woman of platinum

Posted in Uncategorized on June 24, 2013 by leaflens

Kung si Clark Kent ay lalaking bakal, ako naman yata ay naging babaeng platinum — platinum blondina ang hairlalu dahil mej tumbling lola mo habang pinapanood ang pelikulang itey at namuti ang strands kesh. Read na lang then weep if you want. I laughed to keep myself from weeping. Or actually I tweeted, as usual. Kaya hanapin niyo na lang ang mini-reviews ko via the hashtag I use – #filmmiron – if you’re on Twitter.

Heniweys hemingweys…

MAN OF STEEL (2013)

man-of-steel-posterd. Zach Snyder

p. Christopher Nolan and some dudes

c. Henry Cavill, Amy Adams and many others

Pitch: Yet another retelling of the Superman mythology but this time, in a kinda bleach bypassed type of look you do in celluloid film if you want the bleak-type look then pepper it with many homages to other films we already saw with storylines already done before… oh wait that’s the catch pala suri pu.

Catch: See above. Plus that darn five o-clock shadow. And those curly curlies sa dibdib. Wall to wall carpet lang ang peg ni Clark Kent pare. Yaya, pahiramin nga ‘yan ng razor, ‘yung Gillette para close shave.

Nakakatamad i-review ito ng bongz. basahin niyo na lang kaya ang Twitter feed ko while I was watching it?

When I tweet while watching a film, it’s a sure sign na the film doesn’t work for me.

filmmiron02filmmiron01

But what the hey. I wanted to go back to reviewing films again in this space so I decided to start with this one. And this one talaga kasi I like comic book films. Like other geeks out there who grew up with the superheroes mythology of American pop culture, the superdude is a big deal. And whosoever touches this material should better have a good reason for making us suspend our disbelief that Christopher Reeve will no longer play Superman anymore, for good, forever.

Yeah sure, you’ll say that we’re just a bunch of old fogeys and geezers and tandercats for harping on how we miss Chris Reeve as Superman. But he really embodied the quintessential all-American pretending-to-be-bungling-pero-cute-pa-rin hero who could save the world and sacrifice his superpowers for the love of Lois Lane. So many reincarnations have already happened. Who could also forget Lois and Clark ba ‘yun, the TV series kung saan sumikat si Dean Cain. Not really so keen on that one myself. My favorite still remains the reworking of the story arc of Superman as a teenager in Smallville. Okay, so it’s full of homoerotic tension between Clark and Lex Luthor, fine. Biased ako. And oo kras na kras ko so Kristine Kreuk who played the kick ass Lana Lang. Oo na biased ako fine. But the story is what got me. Talagang hinimay nila kung bakit-paano-saan-kailan naging superhero si Clark, journey kung journey pare. Plus the fact na creative sila sa paggawa ng weekly kalaban who always turned out to be some ordinary person affected by the green rock meteor shower a.k.a. kryptonite. Saya lang teh. Kahit ‘yung evolution ng kulay ng damit, from small hirits like “Blue looks good on you” and all that. Brilliant writing, that show.

Now as to this film, hmmm… where do I begin pare. First off, it was shot like a pa-art-eh indie film that sometimes, you like it for those portions but if you stitch it up together with the big-budget CGI SFX bang-a-rangs, wala na, misplaced. And that’s what makes this film uneven. Some moments it was trying to be story-felt indie, some moments it was trying to outdo Transformers in all things effects — editing, computer graphics, visuals, even sound! Ano sinabi ng nagkakalansingang bakal to bakal mode ni Michael Bay pare! Eh taong bakal nga ito eh, nubeh talo kayo dyan teh. Yun na. So needless to say, pagkalabas ko ng sine, kelangan kong magtaktak ng tenga to check if I still have inner ear balance. Okay meron pa naman, thankz godz. Release the kraken!!! Or the world engine pala, sabi ni Zod. Whatevs.

