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45 reviews in total 
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44 out of 89 people found the following review useful:
Simple Yet Very Kinetic, 19 June 2013

Simple and typical may be what I may describe this movie. World War Z is good enough not to fall on the classification of lousy or awful. At least it does not drag; the movie is engaging and never ever slows down to cause the slightest bit of boredom. At best, it feels like what I imagine would be a perfectly well-made zombie video game adaptation. I'm sure that the movie has some intellectual or subliminal message hidden in and around the movie, or whatever message the writers want to convey. Whatever it may be, we could not really notice that since the pace of the film is fast and hyperactive. But at least it's never chaotic and messy.

On the horror aspect, it effectively does generate some screams and shouts. The scares are moderately efficient, and the zombies do indeed manage to be horrifying, even though they did not need to be extra disgusting and/or gory.

Although this may be considered as a zombie movie, it never crosses beyond its PG-13 rating. Meaning, it does not have the usual gore and violence other zombies have. Whatever violence the movie has is never focused or highlighted. It's a horror movie that may be considered "pretty safe" for a younger audience.

The problem with World War Z is that it's blown its wad by showing some of the best money shots of the movie on its trailer. The flooding stampede of zombies is the film's most impressive and unique eye candy. We've already seen fast zombies, we've also already seen extra-strong zombies (in "I Am Legend" they're not exactly zombies, but they have similarities with the zombies in this movie), but we've never seen them like this, the way World War Z presents them. On one point of view, it's refreshingly unique, on another point of view; it's a childish, over-bloated exaggeration of the concept.

But the flooding, stampeding zombies; that's the movie's one ace card. Aside from that, the movie is pretty simple horror suspense. What happens in the end is not your typical summer blockbuster climax scene; there's nothing extraordinary, like a big boss fight of some kind. With the way it was executed in the end, it felt like an indie horror movie.

But just because it has a quiet ending, it does not mean that it was a bad movie. The ending is consistent and fluid. It's not something impossible, incredible, explosive, or cartoonish. It's simple, and it makes sense that way in a manner consistent with the movie's tone. Overall, World War Z is a moderately good zombie movie; entertaining enough to be worth your money and time. But you will not be missing out on anything if you happen to skip it.

Mirror Mirror (2012/I)
26 out of 56 people found the following review useful:
MIRROR, MIRROR is Immensely Fun!, 17 March 2012

MIRROR, MIRROR is a fantasy adventure movie adaptation of the fairy tale SNOW WHITE (AND THE SEVEN Dwarfs) It's directed by Tarsem Singh, who directed "The Cell", "The Fall" and "Immortals", and stars Lily Collins as Snow White, the ever-funny Nathan Lane, Armie Hammer, and Julia Roberts as the wickedly amusing Evil Queen.

This movie is something that has a little too many of almost everything you can get from a movie that promises pure fun and entertainment. It's got funny bandit dwarfs, evil magic, a monster that haunts the forest, and swashbuckling action. It is one of those movies where all the elements of the movie work so harmoniously. From the acting, to the lavish and pleasantly bizarre costumes, to the special effects, the concept, the story, and the direction itself. All these factors complement each other to create such an enjoyable masterpiece.

Lily Collins is so effortlessly adorable and so natural, that she does not look like she's acting at all; she just simply is cute. My favorite scenes with her is when she joined with the bandit dwarfs; I loved it when she was doing some swashbuckling action, because even though she's wielding a sword, somehow she still maintains that very princess-like poise.

Nathan Lane is ever amusing, Armie Hammer is great in playing a prince who goes through non-stereotypical circumstances, and all the dwarfs played by Mark Povinelli, Danny Woodburn, Jordan Prentice, Ronald Lee Clark, Sebastian Saraceno, Martin Klebba, and Joe Gnoffo were all hilariously amazing to watch, and they were pretty much my favorite characters in the movie.

