Category Archives: Month In Review

MOVIE MONTH IN REVIEW: APRIL.

May 18, 2017

 

I’ve been terribly busy for the past couple of weeks and so this post was just left in gestation for a long time. So without any further delay, here’s my late (but not stale) presentation of the film reviews I made for the whole  month of April.

 

1. GHOST IN THE SHELL (2017)

White-washing controversies aside, I want to be blunt and say I totally enjoyed this film. That is why I am absolutely surprised by the ratings it has been getting, which are lower than what I think it deserves.

I have seen the original twice, before watching this film as well as after seeing it for comparison. Yes, nothing beats the original, as what purists would predictably say. But this film, with its stunning visuals and a few solid tweaking in the storyline, stands on its own.

There’s so much more to appreciate in this film than what the negative reviews make out of it. I personally think the concept and design of the highly modern world in the movie is spectacular (3D hologram effects and all).

The choreography of fight scenes is perfect. I love love love the first 5 minutes of it — its first action sequence with the robotic geisha gone rogue. THAT was super cool.

There are, however, some things to harp on such as Johansson’s too angsty-stiff portrayal of Major (take it from a die-hard Scarjo fan) as well as the absurd and unnecessary part where the Japanese-speaking Section 9 Chief Aramaki doesn’t get any Nihongo responses from the other characters. Well, at least, the character Aramaki is a hundred times likable in this film. Thanks to the portrayal of the amazing Japanese actor/director Takeshi Kitano, chief Aramaki is more of a father-figure to the Major rather than a cold and restrained boss in the anime version. I’ve actually let out some muted yaaaaaaasssssssss!!! during scenes where he’s a total bad ass.

Danish actor Pilou Asbæk was a very good Batou. The portrayal of his relationship towards Major was super spot on. I was grinning from ear to ear. (Fun fact: he was also in the ScarJo movie Lucy!) Juliette Binoche as Dr. Ouelet was incredible, as per usual. Peter Ferdinando as Hanka CEO Cutter and resident bad guy was very impressive in his own sinister take on the character. And good lord, Michael Pitt. All I can say is, RISE KING! I love you and all of your movies and I hope you make more and more movies. Lol I’m embarrassing.

This movie may not fall in the greatest sci-fi movies of all time, but this is certainly a lot more entertaining and satisfying than some of the “higher-rated” movies I’ve seen.

 

2. IT (1990)

My neighbors, who are aged 10 and 6, love to hang in my room and watch movies with me. And since I’m usually into weird or old-timey movies, I figured to have horror films instead when they’re around.

Everything’s peachy so far. They are getting more and more captivated by the genre.  Some of the titles they’ve seen: Pan’s Labyrinth, El Orfanato, The Witch, Lights Out, Mama, Sinister, Conjuring and Goosebumps the movie.

As soon as the teasers for the new version of IT hit the internet, my little friends kept giving me spirited updates about the trailers. And so one afternoon when I was able to get off from work, we decided to watch the 1990 original.

Cheesy 90s-acting (on some of the adults’ performances) as well as some misogynistic undertones aside (what the hell is happening to the Beverly Marsh character? Even the kids are asking me why she has to be so touchy with all the boys LOL), it’s an old horror movie that’s worth visiting.

With all these recent horror movies that heavily rely on jump scare, Stephen King’s IT relies on its chilling and unnerving atmosphere, as well as its super spooky storyline (but of course!). That’s why it is so endearing for me because it’s reminiscent of the good ol’ Filipino horror films I loved when I was a kid. Tim Curry as Pennywise is nightmare-inducing. I thought my adult mind would be like ok scary clown, but hell no, THAT MOFO WAS NASTY I was scared shit and screaming witha kids lol.

I have a soft spot for stories with a group of kids and so the first half is my favorite. The second half unfortunately didn’t have the same energy as the first. The ending I think was ridiculous, but still, with the imminent remake, it’s always nice to revisit the past. If you’re an adult reading this, I think this movie is best enjoyed with kids in your audience hihihi.

 

3. SPLIT (2016)

Sigh. I cannot be mild. This movie was just plain horrible, disappointing and a total waste of time. It’s not even the funny kind. It is the kind where at the end of it all, you’ll be caught in an overwhelming wave of regret for the time lost. (Oh, was I repeating myself?)

I love James McAvoy and I was super excited to see Anya Taylor-Joy after seeing her in The Witch (2015), but good god. The contradiction between McAvoy’s cringey acting and Taylor-Joy’s dull and monotonous part is the only thing that’s horrifying in this movie.

