Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cloudy with a chance of meatballs

Cloudy with a chance of meatballs is a film about a mad scientist who has to prove himself that he is capable of joining the ranks of the great inventors.

Digital animations are more capable of dwelling in the world of fantasy and imagination and exploring the world of the "what-ifs". It exposes the world of hidden desires. Nice script!

All actions lead to consequences. The question is are we ready to face them? We should be responsible enough to see where our decisions lead us. Perhaps we can discern more rather than jumping before we realize that we have judged wrongly.

Rating: 4/5

Planet 51

Planet 51 is a story of an resident of a planet who encounters a human alien and he has to save him from opening the human's brains out.

In this age of digital animation, the challenge is to create a life-like scenario without actually resembling the real world. The characters move smoothly and the scenes are downright colorful; superb script too though it tends to idealize the American psyche before the world; thus, it clings on to classic Hollywood format.

Who is the human and who is the alien? This is an ageless question in the mind of the American who is forever defining who the real "Americans" are in contrast with the "aliens", foreigners, or Non-Americans. It hasn't transcended skins and cultural barriers on what it means to be truly "human". This is the weakness of the film. Thus, whatever values the film embraces would hold true for a chosen few and not for the majority of humankind. When will we transcend from these barriers and embrace the world of unity? Whatever applies to others should apply first to ourselves.

Rating: 3/5

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Battle for Terra

Battle for Terra is an digitally-animated film about a man who is tasked to conquer a certain planet and kill the residents there.

Digitally produced, this film unleashes the creative ideas of its film makers to a world inhabited by Terrians while earthlings near extinction. The visuals worked seamlessly; the script makes sense. Overall, the film is entertaining and enlightening.

Who is the alien? Who is human? What makes man human? What makes him inhuman? The film explores all possibilities of the human heart both humanizing and dehumanizing. We are capable of destroying ourselves and others. Eventually, it makes human beings totally inhuman, barbaric, and worse than animals. Being human goes beyond mere flesh; it is the strength of the spirit and our capacity to offer ourselves to others that ultimately makes us humans.

Rating: 4/5

Friday, November 20, 2009


2012 is a film about the impending doom of the earth and how man desperately tries to survive it to the point of killing others.

This film is a combination of a classic Hollywood-style that seeks a good ending and an apocalyptic film that aims to destroy all conventions. It is digitally animated and destroys buildings and states. But while the whole world is being destroyed to pieces, the people still continue to communicate via cellphone, making the film too incredible and impossible.

2012 is not a film about the end of the world. Rather, it is a film about the beginning of real life. We have created so much that add to the destruction of things - sinful unmarried relationships, selfish lifestyles, etc. But the characters have valuable realizations in the course of the film. Unfortunately, the film tackles only the human perspective. Only God is the ultimate source of life. He destroys so he can start building again.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The ugly truth

The Ugly Truth is a story about a woman who seeks the advice from a male anchor who has more than enough knowledge of sex and relationships.

Of course, much of the credibility of a story relies on a powerful script. Though it borders on the profane, the film manages to catch up on the end. Still, much of the comedy is slapstick. Things just appear scripty with the cast playing too fictional roles only the writers can come up with.

The film, even though it justifies itself at the end part, still cannot compensate for the harm it did in labeling and typecasting the essence of love as perverse, raw, carnal - defining it as an "ugly truth." After the film, all men and women are just that - without any sense of redemption whatsoever. It also went against all ethical considerations of mass media - it managed to hurt the ethical sensibilities of individuals under the guise of comedy. Dignity or even respect is not a factor to consider in this movie. It is hard to clarify what love and lust are in this movie. There may not be any difference at all for the unsuspecting audience.

Rating: 2.5/5

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Get ready for 4 rodents who are out to save the world!

Excellent animation! It is blended seamlessly with real characters and scenes. But the film is lacking in believable "real characters", creatures far surpassed the acting abilities of the live characters. Nevertheless, the story is believable and capable to tickling the audience's fancies.

The film centers around the issue of family more than functions and performances. The heart is far more important than any of these.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


Surrogates is a film about a man who investigates for the serial killer of the various owners through their robotic surrogates.

