DEVIL’S KNOT (Atom Egoyan, 2013)

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The actual story of the West Memphis Three was way more interesting than this courthouse drama.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published March 16, 2014.)

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.)

BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP (Rowan Joffe, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Before I Go To Sleep:

1. The movie started with Nicole Kidman waking up naked and not knowing where she was and why she was with Colin Firth. You’d think someone regal like him would at least be polite in bed. (Both actors here were terrible, by the way.)

2. Within the first few minutes, any movie watcher would encounter a cinematic deja vu whether they were fans of Memento, 50 First Dates, or The Vow. By the end of the movie, everyone would be wishing they had short-term memory instead.

3. It was nice to see Kidman with stretch marks. Okay, so those were fake stretch marks. Fine. It’s not like those were the only things fake on her. (I kid. I actually like her. For real.)

4. The story had more holes than Swiss cheese. If I enumerate them all here, my head would just burst from severe frustration.

5. If you love movies peppered with medical terms such as confabulation and countertransference, then this one’s for you.

6. I was happy to see a Nokia 3310 still in use in this movie. So many good Snake memories.

7. Where could I buy that Panasonic Lumix camera that never needed to be charged and seemed unbreakable even if dropped a few feet in the air? Recommended for photographers everywhere.

8. Kidman’s face got slammed on a wall, punched repeatedly, and beaten more than Pacquaio’s in his last match with Marquez and she only ended up with a slight bruise on her cheek the next day. Now that’s the power of Botox. (I’m sorry. I love her. Seriously.)

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published January 20, 2015.)

MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT (Woody Allen, 2014)

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MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT (Woody Allen, 2014) – ★★★☆☆

SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Magic in the Moonlight:

1. The French Riviera looked gorgeous. I loved the color palette of the movie. Every scene was picture-postcard perfect.

2. The font reminded so much of American Horror Story. Sadly, Jessica Lange didn’t show up.

3. Colin Firth played a snarkier version of Mr. Darcy. How could he make these British snobs still look lovable?

4. With all these generic predictions on what’s in store for 2015, this film about a possibly fraudulent clairvoyant just seemed so timely. Babagyo, lilindol, may artistang mamamatay, may artistang mabubuntis. Really? It’s like they have ESPN or something.

5. Emma Stone in 1920’s flapper dresses looked too cute. She had one scene where she was cross-eyed that really cracked me up. Naming my car after her was one of my best decisions in life ever.

6. “How can you eat so much? We just had lunch.” Story of my life right there.

7. Stanley (Firth) said that “one of the cardinal rules of magic is the magician must never repeat his trick because sooner or later one begins to notice the move and he’s caught”. It spoke so much about these Woody Allen comedies. As long as I was temporarily enchanted though, I wouldn’t be complaining.

8. Stone and Firth were great in this film but they were just not bagay. How could I root for their love story?

Rating: ★★★☆☆

(Originally published January 3, 2018.)

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES (Burr Steers, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies:

1. I’ve seen several versions of Pride and Prejudice and my favorite would have to be the one directed by Joe Wright and starred the quintessential Victorian beauty Keira Knightley. It must be said though that Colin Firth in the BBC miniseries is and will always be Mr. Darcy (even my literary twin Bridget Jones agrees). Look for any of these versions and watch them instead.

2. I still haven’t recovered from the awfulness of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and this other genre mashup wasn’t any better. The zombies could have been replaced by vampires or werewolves and it wouldn’t have made any difference since the zombie plague was just a mere backdrop to the story. If anything, it actually felt like a crime to ruin the Jane Austen classic. Why not turn Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James) into a manananggal instead? That would have been more interesting. I hope they also make a Crime and Punishment and Tikbalangs or William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Undin Juliet.

3. James was really lovely so I was confused when she wasn’t deemed the prettiest one among the brood. At least in the Knightley version, Jane Bennet was played by Rosamund Pike so it was a bit more acceptable. (FYI, James must really love wearing a corset because she’s also in Downton Abbey and the lead in the current BBC miniseries War & Peace.)

4. The supposed novelty here was that the Bennet sisters were actually trained in martial arts and swordfighting so they always entered a scene in a Sucker Punch formation (slow motion, of course) ready for battle. Most of the fight scenes involved mere poking (simple tusok-tusok) and some scenes were even too dark to actually see all the action happening onscreen.

5. One of the few sources of enjoyment here was Doctor Who’s Matt Smith playing the bumbling Mr. Collins. He seemed to be aware that he was trapped in a dud so he fully embodied all the silliness required by the role.

6. “If they don’t eat brains, they don’t turn into full zombies.” Ahh, that explains Plants vs. Zombies.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