Thursday, April 30, 2015


DIRECTOR: Tim Johnson  LEAD CAST:  Rihanna. Jim Parsons, Jennifer Lopez, Steve Martin SCREENWRITER:  Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember  PRODUCER:  Chris Jenkins, Suzanne Buirgy  EDITOR:  Jessica Ambinder-Rojas, Alexander Berner  MUSICAL DIRECTOR:  Lorne Barfe  GENRE:  Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Sci-Fi  DISTRIBUTOR:  20th Century Fox  LOCATION:  United States RUNNING TIME: 94 minutes
Technical assessment: 3
Moral assessment:  3
CINEMA rating: PG 13

Aliens who called themselves the Boov are looking for a new place to inhabit and to escape their enemies, the Gorgs. They find a new home on earth and invade the planet on command of Captain Smek (voiced by Steve Martin).  Carefree Oh (voiced by Jim Parsons) is overwhelmed by a new home. He works to have a housewarming party but no one of his invitees show up. Out of disappointment, Oh sends out mass invitations which unfortunately reach the Gorgs. The Boovs are alarmed and disown Oh. Realizing what he did,  Oh tries to find ways to make up for his mistake. He meets and becomes friends with a human teenager Tip (voiced by Rihanna),who is looking for her mother Lucy (voiced by Jennifer Lopez). As he helps her find her mother, he discovers many good qualities of humans. But their friendship is put on test when Oh is torn between stopping the enemy in full take over of the planet Earth and the promise to help a human friend.
Home is a combination of sci-fi and animation with an interesting storyline with a struggling plot development. Using color changes to show the changing emotions of the Boovs is quite clever. Humor is constantly injected in the film to the delight of the viewers. Technically, the movie is consistently good with a superb soundtrack which allows the audience to recall the film way after the credits .
The film is about valuing family and friendship. It shows how a mother and a daughter struggled and sacrificed to find each other, inspiring even an alien to do the same. An alien who did not believe in friendship realized the blessings of having friends to enjoy life’s journey  and successes. There is value in recognizing the presence of friends and their contribution to our growth and happiness. This can be best achieved if there is full awareness and acceptance of oneself first. Overall, Home is an entertaining film. But parental guidance may be required by young viewers for some vulgar humor.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Fast and furious 7

DIRECTOR: James Wan  LEAD CAST:  Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Gary Scott Thompson  SCREENWRITER: Chris Morgan, Gary Scott Thompson  PRODUCER:  Vin Diesel , Michael Fottrell, Adam McCarthy, F. Valentino Morales, Neal H. Moritz, Thomas Tull, Samantha Vincent  EDITOR: Leigh Folsom Boyd, Dylan Highsmith, Kirk M. Morri, Christian Wagner  MUSICAL DIRECTOR:  Brian Tyler  GENRE: Action, Crime, Thriller  CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Stephen F. Windon, Marc Spicer  DISTRIBUTOR:  Columbia Pictures  LOCATION:  USA, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Japan  MTRCB rating:  PG  CINEMA rating:  A14 RUNNING TIME: 124 minutes
Technical assessment: 2.5
Moral assessment : 2 stars
CINEMA rating : V14
Deckard Shaw (Statham) swears vengeance against Dom (Diesel), Hobbs (Johnson) and their team for putting his older brother in a comatose. He chases them one by one and almost kills Dom. Fortunately a Mr. Nobody (Russell) intervenes in time and offers Dom a chance to outsmart Shaw if he and his team will rescue Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) and retrieve her creation—God’s Eye, a program which allows the user to use all cameras worldwide as a spycam.  For the mission, Mr. Nobody reunites Dom’s team, including his girlfriend Letty Ortiz (Rodriguez) whose memory is slightly erased after a car accident in the previous Fast and Furious movie.
One seriously needs to be a Fast and Furious fan to make sense of all the time jumps and characters featured in the past sequels. But taking this franchise as a standalone, the plot is both thoughtlessly thin and fabulously absurd. Really? A group of race car drivers turned spy. Really? A vengeful brother who talks too much before his lethal blow. Really? An unknown financer who has all the money, technology and resources at his fingertips yet turns to a bunch of underground ex-criminals to retrieve something as precious and delicate as a spy program. Setting aside the storyline, the action sequences are exhaustingly overextended. One chase scene allowed us to take a long bathroom break and buy some snacks. Yes, it does achieve that moment of heart pounding thrill but without a solid storyline as its backbone, the film would need several overstretched action scenes to sustain its audience. The production design is superficial and superfluous. It makes everything glossy and clean but disengages the audience as nothing is relatable anymore. Camerawork and scoring scream high budget production but with cardboard performances and flat storyline, technicalities are wasted. The only good thing you can appreciate in the film is the redevelopment of Walker’s character so the succeeding franchise can continue even without him. Overall, Fast and Furious 7 is okay for adrenaline junkies with nothing better to do.
Fast and Furious 7 tries hard to celebrate family as demonstrated by the number of times the characters had lines that mentioned this word. Yet, the actions and decisions of the characters contradict the principle. Family is protecting each other, not teaming up to kill someone else. Family is sacrificing one’s self but do you bring your whole team and endanger them in the process? The sentiment is touching but it feels empty and shallow because of the violence and thrills of the chase and action scenes. Definitely, not a movie for the younger audience.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The longest ride