Science fiction films makes us expect high-animation techniques in filmmaking - among them, making Bruce Willis young and robots moving swiftly. Of course, it would still take a lot of convincing to do to hook the audience to believing they're seeing the future. But apparently, the more relevant motive of the film is in the human interest. Thus, the film is still realistic.

The usual "Where does science end and faith begin?" syndrome is tackled. Moreover, there are other more important human realities slowly killed by technology - our capacity to be human, the gift of relationships, and our capacity to be hurt. Despite all these, we are still the vulnerable, helpless creatures we really are.

Rating: 4/5

Friday, September 25, 2009

Year One

Year One is a story of a primitive man who ate the forbidden fruit and is banished by his tribe and thus begins man's crazy adventures of the world outside.

Tapped for comedy, Jack Black succeeds in giving flesh to Zed together with his intelligent sidekick Oh (Michael Sera). The zany distortions of biblical events create a message totally in the mind of its authors; thus, the audience have to be alert about. Will the audience accept this message?

The movie distorts the truths intended in the creation story and the book of the Pentateuch. Though it may seem funny and crazy, it is somehow hints at a message that only man creates his own destiny. If the writers have been more faithful to the message of Scriptures, we would have seen a wholistic and entertaining movie. But with Year One, it just dispels the basic fact that God exists and that man can live a moral life only in reference to Him.

Rating: 2.5/5

Friday, September 18, 2009

Land of the lost

Land of the lost is a story of a scientist who invents a time travel machine that works and he gets trapped in a distorted world where past, present, and future meet.

A world distorted by making present dinosaurs, caveman, and aliens are products of the creative minds of the screenwriters. This is further animated by successful comedian Will Ferrell, although his typecast role possibly dragged the film down. Nevertheless, the film is generally entertaining.

To create a zany world is to demythify or present satirically man's concept of his reality. "Thou shall not get serious with this life" seems to be the norm. Partly true, but while we remove coincidentals or accidents, the essential remains: have we found meaning in this world's existence? I hope we have, for if we remove coincidentals, only love remains.

Rating: 3/5

Friday, September 11, 2009

District 9

by Fr. Lito Jopson

District 9 is a film about a man who is contaminated with the genes of the aliens that he wants to find ways to get rid of it.

The film, though in the form of a documentary, is very much far off from the realist format it intends. It reverted back to narrative form to push the story to its expected conclusion - whether or not Wikus Van de Merwe (Sharlto Coply) be cured and go back to his normal life. The progression of the story is compelling and believable till the climax. Will Wikus attain his mission and at what cost?

There are sensitive issues raised by the film that give reference to actual life - the treatment of foreigners, or the issue of poverty and the way those in power are mistreating the lowly. The film handles this theme in a very effective way and brings out the cause of such racist treatment against others - lack of dialogue and communications. We fail to communicate effectively with others. We are prejudiced over others simply because they are not one of us. Unless we change our attitude toward others, the problems of poverty, prejudice, and racism will continue.

This film should appeal to adults rather than teens for its excessive violence.

Rating: 3.5/5

Monday, September 07, 2009

Final destination

Final Destination is a film about a teen who has a vision of future events of the death of people including himself and he has to find ways to counteract it.

This apocalyptic film embodies all its conventions - death all over, death in the songs, death on the restaurant, death on the theaters - pure death everywhere. It utilizes state of the art digital animation to portray the goriest death possible - right in front of our very eyes. It faces what is inevitable - death! To judge what if this is good or bad is left for the audience to decide. What thing is certain - nothing is left to the imagination!

Could fate be so cruel as to leave for free will so helpless to change things? This film espouses determinism at its core. Thus, man is left with no other option except to eventually destroy himself. What then is the essence of a free will? May we find meaning in life even in a senseless death.

This film fits only viewers aged 18 and above.

Rating: 2/5

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Shorts is a film about kids who take hold of a colored rock that makes wishes come true.

Tailored for children, the film seeks to bring to life children's fantasies and pushes them to their limits. Using postmodern technique of non-linearity, the film succeeds in disturbing the mind of the adult audience. Perhaps it tries to embody the children's psyche of learning from bits and pieces of memory or imagination, resulting in an integrated understanding of things and events. Very creative!

