Archive for July, 2007

REKADOS

Posted in Cinema One Originals, digital film, drama film, indie films, Philippine Cinema on July 18, 2007 by leaflens

[FROM MY OLD MULTIPLY SITE]

orginally posted at leaflens.blogspot.com

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REKADOS

written and directed by paolo herras, this is a film about women’s containment in philippine society as represented by their usually designated societal role of being cooks in the household kitchen. spans three generations of cooks, from lola boots anson roa to daughter eula valdez to apo meryll soriano.

three great actresses from three generations of philippine cinema and media. i’m impressed. i just love eula’s kikay mode here. pero i always love eula anyway kahit ano’ng gawin niya. hello sa BAGETS pa lang inlab na ko sa kanya no as the palengkera gf ni uber-cleancut-siguro-gay-sha raymond lauchengco. sayang lang at na-trap siya sa mga roles na kapatid ng bida, tita ng bida o kaya kontrabida. love to hate her sa BUKAS LULUHOD ANG MGA TALA nung winawarla-warla niya si megastar. achieve! kaya labs ko mga nakaisip na gawins iyang amor powers sa PANGAKO SA YO soap which relaunched her career in a way. achieve! at pretty pa rin siya! tanga tanga tanga tanga ko lang dahil hindi ko pa rin napapanood siya sa stage musical adapatation ng ZSA ZSA ZATURNNAH.

meryll naman is good here. her character is good. hindi siya jaded (sa overall way that life is treating her), hindi siya cynical (dahil sa poor siya at hindi bombshell), hindi siya apologetic (sa mga decisions niya sa pang-araw-araw na pamumuhay), hindi siya damsel in distress at lalong hindi siya nahihiyang kamutin ang libog. i love the characterization. she carries it well. at maganda ang acting-sparring nila ni mario magallona dito ha. for the first time, i like this dude on cinema. chaks kasi ng iba niyang nilalabasan e. pero bet ko siya ever sa mga teatro stagings.

at syempre walang ibang maasabi kay miss BAR kundi galing. okay din yung character niya, simpleng lola na naghirap etc. maganda ang treatment niya, subtle at hindi siya hysterical whatsoever. okay din yung development ng character niya mula pa nung younger days na si ana capri ba yun ang nag-portray. ayuz din. although kadiri lang yung magluto ng dinuguan na hahaluan ng patak ng unang regla niya ha. kakaibah! only in da pilipins… peo okay ang uniqueness na yun. kaya siguro nagustuhan sa india. may sasalihan kasi si pao na fest doon.

ang beef ko lang dito ay yung overall story treatment. okay yung may magic realism touches siya minsan a la COMO AGUA PARA CHOCOLATE saka yung ie-enumerate yung ingredients ng dishes sa screen. pero i’m not sure if the voice overs work. i don’t think it does. i think he has to rewrite it in such a way na it won’t appear like the characters are overly-intellectualizing or “over-philosophizing” (kung may word mang ganto) yung state nila sa life at the moment. insights ito oo pero awkward yung pagkakalagay e. feeling ko if it remained as a quiet movie, baka mag-work pa better than have the characters narrate to us their inner thoughts chenes. look at what happened to BLADERUNNER when ridley scott scrapped the VO totally. nag-iba yung mood and mode! baka it’ll work din with this film. awkward kasi minsan e. pilit baga. but well, knowing pash, ganyan siya minsan kasi.

pash is pao’s pseudonym sa ’98 o ’99 ba yun na UP writers workshop. met him there the first time i worked as a “workshop slave” doing photo and video doc. he’s but, what, 17 ba o 16 at that time? the kid’s totally gifted. and i’m glad he’s writing still, and continues his art now in this medium. happy for him.

