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

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

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

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

  • 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.

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.

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!

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!

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!

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!

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!


(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

  • 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!


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?

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.

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.

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.)

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!

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
Despicable Me 3 (2017)

Rated PG: For Violence and Rowdy Comedy

Running Time: 90 minutes (1 hour and 30 minutes)

Genre/s: Action, Adventure, Animation, Comedy

Released on June 14, 2017 (PH Release Date; Available For Worldwide Viewing)

Presented by Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment

Writers: Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio

Directors: Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda

  • Steve Carell as Felonius Gru, and Dru
  • Kristen Wiig as Lucy Wilde
  • Trey Parker as Balthazar Bratt
  • Miranda Cosgrove as Margo
  • Dana Gaier as Edith
  • Nev Scharrel as Agnes

So school is back. Hooray! And the possibility of not posting in a long time again is slightly strong, but for the time being, while I am still free from the constraints of school work, I might as well spend as much of the time in reviewing all the other movies I have watched over the course of a few months. In addition, yesterday was Father's Day, and yes, I celebrated it with my family, and what better way to honor Dad's awesomeness than by reviewing a movie with a father as a main protagonist. On Saturday, we were invited to attend the advance screening of this movie at Centerstage SM Mall of Asia, alongside the other joyful kids in the event, and the film was delightfully okay, even though, like everyone else, the spin-off film Minions killed my interest in the franchise. Welcome to Dateline Movies, and this is our review of Despicable Me 3!


What is the movie about?

Gru, played by Steve Carrell (Date Night), now a father of three youngsters, the eldest Margo, played by Cosgrove (School of Rock), the middle child Agnes, played by Gaier, and the youngest Edith, played by Scharrel, and a loving husband to his professional partner Lucy Wilde, played by Wiig (The Martian), and an agent of the peacekeeping agency known as the "Anti-Villain League", or the A.V.L. for short, thought that his life as a villain is behind him.

But when the 80s-obsessed supervillain and washed-up former child actor named Balthazar Bratt, played by Parker (South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut), humiliates Gru, he must ask the assistance of his long lost twin brother named Dru, also played by Carell, but will his chance encounter with his sibling force him to continue his family's maniacal and sinister legacy, or will he permanently embrace the life of a reformed villain?

What we think of the movie?

We have made a major change to our movie review format! We are now ditching the "grading system" style of writing, namely because I just realized that it is no longer meeting my usual standards, and I have to face it, I am just inserting filler for the most parts. From here on out, we are now doing it in a generalized manner, similar to what we did in the previous post, although we would still keep the final evaluation labels intact, but only for movie reviews.

To be honest, I never found the Despicable Me franchise as the most memorable, nor the most entertaining, animated film series, ever. Personally, I would say that I would take the time to watch the films in the series when they are broadcast on basic cable, if ever I have nothing else to watch in an average weekend. Fun enough to watch? Yeah, and at least it is enjoyable to watch.

The acting performances for the movie are, as expected, good. Steve Carrell delivers just the right amount of energy the movie needs as both our villain-at-heart hero Gru, and his twin brother Dru. With Trey Parker's vocal addition to the film series, with Parker being notable for his controversial work on the over-the-top and adult-oriented animated series South Park, audiences are treated to a charismatic, megalomaniacal class act, even if his role is more or less just a walking cliche. Kristen Wiig is funny as Lucy Wilde, the stepmother of Gru's adoptive children, as her character struggles to understand the concept of being a true mother. Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, and Nev Scharrel are decent as Gru and Lucy's three adoptive children, and in their small misadventures, as explored through the subplots of the movie, these three deliver some of the biggest laughs.

Being the third movie in the main Despicable Me film series, it would appear that the franchise has finally reached the point of lacking completely fresh ideas, as our third outing in the series is crowded with several cliches and tropes, especially since that it once again revisits the theme of "former villain being dragged back into the dark side", for the third in the row.

As we said before, Balthazar Bratt, our main antagonist, even if he does have an interesting origin story, is a trope, or better yet, a carbon copy, all on his own, as the character ends-up being an obvious rip-off of Marvel's heroic Star-Lord from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, played by Chris Pratt (Passengers). If you do not believe me, ask Dad, because he was the one who pointed out to me the obvious pieces of evidence, including the villain's unquenchable nostalgia in all that is 80s, and of course, the dancing motif. (Ahem, "dance battle", anyone?)

The overall story is pretty bland too, as here, we are introduced to the previously unknown, better achieving relative of protagonist, which has been done a lot of times already, but the twist here is that Dru, Gru's brother, is not as loved by their father as Gru. As expected, the two bond a little bit, slightly hinting at a possible sibling rivalry, and they get into an argument that leads to a mild falling-out over their family's villainous heritage, and they make-up later.

