Citizen Jake (2018)

Rated R-13: For Strong Language

Genre/s: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Running Time: 137 minutes (2 hours and 17 minutes)

Released on May 23, 2018 (PH Release Date; Limited Release Only)

Presented by Cinema Artists Philippines, through Solar Pictures




Writers: Mike De Leon, Atom Araullo, and Noel Pascual

Director: Mike De Leon


Starring:
  • Atom Araullo as Jake Herrera
  • Adrian Alandy as Jonie
  • Teroy Guzman as Jacobo Herrera, Sr.
  • Gabby Eigenmann as Roxie Herrera
  • Max Collins as Mandy

Our dear friends at Solar Entertainment Corporation have cordially invited us on the twenty-fourth of May, 2018, to see a special screening of director Mike De Leon's latest feature at the luxurious VIP Cinema 2 of Evia Lifestyle Center in  Las Pinas City. Starring real-life journalist Atom Araullo, it promises to be an eye-opening look at the controversial political climate of the Philippines. Does it live-up to its massive cinematic potential, or does it disappoint at the lowest order? Welcome back to Dateline Movies, and film court is officially open for the case of Dateline v. Citizen Jake!

Some secrets are left buried, and if you have not seen this film yet, that includes spoilers.


What is the movie about?


Jake Herrera, played by Araullo in his film debut, despises the corruption that now defines his family name. His malevolent father, the "honorable" Jacobo Herrera, played by Guzman (If You Leave), and his bigger, more dimwitted brother Roxie, played by Eigenmann (Swipe), have carried on that legacy, while he has since attempted to step away from it, and settle as a teacher, living with his childhood friend and family servant Jonie (Anino Sa Likod ng Buwan).

However, Jake's peaceful existence has been disrupted when a student of his and his on-again-off-again girlfriend Mandy, played by Collins (The One That Got Away), has been murdered. With no one talking, it is now up to Jake to bring the murdered to justice, even if it means having to reopen old wounds once more.

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What we think of the movie?

The Defense:
  • Atom Araullo proves himself a spectacular leading man, and the rest of the cast are also absolute scene stealers!
Atom Araullo is on a roll these days, with him even having a television show on AXN, on top of potentially having a worthwhile film career. In case the heading above is not straightforward for you, Araullo does, indeed, have the capabilities of a serious actor. I am not just saying that because of his background in the world of reporting, but he really is able to convincingly portray a man who is constantly haunted by the sins of his father, no matter how much he tries to escape its shadow. The scene that absolutely showed me just how capable Araullo is in the moment when he realizes that his best friend, Jonie, is unwillingly a spy for his corrupt family. His breakdown at the revelation, as well as his off-the-wall reaction to the discovery that his mother, played by Dina Bonevie (Magdusa Ka!), has been secretly sending letters, is awesome. I really do not understand what director Mike De Leon said about Araullo being disappointing, and I do respect his take on his work, but for me, Araullo delivers.

Also, Cherie Gil (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike) is here, playing the seemingly decent wife of a politician, who is secretly running an illegal escort business, is only here for one scene, and she absolutely nails it by showing us just how the cycle of revenge can be. Besides, it is Cherie Gil. She is a brilliant, versatile actress, and I very much enjoyed her performance, despite having extremely limited screentime. And since we are talking about actors playing corrupt politicians, Teroy Guzman and Gabby Eigenmann are very much intimidating. For me, Guzman's performance is, hands down, one of the best in the entire film, as he effortlessly catches my attention whenever he is on-screen meddling with Jake's life. Plus, even if Eigenmann's character is played for laughs often, as evidenced by Roxie's somewhat cartoonish obsession with The Godfather Trilogy, he still proves himself a menacing, albeit insecure, presence on-screen.

Max Collins is also great being the hope that Jake desperately seeks, and I enjoyed how she portrays Jake's voice of reason, even if she is only in a couple of scenes. And of course, Adrian Alandy actually manages to get a little of my sympathy in his performance as Jonie.

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  • It is an almost perfect allegory for corruption.
One of the lines of the film states that people from "two classes can never be friends". When I heard Jake mentioning that near the climactic moments of the film, it got to me, because it pretty much sums-up the message of the entire film.

The film centers around the murder of a girl named Grace, played by Elora Españo (Baconaua), who is forced to be an escort due to financial problems. Jake himself has three servants taking care of him, including his best friend Jonie. Jake is also unknowingly a servant to his own father, because he is supposed to be keeping the sacredness of their family name in-check. Heck, Jake is even an unwilling servant to his own mother-related trauma. Jake, despite being of a different class, chooses to consider Jonie as his one true friend, only for him to learn that Jonie is coerced to become a spy for Roxie and Jacobo. The sinister family bodyguard Enchong, played by Richard Quan (White House), is made into a bodyguard because his father was one. Cherie Gil's Patricia Medina was once a call girl to satisfy a former president's desires, only to now be the one to making other young girls other men's unwilling servants. Mandy is also making Jake her reasonable servant by convincing him to investigate the murder.

All of this culminating in the tragic reality that the people in power will do everything they can to remain in power. And while there may be some who are willing to humble themselves, the stereotype of the all-powerful, all-corrupt elite figure will surely prevent any potential relationships to bloom.

I am not going to lie that I did not like the inclusion of too many references to the Philippines' unsettling history, and the movie would have been way better had the amount of references be set to a minimum. Regardless, the film's exploration of the relationship between the master and the servant is very thought-provoking.

