Showing posts from February, 2012


It's the Oscars on Monday, February 27th, Manila time, and with much relief, I have seen all nine Best Picture nominees before the awards. 
This year's line-up is interesting but unexciting. It's predictable (The Artist), incredibly shocking (Extremely Loud and Incredible Close), and deeply annoying (The Help). Nevertheless, some favorites came out of the selection, i.e. Moneyball and Midnight in Paris.
So here's my rank of the Best Picture nominees, based on the combination of entertainment and impact. To make it clear, my favorite, i.e., Moneyball, is different from which movie I think deserves to take home the Oscar gold  (for its uniqueness, creativity in filmmaking, storytelling, and strong impact), i.e., The Tree of Life...and of course different from my prediction of who will actually win-- which is the critics' favorite: The Artist.
So here's my rank based on my personal preference.  By clicking the movie title, you'll be directed to my movie review.

REVIEW | Moneyball (2011)

"The problem we're trying to solve is that there are rich teams and there are poor teams, then there's fifty feet of crap, and then there's us.'
Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is the general manager of Oakland Athletics--or the A's--who's below fifty feet of crap, with only $38 million on their 2002 payroll (compared to the $126 million of the New York Yankees) and on a losing streak. If you say you hate sports or you don't care the least about baseball, then Moneyball, nominated Oscar Best Picture this year, will fascinate you.
Based on Michael Lewis's bestselling business book of the same title, we follow the true story of Billy Beane as he reinvents baseball, defying the rules of scouting for ballplayers-- relying on science and statistics to put together a championship team to compete against rich teams.

Together with a 25-year-old Economics Yale graduate Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), a non-athlete follower of statistical guru Bill James, Beane drafts ba…

REVIEW | The Artist (2011)

And now we know why Jean Dujardin was Oscar-nominated for Best Actor this year in The Artist. He lights up the entire screen, his eyes have soul and they speak volumes in this silent movie.
Bagging a plethora of awards, and also nominated Best Picture in this year's Oscars, The Artist is Michel Hazanavicius's novelty movie that critics are raving about. If you think you'd be bored watching a black and white silent movie, still take a shot at The Artist. It's actually engaging-- thanks to a fairly absorbing screenplay, Dujardin's emotion-filled eyes and dazzling smile lighting up the screen and mesmerizing you, and the musical score that translates the actors's emotions and speaks for them.
In the movie, it's 1927 and George Valentin (Dujardin) is a famous silent movie actor. Then he meets and becomes enchanted with a movie extra/dancer Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) who is trying to make a break in Hollywood. Then, the advent of the talkies soon arrives, and…

REVIEW | The Vow (2012)

The movie is absolutely heartbreaking. Not the story-- but the fact that when Valentine's Day rolled in, poor gooey-eyed females eager for some silver-screen romance trekked to the cinemas and paid for this movie only to have received a pseudo-story. 
Based on true events, The Vow's premise is a tragically beautiful love story; but, unfortunately, the story was translated into a movie tragically.
Paige (Rachel McAdams), in one snowy evening, removed her seatbelt and leaned over to kiss her husband, Leo (Channing Tatum). Out of the blue, a truck perfectly rearended their car, sending her through the windshield and into a coma. When Paige wakes up, five years' worth of memory--which includes her entire married life and relationship with Leo--are lost. Her amnesia reverts her back to her juvenile law school days, like a spoiled sorority girl, and back to the arms of her snobby parents (Sam Neill and Jessica Lange) and her old yuppy boyfriend Jeremy (Scott Speedman).  Leo is …

REVIEW | This Means War (2012)

This movie is proof that you can never rely on trailers.
I had zero intention of watching This Means Warwhen I saw the preview, but circumstances have pushed me a little to watch it and review it for you, dear movie buffs. And, boy, was I pleasantly surprised! I never expected  that I'd be doubling over with laughter. Can't remember the last time when I cracked up terribly inside the movie house, along with the audience, and waking up the following day still remembering some of the hilarious scenes.
Best friends FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy) are top CIA agents whose bromance is ruined when they realized that they are both infatuated with the same girl-- the feisty and lovelorn product evaluator Lauren Scott (Reese Witherspoon). What began as a gentlemanly agreement between the two to fight fair in the name of love, ends in a heated and hysterical competition filled with absurd spy tactics that will elicit a lot of LOLs. Adding to the equation Lauren's best friend …

Vampires and Werewolves at Trinoma and My Breaking Dawn DVD

Last February 17th and 18th, C-Interactive, Astroplus and Ayala TriNoma Mall threw a Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 DVD Release Party for Twihards at the Level 4 of the mall.
I was invited to the party by the good people of C-Interactive, my favorite DVD distributor (as they have quality DVDs and Blue-Rays with superb audio), to attend the party and review the DVD.
I arrived at the party a bit early.The small and intimate event, cordoned off from the busy mall, was a dream come true for Twilight fans. There were cardboard standees of Bella, Edward, and Jacob for souvenir photos, including a standee of Bella and Edward from the wedding scene, standing underneath a canopy of flowers, at the end of a wedding aisle lined with lovely pure white flowers and soft tiny lights.

