Thursday, May 30, 2013

The FPJ Experience: Ang Dalubhasa (2000)

Saturday (several years ago)... 

Naglalakbay kami papuntang Tayabas, Quezon.. katabi ko ang auntie ko.... ang haaaaaaaaabaaa haba ng lakbay, muntik ng maubos ang battery ng mp3 ko, at nawala na rin ang antok ko,  hindi parin kami nakakarating sa paroroonan namin... 

pasulyap sulyap ako sa pelikula na pinapalabas sa bus... ayan may bagong dvd na inilagay si Manong Konduktor.. 

Oh gosh.... Pelikula ni Fernando Poe Jr.....Ang Dalubhasa (i-click ang link para sa buong pelikula)
sigh.... at ako'y tuminging muli sa bintana, binibilang ang mga buko at puno ng saging na dumaraan..... pero panaka-naka rin akong sumusulyap sa telebisyon, dahil kahit mahilig akong tumingin sa mga puno aba eh nagsasawa din ako sa libo-libong buko sa paningin ko.. at heto na nga hindi ko na namalayan na nakatutok na pala akong nanonood at nasabayan ko na ang kwento at inaabangan ng paunti-unti ang mga eksena.....

.... At ayan na ang climax! Sagupaan ni FPJ at ang kalaban niya na pumatay sa kanyang pamilya..... Wala ng bala si Kontrabida.... na-corner na siya ni FPJ.... 

talagang ramdam ko na ang excitement.... napansin ko din si Auntie Ming na nakatingala sa TV, naka-kunot ang noo, parang nagbo-board exam kung makapag-focus. Nakalimutan niya ang mahilo-hilo at masuka-sukang pakiramdam dahil sa biyahe na inirereklamo niya bago mag-umpisa ang pelikula...

ayan na... tinutok na ni FPJ ang baril na may kasamang dialogue na "Walong taon, apat na buwan, tatlong araw hinintay ko ang oras na ito"... ng biglang "PIYUNG!" ... Umeksena ang isang goon ni Kontrabida, nabaril si FPJ!! Tumalsik ang baril niya palapit kay Kontrabida! OMG!!!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Curse of the Demon (1957)

Original Title (UK): Night of the Demon 

("In the United States, the film was released as Curse of the Demon. According to Charles Bennett, the title was changed as the studio didn't want it confused with the similarly titled story of The Night of the Iguana" - Wiki)

Director:  Jacques Tourneur ("I Walked with a Zombie", "Cat People")

Starring:  Dana Andrews (Dr. John Holden), Peggy Cummins (Joanna Harrington), Niall MacGinnis (Julian Karswell)


"Terrifying!! All the Dark Forces of Black Magic ... Hurled Against a Man And a Woman Who Dare To Scoff!"

"Who will be the next in line to defy the curse?"

Go to this link for the full movie:

* * * * * * * 

What makes old movies a pleasure to watch in this modern age of CGI sfx and blood-pumping non-stop scares and action in movies? It's because old movies make up for their technical shortcomings with an engaging & intelligent plot, a good script, solid acting, and well-planned shots/photography. Add in a touch of vintage cinematography, physical effects, and musical score -- and we're in for a fun ride.

Curse of the Demon has all that.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Movie 43 (2013)

Director: Different directors/writers for each storylines

Starring: All-star ensemble cast (just look at the poster)


"The biggest cast ever assembled for the most outrageous comedy ever made."

"Comedy. Exposed."

Plot Summary: There is no plot.

- - - - - - - - - 

I watched this expecting something that is in the category of "worst movies ever made" basing from reviews and ratings I have read, and even though it has a current rating of 4% (critics) & 30% (audience) in Rotten Tomatoes, I'm a bit ashamed that I don't think it's that bad (of course, I agree it's one of 2013's worst movies. But there are far worse comedies ever made, in my opinion). Yes the humor in this film ranges from offensive to downright nasty, but once you let go of your righteous indignation, I think it's quite enjoyable. Now, before you brand me as a mindless dumb ass with no taste in movies for saying I've enjoyed this one, stop right there and let me explain :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Dementia 13 (1963)

UK Title: The Haunted and the Hunted

Director: Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now)

Writers: Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Hill

Starring: Luana Anders (Louise Haloran), William Campbell (Richard Haloran), Bart Patton (Billy Haloran), Eithne Dunne (Lady Haloran), Patrick Magee (Dr. Caleb)

"You Must Pass the "D-13" Test To Prepare You for the Horrifying Experience of Dementia 13. If You Fail the Test...You Will Be Asked to Leave the Theater!

