Thursday, March 15, 2018

Ang Pambansang Third Wheel(2018) PG

From Click The City:
Trina who has lived her whole life as a third wheel meets the man who passes her standards and believes that this man will finally make her a third wheel no more. As they get to know each other, she finds out she's actually dating a single dad with an 8-year-old boy and he actually has a good relationship with the mother.
Main Cast: Sam Milby, Yassi Pressman
Director/Writer:Ivan Andrew Payawal
Released By:Viva Films / The IdeaFirst Company
Our tickets courtesy of E-Plus

(Left) Writer and director Andrew Ivan Payawal with (center) Yassi Pressman and (right) Sam Milby
My bestie and I watched this courtesy of our almost expiring free movie passes c/o E-Plus.  It's not exactly free because we earned them, and by the end of this month, all of those free passes would be forfeited.  E-Plus won't let us earn points anymore.  It will just be a "show card", according to the lady who prepared our tickets, so that we could be given priority.  


Ang Pambansang Third Wheel is the second story/movie that I saw that was written and directed by Andrew Ivan Payawal, the first one was I, America(IA) starring Bela Padilla.  Although I love IA, I was not able to blog about it because I became so busy and when I had the time to do so, the magic sort of dissipated that I didn't have the inspiration to do so.

I was attracted to this movie because of the trailer and because Sam Milby is in it.

Sam Milby has honed his craft and he is extra hot, hot, hot in this movie.

There are light moments, but there are lots of heartstrings pulled.

Yassi Pressman is not only beautiful, but she also acts well.  She could be funny and she could also bring out any kind of emotion in her portrayal that she conveys to the viewers well.  She made us laugh, cry, get angry, confused and so much more in this movie alone.

Alonzo Muhlach is more than his father's son.  He has a style of his own and he acts more than well. 

CANDY PANGILINAN is just so wonderful.  Need I say more?

Sam Pinto is believable as the very protective mother and chef.

Kim Molina and Cholo Barretto have good onscreen chemistry(just like in LUCK AT FIRST SIGHT). I can say the same for Jourdanne Castillo and Bob Jbeili.

There were great cameos too and one that made a mark was Empoy Marquez's short, but sweet role. Cindy Miranda did well too.

You cannot discount Al Tantay's effectiveness as Trina's dad and Francine Prieto as Trina's mom. Francine actually looks similar to Yassi, so... ;-)


I know it's already the eighth day of this movie, but I hope more people would get to see this film.

I like the writing style of Mr. Payawal and his direction too.  I want to watch more movies written and directed by him in the future.


Kudos to everyone involved in this film.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Tomb Raider (2018)

From the Worldwide Web:
Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished years earlier. Hoping to solve the mystery of her father's disappearance, Croft embarks on a perilous journey to his last-known destination -- a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan. The stakes couldn't be higher as Lara must rely on her sharp mind, blind faith and stubborn spirit to venture into the unknown.
Initial release: 7 March 2018 (Indonesia)

Ever since I've learned Alicia Vikander was going to be the new Lara Croft, I was psyched.  I was excited to see what she could offer.  I know comparing her to Ms. Jolie would be inevitable, so I conditioned my brain and my heart not to.  I watched it like I didn't know about the video game series and the two movies before this one.

This movie could be treated like a prequel or "origins" type of film, according to those people who were fortunate enough to watch this movie ahead of all of us.

My nephew was able to guess who the villain/villainess is right from the start. Maybe you would be able to or you already know it because you've encountered that person before.

Daniel Wu is one of my favourite martial artist/actor(things I've written about him are now somewhere in cyberspace) and I am pleased that he did not disappoint.  Well, he's no Jet Li/Jackie Chan/Andy Lau and the like, but he has his own charm and abilities.

Dominic West is effective as Richard Croft.

Walton Goggins is effectively annoying.

Kristin Scott Thomas is a chameleon.

All Laras are believable and even if she is no Angelina Jolie, Alicia Vikander is now Lara Croft.

Others, besides comparing this to the other LC movies also compared it to Black Panther.  They love BP and just call it or describe it as OK.

