Movie Review: ‘Transformers: The Last Knight’ (2017)

Every time a new Transformers movie comes out, it’s just really hard to get a grasp of what’s going on in Hollywood. Michael Bay birthed this blockbuster monstrosity of a franchise years ago with a penchant for explosions and apparently, nothing else but that. At times, it’s interesting for our eyes to get a taste of cool visuals from it which, on a technical level are actually impressive. There’s no denying that. But what needs to be brought to this franchise for it to live on are fresh ideas that will help shape a new mold to get rid of years-old staleness. In every passing film, what we get is more of the same, only the latest entry always tries to outdo the last in terms of heightening the chaos. That’s what inevitably happens again in The Last Knight, the fifth installment and fourth sequel in this film series about talking robots and non-stop action.

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This time, the plot is centered around the truth about human history which reveals that the Transformers have actually played a huge role all along, and all of those come in as early as the very opening scene per the series’ tradition to set up a convoluted narrative. Oddly enough, seeing it unravel all throughout the film feels meagerly exciting, and all that could be owed to its new screenwriting duo of Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, who, try to make the entire film watchable with their own powers. What then occurs is the watering down of Michael Bay-isms that has damaged those that have came before it. Racial humor, Bay’s (excessive) expression of love for the military and other Bay-isms still do make an undesired comeback, but thankfully, Marcum and Holloway make us feel as if they’re in control of it at some point.

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But since all good things must come to an end, those bits of enjoyment that you’ll have are just momentary. It’s almost as if they told and taught Bay themselves how to make a proper Transformers film, only to see him just smashing everything that they’ve worked hard for. That’s perhaps the biggest flaw with this fifth entry – it’s that Bayhem is on the loose all the time, and that, Michael Bay pridefully continues to show that he only knows how to make bigger movies that are devoid of quality – at least for this film series. With the special effects and grandeur that he has to work with, he puts in too much enthusiasm that there’s nothing much left for us to savor. Characters are one-dimensional indeed, but again, as Art Marcum and Matt Holloway butt in during all that occurs, thankfully, a semblance of betterment comes in the way. As a surprise, the moments that we share with everyone are actually tolerable in comparison with what we had to put up with in prior entries.

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A majority of head-scratching dialogue is taken out, and to take its place are lines that desperately try to erase the bad taste of those from Age of Extinction, which to remind you was totally abysmal and absurd. Overall, what you’d get from seeing The Last Knight is just the same with the others that you could basically predict what will happen since you can easily sense where it’s headed to. You could come up with a check-list of everything that it has in it, and in the end, all of those boxes are ticked. Some aspects could gain merit, but they aren’t too big or redeeming enough to cover up the biggest errors that it keeps on committing. Michael Bay undeniably knows how to do these films, and seeing him use that talent to create ginormous, successful productions is worth appreciating keeping in mind that, they give him credentials and that people expect and pay to see what he does best. But what’s bothersome and scary is that, trickery always comes with it, and to add insult to injury, he always gets away with it by use of deception.

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To wrap it all up, Transformers: The Last Knight isn’t really as horrendous as Age of Extinction. In fact, it’s slightly better, and less dull. But still, you already know that it isn’t a good movie either to brand it as thrilling or interesting since what we get from it is still not what we needed. At least though, we see something from it that should be properly utilized in future installments – so yes, some hope may still be left for this series to cling onto. There are actually genuinely fun moments where the entertainment that it brings feels easy and enjoyable to digest, particularly during the climax, but that’s just about it. With a sixth film (inevitably) coming, it just may be the time to take Bay off the throne so someone could charge new energy into its rotten veins. If that happens, it should be that this entry’s screenwriters return since they feel quite eager to provide quality service to both fans of the Transformers and casual moviegoers alike to reinvigorate this film franchise.

Rating:

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Transformers: The Last Knight is now showing in Philippine cinemas from United International Pictures Philippines.

 

 

“Spider-Man” Comes Home to MCU in a Fun-Filled Action Adventure

Peter Parker strives to join the Avengers as the most popular character in comic book history takes his rightful place as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, in Columbia Pictures’ new action-adventure Spider-Man: Homecoming (in Philippine cinemas Thursday, July 6.)
Marvel’s crown jewel, Spider-Man made a cameo debut in the MCU in Captain America: Civil War last summer; the overwhelming positive reaction by both the critics and fans to the new vision for the character has whetted the appetite as now, Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios team for this new adventure.