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The Prosecution:
  • Despite an intriguing premise and theme, it feels tamer than it should have been.
While Jake and the rest of his main supporting cast do get their own respective character arcs, both Jacobo and Roxie are reduced to stereotypes. The movie has established from the beginning that Jake's father and older brother are both corrupt, but other than just being plain annoying by having Enchong and Jonie spy on Jake and attempting to make a new property over Jake's mother's old home, not a single scene shows Jacobo and Roxie being exactly as such. That is, unless you count taking vices like a cliched gangster straight out of the movies, even if that might have been the point in Roxie's case, being corrupt.

The movie did hint some unique character motivations for both of them, with Roxie admitting to Enchong that he sees himself as if he is the "Sonny Corleone" of the family, referring to their father's potential favoritism, but we never really get to see Jake and Jacobo have any moments of father-son bonding, excluding all of the scenes where they argue over the house. I also do wish that the film could have dug deeper on how Jacobo might have been abusive towards Victoria, because that would have fleshed-out Jake's character a whole lot more. Besides, if we really do get to actually see how Jacobo and Roxie have treated Jake over the years, prior to the House of Herrera dividing, because that would have made Jake's entire crusade all the more personal.

Patricia Medina could have completely subverted all of these problems, if only she could have been introduced way earlier, and if only they could have given her more than just a single scene. This is so because, unlike both Jacobo and Roxie, "Patti" Medina's motivations for running an illegal escort service are interesting and sensible. In fact, I might actually enjoy the film much more if Patti Medina really is the main antagonist. Alas, Citizen Jake only ever explained her backstory in a single scene, with Jake and Mandy just reading it from a book.

The third act also felt very, very forced-in. I call this so because, well, Jonie, killed by Roxie in broad daylight, had absolutely no reason to die, other than to probably show just how incompetent Roxie is. It does earn some of my praise for giving Jake a complete character arc, as he learns that even he, a do-gooder, is completely capable of killing, the movie would have been great already if it just ended with Jake coldly accepting that he can never win against his family. 

Also, that plot "twist" that it was the Herreras who placed the hit on Grace's lover and frequent customer, a judge, played by Nonie Buencamino (Maalala Mo Kaya), just to blackmail him, is so predictable, I would have been much more surprised if it was not really them. If you are setting-up a plot twist, I really do insist that they should keep the huge number of cliches at a minimum.

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  • Frequently mentioning the exact same point does not make the film insightful, but preachy.
One of the golden rules of filmmaking is that visuals must be allowed to speak for themselves, so if narration included. How Citizen Jake used it to plot dump the audience on characters and basically all of the other moments that need no explaining is next to inexcusable. This is probably, what I see, as the film's biggest problem, and it somewhat slowed down the movie for me. One instance of this is when Mandy, and Mandy and Jake's professor colleague Lucas, played by Lou Veloso (The Bourne Legacy), are first introduced to the audience, with Jake explaining through voice-over his relationships. Dude, I do not even need you to explain that scene. All I needed to do is just pay attention.

There are also these parts when Jake is more or less breaking the fourth wall explaining various behind-the-scenes happenings, such as him revealing that a real-life forensics team, who were extras, had to pull-out of the shooting after a dead body was found during the production. These somewhat creative, somewhat oddly placed quasi-documentary style narration from the main protagonist, are actually pretty interesting. My only problem with this is that sometimes it tends to ruin emotional vibe of a scene. One scene with Max Collins explaining to a bunch of extras that they are shooting for the movie almost felt like I was watching a reality show instead of a film.

But the thing that truly bothers me about these narration segments are its numerous, unnecessary references to, no less, the Martial Law era in the Philippines. Yes, I know that the film is aiming to remind people that history can repeat itself, which I completely understand, but seriously, I do not need to be beaten on the head over and over again. The character Lucas, a survivor of the horrors of the Martial Law, after giving-out on-the-nose political commentary through a poem, never even came back until the very end of the movie, and it is evident that the character was only created for exposition.

One reference is alright, and it is way better if it is a subtle one, but if you are just constantly bringing-up history lessons, which in-turn only slow down the movie even more, and which takes huge amounts of screentime for various characters, it all just makes the experience a cinematic lecture. Most great, social commentary-filled films did not even have to really go overboard with the references, unless it is a historical adaptation. 

Also, if you are going to be taking shots at the current administration, which I myself would really do if I would be writing a screenplay for a political film, I do not recommend just name-dropping. I thought that moment when one of Grace's friends, Heidi, played by Anna Luna (Changing Partners), mentioned that two of their customers look a lot like Senators Revilla and Sotto a little funny, but really, they could have done better than that. Showing the same image of former President Ferdinand Marcos twice, or practically editing-in too much images from all throughout history, also does not help.


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The Ruling: Not Guilty!

Anchored by strong performances from the cast, Citizen Jake goes above and beyond the call to show the dark side of the Philippine political scene, even if the film is not as fresh nor as thought-provoking as it could have been.

Even with its flaws, Citizen Jake is still a must see for everyone. Come and see it at selected theaters in the Philippines while it is still showing! And with that comes the end of yet another movie review. Be sure to also check-out his own television show, "Adventure Your Way", where he goes to various locations all over the country, and do various things based on the suggestions of viewers online. Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!

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Avengers: Infinity War is just the beginning. With a lot of people making a bunch of speculations, we decided to hop on the bandwagon, and made our own speculations. Forget about going back in-time and rendering all previous films effectively meaningless, and instead of directly copying another certain Marvel movie that followed that same premise, here are Earth's Mightiest Heroes ... trying to rebuild the Infinity Stones? Welcome back to Dateline Movies, and get ready for a mildly long post, because it is time for us to show you what we believe is the "official" plot of the Untitled Avengers Sequel!