"The Most Terrifying Screen Experience Of Your Life! A Brand New Concept in Motion Picture Shock! A Thrilling New Creation of Terror Thru Sight and Sound, Filmed Entirely in the Shock-Packed Process of Dementia 13!"

Plot Summary:

Although Coppola had been involved in at least two nudie films previously, Dementia 13 served as his first mainstream, "legitimate" directorial effort. 
The plot follows a scheming young woman who, after having inadvertently caused the heart attack death of her husband, attempts to have herself written into her rich mother-in-law's will. She pays a surprise visit to her late husband's family castle inIreland, but her plans become interrupted by an axe-wielding lunatic who begins to stalk and murderously hack away at members of the family. - Wikipedia

Go to this link for the full movie:

- - - - - - - - - - - 

Before anything else, I have to say that this poster is a bit distracting. The woman looks like she's wearing a weird top hat and she reminded me of The Cat in the Hat. And that tagline - i thought I was reading a flyer/poster for some guidance counselling or psych drugs.. Call our HOTLINE numbers and operators listed below!!!

Anyway, considering that this is a low-budget film, with a draft idea written overnight with Psycho as the model in mind, and a final script made in a few days, - the result is surprisingly good.  Dialogue is a bit stilted, and the plot is simple, the "big reveal" is not surprising, but Francis Coppola has managed to use everything to his advantage. Castle Haloran is a perfect setting for the gothic ambience of the film, shots were done in such a way that maximized the creepiness of the surroundings/props, and for a movie that's from the 60's it has a good dose of violence and blood and shows its lead actress in her undergarments.

The story is simple yet eerie and dark, the characters are interesting to watch especially Lady Haloran, Louise, and Dr. Caleb, and the horror scenes are chilling and effective without being campy. What surprised me a bit is the lack of red herring in the plot, I guessed who the killer was really early on and I kept thinking that it's too easy, that I will be proven wrong. But there was no surprise twist. The result of a rushed script.

But underneath the seeming simplicity of the plot and the stilted dialogue, lies a chilling story of a family plagued with an unspeakable horror and tragedy mingled with, as the title suggested, dementia. I really like the camera angles, the play on shadows/darkness, the dark looming facade of the castle, the perfectly placed "scares", the right amount of violence which I'm sure made the audience from that era cringe, and the tension-building musical score. 

The Verdict: 

This film is by no means along the level of Psycho, but it is relevant in its own way as this marks the debut of Coppola, and it's refreshing to see his take on a low-budget horror film and observe his techniques early in his career. He took the gothic, risque, and psychological elements of Psycho and put in his own flavor - the result is a cult classic horror movie that is still worth watching today especially if you are a fan of the horror genre or of Coppola.

My Rating: 3.5/5 =D  

What is your favorite Francis Coppola film?

I appreciate and welcome opinions/comments. Please LIKE & Rate, Share or Follow my blog, it may not change the world but it will change mine LOL :)

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Raid: Redemption (2011)

Original Title: "Serbuan Maut"

Director/Writer: Gareth Evans

Starring: Iko Uwais (Rama), Joe Taslim (Jaka), Donny Alamsyah (Andi), Yayan Ruhian (Mad Dog), Ray Sahetapy (Tama)

"1 Ruthless Crime Lord, 20 Elite Cops, 30 Floors of Chaos"
"When there's nowhere left to run or hide... you fight or die."

Plot Summary: "A SWAT team becomes trapped in a tenement run by a ruthless mobster and his army of killers and thugs." - IMDb

- - - - - - - - - -

This movie is awesome.

I never thought that an Indonesian movie could make me feel so satisfied with what I saw. O_O Watching the non-stop action inside a dilapidated building, cramped hallways, inside the rooms, even in an elevator, - up close and fast-paced gives you the feeling that you're in there. It has everything, from gunplay to knife fights, eye-gouging, and a lot of martial arts action.

