This is probably one of the best acted, directed, and written films I have ever seen since "Boys don't cry" some 15 years ago. But of course, we still have yet to see the day when we can have a perfect movie with elements perfectly mixed together. And as I said, the ending in this movie quite disappoints and could summarily leave you hanging, wanting for more, and angry. I can understand why it did not perform quite as well at the box office despite its raving reviews.
Being a fan of Aaron Paul's acting, I decided to check this movie out if the director could handle how to steer what Aaron Paul can offer. It was actually quite a revelation. And to my surprise, it was not Aaron's acting that became memorable in the film but that of a young newcomer Josh Wiggins. I could not praise his performance highly enough for such a young age. This boy is rare. You know, in a single scene, it could take at least two takes from different perspectives to capture the dialog and screen time of each of the characters and I believe Josh Wiggins was able to replicate those emotions in each of them perfectly. The scene in the pizza parlor is something to behold.
This film is really a story about an emotionally-encumbered teenage boy and not about a man who has lost his wife and who is left to take care of his young sons. It's no surprise there that Aaron's part came out as something of a supporting role. But it is not to be lamented as Josh Wiggins' and the other boys' performances were more than enough to make up for it. Dalton Sutton's performance as a young emotionally affected boy is also worthy of being noticed.
The dialogs are terrifyingly authentic. The continuity and flow of conversation were so sublime, you would think you are watching a real life conversation from real people. I just kind of felt disturbed by how explicit the language these young boys used. I know that although it is just a film, I believe it reflects a certain level of parallels on what the real American society looks like and how American kids could potentially react violently to the deterioration or destruction of their families. It is actually a truth being told in big screen. And if the recent events will tell us, this truth would be difficult to swallow.
All in all, I really like this film. But in the ending, I wish Hollis ran for Jacob when he was about to be arrested. It would have been the point in the story where Hollis could have made Jacob feel that he was never alone. I mean, as a parent, you can escort your underage son to jail. It does not mean you are getting the blame or letting him go, it's just giving him the moral support at the time when he needs it most and is a way of reassuring him that everything is going to be alright. And in the process, would have made us more satisfied.
Could Potentially be the Best Filipino Film Ever Made
Saying that this film could potentially be the best Filipino film ever made is a big statement, perhaps an overstatement, but I think it is. However, there are some things I would like to get off my chest and say that some things in the movie could have been better.
It has been a while since I've seen a Filipino act so good. With this, I wish to extend Jake Macapagal my deepest congratulations. His acting was precise and right on the money and I do not think that there was anyone who could have played the role better.
I don't exactly know what was wrong with the dialogs but perhaps because the original script was written in English and was later on translated to Filipino, that it became apparent that it brought about cultural-linguistic misalignments which made many lines sound fundamentally imprecise. To those who cannot understand spoken Filipino and would only need to rely on subtitles to understand the dialogs, the acting can appear fine. But for those who understand the native language, some actings can appear painfully bad.
Althea Vega was frigid most of the time but there was nothing that she could do worse than when she delivered iconoclastic lines. John Arcilla is a great actor by any measure but how his acting turned out to be unusually tense is a big wonder. He could have simmered his excitement quite a bit and he would have played the role with much more convincing realism.
Of all the actors in the film, only two managed to give life to their lines without unnecessarily giving an underacting or an overacting. Only Jake Macapagal and Miles Canapi, the madamme who played Charlie, were the only two worthy of praise. But everyone deserves to be congratulated, nonetheless. However, I find it quite strange because all the scripts, I believe, were written or translated by the same person. And yet some of the actors gave outstanding performances and some of them gave poor ones. I guess it is safe to say that talent can get the best out of the actors even if the lines are fundamentally flawed.
Many people have noticed that the film painted the capital in a rather unsightly way. I understand that in order to get a good story across, the plot has to tread somewhere in the territories of exaggeration. But believe me, the depiction of Metro Manila as a dirty city with ruthless inhabitants who always acted on their animalistic selfish behavior is chillingly accurate. What is more surprising is that it was written by a foreigner who has not lived in the Philippines for very long and who many consider could not give an accurate account of the locality. But his impressions or observations were excruciatingly accurate which no one can attempt to dispute.