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TRANSFORMERS

Posted in Hollywood dream factory, toys-things to film, TV to film on July 16, 2007 by leaflens

[FROM MY OLD MULTIPLY SITE]

originally posted at leaflens.blogspot.com
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TRANSFORMERS

to cap my weekend, caught this one on the big screen. lesson learned: why oh why did we ever forget that if a film is directed by michael bay, we have to bring earplugs. as in. maingay siyang direktor. siguro bingi siya, like some filmmakers out there na kilala natin. ang ingay ng pelikula, considering na ang subject matter ay mga bakal na kumakalansing lagi. as in, ang ingay. tunog bakal lang.

per of course i have to see this film. it’s a blast from my past, because i grew up watching the cartoon show of these characters. they got a lot of things right naman, like yung chracterizations ng robots, at panalo pala ang voice ni megatron dahil si hugo “the matrix/v for vendetta” weaving pala iyon. panalo. tapos yung special sound effects kapag nagta-transform sila, this time better version lang kasi parang nahaluan ng some kinda metallic techno sound. yun nga lang, tama sabi ng ka-date ko, na bakit di nila ginamit yung original theme song as part of the soundtrack. tama. ganda pa naman ng theme song niya, simple lang. parang like what they did with the spiderman theme song. dapat ganun.

oh well. nakakatamad lang panoorin ito kasi ang bagal ng story development. the first 40 minutes could have been chopped and reduced to 15 easy. pero they have to show a lot of the human back story crap pa. doesn’t work men. plus they have to focus pa ba on a lot of the bang-klang-whoosh-blug scenes ng fight sequences? daming puwedeng i-edit, e. hay…

NAPOLEON DYNAMITE

Posted in comedy film, Hollywood dream factory on July 16, 2007 by leaflens

[FROM MY OLD MULTIPLY SITE]

originally posted at leaflens.blogspot.com
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NAPOLEON DYNAMITE

during one of my sleepless bouts with sickness, i caught this stupid film produced by mtv films on hbo. punyeta nakakainis. lahat sadyang nang-iinis — yung storya ng isang parang simple minded pero may caustic wit na eengot-engot na loser bida na may equally nakakainis na kamag-anak, tapos static ang shots na okay alam ko sinusubukang ma-achieve ang isang comedic style pero it doesn’t deliver. nagaganap lahat ito sa isang typical americanan small town. bata punyeta nakakainis siya panoorin. walang nangyayari at walang kuwenta.

so bakit ko pinanood? i still keep the thing i learned from carlitos siguion reyna years back when he said in our class na we also have to watch bad movies because we learn a lot from them, too. at tama siya doon. i wanted to see what kind of ending and story this kind of film will have. lesson learned: may reason kung bakit 2:30am ito sumasalang, so don’t trust films that run at that time that much.

HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX

Posted in book to film, children-young adult content, fantasy-mythical on July 16, 2007 by leaflens

[FROM MY OLD MULTIPLY SITE]

originally posted at leaflens.blogspot.com
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HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX

or subtitled “hindi happy si harry huhuhuhuhu…”

yeah, this film didn’t fly. as in. no nimbus 2000 broomsticks will help the film. no matter how much you shout “wingardium leviosa” wala pa ring lulutang diyan. hay. super. kainis.

i guess it has something to do with the writing and the directing, combined. the usual suspects were okay naman, especially the actors. the kids are now teenagers with throbbing libidos overtly shown (eg harry with cho chang) or subtly implied (eg hermione being seduced by being an outlaw). the usual crop of good british actors are in good supply (esp the ones we heart the most, emma “sense and sensibility” thompson as the divination teacher, gary “immortal beloved/bram stoker’s dracula” oldman as sirius black, and helena “mary shelley’s frankenstein/hamlet” bonham carter’s bellatrix lestrange).

but maybe we have to backtrack a bit. have you read the book? it’s freaking thick. as in the thickest piece of young adult literature i’ve read. and it’s hard to pick the best parts to translate into film, because each chapter was written as a coherent unit that gets better as it develops. so if you just lift the essence without mentioning some details, hm…doesn’t work well e. iba ang essence na mabubuo ng libro. like ni hindi nga na-establish masyado ang importance ng order of the phoenix, for one. and then yung family relations and angsts nina bellatrix at sirius. saka yung angst ni harry about family units, as usual. basta, ang dami. pero okay yung nag-focus sila sa training ng dumbledore’s army. i think that’s the only portion that worked well without having prior knowledge of the book’s content. pero kung di mo nabasa ang book, baka feeling short-changed ka. well, lalo na kung nabasa mo, i suppose…

