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Showdown in Manila (2016)
Worse than inexplicably bad
I saw this movie via my satellite TV's movie package, and it was such a waste of 90 minutes of my life. The movie drew me with its cast of former action stars Don "The Dragon" Wilson, Cynthia Rothrock and Oliver Gruner plus Tia Carrere but gosh, the (lack of) acting, plot, flow and everything else made it one of the worst movies ever. Please do yourself a huge favor and avoid this turkey.
Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
Predictable ending, overrated flick
I love the concept of time travel and such, but geez, this movie had such a predictable ending. It did do well with getting to know characters and such but the payoff was so meh and was viewable from a mile away. This movie could've been more had the characters been more likable, esp. the guy who puts out the ad. Overall, I think this movie has been highly overrated and I wouldn't watch it again. Troubled characters are nothing new in movies but well, this flick had the same old tired formula of people seeking an out and such via time travel. I won't go into what I think the movie should've done since I wasn't the screenwriter or director but this movie disappointed.
The Mistress (2012)
Yet another disaster with John Lloyd Cruz
I want to know why Cruz is so popular in the Philippines. Is he handsome? No. Is he a good actor? No. So why the hell is he all over the Phils? Please, tell me that.
The story is about a Filipina who is the mistress of a wealthy corporate executive, who is the father of a man who falls for the Filipina. Duh, so things get complicated when both men vie for the woman's affections, and things are worse because both men happen to be father and son.
It seems Philippine movies tend to gravitate toward this type of trash with this type of third-rate actor like Cruz. I hope for a change.
Can This Be Love (2005)
I saw this film with my girlfriend on a Philippine movie channel, and while the premise is intriguing -- a Korean girl in the Phils falls in love with a Filipino -- the movie is a bunch of clichés and typical teen predicaments.
I felt the two main characters had no chemistry as a couple and Park's character seemed more like a wallflower than a leading lady. This is the crap that can happen when you give a teen star an acting job.
And the ending, oh gosh, what a crock. The director simplified it so much, I think, because it would've cost a lot of money to film any of it in Korea. So after she leaves the Phils, everything works out happily ever after and they get married? Such bullshit, esp. if you know how exclusive Koreans are.
Reisei to jônetsu no aida (2001)
I saw this movie right before I sold the DVD. Based on a bestselling Japanese novel, the movie has an interesting premise with a Japanese guy, who excels in art restoration in Florence, and his estranged love, a half-Japanese woman who works at a jewelry store in Milan. The movie goes back and forth with flashbacks as to how the couple met and developed their relationship.
The movie was too long at two hours and four minutes, as it could have been done in a shorter period of time, but hey, glacial pace is a trademark of Japanese cinema. The setting in Italy is great and so is seeing scenes of that wonderful country. I would say that is where the good points stop. Much is not explained about the couple's relationship and such, including Aoi's abortion and subsequent breakup. The side stories of Junsei's friends were not needed and looked hokey. And Michael Wong, who played Aoi's new beau, had the acting skills of a tree stump.
In conclusion, one reviewer said Asian perceptions of a love story greatly differ from those of the West, and that is true. Perhaps Asians audiences will like this movie more than Western audiences. I for one don't regret seeing it but would I recommend it? Not sure.
Fresh Meat (2012)
A mildly entertaining comedy
I saw this at Pifan 2013 in South Korea, and well, I wasn't expecting a horror comedy but got one. There were funny moments in the movie but well, the gore wasn't necessary.
I also wanted to see the actor T. Morrison but this was far from his finest hour. This film is basically a mix of gore, sex and a series of one-liners and while I didn't regret seeing this, I'm not sure I can recommend it.
I gave it seven out of ten points because there were entertaining moments, but I sure hope Morrison gets better roles to befit his acting talents.
Something in the Way (2013)
I haven't seen many Indonesian films but this one stuck with me. I also had the fortune of having the actor who played Ahmad answer a few questions after the screening.
Ahmad is a lonely cab driver who masturbates to porn and girlie pics in his cab and home. In his apartment building lives Kinar, a lovely prostitute and single mother with whom Ahmad falls in love. Ahmad is struggling to make money as a cabbie, so he starts to frequent areas with prostitutes. He and Kinar grow closer but he all of a sudden decides she should quit her job, leading to the climax.
