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  1. #21

    Hangover II Movie Review




    If you liked the first Hangover, you will definitely like Hangover II. It’s HILARIOUS. Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis and Ken Jeong are all hilarious. A must see (only if you are 18 years old and above)

    The first and second movies have similar plots. There’s a wedding, a bachelor party, they had fun, they got wasted, they got drugged, they forgot what happened, and someone is missing. What’s different in the two movies is the setting. The first movie was shot in Las Vegas. This movie was shot in Thailand. All actors reprised their characters. Cooper as Phil Wenneck, Helms as Dr. Stuart "Stu" Price, Galifianakis as Alan Garner, Justin Bartha as Doug Billings and Jeong as Leslie Chow. This time Stu is getting married to a Lauren (Jamie Chung). The whole gang (with Alan, who was originally not invited to the wedding) flew to Thailand and it happened all over again.

    Todd Phillips also directed the movie and there is rumor that a third Hangover is in the works. The soundtrack also rocks. No special effects in this movie just a wild car chase around Bangkok.

    There’s nothing else to say about this movie but watch it, watch it, watch it and laugh yourself out. Watch out for the song performance of a famous celebrity that was also in the first movie and stay until the credits. Just like the first movie, hilarious photos will be shown. Also, pay attention to the scenes after they discovered that someone is missing.

    I give it 8 funny stars out of 10 stars.



    Talk about the movie at the The Hangover Part II thread.
    Last edited by TeamPEx; Jun 3, 2011 at 02:53 PM.

  2. #22
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    [Review] X-Men: First Class



    Truth be told, I’m not really a hardcore fan of the "X-Men" series although as a child I watched the 90s X-Men animated series when it was aired every Friday night here in the Philippines but after watching X-Men: First Class it made me want to revisit the series. This prequel (and a reboot) did a solid job with resetting the story to a fresh and interesting start.

    The movie opens with a flashback in the 1940s with a glimpse of the early lives of future “Magneto” Erik Lensher and future “Professor X” Charles Xavier, one had a tragic experience while the other lived a privileged life. The movie then moved on to the story’s present time in the 1960s where we see an adult Erik (Michael Fassbender) hunting down Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) to seek revenge for making his life miserable while an adult Charles (James McAvoy) graduated in Oxford and is publishing his thesis on mutation. His foster sister Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), the future Mystique, lives with him.

    Meanwhile, CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) discovers Shaw’s plan to manipulate the US and Russian forces to go into war and upon knowing that Shaw and his team are mutants, she then seeks the help of Charles to stop them. On their quest to find Shaw they encountered Erik who tried to kill Shaw earlier on. Charles and Erik eventually teamed up and brought together a team of young mutants to help stop Shaw’s plan.

    The movie wouldn’t that be that effective if they got the wrong actors for the roles of Charles and Erik since they are the ones who carried the movie. With that said, McAvoy and Fassbender were simply perfect for the characters, they gave exceptional portrayals of Charles and Eric because they didn’t only perfectly captured the characters but they've also given them a more dynamic edge. And they have a strong chemistry that holds the movie together. The same thing can be said with MacAvoy and Lawrence, they played off the sibling affection of Charles and Raven quite well that when Raven had to make an important decision that affected his relationship with his foster brother it was heartbreaking. The supporting characters did fine although January Jones as Emma Frost was disappointing because Jones lacked the charisma to effectively play the role.

    The script was cohesive and engaging. If you can pass by with the story inconsistencies with the earlier movies and the comics you may appreciate that setting up this movie from the very start has allowed them to remarkably intertwine an alternate history that complements real-world events in way that was organic which made the mutants’ role in the world such an important one. You will care about their plight and will make you think about the society’s overall prejudice to people who are different. The story is definitely more of a character study than an action-driven fare but the actions scenes they had in the movie’s climax were outstanding.

    The box office results for the first weekend of X-Men: First Class while solid is a disappointment compared to the previous installments. It could be because the series' most popular character, Wolverine, is not a part of this movie or maybe it’s just a case of franchise fatigue because the last two movies (X-Men 3 and Wolverine) had overall disappointing feedback but I really hope word of mouth could help this film attract more (and win back previous) moviegoers because I would like to see the story that X-Men: First Class developed to continue as it really has the potential to be something even greater.

    9.5/10



    Talk about the movie at the X-Men: First Class thread.

  3. #23

    Dylan Dog: Dead of Night Movie Review



    The reason why I watched this movie was because I didn’t want to watch a tagalog movie. The other foreign movies on the other hand, either I have already seen or I have it scheduled to watch with someone. So I watched Dylan Dog: Dead of Night.

    The movie was based on the Italian comic book Dylan Dog by Tiziano Sclavi, starring Ex-Superman Brandon Routh as the ace detective whose specialty is paranormal cases. Ex-Jimmy Olsen, Sam Huntington is also in the movie as Marcus Adams, Dylan’s zombie assistant. The movie evolved when an exporter was murdered and his daughter, Elizabeth Ryan (played by Anita Briem) called Dylan to investigate. Anita told Dylan that an artifact, the Heart of Belial was stolen the same night his father was murdered. And so the chase begins.

    The fight scenes, special effects and costumes in this movie are the usual things you see in movies. Nothing special was made. The werewolf costume that was used didn’t even looked like a wolf. It looked like a mutant gorilla. Kurt Angle (yes, the professional wrestler and Olympic gold medalist) was also in the movie. He was a werewolf. The movie was also shot in dark lighting. Like how they shot the first Twilight movie.

    Overall, it was a good B-movie but not worth your 160php (If you’re watching at SM Megamall). Just watch it in HBO / Star Movie if it will be shown or look for a cheap DVD / VCD on sale.

    I give it 5 stars out of 10.


  4. #24

    Insidious Movie Review



    I was just looking for another genre to watch after the series of animated films I have seen this year that is why I thought of catching this movie in the cinema. It is about a boy who succumbs into an unexplainable comatose which leads to supernatural events involving the devil himself.

