MOVIE REVIEW: DARK SHADOWS (Tim Burton, 2012)

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It was everything you’d expect from a Tim Burton movie: dark, winding, amusing, and quirky. Johnny Depp easily dominated the screen with his spot-on characterization. His natural charm lifted the movie from being a complete drag.

I was happy to see Michelle Pfeiffer and Chloe Grace Moretz in the cast, but the story didn’t really give them enough screen time (or purpose).

Occasionally amusing, but far from being memorable.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published May 19, 2012.)

MOVIE REVIEW: IF I STAY (R.J. Cutler, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on If I Stay:

1. Chloe Grace Moretz is so much better than this movie. Can we say that an actress is actually overqualified for a role?

2. Mireille Enos is so much better than this movie. Can we say that an actress is actually underutilized in a movie? Watch the first season of The Killing instead.

3. The guy who played opposite Chloe was such a bad actor that I didn’t even bother to Google his name.

4. The premise of this film reminded me a bit of The Lovely Bones. I hated that film adaptation because I really loved the book. Should I bother reading this one?

5. Everyone knows that I’m a cryer. I cry even when there’s no reason to cry. I did not cry one bit in this one. Maybe The Fault in Our Stars desensitized me already. All the girls in the theater were sobbing their eyes out, though.

6. The soggy, cheesy, diabetes-inducing love story almost made my eyes roll out of their sockets.

She gets her hand stung by a bee and he sucks the stinger out in front of her parents. This is a young girl’s fantasy? Eww.

7. If you force your boyfriend to watch this chick flick, don’t be surprised if you’re single after.

8. It was so bad that it reached a point where I was wishing she’d just die already. I’m going straight to hell.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 29, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: KICK-ASS 2 (Jeff Wadlow, 2013)

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It was superficially fun, very much like a teen fantasy. I’d watch Chloe Grace Moretz in anything.

Kick-Ass 2 was entertaining enough even if I was completely turned off by the extreme violence in a comic book movie populated with kids.

Chloe Grace Moretz looked gorgeous and her Mean Girls-ish storyline was the perfect way to prep for the upcoming Carrie remake.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published August 26, 2013.)

MOVIE REVIEW: THE 5TH WAVE (J Blakeson, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on The 5th Wave:

1. Why are aliens always portrayed as dimwits in alien invasion movies? For a supposedly more advanced species that can create a now identified flying object, they don’t seem to have any good battle strategy and always lose in the end. I guess they have never played Clash of Clans.

In this one, their idea of going into war was a 5-step plan that included an electro-magnetic pulse, tsunamis, mutated bird flu, humans against humans, and basically training an army of kids to work for them. It took months of hovering over the planet to see their brilliant idea self-destruct because they forgot the strongest weapon of all: LOVE.

Cue maniacal laughter.

2. The movie started off fine with our plucky heroine (aren’t they all?) basically narrating all the events ever since the invasion started. It felt like the usual apocalypse survival movie (planes crashing from the skies, huge waves wiping out Thailand, pestilence spreading everywhere) and it was engaging and interesting. But then the movie got sidetracked by a developing love story (and you know that since this was based on a young adult novel, it would be a love triangle) that didn’t serve much purpose except to show a topless tampisaw sa batis scene with our lucky (I mean, lovely) heroine ogling her eyes out.

3. There was also a huge chunk of filler scenes involving a Quantico-style training school with the hopes that this movie would merit a sequel (uhh, I don’t think so).

4. I loved the school’s dedication to continue holding classes even with a huge UFO floating above the building. This should be a lesson for all kids (and parents) eagerly awaiting the announcement on cancellation of classes as soon as it starts drizzling. I remember as a kid waking up at 4am just to listen to the news on the radio. The words “Signal Number 3 in Metro Manila” made me feel like it was Christmas in July.

5. Crocs (yup, the awesome-looking footwear) are very much like cockroaches that can survive a nuclear explosion. Don’t forget to stock up in time for the next end of the world prophesy.

6. I really felt bad for the good actors trapped in this inferior movie. Liev Schreiber didn’t do much except bark orders, Maria Bello was made to look like a rotting corpse, Ron Livingston was tasked to keep making his eyes look big, and of course the talented Chloe Grace Moretz was given a scene where she searches a bag screaming “Where’s my gun? Where’s my gun??” just in case the audience was too dense to know that she was looking for her gun. (FYI, she also had a slow motion run in the woods because, well, the director wanted a slow motion sequence.)

7. I couldn’t believe that this was written by Akiva Goldsman and Susannah Grant (the same people behind A Beautiful Mind and Erin Brockovich). Can someone check if there are alien bugs controlling their brains?

8. “Love’s not a trick, it’s real. I know now because of you.” I suddenly wished that I was one of those people killed by the bird flu.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

MOVIE REVIEW: HUGO (Martin Scorsese, 2011)


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Sometimes it’s hard to explain why one loves the movies. Personally, it’s the magic of filmmaking that I adore. And nothing is more appropriate than the word “magical” to describe Hugo.

Here’s a film that proudly shows its love for cinema while disguised as a story about a young boy finding his place in this world. There are so many moments here where you just sit and stare at the screen enthralled by what you’re seeing. Some scenes are not even designed to make you cry, but the mere power of the images engulf you and you find yourself tearing up.

With excellent performances by Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Moretz, Ben direction of the Martin Scorsese, this is truly one of the best films of 2011.

Rating: ★★★★★