and the directing? well, the brit tv director is good with small, intimate scenes but not big ones, especially the ones with special effects and sa overall na pagtatahi ng mga eksena para maging cohesive unit ang buon pelikula. malabo men. brilliant moments naman niya ay napaka-british lang, i think. yung bang kind ng british scene na di mo alam kung drama ba yan, dramedy, heartwarming o comedy. yeah, brit cinema could have this quality madalas e. para bang guess the genre ang game, not unless overt ang artista mo na alam mo ang ginagawa like mr. bean’s films. one nice scene is the one with the 3 kids in front of the fireplace at the griffindor lobby. the one where it just faded out with them laughing. ang natural lang ng approach. pero the rest, like the one na tinira ni voldemort si sirius at nung natamaan si sirius, hindi maganda ang framing at hindi nagawan ng sfx ng remedyo. kapag may special effects talaga ang eksena, mas mahirap i-shoot especially kung di mo alam ang hitsura ng effects na kalalabasan ng eksena. so kakulangan talaga ng direktor ito.

hay. i could go on and on about why i don’t like this film. pero i won’t na lang. i think you get the picture. but of course, like the rest of the world, i’ll still read the next book and watch the next film. i want to know what happens next kasi.

evolve or die daw: UNDERWORLD EVOLUTION

Posted in fantasy-mythical, film sequels, Hollywood dream factory on July 12, 2007 by leaflens

[FROM MY OLD MULTIPLY SITE]

NOTE: REPOSTED FOR POSTERITY’S SAKE. GOING TO DELETE THE OLD BLOG THAT HOSTED THIS. (from anti-rust punditry january2006)

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evolve or die? well, whatever. yun ang tagline sa poster.

at panalo pa rin ang contact lenses nila. can i borrow? πŸ™‚

maganda naman yung film. as expected, it was really dark but this time, the dark played well with the story unfolding on the big screen. i don’t think this film will be appreciated if you see it on video in the small screen, kahit pa malaking plasma tv ang tv mo sa bahay. you should see this on the really larger than life silver screen. especially the flight scenes of the markus kalaban character nung lumilipad-lipad siya at binubunggo-bunggo nya ang truck na minamaneho ni selene our heroine (tama ba spelling?).

the film really took off where it left off before, literally, as in talagang continuation of the previous film. maganda pa ring panoorin kasi hindi ma-a-alienate ang mga di nakapanood ng dating film. the flashbacks and back stories were craetively unfolded and told in this narrative sequel. they were inserted in the form of memory flashbacks, crafted creatively as “memory maps in the veins of the vampire.” kumbaga, their blood is the book of maps from where they can trace past events. ang ganda ng detail na iyon. unique. and then of course, there are the uv rounds pa rin or the bullets used to kill vampires are composed of ultraviolet light (blue colored) which simulated daylight. galeng no? i really liked that bit even during the first film. creative.

feeling ko lang, though, masyadong marami ang cgis ng mga creatures creatures ek this time. kung hindi lang siya nabalanse ng husto sa revelation ng mga snippets of kwento, magsasawa ka agad kasi parang obvious na type nilang gawing fx-film lang ito at i-sacrifice ng konti ang kwento, just like what happened to MATRIX 2. very forgettable and regrettable.

wala sa pelikula actually ang still na ito (yung anggulo). outtake yata. ang naisama ay yung over the shoulder shot version nito na bluish black ang color at hindi gaano halata ang rusty look ng still na ito. it was actually a good choice. this shot is too bright and it won’t match the other shots in the sequence. hmm, nakapagtataka lang na all these centuries (since the 12th!), hindi natutong mag-ayos ng buhok ang ating heroine, but i digress… πŸ™‚

one line of dialogue in this film that i like is when the ancestor of the antagonist was talking with our protagonist. sabi ni girlash “what will i become” or “what will become of me?” at sabi ng kalaban niya “the future.” that was such a simple dialogue exchange but it was so powerful. and profound. i like it because it is that: simply profound. and in that essence, maganda nga ang mga dialogues ng characters dito; halata mo kung saang siglo sila talaga galing. ang galing. that’s what i like about vampir films pati; slight poetic magsalita kasi ang mga vampire hehe. i like.

