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Showing posts from January, 2012

REVIEW | J. Edgar (2011)

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When Clint Eastwood directs a biopic, brace yourself for a lengthy ‘talkies’ experience. Unless you are fascinated with the early beginnings of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), particularly with J. Edgar Hoover, who headed the bureau for 50 years, then skip the movie.
The name J. Edgar Hoover, even if you don’t care about American history and politics, rings a bell to Hollywood crime-drama fans. The former FBI director was even regularly mentioned in the cult hit series The X-Files, which starred FBI agents Mulder and Scully, and where Hoover’s framed photo on the walls of the bureau was often showed to us.
J.Edgar, filtered by sad monotonous shades of blue and gray, with unemotional musical score, will challenge your attention. Hoover is played by Leonardo DiCaprio, whose performance is highly disappointing in this movie. The actors feel like they were left alone in their craft, and DiCaprio was unable to transform into Hoover, his speech and accent unnatural and unpl…

REVIEW | The Darkest Hour (2011)

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If you are in the mood for cheap thrills, or perhaps thinking of bringing your date to a juvenile alien adventure where not much concentration is required, then The Darkest Hour is your best pick.
No, there’s nothing wrong with popcorn movies manufactured for light Friday night entertainment at the cinemas. And with 3D effects, these sorts of films can de-stress a moviegoer--- and if lingeringly good, can even be a good conversation starter. But the problem with The Darkest Hour, it is shallower than the acceptable level of shallowness of popcorn movies.
Sean (Emile Hirsche) and Brad (Max Minghella) are hanging out one night in a stuffy bar in the heart of Moscow, meeting new people, when there is a sudden blackout, and then strange beautiful lights started appearing in the Russian sky. Soon after, these lights started wiping out humanity-- and Sean, Brad, the two girls they had just met in the bar, and a Russian guy are the only survivors.


We then follow the five young people ventur…

SLAPSHOCK Releases 7th Album: "Kinse Kalibre"

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The Korn counterpart of the Philippines, nu metal band Slapshock returns to the Philippine rock scene armed with a 15-year caliber of excellence and experience in their seventh studio album, Kinse Kalibre, released by Polyeast Records, featuring the single "Ngayon Na,"which is on the number one spot for a month now on MYX Channel.
All 12 tracks in Kinse Kalibre are originally written by Jamir Garcia, mixed in Malaysia and mastered at John Greenham Mastering in San Francisco, USA, and produced by the band, composed of Jamir Garcia (vocals), Lee Nadela (bass), Lean Ansing (guitars) and Chi Evora (drums).
So what do we expect from Kinse Kalibre?
Jamir said, “In this album, we we’re challenged to produce something that will cater more to our Filipino listeners. This time, I have challenged myself to write five Tagalog songs.”
Following the 6th album Carino Brutal’s commercial success, the band, who signed their first record deal in 1998 with OctoArts (now Polyeast Records), took thr…

5 Girls and a Dad: NET 25's Unique First-Ever Teleserye

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During the presscon of NET 25’s first ever television series 5 Girls and a Dad last January 16th, the tabloid people stood like vultures at the back, asking the cast and the production team playful questions, hungry for intrigues, admirably quick at provoking controversies to a wholesome family-oriented show. Yes, because this is showbiz. Intrigues and sensationalism feed the business. But the masters of sensationalism failed to get anything juicy out of the nice and wholesome cast and the production team, and the presscon ended with everybody laughing good-naturedly and in good spirits, and excited about the upcoming television series.
Indeed, NET 25’s first attempt at primetime entertainment is one that is values-oriented, a perfectly wholesome drama-comedy that promises no violence, or anything even remotely related to immorality. But where’s the excitement in that? Some people wonder. Where’s the conflict? The dark side to be overcome by the good? Isn't a story about a fathe…

REVIEW | Melancholia (2011)