Much of the movie is spent on showing Ahmad doing things like eating his noodles or masturbating to porn. Perhaps the director wanted to show how dull Ahmad's routine was and how Kinar's appearance was a refreshing break from his dull life. The film had no music to enhance the drama and seemed very realistic. Others mentioned that this film could be the Indonesian version of "Taxi Driver" by Martin Scorsese, and I can see how this film might have given this impression.
Hard to figure out
The title "Miroku" is the Japanese word for Maitreya, or the future Buddha who is prophesied to come later. Being a Buddhist believer, I was intrigued by this film's premise, but nearly fell asleep during the movie.
It's hard to explain the plot. Lots of philosophy and science are discussed, a group of boys are played by female actors, and a drunk in Japan wises up and finds meaning. I'm familiar with Buddhist concepts and terms but this movie was really hard to understand and I had no idea what exactly it was trying to convey.
The scenes are often fantasy sequences and the like, and the director made the film with a bunch of film students in Japan. As much as I wanted to like the film, I couldn't.
Simon Killer (2012)
Not terrible, not good
I read the reviews about the film and they stimulated my interest in seeing this flick at Pifan 2013 in Bucheon, South Korea. The movie seemed to go in several directions, but yes, I found the film a bit hard to like, especially the ending.
Simon is a recent college grad who visits Paris after breaking up with a longtime girlfriend. He befriends Victoria, who works as a prostitute, and soon moves in with her despite planning to hit other places in Europe. He tries to scam her other customers and trouble starts brewing.
I found that Simon wasn't a likable guy at all. He had a couldn't-care- less attitude like the character Zach Galifianakis played in "The Hangover." I also found implausible Victoria immediately liking Simon and letting him into her troubled life, and he ends up making things more complicated for her. He seems to really show what a true a-hole he is toward the end.
I'm glad I watched it but would I recommend it? Not sure.
At the Horizon (2011)
Interesting intro to Laotian cinema
I saw this because I'd never seen a Laotian movie before and my friend is married to a Laotian woman. It started out as a revenge drama but had an unexpected ending that left me thinking about the film after I'd left the theater.
Sin (and I think his name was no accident) is a rich young man in Laos whose arrogance and ego know no bounds. He constantly cheats on his girlfriend and thinks he can buy his way out of any situation. Lud is a mute man who works as a scooter repairman and has a wife and daughter. Sin wrecks Lud's world and Lud seeks revenge. That's all I'll say about the plot.
Perhaps the director through the movie sought to blast the inequality in Laos, one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world. I have no doubt that people like Sin exist in Laos, and that money is often considered a solution to any problem there. Also, Laos is a Buddhist country and Lud's character displayed traits of compassion that the Buddha taught. The ending was unexpected but satisfying and enlightening nonetheless. The film's quality was quite high though you could see it was a low-budget work.
Incidentally, the actor who played Lud resembles Manny Pacquiao. No wonder he got a part.
I saw this at Pifan 2013 in Bucheon, South Korea, and while I've seen several Danish movies that were so-so to lackluster, this one was entertaining.
Caspar is a young man who has a single mother and two siblings in Copenhagen. He burglarizes homes and sells the stuff he steals to an Arab thug, Jamal, who cheats him all the time. Caspar is later offered a job with a pimp named Bjorn and starts to earn good money. But Jamal is angry that Caspar is working for someone else and seeks revenge.
The movie was interesting and the characters seemed real, though I don't know much about Denmark. I'd say this was worth a watch, though the ending seemed a bit flat.
Good message but...
I'd say this movie tried to make a statement in weird ways. Yes, food companies hold a major responsibility in the obesity crisis in the U.S., but the way the movie said this was a bit strange, especially with the illusions the main character could only see.
The film started out strong by showing the power of advertising and marketing, but fell flat in the second half with corny scenes and the like. The presence of Hollywood actors like Max Von Sydow and Jeffery Tambor didn't help that much, considering that they had minor roles.
Would I recommend this film? No, there are better ways to spend 106 minutes of your time. Give this a pass.
La fille de nulle part (2012)
Too many unanswered questions
I saw this at Pifan 2013 in Bucheon, South Korea. What seemed to be a simple drama about an older man who takes in a troubled young woman got weird with the occult and stuff.
A man in Paris has lived alone for decades since the death of his wife. One day, he sees a woman being beaten up by a young man in the staircase of his flat, so he tends to her wounds and offers her a place to stay. He is in his 50s and she is 26 and has nobody. Surprisingly, she has a keen sense of intellect and helps him finish his book.
