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Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Rated PG-13: For Mild Language and Violence

Running Time: 133 minutes (2 hours and 13 minutes)

Genre/s: Action, Adaptation, Adventure, Comedy, Science Fiction, Superhero

Released on July 7, 2017 (US Release Date; Available For Worldwide Viewing)

Presented by Columbia Pictures, Marvel Studios, Pascal Pictures, Sony Pictures Releasing

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

Writers: Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley, Jon Watts & Christopher Ford, and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers

Director: Jon Watts

Starring:
  • Tom Holland as Peter Parker / Spider-Man
  • Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes / The Vulture
  • Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan
  • Zendaya as Michelle "MJ" Jones
  • Jacob Batalon as Ned
  • Marisa Tomei as May Parker
  • Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark / Iron Man

And we are back, with yet another movie review, and this one is super late!  In case you were not paying attention to some of our recent spotlight posts, me and Dad have been heavily anticipating this flick. Thanks to the great and wonderful people at the one and only Baskin-Robbins, which was coincidentally featured in another Marvel installment, Ant-Man, for letting Dad win us a screening for, what is now being called, the "best Spider-Man movie since Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2." While everyone might have cast doubts with the seemingly heavy involvement of Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man, as well as the heavy amount of villains included in the story, we are happy to report that the Marvel Cinematic Universe's lighter take on the web-head's ever popular saga is anything but lackluster! Welcome back to Dateline Movies, and this is our review of Spider-Man: Homecoming, our friendly neighborhood wall-crawler's third consecutive reboot!

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What is the movie about?

After the famed Armored Avenger himself, Tony Stark, played by Downey Jr., personally recruited him to support his stand on the controversial Sokovia Accords, a United Nations law that seeks to gain complete oversight over all of The Avengers' activities, newly established New York-based superhero Spider-Man, the alter ego of the socially unpopular yet intellectually gifted Peter Parker, played by Holland (In The Heart of The Sea), vows to secure a membership in the superhero group.

However, after being deemed unready by his mentor, Peter makes it his quest to prove that he is more than ready to face the greater threats that the growing world of superpowers, costumes, and supervillains has to offer. Fortunately for him, opportunity knocks when the mysterious Vulture, secretly Adrian Toomes, played by Keaton (The Founder), appears with the aim of keeping his criminal operations below the public's radar.

Badly enough for Peter, he must also balance his social life with his superhero life, and he must keep his closest acquaintances, his best friend Ned, played by Batalon (North Woods), and his awkward decathlon teammate Michelle, played by Zendaya (The Greatest Showman), as well as his aunt May Parker, played by Tomei (Downey Jr. and Tomei both appeared in Chaplin), safe from harm!


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What we think of the movie?

While this was still one of our most anticipated movies of 2017, as we have said in one of our own countdowns, the moment the trailers for the film rolled-in, and the really, really awful theatrical poster that was okay, but overall really bad, that we just decided not to include it here, and several news bits concerning behind-the-scenes happenings initially suggest that the movie is going to be another example of an over-hyped mess. Everything, and I mean, almost everything about the film became more and more predictable, most especially if you are just like me, constantly getting updates from several other media sources. In addition, Tony Stark's inclusion in the movie almost spelled-out that the movie is trying way too hard to tell everyone that Spidey is back home. Luckily, the movie is actually very, very fun, and even manages to be just as sporadically entertaining and worthwhile as Spider-Man 2, also known as the best Spider-Man movie ever! But do not get me wrong, it still has some minor flaws.

Let us start with the highlights of the movie, the performances. As evidenced by his extremely likable and quirky performance in Captain America: Civil War, it was clear that Tom Holland possesses both the nerdy antiques of everyone's favorite misunderstood young genius, always looking-out for people at his neighborhood, and the seemingly strong and secure, heroic side of Spider-Man. Many people still favor past iterations, such as Tobey Maguire for his phenomenal performance as Peter Parker, and Andrew Garfield's slick and wise-cracking take on the web-head, and for good reasons, but neither of them really managed to capture the true essence of the titular hero with complete balance like Holland. While we do not get to tackle the same old "Uncle Ben Guilt" conflict that defined Spider-Man, we did get to see, through Holland, an aspiring hero just trying to make the best out of his gifts, and still coming to terms with the harsh truth about responsibility.


