Monday, November 17, 2008


Passengers is a film about a therapist who investigates the cause behind the disappearance of plane crash survivors.

The script is marvelous, save for some glitches that need a lot of clarifying to do because plot development is not sufficient. "Get Smart" leading lady Anne Hathaway is superb in this movie and so is Patrick Wilson.

Passengers is truly a mystery movie with a human heart. The warmth of its message that time is too short and its invitation to value relationships is so effective. Though there is no explicit mention about the spiritual realm, this film mirrors so effectively the most important thing that goes beyond the material - the mystery of love that envelops us all.

Rating: 4.5/5

Friday, November 14, 2008

Madagascar 2: escape 2 Africa

Madagascar 2 brings again to life the four animal-friends who, together with an original cast of animals, want to return to New York but get sidetracked in Africa.

There must be something lacking in this script that makes one long to watch the first movie. Unlike the Shrek episodes, it seems that it is difficult to sustain the excitement of this second film that it tends to drag. However, the punchlines continue to work.

Madagascar 2 aims to bring out various virtues suitable for persons of all ages. A feel-good movie, children could emulate success stories of friendships, parent-child relationships, and uniqueness. The characters will always be lovable to us.

Rating: 3/5

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Max Payne

Max Payne is a film about a man whose wife and child were brutally murdered and is passionately hunting for the killers.

Set in a fantasy mode, the presentation of Max Payne becomes interesting, almost resembling a horror film. Thus, its visual effects and digital animation are amazing. The main character is projected as a superhero who is always up and about and jumps immediately after a fall. What results is a film meant to entertain.

There is a penchant for violence in this film. It seeks to inform in a visual way what happens to those who are influenced by drugs. But drug addiction goes beyond imaginations and hallucinations - the dignity of life is compromised, and people are relegated to the level of dust. Never, never give in for a second to things that debase human dignity.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

City of Ember

This is a film about two kids wanting to save the city whose generator is failing.

The concept is rather very creative yet it somehow does not meet the expectations of children in fantasy and imagination. The whole world is packaged in a fantasy world yet its presentation is horrifyingly practical, almost as dull as day-to-day life. Probably the challenge is to make each day into an exciting saga; but there is no time to reflect on it in this film.

The City of Ember on the other hand is a truly remarkable film - of hope, sacrifice, and courage. "Pursue your dreams no matter what" echoes throughout the film. There is always a way out of things, and it begins inside our hearts.

Rating: 3.5/5

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tropic Thunder

Tropic thunder is a story of an actor and his team shooting in Vietnam to relive the story of a war survivor, but ends up fighting in a real war.

Ben Stiller produced a film that is composed of comedy, drama, and action. It then becomes confusing how the story would develop. Despite the complexity of the film, it still makes sense. Overall, it is an entertaining film.

"Life is a drama," as the saying goes. But with the blurring of the "real" and the "reel" nowadays, drama reveals life's hidden mysteries. One does not need to "act" or pretend, but to live the reality of the role being acted upon. Yes, the whole concept is confusing, but it is something the Tropic Thunder tries to break into and solve. The lesson is: whether in the "real" or in the "reel", there will always be life, and life is as natural as can be lived.

Just watch out for excessive violence and foul language; this film is not suited for children.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Igor is a digitally animated film about a hunchback slave who wants to show the world that he can aslo be a truly evil scientist.

Inspired from the classic "Frankenstein" novel, Igor is successful in creatively coming up with an alternative - entertaining, wacky, zany, and that which appeals to kids and adults alike.

The only thing I'm concerned about is how the cast is concerned about doing something "evil". Though the real point of the story is to make a satire out of it, being committed to destroying and killing is not a worthy motivation or the main mover of a story.

But the point of the story is still well-taken, and I hope that parents could instruct their children while watching this movie to always aim to do good at all cost. Otherwise, we really would find it hard to identify with the sentiments of this movie or even understand what it's all about.

Rating: 3/5

Friday, October 10, 2008


Mirrors is a film about a man who has unusual encounters with mirrors that he wants to trace the cause and end the nightmare bringing havoc to his family.

