MOVIE REVIEW: I, Tonya (2017)

Dark, stylish and quirky — Craig Gillespie’s I, Tonya is perhaps the biggest and most pleasant surprise of 2017.

Based on a true story, I Tonya follows the story of Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) whose career as an athlete collided with the biggest scandal in the world of figure skating, as her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) hires a hitman to knock down Nancy Kerrigan, Harding’s biggest rival during the 1994 US Figure Skating Championship.

The film is told in a ‘he said, she said’ account, styled in a mockumentary approach, based on completely contradicting stories by both Harding and Gillooly. Their versions of their truth, including the media’s, made the film a whirlwind of testimonials that’ll make you choose whose side are you on. I particularly admire how screenwriter Steven Rogers broke the fourth wall as these characters start talking to the audience, as if convincing the viewers to believe them. Yes, they are selling their versions of truth to movie goers (literally), which shows how the public had a great involvement towards Harding’s scandal. How everyone’s judgment manifested on how she was later excommunicated from her profession; how the media frenzy hypnotized everyone’s perspectives; and how the truth, as they all know it, will never come out raw.

Margot Robbie’s fierce commitment to the role was as sharp as her skates colliding on ice. She is roaring like a mad lion, yet she has managed to turn this infamous (not to mention, hated) icon into a human being. The emotional resonance she gave was very much unexpected, and she completely sold Harding’s version of the truth without trying too hard. She committed to the ‘Tonya’ version in her head, and gave such a layered performance that never felt vain or cartoonish.

Allison Janney as LaVona Golden, Harding’s estranged, abusive mother, gave us a witch-like performance, her presence alone is scary enough she need not to utter a word. She’s a great reminder of J.K. Simmons as Terence Fletcher in Whiplash (2014), only that Janney’s character was never human. She’s a spun of the devil, and not once did she ever make me like her. I guess that is a testament for an excellent portrayal. Janney gave the performance of her career, and every accolade she has received is so well-deserved.

The unsung hero of the film is Sebastian Stan as Harding’s eccentric husband, Jeff Gillooly. I think his performance is a force of nature, whose crazy antics are savage enough that you’d think Tonya Harding is completely tamed. Stan deserved at least a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

On a technical aspect, the editing of the film is perhaps one of the year’s best — if not, the best. Everything is so seamless. The storytelling of juggling the different versions of truth on camera smoothly and swiftly is very commendable. There was never a dull moment on screen, as if you’re riding one character psyche after another.

The film’s downfall, however, is its visual effects. How Robbie’s face was pasted onto her stunt double on so many of her skating scenes is so flawed, it’s almost laughable. Her face is literally on a different lighting and color than that of the actual body. The movement of her face sometimes isn’t in sync with the movement of her double’s body. It was very obvious, you’d think “how did this get through post production without no one noticing?” Other than that, it was pretty much forgivable.

Overall, I, Tonya is wildly entertaining, spearheaded by an excellent cast. Margot Robbie is gold, and this will remain as the performance of her career for a very long time. It’s dark, it’s quirky, it’s funny, it’s emotional, its filmmaking is artsy — basically, it’s everything.

5 out of 5 stars

First official photo amplify ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’

Ahead of the anticipated launch of the first official trailer soon, Tom Cruise has released via Instagram two new photos from the sixth Mission: Impossible film, and in the process, also revealed the film’s title – Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

Check out the “death-defying” photos below and watch Mission: Impossible – Fallout in Philippine cinemas July 25, 2018.

The best intentions often come back to haunt you. Mission: Impossible – Fallout finds Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and his IMF team (Alec Baldwin, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames) along with some familiar allies (Rebecca Ferguson, Michelle Monaghan) in a race against time after a mission gone wrong. Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett, and Vanessa Kirby also join the dynamic cast with filmmaker Christopher McQuarrie returning to the helm.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout is distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.

Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT

Here’s the list of cinemas showing ‘Call Me By Your Name’ uncut version starting January 31

Much anticipated gay romantic film Call Me By Your Name opens in the Philippines on January 31, 2018 exclusively in the following Ayala Malls Cinemas:

  • Alabang Town Center
  • Ayala Cebu
  • Bonifacio High Street
  • Greenbelt 3
  • Harbor Point
  • The 30th
  • Trinoma

Rated R-16 with no cuts by the MTRCB, it was well received during its paid sneak previews last January 22 and 23 at select cinemas. It held its Philippine premiere during its Cinema One Originals Festival run last November 2017.

Sony Pictures Classics’ heartbreaking love story received four major Academy Award nominations Tuesday night. It is now vying for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Timothee Chalamet), Best Adapted Screenplay (James Ivory) and Best Original Song – “Mystery of Love” – Music & Lyrics by Sufjan Stevens.


Call Me By Your Name is a sensual and transcendent tale of first love, based on the acclaimed novel by André Aciman.

It’s the summer of 1983 in the north of Italy, and Elio Perlman (Chalamet), a precocious 17- year-old young man, spends his days in his family’s 17th century villa transcribing and playing classical music, reading, and flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel).

Elio enjoys a close relationship with his father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an eminent professor specializing in Greco-Roman culture, and his mother Annella (Amira Casar), a translator, who favor him with the fruits of high culture in a setting that overflows with natural delights. While Elio’s sophistication and intellectual gifts suggest he is already a fully-fledged adult, there is much that yet remains innocent and unformed about him, particularly about matters of the heart.

One day, Oliver (Hammer), a 24 year-old American college graduate student working on his doctorate, arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio’s father. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of the setting, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever.

Opening exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas starting January 31, Call Me By Your Name is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.