Wednesday, April 24, 2013





Robert Downey Jr.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Ben Kingsley

After Marvel’s The Avengers gracing our screens last summer as it shreds box office records, what’s next? Marvel’s next big move is Phase 2, another series of big movies building up to the next Avengers film. And Phase 2 kicks off with Iron Man 3, the third entry and maybe the final entry to our favorite Avenger (Don’t worry Hulk you’re my no.1). Jon Favreu left the directing job and passes the torch to Shane Black who is known for writing the classic Lethal Weapon and 2005’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. The only question is left to him being able to upgrade the series or a downgrade? Here’s my review on Iron Man 3.

Iron Man 3 – Takes place after The Avengers, Tony Stark finds himself getting traumatized by the fact that he is at his most vulnerable because of his discovery of beings that are more powerful than him. Now, that fear is coming to life when an international terrorist rises from infamy, The Mandarin who is threatening the globe and a ghost from the past, Aldrich Killian both seek to destroy and threaten Tony Stark and the people close to him. And when they threaten one of them, Tony Stark decides to put matters in his own hands to seek and destroy The Mandarin by himself.

It’s no surprise that I am very excited for the third installment of Iron Man 3; I had really high expectations that this will not just be better than the last one but also be as good as or maybe even better than the first Iron Man. But I’m also curious on how director, Shane Black will give a “new road” to the movie because the previews did show that this is more of a “grounded” road that people tend to compare this to Nolan’s direction to the Batman movies. I couldn’t really call the 2nd Iron Man a “sequel” to the first Iron Man because it was more of a commercial for the Avengers than a sequel. Now that we finally have this movie flying to our theaters, I’m very happy to say that this movie very much so exceeded all of my expectations and I can actually call this a legitimate sequel.

Director, Shane Black upped the scale that is even bigger than the last two movies and as a result he was able to take this series to a different road and delivered (probably) the best Iron Man movie in the series; not really the more grounded road that people would compare to Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” series but it felt like it has a tone of an 80s action film which is ironic because Shane Black wrote the classic “Lethal Weapon”( and other really great movies like “The Last Boyscout” and “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”).  When, Tony Stark is not in the armor they were able to do some creatively well thought out action scenes with the character. The action scenes of him using everyday materials into something he can use against some enemies was pretty well thought out that it felt like it was something his character in the Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films would do so. And yet when he is in the armor the action becomes intense, thrilling and exciting, when I said earlier that the action upped the scale I mean it, it is more than just him blasting stuff up in mid-air, The visuals were able to bring classic armors and did an incredible climactic action scene by the end and also translates the Extremis soldiers very well on-screen. The way the previews make this movie, I was worried that they might forcibly (overly) ground the character of Tony Stark to be part of the “in-crowd” of making things dark and depressing. Like I said it didn’t necessarily take the road of being dark and depressing, it had hints of it but wasn’t likely that it was taking that road. 

Tony Stark is at his most vulnerable in this movie and I like it when they illustrate that sometimes heroes are not really an unstoppable force of justice. It never lost the comedic- light hearted feel of the movie, the character of Tony Stark can still pitch some clever and hilarious scenes and one-liners throughout the film. But I do have one little thought that I do want to reserve for a while until I see more from the other movies and that is "Where is SHIELD?", "There's a terrorist in American soil? where's Captain America (the list goes on); the movie had very little important references. I don't want too many references since that was the flaw of the last Iron Man movie but I do wish they reference a few important things to tie-in to a few movies, maybe they'll reveal it in Captain America: The Winter Soldier or other movies. The movie was a little bit self-contained to connect to the future "Phase 2" movies but for now I will be reserving my thoughts about it until I see some more stuff.  But my real gripe about the movie is that the concept of the Extremis storyline was very under-told. They took ideas of the storyline but not the entirety of it, There was barely a time where they stopped and explained that concept for a little bit and it did suffer for the most part. 

Though as much as I want to say this is rather a light-hearted film than an edgier film, the movie surprisingly features tons of hilarious comedic dialogue though there were most scenes where it doesn't really need to be funny (especially when shit was serious). There were very serious scenes in the movie and out of nowhere Tony Stark will do some slapstick comedy or say something witty when he witnessed something that could possibly scar a man for life. It did took me out of the film. 

