Showing posts from 2012

Leon Miguel in Sean Ellis' METRO MANILA

The indie thriller and Tribeca-winner Graceland (2012), directed by Ron Morales, has earned rave reviews around the world not only for its strong narrative, but also because of the impressive, naturalistic performances of almost the entire cast, including that of Leon Miguel, who played Visel, the kidnapper.
We sat down with Leon Miguel for a short talk and the down-to-earth, humble actor could only thank God for the success of Graceland and the international praises he is getting for his intense performance as Visel, saying how much he enjoyed the experience, how much he loves his Graceland family, also giving high praises to director Morales, "He's really something else. Ron is brilliant."
Having appeared in numerous TV shows and international productions, Leon is usually typecast as the bad guy-- which he doesn't mind, as long as he delivers a credible performance. Indeed, because he usually gets noticed by international filmmakers. In fact, Leon has a cameo role in…

REVIEW | Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

Hushpuppy (Quvenzhane Wallis) is a 6-year-old girl living in a Louisana bayou called The Bathtub and her mind is always running with philosophical thoughts like beautiful poetry. Hushpuppy has no mama, but converses to her from time to time, and her daddy (Dwight Henry) is ill and an alcoholic. And the isolated and poverty-stricken Bathtub is precariously floating in water, which means an arrival of a storm would be the end of the world for the proud residents, like the Great Flood, with ancient aurochs released from the ice caps that would come and eat them.
Beasts of the Southern Wild, from the astonishing directorial debut of Benh Zeitlin, and which won prizes in this year's Sundance and Cannes, will take you on a rich and emotionally stirring journey through the poetic soul of a small child, played exceptionally well by newcomer Quvenzhane Wallis. Rather than simply tell a story, Zeitlin makes you experience Hushpuppy's struggle for courage and survival with stunning cin…

REVIEW | A Secret Affair (2012)

With the success of last year's No Other Woman, local films on infidelity have become a sudden trend, and A Secret Affair is not only the worst of its kind, but it's one of the worst movies I've seen in the last decade. A duplicate of No Other Woman, the movie this time partners Derek Ramsay and Anne Curtis (the cavorting couple in No Other Woman) with Andi Eigenmann as the other woman.
Rafi (Curtis) gets cold feet on her wedding day, dumps her fiance Anton (Ramsay) and tearfully flies to New York for some soul-searching. 
Anton, then, tries to mend his broken heart by having sex with an ex-fling—and Rafi's friend—Sam (Eigenmann), on all available hard surfaces (vertical or horizontal). The unaware Rafi soon returns home and decides to patch things up with Anton...but it's not as easy as she thinks because of the freakily obsessed Sam.

Directed by Nuel Naval, A Secret Affair is an utter disgrace to humanity. Here, you get to watch the three leading stars who are s…

REVIEW | Supremo (2012)

Supremo is the Textbook Andres Bonifacio come to life on the big screen. 
His wife's death. His escalating anger against the Spanish rule. The Katipunan. His battles. And his death.
Supremo feels like watching your high school classmates reenact Bonifacio's bio for a school project. The cast recite their lines with painful memorization and deliver acting that is, well, obvious and clear acting. No one seems to have genuinely transformed into character; they only arrange their facial muscles into the appropriate emotion and response that the scene requires. When they open their mouths to deliver their difficult lines, you cringe at the fakeness of it. Hence, the characters feel fake. Soulless. The acting relegated to unnatural hand gestures and facial distortions; their eyes are self-conscious of the camera and show that they are trying hard not to forget their lines. They pose like cosplayers, too. And you recall how some of your classmates were better actors.