Watching the entire film was exhausting not because it was dull or boring but because the misfortunes of the family always make you wish they could finally catch a break at some point. And when you think that nothing could be worse, along comes another. Imagine yourself in the shoes of those persons in real life and it would give you a whole new sense to the meaning of the word 'living'. I wonder what people in the First World countries feel about their First World problems after watching this.
This movie is so tense, I had to watch it in staggered sessions because I could not handle the suspense. The anticipation was so unbearable that I always jumped off my seat several times.
I grew up in Manila and I have seen it transformed. I have been to all those locations that were shown in the movie but nothing could have prepared me for what I would see in this film. If ever there was a family in Manila that goes through what this family had been through, I wouldn't want to know about it. Honestly, it now gives me second thoughts about getting out of the house when I would be visiting there in the future. Not because I am scared of the place but because I wouldn't want to meet anyone that could remind me of the sad fate of the family in this movie. In a way, I admit that I am affected and I must say that if a film can create such an impact to the viewers, I believe the story teller has achieved his purpose.
While I may not give this film 10 stars due to some dialog flaws, I believe it is the best Filipino film ever made. Only that it really was not made by a Filipino per se but by a British film maker who was trying to make a non-English foreign film. Regardless, I am still glad that someone has done something which many Filipinos can relate to. Yes, it is unfortunate that it would take a foreigner to make the best Filipino film but just like the overall tone of the film, it is sad but true.
Imagine a time span of about 15 years and imagine a character that does not age. Also, imagine that for that period, her hair does not change a bit and her real hair is peeking out under her ridiculous wig.
Now, watch Rosario. Those are exactly what you will see.
Not only are the wigs and the drinking of the elixir of eternal youth ridiculous, the make-up are also downright laughable. I am not an expert in make-up but I think that they could have done better if they tried to match the color of the make-up to the skin tone of the characters. Yul Servo's white make-up does not go well with his dark skin tone as his performance does not go well with good acting.
B. Direction and Cinematography
If this is Mr. Martinez's first directorial job, I really think that it should also be his last.
First off, his choice of perspective is to capture the emotions of the characters, which resulted in a caption that was so tightly boxed, you will actually have a difficult time imagining what expressions the other parts of their bodies are doing. It was really quite frustrating to look for emotions and good acting that were not there even if the actors' faces are all over the screen. With the top of their heads chopped off for most of the time, it seems like this film has nothing to offer except eyes, nose, lips, bad facial expressions, if any at all, and some ridiculous corpse-like make-up.
Second, the dialog was awful. The script was so bad, none of the lines sounded the tiniest bit of being life-like. The lines were so poorly written that you could almost detest the taste of cheese for the rest of your life. I can forgive the ridiculous make-up, the inconvenience offered by the convenience of being ageless, the bad suits, or the chopped off heads. But the bad lines and dialogs are something that I can not forgive; for it is in the good lines and dialogs that good acting can be elicited from. And since dialogs in this film are horrible, you can not expect anything from acting. All you will ever see are expressions similar to when something is pulled out of someone's ass.
I know that it was not Mr. Martinez's fault that they could not find talented writers. But as someone trying to become someone like Clint Eastwood, he could have revised the dialogs and devised a way on how to improve the performance of his actors. The formula is really quite simple: act it out and check if it feels something life-like. If it doesn't, then change it. How come he has not learned anything from Mr. Eddie Garcia when he acted out in Abakada Ina?
Since the story was based on real-life situations, they could have opted out for dialogs that were more life-like rather than pulling dialogs out of comics magazines or radio drama shows.
I understand the predicament of actors having to act out bad lines. One can only imagine how hard it must be to act out a bad dialog. If you watch closely, you could really feel for Jennylyn Mercado trying desperately to fit good acting with unbelievably awkward dialogs and situations.