Ending was atrocious and leaves a bad taste in the mouth. And most distasteful is the unmissable exploitation of the teen actors having them act half-naked almost the whole duration of the film.

I think I’m really done with giving this director the benefit of the doubt. Well, at least for now. If you feel like watching a split personality-themed movie, do yourself a favor and watch Identity (2003) or Fight Club (1999) instead.

 

4. LES DEMOISELLES DE ROCHEFORT (THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT) (1967)

This post is inundated with film stills because, as you can tell, I’ve fallen in love with this movie. And if you give this a chance, I think you will do too.

I found this film by pure chance while surfing the internet and so I had no idea it was going to be a musical. if you loved La La Land, then you will be surprised by how this movie will remind you of it. The first song and dance sequence of the two films, for example, very much echo each other. Also very clear is that both films are made as homage to Hollywood optimism and its dreamers.

It’s crazy how visually stunning and captivating this french film is. That’s why I posted too many pictures above as example in case you need more convincing. Watching it is like stepping inside a sherbet factory, every shot is just very tasteful. Very entertaining too is its dialogue, with interesting side stories delivered orally by characters. It’s whimsical, fun, romantic and very engaging. It’s a very good example of escapism, the exact reason why people watch movies in the first place. I can’t wait to see more of director Jacques Demy’s work!

 

(Fun Fact: Catherine Deneuve and Francoise Dorleac, who play twins in the film, were real-life sisters ( but not twins). See more fun facts here.)

 

5. GEORGY GIRL (1966)

No one is really likable in this story. The lead character is a ludicrous woman-child who has this penchant for sticking with horrible people. One redeeming quality though is her devotion to a baby rejected by its own mother.

The male love interest is an asshole and her female flatmate an insufferable cold-hearted mean bitch. Harsh much? Watch the movie. Calling her a bitch is actually already polite.

There’s also the father character who pimps his daughter to his old rich employer, who in turn pursues Georgy relentlessly and is able to convince the poor girl to be his mistress through his own scheming ways.

No character is really worth rooting for but because of the zesty performances of its actors, i was left intrigued to know the ending. Holy Mary Mother of God, Charlotte Rampling is so beautiful. I am so obsessed with her face!

Anyhoo, if you take this story as just a presentation of how it’s like during the 1960s swinging London, the baby-boomers and the common mores at that time, then this is a fair commentary to that.

 

6. THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS (2017)

This is my first time to watch a Fast and Furious film and I had absolute crazy fun watching it in the cinema with the parents. They are HUGE fans of this movie franchise, especially my dad. So watching the movie with them means hearing over-the-top reactions and side comments to explosions, action sequences and women in skimpy clothes lol.

Funny parents aside, what made me totally warm up to this movie is that it has an impressive solid plot for an action flick that’s already on its 8th installment.

The cast chemistry was a delight. The characters were super likable and funny and an absolute hoot. Tyrese Gibson was hilarious and his “Number 11” lines would make my theater roar with laughter. And good lorrrdd, can somebody give Jason Statham his own spin-off movie for his character in Spy (2015)? This man is THE KING OF COMEDIC TIMING! My life will have the sunshine it has been missing before if that happens. Thank you.

Dom’s motivation for going rogue was shaped real well. Charlize Theron’s high-tech evil ice queen really seeps through your bones. The emotional pay-off at the end was sweet and enough, and although (***spoiler alert do not read any further wow you’re still here fault’s on you) Theron’s character escapes, at least that secures her spot in the next series. I’m definitely not complaining. ?

 

7. THE NIGHT PORTER (1974)

I find it so tricky to justify my love for certain arthouse films since most of them have really controversial and disconcerting premises to begin with.

Take this film as an example. An exploration of love, obsession, madness, and all the greys in between, this film tells the dark and twisted love affair, of which started during the Nazi regime —- she, a young and emaciated captive and he, a cold-blooded concentration camp officer. Talk about We Found Love In A Hopeless Place by Rihanna realness.

The idea of it is no doubt revolting, sickening and could highly ruffle the feathers of many. And that’s exactly why I’m so impressed by how director Liliana Cavani turned something horrific into something weirdly beautiful and moving. The narrative is so nuanced and textured that I couldn’t help but sympathize with this doomed love. With  the flashbacks inserted so seamlessly, the film never loses its mystery as well as the intrigue that’s looming in every scene.

Charlotte Rampling and Dirk Bogarde’s performances are heavy with inspiring gravitas. Both are equally mesmerizing. It’s not always that I get interested with male actors but Bogarde made me want to see more of his work.

