X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence return for the third installment in the second X-Men trilogy to confront the biggest villain in its film history so far.

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Once director Bryan Singer posted a tweet about the film last December 2013, expectations were high and the excitement was on the roof. Not only will the film feature who is arguably the biggest villain of the franchise, it will also re-introduce us to characters we loved from the first trilogy.

Set in the 1980s, the film shows us that the three principal characters (Professor X, Magneto, and Mystique) parted and set their own directions. Professor X (McAvoy) and Beast (Nicholas Hoult) founded the X-Mansion; Magneto now has his own family in Poland; and Mystique rescues oppressed mutants. Meanwhile, Apocalypse, an ancient Egyptian mutant and the first mutant ever, is awaken and sees the world as blind and leaderless. In order to achieve world domination, he recruits four mutants, Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Angel (Ben Hardy), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), and Magneto. The stakes are high, so the X-Men gets together to stop Apocalypse.

Each character has brought something on the table. The re-introduction of Jean Grey, Cyclops, Storm, and Nightcrawler is a good sign that the X-Men film franchise will still be alive. Without a doubt, however, the one with the best character development in this film is Magneto. His motivation for joining Apocalypse is explained well to the viewers, and the feels are incredibly high. However, some have too little development. The three horsemen only delivered in the action department. Psylocke barely received any development at all, and Storm and Angel are lucky to have introductions.

The action sequences are incredible, too. Quicksilver (Evan Peters) steals the show the same way he did it in Days of Future Past. The fight between the X-Men and the Horsemen serves its purpose enough.

However, the film has its negatives, too. Some sub-plots, specifically the Magneto-Quicksilver one, are not resolved in a very satisfactory way; Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) is a highly unnecessary character; and Apocalypse is just your generic “world dominating” bad guy (HE’S APOCALYPSE!). When your main antagonist is one of the biggest villains in Marvel, you should deliver…

X-Men Apocalypse serves its purpose in giving us a superhero film with enough action and story to engage the viewers. However, the lack of character development, wasted sub-plots, and unsatisfactory delivery of its antagonist greatly dampens the potential for this movie. The movie itself serves as a self-fulfilling prophecy in telling us that “The third one’s always the worst”. And for that, this film is definitely…

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Ip Man 3 Film Review

Director Wilson Yip and action star Donnie Yen return for the latest installment of the film franchise that made the Wing Chun martial art more popular than ever.

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After a 5 year hiatus and a slew of Ip Man/Wing Chun movies, the Ip Man film franchise returns to prove that it is the OG of Wing Chun movies. The tandem of director Wilson Yip and actor/martial artist Donnie Yen has never failed when it comes to delivering well-executed action films*, so the 3rd Ip Man film should be a treat.

Set a decade after the last film, Ip Man (Yen), his wife Cheung Wing-Sing (Lynn Hung), and his second son Ip Ching now reside in Hong Kong, where Ip teaches publicly. Problems arise when a land grabbing foreigner named Frank (Mike Tyson) attempts to buy a local school for his illegal business. Unluckily for him, Ip Man’s son studies there. Furthermore, to make the plot convenient, a fellow Wing Chun master, Cheung Tin-chi (Zhang Jin), has a son there, too. Things turn 180º, however, as Cheung is revealed to be determined to be the face of Wing Chun, and challenging Ip Man is the only way to find out who possesses true Wing Chun.

Donnie Yen has done wonders when it comes to the martial arts sub-genre of action. He has proven himself multiple times in films like Sha Po Lang, Flashpoint, and Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen. His performance in the Ip Man films, however, has given him a legacy similar to that of Jackie Chan in his Drunken Master films. Yen delivers heart-pounding action sequences with such intense grace that one can only consider it as art. Indeed, he is one of the greats in action choreography.**

The two antagonists prove enough to give the over powered Ip Man to step up his game. Mike Tyson did the best of what was given to him. The fight scene between him and Yen pretty much summarizes the philosophies between Western and Eastern style of fighting. Meanwhile, Zhang Jin gives us a darker side to Wing Chun. His brutal kicks and painful punches makes us forget about his poor character development.

Where the film excels in action choreography, it lacks in story and character development. The “corrupt foreigners” sub-plot was introduced (and marketed) as the main focus of the film, but it just ended and was never resolved in a satisfying way. The motivations and the sudden changing of sides of Cheung was not explored enough. Even Bruce Lee (Danny Chan) is heavily marketed, but he only appears in two scenes.

Despite its technical flaws, Ip Man 3 is a good addition to Donnie Yen’s Ip Man film franchise because of its amazing fight choreography, which…to be honest…is the main reason why people watch this. For this reason, this film is…

 

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Sha Po LangDragon Tiger Gate, and Flashpoint to name a few
**Credits for the film’s action choreography goes to Yuen Woo-ping though.

Just the 3 of Us Film Review

Director Cathy Garcia-Molina, Jennylyn Mercado, and John Lloyd Cruz join forces to give us a great film filled with comedy, drama, and romance.

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Director Cathy Garcia-Molina gives us another film from her box of wonders.* Jennylyn Mercado and John Lloyd Cruz lead the film with such surprising chemistry, it is a mystery how it took them this long to be paired together.

After three weeks since an intoxicated one night stand with Uno Abusado (Cruz), CJ Manalo (Mercado) finds out she is pregnant and asks him to provide for her and the baby. A succession of hunts and begs later, Uno decides to let CJ stay in his place for 6 weeks, which is the time needed for a proper paternal test. From the get go, it is clear that their personalities do not match at all, but as those six weeks pass they learn to realize that they are perfect for each other.**

After English Only, Please and #WalangForever, Mercado proves once again that she is one of the best leading ladies of GMA Network. Her drama acting was superb, and her comedy was surprisingly good. I am particularly amazed at her ability to cry in an instant.

Meanwhile, Cruz does what he does everytime. He was charming, relatable, and funny. He was able to bring the sad and heavy life of Uno (a sub-plot) with justice. His character was arrogant when he needed to be, but once the reason is revealed one cannot help but feel sorry for the guy.

Speaking of the sub-plot, it was heart-wrenching and well-delivered. I apologize that I cannot say much, because that would be going to Spoiler City.

The supporting characters serve their purposes really well. Uno getting interrogated by CJ’s brothers was a good and funny scene. Richard Yap (Mr. Gatchalian, the Head of Aviation) shows his acting chops as well. However, the introduction of Baron Geisler’s character promised potential and spice to the narrative, but he suddenly disappeared.

It is very clear while watching the film that it was made by professionals who know how to tell a story very well. A film may be filled with cliches, but its success always boils down to how it delivers the story.

Just the 3 of Us is a film that shows how love is a choice we consciously make (not just a sudden emotion that we feel in our hearts), and it is a film I recommend because it is …

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* Sure, some would say she never gets out of her safe zone, but rom-coms are simply the genre she is good at. As long as she delivers, that’s okay by me.
** “Polar opposites match” cliche