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Standing toe-to-toe against Holland's friendly neighborhood web warrior is Michael Keaton's third outing as a flying animal-themed character, The Vulture. Roaring vigorously from his recent string of Oscar worthy performances from Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) and Spotlight, Keaton's knack for playing a wide variety of roles clearly made him a candidate to play a part in the growing Marvel Cinematic Universe, and as a villain based on a scavenger, Keaton could easily take over the role, and that he did! Thanks to his terrifying on-screen presence, mixed with a side of tragedy, brought on by the script, Keaton effectively made The Vulture as one of Marvel's greatest on-screen villains yet, portrayed with emotional layers that match those of a villain like Zemo from Captain America: Civil War, played by Daniel Brühl (Rush). The scene featuring Toomes threatening Peter, after the former, discovering his secret identity, showed everyone just how much of a serious threat the Vulture is, thanks of course to Keaton's traditional overambitious on-screen persona.

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In his first wide-released major motion picture, Jacob Batalon manages to deliver a lot of the movies' laughs. Being Peter's fanboy-like sidekick, wing-man, and close associate, Batalon's Ned, who is totally not Ganke Lee from the Ultimate Spider-Man comics, serves a little bit more than just your average comic relief, as he also serves as Peter's moral compass, aside from Iron Man. His delivery in the part when he is quizzed by one of their teachers, Ms. Warren, played by Selenis Leyva (Orange Is The New Black) on what was he doing in front of the computer during the homecoming dance, with him saying that he is looking at pornography, when in reality he is helping Peter catch the Vulture, is just borderline hysterical. I actually laughed way harder than I should when I heard that. Simple gag, sure, but the timing was brilliant!


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Marvel Cinematic Universe veteran Robert Downey Jr., who thankfully, not in an offensive manner, did not get that much screen time, still remains the living embodiment of Iron Man. We do not need to expound on that, and the same goes for Jon Favreau's Happy Hogan, who received a somewhat larger role in contrast to his previous movies, by being Peter's more or less carefree baby sitter. Marisa Tomei, even if her portrayal is almost nothing like her comicbook counterpart, is great, and like Tomei, I really wished her character could have been developed more.

Also, Zendaya's performance as Michelle, an emo-esque and socially bizarre friend of Peter's, and secretly has unrequited feelings for him, is okay at best, but her presence in the movie feels unnecessary, as her character has contributed nothing to the overall story. I hope I can see her in a much larger role, as this universe's version of M.J.? Well, this is, ahem, unexpected, but i hope it works out fine. 

And yes, I am all up for diversity and all that, because we really need much more of that in the world of movies, but making Flash Thompson, played by Tony Revolori (The Grand Budapest Hotel), a prideful Guatemalan rich kid, in contrast to his American football jock persona in the comics, seems a bit odd and forced, but intriguing. Despite my comicbook reading side yearning for a much more accurate portrayal of Peter's foils in school, Revolori does manage to make a Flash Thompson for the twenty-first century viewers through his performance, and I do admire him for at least still making Flash unlikable yet appealing, as in his first appearances in the comics. Besides, I would actually want a different type of bully to be featured, unlike the "football jock" cliche that everyone is already too familiar with. I just hope that when Marvel decides to adapt Agent Venom to the big screen, Revolori could do him justice.


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Spider-Man: Homecoming bravely moves away from the usual tropes done in almost every single Spider-Man-centric media, including video games and animated shows. It really is a breath of fresh air to not have OsCorp or any member of the Osborn household in the movie for once, although I really hope they show-up soon in a major appearance, most especially everyone's favorite J. Jonah Jameson, the loud-mouthed editor-in-chief of the Daily Bugle.

