Playing this week: Funny, reckless, scary Valentine
MANILA, Philippines – Looking for a never-ending romance or a second chance at love? There's drama, comedy, and history in this week's lineup of films, whether it's a Valentine's movie date you're after, or just a feel-good flick to get you through the week.
Take your pick from this week's new releases:
Starting Over Again
For those struggling to figure out how to rewrite the past, director Olivia M. Lamasan's latest film may be just for you.
A decade ago, Ginny (Toni Gonzaga), an architecture student, fell in love with Marco (Piolo Pascual), a history professor, but their story extends way beyond the campus. Ginny graduates and the two become a couple, but 5 years into the relationship, she leaves him for reasons unknown to Marco.
Fast forward to the present, Ginny receives an email from Marco, written after their break-up, but meant to be read 4 years later. Regrets surface.
Coincidentally, Ginny's architecture and interior design firm had been asked to transform an old house into a restaurant, co-owned by Marco. She soon finds out, however, that Marco has found someone else.
In an interview with Buzz ng Bayan, Actress Toni Gonzaga revealed she considers the movie to be "the most important film of her life," after it changed her perceptions on love.
No, it's not a film version of the popular South Korean drama. Director Shana Feste's Endless Love is a remake of Franco Zeffirelli's 1980s film adaptation of Scott Spencer's novel, arguably dubbed as one of the greatest love stories of all time.
The film follows the story of bad boy David (Alex Pettyfer) and privileged Jade (Gabriella Wilde), two teenagers, who instantly capture each other's hearts. While the couple may be young, the story is far from the usual puppy love romance. As the story progresses, they find themselves recklessly defying their parents and, as the film teases, bidding farewell to innocence.
Critics on Rotten Tomatoes give the film a 50% rating, while 89% of viewers want to see the film. An early review by OregonLive blatantly described the film as "deadly boring," with none of the original film's "desperate, kinky, mad and eventually criminal carnality" present in the first.
Winter's Tale, based on Mark Helprin's 1980s novel of the same name, is a story about "miracles, crossed destinies, and the battle between good and evil," says the film's site.
Winter's Tale is set in a mythical New York City, where winged horses and magical creatures exist. The film follows the story of star-crossed lovers Beverly Penn (Brown Findlay), a dying heiress and Peter Lake (Colin Farrell) a master thief, who travels across time and battles forces of darkness to save his one true love.
Critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 15% rating, saying "the film tries to retain the grandiose sweep of its source novel, but fails to fill it in with characters worth rooting for or a sensible plot." Only 52% of viewers liked it.
Meanwhile, a review on RogerEbert.com noted that the film lacks visual splendor, emotional depth, scope, and magic.
"The philosophical underpinnings of the novel, its thoughts on the turning of the centuries (and the millennium), and how cultures and societies go through giant upheaval during such moments, visible, and invisible, is completely lost in the New Age-y dreck drenching the narrative."
If you think your high school drama is as bad as it gets, try the boarding school in Vampire Academy, where everything and everyone bites.
The film, based on Richelle Mead’s young-adult fantasy novels of the same name, follows Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch), a rebellious vampire guardian-in-training, sworn to protect her best friend, royal vampire princess Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry).
After having been on the run for some time, they are returned to St. Vladimir's Academy, a place where they feel most unsafe. While Lissa struggles to establish her status, Rose trains hard to earn her place as a true guardian, but not without the blunder, mischief, and romance of teen life.
Critics and viewers on Rotten Tomatoes clashed. The film earned a measly 11% from reviewers and a decent 79% from the audience.
Variety called the film sa "crass mashup" of Harry Potter and Twilight, and described it as "numbingly generic," with a dialogue consisting of strained and dated youth slang.
"All the performers deserve condolences rather than criticism."
GMA Films' Basement follows a group of strangers who are forced to spend the night in a basement parking because of a storm. Their irritated reactions soon turn into terrified screams after they find that an evil creature is lurking in the shadows. After the power is shut off, they are killed one after the other.
Interestingly, actor Kevin Santos who plays a truck driver trapped in the basement, claimed to have sceen a ghost during the film's shooting. He told GMA that he used this sighting to make his acting more authentic.
A review by Zig Marasigan on Rappler brands the film as a "one-trick pony," with little care given to the characters. The consequences of their deaths, in turn, leave little impact on the audience.
"Like its characters, Basement lacks any motivation to break free from its self-imposed prison, happy instead to wallow in an underground parking lot, waiting to be executed."
"8 unlikely heroes will save history," teases the trailer.
Directed and starred by George Clooney, film adaptation of Robert M. Edsel's book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History.
Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett join the cast as The Monuments Men, a group of volunteers from 13 nations, tasked to preserve Europe's culture during World War II. Mostly with expertise as museum directors, curators, art scholars, artists, educators, and activists, the volunteers face the war head on.
Critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 35% rating, due to its "stiffly nostalgic tone and curiously slack narrative." Meanwhile, 56% of viewers said they liked it.
Rolling Stone praised the film's "exquisite" physical production and narrative, saying "there are enough stories here to fill a dozen movies."
"The work of the Monuments Men is fresh territory for film, and Clooney builds the story with intriguing detail and scope," read the review.