29 December 2017

JR Late Night Blogs: Filipino Movies of the Year 2017

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JR's Filipino Movies of the Year 2017

For the first time ever since its inception, JR Late Night Blogs is releasing its own list of best local movies in pursuit of recognizing efforts of the Philippine cinema industry. 2017 was a great year for Filipino movies spanning those entries from the Metro Manila Film Festival held last 25 December 2016 to 07 January 2017 (3 movies in the list) and the landmark Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino held last 16 to 22 August 2017 (3 movies in the list). 2017 was a great year for Filipino movies and JR presents to you 8 which stood out amongst all releases from the past year.

JR's pick for the top Filipino Movie of the Year 2017 comes from yesteryear's amazing line-up of MMFF movies. Die Beautiful is one of the best movies from the said film festival, transgressing the usual comedies using satire and the darkest of comedies to create an amazing story about the Filipino gay beautyscape. Speaking of dark comedy, the second spot goes to Patay Na Si Hesus which is reminiscent of the typical Filipino family. While the top two slots already are comedy films, this year's list include three usually considered as your Filipino romantic comedy, one horror movie, a documentary, and a teenage drama. Majority of this year's list are indie flicks. From JR's collection of movie reviews, five have been given masterpiece scores. Now, we start with JR's master listing of the best movies from the Philippines.

Summary of the List:
1    |    2    |    3    |    4    |    5    |    6    |    7    |    8
Intro    |    Methodology    |    Records    |    Data Sources    |    Photo Credits

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  1. All movies have to be watched or reviewed by JR during the year that was 2017. 
  2. Movies must have been WIDELY released domestically between 25 December 2016 to 24 December 2017. (The list doesn't include films that only screened for a specific audience for a short period of time in 2017.) 
  3. Movies from the Metro Manila Film Festival 2016 (25 December 2016 to 07 January 2017) have been taken into consideration since their time release frame has been majority in 2017.
  4. Movies from the Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 (25 December 2017 to 07 January 2018) are not yet included in this year's list but rather to be considered in the following year, 2018. 
  5. No movie re-releases in HD or IMAX were included in the list (such movies had already been premiered in the past).
   10 - Masterpiece
     9 - Excellent
     8 - Awesome
     7 - Alright
     6 - Okay

5 - Mediocre
4 - Boring
3 - Bad
2 - Disappointment
1 - Worthless

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JR's Filipino Movies of the Year - 2017
Movies of the Year
Movie Genre Month of Release JR's Score
1 Comedy Dec 2016 (MMFF) 10.0
2 Comedy Aug 2017 (PPP) 10.0
3 Documentary Dec 2016 (MMFF) 10.0
4 Horror Aug 2017 (PPP) 10.0
5 Romance Aug 2017 (PPP) 10.0
6 Romance Jul 2017 9.5
7 Drama Mar 2017 9.0
8 Romance Dec 2016 (MMFF) 8.5

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Die Beautiful
(Metro Manila Film Festival 2016)
JR's Score:
Movie Genre: 
Jun Robles Lana
Rody Vera, Jun Robles Lana
Producers / Distributors: 
Regal Entertainment, Octobertrain Films, The IdeaFirst Company
MTRCB Rating: 
Total Running Time: 
2 hours, 0 minutes
Cast Overview: 
Paolo Ballesteros, Christian Bables

"The Best Gay Film In Philippine Cinema History"
Die Beautiful is purely a masterpiece remaining one of the few evidences that there is hope in the yearly Metro Manila Film Festival. Die Beautiful's story complemented by its very talented actors proves that a taboo topic in Filipino culture can be used as an amazing source material for Philippine cinema. Die Beautiful explores the back story of a gay pageant enthusiast during the entirety of his funeral where he dawns a different celebrity appearance each night of his wake pre-determined and designed by his loyal best friend. 

Read JR's Full Review of Die Beautiful:

27 November 2017

JR's Movie Reviews - COCO

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Year of Release: 2017
Date Watched: 26 November 2017
JR's Rating:  (10 out of 10, Masterpiece)
"Never Forget The Dead"


➕ Mama Coco
➕ Miguel's Charisma
➕ The Land of the Dead
➕ Spirit Animals
➕ Use of Mexican Culture
➕ Plot Twist Villain
➕ Traditional Family Values

Pixar did it again with another masterclass in animation. About a young boy's pursuit of his dream to be a musician while being withheld by his family's ban on music, Coco is one of the best films to have stood out in this year's blockbuster lineup. With effective use of Mexican culture and family values, Coco easily relates to your most conventional and traditional extended family with the strictest norms and morals. Coco is actually the name of Miguel's grandmother who is key to the remembrance of a long forgotten family member who was actually the cause of the family's dislike of music. This film's best asset is its presentation of a highly detailed Lola Coco complete with those wrinkles and white hair reminiscent of our lola's in the provinces. The Land of the Dead is damn amazing, providing an interpretation of life after death in the most creative and most unique manner. While the Land of the Dead and its inhabitants are strikingly beautiful, the spirit animals made the experience more memorable as their individual distinguished appearances are so ambitiously done. The story in itself is highly stylized in a way I felt goosebumps every time I got hit by so familiar situations faced in my own Filipino family. The movie is so unpredictable in many ways as many of my predictions and speculations turned out differently in the film. Until today, my astonishment with Coco remains. Bursting with effective use of aesthetics all throughout, not to mention the amazing music accompanying the movie, Coco is an eye- (and ear-) candy and eye-opener movie to its openly dedicated audience. The cinema I've been was actually full of young kids accompanied by their parents, all amazed at the story and visuals the movie presented. Coco is a highly-recommended film, regardless of what your personal beliefs are. It stands as one of the best and most improved (and in fact, the most human out of all) animated films by Pixar, a true testament to how far animation had been.

