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Official PEx Movie Reviews (2011-2018 Archive)



  • forgforg Administrator PEx Moderator

    Contagion has a star-studded cast, but there are no heroes and villains among them and no character is treated above others. The film’s true star is the story itself. You would be surprised that for a big Hollywood production, Contagion favors a plot-driven route more than a celeb-hyped path. This approach might not be appealing to a regular moviegoer but it’s nevertheless effective in delivering the movie's message.

    Returning home from a business trip in Hong Kong, Beth (Gwyneth Paltrow) got sick and was rushed to the hospital. What they initially thought was a simple flu ended badly. What’s worse, the doctor could not explain to Beth’s husband Mitch (Matt Damon) what illness infected her. But Beth’s case was only the beginning as the contagion quickly spreads across borders, thus creating a global pandemic.

    The movie jumps from storyline to storyline as it contains several subplots, Dr. Cheever (Laurence Fishburne), the director of the disease control prevention group, tries to allay the growing worldwide panic; Dr. Erin (Kate Winslet) risks her life to study and understand the illness; Dr. Leonora (Marion Cotillard), a World Health Organization officer, attempts to trace the source of the deadly infection; Alan (Jude Law) is an activist who dishes out via his widely visited blog, that a conspiracy between the authorities and the pharmaceutical companies is behind the so-called pandemic and Dr. Ally (Jennifer Ehle) races against time to formulate a vaccine to prevent the virus to spread and kill more people.

    Contagion is not exactly a thriller, but the film elicits fear from its viewers because the manner it’s presented is so matter-of-fact that you would actually think the events could happen in real life. The director skillfully presented the process of virus transmission and how it easily passes on from one person to another. It was so effective; it wouldn’t be surprising that after watching this movie, you would freak out when someone coughs near you.

    The film’s structure might leave some viewers a little bored though; the pacing is slow and the dialogue contains a lot of medical jargons. But the film perfectly captures an atmosphere filled with tension and paranoia. The film lets the visuals do the talking for some key scenes and it was quite affecting.

    The cast, including the lesser known actors, gave a solid performance for their respective characters. This is a good example of how a movie should utilize a large ensemble by giving each actor a substantial storyline. Albeit, due to the movie’s several subplots, there are stories that got lost like Cotillard’s Leonora in which the character practically disappeared in the middle part; her story’s conclusion, however, left a good impact.

    Contagion was too spread out that it’s quite difficult to wrap it up. It’s not exactly entertaining per se but the film’s excellent direction and competent multilayered plotlines are more than enough reasons to watch it. 9 / 10

    "Contagion" spreads in Philippine cinemas today, September 9.


    Discuss the movie at the Contagion thread
  • Lola_RoseLola_Rose PEx Veteran ⭐⭐

    The unforgettable Hangover has somehow set a precedent for the kind of comedy that uses character and personality for its humor, making use of the dynamics between a group of your standard American male buddies, the coarse interaction and exchanges between them, especially when they are put in a predicament. This is the sort of comedy we revere: wit over slapstick; exchange of dialogue meant to elicit gut laughter. Hot Tub Time Machine, one of the Hangover copycats, for example, failed miserably in this genre, desperately attempted to hit the Hangover mark--or even surpass it--but ended up a sad comedy, a cheap imitation of the real thing.

    So what about Horrible Bosses? This time we are presented with only three friends, basically three good, sort of foolish, white guys, whose distinct personalities and dynamics we will rely on until the end of the movie: the serious, deadpan Nick (Jason Bateman); the small and whiny Dale (Charlie Day); and the cool and slightly smug Kurt (Jason Sudeikis). The predicament? Each has a horrible boss that, initially, they hypothetically wanted to murder-- until it has developed into a real, concrete plan.

    Nick's boss is a suave, sneering, cold and mean-spirited Kevin Spacey, imprisoning Nick into a life of hell; Dale's is a hot nymphomaniac, dirty-mouthed Jennifer Aniston who is constantly sexually harassing him (which should be every male's fantasy except for the monogamous Dale); and Kurt's employer is a balding cokehead idiot played by Colin Farrell. The guys pay the services of a random black guy, Academy-Award winner Jamie Foxx (whose name in the movie you gotta find out for yourselves), to fulfill their desire to wipe their bosses off the face of the earth.


    So is the movie funny? It is! It carries you towards the end of the movie. But is it thigh-slapping hilarious? Does it evoke lingering laughter, the kind that even when the scene is already over, you are still laughing? Uh....not really. There are absolutely some guffaw-inducing scenes and you will definitely hear yourself laughing-- but the punchlines never seem to hit squarely on the center of your gut (some are even discriminating). And it's self-conscious, the scenes screaming, "I am a movie that is so damn funny, aren't I?!?!" like an aggressive, desperate performer, only capable of eliciting a collective chortle and sparse howls of laughter from those who laugh easily.

    The guys are likable enough, but Day's high-pitched exaggerated onscreen persona has become tiring halfway into the movie, his whiny voice like nails on a blackboard. The boss characters are extreme, too unrealistic to be appreciated-- except Kevin Spacey who is stupendous (as always). Also, there are too many sexual content and vulgar language that the movie should be stamped a good R rather than a surprising PG-13.

    Horrible Bosses is funny and entertaining. Never boring. Unpredictable punchlines, yeah. But no sidesplitting laughter. Just some good-natured LOLs.

    7 out of 10 stars

    Showing in Philippine cinemas on September 21, 2011


    Discuss the movie in the Horrible Bosses thread.
  • paddylastpaddylast PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐

    You’re living under a rock if you don’t know what Glee is or who the Gleeks are. This film is based on the FOX TV show Glee and its characters performing during their Glee Live! In Concert! Tour. It also focuses on how big the influence of this show to its audience where it features three different stories that include a girl with Asperger syndrome, a cheerleader with dwarfism and a teenage gay guy.

    Since this was a concert film, it features most of the songs that they’ve sung on the show including Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’, Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. Watching the film feels like watching a Glee episode since the cast are all in character throughout the concert with the montage of their fans being shown in between every production number.