And then there's Julia Roberts who played the evil Queen Clementianna. This time, as she plays the villain, and looks like she's deliciously enjoying every moment of it. She does give the role more than enough spice. Her hilarious wickedness, with great little twisted lines, and the degree of wit she personally delivers to the role are precious cinematic moments that make this movie so fun to watch.

That one song attached with the movie, which is being played at the end credits of the movie; I really have to say that that is a stupid song. But the movie is so good and so effective, that it got me playing that song in my head over and over again hours after the movie.

MIRROR, MIRROR's script is excellently-written; so rich with wit. Its script makes it more comedy than fairy tale. The movie preserves the essence of the original, but injects new elements to make it more timeless and interesting. Granted, there might be unexpected changes, but it all works in the context of the story, and it's not as drastic as to completely change the feel of the source material (like what they did in the other movie where they made Snow White look like an iron-clad Conan the Barbarian) The costumes are so lavish, stylish, and positively weird; it makes you feel like you are watching a music video from Bjork. The movie's genre is not centered only for one demographic, as it also has some action on it; what with the swashbuckling bandits, and the gigantic creatures sent by the Queen to kill Snow White, there are sword-fights and awesome action scenes to balance out the comedy and the fantasy.

MIRROR, MIRROR is perfectly fun-filled, and quirkily weird in a very positive manner. This is the kind of movie that can give you a big smile even hours after you've seen the movie!

7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Does this deserve to be a classic?, 14 March 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The movie itself is highly impressive, and if you count on a comparative scale, there are very very few Pinoy mainstream horror movies that are this good. That is why I will not be surprised if this joins the ranks of the top ten best Pinoy horror movies ever made. My judgment on it is partially on a level that considers the mass audience and was slightly adjusted to fit Pinoy cinema standards.

But in my own personal direct judgment, the movie was indeed initially going to be that timeless classic that I would have wished it to be; but it was ruined by the atrocious ending. After I have done watching the movie in its entirety, all the little flaws (that were ignorable at first) were like tiny wounds that had infectiously swollen into large sores. I could not help but think of a meddling by producers (or studio executives) in the creative process; the way the story was heading into one direction, and suddenly detouring into what seems like a forced "mainstream-friendly" ending. I will discuss this on the final part of this review.

CORAZON: ANG UNANG ASWANG (written and directed by Richard V. Somes) seemed like it was going to break grounds in the field of Pinoy mainstream horror movies the same way YANGGAW did. The vibrant cinematography which enhanced the various moods of the movie, Somes' directorial approach which is clean and un-awkward, and the concepts that the story was presenting; they were high points that made the film engaging to watch. There was a degree of heavy religious eeriness in the scenes with Maria Isabel Lopez, and the montage where Corazon (Erich Gonzales) went on an unusual pilgrimage for fertility. Those were scenes that cleverly built up to the horror of the middle act.

The story's progression in the middle was moderately impressive. The tragedy of Corazon's "becoming an aswang" was one that was nicely done and, in a good way, reminded me of "Bram Stoker's Dracula" that Francis Ford Coppola directed. The aswang montages were savagely direct and were indeed a re-visit to Somes' own "Yanggaw". The use of the boar head (and skin) was a brilliant touch (and yes, I was wrong about it on my "initial reactions" article). The film was looking good, and as a comparison to the usual Pinoy mainstream horror movie, this was looking like it was going to be one of those bound to be timeless classics.

There were some few things that bothered me initially. The acting of both Derek and Erich would sometimes miss the mark, but that was pretty ignorable. I could have easily forgiven and ignored to mention Derek's stupid "modern" necklace, bracelet, and haircut that are demerits to the story's post-WW2 timeline. And why, as a sacada, is he wearing combat boots? It was also not easy to ignore the overlong scenes of passion. Yes, I know they're in love; we get it. I don't think you would have to need steamy scenes accomplish that point.

