Game of Thrones season 5 trailer

Interesting choice of background music. David Bowie’s “Heroes” (not his version) is ironic with what will unfold in the lives of the characters and since I have finished the books, it is a clear judgement in my head that none of them will become one if we use the Greek definition in the strictest sense. I have to admit though, after the battle at the Wall, most details are hazy to me because I hastily read through it just to finish the damn series :)) If what I remember is still right, then this opinion of what is to come stands.

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If I Stay movie review

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I waited for quite a while until I was emotionally ready before watching this tearjerker. I remembered crying over the novel (for my book review, read it here) and I expected to wail some more in this adaptation. I certainly did!

The novel was meant for a film medium. It’s easier to imagine a near-death experience POV complete with flashbacks in movie format than in text, even if the book did successfully achieve that. The story was made richer by its visual adaptation because the producers decided to add the audio element! Being in a relationship with a rock band member needs real good music, and I loved the OST so much that I got a copy of the album. Thank you so much, Heitor Pereira (motion picture scorer/musical director)! Actor Jamie Blackley, the guy who plays Adam, has an old rock band called Shooting Star that was revived just for the movie and was renamed Willamette Stone after the famous landmark in Oregon, the location of the story. Boy, were they good! They have a total of 6 tracks, where each song has its own flavor or music genres you’ll be reminded of.

I Want What You Have” is the first song that will hook you with its distinct guitar riffs, the riffs that drew Mia to Adam as he was playing and singing this for his gig.

Never Coming Down” is the most upbeat band track, a rock tune that’s a bit like Green Day!

Mind” is a cute crush song that sounds like a Gin Blossoms and Foo Fighters mash-up.

I Never Wanted To Go” is a bonus track. It’s unfinished in the movie, and this song served as Adam’s going-away hymn because Mia wanted to apply for Julliard. LDRs are really sucky things, eh?

Today” was a very pleasant surprise because it is an acoustic remake (with cello) of this Smashing Pumpkins hit song. I picked a YouTube video that showed a snippet of the movie for context.

Heart Like Yours” is the perfect song that builds up the emotional climax. By this time, my eyes are so puffy from crying because it is a sweet, heartfelt ballad sung with hope during Mia’s crucial moments of deciding whether to live or let go. Apart from the wonderful and youthful Willamette Stone songs, old rock bands like Beck and Sonic Youth have been chosen for the soundtrack. Super cool.

I know I talked mostly of the music instead of the storyline, but I’d like to say that the music MADE the movie. I didn’t discuss much about Chloe Moretz’s Bach and Beethoven classical cello solos because they sound familiar to most. It was Mia and Adam’s journey with music that accompanied their blossoming young love. The story’s pretty straightforward, but because the film is challenging mortality with the concept of transcendence, there are no themes more apt than just to focus on music and love.

Exodus: Gods and Kings

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Somehow, Hollywood never tires of retelling the story of Moses and his path to becoming a prophet. Director Ridley Scott certainly did try, although what I saw were usual elements that I’ve seen before. The most striking, creative idea that was unique to this film is the personification of God as a little boy who talks and sometimes argues with Moses in his dreams and visions along the way. Other than that, this story’s climax and much-awaited scene will always be the wall of Red Sea water either dividing or crashing down, where the latter was more of this film’s feature (maybe Scott didn’t really believe in the former and opted for the low tide theory). This film’s okay, but if I were asked for a better recommendation on the story of Moses, I’d rather show you Dreamworks’ The Prince of Egypt!

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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This was the most anticipated movie to end 2014. Most critics and Tolkien fans were wary of how Peter Jackson magically made the slim novel grow into epic proportions, but I guess just like me, we all had to see how it was done and concluded. Did you hate it? I still loved it!

The lengthy film did more than enough justice to emphasize several things:

  • Thorin is losing his sanity inside the Lonely Mountain
  • Galadriel is far more powerful (and scrarier) than we ever expected (I should re-read The Silmarillion)
  • The battle of the five armies is not a small scale negotiation to seize Erebor and its riches
  • Legolas’ battle skills defies laws of gravity and physics
  • Bilbo is a changed hobbit who has physical and emotional scars too deep that’s more than he could handle which is why his addiction to the One Ring is an integral part of the rest of his life

My fellow geek friend and I agree though that the editing could have been tighter where dramatic facial close-ups didn’t have to be awkwardly longer than usual. Thorin’s and Thranduil’s reveries are examples. Unnecessarily sappy also are Tauriel’s love lines, although there was a twinge in my heart “because it was real.” Ouch. All in all, this movie is a bittersweet closure for all LOTR fans. All good things must come to an end. It was a nostalgic run for all of us who came along this unforgettable decade-long journey with everyone involved in the production. Somehow, despite knowing that these actors are going to move on into other roles in different projects, they will always be remembered as these band of brothers in our favorite fantasy film of all time.

Noah

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I relied on my Catholic upbringing with my familiarity about Bible stories to make my critique of this movie. These are the things that surprised me in this screenplay:

  • Why are there rock monsters in the story?! I re-read the Genesis passage and it mentioned the Nephilim or fallen angels condemned to Earth for their rebellion. In the movie, these fallen celestial beings were encased in rock form that regained their freedom when they “died” in the hands of men who wanted to seize the Ark from Noah and his family. In relation to this battle, well, I know there was no battle between men and Noah. The rest of humankind was unaware that they had been sentenced to death, although it is quite common sensical to do notice all the creatures of the planet making their way to just one place.
  • Noah’s three sons weren’t deprived of wives. If they were to be the last people on earth, then why did the adaptation leave them with just Emma Watson’s role? They were supposed to have descendants from their family, and Shem and Ila had daughters. How does that work?
  • Nick Nolte as the human serpent/villain was unnecessary drama. Compared to how ideal the Bible stories were related, the writers had to insert scenarios of the human condition within the family to highlight how imperfect we are when deciphering God’s plans. However, a small family stuck together in an Ark with just each other and a responsibility to take care of all creatures in it is realistically bound to have huge problems, with or without an unwanted passenger on board. It was more than enough pressure and misery on Noah to hear the rest of the world drown (that was really freaky) to follow God’s plans…and the idea of fulfilling an Almighty Being’s direct message to man is already something even my mind has trouble grasping. Sure, Nolte was the seed of evil growing in their midst, but everything doesn’t have to be too literal.

Other than these three points, I liked the animation, cinematography, and visual effects to retell this famous biblical event. It’s always risky to create diversions from canonical works such as the Bible, although I’ve read that the only dissenting noise this film has gathered are not the points I mentioned, but Hollywood’s consistent casting of famous American and British actors instead of those who look physically closer to the lineage of the characters involved. I am not sure where I stand about this, because if any producer were to cast non-Hollywood actors, it cannot be as commercially and economically successful if it were classified an indie film with non-popular thespians. It’s a producer’s freedom to cast anyone he wants I guess, and whoever could portray the role best, regardless of skin color, has already successfully conveyed what the film was about. This cast didn’t fail in their heartfelt interpretations of their roles, so I am pacified even if they aren’t Jewish or they spoke in English instead of Aramaic.