ANNABELLE MOVIE REVIEW

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-  ★★★ 1/2

The horror scene is just going on and on, and most of it is becoming a franchise or a spin-off from a famous blockbuster hit.

After the success of the movie The Conjuring directed by James Wan, creator of the Insidious series: there came Annabelle. Of course, we all remember Annabelle from The Conjuring movie; the creepy doll who is possessed by some kind of none-of-this-world element that terrorized the film viewers especially me.

But we all know that in that movie, the doll was not the focus of the story, instead it became one of the elements that after the movie became a success, and they created a spin-off slash prequel movie in the same name.

Annabelle is a story set before the Conjuring happened, and a year before the introductory scene in the Conjuring movie happened. I’m talking about the two nurses who were given the Annabelle doll as a gift of course.

And although I was so excited about this spin-off, and after watching it: it didn’t sort of hit the mark for me.

The tone of the movie did not really move away from the Conjuring which is nice, because they’ve kept the entire creepiness with it that really is the mark of the James Wan style. The fright was still there and the movie build-up was a little bit too much for me, bringing me a little bit bored for just a bit or so, but then again, the creepy feeling will bite you back in a matter of instance, which is good.

Although the build-up towards the end of the movie was almost there, the climax in addition with the dénouement part was a bit off for me, and I think it’s such a waste after that very, very long lead-in towards the climactic scene.

After the film, my partner and I couldn’t help but compare the James Wan style of directing plus creating an entire film in comparison to John Leonetti that directed Annabelle.

The film direction. In any of the James Wan horror movies, it always has a long scene climax that really is dreading in a good way since it will fright you no matter what. And of course, James Wan captivates our emotions starting from the build-up up to the very end making us attached to the characters themselves.

With Annabelle and Leonetti’s style, there was this creepiness but not much as with Wan’s style. Might it be because they held back since it’s just a spin-off? Well, that’s a dumb reason to start with. Annabelle is the most highlighted character in The Conjuring movie and I wished they have pushed the boundaries more with the film, rather than sticking to the typical storyline of the flopped American horror movies out there.

Anyhow, even when there’s a lack in the movie, but trust me, it still gives you screams and fright as well.

In addition to all of the creepiness, I think this film gave the most iconic frightening scene of all horror movies I’ve ever seen, and I’m talking about the elevator scene which almost made me piss my pants. It’s really scary and exciting: all the emotions of the first part up to that moment was polarized on that very scene.

Bravo to that.

Anyway, Annabelle is STILL worth the watch. I’m a huge fan of this entirely new franchise, and I believe this is no way of stopping anytime sooner.

 

What do you think about the movie?

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THE MAZE RUNNER MOVIE REVIEW

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★★★ 1/2

“The Maze Runner is a film boasting energetic sequences with thrilling musicality that enthralls movie goers to the edge of the seats.”

The dystopian, post-apocalyptic movies are so in, there’s a real battle on which the best movie-tie-in are the best. After the success of The Hunger Games series which will culminate in 2015: movies like Divergent and The Maze Runner became one of the successes. And with this kind of genre, there’s also a real battle between originality.

The Maze Runner has the same tone as with other dystopian themed films: dark and dangerous, having a world ruled by tyrants or people with sinister plans for mankind.

But what differs The Maze Runner from other? Of course the source material itself.

The Maze Runner film, although quite different from the book; is a heart pounding, dangerous and enthralling movie. With exciting sequences that surely takes you to the edge of your seats. The film is directed carefully in creating agitating scenes which are totally exciting.

I love how the danger lingers within the Glade and how unsure the tone of the story has become and it’s really dreading in a good way.

The adventure really gets your nerves from start to end, and speaking of the movie’s ending, it will give you… another question mark. But that’s fine, it’s better than the book.

The Maze Runner has this specific dilemma that will be unveiled through the dénouement but not that very much information that still leaves a lot of questions which leads me to the part where after it left me the question: Did I like it or not?

There’s a war in me saying that it was good, but it wasn’t good at all due to the fact that the ending is somehow vague and although the sequences were exciting but the story itself seems nonsensical. I mean, why are they the cure? And why does the cure have to be put on trial? It doesn’t make any sense at all.

But I think that’s also the beauty of movie series, it leaves you hanging.

Still, as of the moment, I’m thinking if I liked the movie or not, and I don’t know whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing for the film.

Anyhow, it’s still worth the watch since I’m looking forward for the sequel.

The Maze Runner is a film boasting energetic sequences with thrilling musicality that enthralls movie goers to the edge of the seats.

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THE GIFTED MOVIE REVIEW

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★★★1/2

It seems like every year there’s always going to be a Christine Reyes-Anne Curtis movie which they star together as competition, or sometimes it’s going to be Anne Curtis versus some-other-star or Christine Reyes and some-other-star in a same storyline like the one they both were together in a film which revolutionize third party relationships, and I’m talking about No Other Woman.