Just remember that this entire post is primarily based on OUR speculations, as well as speculations made by various other Internet theorists, so the plot below being "official" is a huge stretch. And since we are not sure if any of our and others' predictions might really be correct, be wary of some potential spoilers!


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The Beginning of the End

Thanos' genocidal plans for population control have come to fruition, as half of reality is disintegrated out of existence, and now the entire universe is in a state of disarray. Endangered species all across the cosmos are now also effectively extinct. His infamous "snap", however, resulted in the destruction of the Infinity Stones, as the energy released was too strong for the stones and the Infinity Gauntlet to handle. The destruction of the Infinity Stones resulted in each of their respective energies scattering to different locations everywhere, from the Dark Dimension, to the Quantum Realm. Some such as the dread Dormammu are attempting to remake the stones for their own uses.

Thanos finds his initially stable agricultural life in the "Soul World", the pocket dimension stored inside the Soul Stone, shattered. The souls of those who were killed, including James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes / White Wolf, T'Challa / Black Panther, Samuel "Sam" Wilson, Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch, Groot, Mantis, Peter Quill / Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Doctor Stephen Strange, Peter Parker / Spider-Man, Nicolas "Nick" Fury, and Maria Hill, have started to wander around aimlessly as the afterlife is running out of places for the dead, to the point that dying is impossible. To keep the balance in-check, Thanos assembles the latest incarnation of his Black Order.


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Five Years Into the Future!
(The Infinity Crusade Begins)

The remaining Avengers, as well as Emil Blonsky / The Abomination, Samuel Sterns / The Leader, Adrian Toomes / Vulture, Helmut Zemo, and Karl Mordo, all who wish to extend as much help as they can, head straight to space in the latest of Tony Stark's inventions, "Damocles Base", a sword-shaped, fully upgraded S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. The vessel, made with the use of the Time Stone, which has been duplicated by Doctor Strange prior to his own death, is able to move across time and space, and remain hidden from any potential threats.

Tony built the spaceship as a larger, portable particle accelerator, complete with upgraded technology provided by the current queen of Wakanda Shuri, for the remaking process, and it resembles the one Tony used to make his own element, humorously dubbed "Badassium". They also plan on making use of the compressed nature of the Quantum Realm in order to make the energies easier to contain.

Tony, Steve Rogers / Captain America, Bruce Banner / The Hulk, Thor Odinson, Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow, Clint Barton / Ronin, Lt. Col James Rhodes / War Machine, Brunnhilde / ValkyrieNebula, Rocket Raccoon, Wong, Scott Lang / Ant-Man, Hope Van Dyne / The Wasp, Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel, Shuri, Korg and Miek, and Okoye / Black Panther guard Damocles Base. The station orbits over Vormir, as Tony notes that the energy signature in the area is enough to power-up the particle accelerator.

Thanos unleashes a massive energy surge in Vormir and generates a field of electricity around the planet, preventing anyone else from also harvesting the power of the Soul Stone. The blast interrupted the heroes and villains' remaking process. The experiment fails, and the blast teleports almost each of them to random locations.

At this point, the story unfolds through three specific perspectives, with the first one being aboard Damocles Base, the second being in Vormir, and the third being on Nidavellir. Each of the six founding members of the Avengers get to have their own subplots. Each group is able to keep in-touch through their handheld communicators.

Anthony "Tony" Stark / Iron Man 
- Space Stone (Howard Stark's Journals)

 His team includes Scott Lang / Ant-Man, Shuri,
and Lt. Col. James Rhodes / War Machine

Tony, reverting back to alcoholism due to his traumatic experience on the planet Titan, makes use of his "Binarily Augmented Retro-Framing (B.A.R.F.)" technology to search for any hints from past adventures on how to defeat Thanos. Eventually, he learns that his father, Howard Stark, who researched on The Tesseract, the artifact that formerly housed the Space Stone, based the chemical makeup of Badassium on the incomplete structure of the Space Stone itself. His discovery of this, and the recreation of the Space Stone, is what leads the heroes and villains one step closer to victory. Its creation also made Thanos aware of their base's location by the climax of the story.

Tony and his team are one of the two teams that were not teleported elsewhere, and handles much of the science needed to keep their mission going, and they guide Steve and Clint's groups on their respective missions.

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Bruce Banner / The Hulk 

- Power Stone (The Dark Dimension)


His team includes F.R.I.D.A.Y. / JocastaKarl Mordo, and Wong

Bruce butts heads several times with The Hulk over the course of his adventure, as The Hulk's fear of being defeated again by Thanos remains an obstacle for the group. During his journey to obtain the energy needed to make the Power Stone from the Dark Dimension through a portal on Vormir that is made by Dormammu, who is tasked by Thanos to devour the other souls into oblivion. The Hulk and Bruce eventually learn to work together, on the condition that Bruce can never revert back to his normal form again, which he readily accepts.


Bruce and his team are one of two groups trapped in Vormir due to Thanos' intervention. After no longer becoming Bruce, The Hulk manages to gain the intelligence of Bruce, while preserving his enhanced strength.

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Clint Barton / Ronin 

- Mind Stone (A Mysterious Sattelite)


His team includes Brunnhilde / Valkyrie, Helmut Zemo,
and Okoye / Black Panther 

Suffering from a mental breakdown after watching his entire family disintegrate in front of him, Clint embraces the darker persona of Ronin. After retrieving the energy for the Mind Stone, Clint and his team battles the resurfaced, and newly enhanced Ultron, whose consciousness has been preserved in a mysterious space satellite prior to being destroyed on Earth in 2015. Together, they fight to eliminate Ultron from Damocles Base in an isolated area of the ship, while also having to deal with Ultron's newly controlled "Iron Legion".

