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‘Transporter 2’ Film Review: Escapist ride

"Transporter 2" maintains the typical formula: the good guy chasing the bad guys. Its B-movie plot twists are like an assemblage of action-sequel clichés carefully endorsing the car brand Audi. Frank Martin's (Jason Statham) monosyllabic intensity as the usual understated hero effectively moves around in fierce car chases and impossible martial arts sequences. This doesn't stop the movie from being absurdly pleasurable. It suspends disbelief for a one-and-a-half hour escapist action ride. The opening scene plays like an Audi commercial. It takes full advantage of the all-wheel drive to survive countless incredible stunts. The car is so sturdy that after crashing and

‘Sky High’ Film Review: Soaring HS heroes and sidekicks

If you think Hogwarts is the only secret school for extraordinary kids, well there's also the heroic children's world of "Sky High." This film is a hybrid superhero flick: "The Incredibles" meets the "X-Men" via "Harry Potter." It may be a Disney flick with a big celebration of superhero cliches; but it is entertaining enough for its target market. As a derivative, it never claims to be genuinely superior to its more successful blockbuster sources. Despite having a mediocre and formulaic script, it still turns out as an engaging family offering. Exploring the lives of emerging superheroes during the time called "coming of age," this lightweight adventure dwells into the themes of puberty, popularity, and family

‘Brothers Grimm’ Film Review: A Grim for Brothers Grimm

"Brothers Grimm" is shallow, bland, and disappointing. It is a fractured fairy tale that is unable to live up to its classic sources. There have been a few sparks of promise, but the muddled plot messes up its supposed intensity. Weaving throughout the film are a number of Grimm tales including: "The Little Red Riding Hood," "Hansel and Gretel," "The Frog Prince," "Rapunzel," "Sleeping Beauty," "Cinderella," "The Gingerbread Man," among others. But unfortunately, the outcome turns out as nothing more than a topsy-turvy showdown of folklorish adventure lacking good plot structure. Utilizing the enchantment and whimsical tone of a fairy tale movie

‘Into the Blue’ Film Review: Soaking deep into the blue

"Into the Blue" runs out of air with its contrived plot and its mere interest on showcasing sexy bodies on screen. This Hollywood flick sinks aimlessly into the deep waters of the Bahamas. The treasure isn't priced well. It’s long soaked and buried deep into the blue. Director John Stockwell seems primarily concerned with the superficial side: showcasing the major characters in a bikini fashion show and making a high-end audio-visual presentation illustrating the beauty of nature like what can normally be seen in travelogues and travel channels. On the one hand, it is commendable for its stunning aerial and underwater cinematography. It

‘The Island’ Film Review: On harvesting humans

Set in the year 2019 in a hermetic complex where everyone wears white suits and their health and food intake monitored up to the tiniest details, “The Island” follows the everyday life of Lincoln Six-Echo (Ewan McGregor) and Jordan Two-Delta (Scarlett Johansson) living in a sterile environment after a world contamination. This derivative science-fiction thriller puts the spotlight on human clones used as spare parts to replace defective body organs, adopt newborn babies without any biological parent running after the kid (and they can even have kids by using specific clones), and insure lost or malfunctioning body parts of their sponsors

‘Ong-Bak’ Film Review: No doubles, no strings, no CGIs

"Ong-Bak" amazes and defies the Hollywood cheats of stunt doubles, using CGI and animation, and working on strings while shooting on chroma to let the characters' actions fly and soar high. This action fare shows the real deal — what a premier martial artist can really do without resorting to any of action cinema's magic tricks. The film presents the centuries-old art of Muay Thai in a contemporary scene. It carries on the Thai people's culture and traditions, as inspired by their ancient fighting spirit. Muay Thai transforms the human body into a multifaceted weapon for close-combat fighting. The way it is presented on screen allows it to work as a newbie's primer

‘Ring of Nibelungs’ Film Review: Another ring tale

Benefiting from the epic success of the "Lord of the Rings" (“LOTR”) in terms of theme and source material, "Ring of Nibelungs" offers a dose of swords, kingdom, ice, magic, and dragon amidst the conflicts of love and greed. This motion picture’s tone combines that of "LOTR" and "Asterix and Obelix," primarily rendering a mythical and historical look that settles in the vastness of the cold countries of the north. The film poster quotes it as J.R.R. Tolkien's inspiration for "LOTR.” In "LOTR," the plot revolves around a magic ring that grants the power to rule the world towards destruction. In "Ring of Nibelungs," the

‘Nasaan Ka Man’ Film Review: A bittersweet tale

Set in the fog-covered, cold, and mysterious Baguio which reflects the story's mood and atmosphere, "Nasaan Ka Man" explores the tale of passion, undying memories, unfulfilled promises, lost dreams, and tragic love. The film opens with a horror feel crawling into its slowly unfolding love story — musing into a suspense-filled route that somehow extends to the issues of the paranormal. A touch of horror gets injected every now and then. The plot takes on different hues and dimensions for the usual love-triangle fare. Filled with metaphors, finely orchestrated camera movements, and breathtaking visuals, the film's heaviness works well through the cinematography and acting performances. Many visual elements absorb deep-rooted emotions,

‘Batman Begins’ Film Review: A great beginning for the Dark Knight

”Batman Begins” explores the origins of Bruce Wayne's (Christian Bale) emergence as Batman and brings back the essence of what drives him to be who he is. Human emotions as love, fear and anger begin a new face for the Dark Knight as a cinematic and yet realistic film. This makes his character more human than the rest of the “Batman” films of the past. This time, the film justifies the idea that Batman is still "just a man" under the black costume, still has his vulnerable side, gets bruises, feels pain — not just any superhero without a decent human past to

‘Kingdom of Heaven’ Film Review: War and religion

Ridley Scott makes another epic — this time, streamlined in the middle of the conflicting religious beliefs of the Christians and the Muslims. A fiction inspired by historical accounts, "Kingdom of Heaven" renders a cinematic vision of the Crusades of the 12th Century. Balian (Orlando Bloom), the young, grieving blacksmith from a small village in France, finally yields to the invitation of his estranged father, Baron Godfrey of Ibelin (Liam Neeson), to go to the Holy Land of Jerusalem. With the hope of relieving his and his dead wife's sins, he finally convinces himself to lead the way towards salvation there so that

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