Archive for the ‘Movie Reviews’ Category

Movie Review: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Some time ago, I caught the trailer of the movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. Something Tom Hanks’ character said struck me back then. He said “If things were easy to find, they wouldn’t be worth finding“. From then on, I knew I wanted to catch the movie when it came out and so when I was sent an invitation by my friends at Warner Bros. to catch the press screening of the film, I made sure I’d be able to watch.

photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

The movie is adapted from Jonathan Safran Foer’s bestselling novel with the same title about a young boy’s search for meaning after the loss of his dear father during the 9-11 attack on New York City. After what he deems as “The Worst Day”, Oskar Schell (played by Thomas Horn), struggles with the loss of a father whom he had a wonderful relationship with as he deals with the trauma and confusion brought by circumstances. Adding to his difficulty is the fact that he is quite different and socially inept.  Although the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center is a central figure to the storyline, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is definitely not just another movie about the tragedy. The film gives viewers a different perspective at the event.

The film also sheds some light on different thinkers, and even Aspergers Disorder, as it gives viewers a chance to see things from their point of view. In the film, Oskar is an extremely intelligent child but is highly eccentric, obsessive, socially inept and anxious. As the film progresses, he narrates how he feels, what goes on in his mind and what happens to him as these come and go.

What really stuck with me, however, was the message of loving and letting go, and about how deeply unconditional love can be. The relationships between Oskar and his parents, his grandmother and The Renter were also beautiful to watch and explore.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close opens today in local theaters.



All Set for a Game of Shadows with Sherlock Holmes

As promised, this blog is going back to it’s blogger roots and will be doing more product features, movie reviews and the like. My yoga and other self-discoveries have now found their homes in their own respective niches so I from now on, I will be a little more true to the tagline of this site…life’s hits and misses as blogged by yapatoots 🙂 I hope to see you here more often!

Anyway, to get the ball rolling, let me start off with a little feature on the upcoming Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. The other day I got to catch the screening of the flick and it was such a great way to start of the year! From the very beginning all the way to the end, I was literally at the edge of my seat with all the heart-pounding action. Seriously 🙂

The movie, which is set to open in Philippine theaters tomorrow, January 8, brings the dynamic tandem of Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, respectively. Their chemistry on screen and comedic timing really brings such fun to the movie!

The movie takes viewers back to old time London with Holmes and Watson teaming up again to unravel another mystery as he tries to put together pieces of a puzzle that seemingly is tied to his greatest foe, Professor James Moriarty. The story then takes him from London to France, Germany and on to Switzerland. At the cusp of the modern age, the story also taps into the emergent industrial revolution and modern war weaponry.

Besides Downey and Law, Rachel McAdams likewise reprises her role as Holmes’ love interest,  Irene Adler. The film also features Jared Harris as Professor Moriarty, Noomi Rapace as the gypsy Simza, Stephen Fry as Mycroft, and Kelly Reilly as Mary, John Watson’s wife.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is directed by Guy Ritchie and is released by Warner Bros. Philippines.





Contagion: Like a Wildfire in a Bush

Last night (at long last!) I got to catch movie night with several of my blogger friends. I was so glad to have had the chance to see the press screening of the upcoming movie, Contagion, and yes, even if I was sneezy and wheezy (but not contagious I promise!) I made sure to make my way to the Mall of Asia Imax theater for the screening. I was extra glad to have been invited to see the movie because flicks like this one are really the kinds of movies I like watching.

The film features big name stars Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kate Winslet in a thriller film that is quite timely and relevant especially given the recent threat of the new strain of bird flu in this part f the world. Contagion is a film about the spread of a deadly epidemic and the CDC/World Health Organizations quest to find out more about the deadly virus and how it can be contained.

I must say it was quite a captivating movie, although admittedly, the plot lines are somewhat familiar and a wee bit predictable. Think Outbreak with Morgan Freeman and Rene Russo of years ago. Nonetheless it still is an good film to watch. I like how the film was not too “pretty” (for lack of a better word! teehee) and that the actors didn’t seem to mind looking old and wrinkly and not-so-pretty. I guess making them look that way really captured the emotions of the film even more. Even the costumes and wardrobe was quite simple (but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t nice! hehe. I loved Marion Cotillards outfits, after all. But yeah, the hospital workers had traditional suits on and no wink scrubs to make it look cute or what not haha). To some degree it kind of reminded me to focus on the basics and be reminded of the goodness of the human spirit. And of how life can indeed be quite short. Lastly, I like how the movie posed very interesting points about the medical profession, pharmaceutical companies and government agencies when it comes to dealing with biohazards such as live viruses, as well as the role social media plays (weee…my thesis is relevant after all mwahaha) in the spreading of information like a wildfire in a bush, so to speak.

Contagion is distributed by Warner Bros. and is set to open today in cinemas around the city.

