Movie Reviews

Movie Review: 100 Tula Para Kay Stella (100 Poems for Stella)

100 Tula Para Kay Stella is a Filipino film, an official entry to the Pista ng Pelikulang Filipino.

100 Tula Para Kay Stella is about the lives of Stella and Fidel and the love and friendship between them. Fidel has a speech defect wherein he stutters whenever he talks in long sentences which he makes him shy and less confident with himself. Stella, on the other hand, is a rocker chic who dreams of being a famous recording artist. Even with their personalities very different, the two develop a strong friendship. Unknowingly to Stella, Fidel starts to fall in love with her and starts writing poems for her. However, he doesn’t seem to have the courage to give it to her. Will he be able to give the poems and confess his love before it’s too late?

At the very beginning, I know that this movie will be different from the rest. Every scene has a different feel on it. The movie starts with a light-hearted mood which made me assume that this will be a cute light-hearted story about friendship that will eventually progress to love. And for people who were teenagers at the early 2000s, this movie will bring nostalgia. I was a little kid back then but now I saw how teenagers that time interact and live.

I also knew from the very start that this movie will not have an ending most of us would expect. And I was right. It was an ending I did not expect from Stella. I’ve overheard conversations after the moving saying that they did not like the ending but for me, it’s a very beautiful ending. The ending shows the reality of life. It might break people’s fantasy but we just have to accept that fate may not be on our side.

JC Santos and Bela Padilla, for me, are perfect for this role. Bela is indeed very beautiful and her face has so much sincerity. JC was able to give off a shy boy type vibe even when he’s very good-looking. Their acting was believable which makes it remarkable for me.

Overall, the movie for me is close to perfection. I was deeply moved by every scene. I laughed with them and cried with them too. I was immersed in their lives. I also rooted for the shy boy in love with a tough girl. I highly recommend this movie for all the hopeless romantic, however, please prepare to get your heart broken.


Movie Review: The Beauty Inside

The Beauty Inside is a 2015 korean film based on a 2012 american film of the same name. The Beauty Inside is about Kim Woo Jin who changes his appearance every time he wakes up. His appearance may be of a woman or a man. He may be old or young. He may be of a different race. After years of this condition, Kim Woo Jin has accepted his life until he met Yi Soo, portrayed by Han Hyo Joo, who he fell in love with instantly. This movie mainly focuses on how Yi Soo adjusts into being in a relationship who is a different person every day.

Some movies give you a roller coaster of emotion. You’ll feel many emotions at the same time like there’s a storm coming and you’re in a boat in the middle of the ocean. For this movie, you are just sailing in a calm and beautiful day. Throughout the movie, everything feels like calm. It really didn’t connect to me much. It didn’t really make me feel anything. The emotions felt while watching this movie is just superficial. That is why, even with its high concept, the movie is just underwhelming.

Even when the movie is not great, it’s not bad at all though. I guess the reason for that is Han Hyo Joo who is just perfect for the role. Han Hyo Joo’s face is one of the most beautiful faces there is for me. Her beauty is both simple and elegant and you can see kindness in her eyes. Yi Soo is supposed to be a character with pure heart who can look beyond appearances and love what’s within. Han Hyo Joo was able to portray this character very well and I’m guessing she did it effortlessly too. All the actors who played Kim Woo Jin are commendable too. Because of their acting, it was believable that there is one person inside all those appearances.

I guess I will recommend this movie to people who are looking for something easy to watch. If you just want to lie in bed and relax while watching a movie, this movie will be great for you.

Movie Review: Okja

To be honest, at first I thought that this movie would have a typical storyline where the main character gets separated from his/her best friend. This happens in the movie, however, this movie is so much more than that. Okja is a masterpiece.