QUICKIES: Orphan, Rosemary's Baby, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Bad Teacher

My quick reviews of these four films.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

MOVIE REVIEW: Cosmopolis (2012)

Director: David Cronenberg

Writer: David Cronenberg (screenplay), Don DeLillo (novel)

Starring : Robert Pattinson (Eric Packer)

This is my first Cronenberg film so I had no inkling of the kind of movie i'm about to watch. The only expectation I had is a performance from Robert Pattinson that will finally shed his Edward Cullen image.

Instead, what I got is basically the same from his previous movie characters. Brooding, dark, affected, annoying. 

First scene elicited a "WTF, is this some  kind of a joke?!" from me, and while some movies completely turn that around and end up being my favorite movies, unfortunately this one kept going on a downward spiral.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

MOVIE REVIEW: Beautiful Creatures (2013)

Director: Richard LaGravenese

Starring: Alden Ehrenreich (Ethan Wate), Alice Englert (Lena Duchannes), Jeremy Irons (Macon Ravenwood), Emma Thompson (Mrs. Lincoln), Viola Davis (Amma), Emmy Rossum (Ridley)

Tagline: "Dark secrets will come to light"

Plot: "Ethan longs to escape his small Southern town. He meets a mysterious new girl, Lena. Together, they uncover dark secrets about their respective families, their history and their town."

- - - - - - - - - 


Another typical fantasy romance. If it's not vampires and werewolves, we have witches.


Plot is typical, but marginally better than most movies of the same YA genre roots. 

Cinematography is nice enough, first scene is irritatingly too dark, but the rest is fun to watch. A little Tim Burton-esque in my opinion. It worked. Some effects are too campy though.

I totally love the Ravenwood house interior. I can't express how much i love it. 

Great cast. I was totally surprised to see Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, and Emma Thompson in this movie, and it was such a breath of fresh air to see these great actors in a teen fantasy film. The leads are not that bad - Alden exudes this James Dean aura mixed with a little Rob Lowe (or someone I still couldn't put a name on) and Lena was right about him -- drooling charm. Alice as Lena is okay too but at times she can be bland. I think Ridley (Emmy Rossum) stood out as the good-girl-gone-bitchbad. I loved her character.

Music is good.

Script/dialogue, while sometimes it is cheesy and overly pretentious, still it's smart and way better than most. Witty and funny. 



Solid entertainment. Nothing spectacular to see (except the Ravenwood house, Irons & Thompson), but it's totally better than I expected. Worth watching if you're into these kinds of films.

MY RATINGS: 3/5 - the visuals, script, & cast made this movie a fun watch.

I like Macon and Ridley. Who's your favorite character in the movie?

I appreciate and welcome opinions/comments. Please LIKE & Rate, Share or Follow my blog, it may not change the world but it will change mine LOL :)

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Movie Cliches: It's so unrealistic, yet we can't stop watching

We know they're silly. We know it's unreal. We know it's highly improbable.... And yet we can't get enough of them.

Almost every mainstream, popcorn flicks have these cliches. We roll our eyes, we laugh at it, we comment about it smugly, yet year after year, movie after movie - they're always there. Why? Because it sells. Because admit it or not, it's almost a standard to have at least two cliches in every movie.  I can't speak for everybody, but this is one of my guilty pleasures. I love great, intelligent, unique movies, yes. But sometimes I also want a good dose of mind-numbing senseless entertainment. Because in this escapist world, sometimes all we need is a generous helping of horrible movie cliches. 

So why even pretend? You know you're guilty too. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

MOVIE REVIEW: The Host (2013)

Director:  Andrew Niccol (director of S1m0ne, and Gattaca)

Writers:  Andrew Niccol (screenplay), Stephenie Meyer (novel)

Cast: Saoirse Ronan (Wanda/Melanie), Diane Kruger (The Seeker), Max Irons (Jared), Jake Abel (Ian), William Hurt (Uncle Jeb)

Plot Summary: "When an unseen enemy threatens mankind by taking over their bodies and erasing their memories, Melanie will risk everything to protect the people she cares most about, proving that love can conquer all in a dangerous new world." - IMDb


"Choose to believe. Choose to fight. Choose to love. Choose to listen."