    You can easily tell the similarity of its style to Paranormal Activity, though less canted in shots. That being said, it was mostly the shots that made the film scary. It was a bit slow-paced but I love how subtle each scene was presented in the first half of the film.

    Rose Byrne was amazing as usual but the rest of the cast were such a waste. The evil “lurkers” acted much better than the rest of them. Patrick Wilson always reminds me of a one dimensional theater actor.
    It actually felt like I was watching two different films forcibly joined together with all the dream sequences of Rose Byrne and Barbara Hershey and the idea of having spirit questors to fight off the evil spirits.



    The latter part of the film started to become unbearable but I opted to finish it hoping that the film could redeem itself and fortunately, it did. The last few scenes were scary and give you that creepy feeling as if someone’s about to get you while you sleep.

    If you are into the supernatural horror genre, you should go and watch it but do not expect it to be that good for it may disappoint you big time.

    My rating is 6/10



    Discuss the film Here.

  5. #25
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    Thumbs up Super 8 (2011)



    Audiences like to be surprised. It’s been proven time and again that any audience loves surprises, particularly ones that turn out for the better. Of course in today’s world where information practically flies through Facebook and Twitter, it’s become harder and harder to surprise a movie audience. Spoilers are posted mere seconds after a movie has just been seen or plots are on the Twitterverse almost from the time the director shouts “Action!” It’s no small feat then that hotshot director J.J. Abrams has managed to keep plot details of his new film Super 8 so close to his vest. Though it has made it a bit tougher to generate hype for the movie, it’s also managed to heighten interest.

    Set in the town of Lillian, Ohio in 1979, Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) is the son of Sheriff’s Deputy Jackson Lamb (Kyle Chandler). Joe’s mom died in an accident in the local factory and he’s been coping by helping his best friend Charles Kaznyk (Riley Griffiths) film a motion picture using a Super 8 mm film camera. While shooting one night, Joe, Charles, and their friends/film cast witness a train accident. The train explodes but something mysterious is set free. Mysterious happenings begin occurring in Lillian and neighboring towns, causing the U.S. military to show up. Even as Jackson tries to pacify the townspeople, Joe and his friends find something eerie when they watch what they shot on their Super 8 film.

    Abrams co-produced Super 8 with longtime cohort Bryan Burk along with legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg. It’s still quite surprising, however, to see elements of past Spielberg films reflected in this piece. Abrams clearly grew up admiring the older Spielberg and one can see traces of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial throughout the movie. Super 8, as a “coming-of-age” type of movie, also makes one recall similar movies like 1994’s My Girl and perhaps the best movie from this genre, 1986’s Stand By Me. That’s not a bad thing though because each of those films harkens back to what we perceive to be simpler, more innocent times.

    The 1979 setting is captured perfectly in the clothes, the cars, the lingo, and the music. There’s even a point when the townspeople fear that the Soviets are invading, recalling the paranoia that swept the free world during the Cold War era. That was also the time that aliens first made big money on the big screen through the efforts of Spielberg himself so Super 8 sometimes feels like a Spielberg tribute film. Again though, for most of us who’ve grown up on Spielberg’s visions of aliens, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

    Abrams separates himself from Spielberg though when he heightens the horror elements of Super 8. He really keeps his alien in the shadows or as a blurry image in the background. It’s not until much later in the film that you see the alien in full glory and, unlike in Abrams’ previous alien romp Cloverfield, this does not disappoint. There is an air of innocence and persecution in Super 8 that kind of justifies the horrific nature of the alien’s actions, so much so that when the final confrontation happens, you can’t help but feel sympathy for it.

    Kudos should be given to the cast of mostly unknowns, led by Courtney, Griffiths, and Elle Fanning (Dakota’s kid sister) as Alice Dainard. Casting unknowns tend to humanize movie characters as one hasn’t associated them yet with previous film roles and the cast of Super 8 brings a lot of freshness and innocence (there’s that word again) to their performances. The trailers for Super 8 could have led to major disappointment once the surprise was revealed. Luckily for us, this was a very pleasant surprise that definitely delivered in spades.

    I'll give this an 8 out of 10, with my quibble being that it felt too much like a Spielberg film that Abrams' voice just seemed drowned out at times.



    Discuss the movie in the Super 8 thread.

  6. #26
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    Thumbs up Green Lantern (2011)



    The key to any good comic book to movie adaptation is to get the essence of the characters and bring them to life exactly as the hardcore fans would envision it. This held true in the original Superman from 1978, Iron Man, The Dark Knight, and other such success stories. Scriptwriters and directors may tinker with some details, change up timelines and plots, but the essence of the characters; what makes them heroes in the first place, cannot be altered.

    In the case of Green Lantern, director Martin Campbell faced the challenge of bringing DC Comics’ resident ring-wielding space cop and all of the constructs he can shape with his mind to the big screen. Though many scoffed at the choice of quick-witted Ryan Reynolds for the iconic role of Air Force Capt. Hal “Highball” Jordan, he proves to be a more than capable pilot, albeit a burnout who has made a living of disappointing those around him. Tasked with joining the intergalactic peacekeeping group known as the Green Lantern Corps, we see actual excitement when Hal receives the power as well as trepidation with the gigantic responsibility that comes with the green Power Ring.

    Clearly, Peter Sarsgaard steals every scene where we see his character of Hector Hammond. Known for possessing a giant head in the comics, the added backstory of disappointing his politician father and his gradual descent into madness makes Hammond almost sympathetic. Though Blake Lively has been notable as just a TV star on Gossip Girl, her portrayal of Carol Ferris doesn’t come across as a one-dimensional damsel in distress but rather a multi-faceted go-getter trying to run her father’s company.

    Using narration by Tomar-Re (voiced by Geoffrey Rush), the audience is quickly given the backstory of why the Guardians of the Universe founded the Green Lantern Corps in the first place and why they harness willpower in the form of those little green rings. The montage of Jordan being indoctrinated by Tomar-Re, Kilowog (voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan) and Sinestro (Mark Strong) is paced fast enough that one feels the exasperation Hal experiences when he fears that he doesn’t measure up to the Corps’ standards. It’s actually one of the more fun parts of Green Lantern.