I guess I am one of those who like Black Panther more, but hey, for me this movie is more than OK.  It's not the best movie of the same theme, but it's good for a start.  I'm so excited on what the sequels have to offer. Alicia Vikander is good and hopefully, Daniel Wu would have more stunts or exposure in the future.

Alicia Vikander: There Aren’t Enough Women in the Tomb Raider Reboot


Saturday, March 3, 2018

Repertory Philippines production of Lauren Gunderson's SILENT SKY

This is from South Coast Repertory and NOT Repertory Philippines
Taking photographs or videographs or texting or taking/making phone calls, are not encouraged so that the other members of the audience and the cast won't be disturbed
DIRECTED BY Ms. Joy Virata
Cathy Azanza, Sheila Francisco, Naths Everett, Topper Fabregas and Caisa Borromeo
March is my birth month so I could consider myself blessed that I was born in a month dedicated to women. The International Women's Day is celebrated on the 8th of March every year.  The celebration of and for women should be everyday, I know, because without us, where would men be in this world? 

Another blessing in connection with IWD is watching SILENT SKY.  I learned about it through Ms. Liesl Batucan, through her posts on Facebook.  Ms. Batucan is Repertory Philippines' Managing Director.  She too is an admired versatile thespian, among other things, so when she started promoting this play, I got pretty excited.

We opted to watch on opening night, but the seats on the center were already sold out(when we bought the tickets we didn't know it was sponsored by the Zonta Club) and the seats on the lower right side were the only ones available.  Thankfully we went inside earlier than the rest from our section that we still got good seats.

One thing I could say about the play is that Ms. Joy Virata does not disappoint. With the help of the actors and everyone involved in this play, the audience was taken to a ride going to the early 1900s up to 1921.

Cathy Azanza, the co-director of Ignacio De Loyola, became for us, Henrietta Swan Leavitt.  I've always pictured the great revolutionary astronomer as someone stiff, but thankfully, through Ms. Gunderson, she was presented as someone with a heart...a heart full of love for her family...a heart full of love for the sky and what's beyond what the naked eye could see.  Cathy Azanza made the great astronomer lovable and more admirable.  When she was doing the monologue towards the end of the second act I could not help shed some tears.  I silently said thank you to Henrietta Leavitt.  If not for her people would not know as early as her time how vast the universe is.  Cathy Azanza made us understand how vital her role is in this world and her heaven.  

Topper Fabregas plays the role of Peter Shaw, not the husband of Angela Landsbury, but someone Ms. Gunderson imagined to be working under the indefatigable Dr. Edward Charles Pickering, a noted professor at Harvard University.  Mr. Fabregas made Professor Shaw very REAL to us.  He did not only deliver the lines well, but he made us feel how admirable and lovable Henrietta Leavitt really is. He also made smart people extra appealing, no matter how jittery some of them are like his character, Peter Shaw.  When he uttered the phrase "Afar, but not apart..." a lot of the members of audience hearts' fluttered. Sigh.

Caisa Borromeo played the caring sister of our dear Henrietta so well that she made the great musician Margaret Leavitt so lovable and so REAL to us too.  If not for Margaret, at least in this story by Ms. Gunderson, Henrietta would not be able to discover the pattern of the cepheids. "The stars are music." I love that because Margaret's Rhapsody she found out about how cepheids pulsate like musical notes.  Caisa made me want to dance to her music.  Thankfully I'm sane enough not to do so.  

Naths Everett...if I am not mistaken, this is the first time I have encountered Ms. Everett and from the time she was telling the audience in a very creative way not to use the mobile phones in any manner, I was already impressed with her.  When she introduced the former housekeeper turned astronomer Williamina Fleming to us, she made us love her.  

I've always admired Ms. Sheila Francisco and here as the astronomer and women's rights activist Annie Jump Cannon, I admire her much, much more.  I did not see Ms. Francisco, but I saw the great astronomer.  I've run out of words to say, but she's really awesome.

Repertory Philippines' production of SILENT SKY is worth watching.  It is NOT boring and the dialogues are very interesting.  Of course, it is based on the play written by Lauren Gunderson, but Ms. Virata and the cast added their own style to it.