    The standouts for me are Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera) and Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones) who I think are the three best singers on the show who can really sing good live. Brittany S. Pearce (Heather Morris) was also a scene-stealer as she danced a mind-blowing Britney Spears number while lip-synching I’m A Slave 4U. The rest sound auto-tuned and I am almost sure that most of the songs were lip-synched. There are also great moments though with a very special appearance of one of their professor that you have to watch out for.

    Now, if you’re an avid fan of Glee, you’d truly enjoy the film since it’s on 3D, making you feel like you’re watching them live; but if you’re just a regular viewer of the show itself, watching this film isn’t that spectacular of an experience but it is good enough to have you locked on your seat for an hour and a half.

    With that being said, I would give it a gleeful 7/10 rating.


    Discuss the movie in the Glee: The 3D Concert Movie thread.
  • forgforg Administrator PEx Moderator

    The body-switching story is a tired theme that another variation of the formula would need something new for it to stand out. The Change-Up adds adult humor to the story but it still fails to inject a breath of fresh air to the worn-out premise.

    Dave (Jason Bateman) and Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) have been friends since they were kids but as adults, the two find themselves at opposite’s end when it comes to their lifestyles. Dave is a busy lawyer and a stressed father of three. On the other hand, Mitch is a struggling actor who parties hard and sleeps with various women. On their way home after a drunken night of catching up, the men peed on a fountain while uttering how they wish they had each other’s lives. The next day, the two discovered that their ‘wish’ came true and their bodies switched. As the two men hunt down the missing fountain to get their lives back, Mitch and Dave have to deal with living the life of one another.

    For a body-switching story to fully work, the characters involved should have a clear contrast in personalities; this is where The Change-Up is unsuccessful. The character descriptions for Dave and Mitch are on opposite sides with the former as the stressed out working dad while the latter is the womanizing slacker. However, the characters were thinly written that when the body-switching happened already, you will hardly notice the difference. It does not help that Bateman’s and Reynold’s style of comedy is basically the same.

    The Change-Up is also too busy on ramping up the dirty jokes rather than setting up situations where the jokes would come in naturally. It was aggressive with injecting one dirty joke over another in an attempt to shock the audience but bombarding the viewers with tacky humor could only go so far. There are gross out scenes in the movie which is supposedly funny but it’s just a ridiculous and cheap way to get an easy laugh.

    The performances are okay but are clearly not maximized to the actors’ potential. Bateman adds layer to the characters (Dave and Mitch-in-Dave’s body) that the script could not give to. He has the ability to make an unlikable character tolerable. Reynolds as Mitch suffers from a horribly written character that is really hard to feel sympathy for while his portrayal of Dave-in-Mitch’s body simply didn’t work as it felt forced. The supporting characters didn’t leave much of an impact save for Leslie Mann who played Dave’s wife. Mann had one terrific scene in which she was expressing her frustrations over Dave but for most part of the movie, she was underutilized.

    The Change-Up tries to be an edgy comedy but it falters due to the misguided focus on raunchy humor. It’s a shame that the movie’s idea of adult humor is limited to poop jokes because R-Rated comedies could do so much more. In the end, the movie didn’t feel like an adult comedy but just something that hyperactive adolescents could make up. 5 / 10


    Discuss the movie at The Change-Up thread
  • Lola_RoseLola_Rose PEx Veteran ⭐⭐

    After reading raves about the movie on Facebook (some even saw it more than once at the cinemas) I decided to watch No Other Woman myself. If anything goes wrong, I told myself, a story on infidelity is always entertaining. By default. And the mere presence of Derek Ramsay onscreen would be another consolation.

    And so I asked a dear friend of mine to watch the movie with me and see what the fuss is all about.

    No Other Woman, released by the country's leading local mainstream movie production house, Star Cinema, stars three sexy actors: Derek Ramsay, as the philandering husband; Cristine Reyes, as the wife; and Anne Curtis, as the other woman.

    We sometimes watch movies to see beautiful people, and No Other Woman has made sure of that: Ramsay looked more chiseled and toned than ever, looking like the perfect male specimen; Anne Curtis was groomed to the maximum level of hotness (the long, wavy, volumized hair, the barely there swimsuits, and outfits that maximize her sexiness to its full potential); and Cristine Reyes was made to look too pretty, with her own brand of sexiness.


    But what about the story? It is well-structured. Quick-paced with no unnecessary frills or ridiculously boring long shots. No, it's not boring. And it is emotionally engaging hugely because we can relate one way or another-- either we have loved, cheated, or cheated at, at some point in our lives. And the cast had chemistry. However, there's nothing unique about the story or the plot. Even the actors are generic: a good-looking husband, the pretty housewife, and the hot other woman. The film simply portrays love and desire and the effects of infidelity-- but it will hold your attention, nonetheless.

    I have read one novel on infidelity, wherein the wife was gorgeous and the other woman looked plain and easy to look at-- still the good-looking husband had an affair with the plain-looking girl. The novel, though, delved deeper into the psychology behind cheating and why women sometimes fall for married men. They were presented equally: all three of them flawed, human and weak. All victims. In No Other Woman, there wasn't much to explain: Curtis is too hot for Ramsay to resist, and Ramsay is a salesman/former playboy. It just triggers the question whether all men are polygamous by default. Actually, the movie suggests that a monogamous man does not exist. And we are just there to watch the movie and feel the drama unfold in such a situation.

    In No Other Woman, directed by Ruel Santos Bayani, the problem was the performance by some of the supporting actors and the extras. A film should not only focus on the performance of the main stars, but down to the nameless nurse with the one line. Poor acting, even from the extras, loses the film's credibility. Extras and supporting actors are all part of the movie and have the obligation to perform with quality. Otherwise, a movie loses its "touch of reality." It makes things feel fake. This is not a classroom play, anyway; this is a major feature film that's supposed to provide real acting craft. Even Ramsay's best buddy in the movie only acted through words, never in the eyes. It makes one cringe to hear or watch a subpar performance in a film, particularly in a drama, because it's supposed to reel you inside its world.