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After reading this review I know that you may choose to believe. You may even choose to fight. But I highly suggest that you choose to listen to me. And listen to me good. Stay away from this film. It's a ginormous waste of time. You could be watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. re-runs or cleaning your attic - it would be much more fulfilling.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

MOVIE REVIEW: The Hunger Games (2012)

Director: Gary Ross (also known for directing Seabiscuit, Pleasantville)

Screenplay: Gary Ross, Suzanne Collins, Billy Ray

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen), Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark)


"The Games Will Change Everyone."

"The World Will Be Watching"

"May the Odds be Ever in your Favor"



The first scene grabs your attention: it's different, it has this gritty realistic close-to-the-book feel, and it's just not what I expected for a movie that tagged itself as "The next twilight series" -- barf. It has a promise of substance and it's not your typically manufactured eye-candy popcorn movie. The shaky camera work didn't even bother me, I think it added to the film's realistic feel. If you wanna complain about that, try watching films by Lars Von Trier.

BOOK REVIEW: The Hunger Games (2008)

Author:  Suzanne Collins
Country:  U.S.
Genre:  YA, dystopian
Let's get the writing style comment out of the way: It's somewhere in the middle of "average, but okay enough" writing and "verging on appalling, poorly-written crap". Somewhere in between, probably a tad leaning towards the former.

What made this book a fun and worthwhile read is the story-telling and the pacing. I gotta give Collins credit here, she gave us this world of dystopian future (and while it's not really developed -- just a bunch of vague references about its history and such.) and the horror of poverty, hunger, violence, and political control that's quite interesting. I wouldn't dwell on the plot itself, because as I've said, this story was told in an exciting way so I'm willing to let go of the seeming plotholes and lack of plot/character development. I wouldn't even question the ubiquitous and invisible cameras (which couldn't focus much on trees because of the leaves, and yet it can capture every single scene that's happening inside an almost-covered mini-cave.) And I also thought there is a story behind that Cinna character, why he is so unlike the Capitol people, with his simple garments and neatly-cropped hair (which is obviously not the trend in that place.) - (highlight to reveal) but no, there was no big reveal.

I've finished this book very quickly, because of three things: pacing, plot, and Katniss Everdeen.

It's told through Katniss' point of view and while that could be a tremendous limitation and failing of any book, in this case, Collins managed to create a character interesting enough for readers to relate to. Yes she has a disillusioned attitude, but she is totally devoted to her family and she's loyal. She's smart, but painfully naive at times esp. when it involves her co-tribute Peeta Mellark. Those are the times which I can't help but roll my eyes, but then I remember that Katniss is a 16 year old girl who has been feeding her family even before she had the capacity to do it - so I forgive her for that. Let her be naive and confused about boys! Anyway, yes I have enjoyed seeing thru Katniss' eyes. (that's an example of a strong, independent, smart female protagonist. I would love Bella and Anastasia to be thrown into the arena as well. That's the part I would surely enjoy reading graphic violence.) The only downside is, the action is limited, and you already have the feeling that she will win the game because she's the narrator -_- Unless Collins shifts to another POV when Katniss dies, which is not a good idea for me.

The pacing kept you turning the pages, or in my case, swiping the screen to the left.

The idea of a dictatorial Capitol gathering teenagers from its oppressed districts to battle to their deaths in an arena is too much for me. Yes it could be possible, because humanity is really in a moral decline now and who knows how we would act in a dystopian future? But then again, these are kids. But okay, I mean, The Lord of the Flies, and Battle Royale, right? While there are no detailed graphic violence written, (except when a tribute had another one pinned down and was figuring out how to cut her up in such a gruesome way to provide unforgettable action for the audiences), but the fact that these are kids fighting for their lives, and some are even enjoying killing, for the sole benefit of the Capitol's entertainment and form of control, is disturbing. What is the purpose of this battle-to-the-death teenage version? Surely there are other ways to remind your districts not to rebel again right? In fact, I thought that by endangering the lives of teenagers yearly would ignite an even more fiery anger in the hearts of the people, but then again, this is not my novel. So fine. I'll bite.