Andres Bonifacio,…

REVIEW | Thy Womb (2012)

Brillante Mendoza doesn't allow fame to get to him. After beating Ang Lee, Quentin Tarantino and Lars von Trier as Best Director at the 62nd Cannes Film Fest in 2009, he remains to be down-to-earth and all the more passionate about his art. And it seems like he can only achieve personal success if the Filipino people, his own race—especially the mainstream-stubborn ones—can finally appreciate his films.
That is his primary concern with his latest work Thy Womb (Sa Iyong Sinapupunan), starring the legendary Nora Aunor, and which won him the La Navicella at the recently concluded Venice Film Festival, that the Filipino audience give it a chance. To highly consider alternative cinema. 
In Thy Womb, Mendoza takes us to the southernmost part of Tawi-Tawi, in glorious high definition seascapes that meet the boundless sky—a panorama reminiscent of the trailer of Ang Lee's Life of Pi. Zoom in closer and you see a dilapidated water village. Shanties balanced on stilts in the middle of…

REVIEW | Trouble with the Curve (2012)

If you want to momentarily take a break from movies with heavy visuals and complicated plots, and want to see a refreshingly light and "normal" movie, then  Trouble with the Curve will satisfy that thirst.
Set in suburban North Carolina in cool blue shades, with open skies and open roads and baseball games, Trouble with a Curve is a real breather from the current line-up at the cinemas; a soothing medicine for stressed out  moviegoers.
The sports dramatells the story of Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood), a super old senior baseball scout for Atlanta Braves whose eyesight is already deteriorating. Sent by his company on a trip to North Carolina to recruit a promising young hitter, he is joined by his estranged daughter Mickey (Amy Adams) to assist him and help him keep his job, but their trip soon becomes bumpy with their father-daughter issues.

Trouble with the Curve, directed by Robert Lorenz, is a solid narrative that is smooth to follow. Although the movie is obviously refuting …

REVIEW | Breaking Dawn Part 2 (2012)

There are elements in the mythology of Twilight that are irresistible and captivating. Love and pain, death and rebirth, courage and sacrifice, and the timeless appeal of the supernatural. But at its central core is, of course, the love story. And it's a love story that is part of a grand design. But it all goes back, really, to Edward and Bella's passionate love story.
Oscar winner for Best Director Bill Condon finishes off the movie adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's phenomenally popular Twilight Saga 4-novel series with heart and dignity. What began as a horrifically crude first installment (2008's Twilight) ends in an acceptable and engaging epic finale. When Breaking Dawn Part 1 came out in 2011, delivered by the sincere hands of Condon, there was significant transformation to the quality of the movie franchise. Sure, Pattinson still cannot act and Aro's thick make-up seems to be chipping off from his chin; nevertheless, you've become engaged to the story, s…

REVIEW | Skyfall (2012)

Not really a follower of the franchise, Skyfall is my first Daniel Craig-as-Bond movie. Well, it is my first ever Bond experience even though my father is a huge fan and a follower. And so I saw Skyfall with virgin eyes. 
The movie opens immediately with a climax-like action. When a rooftop chase ensues, you get a tinge of annoyance. How many movies have you seen this year with a rooftop chase? It's a tiring movie trend, like those Longchamp tote bags you see everywhere. But then it suddenly melts into a visually artful and elegant 007 title-sequence music, with Adele's languid and exquisite melodious voice singing "Skyfall."

In Skyfall, M16 is under attack and M16's frosty, efficient queen, M (Judi Dench), is a target of the psychotic revenge of Silva, played with an Oscar-gold material performance by Javier Bardem. And 007 (Daniel Craig) is out to save his M16 mum.

Directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty), Skyfall, from my Bond-uninitiated perspective, is enga…

Elton John Live in Manila: 40th Anniversary of the Rocket Man Tour

British legendary singer/songwriter Elton John will perform for the first time ever in Manila, Philippines as part of the Asian leg of his 40th Anniversary Rocket Man Tour.

Concert set on December 8, 2012 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, it will definitely attract music lovers of all ages throughout the ASEAN region and will become a major tourism event.

Get ready...the Rocket Man is coming!