Talking about bad direction, in Isabel Oli's breakout moment where she was forced to reveal where Rosario had gone to, it was actually quite confusing to me why she appeared before the father all welled up together with Rita Avila (who, by the way, does not resemble any amount of Chinese features and was made to sport a ridiculous Chinese accent. She could have been cast as one of the Spanish women as her features would suggest. The casting was so bad, one would actually think that they've been picked out by a blind person). This scene could have been made more realistic had the director made the maids come to the father and had them cry as the situation called when they were left with no choice.
One of the biggest disappointments in this movie is Yul Servo. Clearly, my respect for this guy is diminishing as he is cast in more roles he is not qualified for. At first, I guessed that they were looking for someone Moreno or more Pinoy-looking. But then again, their choice for Rita Avila would suggest otherwise.
I do not know which is more mismatched: Yul Servo's mouse-like voice to his Pinoy features, his ridiculous recitation of a poem in Spanish to his wooden non-performance, his ridiculously sized suit to his presence in the movie, or the ridiculous powder in his face to his well-gelled hair, which surprised everyone how Gatsby made it in the 20's.
I actually stormed out of the cinema the moment I saw the same faces and hair of Rosario and her mother, which are the same faces and hair I saw at the opening of the film, some 15 years ago based on the flow of the story.
I actually regretted having to shell out P180 for a digital movie with bad soundtrack and not having to finish it. But I was also relieved that I did not have to endure this movie until it ended because I was sure it would have been pure agony.
If the acting in this film looked like the expression when something is pulled out of someone's ass, watching this film is exactly the opposite of that: It is when something rough and thorny is rammed up your ass.
I don't know if it's just me but the first few minutes of the film gave it all away.
From the dialogues, acting, and camera works, i could tell, no doubt, that this is just one lousy movie.
First, their acting was more than what was needed. they appeared like overacting dumbs. This is usually because of the inability of the director to pull off a good acting from a good set of actors. This director deserves to be castrated, his tongue pulled out from his mouth, his eyes blasted and pried, then lastly, be decapitated. He deserves no less.
Second, the lines were so mediocre. They make sane people cringe with how crappy they are. This is because they let a stupid and dumb writer to write the lines. Commonplace is a self-made irony that people feel uncomfortable with so much familiarity. This writer should be burned alive so that he can never write lines like this ever again.
Third, the camera captions were so shaky. stupid cameramen perhaps. These people need to be pushed off the cliff.
I was really made restless by this movie because of the overwhelming reviews it got from "trusted" reviewers here. I searched through highs and lows just to get hold of a copy of this film, and when i finally had it, i didn't find it coming that i will be haunted again by restless nights why i paid so much for such a lousy film.
I am not trying to disparage the novel or whatever. No, it is not the story, it is everything about the film that sucks (pardon me for my use of such word but it is the only one that I can think of right now to describe how the film felt for me).
I am really quite disappointed and appalled by the ratings this movie got from the reviewers. Let me explain on the following points one by one.
First, they said Casey Affleck's acting in this movie has far surpassed his feat in Jesse James. this is absolutely not true. Jesse James (as Robert ford) is still Casey's best and unforgettable performance. other jurors must have agreed with me that was why they chose him as the best supporting actor. there is still no film where he acted better. Casey's performance in gone baby gone is not in any way in the league of great actings; his brother Ben just couldn't bring out the best from him. he just can't.
Second, from the reviews, it said that Ben Affleck did an amazing job in his directorial debut. I hope Ben does not read the reviews here because they might get into his head and make him believe he really did a great job. For Christ's sake, I thought i was watching 24 or CSI or Prison Break. Yes, Ben affleck was copying the styles of the TV series, only that his film turned out to be a cheap copycat. If Ben affleck could not afford to go to school to get some directing lessons, or at least the how-to-point-your-camera 101 basics for complete dummies, he should watch great movies to learn how they are made.
what was really annoying was that Ben affleck does not know how to use camera perspectives. he was always so focused on the faces of the characters that it seemed they were always shooting in a cramped, tight, tiny rooms where there are no spaces to move about, even a step. there were very few scenes where the camera captured a panorama, most of them ugly ones. 90% of the time you could see Casey's, or other character's faces, or should i say, noses.
acting was really bad. Ben affleck made their actings strangely stressed or tensed. not only that, the dialogs were so clichéd and predictable and what they did to make up for such lousy dialogs was to pepper, no, drench them with expletives. i might have a slight idea that Ben wanted this film to make it to the Guinness book of world records as the film with the most number of "f.u.c.k" having spoken.
this movie is not worth buying the DVD. it surely is a waste just like what Ben affleck made out of the great actors he cast. i just couldn't calculate how agonizing it was to finish the movie because i wanted to get something worth out of the not-so-affordable price of this lousy title.
