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

This Thai action picture highlights the art of Muay Thai in this Southeast Asian country's contemporary scene. "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

‘Sta. Niña’ Film Review: The intersection between miracle and superstition

“Sta. Niña”-- a finalist in the New Breed full-length feature category of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival 2012 -- is a family melodrama set a decade after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. The story revolves around the people from the lahar-covered plains of a Pampanga town as they still cope up with the desolation brought about by the calamity, as well as their more current personal, familial, and economic struggles. The film’s front story features a very straightforward narrative. It follows

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Nativity Story’

"The Nativity Story" debuts on HD format via a two-disc release housing its Blu-ray and DVD copies. This 2006 religious tale by Catherine Hardwicke dramatizes the period when Mary and Joseph face an arduous but incredible journey to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus Christ. The film stars Keisha Castle-Hughes, Oscar Isaac, Hiam Abbass, Alexander Siddig, Ciarán Hinds, and Shohreh Aghdashloo. The simple narrative keeps up with its biblical source by telling three story arcs that converge in the origin of

‘Angels and Demons’ Film Review: From suspense novel to audio-visual flair

This "Angels and Demons" film adaptation is a less contemplative and a more motion-driven version of Dan Brown's novel. "Angels and Demons" mounts the visuals the way I imagined them while reading the Dan Brown novel. That part is impressive. However, the suspense part that hooked me to the book gets lost in the film adaptation. For a movie based entirely around a beat-the-clock goal, the momentum gets significantly lost and the far-fetched plot surfaces more without the packed intensity and

‘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

‘The Exorcism of Emily Rose’ Film Review: Courtroom psychological horror

This hybrid of horror and courtroom drama approaches its compelling subject matter with metaphysical horror within a courtroom procedure. Provocative and absorbing but without any pronouncement, "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" is a thinking person's demon possession film. This hybrid of horror and courtroom drama approaches its compelling subject matter with metaphysical horror within a courtroom procedure format. It presents both the scientific and religious sides of the controversial exorcism case of a 19-year old German girl battling a terribly neurotic or psychotic

‘Birhen ng Manaoag’ Film Review: Awful

These are my opinions -- insights and convictions from a critical moviegoer. Whether they're in line with another person's point of view or not, the point of the matter is: "Everyone is entitled to her or his own opinion." I made this article two days after watching the film, just to make sure I'll be more on the critical side. I need to avoid the too emotional insights after having to sit through the very tiring chore of watching a very

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