Films seen in the span of 2009 to 2010 (sixteen to eighteen year old: senior year of high school and freshman year of college). Films that inspired me, made me giddy, and made me THINK. Or on the other hand, annoyed/irritated me. Or wortst, didn't elicit any significant reaction.
In a hospital on the outskirts of 1920s Los Angeles, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fellow patient, a little girl with a broken arm, a fantastic story of five mythical heroes. Thanks to his fractured state of mind and her vivid imagination, the line between fiction and reality blurs as the tale advances. (117 mins.)
“ 'The Fall' is a triumph in one way: the visuals. Tarsem Singh, a graduate of Art Center in Pasadena (other alums include Michael Bay and Zack Snyder), is a master of color, framing, photography and portrayal of mood and feeling. 'The Fall' then is fantasy fulfilled, the type of film that you watch for the high of being able to see places and things and people you'd only imagine to be "there". "There" is a desert expanse of ancient lore, "There" is an Indian city in blue, "There" makes us want to travel, dream, explore our inner being, and the world outside.
Rating: 10/10 ” - couch_potato101
A coming-of-age story about a teenage girl in 1960s suburban London, and how her life changes with the arrival of a playboy nearly twice her age. (100 mins.)
“ Watched this movie at home at 1 am. Carey Mulligan's acting is just brilliant as a 16-year-old suburban girl falling head over heels (albeit ignorantly) for a much, older man aka sugar daddy played by the talented and dashing Peter Sarsgaard. The film is set in 1961 Britain, giving it a hip, almost sophisticated feel with the music and clothes.
Watching this film made me look at my own life--Mulligan's character is also very young and on the verge of starting her own life, yet she still doesn't know where to go. She's a good student, and set to "read" English at Oxford--but this man--ultimately changes the course of her life. It's interesting then, to think about my own experiences, about how certain people and events have changed my life, and realize just how much I am me because of them.
A great movie! PS. Loved the song at the end credits: Smoke Without Fire by Duffy.
Rating: 4.9/5.0 ” - couch_potato101
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
As Harry races against time and evil to destroy the Horcruxes, he uncovers the existence of three most powerful objects in the wizarding world: the Deathly Hallows. (146 mins.)
“ I watched this movie on an afternoon coming home from school at SM Sucat, alone. I wasn't really excited to watch the movie, since the past 2 movies (OOTP and HBP) did not exactly live up to my expectations, especially with David Yates at the helm. Going into the theater I lowered my expectations, and I was rewarded for it.
Is it good? Yes, it was. But it might not be good at all to the first-time viewers or non-readers of the books, because this movie goes straight into the plot--less talk, more action--and if you don't know the characters' backgrounds, you're bound to not understand a thing.
Good thing for someone like me--who's read the series from Book 1--I can marinate in all the details of the production and of course, in the adventures of the trio.
Great scenes: Ministry breaking-in scene (David O'Hara as Runcorn FTW), fake Hermione and Harry makeout scene, authentic Hermione and Harry dance scene at the tent (what an intimate, lovely bit from an otherwise dark, heavy movie), the beautiful Scottish/UK landscape montage.
On a final note, I felt that HPDH: Part 1 is an important marker of my adolescence. As I leave my teen years (I'm turning 19 next year), it's good that a movie series has also grown up with me, serving up a work that delivers on both adult themes and adult characters. Yes, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are no longer kids. Surprise ;)
Rating: 5.0/5.0 (because I'm so biased like that) ” - couch_potato101
The Social Network
Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg
creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, but is later sued by two brothers who claimed he stole their idea, and the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business. (120 mins.)
“ The Social Network is worth the hype. Although I watched it long after the buzz on October (I was in the middle of my university semester), it still packs the punch that lies in its writing, and oh, in Jesse Eisenberg.
TSW is not about Facebook but something much more than that. It's about a guy who doesn't care much enough about being liked, but then creates an empire based mostly, well, on being liked (social networking!)
The drama is there, and you can see the characters battle it out for supreme domination.