Well in fairness type ko ang reworking ng costume. Ditch the red brief over the blue pants this time, eh? The superdude has finally gone commando. But with all the action he got in this film, I hope he's wearing some kind of super-supporter inside pare. Or else, super-wawa ang super-yagbadoodledandies niya noh.

Well in fairness type ko ang reworking ng costume. Ditch the red brief over the blue pants this time, eh? The superdude has finally gone commando. But with all the action he got in this film, I hope he’s wearing some kind of super-supporter inside pare. Or else, super-wawa ang super-yagbadoodledandies niya noh.

I won’t comment on the seemingly miscast people here, from Jor-el to Kal-el to Lois Lane to Jonathan Kent. Si Diane Lane lang yata ang tumpak na embodiment ni Martha Kent pare. The rest, ewan ko, go find other films to star in na lang, pwede? As for the story, I don’t know if it was a good thing that the makers just lazily banked on the stock knowledge of the audience of a man in a red and blue suit from Krypton who could fly and save earthlings. So they took the liberty of amp-ing up the usual approach of how Clark as a boy and teen felt misplaced with some kind of unexplainable multi-sensory neuroses which, of course, we all knew na development of Kryptonian superpowers itey. But poor tormented bullied Clark. Just because his all-American farmer dad didn’t want him to expose himself to the world, binata superdude still just kept his anger management in tow even if he was being bullied na as an adult. Yeahhhhh I think the film was subtly about anti-bullying, n’est-ce pas? Pero creative ‘yung tiis-the-bullying eklavu dahil may payoff palang character bubog ‘yun — na dahil ayaw ni padir na may-I-show-off si Clark ng superpowers, nadeds si padir at guilt trip galore si junakis dahil wala siyang ginawa to save his daddy-o. K. Sige. More neuroses. I think the writers want this psychologically-driven Superman to become regular screening fare sa mga psychiatric conventions, methinks. But that’s just me pare.

Pero ang hindi creative ay an incessant need to have plot dump after plot dump of stuff to use as exposition, then the expository dialogue after expository dialogue technique of revealing info that looked and sounded so trite kaya naho-hohum ka na lang at naghahanap ng kakapitan ng audiovisual senses mo para itawid ang kuwentong ito. Ganun. Na meron naman, panaka-naka. Pero minsan, obvious kaya nakaka-hagikhik din. Like sume-semiotics lang ang meaning ng “messianic complex” discourse sa simbahan shots where Clark was discussing things with some priest at backdrop niya ang stained glass image ni Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane thing. O siyah! Pagbigyan.

I guess in a way, people like this approach because it’s a far cry from your usual comic book film fare nga. Oh well papel, kanya-kanyang chever na lang. I just wish that they could brainstorm this film better. Watching it, I kinda see like a minimum of 10 homages to old films we’ve all seen before. Hindi creative ang mish-mash of stuff. Like sa umpisa pa lang, when I saw the babies in the pod thangs, yoiks Ghost In The Shell-slash-The Matrix isdatchu??? Now ko lang narinig ang “first natural birth in centuries” storyline sa mythology na ito. Then the overtaking of earth, hohum, nagawa na ‘yan sa Transformers Dark Side of the Moon teh. Then the overall look and feel of Krypton, parang mash-up siya ng Star Wars meets Aliens meets Avatar in black. Don’t get me started when Lois Lane made like Ripley there at one point man. Sigourney Weaver did you see that???

Wala, masyadong maraming talun-talon and narrative loopholes ang pelikula kaya kailangan pa siyang i-tighten. Yah, as tight sana as superdude’s new jazzed up tights. Ewan, kahit ‘yun nga, di in-explain. “What does that S mean?” “In my planet, it means hope.” “In this planet, it’s an S.” HOMAYGAD KILLMENOW!!! Pwede bang mag-apply as script dialogue doctor teh??????? Hashtag laslas.

