Thursday, January 23, 2014

SURVIVOR CAGAYAN Pre-Season Cast Assessment

One month from now and another new season of Survivor begins! This time with a twist where players are divided into three tribes: Beauty, Brawn and Brains. After several consecutive seasons with returnees, I'm happy that Survivor Cagayan's castaways are all newbies. Here's my pre-season Cast assessment/ranking/predictions:

 18. Sarah
Name: Sarah Lacina
Occupation: Police Officer
I already dislike the Brawns tribe because most of them seem boring and Sarah is probably the most boring one. Watching her interview is like taking a sleeping pill with an instant effect. Hopefully, she's got game but so far, meh.
Verdict: Premerge

 17. Garrett
Age: 27
Occupation: Pro Poker Player
Seems like an okay guy but his bio, especially his Three Island Essentials answer, screams like he'd be a jerk. He's probably one of the strongest in the Brains tribe though, so I hope he saves them from going to Tribal Council because most of my favorites are in the Brains tribe.
Verdict: Early merge

 16. Brice
Age: 27
Occupation: Social Worker
LOL. People are already questioning why he's in the Beauty tribe but I keep on telling them that Brice's beauty might be on the inside. Somehow, he reminds me of Colton but I have a feeling that Brice is nicer. He could be hilarious but so far, not a fan.
Verdict: Mid-merge

15. Lindsey
Age: 29
Occupation: Hairstylist
Everything about her indicates that she's going to be an early boot. But I remember predicting this on Abi Maria pre show of Philippines and it turned out that I was wrong. It could happen to Lindsey but if her tribe keeps on losing, I'm pretty sure that she'll get voted out early. Also, there's only one room for an iconic Lindsey. ;)
Verdict: Early boot


14. Tony
Age: 39

Occupation: Police Officer
Reminds me of BB6 Cappy except Tony is probably the boring version. He doesn't inspire or excite anyone except probably his family. :/ Boring.
Verdict: Pre merge

13. Tasha
Age: 37
Occupation: Accountant
I think she's very generic. Yes, she's hilarious but I don't see a gamer potential in her despite being in the Brains tribe. I don't think she has the skills of gathering allies and making them trust her.
Verdict: Early boot

12. Jeremiah
Age: 34
Occupation: Male Model
The resident country guy. I think he's harmless and I think he can charm the women of the Beauty tribe to his side but I think that he'll be one of the gullible players this season. My gut tells me that he's going to commit a blunder.
Verdict: Early merge

11. David
Age: 45
Occupation: President, Miami Marlins
Hello Adrian Pasdar. I think he's smart but he might be perceived as devious by his tribe mates because he seems like one, ngl. I actually like David but there are other players that are far more likable than him. Way likable.
Verdict: Pre merge

10. Cliff
Age: 46
Occupation: Former NBA All-Star
I'm not a huge fan of famous people playing on Survivor because it doesn't work out well for them. Some go far but it's almost impossible for them to win the game because of their reputation. Cliff seems like another Jimmy Johnson to me, nice guy, but too nice. Will not win.
Verdict: Mid-merge

9. Woo
Age: 29
Occupation: Martial Arts Instructor
Asian man on Survivor! Feels like they haven't cast an Asian man since forever. Correct me if I'm wrong but the last one's probably Jonas from One World which is 3 seasons ago. But Woo seems like a unique character. I think he's nice, but I don't think he's that smart to play the game. I think he's going to be an asset in challenges though.
Verdict: Late merge

8. Morgan
Age: 21
Occupation: Ex-NFL Cheerleader
Young, big-boobied villain. I like that on Survivor. I'm not so sure if Morgan would be a successful villain like the rumors suggest, but she excites me nevertheless. Her bio is hilarious and she seems not afraid to speak her mind and to cut the throats of her victims. My only problem with her is that I think she's the weakest lady in the Beauty tribe. To be honest, I don't know how she can maneuver in challenges with her amazingly huge melons. Well no, not melons, but WATERMELO_ONS rather. Lucky for her, she could also use these as her instrument to charm her way to the guys or I guess, even with the girls. If she uses them well, then I think she's golden.
Verdict: Pre-merge