The Minions' little shenanigans, who are out exploring the world, in search of a new master to serve, after Gru strongly affirms that he is done pursuing the life of a supervillain, would provide some laughter in the form of the usual slapstick gags, and seemingly random gibberish lines, especially in their time in prison (it is a long story), and later, their eventual escape, as well as their musical number, during their audition in a talent competition sneakingly titled "Sing!", which is more or less, or may or may not be, a reference to the musical movie of the same name, which is also made by Illumination Entertainment. While their expected and inevitable involvement in the flick do provide some moments of sheer hilarity, much of it relies solely on their animated cuteness, and it feels recycled, and no longer fresh. Even Pharell Williams' songs, especially the ones that have been played over three movies already, is not enough to make a lasting belly laugh, but I have got to admit it, they are still really good and catchy, and it is completely worth it to listen to.

Unquestionably, the best part about the movie, is its brightly colored and well polished animation. Not a second would go by through the movie's runtime when you would move away from the screen, namely because of how good the efforts were exerted in the overall animation.

The subplots surrounding Lucy Wilde's attempts at being a true mother figure to hers and Gru's three children, as well as Edith's search for a unicorn, despite everyone suggesting that none such exists, are heartwarming and funny. But, the movie's humor, applying mostly slapstick and visual gags in order to generate laughter from the audience, is plentifully tiring, but as simplistic as they may be, there is no doubt that you would get to chuckle, only just a little bit. I actually laughed at the scene featuring the two brothers trying to pull off a heist from Bratt, who is in possession of a powerful diamond that could power his robot's laser cannon, with Bratt's actions being the cause of Gru and Lucy being fired from their world-defending agency. Sure, it is just pretty much Dru trying, and failing, to be a good sneaky villain like Gru, but it is just funny.

And finally, the music for the movie, composed by Heitor Pereira, with original themes made by Pharell Williams, generate the highly joyous and optimistic atmosphere the movie is aiming for, even if they, as said before, cannot dismiss the fact revisits already tackled story territory.

Overall, Despicable Me 3 is pleasantly entertaining enough for audiences of all ages to enjoy, despite revisiting already explored themes and concepts, mostly due to the charismatic voice cast and its impeccable animation.

And that concludes our official movie review of Despicable Me 3. We would like to thank Stratworks Marketing Communications and Centerstage at SM Mall of Asia for accommodating the four of us to this movie screening and inviting us to the Snack Time Party event. We hope you guys catch it in theaters everywhere. While we have our criticisms, we still recommend that you guys still give this movie a look. But before you all leave, listen to Pharell William's best Despicable Me-themed composition yet, Happy! For sure, even after all these years, you are still listening to this song. Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!

50 Years of Telling Stories: A Musical Gala

Play Date: Opened and Ended June 11, 2017

Genre/s: Biopic, Comedy, Drama, Musical

Presented by Repertory Philippines

Based on the true history of "Repertory Philippines"

Writer: Luna Griño-Inocian

Musical Director: Ejay Yatco

Directors (Also Starring As Themselves):
  • Bart Gungonia
  • Jaime Del Mundo
  • Miguel Faustmann
  • Audie Gemora
  • Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo
  • Raymond Lauchengco
  • Freddie Santos
  • Michael Williams

School is finally back in session here in the Philippines, and before I finally step into the world of senior high, me and my family had the chance to venture all the way to Solaire Resorts, to join Repertory Philippines' commemoration of their Fifty Years of Telling Stories, in the form of a Musical Gala. Since it is a festivity of all things fancy, there were exquisite cocktails, interesting and lengthy conversations, and of course, lots of successful people. One of those successful gentlefolk was Jaime Fabregas, a talented, veteran Filipino actor who I was able to get a chance to take a picture with. I cannot believe I got to take a picture with a famous actor! I even met one of my best friends' mother, and even my own dentist, Dr. Victor Francis "JV" Gregorio (who was once a member of Repertory Philippines during his schooling days) at the show. What a small world we live in, indeed. Okay, that is enough reminiscing for once. Welcome back to Dateline Movies, and here is our review!

What is the play about?

For fifty years, Repertory Philippines has brought countless memorable adaptations from every corner of the world to life! For five decades, audiences young and old alike, have been inspired by the wonderful stage productions the theater group has made! Now, get ready to experience the true story, the rise, the fall, the rise again of Repertory Philippines! Get to know the most important events encountered by REP through the decades, in a way, which is arguably the absolute best way possible, that they know how, a musical!