But the worst and un-ignorable thing about the movie is the MAKE-UP department. Erich Gonzalez does NOT look like an Aswang. She does not look like she has been living insanely in the forest. But what she clearly looks like is a woman with cosmetics around her eyes. She looks like a freaking goth teenager or some grade school student in some kind of grade school Halloween party. It's the first big negative thing that sticks out in the movie. Whoever was in charge of the make-up should not be hired to work on movies again, as he/she does not know how to make things believable.

The movie eventually goes on directions of what may be an unforgettable origin story of what an Aswang is. It certainly melded many theories about Aswangs, with Somes' own interpretation and imagination. CORAZON: ANG UNANG ASWANG is a movie that I could easily recommend to those who are not too strict when it comes to what is quality cinema. But to those who are looking for the Pinoy movie that will break new grounds on the mainstream, this is not it.

The ending pretty much ruined the movie for me. The film's happy ending seemed like an obvious forced ending just to please the audiences. The movie sets Daniel and Corazon to be tragic characters. Do you think if Romeo and Juliet had a happy ending, it would have been a story that had become buried and forgotten a long time ago? Corazon was already eating children and Daniel was being a grandmaster jerk, even to his closest friend, and you expect the audiences to still root for him? I am hoping that Somes shot an alternate scene for this, and am sincerely crossing my fingers that a director's cut with a better ending would be released on DVD later on. Was this movie good? First let me forget about how the movie ended, and I might give you a different answer.

5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
A Must-See, Brilliant, & Thought-Provoking Satire, 14 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Somewhere in the downtrodden slums of Metro Manila lives Mila, a miserably struggling mother living in sheer poverty with her 7 (or was it 9?) children. Because of their miserable condition, she decides to sell one of her children to a foreigner. But Mila is merely a character in the indie film that producer JM De Guzman, director Kean Cipriano, and production assistant Cai Cortez set out to make. They are inspired and are bent to achieve Film Festival glory. In doing so, they employ the ace under their sleeves; actress and superstar Eugene Domingo.

ANG BABAE SA SEPTIC TANK is actually a brilliant, thought-provoking satire of the current Indie Film Industry & the hypocrisy in the minds of those who only wish to become Film Festival Superstars. Those who might think this is the usual Eugene Domingo wild and zany comedy (coz the abs-cbn trailer makes the movie look like a wacky comedy e), I'm just reminding you that this one is more of satire than comedy, meaning most of the stuff that's funny here are funny coz these things are real. It's a "Bato-bato sa Langit" sort of movie.

At the very core of it, the film-makers are three rich kids who never really care about the misery of poverty, for which their film touches on. Their film is entitled "Walang Wala" which is supposed to lament on the desperation of a mother who would sell her child just for some relief. At one point, they even contemplate on trying to find a real-life subject matter. The characters' hypocrisy is given a spotlight as the film shows us the glaring irony when we see how the three kids actually live a materialistic, worry-free, urban rich lifestyle. It is clear that the main characters don't care too much about the people stricken with poverty; they're merely interested in becoming film festival superstars.

You can say that it does not become preachy because it did not dwell too long on the film's serious moment, it did not spell out or give too much emphasis on what's unpleasant about the characters, and the character's enlightenment was not even clear if they did get some sense of wisdom or realization in the end. All it did was show us what does exist, and despite its subtlety, you can see all the obvious bad things about the industry.

One could say that the character of Mila exists in real life Manila, somewhere, there are two or more Milas who are going through the same fate. I think that angle is depicted in the movie; in its first few sequences wherein Eugene Domingo acts out who or what the real life Mila could be like. This sequence, which is in the intro, is the serious tone in the movie, where Eugene Domingo is indeed given a chance to show off her serious acting side.