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Embraced all over the world, Spider-Man now comes home in a film with a fresh, fun tone and new take, produced by Marvel Studios, that brings the Peter Parker of the comic books to the screen alongside MCU heroes for the first time.

Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened. His moment has arrived as he is challenged to become the hero he is meant to be.

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For producer and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, bringing the character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in an original way that film audiences have never seen before was a top priority. “Over the past 15 years, we have built the Marvel Cinematic Universe with so many characters and movies, and now we have the opportunity to introduce Peter Parker and the Spider-Man franchise into that universe for the first time,” says Feige. “It’s exciting because that’s how he truly was in the comics, from the very beginning – he didn’t enter the comics as the only hero; he entered a world in which Tony Stark, Captain America and the Avengers all were there. And now, for the first time, we get that in an entire film, which makes it fresh and new.”

 

Producer Amy Pascal speaks to the unprecedented collaboration. “This movie is a product of Sony and Marvel working closely together,” says Pascal. “It’s a Sony movie and a Marvel production. Everyone came together and decided if we can put Spider-Man back in the MCU, which he always was a part of in the comics, everybody wins – and the biggest winner is the fans, as they finally get to see what they’ve been waiting a long time to see.”

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“Putting Spider-Man in the MCU is the best thing in the world for me as a storyteller,” says director Jon Watts, who takes the helm of Spider-Man: Homecoming. “Not only did they take care of the origin story and heavy lifting in Captain America: Civil War – which they did so economically and beautifully – we also didn’t have to spend any time explaining why this 16-year-old kid would come up with the idea of becoming a superhero. He’s grown up in the MCU; when Peter Parker was eight years old, he saw Tony Stark say ‘I am Iron Man’ on TV. So the idea of this being a world where superheroes exist means that we don’t have to spend any time addressing any of these issues. We just get right into the fun of it.”

Spider-Man: Homecoming is distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

“Happy Death Day” Teaser Poster Makes a Deadly `Cut’

The first poster for the new suspense thriller Happy Death Day has just been unveiled by Universal Pictures and Blumhouse. The film is co-written and directed by Christopher Landon (Scouts’ Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse).

Check out the film’s teaser one-sheet art below and watch Happy Death Day in Philippine cinemas on Oct. 11, 2017.

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Blumhouse (Split, Get Out, Whiplash) produces an original and inventive rewinding thriller in Happy Death Day, in which a college student (Jessica Rothe, La La Land) relives the day of her murder with both its unexceptional details and terrifying end until she discovers her killer’s identity.

The film also stars Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Rachel Matthews, and Charles Aitken.

Happy Death Day is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

“Flatliners” Launches Poster with Intriguing Tagline

“You haven’t lived until you’ve died,” or so proclaims the intriguing tagline in the teaser poster of Columbia Pictures new suspense thriller Flatliners that’s just been released by the studio. The film stars Ellen Page, Nina Dobrev, Diego Luna and James Norton.

Check out the one-sheet art below and watch Flatliners soon in Philippine cinemas.

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In the film, five medical students embark on a daring and dangerous experiment to gain insight into the mystery of what lies beyond the confines of life. The bold adventure begins when they trigger near-death experiences by stopping their hearts for short periods of time. As their trials become more perilous, each must confront the sins from their past while facing the paranormal consequences of journeying to the other side.

Flatliners is directed by Niels Arden Oplev, from a screenplay by Ben Ripley, story by Peter Filardi.

Flatliners is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

In the Midst of War is Hope and Joy “In This Corner of the World”

Based on the Award-winning Manga “Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni” by Fumiyo Kono. “In this Corner of the World” revolves around a young bride named Suzu Urano who moves to small port town Kure with her husband to start a new life. Not knowing that an impending war would change things indefinitely.

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Adolescent Suzu shows life in Japan in the early days leading to the second world war. Her life is put into turmoil and chaos when her small town is bombed during the war but with her courage, perseverance and faith she tries to live her life normally. Her values were further tested when her husband left to join the army to protect the country.

The heartwarming and inspirational story shows how the Japanese people face the challenges of a violent and war-torn country, showing how citizens are victims of nations at war. The film being set in the 1940’s does not lose its hold towards the new generation. War is again imbued in other nations and what happened to her back in the past is again happening to people around the world.

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The film is written and directed by Sunao Katabuchi “In this corner of the world.” has received critical acclaim, winning Best Japanese Movie of 2016, garnering a best director award for Katabuchi and the Japanese movie award of excellence at the 71st Mainichi Film Awards.