#Coco #Pixar
#2017Movies #MovieReviews #JRMovieReviews

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Time Published: 27 November 2017 (9:00 PM)

25 November 2017

JR's Movie Reviews - JUSTICE LEAGUE

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Justice League
Year of Release: 2017
Date Watched: 21 November 2017
JR's Rating:  (8.7 out of 10, Awesome)
"Not Bad, A Good Start for the Justice League"

➕ Flash and Cyborg
➕ The Mother Boxes
➕ Assembly of Justice League
➕ Opening Sequence
➕ Superman's Resurrection
➕ "Come Together" Theme
➖ Ben Affleck (as Batman)
➖ Less Emphasis on Villain
➖ Struggles to be at Par with Avengers

Forget the negative reviews, Justice League is a great film. While Civil War still remains my personal best superhero ensemble movie and DC has a long way to go to match Marvel's Mightiest Superheroes, it's still not bad to see this film where all familiar DC superheroes assemble to bring Superman back to life and to fight a power-hungry villain known as Steppenwolf. While Batman and Superman remains dominant in this film, Flash is the standout out of all because of his unique backstory and fun vibe. Cyborg is second runner-up just because of his unique power that I haven't seen on any other superhero. While Wonder Woman and Aquaman are powerfully portrayed, Batman's portrayal in the film is somewhat inconsistent for me, and such is a low blow to my favorite DC superhero. Superman's death in the BvS movie proves to be useless if they would just bring him back but his return in this film was damn impressive. The chemistry of all the superheroes in defeating the bad guy in this film was also good. The villain was, however, given so less emphasis compared to the superheroes themselves; such the case, the movie could have split into two films, one focused on the superheroes' backstories and the return of Superman while the other on the fights against the villain. DC's Justice League is probably the strongest superhero team, though it would need a powerful movie to boost them up against Marvel's Avengers in such a dominant Marvel market. Justice League is a good film, a good way to start the collaboration of the DC superheroes. I'm hoping for a stronger villain (hopefully Lex Luthor would prove to be a challenge) and individual movies for each of its superhero members (most especially Flash). Love that awesome theme by the way.

#JusticeLeague #Superman #Batman #WonderWoman #TheFlash #Cyborg #Aquaman
#2017Movies #MovieReviews #JRMovieReviews

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Time Published: 25 November 2017 (9:00 PM)

08 November 2017

JR's Movie Reviews - THOR: RAGNAROK

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Thor: Ragnarok
Year of Release: 2017
Date Watched: 07 November 2017
JR's Rating:  (9.0 out of 10, Excellent)
"Thor May Be The Strongest Avenger After All"

➕ Hulk vs. Thor
➕ Hela, the God of Death
➕ Short-Haired Chris Hemsworth
➕ Futuristic Sakaar
➕ Valkyrior
➕ Amazing Theme
➖ Jeff Goldblum
➖ Off-Beat Jokes

Ragnarok is the fulfillment of a long-awaited prophecy on the demise of planet Asgard after Hela, the God of Death, returns after a long imprisonment by their father Odin. While Thor manages to fight alongside Loki upon her return, Hela destroys Thor's hammer and even pushed them on a different planet where Hulk reigns supreme. No worries though, Thor legitimately earns the title of strongest Avenger alive in this movie. To make things straight, I haven't watched any Thor film (exception with the Avengers movies) prior to this one and hella, Thor: Ragnarok made Thor not just a damn amazing superhero but rather a hella amazing god. Thor: Ragnarok never failed with its several symbolic biblical references (i.e. Exodus of Asgard's People, David vs. Goliath) while remaining true to the storylines of Planet Hulk and Ragnarok. Thor: Ragnarok may not be this year's best superhero movie (that belongs to Wonder Woman) but it is distinctive as the best Marvel film of the year (sorry Spidey). Though some jokes were really off-beat with some of its more serious scenes, I just can't help but feel compassion for Thor in his struggle in this film. I fell in love with Sakaar as it reminded me a bit of the futuristic L.A. in Blade Runner (most especially when Thor gets introduced about the planet) but still maintaining its own unique vibe. While the the portrayal of the Grandmaster seem also off of this movie, the Valkyrior, Korg and most especially the majestic Surtur are played greatly and on beat. The theme in the film is so damn hella good as it works perfectly in the film. While the battle of Hulk and Thor is a must see in this film, the battle between Hela and Surtur is more ambitious defining truly the idea of Ragnarok. By the way, I love two more things about this film, one is how Asgard is referred to as the people not a place and the other, the short-haired Chris Hemsworth, I mean Thor. What a transition it really is. Things started really good when Thor bore that short hair.

