MUST BE… LOVE (Dado Lumibao, 2013)

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The great chemistry of its charming leads was wasted in this worn-out love story of best friends.

Even teaches young girls that it’s the appreciation of oneself that makes you beautiful. And that using Olay for whiter skin helps, too.

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

(Originally published March 15, 2013.)

HER (Spike Jonze, 2013)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Her:

1. I really liked Her, but I still couldn’t understand all the talk on Scarlett Johannson’s snub for Best Supporting Actress. Really?

2. Joaquin Phoenix, though. He just kept giving us these brilliant performances every year that you’d begin to wonder why he didn’t have a boatload of Oscars.

3. I loved those high-waisted pants. Retro was the future of fashion. Trust Spike Jonze to mess with our heads.

4. BeautifulWrittenLetters.com. LetterLater.com. A love letter would always be one of the sweetest forms of communication. An online love letter could suffice.

5. Who wouldn’t fall in love with Siri? She knew everything and usually followed your orders. It was destiny.

But even an iOS girlfriend might break your heart. Love sucks.

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published February 28, 2014.)

UNOFFICIALLY YOURS (Cathy Garcia-Molina, 2012)

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From the opening sequence that involved a forgettable “laman vs. sabaw” discussion down to the clichéd dialogue we’ve heard in previous movies, you know this one’s hobbled by a weak screenplay.

Trust a gifted director like Cathy Garcia-Molina to create magic out of something formulaic. There was even a brilliant sex sequence guaranteed to elicit laughter for minutes. I didn’t completely buy the chemistry of the leads but they did really good work individually.

John Lloyd Cruz continued to show why he’s the best actor of this generation. He was charming without ever being cloying and he actually helped elevate Angel Locsin’s performance (probably her best work to date).

Overall, this latest romantic-comedy from Star Cinema didn’t really break new ground but damn it, it made me kilig the whole time.

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published February 17, 2012.)

KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE (Matthew Vaughn, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Kingsman: The Secret Service:

1. Would anyone know if the comic book series this movie was based on had anything to do with the local Kingsmen Custom Tailors that makes bespoke suits and barongs? It would just be too much of a coincidence, right?

2. The opening credits alone with the names that formed from exploding rocks was fun to watch. I knew right then that I would really like this one. Contrary to popular belief, I’m actually easy to please.

3. Matthew Vaughn directed Kick-Ass so I wasn’t at all surprised with the amount of violence here. I actually found it funny that Samuel L. Jackson’s character was scared of blood. Even with all the slicing and dicing, all of the fight scenes were virtually bloodless.

4. The constant winks at how serious the James Bond movies have become was spot-on. Sometimes we do wish for just some mindless but fun spy movie.

5. I really want to learn how to drive in reverse. That was one exciting chase scene.

6. I have to be honest. I couldn’t understand some of the dialogue with all the thick British accent. I’ll have to wait for the DVD.

7. Colin Firth with his deadly umbrella was like a lethal Mary Poppins. Imagine if the nanny used that one instead to teach the kids some life lessons. She’ll be firing at everyone butchering the atrociously catchy Chim Chim Cher-ee.

8. Why did they select Iggy Azalea as one of the celebrities that will re-populate the earth? Somebody must have enjoyed the Pu$$y video.

9. Taron Egerton looked so nimble and tiny that I wanted to pick him up and keep him in my pocket. Err…

10. Hey, I actually thought it was a bulldog, too. I really need to spend more time with animals.

11. Was I the only one who wished for bionic sword legs as awesome as Gazelle’s?

12. Talk about blatant product placements. Almost everything worn here were by Adidas. I’ve never seen this many striped jackets since Glee. Really cool stuff, though. Where can I buy them? Made me crave for a McDonald’s Happy Meal, too.

13. The funniest thing here was that even with all the graphic violence, the only scene that was too much for me to handle that I had to close my eyes was when he was asked to shoot the pup. Nooooo!!

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published February 24, 2015.)

THE BOOK THIEF (Brian Percival, 2013)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The Book Thief:

1. The movie’s narration felt whimsical, like a voice-over in a children’s flick. Until I realized the owner of the voice after which I experienced a severe case of goosebumps.

It’s a slowly-paced but emotion-packed film narrated by Death. Bring a box of tissues.

2. For a Holocaust movie, there were so many light moments that always elicited some chuckles. Even in Nazi Germany during World War II, life was still beautiful.

3. Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson were just brilliant. I was a bit disappointed with Sophie Nelisse, though. She just looked too passive in some scenes. Or maybe it was just because Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson were too brilliant.

4. As someone who wouldn’t read a book without a plastic cover and would never open it wide enough to cause a crease on its bridge, the scene where they burned books gave me the chills.

5. If I haven’t warned you enough, the last act made me crawl into a fetal position and weep hysterically.

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published February 25, 2014.)

THE SHAPE OF WATER (Guillermo del Toro, 2017)

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I wasn’t too comfortable with where the story headed and I was mildly indifferent with the love story, but there were just so many scenes that made me want to stand up and cheer (if Del Toro wins that Directing Oscar next week, I won’t be complaining). Terrific performances all around led by the endearing and silently enigmatic Sally Hawkins.

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published February 21, 2018.)