In this Corner of the World opens June 28 in cinemas from Rafaella Films.

The Bellas Go to `War’ in First “Pitch Perfect 3” Trailer

Universal Pictures has just released the first trailer for the musical comedy Pitch Perfect 3, the upcoming sequel that reunites the Barden Bellas post-graduation.

Watch the trailer at:

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBw-OCWAja0

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uipmoviesph/videos/1594583823949345/

Now graduated from college and out in the real world where it takes more than a cappella to get by, the Bellas return in Pitch Perfect 3, the next chapter in the beloved series that has taken in more than $400 million at the global box office.

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After the highs of winning the World Championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there aren’t job prospects for making music with your mouth. But when they get the chance to reunite for an overseas USO tour, this group of awesome nerds will come together to make some music, and some questionable decisions, one last time.

Pitch Perfect 3 stars Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, Alexis Knapp, Hana Mae Lee, Ester Dean, Chrissie Fit, Kelley Jakle, Shelley Regner, John Lithgow, John Michael Higgins, and Elizabeth Banks.

Opening in Philippine cinemas in 2018, Pitch Perfect 3 is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Movie Review: ‘Moonlight’ (2016)

Review by lou.

Moonlight is a resplendent cinematic wonder that is a feast for the eyes, yet a breathtaking torment for the spirit to endure so blissfully. There’s just something attached to every photograph that enables itself to allure so hypnotically that, you just can’t take your eyes off of it for the visuals expressing its lyrical structure satiate the senses from the artful sensitivity. Undoubtedly, Barry Jenkins’ sophisticated sheen gleams so brightly. The it’s sincerity that he exerts rustles in deep resonance.What he achieves here is something of an urban drama tongued with exquisite taste that headily touches on black culture, and the members of its society whose tales of splendorous struggles are kept in the dark. His genius exposes a soaring excellence wins the sympathies of audiences and critics alike – sheltering them in a world built only in authenticity, and nothing more than that. Looking at it in face value, still, there is never a pretentiousness that sticks out, nor is there a message conveyed that could be found artificial and conformed – only truth and truth alone is what filmmaker Barry Jenkins puts at the helm, and a most beautiful film that doesn’t come every once in a while is what you’ll get to encounter.

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Drawing its picture with an opening scene that takes its context to a different area midway, through a moment that parallels and gives more meaning to everything else, it immediately alarms and disarms whatever we have within ourselves. Journeying through a life of pain in three acts containing affecting moods that it stimulates through its technical wonders as well as its quiet explosions – all of which shocks and sweeps us away to see how much we would break. His story submerges his travails in a manner that gets us feeling the rough texture of the world that he walks on, and emphatically makes known the pain that cripples his desires by a connection that binds him to our empathy. Racial constructs that shape the black culture and its society surround the life of Chiron, our main character, and they act very much like a monster with a torturous intent to chain him in confines that grounds him in a nightmare that he can’t put up with – or at least that is what it wants us to see.

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Growth that culminates in a society so cruel and insensitive is seen to bloom so bleakly in him, and how we see and analyze the way his broken mind influences the way he acts, responds, and moves in a world that shapes his unwanted identity breaks our hearts right in front of us. Three actors depict Chiron at three different stages of his life, and all of them give off something that makes them distinctive from each other in terms of revealing manipulative facial expressions and silent, devastating gestures that when conjoined, builds a singular effort with a might that is simply too powerful and competent enough to deem as just mere performances as they navigate us to trace the roots of a life not well lived, basked in forcible conformity and ultimately doused in haunting anguish.

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Each act leaves something to eternally treasure, and in the first of the three, we get introduced to its perfected crafts that open up his world through an exploration that reflects of reality, and by it, our perceptions are left with an effect later on by the wondrous narration of the themes that accentuates from one another – namely, the motifs of discovery, love, and identity. Love, a central matter is what dictates its main character’s course – be it of a mother’s, desired parents’ or a friend’s, it tells of it in such a way that is miraculously real, and unrelentingly powerful. The love of a friend is what veils the film’s outstanding second act, and what it is turns into a ruminating memory that is written all over with compassion inspired by experience. What follows next, in the third act, intensifies the aching, and wraps up the journey with a finale that gives a tender hug – wrapping up the voyage with a farewell that feels so classic; solidifying this trilogy of chapters of a man’s life that uncontrollably teems with grace and fidelity that basically makes the film as a whole, a landmark of modern American cinema that is of a singular persona.