#ThorRagnarok #Thor #Marvel #MCU
#2017Movies #MovieReviews #JRMovieReviews

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Time Published: 08 November 2017 (9:00 PM)

05 November 2017

JR's Movie Reviews - JIGSAW

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Year of Release: 2017
Date Watched: 04 November 2017
JR's Rating:  (7.0 out of 10, Alright)
"Jigsaw Lives"

➕ John Kramer Returns (or does he?)
➕ 10 Years Ago Twist
➕ Motorcycle Spiral Trap
➕ Silo Sand Trap
➕ Good Way to Reestablish Franchise
➖ Inconsistent & Forced with Saw Timeline
➖ Hanging Trap
➖ Frustrating Victims

People who knows me really understands my love for the SAW movie franchise. This year's Jigsaw may be the hope of new life fans have been looking for from the almost dead decade-long horror franchise. Jigsaw is set ten years after Jigsaw's death where his traps are set to life once again to a new generation of its flawed victims. Five people are set in a grizly and horrific decision between life and death. The big question however is, is Jigsaw still alive or another copycat is on the lose? The answer: Jigsaw lives. Re-establishing itself with a new villain with a connection to the Jigsaw killer himself, John Kramer, Jigsaw's legacy continues with a brand new perpetuator set to let others experience Jigsaw's own brand of justice. Such individuals tested on this film are those being favored by a flawed justice system. Is it me or is it the film out of the Saw timeline. While the new film does effectively with its new traps such as the Spiral and Silo Traps, it seems to me that the story is far off from the original 7 sequels forcing itself way into the franchise to form a link with the original. Nevertheless, this film provides an avenue to reestablish the franchise with a new "Jigsaw" set to test individuals for future movies. It's really a good idea to bank on a new title for possible sequels to provide due respect for the original which may not anymore link with the "Saw" continuity. The movie's victims are for me lacking of background as how I perceived the old movies of the franchise thereby lacking that sense of empathy or anger to each of Jigsaw's victims now. All-in-all, Jigsaw is an okay movie, worth the watch to any Saw fanatic, not worth the watch for those who don't have a background about the Jigsaw killer. The truth will set you free.

#Jigsaw #Horror
#2017Movies #MovieReviews #JRMovieReviews

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Time Published: 05 November 2017 (9:00 PM)

04 November 2017


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The Silence of the Lambs
Year of Release: 1991
Date Watched: *watched too many times already
JR's Rating: đź”ź9️⃣ (10 out of 10, Perfect Masterpiece)
"Serial Killer of the Sea"


➕ Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter
➕ Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling
➕ All Dialogues between Clarice & Dr. Lecter
➕ Buffalo Bill Dance Scene
➕ "Fava beans and a nice chianti..."
➕ "It rubs the lotion on its skin..."
➕ Terrifying Jailbreak Scene
➕ Pitch Black Death of Buffalo Bill
- none -

The Silence of the Lambs remains a personal favorite, a highly recommended must watch for all movie aficionados. As an introduction, The Silence of the Lambs is the only horror film in history to have earned the Best Picture title in the Academy Awards. That idea made me really want to watch this film before; the Academy never failed me with this horrific masterpiece. The Silence of the Lambs accounts the dialogues between Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling in pursuit of the capture of another serial killer known by the name Buffalo Bill, who kills women for their skin as his source of pleasure. Hannibal Lecter is a cannibal with a doctorate degree, while Clarice Starling is an FBI Trainee. Clarice develops a satisfying connection with Hannibal after relaying her own horrific experience, the screaming of the lambs. The movie is full of intense yet memorable sequences and dialogues as masterfully transpired by their actors most especially by Jodie Foster (1992 Best Actress, Academy) and Anthony Hopkins (1992 Best Actor, Academy). All their quotable dialogues are worth listening to as they really form a connection to the audience as well. Who wouldn't remember Hannibal's "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti." While Hannibal may be a main character in this movie, Buffalo Bill is the real villain who manages to be the only threat in this film. Every scene involving Buffalo Bill are aesthetically frightening and really anger-inducing. Still, Hannibal's escape stands out as the movie's most innovative yet maintaining to still be the scariest. I really felt with the film, feeling legitimate emotions of sadness, anger, frustration and satisfaction with each scene correspondingly. The Silence of the Lambs stands as one of the best films (not just in horror) to be created in the history of cinema. All good things indeed come to those who wait.