The film exposes many of the industry's unpleasant habits in a single blow; it parodies not only the indie film scene, but the mainstream film industry as well. Later on as the story progresses, when our three main characters meet the "real actress" Eugene Domingo, they are put on a difficult position when Domingo uses her influence to alter the script. And the result of it is what usually happens in reality: impressive screenplays are reduced into corny melodrama or commercial garbage. There is a sequence here that shows us what really is wrong with commercial mainstream cinema; the treatment, as if it was made for idiots and the blatant product placements are all what mainstream media has been feeding its audiences. In the movie, Domingo uses her dominant influence, and the indie filmmaker is left with nothing but to bow down, if not make risky compromises.

If there was one thing that I complained about the movie is that it ended all too abruptly without some kind of grand closure, be it physical or dramatic. Perhaps the movie was all too conscious of how they parody filmmakers who inject immensely dramatic impact on the climax, to the point that when the story went to the direction that we expect the main characters to have some sort of realization, it does not happen, the film was over-conscious not to be a victim of its own parodying. But then again, the running time that played within the minimum 1 hour and 30 minutes was noticeable because the story never had a dragging moment; each moment was amusing, interesting, and thought-provoking.

ANG BABAE SA SEPTIC TANK is a must-watch in order to understand what really is wrong with the film industry. This is one movie that I would urge everyone to see.

29 out of 56 people found the following review useful:
Green Lantern: Loved It. But Were Our Expectations Too High?, 16 June 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Green Lantern is one of DC comics' most popular characters, and its role in the DC universe is prominent enough that it is considered by DC as its space epic. So, the anticipation for GREEN LANTERN is so much high that satisfactory is not good enough.

The story begins with the death of Abin Sur, who is a Green Lantern, a warrior entrusted with a power ring in order to protect his sector in the universe, from the wickedness of evil. Abin Sur's ship crashed to Earth, and there he let his ring choose his successor. The ring chose pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) to become the new Green Lantern. But Hal's assumption of Abin Sur's ring could not have come in a worst time as an entity known as Parallax is set out to destroy the Green Lanterns, specifically the one who bears the ring that once defeated it: Hal Jordan.

I love the universe of the Green Lantern as created by DC comics, and I did love the movie. But inasmuch as I wanted this to be flawlessly good and wished to be blinded by love for this movie, I could sadly point out that it was far from the perfect movie I wanted it to be.

It is also noted that the director of this movie Martin Campbell rejuvenated the James Bond franchise twice by directing the first Pierce Brosnan Bond movie "Goldeneye" and the first Daniel Craig Bond movie "Casino Royale" not to mention that he directed "The Mask of Zorro" so it played with all expectations. It made me wish that I never knew this, because even though that I did love the movie, I could clearly point out its many flaws.

The characterization and the explanation of the villain Parallax, for instance, was not given sufficient detail and clarity. Even though there was a flashback about him, it was still unclear as to what this creature is and what its true motive is. It quickly becomes this one-dimension cardboard character that generates very little impact. The scenes in Oa, and the process of getting to know the aliens felt rushed and gravely insufficient.

The universe of the Green Lantern storyline is indeed complex, but not impossible to capsulate and explain with sufficient clarity within a few scenes. I think the shortcoming of the film was its failure to ensure that its audience flawlessly understood the world it tries to create in the film. What is more surprising is that it did not invest on a long running time. Epic summer movies of late have been gradually standardizing the practice of extending the running time of movies well beyond the less than two hours a regular feature film has. It was sad that Green Lantern did not do this, as it could possibly have made the overall film better.

It suffers from the same flaw as the Transformers movies had; that which it gives too much weight on the human focus and less on the alien aspects, but that human focus was not compelling enough, impressive enough, or worthy enough to waste too much time on. On the other hand, the Transformers movies are too extreme as a lousy example. But I do dread to admit that the animated movie "Green Lantern: First Flight" tells a better Green Lantern origin than this.

In this movie, the story dwells too much on Hal Jordan's self-pain and lack of self-confidence to become the hero that is expected of him. The movie dwells on his feeling of failure, of his painful memory of his father's death, and his romantic relationship with Carol Ferris (Blake Lively). It was difficult to appreciate Reynold's performance as Hal Jordan because I felt that he was not funny when he intends to be, and whenever he is serious, I am not sure if he's kidding around. I still think he was gravely miscast for this role (and believe that he's more fit for The Flash).