DIRECTOR: George Tillman Jr.  LEAD CAST: Britt Robertson, Scott Eastwood, Alan Alda, Jack Huston, Oona Chaplin, Melissa Benoist, Lolita Davidovich  SCREENWRITER:  Nicholas Sparks (novel), Craig Bolotin (screenplay)  PRODUCER:  Marty Bowen, H.H. Cooper, Wyck Godfrey, Michele Imperato, Theresa Park, James Paul, Mitchell Smith, Nicholas Sparks, Robert Teitel  EDITOR:  Jason Ballantine  MUSICAL DIRECTOR:  Mark Isham  GENRE: Drama, Romance  CINEMATOGRAPHER:  David Tattersall  DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox  LOCATION:  North Carolina, United States RUNNING TIME:  139 minutes
Luke Collins (Scott Eastwood) is set to reclaim his title as champion bull rider after last year’s nasty fall. At a rodeo, he meets Sophia Danco (Britt Robertson), an art student ready for an internship in New York City. They spend time getting to know each other but realized they are worlds apart to make the relationship work. He needs to ride a bull to save their ranch while she needs to fulfil her dreams in the big city. In one of their dates, they rescue Ira Levinson (Alan Alda), a 90-year-old man and his box, from a car crash. While in hospital, Ira (portrayed by Jack Huston as a young man) shares memories of his beloved wife Ruth (Oona Chaplin) and their enduring love. Will Luke choose the 8-second bull ride championship or the ‘longest ride called life’ with Sophia?
If you’ve read a Nicholas Sparks’ novel or seen any of the film adaptations, you’d know the formula. Girl meets boy from a different background, they fall in love but there’s a hindrance. You don’t get only one story but two. There’s another, older couple who faced the same dilemma, and through letters this older couples’ story inspire the younger ones. Tragedy strikes, but it doesn’t end there.
The Longest Ride doesn’t veer of course. Be that as it may, the film showcases the talents of its actors. Eastwood shows promise and Robertson essays her role well. It is the young Levinson couple, Oona Chaplin and Jack Huston, who bring their endearing 1940s characters to life. Although the film weaves the two stories together, one can’t help asking why the young Ira had to write Ruth about something she herself just experienced. There are beautiful scenic shots of North Carolina and the bull riding scenes are gripping. The dialogue can be improved and some scenes are just too long – it would have been better if it were less than 120 minutes.
The Longest Ride, like all Nicholas Sparks’ story, is not your typical Hollywood romance. It shows good, old-fashioned chivalry and dedication to duty before self interest. Love is not a one-night-stand that crumbles when faced with difficult situations. “Love requires sacrifice...always.” It is noble and true. It allows the beloved his/her freedom and it endures, no matter what. This is not confined to romantic love alone. The film shows care and concern for one’s parent, neighbor, and friend, even at the cost of one’s life.
The film may garner negative comments from critics for being unrealistic and sappy but it stands firm on its Christian view of love and its four forms: agape, phileo, storge, and eros.
CINEMA gives this film an V18 rating for extended sex scenes/nudity, war and violence.

