A test of patience and sanity.

  Lav Diaz’s Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis is a poetic masterpiece that throws its audience into a lucid state that boasts of enigmatic visuals and dialogue that also feels too self indulgent and taxing, it truly is a test of one’s patience and sanity.

I need more coffee. ūüôĄ

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More style than depth.

   
The Danish Girl directed by Tom Hooper is about Einar/Lily and Gerda a happily married couple, Einar is a successful landscape artist while Gerda a portraitist is having difficulty finding the right muse, one day a model failed to show up for a painting Gerda is working on and she asks Einar to sit in for her while wearing some of her clothes, what follows is a series of self revelation that will test the both of them.  

Packed with great performances from its leads, after recently winning an Oscar Eddie Redmayne transforms himself again to dazzle movie goers. While Einar/Lily (Redmayne) is considered the main character, his co star Gerda (Alicia Vikander) manages to steal the spotlight on some of the movies delicate scenes, Vikander’s subtle performance that quietly intensifies as the movie progesses is a sight to behold. A beautiful portrayal of anguish and loss. Redmayne’s performance as Lily is brilliant but somewhat repetitive, he keeps giving us the same look and the same sad smile all throughout the movie.

I love how it felt like i was walking into a canvas filled with gorgeous landscapes and architecture, the set pieces were also well crafted, but other than that the movie itself felt short, it failed to go deep enough to understand Lily, it failed to connect with some of its audience due to the lack of emotional depth but overall The Danish Girl is a fine period drama that may just have more style than depth.

“A bittersweet black-and-white portrait of aimlessness”

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Noah Baumbach’s “Frances Ha” is a bittersweet lustrous black-and-white portrait of aimlessness and self discovery. The film follows¬†Frances (Greta Gerwig) after being left on her own to figure out where to live when her roommate Sophie decides to move in and get married to her boyfriend.

The film doesn’t present a story in a traditional way, instead it gives you a glimpse into the life of a 27 year old wandering aimlessly trying to figure out her place in the word, we see everything and nothing happen around her and how her growing turmoil is eclipsed by her irrepressible smile and cynicism, she makes her audience enjoy her company with her carefree attitude while at the same time feel pity for her poor decisions and awkward moments, we are given a character who is difficult to hate yet impossible to love a role Gerwig plays so well.

The black and white approach feels nostalgic while the musical score somehow gives emphasis and color to the films unique moments.

Frances Ha is a remarkably good and painfully honest film that is sometimes smarter than its audience, it’s a seriously funny movie and is one of ¬†the best I’ve seen for 2013.

Predictable yet charming.

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Woody Allen’s “Magic in the moonlight” is a simple yet elegant film that exudes caustic one-liners and beautiful scenery, this jazz themed romantic comedy is set in 1928, Stanley (Firth) is a successful yet arrogant magician who also makes a living exposing frauds who claim to have a connection to the after life, His longtime friend Henry reaches out to him to help a family who may or may not be misleaded by Sophie (Stone) who claims that she can communicate with the family’s deceased patriarch, Stanley however is not convinced and is determined to expose the truth.

The first half of the film is fun to watch as Stanley tries to expose Sophie but undeniably falls to her charm. One of the main issues here would probably the age difference between the actors and how it also fails to create a believable chemistry, nevertheless both Firth and Stone were brilliant in their roles as the cynical magician and charming psychic.

With its sharp dialogue and talented cast “Magic in the moonlight” is an enjoyable film that somehow felt recycled with its predictable pattern but still manages to reward its viewers with its whimsical storytelling.

Supernatural STD

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Horror flicks nowadays have nothing new to offer; its all been there, seen that. Its always the usual plot, haunted house, young couple moves in, demonic child or a masked mad man on a killing spree, so it comes as a shock when i found out a movie like this exists.

“It Follows” is a film directed by Robert Mitchell that tackles the anxieties of growing up and offers something far more compelling that shows sexual activity has metaphysical implications and dire consequences .

The movie is about Jay who learns that her boyfriend has passed on a curse through sexual intercourse, she is warned to watch out for any slowly approaching figure that has the ability to adopt to any human form, once “It” catches her, it will kill her, the only way to pass on the curse is by having sex with someone else.

The movie itself uses a simple approach when it comes to instilling fear, it makes good use of wide screen imagery that emanates an unsettling vibe which allows the character and the audience to fearfully scan through the screen for any signs of “It” while also being backed by an amazing musical score reminiscent to John Carpenter’s “Halloween” which adds a certain amount of dread along with its carefully panned shots.

“It Follows” is an innovative film and a cautionary allegory rolled up into one that would someday be considered as a cult classic, definitely a must see.

Subtle and straightforward.

