Sunday, March 7, 2010

Movie Review: Alice In Wonderland

Muchness. Ha.

Having never really read the book/s and only having little to no memory of the old Disney cartoon version of Alice in Wonderland, all I knew going into this film was the gist of what the story was about. And no matter how different things may be this time around, I thought that it was still an interesting tale.

As far as the story goes, I personally thought that this was an interesting interpretation. I never really felt things got boring at any stage, which was refreshing. Yes, the storyline may be a little rushed and I would have liked a bit more time to explore the characters, but it worked fine for the movie. To me, the story ended at just the right moment and with a nice conclusion for the lead character.

The acting ensemble was actually noteworthy. Anne Hathaway was acting so odd that I actually found her portrayal quite arresting. Helena Bonham Carter, I thought, single-handedly made everything interesting. Her portrayal was both amusing and a total riot. Johnny Depp, on the other hand, played his role with his usual gusto. He clearly brought some energy and quirkiness to such an oddball character that I actually saw a hint of Willy Wonka and Jack Sparrow somewhere. And as for Alice, I found Mia Wasikowska to be a perfect cast for the lead role as she was able to carry the film surprisingly well despite all the amazing visuals and weird to wonderful characters in the story.

Visually, it was obviously amazing! I mean, its execution weren't as seamless as Avatar's but this must be the first movie I genuinely enjoyed after watching that said blockbuster. Here, I really liked Tim Burton's style where the world seemed so clean, lush and happy. He managed to create an amazing place, often colorful, but equally ravaged and desolate. It was undeniably a treat for the eyes, with the set pieces and design shining through the technology.

If any fault was to be found in the film, in my opinion the blame would be placed on the bar that was set way too high by Avatar with regard to the visuals. Previously, the computer generated effects present in this film would have knocked everyone's sock off, however, in a post-Avatar world, this was significantly underwhelming.

Nonetheless, I REALLY enjoyed this sparklingly fresh fantasy world of Alice!

RATING: 9/10

Movie Review: It's Complicated

I am a bit conflicted with this one. Considering the cast, I began to watch this movie with high expectations. Sadly, I was somehow a bit disappointed.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't horrible but its overly predictable plot [I saw the ending coming a mile away] left me wanting more than just that! I mean, the story was almost promising and I thought that it all went well until I got to know the characters. Then it stopped. And the rest of the movie just passed by like short parodies with commercial breaks as people staring to each other with sparkling eyes.

The real problem, to me, was the script. It was a little too cliched and frankly not funny enough. Some of the lines were lame and I didn't buy the happy ending for one second - although, it made me a little emotional. Also, there were too many unnecessary scenes in the film. The idea of putting so many interesting scenes together to have an additive effect didn't work here - it did not make the whole seem more beautiful.

To be fair though, I thought that the film had some great moments. The acting, for one, was impeccable. Three exceptional actors - Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin - ply their crafts perfectly. Meryl Streep was natural and proved that she can still create a character from scratch and make the role as real as possible. Alec Baldwin had the charm and magnetism to carry such a role. I thought he showed top comedic work here. Steve Martin, on the other hand, was surprisingly in control and utterly enjoyable.

The film did run a bit long and lost some of it's spark in the finale act, but it was still pure entertainment, at the very least. I adore the actors. I like the genre. I unwillingly bought the premise. But I ultimately was still disappointed. I don't know. It really is complicated. Haha.

RATING: 6/10

Monday, March 1, 2010

Movie Review: Miss You Like Crazy

Star Cinema never fails to amuse me. They are consistently producing one good movie after the other and this is no exception. I thought that the film itself was very insightful and its overall charm alone made it better than the usual.

To be honest, I found the first 30 minutes of the film to be a tad boring but the somewhat unconventional storyline made me appreciate the whole lot. Yes, it didn't avoid the usual Star Cinema formula but the film was able to develop the characters quite nicely by giving them enough back story and complete arcs. I personally liked the fact that the story was equipped with a believable script supported by remarkable actors.

The leads - John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo - were AGAIN just outstanding to the point where I admire every flex of their facial muscle for sheer mastery of control, expression and projection. Individually, I saw the subtlety and the nuances in their acting, and together, they were able to prove that the palpable chemistry was still there. Needless to say, both actors were effective in their performances.

That said, the supporting cast also held its own. I found Maricar Reyes to be so convincing for the role that I want her to portray every single 'socialite' role in other Star Cinema projects. Also, I got to admire Bembol Roco for his underrated but effective performance. Seriously. His limited scenes didn’t prevent him from being one of the most notable actors in the movie.

And while the inherent cheesiness cannot be avoided, I must admit that I genuinely enjoyed the film. Truth be told, the movie didn't simply rely on the usual 'kilig' moments but on the depth and maturity of the story and the lead's portrayal.

Another love story that was well complemented by a superb cast, a good story and a direction that was already crafted perfectly by Cathy Molina-Garcia herself. A very nice feel-good movie.

RATING: 7/10
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