    In the Green Lantern mythos, the essential elements are as follows: dying alien passes Power Ring to irresponsible pilot, Jordan meets thousands of aliens on Oa, joins Green Lantern Corps and swears “The Oath”, Jordan has issues with the Guardians, pilot overcomes his fears to become the greatest Green Lantern of them all. Green Lantern, the movie, follows each of these elements save the last one. After all, there has to be some plots for the sequel(s). Tapping the Parallax entity as this first film’s main villain and tying his story to Abin Sur’s (Temuera Morrison) demise makes sense because it gives the film a universe-spanning baddie while also explaining the Power Rings’ problems with the color yellow.

    A few years ago, a live action Green Lantern movie would not have been possible. Now that advances in special effects have made the hero’s ability to create shapes and constructs of any shape and size possible, anticipation for the Green Lantern movie rose to a fever pitch. Truth be told, most comic book fans were pushing for Reynolds to be cast as that other iconic DC hero, The Flash. There was trepidation that a “funny guy” like him could bring the gravitas and All-American hero vibe that permeates from Hal Jordan. The Rock is quite pleased to report that Reynolds fills the green boots and Power Ring with aplomb and eagerly await Green Lantern’s next cosmic adventure.

    Despite what critics have been saying, The Rock gives Green Lantern a solid 9 out of 10. If you smell-l-l-l-l what The Rock is cookin!



    Discuss the movie in the Green Lantern movie thread.

  7. #27

    The Tree Of Life Review



    Director: Terrence Malick

    The Tree Of Life which won this years’ Palm d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival aptly closes the [I]16th French Film Festival[/I] in Manila yesterday, and from the looks of it the film may garner varied reactions from its Manila audience come opening day.

    The film is about the meaning of life from the main perspective of one family with Brad Pitt playing the dominating but loving father, his passive wife played by Jessica Chastain and their three little boys.

    Technically, the film boasts of an enormous greatness from its cinematography, musical score and its wonderful shots but I was almost at a loss of words seeing all the imagery used by Malick to convey the beginning of everything. It was eye-catching but then I find all the symbolisms way too many that it almost drowned the film.

    Its direct dialogues to the audience were almost religious and felt quite empty at times since most of the images were distracting, though, in a pleasant way.

    Sean Penn
    , whom I truly admire, got lost in this film. Why is he there in the first place? I thought that Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain worked it big time together with their effective and relatable portrayals along with the boys. I love how realistic their scenes were.

    I’m afraid though, that the film’s too abstract narrative was too high of an art that it may jeopardize its connection to the audience. I asked myself, did I enjoy watching it? The answer was not a certain yes or no but I have polarizing feelings towards it. I love that all the “family” scenes were all inspired and very heartwarming but the surrealist approach that the director is inserting every now and then was a bit too much for my taste.

    I feel that this film would be considered by some as a snooze fest flick like the Hurt Locker but it will actually force you to watch its entirety with the film’s almost magical presentation.

    My Rating: 6/10



    Discuss the film HERE

  8. #28
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    Review: Transformers: Dark of the Moon



    Michael Bay has already said that Transformers: Dark of the Moon is the last of the movie franchise (of course there’s still a possibility of a reboot or another sequel in the future with another director at helm) and while this trilogy (intended or not) is not a well-constructed one as a whole, the third Transformers movie served as a fitting end to the franchise.

    Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) struggles in his transition to adulthood and has been longing for the days when he felt that he mattered. After helping save the world twice, Sam feels like a total loser as he had difficulty landing jobs after graduating from college and what’s worse, his new girlfriend Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) is basically supporting him. He finds a job later on which is somewhat degrading but this job led him to discover the brewing conflict between the Autobots and Decepticons which will endanger the lives of the human race.

    The movie takes on an alternate history which involves the 1969 NASA moon landing and the way they told that story is contrived (the alternate history its trying to tell is muddled as well) but it’s serviceable.

    In Transformers: Dark of the Moon the Autobots and the Decepticons take center stage, yes Sam is still a prominent character but this time around the robots are not just there to deliver those action sequences but their characters in this movie have more substance and has purpose. And this not limited only to Optimus Prime and Bumblebee as almost every robot (even the little ones) left a strong impression. The Decepticons were nastier and scarier too.

    LaBeouf did fine as Sam transitions from awkward teen to a mature young man. Sam still has those annoying childlike qualities (his screams for example) but he steps up in this movie and is not just an accidental hero who was only trapped by circumstance. Megan Fox’s replacement Rosie Huntington-Whiteley did okay, unless you are easily distracted with her accent and her lips then she shouldn’t be a bother. You could still somehow feel that Carly is really just Mikaela with the way her relationship with Sam is developed plus how Bay treated her character (despite being in the middle of an apocalyptic battle she’s still clean and gorgeous and she was running and getting thrown while wearing high heels at that).

    I didn’t like the movie’s attempt for humor though as it was unnecessary and was just simply annoying. Ken Jeong’s character was a great example to that, the character has a real purpose but choosing to play the character with toilet humor diminishes his credibility.

    The action scenes and visual effects are good and there are a lot of insane sequences here which translated well on screen. However, there were really a lot of things going on that you could easily lose track on what’s happening already. And while the action sequences are fun to watch it was dragged on too long and could have been tightened even more like lessen the use of the slow-mos and better pacing. It’s a hot mess.

    Overall, Transformers: Dark of the Moon is an entertaining ride, it has a great but not perfectly polished visuals but this time around it has a story that is functional that drives the story to a point with more dynamic characters carrying the movie. 7/10



    Discuss the movie at Transformers: Dark of the Moon thread
    Last edited by forg; Jun 29, 2011 at 02:42 PM.

  9. #29

    Review: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

    This statement should sum it all up: Transformers: Dark of the Moon, the third installment of the Transformers franchise, is only a *bit* better than the second one. And that says a lot because the general consensus is that the second movie was really bad.