7. Jefra
Age: 22
Occupation: Miss Kentucky Teen USA
Not only her last name is Bland but she seems really bland at first, sorry for the lack of adjective. Although after watching her video, I'm in her bandwagon! She's very adorable and irresistible and I think that's going to work in her favor. She also has the potential to be very strategic ala Andrea Boehlke and I like my young female players to be strategists so please don't disappoint and do not follow the likes of Allie, Hope and other invisible young blondes.
Verdict: Late merge

6. LJ
Age: 34
Occupation: Horse Trainer
Last season, we had John Cody, husband of Candice. This season, I think LJ is the token nice guy. It's always refreshing to see an alpha male on Survivor who's nice and grounded. But as usual, the problem with men like LJ is that the threat factor they possess is very apparent. If LJ finds loyal allies, I think he can go deep in the game. But let's be honest, no one wants to keep a guy like him to the end.
Verdict: Merge

5. Alexis
Age: 21
Occupation: Student at Northwestern University
Alexis has already charmed me with her witty tweets. She has the "dumb smart" aura going on with her and I think that it will help her go far and I think she'll have an easy time doing it. She also said that she's going to make "moves" and she doesn't want to get voted out by laying low. That's exciting for me. With her eloquence, I think she has the possibility to become the next Parvati. That's probably a stretch but I believe in her potential and I'm optimistic about her.
Verdict: Final 5

4. Trish
Age: 48
Occupation: Pilates Trainer
Winner vibes. She's regal, she's athletic, she's social, a triple threat it seems. I even think that she's probably the next coming of Kim Spradlin. She also seems like she's going to be fun and I hope that she will because I want my favorites to be fun. Being a gamebot is fine but a gamebot with personality would be superior. Thank you Survivor Gods for providing the sunshine in the Brawn tribe.
Verdict: Winner

3. Kass
Age: 41
Occupation: Attorney
I freaking love her attitude! She's like your friend's funny mom that you love to talk to whenever you hangout in their house. Her 'doesn't-give-a-fuck' personality interests me. She's also not afraid to point out and laugh at her weakness. Basically, everything that I read or hear from her is fascinating. I was also lucky that I already exchanged messages with her in Facebook. On top of that, she compared herself to Sandra and I think she's spot on. She may not have the sassiness of the two-time winner, but I think that she's got similar game with her and possibly radder.
Verdict: Final 5

2. Spencer
Age: 21
Occupation: Economics Student at the University of Chicago
I keep on telling my fellow Survivor fans that Spencer is our guy. I mean, most Survivor fans probably see themselves in him. Like what Spencer said in his interview, he's not the biggest guy physically, nor a male model. He's just an average, superfan of the game. Also love the fact that he seems like a member of Sucks too, and knows a lot of Sucks' inside jokes. Him mentioning in his bio that he can create shelter with rawks and tighty whities (a possible shade to Debb and Lisi) just sealed the deal that he's going to be awesome. Problem with Spencer though, is that he knows he's smart and there's nothing bad about that but he may not hide that well to his tribemates and I can see that being his downfall. He might be the younger version of Matt Quinlan, or Marty. We'll see.
Verdict: Early merge

1. J'Tiangel / J'Tiamazing / J'Tia
Age: 31
Occupation: Nuclear Engineer
How can you deny the greatness that is J'Tia Taylor? Star is written all over her face, hair, bikini, smile and dangling earrings. Everything about her is excellent. Out of all the players this season, J'Tia is probably the best candidate of having Beauty, Brains and Brawn. Best thing about it is that she's cast as part of the Brains tribe and she's the main reason why the Brains tribe is my pre show favorite tribe. She also has the potential to be one of my favorite Survivor players of all time. If J'Tia maintains her promise, I do think that she can win this game. I really hope that she's the competitive Amazon woman I think she is because I would be disappointed big time if she turns out to be a failure.
Verdict: Final 2/3

There you have it! My Survivor Pre show Cast Assessment. I'm pretty sure this will change before the premiere though. I'm still waiting for Dalton Ross' interviews and I may do another one before the show airs. That's how I love this cast.
Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

86th Academy Awards Nominations Predictions

1. 12 Years a Slave
2. Gravity
3. American Hustle
4. Captain Phillips
5. Her
6. The Wolf of Wall Street
7. Dallas Buyers Club
8. Nebraska
9. Inside Llewyn Davis
10. Before Midnight

1. Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)
2. Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)
3. Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips)
4. Spike Jonze (Her)
5. Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street)

1. Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)
2. Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
3. Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks)
4. Amy Adams (American Hustle)
5. Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)

1. Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
2. Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips)
3. Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
4. Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
5. Bruce Dern (Nebraska)

1. Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave)
2. Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
3. June Squibb (Nebraska)
4. Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
5. Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)

1. Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
2. Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
3. Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
4. Daniel Brühl (Rush)
5. James Franco (Spring Breakers)

1. Inside Llewyn Davis
2. Her
3. Nebraska
4. Blue Jasmine
5. American Hustle

1. Before Midnight
2. 12 Years a Slave
3. Captain Phillips
4. The Wolf of Wall Street
5. Philomena

1. The Wind Rises
2. Frozen
3. The Croods
4. Despicable Me 2
5. Ernest and Celestine

1. The Great Beauty (Italy)
2. The Hunt (Denmark)
3. The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
4. Omar (Palestine)
5. The Grandmaster (Hong Kong)

1. Stories We Tell
2. The Act of Killing
3. Blackfish
4. 20 Feet From Stardom
5. The Square

1. 12 Years a Slave
2. Gravity
3. Her
4. The Great Gatsby
5. Inside Llewyn Davis

1. Gravity
2. 12 Years a Slave
3. Inside Llewyn Davis
4. Captain Phillips
5. Nebraska

1. The Great Gatsby
2. 12 Years a Slave
3. American Hustle
4. Oz The Great and Powerful
5. Saving Mr. Banks

1. Captain Phillips
2. Gravity
3. 12 Years a Slave
4. The Wolf of Wall Street
5. American Hustle

1. American Hustle
2. The Great Gatsby
3. Dallas Buyers Club

1. Steven Price (Gravity)
2. Hans Zimmer (12 Years a Slave)
3. Alex Ebert (All Is Lost)
4. Arcade Fire (Her)
5. Thomas Newman (Saving Mr. Banks)

1. "Let It Go" (Frozen)
2. "The Moon Song" (Her)
3. "So You Know What Its Like (Short Term 12)
4. "Ordinary Love" (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)
5. "My Lord Sunshine" (12 Years a Slave)

1. Gravity
2. Captain Phillips
3. Rush
4. All is Lost
5. Pacific Rim

1. Gravity
2. Rush
3. All Is Lost
4. Inside Llewyn Davis
5. 12 Years a Slave

1. Gravity
2. Pacific Rim
3. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
4. World War Z
5. Elysium

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Predicting the winners of the 71st Golden Globe Awards - Film

I have a feeling that I'm either going to fail miserably (no American Hustle wins lmfao) or I'm going to predict most of these categories right like a motherfucker. I'm a newbie at this so we'll see tomorrow! Can't wait! Although I'm more excited about Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's jokes than the awards itself. :/


"12 Years a Slave" (PREDICTED WINNER)
"Captain Phillips"
"Gravity" (ALTERNATE)

I noticed last year that Golden Globes tried hard to be righteous and close with the critics buzz and all, so since '12 Years a Slave' is the frontrunner in Drama, I predict that it's going to win this category. Gravity for sure can snag it from 12 Years. It could go either way, I'm fine whichever of the two wins.


"American Hustle" (ALTERNATE)
"Inside Llewyn Davis"
"The Wolf of Wall Street" (PREDICTED WINNER)

I'm having a hard time to believe that a film by O. Russell beats a Scorsese film. But since American Hustle has more nominations than Wolf, I have a feeling that it has an edge compared to the latter. My prediction for this category is more of an optimistic prediction so let's go with Wolf for this category and if Wolf won't win, even if Hustle's my second choice, I hope Nebraska wins it.


Cate Blanchett "Blue Jasmine" (PREDICTED WINNER)
Sandra Bullock - "Gravity" (ALTERNATE)
Judi Dench - "Philomena
Emma Thompson - "Saving Mr. Banks"
Kate Winslet - "Labor Day"

This is Blanchett's to lose ever since the raving good reviews about her performance in Blue Jasmine came out. However, Sandra has always been the second runner up to Cate regarding buzzes so I wouldn't be surprised if Sandra wins this especially that her character is more likable and it's easy to vote for the likable one.