I love David Fincher's directing, and Aaron Sorkin's writing--top-notch. It doesn't hurt too that there are cute incorporations of Harvard, Stanford, etc. (the academic geek in me is happy)
Rating: 4.9/5.0 ” - couch_potato101
Bennie travels to Buenos Aires to find his long-missing older brother, a once-promising writer who is now a remnant of his former self. Bennie's discovery of his brother's near-finished play might hold the answer to understanding their shared past and renewing their bond. (127 mins.)
“ Tetro is directed by Francis Ford Coppola. In that aspect alone, it wins and benefits greatly.
This film is flawless, in my opinion. Great cinematography, great acting from the cast (especially from my new favorite actor--Alden Ehrenreich!), and definitely a great story. It's about two brothers separated from each other with Bennie, the younger brother (Ehrenreich), finding out a lot about his older brother when he comes to Argentina (played by Vincent Gallo).
In the end, we find out that Tetro is the father of Bennie! I was definitely shocked by that one.
On a last note, Ehrenreich stood out in terms of presence and sheer cinematic appeal. I won't be surprised if he lands a big Hollywood role someday. He is very young, talented, and with dashing looks.
Rating: 4.7/5.0 ” - couch_potato101
Toy Story 3
The toys are mistakenly delivered to a day-care center instead of the attic right before Andy leaves for college, and it's up to Woody to convince the other toys that they weren't abandoned and to return home. (103 mins.)
“ I watched this movie at SM North EDSA on a school night, on a huge IMAX theater, wearing my 3-D glasses. The approx. 2 hours that I watched this alone in a dark theater was magical. I am not kidding. Toy Story 3 is truly a fantastic piece of work, and speaking as an 18-year-old, a movie best for the kidult (a kid-at-heart adult).
Toy Story 3 is the last installment of the Pixar Trilogy. With this, you'd expect the production team to churn out an 'eh, not-too-bad' product, but the movie completely obliterates all previous expectations.
The animation and technical stuff is amazing. The story is very well thought-out. The characters whom people my age have been familiar with for almost 10 years still have 'it' -- Woody, Buzz and the rest of the gang are still fighting for their right to be played with.
A pitch-perfect movie which will leave you heartbroken and ultimately satisfied.
Favorite scenes: the toy gang facing their mortality at a mega-garbage incinerator, the daycare welcoming scene
Rating. 10.0/5.0 ” - couch_potato101
A look at one year in the life of four babies from around the world, from Mongolia to Namibia to San Francisco to Tokyo. (79 mins.)
“ "Babies" is an interesting look into four babies in four different corners of the globe (Japan, US, Namibia, Mongolia), showing their birth, growth and emergence into their own cultures.
Watching this movie made me feel so happy. The whole time I was laughing and just obsessing over how 'cute' they were--crying, eating, exploring the wilderness, sucking from their mothers' teats, etc.
Being an anthropology major before, I realized the value of having an open mind towards different cultures, and being immersed into the different pockets of culture that these four babies were thriving in was a treat. It has made me believe that no culture is superior than the other--that we as humans are cut from the same cloth no matter what. What only matters is the degree of love and attention given to the children--that undefined factor which either stunts or encourages growth.
You would be surprised to know that the 'star' of this film (and perhaps the best taken care of) in my opinion is the African baby--Ponijao. He is miles ahead of Hattie (the US girl), Mari (Japanese) and Bayar (from Mongolia, though he is at a close second and he's just so cute!). He gets OUT there and lays his hands on everything he can think of--dirt, animals, food, his brother's penis, his mother's teat--and that I believe is the way a baby SHOULD be. He might well turn out to be the most well-adjusted and resilient out of all of them.
The cinematography is also another thing which should be commended. The spirit of each culture is there--the vastness of Mongolia can be felt, the crowdedness of Tokyo, the liberalism of San Francisco, the simplicity of deserted Namibia... it's all beautiful, and we as viewers are extremely lucky to catch a glimpse of these places interwoven with a story of human growth. On a side note, I loved the Africa scenes. You could smell the warmth, the earthiness and the humanity of the scenes with Ponijao and his mother.
Ultimately, I can say that it was the one with the few that came out to gain the most (experience, hardiness and heart). I just LOVE Ponijao!
