Tuesday, December 31

Blind Spot Series 2014

I recently stumbled upon Ryan McNeil's site, where he was running a feature called Blind Spot. It's basically listing down 12 films you must see that year, one for each month. I thought it was a great and challenging idea, considering that I barely write much reviews. Also, despite being a fan of motion pictures, I haven't seen a lot of movies. This is a great way to expand my movie horizon, and to finally watch some classics I've been meaning to see. Here is my list, and I hope I get to accomplish this by next year! I'll be updating this as I post my reviews, so feel free to check back once in a while!

Thursday, December 26

Concept Art: Sleeping Beauty


A tad bit late on the holiday greetings but I hope everyone had an amazing Christmas with their family and friends! While I've been away from my screen most of the time, I had been watching a ton of movies with my siblings, starting with holiday themed ones and voting what to watch next. One of the movies we watched was Sleeping Beauty. While I'm still not a fan of the princess, I really liked the art that they used, particularly the color scheme they used on Maleficent and her dark lair. The animated work had a darker tone compared to its predecessors, but its scheme is still quite vivid. While Sleeping Beauty is far from my favorite Disney movie, I really liked the visual arts that went with it, so I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you. 

All stills are taken from here.

Thursday, December 19

Trailer: How To Train Your Dragon 2


I was swept away with How to Train Your Dragon, and how it has a heart at the depth of its story. To this day, this is still one of my favorites. It took for the sequel to come out, but hopefully it lives up to the reputation of the first movie. I like how older Hiccup and his friends are; it's rare that time passes in animated movies (an example of this rare occurrence is the Toy Story franchise, which really symbolized a nostalgic feeling, and at the same time, a representation of who we are in the present, that like Andy, we have grown up, but we still hold the good memories of the past). I'm definitely looking forward for this next year -- and to end my senseless chatter, I have a feeling that 2014 is going to be a crowded year, movie wise.

Tuesday, December 17

Iron Man 3

Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle
Director: Shane Black

After coming off strong in The Avengers, I was expecting Iron Man to be as epic, or slightly less than epic as the movie. Iron Man was great but I felt a little skeevy about Iron Man 2, so I expected the third to redeem the sequel. The third movie was a good one, albeit it did not live up to any of its predecessors, both the original and the sequel. Nor did it live up to the standards The Avengers already set in, considering that the movies are now slightly angled towards the story for The Avengers 2. To be honest, the plot is a bit surreal as The Avengers (technically thinking about it), but it's the out of the world crisis thinking that may have placed Iron Man 3 on the edge. Despite the seemingly redeeming third act, Iron Man 3 felt a little bit too off-beat, even for the liking of Tony Stark.

Sunday, December 15

Se7en

Cast: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow
Director: David Fincher

Thrilling is one word to describe the viewing experience. It wasn't like an ordinary crime movie I've seen, with all the bad guys and transactions and revenge plots are usually involved. The movie brings two unlikely personalities together to solve a rather smart and puzzling case that involved literature, preach and a whole lot of tasteful gore (yeah I said it, tasteful gore).

Friday, December 13

Before Midnight

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick
Director: Richard Linklater

We meet Jesse and Celine in a train, and watched their connection grow through the streets of Vienna. We witness their reunion at a bookshop in Paris, the two being older and wiser. Years later we encounter Jesse and Celine once more, but this time their indivualities reaching out through the sanctity of their marriage. While its predecessors showered us with their personal ideals and realities, this installment treats us to their growth as a couple, and how their relationship has changed over the years. While it did have the similar charm as the first two films, this one worked a bit differently. At the end of the film, I realized that I know these people. I've seen these people. These people are married couples. It doesn't matter whether they're just reaching a decade of their marriage, or they've been married a long time, but Jesse and Celine painted a picture that most married couples have likely gone through in the span of their marriage.

Thursday, December 12

Breaking Emotions: Hate/Love

For instructions, click here. For the emotions, click here

Finishing up the Breaking Emotions blogathon are hate and love, these two emotions rather harder to condense because there are so many choices! This was a fun blogathon, and thanks again to the lovely Mettel Ray for hosting it! 

HATE

Movie 43

That was the worst movie released this year. I chose this scene mainly because it's the only one I remember...and that's not a good thing. I have no idea what the actors were thinking; this was a sad excuse for a movie. Were they blackmailed to do this? I don't think the payday excuse is going to work on this one.