    What went wrong?

    The editing was awful. The cuts from one scene to another during the battle scenes were so messy. One second Sam/Shia and Lennox/Josh were on top of a car, the next second they were walking. Maybe they thought that people won't notice because of all the 'excitement', but it was too glaring in some scenes.

    Some elements of the plot were also problematic. [spoiler start] The explosion of Cybertron, the return of the Autobots, the delay of Optimus Prime, the absense of Megatron during the battle scenes and his return because of a taunt - these are only a few examples. [/spoiler end] Don't get me wrong - I'm rather easy to please when it comes to movies. I know that one of its objectives is to entertain, so if a movie is entertaining enough, I'll still appreciate it even if it's predictable or formulaic or even if it's crazy. But within the reality of the movie, things should make sense. And those problem plot elements - they didn't.

    Formula. I was expecting more from this movie. I thought they knew how the second one sucked, and would avoid the elements which made it suck. Formula element #1: What is up with Michael Bay and hot women in white, who don't get dirty until the battles are over??? I read so many comments about how ridiculous it was that Megan Fox was pristinely clean while running around in the desert. Well, they didn't learn from that. Carly/Rosie ran around in a white jacket, IN HEELS, during the explosions. It was so ridiculous! Formula element #2: Some of the the battle scenes and explosions were too messy, you don't know what's going on. The scene where the building was toppling over - some parts were just too much. There's 'awesome', and then there's 'too much'. Formula element #3: I didn't follow the series so I don't know if these robots were supposed to exist, but there are always small robots for comic relief. Some of them are actually entertaining, but it's all too part of a template for me.

    Rosie did well in the scenes where she was flirting and being happy. She didn't do well in the scenes where she was supposed to be scared - I felt that ruined some of the scenes. Her close ups were distracting because she had such a beautiful face, with pouty lips. It was like you were going through a comic book with robots and then you suddenly come across a page of a glossy magazine. Very nice to look at, but very disconcerting.

    What can you look forward to?

    The fight scenes among/between the robots were, at times, breathtaking. Optimus Prime rocks, [spoiler start] well, when he finally arrived.[/spoiler end]

    Leonard Nimoy. [spoiler start] Sentinel Prime rocks, even if he turns out to be a bad guy. [/spoiler end] 'Nuff said.

    Transformers: Dark of the Moon was, overall, disappointing. You can still watch it in the theaters though, because it's partly entertaining. I wouldn't say it's something that you must avoid. For me, Leonard Nimoy made it worth it. It's not necessary to watch it on 3D, in my opinion. There were only a few scenes that had impact, and the rest, well, were mostly just debris. I would give it a 6/10.



    Discuss the movie here: Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon

  10. Jul 2, 2011
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  11. #30
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    Review: Amigo



    I was browsing movie listings online when I noticed a film called Amigo opening this week. I never heard about it before and frankly I thought this one of those local obscure "sexy" movies masquerading as an "indie film" that randomly appears on some cinema houses. To my surprise, Amigo is a historical film which stars respected Filipino actors Joel Torre, Rio Locsin, Ronnie Lazarro, Bembol Rocco, John Arcilla, Irma Adlawan and foreign actors that include Oscar winner Chris Cooper (Adaptation) and Garret Dillahunt (TV's Raising Hope). Upon reading the film's synopsis, Amigo got my interest immediately plus it's quite rare these days to see a film in this genre in a semi-wide release and shown on major cinemas in Metro Manila and some provinces.

    At first I thought the film was a local production since it has local stars after all and was shot in Bohol but it's actually an American film written and directed by Oscar nominee John Sayles (but there are local production crews as well). That fact escalated my interest even more so I immediately watched the movie on its opening day (July 6) and I can proudly say that it was worth the money and I really hope more people can catch it (it will just have a limited one week run).

    In a nutshell, Amigo tells the story of how San Isidro, a small barrio in the Philippines, was caught in the middle during the almost forgotten Philippine-American war that happened at the turn of the 20th century when Spain relinquished their hold of the Philippines to the Americans. Admittedly, I’m not a history expert nor was I a good student back then when I studied it but I do recall that this period of time in the country’s history was barely discussed in school so the fact that this movie tells this largely unheard story is commendable.

    Joel Torre plays Rafael, the cabeza or the town mayor who is conflicted on how he could keep his town safe while at the same time cooperating with the Americans and dealing with the local rebels (which his brother and son are part of) that also demands his loyalty. Torre is just magnificent and definitely carries the film all throughout. All the supporting characters, both Filipino and foreign, did a solid job. They could have given more but the film has a lot of characters that they simply didn’t have the time to flesh out the characters even more.

    The film can sometimes feel like, unsurprisingly, a history lecture but it was presented in a way that will draw your attention completely. The characters and the town of San Isidro are charming and so raw that you would actually feel what it feels like to live there during that time. You could see how carefully constructed this film is with thorough research and keen attention to detail. I know that people often associate ‘history” to ‘boring” but I assure you that Amigo isn’t.

    I appreciate the film’s attempt to show all sides of the conflict from the ordinary townsfolk to the Americans to the local rebels and even the Spaniards and (for a brief time) the Chinese. The audience will understand or at least learn where all the conflicting camps are coming from and why they make certain decisions.

    Doing films about a war is quite difficult to do because it will always illicit reactions that there could be bias and propaganda involved but Amigo simply tells a story of people who are victims of circumstances and further solidifies the statement that in war, no one will ever truly win. 9.5 / 10



    Discuss this film at the Amigo thread

  12. Jul 8, 2011


  13. #31
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    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2


    [WARNING! SOME SPOILERS AHEAD]

    It is all sorts of epic. An epic battle. An epic revelation. An epic end.

    The Harry Potter journey finally comes to an end with the last installment of the Harry Potter movie franchise: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. The final movie will make you wish you have a Time Turner so you can watch it over and over again.

