Passengers 7/10

I love sci – fi of almost any sort, and the premise behind this is exactly the type of sci – fi I grew up with. What if on a 90 year journey to a new world you are awoken sometime in the middle and now face the prospect of having to live the rest of your life in an empty albeit luxurious ship. Surrounded by comfort and extravagance you will no doubt still feel lonely, so how do you deal with that?

In a way its a little like Omega Man, the film I am Legend was based on, both relying on the ‘last man on earth’ plot where we investigate what a man left alone will do. The common denominator being the inevitable feelings of despair and loneliness, providing the catalyst to which all action he will do from thereon is justified against.

And that’s the problem with this movie, because the protagonists’ action was unacceptable. He awakens another passenger because he is supposedly infatuated with her based on videos about her – which make you roll your eyes because of course you’ll want to wake someone who looks like that regardless. The action of waking her up and being made to believe it’s because he likes her persona reminds me of the old joke about watching porn because of the story. It strains the suspension of disbelief necessary in all sci – fi.

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La La Land 10/10

It’s personally very gratifying to finally see an original musical in movie form again after quite an incredible amount of time in between. I can’t even remember the last one I’ve seen as a matter of fact, and it’s a testament to the balls of its producers – who to my mind are part of ‘the dreamers’ the movie sings about.

  • Why it shouldn’t have gotten approved – I would think that a romantic musical of any sort would be hard to get a go ahead from a studio for two reasons: 1.) You can gather from media and a general negative air around the world that audiences are literal – or the types who would not appreciate or understand the idea of spontaneous choreographed dancing to music coming from nowhere. And 2.), The only worthwhile romantic movie idea would have to be the Nicholas Sparks types, because people like the idea of a macho loner guy building a yacht or an antique house by hand and doing heroic selfless acts all while secretly yearning for a spunky female lead.

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Rogue One – 8.75 / 10

I am torn between giving in a ten, which I initially wanted to do directly after the movie, and a lower score. A ten because, as a Star Wars fan, this resolves twenty year old questions and even cheekily solves an old joke about how easy it is to destroy the Death Star.

The joy of rectifying issues and at the same time visiting familiar characters such as Gen. Tarkin and Mon Mothma are mined deep and hard here, likely resulting in explosions of geek happiness to millions of ‘Wars nerds. Even passive ones like myself are thoroughly entertained.

However as a standalone movie without the benefit of watching any of the others, I doubt if I would have enjoyed it as much. Continue reading

Jason Bourne 2016 – 5/10

Tommy Lee Jones is one of those actors who are distractingly great. His greatness actually works against him in that if he’s in a movie it is hard to concentrate on it because, hell, you’re watching Tommy Lee Jones – an icon of an actor whose length and breadth of work is both voluminous and meaningful. He is a joy to watch and impressive to behold.

I remember realizing this while watching Jason Bourne 2016 because if there’s anything Tommy Lee Jones has ever done that may be similar to this movie it would be the 1993 Harrison Ford starrer The Fugitive. The realization of which immediately made me turn wistful, because I really liked that movie, and I even liked the obvious follow up U.S. Marshals with Wesley Snipes taking on the fugitive role, which led me to remember Robert Downey‘s memorable turn as a really effective bad guy.

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Ma’ Rosa – 9/10

• This movie hits home in more ways than one because it’s literally close to home. I recognize the streets of Mandaluyong where I grew up, from Boni Ave., Edsa Crossing, Balagtas and the hellhole which is Welfareville / Addition Hills. Believe it or not it used to have quaint hills and rice paddies until the local government decided to open it up to squatters quickly turning it into the den it is now. So I can’t help watch it with remorse and ill feelings mixed in. I kept hoping the camera wouldn’t accidentally pan to our old house which I haven’t visited or looked at since we left it years ago.

• After watching this, Metro Manila, OTJ and Honor Thy Father (the last two of which are Erik Matti films), and special mention to 2005’s ‘Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros’ there’s obviously no shortage of terrific moviemaking and talent. The only problem is after watching any of them I feel like working out to induce endorphins. If you happen to feel depressed you must avoid watching these at all cost. Honor Thy Father in particular may make you want to slash your wrists if you’ve ever been a victim of an MLM scheme. Ma Rosa, with Jaclyn Jose’s long yearning looks at other families who have less than hers but were at least together and free from the trouble they were facing, will probably haunt me for a long time as well. Matti knows how to push my buttons.

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Honor The Father Review

(Contains MANY spoilers!)

My favorite story type involves the ‘character turn’ (my own term) ie., observing what a character does when faced with overwhelming change. Initially the main character is in a comfortable situation after which tremendous stress is introduced forcing them do something drastic. At that point a story becomes interesting because you watch a transformation. Faced with so much pressure all pretensions are shed and a real person is revealed.

John Lloyd’s character Edgar is introduced as skeptical about his father in law’s MLM scheme where his wife is active in. He is also not too sure about the Church they go to where the pious Bishop extolls the virtues of cash offerings a little too enthusiastically. Nevertheless he is supportive, preferring to play the role of helpful husband.

The eventual happens and the MLM scheme collapses. They lose everything, their creditors haul their belongings away, and worst of all their child is threatened unless he can produce 6M pesos.

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Ant Man 7/10

I haven’t written a movie review in a while but I thought of making one for Ant Man because it had a mentor element to it and I like mentor movies, and like I said I can’t get it out my mind so here I am writing it.

It had to do with Kung Fu Panda 2008 (yes I am referring Kung Fu Panda, I have a point here bear with me). In it, Dustin Hoffman plays Master Shifu, teacher and mentor to Jack Black’s Po.

To recount, a flashback informs the audience the origin of the main antagonist Tai Lung. Tai Lung was Master Shifu’s main candidate to be Dragon Warrior and was trained his whole life to expect he would be so. Shifu’s own Master Oogway however, never allowed it. As a result Tai Lung grew disillusioned and angry, focusing his anger on Shifu for making him expect so much.

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300 Rise Of An Empire 7/10

The most compelling thing there is in the first 300, after all the special effects and whatnot, is Gerald Butler. As King Leonidas he had this ironic, wry toothy grin plastered on his face that’s so effective it can make you overlook the senseless dialogue and laughable delivery, made worse by an idiotic faux British accent everyone tries to make exotic by rolling their Rs and Ss.

It’s sort of what you would expect if you made a WWE wrestler recite his threats in a Dracula accent. Stupid, and if you try to decipher what they are saying, even stupider.

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Gravity 8/10

James Cameron called this the ‘greatest space movie ever’ or something like that. I am differing not because it isn’t great but I don’t think it’s a space movie. It’s a survival movie, and so therefore when that became evident I started comparing it to other survival movies, particularly one of the best of them all in my opinion, Castaway.

And what makes me use Castaway is because it had all the elements of a great survival movie. Tom Hank’s character is in a fantastically desperate situation that would make most of us want to give up. Not only are the challenges tremendous, he needs to take them on alone. So alone is he it is almost like he is in a vacuum for most of the movie.

Bullock’s character Ryan is clearly in such a bind. With emotional baggage from an earlier incident to boot, she has to fight a frightening array of random disasters until it came to a point where she had to make a choice – find it in her to bring on the super human effort needed to fight harder and harder odds, or just give up.

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