It’s also a no big surprise that Robert Downey Jr. still kills it as Tony Stark a.k.a Iron Man, like I said he was still entertaining as he spew out some hilarity but Shane Black was able to take another side of Tony Stark that we may have not seen before. It’s not his usual performance of being this jokey type of person. Shane Black took some time to develop him further to show how damaged he really, how big of an impact the “battle of new york” was to him, how it built him to be a hero and the struggle of becoming. He was able to wring out a great performance from him. But I was most curious about how will they handle The Mandarin in this movie. Surprisingly, they took an interesting twist to the character that is very (VERY) ballsy and it may not be for a comic book buff’s liking, me being one of those people I will not compare the comics to the movies, that’s just not my thing. Let an existing lore exist on its own there is no point in comparing an existing lore to another. That being said, I thought Ben Kingsley was able to deliver an entertaining performance nonetheless. It’s not the version of Mandarin that I wanted to be but Ben Kingsley’s performance did make it up. Speaking of surprises, Guy Pearce is probably the most fleshed out villain in the series. I thought that he played an exceptional villain in this movie; he had the right amount of menace and threat factor throughout the movie.

Though, I thought the weakest link was Rebecca Hall’s character Maya Hansen was barely fleshed out throughout the film, I just wished she was developed a little bit more and have a role that is bigger than it could’ve been. The returning cast like Gwyneth Paltrow and Don Cheadle; continues to be great as well. I liked how they expanded characters like Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine/Iron Patriot in this new movie, which I thought was a bit lacking in the last movie. He shared a really good amount of screen time with co-star Robert Downey Jr. as they share a partnership like Mel Gibson and Danny Glover did in Lethal Weapon. They also expanded characters like Jon Favreu's Happy Hogan giving him a very pivotal role than just a cameo and also Gwyneth Paltrow giving her more to do than being a damsel in distress. Last but not the least; I want to mention this kid in the movie. There was this kid that Tony Stark partnered with for a little while. When they brought this kid in I was about to dread of what to come, basically to me when a kid is in a movie sometimes it could be a kiss of death to your movie if they weren’t handled very well. But they did handle that aspect of the movie very well and I thought their partnership, the "heart-felt" relationship and  the comedic scenes between them were pretty well done.

In the end, Iron Man 3 may be the best out of the series; Marvel’s Phase 2 is off to a good start with Iron Man 3, Iron Man 3 is an exceptional comic book movie as it corrects every flaw it did from the last Iron Man movie.  Shane Black was able to deliver a smart, fun, fast-paced and entertaining film and he also upped the scale of action and storytelling as it tells a more personal story without relying on forced references for the Avengers and overly grounding the film, though one flaw of the movie is explaining its core concept. Iron Man 3 has exciting, thrilling, incredible almost larger than life action scenes that will entertain you from start to finish. The cast was able to give out convincing drama and hilarity that is entertaining as well though some showed its weakness. I highly recommend you see this immediately in theaters, though I do not see the rush in seeing this on a 3D format. Fans and non-fans of the series will love this movie but I don’t know if some comic book fans will accept some twists that regard the villains in this movie. This may be the last time we will see our high-flying Avenger in a solo movie and if it is so, it was a great run and it concluded very well. 




4/5 - FOR THE WIN! 

Monday, April 22, 2013





Jane Levy

Shiloh Fernandez

Lou Taylor Puchi

Of all the classic horror movies like Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Friday the 13th, Night of the Living Dead. Sam Raimi’s 1981 classic, Evil Dead was the most influential and remembered horror movie for its ingenuity, its classic story, and the fact that it was made in a ham-sandwich budget and yet it was able to deliver a quality horror film. Now with the fad of re-making classic horror movies most re-makes/re-imaginings never really live up to the quality of their predecessors. Did this re-make follows the same bloody footsteps as they did or did it instead give us something fresh than something rotten?

Evil Dead – Is a re-make of the 1981 classic and it tells the story of 5 young adults moving in to a remote cabin to help their friend, Mia from getting through her drug addiction. They meanwhile find themselves in a satanic nightmare when they find a trapdoor to a secret hatch, one of them happens to have found and read a mysterious book that made one of them become possessed by a demon.