After the play is over, you would be so impressed that you would want to tell the whole world about it, so that's what I am doing right now in my own little way.

'Silent Sky': Story of women astronomers told with warmth at First Folio


Thursday, March 1, 2018

RED SPARROW (2018) R-16 ---First of a trilogy

Red Sparrow is written by retired CIA officer, Jason Matthews.  I haven't read the book, so there's no comparison.  I wasn't intending to blog about this because in my mind I've seen better with the same theme and premise, but here I am.  This is my two cents worth: It has a good story and the acting is impressive, especially Jennifer Lawrence's and Jeremy Irons' performances, but I just couldn't take the part where they kept on repeating, "You've fallen for the HANDSOME American."  My gees.  Joel Edgerton is not ugly, but he's NOT in the category of handsome.  It's in the eye of the beholder anyway and I don't mind the attraction. He does have a certain charm and there's more to him than his looks...His character Nate's  abilities and traits could make him alluring to Dominika's eyes and her heart, but for the torturer to keep on repeating it beats me.  Like what I said, I've seen better movies with the same theme. I know "they" wanted to show how these "sparrows" were trained in Whore School, but did they have to go to that extent? Organisations like that do exist, but it seemed to be the core of the story.  They intended it to look like it's going to be a series, but it'll depend upon the results of the tills, I guess.  It's a TRILOGY, so they are probably filming the sequels already because I learned that Matthews already sold the movie rights before the books were published.  Hopefully the other two would be presented better than the initial "offering".  I'll buy the books.  Maybe there I'll learn that the idea of calling Nate Nash a handsome American was Jason Matthews' idea.  :-p Maybe I'll like the story and Dominika better.  Maybe I'll understand Ivan or uncle Vanya better.   Anyways, dad said it's VERY realistic and he's a retired Flag Officer.  Who am I to say otherwise?  
From the WWW:  Prima ballerina Dominika Egorova faces a bleak and uncertain future after she suffers an injury that ends her career. She soon turns to Sparrow School, a secret intelligence service that trains exceptional young people to use their minds and bodies as weapons. Egorova emerges as the most dangerous Sparrow after completing the sadistic training process. As she comes to terms with her new abilities, Dominika meets a CIA agent who tries to convince her that he is the only person she can trust.
Initial release: 1 March 2018 (Germany)
Director: Francis Lawrence
Adapted from: Red Sparrow
Screenplay: Eric Singer, Justin Haythe
Jennifer Lawrence
Joel Edgerton
Jeremy Irons
Matthias Schoenaerts
Joely Richardson
Charlotte Rampling
Mary-Louise Parker
Sasha Frolova 
Ciaran Hinds
Thekla Reuten
Douglas Hodge
et al

I never became a prima ballerina and I had years of training.  I shifted to jazz and my glory days are over.  I'm so rusty now. During my last solo performance my shoe flew.  My friends were so embarrassed. OMG.  

Jennifer Lawrence's made us believe her being a ballerina even if she brutally trained only for a short time.  I guess if the scene were longer than six minutes, she would have collapsed before Dominika's leg was deliberately hurt by her partner. Dancing ballet is a very serious thing and to be a prima ballerina takes YEARS of arduous training.

Since I've no right to criticise, let the experts do the talking:

‘Red Sparrow’ is a spy thriller with an identity crisis-Stephanie Merry, the writer of the review, loved and liked the book better.

‘Red Sparrow’ Review: A Spy Thriller That Explores the Brutality of Sexual Assault--by Matt Goldberg

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Shape of Water (2017) R-13

Elisa is a mute, isolated woman who works as a cleaning lady in a hidden, high-security government laboratory in 1962 Baltimore. Her life changes forever when she discovers the lab's classified secret -- a mysterious, scaled creature from South America that lives in a water tank. As Elisa develops a unique bond with her new friend, she soon learns that its fate and very survival lies in the hands of a hostile government agent and a marine biologist.-World Wide Web

Directed by Guillermo Del Torro
Story by Guillermo Del Torro
Screen by Guillermo Del Torro and Vanessa Taylor

Bonifacio High Street Cinema 1,
Central Square
Just some reactions, as usual:

Elisa Esposito may be mute, but she's not exactly an isolated woman.  She has friends like Zelda and Giles, but she is indeed lonely and in needing of someone to love, so when the "creature" or the rumoured Amazon god was captured by Strickland(Michael Shannon gave a very striking performance) and referred to "it" as "The Asset" and she found out that she could communicate with HIM, she finally found someone.

