Movie Review: Mamma Mia! (2008)

October 5, 2009

In this movie, there are three fathers, a horde of back-up dancers, a wedding and a half, and a heavenly overdose of Abba. This is one of those movies where production calculatingly managed to get the trifecta of filmmaking essentials (acting, music/sound, cinematography) down pat, without compromising spontaneity and whimsicality.  This is the stuff real romantic comedies are made of.

To say that acting is good would be an understatement.  On the female side, you get Meryl Streep in the middle, singing and dancing her 17-year old heart out (she forms a third of a cougar’s Dancing Queen number).  She is one part of a gigantic singing ensemble, but this movie is all her.  She steals the limelight with her surprising singing and dancing talent to demonstrate how she would’ve conquered the world of theater if she had stumbled there in a past life.  Meryl is supported by a fairly impressive duo composed of Julie Walters and Christine Baranski.  On the male side, the timelessly seductive Pierce Brosnan is front and center, himself belting out an equally surprising (and oh so sexy) voice, and supported by Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgård, both known actors and little known singers.  Young talents Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper show vibrant energy and performances that parallel the well-established, older cast.  At this point an important part of the movie is spoilt for you:  actors have converged onstage to sing and dance to the public’s surprise and awe.

The singing and the choreography are themselves something to look out for.  These are no ordinary actors; they stretch melodic limits when they sing, and they move with theatrical grace to the beat.  Props go to the people responsible for putting these immensely talented actors and fantastic choreography together in what would rank among the most notable musical performances of 2008.  All to the tune of timeless Abba songs.

The movie is set in the sun-drenched beaches of Greece, so what’s not to love?  This island is lined with breathtaking landscape, inviting waters, charmingly old Mediterranean architecture, and a calming sense of island life.  This is as fantastic as weddings get.  Better yet, this is as unforgettable as summer romances get.

If you love music, this movie easily captures your heart.  If you love Abba, you will break out in song in at least one point in the movie.  But overall, this is guaranteed entertainment whatever your preference in music or movies.

Ladies and gentlemen, a promise of a future in musical theater from Amanda Seyfried.


Movie List, Sep 2009

September 30, 2009

Sep 2009
Recommended Movies

Deja Vu (2006)
District 9 (2009)
Paris, je t’aime (2006)
Phoebe in Wonderland (2007)
The Brothers Bloom (2008)
The September Issue (2009)
True Romance (1993)

  • Sasha Baron Cohen did it again in Bruno (2009).  And by “did it again” I meant “botched together another shitly plotted sump of crudely offensive practical jokes and called it a movie”.


Movie List, Aug 2009

August 31, 2009

Aug 2009
Recommended Movies

Coco Chanel (2008)
In the Loop (2008)
Julia (2008)
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993)

Some rants:

  • Gigantic (2008) is obviously the work of an amateur.  Suffice it to say, however, that judging from the cineastic presentation of this movie, we can expect the filmmaker’s craft to improve on his next work.  Or the one after that.
  • I Love You Man (2009) is entertaining but easily forgettable.
  • Knowing (2009) is a decent thriller, if you’re 8 years old.  My guess is either its cameramen have serious thrill issues, or the director’s caught a serious case of Shaken Camera Syndrome, which for some reason seems to be all the rage in today’s cinema.


Movie List, Jul 2009

July 30, 2009

Jul 2009
Recommended Movies

Angels & Demons (2009)
Bart Got a Room (2008)
Duplicity (2009)
L’Appartement (The Apartment, 1996)
The Hangover (2009)
The Soloist (2009)

Jul 2009
Recommended TV Shows

Better Off Ted Season 1 (2009)
Leverage Season 1 (2008)
Samantha Who? Seasons 1-2 (2007)
United States of Tara Season 1 (2009)

Some rants:

  • Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009) is Devil Wears Prada made in audio hell.  Watch at your own risk.
  • The concept for Kings (2009) was adorably ambitious, but approaching the end of its unsuccessful season, it just sounded like an overly naggy soap opera.  Not the biggest loss that it was canned.
  • And 17 Again (2009) is formulaic as expected, but how about that Zac Efron huh?