Ok sige sa susundo na lang. Intayin natin ang iba pang comic book films. Baka mas masaya pa ‘yun. K?

Next!

MMFF 2012: Sisterakas

Posted in comedy film, MMFF, Philippine Cinema, Philippine film industry on January 13, 2013 by leaflens

SISTERAKAS (2012)

sisterakasd. Wenn Deramas

p. Star Cinema

c. Ai-Ai delas Alas, Vice Ganda, Kris Aquino

Pitch: Half-siblings get separated and lead different lives. They meet again as clashing adults. Tapos may isang entity na sumisingit sa kuwento na wala namang rele. Si Kris Aquino ‘yun.

Catch: Halatang tinipid ang prod, and of course if it’s from Direk Wenn, there must be a DJ Durano in here!!! Lech.

 

‘Yung wala naman talaga akong balak pag-aksayahan ng pera ang pelikulang walang kuwenta sa akin dahil sa mga past works ng mga involved dito. Ilang beses na ba naming inokray nirebyu ang mga pelikula ni direk Wenn? Na di ko na talaga alam kung ano pa ang mga katuturan ng ilan sa kanila. Heniwey tapos andyan pa si Kristeta na ang huli pa yatang good performance niya ever ay ang ummmm hmmmm FATIMA BUEN STORY? Pinanganak ka na ba nung pinalabas ‘yun? Ewan ko ba. Hayst.

Anyway wala akong choice kundi panoorin ito kasi andito si Ate Ai-Ai at si Vice. Na sila lang naman talaga ang tumawid ng kuwento dito, na medyo lame-o na rin naman. Kebs na sa pagka lame-o, kasi produkto na naman ito malamang ng Star Cinema kind of meddling the story brainstorming. Been there been that! But anyway, may saysay sana ang kuwento in fairness kung ginawa na nilang uber-camp sana ito. ‘Yung todo na sa pagkaka-satire sana sa kung anuman ang sina-satire sana nila dito. Ibig sabihin, sana tinodo na nila ang pagkaka-lampoon nila sa kulturang ito ng fashyown-fashyown, sa katatawanan o humor, at kung anupaman.

Eh ang kaso, wala, typical movie story lang ito of rags to riches kuning then ex-rags turned riches now fights ex-riches turned rags. Or something. Actually, ni hindi nga klaro kung bakit imbey ang character ni Vice sa character ni Ai–Ai, ‘yung exacting revenge type of imbey na dahil pinabayaan nito daw ang nanay ni Vice noong bata pa sila eh napilay and such. Whatevs! Hindi klaro ang mga motibasyon ng karakter na gawin ang mga ginagawa nila sa buhay teh. Wafung itey.

Pero mas wafung ang istilo ng pagpapatawa nila. Kadalasan, self-referencing na naman ang moda ng mga taga-Star kung magsulat ng script. Meaning kung di mo alam kung ano ang mga lintek na TV shows ng mga artistang ito, kung di ko alam ang mga latest commercials nila (lalo na ‘yang lintek na rubadabango potang ‘yan) at kung di mo alam ang latest chismax sa mga love life nila (lalo na ‘yang lintek na hiwalayang James Yap na ‘yan), hindi ka matatawa sa karamihan ng real-life references ng mga jokes sa pelikulang ito. Same old same old, Star. Chakaness.

Pero I swear, kung wala ang mga hirit-banat ni Vice dito, waley itong film na itich. ‘Yung mga one-liner hirit niya na tulad ng nasa PETRANG KABAYO dati, ganun. Lintek, nakakatawa!!! ‘Yun lang ang keri dito, saka ‘yung pagpapatawa din ni lola Ai-Ai mo. ‘Yun lang. Kaya ‘yung character ni Kris dito, puwede nang itapon. Palitan na lang ng iba, tipid pa sa TF.

