MOVIE REVIEW: CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (Anthony Russo, Joe Russo, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Captain America: The Winter Soldier:

1. Chris Evans came out onscreen wearing a really fitted tee and looking so ripped that I felt guilty about the Champ that I ate the other day. And then I realized that Captain America’s body was a product of science and unless I get recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D., I would never achieve those pecs and abs anyway so I immediately bid farewell to guilt and started planning my Yellow Cab dinner.

2. How can nobody (except a kid) recognize a world-famous superhero with his own exhibit at the Smithsonian? If Chris Evans ever visited Divisoria wearing only a cap as a disguise, I would instantly know it was Chris Evans and I’d ask for a photo op (if I didn’t instantaneously faint first).

3. Since when did Captain America turn into Jason Bourne (or for that matter, Chuck Norris)?

4. I would advise all parents not to bring their kids to this movie. This is not your typical superhero flick. The amount of violence would be too much for the young ones.

5. Ooh goodie, it’s Emily Thorne!! And Robin from How I Met Your Mother!! And that guy from Gossip Girl!! Note to self: You need to watch less TV.

6. If you ask any guy for a word to describe Scarlett Johannson, 90% of them will say HOT (I’m thinking the other 10% would say something obscene). She was so far from hot in this movie, though. She actually looked old and tired. Can we blame that horrible hair?

7. Again, another scene with Chris Evans wearing glasses to conceal his identity. And Scarlett pulling a PDA to distract the superspies. The agency must be run and populated by idiots.

8. One scene pulled a Transcendence. If you’ve seen its trailer, you’d know what I’m referring to. Got me excited.

9. Do we really need a Stan Lee cameo in each and every Marvel movie? Is this a fanboy requirement? Not that I’m complaining. Playing “Spot Stan” is my favorite thing to do whenever I get bored.

10. I really loved the new Nick Fury. I can almost hear him shout “Get this motherfuckin’ patch off my motherfuckin’ eye!!”.

P.S. It’s a Marvel movie. Do not leave until the screen goes totally blank or you’ll miss the bonus scenes. Yes, plural.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published March 31, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: 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.)

MOVIE REVIEW: HITCHCOCK (Sacha Gervasi, 2012)

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Fascinating story on an equally fascinating man with exquisite performances by Hopkins and Mirren.

I really loved the cast of Hitchcock: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Toni Collette, Danny Huston, Scarlet Johansson. Even Jessica Biel was bearable.

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published January 14, 2013.)

MOVIE REVIEW: MARRIAGE STORY (Noah Baumbach, 2019)

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It’s no Kramer vs Kramer (or even Revolutionary Road), but still a devastating look at the dissolution of a marriage and the effects of divorce on family relationships.

Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson were both fantastic.

These are real people with real people problems.

Rating: ★★★★☆

UNDER THE SKIN (Jonathan Glazer, 2013)

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Most disturbing way to learn more about women in society and that beauty is only skin deep.

Another slow-burning mood piece that will definitely polarize its audience. You’ll either find it boring and plotless or engaging and a big mindfuck. Guess which side I’m on.

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published August 29, 2014.)

MOVIE REVIEW: SING (Garth Jennings, Christophe Lourdelet, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Sing:

1. When the Illumination logo showed up and the Minions started singing, I suddenly wished that they were part of the movie. What kind of animals (critters?) were they, anyway? At least it made me excited for their next outing. Hopefully, it wouldn’t be as bad as the last one.

2. I really liked the zippy opening montage introducing all the animals and their current dilemmas. Most of the characters here reminded me so much of Zootopia (like they existed in a parallel cinema universe). I wish their story arcs (young man going against his father’s dream for him, housewife wanting to fulfill her passion, teenage girl experiencing her first heartbreak, etc.) were more developed though, because they represented majority of us and our insecurities.

3. Buster Moon’s (Matthew McConaughey) love for theater at a young age reminded me of my early days watching Fernando Poe, Jr. (and the occasional Sharon Cuneta) films in Alabang Twin Cinema. My grandmother would always drag me to see Da King decimate an entire army of goons with just a .45 (without ever reloading bullets!).

Parents, it’s never too late to expose your kids to the arts.

4. Any American Idol fan would be able to relate to the entire audition process and competition rules (at one point, Buster dictated the songs that he wanted the contestants to perform; hello Simon Fuller controversy!). The selection of songs used here ranged from the classics (Hallelujah, also one of the most-performed songs on AI) to the current pop songs (Crazy in Love, Bad Romance, Firework, Stay With Me).

My favorite auditionees were the Asereje spiders and the Japanese little foxes girl group. They made me cheer from my seat out of nostalgia.

5. The movie occasionally made fun of one character with a disability, an elderly iguana with a glass eye. I laughed out really loud when the said eye fell out of its socket and bounced on the keyboard, resulting to an error on the actual cash prize for the competition. Would I go straight to hell for that?

6. Although the story was only fairly decent, most of the voice performances were really strong. Aside from McConaughey singing Call Me Maybe, it was a delight to hear Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson, Seth McFarlane and Taron Egerton belting their hearts out.

My favorite though was Tori Kelly as Meena, a shy elephant with stage fright. When she had her shining moment performing Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing, I was cheering along with the rest of the animal crowd.

7. The squid light show looked enchanting but weirdly enough also made me crave for Mesa’s Baby Squid Adobo in its own ink.

8. As a person with stage fright myself (I forgot a huge chunk of my speech during a Talumpatian in grade school and cried onstage), I would always remember what Buster said to Meena, “Don’t let fear stop you from doing the thing you love.” Noted and noted.

Rating: ★★★☆☆