Chiwetel Ejiofor - "12 Years a Slave" (PREDICTED WINNER)
Idris Elba - "Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom"
Tom Hanks - "Captain Phillips"
Matthew McConaughey - "Dallas Buyers Club" (ALTERNATE)
Robert Redford - "All Is Lost"

I'm very close to predicting Matthew McC as the winner, but I guess Chiwetel's undeniably balanced performance would be more appreciated by the people. I do think Robert Redford also has a chance though as this is GG's opportunity to give him a Best Actor award.


Amy Adams - "American Hustle" (ALTERNATE)
Julie Delpy - "Before Midnight"
Greta Gerwig - "Frances Ha"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus - "Enough Said"
Meryl Streep - "August: Osage County" (PREDICTED WINNER)

Personally, I would rather see a Julie Delpy or a Greta win in this category but we all know that that's not going to happen (I hope I'm wrong). But anyway, it's kind of funny that Amy and Meryl seem like the two actresses fighting for the last spot at the Oscars Best Actress category and here they are, frontrunners in GG. I say, it's easier to reward Meryl. But out of all the American Hustle nominations, I would be okay if they win this category and they might!


Christian Bale - "American Hustle"
Bruce Dern - "Nebraska" (ALTERNATE)
Leonardo DiCaprio - "The Wolf Of Wall Street" (PREDICTED WINNER)
Oscar Isaac - "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Joaquin Phoenix - "Her"

Part of me thinks that they'd reward Bruce Dern because, like my reason for Robert Redford in the drama category, this is their opportunity to give him the award. But they seem to love Leo more so I say, Leo wins this category.


Sally Hawkins - "Blue Jasmine"
Jennifer Lawrence - "American Hustle" (ALTERNATE)
Lupita Nyong'o - "12 Years a Slave" (PREDICTED WINNER)
Julia Roberts - "August: Osage County"
June Squibb - "Nebraska"

To be quite honest, I think JLaw has this in the bag. But positive vibes for Lupita, just because I really love her performance in Slave. I stink so much I make myself geyggg FTW!


Barkhad Abdi - "Captain Phillips"
Daniel Brühl - "Rush" (ALTERNATE)
Bradley Cooper - "American Hustle"
Michael Fassbender - "12 Years a Slave"
Jared Leto - "Dallas Buyers Club" (PREDICTED WINNER)

Everyone thought that Jared Leto was going to sweep this category. He's snubbed in BAFTA though but I think his reign as the frontrunner in this category is gonna continue not only here in GG, but in the Oscars as well.


Alfonso Cuarón - "Gravity" (PREDICTED WINNER)
Paul Greengrass - "Captain Phillips"
Steve McQueen - "12 Years a Slave" (ALTERNATE)
Alexander Payne - "Nebraska"
David O. Russell - "American Hustle"

It could go either way between Cuarón andf McQueen, with O. Russell as the dark horse. I say, it'd be a travesty if O. Russell beats the two frontrunners.


Spike Jonze - "Her" (PREDICTED WINNER)
Bob Nelson - "Nebraska"
Jeff Pope and Steve Coogan - "Philomena"
John Ridley - "12 Years a Slave" (ALTERNATE)
Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell - "American Hustle"


"Blue is the Warmest Color" (PREDICTED WINNER)
"The Great Beauty" (ALTERNATE)
"The Hunt"
"The Past"
"The Wind Rises"


"The Croods"
"Despicable Me 2"

I wish The Croods miraculously wins this.

"Atlas" - "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"
"Let It Go" - "Frozen" (PREDICTED WINNER)
"Ordinary Love" - "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom"
"Please Mr. Kennedy" - "Inside Llewyn Davis"
"Sweeter Than Fiction" - "One Chance"

Young and Beautiful :(


Alex Ebert - "All is Lost"
Alex Heffes - "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom"
Steven Price - "Gravity" (PREDICTED WINNER)
John Williams - "The Book Thief"
Hans Zimmer - "12 Years a Slave" (ALTERNATE)

Alex Ebert to upset this category!

I did a great job in my Golden Globes Nominations Prediction having 3 main categories perfectly predicted. I really hope it continues tomorrow, but I'm letting my bias cloud my judgement so I'm ready for whatever.