#TheSilenceOfTheLambs #Horror
#1991Movies #MovieReviews #JRMovieReviews

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Time Published: 04 November 2017 (9:00 PM)

03 November 2017

JR's Movie Reviews - JAWS

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Year of Release: 1975
Date Watched: 02 November 2017
JR's Rating: 9️⃣ (9.7 out of 10, Excellent)
"Serial Killer of the Sea"

➕ Jaws (The Shark)
➕ Iconic Jaws Theme
➕ Skinny Dipping Intro
➕ Killing The Shark
➕ Quint's WW2 Monologue
➖ Inconsistent Shark

(Insert iconic Jaws theme here.) Jaws is not your typical scary ghost or masked murderer on the loose - it banks on a unique idea, a more realistic one. In fact, you may never want to swim again because of this film. Jaws bring us to Amity Island where the town depends much on its beaches for its economy. Upon realizing a murderous shark is on the loose, police officer Martin Brody puts his life on the line to defeat the creature once and for all after his son gets traumatized by it despite the mayor's arrogance to neglect the said creature. This film is the first out of many iconic ones by the masterman himself - Steven Spielberg. In fact, Jaws originated the blockbuster film usually shown during the summer season. Jaws earned the worldwide highest grossing film of all time title for an estimated two years (before Star Wars nagged the title in 1978). Well, Jaws' box office success is equated by how critically acclaimed the film was during that time. With a non-CGI mechanical shark, its cinematic effort to bring each scene to its audience is all the more astounding and impressive with technology now non-existent before. Scenes shot underwater are amazing, just imagine how hard it was then to capture the scenes involving the shark attacks. Every scene coexistent with the "Jaws Theme" is all masterfully done building up tension to the viewer. One scene, involving the monologue of Quint about his World War 2 experience, was a notable one as it provides us an opportunity of imagination on how he got engaged with sharks. The movie begins and ends on a powerful note. You'll definitely want to watch this film on how the shark was killed as it was really unpredictable to say the least. Jaws though is not just a horror flick but rather a propaganda against capitalist banking on profitable interests over safety, all the more made evident by how the townsfolk respond to the crisis most especially by their mayor. Imagine how a great white can influence the mindsets of individuals after watching this film.

#Jaws #Horror
#1975Movies #MovieReviews #JRMovieReviews

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Time Published: 03 November 2017 (9:00 PM)

02 November 2017

JR's Movie Reviews - SAW

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Year of Release: 2014
Date Watched: 01 November 2017
JR's Rating:  (8.0 out of 10, Awesome)
"Live or Die, Make Your Choice"

➕ Tobin Bell as Jigsaw
➕ The Reverse Bear Trap
➕ Adam and Lawrence Connection
➕ Quotable Lines
➖ Confusing Storyline & Side Stories
➖ Too Many Unnecessary Flashbacks

A game about valuing one's life, Saw initiated the so-called Torture Porn genre of horror flicks that dominated the 2000s. In fact, Saw gave James Wan his big break spawning a massive franchise still followed by fans until today. Saw brings us to doctor Lawrence and photographer Adam to a test of wits to save their lives from the Jigsaw serial killer. The movie brings us closer to the flawed personal lives of the two and how they became victims of Jigsaw. While the traps are not that intricate as those of the films that followed, the first Saw film managed to get us hooked more on the characters and their flawed human backgrounds. Dr. Lawrence is the character you should look forward to in this film as he ends Jigsaw's test on a high note. One trap that caught my attention though is the reverse bear trap, which will soon be definitive of the franchise introducing us yet to more complex traps in the sequels. The first Saw film for me looks like an experimental one and still needs much to improve on most especially on working with its convoluted side and main storylines; however, camerawork was done effectively coupled with great acting by its actors. Tobin Bell best suits the role of Jigsaw for his tone and physical appearance, indeed he is scary as is. A lot of quotes I'll remember from this film coming most especially from the iconic Jigsaw himself. Most people feel so ungrateful to be alive, but after watching this film that might not be the case anymore. Decade-defining movie indeed.

#Saw #Horror
#2004Movies #MovieReviews #JRMovieReviews

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Time Published: 02 November 2017 (9:00 PM)

09 October 2017

JR's Movie Reviews - BLADE RUNNER 2049

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Blade Runner 2049
Date Watched: 08 October 2017
JR's Rating:  (10 out of 10, Masterpiece)
"Artificially Intelligent 2.0"

➕ Los Angeles with Flying Cars
➕ Product Placements
➕ Holograms of Elvis & Marilyn
➕ Memory Viewing and Placement
➕ Ryan Gosling, The Blade Runner
➕ Joi, The Hologram Woman

"Dying for the right thing is the most human thing we can do." The most powerful statement I heard in a movie in recent memory. Too good to hear it even in a Sci-Fi movie. Blade Runner 2049 brings us to a futuristic California where obsolete replicants (human replications) are killed for good as new and technologically-advanced replicants are being made for utility. Upon Agent K's disposal of a replicant, he soon gets involved in the investigation of reproduction in replicants which was initially thought to be impossible, a method which the corporation making replicants research hard to be made possible. The movie is so aesthetically achieved, that it's the alternative eye candy movie involving yet again Ryan Gosling after his La La Land stint. Set in a highly industrialized and commercialized Los Angeles, the movie banks on outstanding effects in presenting technologies which may soon be possible in reality. Love is highly advertised and can now be bought in digital yet responsive form such visible through the A.I. Joi. Memory placements in replicants and three-dimensional viewing of memories are made possible through a laboratory. The film also makes good use of product placements, with the futuristically designed Black Label Whiskey grabbing the cake. Other than a futuristic Los Angeles, the abandoned Las Vegas is yet another thing to look forward most especially the part where we see a holographic reference to Marilyn dancing and Elvis singing to "Can't Help Falling In Love." The aesthetics are really amazing but the story in itself is another thing, which for me is morally and ethically worth discussing. The story which already utilizes a strong reference prequel is made the more anticipating yet understandable and straightforward. The story and aesthetics seem to compliment each other, with yet no fillers really that are unessential for the progress of the movie. In such a futuristic world, it seems technology is more human than we are. Blade Runner 2049 is really worth the watch.