There are also supporting characters you really need to see just because of their stunning performances. Amedeo Amodio’s ballet scene is mystifying. The Countess Stein, regal and one of the most interesting femme fatales on films.

Alfio Contini’s cinematography is gorgeous. There was an abundance of beautiful  shots, all with an air of quiet despair. Sigh….please excuse me for sounding like I breathe ahhhhrt but that’s what i felt watching it.

The color palette, mostly consisting of absinthe greens, muted blues, deep blood reds and stark cold whites, go very well with the chilling and disturbing circumstance of the story.

Script is exceptional. An example: Upon being told that their love affair is a romantic story, Bogarde’s Max counters the Countess Stein, “No, it’s not a romantic story….It’s a biblical story.” Dead.

I think this is sublime and it’s one of the most touching, most emotionally moving tragic love story I’ve ever seen. Well, I mean, it could rank 2nd after my all-time favorite love story: Komugi x Meruem from HxH. Omg don’t judge.

I really loved this film, I’m obsessed with it and it’s now one of my favorites.

 

8. KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE (1989)

It’s a beautiful, sweet and very heart-warming tale about a 13 year-old witch trying to navigate her way through life after breaking free from her parents’ care (as per the witches’ tradition.)

We see her struggle and work hard in order to support herself as well as her trusty sidekick Jiji, a cute black talking cat. This element of the story is my favorite and inadvertently struck a chord with me. Kiki being so headstrong and resilient endears her all the more to me. That scene where she had to deliver something despite the rain? Girrrrl. ?

I am slowly building my Studio Ghibli top favorites and this now goes straight to second place, with Howl’s Moving Castle at number one (just because I have an eternal lust for Howl). Eww.

 

9. DIARY OF A CHAMBERMAID (2015)

I first saw the 1946 version directed by the film titan Jean Renoir and starring the luscious Paulette Goddard and I remember really enjoying that film and got me even more entwined with old films. I also remember getting extremely mushy and dewy-eyed during that garden scene between Goddard’s Célestine and the amazing Hurd Hatfield (whom I found so irresistible and had that Ben Whishaw charm, if you know what I mean). That scene was sooo romantic to me, it got to the point where I was absolutely embarrassing myself to me.

With that said, this 3rd movie adaptation from the 1900 anti-bourgeois French novel written by Octave Mirbeau, had a different tone and atmosphere — more somber and much darker, when compared to the original.

While Goddard’s heroine is sing-songy and playfully sassy, the always alluring Léa Seydoux’s Célestine is sullen, exhausted, scheming and full of shaded indignation. With such unpleasant-sounding characteristics, Seydoux has effectively played her with such nuance that you’ll feel sorry for her and just root for this poor girl.

Though I prefer the lightness of the original film, this version is still worth a watch especially for Léa Seydoux stans (which includes me btw). It’s an engaging period drama with solid performances from the cast as well as beautiful shots of the English countryside.

I am yet to watch the 2nd version, directed by another film titan Luis Buñuel and is the best out of the 3 (according to reviews), so if you’re interested, do so.

 

10. GOODNIGHT MOMMY (2014)

As you can see from the stills above, this movie can be a minimalist’s horror film dream. The silences plus the methodical use of negative space are successful in creating the movie’s whole feel, as well as tableau shots, that’s very eerie, tense and unnerving (again, refer to those freaky stills above).

I absolutely abhor torture films, the reason why I still couldn’t get myself into watching Michael Haneke’s Funny Games. So I was just squirming from my screen, eyes and ears fully covered, during its final act because what was happening was horrible and super disturbing and obviously I don’t need it in my life.

Of course, I’d take glances every now and then and so I could tell that the torture parts are done so tastefully (oh god i feel sick for saying that) so kudos to these amazing female directors.

Just a very slight carping about the film, the mystery/twist feels very familiar and derivative. It was too evident and so I already figured out what the other twin was 10 minutes from the start.

This film as a whole is one of the most disquieting films I’ve seen recently and left me shaken and shook for some terrible minutes.

 

11. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (2017)

So this post has been brewing for 2 weeks now (I saw this in the cinema just before the month of April ended.) It’s not because I got lazy but aside from being busy with work, I always find writing reviews for amazing movies much difficult than movies I didn’t like.

Topping the first installment, I thought, was nearly impossible. But this second one not only leaped through that invisible line of expectation. It knows its own freedom and so skyrocketed its way to miles level of high.

I laughed, I cried, laughed some more and just marveled at how amazing this movie was — visual-wise, story-wise, script-wise, acting-wise and soundtrack-wise. It’s an adventure-ride full of action and hilarity and has full of heart. Everyone involved in the making of this movie should feel real proud.