Clint and his team are one of two groups transported elsewhere, and they have been gone for almost five years, but Tony and the rest only thought he disappeared for an hour. His team unknowingly retrieves Ultron's consciousness at the beginning of the movie, and it is their actions that lead to Ultron controlling a small portion of Damocles Base.

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Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow 

- Reality Stone (Nidavellir)


Her team includes Adrian Toomes / The Vulture, Nebula,
and Rocket Raccoon

Still suffering from survivor's guilt, and finally looking forward to completely redeeming herself, Natasha and her team find themselves at the mercy of Tanaleer Tivan / The Collector, the original keeper of the Reality Stone whose tampering with the stone resulted into him gaining reality-warping abilities. He is now completely deranged after Thanos, who also held him captive after seeing some use for him, destroyed his entire exhibit, his life's work, and he seeks to cope with the losses by turning Nidavellir into his latest "museum". They must now secure Eitri's second Infinity Gauntlet, and bring it to Vormir.

Natasha and her team are one of two groups transported elsewhere. Their deus ex machina-like arrival at the near-end of the film is what finally closed this story.

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Steven "Steve" Rogers / Captain America 

- Time Stone (Doctor Strange's Duplicate)


His team includes Emil Blonsky / The Abomination, Hope Van Dyne / The Wasp, and Samuel Sterns / The Leader

Having a hard time letting go of the many things that transpired in his life, Steve and his team are given the duty to protect Tony and his own team from Johann Schimdt / Red Skull, the former guardian of the Soul Stone who has now regained his freedom, and is aiming to exact his vengeance on Steve once and for all. Steve argues with Tony over their communication relays due to past differences, while he also has to deal with Red Skull tampering with the Time Stone, which causes Steve to revisit flashbacks from way back when.

Steve and his team are one of two teams to not be transported elsewhere. They also hunt down Red Skull in another isolated area of Damocles Base. In addition, Blonsky and Sterns make a failed attempt to betray Steve.

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Thor Odinson
- Soul Stone (Vormir, Entrance to Valhalla)

His team includes Carol Danvers / Captain Marvel, Korg, and Miek.

Fueled with rage for Thanos' crimes, Thor and his team set-out to recover the Soul Stone energy that is hidden beneath Vormir. Thor eventually learns that the planet is also the gateway to Valhalla, and he and his comrades seek out allies in the form of the undead to help them in their fight against the Mad Titan. He and his friends have to deal with a mind-controlled Gamora, who has forgotten about her heroic life thanks to Thanos' machinations. Their secondary objective is to also slay Thanos.

Thor and his team are one of two groups trapped in Vormir due to Thanos' intervention. Thor successfully assembling an army is one of the factors that lead to their victory.

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The Final Battle

With The Collector, Dormammu, Red Skull, and Ultron defeated, the Reality, Power, and Mind Stones are successfully rebuilt with the particle accelerator. Tony makes a last-minute discovery through the Space Stone, but the powerful blast of energy from the stone alerted Thanos to their location, and he sends-out all of Dormammu's forces to haunt him and his friends. Tony and the rest battle their way with the use of Damocles Base to Vormir, and they eventually crash to where Hulk and Thor's teams are fighting Thanos. Despite not having any stones for enhancements, Thanos is able to hold-up.

As the Soul World is already full of spirits, therefore no longer accepting any sacrifices, Carol makes use of her energy-based powers to absorb and disperse the Soul Stone energy. Because of her knowledge of the Quantum Realm's mechanics, she is able to compress all of the energy into one stone, finally rebuilding the Soul Stone. Carol is eventually tired-out, and is no longer able to continue battling.

The stones still need the Infinity Gauntlet to officially perform their functions. Natasha and her team make it in a nick of time, and it is the Hulk, taking Carol's place, who manages to undo everything that Thanos did, at the cost of his own life. Steve, after mending fences with Tony, also dies in the line of fire when he, deemed worthy of Thor's powers, sacrifices himself to distract Thanos, who crushes his head. Natasha dies on her team's ship that crash, dying with dignity knowing that she has wiped "the red in her ledger" away. Nebula is also among the casualties, as she willingly sacrifices herself for Gamora to snap out of Thanos' control. Tony, by overloading his Arc Reactor to cosmic levels, kills a remorseful Thanos, who only feels guilt for his treatment of his favorite daughter, and himself in the process, finally putting an end to the "Infinity War".

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Tying-Up All Loose Ends
(Avengers Disassembled?)


Everyone that disappeared during Thanos' original attack have returned, seemingly with no memory of what they have experienced in the afterlife. However, the heroes who died but not due to Thanos' reality-warping genocide, except for Gamora, whose soul was trap in Soul World, remain deceased. The heroes and villains return to Earth through Thor's "Stormbreaker" weapon, which allows teleportation. Everyone is grateful for everything the heroes did, but they also saw what it cost. Only two of the founding members of the Avengers remained, and the world mourned.

Yet the world still needs saving, and the New Avengers are formed. The effects of Clint's apparent "time travel" had an effect, and as such, Wanda's brother Pietro Maximoff / Quicksilver is alive and well. Bucky is now the new Captain America, Rocket returns to the reassembled Guardians of the Galaxy, his family, Thor gathers the last of the Asgardians to form a new Asgard in Norway, Doctor Strange embraces his role as the official Sorcerer Supreme, Clint returns to his Hawkeye persona and acts as the mentor to the New Avengers, Peter Parker returns to his Aunt May.