#2017Movies #MovieReviews #JRMovieReviews

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Time Published: 09 October 2017 (9:00 PM)

22 September 2017

JR's Video Game Reviews - UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES

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Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
(Reviewed on PlayStation 3)
Total Game Time: 20-25 hours in total
Dates of Play: 25 July 2016 - 01 August 2016 (PS3)

Story - 10/10
Gameplay - 10/10
Graphics - 10/10
Innovation - 9.5/10
Playability - 9.5/10
Music - 10/10
JR's Rating: đź”ź9️⃣ (10 out of 10, Masterpiece)
"The Search for the Cintamani Stone & the Lost City of Shangri-La"

➕ The Lost City of Shambhala
➕ Zoran Lazarević
➕ Chapter 1: A Rock and A Hard Place
➕ Ch 13: Locomotion & Ch 14: Tunnel Vision
➕ Online Multiplayer Mode
➕ Easier Stealth Kills or Assassinations

Ambitious and amazing. Uncharted 2 banks on a new adventure with yet the same type of gameplay from its first outing but masterfully improves on both visuals and story. Its awe-inspiring setpieces are the game's true pride asset. Set in the majestic Nepal, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves brings our hero, Nathan Drake, on the search for the Cintamani Stone in the Lost City of Shangri-La (or Shambhala, which ever you prefer) which is deemed to give any one invincible and superhuman power. With Elena, Sully and the new Chloe Frazer, you race yourself against a maniacal Zoran Lazarević who has his own personal agenda of power. Another blockbuster video game by Naughty Dog that gives you a thrilling and gripping story in another challenging journey, this game takes a huge upgrade from its predecessor that makes my 10/10 all the worth. New weapons like the Crossbow, Pistole and the GAU-19 are great additions but the original Dragon Sniper and Desert still remain my favorites. It's stealth assassinations are way too easier and remain the better choice in accomplishing a wave of enemies before the next event takes place. This game is a also masterwork of setpieces that are now iconic in the video game universe, such being its elaborate train sequences both in the introduction wreckage and in the train while in locomotion. The end boss is damn frustrating but unlike the first, you can defeat Zoran on your own terms not having to press a predetermined button sequence (however there is this cheat on beating out the boss, better search it). Other than the single player game, the sequel introduces its first outing of multiplayer mode which is smooth and worth giving a try. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is a must play in the PlayStation as it is one of the best that the platform has to offer. Uncharted 3 and 4 review coming soon.

#Uncharted #AmongThieves #UnchartedAmongThieves
#VideoGameReviews #JRVideoGameReviews

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Time Published: 22 September 2017 (9:00 PM)

16 September 2017


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Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
(Reviewed on PlayStation 3)
Total Game Time: 20-25 hours in total
Dates of Play: 11 January 2013 - 27 January 2013 (PS3)

Story - 9.5/10
Gameplay - 10/10
Graphics - 8.5/10
Innovation - 10/10
Playability - 9/10
Music - 10/10
JR's Rating: 9️⃣ (9.5 out of 10, Excellent)
"The Search for the Lost Golden City of El Dorado"

➕ The Statue of El Dorado
➕ The Majestic Fortress, Monastery and Church
➕ Chapter 1: Ambushed
➕ Chapter 17: The Heart of the Vault
➕ The First True "Video Game Blockbuster"
➖ Chapter 7: Out of the Frying Pan
➖ Chapter 12: Heading Upriver
➖ Navarro

A true achievement in video game visuals and story-telling, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune upped the ante in what is the modern-day video game. It is the epic introduction in one of today’s most popular and iconic video game series. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune introduces us to Nathan Drake, the supposed ancestor of English explorer Sir Francis Drake, on a quest to search for the golden city of El Dorado. Upon his adventure, he gets accompanied by journalist Elena Fisher and mentor Victor Sullivan (“Sully”) going against another group of treasure hunters set to steal the famed treasure. WOW is all that I can say in such a very polished video game with a well-crafted story complemented by visuals I’ve never seen before. In particular, the Fortress, the Monastery and the Church setting and their interiors are the true treasures of this video game, all detailed and visually pleasing. The first chapter of the game sparked the action-adventure mood you’ll soon experience throughout the game (and its sequels). The battle on the monster-like enemies at “The Heart of the Vault” chapter was scary and challenging, marking the true “Uncharted” experience. We have three game difficulties, making for stronger and more brutal enemies. I hated though the chapters involving the jeep and the ski-boat as they are boring and very much frustrating to finish. Gun controls are impeded by the limited positions and its dynamic environment. The end-boss Navarro is also bland, restricting you on only one standard or uniform method to defeat him. The game, however, presents something new to the average gamer. Many scenes prove to be memorable making you wanting for more from Naughty Dog. In all that is to say, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune initiated the “video game blockbuster”.