Speaking of tipid, ito rin ang isang imbey sa production mismo. Halatang tinipid nila ito. As in haller, may isang eksena dito na ‘yung potangenang PE tshirt nina Daniel Padilla ay potangenang plain white shirt lang na potangenang dinikitan lang ng potangenang sticker(!!!) ng school logo. Potangenah!  Ginagago niyo ba kami!??! Halata siya!!! Tengeneng trabahong tamad.

sisterakas pe2

That stupid PE tshirt. Yes isyu sa ‘kin ‘yan!

Hay naku. Tapos may mga linya pang obvious na self-mocking ang Kristeta sa mga maraming bagay patungkol sa kanya. Di kinaya ng powers ko ‘yung unang bungad niya na parang “this is worse than a Kris Aquino horror film” ba ‘yun or something? Leche, self-deprecating humor doesn’t become her. Huwag na muling subukang sulatin; nakamamatay.

Ewan. Labo. Hayst buti na lang talaga andun ‘yung humor ni Vice Ganda. For that, naisalba. As for naitawid, o siya sige, highest grossing film siya chenes. Kayo na. Kung gagawa kayo ng sequel, utang na loob paki-chugi na ‘yung character na walang silbi.

At bumili ng totoong potangenang PE tshirt! Lech.

Next!

MMFF 2012: Thy Womb

Posted in drama film, MMFF, Philippine Cinema, women's issues in film on January 13, 2013 by leaflens

THY WOMB (2012)

thy womb poster2d. Brillante Mendoza

s. Henry Burgos

dop. Odyssey Flores

mscore. Teresa Barrozo

c. Nora Aunor, Bembol Roco, Lovi Poe, Mercedes Cabral

Pitch: In a Muslim community down south, an infertile wife agrees to find another wife for her husband so they could have a child in the house.

Catch: ‘Yun na ‘yun. Maniwala ka bang the pitch is also the catch? Basa kung bakit!

Kasi ganito ‘yun teh. ‘Yung pelikula, maganda. ‘Yung scenery lalo na. Tahimik lang siyang nilatag, imahe after imahe, na ipinapakita ang buhay ng isang particular na lugar na ito sa Muslim community somewhere in Mindanao. Culture kung culture spectacle teh. May pinakitang kasal ng isang lalaki at babae (si Mercedes Cabral the indie cutie) na kahit parang may pumipilit na suma-subplot na naghahabulang saglit na military vs. rebels chuva, kebs pa rin si ati at may-I-dance siya ng ritual dance ng kinasal, to the tune of that dayang dayang song na sikat ay may rele pala sa kanila doon.

Tahimik ding pinakita ‘yung buhay ng mag-asawang ginampanan ni Kuya Bembol at ni Ate Guy. Na gumagawa sila ng mga special colorful na banig tapos binebenta nila. May moments na ‘yun lang ang pinapakita, na naghahabi lang hibla by hibla si Ate Guy. Tapos si Kuya Bembol nagluluto at nagkukulay ng hibla. Tapos tahimik ding pinakita na minsan, fisherfolk sila. May maliit silang bangka na may motor tapos nangingisda sila sa vast Mindanao waters, na minsan may rebels at nahagingan sila ng baril tapos kinulimbat ‘yung fishes na nahuli nila. Ganun lang.

Tapos tahimik ding nag-usap ang mag-asawa na ‘yun nga, kumuha ng bagong asawa para maanakan ni Kuya Bembol. Nalulungkot kasi sila na walang bata sa bahay kaya naghanap sila ng bagong babaeng may silbi ang bahay-bata. Enter frame si Lovi Poe the mainstream cutie. Pinakita din dito ang struggle ng mag-asawa na mahanap ang perfect yet affordable next wife na afford nilang bayaran ang dowry. Ito interesting for me as a feminist. Mas mahal pala ang gelay kapag titulado at nakapag-kolehiyo. Parang 120,000 pesoses yata siya or something. Tapos may extra pa, mga tinapay saka magarang belo saka reams ng yosi para sa padir at madir ng gelay. Interesting makita ang kalakarang ito.