Let me know your thoughts and predictions! :)

Friday, January 10, 2014

DECEMBER 2013: All Is Lost and Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom

All Is Lost

Director: J.C. Chandor
With: Robert Redford

I love survival films and we're blessed to have so many in 2013. All Is Lost is one and I was really excited when I first saw its trailer because it looked like it's going to be a difficult yet fun (and dramatic) adventure ala Life of Pi. But there is no fun in All Is Lost. As Robert Redford's character struggle in the sea, alone with his yacht, the film is really mindnumbingly silent and depressing. It doesn't help that there's almost no dialogue in it and it's also accompanied by Alex Ebert's eerily creepy score, emphasizing the character's loneliness that will definitely make you feel like death is upon you. It's a total downer. It is such a quiet film focused on a character with eyes having almost no emotions, you can't help but wonder what's in this reserved character's mind more especially that the film started with a philosophical note hinting that it was written by him in the middle of his journey.

I thought J.C. Chandor did a great job in building up the character though, as it took a long time for him to break down. It's as if through this means, he made sure that he grips the audience as they observe on what this mysterious character is going to do next with his limited options. Robert Redford supported this manner by being so nonchalant and mysterious. He singlehandedly carried the film for sure but didn't carry it as high as I expected until that FUCKKKKKKK moment which may be the only time he impressed me in this film. :/ But after that, he went back to being okay. Yes, it's hard to convey a message without saying anything and depending everything with his facial expressions, but I got none from him. :/ One may argue that Redford made his character more authentic, but I find that absurd because he's so calm in the midst of all those horrible comeuppance.

At the end of the film, one would think it is a one heck of an abstract because there are so many possible meanings that may be implied by the film. One possible meaning is that the main character is a wandering ghost trying to survive the purgatory of life. This could suggest why he's so quiet and calm throughout the film. LOL. Another possible meaning is that when the main character finally lost all of his hope, that's when he found the light to survive. LOL I could go on and on but I do think that the end was made for us to ponder, to reflect, and Chandor succeed in that aspect. The end made me understand the quiet approach shown and the haunting vibe displayed throughout the film.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Director: Justin Chadwick
With: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris

I didn't expect Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom to earn some nods from some of the major awards guilds. We still don't know if it's going to gain some Oscar nods but if it does, then kudos to Harvey Weinstein. ;)

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom runs for 2 and a half hours, long enough to establish a decent biopic but everything went wrong when every scene seems like they're not allowed to last more than 1 minute.  I don't know much about Nelson Mandela (yes, sue me) but I can tell from watching this film that he has a lot of achievements and very important ones, for that matter. Why? Because they sacrificed the quality of the film by bloating it with Nelson Mandela's numerous achievements and good deeds. It moves so fast that it's hard to savor anything from the film. The best thing out of this is that the film never dragged, but one would feel exhausted after finishing the whole film.

Some of its good points, though is that it didn't patronize Nelson Mandela. Well, it's hard to create a film without being gracious to him after what he did but it's not vacant of Mandela's imperfections. Still, we all learn from the film how unbelievably KIND Nelson Mandela was. Another good point are the performances of Idris Elba and Naomie Harris. Idris Elba is an effective leading man here as he managed to portray an icon with such class, passion and poise. On the other hand, Naomie Harris as Winnie Mandela shocked the hell out of me with her powerful showing. No kidding with the shock as I could not explain where her amazingly loud, full and deep voice is coming from. With her performance, I can tell how strong and independent Winnie Mandela is. If it were up to me, she's up there among the best supporting actresses in 2013 films.