#Uncharted #DrakesFortune #UnchartedDrakesFortune
#VideoGameReviews #JRVideoGameReviews

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Time Published: 16 September 2017 (9:00 PM)

12 September 2017


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Love You To The Stars And Back
Date Watched: 11 September 2017
JR's Rating:  (7.8 out of 10, Alright)
"The Long, Cheesy Yet Emotional Trip to Mt. Milagros"

➕ Joshua Garcia and Julia Barretto
➕ "Tapang Kalabaw" Lunch Scene
➕ The Emotional "Tulay" Scene
➕ Final Call to Love Ones
➕ Second Half of the Film
➖ Shaky Camera
➖ Numerous Inconsistencies
➖ First Half of the Film

Ashira grevinda mama ajaarum! With a very weak first half filled with too many fillers, Love You To The Stars and Back redeems itself in its final half with numerous tearjerking scenes that are quotable and memorable. Love You To The Stars and Back brings us an overly-depressed Mika and a cancer-stricken Caloy on their road trip to Mt. Milagros to have themselves be surrendered to aliens. With such a weird yet effective idea, we came to experience their various yet morally-inspired struggles during their travel towards the mysterious mountain. The love team between Joshua Garcia and Julia Barretto proved important in the magical formula of this movie. In fact, there are various scenes where it seems they have naturally done it. Their chemistry is well made but I still find their first movie stint better, Vince and Kath and James. The first half of the film was filled with too many unnecessary scenes (ie. "gas station" scene and too many scenes when both of the main characters debate and fight). The second half of the film was its most powerful though bringing in Caloy's cancer-stricken state very evident, making you feel pity between the two main and their families. The most powerful would definitely be the time when Caloy had an outburst of emotions while at a bridge questioning the presence of God due to his very miserable state. The ending was really cute, (reminds me of the ending of their MMFF movie), but usually those films I like are those that have unexpected and sometimes tragic ending. A lot of inconsistencies and the shaky camera made me a bit irritated but at least the movie never failed to pull my heart towards scenes made to feel with the character. Though, I'm really curious on what tapang kalabaw tastes like. Love You To The Stars and Back is still a movie worth watching, most especially if you crave for those random "kilig" and "torete" moments.

#2017Movies #MovieReviews #JRMovieReviews

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Time Published: 12 September 2017 (9:00 PM)

10 September 2017

JR's Movie Reviews - IT

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Date Watched: 10 September 2017
JR's Rating:  (10 out of 10, Masterpiece)
"Yeah, You'll Definitely Float Too"

➕ Pennywise The Dancing Clown
➕ The Losers Club And Their Fears
➕ SS Georgie Iconic Introduction
➕ The Well House
➕ Missing And Floating Kids
➕ Bill Accepting The Death of Georgie

In what seems to be a great year for horror, IT cements it's mark as the best. Feeding off the fears of children before killing them off, Pennywise The Dancing Clown is really damn terrifying. IT brings us to the town of Derry in Maine where a clown, every after 27 years of hibernation, satisfies its hunger for youth. After what seems to be the death of Georgie, Bill, together with The Losers Club, face this demonic entity and tries to defeat IT for good. The movie is symbolic for its use of children, where the monster is a trigger towards their move out of innocence. Conquering our individual fears or facing our invidual demons is at the core of IT. One scene in fact brought us to the Well House where Pennywise made a full-blast presence to the group. Which will you choose, Not So Scary, Very Scary or Plain Scary. A personal favorite in the film was Bill supposedly facing his younger brother at their basement, very horrific yet so saddening. That scene and their again supposed meeting at the end made me so emotional. Bill's acceptance of Georgie's death was so heartbreaking and a tearjerker, the love for family was strong in this one. All scenes were done with amazing camerawork in a picturesque setting. The credits, however, teases that this is just the first chapter of a series; an avenue for a sequel soon (anticipating what's next between Bill and Beverly). Believe me, this movie is damn better than Annabelle. IT is the best movie probably of this year, a first that I will probably name even a horror movie as the movie of the year. IT is a cinematic masterpiece in the horror genre, rare does a horror film makes good combination of poetry, artistry, atmosphere and horror. Nostalgia in its finest, indeed.