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 continues the plot of the first part: Harry’s quest, along with Hermione and Ron, to find the rest of Voldemort’s Horcruxes and destroy every last one. The second part also sees the return of Harry in Hogwarts, although the school has significantly changed under the new headmastership of Snape. Of course the epic confrontation between Harry and Voldemort also comes to an end, as destiny dictates if the boy who lived will continue to live. Secrets will be revealed about the Deathly Hallows, an unexpected ally will be discovered, and heroes we have known and loved in the series will unfortunately fall.

    Fans will not be disappointed with the last film. Compared to the first part which was kind of dragging, the second part is a surefire hit that you wouldn’t want to miss for anything. Every scene will captivate you and every moment will linger in your memory as you also reminisce the previous Potter films.

    It was like the first part was a buildup for the jaw-dropping, tear-inducing greatness of the second part. Although it is noticeable that emphasis is given more to Harry and Voldemort, the supporting cast members were not mere backdrops. Their presences were felt and their stories were also told, although in a much deeper connection that only true fans will be able to relate to and truly appreciate.

    Catching it in full 3D Imax glory is not a requirement, but it is a nice way to see the end of a much loved franchise (even an era). Special effects are dramatic and seamless. You can feel the wind in your face as the protagonists ride the Gringotts dragon, you feel a tingle in your spine in every hex, charm, spell casted, and the defense of Hogwarts is a larger than life scene that every Potterhead must anticipate.

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is certainly a wonderful ending to a memorable story. No words can fully describe the experience. So just troop down to a theater near you and watch it. We command you. Imperio!

    TeamPEx gives it a 10/10



    Discuss the movie in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows thread.

  14. #32

    Bridesmaids



    Now, don’t let the movie title mislead you. While Bridesmaids does in fact operate on a wedding milieu, it is not your typical wedding movie. If you’re thinking the likes of My Bestfriend’s Wedding, Maid of Honor or 27 Dresses, stop. It’s not exactly the romantic-comedy that is usually associated with weddings, although it has some tinges of the love angle (after all, it is still a wedding movie). But this is what exactly makes it a great comedy!

    Bridesmaids tells the story of Annie Walker (Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live). Annie finds out that her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph, Saturday Night Live) is engaged and she was chosen to be her maid of honor. Coming from an unsuccessful bakeshop business and a non-existent love life, Annie needs to get her act together to fulfill her duties as maid of honor with a motley group of bridesmaids. Though lovelorn and broke, Annie bluffs her way through the expensive and bizarre rituals.

    Bridesmaids can be compared more to the previous films of its producer Judd Apatow--Superbad, Knocked Up and 40-year Old Virgin. If you have seen any one of these films, then you know what I mean—it surely delivers the laughs.

    Credit this to the effective portrayal by Wiig of Annie Walker’s character. Wiig’s performance was subtle but very funny. She blended perfectly with her fellow SNL standout, Rudolph. Unfortunately, we did not get to see much of Rudolph’s comedic skills. The director was also able to balance Annie Walker with the other bridesmaids, who also has their respective craziness

    Interestingly, Wiig is half of the duo who wrote for the film. Looks like someone is out to challenge Tina Fey. The other writer? It is Annie Mulolo, who you’ll get to see doing a cameo on the plane seating right next to Wiig.

    If you are looking for a good laugh, then this is the movie for you, as it has lots of scenes which are guaranteed to tickle your funny bone—the opening scene with the surprise cameo of Jon Hamm (Mad Men, The Town) (so, be sure not to be late when the movie starts), the excruciatingly painful exchange of banters during the engagement party between Wiig and Rose Byrne (Damages, X-Men: First Class), who plays Helen Harris, the socialite friend/bridesmaid of Lillian, the bridesmaid gown selection and fitting, and the scene where Wiig was trying to get the attention of her policeman love interest.

    These scenes will stick to you and will make you smile long after you are out of the cinemas.

    Rating: 9 out of 10



    Discuss the movie in the Bridesmaids thread.
    Last edited by PEx Reviews; Jul 21, 2011 at 10:19 AM.

  15. #33
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    Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)



    As a movie created for fanboys, Captain America: The First Avenger has spread a buzz of excitement in the Marvel fandom, triggering that all too familiar childhood feeling of idolizing a favorite superhero, and the giddiness that come along with seeing the hero in action, i.e, saving the world against evil.

    Captain America: The First Avenger introduces the origin of the iconic patriotic guy circa 1941, clad in the American flag motif with his indestructible shield, and how he came to be a superhero.

    It’s World War II, and stick-thin Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) wants more than anything to join the military-- his wafer-thin build, including a plethora of health problems, not stopping him from trying to enlist. After repeated rejections, his desire and determination to fight the Nazis are not deterred, until ultimately, he is finally recruited by Dr. Erskine (Stanley Tucci), who notices that despite Rogers’ physical built that is similar to that of a concentration camp prisoner rather than of a military man, he’s got a heart of a true soldier.

    Erskine turns out to be a creator of a super-soldier serum for a top secret government project to defeat Hitler, the Nazis, and Johann Schmidt a.k.a The Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) and his evil Hydra organization. Rogers volunteers for Operation: Rebirth, and the somatic cell engineering turns him from a 90-pound boy into a manly all-American beefy super-soldier Captain America. And thus begins his adventure.



    Captain America: The First Avenger, directed by Joe Johnston (The Wolfman, Jurassic Park III, October Sky, Jumanji), is not a bad film, but it lacks the super-power punch that elicits the wide-eyes and the oohhs and aaahs expected from a superhero film. After Rogers’ physical makeover, my excitement has waned. The fight scenes are like huge theatrical Broadway shows, or an extension of Captain America’s initial task to travel the country in a promotional tour to sell war bonds. The action scenes did not feel real, like an elaborate cosplay with super effects. Even the villainous Red Skull did not induce fear and hatred, his presence weak and almost boring. The fight scenes are incredibly light and child-friendly that I was almost expecting KLAPOW, BAM, KA-POW to pop everywhere. There was no tension, no fear, no intensity.