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When Lars von Trier channels his experience with depression through filmmaking, the result is an astonishingly surreal beauty. Slowly falling horses and colliding planets, stars and ravens, snow and ashes. Like slowly moving surreal paintings right before your eyes, resonating with a kind of melancholy that is both achingly beautiful and suffocating.
Melancholia is an art house fantasy drama about the impending apocalypse: a planet called Melancholia will hit the Earth in five days' time and we watch how the clinically depressed Justine (Kirsten Dunst), and her sister Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), come to terms with the imminent End.
The movie, which premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Fest, is divided into two parts: first about Justine in her wedding reception at her sister and brother-in-law John's (Kiefer Sutherland) stunningly beautiful lakeside property (where the entire movie was shot); the second part focuses on Claire as Melancholia is looming closer to Earth; the mys…

REVIEW | The Debt (2011)

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A story about loser spies. 
It's 1965 and three young Mossad (Israeli Intelligence) agents go on a mission to capture a Nazi war criminal, the famous "Surgeon of Birkenau," who conducted horrific experiments on Jews during World War II. Yes, Rachel Singer (Jessica Chastain), David Petzer ( Sam Worthington ), and Stephan (Marton Csokas ) are physically skilled agents, but they lack the intelligence to perform a fairly simple mission, which is further complicated by their unspoken love triangle.
Fastforward to1997 and old and retired Rachel (Helen Mirren), Stephan (Tom Willkinson), and David (Ciarán Hinds) are national heroes despite being loser spies. But suddenly, their past mistake unexpectedly comes back to hunt them.
A remake of the Israeli film of the same name and directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love), The Debt is sparsely thrilling. As an espionage story, it has fairly done its job in tensing you and gripping you with suspense from time to time. But since our …

REVIEW | Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)

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A young woman named Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) escapes from a cult commune in the Catskills and seeks shelter in the vacation house of her estranged sister (Sarah Paulson) and her brother-in-law (Hugh Dancy). Then we watch as she gradually loses her mind. Mundane activities trigger memories of her two years' stay in the mountains with the cult that engages in "free love" and violence, with a dangerously charismatic leader (John Hawkes) who sings them beautiful country music at day, rapes them girls at night, and feeds them disturbingly twisted philosophies in between. Martha never tells any of this to her worried sister.
Premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Martha Marcy May Marlene is a psychological thriller aimed to disturb and frighten you-- and at the same time impress you by the fact that the Olsen twins have a younger sister who can seriously act. Yes, she is the younger sister of Ashley and Mary Kate Olsen.
Indeed, Elizabeth Olsen (who doesn't look anythi…

REVIEW | We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

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Critically acclaimed mostly because of the performance of the surreal- alien-looking Tilda Swinton for her complex role as a mother of an evil son, We Need to Talk About Kevin has also won the approval of Lionel Shriver, the author who penned the novel of the same title: "Stunning...a brilliant adaptation of my novel!"
We Need to Talk About Kevin is the chillingly disturbing story of Kevin, a teenager who went on a killing spree in his local high school. The story is delivered to us in a non-linear narrative through the perspective of Kevin's mother, Eva  (Tilda Swinton). 
The film's starting point is the post-massacre existence of Eva, alone, dazed and ostracized in her small town. Then we are shown fragmented memories of her domestic life prior to the massacre. We get to witness Kevin growing up only through the eyes of the postpartum-suffering Eva, without really knowing who Kevin is outside of her peripheral. The little monster, as soon as he opened his eyes to the…

REVIEW | The Tree of Life (2011)

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Terrence Malick's controversial and poetic film The Tree of Life has caused an extremely polarized response from moviegoers: either they loathed it or have fallen in love with it. But with its strong audience impact, already the film has succeeded. Not to mention that it won the Palme d'Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. 
The Tree of Life is essentially an experimental film, a non-linear drama speculating about the meaning and 'evolution' of life-- from the visions, perspectives, and theories of a small suburban family in 1950s Texas, specifically by the mother (Jessica Chastain), the father (Brad Pitt), and the eldest of their three sons, Jack.

When the father and the mother received news of the death of one of their sons, they are shocked with grief. And thus we begin to be bombarded with their existential questions about grace, nature, God, and life, through striking high-definition wallpaper/screensaver-like visuals of nature and the entire universe from its incept…