The visual and audio effects that make up this horror film are doing their job quite well. Using the same conventions, they never fail to cause the audience to scream or jump from their seats.

On the other hand, the film may work for those who want to be frightened. But for people of faith, Mirrors surely doesn't make any sense. There is no sense of redemption. The power of the evil one over the bodies of peoples to hurt at will is just almost absolute. Worse, man offers himself as a viable alternative to combat evil using his own powers. If there were even a ray of hope from the Source of goodness and light, then the film would pass critical eyes. But Mirrors doesn't offer this alternative.

Rating: 1.5/5

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Disaster Movie

Disaster Movie is a film about a young man experiencing a disaster foretold in his dream.

"Your favorite movies are going to be destroyed." Disaster Movie did just that. This gag movie destroyed everything for a laugh; so there's no use getting serious with this film. The challenge is how to make just a little sense in a nonsensical genre such as this. The only problem is that it did not deliver the laugh it even conceptualized in the first place.

"Laughter is the best medicine." It's just hard to laugh when there's utterly no sense in the object of laughter, when the punch lines and beats just failed to deliver, when the audience desperately tries hard to cooperate by smiling. Every sense is lost forever and watching becomes a waste. Be forewarned in watching this film. You might lose even your common sense.

Rating: 2/5

Eagle Eye

Eagle Eye is a film about a young man who is ordered by a mysterious caller to do things beyond his will and he has to free himself from her powerful grasp.

The script is almost perfect and suspense is at a level high! There's a balance between fast and slow paces. The only thing that bothers is the anti-climactic ending.

There must be a moment when science ends and philosophy begins, for human intelligence to admit its limitations and for faith to proceed. The film aptly reflects this, a timely reminder for man to admit his limited state, proclaim his independence from his own creations, and recognize the gift within - his power to choose what is good and follow it.

Rating: 3.5/5

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Righteous Kill

Righteous Kill is a story about two respected detectives out to hunt a serial killer from among their ranks.

Nobody would dispute the terrific tandem of veteran actors Al Pacino and Robert de Niro. The cinematography, choice of scenes, the music, etc. are all excellent. However, the plot seems to be so thin that it tends to kill the very thrill of the film.

With those who are tasked to uphold the law, they are the ones who violate them and put the law into their own hands. For the sake of real peace and order, may the police force safeguard and observe the law at all times, for no one is above the law. Moreover, human law reflects the Divine law which if lived by all, will be serve the common good and benefit all.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Babylon A.D.

Babylon A.D. is a futuristic film about a mercenary who is paid to deliver a gifted girl safely from Russia to the U.S.

To create an environment of a world devastated by global warming is the greatest challenge of this movie. It is also its greatest advantage. Other than that, the other film aspects are confusing like the cast, the script, and their roles. The film is relying heavily on Vin Diesel's action stunts, nothing more.

It is unfortunate that the concept of the Messiah has to be fabricated, invented, or humanly designed. It is for this reason that this film should be treated with a grain of salt. The human mind may be rich with creativity, but it should also give due regard to existing religious themes that people hold so dearly. Otherwise, enjoy the movie simply because of its entertainment value.

Rating: 2.5/5

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Big Stan

Big Stan is a film about a con man who prepares his life in prison by studying martial arts in order to avoid being raped.

The challenge of films with less costly special effects and elaborate scenes is creating a good script. Admittedly, it is sorely lacking in this film. Though Rob Schneider is a natural at times, in this film he has to exert more effort to save the script, with unnoticeable result. The plot is so thin that the writers have to fabricate another story to make it compelling.

The film is based on the assumption that the prisoners are rapists, molesters, and thieves with a natural inkling to violence; this is what violates the dignity of persons behind bars. Though there an equal power capable of reforming people and this is probably saved the film, still the issue of prisoners should be handled with sensitivity and not just for the sake of comedy. The viewer may just lose his moral sense along the way.

Rating: 2.5/5

Hellboy 2: The golden army

Hellboy 2: The golden army is a film about Hellboy trying to stop a mythical ruler who violates the agreement of peace between mythical and the real world.

