTIFY] With the current PPDC headed by Jake’s adoptive sister Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), Jake was made to choose between getting jailed or training future jaeger pilots, to which Jake chooses the latter with Amara eventually joins the cadet training. Mori, on the other hand, tries to weigh between retaining the corps she used to be part of or accepting a drone deployment program by tech giant Shao Corporation. Mori, as she was to deliver the decision, faces an unfortunate event that will then allow the remaining stakeholders of PPDC to takeover and approve the deployment. As expected, the deployment turns out to be a Trojan horse, eventually forcing Jake to lead the fight against eventual foes – the same way his dad did. [/JUSTIFY]


    [JUSTIFY] It is glaring that the loss of its 2013 version’s mainstays is the most probable cause of its lackluster reception as compared, but seeing through it, this Uprising is indeed a fitting sequel to its franchise.

    As expected, Pacific Rim is nothing without its fighter Jaegers and the kaijus. However, the characters involving them were seamlessly introduced to the storyline – Mori, Pentecost, Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood) as the most critical hinge to the original story. The current lineup of pilots – cadets Suresh, Jinhai, Viktoria, Ryoichi, Meilin, and Renata (Karan Brar, Wesley Wong, Ivanna Sakhno, Mackenyu, Lily Ji, Shyrley Rodriguez) are physically reminiscent of the previous Kaidonovskys and Wei Tang triplets, giving the mecha giants quite more life as they fight its aggressors.[/JUSTIFY]


    [JUSTIFY] Despite having the major plot twist revealed in the first movie, Uprising is more notable of developing Dr. Newt Geiszler (Charlie Day)’s ambitions – and how it turned out everything for the worst. His geek-and –sleek aura perfectly fits the contradiction to his eventual persona, with greed seemingly consuming his entirety.

    All in, Pacific Rim: Uprising definitely lived up to its predecessor: thrilling, exciting, mech-packed, and somehow worth the five-year wait. [/JUSTIFY]

    [CENTER-HIDDEN]Rating: 8.5/10


    Pacific Rim: Uprising hits theatres nationwide starting March 31.

    Discuss the movie here:Pacific Rim: Uprising
    More movie reviews here: Official PEx Movie Reviews
  • Digi_Movie_GuyDigi_Movie_Guy PEx Rookie ⭐
    edited August 2018
    Europe Raiders (2018)

    Two bounty hunters are both friends and rivals. One day, a simple contest between the two turns into an all-out manhunt when a little box capable of immense destruction, called the "Hand of God", draws out not only the CIA and Europol special agents but also the European mafia. 

    My Take:
    The plot is good and got good story lines delivered. We will feel sympathy for the main characters, an Asian Mission Impossible. Supporting cast are ok. 

  • PEx_MoviesPEx_Movies Administrator PEx Admin
    edited March 2019
    Bumblebee bumbles not — by emulating an Amblin-esque filmmaking and staying away from Michael Bay’s “Bayhem”. 

    PEx Reviewer : pabzicles

    PEx Rating: 8.5/10

    Bumblebee bumbles not — by emulating an Amblin-esque filmmaking and staying away from Michael Bay’s “Bayhem”. The Transformers universe is done being big and takes another direction by focusing on the friendship between teenager Charlie and the small Autobot Bumblebee. It is the smallest film in the universe but it has the biggest heart.

    The film starts at Cyberton (the home of Transformers), where a civil war is occurring between the two opposing factions: Autobots and Decepticons. While the Decepticons gains the upper hand, Optimus Prime (voiced by Peter Cullen) secretly sends off Bumblebee (voiced by Dylan O’ Brien) to Earth to set up the Autobot’s distant base of operations.

    Meanwhile on Earth, Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfield), a not-so-herself-teenager after the death of her father is having trouble moving on. The feeling of isolation persists when her family reacts the other way. Sally (Pamela Adlon) replaced her dad with her now stepfather Ron (Stephen Schneider). Plus the estranged relationship with his brother Otis (Jason Drucker). Little did she knows, things will start to change after her Uncle Hank gave her a yellow Volkswagen Beetle on her birthday.