The story of Peter Parker still being new to the superhero world, all the while trying to keep his identity a secret in order to spare his closest friends from the harsh reality that his heroic persona faces on a regular basis, is interesting. While it was the unforgettable death of his Uncle Ben that shaped to become the hero that he is now, it seems that Uncle Ben has only made a partial influence in Peter's journey to heroism, and it is his eagerness to prove himself is what motivates him the most here. At least we get to see that Peter is still trying to truly comprehend the concepts of "great power" and "great responsibility." I would be furious if they omitted that part here, because those words are very essential to the character, and without those, this character is not Spider-Man anymore. Also, there really is no need for Uncle Ben to die again on-screen.


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The movie also continues Marvel's current use of the theme of "consequence" in the form of the Vulture's story arc, wherein it is revealed that Toomes was just a regular man, doing his regular job as a head of a salvaging company, trying to feed his regular family, just like any other regular family, until Tony Stark's Department of Damage Control (D.O.D.C.) forced him out of business. The premise itself, wherein Toomes is secretly running a black market for alien technology, is a huge showcase on how the Marvel Cinematic Universe has changed so far.

I will be honest though, the use of Easter eggs and references, cameos and setups of other characters such as Aaron Davis, the uncle of the Ultimate Spider-Man, Miles Morales, played by Donald Golver (Community), Mac Gargan, a Spider-Man foe going by the name of "Scorpion," played by Michael Mando (Breaking Bad), and D.O.D.C. head Anne Marie Hoag, played by Tyne Daly (The Enforcer), are a tad bit overkill here. Seriously, there has not been a single scene that does not serve as a callback to any other event that transpired previously. Okay, I like how Marvel is showing everyone that Spider-Man really is a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by making callbacks, but there really is just a lot. They will not derail you from your movie viewing experience, and fortunately for everyone, these Easter eggs did not take the focus away from the story, but it can be very distracting at times, especially for someone who is already familiar with the ins and outs of the franchise's sprawling mythology.

Not only was the concept tackled the best in this flick, simply because it reflects modern day struggles, but the way the Vulture became who he is due to these circumstances, the execution of his portrayal here, takes the cake. As we said before, the film's script helped make the Vulture a sympathetic villain. We already had several Earth-based corrupt people of power, and megalomaniacal godlike foes, but the Vulture is something that is different. Here, we see just a normal man trying his best to support his family financially. He is not obsessed with grand illusion of murdering all of The Avengers, or ruling the world with an iron fist. He just wants to help his family, no more no less. It just goes to show that, as established by previous Marvel movies, the people that help out are sometimes the reasons why problems exist in the first place, and in the real world, we would have to do the most regrettable actions in order to get what we want the most. The twist revealing that Toomes is actually the father of Liz Allan (The Last Five Years), played by Laura Harrier, Peter's crush, is simple, but completely unexpected and nerve-wrecking. No mentions, no foreshadowing. Nothing, and I mean, nothing will prepare you for it. Not bad for Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, two screenwriters behind the pretty bad Vacation remake, huh?

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However, fun and entertaining as the movie is, it still suffers from some flaws. For starters, most of the jokes at the first half of the story, before the main plot twist unfolds, falls flat in the cheesy and corny category. Jokes such as references to "Hot Aunt May" might be good for a few seconds of giggling, but not much else. The inclusion of public service announcements of Captain America, played by Chris Evans (Gifted), is fun and all, but it feels more like fan service.


But the biggest offense of the movie, lies in the creative liberty done to Peter's story. Some exceptions such as the Vulture's updated backstory made the movie much more spectacular, but I really did not like the fact that Tony Stark acts more of his uncle than Uncle Ben ever was. In the comics, Peter Parker is a full-blown genius in his own right. He is the one who made his own costume and web-slingers, and the idea that Tony Stark is the one who made his official suit, strips Spider-Man of his much more independent feature, a key aspect of his. The fact that Peter is much more reliant on his cybernetic suit, in contrast to his usually handy-dandy Spider-Sense, kind-of diminishes Spider-Man's appeal. Look, I will admit that Peter's artificial-intelligence Karen, voiced by Jennifer Connelly (Hulk), is hilarious, but we need a much more earthbound Spider-Man who does not need to have the approval of The Avengers to fight crime. 