Actors do age, so do the movies and this one is the perfect example
Knowing that Unforgiven made it to the top 250 movies of all time is something that left me intrigued and made me restless for quite a time until i got hold of a DVD copy of it.
But after seeing it, I began to be baffled by the actual ranking this film got. Surely, this film is decent if you want something that prioritizes triumph over anything else. Seeing Clint Eastwood take on several Bad (good) guys unscathed is quite a relief after seeing what these bad (good) guys did to his friend.
But let us set the triumph catharsis aside and tackle each of the issues I am dying to address.
1. Direction. Bad. Just plain bad.
2. Cinematogrpahy. Average
3.Story/Plot. Clichéd average
4. Dialogs. Poor. Not the ones that you would usually expect as natural. quite political, romanticized, exaggerated. Just not so natural. too deep for even the most usual of conversations. totally out of place.
5. Acting. Good but awkwardly turns bad because of poor dialogs. The actors just couldn't reconcile how to act good with ridiculous dialogs.
overall, this movie is way overrated. i could not say that it was bad during its time or that it has seen better days. but i can surely say that it is not as good as a film or a western in this time.
I shelled out about 20 bucks, and though it pains me to reconsider it, i somehow regret having bought this DVD
just meant to prey on the emotions of ofws..forgetting the essential elements in movie making
i have watched this film several years back and when i finally landed in a place where there are millions of ofws, i felt compelled to write a review of it even though i believe no one would even bother reading it.
i have to be frank to say that the producers of this movie tried to beat the emotional punch of ofws, some 7 million of them in 2000, to make sure that they had a fan base that would solidly usher this movie to box office revenues and critical acclaims. but one could clearly see right through the motives of the producers that they intend on getting money even if it meant preying on the emotional vulnerability of ofws.
they have stuck on such an idea that they have discarded the essential points in movie making.
first, the dialogs and conversation flows were downright ridiculous.they were talking so fast as if they were in a hurry.
even if the movie casted very good actors, vilma santos, cherry pie picache, to mention a few, it just really cannot make up for a bad set of dialogs; it even made them appear laughable. just bad, shallow and unlife-like dialogs. the untalented writers even attempted to make the movie appear intense by drenching the dialogs with offensive and obscene expletives even in scenes that did not really need them. this shallow style of scriptwriting made this movie a lot more unbearable as there were unnecessary remarks in a lot of wrong places.
the character of the protagonist was poorly conceived, clichéd, just plain and vividly shallow. why would you despise your mother, who, from previous countless accounts of domestic helpers, had been enduring unimaginable working conditions in other country, just because she missed or unintentionally failed to reply to your letters. how shallow does that plot goes? if this description needed a metaphorical comparison, it should be that this story must have been written by a 4th grader for his short story requirement. i don't understand why such shallow (pardon the over-usage) concoctions pass out as a plot for a movie. maybe the producers also think of the audience as shallow and there was no need to go deeper. honestly in my opinion, they may be quite right. but it was not right to follow the audience's lead. the movie makers should always be the one raising the bar.
second, some angles were terrible. some perspectives were so focused on capturing the intense emotional portrayals of the actors that the important elements in the background were obliterated. again, bad directing. the director just doesn't know what he or she was doing or is it even correct to call her/him a director.