#It #Pennywise
#2017Movies #MovieReviews #JRMovieReviews

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Time Published: 10 September 2017 (9:00 PM)

03 September 2017


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Annabelle: Creation
Date Watched: 28 August 2017
JR's Rating:  (10 out of 10, Masterpiece)
"The Murderous Roots of the Creepy Doll Named Annabelle"

➕ Annabelle, The Doll
➕ Linda Throws Annabelle In The Well
➕ The Demonic Scarecrow
➕ The Mullin's Introduction Scene
➕ Janice Being Possessed by Annabelle
➕ Too Many Jump Scares To Mention

Step aside Chucky, here comes Annabelle. In this modern decade, Annabelle rises to the top of movie monster icons to look forward to in movies. We are brought earlier than the first Annabelle film to where Annabelle was created by the Mullins' family. We now have a closure on how the doll was possessed or demonic in the first place through the introduction presented. It was actually the family's attempt to bring back their dead child to life but instead they called forth a demon using Annabelle as its object of strength. Twelve years later, upon the arrival of young unsuspecting children to live in the Mullins' farmhouse, Annabelle sets its presence known and tries itself to get a human host desiring even to kill and to terrify everyone. This time around, unlike the first Annabelle, we have double or I mean triple the jumpscares, too many to mention in fact. One of those masterfully done was when Linda throws Annabelle in the well and gets dragged after. You can actually feel the tension even before the exact throwing as Linda was shown to be followed as she was running towards the well. While Annabelle is in itself the creepiest star, the scarecrow is another one who successfully scares the audience upon making its presence known twice in the film. The movie has artistic camerawork exposing memorable scenes, wonderful young cast which you root for and well mixed sound. Indeed, Annabelle: Creation is one of the best horror films in recent memory. It's also worth noting how they incorporated Valak shortly yet effectively through an image shown by Sister Charlotte, great work of the universe idea. Oh, by the way, don't leave ahead of the credits, there are two post-credit scenes in the film, one which we actually missed since we gone too early. I can't forget the experience, all truly worth the time and money. The audience we are with are literally screaming with fear. Another masterpiece in the Conjuring universe.

#Annabelle #AnnabelleCreation
#2017Movies #MovieReviews #JRMovieReviews

Image Reference: JoBlo Movie Network

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Time Published: 03 September 2017 (9:00 PM)

28 August 2017

JR's Video Game Reviews - BROTHERS: A TALE OF TWO SONS

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Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
(Reviewed on Xbox 360)
Total Game Time: 4-5 hours in total
Dates of Play: 29 December 2013 - 29 December 2013 (Xbox 360)

Story - 10/10
Gameplay - 10/10
Graphics - 9.5/10
Innovation - 10/10
Playability - 9.5/10
Music - 10/10
JR's Rating:  (10 out of 10, Masterpiece)
"Dramatic, Artistic and Scenic"

➕ Emotional Investment on the Brothers
➕ Use of Fictional Arabic Language
➕ The Inclusion of a Suicide Plot
➕ Scenic Flying Scene
➕ The Cute Griffin
➕ The Tragic Death of One Brother

The experience was truly memorable and unforgettable. Two brothers on a tedious quest to find a cure for their ill father, Brothers: A Tale of Two Son is one of the most innovative games to have a uniquely driven gameplay controls and a story which you invest your whole emotions with. A first for me to even control two characters at the same time with just the two thumbsticks on my controller. The story, though short, is the games' ultimate strength. We play two brothers, each having their evident differences - the older is strong and can raise his brother up to high points while the younger one is small and can squeeze himself in tight or narrow spaces. You control them at the same time to solve various puzzles which leads you to a scenic route towards the cure for your father. Along the way, you encounter memorable scenes which includes the use of the inventor's plane, the escape of the Griffin, the troll couple you reunite, the icy path and the very sensitive suicide inclusion (which you prevent such from happening). The various scenes you encounter have their backstories which are emotionally and morally driven in an artistic and very theatric way. The language used by the brothers is a bit weird but all appropriate in a story that uses an environment which has a world of its own. The tragic death of one brother is the most heartbreaking and even the most dramatic in this game. Investing precious effort on making both of the brothers alive towards reaching the Tree of Life, you'll have an unexpected ending which you'll definitely carry even after playing the game. The same scene is all the more saddening when you hear the cries of the other brother. Dramatic, artistic and scenic, three words to describe this game. The game is truly a wonder, a game which in itself is already a masterpiece in its genre.

#Brothers #ATaleOfTwoSons #VideoGameReviews #JRVideoGameReviews

20 August 2017

JR's Movie Reviews - 100 TULA PARA KAY STELLA

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100 Tula Para Kay Stella
JR's Rating:  (10 out of 10, Masterpiece)
"Not All Great Movies Need A Happy Ending..."

➕ Fidel's Speech Defect
➕ Random Poems
➕ Various Colorful Supporting Characters
➕ Rural and Urban Education
➕ Very Tragic Ending