The life of Nelson Mandela, to me, is something that would probably catered better in a TV series. One can argue that Clint Eastwood was successful in Invictus, another film about Mandela. But instead of tackling Mandela's whole lifetime, Eastwood focused on a single Mandela subject with other major characters.  That's the main problem of this film, it didn't know when to stop, didn't know when to trim. But then again, I came out of watching this film learning more about how compassionate Nelson Mandela was about people and I guess, that's what matters. One thing that stayed with me is this quote:

"No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." - Nelson Mandela, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Sunday, January 5, 2014

DECEMBER 2013: Boy Golden, Crystal Fairy and The Hunt

Boy Golden

Director: Chito Roño
With: Jeorge Estregan, KC Concepcion, John Estrada, Eddie Garcia, Gloria Sevilla, Dick Israel, Leo Martinez, Roi Vinson, Tonton Gutierrez, Mon Confiado, John Lapus
Crystal Fairy
Director: Sebastián Silva
With: Michael Cera, Gaby Hoffmann, Juan Andrés Silva, José Miguel Silva, Agustín Silva

It's always a pleasant surprise whenever you watch a film where you don't have any clues about the plot, and ended up LOVING it. I only read about Crystal Fairy in a Buzzfeed article with the list of 2013 great films people probably haven't seen. Found it interesting, so I looked for a copy and watched it. As I was watching it, I realized that Gaby Hoffmann was playing Crystal Fairy, an eccentric hippie who was accidentally tag-alonged by Jamie (Michael Cera) in his trip with his friends to a Chilean beach. I haven't seen any Gaby Hoffmann film since Now and Then so it was delightful to see her in this especially in a challenging role like Crystal Fairy.

Despite having completely opposite roles, Both Michael Cera and Gaby Hoffmann gave equally marvelous performances. Most people would probably give Gaby Hoffmann the recognition of being the best actor in this film, I can see why, she's amazing. But for me, Michael Cera is the superior actor in this. From megalomaniac levels of annoying, he morphs into a vulnerable and lovable character. And he's convincing and natural throughout the film. Having said that, Gaby Hoffmann won my heart because she's too adorable in this. I always have a soft spot for weird and quirky characters in films and even on TV. Hello Phoebe Buffay! and Crystal Fairy is a great addition to these characters. I think she just climbed up as my top favorite 2013 film character but we'll see. :) I also love that its soundtrack mainly consists of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' songs, suits Crystal Fairy's hippie persona so well.

Aside from great performances and awesome soundtrack, Crystal Fairy is one heck of a hilarious adventure. With Sebastián Silva's articulate screenplay and sharp direction, Crystal Fairy succeeds in making me uncontrollably laugh so hard. Imagine being in a trip, where you secretly abhor one of your companions while the rest of your friends are fine being with that person. Hah! It maybe slight for some, but I reckon that the key to appreciate this film is to not take it seriously and trust me, it will lead you to a happy place and when you're finally comfortable in that happy place, it will shock you with a wistful twist. Everything about Crystal Fairy fell into its right place and I feel like I understand the whole point of the film because of my attitude towards it. :3 Also, isn't it fun watching people in a drug trip being high and funny? You know you do! Just imagine you with your friends being the only sober one while the rest of them are drunk as hell. :)

The Hunt

Director: Thomas Vinterberg
With: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp
Adding up to Doubt, Atonement and A Separation, The Hunt is another riveting film about a person being falsely accused of a misbehavior. The film follows Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen), a kindergarten teacher who becomes the object of his community's hysteria after being accused of sexually assaulting his pupil, Klara (Annika Wedderkopp).

A film with a subject like this is always captivating (and frustrating) as the audience knows the truth while the characters surrounding the person being falsely accused are blinded by the wrong and malicious information, especially in this film where the false information came from a little girl. People are taught by the saying that children always tell the truth but in this film, it's proven otherwise.

Mads Mikkelsen showed a poignant performance portraying a man with a complicated background. His performance, however, made ordinary by his co-star, Annika Wedderkopp who certainly gave a breakout performance at such a very young age. I am uncertain about her age but the fact that she played a little girl involving serious and mature stuff like stiff penis and blasphemous accusations, she is definitely someone that stood out in this film. Not to mention, there's a scene where someone spit on her face.

Overall, The Hunt for me is alright. It's an inferior version of other films with the same subject. As much as I love the climax of the film, the first part is way stronger than the rest. There are several characters in the film where I felt like many of their storylines didn't come to full circle and even if it did for some, it ended up anticlimactic and lame. It's unsatisfactory in terms of storylines, where most of what happened felt skimpy. I like the ending though, as it gives another layer to a story like this that's been done with similar endings before. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

DECEMBER 2013: Fruitvale Station, We're The Millers and Saving Mr. Banks

Fruitvale Station

Director: Ryan Coogler
With: Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer

Fruitvale Station tells the true story of Oscar Grant's experiences on the last day of his life before he was shot in cold blood by a police officer in the early morning hours of New Year's Day 2009.