To be honest, from the moment John Lloyd and Bea Alonzo was in a film having the same plot; it itches my senses predicting that it won’t be the last… and I was right.

Then came The Gifted movie which they, again, starred as competition. But thankfully, as I watched the trailer (which was horrible by the way), it was not of the same theme: it was more comical and rivalry of friends.

I got curious to what the story might be, but it was good to know that it was an original.

THE STORY

Let’s be honest, the story was nonsense, but some of the greatest Filipino movies that are in the box office have nonsense stories. This doesn’t mean that the film doesn’t have a good story at all; it’s just that it doesn’t have a concrete story to tell.

But it worked out.

I love the rivalry and how extremely funny the lines were whenever the two main characters are on a head-on collision. “too underachieved, what a challenge” is one of my favorites in the film. There are a lot of scenes that will surely keep you laughing up until you go out of the cinema.

When the resolution came, it was absurd, of course. Anne’s character then changed to good after all the shot gun scenes she’s made… but then it wasn’t the ending, and it was a surprise how twisted the story was. I laughed and it was good.

THE ACTING

Anne Curtis is a real superstar. Her sinister acting is one of the best in the Philippine TV and cinema. I grew up not liking her especially when she was in GMA, but then ABS-CBN sharpened her and made her into a diamond.

Christine Reyes was also good when it comes to intense and funny acts.

OVERALL

This is the kind of movie that I would compare to Vice Ganda films like Praybeyt Benjamin, story is totally shallow but it’s totally entertaining, and that’s what we need nowadays, and if Philippine cinema won’t give us Avatar-like effects or stories, better make the best out of comedy and drama.

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2014 BEST, SO-SO AND BAD MOVIES I’VE WATCHED… SO FAR

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It is a great year for movies and awesomness. It is a fun filled year for sequels, spin-offs and original stories alike and the movie industry has never been so booming. From January up to July, I’ve watched and rated some of the best, so-so and bad movies, although technically I haven’t watched all of the films in the past six months (and still continues to watch).

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By far, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is my top pic for this year because of the reason that it’s not just pure action, stunning visual effects and acting but also it comprises of an in-depth story that focuses on trust and betrayal in an entirely whole new level, although Marvel did a really, really great job on Guardians of the Galaxy but what lacked was the deep story that CapAm has.

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Divergent was a great shocker for me, I never liked watching it on the big screen because as a dystopian themed novel turned movie: The Hunger Games is still my favorite and repetitive theme films don’t really entice me. But then again, I was amazed by the good story it has. The film tied up with X-Men:DoFP because it has the element of a good storytelling, except for a fact that Divergent was less in directing and acting, while DoFP was less in impact.

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Snowpiercer starring Chris Evans was undeniably great. With its uniqueness that reinvented a whole new kind of storytelling and bizarre setting; it’s the one to beat when it comes to Best Original Screenplay.

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Lucy on the other hand has no great story but was totally amusing and it’s one of the best there is in 2014, as well as 300: Rise of an Empire and the hilarious A Million Ways to Die in the West.

In the bad movies I’ve seen so far, there are two blockbuster hits that I kind of question why people will still be enticed to watch these kind of cinematic cliché? And I’m talking about the same-old-same-old story of Transformers: Age of Extinction which didn’t differ from all other Michael Bay films and in addition was a total mess, and it was very noisy! The Amazing Spiderman 2 was not of the exception as well. After Sony’s months and months of pushing the promotion to an epic level, the film was an epic fail. Story was so bad it’s so stupid and cliché, as well as the visual effects that looked like a computer game.

 

Below is the complete list of what I’ve watched so far with their one to five star rating, according to Best, So-So (in good sense), So-So (in bad sense) and Bad movies, together with some links of my full movie review.

 

BEST

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER – ★★★★★

DIVERGENT – ★★★★ 1/2

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST -★★★★ 1/2

SNOWPIERCER – ★★★★

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY – ★★★★

LUCY - ★★★ ½

300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE –  ★★★ 1/2

A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST – ★★★

 

SO-SO (in almost a good sense)

NON STOP – ★★★ 1/2

PURGE: ANARCHY – ★★★

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 – ★★★

LEGO MOVIE – ★★

NOAH – ★★

NEIGHBORS – ★★

TRANSCENDENCE – ★★

THE OTHER WOMAN – ★★

 

 

SO-SO (in almost a bad sense)

MALEFICENT - ★★ 1/2

13 SINS – ★ 1/2

UNDER THE SKIN – ★★

POMPEII – ★★

OCULUS – ★★

BLENDED -★★

ROBOCOP – ★

THE EXPENDABLES 3 – ★

 

BAD

A HAUNTED HOUSE 2 – ★ 1/2

TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION – ★ 1/2

THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN 2 - ★

THE HUNGOVER GAMES – NONE (it’s really, really bad)

 

What movies in the past six months you did like and didn’t like? What movies did I miss? :)

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LUCY MOVIE REVIEW | PLUS A MARVEL PLEA

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- ★★★1/2 out of 5 stars

We all know Scarlett Johansson is the best kick-ass heroine-female action star of this decade starting from Iron Man 2 up to the latest Captain America: The Winter Soldier and she’s on a new film that promises not just some ass kickin’ but also some wondrous hypothesis.