    Captain America: The First Avenger is not a movie that will grip you (when the end credits began rolling, the super fan in my row, in his Captain America costume, exclaimed, "I am underwhelmed."), but it will take you just fine through the end. The winning factor of the movie is that it elicits a lot of LOL's and is fairly well-paced and visually pleasing. It’s a very, very light and simple wholesome comedy-adventure movie that kids will enjoy with the family. But even the little kiddos won’t hide when The Red Skull appears.

    3D is unnecessary and even makes the film darker. But in a “secret surprise scene” after the end credits, Marvel fans will surely feel a surge of excitement.

    6.5 out of 10 stars



    Discuss the movie in the Captain America: The First Avenger thread.
    Last edited by PEx Reviews; Jul 27, 2011 at 04:55 PM.

  16. #34

    Larry Crowne Review



    I have always been a huge fan of Julia Roberts and her works so I was very excited to watch this film directed by her co-star Tom Hanks whom I equally adore as an actor. The whole scenario of the film is about Larry Crowne, an ex-Navy played by Hanks who got fired from his job because he lacks college education despite his good performance at work.

    Losing his job and almost losing his home, Larry decided to enroll at the community college to get an education. There he met his unhappy married teacher Mercedes (Roberts) whom he immediately fell inlove with.

    For some reason, I find the plot a bit too boring and very much ordinary. It only offers a bit of humor that I did not expect from Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks! I was maybe expecting some witty lines to come from them. Instead, the scenes of economic professor Dr. Matsutani played by George Takei entertained me more.

    It’s still an okay film to say the least. I mean, both Roberts and Hanks are still very charming but it is just not a very spectacular one. After watching it, it’s like – so that was it? It’s like I kinda wasted my money on watching it. This directorial stint of Hanks isn’t what I’ve expected to see. There’s too much unnecessary lines and scenes! However, I still commend the way Tom Hanks effectively portrayed Larry Crowne as described in the film, it’s just too bad that everything about it is forgettable.

    Rating: 4 out of 10



    Discuss the movie in the Larry Crowne Thread

  17. #35

    Cowboys And Aliens Review



    Cowboys and Aliens is based on the 2006 graphic novel by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, which I haven’t read prior to watching this film. The movie starts with a stranger (Daniel Craig) who wakes up in the desert town of Absolution with no memory at all. The only clue to who he might be is a weird bracelet attached to his wrist. Colonel Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) whose power is feared by the town’s people ran the town of Absolution.

    At the night when the mysterious alien spaceships arrive in town and abduct most of its people one by one, the stranger whose name is Jake and is wanted for several crimes according to the town’s sheriff, discovers the use of his bracelet and collaborates with the cowboys to hunt the aliens and save those who were abducted.

    I was thinking upon seeing the film’s trailer that it’d be a really interesting watch and something that would be a mash-up between Indiana Jones and James Bond boasting both actors who played each character. I was however a bit disappointed with the several loopholes presented in the film. Everything got mixed-up for me. First, the aliens’ objective to attack to accumulate [spoiler start] gold [/spoiler end] lacks narrative (this is from someone who have not read the book). Ella’s scenes (Olivia Wilde) were a bit off because she would just pop out and it was distracting in the serious tone of the film. She always looks good and clean in the film’s dusty setting which kind of reminds me of Megan Fox in Transformers. Although her character is somewhat important because she knows stuff about Jake and the aliens, her dialogue didn’t give much information. Moreover, what exactly do the aliens want from Jake? They remind me of the prawns in District 9 but more grotesque and cartoon-like. Also, the scene which I’m just totally clueless about was the “light” the abductees are looking at. Exactly what is that? A hypnotism device of some sort?



    Both Craig and Ford were actually okay and delivered most parts like how they should be delivered, it’s just that you will not feel for them because there’s no connection from them at all. I am not saying that it is a bad film. In general, it took me to that level where I’m expecting a lot of guns shooting and killing with the humans winning. I am just surprised with its mediocrity. The concept may be new to the ear but the scenes – I have seen them before.

    Rating: 5/10



    Dicuss the movie in the Cowboys And Aliens Thread.
    Last edited by PEx Reviews; Aug 9, 2011 at 03:32 PM.

  18. #36
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    Review: The Rise of the Planet of the Apes



    The Rise of the Planet of the Apes is not exactly a direct prequel to the original Planet of the Apes in 1968 nor the Tim Burton reboot in 2001 but it's a reboot-prequel much like X-Men: First Class. Nevertheless this movie told a well-crafted origin story that pays honor to the original while making a mark on its own.

    The movie opens with a powerful scene of apes being hunted down. One of the chimps captured was later sold to a US laboratory where chimps are being tested for a potential cure to Alzheimer's disease. Heading that research is Will Rodman (James Franco) who has personal reasons for doing this project as his father (John Lithgow) is suffering from the disease. Will has developed a drug that creates healthy brain cells that counteracts the effects of the disease and the chimpanzees are his 'guinea pigs'. “Bright Eyes” (the chimp captured earlier on the movie) exhibited advance mental development due to the drug and was the one chosen to be presented to a board meeting where he seeks for their approval to use the drug for human testing. However, disaster ensued that led to the tested chimps taken down and Will’s research terminated. Later on, Will discovered that Bright Eyes gave birth before the disastrous presentation and Will decided to keep the baby chimp and named it Caesar. Due to Caesar’s exposure to the drug, he not only inherited her mother’s intelligence but has shown advance development as well (he knows how to solve complex puzzles and communicates through sign language). Over the years, Will and his father treated Caesar as a real family member but along the way Caesar’s instinct as an ape led him to be taken away from Will and he ends up in an “ape shelter” run by John (Brian Cox) and his cruel son Dodge (Tom Felton). In the shelter, Caesar is finally with his kind and he discovers what the real world really is.

