March Film Log

For the past month, I’ve been trying to catch all of the critically acclaimed films of 2008 especially the Oscar and Golden Globes nominated films. Hence, the choice of my popcorn flicks. Most of the movies that I saw recently belong to that category, while some are older movies that I felt I needed to see before I write my Top 20 Films of the Year. Anyway, here is my movie log for the month:

THE READER
RATING: 2/5
DIRECTOR: Stephen Daldry (The Hours, Billy Elliot)
STARRING:
Kate Winslet (buttnaked half of the time)
David Kross (also buttnaked half of the time)
Ralph Fiennes (I know you don’t wanna see him buttnaked)
THEY SAY: Least favored among the five Oscar Best Picture nominees, but most favored in the Best Actress race. Winslet is Oscar bridesmaid no more.
I SAY: Promising first half until the plot reveals itself and all hopes crumble.


RACHEL GETTING MARRIED
RATING: 2/5
DIRECTOR: Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs, The Manchurian Candidate)
STARRING:
Anne Hathaway (Oscar Best Actress nominee)
Rosemarie Dewitt (should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actress)
Debra Winger (good at punching people in the face)
Bill Irwin (sympathetic and loving dad)
THEY SAY: Outstanding screenplay from Jenny Lumet and intense performance from Hathaway.
I SAY: Shot as if the entire film is an episode of a reality show or a home video, this film is heart-warming and authentic but not good enough to be outstanding.


CHANGELING
RATING: 3/5
DIRECTOR: Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River)
STARRING: Angelina Jolie (kick-ass mama sans the tattoos)
THEY SAY: A compelling and well-acted period thriller.
I SAY: It’s a bit long-playing with a little too many sub-plots, but it’s undeniable that the story is engrossing.


GRAN TORINO
Rating: 3/5
Director: Clint Eastwood (Flags of our Fathers, Letters From Iwo Jima)
Starring: Clint Eastwood (grumpy old man)
THEY SAY: Eastwood’s final performance in front of the camera deserves applause.
I SAY: I like it. I had fun watching it. But quite forgettable.


THE WRESTLER
RATING: 1/5
DIRECTOR: Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain)
STARRING:
Mickey Rourke (has-been wrestler)
Marisa Tomei (compassionate stripper)
Rachel Evan Wood (daddy’s girl no more)
THEY SAY: Rourke is the comeback kid of 2008.
I SAY: Physically and emotionally demanding role for Rourke, but Penn is still deserving of that Oscar. The movie? Poof! Boooring!
JAY
RATING: 4/5
DIRECTOR: Francis Xavier Pasion (directorial debut)
STARRING:
Baron Geisler (Cinemalaya 2008 Best Actor)
Coco Martin (didn’t take his clothes off this time)
THEY SAY: Cinemalaya 2008’s top film among other accolades.
I SAY: An interesting depiction of the way media fabricates the truth and an expose of the obsession of everyday Juan’s to 15 minutes of fame.

PLONING
RATING: 2/5
DIRECTOR: Dante Nico Garcia (directorial debut)
STARRING:
Judy Ann Santos (emotionally-distant and hopelessly hopeful)
Gina Pareño (hysterical because of salt)
Mylene Dizon (younger Tessie)
Tessie Tomas (older Mylene)
Meryll Soriano (expendable role)
Eugene Domingo (Best Actress in a Bed-Ridden Role)
THEY SAY: One of the best Filipino films of 2008 and the Philippines’ submission to the Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film Category.
I SAY: What’s the fuss about? It’s nowhere near the word ‘best’. Hokey, slow, and pretentious.
GOMORRAH
RATING: 1/5
DIRECTOR: Matteo Garrone (The Taxidermist)
STARRING: (Everyone’s Italian and I don’t know even a single soul.)
THEY SAY: Festival de Cannes Jury Grand Prize winner. Harrowing depiction of organized crime.
I SAY: Tedious to watch and difficult to follow.

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (LÅT DEN RÄTTE KOMMA IN)
RATING: 3/5
DIRECTOR: Tomas Alfredson (no idea what other movies he directed)
STARRING:
Kåre Hedebrant (bullied by classmates, in love with a vampire)
Lina Leandersson (12 years old for a long, long time)
THEY SAY: One of the best foreign films of 2008.
I SAY: Moody atmosphere, controlled pacing, and inexplicably charming.



AMERICAN BEAUTY
RATING: 4/5
DIRECTOR: Sam Mendes (Road to Perdition, Revolutionary Road)
STARRING:
Kevin Spacey (sex-crazed daddy)
Annette Benning (career-crazy mommy)
Mena Suvari (raging hormones)
Thora Birch (rebellious daughter)
Wes Bentley (pot smoker, psycho, and drama king)
THEY SAY: Winner of 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture:
I SAY: A tale about the dysfunctional suburbs that reminds us to look closer and see through the veil.



BURN AFTER READING
RATING: 1/5
DIRECTOR: Ethan and Joel Coen (No Country for Old Men)
STARRING:
Brad Pitt (is Benjamin Button)
John Malcovich (is also Benjamin Button… during infancy)
George Clooney (is Michael Clayton)
Tilda Swinton (is the Oscar-wining actress from “Michael Clayton”)
Frances McDormand (is an Oscar winner)
Richard Jenkins (is an Oscar nominee)
THEY SAY: Clever comedy/thriller.
I SAY: Just a bunch of respected actors acting ridiculous and silly.



SHAKE, RATTLE, AND ROLL X
RATING: 2/5
DIRECTOR: Topel Lee (Ouija, My Kuya’s Wedding) and Mike Tuviera (The Promise)
STARRING:
Mylene Dizon, Wendell Ramos, Roxanne Guinoo, and JC De Vera (for “Emergency)
Kim Chiu, Gerald Anderson, and Jean Garcia (for “Class Picture”)
Marian Rivera, Diana Zubiri, and Pekto (for “Nieves”)
THEY SAY: An MMFF staple that’s already tired and aging.
I SAY: Still a letdown, but “Nieves” episode is undeniably hilarious.



IRON MAN
RATING: 3/5
Director: Jon Favreau (Zathura, Elf)
Starring:
Robert Downey Jr. (playboy millionaire)
Gwyneth Paltrow (foxy assistant)
Terrence Howard (and who the hell is he again?)
THEY SAY: 2008’s most explosive superhero movie after “The Dark Knight”.
I SAY: Not as good as everyone is saying. Why am I in the minority?


4 comments:

grim raper said...

gawd. your reviews stink. rachel getting married not outstanding? the wrestler boring? ploning pretentious? what movie impresses you ba? house of wax?

Fidel Antonio Medel said...

To each his own. Go write your own blog then.

What movie impressed me? Requiem For a Dream, Atonement, Dancer in the Dark, etc.

Not because you like something, the whole world should agree with you.

grim raper said...

atonement? that film was laughable. i'd rather watch the english patient anytime.

and yeah i agree with you that if you like something everyone should agree with you. to each his own d b? but my god? the wrestler? rachel getting married? unbelievable!

Fidel Antonio Medel said...

Well, that's you. And by the way, I didn't say "Rachel Getting Married" is a bad movie. But "Ploning" and "The Wrestler", a complete waste of MY time.

Some go gaga over "Twilight" and "High School Musical". Some dig "Mulholland Drive" and "Inland Empire". Kanya-kanya lang yan, ok?

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