    The natural in the film was Derek Ramsay, who smoothly transformed into his role; he was believable and convincing. As well as the veteran Tirso Cruz III, who played Curtis' father. The movie was 80% in English, and only Derek Ramsay was easy and comfortable to listen to since he's a native English speaker. Anne Curtis, though, in her role as a liberated former New Yorker, went a bit overboard with her role; she was too theatrical, injecting too much sultriness in her voice and too much throaty laughter and aggressive movements, and she was a tad more unnatural with her American English accent than her already unnatural English accent, lolling and rolling the English words in her tongue so unnaturally that irks me. On the other hand, Cristine Reyes, who skips between good and bad acting in the film, apparently speaks unsophisticated English, but it was validated by the filmmakers in the movie, giving her a role as the daughter of a nouveau rich family-- meaning, rich but with no class and sophistication. Her mother, played by Carmi Martin, is a former wet market vendor who accumulated an immense wealth. New money, so to speak. That's why even Reyes' sister in the movie, although dressed in shiny, dazzling and expensive outfit, was made to speak like a "palenkera" for consistency, even going so far as to declare in the movie (obviously for clarity's sake) that they are, actually, nouveau rich, what with all their flashy and gold furniture.

    But what made the film emotionally engaging was not only because of its direct-to-the-point screenplay and engaging dialogue, but also the main actors' emotional expressions. The subtleties, like the mere glances, the tensing of the muscles, the suspcicious looks, the guilty eyes and the quivering lips...the body language accurately captured, exploding with meaning. And the appropriate close-up shots and cinematography needed to emotionally connect with the viewers were there, as well as the quick, dramatic tears that fall easily from the actors' eyes in perfect timing. This, on top of a quick-paced screenplay, has made the movie---despite its flaws and ordinary plot---passably good.

    Philippine mainstream movie, you are almost there.


    7 out of 10 stars

    Still showing in your favorite cinema.


    Discuss the movie in the No Other Woman thread.
  • paddylastpaddylast PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐

    Director: Shawn Levy

    Real Steel tells the story of Charlie Kenton played by Hugh Jackman who travels around with his fighting robots in tow. It is loosely based on the short story by Richard Matheson entitled Steel where fighting robots are the new form of entertainment through the sport of boxing.

    While Charlie is on the road, he received bad news about the death of his old beau leaving him an 11-year old son named Max who now needs a guardian. He was then summoned to attend the custody hearing of his son whom he willingly gave to his sister-in-law in exchange of $100,000. His sister-in-law’s husband offered him half the money to take care of Max while they were on vacation. Charlie agreed and took Max with him who proves to be a very strong-willed kid and whose love for video games helps train his robots and Atom, a sparring robot found by Max in a junkyard and successfully fielded it into the World Robot Boxing Championship.


    Dakota Goyo who played Max was an absolute darling on the big screen. His immense passion was clearly established with his relationship to Atom. I thought the dancing scenes were funny and it gives you that giggling feeling about the kid that served as an appetizer to an impending good fight, sort of like waiting for a Manny Pacquiao versus a Mexican boxer bout.

    Hugh Jackman really delivered his role’s full potential. There were pretty touching moments that simply do magic into the film’s action-packed sequences. These sequences are well executed, as they do not exaggerate real battles but conform into the flow of the film.
    The support was also impressive coming from Charlie’s love interest Bailey (played by Evangeline Lily) and his sister-in-law played by Hope Davis.

    Another good thing about this film is that it has a vision. The cohesive storyline made it an enduring two-hour flick; you won’t even notice that it was that long. It was a normal story that does not need any twists or shocking scenes to lure you into watching it. It simply is just about robots and the father and son relationship. It may be the result of excellent special effects or good cinematography or maybe even good soundtrack but it boils down to the fact that it was one heck of a film that surely adults and kids alike would enjoy.

    My Rating: 9/10


    Discuss the movie in the Real Steel thread.
  • What is the best upcoming movie?
  • forgforg Administrator PEx Moderator

    I’m disappointed that Winnie the Pooh is just shown on two theaters (Glorietta and Greenbelt 3) here in the Philippines. Usually Ayala Cinemas exclusive films are those art house types or niche films that has a limited appeal that a wide release would not do it any favor but a children’s movie starring a popular animated brand? It just shows that with the rise of CGI animated fare, the traditional form of animation has gone out of style in terms of box office draw. I hope that even in limited capacity Winnie The Pooh will be seen by a lot of viewers here. The movie is so different with recent animated flicks that graced the wide screen yet it feels familiar and true.

    Pooh wakes up one morning and craves for honey but he can’t find any in his house. On his way to find honey he ran into Eeyore who’s sad because his tale is missing. Pooh and his friends Tigger, Piglet, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit, Owl and Christopher Robin help him find a replacement to no luck. Later on Christopher Robin disappears and the gang suspects a creature took him away and they must help him escape from it.

    Winnie The Pooh stories have always been simple and safe. The conflicts are always often caused by misunderstandings and misinterpretations and this movie is no different. But the gentle & sweet nature of the characters wins you over that even if the stakes in the story are not high you can’t help but fall for its charms.

    The animation in the movie is simply lovely. The colors come to life and as a kid remarked to her mom on the theater I watched this “it’s beautiful”. It truly was. There’s no denying that CGI gave the animation industry an edge to take the genre to a more adventurous and exciting direction but hand drawn animation will always have a certain charm because it feels more intimate and soothing. To be fair, CGI also helped this as the movie is structured as a storybook with the characters interacting with the letters, paragraphs and typography but it was done in a way that does not take away the essence of traditional animation.

    The voice cast did a good job and most notably Jim Cummings who voices both Pooh and Tigger. It takes a sheer amount of talent to breath life to two vastly different and iconic characters. Craig Ferguson voiced the know-it-all Owl and he really got into the character and not just maximizes his voice as most celebrity voice castings do. The songs in the movie are true to the spirit of the story and are quite catchy as well. I think it’s perfect that they got Zooey Deschanel to sing the theme as her voice suits the gentle and adorable nature of the movie.

    Winnie the Pooh is essentially a love letter to a child’s imagination. AA Milne based it from his son, the real Christoper Robin, and the games he play with his stuffed toys. This new movie from the “Pooh” brand did a splendid job of introducing the characters to a new generation yet respects and honors the legacy of Pooh and his friends. One can’t help but feel nostalgic watching this movie as you remember the days when you were a young child playing with your toys and assigning them characters and concocting up stories. In our minds the world our toys live in is vibrant, colorful and the movie perfectly captured that feeling. Winnie the Pooh is ultimately a children’s movie but it’s nice reminder to us adults of how the simple things in life are magical. 9.5 / 10


    Discuss the movie at the Winnie the Pooh thread
  • Lola_RoseLola_Rose PEx Veteran ⭐⭐

    El gato!