Simpleng summary ng pelikula, isan-daang tula na pinaghirapan ngunit napunta sa wala. 100 Tula Para Kay Stella may look like a hopeful movie providing an optimistic love story to those millenials expecting to see the film but it really isn't. 100 Tula Para Kay Stella uses a formula that ain't typical from your average Filipino flick. With a beautiful and outspoken lady being the inspiration of your feeble yet smart young man, 100 Tula Para Kay Stella explores this young man's desire to give the lady of his dreams 100 poems to make her fall in love with him and possibly become his future girlfriend. While the premise may sound cute, a lot of problems are encountered by the two in pursuit of their own individual dreams, one has a dream of being a rockstar while the other dreams to finish college. The direction of the film follows the college life of Fidel from being a bullied rural kid to the admired urban kid while the ensuing love story between him and Stella remains the focus of the film. As happy as how they fall in love, the slow advancing of Fidel in pursuit of Stella proved to be a mistake as she gets married and pregnant by someone else. The story is the movies' best and pride asset complemented by how wonderful the actors presented their characters. Stella is beautifully and reverently played by Bella Padilla and JC Santos really committed himself to play a lovable character, must have been hard for him to even constantly stutter while acting. We came to hate alot of characters in the film like Danica, Von, Barrie and Mrs. Barloza but we also came to love alot of them like Fidel's Dad and Chuck. The poems are beautifully written and well executed at random times in the movie but the slow transformation of Fidel exemplified in his poems and way of living are already poetic in their own right. It's even weird to see that Fidel might have accomplished what's supposedly the dream of Stella. I loved this film and this one remains a favorite of mine in the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino. The ending is one of the most tragic I seen in recent Philippine cinema, my heart stopped and my eyes got teary at that moment Stella said NO to Fidel.

#2017Movies #MovieReviews #JRMovieReviews

Image Reference: Pelikula Mania

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Time Published: 20 August 2017 (9:00 PM)

19 August 2017

JR's Movie Reviews - PATAY NA SI HESUS

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Patay Na Si Hesus
JR's Rating:  (10 out of 10, Masterpiece)
"Reminds Me How Witty and Crazy My Own Mom Is..."

➕ Jaclyn Jose
➕ Religious Symbolisms
➕ Slapstick and Satire Comedy
➕ The Cebuano Language
➕ "Nabasag Ang Kabaong" Scene

Another 10/10 movie in the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino, Patay Na Si Hesus managed to keep me laughing even when I got out of the cinema. Patay Na Si Hesus brings us to a roadtrip of a dysfunctional Visayan family from Cebu to Dumaguete to visit the remains of their deceased father before he gets buried the following day. Having three children with distinct personalities, Maria struggles to cope with random problems and situations arising from her kids. One of them is a lesbian caregiver to their supposed child of her girlfriend, one is a board-exam multitaker who always joke around with her mom, and one serves as the angel's voice among the bunch. The movie effectively uses the Cebuano language to present us a story with slapstick and satire humor which isn't forced, stale and cliched. We have a scene involving a guy talking to his sperm after masturbating, another wherein a conversation ensues to a kid explaining the meaning of the word "puki", and a psychotic nun who gets naked on the highway. Jaclyn Jose's acting is definitely the prime jewel of this movie, staying true to the character she was given. I actually remembered my mom by how Maria was portrayed in the movie, hilarious yet clever. Patay Na Si Hesus may seem disrespectful to some conservatives but it manages to be smart on pointing out good ideas in this contemporary age. Patay Na Si Hesus is one of the best comedies I seen in recent memory, using a specific regional Filipino culture yet effective to any set of outside cultures.

#2017Movies #MovieReviews #JRMovieReviews

Image Reference: Cinema Bravo

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Time Published: 19 August 2017 (9:00 PM)

18 August 2017


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Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B
JR's Rating:  (10 out of 10, Masterpiece)
"An Allegory to the Issue of Drug-Related Deaths in Our Country"

➕ Sexy & Daring "Manananggal"
➕ Use of Dark Imagery
➕ Du Bist Wunderschön
➕ Lola (Vangie Labalan)
➕ Beautiful Soundtrack
➕ Use of Posed Drug-Related Deaths

One of the best uses of the manananggal in Philippine cinema which alternatively serves as an allegory to the unsolved drug deaths in our country. Banking on the traditional Filipino monster, Ang Manananggal Sa Unit 23B presents a unique take on the Filipino romance and horror genre never have I seen before. We see Jewel, The Manananggal, (Ryza Cenon) and Rico (Martin Del Rosario) playing your non-conventional couple in this flick. Jewel dreams of a normal life with her own "Prince Charming", while Rico struggles to move on from a failed relationship. Both eventually deal with various circumstances of life where eventually one discovers the most hidden secret of the other. With effective mix of graphic and sensual scenes, the movie masterfully presents the manananggal's killing sprees in a manner that pushes the boundaries of what your typical Filipino horror movie looks like. The manananggal's transformation is a memorable one which uses realistic special effects. The scenes were masterfully taken, most of which utilizing the beauty of night and darkness at its best. The soundtrack was, for me, the best asset of the film as they mix perfectly with the story and scenes. I personally loved Vangie Labalan's performance as Rico's lola who usually initiates the spark between the two (especially that scene where she reminisce her German husband's "you're beautiful" line). Her death was a sad one though. The movie also makes good use of the drug killing problem in our country, explicitly showing deaths which are posed as drug-related. The ending speaks a thousand possibilities, leaving us guessing what could have possibly happened to the dynamic duo. Ang Manananggal Sa Unit 23B is a great entry in the very first Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino.

#AngManananggalSaUnit23B #Manananggal
#2017Movies #MovieReviews #JRMovieReviews

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Time Published: 18 August 2017 (9:00 PM)