Pitch Perfect 2

PG-13  |  115 mins  |  Musical, Comedy | May 13, 2015 (Philippines)

Director: Elizabeth Banks
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Adam DeVine, Skylar Astin, and Ben Platt

The Barden Bellas' shameful wardrobe malfunction blunder in front of US Pres. Barrack Obama at Lincoln Center cost them their chance at defending their title as 3-time national acapella champions. 

Then came another shot at redemption, the acapella World Championships in Copenhagen, which no US team has ever won. The Bellas take on the formidable reigning world champs, German powerhouse Das Sound Machine (led by Birgitte Hjort Sørensen and Flula Borg). 

This sequel shows how the all-girl group, Barden Bellas recover their harmony and musical identity as they welcome a bubbly new "Legacy" Bella to the group (Hailee Steinfeld) and face college graduation then life after collegiate acapella singing. 

Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) and Becca (Anna Kendrick) provides the fun and charm, but the breakout star of this movie was the surprise package named Flo (Chrissie Fit). The other Bellas (Ester Dean, Alexis Knapp, Hana Mae Lee ) have their own spotlight moments throughout the film. Jesse (Skylar Astin) and Benji (Ben Platt) and the rest of the Treblemakers pretty much stayed in the background this time. Oh, and did I mention Fat Amy gets an official boyfriend and Benji snagging himself a Bella for a girlfriend? And the cameos! Yes, the cameos.

There is a throwback scene to the "Cups Song" which was a top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 for Anna Kendrick long after the film had left the cinemas. The original song featured in this one, "Flashlight," is promising potential hit as well,

The Filharmonic, an LA-based Fil-Am acappella group featured in NBC’s “The Sing-Off”, represents the Philippines as a band called Manila Envy in the World Championships singing a Journey song in Tagalog. Pentatonix represents Canada.

Pitch Perfect 2 is racist and misogynistic, but funny and enjoyable. I'd say the more controversial remarks were mostly courtesy of competition commentator John Smith (John Michael Higgins) which overall is very hilarious - unless you belong to the specific sector he is slamming.  Screenwriters and director Elizabeth Banks (who also plays commentator Gail and producer in this film) use the same effective formula from 2012's Pitch Perfect— spot-on humor plus the Riff-Off plus song after song after song after song. 

A sequel worth seeing and singing about.

RATING: 7/10


Juno (2007)

PG-13  |  96 min  |  Comedy, Romance  |  Released: December 25, 2007 (USA)

Director: Jason Reitman
Starring: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, and Jennifer Garner 

Do not even try to tell me Juno doesn't have the best movie compilation soundtrack to date!

RATING: 9/10


Superbad (2007)

R |  113 mins  |  Comedy | August 17, 2007 (USA)

DirectorGreg Mottola
StarringJonah Hill, Michael Cera, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Bill Hader, Seth Rogen, Emma Stone

The realest movie I've probably seen. Plus there's cussing & ridiculously inappropriate humor & talking about who you'd love to sleep with. Awesome!

RATING: 8.5/10


The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

PG-13  | 117 mins  | Biopic, Drama  | December 15, 2006 (USA)

Director: Gabriele Muccino
Starring: Will Smith, Thandie Newton, and Jaden Smith

When you think your life is so tough...watch this movie. Plus it made me buy and figure the Rubiks cube.

RATING: 8/10


10,000 Hours

R-13 | Filipino, Drama | Release Date: December 25, 2013

Director: Joyce Bernal
Starring: Robin Padilla, Michael de Mesa, Mylene Dizon, Bella Padilla, Pen Medina, Carla Humphries, Cholo Barreto

10,000 Hours' big win at the 39th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) definitely raised curiosity among moviegoers. The film took home most of the coveted awards - Best Director, Best Actor, Best Picture, the FPJ Memorial Award for Film Excellence & the Gat Puno Antonio Villegas Cultural Award. 

Year 2010, Sen. Gabriel Molino Alcaraz (Robin Padilla) is about to spill the details of a pork barrel scam implicating Pres. Genoviva Martinez Obrero (Bibeth Orteza). But the senator gets pinned on an alleged 1986 rub out case instead and his NBI director friend gets killed trying to warn him of the plan to arrest him. Sen. Alcaraz escapes with the help of a brash news reporter Maya Limchauco (Bela Padilla), eluding authorities led by Gen. Dante Cristobal (Michael de Mesa). He becomes a fugitive and goes into hiding in Amsterdam. A Filipino expatriate, Isabelle Manahan (Carla Humphries), shelters the senator and helps him find Salvador Jago (Pen Medina), the man who could clear his name. Back home, the family (Mylene Dizon, Cholo Barreto, Markki Stroem, Winwyn Marquez) falls into despair from the backlash of the senator's controversial escape.