I won't give the whole story away, but it's definitely a love story set in a real world, but in reality, it is a fantasy. How weird is that sentence? 

I first "met" Sally Hawkins in BLUE JASMINE.  The role of Ginger suited her to a T.  Here in this fairytale retold, she was very believable as Elisa Esposito.

Her best friends played by Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer are very vital in the story.  Without them, Elisa wouldn't have survived her day-to-day.  Watching them intently for two hours, even if this is a fairytale, they made me believe they are indeed Elisa's best friends.

Doug Jones, the god of the Amazons or the Amphibian man, is so used of playing roles like this one.  I think it's because of his eyes. Yes, that's probably it.

If not for the great acting of the aforementioned plus the rest of the cast, even if I look at the heart more than face when I get attracted to someone, it's hard to imagine myself falling for a sea creature.  Even so, for one reason or another, I understood what Elisa was going through.  Her love for her best friends was different from what she felt for the Amphibian man.

Would I watch it again?

Maybe not, but I'm very glad I did.  

Elisa and Zelda Delilah
Amphibian Man and Giles
Richard and Robert/Dimitri

Monday, February 19, 2018

Black Panther (2018)

What's so great about Panther is he's a superhero who, if you grab him and ask him if he's a superhero, he'll tell you, 'No.' He sees himself as a politician, as a leader in his country. It just so happens that the country is a warrior-based nation where the leaders have to be warriors, as well, so sometimes he has to go fight. Ryan Coogler, director of Black Panther[Wikipedia]

Alabang Town Center 

BLACK PANTHER(film) 2018
After the death of his father, T'Challa returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. When a powerful enemy suddenly reappears, T'Challa's mettle as king -- and as Black Panther -- gets tested when he's drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people.-WWW
Director: Ryan Coogler
Screenplay: Ryan Coogler, Jack Kirby, Joe Robert Cole
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, with Angela Bassett,  Forest Whitaker, Florence Kasumba and Andy Serkis. 

Observing is different from criticizing, although with some similarities, but I have no criticisms for the movie at all. The story's timeline is somewhere after CAPTAIN AMERICA:Civil War where a new Wakandan King is hailed, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Thor Ragnarok.

In my opinion there is no dead air and all emotions were tackled in this movie presented by the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Former child and teen actor Michael B. Jordan is antagonist Erik Killmonger here and a lot of girls were kind of wondering why he didn't become the Black Panther, but hey, he did his job well.  Some even sympathized with Erik because of how MBJ portrayed him and felt his agony, but of course, even if his cause is noble, his training or trainings on how to achieve his mission might have clouded his thoughts. Besides, Chadwick Boseman is one of the best Black Panthers ever. 

Ulysses Klaw or Ulysses Klaue or simply Klaw, as played by Andy Serkis is back, and so is Agent Everett K. Ross, as played by Martin Freeman.  They are both playing vital parts in the story.  Agent Ross is very endearing and I cannot wait to see what he would contribute to Avengers: INFINITY WAR.

My favorite character is Shuri as played by Letitia Wright.  She's what every princess should be.  Ms. Wright made her character very, very believable and lovable too.  I heard little girls with their parents say, "I wanna be like Shuri!" "Me too!" Shuri is one proof that sugar and spice and everything nice are not the only things (little) girls are made of.


My second favorite character is Okoye as played by Danai Gurira.  #WakandaForever  She is the Wakandan General that breaks all stereotypes. If she wants to, she could also be beautiful and loving.


Tying for second place in my book is Nakia as portrayed by the lovely Lupita Nyong'o.  Her character may not be as strong as Okoye's character, but her drive to help the plight of the poor African people all over the world, especially in the White dominated countries,might be similar to Erik Killmonger's cause, but hers does not stem for hate for Wakanda, for the love.