Despite Reynolds as usually a great performer and Campbell as a potentially efficient director, the characterization failed to be impressive and emotionally effective. The failure was more on the script and the sequences of the story. While the movie starts strong, somewhere in the middle it felt like it got messy and awkward. There were sequences that felt like they should have been cut off the movie and there were also instances that felt like it needed several missing sequences. An example of that is when Hal went to speak to the Guardians; a scene which felt like Hal was in an entirely different character mindset from the scene directly before it.

On the other hand, I did love the movie despite its shortcomings. It is the magnificent visuals that make this movie shine like the Green Lantern that it supposed to be; the aliens, the backgrounds, the overall visuals that surely blow audiences, especially ones that are not yet familiar with the Green Lantern mythology. I may have enumerated things that make this movie less than perfect, but there's no denying that I still am going to watch it again.

Additional Note: Yes, there is an extra scene in the middle of the end credits

9 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
A Typical Voyage, 8 December 2010

While the first and second Narnia movies pretty much had a very war epic element; this new one is more of just plain adventure. The closest comparison to it may be the old (60s and 70s) Sinbad movies. If you are expecting this to catch up to how good the first two movies were; you may end up horribly dissatisfied. Perhaps if you were not in the mood, you could sense some degree of blandness in this movie. This felt like just another chapter to the Narnia series; a bridge episode, which one may choose to skip or ignore. On the other hand, many of my friends who actually read the book did confess that this was the more duller Narnia books, and it seems that nothing really great happens.

At first, I thought the movie was just too simple, but I later realized that it lacked some details in the storyline aspect which could have spiced up the movie. The story just lazily jumps to the adventure with not much of a dramatic and character build-up. At least it sticks true to its intention as a children's adventure movie. It looks like it tries to inject in some wisdom and deeper themes, especially in scenes where Aslan is present, but I felt that these were not executed well enough to prove a point, and failed to be meaningful. I most certainly did not even get what the big deal is behind "Aslan's country".

The two main characters Edmund and Lucy are all grown up now, and are most certainly making way for the new character, Eustace. This new main character is very unique because, for a main character, he doesn't look like the typical angel-face child actor. And for a kid, he certainly effectively acts like a grumpy old man, which is appropriately what the story requires him to act. His rants and complaints are amusing, and he does become a character that is fun to watch.

Reepicheep, who was, in many ways, too little for the second movie, had a chance to shine in this movie. Despite the fact that he is a rodent, he is pretty much the bad-ass of the film. It was amusing that Lucy's character was supposed to be almost obsessively craving to be as beautiful as her sister Susan. But the actress who plays Lucy obviously looks more beautiful. I felt that the scene looked like a Drew Barrymore wanting to look like Alanis Morrisette.

The 3D of the film was good enough to be satisfactory, but never impressive. The special effects were also satisfactory as well. Everything that you see in this movie is not as surprising as one would want it to be. As far as visuals would go, I'm sure female audiences would be ecstatic enough to see Prince Caspian. My female companion was herself having convulsions at every moment Caspian was on screen.

I guess it's okay if you were to watch this with your children; this is good for being childishly fun and colorful. It's good enough to satisfy some craving for the fantasy of dragons and sea serpents. My expectations were actually too low, that's why it did not bother me. All in all, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a simple adventure movie. It's not exactly awful; it's just not impressive.