 

Related links:

Movie Month in Review for March

Movie Month in Review for February

Movie Month in Review for January

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MOVIE MONTH IN REVIEW: MARCH.

April 9, 2017

 

 

  1. Logan (2017)

If you haven’t seen it by now, then, MAN, THAT SUCKS. Quoting  Justin Bieber’s golden truth (hahahahaaha), BELIEVE. Believe the hype, believe the flood of rave reviews, believe Hugh Jackman. This is no Suicide Squad, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or X-Men: Apocalypse. It is surely a legitimately good, insanely well-acted, edge-of-your-seat, character-driven superhero movie. One that’s worth seeing in the big screen simply because we don’t catch this kind too often.

The gritty and mature tone of which the whole film is set into was the best complement for Hugh Jackman’s incredible portrayal of the old and world-weary Wolverine. The supporting casts were equally interesting, un-flat and endearing. There’s Dafne Keen who was a live wire. Patrick Stewart as father-figure to Logan was both funny and heart-breaking. There’s Caliban, who also serves as family to Logan. Even Donald Pierce, portrayed very well by Boyd Holbrook, though a baddie, was surprisingly enjoyable. And the kids! There’s nothing more adorable than seeing Logan protect the kids with a burning fierceness.

Everything is intense. Everything is electrifying. The movie has depth and heart. There was astounding energy in my theater. So do yourself a favor, catch it on the big screen while you still can.

 

2. Love (2015)

I watched this  film out of sheer curiosity.  The marketing was intense and promised raw sex in 3D. So there goes why I easily took the bait. I have nothing against a movie with too much sex as long as the story strongly calls for it. But no, everything in this movie feels ridiculously gratuitous, unnecessarily vulgar and exploitative. Script was laughable. It has more cheese than I could ever handle in a movie. No character was likable. The main lead is a whiny asshole who couldn’t face the consequences his actions took him, and that’s basically his attitude the whole 2 hours and 15 minutes runtime so good luck watching this, you who wouldn’t heed this warning. If you are looking for something sexy and sensual and still have a plausible story, watch Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Dreamers or Clement Virgo’s Lie with Me instead.

 

3. Power Rangers (2017)

THIS MOVIE SERIOUSLY GAVE ME A HEADACHE. I was going to pass on this one, seeing the trailers and all, but since my boyfriend and friends want to catch it on the cinema together, there we were in front of the big screen — all 90’s kids and BIG power rangers fans.

Ridiculous writing, embarrassing acting, pathetic script, extremely bad and ugly humor (“you know what’s edgy? an accidental handjob to a stolen bull. let’s put that in the final script,” said one movie intern who’s obviously bestfriends with the writers), devoid of the original’s campy fun, and the most awaited action sequence only happening for about 30 minutes shy from the end (note: it has a 2hr and 4mins runtime accrdng to IMDb). I am not even going to tell you what the rest of the time was all about. Go buy a ticket. Watch it. Because apparently, misery loves company. HAHAHAHA

 

4. Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Quoting from the book The Off-Hollywood Film Guide by Tom Weiner, the visuals in any film are its most important component. But you don’t need to know this beforehand to see how magnificently made the movie Kong: Skull Island is because watching the film will hand you that truth so naturally.

It’s a formidable giant of nonstop eye-candy, it has some of the best gradient moments I’ve ever seen on film, fast-paced, never short of thrills, and boasts cool 70’s music. Also loved how certain parts of the film poked fun at usual film tropes such as self-sacrificing characters (shout-out to Shea Whigham as Cole, you, sir, were hilarious and amazing there!) and the use of mindless hypocritical spiels that could change the minds of enemies.

Although I loved Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake of the 1930’s original film, I think this new version works more for me because they took out that beauty and the beast love angle and the Kong in New York part (which I never liked anyway cause it’s painful to watch and unnecessary for me).

I really do appreciate, as well, the change-up from using the character of a glamorous blonde actress into an accomplished female war photographer. That surely made my heart do a cartwheel.

Plus, man….you have got to catch that montage of Kong vs a rageful Samuel L. Jackson see eye to eye. If you haven’t seen it yet, go watch it now and have monster-movie fun. Long live the King!

 

FUN FACT: The Mother Longlegs spiders could be a homage to the giant spider with crab claws that was cut from the original 1933 King Kong movie. Also the Skull Crawlers could be a homage to the two legged lizard that climbs up the side of the mountain in the original movie.

 

5. Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Well, to be honest here, I went inside the movie theatre with not much high expectations. So imagine the surprise I have when I came out of it very happy, very impressed and all over the place raving about how exceptionally good the movie turned out to be IMO.