Rating: 4.3/5.0 ” - couch_potato101
A thief, who steals corporate secrets through use of dream-sharing technology, is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO. (148 mins.)
“ I hated this movie and I am still surprised that I did and still do. Why? For the fact that it is the most over-hyped and over-thought out cinematic work that has come out in the past ten years. And the victims of this droll? Teenagers and young adults who just don't know how to differentiate good filmmaking from confusing filmmaking.
Christopher Nolan, in my opininon, is one the most celebrated hacks in cinematic history.
Rating: 0.1/5.0 ” - couch_potato101
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
As a string of mysterious killings grips Seattle, Bella, whose high school graduation is fast approaching, is forced to choose between her love for vampire Edward and her friendship with werewolf Jacob. (124 mins.)
“ The 3rd installment to the mediocre teenage vampire love story. I have to admit I was pleasantly entertained with the movie, given that I really had to remove all expectations and biases towards it. When you look at 'Eclipse' from a purely business standpoint, it works--guys with abs, a love triangle, fantasy, hello?
The audience, including I, completely gave in to the OMG-Taylor-Lautner-has-abs shebang, and cheered for Jacob whenever he compared his 'hotness' to the otherwise bland and literally forever dead Edward.
Rating: 3.5/5.0 ” - couch_potato101
In 12th century England, Robin and his band of marauders confront corruption in a local village and lead an uprising against the crown that will forever alter the balance of world power. (140 mins.)
“ I watched this when I was on the brink of transferring to another course at university during the summer, with two of my adult acquaintances!
I was afraid I would sleep through this film (just like I did with Gladiator when I was eight years old) because I'm not really a fan of medieval-epic-action films, but the sophistication of the production kept me awake, also the acting finesse of Kevin Durand who was a nice added touch.
Didn't really care for the story at all, but it was nice blowing off some summer steam to a heavy 'masculine' movie like this.
Rating: 3.6/5.0 ” - couch_potato101
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Now out of prison but still disgraced by his peers, Gordon Gekko works his future son-in-law, an idealistic stock broker, when he sees an opportunity to take down a Wall Street enemy and rebuild his empire. (133 mins.)
“ Watched this with my UP acquaintances. It was great watching Shia LaBeouf acting head-to-head with the much-experienced Michael Douglas. Even though I haven't watched the first movie (Wall Street), I knew who the infamous Gordon Gekko was through Douglas's performance--a cold-hearted con artist.
In this movie about deceit, money, power, love and relationships, I realized that integrity wins in the end no matter what. Many a people have destroyed their lives trying to build up something insubstantial, where in fact what's important is family, and building a good honest name.
Pluses: CAREY MULLIGAN (my new favorite), New York City, adult themes regarding finance, power, money, etc. etc.
Rating: 4.5/5.0 ” - couch_potato101
A man suspects his girlfriend of being unfaithful. So he sends her a letter, but than finds out that he was wrong... (87 mins.)
“ Okay, this is one of those movies you just accidentally watch when you have nothing to do on a random afternoon. I watched this movie on a random December afternoon, and stayed through it because of PAUL RUDD and REESE WITHERSPOON. Two great actors, by the way. This isn't "just another movie", primarily because of them.
I was pleasantly surprised at how good this movie is. Paul Rudd is cemented in my mind as an insanely likable, good-looking, talented funny actor who can do no wrong. He can do slapstick or serious comedy and still do great. Reese stands out in this, too. She's so young here and you can really see how she's grown when you compare her in this to her more recent films.
I loved the whole my-girlfriend-cheated-on-me-but-oops-no scenario that plays out in the beginning, but you do realize that this is a story of Wyatt and the stripper Ivy. As Wyatt realizes the error of his decision, Ivy is there with him on each heart attack-inducing stopover. I found myself screaming and getting so riled up at some hilarious scenes.
Favorite scenes: dine and dash scene at the diner, the highway chase with the Global Express delivery man (GOLD!), the final scene at the University
Rating: 4.3/5.0 ” - couch_potato101
“ Another movie watched on a random afternoon. Similar to Overnight Delivery, this is a story about a young couple who get conflicted again and again but end up happy together despite their flaws.