The animation is amazing. The characters are products of a creative mind. The plot too is amazing and so too are the transitions and twists in the story.

It is amazing how the world of fantasy is crossed with real world. This is world of children. Unfortunately, there are those who abuse children's gift of imagination and create a nightmare just to bring out an unlikely hero. But who are we to judge the hero based only on what we see? What's more important is the substance within - the strength of character of a person. Thus, Hellboy is created. The usual film adage that "good triumphs over evil" lords over this film.

Rating: 3.5/5

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Death race

Death race is a futuristic film about an innocent man who wants to set things right after he was unjustly put in prison just so that he can participate in a prison-sponsored car race to the death.

The special effects nowadays leave nothing to the imagination, especially the violent scenes. Other than this, the script seems to be compelling enough, motivations are clear, and the cast seemed to put on a good show.

It seems so odd that a correctional facility tasked to administer justice would be the first one to violate it. Such post-structuralist outlook hovers over this film, making imminent the destruction of systems and paradigms. But let's hope this would not apply to man's moral sense, otherwise, we would just be unwisely predicting the death of humankind. For man's free will still enables him to choose what is good, just, and true, eventually, saving other human beings. The assumption of this film regarding mankind's penchant for violence is not true at all.

Rating: 2/5

Friday, August 22, 2008

The mummy: tomb of the dragon emperor

The Mummy: tomb of the dragon emperor is a film about an archaeologist and his family once again discovering mummies this time in China belonging to a dreaded emperor who is out to rule the world for all eternity.

People expect that the 3rd saga of The Mummy would be more exciting, more laden with special effects, and more threatening. It partly addressed these concerns; the only problem is that it may have done it too much. The dragon emperor and his soldiers are way too much for Rick O'Connell to handle. That is why the ending is super anti-climactic. Moreover, who would despise Jet Li? The more he appears, the more the audience loves him than Brendan Fraser (with all due respect to him).

Power is insatiable. But it can also corrupt itself. In this film, adventure just overpowered the value of this story. The message that remains is to just let corruption be buried in the past to be forgotten forever.

Rating: 3/5


WALLE is an digital animated film about a waste-organizing robot who after 700 years has developed human capabilities and desires to meet the female robot of his dreams.

Initially, the main challenge of this film is how to justify the rendering of human elements upon a robot. But who would dare question the world of children and fantasy? The second challenge is to make the film a lot interesting using gestures and not words or lines to communicate. Third is how to utilize the world of digital animation to come up with a truly exciting story for children. Pixar addressed all these with pizazz.

It's a film with a heart. WALLE has the heart much more than human beings have. Much more than objects and functions, the human heart desires to love, and loving makes us truly human. In the end, love is all that matters.

Rating: 5/5

Thursday, August 07, 2008

You don't want to mess with the Zohan

This is a comedy film about an Israeli commando who fakes his own death so he can follow his dream - to be a hairstylist in New York City.

There's a lot of glitch in the script - dragging moments and scenes forced to create conflicts. The general plot may be there, but one tends to be lost in the loopholes of unnecessary scenes. Adam Sandler seemed to sacrifice his name when he starred in this film.

Though this comedy film attacks racial discrimination, it too could be guilty of committing the same mistake. The film may actually harm sensibilities without intending it so. Besides, what's the overindulgence on the male genitalia and sex? On a more positive note however, the film does offer a ray of hope for those who want to live a peaceful and productive life, thus reinforcing the myth of "the great American dream".

Rating: 2.5/5

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight stars Batman once again fighting an equally cunning The Jokeer out to terrorize the whole city.

The script is terrifically crafted to include psychological complexity and technical expertise in planning for crime or eradicating it. I would say that the presentation of human reality is so well-researched that the audience understands the underlying motivation of each character. In the end, both Joker and Batman may have something in common - the "dark" stories of their lives.