Although the film ends with a disclaimer that the events depicted are entirely fictional, it was obviously inspired by real-life political affairs. The title 10,000 Hours refers to the number of hours Sen. Alcaraz was on the lam - that's one year, one month, and one week. It's loosely based on (and I'd say, the closest to) Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson's story when he fled the country years ago.

Sure, I judged it too soon because of Robin Padilla. Ooops! But apart from the ludicrous premise of a virtuous politician & Amsterdam depicted as boring, the movie was actually good. 

I had my preconceived notion of the action star, but Robin Padilla is convincing as the lawmaker and gave the role plenty of acting cred that it didn't matter anymore. Padilla's performance had the right subtle and subdued quality needed for the character. The rest of the cast did incredible too, they definitely delivered. Bela Padilla, first time on the big screen, was natural in her role as a prick. Mylene Dizon's gun pointing and shooting was badass for a senator's wife. Pen Medina's authentic cussing. Michael de Mesa's big dilemma between enforcing the law and preserving a friendship. I was ready to give Cholo Barreto, Markki Stroem, & Wynwyn Marquez who played Padilla's children some slack because it was probably their first time acting, but I was pleasantly surprised by their acting chops & range. And Carla Humphries, God, Carla Humphries! Uh-uhm. Even Antonio Aquitania, in his short role, was gold in this movie.

Bb. Joyce Bernal didn't disappoint! An action-drama master work by the director who's more known for rom-com movies; this was her first full-feature action film in fact. 

I'm not saying it's because this movie was directed by a woman, because that's just sexist, but you won't find violent, bloody action scenes here or the nervous suspense of On The Job (OTJ). LOL. But like OTJ, this film says a lot too about the Philippine government.

The girls collectively did all the heavy lifting for the movie though, acting-wise and production-wise. 10,000 Hours was mainly backed by a female crew. The film's score by Teresa Barrozo. Screenplay by Ryllah Epifania Berico and Keiko Aquino. Cinematography by Marissa Floreindo. Film editing by Marya Ignacio. 

10,000 Hours deserved the A-rating given by the Film Evaluation Board. 

But, oh, I remembered! The most ridiculous part of 10,000 Hours was that there were CCTVs in NAIA Terminal 3. 

RATING: 9/10


The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

PG-13 | 146 mins | Sci-fi, Adventure | November 22, 2013 (USA)

Director: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Donald Sutherland
(Based from the novel written by Suzanne Collins)

After watching this movie, I had three (3) realizations:
1. Catching Fire is better than Divergent.
2. Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) is a revolutionary just as much as the rest, only in a different way.  
3. I want a book (or a spinoff movie) about Johanna Mason's (Jena Malone) life.


RATING: 7/10


Pitch Perfect

PG-13 | 112 mins | Musical, Comedy, Romance | October 10, 2012 (Philippines)

Director: Jason Moore
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Skylar Astin and Rebel Wilson

It is about young adults. It involves music and has a romantic element. 


Pitch Perfect is something between Bandslam, Glee and Easy A. Only, imagine that all of the characters are in uni, and imagine they're more hilarious, more talented, and more badass.

Pitch Perfect follows a female acapella voice choir, The Bellas, competing to be the best of all the universities. I loved how understated Beca (Anna Kendrick), the main character, was. Her love interest, Jesse (Skylar Astin), was cocky yet cool. Everyone else in the cast were all exaggerated and funny characters. Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) is easily my favorite character. She's so funny I found myself eagerly waiting for her witty one-liners. 

As far as the music was concerned, it was topnotch. Man, they could sing! Awesome harmonies, great mash-ups. Our office has had to endure hours of people singing the same songs!

This movie is not your usual cheesy teen rom-com; the predictable love story and the girl bitching aside. It has funny puns via singing (watch out for the riff-off) & projectile vomiting. Haha.  

Apart from Anna Kendrick (Twilight, Up in the Air, Rocket Science) & Brittany Snow (John Tucker Must Die, Hairspray) the cast aren't exactly 'star studded'. But each one of them has 'one-to-watch' potential, which you may know by now because you realize you've heard about them all over and seen them in one or more other movies. 

Boys might not like this film as much, because there aren't any guns (although Fat Amy assumed she's been shot in one scene). So, yeah, this may sound unlikely as f*ck, but I want you all to know that I loved the movie. I thought it was quite good and didn't complain once!

Everything in this movie is musically and comically on key. It's what Glee wishes it could be! Kidding. It's refreshing to see a musical and comedy combo like this.

If you like a feel-good movie with excellent music and lots of really good laughs, then this one is definitely worth checking out. You're gonna like it whether you want to or not.

RATING: 7/10


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