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Showing posts from January, 2016

TOP 25 BEST FOREIGN FILMS OF 2014

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Because I always post my foreign film year end countdown one year late (hopefully for 2015, it will be released by July 2016), so here it goes. I had to consider a number of films and tried to watch as many of the 2014 releases. There are so many notable films in 2014, hence I extended the list to 25. 
* In the event that a film was released overseas in 2013, but was screened here in the Philippines in 2014 in cinemas (including during festivals), then the Philippine release year shall be followed. 
* All films listed below have been rated 5/5 by the author.
And so, the countdown begins.
25. THE EQUALIZER  Directed by Antoine Fuqua Starring: Denzel Washington, Chloe Grace Moretz USA 132 mins.

"The Equalizer" ranks among Denzel's greatest films, in the veins of "The Siege," "Training Day" and "Crimson Tide." Under the careful and gritty direction of his "Training Day" director Antoine Fuqua, Denzel delivers old-school action, as his…

HONOR THY FATHER (Erik Matti, 2015)

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There are great films, and there are really great films. Erik Matti's "Honor Thy Father," from a script by Michiko Yamamoto belongs to the latter. The film doesn't only feature a career-defining performance from John Lloyd Cruz, but functions as well as a macro analysis on religious fanaticism, fraud and ultimately, the Philippines as a predominantly patriarchal society, at least as what the film suggests.
In fact the concept of patriarchy figures prominently in our cinematic history, like in Marilou Diaz-Abaya's "Karnal" and Mike De Leon's "Kisapmata." Coincidentally, the late Vic Silayan happened to portray the father in said films, an authoritarian brute whose word is law in both instances. 
Or even in contemporary cinema, such as in Jun Lana's "Barber's Tales," where male figures rule basically all aspects of society. Another example is Mike Tuviera's "The Janitor," where blind obedience to one's fa…

BUY NOW, DIE LATER (Randolph Longjas, 2015)

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In a film festival that has come to be associated with ridiculousness in recent years, "Buy Now, Die Later" arrives as a much-needed breath of oxygen. The film turns the horror-comedy genre on its head, while also remaining faithful to a moral resolution sans the preaching.
"Buy Now, Die Later" benefits greatly from a strong, tightly-wound script, and in the horror genre, where tropes and cliches perpetuate themselves, innovation is key. Five equally interesting characters are linked by a mysterious shopkeeper named Santi (TJ Trinidad), who provides them with objects that will grant their hearts' deepest desires. 
Segmented into five interdependent stories, "Buy Now, Die Later" uses the five senses as its jump off point, designating one per character and allowing each of them to be slowly terrorized by their own sources of pleasure.
The film still contains familiar horror tropes (zombies, cannibals, puppet masters, haunted objects) yet director Rando…