And there you have it, our entire lengthy post on how we believe the Untitled Avengers Sequel will go down. I would personally like to give credit to these three sources, especially to the users at Reddit whose number is just too many to mention here. Be sure to listen to one of the best songs from the official score of Avengers: Infinity War before you leave, and stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!


Citizen Jake (2018)

Rated R-13: Strictly for Thirteen Years of Age and Above

Genre/s: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Running Time: 137 minutes (2 hours and 17 minutes)

To Be Released on May 23, 2018 (PH Release Date; Limited Release Only)

Presented by Cinema Artists Philippines, through Solar Pictures

Writers: Mike De Leon, Atom Araullo, and Noel Pascual

Director: Mike De Leon


  
Starring:
  • Atom Araullo as Jake Herrera
  • Teroy Guzman as Jacobo Herrera, Sr.
  • Gabby Eigenmann as Roxie Herrera
  • Max Collins as Mandy

After a series of movie reviews and story pitches, we have returned with yet another spotlight just for you.


Is truth stranger than fiction? This film, starring real-life journalist Atom Araullo of ABS-CBN, offers to answer that question, in this political crime thriller. In a world filled with fictional superheroes inspiring countless lives, take the time to witness a story that is also fictional, but instead of focusing on heroes with unique abilities or access to state-of-the-art devices, here is a film that explores the life of an everyman. This particular movie aims to provide a distinct movie viewing experience, which you might say is in the vein of a somewhat similarly titled film, Citizen Kane. Welcome back to Dateline Movies, and this is Citizen Jake.


What is the movie about?

Journalist Jake Herrera, played by Araullo in his film debut, aims to step out of the corrupt shadow of his heritage, especially his estranged senator father Jacobo Herrera, Sr., played by Guzman (Seklusyon). His older brother, Roxie Herrera, played by Eigenmann (Asintado), on the other hand, is a congressman.

In a bid to start again as a blogger and college teacher in Baguio City, even going as far as to start a relationship with English teacher Mandy, played by Collins (Bamboo Flowers), Jake unfortunately finds himself drawn back to the place he thought he would never be back. A female student of his is brutally slain, and Jake embarks on a dangerous journey of murder and conspiracy that his family might be involved in.



The story is not the only reason why you ought to check this flick out. An entire ensemble of talented individuals, including Cherie Gil, Dina Bonnevie, Adrian Alandy, Nonie Buencamino, Lou Veloso, Richard Quan, Allan Paule, Anna Luna, Victor Neri, Raquel Villavicencio, Nanding Josef, Ruby Ruiz, Elora Españo, and Cholo Barretto are all involved. With this amount of experienced, and up-and-coming actors and actresses, you know that this movie could really be something huge!


“My film may be fiction, but it is based on truths we ignore at our own risk. It should be seen by its audience in its original version, without cuts and without compromise. The film is not perfect, far from it, but it is a good honest film that is seeking an audience that I am convinced is out there. May you allow me to ask for your support?”, co-writer and director Mike De Leon, after an eighteen year hiatus, implored the moviegoers of the nation to view his second work to be distributed by Solar Pictures, with the most recent being Bayaning Third World.




Also, just a little trivia before officially concluding. The poster for this film was almost not going to be the final product. Long story short, it all happened because of a little "beautiful mess" giant splatter, a result of artist Tom Estera taking a quick break.


Be sure to check-out Citizen Jake, which will be released to a wider audience on May 23, 2018. Seriously, do see it, since from what I am reading from the initial reviews, it is really good. For more updates on the movie, be sure to check-out their Facebook page by clicking here. Feel free to tune-in to Solar Pictures for interesting developments through Twitter and Instagram by clicking here, and here, respectively. Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!
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Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

Rated PG-13: For Intense Violence and Minimal Sensitive Themes

Running Time: 149 minutes (2 hours and 29 minutes)

Genre/s: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Superhero, Thriller

Released on April 25, 2018 (PH Release Date; Available for Worldwide Viewing)

Presented by Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures


Inspired by "The Infinity Gauntlet" by Jim Starlin, and "Infinity" by Jonathan Hickman



"Iron Man" Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck, and Jack Kirby

"Thor" Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby

"Captain America" Created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby

"Guardians of the Galaxy", the 2008 version, Created by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning

"Doctor Strange" and "Spider-Man" Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

"Black Panther", "The Hulk", and "The Avengers" Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby



Writers: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely

Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo

Starring:

  • Robert Downey Jr. as Anthony "Tony" Stark / Iron Man
  • Chris Hemsworth as Thor Odinson
  • Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner / The Hulk
  • Chris Evans as Steven "Steve" Rogers
  • Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow
  • Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stephen Strange
  • Don Cheadle as James "Rhodey" Rhodes / War Machine
  • Tom Holland as Peter Parker / Spider-Man
  • Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa / Black Panther
  • Paul Bettany as The Vision
  • Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch
  • Anthony Mackie as Samuel "Sam" Wilson / The Falcon
  • Sebastian Stan as James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes / White Wolf
  • Danai Gurira as Okoye
  • Letitia Wright as Shuri
  • Dave Bautista as Drax, the Destroyer
  • Zoe Saldana as Gamora
  • Josh Brolin as Thanos
  • Chris Pratt as Peter Quill / Star-Lord
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And after ten years of waiting, it finally comes. War. The heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, except for the ones featured in the shows at Netflix and ABC, have come together against a threat unlike any other.

