1ST KO SI 3RD (Real Florido, 2014)

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It’d be easy to nitpick and question some choices made in Real Florido’s 1st Ko Si 3rd but in the end, it was so easy to fall in love with.

Beneath all the lighthearted fare and funny antics was a deep sadness because of choices in life and love that needed to be made.

Nova Villa deserves to win Best Actress (New Breed) for her amazing performance, perfectly balancing the humor and pain of her character. A lot of films this year had characters madly laughing while in pain. Villa had a similar scene but it was effectively quiet. Brilliant!!

Dante Rivero and Ruby Ruiz were so good as well in their respective roles. Rivero had the audience rooting for him in the MH role.

While the crowd was audibly cheering until the very end, I was bawling my eyes out. Very Bridges of Madison County feels.

I thought Sundalong Kanin had the Audience Choice in the bag. It’ll face some tough competition with 1st Ko Si 3rd, an obvious crowd pleaser.

Rating: ★★★★☆

(Originally published August 6, 2014.)

AMERICAN SNIPER (Clint Eastwood, 2014)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on American Sniper:

1. In one powerful dinner scene, Chris Kyle’s father said that there were three types of people in the world: sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. The sheep were peace-loving and usually prone to oppression; the wolves were violent, lacked empathy, and preyed on innocent beings; while the sheepdogs might show signs of violence but only to defend the weak and oppressed. So which one were you?

2. Bradley Cooper played Kyle, a real-life Navy Seal sharpshooter. He threw on several pounds for this role and looked really batak onscreen. He was good but maybe overpraised with an Oscar nomination.

3. I was reminded so much of the pre-Dota online community game, Counterstrike. I sucked at it while the rest were really skilled with their headshots. I could still remember my clammy hands on the keyboard, heart racing with excitement, while anticipating the opponents’ next moves. This movie offered the same kind of exhilaration and the same fear of pulling that trigger. Only this was real life with real people (some kids) involved.

4. I rarely cover my eyes when I watch a movie. Not even in horror movies. The only time I do it is when it involves needles, or an open heart surgery. I couldn’t remember how many times I had to look away while watching. The scenes with the mother and kid holding a grenade and the other kid holding a bazooka literally left me on the edge of my seat.

5. Although the effects of PTSD were understandable, I think it was tackled much better in Homeland (and yes, Damian Lewis actually gave a stronger, more nuanced performance).

6. That slo-mo bullet money shot. Wow.

7. The movie ended abruptly with just a few sentences filling in the blanks of his death. Even the closing scenes focused more on celebrating a hero and overreached in terms of sentimentality. And then I remembered that this was a Clint “Million Dollar Madison County Baby” Eastwood movie. All was forgiven.

Rating: ★★★★☆