Shorts may be about children. But it has never escaped the world of nerds and bullies, making the film traumatic to children. Nevertheless, it speaks of values in dreaming, not of power, money or fame, but in love, unity, and friendship. But mainly, just try to enjoy the film!

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Aliens the attic

Aliens in the attic is a film about a boy and his cousins who have to foil the aliens' mission to rule the earth.

Digital animation is very common nowadays and this film does not add anything spectacular to the world of film making. However, the scenes are entertaining, funny and sensible. It is also fast-paced. The film with its script and characters is tailor-made for children.

Alien movies always mirror the basic attitude toward aliens or foreign nationals in real life. In a family setting, a stranger in the home is much like the same thing. Perhaps, a welcoming stance would be more apt than fearing strangers at the first instance of the encounter. Fantasizing aliens as monsters does not help decrease the barrier that separates us from one another. Recognize the dignity of a stranger and be hospitable to him/her.

Rating: 3/5

Monday, August 24, 2009

We are on facebook!

Friends, we are on FACEBOOK! Just look for my name so we can interact better there. I post our latest gospel reflections, movie reviews, and reflections about our country. All of these make sense in helping us be inspired with the things that influence our lives. God bless!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The orphan

The Orphan is a film about a family that lost a daughter that they choose to adopt an orphan.

The character development and script are believable. The sound contributed a lot to the heightening of suspense. The plot leads to a climactic ending.

Three people in the scriptures should be accorded with charity - the strangers, widows, and orphans. Unfortunately, the Orphan enforces that fear in us in accepting people into our homes. This mistrust also enforces the myth that our families are the only ones existing in this world and we don't need others. But this is totally uncalled for. Even family members could inflict violence in a domestic setting. We just need to trust one another.

Rating: 2.5/5

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

G.I. Joe: The rise of the cobra

G.I. Joe: the rise of the cobra is a story of a special Battalion capable of fighting the enemy using the latest state-of-the-art artillery.

The action is just "ka-boom!", from one action to another; the story doesn't seem to end. The script is tailored for children, that is why the plot is simple. The key to fast-paced action is computer animation - the most impossible tasks come to life. The sound adds up to the feeling of realism of this science fiction fantasy film.

With this film, nothing is left to the imagination. But there probably might too much of this so-called "action", as if everything is pushed to the limitless sphere of violence and death. There is no entertainment, just plain violence and death. It desensitizes children to the world of gruesome death. If that is the filmmaker's orientation, too bad for our children to loose their childhood simply because of this nonsense action-packed film. Let us warn them that there is nothing glamorous about violent deaths and wars; life is much precious than these.

Rating: 2.5/5

The Proposal

The Proposal is a story about a woman who risks being deported back to Canada unless she does something, like force her secretary to marry her.

Could it be that the script is tailored to suit Sandra Bullock? Probably so. But then again, the story is entertaining and the characters seem to be at home with their lines. The setting is exquisite, the romance is properly timed. The film succeeds with a tear-jerking ending.

Almost everyone knows that love cannot be forced. But much more that forcing love is the reality that all of us do need love. Love is not in receiving, but in giving it. Love is real when it is capable of loving the unlovable; much more, when the unlovable realizes that despite his/her shortcomings, he/she is loved. Then the magic happens, all because of love.

Rating: 3.5/5

Friday, August 07, 2009

My sister's keeper

My Sister's Keeper is a story of a girl who wants to free herself from donating parts of her body to her dying sister.

The script is poignant, touching, and emotional. There is a tendency for Cameron to "act", not live out the role. It is also not totally engaging because the backdrop in question is highly ethical and needed to be discussed rationally.

The story borders between medical science fiction and drama. It is ethically unacceptable to produce human life for the sole purpose of donating its body parts to another no matter how noble a cause is. Man's dignity solely comes from God; he does not have any right to judge on its viability to live. Only God can do it for us. Much more if the main character is a child. Only God has the right to deal with human life; and His is always to give life to everyone, not choose one over another.