Ticket Prices: PATRON VIP (PT101 and 103) - Php 12,000   LOWER BOX VIP (LB200  and  201) - Php 11,000   PATRON REG (PT104 - 105) - Php 10,000   LOWER BOX REG (LB202-207 and LB211-215) - Php 10,000   UPPER BOX A PREMIUM (UA300,301,302,321) - Php 7,500   UPPER BOX A (UA303-309  and  314-320) - Php 6,000   UPPER BOX B PREMIUM (UB400-402)(403 A1-14, 423 A8-21) - Php 4,350   UPPER BOX B(UB403-407  and  419-423) - Php 3,500   GENERAL ADMISSION (GA) - Php 1,000
Tickets are now available at Ticketnet. Call 911-5555 or visit for more details

Ballet Philippines' Rama Hari: A Sure Hit

Lyrics by Bienvenido Lumbera. Music by Ryan Cayabyab. Choreography by Alice Reyes. This is so far the most exciting and impressive Ballet Philippines’ production this year.

To be staged at the last month of the year, the hit pop ballet musical based on the Indian epic Ramayana promises a stunning set production at the CCP main theater, graced by a powerhouse cast: Christian Bautista, Karylle, and Ballet Philippines’ critically acclaimed principal dancers, including Jean Marc Cordero, the Special Jury Prize Winner for Best Pas de Deux Technique at the 2012 Helsinki International Ballet Competition, in leading roles.
At the recently concluded Rama Hari Press Preview, I was struck by the live performances of the excerpts from the production and cannot wait to see it this November/December. Here's a glimpse of Karylle as Sita and Christian Bautista as Rama, with Ballet Philippines' lead dancers:

Rama Hari is a definite must-see for ballet, theater, and musical enthusiasts. Let us clo…

Sting Manila Concert 2012 Moved to Smart Araneta Coliseum

December 9th performance in Manila to move to Araneta Coliseum
As previously announced, Sting’s Back to Bass concert previously scheduled at the Mall of Asia Arena has been moved to Araneta Coliseum. There is no change to the show date, which remains Sunday, December 9th, 2012.

If you have a ticket to the previous venue, please see exchange instructions below. Refunds if necessary are available at point of purchase, as outlined below. For fans interested in purchasing tickets to Sting’s concert at the Araneta Coliseum, those will go on sale beginning October 31st for General Admission and on November 10th for all reserved and VIP seating.


Customers may exchange their tickets in person November 10 through November 20, 2012.

In order to receive the exchange, please bring your SMTICKETS ticket to the Ticketnet office at the Araneta Coliseum from 10AM-7PM daily. SMTickets and Ti…

REVIEW | Argo (2012)

Ben Affleck doesn't go dilly-dallying. He simply delivers the facts of the events accurately. And to tell the world a true story so extraordinary that you feel it can only happen in the movies, all you really need is a clear and straightforward execution, and let the absurdity of the facts hit your audience.
It's 1976 during the peak of the Iranian Revolution and the US embassy in Tehran is violently attacked by militants, taking 52 Americans hostage.  However, six manage to escape unnoticed and seek refuge in the Canadian ambassador's residence. With the six Americans' lives in extreme danger, an outrageous, risky, and comedic CIA covert operations is devised by "exfiltrator" Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) to rescue them: create a fake Hollywood sci-fi movie called "Argo," and make the 6 Americans look like Canadian film crew scouting for locations in Iran...and get them out of the country fast.

Argo,  one of the best movies of 2012, will undoubtedly bag …

REVIEW | Alex Cross (2012)

Detective Alex Cross, James Patterson's protagonist from his popular and top-selling US detective novel series, finds his way again to the silver screen. 
The movie, based on the twelfth novel Cross, portrays an impossibly good black American forensic psychologist Dr. Alex Cross (Tyler Perry). Alex Cross is the detective counterpart of Dr. House sans the attitude-- he  is rarely wrong. But one day, Alex Cross finally meets his equal -  a psychotic and highly skilled ex-operative serial killer called Michael "The Butcher" Sullivan (Matthew Fox) who is obsessed with inflicting pain on his victims. And when The Butcher murders Cross' wife in front of him, our hero vows to destroy him. But it's proving to be a tiny bit difficult for him.

