DAHAS (Chito Roño, 1995)

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It’s been 23 years since this was shown in theaters as an MMFF ‘95 entry and I’m still bitter over the fact that it lost Best Picture (and Best Actress for Maricel Soriano) to standard drama fare Muling Umawit ang Puso. Great Pinoy thrillers rarely get the respect that they deserve.

Rating: ★★★★★

(Originally published January 20, 2019.)

WARRIOR (Gavin O’Connor, 2011)

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It’s that rare triumph of the spirit sports movie that’s completely predictable yet remarkably engaging. Although you know where the movie’s headed, you still remain glued on this story of two brothers duking it out physically and emotionally inside and outside of the ring. Imagine Rocky with two protagonists set in the mixed martial arts scene. Joel Edgerton (Animal Kingdom) gives another fearless performance opposite the menacing Tom Hardy (Inception). Nick Nolte provides excellent support as their self-destructive father (where’s the love awards bodies?). This is a thrilling action movie that wears its fragile heart on its sleeve.

Rating: ★★★★★

(Originally published January 17, 2012.)

A SEPARATION (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)

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With all the religious themes seamlessly embedded in this domestic drama, this should be considered required viewing for Theology courses (and any Film 101 class, naturally). It’s a powerful morality tale with flawless direction, excellent screenplay, and brilliant performances. The final scene resonated so much that this will surely end up on my list of the best movies of 2011.

Rating: ★★★★★

(Originally published January 12, 2012.)

MONEYBALL (Bennett Miller, 2011)

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Although I enjoy a good sports movie every once in a while, I feel that these feel-good underdog flicks follow the same formula up to its heartwarming finale.

This film had the exact same elements and yet still ended up throwing a curveball. With Brad Pitt giving the performance of his life (and an amazing supporting turn from the usually comic Jonah Hill), this one was definitely a homerun.

Rating: ★★★★★

(Originally published January 5, 2012.)