Oh oh oh…but the major disappointment of the film was this….

Jude Law 🙁 No, not his acting (and yes, I do love the fact that he was a blogger haha!) but but but….he was not as gwapo as usual. Teeheehee.


It All Ends Here: Harry Potter’s Grand Finale

The beloved Harry Potter series finally comes to a close with the release of the final franchise of it’s film installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this Thursday, July 14, 2011. It is a bittersweet end for many of the Potter fans who have followed the story from it’s very beginning, whether in book or movie format.



Tonight I got to catch the press screening of the film (thank you Warner Bros., Philippines :)) and I guess I can sum it up with these words: Harry Potter was amazingly breathtaking, captivating and enchanting 🙂 And yes, it is soooo worth it to see it in 3D format.

I’m sure many of you are more familiar with the story than I am (yes, I am not a big fan of the written series hehe…but the movies I loooove!) so I won’t bother to try to explain the story or whatnot (plus you may just hate me for accidentally giving out a spoiler or two, right?) so I will go with this instead. While driving home from the screening this evening, it dawned on me that the film reminded me of 7 very important life lessons:

1. In general, no amount of planning ahead is ever enough. Ergo: always leave room for spontaneity.

2. You always have a choice, even if it means choosing between a rock and a hard place. Despite that, however, the rock and the hard place, always have surprises in store.

3. Sometimes, people just surprise you.

4. Just as the song goes, you always get by with a little help from your friends. Whether or not you realize it. Or want it for that matter 🙂

5. Like I said in my last blog post, sometimes all you really need to do is ask .

6. All good things really do come to an end, but it isn’t all gone…perhaps it just evolves and becomes something better, even if you don’t see it at the moment.

7. Lastly, even if things change and people go separate directions, what is truly essential always, always, always remains intact.

And so while the curtain falls on Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, as well as all the other characters from Hogwarts, it’s magic will live on in many hearts forever.

Catch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 in cinemas starting Thursday, July 14 🙂 Like I said, 3D, well worth it!!! 🙂 Pre-purchase your tickets NOW!!!


Befriending the Black Swan

Sometimes it amazes me how seemingly unrelated things coincide so perfectly. Take for example my yoga practice and how it mirrors certain life events that I go through. Even the poses that I struggle with or fall in love with for that matter are polar opposites.

Tonight I felt my breath get caught in my throat again at one of these synchronous realizations. I was watching the film Black Swan.

The Black Swan offers viewers a psychological twist to the old classic, Swan Lake. In the film, a flailing ballet company aims to recapture its audience by introducing a new star to the company as their prima ballerina Beth, played by Winona Ryder, retires. The stunningly beautiful but demure Nina Sayers, played by Natalie Portman, is chosen to play the role of the Swan Queen in the company’s opening production. She is presented with the task of playing both the polar opposite roles of the White and the Black Swans with precision.

As Nina works on the role she finds herself face to face with her dark side, something she must befriend in order to let go and find her place on the dance stage.

See….so many of my latest posts on this blog has been about that….making space for the dark side, taking time out to be in the uncomfortable and the quiet and the not-so-good necessary pains that come my way. Then this film comes along. I think it was just last night, in fact, when I said I have to learn how to befriend certain feelings that come my way and so this movie came at yet another apt time.

The film was quite interesting and captivating, I must say. However, I particularly did not like the style of cinematography as it was quite “shaky”. The twists and turns in the story, and a few of the very vivid scenes, definitely left me at the edge of my seat.

The filmhas earned major nominations in the Golden Globes Awards including Best Motion Picture (Drama), Best Director (Darren Aronofsky), Best Actress (Natalie Portman) and Best Supporting Actress (Mila Kunis) and is set to grace Philippine theaters on February 23, 2011. Audiences can also catch the two-day sneak preview of the film on Feb. 14 and 15 in Metro Manila, Cebu, Bohol, Baguio, Pampanga, Cagayan, Angeles, Davao, Iloilo and Bacolod theaters.

Looking at Life as We Know It in All New Lenses

This morning I posted a message on  Plurk that read  “Good Morning!”

A dear friend of mine commented, “morning! may good!”. I paused for a minute and tried to figure out what she meant by it, then I realized that I often just Plurk “morning”, especially when I cannot find the good in the morning. In fact, once I even went as far as posting “morning. morning lang, wala pa siyang good  (morning. just morning because there’s no good in it)”.

For today, I did not really think about what I posted, I just went with what felt right and it wasn’t till it was pointed out that perhaps, even unconsciously, I am really making strides in reframing the way I think about things around me. After some mulling it over, I replied to her and said, yes, there is good. I am making it a point to find the good in every morning no matter what.

Where is this all coming from? No, don’t worry, dear readers, this is not another Eat Pray Love review or reaction.

