Genre: Horror
As a horror movie geek, I was excited to see this movie. Everytime a new Filipino horror movie starts getting good reviews, I get excited. I keep thinking that this time will be it, this time I'll find a good Filipino movie that will impress me, scare me, get me to sh*t my pants.

Like before, I'm disappointed.

So far, the Filipino directors I've seen don't have the subtlety to create the suspense needed for a really great horror film, and the actors don't have the skills to really sell their characters fear (Desiree Del Valle's and Ruby Rodriguez's posession scenes come off as funny more than anything else). If you want to see a good possession scene, rent Exorcist or find a copy of Constantine and watch Jhoanna Trias go to work.

Find a copy of Bug or Sixth Sense or Tale of Two Sisters, turn off the lights and turn up the volume. There's enough atmosphere to these worlds; they choke their audience with the stink of melodrama and suffocate them with overblown homages rather than trying something experimental.

Anyone who's been through Jap Horror mania will recognize most of the cliches here. Girl with long stringy hair in her face wearing a white dress? check. The creepy child ghost who says cryptic things and is really only trying to help? check. The twin ghosts, one of whom is bad, and one is good? check? The contortionist ghost, the ghost under the bed, the ghost on the ceiling? check check check.

I've seen this all before, and I've seen it done better. This is just a string of cheap, rehashed thrills.

Then how do I explain all the "rave reviews" it's been getting? The "rated A by the movie board" I see in the paper? Simple. Media hype. The majority of Filipino audiences don't know it's a rip off. They don't know that there's a world of material out there, they aren't exposed to the really great stuff from other countries. And all the media is interested in is flogging the "local blockbuster" tag to death.

It doesn't take a big budget to make a good film. If production values were all I was talking about, I'd have given this a better rating. Neil Daza's Cinematography looks nice and the location (that underwater cemetary in Camiguin really deserves a better movie) is some kinda wow.

Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
The best of the five
Jedi Knights with pointy hats
Gay old men winking

It's like Star Wars, but with lots of British people.

I have to admit it's probably the best of the series in terms of entertainment value. It doesn't have the artsy fartsy overtones of the Prisoner of Azkaban, or the overblown effects of Goblet of Fire and I feel it more than the Chris Columbus ones. It's got plenty of wizard fights and uncomfortable wide-angle shots. The opening scene pretty much sets the tone, though I thought the dementors in the third one were creepier.

Plus the writers decided to squish the book into something much more usable on screen, which is ALWAYS much better than trying to appease the purists by shoving every key scene from a book into the movie.

See it if you really like Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe, or pubescent girls and boys. Otherwise, go see Transformers.

And NO, Radcliff doesn't get nekkid. But it caught you're attention didn't it.


I should have learned by now that one should never... NEVER... watch favorite television programs from their childhood. Movies are ok. They usually hold up relatively well for decades after their release. I still love Labyrinth and Transformers the Movie and Gremlins. But TV shows? no no NO.

Despite the fact that I'd already done it with Transformers and GI Joe, I still decided to watch MacGyver when my sister got us the DVD of the sixth and seventh seasons. I've gone through 5 episodes so far and the only thing I can say is:

"How come I never realized what a gullible idiot I was as a kid?"

Seriously, this stuff is beyond preposterous. I thought "24" was moronic with Bauer attracting bad mojo every which way, but Angus MacGyver is even worse. Within the first five episodes of the sixth season, old Mac has already faced para-military vigilante street toughs rocking to the worst 80's rap you'll ever hear, Romanian super commandos trained to blindly follow orders and bent on killing him, Iranian gunrunners bent on finding a cursed gun used in the assassination of a presidential candidate, local junkies wanting to sell and/or get rid of said gun, a breathless wacko jacko wanabee who have been accused of a murder using said gun, an underage drunkard that looks alot like Mayim Bialik, and a hot ex Stasi agent and her former cohorts in search of West German gold.

Who does all that?

Still, I have to admit I have a blast searching through all this nonsense for those gems where he works his magic to get out of the impossible situations his job as a consultant for the Phoenix Foundation seems to get him into. Jack Bauer's got nothing on the Mac. I mean where else are you going to learn that you can open government safes using a telephone or that coffee can help when you're having asthma attacks?

National Treasure

Genre: Action & Adventure
The reason I always loved American history as a kid was because of stories like National Treasure. It takes little interesting bits of history and twists them in a way that makes everything a bit more exciting than it really is, while still remaining true to the facts. I've yet to see a Filipino movie that can create the same enthusiam for me. Most historical dramas here aren't fun; they're mind-numbingly dreary and pedantic. Everytime I see a movie about Rizal, I feel like I'm back in high school reading a text book.

Go watch 300, Saving Private Ryan, anything by Kurosawa or Zwick, hell, even Shakespeare in Love. These are movies that really spark my interest in history and make me wanna go find a history book (or at the very least pop open Wikipedia) and start researching. Did Ben Franklin really suggest Daylight Savings Time? Did the Spartans really hold back the Persians? Did Tom Cruise really go to Japan and learn the ways of the Samurai? National Treasure is just one of those movies that I love because it makes me really feel like I'm standing there amidst great men.

It's not like Da Vinci Code. Da Vinci Code sucked donkey dick and don't try to convince me otherwise. It took an idea that's been around for ages (I mean seriously, I've been hearing about this Jesus-married-Mary-Magdalene-and-had-a-kid-who-the-knights-templar-were-charged-to-protect crap since before high school) and made it into a sub-standard action movie. The movie did nothing for the novel, just squished everything together and put it to music. Do not speak to me about Da Vinci Code.