The visuals were extraordinary, the dialogue very well-written and funny, the story’s pacing was fast and appropriate, lyrics of the songs fit perfectly in their own respective scenes, dance choreography was amazing, set-designs were inspiring, and the color grading on fleek (for the lack of other terms hihi).

Emma Watson as Belle gave a solid performance but I think the heart of the movie was the collective performances of all individual characters, most especially the supporting casts. The CGI characters were highly amusing. Luke Evans as Gaston really shone through. And don’t even get me started on how entertaining Josh Gad as LeFou was! You won’t want me raving about him in circles. I feel super thankful that the writers added gay characters in the story, although quite so subtly since, of course, it’s still a Disney movie. I think it is already time for Disney to incorporate LGBT visibility in their films and make kids understand to be accepting towards different kinds of people.

I also loved the fact that this movie gave Belle and Beast’s romance a better build-up, thus giving it with more depth and making it more believable and organic for my adult Disney-fangirl mind. Sigh…. Beast’s death scene really made me tear up.

I’ll never be ashamed to recommend this to anyone. This is certainly one of the best fairytale movie adaptations out there! ?

(NOTE: To appreciate this movie even MORE, watch this video to see the 10 movie mistakes, goofs & plot holes that Beauty And The Beast (2017) fixed from the 1991 Disney classic!)

 

6. Lights Out (2016)

Highly unnerving, the scares work effectively, good pacing, and although the backstory feels derivative, the movie still stands with a very potent plot. Teresa Palmer gives another solid performance alongside an equally impressive Gabriel Bateman (who was still 11 years old during the movie’s production).

This movie is definitely one of those perfect fright-night movies to watch with friends/family — of course with the lights out. ?

 

7. Pet (2016)

I don’t understand the low scores this movie has on imdb and rt. I think it’s a modern psychological thriller that deserves more love.

It’s entertaining, it’s PACKED (take note of the caps lock on) with twists and turns which greatly compelled me to get through it til the very end despite its gore. Believe me, my boyfriend and I got so many ‘whoa! mindblown’ moments it was crazy and funny. I am one who actively steers away from grisly movies (though I LOVE Dexter) and so the fact that I was hooked from start to finish should speak for how effectively engrossing the story was.

The casts were great. Dominic Monaghan was perfect as a creepy stalker. Da’Vone McDonald as guard Nate was very entertaining. Ksenia Solo as Hollie was outstanding. This is the first time I’ve seen her in a movie and she totally killed it! (Pun definitely intended hihihi)

 

Related links:

Movie Month in Review for February

Movie Month in Review for January

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Movie Month in Review: FEBRUARY.

March 2, 2017

Hey! So another month just swiftly passed by and so here we are again. February has given me quite a number of good films and I can’t wait to have another batch to take in!

Here are the movies I saw this February:

  1. Manon of the Spring (1986)

Such a beautifully-crafted and poignant tragedy. Had I read this as a written story, (it’s adapted from the 1966 two-volume novel The Water of the Hills by writer Marcel Pagnol), I would still have tears in my eyes.

 

2.  Jean de Florette (1986)

One of the saddest and most visually-appealing films I have ever seen yet. I saw Manon of the Spring first and so it is weird to see Ugolin interacting with the little Manon (but that’s just the prude in me.) Nevertheless, it is still heart-wrenching to see the characters again with the knowledge of what’s about to happen in the end.

One might argue with this but the relationship dynamics between Papet and Ugolin somewhat reminds me of Of Mice and Men‘s Lenny and George: both men have only each other to rely on; one of them overpowers/controls the other; sympathetic characters who are miles away from being morally-flawless; and *****spoiler alert***** with one dying at the end. There might be more parallelisms between the 2 pairs so if you have anything to add, feel free to use the comment bar.

Again, it is unbelievably visually appealing — the gorgeous rural Provence becoming an integral part of the story rather than just merely a background. I love love love the heavy use of brown and earth tones as color scheme for the outfits of the actors. What say you, Kanye West?

This is getting quite long so last thing to note are the superb performances of Daniel Auteuil and Gerard Depardieu (both heartbreaking) and Yves Montand as an ice-cold mofo.

And would I forget its incredible music? Never.

 

3.  Le dernier chaperon rouge (1996)

At 27, I’m still a shameless fairy tale lover so it’s natural for me to watch this french short film (it only runs for 26 mins). It’s easy to find online and is available on youtube. It’s a retelling of Red Riding Hood in the fashion of the Saw movies so goodluck cause it’s real dark, twisted, freakish and super unDisney-like.