UNDERWORLD EVOLUTION is exciting. panoorin niyo.

mmff2005: talagang ONCE IN A BLUE MOON na may magandang pelikula

Posted in drama film, film festival, MMFF, Philippine Cinema on July 12, 2007 by leaflens

[FROM MY OLD MULTIPLY SITE]

NOTE: REPOSTED FOR POSTERITY’S SAKE. GOING TO DELETE THE OLD BLOG THAT HOSTED THIS. (from anti-rust punditry january2006)

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finally got to watch ONCE IN A BLUE MOON starring a bunch of talented young and old actors of philippine cinema, and directed by joel lamangan from a palanca award-winning script. sorry forgot to get the name of the writer but i think it was a guy. and i think upfi’s lecturer lyle sacris was also the cinematographer here, kasama ang isa pa naming lecturer, si nap jamir. tama nga ba ang pagkakaalala ko? i’m just basing this on the poster credits kasi i had to rush out of the cinema immediately after it finished. lesson learned: huwag magbabaon ng wendy’s biggie-size iced tea sa sinehan. πŸ˜›

the film is a good one. and lest i tell you some spoilers, i can’t really do a tell-all of this film. basta from my point of view, everything was great and worked well — the acting (or the non-acting, like polo ravales still enrolled in the wooden school of acting but again, like in ROOMBOY, it worked well here. also super derma-faced christopher de leon’s usual trademarks which are getting tiresome kung ang ka-sparring acting niya ay walang kalatoy-latoy. pero buti naman and that dennis guy who portrayed his son can hold his own, as well as the other veteran syempre esp eddie garcia and ms boots anson roa.), the script (except sometimes na meron sanang pataas na red flags of slip-ups pero pa-raise pa lang naman, hindi naman tuluyan kaya keri pa rin ang suspension of disbelief somewhat), the cinematography (i’m a sucker for sepia/amber-toned lighting design, and it worked well to give the flashback scenes a texture of ‘feeling old like an almost faded photograph of a bucolic scene’ also good work on lighting night scenes NOT using blue tones — dahil ang moonlight ay hindi color blue, unlike what old dops insist before! however, i’ve a thing to say about winter-blue cold lighting texture when doing scenes supposedly in America. hindi naman laging ganun ang tone ng atmosphere doon. unless during winter siguro.) and the production design. there were also some cgi work done here, if i saw it right, notably in the ww2 dogfight scenes. that was a good effort kahit hindi gaanong believable na fighter pilot si mark kilay herras ba yun? si polo pa believable.

i just noticed that in our local films, sometimes the one thing that they neglect is the accuracy in the language, notably in the accents. like i don’t think a 1945 filipina would say “thank you” in a 2005 very americanized tone, unless nanggaling na siya sa US or may training/exposure na ganoon. and the way they should speak tagalog, dapat hindi parang contemporary tagalog. iba ang accents noon. for research, period film actors should be made to watch actual films filmed during the old times. hindi ba sila nanonood ng mga sampaguita lvn classics noon? they use words lke “siya nga?” instead of “talaga?” or “siyang tunay” instead of “tama!” or “minarapat kong pumarito” etc. it was more poetic back then. saka less ang conjugations hindi tulad ngayon. like yan, the don’t use “di” but they say “hindi” most times or “doon” instead of “dun.” just watch the films na lang kaya ni gloria romero noon, nina paraluman, you’ll get that language nuance. importante kasi yan e, at least for me ha. sa hollywood, there is such a job as dialect/dialogue coach na ito ang tinatrabaho, especially pag crucial ang language sa storya. dibala ang galing lang ni kate winslet, russell crowe at nicole kidman mag-american english kahit medyo halata pa rin ang aussie accent nila pag interviews?

well, okay lang yun. medyo dedma na rin. basta in totality, maganda ang film. uber-romantic nga lang siya pero romance disguised like a mystery thriller kasi kaya parang okay ang twists. mystery thriller kasi may quest/journey storyline yung characters at ma tinatahak silang misteryo, na maku-curious ka rin kung ano ang resolution in the end.

another impressive thing about the film is the way it handled the male lead characters. it’s so very filipino at okay siya, very realistic and natural. good character build-ups. kaya matibay ang tayo. saka the way they all interacted, magaling din yung delivery ng ensemble nila. it’s romantic but not sappy mushy dahil nga siguro parang typical pinoy middle class males ang bida. the demographics worked well for the story it was trying to tell.

