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Showing posts from March, 2012

REVIEW | Wrath of the Titans (2012)

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The sequel to 2010's Clash of the Titans, Wrath of the Titans takes Perseus (Sam Worthington), demigod, hero and Kraken killer, in another save-the-world adventure. 
Ten years after famously defeating the monster Kraken, Perseus's quiet fisherman life with his 10-year-old son Helius is disrupted when a division broke between the triumvirate gods: his father Zeus (Liam Neeson) and Poseidon (Danny Huston) versus Hades (Ralph Fiennes). Hades takes with him a minion, Ares (Zeus's jealous son filled with daddy issues), to switch to the enemy camp: the imprisoned Titans, led by the triumvirate's imprisoned daddy, the lava Titan monster Kronos. Perseus, the reluctant hero-demigod, is suddenly forced to rescue his father Zeus from the Underworld to prevent the Titans and their dangerously growing power from destroying the gods...and humanity.
Directed by Jonathan Liebesman (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning), Wrath of the Titans brings to life our beloved Greek mytho…

REVIEW | The Hunger Games (2012)

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I haven't read yet Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games, the phenomenally popular young adult trilogy that instigated a cult following, and is now a crazily talked-about motion picture from Lionsgate. 
The story is actually just another version of a common dystopian theme previously seen in films, novel-based or otherwise: a group of people who, against their own will, are locked in a fighting arena to kill each other off for one victor to emerge. Kill to survive. With two core objectives: control and entertainment.
So, what does The Hunger Games's version offer? 
It's some time in a dystopian future, in post-apocalyptic North America now called Panem, a nation divided into 12 districts governed by the city of Capitol, the seat of a totalitarian government. Every year, the Capitol holds for its rich and couture-wearing dwellers a reality game show-- like a combination of America's Next Top Model and Survivor: The Hunger Games. The contestants or "tributes"…

Restaurant Experience: Moshi Koshi Noodle Boss

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So last March 15 was my third restaurant review experience with a group in a small Japanese resto along Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City. I forgot to take my lunch because I was consumed with work, so by the time I arrived at Moshi Koshi Noodle Boss for the 6:00pm dinner, I was so hungry I could eat a horse.
So, was I satisfied with my dining experience?
THE FOOD I'm no fan of Japanese food. Or ramen, to be specific. But I don't hate it either. But great things can change your view or taste-- they have the power to convert you from a hater (or someone indifferent) to a lover. Did Moshi Koshi Noodle Boss convert me into a Japanese cuisine fan? A noodle fan? Nope. Not really.
The Noodle Boss offers a special kind of noodle-- koshi (al dente), an eat-it-real-fast fresh, firm, and sweet noodle. Let it go cold and you'll be sorry. Yes, the noodles--all three kinds: ramen, soba, and udon--are, as exactly promised, fresh. Superb quality. But tasting the noodle dishes, such as the mis…

REVIEW | Young Adult (2011)

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The movie is a dark and wryly humorous commentary of a sociopath-- one of those functional but embarrassingly crazy characters you meet in real life (and could even be a friend of yours). The movie’s funny moments are laced with pain and sarcasm, and the heartbreaking moments are more felt in silent moments, in small actions, and fleeting looks.
Reitman gives us a movie that excellently captures emotions with depth, through guises and subtleties, and even in blank expressions. Young Adult is brilliant filmmaking, a strong character-driven plot, highly engaging, funny, and depressing. Theron gives an excellent performance, wholly transforming into the beautifully portrayed complex and sorry character of Mavis. 
Mavis may be a sociopath, but maybe the reason why we feel sorry for her is because somehow we are her in one way or another.