Directed by the great Jose Javier Reyes, BNLKM examines the drama of youth, of love and of relationships. I was surprised at how good Angelu de Leon and Diether Ocampo were in this--they get it just right--they're adults but they've had their mistakes (Diether's char. as a former teen father and Angelu's char. as a naggy woman).
I loved the direction and the overall flow of the story. This is not the typical Pinoy film, definitely. The dialogue is smart, fresh, sophisticated and caters mostly to the educated middle class (hello it's LaSallian Joey Reyes). Many people of the generation before me would surely relate to this movie (filmed ca. 2000 when Malate was hot). I was giddy, too, at some locations I've grown up with--Alabang Business Park, MRT :)
Rating: 4.3/5.0 ” - couch_potato101
Three buddies wake up from a bachelor party in Las Vegas, with no memory of the previous night and the bachelor missing. They make their way around the city in order to find their friend before his wedding. (100 mins.)
“ Okay, I didn't exactly watch the whole movie from start to finish but I did watch most of the important scenes. This movie IS funny, perfect for waking up in the morning or lazing in the afternoon. Although I don't get the immense hype this movie got (critically acclaimed, did good at the box office), it wasn't corny at all--smart and cute and FUN. Ed Helms--whoo, good job! Zach Galifianakis is too adorable.
Rating: 4.1/5.0 ” - couch_potato101
Away We Go
A couple who is expecting their first child travel around the U.S. in order to find a perfect place to start their family. Along the way, they have misadventures and find fresh connections with an assortment of relatives and old friends who just might help them discover "home" on their own terms for the first time. (98 mins.)
“ This is one of those movies that you just catch randomly on cable TV because it looks interesting and has John Krasinski in it. Yes, I'm serious.
This film blows me away in the most simple way possible. The way the story's constructed--moving from place to place searching for 'truth' and 'peace' and 'stability', discovering one's person, one's partner--opened up to me the social crises that we're all experiencing and that is of being completely lost.
The characters of JKras and Maya Rudolph are basically kidults--adults who have NO idea how to raise a kid--in all their hipster bohemian glory. They go to 'eccentric' places like Miami in search of something more, yet they find nothing (I guess, because we're all...broken?), except comfort in themselves.
CHARMING MOVIE by a GREAT director (Sam Mendes, who also directed American Beauty). ” - couch_potato101
Life as We Know It
Two single adults become caregivers to an orphaned girl when their mutual best friends die in an accident. (114 mins.)
“ This is just one of those movies you're 'forced' to watch because you're out with your friends at the mall. Although the movie looks questionable/so mainstream/pandering to the mass audience, I watched this with no expectations.
And I was rewarded. 'Life as We Know It' is a really cute movie with a baby and really good-looking adults (Josh Duhamel, Katherine Heigl). It's about two completely opposite people character-wise, who end up in love (that's expected) because of a baby left to them by their dead friends.
The story is a bit predictable (and the genre--the baby-with-irresponsible-adults-chaos--is too overused), but nevertheless, it did its job of entertaining me on a random weekend with friends. ” - couch_potato101
When seasoned comedian George Simmons learns of his terminal, inoperable health condition, his desire to form a genuine friendship causes him to take a relatively green performer under his wing as his opening act. (146 mins.)
“ Watched this movie on a random night on HBO when I was feeling a little bit down, and OMG, I completely love this movie. Adam Sandler is now more than a slapstick guy for me, as he presents in this movie a side so different from 'Billy Madison' or 'Happy Gilmore'.
It's basically about a successful comedian (Sandler), who discovers he's dying of a certain disease and realizes that he has no one to run to, except his assistant (Rogen).
Sandler's character re-visits people he's 'abandoned' in the past, ie. Leslie Mann's character.
I loved, loved this film for the fact that it's not your typical Adam Sandler film, or any other film at all. It's FUNNY in such a heartbreaking way that at the end you're just left gasping for breath because it's also so damn sad the way things unfold.
I LOVED the trimmer Seth Rogen in this, also ERIC BANA. He was such a refreshing addition to the cast.
4.4/5.0 ” - couch_potato101
Desperate to find means of support for his family, Noy (Coco Martin) fakes his credentials to get a job as a TV journalist... (104 mins.)