In fairness, sa kuwento, affordable ang byuti ni Lola Lovi. ‘Yun din pala, tahimik na pinakita kung paano nag-raise ng 80,000 pesoses yata or more ang mag-asawang mananahi ng banig at sometime fisherfolk para afford nilang bayaran ang Lola Lovi dowry. Kelangang ibenta ang motor ng boat at nag-pitch in ang community for fundraising. Pero may request ang lola, na pagkaanak niya, palayasin na daw ni Kuya si Ate sa balur at silang dalawa na lang ang magsasama. Yes, finally, conflict! Na dumating mga makalipas ang isang oras at kalahati ng katahimikang paglalahad ng mga imaheng kultural.

Tapos eto na, nang manganak na nga ang lola mo, si ati ang nagpaanak at pinutol pa ang umbilical cord at tinago for souvenir. Tapos tinitigan lang siya ni kuya at lola and then pagkaputol ng cord, BAM! Pinutol na rin ang pelikula, literal. Credits na. The end.

And I was like, Thy Whut???

Napaganun na lang ako. parang naglalatag pa lang ang kuwento, naglalatag pa lang ng istorya, parang ang mga pangyayari sa naratibo ay nagsisimula pa lang maging interesante pero malabong tinapos na ito ni Brillante. Kamusta naman. Sige, maganda ang katahimikan ng mga imahe, fine. Magaling ang pag-arte nilang lahat dito impernez, fine. Pero naman teh, asan ang script??? Asan ang laman ng istorya??? Naman eh. Nalurkey akey. Di ko knows kung ano naganap. Kaya ayun, bitin lola mo. Buti na lang at biased ako at naisalba ang mga oras ng katahimikan ng pelikulang ito sa pagtitig sa ganju mode ni Mercedes my crush at ng alindog-in-a-shawl mode ni Lovi my lust. Pramis ‘yun lang tumawid teh. Haynakuh beks di ka na natuto. Di ba ganitich din naman ang reak mo sa ibang pelikula ni koya BM? Oo ‘pag naiimbey ako I talk to myself, di ka kasali dito, beh.

thy womb lovi

Hay Lovi, why so pretty?

Hay nakuh. Sayang. Andun na sana e. Maganda na sana ‘yung mga katahimikang subtleties na sinusubukang isaksak ni direk sa pelikula. Pero walang direktang story consciousness ang pelikula. In short, wala kang masyadong kakapitan na kuwento. Scenery na lang, fine. Konting filmic nuances (esp. acting, cinematog) fine. Pero kuwento? Wiz! Balik sa workshop ‘yan. Now na.

Saka sana Tinagalog na lang nila ang titulo. Saka lost ako sa choice na “thy” kasi di ba associated itich sa Christian/Catholic writings? “Thy will be done/on earth as it is in heaven.” Um mga followers po ni Allah ang characters. May counterpart ba ang thy chuvaness sa Quran? Just wondering. Parang mali, eh. Maling-mali.

Hayst. Sayang. Wala, ang lola Mercedes at ang lola Lovi ay nasayang lang ditich. Anyway kebs, naka-rampage naman sila sa Venice Filmfest saka sa Cannes din yata. Hm bakit kaya nanalo ito sa Venice? Siguro relate ang judges dahil puro tubig ang nakikita dito sa film. Di ba Venice canals chorva mode? Wala lang, wafung na akiz. Naubusan ng popcorn.

Next!

Are we ready ka na ba Pinas?

Posted in MMFF, Philippine Cinema, Philippine film industry on December 18, 2012 by leaflens

O ano mga teh, MMFF 2012 season na naman soon. Magkakaltas ka ba ng pera para manood ng pelikula o aabangan mo na lang ang mga ito sa dibidi next year?

mmff2012

Naaliw ako sa tallying ng Wikipedia kasi andito sa page nila ang list of entries, na impressive naman kahit papaano. A far cry from earlier years in recent history. Tapos meron ding list ng independent films na kasali at mabuti naman may slots na for them.