5 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
A Most Romantic Movie that should Never be Forgotten, 30 November 2010

Apollo (Pol) and Irene were the best, sweetest couple around, but fate had them drift apart. When Pol stumbled upon her again, he was surprised that Irene could not remember him; she then explains that she had amnesia. Pol is now bent to make Irene fall in love with him again. From the simple synopsis the movie presents via its trailers, this movie had many of my friends guessing that this is a rip-off of (the Adam Sandler & Drew Barrymore movie) "50 First Dates" or the more cerebral (Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet film) "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". No. This is not a rip-off of those movies. Sure, it may have some aspects of this movie here and that movie there, but not enough to constitute a blatant rip-off like some Tagalog mainstream films do. This is actually not much of a surprise because this movie was directed by Cathy Garcia-Molina. And I have watched quite a number of his movies to say that this is one of those rare Tagalog mainstream directors who exercise quite a degree of originality, and such a large dose of respectable quality in her movies; the kind that is capable of commercial success and an excellence that ensures her film's timelessness. "Mabenta sa Masa; pero hinde Baduy" The script is smartly written; rich with clever lines and dynamite wit. This is the better comedy than what other local comedies claim as funny. The two main characters have the habit of throwing pa-cute, pa-sweet, funny little lines which are charming enough that you'd wanna memorize one or two of those little lines they have. These are the moments that I consider as intentionally corny; yet ticklingly charming.

The film shines as a romantic movie. Molina has perfected the genre that she uniformly does, but then again, she has perfected this even long before this movie (Maybe Molina has to experiment in action or sci-fi. On second thought, no she doesn't; I love her for what she already does). Just the mere idea that Molina's skill in creating romantic movies is already in such a godlike degree, is enough for anybody to just trust this movie and leave all skepticism.

Just as the movie wants you to fall in love with both characters, I found myself fixated and in love with Toni Gonzaga too. I am not usually a fan of Toni Gonzaga, her TV game show charisma is ignorable to me. But her on screen acting presence in this movie drives me back to adoring her. Not only is she damn cute with those chinky funny eyes and cute bunny smile, her character's personality complements that as well, with a fun-lovingness and childlike giddiness. Speaking of things that are really nice to watch, Beatriz Saw was also fun to watch, she has that "the main girl's friend" chemistry perfectly executed; and she's also such a a hottie. (yum!) John Lloyd Cruz is also great as the main character. He is the quintessential male bida; the kind of everyman that every guy can easily identify with because he is so human, so honest, so true, and so candid. Unlike other typical male protagonists in mainstream tagalong cinema, he is the only one who does real acting and never seems to consciously or ridiculously make an effort to make "pa-cute" antics. Whenever he does indeed try to do pa-cute antics, he does it IN CHARACTER—and UNTO THE OTHER CHARACTER he's addressing; he does not do it to the audience in a sort of toothpaste commercial sort of way.

The chemistry between John Lloyd and Toni blend perfectly. Both characters have a very playful and witty sense of humor that makes for a great dramatic, comedic, and romantic interplay between the two.

And then there's the other characters. Usually, when mainstream tagalog movies put in a group of good-looking male supporting characters acting as barkada in their movies they tend to be either pa-cute or corny. In this movie, Molina throws in a barkada that actually acts like a barkada; they goof off, they're ridiculous, and they act like they really care for their buddy. Where these chick-magnet clowns are usually annoying in other movies or in TV, this time, the supporting actors actually act like a typical barkada; perhaps it is again Molina's directorial eye that keeps his actors flawlessly act IN CHARACTER.

The movie is near perfect; but I must confess that it kinda took me down at the near end of the movie when the characters react to a supposed problem, when there should not be any problem at all anyway. It's as if the character took the most ignorable thing and create a problem out of that; it was an obvious ploy just to make a tension at the near end, to give way to the obligatory climax. Ultimately, though, it is not such a big deal because this little issue is still arguable anyway. Another thing that (well not exactly bothered) bothered me was how John Lloyd's character (Apollo) was able to pay for all the elaborate "romantic stuff" that he does in the movie. Is this guy Bruce Wayne, or what? But again, these are all minor things that does do much to shake the film's near flawlessness.