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Their division in three chapters make them out to look like raw footage, albeit with esthetics so dreamily magnetic that they show the beauty that hides underneath their agonies in a way that makes us feel what needs to be felt. If anything else, they are video recordings of one’s life taken out, and compiled into a film to speak out for what’s real, and convince us to heed what’s true – artistically declaring statements enveloping sorrows apparent in reality that it makes so recognizably identifiable; getting us to feel responsible for this heinous, unjust crime that humanity carelessly fires at itself which allows for the invisible to step forward out of the shadows. Music is also instructed to act as company for the visuals to harmonize with, and together, they bring out the immensity of the film’s depth that gives every detail a quality that seduces, and could very well be likened to a ballad of depressive misery sung with weeping passion and immeasurable splendor.

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Purifying its heart in a pool of honesty, director Barry Jenkins brings the ghetto to the cinema with a light tinted in hues of blinding artistry that is rarely seen in the common envisioning of a struggle that is impossible to grapple with. Almost all of the grittiness that we usually see gets cleansed, and paves the way for its own sublimity with unrestrained elegance to trudge on instead of adhering to a brooding brutality to majestically embody what it symbolizes. The film purely consists of African-American actors that lifts it all up to a peak that manifests of its prime, and they, in particular, Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris, are astonishing in their respective roles that magnificently contrast one another – realizing personal intimacies that rends apart and mends, and furthermore heaving the stellar nature that gusts through its cold, alarming screenplay.

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What is brought to modern cinema with Moonlight is a genuinely 21st century, eye-opening, shattering sensation of depth – a provocatively written coming-of-age indie drama endearingly engendering a rawness too sincere, a behavior so expressive, and a universality so commanding that, one sitting is enough to take in all of its painstaking brilliance that vividly presents to us a story baring the unbearable evils and conflicts bore innately in culture and society depressingly affecting those living a life hidden in plain sight. Pridefully, it boasts a cast populated with actors/actresses of color, and for a film inclusive of them, debates whether it is deserving of any critical acclaim or not are inevitable to occur. To argue with conviction, taking it as an Oscar-bait type of picture is a mistake too grave to forgive, and a sinful one nonetheless as it solidifies where it stands firmly. It doesn’t oblige itself of claiming accolades, and only does what feels right to swing its point home, and hard with severe austerity – leaving a genuinely stinging wound that is hard to recover from, for the spiritual and conscious elation and unease gives emergence to a revolutionary and unparalleled art piece that will be just as relevant tomorrow as it is now.

Rating:

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Teaser Poster Revealed for “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”

Universal Pictures has just launched the teaser poster for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the highly anticipated sequel to the blockbuster hit, Jurassic World.

The poster sports the tagline, “Life finds a way.”

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Directed by J.A. Bayona (Mama, The Impossible), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opens in the Philippines in June 2018 and stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeff Goldblum, Toby Jones, James Cromwell, BD Wong, and Rafe Spall.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Cinema One Originals’ Wacky Flick “Slumber Party” Hits SM Cinemas Starting June 23

Relive the misadventures of three gay BFFs on their crazy sleepover fun in the Cinema One Originals riotous comedy film “Slumber Party” as it hits Cine Lokal in selected SM Cinemas nationwide starting June 23, 2017.
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The humorous flick is among the featured presentation of Cine Lokal in support to the LGBT Pride Month celebration this June. Cine Lokal is a project of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) in partnership with SM Cinema aiming to give filmmakers a venue to showcase more entertaining yet relevant titles to the mainstream audience.
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Set in 2010, the movie is about long-time friends on a sleepover vigil to watch a much-awaited international beauty pageant, and who are about to be challenged with their greatest adventure yet. Their supposed fun get-together changes when a male trespasser, a wannabe frat boy, sneaks into the house and opens up unforeseen pursuits.
Markki Stroem, RK Bagatsing, Archie Alemania, Sef Cadayona and Nino Muhlach star in this feel-good film written and directed by Emmanuel Dela Cruz.
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Don’t miss this special Cine Lokal program presentation by FDCP and SM Cinema. Make your way to the Slumber Party from June 23-29 at SM Mall of Asia, SM North EDSA, SM Megamall, SM Fairview, SM Southmall, SM Bacoor, SM Iloilo and SM Cebu with the following schedule:  1:00PM 3:30PM, 6:00PM, and 8:30PM. Like Cinema One on Facebook at facebook.com/Cinema1channel for more updates.