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Still Alice casts Julianne Moore as a linguistics professor who soon finds out that she has early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Its somehow weird and at the same time amazing watching Moore deteriorate on screen, every scene peels of a piece of her character and we helplessly watch this amazing woman slip away, what’s more horrifying is that she can see, feel and track her life slowly vanishing. The terror is both infectious and immediate as¬†she tries to cope with her everyday life battling her illness.

The movie would often jump from one scene to another without connection which is jarring but is really an indication on how Alice experiences life. (Well at least that’s how i see it)

Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland’s approach is subtle and straightforward, it does not consist of attention grabbing performances that desperately cry for an Oscar, it is a film that shows simple and yet remarkable results through restraint.

With an outstanding cast (Baldwin, Stewart and Bosworth) and a flawless perfromance from Julianne Moore “Still Alice”¬†will be¬†one of those films that would break your heart into pieces and then glue it back together with its sentimentality.

Gratuitously violent and a whole lot of fun.

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If i were to describe¬†Matthew Vaughn’s “The Kingsman: The Secret Service” ¬†it would be stylish, gratuitously violent and a whole lot of fun.

Have you watched Casino Royale? Or the other new Bond films? Well Kingsman “isn’t that kind of movie” its a movie that fills the screen with an unlimited arsenal of murder, mayhem, exploding lighters and humor. At its core the movie is a parody of Bond films, but what makes the movie special is that it doesn’t dwell on prospects, it just entertains its audience without having them over analyze.

I loved the action sequence throughout the movie, there was so much movement but it was still easy to follow which made everything intact and how it remained bloodless in some scenes, and lets not forget that church scene and of course Gazelle’s legs.

Kingsman is exactly what this generation needs when it come to spy movies, a movie that doesn’t take itself seriously and just provides all the silly violence the audience needs, plus its also amusing to see¬†Colin Firth tap into his inner Liam Neeson, which apparently isn’t bad at all.

Part biopic, Part love story

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James Marsh’s part biopic, part love story film “The Theory of Everything” is about the extraordinary life of renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking and his battle with¬†Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Surprisingly even though the movie is about Stephen Hawking’s personal life, I find Felicity Jones’ character Jane Hawking more interesting, the movie asks the age-old question “how far would you go for the one you love?”. Felicity Jones gave a remarkable performance as Jane Hawking showcasing the sublime determination of Jane and her growing frustrations brought upon by her own selflessness, Her character can somewhat be treated as an emblem of female resilience.

Eddie Redmayne’s performance as Stephen Hawking is also brilliant, in which he gives out this strong sense of suffering that is both physical and mental, its also notable how he transforms as the film progresses, being robbed of motion and then sound, it is a remarkable performance that made him win an Oscar for best actor.

The film is a love story that doesn’t give its audience a fairy tale ending, it instead gives you an honest portrayal of love and all its flaws, I’m usually not a fan of biopics but watching this made me reconsider, its a film that makes it’s audience see beyond an extraordinary individual’s achievements, it makes us view him as human, flawed and compelled to feel.

Overall The Theory of Everything is a great movie that somehow doesn’t actually soar to be considered perfect but with its great cast and musical score its close to being everything.

Dark and unpredictably funny

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An excellent view on the pursuit of validation, Birdman ( The unexpected virtue of ignorance) tells the story of¬†Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton)¬†a has-been Hollywood actor who once played an iconic superhero and his bid for artistic validity in this brilliant black comedy from¬†Alejandro Gonz√°lez I√Ī√°rritu (Babel and Biutiful).

Shot in what seems to be a continuous take,¬†Birdman is a clever behind the scenes look on what really goes behind the Broadway curtains while also giving a glimpse about the man behind the mask who “wants to become relevant”. The thing that makes Birdman special (aside from its cast) is its ability to give you a loose feel on whats real and whats not, it gives you a narrator who becomes an unreliable source of truth on what seems to be a blurring line between fantasy and reality, I’d like to think that Birdman is the equivalent of ¬†“Black Swan” (Broadway equivalent) but to think that would probably be as ridiculous as me trying to be a film critic.¬†I also love how each of the main cast had some sort of superhero background in film (Batman, The Hulk and Spiderman).

Accompanied by an amazing¬†jazz drum score, Birdman is as close as you can get to cinema magic, it leaves you mesmerized but with some uncertainty, from Keaton’s struggle to keep his sanity intact to Norton’s ¬†amazing performance that takes “Method acting” to a whole new level (douche) and of course Stone’s performance as a former drug addict who always reminds her father that reality is catching up to him. I loved how it gave each of its characters depth through their flaws and its unpredictable dark sense of humor.

Dark, funny and intellectually challenging, just the way i like it.