Pero tumbling din ako sa list ng rejected entries hehehe. And if you’ll check them out, aliw at nod to the nth levels lang akesh kung bakit sila na-reject hahaha! Taray. Yeah, next year na ‘yang mga yan teh hehe.

O siya, kitakits na lang sa sinehan mga teh. Yes, yes, I will start reviewing na ulit, actively, soon. Abangan!

Roll cam, roll life

Posted in cinema studies conference, Cinemalaya, digital film, Oscars, Philippine Cinema, POC Pinoy LGBT channel, takilya life on November 2, 2012 by leaflens

Did you miss me? I know you did. Aminin!

Life was just sweepingly hectic in more ways than one. But since this hibernation break, I thought of blogging more in order to get back on track.

 

Teaching teachers how to tackle theatrical trailers. Teh totoo ‘to! [October 2012 Pagadian City]

 

But before I do that, I’ll ease into it a bit. I actually wrote some stuff which are film-related and are now out — but in other venues.

 

My editor at Philippine Online Chronicles’ (POC) Pinoy LGBT Channel asked me to review the Philippine Oscars rep this coming year, the recent Cinemalaya entry BWAKAW written and directed by Jun Lana.

My review appeared there in POC since the film is about this aging old gay man.

Here is that review. Seriously, I think this time, we have a contender.

Read up why.

 

 

And then, a paper that I have written early this year, presented in a cinema studies conference in Hong Kong last March, is now officially published in the Kritika Kultura ejournal. The journal has a special issue of Ishmael Bernal’s MANILA BY NIGHT and I was invited to submit a paper. I wrote about the lesbian character of Cherie Gil and intersected that with the genderqueer identity. It’s entitled “To conform or not to conform, that is the genderqueer question: Re-examining the lesbian identity in Manila By Night.” That paper is available here. The rest of the journal’s issue is here and could be downloaded as a pdf file like my paper. Enjoy cinema geeks!

Genderqueering academia. Story of my persecuted queer scholarly life. Hahaha don’t ask! Offer me beer and I will do tell. Charaught! [March 2012 Hong Kong University]

Yes, I have been busy. No, film-watching and critiquing were not forgotten, just overtaken by other avenues. But I promise that now, it will be back here again, ready for more.

Okay roll cam!

Databasing ang lola niyo

Posted in takilya life on August 18, 2012 by leaflens

Since Multiply.Com recently announced that they are shutting down, I am currently scrambling to extract my previous content from my old multiply site and transfer it somewhere. Bulk of the content there is my collection of film reviews done over the years. I will be transferring them here slowly so check out the new page I created na lang to catalog everything. It’s here, sa Now Nah! Showing page at the top of the navigation bar to your right. That list will grow as I add the old ones so keep posted na lang. If you care. Charot.

In the meantime, more regular film reviewing will be back here… with a vengeance!

Abangan.

Film whiz whizzing wishes

Posted in Cinemalaya, Philippine Cinema, Philippine film industry, POC Pinoy LGBT channel, queer issues in film on August 3, 2012 by leaflens

Not that I haven’t been watching films — I have been watching lots, actually — but I have been reluctant to say things about them. I don’t know why. Must be the weather.

But you can take a peek at the film-related articles I have been writing for Philippine Online Chronicles’ Pinoy LGBT channel where I regularly contribute. Of course they are queer-centric but still, they intersect with movies and filmmaking so it might be worth your interest.

I will be back in reviewing films in this space soon. In the meantime, enjoy these:

Si Pidol sa pelikula ng sangkabaklaan part one and part two written during the comedy king’s demise. Also discussing some controversial issues there.

My Cinemalaya 2012 salvo-ish take on the gay depictions and transwomen discourse in some films I saw.

 

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