Batman will always be a superhero for children. Such may not be the case here due to the disturbing presence of the Joker. The film may harm the children's sensibilities. On the other hand, human reality may also be very vulnerable to people of all ages, with the once good having a capacity to do evil. We all should be alert and watchful where we really stand.

Rating: 3.5/5

Meet Dave

Meet Dave is a story of a man and his crew from another galaxy who go to earth to get an orb that is bound to destroy the planet.

The comedic aspect gives life to the script that is so simple and appealing to children. It is also novel to think that a space craft would take the form of a man. In fact, the entire may also be a needed break for Eddie Murphy's acting career.

Meet Dave is truly admirable for teaching values to children - uniqueness, friendship, and a host of other seamlessly integrated in the script. Thus, this film in its simplicity could also be unique and special.

Rating: 3.5/5

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Journey to the center of the earth

Journey to the center of the earth is a film about a man who in discovering the notes of his lost brother makes it to the center of the earth!

First converted to film in 1959, Journey to the center of the earth never fails to amaze the audience. Its simple script is comprehensible to children and the digital animation is excellent. It's a wonderfully entertaining movie for children and adults alike.

Life of adventure still goes on even after the loss of a loved one. Why? Because there will always be others to take care of the ones left behind. And that is what it means to be family.

Rating: 3.5/5

Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia! is film about a young girl who invited 3 men to her wedding to find out who among them was his Dad.

Some of the scenes seemed to drag while Meryl Streep seemed old to play the character of the mother of Sophie. The characters seemed to lack enough motivation for playing their roles. However, the location is excellent to bring the musical out from Broadway plus, the songs of ABBA are all-time classics.

The issue of fatherhood was replaced by the question on the importance of getting married. Eventually, it is love that matters, and real love knows no time.

Rating: 3.5/5

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Kung Fu Panda

Kung Fu Panda is a film about an unlikely candidate destined to be the Dragon Warrior out to protect the temple from its dreaded nemesis.

There is something extra-special about the animation done on the Panda and how cuddly and lovable he turned out to be. He becomes human to be exact, a fete that is hard to do on animation. The thread of the story is excellent; the characterizations are precise. The harmony of all cinematic elements give justice to the entire film, a sure plus for the audience's appreciation.

The values this film espouse are amazing. The treasure of things to be learned inspire the audience. That is why Kung Fu Panda can be a household item. More than the skills and techniques of Kung Fu are the human values inside that really perk up the human spirit - love, acceptance, and faith among others.

Rating: 5/5

Monday, June 23, 2008

Get Smart

Get Smart is a film about an analyst who was long-kept in the main office and now has a break to do actual investigative job.

Casting is superb as Jim Carell gets the main role of a witty but error-ridden agent. There is a danger that he might follow the footsteps of the Pink Panther of even Mr. Bean, but his is far from these two. The comedic lines come out at the right moment; this is truly an entertaining film.

More that solving cases is putting a human element in the world of crimes. Even the hardened criminals are persons who are hurting deep inside. Even those that are tasked to be the good guys have a soft and tender spot inside of them. Thus, this film is recommended for all ages.

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Narnia: Prince Caspian

"Narnia: Prince Caspian" brings back the four children to the world of Narnia a hundred years later to find its people going extinct and the next king in danger of being killed.

The story seemed to drag at the first part but it is important to set the context and define the emotional tone of the story. Overall, the second episode is in complete harmony with the first one if not even better. The music was livelier, the action parts more exciting, and the emotional aspects are more engaging.

The Narnia series, carefully written by C. S. Lewis, contain rich symbolisms that transcend time and bring out the "eternal." The role of Aslan's unfolds more meaningfully as the one who keeps the peace, order, and the harmony between the humans and the "other-worldly." As every human is in danger of losing his innocence, his invited to see things through the eyes of a child and recover what was kept hidden through the ages.

Rating: 5/5

Monday, June 02, 2008

What happens in Vegas

"What happens in Vegas" is a film about a hurriedly married couple who after winning a jackpot in Las Vegas wants the loot for himself/herself.

