THE BUTLER (Lee Daniels, 2013)

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Pure Oscar bait but it was indeed a phenomenal Oscar-worthy film.

Lee Daniels’ The Butler was a powerful look at the rich history of African-Americans in the US and their struggles amidst brutal racism.

There were so many effective moments that incited fear and sadness with their lucid depiction of living as a colored person.

Forest Whitaker deserved another Oscar for his spectacular performance as the subservient turned subversive title character.

Oprah Winfrey was phenomenal as the wife. The big-names supporting cast proved to be a bit of a distraction but were fine, too.

Rating: ★★★★★

(Originally published August 26, 2013.)

THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY (Lasse Hallström, 2014)

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Another visual feast from the director of Chocolat that was too sugary sweet.

Incredibly cheesy but it’s not without its charms.

Helen Mirren was exquisite as always, but the real standout was Bollywood star Om Puri.

And don’t get me started on the food porn. You could actually smell the curry while watching.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published August 26, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: BOYHOOD (Richard Linklater, 2014)

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It had me at Yellow.

Boyhood, simply put, was a triumph in filmmaking. It could just have been one big gimmick as a film shot in 12 years with the same actors.

But framed against the ever-changing culture, technology, cinema, literature, music, and politics, it was nothing short of brilliant.

Rating: ★★★★★

(Originally published August 26, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: 47 METERS DOWN (Johannes Roberts, 2017)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

It’s the kind of dumb and trashy fun flick meant to be seen on the big screen even if you’d feel a bit duped after watching (see: The Shallows).

I really loved that money shot involving a trio of sharks and a lighted flare (although I actually screamed during a Jaws rip-off scene). Ending was a bit of a cop-out.

Dear parents, please do not bring your young kids to watch this. There were a number of them in the screening earlier and when the cage started to plunge in the abyss, all of them just simultaneously started crying. Poor babies were probably scarred for life and would never even swim in a pool.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published August 27, 2017.)

THE EXPENDABLES 3 (Patrick Hughes, 2014)

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It’s the pinakbet of Hollywood action stars. With Frasier. Never been fond of pinakbet.

I’m still waiting for our local version starring Bong Revilla, Cesar Montano, Lito Lapid, Ronnie Ricketts, Ian Veneracion, Dante Varona, Jeric Raval, Baldo Marro, Chuck Perez, Jestoni Alarcon, Robin Padilla, and Eddie Garcia.

Paging Mother Lily!!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 25, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: BRAVE (Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, 2012)

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Merida may just be the first “lesbian” lead character in a Disney/Pixar cartoon and it was reason enough for me to love this movie.

Its story of a young girl trying to break free from the norm was pure fun and the animation was just gorgeous. I loved the three little brothers and I hope they get their own movie.

Emma Thompson was regal as usual voicing the Queen straight out of Battle Hymn of the Scottish Mom.

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published August 24, 2012.)

MOVIE REVIEW: DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS (David Bowers, 2012)

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Not as charming as the first movie, but not as awful as Rodrick Rules. I love the book series and it was sad to see that a lot of the funny moments got lost from page to screen.

Robert Capron (Rowley) continued to upstage Zachary Gordon (Greg) in almost every scene. The movie started with a complete (albeit realistic) gross-out and you knew what else to expect from there.

Here’s hoping the next movie doesn’t lose its heart in favor of toilet humor.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 24, 2012.)