The ending was rather weird, as the movie ends without closure about both the girl's past and psyche and the man's death, which might or might not have been staged by him. Because of this, I'd say give this a pass.
Fra Thailand til Thy (2007)
Subjective documentary about Thai wives in Denmark
I saw this on YouTube and heard it was so popular in Denmark. I found it an interesting documentary but I wish it dealt with the problems that Thai women face in Denmark. What was also ignored was the racism in that country and how the women dealt with it.
I know little about Denmark and don't particularly care for that country given the intolerance there that I hear often about (and the insistence of Danes that it's not racism), but this was nonetheless an interesting documentary.
There is a sequel as well in which the lives of Thai women in Thailand who want farang husbands are explored.
Skip this disappointment of a movie
Well, what can I say? I was expecting a nice period film from Korea's yesteryear but instead, I got a movie that dragged on and on. There are too many questions unanswered about the hit man, his target, the girl the hit man takes care of, and the Communist Party that sets the plot in motion. One thing to bear in mind, however, is that when this film was made, South Korea was under the anti-left dictatorship of Park Chung-hee.
I understand that Lee is a famous Korean director, but this, I'm sure, is far from his best film. Save an hour and 20 minutes of your life and skip this.
Conversations with God (2006)
Dumb movie, just really dumb
I watched this on my satellite TV's VOD and thank goodness it cost just under a dollar. I was expecting more from supposedly an inspirational story and instead got a third-rate attempt at a movie.
I love stories in which down-and-out people work there way out of their situation, but this one was just weird. The movie was disjointed and confusing and oftentimes, it just left me with more questions, especially about what Walsch's history was like. I believe there are significant omissions from the film, including about his troubles with women and such.
I'm generally against Christianity and well, this film got me no closer to that awful religion. Save yourself 1.5 hours of your life and skip this turkey.
Haunting film, though flawed
I read about this film before watching it, so I knew what would happen before I saw it. Nonetheless, this film had an effect on me.
First, the lead character Hans amazingly looked so much like soccer great Diego Maradona. I was trying to place his face and then Maradona's face came to mind. Anyway, the protagonist seemed really down on life because of little or no support from either his wife or family, with the exception of his sister, who seemed just a little caring.
Hans makes a modest living selling fruit on a cart and going from apartment complex to apartment complex to do so. Neither his wife nor mother approve of his job, and he was fired from his job as a cop after getting serviced by a prostitute who was under arrest. The story seems a real downer as just about everything that can go wrong does for this guy.
I will say the acting is rather rigid but perhaps that is characteristic of German society, esp. back then. I was surprised at the moments of emotion, like when the wife suggests getting someone to help them sell the fruit.
As for the ending, this is my take on this. Hans knows that he is a burden on his family, so after seeing that his war buddy is good with his wife and daughter as well as the busy, Hans drinks knowing full well that he will die. He figures he will get out of the picture to allow his wife and buddy to be together and such. So perhaps his act of suicide stemmed not just from his desire to live no longer, but also to leave his family in a better position, not to mention the woman he was cheating with. Others might disagree, but perhaps that is his one final act of good for the world before he leaves it.
Overall, I'd say this film will stay with me (and help me to stay off booze).
You Again (2010)
Jokes about a very delicate subject
I don't like how this movie just made something simple out of a topic so severe like high school bullying. I suffered from this myself because I'm an Asian American and no, I could never forgive what that bully monster did. I also know that many who bullied in high school are NOT sorry at all.
I'm also disappointed at the protagonist's brother for being insensitive. Heck, I'm pretty sure I'd kick my fiancée to the curb if I found out what kind of monster she was.
The lone thing I liked about this movie was the performance by Hall & Oates at the end.
Skip this turkey.
Love to see the French beaten up!
I have to say first that I cannot stand the French, and for a supposedly American character to go to Paris and beat just about every Frenchman he encounters was simply superb! Of course many elements of the story are absurd and how he goes about it make it seem too easy but gosh, I loved the action sequences and that most of the guys on the receiving end were French.
My disdain for the French is also why I like that Jet Li film "Kiss of the Dragon."
I've seen "Taken" several times on cable and relish watching it every time.
Star Crossed (2009)
Skip this turkey
This flimsy remake of "Romeo and Juliet" is about a British soccer player in Portugal and the daughter of the rival team's owner. The scenes of the beautiful scenery in Portugal saves this movie from getting a rating of from me.
