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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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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World War Z Movie Review


Reason being is special in the sense that it is due to my distinct experiences enjoying the zombie genre. Writing this also happens to be apt considering it involves I Am Legend by Richard Matheson who happens to have passed recently. So here’s my review:

I am a great fan of I Am Legend. It is an amazing book and the first I read that tells the story of a man being chased by transformed human beings, in this case ‘vampire – like’ creatures. I obviously wasn’t the only fan because the book also inspired George A. Romero who would then go and make ‘Night Of The Living Dead’, featuring ‘true’ zombies albeit the slow and plodding but nonetheless out – to – get – your – brains and will – only – stop – when – shot – in – the – head. Much later we will be introduced to the sprinting zombies of 28 Days Later which imo is the best in class of the fast running zombie genre, and then now we get World War Z.

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Iron Man 3 Review

I just stepped out the theater and here’s what I’m thinking:

Tony Stark was supposed to have been undergoing some kind of issue that may or may not have been discussed in the past and it has to do with how he cannot sleep. I think there may have been a story somewhere there and they should have pursued that, a kind of ‘he is not as infallible as you think’, always compelling with superhero stories imo, but for some reason they didn’t.

Or maybe they did, but at some point during the movie a villain appeared, (the guy who played the king’s brother in ‘The King’s Speech’), and there started a story around him as well as a girl (she played Ben Affleck’s girlfriend in the excellent ‘The Town’), but it wasn’t really interesting, didn’t make sense, or both. At any rate I felt I was being distracted from what I really wanted to know – what was wrong with Tony Stark and how was he going to deal with it.

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Zack and Miri Don’t Really Get It Done

Ok at the end of my review, I’m supposed to basically say how the saving grace of this movie is the soundtrack. But I’m saying it out now because I want to post a vid of my fave song from it (the pixies’ ‘hey’) just before I put on the ‘keep reading’ tag. So here it is and an awesome live version at that:

and now the ‘keep reading’..

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Broken Flowers Movie Review

Almost by accident I watched Broken Flowers, and the fact that I had 0 expectations I think, adds to how I think this is probably one of the best movies I’ve ever watched.

I came about it when I checked out Rotten Tomatoes for some reason or other, and happened onto a Bill Murray movies compilation, which of course I checked out and, having realized I had watched most of them, focused on those I hadn’t.

This is the part I describe Broken Flowers but it’s not gonna be easy. It’s the story of an aging Don Juan, Murray’s character cheekily named Don Johnston, who lives a fairly empty life after having done well for himself and gone through several, obviously failed, relationships.

Johnston never shows any frustration, regret or for that matter, joy in the way things have turned out for him though. Rather, he lives everyday pretty much the same, falling asleep in front of his fancy TV and stereo in his upper middle class home alone.

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Ninjians – A Review of Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

The most I got out of watching Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Cystal Skull was when, in a scene where they exit a cave and indians / aztecs / natives / whatever popped out from the ceiling and walls and whatnot, it prompted me to think that they were like Ninjas.

Then at about the time it turns out there were hundreds of them I realized what would be a cool way to call them – Ninjians.

And I laughed at myself, which was inopportune, because who laughs when the heroes are being chased by Ninjians, right? Then I laughed some more, because I used it in a sentence. I’m laughing right now, actually. Hahahahaha!

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‘Astronaut Farmer’ Movie Review

astronaut farmerIf it weren’t for the spectacularly corny musical score, Astronaut Farmer would probably be a bigger hit. Instead, everytime a dramatic sequence or something of note occurs, we are treated to the cheesiest, cliche-est, overly sentimental, Kevin Costner-ish* , background music ever.

It’s not the worst though. That award, has to go to Jerry Bruckheimer’s creations, like The Rock, Con-Air, Glory Road, and countless others. If you wanna know what I’m talking about, he’s also executive producer of the fast – paced, constant music in your ear The Amazing Race. It works for a 30 minute show, but in a movie where a story has to be told you’ll start feeling as if it’s all just hackneyed camera trickery to fill up space. And besides, after 1.5 hours of blaring music with cut scenes one after the other it becomes unbearable. I’ve become so familiar with this style I’ve correctly identified his tv shows and movies from listening to the musical arrangement of the teasers.

At any rate I hate music that tells you when to start feeling sad or elated. That sort of stuff belongs in telenovelas like when ‘sad’ music is cued when the hero is faced with bad luck. It’s as if we’re being told that, at this point, to start crying, because we’re not capable of deciding this ourselves. Astronaut Farmer has a great deal going for it, but the music telling me what to do completely ruins the moment.

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