Just go and watch National Treasure, then watch the sequel when it comes out.

Say Anything...

Diane Court
: Are you shaking?
Lloyd Dobler: No.
Diane Court: You're shaking.
Lloyd Dobler: I don't think so.
Diane Court: You're cold.
Lloyd Dobler: I don't think I am.
Diane Court: Then why are you shaking?
Lloyd Dobler: I don't know. I think I'm happy.

Gawds, I want to see this film. I've been wanting to see this film forever, but I never found it. Take a look here and see why I want to see it.

Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
"Arise! Arise, Riders of Theoden! Spears shall be shaken, shields shall be splintered! A sword day, a red day, ere the sun rises!

"Ride now!... Ride now!... Ride! Ride to ruin and the world’s ending!


"Forth, Eorlingas!"

-- Theoden, at the gates of Minas Tirith

If you haven't watched Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, you need to. If you haven't seen the extended versions, you have to.

Forget transformers. Forget harry potter. They suck. Go out now, find the extended versions of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and Return of the King. Go home, spin up the DVD player, and prepare not to move for 12 hours. That's how good these movies are. It doesn't matter if you don't like fantasy movies. I doesn't matter if you don't really understand english movies. It doesn't matter if you've been living in a cave for the past decade and haven't touched your TV in thirty years. These films transcend all of that. This is not an exaggeration.

Ride now and find them.

Hot Fuzz

Genre: Comedy
Hot Cops these are not
kickin' ass & takin' names
Friends 4evah, man.

If you've watched Shaun of the Dead, then you know that there's a certain kind of bizzare quirkiness to Edgar Wright films, especially with Simon and Nick on his team. Their movies aren't set in the real world. The real world isn't this stupid.

I mean in the real world, a good cop who did his job, kept the streets safe and had an arrest record 400% better than the rest of the London force wouldn't be transferred to a quiet town to rot because he was making the rest of the team look bad, would he? In the real world, it would be unlikely that said cop would find a rotund, daffily inept sidekick who was notheless loveable and eager to learn how to do things the right way. And in the real world the two heroes wouldn't have to deal with a totally clueless team and secret small town conspiracies, would they?

No in the real world, a loose cannon who was on the ragged edge would have been transferred to another department to work with an older, more experienced, cop who would trade poignant life lessons and funny one liners with his new, albeit reluctant, partner, and they'd get their hands in some kind of big time drug ring or mob plot and go on to bust some caps in the bad guys' asses, with big explosions, sexy ladies, and 360 degree hero shots galore.

That's the real world.

TRUK NOT MUNKY, DEMMIT! (Transformers the second and third time)

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy

So I've watched it three times now, and I still can't make out one robot's ass from another during the fights. And what's up with all of the tumbling down narrow ass streets anyway? Do thirty foot robots really present a significantly smaller target signature when they roll about five steps? Can the decepticons suck that much with their plasma rifles? They're in front of you, down a long path with huge buildings on either side. Fire off a couple of missles and a burst from your hand cannons... They can't be that hard to hit.

And why does the "Cube" only make decepticons? If it made life on Cybertron, where the hell did the autobots come from? And why does it kill a bot if you stick it in their chest? And if they bloody well knew that it would kill a bot when you stick it in their chest, why don't they stick it in Megatron's chest when he's still a popsicle. And what made them think to stick it in someone's chest? Has it happend before? And if so, why is the Cube still around?

And speaking of the Cube, why does it need to shrink? To get that extra "Wow, kewl" moment in? For that matter, why does it need to be so huge anyhow. And how come frenzy can shrink to the size of a cellphone? Where did the rest of his mass go? For that matter, where do all those little itty-bitty parts go when any of the transformers change? And if their mass does change, why not have Soundwave for a spy, instead of this gremlin Frenzy? And if they're "Hiding", why the hell does Prime have red flames painted down his side and why does Bumblebee's paintjob scream "Look at me!"

Hollywood logic is annoying.

I like the comedy, but they really needed to establish some actual character for the robots other than just "hip-hop wannabe" or "trigger happy monkey". The only one you really got a feel for was Bumblebee, which is why he's everyone's favorite I suppose. So many human characters and tangential plot points that they didn't have any real development for the main characters. I mean did we really need John Turturro's character (wasn't he the most annoying shit)? Or the hacker chick that did nothing but tell us "they're not Iranians, they're big aliens". Like we couldn't figure that out. And though I'll admit Anthony Anderson steals every scene he's in, does he further anything along?

I hate to be the "Truk not Munky" fan boy, but face it, if we weren't so wowed by the big shiny robots doing cartwheels, this movie would've tanked.

The Game

Genre: Mystery & Suspense
The game is deadly
Is it real or just a con?
Only the clown knows

I just watched this movie again and it's still one of my favorites, holding up well despite being almost a decade old. Aside from being one of Fincher's earlier works, it's got a great cast and a great script. Like Usual Suspects, The Sixth Sense, or Sneakers it's one of those movies where you KNOW what's going to happen, but you still feel tense and find yourself holding your breath, even after watching about a dozen times.

If you haven't heard of it, the general plot is that Sean Penn is Michael Douglas' brother. Sean gives Michael a birthday present, a gift certificate for a high-end entertainment service that promises a life-changing experience, "or your money back". And no, they're not hookers.

Anyway, I won't ruin the movie for you. Just go out and get your hands on a copy, make yourself some popcorn and turn off your phone. Sit down on your couch and get comfortable, then press play.

Then when you're done, help me find one of those "I was drugged and left for dead in Mexico and all I got was this stupid T-shirt" shirts cause those are so f*cking cool.

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