 

4.  The Girl on the Train (2016)

I find this film rigorously unenjoyable. All principal characters were unlikable and so there was no one to root for. 20 minutes into the movie and I’m already feeling feverish from the urge of hurling my laptop away from me. The main character’s a hot mess in preposterous levels it’s almost laughable (homegirl’s a raging alcoholic who has no life outside of religiously stalking her ex-husband and his new family for 2 years). I want to shake her out of her wits so badly so she can get her shit together. Give her a ticket to some nice SE Asian country and have her get some stone-carving classes asap. Just so she can stop being a hot mess. Even the pseudo-feminist ending was lame and inexcusable. Unfortunately, my love for all the actors here (Emily Blunt and Rebecca Ferguson most especially) can’t make me get on this train again.

 

5.  Eyes Without a Face (1962)

This 60’s horror film is haunting and disturbing yet dreamy and captivating all at the same time. Saw this in crisp B&W and so all the best imagery this horror masterpiece has to offer are amplified clearly and will undoubtedly seep into my mind for a long time — if not forever.

Edith Scob as the masked daughter was fantastic, conveying her heartache, distraught and hopelessness through just her eyes and voice. The musical score was particularly chilling as much as THAT face-transfer operation scene (GOOD LUCK SEEING THAT). This is an old movie worth visiting, whether you’re a horror flick junkie or not.

P.s. If you loved this movie, I recommend you also watch The Skin I Live In (2011), The Innocents (1961), Repulsion (1965) and El Orfanato (2007).

 

6.  A cause, à cause d’une femme (1963)

Not really my cup of tea story-wise. We have here our Casanova who is able to manipulate women to his own advantage and he does it unapologetically. His conquests, young and beautiful as they are, get apeshit crazy with our guy, forego self-love and all that jazz and still clamor for his love and attention and so become his loyal puppets. All but one who takes the road of vengeance and accuses him of murder. But hey, it’s supposed to be a light-hearted murder-mystery/comedy by French director Michel Deville, and it’s the 60s, soooo whatever. The movie features a bevy of beautiful cinematic faces (see the above images for a few examples) and remarkably effective portrayals of varied characterizations from the female casts, so that’s a plus for me.

 

7.  John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

I am one who doesn’t like violent action films and actively steers away from them. But ever since my dad made me watch the first John Wick film, I have become a superstan of it. Yass, not just a stan but a superstan. I’ve seen it 4 times from start to end and I thank the Lord for Keanu Reeves everytime. John Wick 2 could have been just a Hallmark tv movie about him and his new dog and I will still watch it in the cinema. So yeah, I’m a shameless superfan. With that being said, the sequel is nothing short of extraordinary and never disappoints even its craziest fans.

The brutal carnage, one that’s a vital ingredient of the recipe that’s the John Wick films, is done so tastefully and fluidly. Like a road accident, I couldn’t help but look at it.  Every combat scene is mind-blowingly poetic and as impressive as a slick ballet performance. As psychotic as it may sound, and I know the other moviegoers felt the same way too, I’d always surprise myself whenever I get excited and electrified during  visual spectacles of the Mozambique Drill (2 gunshots to the chest, 1 in the head killing technique) impeccably delivered by Keanu Reeves in neon-lighted roman catacombs. And let us not forget that damn pencil scene.  And every scene with Common. And that every-assassin-in-the-city-versus-Wick part. Actually it’s everything you need to watch.

Just small but unimportant displeasure: the lack of the amazing Marilyn Manson music, the absence of Adrianne Palicki and Willem Dafoe (but ofcourse!) cause I thoroughly enjoyed their characters. Good thing, Ian McShane, John Leguizamo, Charon the hotel concierge and Jimmy the officer are back!!!!

 

8.   The Shallows (2016)

With its drop-dead gorgeous cinematography, dramatic overhead shots, solid plot, strong and convincing performance from its equally gorgeous lead, an adorable co-star in the form of a seagull, and a mean and menacing gray-skinned mofo that’s your villain, this movie is certainly not your average shark-attack thriller.

 

9.  Arrival (2016)

Left the cinema all confused and unhappy and in total disbelief the movie ended the way it did.

First part of the movie was very cool and exciting. You have your weird genius protagonist convincingly portrayed by the amazing Amy Adams. She’s a linguistics professor who decides to continue her daily routine amidst what was happening in her world. She appears to have no friends — she wound up alone in her campus the next day of the “arrival”, with a puzzled look that no one else is around. Clearly, none of her colleagues or students texted her anything that’s in the same vein of GIRL, ALIENS ARE HERE. DO NOT GO TO SCHOOL. But that was just a fun and flippant observation from me and my sister so whatever.