Movie Review: ‘Ang Pagsanib Kay Leah Dela Cruz’ (2017)

Disclaimer: Make sure that you’ve seen the film first before heading into this review as some certain statements may give out some plot points.

Review by lou.

A troubled cop named Ruth has just moved into a small town when she witnesses a young girl named Leah jumped out of her balcony. Gossip is spread and suspicions are raised as to why it happened and who should be blamed. Fingers are pointed at the nanny, Rosario and the guidance counselor, Sis. Eloiza, who were seen performing suspicious acts to the young girl. As Leah’s odd behavior escalates and Rosario dies a gruesome death, Ruth jumps on the case and scrambles to put the pieces together. However, the investigation takes a darker turn when Leah’s possession is revealed and sinister connections between the people closest to her come bubbling to the surface. Soon, the devil’s influence takes hold of not just Leah but also Ruth and everyone else around her.

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Don’t be fooled by its title, and don’t worry much neither. Ang Pagsanib Kay Leah Dela Cruz, while sounding cheesy to some, considering the bad rap that modern Philippine horror cinema has gotten recently, actually abstains from being one to stay away from. It is touted to be an initial offering of Kamikaze Pictures, and is produced by Erik Matti of Seklusyon, and so, expectations are wanting to be built up, and fortunately, they are met with decent results. At the beginning, you could still pinpoint its similarities to its blockbuster superior from the way the narrative unfolds up to its characters’ traits, giving a sense of familiarity.

Still, you can already tell that it’s a good start despite having to live up to what is expected of it because it gives what is there to bite into as early as possible. Sarah Lahbati’s reclusive Ruth is introduced to us as an off-duty cop who returns to work for a case involving a mysterious, gruesome murder, and as that happens, our interest for the plot revolving around her arises as themes regarding the presence of evil comes to play with our minds. With that, it goes on to show its ways – relying on the technicalities and thematic tension to deliver scares that would make your heart beat when it frighteningly asks you to, albeit intermittently.

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This all comes out as a wonderful surprise with one stand-out sequence that makes the most out of what it’s got – appealing cinematography and a chilling musical score, and it continues to get those two to work in several scenes that follow. Traditionalists may find them as off-putting, considering some jump-scares, but surprisingly, they don’t pose as cheap thrills just for the sake of having such. Rather, director Katski Flores ensures an atmosphere of eeriness is brought in tow to fill up the screen for the horror to work, even if they usually fail to satisfy. It’s an appreciable and justified move when you witness it all on film, and it’s in those minutes where you realize that it really isn’t as bad as it looks like.

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Since we are all aware that horror movies about possession are generic, it’s good to see that this one goes on to be somehow different, without having something to totally emulate in how it moves. Being the creator of the story, Erik Matti’s guiding presence is felt every once in a while, even if he doesn’t come through most of the time. Almost as if he handled it to be Seklusyon‘s less talented twin brother, he comes up with lines and plot points that desire to resound with its viewers. Their essence sticks for a while as they enable you to think while you watch, but in all reality, they are forgettable and almost powerless. Why this happens is a question whose answer lies solely in its (restrained) ridiculousness, seen prominently in the climax where the tone gets a little odd, going for a grim route while looking goofy with everything that goes on.

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It wants to make you feel afraid, which in some cases has you freaking out, but yet, it’s quite easy to see the flaws undermining its potential – mostly those concerning its treatment of themes that might just drive you crazy. Certainly, improvements could’ve been done for it to not settle with a second and third act that just couldn’t keep up with the rather strong opening minutes, because even if the engaging mystery swells up, it just won’t get you hooked. As a whole though, Kamikaze Pictures’ initial offering is effective – Ang Pagsanib Kay Leah Dela Cruz is a startling horror film about the devil inside every one of us that will have you re-evaluating those around you. It is provocative and disturbing all at the same time.

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Shy Carlos oftentimes, will creep you out with the small terrors that she embeds in her character’s look, but it’s the malicious entity that makes the show half a success in what it wants to leave us with, knowing and seeing that evil lurks everywhere in everyone. Thinking about that thought alone is scary enough, but seeing its form and the implications of its powers will amplify your fear and give understanding about the devil itself on some level. That is why despite the flaws erring its entirety, it could be seen as the spiritual successor to Seklusyon – not only because of Matti’s involvement, but rather due to its intellect that keeps its scariness up and running; all the more reason why it deserves to be given a try.

Rating:

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From the creators of the blockbuster movie, Seklusyon, Ang Pagsanib Kay Leah Dela Cruz opens in cinemas on June 28, 2017.