    For starters, where does Bumblebee fit in the timeline? In all honesty, the new installment suggests that it is a prequel in respect to the already existing films. The only clear connection we can see is the existence of Sector 7 — the secret American government agency that deals with extraterrestrial technology and threats in the Transformers (2007). Other than that, it suggests a soft reboot or retcon of the universe. There are some contradiction in the canon like Bumblebee’s landing on Earth in 1980s versus his 1940’s World War II existence. The Generation 1 design versus the Bay’s Transformers design. With the universe already convoluted storylines, we may better treat this as a stand-alone film and it does best being one without necessary knowledge of the universe.

    Bumblebee borrows much of its storyline from Steven Spielberg’s (who co-executive produce the film) Amblin films such as E.T. or BFG where a child befriends an alien or enormous creature. Such trope makes this film predictable and the usual plot of Transformers where the combined forces of human and Autobots beating the hell out of Decepticons. Setting it on the backdrop of 1980’s era is also evident in the Spielberg latest outing Ready Player One which throws pop culture references such as Breakfast Club etc. plus the sound and style of the generation.

    By comparing to all of its previous films, it seems to be a creation of people who studied Bay’s Transformers installments and serve as course correction in all ways. For instance, screenwriter Chistina Hodson put a female figure on the center of it which seems to be a combination of Sam Witwicky and Mikaela Banes of Transformers (2007). Teenagers who befriend Bumbleebee and entangled between the war of both factions (although Mikaela has fascination on cars which seems to be like Charlie). Yep, all familiar but Bay direction’s does not connect to those teenagers storyline behind all the mayhem which Hodson successfully do so. She makes it grounded and ensures that it focus more on the emotion and connection between our characters.

    On other hand, Travis Knight (fresh from his directorial debut of Oscar-nominated animated feature Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) ) stray away from Bayhem as much as possible. Gone are Michael Bay’s signature such as spinning and low-angle shots and fast intercuts but rather replaced it with Dutch angles and allows every scene to breathe and let viewers take in every action with the same feeling of exhilaration. He let us see Bumbleebee’s comic side but also its emotional side too through close up shots. Steinfield is in no way objectified in this film like Bay always did on female characters. In an androcentric world of Transformers, it is so refreshing to see her as Ripley like character. Unlike Bay Transformers, military and robots always steal the show but the film invests more of its time in the dynamics of Charlie and Bee but also delivers amazing action sequences and as always – almost perfect CGI.

    The film boasts itself with outstanding casts like Hailee Steinfield. She brings to the table a bit of comic and a bit of a tomboy performance similar to her Edge of Seventeen (2016) outing. She is a real sweetheart and maybe the only reason why this film pulls off. His love interest Memo played by Jorge Lendeborg Jr. is surprisingly endearing too. John Cena (a bit of odd choice because of his popularity in comedy genre) as Jack Burns serves as the frenemy in the story. He delivers a good performance that shows some serious side of him but the script won’t fully allow it. For the voice roles, the only thing worth mentioning is Angela Bassett precise and regal voice of Shatter. Too bad Dylan O’ Brien short lines for Bee is too short but hey! Bee is charming in every way.

    Bumblebee is a departure from our usual Transformers films. But for the first time in the franchise, we care for its characters and yes even on the robots. It showcases the story of teenage girl regaining herself after an emotional breakdown and that story is worth our precious time. This sense of new direction for the franchise will ultimately gain converts that will add up to already established Transformers fan base and could spawn more sequel or even prequels.

    Director: Travis Knight; Written By: Christina Hodson; Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr.; Running Time: 1 hour and 54 minutes; MTRCB Rating: PG 
    Images: UIP/Paramount Pictures

    Bumblebee in cinemas Jan. 8.

    Check out the official discussion thread here:  Bumblebee

  • PEx_MoviesPEx_Movies Administrator PEx Admin
    With everything that's going on around the world, Joe Cornish beckons all of us to re-examine our values through a modern retelling of King Arthur's tale.

    PEx Rating: 6/10
    Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox

    Middle-schooler Alex is forced to deal with a lot of issues at such a young age. He struggles with being
    raised without a father. He lives by the bullying he experiences at school. But everything changes when
    he pulls a sword out of stone in an abandoned construction site. And yes, that is indeed the legendary
    sword of King Arthur - Excalibur.