I was very much looking forward to seeing Evil Dead, I was a huge fan of the classic Evil Dead movies and Army of The Darkness. When I heard that they are doing a Sneak Preview for the movie in the cinema near me I went out of my way to see it and it was worth it.  I’m very happy to say that this movie is a quality horror movie that happens to be a modern re-make. Director, Fede Alvarez and Producers, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell actually cares for the material and all of them shared this passion in delivering a quality horror movie that is very loyal to its beloved material and I for one had a very good time with this movie.

Fans of the classic movies and Horror fans will be happy that the movie did live up to the classic very well (even if they did not have Ash Williams in it) and be entertained by some scares and gory imagery.  The marketing team boasts about this movie being “The Most Terrifying Movie You Will Ever See…. Ever” Did it live up to it? In my point of view; the movie had disturbingly gory imagery (It’s really fucked up) throughout the movie that will likely make a lot of people be terrified as they leave the theater. But not to me, It was more disturbing than genuinely scary but I can see why others can be terrified by this movie nonetheless. If most horror re-makes are updated with CGI, this is updated with a large barrel full of gore (lots and lots of gore). It is very impressive that thus movie were done with practical effects and that is very rare to see nowadays because of the usage of Computer Generated effects (CGI). They take the usage of practical effects to its advantage. The sense of realism and the usage of practical effects added so much to that imagery that it could make someone cringe for hours. Though I do wish the scares would be a little more genuine, scenes of the possessed person appearing behind them did become tiring the more they use it, there were scares here and there that did felt genuinely scary (enough) but I do wish the movie was like that overall. I can’t really go through this review without mentioning this movie called “Cabin in the Woods” which basically borrows the plot of the 1981 Classic and Horror movies in general, It must be very difficult to do this movie after that movie coming out when all the tricks in horror movies are revealed. The Cabin In the Woods was very much like that show “Magic’s biggest Secrets”.

When it comes to re-makes as much as I want them to stay loyal to the material, I really don’t want a carbon copy of the original being updated with modern-day special effects. There were a lot of flourishes of new things to offer in this re-make. The story is a step-up from the classic, they have a reason to go to this cabin and why should they stay anyways when they began to experience weird things, I thought that it was a believable. but if I would have a little nit-pick about the story and it would be that giving the reason why they had to read the book when they are told not to, they should’ve took the route of “I know this ancient language that you don’t understand so I’ll read it” route but you (even I) learned to accept it anyways that they didn’t take that route and that’s why It’s not really much of a gripe to me. It’s also darker and more serious than the Raimi movies as well; the old movies had that scary yet campy vibe to them that you can actually laugh out loud by the in-jokes being delivered in the old ones. At first I thought of that change could’ve not been changed because I wanted some characters to at least have a personality to some characters (because most characters feels very similar except the odd ball) but as I continue watching in the movie I don’t think it needed some comedy because of serious the situations are. The characters were literally labeled immediately on the spot at one scene where "hey, you're the smart one", "you're the weird one" and "this is my girlfriend" my little nit-pick about that scene was the fact how obvious that they introduce their character that way, but that's just a nit-pick honestly.  There are some homages and easter eggs that were cleverly put together in this movie, the camera swooping through the forest, the red chainsaw, the tree branch rape, the shotgun, and more. Fans of the classic will enjoy picking those little things throughout the movie.

To be quick about the performances (since I am very much aware of the fact that they aren’t trying to get nominated for an Oscar or something like that) I thought that Jane Levy stole the show as this junkie who got possessed, when she was possessed I thought she outshines all of the actors in this movie. I did like Shiloh Fernandez and Lou Taylor Pucci of all the people in the cast (especially Jane Levy) I thought they were the ones with actual depth and personality to them (I know I shouldn’t be looking at these kinds of things at Horror movies but I just couldn’t resist sometimes).

In the end, I had a bloody great time with this movie. This Evil Dead is everything a horror-remake should be; Its relevant, It gives something new to the table, do necessary changes, loyal to the beloved material and be gorily scary (scary enough) and when they all add up they will be  an entertaining horror film overall. Evil Dead is the best horror re-make to date and the best horror movie of the year. Fans of the classic will be very pleased that this movie was handled with care by a great director like Fede Alvarez and producers, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell. I highly recommend you see this immediately when the movie is still having a sneak preview in an Ayala Mall theater near you and in case you missed make sure to mark your calendars when it gets released in May 8th. But for those Evil Dead fans (or those who have seen the 3 movies at least) there’s something for you in the after credits of this movie.