Rating: 2.5/5


Hangover is a story of 4 friends who lives get tangled up in Las Vegas 2 days before their friend's wedding.

This film is campy in a way that it is non-linear. It starts with leaving the audience confused on what really happened the night before. The screenplay poses a lot of innovation from the usual Hollywood screenplay. It's not until the final part that one gets "the real story" behind all the mess that happened.

Which is the "real self"? The one that is "behaved", cordial, or prudent, or the other one that is imprudent, harsh, rough, or sexually extreme? Which is the more enjoyable life, the limitless world of the "id" or the conscious "ego"? Perhaps this film would enlighten us that enjoyable the childish self may seem, the consequences of its actions may be hard to bear or even undo - abuse, pain to others, irrationality, sin and death. Though it is good to be aware that there is a sinful playful child in all of us, but use that awareness to tame it and also assist others to use this energy for good.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ice Age 3: dawn of the dinasours

This is the third sequel about a set of prehistoric animals on a quest to save their friend in the land of the dinosaurs.

The comedy is exquisite, the animation is superb, the script is simple to behold, and the characters as engaging as ever. The producers have perfected the craft of improving them in animation as well as character development.

Loyalty to friendships has always been the theme of this movie, but so too are love and concern for others, especially not of their kind. This is generally a feel-good movie for children, so enjoy!

Rating: 3.5/5

Star Trek

Star Trek is a film about genesis the crew of USS Enterprise.

This film is a fitting beginning to all Star Trek films and shows that we saw and enjoyed. This is a nostalgic film that succeeded in bringing to life something so dear to us in our whole lifetime. Star Trek is something to be proud of by all viewers in all countries!

The soul exudes from the film through its characters; one from a state of alienation to identity and interdependence. This is prelude to a friendship that we believe will last forever. This is simply to say that yes, friendships can withstand the test of time.

Rating: 5/5

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen is a film about a futuristic scenario of robots ready to reclaim the power that they lost to their opponents.

It's action-packed, no more no less. Spectator expectations were met, that's why this futuristic film is an instant hit! Computer animation is seamless; the characters have souls. However, with almost endless action filling up the whole screen, will the audience watch this film again and again, or will they grow tired of watching too much action with not enough depth?

One that has pure intentions wins is the main message of this film be he a robot or a man.

Rating: 3/5

Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince

This is a sequel of a young man and his friends in search for the arch-enemy.

The film has been very consistent in its entirety: script, special effects, engagement to the audience. There was an added suspense: what will happen to each of the cast and what will happen to the school? Will evil triumph in the end? And what is Harry Potter's role as the chosen one.

This is a story of revenge, of evil and evil intentions. But it can be a powerful story of frienships and loyalty, and a pure heart. The combination of these realities are endless, which makes Harry Potter the most effective episodic film ever produced.

Rating: 3.5/5

Public Enemies

Public Enemies is a film about the most notorious bank robber in the 30s.

Johnny Depp's acting remains unquestionable. He is the one that literally pushed the film forward. But I just couldn't help but be bothered by the TV-like production of the whole film. Sure, we are using digital cameras this age, but it should have been fine-tuned to have film quality, and hopely, to bring us back to the 30s. This seemingly projects the film a low-budgeted, with actors "simply acting" not living out their roles. In other words, it disengaged my participation as a spectator.

What drives the human being to violence, to hurt his fellow human beings? Money, power, even love? Will these compensate for all the brutal things he has done? Do all these bring him a sense of security? How true are the words of Scripture, "Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword." Aim for real life then. the simplest, honest life is the noblest of all.

Rating: 2.5/5

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Taking of Pelham

TAKING OF PELHAM is a film about a man who hijacks a subway carriage and a cop who stalls him.

John Travolta gave justice to his evil character while Denzel Washington dragged his, playing his character too minimally. The film is tightly knit, somehow quite remarkable how a 1 hour deadline can expand to 2 hours of "reel time." The ending is rather anti-climactic, verifying the initial question like, "How could a criminal get away?" The answer? Just watch it; it's anti-climactic.