    The Kid Who Would Be King is a coming of age story tapping chivalrous values and packed as a fantasy
    flick. Audience young and old are hooked with the tale of a noble quest, unimaginable display of magic,
    and the occasional comedic banter. However, viewers slowly relate with what each of the characters are
    going through. And this lets the film subtly throw life lessons that everyone can benefit from whatever
    one may be going through in life.

    It is rather difficult for a film like The Kid Who Would Be King to compete against a variety of other
    movies currently shown in the cinemas. However, it offers an alternative that is quite different in all
    aspects to what moviegoers are normally presented with. The movie balances fantasy with real-life
    lessons and serves just the right amount of drama, comedy, and action to pull off a flick that’s quite
    palatable to watch.

    The Kid who would be King, in cinemas January 23, 2019!

    Check out the official discussion thread here: 
    The Kid who would be King
  • PEx_MoviesPEx_Movies Administrator PEx Admin
    A relevant and timely film filled with serious themes for Filipinos to learn from. 

    PEx Rating: 7.5/10

    Clint Eastwood at the age of 88 has been on Hollywood long enough that some people might say he must retire from film making and better spend his time with his family. But the man shows no signs of slowing down and continues to create films that shows American way of life, patriotism and history. Or maybe, as a man of age, he just wants to show to everybody that he can still do anything (even acting for a threesome scenes) and that was his character in The Mule is all about. 

    In 2008, Eastwood starred in and directed Gran Torino (2008) from writer Nick Schenk. A decade later, the duo collaborated once again in the loosely based adaptation of The New York Times article "The Sinaloa Cartel's 90-Year-Old Drug Mule” by Sam Dolnick which recounts the true story of Leo Sharp who became a drug courier for the Sinaloa Cartel in his late 80s. Two films that feature Korean War veteran and Eastwood has nobody in mind for the leading role rather than himself.
    The Mule centers on Earl Stone (Clint Eastwood), a nonagenarian horticulturist that has estranged relationship with his family because he loves his job more than anything. He is a careless man that loves cursing, speaks “****” or “negro” and listens to music while driving on the road. A champion for his peers but not to his own family. When the Internet starts to cause financial troubles, he was pushed to become a drug courier - “a mule” for the Mexican cartel. A one-time deal that soon becomes a habit.

    It is a character-driven film and thus it relies heavily on Eastwood skills in front and behind the camera. Portraying as the lead, he is physically fit for his age and embodies the role similar to his performance in Gran Torino. His unapologetic and friendly take provides humor most specifically for being sexist, racist and horny. But the fact that even his screen appearance of just driving and singing in a car is entertaining enough, which validates his choice that nobody is ever perfect to embody Earl Stone than himself.

    Moreover, all those things are due to his skills behind the camera. He ensures that even simple scenes will keep the audience invested to it by providing beautiful scenery during the driving scenes, a dramatic conversation during his family interactions and to the tensions created every now and then by a drug cartel and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

    It is surprising that the script is full of humor given that the trailer suggests it is a heavy drama and thrilling film. The film moves like a donkey at times at times has questionable plot points but overall it unfolds just fine until the end. While Earl Stone story is driving straight ahead, other characters are just tagging along. Which makes its diverse supporting cast in the likes of Laurence Fishburne, Michael Pena, etc. are underused. The scene where Colin Bates (Bradley Cooper), a DEA Agent, taking advice from Earl Stone in the bar is the only time Bradley Cooper shines. This is the part where the film asserts why family is always important.

    The third act is the point where most of dramatic moments comes from and will literally make you cry. The phase where Earl Stone finally realizes that he can’t run forever, from his family, from the DEA and from justice. It does not end in a bang but it is done right. 

    The film is filled with themes such as sexism, racial prejudice, stereotypes, family importance and above all the crimes involved in illegal drug economy. Also, it provides commentary on how advancement in technology affect jobs and the modern generation’s reliance on mobile phones. Even the casting choices shows that racial inclusion is important and yes, even from our own in the form of Eugene Cordero as Luis Rocha.

    The Mule may not be a Clint Eastwood career’s finest but the story of Earl Stone is a relevant and timely film filled with serious themes for Filipinos to learn from. 