4.5/5 – FOR THE WIN!

Sunday, April 14, 2013






Tom Cruise

Morgan Freeman

Olga Kurylenko

Oblivion – Takes place in the year 2077, when mankind was evacuated from earth after it was attacked by an intergalactic threat. Jack and Victoria are the only ones left on earth as they extract earth’s remaining resources. Complications occur when Jack’s recurring dreams of his past gets in the way and a bigger threat that he discovered.

I was curious about Oblivion; I was intrigued to see this movie by the cast and the visuals shown in the trailers, but the story – I wasn’t really crazy with.  Going into this movie, I had that feeling where the movie will be very convoluted because as shown in the previews there was so much story going on that it feels like that it is more than one storyline (I counted 2-3 storylines were done in this movie),  And that unfortunately did came true.

The movie is written and directed by Joseph Kosinski, the same guy who brought us Tron: Legacy three years ago.  I was not the biggest fan of the movie though I enjoy it very much, but going back to the topic; the reason why I referenced Tron: Legacy is because it suffered the same flaws this movie did. The movie suffers from under-written characters, plot and also over-explanatory events that took place in the movie. To go into detail I want to mention the story first before all else, I can say that the premise is very good; admittedly the first hour of this movie was a pretty good set-up for the characters and the story itself, but you leave wanting something more. The movie spends its time on what I like to call “Shyamalan-ing”, where they build multiple things up for a big plot twist (in this case: Plot twists); there were multiple plot twists in this movie both you can sniff something from the beginning and some are something that you cannot see coming and yet for that the movie suffered in terms of pacing, the pacing did seem very off in this movie as it would go in a fast pace and become drastically slow again.

To talk about the performances real quick, As much as I thought Tom Cruise as an actor is an impressive actor physically and professionally (he’s a nutjob, sure but you have to admit he’s a very exceptional actor) and he did bring a good enough performance in this movie I thought that his character was a bit under-written along with Morgan Freeman, (who also did a great performance) who happens to be the antagonist of this movie and pretty much the rest of the cast. Morgan Freeman’s character is very under-written, he along with the gang he had in the movie felt very un-needed in the long run it is the writing’s fault at that I just wished that their side of the plot was developed a little bit more to work with the big climax and reveals. The remaining cast members like Andrea Riseborough and Olga Kurylenko.

This movie is without a doubt, visually stunning and it does result to very enjoyable action sequences and very surreal and photo-realistic imagery. The use of CGI and surprising enough the usage of practical effects are very impressive as it brings a surreal vision of the distant future to life on-screen. I like how these visuals have some visual-nods (inspirations) to various sci-films such as Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

In the end, despite its flaws I manage to enjoy Oblivion from the first half of the film and some parts in the second half (that last fight scene was pretty mind-blowing, I have to admit). The movie had its pros to the performances, the visuals and the fantastic score from M83 (which I didn’t put into detail in the review), and the set-up to this movie was very good though it wasn’t executed very well in the long-run. The movie still suffers from a messy pacing, very under-written characters and overly-explanatory situations (due to the occasional “Shyamalan-ing”). You may enjoy this movie for the visuals and most parts of the first and second half, I wouldn’t recommend to see this movie immediately; it’s more of a “See it if you’re bored” type of movie.





Wednesday, April 10, 2013







Emma Stone

Nicholas Cage

Ryan Reynolds

The Croods – takes place during the stone-age and it tells the story about a family who has survived long enough because of their daily routine (which is not doing anything). The eldest daughter, Eep is getting tired of her over-protective father controlling his family from leaving the cave. But when one accident destroyed their home they found themselves adapting to this new world they discovered. As they trek into this world they end up meeting new people, discovering new things and different kinds of danger in this new world. But the stakes got higher in their journey when they soon realize that the world is collapsing (dun dun duuuuun).