Developing a comedic script for two superstars could really be challenging. Nevertheless, what came out was a masterpiece for Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher. Though there were spectacular loopholes in script, the film would be commended for its entertainment value.

On the moral plain, it's almost impossible for two people to risk their lives to get married after exchanging debaucheries for about four hours. But in real life, there are those who actually don't know what they're getting themselves into and yet jump in sea of married life. So as to warn against trivializing the sanctity of marriage, this film is not recommended for the young viewers.

Rating: 3/5

Saturday, May 24, 2008


In the review "Indiana Jones", "wife and "skull" should have been written as "wife and son".

My humble apologies!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones is at it again after 10 years - still savvy and alert. Together with his wife and skull, he embarks on a journey to Peru in search of the crystal skull that unlocks all secrets and knowledge.

It's back to memory lane for the producers and audience of Indiana Jones, but this time, the digital special effects blend seamlessly with the whole picture. The music is alive as was before. Most of all, Harrison Ford is a true Indiana Jones classic no matter what time or place he is in.

The same reality lies underneath every Indiana Jones episode. For this one, it is greed and covetousness. But important than these is the triumph of love and family, the real treasures of life.

Rating: 3/5

Monday, April 28, 2008

Strange Wilderness

Strange Wilderness is a film about a TV host of the same title who has to save the show from being removed from the station's programs.

Poorly written, this film is for those who opt for mindless viewing. Thriving on senseless themes and vulgar language, it is not recommended for young viewers. It may also insult the sensibilities of the adults.

There has more to using humor to entertain than Strange Wilderness.

Rating: 2/5

Monday, April 21, 2008

Superhero Movie

Superhero Movie is a parody of a popular superhero film "Spiderman", only that in this case, it's "the Dragonfly" and his misadventures.

This film belonging to the "Scary Movie" family is consistent with their conventions of humor - from the ridiculous and hilarious to "toilet" jokes. It could be useful for those who want simply to be entertained, no more, no less. However, it could be a good break for Nickelodeon actor Drake Bell as he appears animated and natural.

Films made in the name of humor and mindless watching do not exempt them from their moral responsibilities. That is why "Superhero Movie" needs parental guidance, for the young viewers to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy humor. It would be better if after watching, the audience would come out not only entertained, but learned something good as well. Superhero Movie doesn't offer anything inspiring in the field of humor.

Rating: 3/5

The Forbidden Kingdom

The Forbidden Kingdom is a film about a young American who is unexpectedly entrusted the task to deliver the legendary stick to imprisoned Monkey King back in ancient China.

The script is excellently written for action stars Jet Lee and Jacky Chan. Michael Argano's role as the American teen-age Jason is properly defined so as not to shift attention away from these two excellent actors. The whole production is well-done, more particularly, the music and special effects. Overall, it is a seamless masterpiece.

It is a challenge to uphold native cultural values while merging it with other cultures. More than Martial arts which is a source of entertainment for some and source of discipline for others, the film contains values that the Chinese hold so dearly which could be shared to the rest of the world as well. The timeless adage of the triumph of good over evil is always an inspiration for all people to pursue the good and realize it in their lives.

Film rating: 3.5/5

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Horton hears a who?

Dr. Seuss' Horton hears a who? is a story of an elephant who discovers life in a speck of a flower and he does everything to protect it.

This simply amazing film captures everything the mind could imagine - seamless script, fast but comprehensible story pace, enjoyable animation, and excellent beat. There's never a dull moment in this film and the music heightens the emotion. It's entertainingly compelling to people of all ages, but especially tailored for children.

From the world of talking animals and fantastically smaller worlds, the film orients us to a greater harmony that should exist among all persons whether "big" or "small". As Horton would always remark, "After all, a person is a person, no matter how small." Funny how it seems, but this film would also be an excellent material to introduce us to the world beyond what we can actually see; a world where faith counts a lot. Faith is to believe in a greater reality outside of us that is protecting us; to hint, it is the world of the Divine. But it is also works inwards when we believe in us and in others. If we give ourselves and others a chance to do and be good, existence in this world would truly be more meaningful.

rating: 5/5

Saturday, March 15, 2008


"Jumper" is a story of a boy, who in discovering his special talent of transporting himself to different places, has to save himself from those who threaten to kill people like him.