third, many scenes were superfluous and unrealistic. in a certain scene, the mother was grabbing the daughter and wouldn't let go of her for no reason even if the daughter had no plans of going anywhere. this bad situation was so forcefully implemented so that it would appear that they were wrestling. on top of it, the people cheered as if they were watching a wrestling derby. how shallow and mindless of a plot is that that it just made me cringe. we know that when people argue, especially if it involves someone who is a senior, spectators would tend to keep their mouth shut and retreat to the sides. the people involved in the writing of this script obviously do not know what the realities of human psychology and sociology are. they just wrote it so that they had something to write. truly, they obviously lacked the necessary education and talent. they did not even bother to do a little research. they just had the stupid idea in order to have something to call a story.
i still have yet to see a movie that doesn't capitalize so much on the manipulation of emotions for the purpose of amassing revenues. while it is true that movie making is also dictated by economic tides, it is also important not to leave out the essential and artistic aspects of making it. the Philippine cinema is not actually young but it seems to be doting and becoming more and more immature while many watchers have become more and more intelligent.
The film that takes you away and leaves you in a place where adventure still goes on in you
I was very much surprised that this film took a lot of beating from a lot of reviewers.
The movie stood up for what it was made for: entertain. period.
Sure there were several inaccurate facts that this movie was rife of, but still, it is a movie: not made to inform, or educate for that matter.
Let's discuss these flaws one by one.
1. the polar ice caps have enough water to engulf the world, leaving a tiny portion of land of which to be believed is the highest mountain peak in the world. false. if all the polar ice caps were to melt, the sea level will rise by not more that 50 meters. sure, some lands will sink, but there would be substantial surface that could remain.
the movie wanted to engulf the whole world with water and the most probable event that could accomplish this is by melting the ice caps. although the probability of this happening is less than 1, it's still a probability nonetheless.
2. desalinating the urine and converting into potable freshwater. quite stupid really thinking that the water surrounding you has more than enough freshwater that you could convert into drinking water without looking like disgusting.
the movie wanted to convey the message that freshwater is extremely precious, albeit gross disgust.
3. how could have the girl from the dryland fled to a very very far-flung place and have a tattoo, which she could use whenever she will be lost, of all places, on her back? the film wanted to tell the story of a girl who was experimented by her parents that if they put some tattoo on her back, and throw her to a place of nowhere, she could eventually return.
this lack of critical thinking was necessary to make a story for the film.
I am willing to overlook these flaws as long as i'm entertained. and so the film delivered what i expected of it.
what i did not like in the film though was the inappropriately bad timings where music had to be scored in the background even if the dialogue was ultimately essential.
bad musical scoring. period.
kevin costner's portrayal of the character was perfect. no one could have done it better (steven seagal is overqualified as he doesn't really have some useful facial expressions even in real life). i have always been wanting to acquire that kind of personality where you talked less and command respect.
tina morino's lines were the wittiest i have ever heard. they were hard ass punches with satirical and humorous blows.
this film is great. i am a critic of movies but i do not know why i can't bash on this one. i know, it's simply awesome.
i have watched this film for about maybe 5 times already from different sources, and each time, or twice, there were new scenes that i've never seen before. this movie always surprises me each time i watch it
I liked the spectacle of the film and gave it a 10. Apparently, my review was removed for reasons which I don't have any idea why
I loved the film when I saw it and gave it a 10. I even bothered to write a review about it, because as i've said, i liked it. But apparently, my review has been removed because, I suspect, people have felt that I was involved in the production of this movie and I was promoting it heavily. Had I realized earlier, I would never associate myself with the producers of this movie.
Now it's only that I realized that the movie was just plain awful. I wish to forget the instances when I felt a terrible pain enduring the flow of the movie. Although the landscapes were a spectacle to the eyes, deep inside I was in a very agonizing experience.
Roland Emmerich's other films were really not that good. He only compensates them with extravagant special effects. In totality, this film does not elevate nor degrade Emmerich's's capacity, like it does matter.
first, Jim Sturgess is just the perfect opposite of Kevin spacey's versatility. though he did look like a dork, he didn't look anything like brilliant. his acting was really really disappointing; lacking too much in expression and conviction, lacking in subtlety and emotion. lacking in almost everything. why him? second, the plot was very ambitious but lacked the necessary intelligent twists and means, not that the main character was unable to portray his part convincingly, but that it was just too damn simple, clichéd, and threadbare.
third, the film wanted to depict that some of the best institutions in the world harbor incorrigible offenders amid all the years of teaching of doing what is right. Mr. spacey and MIT just gambled their names in vain. this is just the worst film Kevin spacey had been into.
fourth, if this film were intended for the intelligent audience, then it should have delivered crafty story lines. but by the looks of it, it really was anything but intelligent.
overall, this movie was a complete waste of time. the only redeeming part this movie has to offer is the seemingly less obvious twist that Mr Sturgess so sorely failed to orchestrate.