The Great Gatsby

Gatsby as a whole was not that bad, but it's not Oscar material either. Of all the scenes I found ridiculously bad, this was a really bad one. Was that supposed to be for fun? Flirty? Entertaining? Show off new clothes, or to let her feel the material? For whatever reason it might be, the scene was just plain bad. If I were Daisy, I would be weirded out with what Gatsby was doing. Throwing shirts off? Even if I were Nick, watching from a distance, I would think Gatsby was kind of nuts, and probably wonder what I was doing setting up my cousin with a nutcase like him.

Mirror Mirror

I actually don't hate the movie (but I do feel a lot indifferent), but I found this scene particularly annoying. It's not because I don't enjoy dance numbers like this, but it looked so out of place, particularly where it was in the movie. I would have preferred it to be placed somewhere at the start or the middle (or chop off unnecessary scenes towards the end and just put this instead).

LOVE

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I think everyone should see this at least once. To come think of it, casting Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet for this makes them an unlikely pair, but they make it work and you just end up loving them. Carrey proves that he isn't just about comedy, and Winslet of course demonstrates why she is one of the best actresses working in the industry. This is perfect for those who are romantics, or for people who are heartbroken or for anyone, really. The message of the film just stays with the viewer, and you can't really take apart the film because it's one of those works that you have to enjoy as a whole.

Inception

Do you have moments when you see a movie on television and no matter what happens, you stop what you're doing and just watch it? Inception is that, for me. I couldn't even count how many times I've seen this for the last year. I have a lot of favorite scenes but I chose this one because I loved the stunt, and it features Joseph Gordon-Levitt (although I just noticed there's a lot of Leo DiCaprio love on this blogathon -- at least on my end). 

Anastasia

My favorite animated princess that trumps all other princesses is not even a Disney princess. I've always loved Anastasia (and is partly the reason why I want to go to Russia). Compared to the others, she's not very damsel-in-distress-y, and the movie has a darker tone. I also love how the villain is integral and not just some extra or had limited parts. 

Monday, December 9

Breaking Emotions: Smiles/Thrills

For instructions click here, for the emotions click here

Mettel Ray has released the last two sets a couple of weeks ago, but it's only now that I'm getting to work on them. Usually I do parts of my blogging at work, but I haven't been able to sit in front of my laptop for weeks, usually just reading blogs over the phone. With the holiday season rolling through, hopefully I'll be able to get some entries in before the holidays completely swallow me whole. For this set of emotions, it's smiles and thrills. 

SMILES

Wall-E
Wall-E and Eve reunite in space after the whole self destruction fiasco.

Wall-E is my favorite Pixar movie, and this is my favorite scene. Their love is so simple and yet so beautiful. I love that while Eve is worried for Wall-E, all Wall-E could think about is Eve's mission, and how he wanted her to fulfill it at all cost. This has very minimal dialogue for an animated film, and yet the actions say everything you need to know (and will love) about the movie.

This is the End

It's difficult to just pinpoint one scene that makes me laugh because the movie itself is a laugh-fest. It's a pretty good comedy, hitting the notes just right. Watching the movie itself already makes me smile because I know I wouldn't be disappointed.

Little Miss Sunshine
Olive's pageant number

The movie's about being in a dysfunctional family, but even with their own insecurities and problems, they all just jumped out of their selfish boxes and supported Olive. They didn't let the environment crush Olive: instead they stood with her in support, allowing her to go on about her passion. Everyone is a child once, and children deserve the support and love of their family.

THRILLS

12 Angry Men
Every time the men would take down an evidence against the suspect

They don't make movies like this anymore. Despite being set in one room, and just talking about a verdict, the entire film was amazing. After seeing them debunk one evidence after another, it goes to show that there is still justice in this world; it takes one person to make a difference. I was instantly glued to my screen. 

Argo
The plane chase

The plane was in the tarmac already set to take off, with the Americans that were rescued. Technically you already know they'll make it, but when the whole scene was playing, I just wanted it to go faster so they could go escape already.