This Hollywood film brings to life the fantasy of obtaining anything a person wants, of course with a consequence that he regrets on doing later on. The science fiction aspects makes all things possible, even killing.

Every decision comes with a price. That's why it is important to stay with ones limitations without hurting another. Let us also be responsible with the gifts we have.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Spiderwick Chronicles

The Spiderwick Chronicles is a story a mysterious Spiderwick mansion and a boy who accidentally opens a magic book, and now the ogre and other creatures are coming to get the book and kill the humans while the boy has to undo what he has done.

What catches attention is the music that adds up to the suspense as well as other emotions in the film. Other than that, almost all else are satisfactory - the children's acting, animation, and cinematography. The script is super fast-paced that there's no time to engage the audience emotionally. The dark scenes annoy more than create suspense. Overall, it's still an entertaining film.

This fantasy-adventure film fits the young target market; it's amazing how the author could give life to fairies and ogres and at the same time bring across the message of love always present in parents and children. But the film can be for adults as well, especially the parents. Separated parents should think hard on the consequences of their action, not only from their own point of view, but also from the innocent who would be most affected by the separation - the children carrying unhealed wounds in their whole lives while waiting patiently to be healed.

Rating: 3.5/5

Friday, February 15, 2008


A young girl of 16 makes a bold move to face her pregnancy.

Juno McGuff (Ellen Page) is that one tough lady, strong-willed and possessing that wit that even her boyfriend feared her.

The best aspect of this film is the script - it is seamless, witty, and entertaining. It gave a very serious issue a light touch without compromising the very heart of the problem. The script goes well with the characters, especially Ellen, who carried the film to its success in the box office. The special effects was there but it was not necessary.

Here's a way to tackle the issue of teenage pregnancy. Unfortunately, the first alternative is always abortion. One should ask the question, "Why not other alternatives?" The greatest part is the whole experience of pregnancy as it moves through time and how people are affected by the life inside the mother's womb. The baby must be someone very very special. He is as special as the dynamics of life itself.

The audience should be forewarned about the other values set by the film, such as the active sexual lifestyle and taking interest in violent films.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

Monday, February 11, 2008

Fool's Gold

Photo courtesy of:

This is a film about an estranged man and woman recently divorced, who are on to some hidden treasure that no one else knew about and believed.

Casting's perfect for this movie with lots of adventure, comedy, action, and romance for Matthew McCanaughey and Kate Hudson, with Matthew bordering between overacting and being a heartthrob. Kate on the other hand is a natural; you can feel in her the tension between love and disappointment. The script has some nice comedic punchlines and the underwater scenes are superb. Other than that everything seemed glued to the typical feel-good conventions.

Unfortunately, "Fool's Gold" is simply what it is. One might expect that it would be much more than hidden treasures; no other than love to be exact. Sad to say, after capitalizing on love's theme, the film wants to get the best of both worlds, reverting back to the world of fools, and the fools are not just the characters' longings, but the potential audience lured to this false sense of happiness.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber on Fleet Street

This is a story of a man who goes back to London to take revenge on someone who took him away from his loved one.

Using creative technology, the film manages to getting an intriguing look in its presentation. It also capitalizes on ever popular Johnny Depp as the infamous Sweeney Todd, a mystical figure who despite of his dark character, has the ability to sing well! How can you ever despise the guy? The music is dark, appropriate for the movie. The only thing is it may really be dark physically as well as dark inside the characters' hearts.

Vengeance always leads to a dead end; the only thing is how it leads to its tragic ending, which is after all the core of classic theaters. But this film is darkness in its very core, and the music pushes everything to their limits. Morally speaking, it is quite the same thing, when all characters, including children, seemed to have lost the very core of what it means to be human. And for Sweeney Todd, the world does not seem to have any hope at all.

Watch it with utmost care for your innermost sensibilities. Definitely not recommended for young people.

Rating: 2/5