Black Bread (Agusti Villaronga) *** - A young boy witnesses a horrific crash that kills his friend and his friend's father and he discovers some unpleasant secrets surrounding his parents and the townspeople. This is a very old-fashioned film that sort of reminds me of the sort of period European films that usually win Oscars during the 70's, 80's and 90's. That's not to say that's it's bad film. It's pretty good. But it feels very been-there-done-that and I've seen films of the same vein that are a lot better. However, it's worth watching for the wonderful central performance of Francesc Colomer as the boy.
Looper (Rian Johnson) **** - An
exhilarating and surprising twist on the time travel lore. This time it mixes it
up with a crime thriller and even a little bit of neo-noir. All you need to know
really is that it's about a group of young men assigned to kill people sent back
by the mob using time travel. It has been compared to stuff like The Matrix, X-Men and Blade Runner but call me crazy but I think
it's a Hollywood popcorn movie version of La
Jetee and Stalker. The cast is
strong. It's definitely a film which will be seen again and talked about for
years. Rian Johnson is one hell of a filmmaker.
Argo (Ben Affleck) **** - With Pearl Harbor and Gigli all but a distant memory, Ben Affleck
continues his ascent to be one of contemporary cinema's best filmmakers with
this dramatization of an incredible (and not to mention unbelievably crazy)
rescue of six stranded Americans during the Iranian hostage of the late
'70s/early '80s. The film is balanced and nuanced, never falling into the Yay,
America flag-waving when it could have easily have done it. Despite the fact
that you know the ending, the film was able to create tension and suspense, an
amazing directorial feat. Plus it packs an emotional wallop. It's one of the
best films of the year.
Aswang Chronicles (Erik Matti) **1/2 - This is dubbed as the Philippines'
first ever green-screen film (a la 300
and Avatar). I have to say it was a
really good try. The film is about a dysfunctional (sort of) family being
attacked by aswangs, a Filipino/Southeast Asian creature that's like a blend of
a vampire, zombie and werewolf. It's a horror comedy and there are lots of witty
and funny horror moments and some really cool action scenes but some
unbelievable lapses in logic and the feeling that the script is rather padded
out keeps me from declaring this a complete winner.