The initial reviews accuse the defendant of being overly crowded and having a rather short running time. With God's good grace, and the powers that be that are the Infinity Stones, we will get to the bottom of this situation, and tell you if this film is really worth buying a ticket for. Welcome back to Dateline Movies, and film court is now open for the case of Dateline v. Avengers: Infinity War.

I hope you remember ... that there are tons of spoilers coming your way. I mean it. If you have not seen this film yet, you might want to leave, then come back later.

You should also be warned that, given that this is a culmination of a decade worth of storytelling, major spoilers for past M.C.U. films, starting from Captain America: Civil War, all the way to Thor: Ragnarok, and one major callback from Captain America: The First Avenger, are within range. This is your last warning.


What is the movie about?

After years of searching, the Mad Titan Thanos, played by Brolin (Deadpool 2), has finally decided to do things his way. He is hellbent on reclaiming the highly destructive "Infinity Stones" that are scattered all across the universe, and Thanos will not let the mightiest of heroes stand between him and his genocidal ambitions.

With doomsday about to come kicking, Tony Stark, played by Downey Jr. (Due Date), Thor, played by Hemsworth (Star Trek), Bruce Banner, played by Ruffalo (Foxcatcher), Steve Rogers, played by Evans (Playing It Cool), Natasha Romanoff, played by Johansson (Ghost in the Shell), Stephen Strange, played by Cumberbatch (August: Osage County), James Rhodes, played by Cheadle (Boogie Nights), Peter Parker, played by Holland (Pilgrimage), T'Challa, played by Boseman (Marshall), The Vision, played by Bettany (Solo: A Star Wars Story), Wanda Maximoff, played by Olsen (Ingrid Goes West), Sam Wilson, played by Mackie (Detroit), Bucky Barnes, played by Stan (We Have Always Lived in the Castle), Okoye, played by Gurira (Mother of George), and Shuri, played by Wright (Urban Hymn), must join forces with the Guardians of the Galaxy, composing of but not limited to, Peter Quill, played by Pratt (Passengers), Drax, played by Bautista (Spectre), Gamora, played by Saldana (Infinitely Polar Bear) must make a last stand against Thanos, before the world, and the universe, is destroyed!


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What we think of the movie?

The Defense:
  • Josh Brolin's Thanos exceeds expectations!
Almost all of the M.C.U. films have been building-up to Thanos being revealed as the baddest of the bad, the "quasi-protagonist" of this flick, the devil that we all sort-of know. We are very much glad to report to you that the rumors are true, and Thanos is one seriously emotionally complex, maniacally devious, and ultimately complex whirlwind of death and destruction. You might even say that he is truly the best villain in the entire franchise for a variety of reasons.

I am a tad bit disappointed, at the same time slightly impressed, by his updated origin story here. Disappointed, because generally speaking, he is changed to an evil version of the popular DC Comics character Superman's father, Jor-El, wherein like the aforementioned character, he once tried to warn his kind of an impending doom that will bring their species to extinction, to no avail. Instead of fathering a child and wishing that said child would be a hero, he dedicates his life to the mercy killing of various individuals in a universal scale. Impressed, because I felt that this made Thanos a much more terrifying presence instead of the overly desperate, and overly delusional hopeless romantic pining for the feelings of the physical manifestation of Death itself, although that would also be pretty decent in some way. Either way, Thanos' core personality traits remain intact, and the screenplay does the character justice.

But the real draw to Thanos is his slightly sympathetic nature, which manifests through his obvious regret when he has to kill Gamora, the only individual in the entire universe whom he truly cares about, in order to obtain the Soul Stone, the most mysterious among all of the Infinity Stones, and his cunning intelligence, that shows when the Guardians of the Galaxy are lead in an illusion-based trap through the use of his Reality Stone. I also commend the amount of character development that Thanos gets in this film, which is not an average M.C.U. villain would get.

We should also be thankful for the extremely pitch perfect casting of Josh Brolin, who is certainly having the time of his life by having two major comicbook roles in the big screen, plus one if you would count the forgotten Jonah Hex adaptation, as he managed to make this seeming ripoff of DC's Darkseid more than just a pastiche. By placing emphasis on his unexpected human and relatable qualities, we see Thanos not just a disturbing figure, but an existentialist who raises a few interesting points pertaining to inevitability of chaos, with a side of a little "doomsday prophet" to go along his demented mental state.

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  • Its proper mix of humor and surprising bleakness makes this flick ... perfectly balanced!
Are you tired of the M.C.U. films' tendency to try and try and try to be funny? Are you bored at the apparent lack of stakes in every single climactic battle? Worry not, dear friends, for Avengers: Infinity War gives you a very nihilistic, and unbelievably mind-blowing movie where death really does matter for everyone involved (unless the currently untitled sequel comes around, but still), where fighting Thanos is no dance-off or an average fight against a faceless army of random monsters, and where, in the end, everybody loses, and the bad guy wins. In case you really do not know how dark this film is, everyone gasped when we realized the flick just faded to black after half of the universe is erased from existence.

But since this is a "family" movie, and since this is more or less the staple of the entire franchise already, there is still some humor intact, but in contrast to past entries, it feels much more natural and never does it feel extremely out-of-place, although not as much prevalent as it was in Thor: Ragnarok. These mostly come from the quip-loving heroes such as Spider-Man, Star-Lord, and Iron Man, as well as a little bit of the usual awkward humor, which still feels a little oddly placed at times, from the Guardians of the Galaxy. These are mostly involved at the near-first part of the film, with Tony Stark calling-out one of Thanos' henchmen as "Squidward" from the animated series Spongebob Squarepants as probably the best gag in the film, and second place going to Drax, claiming to be invisible after standing still for an hour, awkwardly staring at Star-Lord and Gamora chatting about what to do with Thanos.