Monday, April 20, 2015

You're my boss

DIRECTOR: Antoinette Jadaone  LEAD CAST: Toni Gonzaga, Coco Martin WRITER, SCREENWRITER: Antoinette Jadaone  EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Malou N. Santos, Charo Santos-Concio  CAMERA AND ELECTRICAL DEPARMENT: Oli Lapera Jr. GENRE: Comedy, Romance  PRODUCTION COMPANIES: ABS-CBN Film Productions, Star Cinema Productions  DISTRIBUTORS: Star Cinema Productions (2015) (Philippines)  LOCATION: Philippines  LANGUAGE: English/Pilipino            RUNNING TIME: 116 mins.
Technical Assessment: 3.5
Moral Assessment: 3
CINEMA Rating: PG 13 
Si Georgina (Toni Gonzaga) ay may mataas na posisyon sa marketing department ng isang maliit na airline company. Nang magpaalam para magbakasyon ang kanyang boss (Freddie Webb), inihabilin siya nito kay Pong (Coco Martin), bilang kanyang assistant. Hindi magkasundo sina Pong at Georgina sa umpisa. Masungit at modern si Georgina. Kimi at simple naman si Pong. May isang importanteng deal ang kumpanya ni Georgina na kailangan niyang maisara at ito rin ang magsasalba sa kahihiyan na naidulot niya sa kumpanya minsang magwala siya sa harap ng mga pasahero ng eroplano at maging viral ang video nito. Ngunit tumangging makipag-usap sa kanya ang mga Hapones na investor dahil ang gusto nitong kaharap ay ang boss ni Georgina. Kaya nang magkaroon ng pagkakataon, ipinakilala niya si Pong bilang kanyang boss. Dito magsisimula ang masalimuot na relasyon nina Pong at Georgina. Magkaigihan kaya sila o lalo pang tumindi ang kanilang pag-aaway?
Ang You’re My Boss ay isang pelikulang sinadyang gawin para sa mga artista nito. Sadyang ibinagay sa dalawang bida ang mga karakter nila. May pagka-predictable ang pelikula dahil dito ngunit di naman maiaalis na may kuwento pa rin itong gustong sabihin. Kung tutuusin ay hindi kapani-paniwala ang pinaka-buod ng pelikula. Pawang mahirap paniwalaan na magiging ganun kadali ang mga biglaang pagbabalat-kayo ng bida na maging boss buhat sa pagiging ordinaryong assistant lamang. Pawang mahirap paniwalaan at lalong mahirap panindigan ang ganitong uri ng kasinungalingan. Sa maraming eksena, tila kakatwa ang nagiging kinakalabasan nito. Marahil sadyang hindi bagay ang dalawang bida mula pa sa simula. Sa kabila nito, maayos naman ang daloy ng kuwento dahil naka-sentro ito sa dalawang bida. Maayos din ang mga kuha ng camera at sadyang malaki ang naitulong ng magandang tanawin ng Batanes sa ikakaganda ng pelikula. Pero pawang may kulang sa kabuuang dating ng pelikula. May timplang hinahanap ang mga manood—marahil ito ang kilig na mahirap makuha mula sa dalawang bidang pilit na ibinabagay. O marahil dahil nakakahon pa rin ang pelikula sa isang nakakabagot na pormula ng romantic-comedy.
Marami namang mapupulot sa pelikulang You’re My Boss. Naka-sentro dito ang patungkol sa katotohanan. Nagsimula ang pelikula sa paninindigan sa isang kasinungalingan at pagbabalat-kayo. Sa mundong ito at sa panahong ito ng pagbabalat-kayo, tila mailap ang katotohanan. Sa kabila ng ginawang pagkukunwari ng dalawang bida, nagawa pa rin naman nilang maging tapat sa bandang huli, hindi lamang sa kanilang kumpanya ngunit higit-lalo sa nararamdaman nila sa isa’t-isa. Nariyan din ang pagpapahalaga sa pamilya. Galing ang dalawang pangunahing tauhan sa magkaibang uri ng pamilya at dito makikita na parehas nilang pinahahalagahan ito dahil sa kanilang pinagdaan sa kani-kaniyang pamilya. Makikita rin sa pelikula ang kahalagahan ng pakikipag-kapwa tao, ng matutong bumangon mula sa kamalian, at ng pagtanggap ng pagkakamali ng may pagpapakumbaba. Sa bandang huli, isang bagay pa rin ang pinakamahalaga sa lahat—iyan ang pag-ibig na walang kinikilalang yaman o antas sa lipunan. Lahat ay nagiging pantay-pantay sa larangan ng pag-ibig.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Run all night