Movie Buzz: Alice in Wonderland (2010)

July 23, 2009

The internets is growing crazy over Tim Burton’s new baby. Its main character Alice is played by a no-namer, but she is supported by a powerhouse ensemble including Anne Hathaway, Alan Rickman, and as expected in Tim Burton movies, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. Click on some lovely photos below and see for yourself how this is shaping up to be a colorfully spectacular homage to the Lewis Carroll classic.

The promotional clip:

The promo posters (click to view high-res version):

Movie Buzz: Shutter Island (2009)

July 23, 2009

Martin Scorcese comes up with a new feature film for the first time since the critically-acclaimed The Departed (2006). Leonardo DiCaprio comes back as an up-and-coming U.S. marshal investigating the disappearance of a patient from Boston’s Shutter Island Ashecliffe Hospital. The plot is rich in suspense, ghost tricks, mind games, and more of the Scorcese brand we’ve come to love. Set in 1954 and also stars Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer, and Michelle Williams.

The promotional clip:

The promo poster (click to view high-res version):

Movie Buzz: Jennifer’s Body (2009)

July 14, 2009

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for 3 years, you’ve probably come across the name Diablo Cody, or at least heard about a brilliant feel-good movie called Juno.  Gems like Cody in the movie business are few and far between.  Her screenwriting debut won her the most prestigious award in her field, and this year, there’s no stopping her from winning more.  From teenage drama, she’s now trying her hands on shocking her audience with a dark and bloody thriller, also about teenagers.  Jennifer’s Body is the story of an evil high school cheerleader with a taste for human flesh.  The same forces behind the successful Juno made this movie happen, so we can expect some level of storytelling wit, plot direction, and impressive original soundtrack.  The movie also features some of the hottest stars today, including the foxy Megan Fox and the amazing Amanda Seyfried. This is a thriller that promises a treat for the eyes and more.

If you’re still wondering how Diablo Cody’s work hits and misses, watch her new TV production, United States of Tara, and you’ll see that she’s the real deal.

The promotional clip (click here for the red band trailer):

The promo posters (click to view high-res version):

Movie List, Jun 2009

June 30, 2009

Jun 2009
Recommended Movies

Secretary (2002)
Sunshine Cleaning (2008)

Jun 2009
Recommended TV Shows

Law and Order SVU Season 10 (1999)
The Big Bang Theory Seasons 1-2 (2007)
Ugly Betty Season 3 (2006)

  • Drag Me to Hell (2009) is filled with loud noise and bad CGI.  Really more laughable than scary.

Movie List, May 2009

May 31, 2009

May 2009
Recommended Movies

Mediterraneo (1991)
Okuribito (Departures, 2008)
State and Main (2000)
The Caller (2008)
The International (2009)
The Prestige (2006)
Youth Without Youth (2007)

May 2009
Recommended TV Shows

Dollhouse Season 1 (2009)
Fringe Season 1 (2008)
Pushing Daisies Season 2 (2007)

Also, this may be 36 years too late, but Soylent Green is people. PEOPLE!!!

Some rants:

  • The Uninvited (2009) – watchable, but pointless.
  • Push (2009) – painful to watch.
  • O Brother, Where art Thou? (2001) – It’s the motherlode of aesthetic value and great music, but it’s totally boring, stay away from it.
  • Sleeper (1973) – LOLfest, this is proof that Woody Allen’s humor can be hit and miss.
  • Chasing Amy (1997) – Young, pretentious Kevin Smith on screenplay. Cheesy romantic lines alert.

Movie Buzz: Tetro (2009)

May 9, 2009

Synopsis from

TETRO is Francis Ford Coppola’s first original screenplay since THE CONVERSATION.  It is his most personal film yet, arising from memoirs and emotions from his early life, though totally fictional.  It is the bittersweet story of two brothers, of family lost and found and the conflicts and secrets within a highly creative Argentine-Italian family.

The promotional clip:

The promo poster (click to view high-res version):