This change of tone, and sign of overall maturity, enables the movie to fully develop its characters without delving to unnecessary quips or one-liners, and it only makes us root for heroes, after years of getting acquainted with them, even more.

Arguably, the most emotional scene in the film, for me, that allowed the audience to get glimpses of character development is when Star-Lord lashes-out at Thanos when he learns that Thanos killed Gamora to get the Soul Stone, which cost Iron Man, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Mantis, Nebula, and Drax the chance to get the Infinity Gauntlet. Not only do we get to see Star-Lord be dead serious, even more serious than he was in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but we see just how much Gamora meant to Star-Lord. Thor's solo arc in this film is itself one huge tearjerker, as he is the last Asgardian in existence, and he struggles the entire movie to cope with his losses.

Also, Strange's haunting last words that state that they only ever had one chance, even after seeing multiple alternate probabilities, shows just how much of a practical realist Strange is, and how much he was willing to just end it reveals how much hope is taken away from our heroes, most of all Strange.  Him letting Star-Lord let loose might also be a sign of him having a plan in the next film, but it still does not change the fact that Strange's parting words can crawl under your skin. Gamora's origin story is also great, by the way, even if it is only shown for only one scene, and it really does help legitimize the kind of threat Thanos is.

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      • Nothing is better than having (almost) all of the actors and actresses interact with each other on-screen.
      All of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, teaming-up with the Guardians of the Galaxy, plus a whole long list of new additions ... it really is a dream come true for everyone who has been watching the movies for over a decade.

      To keep it short, considering that there are loads of actors and actresses to list down, I just have to say that my personal breakout performances are those of the following. One of whom is Chris Pratt as Star-Lord, whose on-screen grief-stricken tantrum involving Gamora's death put all audience members at the edge of their seats. Dave Bautista as Drax delivers some funny moments, and so does Bradley Cooper (Burnt) as the voice of Rocket Raccoon.

      Another is Chris Hemsworth, who is on a roll after finally getting to do Thor justice with his third and last solo outing, as well as the character's story arc here. Basically every scene with Robert Downey Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, and Tom Holland are awesome, especially the climactic battle scenes resulting in numerous deaths, even Spider-Man's, which we see is absolutely soul-crushing thanks to Tom Holland's brilliant performance. Josh Brolin, as we have previously said before. Zoe Saldana also, who is able to show-off much more of her acting prowess by exploring the emotional complexities that lie within the adopted daughter of Thanos, and her unexpected pre-death exchange with Thanos is absolutely devastating. 

      And Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, both of whom, despite having a very rushed romance-themed story arc that spanned for about three films in total, show-off plenty of great chemistry. Olsen's saddened expression at having to kill The Vision, in order to prevent Thanos from getting the Mind Stone, then having to witness The Vision get resurrected, and killed again when Thanos just pulls the Mind Stone from his forehead. Bettany is also not far behind, and heartbreaking pleas for Wanda to kill him, and before that, his requests for reassurance that he is not evil, are made all the more better by Bettany's acting. Special mention also goes to Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston (Crimson Peak), who makes his potentially last hurrah as the God of Mischief really disheartening, even more so for fans of the character.

      I also appreciate the other actors, but for now, I will just settle for the rest of their works as "alright", considering that much of the film is heavily placing emphasis on the above mentioned characters. This leads to the actors and actresses not really getting to have any chance to shine. I do hope to see them get to standout more in the forthcoming follow-up, and since it is going to be a film that will mark the end of an era, they better get to have at least one powerful moment. They still did good, though.

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      • The action, the score, and the visuals, are at their best here.
      The biggest Marvel Cinematic Universe film ought to have the best of the best elements, and because they know how much we have been waiting for this, they certainly did not disappoint, although the amount of dialogue-driven scenes dedicated to character development could be off-putting for only the most impatient. The action scenes, especially the climactic twenty-plus minutes battle against Thanos and his forces, is tense and packed to the brim with gorgeous visuals. The shots of seeing all of the heroes fight against a common enemy is simply pulse-pounding.

      I also have got to admire the fight with Doctor Strange, Iron Man, and Spider-Man, against two of Thanos' most powerful henchmen in New York City, because it is fun, and although not as nail-biting as the succeeding sequences, it is strangely optimistic, and it helps prepare the audience for the overall bleak tone that is about to come. Although the scene when Knowhere, the workplace of The Collector, played by Benicio del Toro (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), who holds one of the Infinity Stones, being burned by Thanos is not filled with action, it remains as one of the most disturbing scenes in the film. Del Toro's cameo as an illusion, who claps at Gamora for killing a fake Thanos makes this scene even creepier.

      The designs for the Outriders, Thanos' semi-faceless army of ravenous monsters, are outright terrifying, and they are just as visually striking as the designs of the Black Order. The design for Ebony Maw, played by Tom Vaughan-Lawlor (The Cured), which includes a semi-reptilian exterior theme that amplifies the character's creepy nature, for Cull Obsidian, played by Terry Notary (Kong: Skull Island), which is basically a default giant gray alien look, but still a menacing one, and for Proxima Midnight, played by Carrie Coon (The Post), which removes the large black horned helmet of the character, and instead placing more focus on her much more humanoid qualities such as her beautifully blue-colored eye line, are just magnificent. The best design among all four members is the design of Corvus Glaive, played by Michael James Shaw (Constantine), whose goblin-like appearance make for a menacing presence, which only looks better with his trademark spear and hood.