    Who the heck does not know the swashbuckling, debonair, fighter and lover Puss in Boots? The guys behind the now-over Shrek series gave our favorite Espanol outlaw gato his own full length feature film knowing very well how the delightfully contrasting character of Puss, the generic orange-and-white tomcat with the deep and sensual, latin lover voice of Antonio Banderas, has captivated the world, going down as the cutest animated thing in animation history.

    In Puss in Boots, a prequel to the Shrek series, we are reeled back in time to discover the roots and the legend of Puss and his Corinthian-leather boots and how he came to be an outlaw. And then we are shot back to present day where Puss is reunited after seven years with his childhood friend-turned-enemy: the breakfasty smelling Humpty Alexander Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis), a bad news egg with self-esteem issues and whose self-pitying nature has evolved into the dangerous geek-outcast-turned-mastermind-terrorist kind. A minion and a sidekick by nature, Puss reluctantly teams up with the apologetic Humpty to the greatest score ever: steal the magic beans from an old, ugly, and burly married couple, Jack and Jill (Billy Bob Thornton and Amy Sedaris), climb the beanstalk, and snatch the golden eggs from the sky castle-- the stolen goods a way to redeem Puss' reputation in his hometown of San Ricardo. But the heist team also involves what Puss lovingly describes as an "attractive devil woman," Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek).


    Twisting our beloved childhood fairy tales for humor is the core element of the film's screenplay. However, it will barely tickle your funny bone (unless you laugh easily). Although the popular fairy tale characters are impressively expressive and creatively modified, and the plot well-crafted, the humor is thin and some of the lines are plain and predictable that those looking for gut laughter will go home unsatisfied. Puss and Kitty Softpaws' playful banter and inside jokes are targeted to the adults but can only go so far as to make us smile. Probably the best laughter-inducing factor here is Humpty, whose uncoordinated and limited movements due to his shape will crack you up all the time.


    The Dreamworks animation is superb; the details, the colors, and the effects are polished, rich and vivid, and the trip up to the sky castle is breathtakingly beautiful. And with the 3D effect, Puss' cuteness was multiplied a hundred times, the cuteness making you a little crazy and you just want to grab the gigantic 3D face of Puss and smother him with kisses.

    Puss in Boots, directed by Shrek director Chris Miller, is a film oozing with cuteness in every corner, making your dopamine levels go all silly but will leave you itching for more wit and humor. Recommended for cat lovers, visual people, the kids, and the kids at heart, Puss in Boots is a visually striking, unexceptional adventure story more fitting to be watched in 3D for maximum visual experience.

    6.5 out of 10


    Now showing in theaters near you.

    Discuss the movie in the Puss in Boots thread.

  • paddylastpaddylast PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐

    In Time takes place in a future, where the usual currency is now replaced with time. People stop ageing once they turned 25 and would have to pay for hours and days in order to continue living. The rich can live for as long as they want while the poor live day to day or just die trying.

    Will Salas played by Justin Timberlake is one of the ghetto-dwelling workers, who have to work to extend his time. The “Timekeepers” accused him of murder when a wealthy stranger was found dead and he became a hundred- years richer that led to his hunt.

    There are a lot of “what if” and “what the heck” scenario in the film. It felt a bit amateurish for me like an inexpensive student production. There are many things happening in the film that didn’t quite connect at all and a lot of unnecessary characters.

    The only good and memorable scene I could think of was probably the time Will’s Mother played by Olivia Wilde got timed out on her 50th birthday. From there forward, the film didn’t quite build up.

    Sylvia Weis played by Amanda Seyfried, the young daughter of a rich time broker became the rebellious partner of Will in his conquest to distribute time ala Robin Hood style and aimed to change the world as it is in the film. It was a bit corny and all they do in the film was to run from the timekeepers that it doesn’t take too long to notice that the film has become unbearably boring.

    Alex Pettyfer was a big letdown in the film. I was actually expecting a lot from his character but all I’ve got was blah. I’m not even sure why he’s there in the first place and I simply don’t know why there is a need to waste a good twenty minutes for his scenes. I did get it at the end though that he’s actually a corrupt timekeeper but seriously, his character was totally unnecessary.

    Cillian Murphy, who played the head timekeeper and Vincent Kartheiser who played the father of Sylvia were interesting to say the least.

    Lastly, I have to admit that one thing I like about the film was the concept but I’m not too keen with its execution. It lacks the energy, the inspiration and the lines to let your precious hours be wasted by it. I will recommend it to the fans of its actors and see it for yourself; otherwise, I will suggest you wait for the DVD release of the film.

    Rating: 4/10


    Now showing in theaters near you.

    Discuss the movie in the In Time thread.
  • Tower-heist-movie-poster-hi-res-01-405x600.jpg

    One of the more interesting yet smaller genres in action is the heist film. A good heist movie will leave people talking and abuzz for days, and if they’re lucky, will even result in a sequel or two. Take the case of Stephen Soderbergh’s Ocean’s 11, which led to Ocean’s 12 and Ocean’s 13. Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron also had a successful turn with The Italian Job.


    Tower Heist is a film starring an all-star cast of Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Alan Alda, Tea Leoni, Gabourey Siddibe, Matthew Broderick, Michael Peña and Casey Affleck. Alda’s Arthur Shaw has stolen over $2 billion through a financial scam, including employees of The Tower, a high-end New York apartment in which he stays. Josh Kovacs (Stiller), the building manager, entrusted most of the building employees’ pensions to Shaw, and is devastated to learn of the theft. Kovacs thus gathers some of the building’s staff and enlists the help of neighbor/felon Slide (Murphy) to coach them on how to get back at Shaw. What follows is a series of events that you expect to play out a certain way but a few twists along the way are quite surprising but in a good way. Each part of the ensemble cast is given their time to shine, even the “smaller” actors, but Murphy, Stiller and Broderick really go to town with their roles. Broderick, in particular, does a lot with his nervous investor character that is a credit to his comedic tendencies.