Another problem with the movie is its few, but bothering, major plot holes. One such instance of this claim is at the very beginning of the movie, wherein it is revealed that the movie takes place "eight years" after The Avengers movie, even though the latter was set in 2012, making Spider-Man: Homecoming set around 2020. This is considered a plot hole by many of the fans since according to Kevin Feige, the leading man of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, states that all movies, starting from The Avengers, if I am not mistaken, takes place in the year that they are released on. That might just be over-analyzing things again, but this one could easily be explained in dear time. However, what I really do not understand is how on Earth did the second Shocker make it in time to fight Peter when the Vulture found out who Peter really is, just as he drops him and Liz off to the dance?


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The action scenes are also amazing. It might be the usual and generic "boom, bam, pow" kind of action, but all of these scenes still prove that Marvel knows how to keep an audience at the edge of their seats. The best action sequences include Spider-Man's battle with the second Shocker at his own school, and the final battle.

Lastly, Michael Giacchino, the scorer for The Incredbiles and Doctor Strange, does a marvelous job in here, and his orchestral take on the beloved Spider-Man theme song is just a doozy!

Overall, this awesome third rendition of our favorite wall-crawler, and my most favorite comicbook superhero of all time, delivers the fun and thrills that every hardcore Spider-Fan craves for, despite encountering some flaws.


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And that marks the conclusion of our review of Spider-Man: Homecoming, and man, what a fun movie that was! Let us hope that the upcoming Spider-Man movies are just as good, or maybe, even better. Also, let us hope that whatever the heck Sony is up to, including a Venom movie, and a project known as "Silver & Black," two Spider-Man villain solo outings, minus Spider-Man of all people, does not end in catastrophe. (Or better yet, it should, and have Sony realize that having movies such as these without the titular hero is just plain wrong) Before you guys leave, take a look at Tom Holland's viral "Lip Sync Battle." Also, the annual San Diego Comic Con just wrapped-up, and boy, we have a metric ton of new trailers to show, so keep yourselves updated for our post covering the event. Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!



Denial is the enemy of truth

Philippine Release Date: July 19, 2017 (Wednesday)

Director: Tunku Mona Riza

Stars:     Namron as Razlan
              June Lojong as Alina
              Harith Haziq as Small Danial
              Izzy Reef as Big Danial

Genre: Family Drama


#BeautifulPainMovie (#Redha), is the first Malaysian film to tackle about the subject on autism. In her feature directing debut, Tunku Mona Riza delivers a quiet, compassionate look at the condition which afflicts 1 in 160 children, according to the World Health Organization. 


MTRCB Rating: (to follow)

Running Time: 1 hour 54 minutes

Released by: Current Pictures Sdn Bhd thru Solar Pictures

Upon learning that their only son Danial, has autism, his mother, Alina and father, Razlan's world suddenly crumbles. Razlan was devastated by his son's condition and his inability to accept the truth about their son being different with the rest of the children, causes friction within the family, but Alina’s perseverance and maternal instinct help wade through the difficult times in raising Danial. With hardly any knowledge about this condition, they struggle to confront the harsh realities and the challenges of raising an autistic child. With Sasha, her sister and close friend by her side, they may have found a way to improve Danial’s quality of life until a tragic accident causes the family to re-think its strategy.  



Beautiful Pain  was chosen by the National Film Development Corporation of Malaysia (Finas) as the official Malaysian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards but unfortunately it was not nominated.


Some of the major scenes in Redha were shot on location at the beautiful beach in Terengganu’s Redang Island. It is also worthwhile to mention that the parents of Danial in the movie namely Alina and Razlan, played by June Lojong and Namron, are husband and wife in real life.  



Putting focus on the subject on autism, #BeautifulPain can be watched from July 19 up to 25, 2017 at the following SM Cinemas: SM Megamall in Ortigas Center in Mandaluyong City, SM City North Edsa in Quezon City, and SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City. For private bookings and special screenings in cinemas within the Philippines, please contact https://www.facebook.com/solarpicturesPH

“ABAH” (Father) Music Video from OST Beautiful Pain sung by monoloQue:


“IBU” (Mother) Music Video from Beautiful Pain sung by Umar Hasfizal:


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Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Rated PG: For Violence, and Some Scary Scenes

Running Time: 129 minutes (2 hours and 9 minutes)

Genre/s: Adaptation, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance

Released on March 17, 2017 (US Release Date; Available For Worldwide Viewing)

Presented by Walt Disney Pictures, Mandeville Films, and Walt Disney Motion Pictures

Based on "Beauty and the Beast" by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villianueve, the rewritten version by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, and the similarly titled 1991 animated flick.