There might not be enough motivation to justify an inhumane criminal act. But nowadays, it will always be puzzling why despite its obvious outcome (which is death for the criminal), a criminal act would still be carried out? Stealing and killing ends all possibilities of life. That is why the 10 commandments which contain the most basic norms of human existence, continue to be violated. Learn from the old saying, "Crime does not pay."

Rating: 3/5


UP is a story of a man who loses his wife and has to take the whole house to a place they consider as "paradise".

The script is the saving factor of this film. How could a child's film be so profound? The characters have personalities, including the rare bird. And Russel, the wilderness explorer, is as lovable as ever, with the likes of a real child. Digital animation never ceases to amaze the audience, more so if it has a deeply human touch.

Losing a loved one can be as painful as ever. That is why we need to let go through a quiet acceptance. But there's much more to life. Not only do past relationships matter, but so do present and future ones. And like the past relationships, life continues to be enriched with love which makes it live forever. Congratulations for a film like this!

Rating: 5/5

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonians

This is a sequel of the film of the same title in which a night guard hears his friends-statues are in trouble at the Smithsonian Institution and has to save them.

In a much as computer animation is amazing and it is capable of bringing to life the great people and works of art in the past, the film is sorely lacking of a good script. One cannot understand why a great leader of the past with all his men would end up looking like looney. The film was just dragged down to a slapstick comedy. Ben's Stiller's character and acting is particularly bringing this whole house down. Yes, we agree that this is a comedy film, but the element of fear would give it more realism and engagement from the audience. It makes the whole comedy forced and therefore less effective.

The film may lead us to laugh through another bunch of great men and women in history, but the story still centers around a man desperately searching for his happiness and meaning. And while his story may also be our own, real happiness may not be in attaining the impossible, but in appreciating the ones we already have but we take them for granted. Let this be the time to thank them and show them how much we love them.

Rating; 3/5

Monday, May 18, 2009

Angels and demons

This is a film about a man tasked by the Vatican to investigate the kidnapper of 4 cardinals and who stole the anti-matter that is about to explode at 12 midnight.

The whole production is amazingly life-like, for example, the multitude of people in St. Peter's Square and in other churches. It is very difficult and would need a big amount of money to replicate such sets. So, kudos to the computer animators! I would also say that the whole script is very engaging, arising from Dan Brown's expertise to write and deliver his message in a compelling way.

In as much as production of this film is undeniably remarkable, the audience should be wary about its content. For this film becomes a model for the blurring of fact and fiction. Dan Brown, noted for being a novelist now enters the real world by injecting some of his beliefs and giving it a visual tone, giving another alternative of the world as we see. The classic example is how he bastardized the reality of the Opus Dei in the Da Vince Code, a revered personal prelature founded by St. Escriva. He converted it into a clandestine organization. Morseso, a character as factual and adored by the faithful as Jesus Christ becomes a caricatured version of any human being brought to life from the figment of the imagination of Brown, wrapped in the interpretation of his extension in the film, symbolist Robert Langdon.

In Angels and Demons, Brown through Langdon places himself as "a champion in the interpretation of sacred symbols", which connotes a world of meaning, but unfortunately, is capable of bastardizing the same symbols to favor his own. Now he projects himself as a researcher of facts, not a fiction writer. And much worse, there is no resolution to the movie except, "Believe what you want to believe", and the "rock" of an institution as old as the centuries would be dismantled by a fiction writer of the 21st century who is clearly convinced that he neither believes in God nor the Catholic Church as the instrument of salvation. He simply uses factual accounts and places his own agenda in them.

This brings out a very important issue in the world of film - which one is "reel" and which one is "real". Once it enters into the camera or through the pen of an author, it ceases to be factual, for the facts are always tailored according to the mind of the author. In this arena that the visual medium is used, the viewers are adviced to keep the eyes of their faith open. For while thius fiasco is going on, Reality would still out there waiting to reveal itself to us and embrace us and invite us to enter its world of salvation; and we would know, not just through logical reasoning, but through gift of faith.

Rating: 2.5/5

Monday, January 12, 2009

Happy new year!

I just want to greet everyone a happy new year, and thanks for staying in touch!