This movie is very much worth full price. A perfect date movie at the tail end of November. If romantic movies is your cup of tea, this movie is a definite must-see. MY AMNESIA GIRL is hands down, the most romantic movie I've seen this year. And that's counting the international movies.

I Do (2010/III)
4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
I Don't, 22 October 2010

Up from the start of the movie, you could tell that the screenplay was excellently done; witty and amusing. But it was the actors and actresses that was destroying the movie initially. Regardless of great lines, the first 30 to 45 minutes was atrocious because of the performances. Clever dialogues gone straight to the toilet because the performances were either too slapsticky, or just pure corny. I saw no chemistry between Enchong and Erich. While Erich looked like she was trying hard to be Meg Ryan-ish, Enchong was stiff and bland like a pale wooden puppet. The characters which were the friends of Erich's character looked cheesy in the way they act.

The male friend Janus Del Prado looked awkward in delivering his lines, and the thin lady friend Melai Cantiveros was acting like she wants to be the next Pokwang or Ai-ai; channeling on the "old Tagalog format of comedy" that relies more on funny looks than funny performances. Do we really need to continue this old slapstick format? Allyson Lualhati seemed to be the better of the three; her timing seemed to be on target.

Fortunately, the film picks itself up later on and gradually becomes more edible; the performances were gradually getting better. The saving grace really relies much on the script, the story, and on Veronica Velascos' direction. I am surprised that just of this writing moment did I find out that Velasco was also the writer and was the one of the two directors of the movie INANG YAYA, which is one of the finest dramatic movies I have ever seen. No wonder.

The storyline was able to tackle the usual ups and downs of getting married; especially one that involves the romance between a girl from a typical (seemingly lower middle class) family and a boy from a wealthy old-fashioned Chinese family.

The performances were better around the second half of the movie. Enchong and Erich's chemistry seemed better when they were not intentionally acting sweet. I must say, however, that Enchong's on screen appearance often looks silly. He is usually dressed in these prettyboy clothes that look very very gay. It's distracting how silly he looks. And that pompadour-ish hairstyle of his. We laugh now how Eddie Peregrina or Tirso Cruz looked silly decades ago, someday in the very near future, people will be looking back at how ridiculous Enchong Dee looked in this movie.

The wit and the humor was also getting better. Erich was indeed able to slightly channel a Meg Ryan-ish vibe, but she does it in a slightly sloppy manner. It's safe to assume that Erich can still refine her acting (the last movie I saw her in was NOY, and her acting there was horrible there. this was an improvement for her). The other characters did well also; Dennis Padilla, Isay Alvarez, Che Ramos, Jun Urbano, they all did great. It was good that Pokwang was not overdone here; she is funny enough delivering simple performances, no need to amplify the slapstick factor. It disgusts me how many of the audiences were laughing at Pokwang at a scene where we see her genuinely crying over something bad (crying while talking on the phone); she may look ugly but it's still a scene with a woman crying over something unpleasant.

Janus Del Prado's character was amusing in the sense that he loves to make metaphorical comparisons of just about anything. I thought it was clever at first, but this one was overdone up to a point that it does not become funny anymore, and the character dilutes into being just a lousy joke. There is a moment in the near end where he confesses something to Erich. The scene is not effective anymore because the integrity of the character has already been destroyed. In addition, it could have been an interesting scene or a subplot that could make the character more sympathetic to audiences.

All in all, "I DO" is mid-level good. High points on the storyline, the direction has a little above average score and a barely passing grade on the acting. The movie is not bad. If you are used to the typical mainstream Tagalog movie, then I could recommend this to you. "I DO" is pretty average; but I could never deny that it was enjoyable.

In addition: I was immensely relieved that I did not see the trailer for this movie before I got to watch it; I would not have given it a curious chance. Star Cinema should (if not, then maybe gradually) change the format in which they make their trailers.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Lousy and Idiotic, 22 October 2010

In White House, a Reality TV Show challenges its 6 contestants to stay in the White House for five days, but it looks like all of them may not even survive a single night on it, when they are being killed by the entity that haunts the place. On their side is a spiritual psychic who seeks to interpret the hauntings and hopes to save not only the contestants, but the soul of her daughter as well.