There are many beloved characters or characters that you would grow to love here, including the rhino, so I won't describe everyone here lest I bore you to death.

All I can say is that this movie is revolutionary and is worth watching again and again and again. 
(Side story below the links)

“Black Panther” dramatically changed the make-up of the superhero movie audience this weekend

Black Panther 2 Movie Trailer, Cast, Every Update You Need To Know


Side Story:
When I was still living in the States and although I watched ROOTS by Alex Haley,  I never experienced discrimination, even when my classmates asked if I were Chinese(for them all chinky-eyed people are least during that time), but when I started studying in the Philippines, although I had a fairly good childhood with lots of fun memories, there were those people who called me, "Negra!  Negra!" Even in High School during Freshman year, someone called me "Negra!" Thankfully, that person from High School evolved to be a very thoughtful person and a lot of people look up to her now. 
Well, this really baffled me back then.  I've always known there were a lot of fair skinned Filipinos, but the majority of Filipinos are from the Malay race and my goodness, we may not be African-American, but we are definitely NOT white, so why do Filipinos look down on people who have darker skin? This was even way before whitening soaps were invented. I think these types of soaps were invented to even the skin or to bring back your original skin color after you basked in the sun and you got tired of your tan or something and not to really turn white, per se.
Lately little by little people look at Africans and African Americans or people hailing from Africa that spread all over the world with respect.  The classics and other white dominated movies now have African-American versions, like ANNIE(describing the movie, I think, made me sound like a racist...I hope not) and so many others.
This year's A WRINKLE IN TIME became interracial.  Even my favorite characters Phillip and Annie in the THE GREATEST SHOWMAN were inserted, so to speak, for interracial love, that was shunned during time.  Still shunned nowadays, but...
Anyways, as researchers found out, the cradle of civilization is in Africa and there are many artefacts/relics that were dug up in Central Egypt and other places.  Some say that the aberrations before were the pale skinned people.
So it's really a mater of perspective.
I can't wait for Black Panther 2.  :-)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Finally, I've seen THE GREATEST SHOWMAN and I've got a hangover

Inspired by the imagination of P. T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation-WWW
Rating: PG (for thematic elements including a brawl)
Genre: Drama, Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By: Michael Gracey
Written By: Jenny Bicks, Bill Condon
In Theaters: Dec 20, 2017  Wide
Runtime: 105 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
(From Rotten Tomatoes)

Hugh Jackman And Michelle Williams' 'Greatest Showman' Just Broke A Box Office Record---and they haven't counted the international audience yet.

It is no secret that I've been wanting to watch this original musical ever since I have heard, read about it and seen some teasers. 

If I'm not mistaken, this is the second team up of Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams, the first being DECEPTION ten years ago.  They have good onscreen chemistry and acting is in their blood.  

I love and admire people who are multifaceted like the two lead stars.  I think I admired Michelle Williams first because of Dawson's Creek and the first time I saw Hugh Jackman he was already Wolverine, but only appreciated him as Leopold. I've seen Swordfish, but...

I'm digressing again.

The original musical movie is the best PT Barnum Story I've seen ever. The actors were carefully chosen, the dances were artistically choreographed, the songs were composed and arranged wonderfully and interpreted in the most colossal way...the singers meant and felt every word and they were able to convey the message of the songs to the audience. The script was well-written, the actors played their roles well and of course, it was greatly directed. 

Not everyone agrees with me, of course.

Well, I'm still on cloud nine.  Let's see how I feel a month from now. ;-)

Inspired by the movie
Keala Settle rocks!
Zac and Zendaya sizzle
Their whole REWRITE THE STARS number is one of my favourites
If Jenny Lind was as beautiful as Rebecca Ferguson, I would understand why PT Barnum was enamoured with her

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN (2017) Hollywood vs history

Ang Pambansang Third Wheel(2018) PG

From Click The City : Trina who has lived her whole life as a third wheel meets the man who passes her standards and believes that thi...