#film

Just okay: Reviewing The Fault in Our Stars

 

Director: Josh Boone
Screenplay: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Natt Wolf, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, Willem Dafoe, Lotte Verbeek

(WARNING: Some spoilers ahead. Tread with caution if you haven’t read the book or watched the movie.)

The book was better than the movie.

There! I’ve said it. Don’t hate me.

The Fault In Our Stars, adapted from a novel written by John Green, follows the story of cancer-stricken teenager, Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley). She meets a cancer survivor, Augustus Waters, in a support group her parents forced her to attend because she is “depressed.” They fall in love in that way that will make you fall in love with them as well; the threats to their beautiful existence being cancer and the death it may bring, particularly in Hazel’s case, considering that she was very sick at the time, and Augustus was in remission. However, after amazing things have happened, Augustus tells Hazel that his PET scan “lit up like a Christmas tree,” this being the twist to the entire plot. It was Augustus who was dying, after all.

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The Immigrant is an artistically-created modern tragedy

Director: James Gray
Writers: James Gray & Richard Menello
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, & Jeremy Renner

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The twenties is a time that has a special place in American history — it is the decade when America experienced economic growth and this subsequently led to higher standards of living, flourishing of culture, and rapid social transformation. This period dubbed as “The Roaring Twenties” cemented the United States’ prominence and had ultimately reified what is known as “the American dream” — the dream that many people in the world still aspire.

At the same time, however, this period also witnessed a drastic downward shift in the social and moral disposition of the American people, epitomized by the yearning to defy the Prohibition and laws which restricted the influx of immigrants into the country. It is in this tumultuous setting that a powerful narrative is breathed into yet another excellent period piece — James Gray’s The Immigrant (2013).

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AIDS is a battle yet to be won: Review of The Normal Heart

Director: Ryan Murphy
Screenplay: Larry Kramer
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons, Joe Mantello, Jonathan Groff, Alfred Molina

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The timing of The Normal Heart’s television premiere couldn’t be more perfect: it was shown at a time when AIDS cases are gradually but steadily increasing in the Asia-Pacific region. And although AIDS may not be the biggest problem of most countries in the West right now, it remains a situation that is still left unresolved.

The Normal Heart has reminded us of the brutal reality that AIDS is still something we must fear. (more…)

JOIN MNL FILM CLUB!

MNL Film Club is looking for another pop culture buff who is willing (and passionate enough) to write reviews of movies and TV shows. If you are a Filipino film or tv show enthusiast, send us a brief essay (not longer than 800 words) about any topic in pop culture that changed your life.

Send in your entries to mnlfilmclub@gmail.com. We’ll be waiting!

Submarine is a subtle charmer

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Director: Richard Ayoade
Screenplay by: Richard Ayoade
Cast: Craign Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Noah Taylor, Paddy Considine, Sally Hawkins

I came to know about Submarine because I was (and still am) obsessed with Alex Turner and the Arctic Monkeys. I found out that there was this coming-of-age film with a soundtrack written entirely by Alex Turner during the pre-Suck It And See era; it signified the change in sound Arctic Monkeys was headed towards, from its indie rock garage band roots.

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Days of Future Past is a smart, worthy addition to the X-Men canon

Director: Bryan Singer
Screenplay:
 Simon Kinberg 
Cast: 
Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart

The scandalous allegations plaguing Director Bryan Singer aren’t enough to deny the fact that X-Men: Days of Future Past is a sleek, bold and intelligent film that can go down as one of the finest superhero films in history.

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Godzilla marks the kaiju king’s return in fighting form

Director: Gareth Edwards
Screenplay: Max Borenstein
Cast:  Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn

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There’s a good reason why many of us are apprehensive about the new Godzilla movie: we’ve had our fair share of bad flicks adapted from the so-called king of all kaijus. The perfect example of this would be the godawful 1998 franchise whose only achievement was casting the (still) dreamy Matthew Broderick.

So how did Godzilla’s return to the big screen fare? To put it mildly, like the titular character at the end of the film, it reigned supreme. (more…)

What happens in Last Vegas, should stay in Las Vegas

Director: Jon Turteltaub
Writer: Dan Fogelman
Cast:  Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, Mary Stenburgen

Nothing could be as heart-wrenching as seeing an amazing ensemble of award-winning actors trying to resuscitate a plot line that is as predictable as your next intake of medicine.

Maybe the producers of Last Vegas thought that by placing Oscar-winning actors in a supposed comedy, they could pull off box office success, regardless of having worn-out jokes and tired punch lines concerning Viagra, hip replacements, and body pains. But these respectable actors could only do so much and this movie, which could be seen as a GP version of the Hangover trilogy, has failed to deliver on its promise of being a comedy.

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Revisiting life’s heartbreaks in Forrest Gump

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With film adaptations of popular young adult novels coming one after another, we once again experience the two-edged power of the page and of the screen. But there’s more to book-to-screens beyond imaginary worlds, exciting action, and young love. This May, we dig deeper into a favorite theme in literature and film — coming-of-age. Grab some tissue because here are some book-to-screens that would break your hearts and make you cry.


Director: Robert Zemeckis
Screenplay: Eric Roth, based on Forrest Gump by Winston Groom
Cast: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise, Mykelti Williamson, and Sally Field

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We all have regarded Forrest Gump (1994) as the kind of movie to watch with our families on a fine Sunday morning — touching, heartfelt, and inspiring. And much has been said about the film’s heartwarming screenplay and Tom Hanks’ impeccable performance as the iconic protagonist (let the six Oscars speak to you). But a second (or third or fourth) look at this film would make us realize that Forrest’s life is a reminder that life has its fair share of happiness and heartbreaks. Anyway, as what Forrest’s momma always said, “Life [is] like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

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Join MNL Film Club!

MNL Film Club is looking for another pop culture buff who is willing (and passionate enough) to write reviews of movies and TV shows. If you are a Filipino film or tv show enthusiast, send us a brief essay (not longer than 800 words) about any topic in pop culture that changed your life.

Send in your entries to mnlfilmclub@gmail.com. We’ll be waiting!