    Make no mistake, Tower Heist is no souped-up action blockbuster. It’s no slapstick comedy either. It is a combination of both and though it can drag in some parts, it is still enjoyable because the chemistry between the actors and director Brett Ratner’s familiarity with the action-comedy genre (he directed the first three Rush Hour films) makes it so. There may not be any sequels for this series, but this single installment still serves as an enjoyable piece nonetheless.

    Rating: 7/10


    Now showing in theaters near you.

    Discuss the movie in the Tower Heist thread.
  • Lola_RoseLola_Rose PEx Veteran ⭐⭐

    To those who have been traumatized by our local movies, sneering and rolling their eyes at fan-based mainstream rom-coms and comedies, and then scoffing at indie films of gay and poverty *****, which they feel sums up the entire Philippine film industry, then you should watch Ang Babae sa Septic Tank.

    Representing the country at the 84th Oscar Awards to vie for a nomination spot in the Best Foreign Film category (bumping off Thelma and Rosario), Ang Babae sa Septic Tank has managed to win the hearts of various Pinoy moviegoers: the mainstream-loving ones, the indie fans, the film snobs, and the common moviegoers, uniting them in one glorious laughfest.

    The film, which gained viral stardom, is about two young and ambitious indie filmmakers (JM de Guzman and Kean Cipriano) and their PA (the non-speaking role of Cai Cortez) as they set out to create what they deem to be a brilliant indie film, envisioning international film festivals and awards-- specifically the Oscars. Their movie plot already exists, and it's not something new in the indie world: a mother of seven in a destitute slum area who, in desperate measures, sells her child to a pedophile. On their way to an appointment with a popular mainstream actress, Eugene Domingo (who plays as herself), who has shown an interest in the lead role, the filmmakers tinker with ideas and discuss various treatments to the film: from a nitty gritty neo-realist treatment to a musical, to a docu-drama-- and, humorously, we see the different treatments through the imagination of the non-speaking but enthusiastic PA. And when Eugene Domingo in the movie suggested her own ideas into the indie film, it was a riotous experience.


    Ang Babae sa Septic Tank, written by Chris Martinez and directed by Marlon Rivera, is surprisingly thigh-slapping hilarious, an intelligent satirical portrayal of the local film industry, yet not at all offensive but an affectionate jibe at both indie and mainstream movie formula-- and filmmakers. It feels like a movie created both out of frustration and keen observation of the local cinema trend, which the impressively talented duo of Martinez and Rivera (with advertising backgrounds) clearly had so much fun writing and producing.

    The Filipino audience will split into two groups when watching the movie, laughing from two different perspectives: those who work in the creative industry (especially filmmakers and aspiring ones) will be able to relate with the creative process of the lead characters, and then there's the fans of Eugene Domingo, who will laugh at her comedic performance. My sister and I, who watched the special screening last night and who have in the past teamed up in small amateur film projects down to the movie poster, roared with laughter as we saw ourselves in the duo.


    To the Filipino audience, the movie is rich with Pinoy humor that despite its creative execution, I am worried about how the international audience would view the film, with 50% of its humor, I believe, can only be understood by Filipinos. Still, it's a strong international contender because what the foreign audience might glean from this parody of a movie is an insight into our cinematic trend, its hilarious and brilliant execution of various film treatments, and the funny desperation of getting international recognition-- specifically the Oscars. No, they don't want Cannes. They want the Oscars!

    Ang Babae sa Septic Tank, which has garnered major awards at this year's Cinemalaya (Best Screenplay, Audience Choice Award, Best Performance of an Actress, Best Director, and Best Film) and received invitations to international film fests: Pusan, Tokyo, Vancouver, Hawaii, and Udine, is a testament that the country can produce quality indie films and intelligent screenplays. And who knows? The goosebumps-inducing idea that we will finally, FINALLY see our film nominated in the Oscars might just come true...sooner than we think.

    A must-see for all.

    *International title: The Woman in the Septic Tank

    9/10 stars


    Discuss the movie in the Ang Babae sa Septic Tank thread.
  • Lola_RoseLola_Rose PEx Veteran ⭐⭐

    Ryan Gosling playing a nameless special kid simply called "Driver," a full-time car mechanic, a part-time Hollywood stunt driver, and who moonlights as a getaway man in midnight heists. Enough to see the film, right? Okay, go ahead and watch the trailer first. You are now excited, I presume? Come on! Gosling, a very special actor playing a very special kid in heist-riddled L.A., involved in a dirty job that goes wrong, sucked in an intricate web of masterminds, double-crossing and shadowy criminals-- and to make it more rich and complex, falls in love with the Brit version of Katie Holmes: Carey Mulligan. And! It's directed by the Danish Nicolas Winding Refn, who won this year's Cannes Best Director for this movie. To those unfamiliar with Refn (Pusher 1996), then Drive will be your first taste of the European director's style.


    If you are expecting a heart-pounding, high-adrenaline car chase, or a direct-to-the-point suspense, then you're in for a dose of a different film adaptation of the novel by the same title. Because it's quiet, devoid of emotion and facial expression from Gosling (which was intentional), and it kind of recalls Sophia Coppola's excruciatingly pretentious Somewhere; but along with the constant hum of the car engine, we are bombarded with Refn's playlist of eighties electro music sung by various female artists, interspersed with throbbing, ominous musical score intentionally misplaced for art's sake.


    No, I am not against style, of unconventional filmmaking, of a different contemporary approach to what should be expected as your normal Hollywood action-thriller. But do I appreciate Refn's style? No. It's utterly distasteful, like swallowing bitter medicine that you just want to get over with as soon as possible. It's highly pretentious, too artsy-fartsy that it robs us of every bit of emotion. I don't care how artsy-fartsy you wanna go, but please don't take away the emotions in the story. Picture this: slow, languid movements with background music; Gosling most of the time quiet, with a deadpan expression; Gosling driving or thinking with 80's discotheque kind of music playing; small stunts here and there, interrupted by raw and very graphic violence; a sickly looking Mulligan who is equally quiet and has no chemistry at all with Gosling. The bad guys (not that Gosling isn't a bad guy himself in the movie) are the only ones who give life to the film, but hell, they're so ugly to look at.