Need to say more? Ouch! IMDb says I need to say more, at least ten lines.
3. Oh god! This film haunts me even in writing for a comment.
4. This movie has been an ordeal for me.
5. This movie is the worst of all . I can't put up with this. Nooooooooooooooooooooooo. Omg. I don't want to say anything anymore. Please! Can somebody help me. IMDb should not impose rules of at least 10 lines with this movie because I can't even think of at least 10 words. Oh my God. This is so crazy. Oh my god. All I have to do is say meaningless and useless things. I think this makes ten lines already. Got to submit it. I'm gonna try.
The Mexican background alone would have sold this film better
i am a Ben stiller fan and i can only say that this movie is not worth watching in the theater. this movie would be enjoyed more on a DVD, as what i did. but this is not to say that there's a Ben stiller movie that's worth watching in the theater, at least, meet the parents almost was.
this movie is decent. the background Mexican landscape is amazing. but i have noticed that the lighting was too bright that it became apparent that the characters are being lighted. even under the shade, the lighting was so intense that it looks very conspicuous.
this movie laid out lines for Ben stiller to reenact tantrum scenes similar to airport scenes in meet the parents. it appeared desperate that it became pathetic.
the story was fine but it did not meet what it was intended to do: put laughter in people's faces. other comments here were true; the story lacked comedic lines to make it funny enough. Although the story carried me to the wonderful beaches, it failed to accommodate my appetite for laughing.
all in all this movie is decent for Ben stiller fans. I repeat, for Ben stiller fans only. If you are not, it would be an agonizing ordeal... i would suppose.
This is one of the best films I've ever seen. The direction, acting, and cinematography are superb. This is one of the few films where the dialogs are remarkably spontaneous as if they were almost the way how real people talk in real life. I was just stunned.
I must commend Sam Rockwell's acting. He was really good. I always knew he had a talent and this movie brought out the best from him.
The story has stitched the perfect web of entanglement that portrayed a poignant and discomforting human aspect.
As regards Brad Pitt's acting, I must say that he had some good and bad points.
First, it was not the way real men cry. When alpha men cry, they must not show facial expressions of sadness; when they cry, the tears just flow and when somebody catches them crying, they deny it as if they never cried. Brad Pitt failed to portray this in more than three instances.
Brad Pitt cannot avoid having to show off his pretty boy image when he does his cute expressions that they make him appear he wanted to appear in his 'cute' trademark shot. He did this, like, twice, which almost ruined the portrayal of an outlaw. It was just like, Pitt wanted to appear as a cute outlaw.
Brad Pitt performed as demanded in most parts of the film, but I will still have reservations towards him if I were to give the Best Actor award.
The scenery was powerful. Outstanding cinematography.
The film showed a little more than what the story needed to tell. It would have sufficed to have told what happened to Robert Ford after he killed Jesse James in writing. Giving lots of details to what happened to him only added more insult to his injury as if rubbing salt to a wound. Denouement in this point was unnecessary.
It is by far the film where I saw the best acting of Casey Affleck. He was able to take my approval when it comes to "Surprised" scenes. He did a good job. He did a great acting but he was not able to perfectly portray a character that was not his age. Although Casey looked young, several years younger than the person he is older than (Paul Schneider), his body language, mannerisms, and the way he talked always revealed his true age. I noticed them, thinking that Casey was young and before confirming his real age.
It must be a crime not to commend the acting performances of Paul Schneider, Sam Shepard, James Defelice, and most especially Garret Dillahunt (Ed Miller). I could really not ask for more.
Overall, this movie is great and to me, it will become a classic and an icon.