    Director: Clint Eastwood; Written By: Nick Schenk; Starring: Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, Dianne Wiest, Andy García; Running Time: 1 hour and 47 minutes; MTRCB Rating:  R-16

    Images: Warner Bros. Pictures

    The Mule opens January 30th in select Ayala Malls Cinemas.

    Check out the official discussion thread here:  The Mule
  • pexer99pexer99 PEx Admin
    A dog movie that finds its way into our hearts through cuteness. 

    PEx Reviewer : pabzicles
    PEx Rating: 7/10
    Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures

    What is supposedly a heartwarming story of separation and reunion from W. Bruce Cameron’s A Dog’s Way Home is muddled with tonally confusing narrative, bland voice acting and less striking CGI. Good thing that it is a dog-centric film that does features lots of cute animals and heart-tugging moments enough to alleviate its viewers from going home. 

    A Dog’s Way Home let us follows Bella (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard), a part-pit bull puppy raised by a cat and finds her home through the loving arms of Lucas (Jonah King) together with his mom Terri (Ashley Judd), an army veteran. When a Denver ordinance prohibits the family from owning a pit bull, Lucas was forced to send Bella to live with the family of his friend Olivia (Alexandra Shipp) in Farmington, New Mexico. Bella misses Lucas so much that one day she decided to escape from the Farmington house. Finding our canine embarks on a 400 mile journey from New Mexico to Colorado. Along the way, she discovers the harshness of the environment and makes friendly and hostile encounters to animals and humans alike.  

    As its title suggest, the story follows a narrative of dog that gone lost and find its way home movies that came before it. But there is more of it than meets the eye. Rather than choosing the conventional way, its writer-author Cameron, co-writing with his wife Michon tried stuff it with lots of serious subtexts which makes it tonally confusing.

    It is so easy to root for our beleaguered canine and following her story alone is worth investing. But same as Bella’s journey with lots of good and bad moments are similar to its narrative choices. One of its bad subplots shows a horrid scene where Bella gets tied to a corpse and unable to drink water for days only to be found by children that have more concern on the dog rather than the corpse. Another one is her story of robbing food from humans (majority of times) and make us feel like it is okay and fun. And the greatest of it all is showing to us that animal welfare and pit bull law that aim to protect these animals are meant to harm them. 

    But with all of its bad choices, are the good ones too. It tried to open conversation on why animal hunting is terrible. I like how it features the duality of man. That there exists a bad owner that does not deserve to be with pets opposite the loving/caring owners too. Which proves that man is dog’s best friend and also its worst enemy. Also, it opens up how dogs can help to cure depression.  

    Speaking of its visual effects, it is understandable given its production budget that its visual effects is less striking. But we can't deny that there are animal movements in here that is rather off put. Most specifically, on the scenes between Big Kitten (an orphaned bobcat) and Bella. But this unlikely friendship is one of the best encounter Bella had on her way home.

    Charles Martin Smith gives us a well paced film that features lots of animals (wild and domesticated) against the beautiful terrains of New Mexico and Colorado. Bryce Dallas Howard voice that lacks pathos nor humor to embody Bella as a dog full of soul spoils it. As if she was just doing a commentary that requires flat narration. But Smith’s power to create emotionally charged scenes by putting focus on the innocent face of our protagonist and Danna’s dramatic scores helps to provide emotional beats that will surely melt your heart. 

    A Dog's Way Home will easily find its niche with animal lovers but Bella’s cuteness could win over your heart even if it's the coldest one. It is a sweet and enjoyable journey regardless of all its imperfections and should be the best way to spend time  with your family (and pets too) this month of love. 

    Columbia Pictures presents in association with Bona Film Group Co., Ltd., a
    Pariah production, A Dog’s Way Home.

    Director: Charles Martin Smith; Written By: W. Bruce Cameron & Cathryn Michon; Starring: Ashley Judd, Jonah Hauer-King, Edward James Olmos, Alexandra Shipp, with Wes Studi and Bryce Dallas Howard.; Running Time: 1 hour and 37 minutes; MTRCB Rating: G (General Audiences) 

    A Dog's Way Home in cinemas Feb. 6!

    Check out the official discussion thread here:  A Dog's Way Home

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