2010 Advance Warning (#1-5)

5. Burlesque
Directed by: Steven Antin
Starring: Christina Aguilera, Cher, Stanley Tucci, Kristin Bell, Cam Gigandet

Let me get this out of the way. It is unfair that Christina is getting all the flak for this film. Admittedly, Burlesque has the makings of a major, major stinkeroo but let’s give Christina a chance. Let’s hold our judgment till we see if she can hold a candle against Cher . Then let’s decide whether Burlesque will score zero like Nine or razzle dazzle like Chicago . Nevertheless, I’m watching this film because of her. Musicals need REAL singers. I rest my case.

4. The Social Network
Directed by: David Fincher (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fight Club)
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield

It’s the Facebook movie! We all wanna know how the world’s most popular social networking site came about. We can trace its roots back to Harvard University where some geeks just want to be cool. What transpired after that involves naked women, cocaine use, billion-dollar lawsuits, and the unfriending of two friends.

3. Love and Other Drugs
Directed by: Edward Zwick (Blood Diamond, The Last Samurai)
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway

Jake is a ladies’ man. He meets his match in Anne. They are on sexy time mode 50% of the time. But she has Parkinson’s! Is she going to die? I don’t know. This looks predictable and cheesy. But Jake and Anne’s chemistry is so palpable that I’ll accept whatever they throw my way. Besides, we all need a cheesy rom-com every once in a while. I’m sold.

2. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Directed by: Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead)
Starring: Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, Brandon Routh

This epic tale of epic epicness is so awesome that the most awesomely outrageous films aren’t awesomely outrageous enough in comparison. Scott Pilgrim, our geek-hero, must defeat the not-so-awesome seven evil exes of her awesome new girlfriend in order to win her heart. If that plot alone doesn’t sound awesome enough for you, then you’re better off with the glittery Edward Cullen and slutty Bella Swan. Btw, I just heard a confeeeermed rumor (but a rumor nonetheless) that Scot Pilgrim will not be shown here. How fucked up is that? We getVampires Suck and Twilight, but no Scott Pilgrim. Man, give me a break!

1. Black Swan
Directed by: Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler)
Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder

It’s no secret that Requiem for a Dream is my most favorite film of all time. Aronofsky’s adaptation of the Hubert Selby’s novel is a work of a true master. So naturally, I am expecting a lot from Aronofsky’s latest. After seeing Black Swan’s trailer, my expectations are now off the roof. Black Swan doesn’t look like your typical drama about rival ballerinas (not that we have plenty of that). It has psychological thriller, lesbianism, body mutilation, and identity crisis written all over it. Black Swan is the hottest ticket during the Venice Film Festival, where it was chosen as opening film.

Early reviews from Venice are mostly positive. They are raving over the stellar supporting cast, Natalie Portman’s unhinged performance as lead (I smell a Best Actress trophy), and Aronofsky’s direction that resembles the best work of David Cronenberg and Roman Polanski. To say that I’m excited to see this film is a gross understatement.

I will be posting other 2010 releases that did not make the cut. 2010 is shaping up to be a promising year for film.

Which films are you most excited about? Hit the comments section for your… uhmmm… comments.

Sa'yo Lamang & Despicable Me

Sa'yo Lamang
Director: Laurice Guillen (
Tanging Yaman, I Love You Goodbye)
Starring: Bea Alonzo, Lorna Tolentino, Christopher de Leon, Coco Martin, Enchong Dee, Miles Ocampo, Shaina Magdayao

Sa'yo Lamang is a modern take on Tanging Yaman, not that the latter should be modernized because it's so last decade. Oh wait, Tanging Yaman was shown last decade. There are many similarities between the two: the title that pertains to a religious song, the broken family, the sick matriarch, the ensemble treatment, and the central themes of forgiveness and faith. However, Sa'yo Lamang is like a little sister trying to follow the footsteps of her successful older sister.

I'm not saying that Sa'yo Lamang is no good. There is just nothing new. But it's better than any of the rom-coms Star Cinema has produced this year. The central drama (the one that involves the dutiful eldest daughter) is strong and the characters are beautifully flawed. Just five minutes into the movie, you'll hear members of the audience sobbing because of Bea Alonzo's cussword scene with Christopher de Leon. This is Bea's acting vehicle and best work to date. A real tear-jerker.

Rating: 3/5

Despicable Me

Director: Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud
Featuring the voices of: Steve Carrell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews

If you look into the dictionary to search for the meaning of the word despicable, you won't find anything that will describe this film. There is nothing vile or mean or awful or despicable about Despicable Me. Instead, the film is funny and adorable and touching and charming. Despite some slapstick, its overall humor is solid and the characters are memorable: the bidang-kontrabida Gru, the minions, and three girls (most especially Agnes).

Rating: 3.5/5

2010 Advance Warning (#6-10)

10. I Am Love (Io Sono L'amore)
Directed by: Luca Guadagnino
Starring: Tilda Swinton

2 words. 12 letters. Tilda Swinton. After her miracle work in Julia, I’ll watch Tilda recite lines from the bible. It doesn’t hurt that her new film is a gorgeous but tragic love story that revels on her unearthly beauty and the stunning locales of Milan . Truly, Tilda is looooove.

9. Never Let Me Go
Directed by: Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo)
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Kiera Knightley, Andrew Garfield, Sally Hawkins

Based on Kazuo Ishiguro’s acclaimed novel, Never Let Me Go is described as a haunting and poignant story about love and death. The trailer suggests that it’s a coming-of-age story and a three-way love story, but online sources claim that there is a sci-fi aspect to the story. That’s when I stopped searching so as not to spoil it for myself. But now I’m itching to know what the grand mystery is. My wild guess is that they are clones or robots or aliens from another galaxy.

8. The Housemaid (Hanyo)
Directed by: Im Sang-Soo (The President’s Last Bang, The Old Garden )
Starring: Do-yeon Jeon, Jung-Jae Lee, Seo Woo, Yeo-Jong Yun

This erotically-charged remake of the 1960’s Korean classic was screened at Cannes to mixed reactions. Despite rants that The Housemaid is a sleazy and soapy update of the original, my anticipation is still high especially after seeing the trailer below. The Housemaid remains intriguing, sexy, and irresistible.

7. Enter the Void
Directed by: Gaspar Noe (Irreversible, I Stand Alone)
Starring: Nathaniel Brown, Paz de la Huerta,

There are still plenty of films from last year’s Cannes that I haven’t seen like Xavier Dolan’s I Killed My Mother, Lou Ye’s Spring Fever, Tsai Ming-Lai’s Visage, and Chris Chong Chan Fui’s Karaoke. But standing high above everything else is Noe’s psychedelic, visceral, neon-lighted, mind-fuck of a film. Some critics even compared it to the iconic 2001: A Space Odyssey. When will I get my hands on this film? Lord, please make it soon.

6. Blue Valentine
Directed by: Derek Cianfrance
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams

Blue Valentine charts the unmaking of a relationship through the passage of time. Ryan and Michelle play the young couple trying to salvage their disintegrating marriage. The film, screened in Sundance and Cannes to great acclaim, is poised to be the relationship drama to beat in this year’s awards season. This gives me the same vibe as Revolutionary Road and for that reason alone, I’m bracing myself to be mesmerized.

Up Next: Evil exes, evil geeks, and an evil bird


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