THE MOVIE

Lucy is a movie about the theory of the brain’s 10% usage and exploring the 100% of it but of course it is with a story plus twists.

To be direct, the film doesn’t have a solid story to tell. It’s more of a seminar on the hypothesis slash added action and drama plus Scarlett Johansson, but let me also tell you that it is very amusing. It’s not the kind of movie which you don’t have to worry thinking “Would this have a very intense story and action?” because the film really gets your attention from the theory itself evolving from 1 to 100 percent to the resolution they did in the climax and denouement that will leave you having the thought that this might be real, but it’s totally fiction; so that’s why the movie is amusing. It kind of reminds me of one of my favorite films last year which was Now You See Me which totally didn’t have that strong plot to tell, but was a total amusement and will get stuck in your head.

The humor in the film was exactly what completed the formula in creating this amusing film, and Lucy was surely on top of that.

Scarlett Johansson is really da bomb. On the onset of the film, I have this fear that when Scarlet will show of action scenes like never before, it will dilute the taste of any Marvel film she will be in because we’ve seen enough in this film. Thankfully, there wasn’t really that much action for her because her character needs not to due to the existing power she already have and there’s no need for a Black Widow style combat… which is very, very sexy… but hey, I’m gay.

A MARVEL PLEA

This was a shock. On the first day of the film being shown in the Philippines was on a Wednesday and my partner and I entered the cinema late and when we came in, we were surprised on how jam-packed it is! I mean, it’s on a weekday, and even Iron Man 3, which screened six out of eight cinemas way back then didn’t even have plenty of people running around just to watch it on the first day; also Guardians of the Galaxy, which screened a week before Lucy, didn’t even fill the entire seats. I was surprised and bewildered at the same time… we didn’t even have a seat not until the twentieth minute of the film.

This just goes to show that Scarlett Johansson’s year is 2014, and when I read about Kevin Feige (producer of Marvel Studios) saying that a female superhero film (especially Black Widow), is not yet ready, in addition “timing is everything”… I felt like he’s somehow wrong about that one because from the showing date abroad: it’s been number one in the box office, also the public’s reception of the film that stars Scarlett is quite effective because they know that she can do these action sequences that will look so cool, that even Charlie’s Angels needed to retire from being one… (Just kidding, I love Charlie’s Angels). Well, maybe because they have no firm story for Black Widow yet, but Feige could’ve reasoned that way. I mean, Scarlett is one hell of an action star and we need a Black Widow movie SOON!!!

OVERALL

Anyway, overall this film was very much entertaining and amusing. The film’s length is just enough and not dragging compared to other movies which has the same theme but forces its story to be more dramatic, ending up not in the nonsense bin.

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GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY MOVIE REVIEW [NO SPOILER]

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- ★★★★ out of 5 stars

This year has been the most fun filled movie experience and I’ve never been more anticipated than these Marvel movies starting off with Captain America: The Winter Soldier which blew me off with a great cast, action and story.

I’m always happy about Marvel being the top franchise nowadays, and after CapAm, I’ve never been more excited to see Guardians of the Galaxy.

First of all, Hi Chris Prat, I loved you from the day you were chubby and I am crazy for you now that you have an awesome body. *woot *woot

Anyhow, Guardians of the Galaxy is a Marvel Studios movie, along with Iron Man, Captain America and Thor which delves deeper into the galaxy with more characters and common places comic geeks should know about.

After watching the movie, I can really say, “That’s how you do a movie.”

A movie has different elements and ingredients for it to work, and Marvel surely took a gamble on GotGalaxy since this is really not a famous comic book superhero, I didn’t even know them when they released it in Comic Con a year or two ago. But, Marvel surely knows that the comic version of GotGalaxy has shallow storyline, unlike other comics, but is critical upon creating the cinematic universe: and that’s what happened here in the film.

It all worked out!

I love the cast. The cast was so good and great and comical-wise, it was the best and they complement each other. I feared for a fact that the casting was so huge, one of them might get overshadowed by the others, and I was expecting for Drax The Destroyer (Dave Batista) or Gamora (Zoe Saldana) or Groot (Voiced by Vin Diesel) to be overshadowed by Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and Rocket Raccoon (Voiced by Bradley Cooper), but I was surprised how intense Gamora is as an assassin, and how ignorantly funny Drax, plus the innocently hilarious Groot. All of the five characters were so hilarious from start of the movie to the end. Even when the tone became serious, there was always a punchline towards the end of it that will kill you will laughter.

