Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avengers:_Infinity_War
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As early reviews already mentioned, Infinity War is Civil War multiplied by 20. It is a montage of fight scenes characterized by teamwork you can only dream of seeing on the big screen. The storyline is straightforward: Thanos (Josh Brolin) collects the Infinity Stones while heroes from across the galaxy band together to stop him from ending the universe as we know it. Forget every naysayer acting all smarty-pants claiming that this is not the ultimate cinematic event of our time. IT IS. It might not be the first attempt, but it definitely is a game changer not just for the genre but for cinema as a whole. Dialogues are laced with humor most of the time, which is a good counterbalance for the gravitas of the situation. Those light moments are essential once you realize how grim the scenario is.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Arsenic and Old Lace (Repertory Philippines)

http://www.repertoryphilippines.ph/2018-season/
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Aunt Martha (Jay Valencia Glorioso) and Aunt Abby (Joy Virata) are two sweet old ladies who spend much of their time maintaining the Brooklyn family home as well as taking care of their nephew Teddy (Jeremy Domingo), who thinks he is Theodore Roosevelt. Beneath the mundane façade, however, is a dark secret that the three of them share, which involves some murder and a little bit of cover-up on the side. When youngest nephew Mortimer (Nelsito Gomez) accidentally discovers what, or rather, who, is under the window seat, he begins to realize that every family has skeletons in the closet after all. It just so happens that his has 12, and they are buried in the cellar. When prodigal nephew Jonathan (Apollo Sheik Abraham) returns after a long absence with his very own excess baggage, this shakes up the family dynamics, leading to a hilarious dark comedy that can only be as enticing as Elderberry wine laced with arsenic.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Ready Player One

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ready_Player_One_(film)
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The year is 2045 and virtual reality gaming is elevated to new heights as a refuge from the harsh realities of everyday life. Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) lives in a slum area in Columbus, Ohio known as “the Stacks” but spends most of his time plugged into the OASIS, a massive computer-generated dream world where he is known by his avatar Parzival. After the death of its creator, it is revealed that an Easter Egg has been hidden in the game. The first person to find three keys, which serve as prizes for each level challenge, will not only be declared as champion but also be awarded full ownership of the virtual world. Given the economic and social upgrade such victory entails in the real world, players all over the globe try their luck but to no avail. When Parzival finally cracks the first challenge, he becomes the target of Innovative Online Industries (IOI), a giant video game conglomerate with an army of players hell-bent on getting their hands not just on the Easter Egg, but the lives of the millions of users connected to it daily as well.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Silent Sky (Repertory Philippines)

http://www.repertoryphilippines.ph/2018-season/
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Growing up at a farm in Wisconsin, Henrietta Leavitt (Cathy Azanza Dy) makes a bold decision when she accepts a job offer to work at Harvard. Considering herself as an astronomer and having finished her studies at Radcliffe, she gets the surprise of her life when instead of a teaching position, she is relegated by teaching assistant Peter Shaw (Topper Fabregas) to Professor Pickering’s “harem”, the duo of suffragette Annie Cannon (Sheila Francisco) and former housekeeper Williamina Fleming (Naths Everett). Also referred to as “computers”, the trio keeps themselves busy mapping out the stars on their desk based on photographic plates handed out to them by the men, who have exclusive access to the university’s telescope. Left at home, Henry’s sister Margie (Caisa Borromeo) takes care of their ailing father while raising a family of her own, forever asking her sister when she is coming back. As she navigates her way through the male-dominated academe, Leavitt’s inquisitive and curious nature will lead her to a groundbreaking discovery no other man has stumbled upon before.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

'night, Mother (PETA)

https://petatheater.com/nightmother
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An otherwise routine evening takes an interesting turn when Jessie (Eugene Domingo) tells her mother out of the blue that she is going to commit suicide before the night is over. Alarmed, Thelma (Sherry Lara) works hard to convince her daughter that life is worth living. She also makes it a point to repeatedly blame herself for her daughter’s choice, believing that she has failed her as a mother. For her part, Jessie is steadfast, already convinced that her decision to end it all is the best solution for all parties involved. As the evening gets darker and emotions start to run amok, secrets are revealed and tears are shed, but will all the drama suffice to save one of them from the clutches of impending death?