Writers: Stephen Chbosky and Evan Stiliotopoulus

Director: Bill Condon

Starring:
  • Emma Watson as Belle
  • Dan Stevens as The Beast / The Prince
  • Luke Evans as Gaston
  • Kevin Kline as Maurice
  • Josh Gad as LeFou
  • Ewan McGregor as Lumière
  • Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza
  • Audra McDonald as Madame de Garderobe
  • Gugu-Mbatha Raw as Plumette
  • Ian McKellen as Cogsworth
  • Emma Thompson as Mrs. Potts

Disney continues their initially unsuccessful, and now thriving animated to live-action makeover, with the most logical choice of all. Some may call them as "reinterpretations", but I for one, would usually call them as "cash grabs", because in all honesty, Disney could be doing a lot more original productions at this time, or could even be adapting other source materials worthy of the traditional Disney treatment. But I will admit this, some of their most recent remakes have been pretty darn entertaining. For our latest movie review, we tackle brick-for-brick the recently released near shot-for-shot recreation of the first ever animated movie to be nominated for the Best Picture Award. Welcome back to Dateline Movies, and this is our review of the Beauty and the Beast remake.


What is the movie about?

Relive the tale as old time, in this contemporary remake of the animated favorite!

In the time before the French Revolution, in the village of Villianueve, Belle, played by Watson (The Harry Potter Film Series), is a headstrong and incredibly bright outcast, who everyone assumes is strange (because apparently, just because someone reads he or she is already weird), who longs for a life outside of Villianueve, and lives with his widower father Maurice, played by Kline. While the entire village seems to find her unattractive, only the womanizing Gaston, played by Evans, who is continuously supported by his close confidant LeFou, played by Gad (the animated Frozen), actually carries feelings for Belle, but they remain unrequited.

One day, outside Villianueve, Maurice went out to do some errands, and is stranded in a seemingly quiet castle after a snow storm, only to find out that the place is inhabited by sentient household items, including a smooth talking candle holder, Lumière, played by McGregor (The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy), a strict and stern clock, Cogsworth, played by McKellen (Both Evans and McKellen appeared in The Hobbit Trilogy), a stressed out harpsichord, Maestro Cadenza, played by Tucci (Captain America: The First Avenger), the latter's opera singer wife, Madame de Garderobe, played by McDonald (Both Kline and McDonald appeared in Ricki and The Flash), Lumière's lover, Plumette, played by Mbatha-Raw (Concussion), and a mother teapot, Mrs. Potts, played by Thompson (Stranger Than Fiction).

He is then held prisoner by the ruler of the domain, The Beast, played by Stevens (Colossal), and in a bid to rescue her father, Belle offers herself in Maurice's place. Through this, a story unlike any other unfolds, and both Belle and The Beast soon realize that "there must be something that wasn't there before", love.


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What we think of the movie?

Normally, when it comes to most remakes out there, such as the Poltergeist reboot, and also The Amazing Spider-Man film series, almost nothing new is added that makes these films much more superior than the originals. In the case of this movie, we do revisit the already oh-so familiar places that we once explored in the animated version, and, for some, even the Broadway rendition of the story. But fellow moviegoers, I must give you a heads-up, this movie might be relying a little too heavily on the family-friendly originals, but there is never a dull moment during the movie viewing experience, even if you really just cannot help but nostalgically recall and compare several key moments and scenes from the past.