I was not really looking forward to seeing, The Croods. Honestly the reason why this is a very late review is because of two things: 1. this movie was released in my finals week and 2. I was avoiding this movie. But when I heard good word about this movie being “good” and “how the trailers were all wrong about this movie” I got myself into seeing this movie and I end up kicking myself for avoiding this movie in the first place. I actually did enjoy the movie for its surprises, its inventiveness and how it wasn’t everything I thought it could be.

When I saw the previews for this it looked so generic in a bad way. I think that’s the flaw of Dreamwork’s marketing team where they try to be secretive like Pixar but they do it in a bad way because they didn’t really intrigue most of the audience right from the trailer. There were so much clichés in this movie that didn’t translate very well as I have judged in the previews; you have the cliché of the over protective parent, the rebellious kid (who happens to be a red head), the fish-out-of-water storyline, the crazy family, but as a result.. It actually worked. Little did I know Chris Sanders (He wrote and directed How to Train Your Dragon and Lilo and Stitch) wrote and directed this movie, what made him special? He puts a large amount of heart and depth to everyday movie clichés and he really does well translating family problems into his stories, it shows in “Lilo and Stitch” (the sister-sister relationship) and “How to Train Your Dragon” (the father and son relationship) that you have sworn that they do feel like the everyday family.

In this movie it shows the amount of heart and depth he put to the story and the amount of personality and charm being given to each character; each character feels relevant and share a very good dynamic to each other right from the get-go, they feel like a real family that really stay together and love each other. In fact, I liked how the messages of adapting to new things and how you have to get out of your comfort zone were delivered in this movie; it would probably be have an impact to you. It wasn’t “deeply” delivered for kids to float around their heads and I thought that those morals were delivered simply for it to be understood by both adults and children alike. In the comedic writing, I thought that there were clever in-jokes throughout the movie and jokes in general. Surprisingly there were a lot of adult humor and less childish humor. But most of the jokes did fall flat, I know it’s a kids’ movie but I wasn’t really much of a fan with the childish humor of this movie (thankfully it has nothing to do with farts or shit jokes), It was very awkward to watch. I think that would be one small gripe.

The Animation in this movie is pretty much Dreamworks at its finest, I just love how they thought of creating this world. I’ve always admire Dreamwork’s Ingenuity at creating specific worlds whether it will be an underground world for rats, a place where people like Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny would live in and maybe even a place similar to Beverly Hills but with a fairy tale twist, the list goes on and sometimes I admire their ingenuity in the writing department (comedically and dramatically) as well.  The way they made this world with very lush environment had that artsy- photorealistic feel to it and the inhabitants (the animals) were really well thought out bringing that nostalgic feel of the Wuzzles (If you don’t get the reference, you’re probably part of the younger democratic).  The animation overall for the characters, was smooth and rightly over the top and It is very good to see in 3D, Dreamworks really knows how to work with 3D and they never disappoint every time they do 3D movies; Every detail of the world, the characters or small things in general really pops out of the screen and It is worth the price of admission.

Voice-acting wise is really nothing amazing honestly, when it comes to voice acting I always wish they would make me not recognize the famous voice actor behind the character. An example like last year’s Rise of the Guardians I barely noticed it was Alec Baldwin doing a Russian accent or even in Megamind I barely recognized Will Farrell and Brad Pitt as Megamind and Metro Man.  Here you can notice that it is Emma Stone, Nicholas Cage and Ryan Reynolds when they start talking. But as they go on you don’t mind it, especially for Nicholas Cage the more when he does his trademark crazy antics really work with the character he is playing, Emma Stone and Ryan Reynolds were just alright. The rest like Clark Duke, Cloris Leechman and Catherine Keneer leaves out as “not bad”. Chris Sanders who have voiced Stitch in the past years played a similar character in this movie called “Belt”, his cutesy voice really fits the character very well and he does have a lot jokes here and there that revolves around him will keep you amused along with your kids.

In the end, The Croods is a very surprising movie, I surprisingly enjoyed this movie and even I have to admit I almost had man tears by the end. It has the best animations and have surprising amount of heart and depth story-wise and character-wise. The animation is Dreamwork at their finest, every inch of detail pops out of the screen with fantastic shots in 3D. The movie is fun for the whole family; it is enjoyable for both adults and children alike (trust me; I was in a cinema full of them).



4/5 - FOR THE WIN!