The movie starts with Lucy Mirando, the new CEO of Mirando corporation, telling the people about a new breed of pigs that are naturally bred. 26 piglets were then sent to different farmers around the world. There’s more though. It’s a competition, the best super pig will be awarded in New York 10 years into the future. Fast forward 10 years after, one of the piglets- Okja- is now huge super pig. We see the close bond between Okja and the girl who raised her, Mija. From all the scenes, it is obvious that they are best friends. However, Mija’s time with Okja is up. Okja is chosen as the best super pig, the winner of the competition, and will now be taken to New York. Of course, Mija will not let this happen. She follows Okja to Seoul and plans to take her back to the mountain. However, taking back Okja from a big company isn’t easy. Good for her, Animal Liberation Front helps her rescue Okja. Unfortunately, the ALF’s mission isn’t as straightforward as that. The ALF needed more from Okja to finally expose the animal abuse happening behind the environment-friendly mask of Lucy Mirando. The ALF’s mission is to install a hidden camera on Okja and send her back to Mirando Corporation.

First of all, this movie, unlike my first impression, is NOT a family movie. I don’t think kids can appreciate the message of this movie, furthermore, I don’t think that kids are ready for the truth and reality this movie aims to tell us. This movie is for those who wants to think and feel.

I believe that these movies are trying to deliver us these messages:

  1. It is shown here how easily we consumers can be lied to. We find out in this movie that Lucy Mirando was lying all along- the super pigs are not naturally bred but are synthesized in the lab. It is shown here that promotions can sound convincing and that these promotions can manipulate us into believing something else.
  2. It is also shown to us the reality behind food production.  Here, we see the reality we all wishes to ignore. It showed us what we do not want to see. Because maybe, if we don’t see it, we can imagine that they don’t happen. But they do. I have to admit that the scenes in the slaughterhouse is very hard to watch. It is very hard to accept that for us to have meat, the animals have to go through that. I really teared up on the last few minutes of the film.

Because of these messages, even when they’re hard to accept and uncomfortable to watch, I loved this movie. I admired this movie’s courage. It is, however, unclear to me what the film’s take on genetically modified organisms. Okja is a GMO and Lucy Mirando lies to the world to keep this truth a secret. She also says something like it’s not her fault the consumers are afraid of GMOs. I guess we can see here the good and the bad about GMO. GMOs, on the right hands, have great potential.

On a lighter note, I really loved that Steven Yeun and Devon Bostick are here. Steven’s character as Glenn in The Walking Dead and Devon’s character as Jasper in The 100 are very complex characters. Their characters here are complex as well and they portrayed them well. That’s another strength this movie has- the complexity of the characters including the villains. I mean, Lucy Mirando, is not evil. She has good intentions for the world but not so good means of achieving it. The characters in this movie has depth, they are coming from something.

Overall, I really liked this movie and highly recommend it to adults. I really hope that this movie can be as meaningful to you as it is for me.


Sakaling Hindi Makarating (In Case They Don’t Arrive)

Sakaling Hindi Makarating is a Filipino film about a woman named Cielo who was receiving post cards from an anonymous person who only signs the post cards as M. The post cards depict beautiful sceneries from different parts of the country. Wanting to avoid her ex-fiancee, Cielo decides to take a trip and visit the places depicted in the post cards.

Sakaling Hindi Makarating is a story about heartbreak and finding yourself after not being sure who you are anymore. Hoping to find her “soulmate”, Cielo embarks on a journey, see new places and experience things she has feared before like swimming. Sometimes, we find something else instead of what we’re looking for.

The over-all story of the film was actually great. However, me and my friend didn’t like the pace. It’s like nothing interesting is really happening. Yeah, the views are great and she seems to be having fun but that is not enough. I found myself always asking for more in every scene. It might have been better if this a book rather than a movie. Also, it felt like the movie ended abruptly. My reaction was “That’s it?”

I believe that this movie needs a specific audience for it to be appreciated. It was beautiful. We loved the scenes showing the sunsets and the seas but I didn’t find what I was looking for. Maybe I’m just not used to these kinds of film with slow pace. In some films, building up the next events doesn’t really matter. Every scene can withstand on its own. I’m not sure if this movie is like that though. If you like travelling or stories about journeys, maybe you’ll like this movie.