    The star of this movie is definitely Caesar which is played by Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Ring’s Gollum). There were no real apes used in this movie, just a combination of CGI and motion-performance capture. This movie attests that if these technologies are used properly they could create a powerful character that feels genuine and relatable as oppose to being cartoonish. There could be a debate if technology enhanced the acting part but for me Caesar’s eyes and expressions felt so real and Serkis did an unbelievable job bringing Caesar to life. The other actors did okay although their characters are merely incidental to the film’s story. Franco’s Will lacked depth to make you feel something for his character even if the story’s conflict started because of him. Meanwhile Freida Pinto was underutilized as she played Caesar's vet turned Will's girlfriend that brought nothing to the film and Tom Felton is not awful but the character is your typical one-dimensional villain. Caesar meanwhile is a well-developed, complex character that every scene that he's in is compelling. The apes carried the movie’s narrative so it’s not surprising that the best part of this movie is Caesar’s scenes with his fellow apes at the shelter. There were almost no dialogues at all but what’s going on is well-told as you will clearly understand the plight of these apes and how slowly Caesar is realizing what he should do. The last part of the movie was hair-raising as the apes challenges the humans. It’s a big, epic scene which has some flaws on the technical side but it was still engaging to watch as it unfolds. And the movie ends well where it would work out on all levels: as a prequel to the 1968 original (disregarding the sequels which has a different ape revolution origin), a prequel to a potential revitalized franchise or a satisfying conclusion to a standalone movie.

    All in all, The Rise of the Planet of the Apes is one of the better ones in the slew of adventure/epic movies in the last couple of months but this one clearly stands out as it manages not only to deliver the [special effects] punches but a captivating story that will linger in your mind as you leave the theater.

    Rating: 9 / 10



    Discuss the movie at The Rise of the Planet of the Apes thread
    Last edited by PEx Reviews; Aug 9, 2011 at 03:33 PM.

  19. #37
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    Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)



    Rise of the Planet of the Apes is one of those rare films that you just know would be good based on the trailer alone.

    Whether or not you're a fan of the Apes cult movie franchise, Rise of the Planet of the Apes will satisfy your craving for a quality B-movie summer blockbuster experience at the cinemas. It's not mind-blowing awesome, but it's a delicious ticket-worthy movie experience with a lingering effect.

    In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, we are on Planet Earth, in present-day San Francisco, where hot scientist Will Rodman (James Franco) experiments on chimps as part of his fervent research to cure Alzheimer's, a disease that inflicts his father (John Lithgow). A supposedly failed experiment leads Rodman to bring home a baby chimp and names him Caesar-- the genesis of a cataclysmic future with apes.

    Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a reboot of the Planet of the Apes movie franchise based on Pierre Boulle's novel La planete des singes, and serves as the foundation of a new Apes series. It has a good cast, and Franco, after his failed stint as a superbly weird 2011 Oscar co-host, has redeemed himself in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, reminding us that he's a versatile actor-- and that he should stick to this craft.



    Directed by Rupert Wyatt (The Escapist), Rise of the Planet of the Apes is unpretentious, quick-paced, emotional, and heartfelt, and incites moral and social questions, awareness of animal treatment, with an emotional portrayal of human-beast relationship. And with CG animation that brought us Oscar golds Avatar and Lord of the Rings, the apes in the movie are realistic and soulful, more chilling and admirably expressive, and it becomes a thrill to observe Caesar's intelligence advance to human level.

    Indeed, Rise of the Planet of the Apes has the power to hook you from beginning to end with its potent storytelling. It's got the right blend of sci-fi thriller, drama, and action, and will perhaps give birth to a new generation of Planet of the Apes fans.

    9 out of 10 stars
    Now showing in theaters near you



    Discuss the movie in the Rise of the Planet of the Apes thread
    Last edited by PEx Reviews; Aug 10, 2011 at 03:46 PM.

  20. #38
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    Review: Crazy Stupid Love




    Crazy Stupid Love showcases an array of characters with their own love issues building up a strong story that resonates to everyone’s (mis)adventures with this crazy stupid thing we call love.

    Cal (Steve Carell) and Emily (Julianne Moore) married early and had been together since they were in high school. Cal got the surprise of his life when during a dinner Emily drops a bomb: she wants a divorce. And to make matters even worst, Emily revealed that she slept with her co-worker David (Kevin Bacon). Cal immediately moves out of their home and spent several nights in a bar where he randomly talks to strangers about her failed marriage and this got the attention of Jacob (Ryan Gosling), a womanizer who also frequents the same bar to seduce ladies. Jacob offered Cal to “train” him on how to be a better man whom ladies would salivate for. As Cal slowly transforms to become a ladies man, Jacob then faces off with Hanna (Emma Stone), a woman she tried to hit on before but didn’t bite however she comes back later on to challenge him. While his parents deal with their breakup, Cal and Emily’s 13-year-old son Robbie (Jonah Bobo) is suffering from an unrequited love to the family’s long-time babysitter, 17-year- old Jessica (America’s Next Top Model’s Analeigh Tipton) who in turn is harboring a secret feelings for Cal!

    The movie’s strength is the cast as they deliver knock out performances while playing each other’s off smoothly. Steve Carell did a great job as the movie’s anchor as he was able to mix comedy and drama very well. Cal will say some funny stuff about a situation he is in but despite the humor you could still feel the inner emotional turmoil he’s experiencing. Cal’s emotional moments never went overdramatic yet Carell pulls off a suffering man amazingly. Moore is also great as a woman undergoing a midlife crisis but make no mistake as Moore was also as good in the comedic scenes as well. Carell and Moore complemented each other and they give realistic portrayal whose marriage is on the rocks.

    Women will definitely swoon over Gosling while men will find Stone’s charms irresistible. Their story is just secondary to Cal and Emily’s but the “game changing” moment that Jacob and Hanna shared was electrifying and raw. That scene was effective thanks to Gosling and Stone’s remarkable performances and sizzling chemistry.

    Jonah Bobo’s Robbie is this movie’s scene stealer and while kids playing “wise beyond their years” had been done a lot of times already, Bobo manages to play Robbie with such innocent poignancy and sweetness that you just can’t help but root for the little guy.