What we think of the play?

From here on out, I would no longer use the format applied in movie reviews, just for you, the readers, and also me, for some reason, to distinguish which is which easily.

I have heard of adaptations of true stories from third-person accounts, but rarely have I watched a production that features a specific history from the people who actually experienced those events. As an anniversary play, the entire stage production reminded me of the two-hundredth episode of Saturday Night Live, in a great way, as well as the magnificent Disney animated musical classic, Fantasia, wherein the present cast of the variety show recalls the greatest moments in their broadcasting history, given that the performance also showcased the finest events in the troupe's overall career.

Organisers for the 50th gala celebration of REP:

L-R standing: Ayam Barredo, Gidget Tolentino, Raymond Lauchengco, Jamie Wilson, Mio Infante, Bart Guingona, Miguel Faustman, Mindy Perez-Rubio, Joel Nunez, Luna Inocian
Seated: Joy Virata, Jaime Del Mundo, Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo, Michael Williams

In addition, the plot follows a straightforward "underdog story", wherein we see how a once unknown group of talented individuals came together, and eventually, reach the height of success, leaving a legacy worth remembering by the people, of all ages and genders. It is that kind of tale that you would come to expect from a "rags to riches" work, but what makes 50 Years decent is its raw honesty towards their history, similar to the best adaptations of true stories. This is so since you will really delve deep into the world of the "Repers", and the play is not shy from telling everyone about some of their past shortcomings. Some of them include their failed "Luv" play, wherein the production suffered from several technical difficulties, and their first ever play, "Miss Julie", which was only attended by seven people. Their approach of being honest to the events that shaped their present, plus with some added sense of humor to make the audience relate to their experiences,  are huge assets to the play's success. In turn, their ability to not take their story with some moments made for the laughs is interesting, and it is a nice touch to the overall story.

Have you heard of a true story adapted to the stage as a jukebox musical? Well, maybe it has been done a lot of times, but this was the first actual time which I watched one, and indeed, I was more than impressed with the overall quality of the production. It does not have that much prestigious set pieces that you normally see in other plays, and they make use of almost exclusively formal attire, with the exception of some key scenes, wherein they only use costumes that were used in previous stage plays, but the end result was extremely far from a snooze fest.


The acting, as well as the musical numbers presented in each segment, are all on point. One of the best parts that show this claim includes the prologue number, wherein the current Rep Fiftieth Core Ensemble danced and sang to the beat of "We Tell The Story", immediately setting-up the mood of the play with fun and playful melodies.

All of the directors who joined in, especially Freddie Santos, who headlined the fourth suite "The Hands: The Unsung Heroes", wherein he talked about the trials and tribulations of their group, as well as the behind-the-scenes people who contributed to the several successful moments in Rep's resume, continue to enliven the audience with their charming storytelling. My parents especially enjoyed the part in suite number four, which is "Comedy Tonight", namely because of Mitch Valdes, who sang the previously quoted two words in different tones to hilarious effect, while being backed-up by other amazing singers Franco Laurel, Jack Salud, JM Rodriguez, and Red Nuestro.

I really do not know why, but the number "Finishing The Hat", which honored the directors who joined the group over the years, somewhat made me a little teary-eyed. It might be possibly the beautiful composition, and vocal work from Bart Guingona, accompanied by Topper Fabregas, Sheila Francisco, Pinky Amador, Caisa Borromeo, Carla Guevara-Laforteza, and Cathy Azanza-Dy, because this one was the best in the entire production.

I would like to give a shout-out to Monique Wilson, and her vocal partner, for their astounding performances prior to the finale, as they honor those who have done a lot of things for the group, and have now passed away. The two's powerful singing voices made for an emotional moment.

After the final moments, wherein all current and former members of the Rep are invited to sing along of "Epilogue", the play, overall, was a fairly decent and heartfelt outing, with only minimal flaws, such as overuse of extremely bright lighting (I am serious. The hanging multicolored lights keep hitting my eyes, which makes the play not really easy to see), and some volume inconsistencies, such as in the "Camp Rock: The Musical" segment, wherein the two main actors for that part's vocal tone change at some points. Remember that none of these flaws would detract you from a wonderful experience at theater, which a single viewing of 50 Years of Telling Stories will provide you. Besides, you might even end up like me, who is now somewhat interested to join in the world of theater productions.

And that concludes our official review of 50 Years of Story Telling: A Musical Gala. But before you guys leave, please tune in to one of the songs featured in this play, and the one that I consider the one as my most favorite, "Finishing The Hat". Stay tuned for Dateline Movies!