    Drive is something you'd watch slouched in your cinema seat (never on the edge), and watch Refn's artwork unfold before your eyes: an orchestra of bad music with a creative slideshow of violence, Gosling's stony and cold expression, set in totally depressing LA locations. Yeah, it's got a real story-- a good one, actually, which makes it a tad better than Coppola's non-existent story in Somewhere. But it could have been delightful if it were directed by let's say...John Woo? Who the hell needs artsy fartsy in a simple action-suspense movie?

    In the movie, one of the criminals tells Driver that in the 1980s, he used to produce movies. He recalls: "One critic called them European,” he said, adding: “I thought they were shit.”

    That's exactly what Drive is. Not my words!

    3 out of 10 stars


    Showing starting today, November 9 at Ayala Malls Cinemas (Glorietta 4 & Greenbelt 3)

    Discuss the movie in the Drive thread.
  • praybeyt-benjamin-poster.jpg

    Praybeyt Benjamin is surely a film to watch with your friends when all of you needs a stress reliever from school or work. Vice Ganda never gets old from every line he delivers. All we heard from the cinema was bursts of laughter from the very start of the movie until the end of credits. Obviously Vice Ganda's talent is exceptional as he is one of the best comedian in this generation. He never runs out of jokes and everyone loves him. We just loved the story of Petrang Kabayo better which has a nicer solid concept. But still Praybeyt Benjamin will surely keep you to have nonstop laughter heads up to Vice!

    Kudos also to the supporting cast which did a job well done. It is nice to see Jimmy Santos back into the big screen. It is also a laugh trip every time a scene with Vice and Derek are involve. I love the part when they had a shower scene and when he was punished to make some push ups imagining that Derek was underneath him. Other casts includes Nikki Valdes, Vandolph Quizon, Eddie Garcia, Abby Bautista, Dj Durano, Carlos Agassi, Kian Cipriano and Derek Ramsey


    Benjamin Santos VIII (Vice Ganda) whose family has a long tradition of serving the military, from the days of Lapu-Lapu until now. Conflicts ensues when his Lolo (Eddie Garcia) founds out that he is gay making a disgrace out of their bloodline. But when his Lolo was captured by the terrorists he enters the military to save his grandfather and proved that he is worthy of being a Benjamin Santos.

    Don't be the last one to be hooked up with the funny gags of Vice Ganda.

    I hope that one day there would be a Vic Sotto and Vice Ganda movie which now possible as Bossing is now making movies under Star Cinema.

    Rating 8 out of 10 stars

    Discuss the movie in the Praybeyt Benjamin thread

  • The-Thing-2011-poster-280x414.jpg

    The trailer was mind boggling, expect a bloody gore monster and brutal killings. The film gave a very lazy start and picked up some pace later on. The horrific monster was great as it was freaking awesome. It was one of a hell monster with a lot of appendage, it also infects the human body and mutates into a scary dangerous life form. Too bad we did not have the chance to watch the 1982 classic film made by John Carpenter.The effects for the scary creatures was creepy with a great work for the combination of the CGI and the make-up. The casts was just not that effective as they lacked from convincing its audience from the thrilling experience in a suspense movie. Although the ending sucked we still enjoyed watching it in the big screen.


    A group of Norwegian researchers discovered something underneath the Antarctic ice. Paleontologist Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is recruited Dr. Sander Holverson (Ulrich Thomsen). They found a space vessel and and a mysterious creature frozen in the ice. They brought the creature in their camp so they could study it but later that night the creature escaped and killed one of the researchers. They hunt it down and killed it but soon Kate found out that something in its body. It feeds to other life forms cells and make a carbon copy of it. Now all of them are in the verge of danger as they don't know who to trust.


    We still recommend this if you love suspense-thriller movies as The Thing will give you some exceptional scenes that is extremely well made. The Thing is such an exci"THING" classic.

    Rating 5 out of 10 stars


    Discuss the movie at The Thing thread.
  • Lola_RoseLola_Rose PEx Veteran ⭐⭐

    Out of the 10 Cinema One Originals digital independent films shown at the Shangri-la Cineplex last November 9th to 15th, I was only able to see two films: Mga Anino sa Tanghaling Tapat and My Paranormal Romance.

    When watching local indie films in the cinema, you take a huge risk with your time and money, and so I was glad I got in for free in both films. But sometimes, even if you get to watch a movie for free, you'd still feel violated if your time was horribly spent watching it.


    Mga Anino sa Tanghaling Tapat


    Officially making it to my list of 'Worst Movies in the History of Both Amateur and Professional Filmmaking', Mga Anino sa Tanghaling Tapat is an artsy-fartsy self-conscious repertoire of eroticism and the supernatural in a provincial setting. Well, they say it's a coming-of-age story, but to begin with, there is no story.

    Ines, a copper-haired pretty city girl in short skirts and dresses, arrives in her provincial hometown for the ritualistic burial of her grandfather. While there, she takes the opportunity to ask around about the seemingly mysterious and tragic death of her mother, at the same time enjoy her vacation in the province with her aunt (played by an actress who embarrassingly stumbles with her lines and is terribly self-conscious of the camera) and with her two cousins; Odessa, with whom she is close to, and Ezra, who is hostile to her and enjoys masturbating using a pointed fruit-- whenever she's not watching a stranger having sex with a banana tree.

    The film jumps from one bad scene to another, the story line scattered and inconsistent and unable to make up its mind where it will lead. The "conversational" dialogue is horribly written (there was one scene when Ines and Odessa were engaged in a shallow and playful argument: "Ayoko maging amoy lola, kadiri!", "Gaganda naman ang kutis mo kahit amoy lola ka!" which went on in a loop for 10 minutes). The characters were poorly written and poorly acted (only the lead actress can seriously act) and all we see are repetitive shots devoid of meaning and emotion (cutting fruit, cleaning, senseless talking, walking), interrupted by a screensaver-like shot of the sky at sunset.