    There’s a major scene in this movie where everything comes in full circle and I advice everyone not to read the movie on Wikipedia or IMDB for it could spoil that particular moment. The movie did follow a predictable path towards the end but while there’s nothing innovative about it, Crazy Stupid Love is still one of the better romantic-comedies that graced the wide screen in a while and is definitely worth the ticket. 9 / 10




    ***

    Discuss the movie at the Crazy Stupid Love thread.
    Last edited by forg; Aug 15, 2011 at 01:34 PM.

  21. #39
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    Review: Final Destination 5



    The Final Destination franchise was supposed to end with the last movie released two years ago which was officially titled "The Final Destination” but that movie exceeded box office expectations (thanks to the 3D gimmick which was fairly new to the audience back then) so the studio green lighted another sequel which offers more of the same thing but with some standout sequences that delivered the punches.

    Final Destination 5 opens with Sam (Nicholas D'Agosto) and his officemates preparing for their company retreat and while on their way Sam sees a vision of a disastrous bridge collapse that would kill them all. Upon realizing that it was all a premonition, Sam tried to warn his officemates to leave the bus before they cross the bridge. His premonition came true and only 8 of them survived the tragedy. But they were not supposed to survive so “death” haunts them one by one.

    So this movie basically follows the Final Destination template where you will see the survivors of the tragedy suffer from elaborate and ridiculous ways to die. So the key for this movie’s success is if the set pieces are exciting to watch. In this edition, two sequences delivered the thrills and those are the big bridge collapse catastrophe and the ghastly gymnasts’ go-around. The clear standout is the set piece involving the gymnasts which was masterfully executed and for that alone I would recommend this movie. That sequence was very keen with details and presented various ways that the victim could die toying with audience expectations. The director managed to heighten the suspense with every shot and the conclusion to that sequence was shocking but actually makes sense. The next set pieces were a mixed bag: some like involving the massage started promising but petered out and the one involving the eye surgery was a hot mess. The movie is rated R13 but with no cuts so you would see the movie in its full g[l]ory.

    The acting from the largely unknown cast is acceptable given how thin the material they are given. And as for seeing this on 3D, the bridge collapse tragedy was executed well for 3D use and the aforementioned gymnast sequence works too but the rest of the movie just didn’t click with the format (well if you're looking forward to spats of blood and disconnected body parts thrown in your face then this movie has a lot of that to offer)

    Final Destination 5 ends on a note that could finally conclude the franchise and it’s actually a clever way to end it (of course the franchise’s fate depends on the worldwide box office and I heard if this one makes enough money the six and seventh installments will be shot back to back). If you enjoyed the franchise (or at least a movie or two) then this movie is for you but this edition didn’t really inject a new life to the franchise but just presented another set of ways on how to die horribly. 6 / 10



    ***

    Final Destination 5 opens in the Philippines on August 24.

    Discuss the movie at the Final Destination 5 thread.
    Last edited by forg; Aug 23, 2011 at 10:25 AM. Reason: typo

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    Review: Cars 2



    So I went to watch Cars 2 with low expectations because of the massive negative reviews it received upon its release in the US. I love Pixar films and it was sad so to see that their streak of commercial and critical hits for over a decade ended with this movie (critically speaking only as the movie is still a bona fide blockbuster). I watched the movie with an open mind but the reviews were indeed right, Cars 2 is by a mile the weakest Pixar movie. With that said, the movie is still good enough because of its amazing animation, visual puns, and witty banter.

    In this sequel, tow truck Mater (Larry The Cable Guy) takes the center stage as Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) tags him along as he competes in an international race sponsored by Miles (Eddie Izzard), a business tycoon promoting alternative fuel. But due to Mater’s carefree nature he accidentally finds himself in the middle of a secret spy mission with British secret service agents Finn (Michael Caine) and Holly (Emily Mortimer).

    Cars 2 is radically different from Cars in both structure and tone. While Cars take us on a gentle journey of appreciating the pleasures of slowing down, Cars 2 is a loud spy adventure with relentless energy. Lightning Queen which was the star of the first film was relegated to a supporting role to Mater and that for me is where the movie got it wrong. Mater is a fun character but only good in small doses but in this sequel he is the anchor of the story. His bumbling idiot shtick is lovable at first but becomes grating as it goes on although towards the end the character manages to redeem itself. The movie spent a lot of time with new characters as well and while they were interesting it would have been better if Lightning McQueen and the Radiator Springs folks had their shining moments because their presence was definitely missed in this movie.

    The spy storyline is fascinating especially with its take on fuel conspiracy and corporate greed but I think it’s complicated for kids and got a little boring at some point. However, the way Pixar translated the spy action in this form was very impressive. The opening scene which is a standard spy movie action scene was flawless and gorgeous. Pixar also did a splendid job with the international race sequences as they gave vibrant and amusing interpretations of Japan, Italy, and London in the world of anthropomorphic cars. Moreover, they captured the world car racing atmosphere quite effectively here which I think would resonate well to race cars enthusiasts. Pixar is always good on details and those are clearly at work here. The 3D in the film is great thanks to the film's remarkable palette and well-structured designs.

    What’s really missing with Cars 2 is an emotional attachment to the characters and their relationships. This is the only Pixar film that didn’t have that thought provoking moment that will pinch your heart. There’s an attempt to have that in this movie between Mater and Lightning McQueen but it didn’t work because the reason of their conflict was sloppily written, so when they had their realizations it felt disjointed and forced.

    In hindsight, there’s actually a scene that I would consider a heart-tugging moment but it was short and not related to the core story. It was the scene addressing the absence of Doc Hudson (voiced by the late Paul Newman). The approach was subtle and didn’t elaborate any details but it moved me because it was emotional but grounded. And I wish Cars 2 had that kind of poignancy overall.

    All in all, Cars 2 is a visual treat with a fun adventure storyline but those hoping for Pixar’s brand of compelling characters and sharp storyline will be disappointed. 7 / 10




    ***

    Cars 2 opens in the Philippines on August 24.

    Discuss the movie at the Cars 2 thread
    Last edited by forg; Aug 23, 2011 at 10:12 AM.

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