This movie is so darn predictable and has no interesting takes on the classic love story. Plus I found the male lead not likable since he seems like a typical British punk, and he resorted to a dirty trick in injuring that player off the cliff. He got no sympathy from me.
I know nothing about Portuguese cinema but I certainly hope that this movie isn't the norm there. A BIG thumbs down for me on this turkey.
Disappointing film that could've been so much more
I'd heard good reviews about this movie so I bought the DVD while in Manila. First, the image had black bars on the sides but I fixed that by adjusted my plasma.
I was interested in the status of Filipinos who work in Italy and this movie was a good primer on that. I felt disappointed, however, at many story holes and improbable incidents. I'm sure the movie had elements from true stories of Filipinos in Italy but a few parts seemed improbable, like how he just cheated on his absent wife despite going all the way to Italy to find her. I also found it hard that he turned from a into an angry guy who throws furniture and stuff. That would raise red flags for many women.
I think Philippine movies need to get away from clichés and worn-out formulaic plots and endings to advance. I also felt the main actor was unfit for this role.
Overrated and formulaic
How many other Philippine movies have the same themes and such? It started out with a good premise -- the overseas Filipino worker in Dubai -- and just degenerated into formulaic and overplayed melodrama.
Quite a few crazy and unrealistic things happen in this film. The younger brother finally joins his older brother in the UAE, then falls in love with his older bro's part-time girlfriend. Then he gets her PREGNANT and his older brother just sits there calm and stuff. I highly doubt that any guy would just be calm, even if it was his brother.
The movie would have been more interesting had it dealt more with living in Dubai instead of the workers' personal problems. Filipinos have a tough time in the Mideast but the film dealt nothing with it.
The worst part was when the movie just becomes a tear fest of people crying, apologizing, saying saucy stuff and the like. Then the brother Raffy starts a nationalistic speech about how great it is to be Filipino. There's nothing wrong with being proud of who you are but the way he said it was very corny and awkward. Speeches like that make people forget the real problems of Philippine society -- corruption, class system, extreme poverty, runaway birth rate and others.
Screw this overrated, overdone and over-hyped movie. If you want to see a movie about the overseas Filipino worker, skip this one and try "Anak" with Vilma Santos and "Caregiver" with Sharon Cuneta.
Not bad and not so melodramatic
I saw this on DVD and liked it. It's yet another movie about the overseas Filipino worker, this time a schoolteacher who trains to be a nurse to work in England. What I liked about this movie was that it didn't deteriorate into melodrama and tear-fest conditions like so many Philippine movies do, but well, I have to say Sharon Cuneta's character probably would not have gotten a handsome husband as depicted in the film.
I liked how the movie just presented life in England for OFWs, nurses in particular, and that it didn't spiral into crying drama and such. I'm sure many Filipinos can sympathize with the characters in the movie. It's good Filipinos have their sense of happiness and humor in such a depressing country like the U.K.
If you enjoyed this movie, please check out "Anak" with Vilma Santos but please avoid "Dubai" with Claudine Baretto.
Avoid this over-hyped turkey
I saw this on DVD seeing that the film was invited to a few international film festivals. Boy, it was all hype and gripe with me about this film. It's basically a cookie-cutter action flick about some former spy who takes pity on an orphan girl who is kidnapped by gangsters. I would think that in 2010, action movies would try to be a bit different than the norm but not in "The Man from Nowhere." The film is basically an excuse for Won Bin to be in a starring role that he is truly unfit for. I mean come on, he's just a pretty boy but not convincing as an action star. And the plot and film are just repetition of what I've seen before in Korean movies except for more action and gore.
Trust me, you do not need to see this film. It is also very long at two hours and much of the footage was unnecessary. Save two hours of your life by skipping this dud.
Another reason I hate Brits
This turkey, oh where do I start, is just one waste of time. I was ready for an entertaining film but simply got a bunch of clichés, ineffective jokes, and reinforcement of why I can't stand Brits, their self-righteousness, pomposity and the like. The shocking thing is, Brits like the protagonist do exist in real-life.
Seriously, the jokes weren't funny, the story cliché and the plot unfulfilled. No wonder I cannot stand Brits, many of them act just like the protagonist, if not worse. Save your time and money on this turkey unless you like mind-numbing Hollywood drivel, which I obviously don't. As much as I dislike Brits, however, British films are interesting.