One the best things that I can say about this movie is the absolutely phenomenal cast. Emma Watson, who was originally approached to partake in another brilliant musical in the form of the award-winning musical, La La Land, presents a showcase of not just her acting prowess, but also her melodic gifts. Her portrayal of an independent Belle, who is also particularly gifted intellectually, is a nice touch that was added by Emma, being the feminist after all. Dan Stevens, the star of one of mine and Dad's favorite shows, Legion, is great as the titular Beast, as he brings the character to a much more sympathetic light, just like how it was almost done in the animated version. Kevin Kline's portrayal of Maurice, with some added elements of backstory injected into this rendition, is also a noteworthy addition.


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With Luke Evans portraying the love-to-hate main antagonist Gaston, in all of his villainous vainglory, you know that you are in for a devil of a good time. As Gaston, audience are treated once more to an insidiously charismatic, yet plentifully cold-hearted, morally questionable, yet undeniably dashing hopeless romantic, who is a twisted reflection of a man so consumed by his own pride, that he actually thinks that he deserves all of the power and fame in the world.

But behind every potential psychopath is a gentle and friendly sidekick that, for some reason, still sticks around his best friend, even if his friend is a murdering egomaniac, and that man is none other than Josh Gad's LeFou, who is also the first openly gay character in a Disney film. As LeFou, Gad delivers a certain degree of heart to his somewhat predictable role of the often overlooked close friend.

And though they might be in smaller, and noticeably unrecognizable, roles than they should have, Ian McKellen, Stanley Tucci, Emma Thompson, Gugu-Mbatha Raw, Audra McDonald, and of course, the ever-charming Ewan McGreogor, deliver some more of the film's most heartwarming moments, even though you cannot actually see them behind all of the computer-generated animations. Also, Audra McDonald has quite the singing voice!


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For an average Senior high school student like me, who somehow has a soft-spot for visually striking musical numbers in big screen works, this live-action re-imagination towards a certain measure certainly does not disappoint in the melodic front. Here, you would have all the opportunities in the world to fondly reminisce about your childhood days, singing along to age-old classic songs , with some added twists, such as "Gaston", "Belle", "Be Our Guest", but aside from the ones that you are already familiar with, get ready to listen to some new materials, such as "Evermore" and "Days in the Sun". And speaking of "Evermore", I would consider this song as the best out of the entire soundtrack, as, aside from it perfectly reflecting the Beast's personal and inner struggles of coming into terms with him realizing that he really has fallen in love with Belle, it is really just so dang spectacular. You can only rely on powerful vocals from its cast members, as well as the graces of the movie's dance choreographers, veteran musician Alan Menken, a composer from the animated version as well, and other guest artists Celine Dion, Josh Groban, John Legend, who also appeared in La La Land, and Ariana Grande, to make this totally expected cash-grab musical a surefire mega hit!

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But all praise aside, I have to be honest with the story though. As much as I would love to have an overly faithful adaptation of the animated original, I would normally expect something that would add a little more expansion, or basically, a lot of new concepts to the table. We get the same songs, although with some mild adjustments, with one instance being a funny one in the revised "Gaston" number, the same scenes, and the same ending, which was pretty much necessary. This remake, while it does flesh-out the characters a little bit more, in contrast to the animated 1991 movie, as evidenced by the revelation that the Beast had a very unhappy childhood, stemmed from his prideful father's influence, in the aftermath of his mother's death, as well as the revelation that Belle's own mother died from catching the Black Plague, there really is not much new ground here.

For the most part, as you might have noticed by our recent choice of words, most fans, especially Dad, who, surprisingly for me, recalled the animated flick by heart, would instinctively compare and contrast these two films, making this remake completely predictable. Fine, I might not have remembered the movie the way Dad does, namely because I have not watched the entire movie exactly, but I can tell if a movie is plentifully foreseeable.

But hey, at least it is better than openly destroying everything that the fans loved. The newly added twists, such as the ones that we have previously mentioned, and the expansion of how the Beast's curse works, and the emotional stories for other minor characters, making way for further character development, do make this movie a tad bit more distinguishable from the original. However, I wonder what would happen if we actually get an incredibly darker adaptation of the fairy tale, since the source material had its fair share of incredibly twisted moments, if I am not mistaken. Just imagine the amount of childhood memories ruined by such movie!