Directed by Rob Cohen (The Fast and The Furious), Alex Cross feels like a television cop drama, except that CSI or Law and Order are much more exciting. It's surreal to be inside a cinema and watching on the big screen something…

REVIEW | Taken 2 (2012)

News of a sequel of a very good movie always fills you with dread because it is highly unlikely that it can rival its predecessor. The default feeling is that a sequel is always a bad idea. Like the idea of Titanic 2 is absurd. And so does Taken 2. But you are still determined to see the sequel. No matter what. Despite bad reviews, you tell yourself that you simply cannot miss it. 
Taken 2, penned by the original scriptwriters but with a new director (Oliver Megaton), takes us to Istanbul, where our hero, ex-CIA operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson), is on a security job but takes his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) and ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) with him for a much-needed vacation. But their R&R turns into a nightmare when they become the target of a mob revenge.

Even if you have low expectations and zero illusions that Taken 2 can  induce the same high level of stress, fear, excitement and tension the way Taken did, this movie will still disappoint you. It will render you slouched…

REVIEW | The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

On a dreamy canvas, writer-director Stephen Chbosky paints a coming-of-age story that will transport you right into the world of teenage angst in all its pre-digital 90's glory, touching you in more ways that you can imagine.
Intellectual introvert Charlie (Logan Lerman) is an outcast, dreading his first day of freshman high with so much pessimism and trepidation that will already set your mood for the entire movie: depressed. But then Charlie befriends an unlikely group of seniors, led by Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson), and you sigh with relief; it suddenly looks like high school wouldn't be so bad after all. Will Charlie blossom from a wallflower to a social butterfly? And will he finally be able to face his personal demons?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, based on the bestselling novel authored by Chbosky himself, is a poignant film meant to revive your own teenage and high school experience, especially when you spent it in the 90's battling anxieties and …

REVIEW | The Hunting Party (2012)

Richard Gere is Simon Hunt, the discredited star reporter whose career went downhill soon after his meltdown on national television while covering the Bosnian war. His best friend and assistant, cameraman Duck (Terrence Howard),  however, went on to become successful. Five years later, Simon and Duck meet again in peacetime Bosnia, and along with Benjamin Strauss (Jesse Eisenberg), the son of the network's VP, they go on to hunt the world's most wanted war criminal,  Boghdanovic a.k.a. The Fox. Mistaken for CIA agents, the trio gets closer to capturing the war criminal—and to the 5-million-dollar bounty—but not without getting into a series of troubles.
Based on a true story from an Esquire magazine article written by Scott Anderson, The Hunting Party is a monotonous narrative, very much confused with which direction to seriously take. Comedy? Or Drama? The movie opens with these words in gigantic fonts: "Only the most ridiculous parts of this story are true," and a…

REVIEW | Graceland (2012)

For Pinoy mainstream-content folks, do not ignore the indie film Graceland. Winner at the recently concluded Tribeca Film Festival in New York, garnering international praises, the crime thriller rivals your regular Hollywood crime fare, delivering a strong, solid narrative that will keep you riveted to the screen.
Marlon Villar (Arnold Reyes), a religious, mild-mannered, loving father, is the loyal chauffeur to corrupt Congressman Changho (Menggie Cobarrubias). Life is difficult for the poor driver, and yet he never forgets to keep his daily prayers and put his trust in the Lord. But one unfortunate day, Marlon experiences what could be his greatest trial: While driving home Changho's daughter, with his own daughter at the backseat, the car is ambushed by the police, Marlon is knocked out, and the girls are suddenly gone. And thus Marlon is thrown into a horrifying and grim predicament that pushes him to the brink of insanity.

Graceland, written and directed by Filipino Ron Moral…