Heat (Michael Mann) ***1/2 - This is one of those films I classify under Why The Hell Haven't I Seen This? category. Well, I finally did. This was touted as the first time Al Pacino and Robert De Niro are on-screen together at last but in the over 2.5 hour movie, they only share really three scenes together. But that doesn't mean this isn't a less compelling, less thrilling epic crime drama. I have to say, mainstream Hollywood studios don't make films these much anymore. An action picture where they actually take time to let the plot breathe, give characters complexity and depth and actually build on it to create a rich, deep yet really exciting picture that respects its audience.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (John
Hughes) ** - I like the theme and the message of this film: Lighten up,
take time to enjoy youth, have some fun, etc. But I'd like it a lot
better if the title character/main protagonist wasn't such an obnoxious,
borderline sociopathic asshole. I really loathe people like him and I
have a very hard time cheering for him which the film clearly wants to
do. Alan Ruck's character Frye saves it from being a complete waste of
time, especially in the latter half of the film. It's not enough for it
to save it for me. There are a few laughs here and there but all in all,
I don't understand the adoration this film has received.
Kick Ass 2 (Jeff Wadlow) **1/2 - I liked the first Kick Ass
movie though I'm not as big a fan as a lot of people were. This sequel,
however, is a significant step-down from the original. The problem here
is that writer-director Jeff Wadlow wanted to blend the over-the-top
satirical dark humor and some genuine serious heart and pathos. Though
there are good moments here and there, the film is overall a tonal mess.
So much so that it becomes quite jarring and occasionally even
unpleasant. Flashes of potential show that there could have been a great
movie in there but alas....
Portrait of Jennie (William
Dieterle) **** - After two less than satisfactory cinematic experiences
in a row, I think I needed a palette cleanser and boy what a palette it
is. Speaking of palette, this film is about an impoverished painter who
encounters a little girl who seems to appear out of time. Then begins a
beautiful, romantic love story which inspires him to paint his
masterpiece. It's such a stunning, beautiful piece of work. The
cinematography, which made some shots look like they're paintings is
simply genius but only serves to heighten the beautiful love story
that's about to unfold. Joseph Cotten and Jennifer Jones are both
impressive. This film is a masterpiece. It's what great films should do
and should aspire to.
OTJ: On the Job (Erik Matti) ***
- A young detective and a veteran cop uncovers a nefarious scheme where
inmates are surreptitiously released in order to do hit jobs for
corrupt, high-ranking elected officials. Director Erik Matti is probably
one of the very few MAINSTREAM Filipino director who deliver quality
work. I'm not a fan of Tiktik
but this solid thriller, which is an improvement, shows that he's a
force to be reckoned with. Though far from perfect, it's got flair,
style and very well-paced (though I must say he should stop casting Joey
Marquez). I hope more mainstream Pinoy films follow suit.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
(John Hughes) *** - Although not the comedic masterpiece some people say
it is, this road comedy about a man who simply wants to get home to
family for Thanksgiving but nearly everything that can go wrong, does is
quite funny. This is largely thanks to the comedic expertise of Steve
Martin and John Candy who mines the very simple premise and pulls out
more than a decent amount of laughs while remaining believable
characters so the bittersweet ending didn't come from nowhere.