I never heard about Oscar Grant's story before the film became prominent but I learned that several videos of the police officer fatally killing Oscar Grant went viral in America, and perhaps, worldwide. It's always hard yet interesting to watch films that break your heart especially if it's a true story. What more to create and direct a film with a sensitive story like this where an innocent man was killed without knowing the full story behind the scenes. Ryan Coogler did that and he gave justice to the film by not only narrating Grant's death, but also making us viewers know Grant's life with his family, particularly with the three women in his life: his wife, mother and daughter. Michael B. Jordan also supports Coogler's brilliance by his portrayal of an imperfect, yet willing to be a better person Oscar Grant. Michael B. Jordan acts with so much charm and boldness that makes us feel close to his character. Melonie Diaz as Oscar Grant's wife is also a good supporting actress for B. Jordan's performance as she showed her distinctiveness by depicting a strong, independent yet loving wife and also made sure that she's worth a mention. But the winner for me is Octavia Spencer who played as Oscar Grant's mother, whom eclipsed her performance as Minnie in The Help. I consider her as the main instrument why this true story drama is touching. There's nothing more sad than seeing a mother mourn for the loss of, what she referred in the film, as her baby. Spencer showed such good control and class with her acting by displaying braveness, calmness and sorrow as a mother hoping to see his young son smile again.

Overall, I thought it's a heartbreaking film. Oscar Grant, who was hoping to change, who was hoping to prove to his loved ones how much he loves them cannot prove it to them anymore. Whether they made a fabricated story, Fruitvale Station shows that this tragic incident may happen to any family like Oscar Grant's nd it would be devastating as hell. Sad film. D:

We're The Millers

Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
With: Jason Sudeikis, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Roberts, Will Poulter, Kathryn Hahn, Nick Offerman

The rave this film got from my friends piqued my interest into seeing this film. I'm not the biggest fan of comedies so I wasn't really curious about it. It's kind of funny because I actually watch lots of TV sitcoms but there's something about comedy films that don't excite me, something that says they're not worth the money to see them in theaters. Having said that, I LOVE We're The Millers. Huge fan of FRIENDS here! so it certainly benefited from the Jennifer Aniston casting albeit there are many times when I thought that she's bored to tears like she's wasting her time doing the film. But other than Jennifer, her co-stars Jason Sudeikis, Emma Roberts and the newcomer Will Poulter brought something fresh to the table. They're all unique so it was a riot of different kinds of personalities, characters and humor. It's a teamwork of great comedy and perhaps, I could go ahead and say that it's the family version of The Hangover and Bridesmaids. It has a lot of vulgar and adult humor but for some reason, they're never offensive (at least for me). With its numerous punch lines and funny scenes, it's also not devoid of unpredictability for I can name some scenes that I didn't see coming and had me burst out laughing. One is the 'Waterfalls' rap scene which I thought was genius, the killing of the baby marijuana is another - thanks to Kathryn Hahn's prim antics and Jennifer Aniston's Rachel Green-like performance in that scene, Black Cock Down is one too, alol. The biggest surprise of all is the swollen penis scene. I never imagined they would show a gross thing like it that I was expecting that the camera would pan on the other characters' reaction upon seeing it, but they went THERE, the swollen penis. LOL

I do think that We're the Millers is a success and with its ending, I definitely sense a sequel. Betting that it would be a fail, I would still support it. They have chemistry and they have a lot of room in improving the Millers family storyline.

Saving Mr. Banks

Director: John Lee Hancock
With: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, Colin Farrell

Saving Mr. Banks is inspired by the untold backstory of Walt Disney's negotiation to get the rights for 'Mary Poppins' from the author of the book series herself, P.L. Travers.

There are so many good things about Saving Mr. Banks. For one, it stars both 90s multiple Oscar winners, Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks. The film reminds us how great these actors are. Yes, they've always been great but they're extremely likable in this. It is such a delight whenever both of them are on screen together. Emma Thompson's facial expressions never cease to fail and her constant pffts, ughs and tss are masterfully executed. Tom Hanks, on the other hand, is as charismatic as ever especially that he's playing another charismatic character. It's amusing to watch them play their own versions of the extreme opposite personalities of P.L. Travers and Walt Disney. Both are polarizing in their own ways.

