Massive Movie Round-up

1:16 pm PHT

Since I haven’t talked about any movie I’ve seen for the past few months here in my blog. Here’s a slew of them.  =)

Mission: Impossible III. Now that’s what I call an action movie. From the first scene, the level of action almost doesn’t let up until the last few scenes. I haven’t fully seen the first two prequels so I can’t do a comparison.

Anyway, I loved Philip Seymour Hoffman’s character in this film. His character is so mean but is very reserved. Philip portrayed the character really well.

Over the Hedge. Really funny and a great family movie to boot. Loved the speed-of-light bullet-time scene with Hammy in the climax.

The Da Vinci Code. The movie was ok enough; It’s not as nice as I expected but the execution was fairly good given the three-hour length of the movie. What I didn’t like most about this adaptation was the somewhat cheesy ending; I liked the book’s more touching conclusion better. And what happened to the first cryptex? Jean Reno is now my stereotypical French law enforcement officer, having also seen him early this year in The Pink Panther.

The Omen. I have really vague recollections of seeing the first movie, so, again, I couldn’t compare and contrast. Anyway, the movie is not quite good enough. Despite several surprise-scare scenes, the film did not leave me with an indelible frightened impression.

I find it really impossible that a U.S. ambassador, and assigned to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland at that, is free to roam around in London at night and free to go to Italy and the Middle East with only a photojournalist in tow and without a slew of Secret Service agents to cover his back. This particular bit completely ruined the suspension of disbelief for me.

Well, looking on the bright side, I finally got to understand quite a lot of the plot elements in Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s comedy novel Good Omens. I wouldn’t really recommend this movie but I would recommend that you see it (or the original) at least once because I heartily recommend reading the novel.  =)

X-Men: The Last Stand. A good action film, with really nice special effects and a lot of mutant action. The character development here is a little too thin and the plot is a bit rushed despite the movie’s length, but all in all, a very decent and entertaining film.

The Lake House. Among the films in this commentary set, The Lake House is the best romantic one. While the film’s time paradox premise is quite weird and somewhat illogical, you’d be better off appreciating the film as a romance instead of as an unexplained science fiction.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. This movie is fun! Probably inspired by the manga, anime, and Japanese movie Initial D, this movie follows the adventures of Sean Boswell as he maneuvers Tokyo’s underground racing scene.

The movie features Shibuya, Tokyo’s equivalent of New York’s Times Square, and I can vouch that there are a lot of people in that iconic Shibuya intersection when I went to Japan back in April.

Superman Returns. Well, the movie is good though a bit overhyped. I hardly recall any of the first few Superman films I’ve seen so watching this one was quite refreshing.

Kevin Spacey is one of my favorite actors and I liked how he caricatures the evilness of Lex Luthor in this film. Well, it is a caricature because Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Owen Davian in M:I3 is a much more believable villain.

United 93. This is a really moving docu-drama. I failed to see Discovery Channel’s The Flight That Fought Back documentary so I vowed to watch this one instead. The movie tries to recreate, in real-time, the events surrounding United Airlines Flight 93 during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest. Among this set of movies I’m commenting on, Pirates is definitely the best among all of them. Swashbuckling is too weak a term to describe this really one-hell-of-a-ride movie experience. Oh and Johhny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow never disappoints; I especially loved his fruits-on-a-bamboo scenes. I can’t wait for the sequel.  =)

Just My Luck. This movie is funny enough for a romantic comedy, but it’s just not too substantial and doesn’t have quite a large impact. I guess it’s good enough for some lazy weekend viewing, much not much else to see.

The Break-Up. I was expecting a romantic comedy, but I think it was more a drama with several comedic elements thrown in. Nevertheless, I found the movie to my liking and it’s much better than Just My Luck. Jennifer Aniston as Brooke and Vince Vaugn as Gary did their characters really well. I also liked how the open-ended nature of the movie departed from the happy endings of other romantic comedies.

Fierce People. I was disappointed by this movie. The premise of the film was good: how the rich people in America can be fiercer than the primitive tribes of South America (specifically the Yanomami). But instead, I get a story of a teenage boy’s sort of coming of age against a person who wronged him, and not quite moving at that.

Interestingly, IMDB says that the shaman in the film, played by a Filipino actor, was speaking in Tagalog. I didn’t catch that when I saw the film.

Lady in the Water. Unlike the previous films of M. Night Shyamalan, Lady in the Water does not have any of his signature dramatic plot twists. (Is that a spoiler already?) And Shyamalan himself plays a bigger role in this film unlike his cameo appearances before leading critics to accuse him of being self-indulgent in this film.

I would’ve given this movie a nice thumb’s up but I can’t believe how sloppy the filming was. In several early scenes, you can actually see the boom microphones over the heads of the actors and actresses. It totally ruined the experience for me and it’s extremely distracting. It’s so unbelievably sloppy that I thought it was intentional. But if it were intentional, I don’t know what purpose it serves.

Anyway, I found the characters surreal. At first impression, you would think that the human characters are believably real people. But I found their actions in the latter part of the film a bit unrealistic; there’s not too much skepticism or cynicism. (Or maybe I’m just too jaded? Hehehe.) But considering the fact that this movie is supposed to be a bedtime story (i.e., a fairy tale), the characters were wonderful, hence “surreal,” and the story is really good. It’s best to watch this movie as if you were a child, despite its R-13 rating.

Umaaraw, Umuulan. For an independent digital film, I quite liked this one. The cinematography was very good and the acting was well done. I figured out the plot twist way, way before it was revealed, but I’m sure movie afficionados can spot it earlier than me.

This is probably the first time I saw a digital film shown using a digital projector in a movie theater. I’ve seen digital films before, but I think they were converted to analog format for screening. For Umaaraw, Umuulan, you can actually see the individual pixels of the projector, hehehe.

American Dreamz. This American Idol parody is another disappointing movie. Well, Omer singing “To Dream the Impossible Dream” was very hilarious and I couldn’t help chuckling over his choice of “My Way” as his finale piece. Mandy Moore as Sally Kendoo, the other finalist, was quite effective; I think Mandy Moore is quite accomplished as an actress.

Anyway, the movie is supposed to be a satire of American politics and a parody of American Idol, but it was too tame to be a satire and too weak to be a parody. I think Scary Movie 4 (even if I haven’t seen it) was a better horror movie parody.

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