Top 5 Cinemas in Metro Manila

When going to the movies, a huge part of the movie-going experience is the quality of the cinema itself. A great movie in a crappy cinema can make for a horrible experience, which tends to sway a person's opinion on the movie itself. That's why if you're serious about having the absolute best experience (or close to it), you should totally read on.

Having been to multiple cinemas in Metro Manila and having a really particular taste in them, I have been able to put together a list of the 5 movie cinemas you should go to if you absolutely want the best experience.

Here's the criteria:

Ambiance - overall feel of the cinema
Seating - how seats are arranged and designed
Sensory experience - quality of both the audio and video
Crowd - who else will you be watching the movie with? Unless you like hanging out with noisy kids and large groups of friends, then this should matter to you.
Price - bang for the buck

Alright, let's get started.

Read more: Top 5 Cinemas in Metro Manila

Ant-Man: Marvel’s Dark Horse Delivers

Photos Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (Ant-Man)

Ant-Man. Who, you might ask? If you were asked to name a superhero, he would probably not be the first one that would come to mind. I guess someone who could shrink to a size of an ant would not have the same recall as a billionaire flying around in a tech suit or a green behemoth who can crush you in his sleep. Even though I knew Ant-Man from the comic books, I admit that I was a naysayer right from the beginning. Watching the trailer did not help and I thought it was simply not going to fly.

Read more: Ant-Man: Marvel’s Dark Horse Delivers


Avengers: Age of Ultron

Maybe it was the fantastically long lead-in to this movie, or all the hype Disney's stellar marketing team built up around it's release, but I found myself slightly disappointed with their new Avengers: Age of Ultron.

To be fair, this sequel had a lot to live up to. Not only was it expected to top 2012's Avengers, but there have been four other Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movies released between that year and 2015 - Iron Man 3, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Thor: The Dark World, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Then you have the two television shows, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Daredevil. It's a wonder this super franchise hasn't collapsed yet under the weight of it's own continuity.

But predictably, it's now made more than $201M in it's first weekend internationally, and with no real competition until May 13 when Mad Max: Fury Road is released, it looks like it's on track to become the biggest movie of 2015.

At least until Star Wars: The Force Unleashed arrives.

For those of you who want an impression of the movie without spoilers, I thought it was hugely entertaining. If Captain America: Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy hadn't set the bar so high, this sequel might have been higher on my list of the MCU's best films.


As it stands, I felt there were character arcs that really felt shoehorned in, and action that felt overly sensationalized. I spoke about how Daredevil's fighting style was so interesting because it felt more real, more visceral, due to the fact that he was always getting hurt. The fights in Avengers: Age of Ultron, while pretty awesome, feel too much like action in a Michael Bay film to me. Lots of slow mo, lots of visual effects.

It's like an entire comic book full of centerfold splash pages.

Which may have been what they were going for. This is after all, a superhero movie. One of the characters in the film even calls the heroes "gods". They can't be harmed by mortal men. And that's how it feels like.

Which felt odd, since Whedon is known for making you feel invested in his movies. If you've never watched the show Firefly and it's film sequel, Serenity, I suggest you do. He builds up this band of ruffians until you can't picture the crew without any single one, and then proceeds to kill them off.

Then you're left thinking, "Are any of them going to get out of this alive?" That's invested. Look at HBO's Game of Thrones. It seems like characters there are dropping left and right. How many Starks did we start with? How many are there now?

In Ultron, I never felt that edge of your seat, holding your breath excitement.

Speaking of Ultron, I wasn't sold as him as the big bad.

The trailer was awesome. The lines he had in that were dark, and menacing. You felt the gravitas when he talks, and can see how he might actually be a great opponent for the team. But the movie version of Ultron seems way too much like James Spader. He's got what look like nervous ticks and mannerisms and he gets distracted and he talks as if SQUIRREL!

Yeah, so he goes off on tangents that are weird. I think in this case they brought too much of the actor to the animation of the actual CG construct. It felt kind of like I was watching Mr. Richards from 1987's Mannequin.

The fact that there's literally about 5 minutes of build up to his conception also really killed any chance there was of him beating Loki as the villain to watch out for in the MCU.

VIKI from I, Robot was more sinister.

This has been a pretty negative review in hindsight, but to clarify, I do like the movie. I was never bored, and I felt that it was able to give some nice character beats to both Black Widow and Hawkeye.

Hawkeye in particular (played by Jeremy Renner) got to shine in this movie. He really got to strut his stuff and show the audience why he is an Avenger, despite being "just human". You also got to see more of the "SCIENCE BROS!" with Bruce Banner and Tony Stark pairing up to create Ultron, and later Vision. I love that they did the most they could with the limited characters they had. You also see the building rift between Stark and the rest of the team, which I'm sure will lead into Captain America: Civil War somehow.

The fact that they brought back so many others from the previous movies was pretty sweet, too. I won't spoil which characters, but when they popped up, I smiled ear to ear.

Then they mentioned Wakanda. Oh, man,

If I were to pick three things that stood out for me, they would be:

  1. The Hulk v. Hulkbuster fight. Ho. Lee. Shit.
  2. The discussions about Thor's hammer in an elavator
  3. "Please be a secret door... Please be a secret door... Please be a secret door... Yay,"
Those were worth the cost of the ticket.
So yeah, definitely go see it.
I saw it at SM Aura. I don't recommend it. Their brightness is turned down and contrast turned up. Can't see shit for half the film.

Cinderella: A Two-Hour Disneyland Experience

Photos Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (Cinderella)

Yes, Disney may have acquired hot property like Marvel and Star Wars in the last decade, but that doesn’t mean they have lost their touch when it comes to making a good, old-fashioned fairy tale come to life in a brand new way. After their smash hit Frozen (2013), Disney explores the story of another formidable princess with the live-action retelling of Cinderella (2015).

Read more: Cinderella: A Two-Hour Disneyland Experience


What to Watch in 2015

Last year I wrote out every single movie I wanted to see this year at Despite my best efforts, I've only been able to see some of the films I posted about on that article. Some were moved to later release dates (Jupiter Ascending and Tomorrowland), others were put on the back burner after some pretty awful reviews (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transcendence), but I was able to see a good number of them in the theater, which is where movies should be watched.

2014 turned out to be a pretty fantastic year for movie lovers. Even if some of the worst films I've ever experienced came out this year (yes, I'm looking at you, Transformers: Age of Extinction and The Amazing Spider-Man 2), some of the absolute best have also been fielded. Captain America: Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy immediately come to mind, but we also saw Edge of Tomorrow, How to Train Your Dragon 2The Lego Movie, Big Hero 6, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Now that the new year is coming up fast, I'm excited to find out what 2015 has in store for cinephiles. So in no particular order, while the Metro Manila Film Festival is clogging up cinemas with (mostly) garbage, let's look at what's coming up.

Read more: What to Watch in 2015


Wanna submit an article? Sign up!



Click on The Friendlies


Download the Android App!