The fact that I only have few knowledge about the characters in the film, John Lee Hancock guaranteed that one wouldn't feel out of place with the film even without seeing the real 'Mary Poppins'. Although, I bet it would have been finer if I've seen it for familiarity. Because you see them trying to adapt the book into a film, from how 'Mary Poppins' developed into a musical live action fantasy. Actually, it made me realize that I've watched some of the clips in 'Mary Poppins' when I was a kid, specifically the 'Let's Go Fly A Kite' scene through VHS of 'Disney Sing-Along Songs' and I have COMPLETELY forgotten about it until I saw this film. It's so cool and refreshing to see it and isn't it always nice to connect some of your forgotten childhood film awakenings to the present ones? I feel like I've adapted one of the themes of the movie which is about bringing something from the past into the present that both Walt Disney and P.L. Travers had in the film except theirs were serious and kind of dark and mine's just petty. :3

Another thing that I commend about the film is that it doesn't rest on its great performers and on the main subject of Walt Disney courting Travers for the rights to 'Mary Poppins'. Instead, screenwriters Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith tell the other tale of where the book series was based. I shan't spoil it for you but it's the source of the sentimentality of the film. Despite this, it never takes away the cheerfulness nature of the film. It's more like a good balance of fun and tenderness. Also, I wouldn't end this writeup without mentioning Thomas Newman's score. I may not like it collectively, but some are magnificent enough for me to like it overall. Film score is important to me because it's one of the main reasons of my intense love for films that's why I'm glad 'Saving Mr. Banks' has wonderful tracks it deserves. It adds up to the many reasons why I'm passionate about it.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

DECEMBER 2013: The Act of Killing, Blue is the Warmest Color, The Spectacular Now


The Act of Killing

Director: Joshua Oppenheimer
With: Anwar Congo

Blue is the Warmest Color

Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
With: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Léa Seydoux

The Spectacular Now

Director: James Ponsoldt
With: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kyle Chandler

For those who don't have any idea about The Spectacular Now and want to see it solely because of the trailer, I'm warning you, it's not as fun and romantic as it looks. Sorry to break it to you but this film is not a feel good movie. For sure. People were comparing this to The Perks of Being a Wallflower but the only similarity it has for the latter is its high school setting. The film stars Miles Teller as Sutter, a high school senior and happy-go-lucky party-goer who unexpectedly meets Aimee (Shailene Woodley) in a stranger's lawn after a wild drunken night. Aimee, a not-so-popular 'good girl' of their batch quickly falls in love with Sutter. What starts as a cute romance develops into a serious and quite dark reality of life. For a film with high school puppy love as its theme, this is definitely a heavy one.

Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley does not have the compatibility one look in a romantic film but their realistic connection and portrayal of an unlikely couple transcends to the outcome of their characters' relationship. It's like watching a real life romantic relationship unfold before your eyes when you know that one of them is not good for the other. As the film progresses, your love for Aimee increases but it is the other way around for Sutter, despite being the popular man that he is in his batch. It is in the third act when you'll finally understand Sutter's actions when he finds out deeper and more complex details about his life. It destroyed him leading to a very nostalgic Emma Morley-esque fate for one of the characters. (I also just want to include how it's kind of funny that Miles Teller in this film has an exactly similar slow-motion car scene in his other film Rabbit Hole. It's too comparable it's funny. :3) But anyway, at the end of the film, it gives one of the characters a dilemma whether to accept and give someone a second chance or move on from the people that hurt that character. For the other, it is about correcting one's mistakes and knowing that there's always time for another new and good beginning.

The Spectacular Now emphasizes that high school is indeed a phase in our lives where it's okay to commit mistakes, to make wrong decisions and to experience 'puppy problems' but only because it hones us to be the better version of our future selves. The ironic thing is that when we're in high school, we're not aware of these circumstances. We're carefree and we knew that we had our whole lives ahead of us. Aimee and Sutter are no different and I wouldn't be surprised if most people see themselves with them. But I wish the film was lighter because in the end, most of us consider high school as one of the best stages of our lives.