      Iron Man's "Bleeding Edge" armor, which functions almost similarly to T'Challa's suit when it comes to wearing it, while also granting users the ability to create various objects, is just a beaut. This also goes for Spider-Man's "Iron-Spider" armor, which was originally teased at Spider-Man: Homecoming.

      Also, the designs of various otherworldly locations such as the locations for the Soul Stone, and the place where Thor's new weapon, "Strombreaker" is built, which is  known as "Nidavellir", are wonderful. Plus, Alan Silvestri's melancholic beats further amplify the film's darker atmosphere, and his music really becomes effective during the ending.

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      The Prosecution:
      • The Black Order and some heroes are side-lined, and it may or may not be for the best.
      Among all of the four core members of the Black Order, only Ebony Maw, the guy who can move things with his mind, for those who are not aware who is who, is unique. Ebony Maw is the only one who gets different abilities, while his other siblings only get super strength and special sets of weaponry that are barely featured, and he is also the one to get the most lines, therefore making him the most developed. Cull Obsidian, Proxima Midnight, and Corvus Glaive are not even mentioned by name. As such, it feels slightly underwhelming to see all of them bite the dust during the Wakandan defense, especially Maw, who is not even able to participate in the final battle after being killed by Spider-Man, Iron Man and Doctor Strange by pushing him into the dark void of space.

      This sounds a little bit too demanding of me, but I really do wish that all the characters could have gotten one standout moment, because man, there are a lot of underused major characters, most especially Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch. It is funny considering that even one of the characters, Okoye specifically, raised the question as to why she is just watching the entire battle from the secured areas of the Wakandan fortress. 

      Anthony Mackie's The Falcon, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, Sebastian Stan's newly christened White Wolf, Chadwick Boseman's Black Panther, Pom Klementieff's (Oldboy Remake) Mantis, and Don Cheadle's War Machine, even Mark Ruffalo's The Hulk all feel underwhelming here, as the focus is on the many actors and actresses that we mentioned awhile ago. I understand why this is so though, but I wished  that they could have been used much more. Also, the final fight scenes would have been much better than it already is if Wong, played by Benedict Wong (Sunshine), joined, since he only appeared in the New York City scene.

      Although, I could say that The Hulk's story arc, wherein Banner is having a hard time transforming into the Green Goliath, and is now forced to fight in the new Hulkbuster armor, which he knows how to use for some reason, does leave enough room for speculation. A role in the story that could be fleshed-out even more in the next film. I also have to say that one exchange between Rocket and White Wolf, wherein Rocket asked if he could get Bucky's newly upgraded arm, is a neat callback, and Black Widow and Okoye's tag-team battle against Proxima Midnight is indeed fun.

      I also wish that they could use the Red Skull, played by Ross Marquand (The Walking Dead), in a much more prevalent role in the next installment, since his return as the guardian of the Soul Stone, while it makes sense narrative wise, feels lacking. For one thing, he is Captain America's arch-nemesis, and he has been missing for a lot of movies already, so I think it would really be nice to see his hinted powers at full capacity. It is still a nice surprise though. I think that was the only time when I really did gasped in a movie theater.

      I might have also wanted to see the Xandar fight scene that took place off-screen, wherein Thanos obliterated the planet to get the Power Stone, and perhaps even the Masters of the Mystic Arts responding to the crisis in the fourth movie.

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        • The movie will really test how much you remember from past M.C.U. titles (and how much you will remember soon).
        My last concern with the movie is that it borders heavily on how much you remember about what happened in other flicks. In-contrast to all of the past flicks, which only feature not-so subtle nods and references, you must have watched all of the Phase 3 films for you to understand how all of the characters managed to find themselves in their respective current predicaments, especially Thor: Ragnarok, which will definitely help you understand how Asgard is now reduced to a small group of homeless aliens, and, as this film shows, how the population is reduced to a sole survivor. Captain America: Civil War is also integral, because this will help you understand why Captain America, The Falcon, and Black Widow are no longer members of The Avengers, why Bucky managed to find himself in Wakanda, and why they only get to appear about halfway through the movie. All the way from Phase 1, Captain America: The First Avenger is definitely something that you should watch for you to appreciate the Red Skull's cameo here, and it gives context on how he ended-up in space. Guardians of the Galaxy should give you insight on how the Power Stone ended-up on the planet Xandar, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 should also be watched for you to know whatever Star-Lord was talking about with regards to his father with Thor.

        However, this does not necessarily present any problem for me, because I have been keeping track of the franchise since its inception, but for others who are not all that familiar, they might get confused along the way.

        The film itself ends in a cliffhanger, and it might make the movie-viewing experience somewhat incomplete, and obviously, the next film is counting on you to remember what transpires here. That is not really much of a problem but a mild annoyance, but surely enough, you will be hooked until the next Avengers movie.

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        The Ruling: Not Guilty!

        While it does tend to exceed its grasp, huge twists and real emotional stakes make Avengers: Infinity War the most ambitious Marvel Cinematic Universe film yet, and it will definitely put a smile on your face.

        Dang, I am just blown away with what I have just seen with my friends! Be sure to check-out the movie while it is still in theaters, and considering that you have made it this far, I am going to assume that you have watched the film. As such, please be reminded that Thanos demands your silence. Before you leave, do also check-out this awesome piece of animation from a little studio known as "ArtSpear Entertainment". Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!