** Twilight has "perfect/beautiful", Fifty Shades has "carnal desire" as their authors' favorite repeat words. This book has "arbitrary" -- it's only been used 3-4 times but i found it amusing to see it being used because it just stood out like a sore thumb among all the rest of the simple words in the page.


While this is not a literary classic, it still has its own special flavor which makes it worth reading. It's enjoyable enough if you are willing to ignore the underdeveloped characters and kind of juvenile writing style. I'll put it maybe three to four shelves under Harry Potter, and six or seven shelves above Twilight.

3.5/5 - I enjoyed it, but it'll probably just be a one-time read.

Check out MY ULTIMATE BOOK BUCKET LIST or the books I wanna read before I die!

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Housemaid (1960)

Original Title: Hanyo

Director & Writer: Kim Ki-young

Starring: Lee Eun-shimJu Jeung-nyeo, Kim Jin Kyu

Plot: "The film is a domestic horror thriller telling of a family's destruction by the introduction of a sexually predatory femme fatale into the household. A piano composer has just moved into a two-story house with his wife and two children. When his pregnant wife becomes exhausted from working at a sewing machine to support the family, the composer hires a housemaid to help with the work around the house." - Wikipedia

Click here for the full movie:


I really don't have much experiences with regards to Korean cinema, let alone a 1960 black and white film, so I didn't know what to expect. I saw HORROR, DRAMA, FEMME FATALE, THRILLER - so I just assumed it's a scorned mistress who dies then comes back as an angry ghost haunting and scaring the living daylights out of the household members. LOL me and my cliches.


Black and white. Generic plot - a family's normal life disrupted by women obsessed with a married man. Just plain drama, minus the horror ghost story (thank god! I can only watch filipino/american horror movies - bec asian horror is just truly superior & 100% creepy and I can't handle it.). In other words, it's your typical run-of-the-mill drama movie. Nothing more to expect, right?

Well what I didn't expect was that this seemingly average film with all it's simple elements or limitations has managed to turn it into something complex and with thrilling unpredictability. I was shocked - to actually see this masterpiece hiding in obscurity, and enjoy it immensely. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Melancholia (2011)

Director & Writer: Lars Von Trier

Starring: Kirsten Dunst(Justine), Charlotte Gainsbourg (Claire), Kiefer Sutherland (John)


"Enjoy it while it lasts"

"It will change everything"

"Two sisters find their already strained relationship challenged as a mysterious new planet threatens to collide with the Earth."

- - - - - - 

I can't comment much about this film I think I need to rewatch this to be sure if i do like it or not. One thing I'm certain of is Lars Von Trier's genius. His films may not be appealing to everybody, but his films and the human issues involved are authentic and worth watching.

I've only seen two of his movies (The Idiots, Dancer in the Dark) so I was used to his Dogme 95 technique and I'm actually surprised to see the polished quality of Melancholia. There is still his trademark shaky camera movement, but the sandy, gritty texture is gone. The cinematography/shots are actually beautiful, although there are a few too-dark scenes which I didn't like. 

MOVIE REVIEW: Jack Reacher (2012)

Director: Christopher McQuarrie

Starring: Tom Cruise (Jack Reacher), Rosamund Pike (Helen Rodin), Richard Jenkins (Alex Rodin), David Oyelowo (Emerson), Werner Herzog (The Zec), Robert Duvall (Cash)

Tagline:   "The law has limits. He does not."

Plot: In an innocent heartland city, five are shot dead by an expert sniper. The police quickly identify and arrest the culprit, and build a slam-dunk case. But the accused man claims he's innocent and says "Get Jack Reacher." - - - - - - - - 

I'll probably gonna rant, because this movie is a huge disappointment.

Storyline - slightly above average at best. At least better than that nightmare of a movie called Alex Cross. Still, it's nothing to gush about. Plot and characterization are not that polished. Few surprises/twists, no complicated mind-boggling awesome storyline to follow so for the duration of the film please be warned that your brain might go into "sleep mode" once in a while. 


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