There was a huge LCD monitor inside screening the 6-part making-of documentary of the film, several cocktail tables, with matching centerpieces, and in one corner, T.G.I. FRiDAY'S serving boxes of nachos and chick…

REVIEW | Hugo (2011)

Martin Scorsese's Hugo is a cross between The Artist and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (all three are Oscar-nominated for Best Picture this year).
It's Paris in 1930s, and Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfiled; The Boy in the Sriped Pyjamas), is an orphaned boy living behind the clock-face in Gare Montparnasse railway station. His everyday routine is to wind the station's clocks (in place of his missing uncle, the station's clock-winder), and try to evade the railway inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen; Bruno), lest he wants to be thrown into an orphanage. And from time to time, Hugo also tries to steal mechanical parts from an old toy owner (Ben Kingsley) to fix his Automaton-- a creepy mechanical man left behind by his late father (Jude Law), in the hopes that once the Automaton works, he'll receive some sort of a message from his father so that he wouldn't feel so alone anymore. Like Oskar Schell in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Hugo is seeking closure for the…

Toro Restaurant & Bar: Japanese and Mexican Fusion

Once upon a time, there were three brothers with great passion for exotic and exciting flavors, always scouring the entire Pacific in search of a culturally diverse gastronomical experience. The adventures of the food-loving brothers have inspired them to share their experiences to the world, and what better way to do that but to put up a restaurant?
However, each brother has his own favorite cuisine: the other loved Mexican, the other loved Japanese. And thus the birth of Toro Restaurant & Bar, to serve us a fusion of Japanese and Tex-Mex, a collision of East and West. "From Okinawa to Tijuana," says their website. Even “Toro” is a combination of two cultures: Toro is the Spanish word for "fighting bull"—but it is also a Japanese word representing a specific cut of the tuna belly. Clever.
And last night, I had the pleasure of visiting the result of the brothers’ bold and creative inspiration in the year-old Toro Restaurant & Bar, in the heart of Bonifacio G…


Twi-hards, do you want to experience a night of magic?

C-Interactive, Astroplus and Ayala TriNoma Mall are cordially inviting Twi-hards to the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 DVD Release Party on February 17 & 18, 2011 (Friday & Saturday), 6:00 p.m. onwards at the Trinoma Park Level 4.

Meet and greet with fellow Twi-hards. Free snack. Get a chance to win Twilight movie memorabilia. Take a picture with the wedding garland scene, with Bella, Edward, and Jacob, and the Wolf scene. And watch a never-before-seen footage including the 6-part making-of documentary!

Just buy or pre-order your much-awaited DVD of Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1.

Here are the complete details to get a TICKET to the BIG PARTY:

So, Team Edward, Team Jacob, would you miss this chance?

For inquiries, visit the Facebook page of  C-Interactive Digital Entertainment If you haven't seen the movie yet, here's my spoiler-free …

REVIEW | Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)

While watching Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, I was feeling extremely restless and incredibly annoyed.
Based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, and nominated for this year's Oscar Best Picture, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is about a 9-year-old  autistic boy, Oskar Schell (Thomas Horn), who lost his father (Tom Hanks) in the 9/11 attacks and has difficulty moving on. One year later, and still unable to come to terms with his father's death, he accidentally finds a strange key in his father's closet and this inspires him to search for the matching lock and find closure. And we follow Oskar as he goes on a "Reconnaissance Expedition" in New York, meeting various people along the way.
Directed by Stephen Daldry (The Hours, Billy Elliot), the movie is clearly intended to break your heart and move you. However, because the Oskar character is supremely obnoxious and insufferable, you are unable to sympathize with him. You feel indifferent to his search…

REVIEW | Safe House (2012)

So far it's the best action flick that came out in the cinema since the beginning of the year.
The dynamic Denzel Washington resurrected in Hollywood, in the spy thriller Safe House. This movie is his rebirth; elevated him once again as the compelling anti-hero, a force to be reckoned with.
Partnered with the fresh-faced Ryan Reynolds in this almost obscure, off-the-radar espionage thriller, Washington plays Tobin Frost, a legendary CIA renegade, who after trading national secrets with enemies for nine years, surprisingly turns himself in at the U.S. Consulate, and is immediately transported to the CIA Safe House. Young housekeeper, low-level agent Matt Weston (Reynolds), after a year of being bored on duty, suddenly finds himself with the dangerous Tobin Frost, right under his watch. Will he allow Frost to get inside his head?
Set in the pulsating streets and colorful slums of Cape Town, South Africa, Safe House is an intelligent and delicious spy thriller that provides a lot of sta…