DIRECTOR: Jaume Collet-Serra  LEAD CAST:  Liam Neeson, Joel Kinnaman, Ed Harris, Genesis Rodriguez, Vincent D’Onoprio, Common  SCREENWRITER:  Brad Ingelsby  PRODUCERS:  Roy Lee, Michael Tadross, Brooklyn Weaver  EDITOR:  Craig Mckay  MUSICAL DIRECTOR:  Junkie XL GENRE:  Crime, Drama, Mystery Thriller  CINEMATOGRAPHER: Martin Luhe  DISTRIBUTOR:  Warner Bros. Pictures  LOCATION:  United States RUNNING TIME: 114 minutes
Technical Assessment: 3.5
Moral Assessment: 3
CINEMA rating: V 14
            Brooklyn mobster and hit-man Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson) and his underworld boss Shawn Mcguire (Ed Harris) are long time best friends. Shawn’s son Danny (Boyd Holbrook) double-crosses some drug dealers and kills them.  Jimmy’s estranged son Mike (Joel Kinnaman) witnesses the crime. Danny hunts down Mike, catches him at home, and when about to shoot him is shot dead instead—by Jimmy himself. Jimmy confesses to Shawn that he has killed Danny to save Mike’s life. Burning with vengeance, Shawn deploys his gang and expert assassin (Common) to kill Jimmy and Mike.  Father and son run all night for their lives and those of Mike’s family.
            Run All Night is heavily charged with dramatic plotlines that delve deep into the very core of the main characters’ motivations. Much of the revelations are done through expository dialogue but the actors’ strength of delivery and proven caliber deliver those verbose sequences with compelling ease. The story is plotty but not complicated and the audience could easily follow the journey of the characters. However, the heavy plot could sometimes turn away the story from its main focus. The film shines through in the scenes where there is minimal action. In fact, the action sequences seem to be out of place sometimes and the inclusion of an expert assassin feels a little off. But then, the impeccable acting and characterization of principal actors pull everything off and make the film interesting and enjoyable to watch.
            There are plenty of interesting relationships at play in the film and it is very interesting to dissect the values that cut-through in this crime-drama feature.  It starts off with the valued friendship between Jimmy and Shawn. Their loyalty to one another is time-tested, although the foundation of their friendship (which is primarily crime) is another story. Their friendship ended when Jimmy chose to save his son over Shawn’s. And there, the conflict arises. One major realization audiences can ponder on is the significance of the foundation of friendship. Jimmy and Shawn are best friends and partners in crime.  From the beginning, the friendship is tainted because it is founded on something evil. Friendship is good but crime is evil. The friendship does not make crime any less evil. Here it is clearly seen that evil is evil—and it recognizes no friendship. Jimmy is a broken person and seems to have suffered the consequences of his actions, the heaviest of which is his estranged relationship with his son. When he found opportunity and purpose to be a father to his son, it is quite too late. But then, love reigns in all situations—the actions of Jimmy may be evil but he is not.  Jimmy is still capable of loving.  He is a sinner yet as the Church has always been telling the people—hate the sin, not the sinner. Jimmy found purpose in life and that is to make amends with his son. His son could not accept him at first. But Jimmy demonstrated unconditional love so his son eventually melted. If time could not heal the wounds, love will. Jimmy’s actions towards the end of his life brought him redemption. But then, it does not make his previous actions right, but his sincere contrition and remorse clearly show that it is never too late for somebody to change ways, and to change heart.  Jimmy may have been trapped in a world he never really desired—and this is clearly seen in the film as he tries as far as possible to prevent his son from pulling even a single trigger—such consistency depicted in the story make the film moral despite and in spite of the heaviness of crime being tackled in the movie.