Life As We Know It starring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel opens in local cinemas on October 20, 2010. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

I came to the conclusion that we really need to look at the world with all new lenses from the upcoming romantic comedy, “Life As We Know It” which stars Katherin Heigl and Josh Duhamel. The story begins with a blind date from hell between  Holly (Heigl) and Messer (Duhamel) after their best friends set them up. From then on, the two were always at odds and since they loved their best friends to bits, they had no choice but to be in the same places and events a lot of the time. Until one day they received the devastating news that their friends had died and that they were named the guardians of their orphaned daughter Sophie. From then on, life as they knew it flew out the window.

Life As We Know It is a wonderfully funny, human look (yes, for a comedy, I have to say it is very real!) at how life sometimes throws you curve balls and all you can do is really just laugh and breathe through it, then reframe the way of thinking about it because holding on to the way things were in the past really won’t work anymore. Unlike a typical chick flick or mindless romantic comedy, this one was full of real emotions and lessons that really reminded me of what is important which is why I loved it so much. It wasn’t all cheesy, it wasn’t all funny, but it was just so real (gah…I think I used real to many times in describing this film, ya think???) Read the rest of this entry »

What’s Your Word? (and more Eat Pray Love reflections)

broken bits and pieces, useless it seems, but when put together, make a beautiful whole

This morning a friend of mine posed the question that Liz Gilbert was asked in part of her story, Eat Pray Love. What is your word? If you asked me this months ago, I probably would have taken a long time to answer. However, today, the answer came so spontaneously that it surprised even me. Well, I have to admit that I did write something in my own Eat Pray Love movie review before the question was asked, which actually made me reflect on my own healing journey a couple of years back.

So today when she asked that, I immediately said my word is “mosaic”. Why? Well, this is how i see my word: I am a mix of broken and imperfect pieces that makes a perfectly beautiful whole.

As I shared in my last post, I discovered mosaics during a difficult period in my life and the inspiration for that actually came from one of those contemporary coffee tables that Rachael Ray always talks about or features in her show. I was also in a beach once where there were mosaic tiles around the coffee tables which inspired me to explore making mosaics.

So from there, I found my word. And for me, I think it is perfect.

Embracing the Broken to Make A Whole (and an Eat Pray Love Movie Review)

Eat Pray Love. Photo courtesy of Columbia Pictures

In a recent post, I wrote about how Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert has been one of the most pivotal and life changing stories I had read in the last few years. While some may say the story is a little self-indulgent, I feel that the story speaks volumes to me, in many different levels and ways. When I read (or should I say re-read) it when I am on a low point, it picks me up. On better days, it makes me reflect on what I have, and on really good days, it allows me to appreciate myself and the world around me. Whatever the message is, however, it always, always seems to come at the perfect time.

And as always, last night was no exception. I was finally able to catch the film adaptation of the story, which starred Julia Roberts and I walked away from the theater sighing a happy sigh.

I truly enjoyed the film, although admittedly, like most book-to-movie films, there were bits and pieces in the book that I would have wished to see but didn’t. In the same way, there were elements that were portrayed differently from the way I imagined it when reading. Nonetheless, I loved it. Not only do I love the story to begin with, I also love any film Julia Roberts, so that was surely an added bonus. I loved how real her performance was, and how I could really feel and become engaged with the character. It’s funny, though…while watching it I would catch myself seeing myself in many, many situations and discussions she was having with herself and others. There were scenes too that were too “real”  to me…real because it reminded me very much of conversations over margaritas and little synchronous moments I personally have been experiencing in the last few months with very special people around me. Like I said, Eat Pray Love always seems to give me messages at just the right time 🙂

One of my favorite lines in the movie (okay, for my dear readers who complain about spoilers, I apologize if you consider this as one, but I don’t think it is 🙂 ) goes: ” Ruin is a gift; ruin is the road to transformation”.  That struck a chord deep in me because just recently, I found myself looking back at a difficult time in my life. A period in which I allowed myself to explore the artist in me, and during that time I found comfort and solace in working on that art. One of the most cathartic and meaningful things I did then was to take some chipped and imperfect vases and dishes that, because of their flaws, were no longer functional, but for some reason, I couldn’t throw away. So one day, I took them and smashed them to tiny pieces. From there, I picked up the bits and pieces that I liked and put them together in a mosaic to make new and more beautiful things that worked for me and by embracing that brokenness, I was able to make a better whole. Yes, by welcoming the ruins, I paved the way for transformation.

Today I embrace all that is broken and damaged and imperfect in me and sigh in contentment knowing that these are what make me better, for me and all those who are around me.

*happy happy sigh of contentment*

Eat Pray Love opens in Philippine cinemas on October 6, 2010 and is released by Columbia Pictures. This is surely one of those movies I wouldn’t mind watching over and over. Much as the book has found a way into my heart, so has this movie 🙂