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Lastly, the CGI, specifically the designs of all of our household appliance-themed characters, seem kind of awkward. For one thing, in contrast to the animated version, these look way more outlandish and far more cartoonish. I do agree with the fact that this is a live-action, and that all of the characters should look as realistic as possible, in some way, but seriously, most of them look ridiculous, but mind you, none of these minor cons would ruin the movie for you. Trust us, this is one rare remake that, despite its shortcomings, is still entertaining in its own right, even if you would frequently yearn to rewatch the original movie.

Overall, this awesome and fun remake, even though relying way too much on the animated film, still manages to be worth the audiences' time, thanks to a handful of brilliant performances, and noteworthy songs to sing-along to!

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And this is where we conclude our official movie review of the Beauty and the Beast remake. But before you switch websites, as part of our usual tradition of ending a post with a video related to the post, please enjoy this hilarious trailer spoof from "ArtSpear Entertainment." Also, check out their superhero crossover video, featuring notable characters from both movies and popular television programs, including comicbooks. It will just blow you away. Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!


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(500) Days of Summer (2009)

Rated PG-13: For Language and Various Sensitive Themes

Running Time: 95 minutes (1 hour and 35 minutes)

Genre/s: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Released on August 7, 2009 (US Release Date; Available For Worldwide Viewing)

Presented by Dune Entertainment and Fox Searchlight Pictures

Writer: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber

Director: Marc Webb

Starring:
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tom Hansen
  • Zooey Deschanel as Summer Finn

Most romantic movies nowadays have become more and more cliched by the second, given that almost all of them always relied on the usual "boy meets girl, girl falls for boy, happily ever after" formula. If you are one of the hopeless romantics out there, who just got their hearts broken into a million pieces, then this movie is definitely not for you, unless you are strong of heart. But if you are just an average moviegoer, who yearns for a fresh, new spin on the romantic genre, just like me, then this flick is a must see, but prepare a handful of tissues though, because the film is just sad, really, really sad. Not sad as in it is terrible, but rather, as in, it is brutally honest. I still cannot believe that I actually spent Christmas last year watching this. Welcome back to Dateline Movies, and this is our review of (500) Days of Summer!

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What is the movie about?

"This is not a love story. This is a story about love." Such was the tagline of our story.

Enter the world of Tom Hansen, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Looper), a typical greeting card writer with big aspirations, and believes in the concept of true love. Making a grand entrance into his personal life is his office's new secretary, Summer Finn, played by Deschanel (Elf), a beautiful and charming lady and a fan of The Smiths, just like Tom, who does not believe in Tom's perception of affections. But after a chance encounter between the two puts them together, Tom and Summer go on an emotional exploration, in search for the definitive meaning of being truly in love, yet will they remain together, once the truth has been revealed?


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What we think of the movie?

Let me first start with the best part about this movie, which is the story. Like I said before, the film takes most of the things that, at this point probably, annoy the heck out of you in other movies of the same genre, and pretty much adds twists here and there, and what we get is anything but ordinary.

What I like most about this movie, despite encountering a minimal amount of cliches, such as the "happy-go-lucky boy", and the "female enigma", is its raw and honest approach to the classic subject that is "love", or in this case, "one-sided love." Normally, you would expect the main couple to get together at the end of it all, and you would usually anticipate that the boy is just an average hopeless romantic, vying for the heart of a woman who is seemingly way out of his league, but instead, the film takes its sweet time to poke fun at those tropes. By ditching those tropes, the film manages to explore the darker and the more tragic aspects of getting a relationship.


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From Tom's perspective, we see what it is like to fall hopelessly head over heels for someone who is simply confused, and is not really looking for anything that is completely serious. And from Summer's, we realize that love really does exist, but it is probably not with just any person that you are close to. As their doomed relationship unfolds, through a non-linear narrative style that I highly admire, namely because the method of storytelling did not made the plot confusing, but rather, made it much more mysterious, in a way that a viewer would immediately ask what happened to these two, we then learn that neither of these two are exactly purely good, or purely bad, but basically, they are both incredibly flawed, with Tom just being in love with how he perceives Summer, while Summer not being exactly straight with what she wants, and through their respective flaws, the audience cannot help but relate to their personal struggles in a way.