When we saw the spacecraft, I remember myself being awed. The design was extremely impressive.  It looks to me like this giant metal leech suspended in mid-air — very menacing and has this particular quiet sinister about it. That dramatic aerial shot of the wide American rural fields towards the spacecraft, made even more dramatic by those freaky rolling clouds and chilling af musical accompaniment, was flawless. It is, I think, the best introductory look of a spaceship in an alien-invasion movie so far.  The aliens look cool as well; I never thought tame giant squids could be potent replacement for the usual aggressive lizard-like aliens in movies.

So everything was going great and exciting, our lead is able to befriend the aliens and has made them respond to her in their own language through this ink-like substance. So yey that’s so cool they’re so cute was mostly my reaction. HOWEVER as the story progressed and the characters are still trying to figure out the aliens’ language a month after the initial back-and-forth communication, I felt that the movie was losing its charm swiftly thanks to Amy’s character having to deal with her dead daughter’s memories. At first we’d think they’re only flashbacks and you somehow empathize with the mother’s grief. But in the end it was revealed that they were actually memories from the future. FROM THE FUTURE. Like girl, why aren’t you freaking out big time from these recurring freaky ‘memories’? Aren’t you supposed to call your mom or any friend and tell her that something this level of freak is happening to you? Sheesh. And to think she would pass out almost every time she has these visions. Girl was def not freaked out at all.

So that part of the story was really emotionally vexing for me and it was already taking away so much emphasis from the other themes that the movie has introduced and needs to address more such as learning the Heptapod’s language, the different ways nations are dealing with the arrival, how everyone could arrive to the ever-elusive kumbaya moment or even why Jeremy Renner’s character all other characters there were rendered almost useless.

And that conversation with the Chinese General part….. lol. My sister and I were mentally screaming Google translate! We were definitely one of those who left the cinema pondering about it, clueless as a stone it felt hilarious.

The reviews I saw for this film were almost polar opposites. You either deem it as extraordinary and mind-blowing or boring and unsatisfying. Well, if you have read this uncharacteristically long review of mine in its entirety, you know where I stand.

 

10.  Paris, Texas (1984)

As of this writing, I couldn’t think of any other movie that has given me so many heart-wrenching moments as much as Paris, Texas did to me. The whole film is set with a lingering quiet melancholy from start to end. Expect sweeping American desertscapes, tranquil train tracks, empty parking spaces, seedy motels, hushed suburbs, soft-neon lights, moody guitar sounds and simple but emotionally-charged dialogues take important roles in the totality of the story.

 

11.  Mustang (2015)

This exceptionally wonderful movie may be flippantly deemed the Turkish version of Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides (a film I totally love) since it shares a lot of similarities with the latter — from the superficial (5 sisters with good hair who are soon to become prisoners in their own home following one mischievous event) to themes of sisterhood, girlhood, burgeoning sexual identity, conservatism, societal pressures/patriarchal mores on women and freedom and independence.

There are also scenes reminiscent of the 1999 film: we could see the 5 leads in their uniforms in school prior to their seclusion, the scene where the girls are huddled together in their room, the ‘wind in the hair’ moment while in a moving vehicle and that one heart-breaking scene where the older guardians try to shield the younger ones from seeing their dead sibling.

But with all of these present, Mustang is still able to stand on its own firmly. One should not disregard the differences it has from the other. Take for example the point of view employed here. It is from the perspective of Lale, the youngest of the siblings that we get to see the story unfold and so the story has more ‘authenticity’ to it. There’s also the element of ‘female perspective’ used in the story in contrast of the teenage boys’ perspective in Coppola’s film. Another great thing about it, one I found so gripping and poignant, is the variation of bold defiance to regain freedom done by some siblings, whether in death or in life.

The story is told with a pace that holds you firmly, so in-your-face there’s never a dull moment. The last moments of it were so powerful and so thrilling and torturous for me I was screaming SOMEBODY HELP THESE GIRLS in my mind the whole time. The feels were so intense it felt like being punched in the stomach afterwards (I haven’t experienced being punched in the stomach, praise the Lord, but it definitely feels like how I imagine it to be).

 

There you go, all seen in just a month. Thanks for reading this extremely long post. Catch you again soon and may the month of March be good to us all. ✨✨✨ ?

 

If you’re curious, here’s my Movie Month in Review for January.

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Month In Review: JANUARY.

February 2, 2017

I’ve been making progress now. I’m able to see more than 3 movies to feature in this blog before the month of January ended. I’ve gotten more active here too, and so I’ve made it my goal to continue this winning streak (!). Steadily. Charot.

