Bulong is a horror-comedy film about Conan (Vhong Navarro) whispering his wish to the dead how he wishes Ellen to love him back...
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Anna B (de) wrote: Trank is clearly more comfortable with the dark turn in the second half, and consequently the third act turns out pretty cool. Which is not to say it begins terribly, but there is a lot of awkwardness in the acting there, with playing to visible cameras, with people in their mid-twenties playing high-schoolers, and particularly playing the "Holy shit, broooo!" moments to thin air. Some really effective sequences though, and the effects are good even if they're already starting to show their age.
(kr) wrote: With Christmas day steadily approaching, I thought I'd review one of my favorite holiday gems in the last decade or so. Nothing Like the Holidays is said gem and it somewhat gets by on the notion that my affection for it comes from the fact that I live in Chicago. The events depicted in this film take place in the Windy City's Humboldt Park neighborhood. And yes, it's a sentimental choice for me to recommend this thing because I've always been fascinated by the aspect of viewing something that took place and/or was shot so close to where I make my home. But even if it wasn't a product of a gloriously weathered Chi-town setting, I still would enjoy the lighthearted not to mention heartwarming feeling "Holidays" permeates over its short, underutilized running time. Now I can't say that this flick is perfect cause it's not (it comes off more as one of my favorite films, not one of the all time best films). However, it succeeds as an accurate, insightful look into family traditions that don't normally inhabit the setting of your everyday holiday themed vehicle. I say bravo to director Alfredo De Villa for taking special care of the source material in "Holidays" all the while creating some colorful, deep characterizations among the enthusiastically large cast. I'm hoping that this review is seen by enough people so that a teeny tiny cult following might arise. I'm also hoping that this happens even if it's my circle of friends or 10-20 random film buffs. Honestly, that would be okay by me.Anyway, produced by the people that brought you the Barbershop movies and making extremely strong use of Chicago based locales, Nothing Like the Holidays categorizes the happenings of a Peurto Rican clan over a short weekend during Christmas time via a west side Chicago village. The Rodriguez family (a husband and wife along with three young adults as kids) is rooted in tradition and proudness in their heritage. They consist of John Leguizamo (Mauricio Rodriguez), Freddy Rodriguez (playing Jesse Rodriguez), Vanessa Ferlito (Roxanna Rodriguez), Alfred Molina (he plays the father who is Edy Rodriguez), and Elizabeth Pena (she plays the mother, Anna Rodriguez). Throughout the proceedings, these people invite other friends and relatives to their house for holiday fun and cheer. While there however, not everything is so peachy. Secrets are revealed, old relationships are rekindled, and traditions are exposed (all the citizens in the Humboldt Park area goes door to door and pick up everyone to do some Christmas caroling). You also have to be on the lookout for scenes involving a large tree that blocks the Rodriguez family view. This tree in my mind, seems to be a metaphor for the dynamics of the immediate family that has been talked about throughout this review. There are a couple of times in the movie where everyone helps to take the tree down. But to no avail, it's stays up and will not be removed. Again, I feel that this tree is a metaphoric expedition for everyone visiting the Rodriguez house. I'm not sure what that is exactly. And to tell you might not be the most valid answer. Anyway, the sequences involving it are pretty funny. If anything, they are flat out entertaining.Despite its authentic, familiar setting, characters that mesh well, and direction by De Villa that feels genuine and personable, "Holidays" still seems to have been edited to the point where small plot holes arise. You watch certain scenes where there is feuding by friends of the Rodriguez family and the Rodriguez family themselves. Cut to the next sequence and everyone seems to be getting along. With dialogue that constantly exudes a strong conflict between husbands/wives, brothers/sisters, and friends/cousins, it's kinda weird when a feeling of resolution is missing and everyone goes back to jovial, happy times. Then there is the look of the film that suggests that its say, a small scale version of something like 1983's The Big Chill. Basically, Nothing Like the Holidays lacks that independent film making vibe which would constitute award consideration. And based on its short running time and slight TV feel, it doesn't come off as epic in scope as it should. All shortcomings aside, this is a warm, tiny little movie with a big heart. Added to that, you'll watch this thing realizing that the actors/actresses might have had a blast making it. In fact, I've seen the DVD cast reunion segment and it seems like everyone became friendly and close after filming concluded. To be honest, I can't say I'm surprised.Overall, Nothing Like the Holidays is a flick that everyone should see come November and December. Its strongest attribute is having many character back stories that don't seemed to feel crammed into one movie. Every one's plight is told in a smart, held back sort of way. My favorite subplot doesn't even involved the main players in the cast. Jay Hernandez (Ozzie) playing a family friend to the Rodriguez family and trying desperately to romance the daughter in that family (Vanessa Ferlito as Roxy), also wants to avenge the death of his brother so he decides to go after the guy in the neighborhood who committed the crime and is out on parole. The scenes involving these two people divert from the comedic element in "Holidays" as well as the mild dramatic tone that involves everyone else. It's powerful stuff and it adds an element of danger in a sometimes all too comforting movie who's only other major sense of dread, is one of the family members having cancer (spoiler alert). In a sense though, the filmmakers don't overdo the barrage of plot points involved here even though there are almost too many to count.Like I said earlier, this traditional and original exercise despite taking place in a frigid Chicago winter, is the warm equivalent of a steaming cup of hot cocoa. It's got a certain amount of wit and charm, characters that you cling to throughout, and an effortless amount of improvisation by the actors/actresses who play those characters. If you haven't seen "Holidays," I'm hoping that after reading this review, you'll check it out. It ain't "nothing" but good.
Asim A (nl) wrote: Utterly, utterly appalling. Even Seagal can't save it.
Dane A (ca) wrote: Looking for an epic drama with layers of stories? Look no further than this. Everything is in here: love, betrayal, conspiracy, backstabbing. The whole package
Auli H (ru) wrote: A typical representative of this genre...
Ross L (jp) wrote: So a judo master that is stalked by the mob after witnessing a murder gets his revenge by not using his judo to defeat them? Weird. And that judo master is a 6'5'' sweedish man. Even wierder. I do have to say this movie did a great job of building up the tension and frustration of being in a situation where you have to put your family in danger to be a witness against the mob (did that make sense?) 2009 Movies: 34
Scott J (ag) wrote: I know it came before, but while watching this, I couldn't help but think of Casino.
Alirea S (br) wrote: I should check more on those of Agnes Varda!
Erik D (de) wrote: One of the best prison movies out there. I like the use of silent shots, it's what the likes of Eastwood and McQueen did best.
Craig C (es) wrote: While the film's themes are more relevant than ever and the acting superb, the reason why Ford beat upstart wunderkid Orson Welles is the same reason Robert Zemeckis' "Forrest Gump" would triumph over Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" in 1994. Ford and Zemeckis were safe mainstream while Welles and Tarantino challenged the audiences. This remains an Essential Classic, but like "Pulp Fiction," it got robbed at the Oscars.