Although we know for a fact that GotGalaxy has no really strong material, and I have to agree that the movie doesn’t give you that 12 Years a Slave story treatment, No, it’s a start to finish one point to the other: A chase of getting the infinity stone.

But what the hell when you have a very strong cast and great action scenes plus enticing directing? I also loved the fact that there’s an underlying drama within the characters that’s deep and sensible and sequelable (if there’s any word which I know there isn’t).

Speaking of directing, James Gunn, the director, did a great, great job for pulling this movie off. He did massively good that gives you a film of total entertainment.

Kudos to Marvel for always gambling on these kind of movies.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy is an American Marvel Studios film directed by James Gunn starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Batista plus voices of Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel. The film was released August 1 worldwide and July 31st in the Philippines.

 

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SURPRISED: NOT YOUR ORDINARY PACUTE TEEN MOVIE | SHE’S DATING THE GANGSTER MOVIE REVIEW

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- ★★★★

First of all (I have to be defensive about this but…) I’m NOT a fan of Daniel and Kathryn’s love team and I was really hesitant when my partner asked me to watch it, but what changed my mind was that this film was directed by one my favorite directors which gave me one of my favorite Filipino films of all time: One More Chance and she is Cathy Garcia-Molina. Yet, the fact still remains that it was a KathNiel movie still bugs me a bit.

But after watching She’s Dating a Gangster, I could say that it was a “WOW”.

But first let me break the bad, okay, good and the WOW elements in the film.

 

STORY, MAKE-UP, PRODUCTION AND COSTUME

Story-wise, the film started with the pa cute effect Daniel and Kathryn was destined to do. A bit shallow, confusing, corny and cheesy and to be honest, the costume they wore that’s supposed to be on the 80s were a bit off and discombobulated to the real fashion of that era. They were too pretty and too handsome. Was it maybe because of the High Definition camera used? Or was it really poor in production? In that sense, it never captured the 80s feel. But I don’t think any Pinoy films nowadays have captured a past era using costumes and make-up.

Anyhow, as the story progresses and when we got into the middle part: I realized that there’s a depth that captures my attention and gives focus to the story itself. The entire confusing introduction made all sense and you want more answers in the upcoming remaining minutes of the film. And also, I can see the effort of building a good movie on that moment.

And at the very end, it all sums up to giving you an entire emotional bittersweet love affair that will surely crush your heart into pieces.

It captures a love that is sacrificial and deep that in the end will always have a happy end no matter what. The story is just good.

There were really some fun moments in the movie but nothing beats the KathNiel fans that whenever Daniel appears to look pa cute on screen, everyone around is just going wild which gave my partner and I a noisy but hilarious cinematic experience.

 

ACTING

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting for Daniel Padilla to improve and be an effective character. I was shocked even on the first few minutes of the film; he already showed intense characterization that even my partner and I did not fathom.

And to Daniel’s mini-brilliance comes Kathryn’s mini-annoyance. Well, probably because she has to be quirky and all and it’s just so regular of her to do that and that maybe is the reason why we can’t see any improvement in her. But then, she’s still good when she shed’s tears (evil).

 

A RICHARD GOMEZ AND DAWN ZULUETA MOVIE

Yes… when you get to the ending, the part where Richard and Dawn’s characters did meet: they stole the scene from everyone including Daniel and Kathryn even when it’s just seven minutes long! The buildup of the story up to that specific ending makes you think that this film is not just some typical teen movie that you watch and puke right after but it’s the movie you should give focus to and wait for the very heartbreaking yet satisfying ending.

And it was all because of Richard and Dawn’s chemistry and pure acting. Maybe it’s because they’re veteran (they should really be good at it by now) and it was just so believable that it made me cry which I really did not expect to.

The scene where Richard and Dawn’s character meet eye to eye, and everything else was in slow motion, captured the real emotions of bitterness, confusion, loneliness and happiness… everything was just good until Dawn spoke of a one-word liner: “GANGSTER” that made everything in the movie fits like a puzzle which tugs your heart and will bring you tears to the eyes.

Another TBH, I am a CharDawn fan… die hard. UGH!

And because of this, I think it’s about time that ABS-CBN should produce a CharDawn film with great, great, great story and has to be handled well by a director like Garcia-Molina because it will surely be a huge hit not just for matured people, but also for young adults out there.

 

OVERALL

Overall, the movie is really good because it has a deeper sense of storytelling that differs from every one generation storyline films we’ve seen and Cathy Garcia-Molina definitely knows how to pull our heartstrings.

 

She’s Dating a Gangster is produced and released by Star Cinema and was directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina. Starring Danieel Padilla, Kathryn Bernardo with Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta.

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