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Lady Bird

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Bird_(film)
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Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse Ronan) is not a big fan of life in Sacramento. Almost done with her senior year at a Catholic high school, she believes that her future awaits at the east coast, far from the cultural stagnation hounding her in California. Her teenage angst serves as a constant trigger for her misunderstandings with her mother. Marion McPherson (Laurie Metcalf) loves her daughter alright, but thinks that she needs to be in touch with reality and be more appreciative of what they are giving her. Lady Bird struggles to be amicable with her family as she attempts to navigate the ups and downs of adolescence, celebrating the highs and bemoaning the lows.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Red Sparrow

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Sparrow
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Prima ballerina Dominika Egorova (Jennifer Lawrence) watches her life fall apart after a career-ending injury leaves her with not a lot of options. Having to take care of her ailing mother, she finds herself in a desperate situation. Enter Uncle Vanya (Matthias Schoenaerts) with an interesting proposal: Work for him and be a sparrow. And so she is sent to spy academy where headmistress Matron (Charlotte Rampling) oversees her transformation from dancer to weapon, teaching her the basics of manipulation via seduction. Her first mission has her tailing CIA agent Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton), who becomes the object of her affection. But are sparrows allowed to love, or is this nothing more than an elaborate ploy to secure classified information? In the end, who is fooling whom?

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Meet Me in St. Gallen

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meet_Me_in_St._Gallen
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Celeste (Bela Padilla) and Jesse (Carlo Aquino) meeting at a cafe after a really bad day marks the beginning of a passive-aggressive friendship. What starts as antagonistic quickly turns platonic as they converse over coffee, and later, booze. As the night progresses an opportunity for something romantic is explored, but does not quite hit the mark. A few years later, they meet again. Will it be love this time around, or will yet another chance meeting end up in regrets and tears?

What the Before Sunrise/Before Sunset/Before Midnight trilogy does in a span of 18 years, Meet Me in St. Gallen attempts to compress in two hours, coming up with an end product that tastes like a diet version of the original. No, this is not a rip-off, but it’s one of those movies where two people talk, have sex, then talk again. They also walk from point A to B from time to time to take advantage of the scenery. That’s where St. Gallen comes in handy. In the last few years such genre seems to have sparked a revolution in the local entertainment industry, where formulaic romantic comedies reign supreme.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Shape of Water

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shape_of_Water_(film)
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Baltimore, 1960’s. Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins) is a cleaning lady at a top-secret government agency. Needless to say, she is immersed in an environment of mystery and strange secrets that will require you top level clearance to access. Being mute, her friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer) serves as her voice, even though their job does not really require a lot of talking to begin with. Her homosexual neighbor, Giles (Richard Jenkins), is her confidante and best friend. When Colonel Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon) drags in a water tank contents unknown all the way from South America, Elisa’s curiosity is piqued, even more so when she discovers that inside there’s a humanoid creature capable of non-verbal communication. Realizing how they share some similarities brought about by their uniqueness, the two form an unlikely bond. When she finds out that he is about to be killed and dissected for the name of science, she decides to make a stand, but can she really outwit a fully-equipped state facility on her own?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Black Panther

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Panther_(film)
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Oakland, 1992. Opposing political ideologies fracture the relationship between two Wakandan siblings, giving rise to a succession dilemma that will manifest decades later. At present day, the aftermath of King T’Chaka’s untimely demise sets his son T’Challa’s (Chadwick Boseman) ascension to the throne in motion, but becoming king is never easy. Facing stark opposition from one of the kingdom’s not so friendly tribes, the young king eventually proves himself worthy to lead the kingdom and assume the mantle of the mythical Black Panther. Meanwhile, the appearance of an old foe paves the way for the return of a prodigal son Wakanda never knew existed. With his legitimacy questioned and the threat of the country’s exposure at stake, T’Challa must play his cards right or suffer dire consequences.

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