Bourne Supremacy
The chase scenes

Sort of cheating here, as I placed two chase scenes under 'thrills'. But come on, aren't chase scenes thrilling? Part of what's entertaining about the Bourne franchise (not including the 4th) are the chase sequences, this between Matt Damon and Karl Urban one of them. Some chase scenes overstay their welcome, but not in Bourne's. The Bourne trilogy is one of the finest action movies made in the recent years, not to mention they belong in a rare breed where you have to see it in order so you can follow the premise.

Friday, November 29

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth
Director: Francis Lawrence

The whole world probably saw Catching Fire the weekend it came out. With the array of young adult adaptations, The Hunger Games franchise has emerged victorious among its competitors, lining up to the success of its fellow franchises, namely Harry Potter and the Twilight franchise. While the franchise has yet to earn its ranks as one of the classics, Catching Fire delivers enough fuel to keep its audiences satisfied, triumphing over its predecessor by miles. However, the movie was still lacking in some perspective, with Mockingjay hopefully filling the void and closing the franchise with a bang.

Monday, November 18

Breaking Emotions: Surprise

For instructions, click here. For the set of emotions, click here.

It's a new set of emotions for Mettel Ray's Breaking Emotions blogathon! This week's emotions are tears and surprise. I rarely cry at sad parts of movies, so I thought I'd stick with surprise itself. 

Now You See Me
The mastermind was Detective Rhodes

This is a one-time surprise, because when you see it again, you get the hints and the clues that it was actually him. I was recently talking about this movie with someone, and when the emotions this week came up, this immediately came to mind. I originally thought it might be Melanie Laurent, considering that she was always talking about magic and its history.

Shutter Island
Daniels was Laeddis and he was a patient in the hospital.

I honestly thought that it really was a detective story in a spooky island with mental patients. I was wrong (sort of).  

In Bruges
Harry Waters commits suicide; he thought he shot a little boy.

I honestly did not expect that moment to happen that instant. Harry Waters was a man of principle, and while I wasn't surprise if he was going to punish himself, I don't think it would be right after that whole scene.

Man of Steel
Superman snapped the neck of General Zod

I did not see that coming. It was all speeches when suddenly that whole scene happened. There were other ways as to how Superman could have stopped General Zod, but that was all in one quick motion. It definitely showed the flawed side of Superman, as he was simply thinking the best way possible to stop what was happening...and that was definitely a finite solution. 

Se7en
Detective Mills shoots John Doe

For this surprise moment, I decided to go with the out-of-character approach rather than the surprise itself. I wasn't surprised that he shot him; if I were in his position, I would probably do the same. It was a decision made out of passion, out of wanting to get pure revenge. Detective Mills was a man of the law, and how his character thought was always on the rigid right way...up until that certain point that emotions can get the better of us. Up until that point he was working on his career, going up the ranks. He had aspirations to get to the top leagues and have a family. He might have given in on what John Doe wanted, but in thinking in the lines of passion, it was simply revenge. He lost a lot that day, not just his wife, but his dreams and principles as well.

Wednesday, November 13

Don Jon

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore
Director: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Don Jon was the directorial debut of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, one of the finest actors working in the industry today. It was a good debut for the actor; the film was certainly entertaining. It was geared towards men, but has elements that appeal to female viewers as well. It definitely had its mix of comedy, romance and drama, and did not fail to meet expectations. It has more than what it leads on, and despite the hasty finish, it did have its momentum and an enjoyable cast to go with it.

Thursday, November 7

Breaking Emotions: Fear/Awkward

Mettel Ray is hosting another blogathon! For this week she posted fear and awkward as the emotions. I chose to do both, although the fear-inducing ones are not centered on horror films. For instructions, click here.
FEAR

Schindler's List
This is one of the film's powerful scenes for me, as this was the only scene where they're shown entering a gas chamber, heightening the horror experienced while watching the film.

We Need to Talk About Kevin
Until now I am at awe at this film, but someone like Kevin is quite scary, as you never know what goes on in his little head of his. This scene basically culminates his performance, and the role cements Ezra Miller's career.

Gravity
This is just one of the many fear-inducing scenes found in this great work by Alfonso Cuaron. The cinematic experience was amazing, but being in her situation: not so amazing.

AWKWARD

The Way Way Back
Singing on a off-key note wholeheartedly...not knowing that someone else was watching you.

Bridget Jones's Diary
Unaware of a theme change is somewhat similar of not dressing up for a very formal affair.

When Harry Met Sally
I don't think the scene needs some explaining.