4.5 out of 5 stars

REVIEW | The Skin I Live In (2011)

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If you're in the mood for arthouse weird cinema, you might want to try The Skin I Live In.
Highly esteemed Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar offers you his brand of Frankenstein flick, where the creator is a skin-obsessed plastic surgeon, and the monster creation (who doesn't look anything like a monster) is a soft-skinned beautiful girl that he names Vera Cruz.
Set in present day suburban Toleda, Spain, The Skin I Live In (watch the badly made official trailer) follows Dr. Legard (Antonio Banderas), a screwball widowed surgeon tinkering with transgenesis and keeping in his remote stately mansion/medical lab "Vera" (Elena Ayana), his human experiment. He closely watches the suffering and locked-up Vera with a scrutinizing obsession-- his very own creation, guinea pig and art work. 
Who is Vera? When did Dr. Legard take her in? Who is the tiger-costumed freak who entered the mansion and raped Vera? The movie answers these questions in a slowly revealing manner, in a fra…

REVIEW | A Better Life (2011)

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An undocumented immigrant Mexican worker, Carlos Galindo (Demian Bichir) is a single father chasing the American dream. Determined to give his smart-arsed teenage son Luis (Jose Julian) a bright future, he toils every day for a dollar with his boss, circling East LA in a truck, for landscaping jobs. The boss eventually sells Galindo the truck, and this becomes the father and son's starting point for a better life. But an unexpected incident threatens their future.
Directed by Christ Weistz, A Better Life is a simple yet profoundly touching story of a decent, hard-working and loving father who remains to be admirably good and humble even during life's cruel situations. The movie, even in its quiet moments, offers multitudes of emotions-- even Galindo climbing a palm tree already seems to tell a story-- with every upward step he makes, you are getting a vivid glimpse of his hopes and dreams...even a sense of his history.


Demian Bichir, Oscar-nominated this year for Best Actor, …

REVIEW | A Separation (2011)

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It’s hard to believe that A Separation is an original screenplay. This domestic drama transforms you from a mere movie-watcher into a voyeur, a judge, an adjudicator-- as if you constantly want to interrupt everybody in the movie and say your piece or settle the matter.
Such is the pull of the Iranian film A Separation, winner of this year's Oscar Best Foreign Picture; you unwittingly cross over to a place where you forget that you're watching a movie, but instead you feel like you are either the neighbor, the relative of the characters, or the characters themselves. 
The film opens with secular husband and wife Nader (Peyman Moadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami) arguing before a judge. Simin wants a better life for their daughter in the US, whereas Nader refuses to leave Iran, unable to leave his father with Alzheimer's. Simin's solution? Divorce-- which was denied her.
The marital trouble propels us into a series of conflicts that already goes beyond Nader and Simin's f…

The AXE End of the World Survival Kit

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The AXE people seemed to have taken the Mayan Doomsday prophecy waaay too seriously. Based on the Mayan prediction, the world will end on 12-21-12, so it was no surprise that I have received an End of the World Survival Kit from AXE (Fig. 1). 
Perplexed, I opened the box, wondering what AXE threw in together to help me "survive the end of the world." So I lifted the cover of the box...and the items I found inside were utterly unexpected. I stared at them in disbelief. Yup, they definitely look like something out of an adult store! A silky black scarf-like material (Fig. 2); a pair of fur-lined handcuffs (Fig. 3), a small bottle of fuel (Fig. 4), a golden velvet rope (Fig. 5), and the Final Edition of AXE body spray (Fig. 6). Hmmm... And there was a small folded manual inside wishing me a "Happy End of the World," with luuurve tips. I glanced back at the suspicious items...Seems to me that AXE is encouraging me to score some dudes and get some action to survive the…

Behind-the-Scenes Documentary from the "Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1" DVD

Those who have followed the TwilightSaga movie franchise saw how Breaking Dawn Part 1 was significantly different from the previous Twilight films. Whether you're a fan or not, the movie was surprisingly good in many ways (see my movie review). The first half of the final installation was character-driven, with superb visual effects, and an amazing wedding production. Oscar-winner Bill Condon was able to translate the passionate mythology of the novel into the screen, that even a non-fan like me was impressed.
No one can forget the jaw-dropping last act of the film where Bella gave birth, died, and was reborn. I was perplexed by the intensity of the scenes, and the whole time I was astonished by the remarkable and highly realistic visual effects of the scenes-- the sudden shift of the movie to such palpable horror. It was one of the most emotional and realistic death scenes in a movie that I have ever seen. The editing was glorious, and for the first time, a Twilight movie emotiona…