“ At the height of the 2010 Philippine presidential elections, a young man, coincidentally named 'Noy' (as in Benigno 'Noynoy Aquino III, the frontrunner of the 2010 elections), becomes the witness to his country's political, social and economic maladies when he moonlights as a TV journalist/reporter. A strange divide permeates throughout the film, the young Noy's upbringing into poverty and despair, and the famous Noy's destined ascent into the echelons of power, much like his mother. 'Noy', then, is a classic tale of the haves and have-nots--the future president may have no idea who the young journalist is, but in essence it is the young journalist in his desire to uplift his and his family's state that deserves attention and acclaim. Watch for: Coco Martin / historical fiction-documentary style filmmaking.
Rating: 6/10 ” - couch_potato101
The Gods Must Be Crazy
A comic allegory about a traveling Bushman who encounters modern civilization and its stranger aspects, including a clumsy scientist and a band of revolutionaries. (109 mins.)
“ In an isolated African tribe, a Coke bottle mysteriously lands in the hands of a couple of men-leader-warriors. Like any human unexposed to industrialist and capitalist technology, a strange thing will be the center of curiosity, of objection, of worship (not necessarily in that order). Watching this for a geography class, TGMBC is much more fun when seen with a group: seeing how ridiculous human nature can be--elevating the trivial to substantial. Maybe that's just how human civilization works: nothing is that important (not the clothes, not the tools, not the products)--it's the meanings we give to them that makes the world go 'round. And oh, it's geography, baby.
Rating: 5.5/10 ” - couch_potato101
Girl with a Pearl Earring
A young peasant maid working in the house of painter Johannes Vermeer becomes his talented assistant and the model for one of his most famous works. (100 mins.)
The Birth of a Nation
The Stoneman family finds its friendship with the Camerons affected by the Civil War, both fighting in opposite armies. The development of the war in their lives plays through to Lincoln's assassination and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan. (195 mins.)
“ Rleased in 1915 e ” - couch_potato101
Natural Born Killers
Two victims of traumatized childhoods become lovers and psychopathic serial murderers irresponsibly glorified by the mass media. (118 mins.)
“ Oliver Stone's masterpiece of violence and controversy, 'Natural Born Killers' is a film that was destined to shock and awe--and horrifyingly, influence people all over America to perpetrate the same kind of antisocial behavior the two lead characters display. A collage of different filmic styles--genre, photography, plot, etc., 'NBK' is a true Quentin Tarantino opus: all blood and gore, irreverence, youthfulness, a critique of America and its media obsession.
Rating: 7.6/10 ” - couch_potato101
Capitalism: A Love Story
An examination of the social costs of corporate interests pursuing profits at the expense of the public good. (127 mins.)
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Sam Witwicky leaves the Autobots behind for a normal life. But when his mind is filled with cryptic symbols, the Decepticons target him and he is dragged back into the Transformers' war. (150 mins.)
“ Set in Sam Witwicky's freshman year of college (and my own freshman year of college), Transformers 2 is the same testosterone-fueled mega-action flick, only with Megan Fox with bigger lips and all-throughout "sluttier" attitude. Sam's virginal male persona coupled with Mikaela's sex kitten-though-not-quite personality makes for cheap popcorn entertainment--however, the grandness of the film and its travels through iconic locales (Giza Pyramids, Jordan, The Smithsonian, etc.) makes the viewing somehow worth it.
Rating: 4/10 ” - couch_potato101
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
As Harry Potter begins his sixth year at Hogwarts, he discovers an old book marked as "the property of the Half-Blood Prince" and begins to learn more about Lord Voldemort's dark past. (153 mins.)
My Sister's Keeper
Anna Fitzgerald looks to earn medical emancipation from her parents who until now have relied on their youngest child to help their leukemia-stricken daughter Kate remain alive. (109 mins.)
A newly possessed high school cheerleader turns into a succubus who specializes in killing her male classmates. Can her best friend put an end to the horror? (102 mins.)
Mike O'Donnell is ungrateful for how his life turned out. He gets a chance to rewrite his life when he tried to save a janitor near a bridge and jumped after him into a time vortex. (102 mins.)