At the beginning of the movie, there are documentary-style interviews shown about the hauntings in this White House in Baguio, implying that what is about to be portrayed in the movie is based on actual accounts or well-researched facts. Yet when you finally get into the meat of the storyline, it all ends up being suspiciously nothing more than Hollywood rip-off fictionalization. To create a cartoonish fantasy about real places and real people (a badly-made fantasy at that) is just plain disrespectful.

Topel Lee's White House reeks of clichés, filled with cardboard stereotype characters. Predictable, one-dimensional and childishly-conceived. You could tell that the characters are lifeless because they are put into the movie's dramatic situation and they never really act out like they were in there, except for what is programmed by its poorly-conceived script.

Nobody acts realistically conscious about being inside a Big Brother-type "haunted house", nobody kids around about the fact that they are supposed to be scared by this contest, nobody questions if that kid (the kid character who is the brother of the probinsyana) is qualified for the reality TV contest, nobody gives a reference if there are actual rules, precautions, and objectives of the supposed Reality Show. Basic little details are absent to make the movie coherent and sensible.

Common Sense is also absent. If it's supposed to be about a reality show on a haunted house, it is obvious that they should have more than one back-up camera around. Likewise, there should be numerous security personnel and first aid medic teams ready to burst in at the slightest instance of real danger also. That is the problem with mainstream film-makers; they assume their common folk audience to be ignorant. When in fact, their common folk audience is way smarter than that.

Topel Lee has no sense of creativity in this film; everything in this movie feels like it is ripping off old overused lousy techniques in horror. He likes to rely on visual effects and jump scares. Jump-scares are always cheap. And in mainstream tagalog horror flicks, this is extremely overused, to the point that its nauseating.

The direction here has no sense of timing. It was too eager to scare you before it could even create a build-up. It is too desperate to show some neat camera tricks; sure some of the visual work may be impressive; but it is nothing if it does not come with a good build-up or a good storyline and directing.

All in all, WHITE HOUSE is nothing more than the same garbage that makes mainstream Tagalog horror films extremely embarrassing. Another movie that adds more stink to the reputation of local mainstream cinema.

2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Powerful and Flawless, 2 September 2010

Sa 'Yo Lamang is an atom bomb of a tearjerker and a brilliantly made film. Honestly, this may be the first movie I have watched in the theaters that I really have no idea what it is about; I have not seen the trailer for this, I have not even read the synopsis for this. I just watched it because I knew that it was directed by Laurice Guillen. And I was indeed in for a cinematically pleasant surprise. I loved this movie very much, and I consider it one of those rare Tagalog Mainstream movies that are extremely excellently well made, with an almost flawless quality. Obviously, movies like this are destined to be classics.

This movie is quite solid in the manner of drawing very impressive and powerful performances from its actors and actresses, and is able to achieve a very effective storytelling, so much so that each dialogue is profoundly meaningful, the characters have real depth in their personalities, and the situations are truly challenging. There is an incredible degree of coherence in Laurice Guillen's directing, given the fact that the story introduces numerous characters and still is able to give them abundant character development, even though some of their screen times are only brief.

I am also glad that this movie is devoid of awkward acting, unlike many Tagalog movies that tend to have that pattern of possessing one, two, or twenty scenes with awkward acting, script, and sequence.

Sa 'Yo Lamang bombards you with powerful performances; extremely high powered dramatic performances that just come one after the other. And not in a very exaggerated manner, but with a disciplined good pacing. The story has a bittersweet sensibility and it lays a feeling of hope, optimism, and redemption by the time you're done with the afterthoughts about the movie.

Excellently and brilliantly weaved together into a dramatic masterpiece, Sa 'Yo Lamang is something that will surely become a Timeless Filipino Classic.

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