So without further ramblings, here are the movies I saw (either online or in the cinema) in January:

 

  1.  Sing (2016)

Sing (2016), Sing, Gunter

It’s a charming feel-good animation movie that’s certainly perfect to watch if you are quite curious to see cute anthropomorphic animals sing and perform some modern and classic hits.  If that above gif can’t convince you on watching this, I don’t know what else can.

 

2.   Assassin’s Creed (2016)

Assassin's Creed

Saw this in the cinema and it certainly left me puzzled and unsatisfied. I’ve never played the game or familiarized myself with the game’s story line so there’s that, definitely clouded my judgment. HOWEVER I was not familiar with the Warcraft video games and novels either but I sure did enjoy the movie. Immensely. Nevertheless, AC’s stunt work is great as well as its visual effects.

 

3.  Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

Jyn Erso, Donnie Yen, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Wen Jiang, Riz Ahmed, Ben Mendelsohn, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Rogue One, Gareth Edwards, Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk,

Surprisingly, I enjoyed this Star Wars standalone film more than The Force Awakens for several reasons: First, Mads Mikkelsen stars in it. The Chirrut Îmwe – Baze Malbus tandem was brilliant, funny and adorable af for me. I loooooooove K-2SO and I’m so glad he is no C-3PO who I find annoying. And most importantly, there’s extra love for this film because of the ethnic diversity of the casts in there. It’s amazing to see Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, and Riz Ahmed take on important roles in a Hollywood blockbuster movie. Nevertheless, both films are extremely enjoyable for me especially for the fact that the character leads are kick-ass females.

 

4.  Perfect Blue (1997)

Perfect Blue (1997), Perfect Blue

I got a little bit lost and confused in the ending and so I had to google about it. I ended up learning about Folie à deux (or shared psychosis), “a psychiatric syndrome in which symptoms of a delusional belief and hallucinations are transmitted from one individual to another”, thanks to Wikipedia.

 

5.  Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Ghost in the Shell (1995)

I am super stoked about the upcoming Scarlett Johansson live-action version (mostly because I’m a ScarJo stan and waiting is such agony) and so to quell the embers of over-excitement, why not watch the original first?

 

6.  The Cat Returns (2002)

The Cat Returns (2002)

A new favorite, this goes second on my animation list next to Howl’s Moving Castle. ?

 

7.  The Graduate (1967)

The Graduate (1967)

I don’t know why I let time pass by before I watched this classic gem.  But I guess there’s good reason to it. It’s so easy to connect with the mentally adrift, lost and confused Benjamin Braddock now that I’m out of college myself. Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of him was funny as hell. Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson was phenomenal, with a face and voice that’s distinctly unforgettable. Also worth-noting were the impressive camera-work, hilarious but mordant script and the heavy use of the sonically-endearing Simon and Garfunkel music.

 

8.  The Godfather (1972)

The Godfather (1972)

The energy translated in the film was unbelievable, I’ve never seen such fine performances given not only by the lead roles but also by the minor characters (loved loved loved Luca Brasi and Clemenza). If you’ve never seen it yet, then this cinematic masterpiece (regardless of the gazillion times movie critics have said so) is truly worth your free time.

 

9.  La La Land (2016)

La La Land (2016)

Expected to get the usual feel-good cutesy-patootsie musical when Maneung and I decided to catch this on the big screen and so……………..To put it mildly, I was an emotional wreck in and out of the cinema. Maneung had to take some minutes to emotionally recuperate from it before going back to work.

 

10.  Whisper of the Heart (1995)

Whisper of the Heart (1995)

It’s not on my top Studio Ghibli favorites but still worth a watch. Because of course it’s a Ghibli movie. If you are fond of the Studio’s other movie The Cat Returns, then you’ll be glad to see a cameo from a beloved character.

 

11.  The Godfather: Part II (1974)

The Godfather: Part II (1974)

That Fredo-Michael scene was stupefying, it’s one of the most powerful scenes I’ve ever seen. Also, young Robert De Niro is sooo damn fiiiine.

 

12.  The Great Wall (2016)

The Great Wall (2016)

Though the look/feel/story of it is nothing more than that of your typical Hollywood blockbuster film, the impressive visual spectacle from the acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers, Curse of the Golden Flower) deserves to be enjoyed on the big screen. Honorable mentions: that glorious scene on the gif, the GORGEOUS costumes and Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal being cute together.

 

So there you go, those are the movies for January. Catch you again on the next one. Btw, how about you, what are the movies you saw in January? Would love to see you share about them. 🙂

 

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