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The movie's dialogue is flavorful, and it adds some much needed color to an already colorful movie. Their lines are quotable, and are incredibly hilarious, and for a romantic movie, you might even be inspired by some of them.

One of the best parts that feature such dialogue include Tom chatting with his best friends McKenzie, played by Geoffrey Arend (Bubble Boy), and Paul, played by Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds), telling them that he decides not to pursue a potential relationship with Summer, after the latter told him that she had a "good" weekend, to which Tom ignorantly claims that she has had an affair with someone "probably at the gym," as this humorously sums-up a typical hopeless romantic's paranoia, when it comes to initially small crushes.

Another brilliant part is when Tom's boss Vance, played by Clark Gregg (The Avengers), reads Tom's most recent greeting card work, which unfortunately I cannot spell out here, due to censorship reasons, but I do suggest searching the bit with the phrase "Roses are red, violets are blue", because it reflects one's uneasy process of coping with a heartbreak, wherein the experience clouds his vision of better judgment.

But the best part would have to be Tom's speech, when he finally decided to quit his job, out of his inability to overcome his grief, claiming that greeting cards are only manufactured because people are afraid to directly admit what they feel, relating to everyone his current dilemma. This is probably one of the only few romantic movie moments that I watched that actually made me tear-up, because when you think about it, Tom really does have a point. Fun fact, I actually took this advise to heart, and I did something on the Christmas season of last year, with me giving a gift, and let us just leave it at that. At this point, I am not really sure what to feel about my careless decision. I think probably I should just accept the fact that she appreciated the gift, with a gentle smile in hand. (Sigh.)


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Of course, if it were not for the actors, these lines would not have been memorable. For me, both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel did impeccable performances, and their chemistry is just awesome and believable. As most would say it, I actually do "ship" them. I love how, through the scenes featuring them doing karaoke, to them discovering the inevitable truth about their relationship, there as never any time wherein I did not assume that they had a certain fling going on outside of the set.

Plus, Richard McGonagle's performance as the film's narrator, talking about the happenings in our two main characters' lives, plus Geoffrey Arend's work, are awesome!

The soundtrack is also splendid, and I do admire the use of the song "Us" by Regina Spektor, as this single song alone fits the story's central themes.

Lastly, Marc Webb kept a good, watchful eye in maintaining the project alive, and his exceptional camerawork, with help from the cinematographers and editors, in scenes such as the sweet, Disney-inspired dance number, and the "Expectation Versus Reality" scene as visual highlights!

Honestly, I cannot think of any downsides to this movie, except that it does get slow a little bit, but hey, that is just me.

Overall, this awesome, above-average "anti-romantic" dramedy is eye-opening as it is heartbreaking, as the charismatic performances from its two leads, as well as the spectacular strength of its screenplay, sweeps audiences everywhere away, with its genre-defying nature!


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And that is it for our review of (500) Days of Summer. In case you still cannot get enough of this movie, check out Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel's New Year performance a few years back, below! Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!



Starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, John C. McGinley, Kevin Spacey

Written by Andrew Kevin Walker

Directed by David Fincher

Distributed by New Line Cinema

Release Date    September 22, 1995

Running Time  127 minutes



Seven is a crime-drama-thriller movie about a young and novice detective named David Mills, who together with an old and retiring partner, William Somerset, was tasked with the uncanny job of tracking down a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins or capital vices of mankind namely: Lust, Gluttony, 
Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride  as themes for his crimes.  It was directed by David Fincher, the same man who directed Brad Pitt in Fight Club in 1999 and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in 2008.  

Seven was both a critical and box-office success in 1995 and went on to become the seventh-highest-grossing film in 1995, garnering a total of approximately $327 million worldwide*.  It was also nominated for Best Film Editing courtesy of Australian film editor Richard Francis-Bruce at the 68th Academy Award

The other six top grossing films of 1995 were  Die Hard with a Vengeance, Toy Story, Apollo 13, GoldenEye, Pocahontas and Batman Forever.



Statistics about the movie are from Box Office Mojo
*http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?view2=worldwide&yr=1995