ah basta, panoorin niyo na lang. worth it siyang panoorin sa magandang sinehang mataas ang bayad hehe. πŸ™‚ pero beware of the overkill of the song, of course. e ako biased, i like those types of songs from that era (“blue moon”) kaya tolerable for me.

ito dapat ang na-rated A ng CEB. na-rate kaya? instead of that ILUSYON film last year sus puwede be.

but again, that’s another review. na ayoko yatang gawin. πŸ˜›

PROZAC NATION: state of d’pressure

Posted in book to film, drama film on July 12, 2007 by leaflens

[FROM MY OLD MULTIPLY SITE]

NOTE: REPOSTED FOR POSTERITY’S SAKE. GOING TO DELETE THE OLD BLOG THAT HOSTED THIS. (from anti-rust punditry january2006)

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it has been a habit of mine to watch something — a dvd film or an episode of a tv series i am currently engaged in — while eating. yes, i am not quite buddhist in practice when it comes to eating especially eating alone, and my eyes and ears yearn for the fix of something to do while my stomach and tongue feast on something on their own. so on new year’s eve, i watched this film adaptation of a book i’ve always seen in powerbooks but has never caught my fancy enough to buy it — PROZAC NATION.

the film stars one of our favorite no-nonsense white american thespians, christina ricci. she also shares some producing credit of some sort. it’s directed by a norwegian guy and also stars jessica lange whom i haven’t forgiven to this day for snatching the 1994 best actress trophy for BLUE SKY from my beloved jodie foster’s NELL. argh.

heniwey, on to the thang. i browsed through reviews of the book and it’s gotten quite the raves here and there. it is an international bestseller which prompted my curiosity when i saw the film version. the author, american elizabeth wurtzel, has been compared at one time to one of our favorite clinically depressed authors of all time (yes, i have a list of that, msg me if you wanna know), sylvia plath. well, i can’t tell if PROZAC NATION can approximate THE BELL JAR but methinks i have to read wurtzel’s book soon in order to understand how it actually captured the complexities of clinical depression.

and why do i have to read the book? after watching the film, i am wondering how this film captured the complexities of the book. maybe it did not quite make it. given the amount of time a film has to unravel a plot, it is understood how things can be left out or characters get composited (just like what happened to some characters in isabel allende’s novel’s HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS film adaptation before and with carl sagan’s CONTACT din).

if not for ricci’s “dedicated characterization” (meaning she really dedicates part of her life for the vivid and honest portrayal of her character at a certain point which makes the performance highly credible and believable) and jessica lange’s great character support/contrast, this film will fall flat on its face. it has no arresting visuals (like i can do chores/errands while watching and i don’t really miss a thang) and the surrounding filmic elements did not do much to supplement the acting-sparring of the two thespians. yes, notwithstanding the very planned color palette of the designer (kahit inspired by edvard munch nonetheless) and the composition tricks of the cinematographer as discussed in the dvd extras, wala talagang kinahinatnan ang kwento kundi isang coming of age ng isang college-age woman undergoing depression na hindi pa nga sure nung una kung clinical nga o kung bipolar ba siya or what, o kung may simpleng paminsanang topak lang siya (as in hello, case in point. nag-a-angst siya dahil papasok siya sa harvard, on a journalism scholarship at that. does she know that 20 poor but more deserving pinoys can immediately replace her if she doesn’t want it??? along with being hired by Rolling Stone magazine? [ako, i want that job!] but i digress.)

truly, i believe something is amiss here. i believe the writers and the director didn’t do much in understanding the state of mind of someone who is clinically depressed. case in point again: the dop referred the protagonist’s detached stance in life as being “narcissistic” for goodness’ sake. hello. well, the pressure of cross-genre textual translation is always daunting, i guess, but this shouldn’t be an excuse. it wasn’t for peter jackson when he took on tolkien, remember that. at tatlong pelikulibro pa yun.

so there. perhaps ricci could have hooked up with someone who is more familiar with the subject matter or a woman director instead (i theorize that women instinctively know about depression, being born of a gender with a history of thousands of years of depressing states). maybe the film could have fared better. or better, if wurtzel also had a hand in co-writing it just like hubert selby did with REQUIEM FOR A DREAM.

but that’s another review.

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