    What this film aims is to transport us into the typical life in the province (where folks have sex with organic stuff, as the movie implies), and introduce us to rituals in the province and the supernatural, and will try to impress you with its shots of genitalia. But this movie is simply sexually repressed, empty, and desperate.

    Mga Anino sa Tanghaling Tapat is distasteful, pretentious, incapable of connecting with the viewer, and worse...painfully amateurish.

    2 out of 10 stars



    My Paranormal Romance


    Refreshingly Bisaya with playful English subtitles, My Paranormal Romance is a Cebuano romantic comedy about a young, bright college girl named Merry (Phoebe Kaye Fernandez) who was burned so many times by love, escapes to a remote place with strong academic goals-- but then encounters everything that goes against her rational beliefs. And she also meets a new love interest that will threaten her broken heart once again.

    Merry, as she resides in her new boarding house, suddenly finds herself with a third eye, which connects her to the supernatural and paranormal realm, meeting interesting characters that challenges her sanity. She then seeks the help of a guy to get rid of her unwanted powers-- but the guy keeps a secret more painful than her paranormal predicament.

    My Paranormal Romance is absorbing, visually pleasant, bright and colorful from the cast down to the dialogue. It's a movie that does not take itself seriously nor does it aim to please or impress. All it wants is to entertain. And it succeeded. The screenplay, with a mainstream feel, is engaging albeit too long, and the humor funny and playful; I naturally don't laugh easily but the packed cinema was oftentimes filled with howls of prolonged gut-laughter. The characters are richly developed and played by talented actors, making it a movie with the perfect cast of impressive performers.


    I am not sure whether it's because I grew up in Manila and I don't have a province but My Paranormal Romance felt foreign to me. The humor is universal and funny and I have Visayan friends, but the feel of the movie is something new and different to me-- the effect perhaps of watching fellow Filipinos who are culturally different, on top of the film's unique and unconventional story and style, as well as its seemingly European influences, with a strong sense of occultism and mysticism.

    My Paranormal Romance is entertaining, a very professional production, smart and engaging, and a highly interesting comedy that will surely transport you into its crazy, paranormal world. If you laugh easily, then you will be rewarded more than you can imagine.

    7 out of 10 stars

    teaser trailer



    If you missed the Cinema One Originals film festival at Shangri-la Plaza Cineplex last November 9th to 15th, you can still catch the screenings at UP Film Center from November 29 to December 3, 2011.

    November 29, 2011 (Tuesday)
    5PM Sa Kanto ng Ulap at Lupa
    730PM Anatomiya ng Korupsyon

    November 30, 2011 (Wednesday)
    5PM Mga Anino sa Tanghaling Tapat
    730PM Di Ingon 'Nato

    December 1, 2011 (Thursday)
    5PM My Paranormal Romance
    730PM Big Boy

    December 2, 2011 (Friday)
    5PM Sa Ilalim ng Tulay
    730PM Ka Oryang (Winner of BEST FILM)

    December 3, 2011 (Saturday)
    5PM Cartas de La Soledad
    730PM Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay


    Discuss the movie in the the Cinema One Originals 2011 thread.
  • 600full-the-twilight-saga+-breaking-dawn----part-1-poster.jpg

    A lot have been so excited in this movie especially the Twilight fanatics. Now everyone is invited to the most anticipated wedding of Isabella Marie Swan and Edward Anthony Masen Cullen. The next chapter unfolds as the cold blooded vampire marries Bella. Their love story continues and unfolds more challenging situations in their relationship. After their wedding they celebrated their honeymoon in Esme island where an unexpected thing happened. Bella gets pregnant. Believing the baby to the threat, both the vampires and the werewolves close in on the couple. Now Bella's life is in danger and they must face some consequences. Good thing Edward turns her into a vampire just in time.


    The story is not a secret anymore as many of you already read the book but some are changed when it's in the movie. It started in a fancy romantic way between Bella and Edward, for me I got a little bit weary in all the cheesy moments between the two. But the wedding was stylish as they made a perfect scenery for the moment many have been waiting. This movie is strictly for Twi-hards as I find Breaking Dawn quite monotonous. I think I should better wait for the part 2 as it would be the epic conclusion for this romantic tale between Edward and Bella.


    Sad to say for the Team Jacob as you'll only see Taylor Lautner shirtless in 8 seconds. The good news is finally he got his imprint, finally he can now move on and start a new life. Breaking Dawn left some bits hanging as you'll wait for another year just to see the part two but expect an explosive exciting finish of the series you loved.

    Rating 6 out of 10 stars


    Discuss the movie in the Twilight Saga thread
  • Lola_RoseLola_Rose PEx Veteran ⭐⭐

    The climax of the movie up to its ending was beautifully orchestrated. Dramatic. Emotional. Intense. And a good ending can redeem the whole movie (or an entire movie franchise?) from its flaws. I cannot think of a better way to end the movie. The cut was perfect. It has almost made me...a fan. Gasp!

    Breaking Dawn 1 is the first half of the final Twilight saga novel. Bella and Edward get married (leaving Jacob and Team Jacob heartbroken). They go on a honeymoon in a breathtaking isolated Brazilian island, dangerously consummate their love-- and Bella, still human, gets miraculously pregnant with something that is called either one of the following: fetus, thing, baby, monster, him, half-human, half-vampire. But whatever it's called, it's a huge threat to Bella and the Cullens.


    In Breaking Dawn, directed by Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters), the movie essentially has the same feel as the previous ones; the somewhat teen-angst raw treatment, the folk and alternative-rock soundtrack (but better this time), and the vampires still have faces that look like they were covered with flour (but the white stuff do not reach their neck). Robert Pattinson still could not act, and of the three lead stars, Taylor Lautner (Jacob) remains to be the only "normal" actor, capable of speaking through his eyes.

    The movie has a lot of visual delights; from the tasteful and elegant wedding production, to Bella's absolutely perfect wedding gown (It's wonderful how they tease you with the small details of her dress before revealing all of its splendid gorgeousness), to the gloomy Forks landscape and its omnipresent grey skies, and the exotic honeymoon destination.

    Nothing much happens in the first half of the film, except watching with interest some newlywed couple with a problem with their sex life, Jacob jealous, shots skipping between the Cullens and the wolf pack, but there were some scenes that were kind of boring and a bit dragging. The action only picks up when Bella becomes pregnant, escalating right until its engaging climax, which is chillingly realistic-- the movie's treatment suddenly shifting to an almost horror genre, yet at the same time emotionally gripping.


    Breaking Dawn is more dramatic than action-packed, the sparse humor funny, an its an engaging movie in its entirety. And the subtle yet achingly beautiful musical score by Carter Burwell heightens the emotional scenes, almost sweeping you off with the seemingly Shakespearean- and Wuthering Heights-inspired passionate love story of Bella and Edward.

    And like they say, "editing is the soul of the cinema," and Breaking Dawn's excellently edited last part, with superb special effects, will make twi-hard fans look forward to the second and final part of the Twilight movie franchise next year.

    To the fans, of course you'll watch it. To those who aren't fans but are being dragged by your twi-hard friends, or daughter, or wife, or girlfriend to see the movie? Don't worry, you won't hate it. Do not expect depth and Oscar-worthy performances, but Breaking Dawn has fairly done it's job in giving you temporary escape and entertainment.

    6.5 out of 10 stars


    Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn's worldwide release is today, November 18, 2011.

    Discuss the movie in the Twilight Saga thread.
  • forgforg Administrator PEx Moderator

    For most of us Happy Feet reminds us of its cute dancing and singing penguins but the Academy award winning film also stood out because of its subtext that you wouldn’t expect to be touched on a movie targeted to kids. Happy Feet 2 further dove to a deeper direction but resulted to a weaker narrative but it is simply charming enough that you really wouldn’t mind the flaws.

    Erik (EG Daily) is experiencing the same dilemma his father, Mumbles (Elijah Wood), had when he was young: he’s an outcast too but in a more difficult spot because he can neither dance like his father nor sing well like her mother Gloria (Pink). Mumble tries to comfort his son but he’s having a tough time to connect with him. Erik meets Sven (Hank Azaria) a penguin who can fly and Erik soon idolizes him much to Mumble’s dismay. Later on, a change in their natural habitat threatens the future of the entire emperor penguin community and it’s only up to Mumble along with Erik and some unlikely friends to save their kind.

    Happy Feet 2 dealt with a lot of topics that include the interconnectivity of the ecosystem, environmental threats, false prophets, parenthood troubles, existentialism, growing up and finding your voice. Yes all of it. Lot of topics to deal with and given the limited running time, hard to flesh it all out. The movie raises some good insights with each issue they touched upon but with too many big and complex ideas the narrative loses focus. The main story between Mumble and Erik was solid although due to the several things that were going on in the movie, their conflict was placed in the backseat a lot of time but thankfully it managed to have a strong resolution to make up for the lack of momentum.

    The environmental message they were trying to convey could have use some subtlety but the idea they presented about what could happen to a natural habitat was thought provoking. However, the way they resolved the penguin community crisis was too simple although it was understandable since this is still a kid’s movie plus it brought an awesome sequence that wisely uses the song “Under Pressure”.

    There are subplots that were shortchanged like Sven’s since I thought the character would have a major connection to the narrative as a whole but the pay off was weak. I’m guessing the writers took one step back with Sven’s story because of its evangelical overtones but the way the character was introduced was so grand that it was a shame that he didn’t leave a bigger impact in the end.

    On the contrary, Happy Feet 2 was successful in elevating what could have been an unnecessary subplot of the krill with an existential crisis Will (Brad Pitt) and his buddy Bill (Matt Damon) and make it drive one of the movie’s strong point: the interconnectivity of everything and learning how to adapt to progress. The movie could have simply place them as just comic relief but the krills’ part was substantial even if it’s loosely connected to the main story.

    The technical side of the movie is top notch. While you can still enjoy the movie in regular 2D, the 3D experience will be worth the premium ticket price because of its amazing visuals. A lot of 3D movies released recently didn’t feel like 3D added anything to the experience but this one is immersive and not just in the throw-something-in-the-audience kind of way but it complemented the setting perfectly.

    The musical numbers had lesser impact in this sequel compared to the first one but they were all entertaining. The “Under Pressure” sequence I mentioned earlier was the highlight of the movie because the execution was really spectacular. The voice cast was pretty great as well but Alecia Moore aka Pink (who replaced the late Britanny Murphy) as Gloria stood out in the musical numbers.

    Happy Feet 2 is a gorgeous animated movie and definitely a visual delight. And despite suffering from an indecisive screenplay, Happy Feet 2 still shines because it’s downright entertaining and sometimes that’s just what we need. 8 / 10


    Discuss the movie at the Happy Feet 2 thread
  • paddylastpaddylast PEx Influencer ⭐⭐⭐

    One thing that I don’t like about this film is that there are so many things happening in it. It was uninteresting at most parts and failed to deliver the theme at its maximum level. The film focuses on forgiveness that inspects some aspect of life, its meaning and its purpose.

    Robert is a journalist writing a book and is trying to reconcile with his dying father whom he interviewed for his project and discovered that he had been a close friend of Josemaria Escriva, the founder of the Opus Dei movement. The story went deep as Robert learned about the dark past of his father, reluctantly sharing the stories to his son.

    The story takes place during the Spanish Civil War that seemed to topple what good potentials the film promised at the beginning. The production was good but it was lackluster in execution. It didn’t quite lived up to its promise of grandeur and even the extras having parts in the film were quite terrible!

    It was interesting to note that Charlie Cox who played Josemaria Escriva was quite impressive that you actually believe him and feel everything that he’s saying from his eyes. He was quite mesmerizing on the screen if I’m being honest.


    The rest of the cast were just miscast-ed or perhaps shown in such a way that they are not as believable as Cox. The film would have been great if (in my opinion) Wes Bentley’s character, Manolo was played by another actor like Gael Garcia Bernal. I just don’t see enough conviction from him and even Dougray Scott who played Robert was a total disappointment.

    I’m not really sure what pushes me to watch this film. It was quite interesting in its trailer but was a total disaster in its entirety. The film was okay for like the first few minutes but it went downhill up to the last part of it. Perhaps, I wasn’t feeling nice when I watched it.

    Rating: 5 / 10


    Discuss the movie at the There Be Dragons thread
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